Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Keep Calm And Carry On"

This is the famous poster issued by King George VI's government and its Ministry of Information in 1939. Two and a half million copies of the propaganda posters were printed, as part of a campaign to reassure the British public in lieu of World War II. The designer, to this day, is unknown.

And these are some of today's takes on the classic motivational. All available at Etsy!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Agates Amore

I just got a shipment of these...

... to make more of these gorgeous lovelies. The blue and black ones are so smart and so 'statement', while the orange and the fuchsia ones are bang-on for a bold, bright summer piece. All the rave right now.

I'm totally in love with this design concept, and so are many happy clients... :). The black agate one is up at the Etsy shop now. If you would like another colour shown here above, let me know.

On my Lust List...

...the book, that is. I wouldn't have the audacity to lust for that whopper of a necklace.

I suppose this could double up as a "Gratuitous fabulous jewelry pic" post too.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Chocolate Orange Cousins

I am a complete sucker for the combo of chocolate-orange.

Terry's Chocolate Orange... ah, what can I say?... Pure genius. The recipe, the concept, the packaging... it's the Real McCoy, I tell you. And those segments are sumptuously chewable-chunky, mind you. Mm-mm-mmmmm.

But, approaching 40 with a metabolic rate that's ever-decreasing, and a waist that's ever-increasing, I have had to find alternatives...

Alpen Light, Chocolate and Orange flavour. Two words - Tor. Ture. I will not lie.

As you unwrap the bar, the aroma of chocolate-orange is prominent, and promising. But when you bite into it, it all strangely disappears...

The taste, at best, is of a toasted something... or the other. A little nutty, slightly corn-flaky... and that's about it. Makes me feel like washing it down with a reassuring Terry's Hot Chocolate-Orange Drink...

But hey, I guess I should stick with chocolate-orange smelling toasted-somethings. 'Coz I really cannot be 5ft 4inches, and be weighing 60kg.

So if I can't have The Real Thing, I'll have to settle for It's Ugly Cousin. No offence, Alpen Light.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

1000 Hearts

Just realised I passed the 1000 mark! Woo-hoo!!

Washerwoman Ruhi

After almost a year into obsessing wirh Barbie, Barbie's clothes became "dirty" enough to call for some laundry work yesterday...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New (commissioned) stuff

I had the pleasure of working with raw sapphires for this fancy commissioned piece, made entirely from the birthstones of my lovely client's family members - sapphire, onyx, citrine and pearl. Such a super idea!

She decided on a triple-strand for a luxe look, and prefered the centrepiece to hang low because she felt more comfortable. I think it adds a very nice and subtle dramatic effect to the piece.

And then it was time to decide whether we wanted it to festoon, or remain compact... I really loved the festooned look, but my client wanted something more "wearable-luxe", something she could wear to work and work-related events (she's a fashion editor), so we stuck with the compact look.

From there we moved on to matching earrings. I suggested a simple citrine drop, and my client came up with the design to incorporate all the stones...

... so that "if my daughters fight over who gets what next time, they can each have either the necklace or the earrings, and both will have all our birthstones."

This project has certainly been one of my most meaningful and fun ones... :D

My Gorgeous Goofball

This is what happens when Maya has too much sugar...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Olga Dugina and Andrej Dugin

This is Andrej Dugin. And this is Olga Dugina. Both were born in Moscow - he in 1955, and she in 1964. Together, they are "Olga Dugina and Andrej Dugin", famous for their gorgeous, gorgeous book illustrations.

Andrej Dugin studied art at the Surikov Arts Institute, before he went on to teach at the Krasnopenskaya Secondary Arts School, where Olga Dugina was his student. While teaching, he was also busy illustrating for publishing houses and magazines. And by 1985, the couple teamed up and got married. 4 years later, they were attached to an established publishing house in Russia, where they illustrated "The Best Tales from The Arabian Nights" and "The Dragon's Feathers".

They have since moved to Stuttgart, where they live and work from.

from "The Best Tales from The Arabian Nights"

Oh yes, their work is hyper-realistic, yet full of fantastic and fiercely out-of-this-world images. That's why I love, love, love their stuff. It reminds me of the Pre-Raphaelites, except these are spiced with Orientalism. It also harks back to the works of Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Jan van Eyck, but with a much more cheerful airy-fairy treatment, which makes it so, so enjoyable to look at again and again.

"A feast for the eyes" is an understatement. From the detailing of the fabrics to gorgeous intricacies in the architecture, the waves of every strand of hair to the immaculate true-to-form of the human and animal anatomies.

from "The Best Tales from The Arabian Nights"

Add to this, phantasmogorical, crazy imagery of a woman-cat and an elephant-bird, or a frog with a chameleon's tail and a man with a miniature camel's body... I swear, the details are endless.

Their technique is so traditional "fine brush". Their themes and expressions so classical, and yet their vision so completely out-of-this world. I tell you, it just takes my breath away.

Recently, they added another accolade to their portfolio, and that is their work for Madonna's book "The Adventures of Abdi", a lyrical story of a little boy's lessons on Fate and the importance of the acceptance of It.

The Queen puts a snake around her neck which turns into a necklace made from rubies and diamonds. To that I say, "Yeah, baby, YEAH!"

Oh, and lookee at what we have here. Her Highness Queen Madge herself. The couple are doing a series of portraits of the characters from Hamlet for an ongoing project, and I suppose Madonna decided to sit for one. This here is Hamlet's mother, Queen Gertrude.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What is your hangover cure?

Mine is the iconic BLT. The bigger and greasier it is, dripping with yummy yolk, the better. I used to drink gallons and gallons of water, based on the fact that it was the dehydration that was making you feel so terrible, but that somehow never really worked.

Until one New Year's morning, when me, my husband, and his siblings met up with fellow revellers the night before, all sunglassed and not half as talkative or mobile, suffering the same dastardly fate, met up at a cafe, and I pointed at the BLT to the waiter.

When the BLT arrived, the look and the smell of it made everyone, including me, almost puke. But I wolfed it down courageously, to test out another theory I had heard about, and that was to eat a heavy meal in order to absorb the alcohol, so it'll stop creating havoc in the body. Makes sense... right? No?

But hey, it works! For me at least.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunrise from my window

While waiting for Ruhi to wake up, I took a few shots of Dawn. You can still see the moon smiling a crescent in the left side of the top pic...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Healing, peeling and itchin' like hell

Here it is, "in full technicolor". The other day, I had another "Why such a scary-looking tattoo?" query. I said, "Coz it's a very traditional tattoo. It's like when you get married, you want to wear white right?" Now, how did I come up with THAT one? (Pat on the back. :D)

Last night, I had a dream, and it involved a very itchy arm. I woke up to myself scratching at my tattoo. And after that it was so painful I had to get out of bed, put some aloe vera gel on it, wait for it to dry up, then lie in bed with my eyes wide open 'coz now it was impossible to go back to sleep. This was 4am.

In any case, isn't it gorgeous?... Oh, the things we'll do to look pretty...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Knuckle rings

These have got to be the next big thing...

Just how cute is this one?? You can get one customed at TrinketJewellery.

This one makes me smile. "Too many hats to wear" by Felicity Peters. In sterling silver, 24k gold and diamonds... amazing.

This just blows my mind. Growing Jewelry by Hafsteinn Juliusson. Absolutely intriguing to look at, but where would I wear it to? Hmm...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Exercise is a vicious circle

Really, once you start, you can't stop. And I don't mean it the Pringles way...

Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy my yoga. My problem lies with the fact that as I practise more regularly, I am developing strength and even more flexibility... no wait... that's all good.
Thing is, it is now requiring me a longer session of yoga, just to break me out into a sweat. I mean, when is this going to stop? I used to sweat profusely at the first sun salutation. Now it takes me three. Then, at the 45-minute point of a session, I would feel nicely spent, the bite of the strain, when you know you have done something in contribution to flattening your tummy. Now it takes one hour.
Then there are those days when I lose a bit of self-control and skip a session. Oh no. Then it's like feeling like a soaked up sponge, the weight of a brick, for the next few days. Not pleasant, I can assure you.
I'm thinking: if there's no bite, then you wouldn't have worked out, no? What good is a one-hour workout if you don't break out in sweat? I don't want to end up yoga-ing for 2 hours and still don't feel the bite... that'd be... pointless??
It's a conundrum. For me at least.
(pic from yoga journal)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thing To Do Today

Make myself a cup of long black, and curl up with my VOGUE...

...even if it's just for half and hour... :)

(pic from decor8)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I love how cloud-watching makes me feel so small, yet so connected to The Bigger Picture.

(pics from The Cloud Appreciation Society)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

At long last...

the tidying up is done!

And I am raring to go! Orders to complete and get out, custom pieces, more designs... Yay!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

My tattoo

This is my tattoo. It's an age-old Japanese tattoo image, of a hanya mask, used in traditional Japanese Noh theatre. Masks with different expressions are used in Noh theatre to depict various characters and emotions, while the actors/dancers play out their roles.

The hanya mask is specifically used to represent a woman incensed with jealousy, all out to seek revenge. The bulging eyes, the exposed fangs, the straggly hair, all point to a woman who has clearly lost her mind. And is all out to make sure "somebody gonna get a hurt real bad."

So in essence, it's a fierce tattoo. Since getting it done, I have had countless queries "Why a demon??", "Why so scary??". Really, I just like the art. The detail of facts, like the bulging eyes and the straggly hair, and the how the emotion is depicted graphically.

When Maya's friends ask, I say "I think it's pretty to decorate my body with art. Your mummy wears mascara and blush, I wear my tattoos. :)". When Ruhi's friends ask, those whose parents allow them to ask (some actually get shushed and quickly escorted away, like I have a contagious disease or something), I say, "This is to scare away the bad guys and monsters who want to disturb me. :)". I always do it with a big smile, to try and take away the stigma of only prisoners, killers and mad people have tattoos. I hope it makes a difference to young impressionable minds... :D

Tonight, I have another appointment to get it coloured. I am not looking forward to the pain. 2-3 hours of sitting there, having my armed scratched over repeatedly with a little needle. The blood, the scabbing... hmmm. And the next five days of healing, of having to sleep in a single position so as not to roll onto this giant wound, of having searing pain with every accidental touch and every time I take a shower.

But I love it, really. At the end of it all, I get to walk around with this gorgeous, gorgeous piece of art on me. :D

I can't wait!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New stuff

I have had some customers interested in my Klimts, but are not confident about pulling off large earrings. So these Klimts are smaller than the ones I usually make, measuring about 5.3cm. The smaller frame helps make the look a bit "fuller" because the stones I use are the same variety. It has a more substantial look, even at a smaller size, though I still really like the modern, airy look of a good-sized Klimt.

Here I look into other shapes. I did a round one, because I realise some face-shapes just cannot take long-shaped earrings. And the elliptical one has turned out absolutely gorgeous. Because of it's shape, I applied a more symmetrical design on it, with 2 swirls, and I SO love how this has turned out - bohemian and majestic at the same time, modern and so unique.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Way-cool Jay Kay

"Virtual Insanity" by Jamiroquai. One of the coolest music videos ever made, as far as I am concerned.

Jamiroquai is fronted by Jay Kay, who auditioned unsuccessfully for Brand New Heavies, and decided to start his own thing. As a result, the world got a damned good taste of Acid Jazz, something that had been brewing with bands like Brand New Heavies, Incognito and James Taylor Quartet, but never really got the right exposure until Jamiroquai came along.

When my brother first heard Jamiroquai, he thought the voice belonged to a big black woman. Turns out, it's a small white guy. Plus, he's got the moves. ;)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Slowly but surely...

The tidying up is in progress and is gathering momentum.

I have very almost cleared out the table.

"Very almost" being the key phrase...

All the beads have been cleaned and reorganised...

... thanks to the real Maya and Ruhi.

Next I have to sort out the unfinished pieces, the silver and gold-plated findings and the more expensive stones that the real Maya and Ruhi are not allowed to handle.

Yes, the tidying up remains a small struggle, 'coz in the meantime, I have orders to complete, custom projects to plan for and start executing for deadlines in June, invoices to type out, photographs to take. And all these come a firm second to preparing the meals, mediating fights, kissing boo-boos on the knees, listening to school stories, helping to braid Barbie's hair, hanging out on the sofa for "You're trapped!" tickle sessions...

So, no prizes for guessing what I will be doing tomorrow. :]