Friday, October 22, 2010


I have neglected my blog for so long (2 months? 3?) that a nice layer of dust has formed over it.  I can't really explain why I haven't been blogging. I guess I am not a real blogger.  That must be it! I am just a wanna-be blogger who has failed miserably at trying :(  Truth be told, I just don't have the urge to make public what I am doing, how I am feeling and all the little itsy-bitsy details that those twitterers love to share and do so well at.  They are called twitterers, right?

Anyway, a big part of my absence is that life just got very busy. So busy that all I want to do when I have any time left at the end of the day is sleep.  Yes, I yearn sweet sleep every night. At least 8 hours of it. And I realised that when you have had not enough sleep, it gets kind of hard trying to catch up on sleep. It's not like if I only manage 6 hours tonight, I can try to make up for the shortage of 2 hours the next night. It just doesn't work like that.  I yearn good quality sleep so much that sometimes I fantasize checking into a hotel just so to sleep.  But with 2 active kids, a household and a home business to manage, it will have to remain a fantasy for now.

Perhaps when the haze clears (can the Indonesian farmers stop their slash and burn practice please?), the air is cooler, and the long school vacation starts in a few weeks' time, I might be able to savour sweet and long uninterrupted sleep.  God willing.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Creative Exchange

I recently was invited by my friend to participate in a Creative Exchange.   It's basically an art swap and those who take part will in return receive 36 pieces of art in return.  What a great idea!

So I made this for a lady, Kyoko, from Japan. It's a beaded pendant handstitched with Swarovski crystals and pearls.  What do you think of it?

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Accessorise Your Tops With Style

Have you ever agonized over what jewellery to go with your outfit? I sure do.   And it doesn't help matters when I am running late and rushing to leave the house.  So, I did a little research to bring you a few simple guidelines you can follow when matching jewellery to your tops or dresses.

Generally, try to match the gemstone colours in your jewellery to those found in your outfits.  If you plan to wear attention grabbing necklace or earrings, then go easy on the other pieces of jewellery. Choose simple ones to match your statement piece or perhaps even none at all.  Balance is key.  You don't want to look like a Christmas tree!

Round neckline
Pick a short necklace, for example, a simple strand of pearls or beads.  For more formal occasions, wear something with a little sparkle. I love Swarovski crystals because they give the right amount of bling while being easy on your pocket.

V neckline
With V necklines, there already is a visual frame created around your neck.  Go for a Y-drop necklace or statement pendants.  Your necklace should be a one to two inches above the V neckline or else it makes the neckline look messy.  If you want to wear earrings, choose simple ones to match your necklace.

Strapless tops or dresses
With strapless tops or dresses, there is lots more exposed skin and therefore, a larger area you can accessorise.   For day, a  delicate necklace worn as a long single strand really livens up a strapless blouse or dress.  Alternatively, you can also double it and wear one strand choker style and the second strand longer past your neckline.   For glam nights, go for a chunky choker style necklace to really jazz up your outfit.   

Halter top
With halter tops, pick large statement earrings such as chandelier or hoop earrings.

Open collar blouse
When wearing an open-collar blouse, there is not much skin exposed and your necklace with be partially covered by the collar.  Choose a chunky necklace that can still be seen when it's peeking out from the blouse. Or just wear a brooch closer to your face to add some sparkle.

High-necklines such as turtle neck or mandarin collar
With such high necklines, your necklace will have to sit on top of the fabric.  Choose a bold chunky necklace that will stand out against your top.  If you prefer more delicate jewellery,  double or triple up a long delicate strand of necklace. Alternatively, skip the necklace and just wear a pair of striking earrings. To show them off even more, you can wear your hair up or pinned back. 

Square neckline
A square neckline features sharp lines that cut straight across the upper body.  To soften and compliment such a neckline, go for a choker necklace or a long strand of necklace that go past the neckline, both which are flattering. 

Scoop neck
A scoop neck, also called a boat neck, gives quite a bit of space to work with.  To accessorise simply,  a single strand of pearl or gemstone necklace that sits just below the collar bone will accentuate the scoop neckline.   A large pendant sitting just above the neckline works well too.   Pair your necklace with matching ear studs or delicate earrings or ear hoops.

Try out the above tips and let me know what you think!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Recycled waistpouch - old made new

So I have not been blogging for a while now - more than a week I think. In the bloggers world, that's a no no, right? Well, my excuse is that I have been busy with other pursuits, apart from jewellery making.  One of which was to make myself a new waist pouch.  I have been using this ugly black waist pouch (a free gift) for nearly 10 years now whenever I exercised.  It has the ManU logo smack right in the middle of a black nylon fabric and to me, that was quite uncool, although I am sure ManU fans (like my dear husband) may beg to differ.  For the longest time, I had swung from wanting to buy myself a new hip cool pouch to making it myself and I procrastinated year after year while still using the ugly black thing. Just last week, I finally decided to make myself one out of a nice Ikea fabric that I have had for a while now and searched the web for a tutorial on how to sew a pouch.  The funny thing is, I can find many tutes on how to sew make-up bags, zippered wristlets, totes and such but I only found 2 on how to sew a waistpouch, both of which I didn't quite like. I wanted one that was easy to sew as I am a novice at sewing.   To make things even harder, a waist pouch goes by different names in different countries - fanny packs, bum bags, hip slingers......   Seems like a waist pouch is quite an uncool thing to carry, ManU logo not withstanding.  But I didn't care. I was quite confident that I could sew myself both a pretty and functional pouch to carry my mobile phone and keys so that I can keep my hands free when I am at the gym or taking brisk walks.  So since I couldn't find a tutorial I like on making waist pouch, I decided to adapt one online tutorial for make-up pouch found on Up In the Rainbow Creek blog.

This tutorial was great as it has photos, pretty clear instructions and looked simple enough for a novice like me. What initially looked like a one hour job took me nearly 2 1/2 hours in the end but I was quite pleased with the results. I reused the nylon strap and plastic parts from my ugly pouch (save the earth!)  And voila! Here is my new waist pouch lined in hot pink!

I also made the straps adjustable and even added a pocket at the back to hold my iPhone but I forgot to photograph it. So what do you think?

Monday, March 22, 2010


It's been more than a week after the Singapore River Market  and I have been off the radar for that long as well.  That's because I have been taking some downtime after the market.  Preparing for a fair involves quite abit of work and I tend to go on an overdrive a couple of weeks prior to a fair.  I come up with dozens of ideas, I design, create, think of more promo ideas and then when it's all over, I crash.  And how did The Singapore River Market go? Honestly, it was a disappointment to me. I hemmed and hawed for a while before deciding to participate in this fair and it didn't turn out any better than the last fair I took part in.  The crowd there were looking for cheap goods and my creations were definitely not in the "3 for $10" category.  All said, I am grateful and touched by those who stopped by my stall, especially the friends who took time to come and support me. THANK YOU SO MUCH! And Sab, it was fun doing this with you.

I won't be participating in any fair for a while now.  For now, I will need to find the motivation to list some of my jewellery on my Etsy store. Also, to find time to indulge in some sewing. :)  Maybe one day, I will post pictures of some of the things I have sewn for my kiddos. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shopping by the Singapore River

I am quite excited as I am participating in the Singapore River Market this weekend!  Considering how mediocre the last fair I was in, I can't help but be cautiously optimistic about this upcoming one.  So far the organiser has proven to be responsive and professional; the booth is also more like a cute little white tent than the typical cheap table and chairs thrown together set up.  I have also been on a creative overdrive the past month- coming up with new designs which I am introducing at the fair.  So, I am hopeful! 

If you are in town, I hope to see you at my stall at the Singapore River Market
The Singapore River Market is located on the River Promenade in front of Central at Clarke Quay, stretching to the Read Bridge.

6 Eu Tong Sen Street Singapore 059817
Dates: 12, 13 and 14 March 2010
Time: 5pm to 11pm.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring Clean your Jewellery Collection!

Chinese New Year is often preceded by weeks of hectic spring cleaning as people rush to give their homes a thorough cleaning before they welcome visitors during the festive period.  If like me, you have more jewellery than you can keep track of,  maybe it's time to give your jewellery collection a spring clean. 

Jewellery like many other accessories often goes unused when it cannot be easily seen.

Here are some ideas on how to organise THE stash so that they are more accessible. An organised jewellery collection makes it easier and more fun to choose your accessories and also ensure your mornings are less hectic.

1. Get rid of what you don't want
To start, analyse what you have (earrings, bracelets, necklaces, etc).  Now is the time to be critical and selective. Put aside outdated, mismatched, never-worn and broken pieces.

2. Clean and fix those that are tarnished or needs repair
Clean gold, platinum and diamonds with the proper jewellery cleaners. Rinse and polish with a smooth, lint-free cloth.  Try to fix those that you still love.  Many jewelry artists (like myself) can repair things like broken clasps or chains and tighten loose parts.

3. Which of these things belong together?
Group like items together.  The categories that easily come to mind would be Earrings, Rings, Bracelets and Necklaces.  You may even want to sub-divide into casual and formal jewellery or group them by colours.  Ultimately, the categories must make sense to you and work for you.

4. Location, location, location!
Now decide on the best place to store your jewelry.  Do you have a dressing table with some space to spare?  Better still, do you have space for a chest of drawers?  If like me, you are without either, then go vertical!  Consider how you can maximise unused space like wall, door or wardrobe door space.

5. Let's get organised!
Now you can finally choose your storage solution.  The choices are endless, limited only by your budget so I will present a few that I think are practical.


* Jewellery box and tabletop displays 
For a small collection, a jewellery box or a display stand on your dresser may suffice. They come in may different materials and designs so there is bound to be one that fits your room decor. Or try being creative and use things around your house. For example, a wine goblet is great for hanging your earrings around the rim. A small potted plant allows you to artfully display your necklaces and braclets.

 * Drawer inserts
If you have extra drawers space, you can buy or make your own inserts, trays to organise your jewellery.  These should accomodate bigger jewellery collection in style and allow you to see what you have quickly and easily.

* Jewellery pocket organisers
These handy space savers come with 22 to as many as 80 pockets. They hang neatly behind doors or in your wardrobe and have transparent pockets so you can see your entire collection at a glance. If you are crafty and good with a sewing machine, why not sew your own pocket organiser?  Etsy has lots of lovely fabrics available that will make a very nice backing for your organiser. 

* Fishing tackle box
These clear boxes has many small apartments and are inexpensive so you can afford to get a few.  They are great for small items like ear studs, rings and delicate bracelets.

* Jewellery rolls
Jewellery rolls or wraps are soft cloth or leather pouches to store your jewellery when travelling. They have different compartments and help to keep chains tangle free. It is inexpensive and takes up little space in your luggage and ensures you stay stylish while on the go.

* Hook me up
And finally, here is my own space saver solution. As a student many moons ago, with limited pocket money and yet too many cheap trinkets which I want to keep out of the prying eyes of my parents, I used to stick rows of small hooks on the inside of my wardrobe doors to hang my jewellery.  In fact, I still do that now as it is allows me to get dressed  and decide on my matching accessories at the same time.  Plus, it saves space!

Perhaps you might be motivated to get your jewellery organised now. :) Most of the storage solutions I mentioned are easily availabe at DIY stores, big department stores and storage solution stores. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Surviving Chinese New Year, in-laws and out-laws

It has been busy busy busy for me this Chinese New Year.  In fact, the lunar new year has not ended yet - it lasts for 15 days and there are a couple more visits and eating sessions to go.  In between the cooking, eating, visiting relatives and surviving 5 painful mouth ulcers, I managed to find some time to make this bracelet for my good friend Carol.  I made them with the lovely lavender freshwater water pearls I bought a while back. I just couldn't resist buying these pearls coz the pearls had a lovely lustre and shape. So organic!

Aren't these pearls beautiful?
Handmade spiral links and clasp

It's on its way to you now, Carol. I hope you like it! And thanks for organising the office Christmas sale for me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My first Etsy sale!

This is definitely worth blogging about.  I had my first sale from my Etsy store!  Hooray for me!  I am thankful to God and of course to the dear buyer who ordered a custom beaded ring for me.  It is just such a good feeling to have finally made a sale after all these months on Etsy.  Pray there will be more to come.

Hooray for Pass in Chinese!

My dear son has been struggling with Chinese since school started more than a month ago.  We are mostly responsible for his poor grasp of the language as we seldom speak Mandarin at home.  It's funny how the national education system here labels Chinese his mother tongue.  The truth is, English IS his mother tongue since that's the only language he speaks!  lol!  Well, as a Chinese in Singapore, you have little choice but to take up Chinese as your second language. So we have been plodding along since, amid much frustrations and tears.  He recently failed his Chinese spelling test. Poor chap was feeling a little down after that (for all of 10 minutes). Sonny and I resolved to work hard to pass the next test.  And so we did work very hard all week to recognise the Chinese characters and pinyin.  Our efforts paid off!  He passed this time. Hooray, son!  We did it!  The celebration is short lived as we will need to soon hunker down to prepare for the next weekly test. :(

Monday, February 1, 2010

History and Meaning of Birthstones

Birthstones, both precious and semi-precious, have a rich history spanning many cultures and centuries. According to the book of Exodus in the Bible, Aaron was ordered by God to create a breastplate with twelve gemstones, each representing one of the 12 tribes of Israel. During the eighth and ninth centuries, Christians also assigned stones to represent the twelve apostles.

The modern birthstone list that is widely used today was officially adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912.

To me, using birthstones can be a colourful and fun way to personalise your jewellery for yourself or your loved ones.  I have all the Swarovski crystal birthstones and also freshwater pearls in my shop. Swarovski crystals are quality Austrian crystals that are both beautiful and easy on the pocket.
Here is a list of the modern birthstones by month and the meanings associated with each. Of course, this list is not exhaustive and there are many other meanings associated with gemstones. Although I do not subscribe to the mystical powers some believe the stones have, I think the values each stone represent can be something that we all can strive for in our lives.

January - Garnet
Faith, Loyalty, Perseverance

February - Amethyst
Sincerity, Peace, Wittiness

March - Aquamarine
Purity, Happiness, Courage

April - Diamond (or Swarovski Clear Crystal)
Innocence, Love

May - Emerald
Faith, Courage, Fidelity

June - Pearl (or Swarovski Light Amethyst)
Purity, Nobility

July - Ruby
Strength, Devotion, Integrity

August - Peridot
Dignity, Truth, Love

September - Sapphire
Serenity, Love, Mercy, Wisdom

October - Opal (or Swarovski Rose)
Hope, Creativity, Happiness

November - Yellow Topaz
Fidelity, Providence, Friendship

December - Blue Topaz (or Swarovski Blue Zircon)
Piety, Courage

Click here to learn more about gemstones on the International Colored Gemstone Association website.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vermeil? Gold-filled? The different types of precious metals commonly used in artisan jewellery

Many of you would be familiar with sterling silver and solid gold. But have you heard of gold-filled, vermeil or karean silver? These are just different types of precious metals commonly used in jewellery and are NOT to be confused with plated jewellery, which often are steel or some other cheap alloys plated with a thin layer of gold or silver that tarnishes easily and permanently.


Gold is the most precious of all metals. However, pure gold (24K gold) is very soft and therefore unsuitable for making jewellery. Other metals have to be added to pure gold to harden it so that it can be worked on. This results in different types of gold - white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, purple gold etc. For example, copper is added to pure gold to achieve the rosy hue you see in rose gold jewellery.


Vermeil (pronounced vehr-MAY), is also known as silver gilt. It is sterling silver coated in a layer of gold to give a gold appearance. To be labelled vermeil, the gold must also be at least 10-karat and be at least 1.5 micrometers thick. Sterling silver covered with any metal other than gold cannot be called vermeil.

Gold filled(GF) is an actual layer of gold pressure bonded to another metal. GF is not the same as gold plating as it has about 100 times more gold than gold plating. It is therefore much more valuable and tarnish resistant and can last a lifetime, with proper care. It looks like solid gold and wears like solid gold, but at a fraction of the cost.

Karean silver

Karean or Karen silver has between 99.5% and 99.9% pure silver, a much higher silver content than sterling silver. The solder used to fuse the silver components together makes up the last fractions of a percent. Consequently, it has a weight, bright satin colour, and feel, all of its own.
Every piece is handmade and no two pieces are alike. You can actually see evidence of each piece having been formed by the hands of a Karen craftsmen and that's part of its appeal.

Sterling Silver

925 Sterling Silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper.Copper gives it strength whilst preserving the malleability of the silver, making it ideal for making silver jewellery.
I hope the above gives you an idea what you are getting when you next shop for jewellery.

At Maggie In The May, I use only sterling silver and 14K gold-filled metal components, so you can be assured of the quality of my handmade creations which are meant to last. Even though sterling silver tarnishes when left exposed to air and gold-filled will lose some its luster over time, you can easily bring back the shine with jewellery polishing cloths.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting it right

I hate to say this but it must be a sign of old age when after 3 weeks, I still have trouble getting up at 6am.  Seems like I am taking longer to adjust to a new routine this new year.  I thought I had it down to a pat when I was planning my daily routine this year:
Get up at 6am, get our dear son ready for school, check and reply email, go to the gym, do my QT, send our dear daughter to school, do some work/run errands..........

Reads like a good plan right?  Wrong.  It seems when you are trying to run your life like clockwork, Murphy's law will come into play. So there are some mornings I drag myself out of bed to get dear son ready for school, only to tumble back to bed when he leaves.  So much for the list of activities I had planned.  Then there are days the kids make my plans go awry.   After some frustrations at how unproductive I am on some days, I now have come to realised that a plan is just that, a plan.  While it is good to have daily goals, I need to be more relaxed when things don't go according to schedule. So what if I didn't get to blog today?  So what if I missed my workout?   What is more important to me is that I can be there for my kids.  I am blessed that I can be there to witness the adorable things they say and do, be the first to give my son a pat on his back for doing well in his spelling test or just hug them when they need some TLC.  Work can wait. :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

How to Care For Your Jewellery

I did promise more useful jewellery articles, so here's another one. If you like reading them, remember to click on the labels "Jewellery Articles" to see all my articles at one go.

1. Store your jewellery separately
I'm guilty of it sometimes. When I am in a rush, I just plonk my jewellery on my bathroom counter or throw them in a box with my other bits and pieces. DON'T! We should try to keep our beautiful jewellery (especially those lovely handmade ones) stored separately to prevent entanglement and scratches. My favourite way to keep them without the bulky boxes? Use a small ziploc bag for each piece to prevent scratches. With ziploc or any clear bag, you can also identify your jewellery easily and quickly.
2. Clean after each wear
Wipe your jewellery with a clean and soft lint free cloth after wearing to remove any body oils or residues that will make your gemstones dull and tarnish precious metals.
3. Put on your jewellery last
Makeup, perfume, lotions and body and hair sprays are bad news for jewellery. They make silver tarnish easily, not to mention ruin those plated jewellery. Wait a good five minutes before your wear your jewellery and you will help to keep them lovely for years to come.
4. Avoid pool or sea water or any water!
Any prolonged immersion in any liquid is bad for your jewellery. Remove them before showering, doing dishes or swimming. Chlorine found in pool or tap water can change the colour of gemstones and precious metal.
5. Never sleep with your handmade jewellery on
Most handmade jewellery are delicate things. Sleeping with them on may cause them to become misshapened or even break.
6. Store necklaces and bracelets flat
To prevent your necklaces and bracelets from tangling and also to retain their proper tension (especially those with heavier gemstones), store them lying flat in jewellery boxes or wrapped in cloth.
7. Keep silver jewellery in sealed plastic bags
Silver tarnishes as a result of its reaction to air. To keep them shiny longer, store each piece in a sealed plastic bag. I keep mine in small ziploc bags. And if they do tarnish, just polish them gently with a silver polish cloth. For hard to clean areas, I dip a cotton bud with a tiny amount of liquid silver cleaner and clean those areas very gently and carefully, especially if there are gemstones on that piece.
8. Avoid repeated exposure to direct sunlight
Prolonged exposure to strong sunlight can cause some gemstones to fade or discolour over time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

headlong into the new year

Happy New Year!  I can't believe it, it's already week 2 of the new year!  First I couldn't wait for the new year to come as my son was starting primary school. Now, the two weeks have just whizzed by and not only has he started primary school, he has already done numerous pages of homework!  it makes me feel like I'm back to school myself as I help him to complete his homework daily.  Hmmm, just wondering why is he getting so much homework when I know other kids his age who are attending other schools hardly have any homework.

Well, between settling down in primary school and being thrown headlong into the new year, I managed to find time to do a couple of custom orders - both are pearl necklaces. One is a lovely cream coloured swarovski pearls with hematite and crystals while the other is a black freshwater pearl necklace strung with a modern twist.  I love them both because they are both elegant and yet look so different from each other.

The new year has been kind of slow for me in terms of business.  It just means I have to work harder on my etsy shop - list more items and maybe some promotion.  Time to get organised! To those reading this, more useful jewellery articles will be posted here soon.