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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Miniature Bags

I made this some time ago but as usual, the photography and write up takes more effort and always lags behind pathetically from the mad creative rushes of making and creating.

So here is a batch I managed to list this last few days:
(I got my model from St. Vinnies so have named her, without any touch of creativity, as Viinnie Barbie)









Miniature Barbie doll bags - Honey Lime

oops, there are a couple more to come but I am swamped with other things at the moment so i will publish this set now.  Thanks for coming by :D






Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Creations

Some things that I got up to since my last posting ..
Bride in Chains -handmade chain with Swarovski






My batch of Christmas Angel Earrings
Kitty Angel Earrings



Kitty Angel Earrings II

Christmas Angel Earrings (with Halo)
Chinaman Angel Earrings



So annoying, the HTML code has buggered up .. so I am leaving this page now as it is too much hassle to work out the buggered up codes.









Monday, October 25, 2010

MNIS and Little Ethan

"My Name is Sunshine" (MNIS) met the newly born and remarkable Little Ethan and together they are flying off to USA to their new home with one of the loveliest person I know: Beverley Reynolds.

This my MNIS:

and this here is the amazingly beautiful Little Ethan, crafted by the ever so talented Caroline Fung.
MNIS went over to visit with Caroline and to pick up Little Ethan for their virgin flight to USA to be with the adorable Bev.  I must confess that MNIS's reasons for going over to Caroline's place was not purely altruistic.  He had heard and seen pictures of Little Ethan's aunt - the Saucy Molly (also crafted by Caroline Fung) and he was drooling to meet her.  And he was in seventh heaven I am sure when he did.  Caroline was kind enough to take a picture of them together and though MNIS looks very well behaved in the photo, I cannot guarantee he was as gentlemanly when the camera was not pointed at them!!
As you can see, MNIS is a poor shadow of beauty next to the amazing radiance of both Little Ethan and Saucy Molly.  Caroline Fung is one of my most favourite artists, and you can clearly see why.  So do pop over to her blog for a enjoyable viewing of her incredible creations: Caroline Fung


Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Choose Your FREEBIE" - New Contest

Today I launched another new contest and if you get to read this in time, please feel free to jump right in and give yourself to win a Freebie Prize of your choosing.


Here are the details:

"Choose Your Freebie" contest 1

Choose Your Freebie contest icon
(Time Sensitive information)
New Contest! Win yourself a FREE prize.

Here are the easy 1-2-3 rules

  1. Between Mon 25 Oct ~ Fri 29 Oct, 2010: Go to my store (www.ClearlyChosen.com.au) and make a Minimum purchase of AU$10 (excluding postage)
    Reminder: You can use your Newsletter Subscriber Discount Code. The min. $10 applies to the pre-discount amount.


  2. After you have completed your purchase, check out my HANDMADES section and choose your preferred Freebie.


  3. Facebook Members: Go to my facebook Notes page:
    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=160628130637591

    and write down the Product Code (aka SKU) + Product Name

    e.g. CC0067E Happi Warm Winter Happi Necklet Scarf - extra Toasty extra Warm S-M

    OR

    Non-facebook members: just
    email me the

    Product Code (sku) + Product Name.



That's it! That is all you have to do. Your Name and Freebie choice will be entered into a blind draw (to be drawn randomly by DH).
The winner will be announced/ notified on Saturday 30th October 2010, and selected Freebie sent out. I will email the winner using the email as per your customer details.


Good Luck!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

CCC1 - My First Clearly Creative Challenge - Sold Out

Wow I can barely believe it .. after much work and even more trepidation, I launched my first challenge with head full of worries that I might "build" it, but no one will come.

Unbelievably it all sold out. More than sold out! I originally made 20 packs thinking I must find a way to sell them if the challenge does not work. And I ended up having to scrape and break up other standard packs to create another 4 packs - due to demand.  This was the challenge pack, based on Swarovski recommended colors, themed "Harmony at Source".

The challenge (still running as all 24 participants are busy creating .. I hope) was to create something - be it jewellery, home decor, furnishing, fashion wear, accessories - or whatever, using this color combo.

The prizes up on offer are a full pack of Swarovski 5810 LIGHT GOLD pearls, 4mm - a brand new color just released by Swarovski and not readily available from stores.  And a winner's Award Banner that the winner can display wherever they wish.


I am truly grateful to everyone, friends and new friends, who are participating in this challenge. I am truly excited to see what they come up with.  I am sure it will all be breath-taking given the breath and depth of the  talents they have.

Everyone is welcome to vote, which will take place Monday-Friday, 8-12 November 2010 at the CCC1 Entries page - where all the entries will be posted as well.



Saturday, October 16, 2010

My NEW STORE is Open thanks to Ecwid

Since 3am Sunday 10 Oct 2010 - just about a week - I felt like I was living in Internet Ecommerce Hell!

First, at 3am, I got a Google generated Malware notice that my site looked like it had been infected.

A chill of fear ran through my entire body, everything speeded up and slowed down as, in a nano-second, I could see all the dire consequences of my site coming up on everyone's computer as being Malware infected (not that "everyone" visits my site! LOL! If only!) After running around for a few minutes trying to prove to myself it was a mistake and reading up all the notes that Google had, I contacted my hosting provider (by email): Exabytes.

I gotta tell you, these guys offer fabulous customer service. Some of them, despite it being a shift-work, rotational Help Desk, are just top class. There I am, emailing them in the dead of night (even by their time - i.e. in Malaysia), and they respond within minutes!

The service guy took care of the problem straight-away: checked my entire site and "removed malicious script". It was apparent from the Google stats that I had just been attacked as they had scanned my site a few hours ago and it was all clear.  Anyway, my site was then clean.

I submitted my site to Google for review again (and Google's service is not quite up to the standards of Exabytes as it took them much longer to review and take note that my site was clean.)

Unfortunately, in the "cleaning of malicious scripts" by Exabytes, they must have run some cleaning program coz some code got broke in the process. And thereby .. my hell began.  One problem after another at the site - the worst of which was not no one could add items to their cart.

We went on miserably this way for a week - to and from from me to Exabytes and back.  And mostly, they stuck by me and worked on and on with me - tho in the end, I suspect they gave up.  Despite it being their fault (tho I can understand they will never say that), I don't blame them.

My ecommerce site was run using OS Commerce - an open source software that in most parts, is very robust and efficient.  And I have had a few good years with them.

Nonetheless, there is always a running thread of fear but I guess that is true for all the internet applications and modern technology these days: what if it fails when I most need it?

One thing is very true though - the Hassle of Maintenance is not only arduous, time-consuming, and just a plain Hassle - but it is also Terrifying.  Each time I have to upgrade, apply a security patch, get a new module to integrate into the core software is always a time of crossed fingers and toes.  If anything goes wrong (and with millions of lines of code, the possibility is Big), then your whole system can "crack".

While this was going on, one cheeky yet soothing thought kept running through my mind: "Silver Lining" - but in the face of such disaster (I had just taken out a loan that I wanted to repay asap and I had just expended thousands of dollars on new stock), I could hardly delude myself that there really was going to be a silver lining in this calamity.

In the haze of little sleep and little food and just working on determination, adrenaline, and pure desperation, I went looking for alternatives and after much searching and reading of reviews I found something that looked hopeful.

But that would mean hours and hours of testing.  When things kept going bad to worse at my old site, I had no choice but test out this new found Hope: ecwid (which stands for Ecommerce Widgets). I loaded my items one by one, manually, over the days and nights into my new Hope - testing and tweaking settings. And it worked!!!

Now you can visit my brand new store. I have even taken trouble-free orders from it!  AND it is now merged with my Swarovski and Handmades Product Library so users can easily access Information, Tip and Tricks, Jewelry Gallery and still shop... all at the one place.

And BEST of all?  With ecwid - it is Maintenance Free!  I never have to worry about the back end of patches and security updates and broken code again. Of course it has limitations but even for a fussy bee like me, what it has is More than OK.

So far, I love my ecwid.  And they even offer a free version if you have less than 100 products.  AND it can be integrated easily into Facebook or into any page I wish ... even here!!!

I am so happy that this happened now.  Now I have a maintenance-free ecommerce store.  Now I can once again appreciate the marvelous support from my hosting provider of choice: Exabytes.  And I was also blessed with some friends who gave me their virtual hugs and support. And Now I can relax ... for a few minutes and Smile again!.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week 40 in Review

Malware Alert at my site ClearlyChosen.com.au
Working hard all day, trying to get my first CCC (Clearly Creative Challenge) up and running.  Was working with all relevant sites - including, of course, ClearlyChosen.com.au - which is my main store, when I get a Google Malware warning when trying to get into my own site.  Which I was accessing with no problems but a few minutes ago prior to that!


For anyone who has had this experience, in the middle of concentrated work and pressed for time, you will know what a low and sinking feeling this produces.  This is the first time I have had this kind of warning and it makes me sick - on so many levels.


One thing is for certain: it has nothing to do with me.  I am not the perpetrator but someone might have hacked my site.
The other thing I know for sure: this will mean hours and  hours of trying to fix this before I can feel safe again and go back to my mountain of Things That Have to Be Done.


Not happy. Am working on it now.






From the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
A day before the YOJ (Year of Jewellery) challenge on Aussie Beading Forum ends, I finally get an idea for the theme.  My first wirework bracelet .. techinque tips gleaned from YouTube as well as from a Japanese magazine .. here are the fruits of nature I gathered From the Hanging Gardens of Babylon bracelet.




A Touch of Frost n Gold - charm bracelet


A Touch of Frost n Gold started off as a midnight stint to play with some charms which evolved to playing with wirewrapping and then ended up with little bells and girly frothy just right for a bride.

My Name is Sunshine bird brooch

My Name is Sunshine is the name of this birdie brooch and he has waited a long time to be able to be presented to the world.  Now he is looking to fly to his real family, and new home.  His mission is to bring smile and sunshine to faces.
Update as at 6 Oct 2010 - This little bit of sunshine was given the Acronym MNIS by my Caroline buddy and as soon as he made his appearance on Etsy, my Angelic friend Bev Reynolds snapped him up. And MNIS is oh so happy because there is no better home, no lovelier person than Bev.





Modern Shell Geometrics Illusion Necklace

Very simple to make - and Fun. And perhaps the best of all - my DH for the very first time, totally, genuinely, really and truly loves this design.  (Big Grin)  He is normally so hard to please and even though I think he has no good taste, I am inordinately pleased!


Details of Shell Illusion Necklace available.






for YOJ Monolith to Obelisk Pendant Necklace
I would like to ask you to wish me well and good luck on this but by the time that you read this, the results would have come in.


This is my entry for this week's Year of Jewellery theme challenge, the theme being "Monolith".  I went a-goggling for all things Monolith and came across an almost-synonym, i.e. "obelisk" ... which I find is a word I really like.  And somehow out of that, I got to do a pattern I have always wanted to and it is so Obelisk (to me)!


All details on thoughts and wip notes for the YOJ Monolith Obelisk Pendant Necklace are available if you are interested.










Technicolor Dream Cross
made this a while ago but something about it felt incomplete.  Originally meant it to be just a pendant but am now glad I added the chain.  It kind of finishes it.  And the cross is still independent and easily detachable.




Full details of Technicolor Dream Cross available with working notes.




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My First Inclusion into an Etsy Treasury!

Wow!  Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

I was informed today via email that one of my creations:  Swirls of Snow earrings

have been included in an Etsy Treasury: Let It Snow Angels.. which is curated by vintageprecious.  How cool is this.  I am just about Over The Moon ... and I don't even really know what an Etsy Treasury is!! I will have to go find out now.  But you have gotta see the other items in this treasury.  They are supremely Gorgeous and gives me Chills of Total Pleasure to be amongst that august group! I am simultaneously humbled and uplifted at the same time.



Thank you vintageprecious!!!  

Sad: City and Kinokuniya

Just had one of my rare and infrequent trips into the city.  Sad faces and run down aura on almost everyone.  Eeek.  What is happening.  Harried faces, equally harried spirits, and rumpled tumbled clothing.  Bit sad.

Kinokuniya (bookshop) and beloved Jewelry Making books
... on the decline.  Last time I went into Kinokuniya, I was caught and held spell bound for like 4-6 hours.  So many books and magazines. I especially love the Japanese graphical beading and craft books.  And there were also a lot of Western beading books like by Laura McCabe,etc.

Today .. the section that I loved has shrunk down to 1/10th of what it was.  Gone.  Smattering of jewelry making  and beading books compared to before.  And wirework being so hot right now .. there was only ONE semi-related wireworking book.

What happened????

Saturday, October 2, 2010

POD Services - reviews

Hey, learnt something new: POD = Print on Demand.

Service sites are like CafePress, Zazzle, Printfection, Spreadshirt and so on.

I want to find a service so I can open a store for my brother.  But which one to choose??  I still have not chosen tho I am at the moment leaning towards Zazzle.

What I have managed to do so far is find a number of reviews that I think will help me decide.  The full article with all the links to reviews can be seen at this page on my site: Print on Demand services - Reviews.

Thought I would just do a quick blogging here in case this might be of use to someone else.  Ta-ta!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Save the Dolphins - please

I caught an Oprah show by accident and found out about "The Cove" - an award winning documentary.  It is not the awards nor even that Oprah supports this that I want to emphasize.

I want to say to the Japanese government and the people who can help - that is You and Me .. to please please PLEASE help stop the yearly slaughter of dolphins.

They showed some very graphic scenes.  A beautiful cove where the dolphins are trapped.  Tiny men on tiny boats in a sea that has turned totally red from their unrelenting slaughter of defenceless dolphins.  Imagine it .. tiny boats in a once beautiful cove, tiny boats floating not on blue waters but in Red Blood, and these tiny men with their harpoons .. killing and killing and killing.

Dolphins.  Could anyone find gentler creatures.  The only creatures known to man who actually save humans by instinct.  Their Zen like calming smiles.  Their soulful eyes.

Image from "The Cove"

Did you know, dolphins are the only animals that are Self-Aware - like Humans, which at this moment, is not much of a recommendation to be Self-Aware because it IS the Humans who are Killing them in Unjustifiable horror.  Yearly.  Every single year.  Thousands and thousands of these gentle creatures die a horrendous slow death.  20, 000.  Every year from September to March .. these seemingly heartless men in their tiny boats Kill and Kill and Kill.  Sanctioned by the Japanese government.

Please Please Please ... just a few moments of your time. Just to sign a petition.  It might save these magical beautiful creatures ... please sign ....

http://apps.facebook.com/causes/petitions/252

Or you can go directly to:
SaveJapanDolphins.org

footnote: one of the activist who is the Campaign Director behind Save Japan Dolphins is Ric O'Barry.  Ric was the trainer of original trainer of the TV series, Flipper.  Ric turned activist the day that Flipper swam into his arms and committed suicide.  Keeping them in captivity is cruel to these gentle souls.  Killing them this way is beyond horror.  Please help.  Thank you.

Week 39 In Review

Oops. Talk about Slack.  Yup, slack is me!!!  This was supposed to be for week 39.  It is now end of week 40 and I forgot to publish.  Oh well, comforting myself with "Better late than never" sentiments.

The Yay Yay Yay below was yay-ed at the start of last Monday!!!  Whoosh!  Was that Time flying by agan?!!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Yay Yay Yay! All 5 pairs of earrings my Bugle Dangle collection sold in one go!!! Yay Yay Yay!!!


3D RAWs - Very Cagey!

First, the Ocean Garden - open mesh pendant.

Next, Violet Blue Frost pendant.



This was actually my first in this, what I called, the "Urban Rock" series: my Red Power pendant.



Pandora-like Handmade Beads - Another RAW creation

The following (also done a couple of weeks ago) born from the idea of creating spacers and beads using the Right Angle Weave.  They are a perfect fit for Pandora snake chains and findings.


This above is the Wooden Warm Pandora earrings.



Then, above called the Swarovski Blues earrings and


Ice Maiden earrings  which is a perfect for the Gentle Trio necklace below.


.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Week 38 In Review

The RAW Seduction continues
This week should hopefully see me photograph and publish more of the RAW (right angle weave) variations that have seduced me in the last week or so.

RAW Petite Fleur collections 
In this collection, I even managed to make 2 rings.  Rings are just something I never do (did!) I just love the RAW variations with petite flower embelishments.  The Swarovski crystals and pearls add that something extra special.  Even tho I say this myself, I have to say ... I do LIKE this collection a lot!!

More pictures and how to notes for RAW Petite Fleur collection is available FYI.

Silken Square Bracelet in RAW

This bracelet is like silk ... it is flexible and moves with your wrist.
You are welcome to checkout working details and notes of Silken Square Bracelet.

RAW in Topaz Bugles with Petite Flowers
I was most pleasantly surprised to see how different the raw weave is with bugles beads instead of round seed beads.  It opens up a whole new vista of possibilities.

This set is one variation.


FYI: Details of the Topaz RAW Pendant.
FYI: Details of the Topaz RAW Earrings.


Wire Weaving - finally
I have been meaning to try my hand at this.  Bought a kit yonks ago and did not use it.  It sat there and sat there.  Finally in the last 2 weeks or so, I got around  to giving it a go.  Mixed feelings at the end of it.  The closeup weaving is quite ok but the overall leaves me a bit nonplussed.  What do I do with it now?  How can I get a smoother finish?  What else can I shape it into?

I have more close up pics of this, my first Wire Weaving experiment if you are interested.



Wooded Spring - Pendant in Right Angle Weave

Yup ... more RAW.  Made a few weeks ago and finally published:


I really really like this Wooded Spring Pendant.  First because has a Spring like air about it from it mossy green background, petite crystal flowers and swinging leaves; to it very mobile supple body.

Sunshine Square Earrings
Yup, still on my RAW odessey.  This dangles well with its sparkles and its long, soft, supple body.  The Sunshine Square earrings is literally like squares of sunshine - swinging and glinting with light and sparkles.




Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 37 In Review

Though it was much like pulling teeth, this week I have finally gotten back into some semblance of web work.  I have actually managed to make myself sit down in front of the computer and did some photo edits, copywrites, and listings.  Here are some of them; they were completed some weeks ago but had remained unseen and unshared in my "done" box.

Color Me Joyful Necklace

I really like this.  It offers both the elegance and sparkle of Swarovski crystal and CAB beads, crocheted with AAA Stardust brass (3um silver plated) beads.  That makes for a very flexible and drapable necklace.  And the experimentation of using that with custom made and embellished felt beads has ensured that there are now no longer unsightly gaps between the crochet rope and the adjoining item (whether it be a bead cap, a focal bead, or clasp).

More details available on Color Me Joyful necklace including many more pics and construction how-to notes.

Pink Green Sparkle Felt Pendant
Another piece I finished some time ago but could not get my butt in gear to photo and write up about it.


Very happy with the results of this.  I love the colors though I would never have mentally envisaged that these 2 colours would work so well together.  Very light.  Very dangly and moves with supreme ease.  And last but not least, very Swarovski crystal sparkly.

Details on this Pink Green Sparkle Felt pendant, including many more pic and how to notes available.


Sooty 2010 Birthday Jewelry Set
The following was specially made as a birthday present to my best friend.  More details and work tips can be found at Freeform Netted Ocean Treasures - the full necklace and earrings set.

Orchid Water Vase
These vases are so very pretty.  The top has an indent for tealight candles.  You lift that off, put in water, and put in your cut orchid.  And it looks fantastic!  

The set shown above was bought for Michelle Tan's birthday recently and so it has not water in it.  But it already looks good.

Only orchids are recommended; other flowers tend to decay, dirty the water, and stink.  Put 1-2 dropts of bleach into the water to keep it looking crystal clear.  Orchids can last up to 3 weeks in the vase.

Changing Work Space
I have been moaning for a while now that I have been having difficulty sitting down for extended periods to attend to web and computer admin work that I really need to get done.  One of the big (mental) hindrances is that lately I find I just want to sit in front of the telly (so that even at the peripheral, there is sound and "things happening") and do my work.  But because my computers have been set up in the office and despite having a laptop and wireless on the laptop, I still feel bound to the office - which is where I have not wanted to be (too claustrophobic and too "lonely"); hence have been putting off all my computer essential work.  To move the laptop (which is also connected to a larger monitor for graphics work) involved too much of a hassle as it meant moving and adjusting the wiring, plus having to synch data from laptop to desktop in the office ~ all proved too much of an effort to bother with.

Today, after putting in a few minutes of meditation (yes I know it always makes a difference to the day but I keep resisting this as well), I have moved things around so that the laptop is now in the living room.  I can sit and have background activities (i.e. telly on :) and I feel much better now about sitting down to do some work.  What a relief!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Week 35 in Review

My First "Real" Peyote Cuff Bracelet
I have played around with peyote before but always using economy larger seed beads (from size 8 to 6).  This is my first "real" one - using only size 11, Maria George's precision delicas.  And I must say ... I am quite happy with the whole thing - from my squiggle design, to the attachment of the clasp (which is surprisingly quite seamless), to the look and color of the whole thing.  Not sure when I will bother making another one of these.  It was just something I always wanted to have done ... and now I have.  Yeah!

I call this "Tendrils - Peyote Cuff Bracelet" in honour of the squiggles I made up using brush presets in Photoshop.





Bugle Dangle Earrings

These earrings were fun to make.  I had a design that I have been meaning to have a go at and then when I got felled by the vicious virus bug, these were part of my "medication".





Final note before publishing ...
OK ... I "lost" the week. Again.  I know we are now into Week 37 .. and this posting was for Week 35. And I am quite sure that I did other things I might have wanted to talk about here.  But for some reason, I have had a need to stay away from my formerly beloved computers .. and so lately I have had very little web outputs anywhere.

Thought I would post this anyway despite it all being a bit late.  Looking forward to acquiring some discipline again and finding the motivation that would make me want to talk and be with my computers again.  Till then, thanks for dropping by.