Saturday, February 27, 2010

Homemade Taffy Fail , Some randoms, New monthly giveaways, new HQCD

I've been wanting to try my hand at homemade taffy for a while now. I figure, since I can make caramels, taffy shouldn't be hard.

Boy, was I wrong.

Taffy is meant to be cooled, and then pulled vigorously. Nowadays, machines have the job of pulling and I know why! It's darn near impossible.
I soon discovered that you need some big guns to pull taffy. I honestly have NO IDEA how people hand-pulled taffy-- what's the TRICK?! So... hot... and hard, and my skin feels like it's being burned off :( You can't let it cool much since it gets hard quickly....

Here's my complete, utter fail:

mm I'm sad... look at those poor little taffy turds :\

BTW, I put in BLUE food coloring, and my taffy turned out looking like JADE, hahaha. FAIL.

The only upside? It was delicious. There's no way sugar and sugar can taste bad, lol.
A random link I wanted to share:
I love this charm!


For those of you interested in some reading about pricing handmade goods, here's an article I came across today:

An exerpt:

Pricing Etiquette
Yes, Virginia, there is a polite way to price.  Here are a couple of common pricing faux pas to avoid:
  1. Changing your prices too often: yes, you should absolutely market-test your prices, but don’t just throw numbers out randomly to see what sticks.  Focus on testing one or two products at a time, and try to do it at a live event like a craft show, where you can gauge customers’ reactions directly.  Changing your published prices too often (like the ones on your web site) will make repeat retail customers think they are overpaying, and will make your wholesale customers struggle to keep their prices current.
  2. Pricing just to maintain your hobby: I think it’s lovely that you make so many beautiful things that you’ve run out of people to give them to.  I also think it’s great that you sell your extras in order to support your hobby.  It’s selfish, however, to sell a fair-isle sweater you knitted for just the price of the yarn.  Your customers might be thrilled, but underpricing devalues creative work and makes it harder for creative professionals to make a living.
Sadly, there is no magic formula for pricing, but with some research, careful thought, and a little finesse, you can find the sweet spot that makes your business the most successful it can be.

I get a lot of questions on lowering the price of my work, etc. And #2 kinda answers it. I'm trying to run a business, not just maintain my hobby and passion. When I sold mainly on the forum, there would be gals popping up here and there selling for just materials price, maybe $1-$2 higher than that. I wish I could do that, as well. But when you're doing something like this to pay for rent, food, etc, there's no way you can survive without making profit. I also know that the reality is, those who don't do this to maintain a lifestyle will just always sell at a lower price, even if it makes it harder for others to make a living out of this. It's just the way it is, and we just have to work harder around it. Hang in there, my fellow independent crafters.


This week has been uber busy for me on the school front. The quarter's coming to an end, and all my midterms are done. Finals are in two weeks! I'm not doing as well as I'd like to do, unfortunately :(. I feel like I need to learn how to study smarter, not longer.

I decided to take it easy today and spend the whole day at home, with Brian. He programmed for class all day:

While I made jewelry, and played on this:

What a way to reward myself for doing poorly in class, right? With a PS3? -_-
I know I'm late, but Brian and I finally saved up enough money for a PS3, woohoo!

Here are SOME fruits of my labor for Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010

^ This took well over an hour, lol. A customer of requested a dense cluster with a violet theme. This one's for you, Erica!
My cluster bracelets (like THIS ONE) have been selling REALLY quickly (within hours/days).  Is there a cluster bracelet trend around that I'm missing out on? I really need to get on catching up with fashion... after school ends.... next year... haha.
I really wish I had more time for work like this, but I just don't! The bracelets are SUPER loaded, and every single link has a bead on it.

^ I sold a pair of these to a 7-yr old cutie at a craft fair last year. She had to beg her mom for them. Ahh memories.

^ My first NON Swarovski piece. Turned out quite nice =) Yay for quartz and freshwater pearls!

I'm trying to buy some AAA quality gems (the best, most opaque/clear). They're about $30/pair just for the stones. Pretty intense. I've been saving to treat myself to some London Blue Topaz.

Only ONE of each unless otherwise noted in the listing!

HQCD's New Monthly Giveaways
(First prize will be given out at the end of March). 

Be a frequent visitor of HQCD, drop me a few lines every once in a while (I honestly LOVE hearing what you have to say, whether or not it's jewelry related!).

I haven't been updating and posting as much lately, but I want everyone to know that I appreciate every single person who visits! I think this will be a great way to say "thanks" to people who often visit! I'll get to decide how many prizes to give out, etc. Could be one, or even 10! You never know =)

.... to celebrate the beginning of this new promo, get a 10% off HQCD coupon just by commenting on this post by leaving your name, location, and email address! Coupon expires in a week.

This doesn't mean that I'm stopping my regular giveaways! I'm still going to have those larger, long term giveaways. =)


I have some Alice in Wonderland charm bracelets coming in soon-- be on the look out! I'm excited for the movie =)

Always feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or just to say hi!

Monday, February 22, 2010

3 NEW pairs of earrings =)

Really quickly posting up three new pairs of earrings. I've been hoarding these materials for a while now, and have finally released them from my greedy hands :X


ONE OF A KIND earrings!
White gold plated floral connectors & SWAROVSKI Crystals.
This particular piece is another HQCD limited edition piece =)
Only TWO pieces will be made and sold, so please get yours quickly =)

A beauty =)

Bringin' back the calla lillies, this time in GOLD:

And last but not least, wispy golden ribbons =)

All pieces posted above are made with top quality materials (white gold plated, 18K gold plated over brass metals on gold filled/sterling silver hooks), imported directly from Korea.

^ Don't forget to check out the promotions on the sidebar to your right!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quick post: A cool baking PS video & New HQCD!

I came across this video on Youtube, and wanted to share it with you all =)
It's a super creative video of something using the Photoshop interface to bake cookies :D.

And new stuff I made over the last couple days while I was in Tahoe.

Princess theme bracelet;

Princess theme earrings;

Custom Rings:

New Earrings:

BTW, I'm going to be MIA for the next week- I have midterms :X

Contact me for questions/custom orders:


Friday, February 19, 2010

I've missed you :(

I've missed everyone on blogger so much! My quarter is so, SO hectic. Classes are turning out to be much more intense than I'd anticipated, leaving me with very little time to make new pieces. Orders have also picked up a bit (THANK YOU!), so currently, I'm trying hard to finish those.

Right now, I'm in Tahoe with the bf's family, trying to have a relaxing weekend + snowboarding (and... squeeze in some jewelry making and possibly studying).

So I'm going to really quickly highlight a couple of pieces I've made this week. I've got TONS Of new stuff coming in-- CROWN TOGGLEs in white gold plating. I'm so excited :D :D :D

See the bracelets HERE.

^ This piece is on SALE right now, only $20 USD. I thought I'd sold this, but turns out I just misplaced it, oops! It's under the clearance section of the store.

This one sold within the first day, but thought I'd throw it in here anyway:

And a classic beauty:

HQCD Signature origami earrings

See them here.

And a custom for Danielle:

And a custom for MY

Do you guys have any plans this weekend? Anything you're looking forward to?

Sorry for the quick post, I hope my next one will be longer, with more interesting content :X

Email Lisa: for custom orders and questions!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cellnique (B.Liv Skincare) Review + Free Sample w/ HQCD Purchase

Last month, Selina from B.Liv skincare contacted me to see if I was interested in doing a review on a couple of products. Of course, I happily accepted =). Selina also offered me the Submerge Me Moisturizer as well, which was very kind of her.

The first time I heard of the B.Liv line was from PopChampagne.
A while later, I saw other bloggers review the product, and became curious about "Off With Those Heads". 

Some info about my skin type:
- Sensitive
- chronic dry
- acne free
- get blackheads/whiteheads around the t-zone
- medium oily-ness

I use only 1 half-pea-size drop on my t-zone, especially around the nose where I have the most blackheads. There's a very, VERY faint scent-- I'm not quite sure how to describe it. It's a little bit like faint afterscent of alcohol? But it's barely there. The texture is that of a very thin gel. Reminds me a bit of the Bare Minerals primer texture, if anyone has used that, but minus the slime.

I also used the Submerge Me moisturizer.

^ One entire pump covers the whole face! OMG. SO LIGHT. I love this. I'm a major moisturizer junkie because I have chronic dry skin. And during the winter, it gets especially flaky, and I can barely wear mineral makeup because my skin is so thirsty! I apply this once a day, and my skin's good to go (even with minerals) for the rest of the day. THAT is amazing. I think it's totally worth the price. One bottle lasts a LONG time. It's a white, thin, and very LIGHT lotion. Again, there's a very SLIGHT pleasant fragrance, but it's so slight that I never notice it unless I stick my nose right up to the pump.

Here's what my skin looked like before I started the B-Liv regime:
( I do apologize, I have freckles, and I'm pretty oily here :\)

AFTER 2.5 weeks of B-Liv:

Overall take on the products:
- Blackheads DEFINITELY shrunk in size. I could no longer squeeze them out! Maybe with continued use, they'll eventually go away :X
- LOVE the moisturizer-- I'll be back to purchase more. I like how it comes with A LOT, so I only need like.... 2-3 a year, which is great :D
- I think the moisturizer has made my skin SOFTER. (AWESOME!)
- Packaging = way cute and secure.
- Nothing smells weird, which is a plus.

Other notes:
I really wish I'd taken a photo of this experience, but I've been so busy it just skipped my mind!
2 days into the regime, I had a white-head right under my nose. I really, REALLY despise whiteheads. Instead of popping them (as I usually do), I applied Off with those Heads. Whitehead = gone in two days, without leaving scars like it usually does when I pick at them. No irritation whatsoever.
I also got a sample of the LEECH ME mask. I haven't had time to use this yet, but will let you know when I do.

Customer Service
- Prompt replies, VERY fast shipping-- they use DHL international service and it gets here in about 3-5 business days. SO fast. Such service is usually EXPRESS, and costs at least $20 USD to do so-- so factor this in mind when making an order and looking at the prices!

Other things I'd love to try from B-Liv:
- the pore-minimizing collection! I have huge pores on my cheeks, next to my nose (as you can see in the gross up close shots of my face...)
- I haven't looked, but if they have an exfoliating wash, I'm totally buying one.

Want a SAMPLE of Off with Those Heads?
Make an order with HQCD, put "Bliv Me!" in the comments during checkout, and a sample will beautomatically added to your order. YES, this promo can be combined with any other promo!
Available while supplies last.

And a bit of an HQCD update;
School's kicking my butt right now... SO.... look for item updates in my SHOP instead of here.
Be sure to check out the PROMOTIONS on the sidebar! Take advantage of them!

I do have the BLUE MORPHO earrings back-- only one pair!
I also made GOLD Eiffel Tower earrings-- I love these, and have been wearing them often.

Don't forget to LINK to HQCD!

^ BTW, these exact earrings will be in stock SOON! So many people have asked about them, and I'm VERY honored that the response is so good.

- Lisa

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Royal Crown Series, new Beauty Additions, HQCD Advertising Kit

Last summer, I found a jeweler in Shanghai who makes these high quality royal crown charms, and have been asking my relatives to get some for me whenever I can. These crowns are plated with rhodium, and have a cubic zirconium crystal on the inside. I've seen similar charms around, but none as high quality. Once you actually see and touch the piece, you'll realize how well-made it is =)

A bracelet;
"Hime in Purple"

All the things a princess (*ahem, such as yourselves) would desire; the royal crown, love, pearls, and crystals.

I was feeling the crown motif today, so here are some threaders (only one pair left) with a different motif I bought at the same store =)

I'm also selling a Princess/Romantic style black rose mirror in my shop right now:

Brand new, imported from Japan.
Get it HERE.

And an eyeshadow palette is also for sale! It's by Cameleon Cosmetics, and I've never heard of them, but the colors are beautiful, and suitable for many occasions.

Imported from Hong Kong
More info HERE.

I'm also trying something new as far as advertising goes... I put together these HQCD Advertising Kits and was wondering if anyone would be interested in helping HQCD out with advertising =)

Kit Includes:
- 10 x oversized post cards
- 10 x business cards

I'm thinking of sending these off to whoever is interested in helping HQCD advertise. You can post these up on your local starbuck's or tapioca express's bulletin boards, salons, malls, school, universities, wherever. The possibilities are endless! 
If you're interested in obtaining an advertising kit, please EMAIL ME ( your full name and shipping address. Please title the email "HQCD Advertising Kit".
* You'll get a coupon to use at HQCD for helping me out =)
And, ANYONE can help, regardless of age or location!

Till next time,

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Attempt at homemade caramels, Maybelline Eye Studio Liner

I've been really, REALLY craving caramels. I wanted to buy some off Etsy BUT the seller is so swamped with orders, and I'm craving so badly that I couldn't resist anymore and made some of my own...

My morning class got canceled today, so I went to the store and stocked up on sugar, butter, and more sugar....
... and $50 on a nice, stainless steel 8qt. pot. mmm. Give it to me to spend so much on cooking gear.

It took about an hour of stirring before it was ready to be cooled..
What it looked like in the pot


Packed for love packages!

At the store, I also picked up the
NEW Eye Studio™ Lasting Drama™ Gel Eyeliner
I've been wanting to try a new gel liner for a while, and at $8, this was a steal. Came with a brush, as well! I got the purple color.

Left: After 3 layers
Right: After 1 layer.

The Verdict:
I LOVE the color. It's a pity that it's not half as pigmented as the ads claim it to be, though. But I think it's so worth the $8, especially since the brush that it comes with isn't half bad. I don't mind going over the line a couple times more to make it darker =)

And jumping topics to new earrings at HQCD

Also, I wanted to reiterate that HQCD does business honestly-- whether that be from a business point of view, OR an artist's point of view. I DO NOT entertain requests to knowingly duplicate another artisan's jewelry.

Due to an overwhelming response lately for me to "sponsor" either bloggers or Youtubers, I'd like to publicly acknowledge that HQCD is not sponsoring right now. I've been getting tons of emails from people who'd like to review HQCD-- you are encouraged to do so, but I won't be giving away any more free goods, sorry!

Visit the HQCD SHOP.
Contact me:

Have a wonderful week, everyone! A Cellnique review is coming up :D
- Lisa