OK, my last blog post was back in February. That was like over 8 months ago… But I say I have good reasons for this prolonged absence. They are (drum roll please…): a new job and a move back to the States. Yep, that’s right — I and my shop are now in the Steel City: Pittsburgh, PA. To say the last few months have been hectic would be a gross understatement. I am in a constant state of amazement — how one’s life can take a new course when one least expects it, how strange it is to live far away from family again, and just how much stuff I have (a huge portion of it would be, of course, bead supplies…). Anyway, now that I and my beads are all settled and unpacked, my shop is operational once again. And, if you’re in the US, this new location means spiffy fast delivery! I have a few new things to list too, so please check later. And one last time — woo hoo, Pittsburgh! Maybe I will even come to love this city as much as I love Philly. Time will tell…
As some of you might know, I play a “computational linguist” during the day. And if you’ve noticed that I’ve been neglecting my shop lately, that’s because I have been working … ’tis the season for conference papers. (And there’s this threat of losing my job if I do not publish at least two papers this year. Just leave it up to us Koreans to institute this very no-nonsense approach to the “publish or perish” maxim. Ha ha.)

Anyhoo, my current work is about developing an automated proof-reading tool for non-native speakers. Specifically, my system targets errors in preposition usage. And I need your help in evaluating its performance! Basically, when my system makes this recommendation:

      “My friends are good [in] soccer, too.”
      ==> [in] should be changed to [at]

a human then needs to review it and judge whether or not the machine’s decision is correct. And that human could be you! What I will do is send you a text file containing 100 system output samples like above, which you can edit and send back to me. It shouldn’t take too long for native speakers of English. And in return, you get:

So, what do you say? You can help me by flexing your grammar muscles and get fabulous jewelry for yourself! I need 4-5 volunteers. If you’re interested, email me at email image or leave a comment here, and I will get back to you. The time frame for this is between now and 02/20. Thanks everyone!
Another series of necklaces in my store: THREADABLE pendants and chains. If you are in computer science (like I am, partly), you will know that the term “threadable” means something completely different (read: nerdy) in software architecture; in my Etsy store, however, it means excellent necklace choices. :-)

I have been making quite a few simple pendant-style necklaces lately, and I got to thinking: wouldn’t it be nice to be able to purchase favorite pendants and favorite chains separately and wear them interchanging-ly? So, voila! Pendants are available in this section in my Etsy shop, and chains in this section. I’ve got quite a few pendant choices up including some briolette drops and others (endless choices to come, of course); as for chains, I’ve got: ball chain, cable chain, curb chain, satellite chain, and my signature double-strand chain with an extender. The smallest bails that I use on these pendants have a 3.5mm hole, so I made sure to use all chain parts that are small enough for them. As always, more photos after the jump! ( continued… )

Etsy blog is running a series of special “shop local” features focusing on different regions all over the world, and I got included in this “shop Asia” article!


Special thanks to Cindy (starry designs) and all other wonderful Etsy-Asia sellers who pitched in. Aren’t we a lovely bunch? :-) Makes me so proud… As for me, the deal was to provide a photo of myself taken in Korea, and it turns out I didn’t have any on hand (doh!) and had to rush a photo shoot. The result is me standing in front of the buildings where I work (Korean Studies Hall, Korea University). Yep — we Koreans prefer our buildings in bright primary colors. :-)

Well, it pours when it rains! I have a barrage of new stock coming into my Etsy store. I have accumulated quite a big lot of new pieces during my recent down time, but I haven’t had the time to take photos and list them. But wait no more.

Most pieces are not new designs per se… They are rather familiar affairs with some twists such as: simple briolette solitaire necklaces and briolette drop earrings. There are my hugger earrings in exciting new shades of orange and emerald green. And then there are some pieces incorporating some fresh design elements. Highlights of this new stock after the jump. Enjoy! ( continued… )

Not a moment to soon! Here are the remaining six birthstone TAB necklaces: amethyst for February, aquamarine for March, emerald for May, peridot for August, sapphire for September, and pink tourmaline for October. Again, coy and cheerful triples of gemstone rondelles coupled with a lone Hill Tribe silver charm.

The scene stealers in this group are the May and September stones: emerald and sapphire. I had my doubts as to whether or not I will be able to succeed in sourcing reasonable quality stones in just the right size and shape. It was wrong of me to doubt — after some initial difficulties (and a few dropped jaws at discovering just how expensive these stones can be), I was able to find just what I needed. It was a worthy effort: what will birthstones be without emeralds and sapphires? (Diamonds are an entirely different matter… people are more forgiving when it comes to that stone. ^^)

Anyhoo, this completes the Birthstone Edition of TAB necklaces. These will start appearing in my Etsy shop in a few days. As always, larger photos after the jump. Enjoy! ( continued… )

October has quietly come and gone (that was fast!), and I am happy to usher out a new line of jewelry before the year passes.

I have always fancied making a series with birthstones; I have finally gotten around to it, just in time for Christmas 2008, no less! I was going to use rondelles, as I already had the most variety of stones in that form, and I knew that the design needed to be consistent and kept as simple as possible. So here are the precious birthstones, accompanied by a single lovely Hill Tribe silver charm. I am calling them TAB necklaces. I used different charms for different gemstones, and together they look like one happy family.

This is part one of my post showing 6 of them; the remaining six will be posted in part 2, which include amethyst for February, aquamarine for March, emerald for May, peridot for August, sapphire for September, and pink tourmaline for October.

And of course, the birthstones leave out so many of my (and my customers’) favorite stones (chrysoprase, for example!). TAB necklaces will be made available for these stones later on. Don’t miss the big photos after the jump! ( continued… )

I have been pretty much neglecting my pompom earrings ever since I wrote about them in my blog last year. Three reasons: they are rather tricky to make, I have been unsuccessful in finding new exciting stones in the form of smooth-surfaced (i.e., not faceted) rondelles of the right size, and my general aversion to leverback earwires. The classic pompoms use leverback earwires, but nicely shaped leverbacks are rather hard to find, and I personally prefer fish-hook style earwires. The leverback requirement is due to the fact that the ball-shape is woven tightly with classic pompoms, so fish hooks won’t leave much room between them and the pompom clusters, making the earrings hard to put on and off.

OK, that’s enough technical details… The news today of course is that I managed to go back to my “roots” and have made a few new pompom designs with an array of colorful gemstones. Yay! This time around the stones are mostly faceted, and fish hooks have been used. The clusters are made looser than those in classic pompoms, so they are easy to put on and remove. Available in: Caribbean blue apatite, peacock blue apatite, pink tourmaline, sunstone and amethyst. Some of them are available in my Etsy store now; some of them will be listed in a bit, because I don’t want my shop’s first page totally plastered with pompoms. :-) Larger photos below. ( continued… )

As new designs roll in, my older listings are looking a bit, well, old in my Etsy shop. Some of them are even nearing expiration dates! It is time for them to leave my shop for a nice home — so I am having a CLEARANCE SALE.

Starting from this Saturday, some of my older stock items will be put on a 15-20% sale. You can find them all in my shop’s Sale section. Supply is limited, and the sale will be on for a week only, so get ‘em while they last. When they are gone, they are gone!

… And there’s more! Since my last blog entry about new designs, I churned out a few more new pieces. Once I got into it, I found it impossible to stop. :-)

There are 6 pieces this time around, 3 of them featuring lapis lazuli. Why lapis lazuli? I got into this stone only recently, rather late in the game, and I was lucky enough to acquire excellent quality stones. I have been playing with them for a while, and I think I am getting the hang of working with the unique beauty and quality of this stone. Besides lapis, there are new renditions of my old-time favorite pompom earrings. Detailed photos and descriptions below, so please check them out! ( continued… )

So this morning, I stumbled across this nice tutorial on wire-wrapping briolette stones, done by a fellow Etsy seller. Wrapping briolettes is indeed one of the trickiest techniques that often frustrates the beginners and the skilled alike — god knows we need good tutorials on the subject! :-)

To my surprise, though, I spotted my own photo of my own creation used in the blog as an example, uncredited. It is of my labradorite briolette earrings, sold a while ago in my Etsy shop.

This is not the first time that my briolette wrapping techniques got attention from fellow etsians, but I can’t say I am too happy about this one. I would have thought it is common courtesy to ask in advance for permission to use, or in the least give proper credit for the photo and the work. I emailed the proprietor of the blog, contrariwise, nicely requesting for credit, so we’ll see how it turns out.

And also, I would like to point out that the description on the blog is wrong: There was no “wrapping back up the bead and wrapping tightly under the loop” on this labradorite briolette, although that is another technique that I do use frequently. The wire end was … (drum roll please) … tucked into a drill hole!

Times like this make me think that maybe I should publish my own briolette wrapping tutorials: I happen to love briolette wrapping (can you tell? ^^), and I do have an arsenal of techniques under my belt that I deploy on briolettes of every size and shape. Two things stop me: the desire to keep this hard-earned and self-discovered knowledge to myself, and the fear of the pain that is writing detailed and precise descriptions of the process. Who knows, maybe one day I will find myself in the mood for pain… lots of it. :-)

[update 09/29/2008] Woo hoo! A couple days ago, Anne of Contrariwise got back to me on Etsy via convo to let me know that she has updated her blog to give me proper credit. It took a while, but I am glad that the photo and the wrapping work finally bear my name. Thanks everyone who’s been supportive, and thanks to Anne for fixing it.

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