Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fun Trip and Awesome Stuff

Last Saturday the family and I went to The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. The kids had so much fun. If you haven't seen their dinosaur encounter show, I encourage you to go, the kids were amazed and loved it. Here's a link to a video of what it is if you haven't heard of it; video. It's basically these really cool lifelike dinosaur puppets that walk around and make noise, amazing.

They also had a pretty neat bug exhibit, we touched some Madagascar hissing cockroaches. There was a replica t-rex skeleton you could put together and a fossil "dig" site for the kids. We had a lot of fun.

I also wanted to mention some awesome perfume I bought from an etsy seller. The shop is called Wiggle Perfume and has the most amazing smelling perfumes. I bought myself 20 samples to figure out which one to buy in a large size. This didn't work out so great as I love them all and still don't know what to buy.

My husband was no help either. This man is insanely picky when it comes to smells and I have barely worn perfume in the past ten years because it's so hard to find something he likes. He loved all the perfumes I ordered, except for maybe two. I think I may have to just order them all and wear a different smell everyday.

I ordered some 27 Men's Fragrance for my hubby and he wants me to thank Wiggle for coming up with this intoxicating scent, since I can't stop sniffing him every time he puts on, which usually get's us all hot bothered and well I'm sure you can guess the rest.

Try out some of the perfumes, you'll love them, trust me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

From My Kitchen

When my husband and I moved in together, seven years ago, and we were still boyfriend and girlfriend, we discovered a little problem, cooking. Well I thought it was a little problem, but it turned out to be a big problem.

Our first apartment was in Colorado, we're both native Californians. We moved out there mid June and just assumed we could BBQ all our meals, and make easy boxed sides. This worked fine until it started to snow hard, I mean really hard, we were literally buried in snow, and couldn't leave our apartment. It was so cold, when we actually braved the frigid weather and tried to BBQ on our tiny balcony, our pathetic BBQ froze and the flame continually went out, not to mention our lack of snow gear meant frozen everything. Have you ever walked out in 15 below weather with a 25 below wind chill and then touched a frozen BBQ? So not fun.

And there we were with a freezer full of meat we didn't know how to cook, not that we had very much to cook with. so for three days we lived on top ramen and steamed frozen vegetables. When we were finally able to leave and walked two blocks in thigh high snow drifts we found our grocery stores roof had caved in. We then had to slosh our way four more blocks to the next nearest store and stocked our pantry(really a box in the corner of the dining area) full of spices and vegetables.

Of course we wore tennis shoes on this walk(did I mention we're from California?) and had to thaw our feet in the store before walking home and repeating the thawing process. Then we stared at this pile of supplies we had braved the snow for and had no idea what to do with it. Thank goodness for the internet, our phones didn't work, but we still had internet and I watched a couple videos and made a pot roast, and a discovery, I love to cook.

That experience was the beginning of my culinary adventure and the last time I cooked something out of a box. My family calls me a food snob, but they love to eat the treats I bring. So here's my latest culinary experiment, marshmallows.

I love to watch Food Network and my favorite show is Good Eats with Alton Brown, so when I decided to make marshmallows I had to see if he had a recipe, he did and you can find it here.

These marshmallows came out awesome! So good, and light and fluffy with an amazing flavor, way better than any store bought marshmallows. I'm planning on giving these out at Christmas with some homemade instant hot cocoa.

On anither note, I finished up my new jens pind linkage wallet chain check it out here, and here's some pics

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sneak Peek

I'm working on a new wallet chain, since my full persian chain is doing so well. Right now I'm working on a jens pind linkage weave. Later I think I'll do a byzantine one, we'll see what I want to do next.

I'm also working on a chainmaille dining set, napkin rings, coasters and wine glass charms. Fun stuff ahead.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Real Crafting Beginning

I finished embroidering a leaf pattern on this apron I've been working on.It's not finished so that's why there's still marks from my embroidery hoop. I bought a really neat starter kit from Sublime Stitching, I'm going to add a cute fairy sitting on a mushroom.

I bought a starter kit because I haven't embroidered in years, which is strange because embroidery was my first craft and started my love/addiction for crafts.

I know I stated before that I first learned to craft when I was 10 and my grandma taught me to crochet, but my abuela told me I was "wrong, wrong, wrong," and to prove this she pulled out my first embroidery sampler, and written in the corner was "Monique, age 6". I gues my 80ish grandmother has a better memory than me, I'm 27 and losing it already.

Anyways, I remember now. My grandma and my abuela took turns watching my sister and I over summer break. I was 6 and I was bored, which I felt the need to express, quit vocally and often. After she had had enough of my whining, my abuela said let me teach you something to keep you entertained.

She said follow me and took me to her forbidden craft room. I loved her craft room, but my sister and I were never allowed in there. And now she was leading me through the door and I was giddy with wonder and excitement. Then she went to this giant metal cabinet, unlocked it and there was a treasure trove of crafting supplies. Fabric, ribbon, buttons, thread, sequins, glitter and plenty I didn't get to see before she grabbed what she needed and closed the door and locked it back up.

She then took a piece of paper and pressed it to a piece of fabric and ironed them. Then she handed me the fabric and there was a cute little unicorn smiling back at me. Abuela pulled out large a box of threads and told me to pick out whatever colors I wanted. I chose pink and purple.

I was then taught a few basic stitches and I sat and I embroidered until my mom came to pick us up. A couple days later I finished the unicorn, then started on a cat followed by a teddy bear.

And I fell in love with crafting. I love to create and tried as many crafts as I could get my hands on. I still do this. I love to learn new things and I love the pride and accomplishment I feel when I create something new.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lot's of Stuff Going On

Lot's of stuff going on this last couple weeks. I got some new gift boxes. I love how they look. I think they look more professional than my origami boxes, and they go with my brand better. It also takes my way less time to add the ribbon and logo to the boxes than to make boxes.

I also listed a ton of new items in my shop check them out.

I'm especially proud of my Graduated Full Persian Set, I think I'm going to have to make one for myself. It took a lot of time to make, but the end result was definitely worth it.

And last but not least, I spent this last weekend cleaning house. My kids usually help, but baby girl was overwhelmed with the laundry and passed out in the basket.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Busy, Busy

I haven't posted in awhile, lots of stuff going on. I've been helping plan my grandparents 60th anniversary party and it's been a little hectic. I'm making the invites, getting mariachis and a few other small things that have been incredibly time consuming. I've been mailleing whenever I get a chance and now have a huge pile of items to photograph.

I got my Rainbow Chainmaille Bracelet featured in etsy finds. Yay! Got lot's of hits from that and a few sales. Here's the link if you want to check it out: Etsy Finds: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

I love rainbows and got two request for rainbow jewelry, one was for a shaggy loops bracelet that turned out awesome.

The second is for a byzantine and necklace and bracelet set with rainbow connectors. No pics yet but I should have some up in a few days.

I also sold my Rainbow Spiral Bracelet, I think it looks like a DNA strand, like this is what rainbows DNA would look like.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cool New Item

We're a pretty techie family here. We've got our hdtv, our PS3, a couple computers, ipods, etc. But we try not to spend to much money on our obsession, so we buy broken stuff and fix it, we build our computers ourselves.

So a couple weeks ago I replaced the touch screen on my DS and noticed my stylus was lost again. My sons stylus was also lost. My stash of stylus had been depleted and my hubby wasn't sharing his last stylus. after thinking about it I realized we've gone through about 18 of these suckers, and at $8 for three, it's getting pretty expensive.

So of course i thought how can I solve this problem, and how can I use chainmaille to do it? I came up with these:

Now we should never lose another stylus again. Plus they're super cute. Like them? Want one? Buy it here. Now what can I add maille to next?

Tora Jewelry, mailling your world one ring at a time.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Handmade Tuesday

I'm not sure if this qualifies as handmade, maybe hand-blended, hand-mixed? Or how about homemade. All good food is homemade and today I want to talk to you about some tea I recently bought from teaman on etsy.

First let me tell you about my quest for tea. It all started five years ago when I had my first cup of earl grey. I loved it, but the friend who gave it to me bought it while in England and I could not find this particular tea online. So I started shopping for tea. Over these past five years I have bought every new brand of tea I could find. some were pretty good, most were not. The majority of them were weak and needed two to three tea bags to make a strong cup of tea.

So a couple days ago I was clicking through etsy looking for new things and I came across teaman. I had never thought of looking on etsy for tea, but decided to give it a try after looking at all the wonderful feedback teaman received. My tea arrived yesterday and i could smell the tea through the lovely tin. Most teas I can't even smell through the little box they come in. I promptly made a cup and it was fabulous. This tea actually surpassed that first cup I had all those years ago. Only one teabag made a wonderful cup of tea.

Great tea from teaman, if you love tea give him a try, best tea ever!!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Are You Ready for a Treasure Hunt?!!

I recently joined an amazing forum called The Handmade Artists Forum. This is ana amzingly supportive forum full of talented artists. We recently started an etsy team and the HAF team is having a treasure hunt!!

Follow the clues in our Treasury and you could win a beaded bookmark and phone charm from Suzies Armoire

Here's the Treasure Hunt

Start at the Crazy Moon Pendant and see where you end up! Then send a convo to Handmadeartistsforum.etsy.com with the ID# for the item that contains the clue that led you to the end of the hunt. Everyone who finds the correct ID# gets entered in a drawing to win the prize!!!

Have Fun!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Handmade Tuesday

I'm late!! I'm late!!

Would you believe I totally forgot it's Tuesday? Well I kind of did until right now, good thing I had my stuff ready.

I've been designing jewelry for some time now and I never thought of using wood. I'd seen wood used in jewelry, of course, but it never appealed to me. Then I joined The Handmade Artists Forum and met the jewelry designer who runs Jewelry by Janelle50 and saw her amazing work with exotic wood. Check out these two beautiful pieces and then go check out her shop.

Bloodwood and Purpleheart Laminated Necklace and Earring Set

Finding Jump Rings In Odd Places

I lose a lot of jump rings, sometimes I knock them off my workspace. Sometimes I drop them. Sometimes I fling them across the room in frustration. So I also find them all over the house. I find them on the floor a lot. I find them in my clothes, in my bra and in my hair. I've found some in my driveway. i even found one in my daughters diaper, not recycled, but still.

Perhaps, i shouldn't have been surprised when I found a jump ring in my sandwich. Or rather in my mouth compliments of my sandwich. I don't know if I happened to fling said ring into the kitchen and it somehow stuck to my peanut butter. Maybe it landed in my hair and fell into the sandwich. Maybe I flung it so hard it flew down the stairs where the cats played with it, thus flinging it into the air at the exact moment i was making sandwiches, so it could land in either my peanut butter or jelly. Maybe I should just be more careful with my rings.

Now I'm going to have to shake out my clothes and hair before preparing food. And keep an eye on those cats.
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Handmade Tuesday

I'm going to try and feature a different handmade artist evry Tuesday. Tell you a little about their stuff and why I like it. Today allow me to introduce Paw and Claw Designs.

I'm a total geek so I love this stuff. My favorite are The Answer to Life, The Universe & Everything earrings. If you've ever read The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy series by Douglas Adams you can appreciate the brilliance behind these.
The Answer to Life, The Universe & Everything

I also love this Die, Die, My Darling Pendant. I love Magic: The Gathering, and have a whole box full of these twenty sided dice. This pendant is such a great geeky statement and this ones in pink!!
Die, Die, My Darling Pendant

Lot's of other geeky wondernous abounds in this shop from earrings featuring elements from the periodic table, to guitar pick earrings, to retaining ring pendants. Check them out you'll love 'em!


Monday, July 6, 2009

New Stuff

Stretchy Half Persian Chainmaille BraceletPurple Crystal Romanov Chainmaille NecklaceDouble Spiral Chainmaille NecklaceRosettes Chainmaille Bracelet

Here's some new stuff I've recently listed in my shop. Starting from top left and working my way around clockwise we have: Stretchy Half Persian Bracelet, Purple Crystal Romanov Necklace, Rosettes Bracelet and Double Spiral Necklace. The stretchy bracelet can be customized with twelve different colors of anodized aluminum.
I'm loving the double spiral necklace, I almost don't want to sell it. If the crystals in the heart were blue I'd never be able to part with it.

I also finished my elfweave bracelet with the lapis lazuli. I love how this one turned out. The bronze of the rings really brings out the gold streaks in the stone. It's just amazing.

I'm working on a lot of earrings right now. I made some polyhedrons and some tao 3. I'm going to do a few pendants and then some bracelets. I've got a pile of pictures to get ready to post and then in a few days I'll list some new items. For now I'm off to bed, right after I finish this next bracelet.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Elfweave Bracelet

I finished my wrapped cabs last week. They're wrapped in half persian 3 in 1. The rings are all bronze, the outer two are 20G 1/8" and the middle one is 22G 1/8". I filled the backs of the cabs with some E6000 to hold the chainmaille in place. The backs turned out pretty decent, but I still had a few tiny bubbles I couldn't get out.

I'm going to attach one to a bracelet of elfweave. The darkest one is my favorite, so I'm going to use that on the bracelet. I'm liking
how it's turning out so far, the bronze looks really nice against the lapis lazuli, it's tarnishing a little while I'm working on it, but I'll fix that once I'm done. I haven't decided if I'm going to leave the rest as pendants or attach them to something. I'll probably leave them as pendants and move on to my next project. I'm thinking I'm going to do some japanese weaves next. Off to maille!


Friday, June 19, 2009

What I made and what I'm working on

Yesterday I worked on six helm bracelets. I made them in red, green, blue, pink, orange and purple. I'm waiting for some more rings to come and then I'm going to make more in silver, yellow and rainbow. They're made with 16G 5/16" bright aluminum and Epdm, with 18G 3/16" anodized aluminum. I love colors, they're so much fun. I plan on making matching chokers and a million other colored bracelets of varying weaves. I really like the stretchy that the EPDM provides, it's nice to not have to worry about clasps. I made my kids a few stretchy bracelets for this reason, they can get them on and off themselves.

Right now I'm working on chainmaille wrapped cabochons. I've got three lapis lazuli cabochons 18 x 13mm ovals. I'm wrapping them in half persian 3 in 1 with braonze 20G 1/8" jump rings. I'm still trying to decide what I'm going to do when done. Probably bracelets, but I haven't decided what weave to use for the bracelets. Maybe GSG or half persian 3-1 sheet 6. Or maybe I'll do some japanese 12 in 2, which I've been wanting to do again for awhile. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How I Got Started

I've started this blog to document my progress in starting a business. I make jewelry, I've always been a crafty person. I started crafting at around age 10 when my grandma taught me to crochet. I was raised under the belief of "why buy something when you can make it yourself?"

Next I learned embroidery, sewing, scrapbooking, beaded jewelry, woodworking and knitting. I've jumped back and forth over these various crafts over the years, learning as many techniques as I could.

I started making my own jewelry at age 14., I loved it and my bead collection grew over the years. Fast forward 12 years to last December, I was searching through etsy and came across a chainmaille bracelet. I loved it! It was amazing and I delved into the subject of chainmaille jewelry.

Being the planner that I am I began researching chainmaille and chainmaille jewelry. The art of chainmaille is over 2000 years old, with it being used primarily as armor. There are european, japanese and persian weaves, but the celts, romans and the Norse were the original proprieters of maille. Much later around Shakesperean times chainmaile began being used as jewelry.

In January I bought some jump rings, pliers and taught myself chainmaille. The first thing i made was a japanese 12 in 2 weave choker. It took me a couple hours to finish, and by the time it was done I had a new passion. I started weaving like crazy. I loved it more than any other craft I've done over the years.

I soon had my jewelry box overflowing with chainmaille. My friends and family got lots of chainmaille. One day my husband came home and saw me working on yet another piece and said "Why don't you try selling that stuff?" Why don't I? A few weeks later Tora Jewelry was born.

The name comes from my love of tigers and japanese art. Balancing starting a business and caring for my children, ages 2 and 5, was difficult at first, but with help from my husband I'm off to a pretty decent start. I'm mainly focusing on my internet shop for now, but I am planning on scoping out local Farmer's Markets and other local places to sell.

Wish me luck,