Simple Pleasures

Tourmaline Rock on a Rope

Yesterday was a great day.

Hui.2 decided to take an early nap and Hui.1 woke up late.  So we started our day around 10:30am, had breakfast, then ventured into the studio where we watched Teddy Ruxpin, cuddled, and I actually got to sit at my workbench.  Hui.2 was still fast asleep (I kept checking on him because I was paranoid) and after flipping through my stone book, I decided I needed to make myself a Rock on a Rope with a ruby for some extra vitality.  I wanted to add some morganite to it for some Divine Love, but how could I make them work together?  My favorite design didn’t fit my needs at the moment.  I wanted a single, solitary stone, but I also wanted to reap the rewards of both stones.  Hmm.

Morganite and Aquamarine

It’s still a Rock on a Rope, even though I added a single morganite bead to the end of the extender chain!  Ding ding ding!  And of course, I felt the need to make it in rose gold.  Perfect!  I haven’t made anything for myself lately, so this was a nice treat.  I also added a solitary, faceted rose quartz to hang out with the morganite.  Divine Love, romantic love, and vitality is a powerful concoction.  This strand of rubies is very special and I’ve only taken 2 beads so far, with very specific intentions.  The first one I made as a tester bracelet with some Chinese Knots and chain.  Again, a very simple design with the knots framing the stone (like most things, I need to make more and take photos).  I wore it for a day before feeling the urge to give it to my sister.  My intuition was saying the ruby did its job, and it was time to pass it on to her.

As soon as Hui.1 went down for a nap, Hui.2 woke up from his 3-4 hour nap.  So we nursed in the studio, nicely curled up in my La-Z-Boy recliner (best investment I ever made for this new baby), streaming more Dawson’s Creek on Netflix (in my defense, I’m waiting for last season’s Grey’s Anatomy and Once Upon a Time to be on Netflix so I can catch up).  It was perfect to have some much needed quality time with both boys individually, as well as having some time to truly spend in the studio.  It’s simple pleasures like these that wards off postpartum depression and gives me hope that life with two kids two years apart won’t always be so chaotic.

My new Rock on a Rope

Stone Spotlight ~ Moss Agate

Nice day to go to the park

38 weeks and no sign of baby.  And the wait continues…

The stone I’ve been craving the most during this pregnancy has been Moss Agate.  Supposedly Moss Agate will help with labor pains so I better make sure to pack some in my hospital bag.  It’s also the stone of new beginnings, which applies very well to this chapter of my life.  I’ve always kept a hoard of Moss Agate on hand, but I never truly utilized its fullest potential until I released both the Chinese Knot and Stepping Stones Collections, respectively.  My best sales for the past few months have been Moss Agate pieces.  Personally, I love the natural inclusions that gives each bead so much character.  Check out this link for more metaphysical properties of Moss Agate.  The photo below showcases my favorite lariat from the Chinese Knot Collection accompanied by some Moss Agate.  I also have available a simpler lariat with just the Moss Agate stones.  Click the photo or click here to shop.

Click the photo to shop!

Putting Your Best Self Forward

I’ve finally hit that point in my pregnancy where I’m going “la la la”.  My sense of style is at its best and I make the effort to dress my best before I go out into the world.  Even on days when Hui.1 and I are just going to the store to pick up groceries, I make sure I at least have a pair of earrings on.  When we go out with the hubby, I go all out with the jewelry because the best marketing tool is being seen wearing it.  My favorite pieces of late have been the Single Stepping Stones necklace and various pieces from the Chinese Knot Collection.  Doing so has been so much fun and I couldn’t be prouder of either collections.  It also helps that XCVI has finally become more accessible with their pop up shops popping up all over Southern California.  You can read about how I discovered XCVI here.  You can also find a variety of the Chinese Knot Collection at their Fashion Island location if you’re in the Southern California area.

Since I have no control over my body until the end of June, there’s really no use in cursing at my flaws and trying to hide that Mommy pooch some of us know all too well.  I suppose it’s part of the pregnancy glow myth, but for me, I’m still 5 pounds under the weight I started at because of the gestational diabetes.  After this baby arrives, I’ve decided to stick with the diet, because let’s face it, our society eats too much processed food and sugar than we should.  It’ll be an 80/20 ratio… 80% of eating mindfully and 20% of “let’s party” because food needs to be enjoyed and savored instead of being treated like the enemy.  Yesterday I made a conscious decision that I never need to cook white potatoes again.  Give me some artisan bread or a bowl of rice to go with my meat and vegetables and I’m happy as a clam.  An 85° C bakery and cafe just opened a few miles away so we’ve been going once a week to pick up their baked goods because it’s inexpensive and just so darn tasty.  My mom was the one who always went to pick stuff up, so experiencing it on my own was beyond magical.

Putting your best self forward isn’t easy, but we have to show the world just how awesome we are.  Figure out what makes your inner self shine outwardly and the rest is a piece of cake.  Or in my case, a piece of bread.

Go Outside and Turn Off Your Phone

Sometimes when life decides to calm down, I have the opportunity to sit outside amongst my husband’s edible garden to sip my tea and catch up on Vogue and Bazaar.  Hui.1 enjoys being outside as well, carefully trekking over to my stone bench to help me turn pages and pat me on the knee before he attempts to cross over more stepping stones or attack the mint plant growing by the sliding door.  Moments like these are fleeting, yet forces us to be mindful and appreciate what’s in front of us before it’s gone.

So far, Bazaar is saying that statement necklaces are the way to go this season.  That’s great considering my new found love for larger statement necklaces anyway.  Check out this lovely spring necklace from the Stepping Stones Collection.  This pregnancy has had me craving mostly agates as opposed to tourmalines with Hui.1.  Curious, but I’m going with it full speed ahead.  I can’t wait to get more pieces to Allison for photographs in the coming weeks.

Under the blanket of nature’s calm, it’s easier for my creative juices to rest and let my subconscious do some of the heavy lifting.  Being on high alert is not the way to live but it’s difficult when we’re so highly connected with all of our beeping and buzzing electronics.  I’ve made a conscious effort to unplug for a few hours a day and have also changed the settings on my iPhone to be less nerve wrecking (less beeps and notifications).  One thing I really need to do is utilize the “Do Not Disturb” function on my iPhone, since I occasionally use it as a music player when I’m trying to get the creative juices flowing.  But with the weather starting to bring forth the birds and butterflies into the garden, I’m just going to spend more time outside, absorbing some Vitamin D while watching Hui.1 dig in the dirt.

Monday Rituals

Mondays are best for deflating from the hustle and bustle of the weekend. As much as hubby protests, I’m an introvert at heart. The house is quiet and I soak in the tranquility before beginning the daily chaos of the week. The buzzing of the refrigerator annoys me but the singing birds outside helps drown it out. Today the sun slowly rises between the apartments, finding its way to my garden and eventually the windows. I find it best not to schedule doctor appointments on Mondays so I can indulge in the stillness around me and collect my thoughts.

I start making notes (mental and electronically) about the things that need to get done this week. What’s happening this week, other than trying to get to prenatal yoga on Thursday (it’s hard because it’s boring). Blog posts need to be written and scheduled, or at least given some thought as to what to write about this week. Evaluating the contents of the refrigerator to determine when to go grocery shopping. Checking the production line to note progress and estimate finishing time. Reviewing goals for the month to make sure I’m keeping up or not. Assessing if the tile floors are ready for a good mop yet.

It was a fairly productive weekend at least. Hubby installed a giant ceiling fan in the studio and it has proven itself useful in breaking up the hot air that accumulates when the weather warms up. It should be easier to keep that room cool when the AC is on during the warmer months. Not looking forward to testing it out but so far so good. Another thing to add to the list is taking all the packaging downstairs and tidying up there again. I also have some new decorating ideas as well. I’ll add it to the list while I drink my tea.

Happy Monday!

Juggling the Daily Juggle

Making maille is nothing but repetition, having good light and work area, and patience similar to a saint.  My goal of stockpiling little chainmaille bits has been working with my new method of working at the kitchen table (yes, this makes me reminiscent of Jo Packham’s introduction letter in every issue of Where Women Create, Where Women Create Business, and Where Women Cook).  I maille during breakfast as a morning ritual, as well as while Hui.1 eats his meals and snacks.  It’s a good way to be present and get things done.  I only have 2 pairs of pliers out and all the rings I need for a specific project.  This helps my mind focus when I work in my studio because having the little bits already made just makes for quick assembly and laying out new design variations for a collection.

The Work-Life Balance seems to be part of the new American Dream (after not being in debt and living with Mom and Dad as a 20-something adult).  After following Penelope Trunk’s blog for several years, I’m very happy with the way my life as a mother has unfolded.  Sure, it gets hectic when I’m sitting at the computer for most of the day and Hui.1 walks over to me every 15 minutes with a book in hand for me to read to him, but the fact of the matter is that I am with him to do so.  And when I’m at the office, he follows my mom and dad around everywhere, occasionally coming over to acknowledge me, then toddles off in search of my dad, unless Mom is in the kitchen, then he wants to watch.

When we are home, it’s a treat for both of us to go up to the loft together.  Now that he can climb onto the futon by himself, he enjoys being a “whack-a-mole” and greets me with a classic Hui.1 dimple grin of “HI MOM!”.  It’s the little things like this that remind me how lucky I am and how lucky my kids are to have me around with them as they face the big and scary world in front of them.  And it’s scary for me too, but we’re well armed with chainmaille, rocks, He-Man, and Dr. Seuss.

Getting Ready For Fall

When I was in school, Fall Quarter always felt like a fresh start for me. What I love most about Fall is the weather starting to cool down and it’s almost time to bust out those chunky knit sweaters with 3/4 length sleeves.  They’re perfect for showing off chunkier necklaces and lariats, and of course, bracelets.  Oh come on, you know you love to show off your jewelry as much as I do! 😉

I’ve been busy with another top-secret, super duper secret squirrel project that I will promptly announce here once all the pieces are in place.  It’s been making me scurry a bit, but I’m thankful for my husband who has been pitching in around the house more, as well as Amazon.com’s Subscribe and Save program for cutting down my trips to the store.  Wearing all the hats that I do, it’s a miracle I can run around as much as I do.  But I manage to stay sane and my family is still in tact, so i must be doing a good job.  Believe me, family comes first no matter what, or else Hui.1 would promptly complain to Grandpa about it!  But in between catering to his needs, I do find time to take care of myself with yoga and $20 foot massages.  Now if only I could find more quiet time…

And with that, let’s drool over some “oldies but goodies” that will help us transition into sweater weather (click on the photo to visit the shop listing):

Oh, the dreamy mix of textured sterling silver against 14kt rose gold filled!  This is one of my favorite bracelets.  So dreamy and so chunky that makes a woman with larger-than-average wrists feel dainty.

Another lovely gem that’s both regal and sassy all at the same time.  A true “Chainmaille with a Hui Twist” design!  Perfect for frolicking amongst the pumpkins in the pumpkin patch!