Friday, December 30, 2005

About Me & My Creations

(Updated as of August 2007)

My name is Simone and I'm a Blingaholic :-)

Getting Crafty At An Early Age
I've been a "crafty" person from the time I could hold a pencil and event learnt to knit at the tender age of 5 or 6, using satay sticks. My cousin Belinda taught me to knit to shut me up because I used to bug her with incessant chatter and endless "how" and "why"questions. Hahahaha!

Throughout the creative journey, I've dabbled in painting, crochet, knitting, scrapbooking, dressmaking, lampworking, glass fusing, clay work, embroidery and of course jewellery-making.

In the Beginning ....
This jewellery-making obsession began in 2005. It started simply enough, with just a few beads and some basic tools. Today, I have enough beads, gems, findings and tools to start a little shop ... hahaha! And I have a full-time demanding job in IT (i used to write for a major publishing group but got into IT 10 years ago) and will be initiated into mommyhood in Nov, so it has taken lots of time-management skills to keep going ... that, and letting the house get real messy!

Over the past two years, my style has evoled too. But I'm a bit of an eccentric creator because I never know what will be made beforehand. When inspiration strikes, little bits and bobs emerge out of their boxes, a right royal MESS is created and then, somehow, a creation comes into being :))

Obsession with Quality
One big lesson I've learnt is to focus on quality. That is why I buy the best quality stones and components I can afford. That way, you get something that lasts longer and retains its value longer too.

I even use quality components in places you can't see. For example, I NEVER use nylon wire or the cheap stuff for stringing projects. I use only the best multi-strand coated, kink-resistant beading wire. For seed bead projects, I use silk thread.

Quality extends to workmanship too, and I'm rather fussy about that. Wherever humanly possible, I strive for neat wirework and even loops. What's the point of having something LOOK good on the surface but be so shoddily constructed that it breaks easily.

That said though, hand-crafted items tend to be more fragile, so some tender loving care will go a long way :))

End of Ramble ... At Last
Alright, ramble over.

Thanks again for visiting. I hope you enjoy looking around! If you're interested in any of the available creations, or even those that have been reserved or sold, do drop me an e-mail!

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

FAQ - Design

Q. Do you design and make all your items?
A. Yes and I have lots of fun doing so :) I'm inspired by many things and many people, especially my cousin Belinda. BlingFriends are inspirations too!

When the mood to create strikes, it looks like a mini tornado has struck because EVERYTHING is strewn all over....hahahaha! I then play with the stones and sooner or later, a design emerges. FUN FUN FUN!

I especially love playing with lapis lazuli (wish it wasn't so expensive though), jasper in all its plethora of varieties and anything sparkley or red or colourful!

Recently, I've developed a thing for gemstones too ... yums.

Q. So do you consider yourself a designer or crafter or something else?
A. I consider myself a person who just wants to have fun, be happy, and share the love of all things bling with like-minded people.

Q. Are your items hand-crafted?
A. Yes, in that I put together the components and do all my wirework by hand (I don't even use a WigJig). I'm also a fuss-pot about neat work.

I don't make my own beads -- yet. Well, I have some of my own lampwork beads but am too embarassed at their poor quality to put them in any creation :)

Some of my beads are procured from overseas bead artists ... so they're hand-crafted by other people :))

Q. Can I commission you to design something for me?
A. Currently, I don't offer a custom or design service simply because I have a demanding full-time job and I'm expecting a baby in Nov 2007!!

Many thanks in advance for your understanding. But if my schedule permits and you can wait, I'll try my best.

So please feel free to drop me an e-mail anyway ... who knows, I may also have something already being created which suits your needs.

Q. Are your items really one-of-a-kind?
A. I never duplicate a design exactly --I always change a little something somewhere. You can tell which items are variations from the title. For example, Shiraz 2 is a variation of Shiraz 1.

There are copycats, though. I've seen designs, descriptions and even names faithfully replicated 100% or close to it. Heck, even this FAQ has been copied (verbatim in some places)and yes, I'll admit that the copycat-itis can get annoying.

But you know what they say about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery! Hahahahhaha!

Oh well. We all get inspiration from each other and I'm very flattered and humbled too that some people find inspiration here. BUT I just hope and expect that the inspired creations are different enough to show the creator's own flair and spirit -- otherwise, why bother to create, right?

Do note though that Blingalicious is a legal entity and I will not hesitate to react if the *legal* rights of Blingalicious are violated.

Oh, and I have friends who are specialists in IP and Copyright (think registered patent reps who work with agencies in the US as well as with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore). Sorry, I don't mean to brag or be a pain, but I've encountered some think-they-know-a-lots. I don't know a lot ... but have VERY EASY access to experts who do, so let's play fair and nice.

Q. Do you copy other designs?
NOOOOOOOO. Absolutely not.

I may sometimes be inspired by elements of another's creations and I do watch and sometimes follow trends (eg. layers and chains). But I always add my own twist to everything I create. Where feasible, I also cite the source of inspiration so you can check it out.

There is no joy or satisfaction in duplicating another person's effort.

Q. How many items do you design/create a day or week?
A. It all depends on a whole variety of factors such as how mad it is at work, whether I'm travelling or if I have Bling Block (ie. anemic inspiration).

I do try to post new items at least once a week.

And I never ever create when upset. So what you get are positive vibes :-)

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FAQ - Material

Q. Where do you get your beads, stones and components?
A. I get them from bead shops in Singapore such as BeadHub, Beads Etc and some shops at Arab Street (I think all beaders know about Kin Lee) as well as from shops overseas when I travel (mainly to the US).

I'm also very blessed to have wonderful BlingFriends around the world who send me unusual findings and other bits and bobs. I get a lot of my high-quality lead-free charms from the US.

It took time, research and expensive mistakes to grow the stash I have today. Whilst I'm happy to share some information, please understand that a gal likes to have some secrets *wink*

Q. Do you really personally select the beads, stones and components?
A. Absolutely, where feasible. One of my favourite aspects of this hobby is shopping and I spend A LOT of time going through strands of stones and beads to choose the best ones. I almost never buy stones online.

I'm quite fussy about the quality of materials used and as a general rule, will not get something I won't use for a special present or for myself.

Please understand, though, that natural stones and minerals are not flawless. Some stones are not perfectly shaped, for example, and some may have little pits and other irregularities. These little quirks give the stones character, I feel.

Q. Are the stones/minerals you use natural or man-made?
A. Unless otherwise specified, they're all natural to the best of my knowledge. I tell you what the shopkeepers tell me. I do no know how to verify if stones/minerals are natural or not and so have to rely on the word of those who sell these things.

Q. What other materials do you use?
I like to incorporate unusual materials into some creations. I've used fengshui objects, lace, coins, flowers and other things.

Q. What material are your ear hooks/ear posts made of?
A. Quality matters, so I use only 925 silver or 14K gold-filled ear hooks or ear posts. These materials cost more, but they tend not to irritate skin.

I *sometimes* use nickel-free brass.

Q. What is gold-filled?
A. I'm getting really irritated by people who are trying to pass off gold-fill for gold. Gold-fill is almost as good as gold and it lasts as long, but it's NOT the gold you get in goldsmith shops.

Gold-filled describes a process where gold is permanently bonded to a metal core. Gold-filled items generally have much more gold content (100 times more) than gold-plated items, and hence tend to cost more as well. Gold-filled doesn't tarnish (with proper care) and tends not to irritate sensitive skin. If you can wear gold, you can wear gold-filled.

Most beaders and costume jewellery makers use gold-plated items. If anyone tells you they use gold, ask if it's gold-plated or gold-filled. VERY SELDOM is gold used because it's expensive. Real jewellery shops are your best bet for real gold.

Items with gold plated components tend to be cheaper than items with gold-filled components as gold-filled components can cost up to 10 times more -- gold-filled components last a lot longer and retain their lustre better.

Gold-plated components are GREAT for more casual items. If you want to acquire items with gem-quality stones, your best bet is to look for components using gold-fill.

Q. What sort of beading wire do you use?
A. I use a high-end brand and sometimes Beadalon for some pieces. I never use nylon.

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FAQ - Shipping & Payment

Q. Where do you ship to?
A. I ship to Singapore and some international destinations. So far, Blingalicious creations have found their way to the US, Canada, UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Japan and Portugal (woo hoo!!)

Q. What is your shipping method?
Singapore orders
All items are sent by SingPost registered mail in a padded envelope or box. I will e-mail you the Registered Article number.

International orders
Items are sent by SingPost registered air-mail in a padded envelope or box. I will e-mail you the Registered Article number.

So far, no item that has been sent via registered mail has been lost (knock on wood!!) However, non-registered articles *have* gone missing, unfortunately. It's not that common, but it does happen.

If you require insurance, that will be extra as well and I'll check with the post office for rates.

Q. What are your shipping charges?
Shipping (registered mail) is free to Singapore.

International destinations
For international orders, orders above US$100 are shipped for free via SingPost Registered Mail. For orders of US$99 and less, actual shipping charges (including the S$2/US$1.20 registered mail charge which the Post Office levies) apply.

I will send you the shipping cost information by e-mail before you make a final decision. Just for your reference, a necklace would cost about US$5 to ship to the US. This is just a rough estimate based on previous items mailed. Your actual postage will depend on the weight of your Blingalicious item(s).

Q. Do you accept Singapore dollars only?
A. I accept payment in a variety of currencies.

Prices listed are in Singapore dollars (SGD$) as well as US dollars (USD$). I accept both as well as credit card payments (by PayPal) in denominations accepted by PayPal (Australian dollars, Japanese Yen, Pound Sterling, US dollars, Canadian dollars & Euro). Please e-mail me for rates.

Q. What are my payment options?
Singapore orders
I accept cheque payments or funds transfer to my POSBank Savings Account. Cash (and sometimes Visa) is also accepted at fairs.

International orders
I accept PayPal and Western Union Money Transfer. My PayPal account is verified and I've been a VERIFIED PayPal member since May 2003.

All orders ship after payment is received/when cheques clear.

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FAQ - Packaging

Q. How are your items packaged?
A. All items are packaged in pouches/boxes which you can re-use to store your Blingalicious jewellery. Ear-rings are generally also placed in a resealable plastic bag for extra protection.

Items from the Glitterati Collection (gemstones) usually come in their own jewellery box.

All items are mailed off in a padded envelope.

Q. Do you offer a giftwrap service?
You betcha! Just let me know.

FAQ - How to Order

Q. So how do I order an item?
A. Just send me an e-mail :-)

If you are in Singapore, you can also find Blingalicious at selected Fairs. I will post updates on the home page when I'm participating at the Fairs.

Q. Can I reserve an item?
A. For items available online, yes you may, for a week (unless some other special arrangement has been made). Sometimes we all need a little time to make up our minds :-) During that time, if someone else expresses interest in an item you've reserved, I'll let you know.

Q. Can I order an item which has been reserved?
A. Sure! I'll check with the person who has reserved the item if they want it.

Q. Can I order an item which has been sold?
A. Sometimes, variations of items are made. So just send me an e-mail and let's see if it's your (and my) lucky day!

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FAQ - Gem Lore & Whatnots

Q. So what's this about the "metaphysical properties of ..."
A. Some people believe that crystals, stones and minerals have properties which go beyond their chemical composition. For example, citrine is supposed to be help bring abundance while amethyst is said to help cure insomnia.

I didn't know any of this when I started making jewellery, but soon got to know more. And what little I know, I share with you for fun!

Q. Do stones and crystals really cure ailments and bring wealth?
A. Some people believe they do. But what I write is based on what I've read, nothing more. So basically, I just summarise what I've found out from books or the internet.

I must admit though that there is a part of me which wishes that some of these "powers" are scientifically true cos I'd love to dive into a tub of whatever stone or mineral which can melt away them stubborn fats! Hahahahahaha!

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FAQ - Other Odds & Ends

Q. Are your creations available in stores?
A. Not anymore, but if that situation changes, I'll be sure to let you know!

Q. So is Blingalicious a business?
A. Though this is my hobby and the main aim is to have fun and make friends, Blingalicious is a legal entity. And yes, it's a registered business. You can't sell online (or at fairs) in Singapore without having a registered business -- you can get into trouble with the law.

How do I care for my Bling things?
This applies to all your bling blings, and not just Blingalicious items:

  • treat with care ... avoid contact with chemicals & perfume and try not to bump them into things
  • wipe with a clean cotton cloth after each use. It is vital to remove sweat an other moisture as this can tarnish your jewellery
  • put on jewellery last (ie. after doing your makeup and putting on perfume)
  • store jewellery away from sunlight as some stones (eg. amethyst) can fade
  • store necklaces flat
  • if your 925 silver items tarnish, just give them a quick buff with a silver polishing cloth

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