Monday, May 30

We are doing it AGAIN! {Sunday Eclectica}

I think it says it all! we are participating again this month to the Sunday Eclectica market held at The Pigeon Hole Art and Books Cafe. We had a really good experience last time, and we think this market is very promising indeed {and so is the space where it's taking place}.

So save the date in your diary, bring the kids {if any} and come say hello! & have a cuppa... we would LOVE to see you!... and introduce you our collection at the same time ;p

Sunday Eclectica
June 12, 2011
from 2 to 8pm
@ The Pigeon Hole cafe
52-53 Duxton Rd
Tanjong Pagar MRT
T:             +65 8123 1607   

Friday, May 27

hello handmade gallery {featured}

Hello lovelies,

Today is Friday and they are many reasons to be happy... but I have one super good news to share with you today: I made it to the gallery of the wonderful German site hello handmade... Hurray!!

Can you tell I am *happy*? 

As Sophie Pester states it herself on the website, hello handmade is a place for independent, handmade design and original ideas. hello handmade wants to support the growing handmade-scene and provide a new network for its creative members as well as other parties interested in their products, projects and ideas.

Sophie, the owner and initiator of the website, is a designer from Hamburg in Germany. She's been active in the handmade-scene for the last 6 years. She also founded her handmade label Jodii in the summer of 2007.

Look at the entire gallery here, there are so many gorgeous designer featured! Today I am featured with liekeland, a Dutch label selling huge illustrated tea mugs, Seilgeschichten, a German label from Hamburg that is creating accessories made of ropes {impressive} and Parvenew, a German streetwear label.

I would like to highlight the feature of one of my favorite French jewelry designer, Emma Cassi. She's such an inspiration, her handmade jewelry pieces are just AMAZING!
Emma Cassi  {website} {blog}

hello handmade {website} {blog} {facebook}

Thursday, May 26

French Mother's day

I just realized I never shared with you here the e-mailer document I created to promote my Etsy shop for the {French} Mother's day - which is in May 29... What do you think? your feedback is important, you can be honest in your comment, I won't get crossed at you ;)

as a reminder this is what I created for the other Mother's day in May 8:

My plan next is to print postcards and distribute them to people around me, encouraging them to mail the postcards or use them in other ways but not waste them... It's needs to be pretty but also complete with all the necessary information for people to find my blog/ shop etc...

What is you experience in promoting your brand with flyers, emailers etc...?
Is there anything that you would recommend me/us to do?

Tuesday, May 24

A bit personal... {A messy desk}

I thought I would with you today a bit of my workspace... my desk has been very messy recently and I can't see any improvement in the coming weeks as I am very busy with many different projects going on...
So to get back to the subject, I took these photos a couple of hours ago {mid-afternoon}; I was discovering the wonderful, exciting, amazing, mind-blowing latest issue of Rue Magazine {Issue#5} while sipping my espresso and sewing one of my bags. Bliss!

This is where I sit everyday to blog or create my accessories...
Poster on the left hand-side by sfgirlbybay here; illustration by peppermintstudio

New bags in the making... do you like the color association?

Well, my weekly {monthly?} challenge-yourself piece... almost completed! but wait until it's styled on my daughter...

Last but not least, here is a look at my board... not very inspiring at the moment... I am waiting to get cuter magnets and cover this rather boring board with fabric to get started...
But have a look at my Kikki.K meal-planner-turned-work-schedule... it has worked wonders for me since I started using it! 

How does your mood board look like? 
Which system are you using to stay on top of your to-do list?

Monday, May 23

Lauryn of My Vintage Jewel Box {Interview with}

It's been a while since I last blogged about a friend artist over here! well, here we are: I am happy to welcome Lauryn of My Vintage Jewel Box on Etincelle Creative Studio for {Interview with}. Lauryn is going to share her creative process with us, together with her thoughts on the local arts & crafts scene and her favorite places to hang out.

I met Lauryn at the last Sunday Eclectica market held at The Pigeon Hole cafe {see my review here}. She was selling her beautiful jewelry and it was an honor to showcase my products next to hers.
Be ready for some serious eye candy!

Vintage carved fish and sea waves necklace : jade and sterling silver 

#1 Marie: Please explain to us how and when did you start your business. When did you decide to switch career to become an artisan jeweler?
Lauryn: My journey began over 2 years ago in 2008. I was rather burnt out from corporate life and doing some soul searching for the meaning of life. I think it's destined that I started reading Robin Sharma's The Monk while at the same time I stumbled onto my mum's old unsold jewelry stock including some vintage jade pieces. I wanted to make them into unconventional jade jewelry and started learning traditional jewelry making.
When I made my first piece, I really enjoyed the feeling of forging the metal and creating something with my own two hands. At that time, something within me awakened and I realized that this is what I wanted to do for a long time but it was deeply buried under the practicality of life. The rest{as what they usually say} is history...

Valentine Hearts : Natural ruby cabochon set in a lacy art filigree : natural ruby and sterling silver

#2 Which steps did you take when starting up your business?
I think the most important step is in your head. It took me a long while to finally decide to turn this hobby into a full-time job. However once you have decided everything else comes together very fast, from deciding on a company name, mission and goals, to creating name cards and a website.

#3 How is it like to be an artisan in Singapore, where people get so obsessed over big brands?
It's definitely not easy. However it's not so much about competing against big brand names but being compared with mass produced products. The people I meet are open to explore lesser known brands, but not all are fully appreciative of the work behind handcrafted artisan work.
For example, a typical piece of jewelry I create in US sterling silver or 14K gold and natural gemstones will take an average of 1 to 2 days. While a mass produced piece can take only a few hours! Both are compared on the same criteria, which is price, and the uniqueness and handcrafted work become sidelined.

Twirl rings with rose petal heart : sterling silver and rose gold
Three color twirl rings - sterling silver, rose and yellow golds
Word stacking rings : sterling silver, 14K rose gold, 22K gold

#4 How is the handmade movement here? Have you seen some changes over the past few years?
The handmade community looks to have grown but I still think it's fairly new. Since I first started, I have seen more creative work being made and sold online and in arts and crafts markets. It is always a pleasure to meet a fellow artisan to share about our experiences and exchange ideas.

#5 Are you regularly attending markets? which one would you recommend to a visitor here?
I have actually reduced the number of markets I attend. I used to have at least one every week, right now it's about once a month. There are several flea markets happening in Singapore almost every weekend. It really depends of your center of interest. TimeOut Singapore is a good place to visit to check out on the latest markets.

Lilypad ring : sterling silver

#6 I was extremely impressed to learn that you are a self-taught jeweler. Do you draw a lot before working on material or do you start straight away with metals ans stones?
I am always drawing and sketching as there are usually lots of images and ideas swimming in my head. Once I have selected a few designs I really like, I "hit the bench". The exploration and creation continue as I work on the metal ans stones till what I have in mind turns into a jewelry piece.

#7 Where do you find your inspiration? online, in nature, magazine, books, at exhibitions...?
I find my inspiration in everything that surrounds me, especially nature. I love trees!

Love Bud, a series of unconventional diamonds rings :  natural diamonds set in 14K gold & sterling silver
{psst: the second from left is my favorite, it's absolutely beautiful on your finger. Marie}

#8 Custom made pieces are available, and you have an awesome collection of gems and vintage jade. How do you pick up gemstones? any recommendations when it comes to shop for gems?
Personally I love natural materials and so I am usually drawn to gemstones that have unique colors or cuts or even texture! But at the end of the day, when it comes to custom pieces, it's really what my customers are looking for. Buying gems is very tricky as there is so much fraud around. I think it's very important to purchase gemstones from credible jewelers. I started out with vintage gems form my mum and over the years I have established a pool of overseas suppliers I know I can trust.

Vintage pieces {from top right, clockwise}
* Natural rubbies, blue sapphires, emerald and cubic zirconia earrings set in 18K gold
* Round cubic zirconia set in 22K gold
* Natural rubbies, blue sapphires, emerald and cubic zirconia earrings set in 18K gold
* Heart-shaped cubic zirconia diamonds earrings set in 916 gold

#9 Would you share with us some of your favorite places to shop handmade in Singapore?
For arts & crafts, I would recommend Haji Lane and MAAD, Singapore's very first arts & crafts market (I think!). Also do check out The Pigeon Hole's Sunday Eclectica. It's still fairly new but the owners' mission to support the artists and NGO community in their homey eclectic book cafe is very commendable.

#10 Favorite places to eat and/ or hang out with friends?
I am very into TCC {The Connoisseur Concerto}. I like to admire the wonderful artists paintings they showcase in their restaurants and how their food is displayed like art pieces, while tasting great.
Another great place is 1 Altitude at One Raffles Place - love the feeling of being high above the ground and under an open sky with no other visual obstructions. Gets a bit light-headed after a few drinks though ;)...

Thank you Lauryn! Talking about light-headed and drinks reminds me to introduce you perhaps my favorite collection: Bubbles!
Bubbles: a facet-cut lemon quartz set in sterling silver and 14K gold or rose gold

As per Lauryn's own comment: "New year reminds me of popping champagne to celebrate new beginnings. The organic patterns created by the celebratory drink's bubbles paired with the liquid's cheerful yellow are the inspirations behind this collection."

My Vintage Jewel Box will be part of the next MAAD markets in June 4-5, July 2-3 and August 6-7. Save the date!

My Vintage Jewel Box: Website * Blog * Facebook
and you can drop Lauryn an email for all custom orders: ryn[at]myvintagejewelbox[dot]com

All photos by My Vintage Jewel Box 

Wednesday, May 18

Sparkly * Shiny * Unique * Colorful {Net shopper bags}

So you might wonder what's so special about these bags? let me break it down for you... each bag is made of a net shopper bag {in fair trade cotton}, two types of lining of contrasting colors {one is mesh and the other is your regular silky lining}, a pompom trim and the central embroidered motif.

What certainly makes their charm is the unique mix & match of colors. No two bags will ever be the same {you will agree it's additional work when it comes to promote them, take pictures of each and every bag etc...}. Each embroidery is realized with tiny sequins and requires no less than 5 hours to complete as I carefully sew the sequins one by one... I have tried it with sequins trim, but the end result is not exactly the same. And I am a perfectionist, so I always want the best!

All the above bags are currently available in my Etsy shop here

I started making these bags back in 2003 and the design has considerably evolved with time... it's interesting to work on a product and see it change years after years... who knows how they will look like in another 10 years? This was back in 2005 when I was living in Japan {I can't show you older photos as I don't have digital data of my first bags... they are all in a pretty photo album for my records}:

The concept was the same, 
but without the pompom trim and with another type of mesh lining

The bag below was made {and sold!} last year in March:

Can you spot the different mesh lining? 
it's less shiny but brings some volume to the bag

So after this quick round-up, what are your thoughts? which one is your favorite? I really would like to share my pics of the first bags I made... I always bring my albums with me when at a showcase and my next one will be held at The Pigeon Hole Arts & Book Cafe in June 12. Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 16

Paper garlands {NEW design}

Finally back here blogging... we had a forced break at the end of last week as Blogger was down for more than 24 hours... hey, it's not that bad after all... I had more time to do other things!

First of all an update about my first Challenge Yourself project {please check here and here if you don't know what I'm talking about...}. It's looking great and Ms Chloe loves watching me making her a new dress... I am stuck though as the little shop in Holland Village I am buying my material from doesn't have the bias I need for the sleeves + collar... grrr... I don't want to change my design, so I will have to check out Spotlight as soon as possible! stay tuned...

In the meantime let me introduce you to my new range of paper garlands! I have just launched them in my Etsy shop and I am very happy to have {finally} started this project.

My little space at the last Sunday Eclectica market 

I have been making paper garlands since my daughter was born {4 years ago} and I absolutely love decorating my home with them. If my husband wouldn't stop me, I would happily put garlands in every single room!

This design is a bunting banner style, made of hand painted paper from India {but sourced locally here in Singapore}. I have created several one and two meters garlands in two colors {so far red and green}. Each little flag is fixed on a nice creamy ribbon. I have other designs in the making, I love experimenting!

All fashion illustrations by pandapanda

I even have a board on Pinterest exclusively for pretty garlands... check it out here for inspiration!

If you love them, then share the love and let your friends know about it :). If you have a special request {banner for a birthday, party, room decoration etc...}, let me know about it and I will see how well I can suit your needs!

All photos taken by myself at The Pigeon Hole arts & books cafe in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore

Wednesday, May 11

Bohemian Interior {Richard Dale}

Another great discovery over at MILK {if you haven't subscribed to their newsletter yet, perhaps it's time to do so...}. I am super excited to share with you the fantastic interior of British film director Richard Dale, interior shared with his daughter India...
This is exactly how I would love my place to look like... a bourgeois-bohème atmosphere with vintage pieces harmoniously mixed with design furnitures and treasures brought back from exotic destinations.

1. India in the salon  2. Doorway  3.Vintage luggages next to an amazing skeleton of an armchair!
4. Salle à manger  5. Bedroom  6. India's girly bedroom 
7. Father & Daughter in the patio

Don't lie to me! I am sure you would like to lounge on the superb re-upholstered couch {oh, my!}, or leisurely spend an afternoon drinking mint tea {with me, remember it's my supposed home} in the patio.

Source: MILK website here
All photos by Karel Balas {founder with Isis Colombe Balas of MILK mag}{info found on Pirouette blog}

Tuesday, May 10

MIMI'lou - French Design {for The Handmade Hullabaloo}

Today is The Handmade Hullabaloo day! Hop over to Little Red Bus for your fix of French design... Ha!
Here below is just a teaser...

One of a kind wall stickers:

1. Little animals 2. Wall borders - Enjoy colors 
3. Life size child 4. Phosphorescent bulbs! works as a night light too :)

MIMI'lou has an online store and the site is also in English, so no excuses! shop till you drop while relaxing on your couch... and remember to check the list of retail shops worldwide, some of their products might be available just near you. If you are interested to sell MIMI'lou in your own little space, please contact Christelle directly:  contact[at]mimilou[dot]fr

MIMI'lou :: website :: online shop

Hop over to The Handmade Hullabaloo for the full post!

Monday, May 9

#1 A Batik Dress {Challenge}

So here we are... #1 Challenge of my recent Challenge-Yourself list post {please check it out for details}. No big surprise here, I am sticking to my idea of {finally} getting this dress made {by me of course}!
I bought this beautiful piece of batik fabric last year and my husband gave me the Indian shirt as it's not at all his size.

The challenge is to bring them both together and create a dress for my 4 year old daughter. I think the embroidery of the shirt will compliment the fabric and bring some texture to the whole piece.
Now, do you see what I envision?... no?!
... then see you here in a week time with the final result of this challenge.

Sunday Eclectica @ The Pigeon Hole cafe {Showcase}

Yesterday I participated for the time to Sunday Eclectica at The Pigeon Hole, a book/ art cafe settled in a neighborhood of Singapore with much charm with its shophouses. It was a pretty exciting experience for me as I have many times in the past held stalls for others, but never for myself. Getting out there to sell your own work means leaving your comfort zone and it can be a bit frightening at first.

Sunday Eclectica is a monthly arts & crafts market {every second Sunday of the month} promoting local DIY arts & crafts and local independent fine art. 
I shared the space with a talented jeweler, Lauryn of My Vintage Jewel Box and got truly inspired by her beautiful pieces. More on her story later this week...

Fashion illustrations hung on the wall were from artist pandapanda. Check her blog here.

As you can tell from the pictures above, I showcased my bags, pouches, and paper garlands {new!} made of gorgeous hand painted paper from India. I will develop more on these ones later this week. Stay tuned!

All in all it has been a great experience for me and I am planning to participate to the next one in June 12. I hope to build a strong community of like-minded people here in Singapore and make the experience more fun and exciting!
Will you join me?

Credit: all photos by Etincelle Creative STUDIO

Sunday Eclectica
every 2nd Sunday of the month
from 2 to 8pm
@ The Pigeon Hole cafe
52-53 Duxton Rd
Tanjong Pagar MRT
T: +65 8123 1607

Mother's Day 2011

Hi everyone! Yet another week starting... It's hard to believe that we are in May already!
I have a few posts in store for you lovelies today, but I thought I would start with photos we took yesterday... It was Mother's Day here in Singapore and we attended {we as Etincelle Creative STUDIO} an event held at The Pigeon Hole Books & Art cafe. I will report on this later... but it meant that I had to leave my two little ones and it was a bit hard...

While Mama is posing for her bags to be pictured...

Miss Chloe wants to do the same with her Barbie... so cute!

I hope everyone had a lovely day and Mothers got spoiled... tons of hugs and kisses, and maybe flowers {or chocolate?} are all we need!

PS: I have updated my Etsy shop with many more pouches and two new bags {one pictured above}. Stay tunes as I have more to come...

Thursday, May 5

The Challenge-Yourself List

We all have To Do List(s) that are never ending and it's so frustrating to actually feel that some things will never get done {hmmm, like this wedding album that I am supposed to do for ... what? 3 years already!!!}.

I recently learnt about Claudia of Claudia Created who is assigning herself one new project every week {thank you Notabilia for mentioning Claudia's blog!} and blog about it. I thought about it twice then had a look at my side-to-do-list* as I call it.
* a side-to-do-list is a to-do-list of things that are not very important to do, but still... it would be nice to get them done!

So, I thought: "hmmm, I have enough on my plate already, but I am sure I can stretch some more if I give myself weekly assignments. And things on my side-to-do-list are not boring stuff after all.

So here is a beginning of a challenge-yourself-list {random order}:

⋆ to do my hen party + wedding albums {3 years later, it's not too late...}

⋆ to scrapbook albums for Chloé and Mathias since they were babies

⋆ to create new cushion covers for Mathias's bedroom

⋆ to finish decorating Mathias's bedroom {Mae wall stickers please}

⋆ to try baking macarons {as good as Artisan Sweets}

⋆ to make a couple of new dresses for Chloe, including the princess dress she's dreaming of

⋆ to practice my bookbinding knowledge and make notebooks and albums

⋆ to fill up, scrap book and write in my two Fifi Mandirac "L'album des Trésors de Bébé" albums {and blog about it because they are so beautiful}

⋆ to decorate my living and lounge rooms -> to get the couch re-upholstered so it actually looks like a couch

⋆ to get more plants in the apartment because it looks and make you feel good; and make sure they survive past three months {loving the idea of indoor bamboos}

Of course the list can {and will} go on and on, but this is a good start! First assignment starting next week. I will decide over the weekend, but I feel like making a new dress for my daughter out of a gorgeous batik fabric and using embroideries from an Indian shirt... project dating for more than a year...

Wish me luck, get inspired, and let's do it together!

Happy First Birthday!

Today is my blog's first birthday... a year ago I decided to document with a blog my creative pursuits thinking it would do me some good. I had been blogging for many years before that on behalf of my daughter and mainly to help our families keep in touch with our {exciting} life in South East Asia {Frimousse}.

First photos posted exactly one year ago here and here

Reading back my own words is also interesting and it makes me realize that time is passing by quickly; then why am I not doing more, creating more?

I started making these bags many years ago back in 2003. They looked a bit different at that time but it was basically the same idea.
I enjoyed the process but got tired of it all in 2006 when I moved to Singapore (I had sold my sewing machine before leaving Japan too)... then took a long break looking after Chloe (and we moved to Thailand - where I bought a new sewing machine)... and now I am starting all over again.
I still had 5 net shopper bags left from the Japanese years and so I decided 3 weeks ago to give it a try. I must say it is quite a success as they are all sold out already...

Well, of course one reason is that I now have two kids to look after {and a husband - huhu} but sometimes it's also a lack of planning/ organizing my day or challenging myself more.
I couldn't recommend more the free planners by Charlie of Productive Flourishing. It has helped me a lot with keeping a healthy blog posts flow.

Another highly recommended tool is Holly Becker's Blogging Your Way e-course. It has been so useful in getting me started and I enjoyed learning about insider's tips and tricks {thanks to Leslie for the photography tips} and I met wonderful bloggers who have become friends. 

A big Thank you! goes to Elizabeth of To Be Charmed who rebranded and redesigned my blog. It's a big step I took last year after the BYW course, and I couldn't be happier with the result.

Thank you to Ann of Little Red Bus for trusting me and allowing me to be be part of the wonderful The Handmade Hullabaloo team of contributors. I love it there!

A big shout out to my followers, family, friends or fellow bloggers all over the world. I wouldn't make it happen everyday without your constant support. You rock!!

I know bigger challenges are lying ahead of me, and one is to turn Etincelle Creative STUDIO into a successful business that will allow me to stay with my children {vs a 9-5 corporate job} while actually DOING something creative! it's very rewarding, isn't it?

I am looking forward to discover what's in store for me in the coming year... 
... and stay tuned as I will come back later today with a list of weekly challenges to keep me going!

Summer Hill {Sydney}

On our last trip to Sydney we were lucky enough to stay in a "new" area {new to us - ha - thanks Jeff!}... Summer Hill in suburban Sydney has a village feel, a bit like the Marais in Paris... great cafes and cool shops makes it a tourist spot {if I believe what I read here} and I couldn't agree more...

Shopping street in Summer Hill

"Summer Hill is one of the older town in Australia and as a due recognition, more than hundreds properties have been listed under heritage." Source

There is a good vibe there with many families and facilities built around their needs {public playgrounds, schools, children friendly cafes etc...}. My kids had a blast at the local playground were they could mingle with local and friendly pairs.

St Andrew's Anglican Church from 1883

I loved checking out the grocery shops, especially one called Il Villagio in Hardie Ave. I couldn't resist taking a picture of the gorgeous flowers below, I miss it so much here in Singapore not seeing flower shops in the streets.

Flowers at the Fruit Shop in Short Street

I couldn't take more pictures as I was all the time with my two children which doesn't make it very easy to ask around about taking pictures of shops inside etc... but I absolutely have to share with you a couple of great finds when it comes to *shopping*:

On top of my list is the little shop called My Messy Room. A gorgeous selection of baby and children ware, home decoration items {they were selling Mae fabric wallstickers * yeahh * Belle and Boo prints etc...} and stationery/ books/ paper stuff.
I discovered gorgeous Australian labels {such as Paper Wings or Miss Haidee} and imported ones {Bright and Stripes}. Good news: the mother of two behind this gorgeous shop has a blog -> go say hello!

Another interesting shop would be Reclaim by Australian celebrity Monica Trapaga. The website doesn't really reflect the great selection of home decor items, gifts, stationery, jewelry... "a collection of her unique obsession". However I have found a blog post on The Crafty Minx by Keely Doust with a couple of nice pictures... check it out!

Ellen's Interior is yet another interior decoration shop with design services too. Great vintage finds, lovely homeware and furnitures all set up in a shop as in you walk in someone's house. Loved it!

Last but not least my greatest find was perhaps the Vinnies thrift store. I bought three second hand tops {in perfect condition} for only AU$23!!! I didn't make it there but I saw a huge Vinnies in the trendy King Street... I can spend hours and hours in shops like that... another thing I am missing here in Singapore...

If you know of any good thrift/ second hand stores in Singapore, please leave me a comment! I am heading to  a street market near Little India with a friend on Monday {hoping for great finds}. I will keep you posted of course!

There is no perfect day - holiday without a good cafe to crash and spend a couple of hours reading and dreaming {believe me it didn't happen this time with my two kids in tow}. I would highly recommend Envy Cafe Gallery for its supra good coffees, nice staff, cool backyard and yummy home-baked muffins...

Voila! this is a round-up about Summer Hill. I hope you will stop by the next time you happen to be in Sydney. I know I will be back for more... thrifting, shopping and photographying {bear with me when I invent words in English pls}.

Tomorrow {or today if you just woke up} is my blog's first birthday! Come back for more goodness ♥

Tuesday, May 3

Mother's day is just a stroll away...

Hello lovelies,
I am back after a long weekend off... and guess what?

Mother's day is just a stroll away! if you haven't already got your mum something sweet, hop now to the shop and indulge in a lovely pouch or a bag...

While Mother's day in Singapore and many other countries is this coming Sunday, in France it's only in May 29. What are you plans?

On a note to my dear friends and followers in Singapore: I am participating to the Sunday Eclectica market on Sunday at The Pigeon Hole in Tanjong Pagar {from 2 to 8pm}. This will be my first public event in Singapore and I am so excited about it! I will share the space with talented jeweler My Vintage Jewel Box and I hope many of you guys will come say hello, grab a {great} cup of coffee and discover our work!

The Pigeon Hole
A book cafe and dynamic arts space run by Rayner Lim and Ave Chan promoting local NGOs, film, music, fine arts and performing arts.
52 & 53 Duxton Road

Have a beautiful week everyone!

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