Sep 27, 2015

a new old space

The past month saw me initiating quite a transformation to my working space. I've been mulling over the idea for a while now, but just didn't have the push to do so, until one day my nephew said he would take over my current table. The current table, or should I say now, the ex-table I had was way too high for my petite frame. It gave me all kinds of back problems as I couldn't sit with my feet planted on the floor. They were always hanging as I had to adjust the chair higher to suit the table.

And so the clearing out began. I took it pretty slow, just a few items a day. That way I didn't feel tired out. And then one day ... this was what's left.

As you can see, it is quite a nice table and I've put in some time with the painting and such, but it was too high and with all the stuff I have, I was left with only 2 feet of space to work on.

I realize this is the only photo I have of my old space! With my little one posing of course :) See that space in front of the chair? That's all I have for my working area.

It was dismantling day and I even have an assistant to come and help ;)

I like it that my older girl is not averse to power tools. Atta girl!!

I have always wanted to make my own work bench and so I did. I loved the idea of using plumbing pipes as legs when I saw them on Pinterest. I thought they were industrial and cool looking, plus I could make them myself! I love DIY afterall. I proceeded to design and calculate the dimensions I needed. It was easier said than done.

Unlike the States, we do not have places like Lowes or Home Depot. The people who make pipe tables on Pinterest just had to go there and buy all the parts they wanted with all the pipes cut to size professionally. Over here I had to find an independent shop who still had the machine to cut and thread metal pipes (we are using a lot of PVC plumbing materials now so metal plumbing is not that easy to come by). But yea ... after asking and searching I found a shop who sold, cut and threaded metal pipes.


Finally I had all the components ready. I decided on an Ikea 8 foot solid oak butcher block as the tabletop. Best decision ever!

And then the construction happened ...

I have always wanted plug points on the table top, and this time I did!

I also made this tool storage for my most used tools. This was an old kitchen cabinet door my friend wanted to throw out.

And then everything fell into place.

Love the T feature underneath the wood

the DIY Lightbox now sits high

Beauty of Oak
The oak butcher block turned out not only beautiful but very very solid, which will be a plus when hammering metal. I stained it with a transparent wood stain to bring out the wood knots and other woody features. This side is in fact the back-side of the butcher block. But I loved this side because it had a lot more character with the wood knots and imperfections.

Couldn't be happier with my new space! It is 27 inches high as opposed to the old table which was 31 inches high. Now my feet can touch the floor. Also pretty proud that I made the workbench on my own :)

And a Panorama view ... All 8 feet of it!! Weeeeeee!!!!!!

Jun 1, 2015

Earrings Explosion!

We are nearly half a year gone, just cannot believe it is June already. Why does time pass so quickly nowadays? I don't remember it going so fast when I was a kid. Sigh ...

What have I been up to? Well, I have been excitedly anticipating the opening of Artful Gathering 2015 Session 1 on the 6th of June, which is now less than a week away! Lemme give you another peek of what I'll be teaching in Session 1, maybe it'll intrigue you to sign up with me this year ;)

Oh yea ... This is Fly Away With Me and it is a birdhouse wearable piece with moving parts! Isn't it cool!?!
SO ... if this has intrigued you in anyway, come join me and my fellow instructors at You are not too late!

Besides AG, I have also been busy on my workbench. You know it's weird sometimes, when you're in the mood for something, you can't stop making them? Yup ... that's the main reason for my latest earrings explosion ((O_O)). I don't know how many I've made, but I guess I'll know now LOL!

These, I have named them Words, with a series number

Words No. 1

Words No. 2

Words No. 3

Words No. 4

Words No. 5

Words No. 6

And as for these, I called them all Bohemian Opulence ...

And now I know. 9! Actually 10 because I've had another custom request for Words No. 1. I've never made 10 earrings in a stretch, so this is definitely the first for me! I don't think I've had nearly enough yet, who knows ... another 10 perhaps?

Apr 17, 2015

Very excited!

Hi hi!!! Hope everyone is doing fine this Friday morning! Yup TGIF over here already :)

I have some exciting news and a video to share. First, the exciting news. I'm gonna be teaching at Artful Gathering Online Art Retreats again this year! Woohooooo!!! I'm be doing 2 sessions this time. First session is an artjewelry piece with movable parts, yup, that's gonna be so fun and so cool to make. In the second session, I will be encoring last year's artbook workshop. So for those of you who missed last year and wants to do the artbook, here is another chance for you :)

Registration is open now at Artful Gathering 2015 and you can start signing up for classes May 1! Ooooo ... I'm soooo excited! I hope you can all join me this year again and have more fun making things together :)

Here's a video promo I made. This year I involved the family, my 2 girls and my dad are in it, and my husband is my director and cameraman. What great memories we made as a family :) I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making this.

There are so many new classes to choose from this year and the instructors are just an amazingly talented and gifted bunch.
Hope to see you guys at AG2015!!

Mar 12, 2015

A long long time ...

I have been bad ... I have not been blogging as I should. Facebook and other social medias have turned me to the dark side. LOL! Fact is, it's not as easy to find the time to sit and write nowadays. But I hope you all have been well!! :) I have not made much these past few months because I have been preparing for the Artful Gathering 2015 project which I shall be announcing soon.

Anyways ... my latest project a bunch of Steampunk pendants inspired by Totems (I kept thinking of Channing Tatum when I think of Totems ... sigh ... my mind works in peculiar ways). These are about the only pieces I made these past few weeks. Big girl work has taken so much of my time and energy, that I just felt like playing. So I emptied some of my stash on my work bench and started to play. These Steampunk Totems are quite different from what I'd usually make ... but I think they're pretty neat. So many things I managed to play on these; soldering is one. I'm quite new at it, but really enjoying it! I got to play with resin too, and paint :)

From left to right, they are the Oracle, the Angel, the Shaman, the Goddess.
Don't ask me how I came up with the names, they just came into my head when I finished them. Weird. But sometimes you see something and they already have a name. You don't get to name them, they name themselves.

I have made the necklace chains pretty simple because I didn't want it to compete with the details in the spirit boxes. There! They did it again! I just wrote "spirit boxes" instead of shadow boxes or bezels ... Hmmmm ...

Then one of my friends asked me, who models my pieces for me. No one knows cos I always cut off the face of the 'model' (as in the center image). Well now the world knows LOL!! I model them, most of the time with no make up and messy hair, because I know my face won't be seen, and I photograph me and my pieces in the toilet. That's where I have the best natural light and the simplest white background aka toilet tiles :) And then some photoshopping to take away the tile lines and smoothen out the wrinkles ((O_O)) Voila!

There is a real practical reason for me modeling my stuff tho, firstly I don't have the money to hire a real model, and then I don't make my pieces in quantity. I'll probably have one piece made this week and another piece made in 2 weeks or 2 months!! So ... it's gotta me I guess.

Next up ... a cuff I made after I watched the last installment of the Hobbit. Can I just add that I am absolutely in love with Lee Pace after I watched him play Thranduil? Absolutely smitten like a kitten! Ahhh ...
Here is the Cuff of Kings.

What I love about this is how the Patina came out. Isn't it gorgeous? I could just wear Patina!
And if you're wondering what that etched metal is ... it's an old escutcheon cover :)

My all time favourite quote from LOTRs.
I consider myself as a Wanderer. At least, my mind wanders all the time! My wanderings almost always produce some fruit. So I would like to think that I'm not always lost when I wander ...

Another Patina shot, and a showcase of the humongous riveted buckle I made from brass.

Lemme see, what haven't I showed you yet ... hmmm ...
OH!! My Paths Series ... I am particularly proud of these, because the thought process to make these took a long time, and in that time, I thought of many things in life. So these are particularly dear ...

Little book necklaces inspired by life's Journey(s), Memories and Continuity.
Love this photograph of them too. I love how they are sitting in a web of chains and beads, symbolizing how life is. Yet, they are sitting there with their heads up and wearing their mission in the form of the little tags, proudly.

I leave you with this my friends ... I shall return soon, bearing more news and more pictures!

Jun 18, 2014

of Fairytales and Castles

These few weeks have been extra exciting for me. Firstly, my Artful Gathering workshop officially opened, and we're now 2nd week in and I can tell you, it has been nothing short of INCREDIBLE! The people I got to meet are super wonderful and the talent, creativity and inspirations that they bring with them is mind blowing! I feel so lucky to be part of this event ... so lucky!

In my own studio, a new muse is visiting and she wants nothing to do with my elves. All she wants to do is tell me fairytales and talk about castles! I have made nothing but castles in these few weeks due to her coaxing.

Road to Alethya was how she first started to tempt me into her world.

"Lady Alya can hardly picture her homeland Alethya in her head anymore. If not for the pendant that hangs on a crudely weaved leather neckband around her neck, she would have forgotten it altogether. She desperately clutches onto the pendant her mother gave her, as if clutching onto the last wisp of memory of her home, and her family. It was nearly a century ago when she was given the orders by the Oracle to come to the Land of Aaman in search of the Chosen One. Her training as a high warrior made her one of the 8 who was capable of making this journey. She was given the task to find the Chosen One when he arrives and protect him from the Usurper. And when he is old enough, she will guide and lead him and finally with the aid of the rest of the 7, return him as the rightful ruler of this wretched land, ending nearly 500 years of suffering amongst his people. Only then would her task be complete and she may once again return to Alethya.

But it has been too long to wait. A 100 years of living amongst the forest folks, eating whatever she could find or not at all, and never having a warm night's sleep, Alya wonders if the Oracle was playing a joke on her. But the Oracle never lies. Alya lays her weary head on the damp forest floor and closes her eyes. Clutching on to her pendant, she falls into an unsettling sleep. Tomorrow will come soon enough ..."

Not such a happy fairytale is it? So I told her firmly that I wanted "happy" or I'll have my elves back. Sulking, she gave me Fairytale...

Ahhh ... much better! It reminded me of a little girl I once knew ...

"Once upon a time there lived a little girl whose father bought her a lot of storybooks to read in her spare time. She read and she read and she read … and believed that unicorns, mermaids, dragons, elves and fairies … they all exist. Old castles in wondrous faraway lands, warrior princesses riding flying horses and courageous knights in armor fighting darklords … are real.

This little girl is all grown up now … but she never stopped believing ..."

Yes ... this little girl has certainly grew up, and she now has 2 little girls of her own. She tells her own little girls each day, that magic does exist ... and to never stop believing ... :)

Our Fairymuse simply refuses to leave me alone! Because not a week after, she's back with more silly ideas. This time, she turns me into an insomniac ((O_O)) just trying to figure this idea of hers out!

"Once Upon A Throne is loosely inspired by the movie Maleficent, I wanted to capture some of the magic of a fairytale but in a darker and slightly malevolent nature. A castle, ravaged by time and neglect still protects a heart within. A heart that was once pure and hopeful, now hides in the shadows of the ruin. Wings that once spread in magnificence now become bound in betrayal. Maybe one day, this heart may be set free to soar the skies again … perhaps one day, she may learn to love again ..."

This mixed media assemblage necklace with a movable heart was nothing less than absolute fun to conceive and construct. The Heart is able to move up and down with a simple chain contraption. It is pieces like these that keep me up all night trying and retrying, constructing and deconstructing until I can make the physical piece come as close as possible to the image I have in my head.

Once Upon A Throne, like all of my other 'house' pieces, has not one bit of solder. All of my 'house' pieces are folded into existence, origami style. Only I fold them not in paper, but in metal … copper.

I have also made a 30 second video demo on how the heart works on that simple chain contraption ...

Despite complaining about my Fairymuse, I am secretly pleased that she's not going away just yet ... I think her castles have rubbed off on me big time!

Jun 5, 2014

what if you were from an ancient bloodline of shadow hunters ...

The dreams came nearly every night now.
Ciaran knew exactly when it would begin. It always starts with an old heavy wooden door which he has to open. And then, a long dark tunnel which would finally end in an ancient tomb room. Carved on the stone tomb is a symbol. It is a symbol that looked somewhat like an old clock with a dagger for a pendulum(?). He didn't even know if it was a clock because it had no hands, only a curious looking device in place where the hands would have been. And each time, he was compelled to touch the symbol even though he knew exactly what would happen to him.

“Mr McFarlane … Mr McFarlane?”

Ciaran jolted back into reality, and starring straight at him was the lawyer. “Y..yes … sorry … what was it?”

“The key, Mr McFarlane. In the will it is written that Ciaran McFarlane was to inherit the house. Here is the key and the address. I trust that everything is in order, sir?”

“Y...yes. I er … “, Ciaran let out a small laugh, still in disbelief as he accepts the letter and a key. What an old key, he thought, catching sight of the rusted artifact in his hand.

“Right … I own a house now ... and it is in ...”, Ciaran looked at the address, “Scotland?”.

----------- o -----------

The highlands of Scotland was just like what they say, windy and wet … and old. Ciaran finally saw the house he inherited from his grandfather as he slowly eased his rented Audi into the driveway of the huge 50 acres estate, which was now his, as well.

“I had a grandfather?”, he thought to himself and laughed at the joke. He never knew his parents, let alone grandfather. For as long as he can remember, he is an orphan. An orphan who made good of himself in New York City. He is the youngest rising star of the advertising industry and was just going about his normal upper-class yuppie life, until the dreams came …

Without even realizing it, Ciaran was now standing right in front of the huge double door to the half dilapidated house. Trembling, he fitted the key into the lock and turned … click! Well, more like “CRACK!!” … and the huge doors flung open. Apprehensively, he took a step into the dark hall. Strokes of light were coming in from the windows above … he was glad it was high noon. At least there was some light! And then, out of the corner of his eye, Ciaran caught sight of a huge mural on the dusty floor beneath his feet. He couldn't believe his eyes at what he saw. On the dusty floor, was a mural of the symbol in his dreams.

That night, Ciaran couldn't really sleep. So he decided to do some more research on the internet. He took out his smartphone and for the thousandth time, scrolled through the images that he took of the symbol on the floor. All of a sudden, he caught something that he hadn't noticed earlier. Expanding the photo on the screen, he was sure he saw some letters. He could barely make out an 'A', and 'N' and 'O', and then part of another letter … was it an 'I'? But that's all the grainy photo caught. A-N-O what?

Ciaran sat in front of his laptop and started searching - 'clock, dagger, ANOB' … nope, nothing new. He changed the ANO-B to ANO-D … also nothing. Ciaran went through in alphabetical order, all those alphabets when partly cut-up would look like an 'I'.
'clock, dagger, ANOE' ...
'clock, dagger, ANOF' ...
'clock, dagger, ANOH' ...
'clock, dagger, ANOI' …

Nothing out of the extraordinary turned up in the search until he typed, 'clock, dagger, ANON' and slammed on Enter.

Right at the bottom of the screen was an entry that read, “Arcane symbol and the resurfacing of an ancient bloodline”. Curious, Ciaran clicked on the link, and appearing instantly on the screen before him, was the symbol in his dreams.

Ciaran was still propped up against the pillow, it was nearly dawn, but light didn't happen until 8am in November in Scotland. He still had a couple of hours to wait before he can pay another visit to the house … his house. He thought again of what he had read in that article on the internet. The symbol was apparently an arcane symbol of a very old bloodline dating from beyond the Medieval period. This bloodline kept themselves secret and apart from the main society because they were considered “devil's spawn”. You see, every male in this bloodline had the ability to travel back and forth between our world and the netherworld, or so the article says. During the periods of the witch-hunt between the 15th and 18th centuries, it was thought that this bloodline was all but exterminated. But there was speculation that they have resurfaced again during the mid 19th century, reinventing and reentering into the mainstream society as industrialists. They were known by few as 'the Anonymous', hence ANON was inscribed into their symbol as the mark of a new era for them. Whether or not they still had their “abilities”, or practiced them, no one knows.

Ciaran let out a cynical laugh. “Perhaps it is just a bunch of romantic wannabes who wanted to feel that they are part of some superhuman clan … ”, he thought to himself. His logic tells him that this all BS … yet why is there a gnawing feeling deep within him.

Outside, the sun has finally come up …


HAH!! I hope you liked that little story there :) I am pretty pleased with how the texture and the new paint technique I was using on this journal came out. Looks almost menacing and very old. This journal is larger than what I normally would do ... it is a 6 x 9 inch book with a whooping 336 writable surfaces, and heavy!

Now, on to a totally different topic ...

I am pretty psyched as my online class with Artful Gathering will officially begin tomorrow!! YAY!! To those of you who have signed up for my mixed media miniature book class, I cannot wait to meet all of you in class :) Registration is still open to all for another 3 weeks at Artful Gathering Online Art Retreat, so common and join me - no need to leave your home and peejays are most welcome ;) Let's make some art together!

Here are some photos the hubs took of me while I was working at my tiny little unruly space ... thru my reading glasses!