handmade bonding

Planning a wedding can be a very stressful time, with lots of decision-making and organizing.  During my own wedding, I try to find things we can do ourselves – not only to cut costs, but it seems more personal when I get to really be a part of the process.  I have found the process to be fun and a bonding time for my fiance and me as well as my family members and good friends that I’ve recruited to help out!

Above is a picture of me printing out all our wedding invitations – we later had to assemble all the pieces and wrap with ribbon.

Here is a picture of my fiance Evan working so diligently on our wedding favors gift tins.

Here are my friends helping to assemble our wedding programs that double as fans! 😉

These butterflies will soon become place cards at the reception – and will rest on the wine glasses!

Hopefully next month, I’ll be able to share some more photos of the final products displayed during the big day! 🙂


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Etsy Stalker Solo Exhibit & Giveaway!

Read my interview with Etsy Stalker & Enter to Win a Free keychain bottle opener!  Here is the link:  http://etsystalker.com/?p=4128

But feel free to read the interview below too!

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MaJenta Designs is the brainchild of Jennifer whose fascination with Asian papers recently led her to the 1,000 sales milestone on Etsy! She uses Chiyogami (literally “1,000 generation paper”) and Washi (rice paper) – both delicate, traditionally hand-made papers that have intricate and vibrant designs similar to fabric used on kimonos. Her aesthetic complements what she, as a second-generation Chinese American, calls her “hybrid life” by being both traditional and contemporary.

Using these papers for glass pendants? That’s a no brainer. Look how the glass both frames and accentuates the rich colors. Jennifer has an eye for how to place each piece for maximum effect.

Less predictably, Jennifer takes something functional and allows you to add beauty and style. Start with a design that you like. Then decide what you’d like her to add: Bottle opener? Key Chain? Pocket Mirror? Oh yeah, she can do that!

She has a fun line of portable purse hooks. So easy to use: just unfold, set on the table top and hang your bag from the hook…no more purse on the floor or worrying about it being taken from the back of your chair. (You know that person on your holiday list who has everything? I bet she doesn’t have one of these!)

She also makes gift tins in various shapes and sizes. How great would it be to give one of her items in a coordinating tin? Want even more fun? Keep them for yourself! Mints, buttons, coins…Violet is quite sure you’ll make it work.

Despite being a full time graduate student with a thriving Etsy shop, Jennifer found time to sit down and share her story with us. Read on!

Curator V: How long have you been on Etsy? How did you decide to set up shop there?

I started almost 2 years ago, September 2007, to be exact. I’ve always enjoyed making art, but first got interested in selling my handcrafted creations when I visited a town fair and saw all the local craft artists and their booths – it really inspired me to want to sell my own goods too. Oddly enough though, I didnt try to start selling at fairs just yet, but rather wanted to try selling on-line first. I stumbled upon Etsy and thought it’d be an exciting venue to try out, and the rest is history 🙂

Curator V: You’re a full time graduate student; what are you studying? How do you find time to keep your shop so well stocked?

I’m working towards a PhD in Counseling Psychology; its really busy lifestyle – I’m taking 5 classes, interning 20 hours a week, and working on a dissertation, so each day is very hectic – but I definitely work to make time for my business as it is nice to have a creative outlet away from my studies – in my profession, we’re always telling our clients the importance of self-care, so I feel it’s good to make time to do other things I enjoy too.

Curator V: I love that your work is symbolic of the hybrid nature of life that so many people can relate to. Did you set out to create in that way or did your designs naturally evolve?

My items definitely have evolved over time, as I have so many creative interests and enjoy so many mediums, such as beadwork and stained glass, but the items I enjoy creating the most are have symbolic meaning- like the cranes that symbolize eternal devotion and the koi’s symbolism of perseverance and good fortune, because I love things that tell a story behind them. Sometimes I learn things from my customers too – like one person wanted to send one of my plum blossom pendants to a friend who was undergoing major surgery, and she requested I send a note with it, and I thought it was a beautiful, so i’ve added it to the listing
“even as winter tries to hold it’s grip,
the plum tree bursts forth with
the earliest blossoms of spring”

Curator V: Where do you find the beautiful papers that you use in your designs?

I find the papers from all over, various paper stores locally and internationally – i actually first got started collecting the paper when I visited Japan and found a beautiful assorted set, and at that time I thought it was just fancy origami paper!

Curator V: Can you describe your work space to us? (If you have a picture, feel free to include it!)

Haha, alas, I live in a small apartment in Boston so there isnt that much workspace that is solely devoted to my craft-making. I generally work in my living room, on a table that triples as my dining table as well as my study space too! Here is a photo that someone took of me crafting amongst my textbooks.

crafting with books

Curator V: Congrats on reaching 1,000 sales! What are your next goals?

Thanks! I definitely want to keep building my business, so I’m always trying to think up new products to carry, new designs to use, and new venues to sell my work. I’m looking forwards to the holiday shows coming up this season, plus I’ll be helping to create a handmade gift boutique for the holiday season in downtown Boston with some other talented Boston-area artisans of the group Boston Handmade this will be my first time I’ll have so much involvement in an art gallery/boutique so I’m looking forward to getting involved in this venture and hoping it will be successful! 🙂

All righty, Stalkers, time to put on your thinking caps! Jennifer is giving away one of her funky keychain bottle openers! These are one of her most popular items – they are practical, fun and stylish too! To enter, visit Majenta Designs, then come back here and let her know what other items you’d like to see added to or sold in her shop! One winner to be chosen at random on November 8th.

Make sure you leave your comments on the blog article directly: http://etsystalker.com/?p=4128

MaJenta Designs - sample keychain bottle openers

OCTOBER craft shows

BH SOWA flyer

OCTOBER 18, 2009 (Sunday)
“South End Open Market”
10am – 5pm
540 Harrison Ave.
Boston, MA

I’ll be at Boston’s outdoor handmade market in the South End with my lovely fellow Boston Handmade artisans!

DSC01785

***And in case you’re planning ahead, here are some of my other upcoming shows for the remainder of 2009 ***


NOVEMBER 1, 2009 (Sunday)
“Design Hive Market”
10am – 5pm
Maria Baldwin School
28 Sacramento St. (off Mass Ave.)
Cambridge, MA

DECEMBER 6, 2009 (Sunday)
“Bizarre Bazaar”
12-7pm
BCA Cyclorama
539 Tremont St.
Boston, MA
$1 admission


Seasonal Items

keychain bottle opener - $6

Those who’ve seen my Etsy shop or my booths at craft shows will likely know that I have a crazy eclectic mix of designs for all my jewelry and housewares – I just love to offer my potential shoppers a large range of fun possibilities!

However, I have recently noticed that its also good to have seasonal items too, as often those surfing the net or shopping around will want to find something that may make the perfect accessory to their Fall wardrobe, or perhaps a great display to use for a holiday party, for examples.

portable purse hook - $20

Therefore, for the oncoming Autumn season, I tried to find paper patterns that were rich in Harvest colors – crimson reds, burnt oranges, golden yellows, etc. much like the colors of the gorgeous New England autumn foliage!

However, it is not only important to have items that are rich harvest colors..but it is also good to be mindful of each month’s birthstone colors too.  I learned this last month, as in August, I saw several of the Etsy.com homepages treasuries that said “shades of Peridot” which is August’s birthstone…and most items were NOT just jewelry using the actual birthstone, but various clothing, paintings, toys, etc. that were just that shade of green.  So for September, for example, it is important to keep in mind items that are shades of Sapphire blue too. They even have a Etsy Gift Guide devoted to “Shades of Sapphire

glass pendant necklace - $15

Summer Sales!

The summer months are great because of the warmer weather, no school, etc. but it is also known in the retail world to be some of the slowest months of the year in terms of sales … however what I’ve noticed is that some shops will offer great discounts and promotions in order to help stir up the lazy hazy days of summer and try to generate more sales, which definitely drew me in to take advantage of some of these great offers!

Here are some of my latest finds!  I cant wait for them to arrive in the mail soon!  🙂

One way to offer a sale is to “Discount” your items. . .  For those who’ve visited Boston’s Quincy Market, you’re likely to find one of those outdoor vendors selling these cool pieces of fabric that can be worn in a bunch of different ways! I’ve been wanting one for a long time, and then I found this fun dress by MyBaju that can be worn in  4 different ways!    These were originally $50, but now are $38!

Another way to have a sale is to have a “Clearance” section in your shop. . . I’ve been looking for  a handy simple bag to store all my knickknacks that I always need to transfer from purse to purse.  This little pouch by OregonMaid seems like the perfect item to hold my mints, pens, keys, eye drops, pocket mirror, purse hook, etc. as I switch from using last night’s evening purse to my work purse the next morning!

Another great promotion I like to offer is to have “Free Shipping” for your items!   I’d love to offer a special deal just for my blog followers!  After shopping at MaJenta Designs, during Checkout, simply type “Blog special – Free shipping” in the “message to seller”, then complete your payment as normal.  Afterwards, I will contact you directly to refund the shipping charges.  Offer is good through Labor Day (September 7, 2009)

June Show in Boston – SOWA Outdoor Market

SOWA SOUTHEND OPEN MARKET
http://www.southendopenmarket.com/

June 14, 2009 (Sunday)
~ 10am – 4pm ~

540 Harrison Ave., BOSTON, MA

FREE admission

FREE parking

near Backbay, Broadway, and Arlington T stops

I’ll be there representing with my Group “Boston Handmade”

Look for us with the light blue balloons!

BH at SOWA

Happy Lunar New Year!

(photo of decorations for sale during my trip to Singapore in 2006)

Most of us celebrate the new year on January 1st, counting down until midnight, singing auld lang syne, and making resolutions to lose weight, particularly all the pounds gained from all the holiday feasts with family and friends.

Well just around the corner is the Lunar New Year, which as you can guess, is based off of the lunar calander; therefore the date changes year to year, but this year, it will be on January 26, 2009.   In Mandarin Chinese,  you will often hear people greeting each other with “Xin Nian Kuai Le, Gong Xi Fa Cai!” which translate to “happy new year” and “wishes that you be prosperous”!  

Its a time to wish each other a happy new year that will be filled with good fortune and blessings! Wikipedia lists out many of the exciting traditions in details, but one of my favorite traditions of the holiday is when elders give the younger children lucky red envelopes “hong bao” with money inside! I find it a great concept, to wish that prosperity would come to your loved ones, and literally to give them some money to kick start the year!   In addition to the envelopes, you are sure to see everything decorated with red and gold, including lanterns, auspicious sayings postings on doorways, etc. because Chinese view red as symbolic of good luck and ward off evil, and gold of course to symbolize fortune.

Another thing you might see during this holiday is the Chinese character 福 (“fu”) meaning  “good fortune”, sometimes you might even see it upside down!  The reason for it being upside down, is Chinese love play on words! The Chinese word “dao” (3rd tone) for “upside down” (倒) sounds similar to the word for “arrived” (also “dao” but 4th tone: 到). Therefore, the word upside down is also symbolic to mean “fortuen has arrived”!

This a great holiday that brings generations of families together and eat traditional foods that are also symbolic of good fortune for the new year, like fish, oranges, noodles, sweet sticky cakes, and much more! 

cow1Also, it being the new year, brings on a change in the zodiac as well! This year will be the Year of the Ox/Cow!  The ox is symbolic of being hardworking, patient, with a logical mind.  I am trying to put out new pendants in my Etsy shop that you can purchase to give to all your friends who’s Zodiac symbol is the cow! (i.e., anyone who will be turning 12, 24, 36, etc. multiples of 12. )

 

~Best wishes to all of you in the new year, and that despite the state of our economy, I hope you all will be blessed with good fortunes to come!~

 (Glass magnets with 4 Chinese blessings of long life, health, good fortune, and peace)