Monday, November 29, 2010

Off to the post office!

I'm sending this little package off today for a special person...

MLoH #2

1.  Getting feedback from the product buyer of the Bellevue Arts Museum gift shop.  They won't be carrying my jewelry, but she was just genuinely kind and helpful in the process of turning me down.

2.  Sealing wax.  I got some from J. Herbin, a very old purveyor of French calligraphy and writing accoutrements and it is just a delight to use.  The whiff of sweetness as it melts, the glossy red color, the gush of the wax over the lip of the trilobite seal...

3.  Having a Friday evening out at Frank's Oysterhouse and Champagne Parlor.  I sampled some truly lovely chocolate cake; it was moist, dense and darkly sweet topped with whiskey-infused whipped cream.  Also sampled bites of a very tender porkchop with bits of juicy, flavorful fat from Roxanne's plate.

4.  Eating Rob's excellent yellow curry with my friend Naomi on Saturday.  She came over to my studio to solder some adorable wee earrings.  Gave me a rightly deserved, stern lecture about sterling silver brooch pins. 

5.  Not being sick or jetlagged anymore!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why yes, I DO have a business card...

Isn't it pretty?  And behind it is a rather old tinder and flint pouch that I got at a Kyrgyz roadside bazaar.

The indentations that letterpress printing leaves make me happy.  So yummy.  These were printed by Invited Ink.

These little thorns were covered in gold leaf, but I decided to take it off.  Now I'm contemplating dipping the tips in colored plastic...  Red colored plastic.  Would that be too goth?  Or delightfully cartoonish, like in the spirit of True Blood?   

Monday, November 22, 2010


This trip to Hong Kong and my hometown of Hefei has, oddly enough, gotten me thinking about Thanksgiving (always my favorite holiday).  I grew up in a neighborhood with only two other Chinese families.  Luckily, our three families were close and it felt to me kind of destined to be that way, because there was one member in each family whose birthday was November 28th.  My mother, my childhood best friend's father and little Tom all shared a birthday that fell close to and sometimes on Thanksgiving day.  Inevitably, we'd have joint birthday/Thanksgiving celebrations in which the main goal was to be stuffed silly with food and good times with friends and family.  Easily accomplished!

Last week in Hong Kong, as I sat down after giving my maid of honor speech at the reception of my childhood best friend's wedding, I thought about how lucky I was, in so many ways.  I felt lucky that I still had this wonderful connection to a friend that I have known since I was ten years old.  That she was marrying the man she loved after experiencing a great many obstacles.  That I could travel to Hong Kong to share in her happiness.        

I felt an immense overflow of gratitude again sitting with my 86-year-old grandfather in Hefei, just us drinking green tea and bundled up against the November chill and chatting about his youth in 1930s Shanghai.  How amazing that I can see him every other year, after having moved to the United States at four years old.  How amazing that I could still speak Mandarin, that he is still around to laugh his hearty, joyful laugh, head thrown back, and to be his optimistic, humorous and generous self.

So I thought, I really need to write it down- the things I'm grateful for, so I don't forget.  I think this needs to be a monthly thing.  Or maybe even a weekly thing.  I like making lists!  This is going to be awesome!

My inaugural Monday List of Happy (MLoH, rhymes with pillow!):

1.  Central heating.  After living in Japan, I have a new appreciation for being warm in every room of my apartment.  Nothing can compare with the kotatsu (a low table with a built-in heater, topped with a blanket).  Everyone in Japan buries themselves under one of these until spring.  However, one tends to lose all desire for productivity when relaxing under a kotatsu.

2.  My death-defying basil plant.  I've stripped him naked twice now to make pesto and perpetually forget to water him, yet he lives.  Yes, he lives even as snow comes blanketing down in Seattle.

3.  My weekly veggie box from New Roots Organics.  It's always a challenge to use up everything I get before the next box, but so much fun.  Sometimes things get a little desperate in the kitchen when I only have parsnips and parsley left, but it's always an adventure.

4.  My boyfriend wearing long johns that are kind of baggy in the rear.  So Pa from Little House in the Big Woods.        

5.  Becoming friends with your relatives.  On this trip to Hefei, I've gotten to know two of my cousins better, as people, and not just as my cousins who were obligated to play with me when I was little.  You can't choose your family, so isn't it wonderful when you can genuinely appreciate them as awesome individuals?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A one-day impression of Hong Kong

I had an amazing time in Hong Kong, even though I had only one day to wander around.  Love the two contrasting but complementary faces of Hong Kong, with its bright, bustling shopping areas filled with luxury stores and covetable objects and its cheerful public parks filled with old ladies and red-cheeked children.  Its diversity and vibrancy were impressive.

In Kowloon Park, I walked by a large group of people watching a martial arts showcase as well as large groups of veiled Muslim ladies laughing and lunching merrily on the grass.  Perhaps they just finished a service at the mosque right outside the park?  The public pier was also being put to good use on a Sunday afternoon, where a break-dancing competition, a singing competition and an arts and crafts fair were happening at the same time.  That isn't to say that the dancing, singing and crafts were all quality, but it was a jolly atmosphere and everyone seemed to be enjoying the sunshine and the gorgeous water views.

At a store called Kinji, I discovered a lovely Italian gold and micro-mosaic ring that made my heart palpitate and my stomach clench a little in joy.  It looked old but in perfect condition.  "Could it be from the Renaissance?" I asked.  To my surprise, it was made by Le Sibille, a collective of three Italian women, one archaeologist who designs and two goldsmiths who create the pieces.  Like me, they are inspired by historical techniques and materials and are creating their vision of the past for women now.   

I wish the pictures on their website were larger, but it's still worth a look to see some unique jewelry.  Check out their website here!    

a necklace by Le Sibille

the ring that caught my eye

mmm... lapis lazuli... my favorite!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Lately I've been thinking about Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American actress to take Hollywood by storm, even though she was relegated to roles playing the stereotypical inscrutable dragon lady or the long-suffering mistress of some white guy.  Her characters always met some sordid, unfortunate end, prompting her to joke that she had already "died a thousand deaths".  Anna was a tall California beauty who managed to fill her claustrophobic roles to the brim with her charisma and elegance.  The first film I saw with her in it was Piccadilly, a 1929 silent film where she wore a sailor striped shirt to perfection and danced on a table with nonchalant sensuality.  Then I saw her in Shanghai Express with Marlene Dietrich, where she made me fall completely in love with one line:

watch here

So I thought I'd share some of my favorite images of her here, before I run off to Hong Kong tomorrow.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I got my eye on you, boy...

Yesterday was sunny and bright, so I spent the whole day shooting pictures of what I've been making.  I laid everything out on a scrap of antique embroidered orange silk I got at a hot spring resort town in Japan and a book of Ibsen.  Took a small break to make some delicious boeuf bourguignon and roasted broccoli and parsnip with parmesan for dinner.  Mariana brought a honey pecan tart.

Here are a few teasers.  To check out the rest, hop on over to my website:

Cock and Pearl pendant (yes, pun intended - everything was symbolic in the Middle Ages...)

Lover's eye pendant completed!