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Yesterday, I was inspired by this little number I put on the dress form.  Is it nerdy that I put stuff on a form to see how it looks together or just to look at?  Love that ruffley net shirt I got for 5.99 on the clearance rack.  The necklace I bought up in pearl town in Suzhou for $3—pleasantly simple with romantic textures and colors.  BUT!  I've had it for 2 years and forgot to wear it!  Oh, brother!!  Sadly, today it has to take one for the team because I need more pearl beaded beads so I'll disassemble it.  Bummer, but what's a girl gonna do?  Take a picture and try to replace it later…..

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Ornamentea has some beautiful ribbon in lots of colors—it's called organza (I think.)  Fire Mt.Gems has the pearl beaded beads last I checked.  So, I guess it's safe to start chopping it to pieces.  :-(  I don't know why I'm feeling bad.  I did not wear it once.

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Squeezed in a yummy lunch yesterday—yes, that's my kitchen table right now covered in beads and pliers.  I'm working on my book projects in all corners of the apartment at the moment. The lunch was super good and easy to make.  It's peanut sesame noodles from this website.  Just spicy enough with lots of flavor….Mmmmm.  This website has some nice and authentic recipes if you like Ch!nese cooking.  Today I'm making braised tofu.  Tofu:  my new best friend.

Bead Market: Take 78


Sorry for the MIA the past couple of days.  I think I had some sort of pinched nerve in my shoulder, but the pain was really in my arm and wrist.  It was weird and I didn't feel like using the computer too much. I'm happy to say it's mostly gone today.  Tuesday I and a few other ladies took a road trip to the bead market.  I shop at this store frequently and these are two of my pals that help me dig through the bags, looking for the most perfect beads.  I had to laugh when I saw how I looked sitting on that stool, knees up to my ears.  The girls insisted this was much better than sitting on the floor—so nice!  I never wore crocs until I moved to Ch!na—they are the best shoe to wear here with the damp floors and dusty side walks, just in case you are coming this way.


Here's my loot from the day.  I think I did ok.  I guess I was gravitating towards naturals and blues and greens.  They've come out with some new cloisonne beads that are really luminous.  I hope someone State-side will carry them.  Lots of dyed stone and saw some crazy Swarovski-look-a-likes.  Crazy!  Don't you love laying all your stuff out after a big shopping trip?  Inevitably, I have a few pieces that I don't remember buying, because after three hours in that place, I've got more than a few loose beads rolling around in my brain.  Whadaya-gonna-do.


I also found these little treats to take home to all the girls in my family.  Faux cinnabar bangle bracelets! Mmmmm.

Earthquake Relief…

Horrifying stories about the earthquake in our neighboring province, Sichuan, were rolling in and we wanted to do something….  So, about a week after it happened, we were sitting at our friend Chuk's restaurant and I turned to him and said, "Chuk, have you heard of anything going down with fund raising for the earthquake relief?"  He says, "Oh, yeah, Loads!"  I told him about an idea and he said, "there's Kate (sitting at the next table) she's organizing some stuff at the international school." 

 China 31 - May 2008 0431

So, I hopped up, talked to Kate, explained my idea, she said when and here I am….repairing jewelry and stringing beads for donations to the relief efforts.  Don't you love it when things fall into place like that?  It really was meant to be.


I emailed all my pals and explained the scoop.  Kate put up signs, friends told friends.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I fixed around 25 pieces of jewelry—most repairs were easy like a loose jump ring, a charm that fell off or a broken clasp.  Each piece of jewelry had a story to tell—who gave it to them, how it got broke, where they bought it, why it was meaningful.  It was neat to hear all the stories.  Some people came by just to visit and chat.  Made some new friends too!


Then…………….the school bell rang.  School was out.  Beads were IN!  I brought a big bowl of beads and elastic in case some folks wanted a little craft therapy.  Man, we strung some beads.  Moms, Dads, brothers, sisters, teachers, dogs (ok, not dogs) all stringing beads for good!


It was a blast!  After a few hours, there was 1400 RMB stuffed in my little donation jar!  The power of creativity and craft continues to inspire me.  Thank you to everyone for your support.  Thank you to QSI for letting me hang in the lobby and fix jewelry.  My heart goes out to all the victims-people and animals-of these disasters.  Hugs to you all.

Pearl Market…


Here are a couple of pictures from the pearl market up north.  If you look past the man, you can see that this place is pretty much endless.  Pearls and shell in every shape imaginable. I can only last about 3 hours before I start to get a little loopy and start buying random, sometimes ugly stuff.  The next picture is kind of gross, so don’t look if you are turned off by slimy stuff.


My listening skills were little to be desired by this point (I was more concerned with the large knife used to cut this sucker open), but I think these are freshwater pearls.  See them on the sides of the shell?  She cuts away some of the muscle and the pearls just fall out.  Congratulations!  It’s a pearl!  (sorry couldn’t resist)  I don’t know about you, but this site pretty much erased my cartoony pearl and oyster vision of how pearls are made. 


The cool thing about pearls is they can look really classy or really arty depending on the design-especially with dyed pearls.  They look good alone or alongside other materials.  Here, they are strung  onto ear wires with a crystal.  The cloisonne bead is strung on a ball/star head pin from Beadalon.


Tons of info on the web including a few videos on knotting pearls. Definitely get a bead reamer if you are going to string pearls.  They make enlarging holes easy.  As our dear Martha would say, "it’s a good thing."

Find the findings!


Candie: Um, do you have any of those clip on findings in the black metal?

Shop keeper: Yeah, right here.

Candie: ok, I’ll check them out. (there must have been 400 variations on this finding)

Shop-keeper:  What size do you want?  What color?  Black or (no idea what she said here) black?  What size?  Square or round?  Oval or cone?  What size?  This kind or that kind?  What size?

Candie:  Uh.  I don’t know, I’ll take a look.

Shop-keeper:  How many do you want?

Candie: Two. (that much I did know)

Shop keeper: Two?!?!  You have to buy 3 dozen.  You can either have two for 30 HKD or 3 dozen for 30HKD.  You might as well take the 3 dozen.

Candie: Uh, 3 dozen? Ok. (30 HKD is about $3.00ish)

Shop keeper:  OK!  I’ll start counting.

Candie:  I need one of these too (pointing to a different finding).

Shop keeper:  You just want one?!?!?!  Take two.  Go wash your hands.

Candie: ok.  thank you.


It was just another day of shopping for findings in Hong Kong.  Thankfully the lady let me off the hook with two dozen of the findings and my other latches thrown in–all for 30HKD!  She was hilarious.  It took a long time to adjust to sifting through and shopping in bulk (not to mention a different language).  It’s sort of like the first time you buy a case of mac and cheese from Sam’s Club or Cosco.  At first it’s totally bazaar and then after awhile it becomes absolutely normal.  I think.



This is what Christmas morning looks like for Candie and Butch, the Expats.  We called home so we could talk to everyone at my family’s Christmas eve party.  It was fun to hear the background hustle and bustle with chatter and whispers of what Santa was bringing.   That night we did the same thing, calling Butch’s family.  I can’t really describe what it’s like to spend Christmas away from home…or any holiday for that matter.  I did the same thing for 26 years until I moved here.  Will it ever feel normal?  I hope not.  It was easier this year, but I’m too sentimental to do this every year.  And besides, my Gram informed me I was coming home next year.  Don’t question Grandma.


This is my dog on Christmas present crack.  By the second box, Rocker expected to find a gift or two for him in every box.  He even took to one of my toys from my Grandpa!  I hid it and he found it the next night!  Unbelievable.  I have pictures of him with his head buried deep down trying to sniff out his next present. Thank you everyone who sent Rocker presents.  He says he loves you even more.  He also said to me, "Grandpa needs to send over another panda Bear for you because this one is now mine."  I’d show you a picture of Panda, but it’s too painful.


All the while this week, I’ve been needle felting.  This is my clean kitchen table that I promised myself I wouldn’t craft at anymore.  That idea lasted about ten minutes.  I hope you’re all having fun playing with your new crafty toys and such.

Merry Merry!


Greetings Friends,

Just wanted to drop a note wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.  I’m always amazed at this whole blogging thing…and the internet.  So much has come into my life because of it; old classmates from high school, funny notes from my family, people who like my projects, fellow designers dropping by and more.  Thank you for all your notes of hellos, encouragement, love and care.  Rocker says thank you for always telling him how cute he is too! 

I hope all your stockings are filled with sweets be it skeins of yarn, findings, glittery hot glue sticks, gummy bears or chocolates!

Love from Ch!na,