Cultivating Patience

3-Strand Byzantine Rose Necklace and Bracelet

As an engineer and Maille Smith, you’d think I’d have enough patience to last a lifetime.  I thought so too, but then I started on this necklace.  It’s a triple strand necklace of byzantine rose in 20g sterling silver and yellow gold filled.  20g rings are tiny.  Seriously tiny.  Then multiply that by 3 plus a bracelet.  Oy.

I came up with a system to work on this without losing my mind (mind you, I was in the last stretch of pregnancy so my mind was already extremely far gone).

Step 1:

Close silver rings and make gold roses.

Step 2:

Attach 3 pairs of silver rings to gold roses.

Step 3:

Weave chain and b-r-e-a-t-h-e and note how easy it was to construct once I got to this step.

The best way to weave it was to break it up by my moods.  When I needed my brain to calm down after fretting about the baby not coming, how tired I was, how itchy I was, I would work on Step 1 and make a giant pile of closed rings and roses and then walk away.  Coming back, I would work on Step 2 until I finished up the pile of roses.  Then I would either walk away again (come on, I have a toddler running around), or continue on to Step 3 and finish that bit of chain.  Lastly, I would attach it to the main group of chains and step back to admire my handiwork.  Breaking up such a daunting task was the best idea I’ve come up with yet.  If apply this method to other aspects of my life, I think I’ve found a great way to avoid procrastination.


Jewelry Equations


Watermelon Tourmaline Chinese Knot Lariat in 14kt Rose Gold Filled

I’m an engineer by default, so when my brain recognizes a pattern, I translate that into the perfect jewelry equation so production takes up less time and brain power (when you’re a mom, saving brain power is awesome).  For instance, I figured out the perfect equation for making lariats.  No matter what, you use the same amount of beads and/or chainmaille bits, no ifs, ands, or buts.  Same with the chains in between because most of my lariats are basically long station necklaces.  I also just figured out the perfect equation for a new Grace Bead bracelet design for the standard wrist size of 7.5″ (my wrists are above average size, so it was a challenge).  All this uniformity makes me very happy.  Sometimes it’s nice to create order out of chaos.  Too much chaos isn’t good for anyone.

Cultivating Design

Click the photo to shop!

For the beginning part of 2014, I’ve been working diligently on the Chinese Knot Collection and the Stepping Stones Collection. Let’s face it, I don’t multitask well. I get stuck in the box I’ve been in for awhile and it’s hard to get out of because I finally found a good groove and it’s finally comfortable and cozy. Make something new?? How about using different beads but the same design? That’s easy, but no, that doesn’t cut it. I wish it did but life doesn’t work that way.  The new stuff I’ve been making looks a lot like something that came out these two collections. Oops.

Now I need to break out of that “old” mindset and switch gears. I haven’t figured out how to do that just yet, but I think taking out and working with the Grace beads was the first step.  Next is probably going to be tidying up the studio, dusting off the boxes of Swarovski crystal, poking at the lonely chainmaille rings who need some love, and seeing where the muse takes me.  This is the kind of soulful designing I haven’t done since I was working on my very first Chinese Knot Lariat in Rose Gold… I think.  I got pregnant with Hui.2 and my memory has been fuzzy ever since.

Watermelon Tourmaline & 14kt Rose Gold-Filled

To properly start getting into this new mindset of design, I need to start playing my favorite renditions of Bach between Emilie Autumn’s Laced/Unlaced and Jeffery Biegel’s Bach on a Steinway.  My love of classical music began with my 6th grade teacher encouraging us to listen to all things classical.  This did not help my popularity once I started junior high since most kids my age would frown and go “Ugh!” when I listed it as one of my favorite music genres, but I was never one to follow the crowd anyway.  That still rings true today about my business and parenting methods.

Jesse.1 arrives tonight for her spring break visit, which concludes with my family’s tradition of meeting for dim sum Easter Sunday.  Saturday we’re hosting my extended family for our annual Easter Saturday cousin dinner.  We’ve never stuffed this many people into the house, so it will be interesting, to say the least.  But this Jesse.1 visit will definitely give my brain a much needed rest as I finish up all the goodies to be dropped off with Allison for photos and cultivate the next seed of Hui Hui Designs originals.


As I dive deeper into my psyche, I’ve been posed with the question of “how do I want the world to see me as an artist?”.  My motto is “If art is a window into the soul, then my jewelry says, ‘I am strong, beautiful, and sometimes whimsical.'”  The next question is how do you properly achieve that motto within a  single photo?

I thought about Sashi’s “Spirit of the Dance” workshop I took in 2010.  One of the exercises she had us practice was choosing an emotion we wanted to evoke and having a partner watch us to see if we achieved it throughout our little combo.  If I apply that theory to my photo quandary, then I need to choose the proper mix of jewelry, clothing, and mindset in order to do just that.

Strength is in the chainmaille.  Evoking strength = high fashion?  Confidence?

Beauty is in the metal and design.  Evoking beauty = ____?  Beauty is something that comes from within… but how to portray that?

Whimsical is in the beads and adornments.  Evoking whimsical = a coy smirk?

But what to wear?  Something comfortable, stylish, and ME.  Hmm.

Well, here is the face of Hui Hui Designs:

I donned my most whimsical statement necklace, as well as my favorite cardigan from XCVI.  The rest, well, it takes a small army to achieve this much awesomeness.  Allison introduced me to some of her artist friends and the rest is history.  Wendy of D. M. Gremlin Photography is such a talented photographer, I’m so glad I finally took the plunge to get a headshot and some jewelry professionally photographed.  This is just a teaser of what’s yet to come.  Believe me, it’s going to be epic.  Not quite Game of Thrones epic, but something close.  Stay tuned!

1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

Sometimes you have to take a step back to remember who you are.  I’ve been running at 110% for most of the summer and this past week has been quite rejuvenating.  Jesse’s been gone for a business trip so I’ve had the freedom to stay up late, wake up on my own, and basically only cater to the baby’s needs and my own.  I watched some Netflix, caught up on Days of Our Lives, did housework… all the stuff that I’ve been halfheartedly doing because I’ve been “busy”.  Where did the summer go?  My baby is already 13 months old!  Sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses.

My jewelry foundation is chainmaille, but the other stuff that I do is “Chainmaille with a Hui Twist”.  It’s more than just mixed metal chainmaille.  It’s the adornment of the chainmaille with stones, Swarovski crystals, and artisan glass beads.  It’s how I marry the left and right brains together to create my own unique style.  For me, chainmaille is the equivalent of my left brain, the engineer.  The beads are the right brain representing the artist.  I’ve successfully married them together to create what truly is my signature style.  I’ve been struggling lately because I lost sight of that, getting too far caught up in the business side of things.  But last night was an “EUREKA” moment and everything started flowing again.  When there’s static, it’s hard to find your voice.  That’s why there are antennas to help clear the signal.  That’s what I’ve done this week and I’m ready to get back in the saddle and ride off towards the next adventure.  Are you ready?

A Quick Peek

Have I told you how much I love my new studio?  No, I’ve been too busy trying to put it into order.  But I thought I would share some photos since I just made room on my phone again. 😉

I’ve been trying really hard to work on only one project at a time, from start to finish.  As an artist, that’s really hard for me to do, but I’ve been using the mindset that it’s a sacred practice that needs to be started and completed with the best intentions.  Some projects I’m waiting on supplies and some are in construction phase.  So far so good.  I’ve been attaching chainmaille bits and chains to complete the Rock on a Rope necklaces that had the stones and nothing else.  It’s been

My sister had this old and faded He-Man poster framed for me as a birthday present several years ago.  I think I said that poster had hung on my bedroom closet mirror door for 17 years and I put it up when I was 7.  Anyway, that was an awesome birthday present.  It’s so wonderful to have a home with clean white walls to hang photos and art that is so dear to my heart. ♥

I had this poster framed after the one mentioned above.  It portrays the newer 2002 version of He-Man and Skeletor, but nonetheless epic as the original.  I have one more poster I need to get framed to complete my collection of He-Man and She-Ra posters.  I searched eBay for years looking for a movie sized poster of the “Secret of the Sword” poster that was the cover of the comic book I received at the premiere of She-Ra.  I think the showing was at the Brea Mall or something and it was really exciting because I was 4.  Hehehe.  That movie in particular is what I turn on to watch when I need to escape the pitfalls of life.  Once He-Man and She-Ra started being released on DVD, I was watching it and Dad sat down to watch it with me (he enjoys watching cartoons).  Then Mom came home to ask what we were watching and we all laughed when I said, “He-Man”.  Same answer for 22 years. 😉

A Classic Skeletor Moment

My bestie (Krill’s mom) told me to go watch He-Man because I have no idea how to unwind right now.  Great idea, I should have thought of that. 😉  Makes me want to fork over the money for a TV and DVD player since He-Man isn’t on Netflix anymore.

We still need a little bit more furniture.  A bunk bed for Jesse.1, another futon, a TV/DVD player, and a TV stand.  Once we get these last remaining pieces, I can start truly decorating the Tower of Hui Hui.  Maybe.  And, back to watching He-Man. 😉