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Saturday, December 17, 2011

MAAD market!

I was very much looking forward to my very first MAAD (Market of Artists and Designers) market here in Singapore. Back in the US, where I started designing jewelry in 2006, I had done several craft and artisan markets, including fantastic events like the BUST Craftacular in NYC, the Boston Bazaar Bizarre, the Cambridge Design Hive and the fun outdoor South End Open market. I missed doing markets; the buzz in the atmosphere, the feeling of shared camaraderie of a kind of underground movement, meeting like minded people, lots of talented artists and really sweet people who took the time to come out to support independent artisans. As a designer, it often wasn't about making sales at these markets (although of course you hope to make enough to cover your booth fee and travel costs), it was to feel inspired by the wider community, to meet customers in person for a more personalised experience; and even if a shopper doesn't buy anything, them giving the jewelry a compliment (sorry, I'm very needy lol), or them taking a namecard, gave me a warm fuzzy feeling that I am often unable to experience when someone buys from my online shop. (That's maybe why I love it every time my customers write to me!)

To be honest, I wasn't too sure what to expect, as I had done just one fair in Singapore earlier this year (not MAAD), which was very expensive and so poorly attended, I wondered if perhaps Singapore just wasn't too much yet into the craft scene. But, it could also be that it wasn't the right audience for me, and so when I heard about MAAD, I thought I had to give it a try. Original designs, art, live music, beer and wine? What's not to like?

Indeed, MAAD was so much fun and I'm so glad that I did it. It was very well organised (so important when there are so many stalls to manage and so many people to please- Great job Elvin and the rest of the team!), the location (Red Dot Museum) was convenient and lovely (what an honour to show our designs in a museum!), the live music was great and really added to the atmosphere, the homemade icecream and cupcakes were fantastic (homemade unique treats reminds me of farmers' markets!), plenty of beer and wine gave it a fun, festive atmosphere, and, most importantly, there were many great artists and designers in residence and sweet, fun shoppers!

 Booth

There were many cute things that tempted me, and I finally decided to get this adorable, well-made pouch from Wishing Wiffle for my sister:

Adorable handmade pouch from Wishing Wiffle... cuuute!

 I know that Singapore has tons of great unique design talent, but I also know from growing up here that locals don't necessarily put a big premium on individuallyhandcrafted/handmadeness/shoplocal yet like they do in the US. Markets here are often thought of as flea markets/pasar malams, and perhaps many other local designers might feel like a night out like this might not be worth their time. I was also a little reticent, but was pleasantly surprised! I made some good sales, and many of the shoppers showed genuine interest, took lots of biz cards, were so kind and so sweet about my designs, and often circled back to take a second look. Thank you!! I had so much fun I applied for a booth in January and will try to be back as often as I can.


View from behind my booth- awesome band playing in front!


As a related aside, I think that the movement can only keep growing if the market keeps attracting high quality booths. At many markets that I have attended, many amazing artists and designers with their own brick and mortar stores would set up booths to meet new shoppers and spread the word about their work. I am glad that the curators at MAAD have emphasised no resellers, and I hope that they keep on ensuring that this cardinal rule is followed, as I have been to other markets where I see things that are clearly mass-market bought stuff that are passed off as handmade to resell, which only hurts real crafters if shoppers buy something"original and handmade" in a designer market only to go to Plaza Singapura and see the identical thing with a big fat Made in China sticker on it!

Singapore has become such a vibrant, fun city to live in during the 9 years that I have been away, with cute bookstores and bakeries on Ann Siang Hill, offbeat cafes and restaurants on Duxton Hill, no-pretense and laidback bars on Dunlop Street, indie boutiques from Tiong Bahru to Haji Lane, not to mention awesome vintage furniture and home decor stores that feed my obsession with everything vintage... I am so happy to have found a fantastic art, design and craft market like MAAD that adds to the vibrancy of the scene, and I hope that other designers will join in the fun, and that shoppers will keep coming back to support it. Big thanks to the MAAD organisers for their hard work in making this monthly market happen, and happen so well!

 
(MAAD attracts cool people like mohawk guy!)

sherry xo

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Experimenting with photography

I've wanted for a long time to take lightbox style pictures of my jewelry. Finally, a few weeks ago I started doing more research into building a lightbox and trying out different settings on my camera. I'm not getting very good results yet with pieces with a lot of detail, but chunky pieces are doing quite well in my setup.


It's still a work in progress, but I think I'm slowly getting there!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pumita

I love my bunnies!
Here is Pumita doing her thing, cautious as usual and ready to flee at any sign of danger.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Margaux Lange jewelry

How creepy and wonderful is this jewelry by Margaux Lange? Made from salvaged Barbie dolls, her work is aesthetically pleasing and at the same time an artistic statement about our culture's obsession with beauty and the iconic doll. So original!





All images from the Margaux Lange website

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas packaging at pequitobun!

I am totally getting into the Christmas spirit. This weekend we bought a small tree and some handpainted Christmas ornaments (hopefully we will get around to putting it up during the week). I also found these really cute gift tags randomly at a stationery store and they look great going out with pequitobun orders!



Ahh, can you believe it is already mid November?? My boss just told me that I am due to give my first lab meeting at the beginning of December... time to start organising that data!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Monday, November 07, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Espumita

As some of you might know, I named my jewelry line after my sweet holland lop bunny, pequito. A year ago, we decided to get pequito a companion, because we felt bad that we spent such long hours at work, and spent some time looking for another holland lop girlfriend for him (we read that bunnies of opposite sexes usually get along better than those of the same sex).

Since I haven't blogged for so long (more than a year until recently!), I haven't yet introduced you to Espumita! (It means Little Bubble; Pumita or Pumi for short, like Pequi is short for Pequito- Little Freckle):

 

She actually hasn't yet fully lopped both years, and maybe she never will, which is actually really adorable! When she is very relaxed (which is rarely, she is much more skittish that Pequi who will sit on your lap to be cuddled for hours), both her ears will be lopped, and when she is very nervous, both ears will be up, but most of the time she looks like this, one up and and one down!

She also loves to squeeze herself into tight places (and yes, I love chick flicks):



Here is one of them cuddling:


I think that Pequi is very happy to have a partner in crime!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Singapore Restaurant Week- Le St Julien, Chef d'Table, Brasserie les Saveurs

I don't usually like to splurge on food, especially not in Singapore, a foodie city if there ever was one, where no restaurant or even hawker food stall could possibly survive if it was mediocre. But, I'm also a sucker for a good deal, and hence, whenever Restaurant Week rolls around, I browse through the selections and see if there is anything that I deem a good enough deal to splurge on. What do you know, Restaurant Week in Singapore this season falls during my birthday week (yes, you get a lot more leverage out of your birthday if you stretch it out over a week, hoho) and hence there was an additional reason to splurge!

I decided to try out Chef d'Table at Chijmes, Le St Julien at Fullerton Water Boat House and Brasserie les Saveurs at St. Regis this week (the latter two of which had a surcharge of $20 per person, up from the usual $35 dinner prix fixe). I really miss the Restaurant Week offerings in Boston (where I lived for 6 years), where you had the option of wine pairings with every course. But perhaps that would be too expensive to implement in Singapore since alcohol is so highly taxed.

First up was Chef d'Table, helmed by Executive Chef Jason Lee who used to head 7 on Club, a restaurant down the street from where I used to live. I must say, as a non-surcharge restaurant, they completely blew me away, perhaps even besting the other two restaurants that I tried. To start with, I had the crispy fried home-made tofu perfumed with white truffle oil and laced with mushroom mirin-soy sauce. This was melt-in-your mouth delectable and light, you could taste the tofu and yet all the subtle flavours of truffle and mushroom infused it with such fragrance. My friend whom I was dining with had the salmon carpaccio nicoise, arugula salad and red wine caramel, which was a very generous portion and very fresh. After the appetisers, we were given a small cup of lobster bisque, which was probably the most delicious things I have eaten for a very long time. Just thinking about it now is enough to set my salivary glands to work. Every sip was so rich in lobster flavour, and comforting in texture, it was like an entire lobster might have been used to make a small pot of this. So, so so delicious. I would go back just for this. For the main course, we both had the five spice crusted Dory fillet with sautéed cream cabbage with port wine and sherry vinegar butter sauce. This was again very delicious, and also in such generous portions, we were both mmm-ing and ahh-ing through the meal. The salty spices blended perfectly with the juicy yet flaky fish. For dessert, we had a just-right portion of rich almond chocolate fondant, which I polished off with great satisfaction... Considering this was not a starred surcharge restarant (or even if it was, I would venture to say), this was an amazing value meal all around.

Next up, we had lunch at Le St Julien at Fullerton Water Boat House. This was the meal I was most excited about, and perhaps I was already setting myself up for disappointment since I had set the expectations so high. My husband and I both had the paté to start, which I found so-so (waayy to rich and heavy) but which my husband really loved. I ordered an extra side of their signature lobster bisque ($22; wondering how it would compare to the one I had at Chef d'Table and hoping for another orgasmic experience), while my husband had their house mash ($12), well, because he loves mash. Their lobster bisque, which comes with shavings of gruyere, was delicious, but not very much better than that at Chef d'Table (especially considering a serving was $22 for lunch compared to the $35 four-course meal for dinner at Chef d'Table). For the main course, we both had the crispy rice with duck confit, which was pretty delicious and quite unique. I liked it a lot. For dessert, there was only one option, a strawberry shortcake-like pastry with dark chocolate mousse and raspberries. This was nice, but not amazing. All around, for a $70 per person lunch (including tax and service), this was probably not the bestest deal.

Finally, we had dinner for my birthday at Brasserie les Saveurs at St. Regis. They do get the most points for ambience and service, we had a great feeling in the place (but perhaps it was the bottle of wine we ordered from the convivial sommelier; hard to tell!). To start with, we had a light amuse bouche of a minty-cucumbery chilled soup which was unique and a pleasant palate cleanser. For the first course, I ordered the french crab and avocado with herb salad and balsamic sorbet, which was completely delicious with VERY generous servings of sweet crab (I love crab!). My husband had the escargots, which to me tasted kind of chewy with a mushroom-like texture. Next, he had the baby artichoke risotto, while I had the slow cooked pork belly, both of which were very good. The pork belly melted in your mouth with just enough salty bits to accent the rich pork flavour. I might return for this! Finally, to finish, I had the slow-baked apple with calvados custard cream and green apple sorbet whilst my husband had the Araguani and passion fruit cream parfait, crunchy chocolate, served with raspberry sorbet and passion fruit jelly. I thought that the apple dessert was quite special whilst the husbands was delicious but not too surprising. All in all, a pricey night out but we did feel like it was worth it.

I love Restaurant Week!! Now, if only they would start offering wine pairings...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Don't settle


You've probably already seen this video of Steve Jobs giving Stanford's 2005 commencement speech that has been making the rounds, but just in case you have not, here it is.




When I heard the news that Steve Jobs had passed away, I was strangely emotional. I have been using Macs ever since I had my first laptop at 19, and since then have not been able to switch to anything else. The amazing thing that I was surprised to find out about him was that he was neither a software programmer nor a hardware engineer nor a manager. Instead, he was a designer (and some would say, a showman). How inspiring! He will be very much missed. I wonder, if he had lived another 10 years, what else would he have brought to us?

Monday, October 10, 2011

New website feature: See prices in your currency!

Ever since I moved to Singapore, I've been worried that customers might be confused by which currency my prices are in. Because my merchant account is based in the US, and I'm not selling enough volume to warrant a big overhaul, I had to stay in USD, but added "All prices are in USD" all over the site.

Finally, I decided that I didn't want to worry about the nightmare situation where a customer buys something thinking it is in SGD when it is actually in USD anymore. Chris at Aeolidia helped me to add a currency conversion button on every item page, and I really wonder why I didn't do this sooner!


If you are a non-US customer, I hope that this helps your shopping experience at pequitobun!

Sherry xo

Sunday, October 09, 2011

New look!

I know, I've neglected this blog for a shamefully long time (1.5 years since my last post!?). My husband is currently designing a blog for his upcoming project, a cool collaborative writing site called Wribly and he has inspired me to do something with my woefully neglected blog. I tried a few things this weekend, including hosting Wordpress on my site, but finally decided to stick with blogger. I did change up the design but it needs a lot more work.

I guess all the cosmetic changes won't matter if I don't actually do any blogging? I will try. Let's see when the next post will be!
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