News of the day

12 Jun

We’re super excited to announce that we’ve been selected to exhibit at the Bloomfest LA music + street art + food festival on July 23rd! It’ll run from 2pm until 10pm and it’s free to attend. The theme of the fair will be sustainable urban living, and will feature “live indie music, great brews, good food, and eco-friendly fun.”

BloomfestLA Street art, music, food, arts & crafts


It will be held in the Downtown Arts District area at 3rd St. & Traction Ave. near Wurstküche, Zip Fusion Sushi, K-Town BBQ, Angel City Brewing, just east of Little Tokyo and adjacent to SCI-Arc. I used to work in the area and I’m thrilled to be back on my old stomping grounds for our first ever physical selling opportunity. We’ve been kicking around great ideas for booth decor and I really CAN’T WAIT.

To pile on even more win, one of my favorite local bands, Love Grenades, will be playing. I’m not sure if I’ll have time to check them out (I sortfof hope I don’t, because that means that we’ll be busy), but they’ve got a quasi-retro bossa nova-ish lounge/dance pop sound and I can’t get enough.

There’s so much to do before then, though, and I’m hoping to have at least 100 rings and necklaces done by then. I’m also developing some new items, but I’m waiting on supplies to come. Oh! I caved and bought a Gocco printer to print labels and business cards! I hope that it comes soon and in good condition, since it’s coming all the way from Japan.

Also, brilliant Michael has set up our domain to reroute to the Orderly Civilians Etsy store for the time being, so I’m pleased to announce that is now live! We’ll be working on a site that brings together our blog, store and catalog soon.


On Steve Jobs’s presentation to the Cupertino City Council

8 Jun

Steve Jobs’s recent presentation to the Cupertino City Council on the unveiling of a new, complementary Apple campus was really heartening to see. Not only because of Apple’s reputed choice of architect in Sir Norman Foster, but because it showed that with a lot of practice and memorization, anyone can be a great speaker.

In comparison with his widely broadcast, super slick keynote speeches touting the latest and greatest from Apple, Jobs’s presentation to the city was noticeably less polished and rehearsed. He glanced at his notes, he stammered. He paused to search for words. It was, in every sense, a very real and human presentation. Perhaps the WWDC keynote he delivered on Monday unveiling iCloud, etc. had taken all his energy and left him very little time to prepare for the council address and he was somewhat unfamiliar with the subject matter at hand (architecture and landscape). The slideshow that he presented didn’t seem to be done in-house and contained very little information beyond what the building looked like (a ring), how many trees there were (‘indigenous’) and how many people would be accommodated. While he artfully dodged silly questions and evaded harder ones like a champion, Jobs’s true standout moment was when he related the cutesy tale of his summer job at the Hewlett Packard campus. In that moment, it is clear that he is in his element. The most effective presentations are those that tell a story, and here, Jobs knows everything there is to know about his longstanding relationship with the site and it comes through. He becomes more articulate and more confident. His voice takes on a soothing quality and he doesn’t need to look at his notes. He’s a great communicator and is able to project so much likeability and humility that he can make you believe in him, his silly little ring, and that one day, Apple’s new infinite loop is going to be the Salk Institute of the Silicon Valley.

(I don’t really know if I believe that, but with Foster at helm, it’s certainly possible.)

Carmine Gallo’s slideshow on Jobs’s presentation secrets contends that Jobs is not a natural born speaker, which I agree with. What he is, however, is a manic pursuer of excellence. Gallo notes that the two days prior to each keynote are spent going over his presentation, practicing and practicing, committing every word to memory and finding exactly the right tone and balance. Inasmuch as Apple’s tech gadgets go through refinement and testing, so do his presentations.

It’s not a gift, and it’s not even a secret. I’ve been told that I’m a confident presenter and the last firm I worked with pursued me ferociously and gave me great opportunities because I was able to convince them of that during the interview process. But I’m actually not, never knowing what to say to people. I’m a nervous wreck before and during each presentation, and most of it is an act, for in my heart, I’m a shy little crab who would rather stay home and knit something. But I do think that what I do well is that I am able to convince myself that I DO like the attention and I DO know everything there is to know about ___, and perhaps that comes through to the audience. I try to explain my work in the same way that one would tell a story–with logic, clarity, and cohesiveness that flows easily from one thought to another. I try to lay out my presentation materials in the same manner, so that if I forget, they prompt me to remember the script. I don’t think I’m a great actor, but I suppose that great presenters are by necessity actors, especially if they weren’t fortunate enough to be born with the innate talent of speech. The keys to being a great presenter are then conviction, writing it down (verbatim), memorization, practice, and a little bit of friendly swagger.

Here’s Mr. Jobs’s council presentation and a clip from the WWDC keynote for comparison:


New globe microbead rings!

7 Jun

We’ve just added new summery pastel microbead globe rings to the Etsy store!

Summery pastel microbead globe rings

Summery pastel microbead globe rings now available!

Summery pastel globe rings

Summery pastel globe rings

And don’t forget to visit the lovely Janelle’s blog for a special 15% off discount coupon, good until August 31st!

Coworking part 2: Living and working together

7 Jun

We haven’t lived together for very long at all, but Michael and I are constantly finding out that living with someone is both more and less challenging than we had thought. We both love that the other is creative, but creativity ends up taking A LOT of space, or at least, my version of creativity does. Michael’s apartment in Highland Park is pretty spacious, with a tiny upstairs bedroom, living room, and –luxuries of luxuries– a work room. During the school year, when I was in Cambridge and he lived alone, he was able to keep things pretty spartan and contained. But now, my apples and crafting supplies have taken over the entire place. I like to spread out and have everything I could need close at hand, which I imagine gets pretty annoying. I’m trying to contain it, but in spite of my best intentions, I end up buying EVEN MORE supplies and taking over EVEN MORE space.

Coworking for two

Our work room and my mess, wall images by Michael @

Apple rings, Orderly Civilians

Production line

Even the back yard is not immune from my space-hogging ways.

And there are soooo many dishes…

But it’s nice to have someone to work with and someone to come home to. Someone to go to Trader Joe’s with and go hiking with. Someone to curl up next to and be warmed by at night. Our living together has, besides my slovenly ways, been quite easy and civil. We agree on the more important decisions and it’s nice that our domestic bliss hasn’t erupted into a lava-spewing volcano of anger. It’s easy to forget that we are individuals and each need time to be alone, although I have the opportunity to be alone during most of the day (at least for the summer). I need to be more diligent about managing my sprawl and work harder at focusing on my own work. Poor Michael has been working on his personal website and is easily distracted and all I want to do is cuddle and do fun stuff and badger him to pay attention to me after a long day of solitude.

Badger. Badger.

Credit where it’s due

3 Jun

One of my oldest friends, Li-Ann of Ham & Pea Design Paperie posted a link to Pia Jane Bijkerk’s Giving Credit poster on Facebook recently, and it got me searching Google Images for images of our apple rings. I found the image (mostly of the Red Delicious ring) on a couple of blogs and instead of being affronted, I got really really giddy and happy. I mean, it’s amazing that the images are popping up here and there and that people actually like it enough to blog about it. A handful linked to our Etsy store, but some linked to a random Kaboodle-esque site or made zero mention of the image even being on the page.

Apple ring image used without permission or credit

Non-crediting use of apple ring crediting

For those, I wrote a simple comment asking them to link to our store and hopefully, they do. Any exposure, after all, is good exposure and if nothing else, at least my comment will provide sourcing information.

Permission and crediting is a hot topic these days, and my view is that you should always give credit where credit is due, and if it’s an image that will be reproduced later on or used in a non-personal setting (i.e. commercial page, magazine, etc.), do ask for permission. If it’s more of a “This is amazing, check this out!” then simply crediting will suffice.

What are your thoughts on the topic?

Review of our Red Delicious line

3 Jun

Check out Etsy user LoveJewelryByJ’s review and upcoming giveaway of our Red Delicious apple line here: !
You can also find a special 15% off coupon code good on everything in our Etsy store there!

Thanks so much for the lovely review, Janelle!

OC a-Gocco!

3 Jun

After searching for a reasonably priced printer for garment labels today ($400+ for 1000 labels…what am I going to do with 1000 labels?), it occurred to me that I could invest those hundreds in a Gocco screenprinting kit and print my own labels on twill tape.

Print Gocco screenprinting kit

Print Gocco screenprinting kit image by Debi Cates

A Print Gocco is a compact Japanese printer that easily allows you to create multiple ink impressions of your designs. It’s similar to traditional screenprinting, but is much less complicated in that it uses pre-emulsioned master sheets that are ‘burned’ with the on board flash kit. It also has a much smaller platen, which seems much more manageable for smaller items. There’s also no squeegee-ing involved, which is great for me as I can’t ever pull it evenly. However, there’s quite a few negatives with Gocco as the flash bulbs are single-use and the Japanese company that manufactures Gocco, Riso, stopped shipping them around 2008. This means that a) the best source for supplies and the printer is eBay b) those supplies are going to be expensive c) one day, there will be no more supplies. There are movements for the saving of Gocco (such as, à la Polaroid), but the fate of Gocco beyond existing supplies is unknown.

I’ve been lusting after one for quite a while now, but it’s hard to lay down that much money for one as kits on eBay can run upwards of $175. To scrape by, I’ve been using cheap DIY methods like Mod Podge-ing organza stretched on an embroidery hoop, as shown below.

Embroidery hoop screen printing

Modge podge embroidery hoop screen printing by Scarlet-Begonias @

The Modge Podge method isn’t very reliable and makes pretty messy imprints, since it relies on how steady your hands are when painting in the image. Additionally, the Modge Podge has an annoying tendency to dry lumpily, which is hard to squeegee with and will lead to ink squishing out from between the gaps. I’d like to print logos with text, so this isn’t ideal at all.

Then there is the Yudu Personal Screen Printer, which has a much larger platen and can handle larger items like t-shirts or tote bags. It’s much closer to traditional screenprinting in that it requires squeegee-ing and drying and washing off of the screen, but still in a self-contained unit that incorporates the exposing light apparatus (second worst thing about screenprinting is finding lights to expose the emulsion) and screen dryer. It’s also still being manufactured, but the huge price drop on the kit since its introduction probably means that there hasn’t been as much positive response to it as they had hoped, so it may also be gone before long.

I’m still looking at the Gocco over the Yudu since it seems to be a lot less complicated to use and the scale is more reasonable for my purposes. I keep thinking of things that I could use it for (Thank you cards! Business cards! Labels! Artwork! Blergh!) to convince myself that $200 is a pretty good investment.

Any thoughts, Gocco owners and aficionados?

Coworking is the new library

1 Jun

Apartment Therapy’s ran a short story on coworking today, which is a lot like working in a library, except with better lighting and rent. Coming from a studio background that prvileges communal working (if not always collaborative), it’s easy to see the draw of these setups. In undergrad, I heard about a few schoolmates who had signed up for a membership to a workspace that they described as “library like,” where they could always find an empty seat and silence. At the time, content with my tiny desk space in a cavernous studio, it seemed a bit opulent and unnecessary, although secretly I envied the image of polished mahogany tables and leather wingback chairs.

Currently, a few of my friends who have just finished their masters degrees are in the process of putting together their job hunting portfolios and will often make the trek across the city (sometimes with an up to 40 minute commute from Santa Monica to Glendale) to work together in the hopes that companionship will force them to focus. With the allure of mindless web crawling and television, it’s easy to lose track of time when there’s not a definite deadline looming. The presence of someone else who can look over at any time and disapprove of your Facebooking will often guilt you in to working, at least in my experience of furtive message checking. Or at least that’s what it felt like.

It’s not all about guilt, though. In a lot of ways, working with a friend is helpful in the same way that watching a movie while you’re working does, keeping you focused and at your desk, instead of wandering around aimlessly, looking for snacks. Going to the bathroom. Taking phone calls. But it can’t be a new, interesting movie and it must be an old, familiar, mostly quiet friend. Someone or something that you’ve seen over and over again and that you need only to half-listen to. Someone that you can have tiny spurts of commentary with to keep awake, but not feel as if  you need to have an entire conversation with. This past year, I would alternate between working in my room at home and studio, switching environments whenever one began to feel too oppressive. The studio environment is a nerve wracking one, especially at GSD. It’s a bit like a pressure cooker, and from time to time, people explode and break down and it gets to the point that all that nervous, bitter energy is too much to take in and remain sane. It’s not healthy to be constantly there, and sometimes, it’s nice to put on your pajamas and curl up like a shrimp in front of your computer. Sometimes, rather than being an evil temptress, the proximity of BED is a reassuring reward and knowing that I won’t have to trudge through the icy streets at 3am is pure heaven. But working at home gets lonely real fast. Days go by and even though I live with 3 others, everyone is doing their own thing and it’s hard to drum up the energy or interest to talk to them. After three days of shrimpness, I invariably return to studio and find that I’m much more productive and alert. And on and on, and so and so. The cycle continues. Studio, home, studio, home. Sometimes, I’ll venture out with trusty MacMuffin Pro(mo) in search of new scenery. But it’s always the same three bears story: too cold, too hot, no internet.

So, the idea and business model of coworking is quite an interesting one, with its fancy digs and sometimes free coffee, and although I’m much too cheap to rent out a space, I too am supposed to be working on my portfolio this summer, so perhaps I may drop by one of them for a day visit. I’d like to apply to the Masters of Architecture II program at my school this winter (I’m currently a Masters of Landscape Architecture candidate…I hate that, like it’s an award…) and once summer ends, I won’t have any time at all to work on it, so I need to get it done pronto.

But it’s summer, and I still have a lot of lazing around to catch up on in addition to making rings and promoting the store. (GO GO GO!) During the day, when Michael is at work, I tend to just roam around the house, drifting from one room to the next, picking up a book, lying on the couch, contemplating taking a shower. At some point, I go outside and water the carrots and sweet potatoes. One gallon, two gallons. I force myself to write a blog entry. I look out the window. Look at a few Etsy Team posts and struggle to say something coherent and smart sounding. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out so well. Inactivity doesn’t become me, and when faced with unstructured SUMMER (!!!) I float away, untethered. SO many possibilities! SO much to do!

And then I end up doing nothing but reading another Haruki Murakami book that Michael has lying around (Norwegian Wood is great, After Dark less so) or looking for snacks in the kitchen drawer I’ve commandeered.

Seaweed. Yum.

Dwight Eschliman’s 37 or so Ingredients of a Twinkie, deconstructed

31 May

Dwight Eschliman’s 37 or so Ingredients (of a Twinkie) has been making the rounds on the blogosphere, but it’s completely gorgeous and I think you should definitely see it.

Dwight Eschliman's Riboflavin


Dwight Eschliman's Red 40

Red 40

Eschliman is a talented guy, whose work has been featured in commercial venues such as Apple product and store ads, Dwell Magazine, Audi promos, etc.

But his personal stuff is by far, the most interesting, especially the works that examines everyday objects in deconstructed multiples, an example of which is his treatment of the Twinkie, Campbell’s beef stew and legos. It’s manic organization, at its best.

Dwight Eschliman's Beef Stew breakdown deconstructed ingredients

Beef stew

All images copyright of Dwight Eschliman, no infringement intended, just pure adulation.

A feast on both your houses!

31 May

For Memorial Day, Michael, our bestie Mark and I had a tiny impromptu barbecue!

Pina coladas

Pina coladas! For a more smooth and creamy taste, add a touch of vanilla ice cream

Menfolks minding the grill

Tiny grill! ❤

Michael inherited this super cute little grill from our friends Fan and Mike when they left for Beijing last year. Now that it’s summer, I’ve been looking for excuses to fire it up. And by that, I mean coerce poor Michael into lighting it and then fanning the coals and breathing in lighter fluid. Grilling FTW!

Shrimp on the barbie! Outdoor grilling on Memorial day!


MEAT! Glorious meat! Outdoor grilling on Memorial day!


One day, we will have a lovely gas grill that Michael can putter around with, but for now, this one is enough for our tiny gatherings.

On the menu: grilled parsley shrimp, best ever barbecue chicken wings & thighs, sage sausage rice stuffing and happy happy veggie kabobs (marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, garlic, pineapple juice and worcestershire sauce). The shrimp was especially easy and flavorful–the simple olive oil and parsley marinade really allows the shrimps’ flavor to come through and convince you that this is a healthy dish. I think I’ll be full for at least two days…

Shrimp skewers


Memorial day barbecue table setting



Mark and Michael

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day! Servicemen FTW!

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