from disposable to reusable: bamboo chopsticks

I am so very proud of my newest experiment. These simple, disposable bamboo chopsticks got a makeover and turned out exactly how I imagined.

Back in China, I dreamed about turning disposable bamboo chopsticks into beautiful, unique tableware people would never dream of throwing away when they are done with their take-out dinner.

Now back home, I finally got a chance to make that vision happen. I simply love how East meets West, nature meets technology, modernity meets tradition in their simple, clean, and minimalistic design.

I can’t wait to make many, many more.

crochet pattern: simple picture frame

I wanted to make these for a long, long time.

Crochet picture frames can be customized to fit any decor, they store well when not in use, they are washable and pretty much unbreakable – and they make wonderful, budget-friendly hostess gifts, or gifts for baby showers and house-warming parties. What’s more, they are ultra-easy and super-fast to make. A perfect afternoon project!

Continue reading “crochet pattern: simple picture frame”

free recipe: homemade lip balm

Some things are so easy to make it’s a shame not everyone knows about them. Homemade chapstick is one of them. To make your own single tube of nourishing and moisturizing lip balm, you need only a handful of readily available ingredients –  many of them probably lurking around in your kitchen already.

You don’t even need any fancy containers. Reuse your old chapstick tube. Scrape out as much of the old balm as you can, and then immerse it in a bowl of hot water. Wipe the softened leftovers away, and the tube is ready to be used again. Alternatively, you can use any little tin, pill box – even that extra contact lens case from the back of your bathroom drawer!

Ready to get started? Assemble your ingredients:

  • grated beeswax (0.7 grams, or about 1/4 tsp, packed)
  • extra virgin olive oil (1.0 gram, or about 1/8 tsp)
  • coconut oil (0.7 grams, or about 1/8 tsp)
  • shea butter (0.7 grams, or about 1/8 tsp)
  • apricot kernel oil (optional, 3 drops)
  • tea tree essential oil (optional, 3 drops)
  • sweet orange essential oil (optional, 6 drops)

That’s it.

This lip balm will coat your lips with soothing goodness – and it will stay on. Its  gentle, sweet scent of honey and orange in combination with the healing powers of tea tree oil and the skin-softening properties of apricot kernel and olive oils create a truly luxurious lip treatment experience.

Of course, you are more than welcome to use any of your favourite essential oil combinations – or leave them out altogether to keep it pure and simple.

The only thing simpler than these 7 wholesome, natural ingredients might be the process itself. It’s like re-heating an already cooked meal in a microwave. Seriously.

  1. In a microwave-safe dish, combine beeswax, olive oil, and coconut oil.
  2. Heat until melted, about 50-60 seconds.
  3. Add shea butter. Stir to melt.
  4. Add apricot kernel oil and essential oils,  if using. Stir well.
  5. Immediately pour into a container of choice.
  6. Let set for about an hour.
  7. Enjoy!

starry night pendant

Inspired by these earrings, the Starry Night Pendant is now the newest addition to JaKiGu jewelry collection.

The neat thing about it is that it is reversible. It can be worn speckle-side up for an extra dose of sparkle, or as a plain, solid-coloured pendant that adds just a little pop of colour to an outfit.

It’s totally customizable – and available in 12 custom colours.

My favourites are smokey quartz gray and emerald green. What are yours?

green drop earrings

I finished these earrings back in December but didn’t get to photograph them until yesterday.

The lace is made of chocolate-coloured sewing thread woven into a simple half-stitch ground. I simply love the beautiful contrast of the brown lace against the rich yet fresh grass green background of the earrings.





everlasting lace ring in turquoise, blue, and chocolate

In the beginning, there were three seemingly random materials: sterling silver wire, resin, and thread.

The lace-maker in me patiently twisted and braided the thread into a piece of bobbin lace just like my great-grandmother used to.

The eager metal-smith in me carefully shaped and finished the wire to form a durable and comfortable ring base, which the free-spirited chemist in me happily filled with custom-dyed resin.

Where past meets present; where tradition meets modernity; where science meets art — that’s where everlasting lace lives. I love knowing that there’s much more to this minimalist ring than what meets the eye.

everlasting lace earrings

Simple, colourful resin jewelry.

Handmade, delicate bobbin lace.

What happens when these two media cross paths?

Everlasting Lace is born.

I made the earrings below sometime last October. It was sort of an experiment but it turned out so well that I felt confident giving these to my sister-in-law for her birthday.  We aren’t very close and I continue to hope she liked them. Regardless, though – making them was so wonderful! The second I gave them away I knew I’d have to make more.

lacey pendant with garnet red beads

Not too long ago, I made and fell in love with these earrings:

I must confess, though: I was not prepared for the number of compliments I would receive whenever I wear them. It’s exciting and scary at the same time to hear myself respond, “Thank you so much! I made them myself.”

When we visited with our friends a couple of weeks ago, Lesya, our wonderful hostess, was shocked to find out that by “making them myself” I meant weaving and braiding them from scratch, starting with nothing more than a thin wire. Had it not been for her, I would have never realized that there are many people who associate the term “handmade” with a simple assembly of pre-made pieces. Thanks to Lesya, I learned that I need to emphasize the complicated process of bobbin lace making that goes into each piece of jewelry that I make.

“I would love to make something just for you – have a look around my shop, and pick whatever you like,” I suggested like I often do to say thank you to my friends. Deep down I knew that to properly thank her for the magnificent seven-course Ukrainian feast she prepared for us, I probably owed her a diamond tiara. At least.

She got back to me the next week, and said she still liked the earrings I wore to her house the best. She was curious, however, if I could make a pendant using the same design.

Could I?

I had been thinking about and planning to make a pendant to match these earrings for weeks! Lesya’s request couldn’t have made me happier. I finally had a reason to make it. I immediately sent her an email with different colour and design choices, and based on her answer, I made this pendant:

But before I could secretly wrap it and mail it to her as a surprise present the following day, she contacted me again, and asked if I could make her pendant to look just like my earrings. Well, of course I could. And so, in two days, I had two pendants ready, one cuter than the other:

Ultimately, Lesya picked the first one. The original Lesya pendant. I can’t wait to give it to her this weekend at our favourite Indian restaurant.

And what will happen to the other pendant? Well – I will try to find it a good and loving owner. Do you know anyone?