Monday, November 23, 2009

Eco-Chic Made Easy by ISH Fashion Accessories

A jewelry maker gone green, Mary Karen Woolbright of ISH Fashion Accessories recycles beads from plastic food wrappers and trinkets from chunks of circuit boards. The vision behind Cebu-based ISH creations is awareness in environmental issues.

Your everyday pancit canton wrappers (Instant Noodle wrappers)

turned into recycled Beads!

Art in consumer refuse: A Lucky Me necklace might just be your lucky charm!

By collecting these post-consumer materials, ISH Accessories creates an income opportunity for lower income families in Cebu.

Ingenious! This Chili Pancit Canton bracelet is extra spicy!

A colorful bangle made from microchips and motherboard parts. Nanotech glam!

Bracelet made from circuit board parts. Hey, futurism is sexy!

For more info and that touch of Eco chic contact:

ISH Fashion
374 Quezon National Highway
Lapu Lapu City, Cebu 6015
ph: 0063 32 514 1863

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Luxurious Elegance of Capiz Shells

A fine material in Filipino jewelry-making, Capiz shells have a pearly luminescence that makes them divine. I love Capiz shells for they are always elegant and easy to match with outfits- casual or formal. 

A large pair of Capiz Shell Earrings, a gift from my sister from Davao City. 

Photo by The Malacological Society of London

Capiz materials are one of the Philippines top-most exports and are used to embellish almost anything from lamps, curtains, plates and home decors. They are commonly found in Philippine homes, as decorative parts in windows.

They are made from dried bivalve shells of the Placuna placenta akin to the Panay Group of Islands particularly in thr province of Capiz. They are very productive and easy to propagate in aquafarms.

My other really fave Capiz earrings:

My 2 inch Capiz earrings with leopard spots

My divine green Capiz earrings with animal prints

These earrings make great conversation pieces in parties, as long as you don't mind having people stare at your ears all night.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Basic Bracelet Tutorial: How to String Beads Together

This is a simple tutorial on how to make your first bracelet using an elastic nylon chord. Nothing fancy. The fanciness will come with your bead selection.

I would recommend this as a great activity you can do with your kids.

1. Get a piece of string preferably an elastic nylon band. These come in various thickness and colors.

Estimate or Measure your desired length or tightness for the bracelet.

Put each bead into your string. Feel free to experiment with the colors and your beads. Hollow or light beads are a good choice for elastic bracelets. However, heavy beads or stones will only weigh down the elastic and it will sag in places.

Knot the ends. Knot it tight. No need to do some special knot, just secure the ends in place. Hide the knot inside one of the beads.

Voila! Your first string bracelet!

As for looping or creating a basic bracelet with wire connectors and pins, this is my old tutorial

Friday, November 13, 2009

Frozen in Time

I love you free form peyote technique

I love fabric and embellishing beads on them. But being in the crafty zone makes me forget about everything else (like feeding the house pet) Baaaad BeadSnob!

My fingers are addicted to thread and beads. But I never ever get things done. Maybe in 2010. Hah!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Single Strand Statement Necklaces from Avatar Accessories

Avatar Accessories is a phenomenal fashion accessories company in Cebu City, Philippines. They are known for their award-winning designs and for making it in the Swarovski "Trendsetter" List. Here are some of their statement pieces:

All rosy single strand botanical necklace

Catch attention with these dramatic dreamcatcher pendants

They work with natural and organic materials - wood, fiber, shells. Their metal components are made through model making, casting and plating technqiues.

 Intricate knots remind me of macramé

Embrace the look and embellish!

This one's my personal fave! Going Goth with black pearls (maybe acrylic or the real deal)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Crafting Doy Pack Bags at The Gawad Kalinga-SunshineVille

I got my first Doy Pack bag as a Christmas present. It was a Zesto Juice Bag. I really thought it was a clever commentary on pinoy pop culture. People would ask me where I got this Zesto bag from or if I sucked all the juice out before I made it (because friends know me as this craft nut).

So when I saw the Nuffnang Manila and HSBC Philippines email about the visit to the Gawad Kalinga workroom to SunshineVille, Las Pinas. I just knew I had to sign up.

I just wanted to see where all these fabulous doy pack bags come from and who's been busy making them for the world.

Like the freeform peyote technique in beading or casting on a knit block in Crochet, weaving these doy pack bags starts with a base line. In this case, a basic row of 10-12 wefts.

A Weft is the thread or fabric that you work with over and under to make the weave pattern. Once you create 3 weave rows, one can now see the "Wale". These are parallel lines that form when a weaving pattern is repeated.

The GK women create the bags by having pre-cut plywood boards ready, these are measured according to the dimensions of the bag design. So they have boards specific for purses, clutch bags and large handbags. The wefts are then pressed against a 1/2 inch plywood board by thumbtacks to keep it in place. The women then weave the doy strips until they fill out the whole board. They leave at least 6 inches at each end, the loose ends would then be joined into the next rectangular weave until it forms all the sides of the bag.

The doypack material is not easy on the fingers, there's a lot of snipping and tugging involved once you get a tighter weave. The Doy Juice Labels are much stiffer than traditional fiber and would require hands to work harder.

And watching these women make these bags with their hands was simply inspiring, they make the process look so effortless.

It would probably take me 3 days to finish just one bag, but the GK women can make around 3-5 bags in a day of varying sizes.

Handcrafted and meticulously made, I consider each colorful bag a unique piece.

The bags are a hit with eco shops, recycling enthusiasts and hipsters.

I had my eye on the Kristine Hermosa tarp bag, but these tarp bags were 'pre-orders' by a pharmaceutical company as Christmas presents for their employees.

Which got me asking the project director Mr. Bong Ragojos about their ordering process. He explained that if I wanted a certain number of bags made, I can bring my own raw materials and designs. They can give me an estimate for the pricing per bag which I could resell or give as gifts. Or I could buy their ready made bags in stock from their trade hall which includes the doypack bags and waterlily weave bags.

Waterlily hand-crafted bags, baskets and home wares.

A personal tour of the GK Sunshine Ville Homes with the Women weavers.

The Sunshine Ville Housing project provides sustainable livelihood development and shelter for the less fortunate by creating model communities in the Filipino spirit of ‘bayanihan’ (community spirit).

The GK homes are just next to the workshop and trade exhibition hall.

I know what's like to be in the zone when creating something handmade, so I really enjoyed meeting the GK community. But the real treat was when the GK women gave us presents, I got to take home a really cool SunGlo Juice Bag made that very day.

To visit GK Sunshineville,
please contact:

Mr. Bong Ragojos 
Project Director
Carnival Park Street,
BF Resort Village, Talon 2
Las Pinas City 

Telephone +632 917-390-7861
+632 919-612-0202 

Thess Barameda of GKonomics
4/F Pro-Friends Building, 55 Tinio Street, Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City, Philippines
Tel: (02) 718-1738

Monday, October 12, 2009


There's the wonderful world of Etsy, the ebay for everything handmade and then there's RegrEtsy

Regretsy is a compendium of the most bizarre and kitschy creations sold in Etsy. Here are some samples that had me in stitches :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Map of the Bead Stores of Villalobos Street, Quiapo Manila

I'm still updating the map, maybe one more visit to Villalobos street Quiapo will get the whole thing done. All the bead stores I know are already on the map anyway.

Bead Shops of Quiapo
1. DIY Shop (Do It Yourself Beads and Charms Philippines)
2. Butingting Atbp. General Merchandising
3. Pot of Gems
4. Wellmansons Dealer of Beads and Accessories
5. Chain Beads & Components

Jewelry & Accessories Stores, Quiapo
These are wholesalers of faux and fancy jewelry for beauty pageants, weddings, Santacruzan, proms & events. They sell stud earrings by the bundle, tiaras, large drop earrings, accessories etc.

1. Kyla Accessories
2. Sophie Fashion Jewelry
3. B & S Fashion Jewelry

Only the novelty stores and pawnshops are missing here. If anyone has updates on new stores or suppliers in the area, please feel free to email me.

On the specifics on how to get to Villalobos street, Quiapo. Please refer to my earlier post on the Quickest Route via LRT Carriedo.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My First Necklace: Red Murano Glass Beads and Rustic Metals

My first attempt. I don't enjoy making necklaces, there's this fuss over balance and symmetry that gets in the way of my quick fix. I guess I'm not that patient with necklaces, except for this one I really enjoyed the process.

I had my eye on the red murano glass bead bundle since Day 1 at Wellmansons, Quiapo. It cost me P80 ($1.80) for 6-8 pieces of glass. The earth stone came from Kuya Tim's store (the DIY Beads Shop) at P300 for 4 strings (8-10 pieces in each string)  from their earth and stone collection. The metals I got from deconstructing an old Cindy Carol bracelet I got for P50 ($1.10) at Glorietta.

I'm thinking of making the necklace longer instead of a choker. It would make a great multi-layer or 3-tier necklace that reaches the chest area.

I still have no idea where I would wear this though :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Growing Jewelry: Take your Little Garden Everywhere

Going Green is the new black. So how about some trendy eco-friendly jewelry from Icelandic product designer, Hafsteinn Juliusson. I am sooo lovin' Growing jewelry, its a definite conversation piece at fashionista parties. My BFF thinks its an ideal engagement ring for vegans haha.

Like any garden variety plant, the little moss on the ring must not be overwatered, and for the best results, you can water it every 5 weeks. If you wear it all the time, I don't think you'll ever forget to water your portable bush.

I am so wishin' it came in this variety... a little organic hemp won't hurt.

A little spritz and voila! you got a garden growing without even using your green thumb.


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