Monday, January 30, 2012

One He Qi Resolution reached + Valentine's Earrings: it's not too late!

This is a quick but important post to mark He Qi's progress with becoming a more sustainable company this year.

One of my new year's resolutions for He Qi was to make my packaging BOTH eco-friendly and biodegradable.

After months of research, I've found sources that supply quality, 100% post consumer recycled jewelry boxes and ribbons-- which are also biodegradable in the environment. I'm also now using BIO ZIP zip-lock bags to store your jewelry-- these are eco-friendly and biodegradable as well.

My mailing envelopes are also post-consumer recycled kraft paper. It's a shame I still have to stick with bubble wrap for now...

I'm so proud to be part of a more sustainable community. Fellow artisans who sell your jewelry for a living: I strongly encourage you to look into eco-packaging. You want to make your mark on the world, but in areas where you can make a difference, you should try, you know? I don't think having eco-friendly packaging takes away from your product; in fact, I think it adds more personality to the overall look. Yes, it will be a little pricier. But seriously guys, why be cheap with something so important? Many of us don't realize what a difference all these little things make.

Anyway, I also received these beautiful rare SWAROVSKI stones in 14K gold plated bezels and could not contain my excitement.

Here is the new line of "Lasting Romance"-- in stock and ready to ship, just in time for Valentine's Day!
These are truly exquisite stones.

And all purchases will come with FREE solid perfume samples;  something I will be introducing to He Qi once I get my learning squared out. I like to learn as much about the products I make as I possibly can before selling them. I am not one to sell Swarovski Crystal jewelry when I can't even spell Swarovski. (and yes, I've seen this happen with jewelry makers in the past... sadly... ). So I am taking my time, learning the wonders of perfumery and becoming obsessed with the art. I hope you enjoy these samples; as there will be more to come!

Till next time,

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Of Madeleines and Clusters

Madeleines are my Dad's favorites. They're also the bf and his Dad's favorites. I think they might be a few other favorites.

To say the least, Madeleines are well loved by many.

Brian's Mom got me a madeleine pan a while back, and I'm proud to say I've gotten tons of uses from it:

it. is. amazing.

For those of you interested in making these delicious goodies, the good news is that both the recipe and process is quite simple; definitely NOT as complicated as some recipes make it out to be.

You will need:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- grated lemon zest, about 1 tbsp

1. Melt your butter in a  microwave safe dish, set aside to cool
2. Combine sugar and eggs in a stand mixer until smooth. Add in flour and salt. Then extracts.
3. Pour in the melted & cooled butter in a slow stream into the above mixture in #2, KEEPING THE MIXER  ON.
4. Add lemon zest at the end
The batter will be quite soft and... hmm how do I explain... fluffy, ish. You want this.

End mixture is smooth and looks similar to:

Coat the madeleine pan with either butter/flour mixture or be lazy like me and use PAM.
Drop the batter by the tablespoon full into each mold cavity-- you DO NOT have to spread it around as the heat in the oven will automatically distribute it evenly for you:

Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-11 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
Take out, wait 5 minutes to take out and cool on wire rack, with the nice shell designed side up.

And if you want to dip them in chocolate, that's always an option :)

Store them in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.
Let me know if you make madeleines. I'd be thrilled to see yours :)

In He Qi news:
I'm in the process of creating a new line. Basically, this will be a luxury line for those who have been requesting simple, but extremely top quality products. You will see this new line as the LUXE line. It is a new category on the website :) These pieces are meant to last years and years, because I have crafted them to be sneakily sturdy using only sterling silver and 14K gold. All work will be wire-wrapped to increase longevity as well. These will also feature fancier gemstones/crystals.

Here are a few pieces from the line:

And for all other He Qi pieces, I have made the following additions:

A restock on the studs :)

Some dark hearts:

And a necklace I ended up quite liking...

I'm curious: who celebrates Valentine's Day? If so, how?

till next time,
lisaHQCD @ Twitter

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Home-Made HEALTHY power bars, Cuff Earrings!

In attempt to eat healthier and also save money, I made my won power bars recipe.

I have an amazing friend who is a nutritionalist-- and she makes this amazing bread pudding dessert out of sprouted bread and delicious chocolates. I've been making a drier version of it, and slightly more toned down with less sugar and things like that so it can be consumed as a power bar.

I don't have an exact recipe for it, but here's the gift of the ingredients I used. It's pretty crucial you keep it whole grain only or else it defeats the purpose of it.

- 5 -6 slices of whole grain, organic sprouted bread (you can buy this at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, not  more expensive than regular bread)
- 3-5 Tablespoons Organic Blonder Coconut Palm brand sugar (low glycemic index)
- 2 TBS honey
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1.5 cups milk (I used low-fat)
- 3 eggs (only 2 pictured, helps hold the mixture together)
- nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit to taste and cocoa powder
OPTIONAL but recommended: additional flax seeds, amarynth flour, oatmeal

Cut bread into small cubes:

Combine ALL WET INGREDIENTS + sugar and honey/cocoa powder if you used any if you want chocolate flavor.

Put the cubed bread in there, LET THE BREAD SOAK UP the wet mixture.
It should be pretty slimy and gross looking, but I promise it'll be delicious.

Add in the dry ingredients, mix until combined:

Put into 9 X 13 pan:

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. When a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, it's ready! Do note oven temperature vary from oven to oven!

Unfortunately, I did not remember to take a photo of it when it was done, oops! But it was delicious and co-workers loved it. Woot! I think I'll make more since it only lasted 2 days...

But things are only as healthy as your portions, so just because in inherently healthy doesn't means you can eat  half of it in one sitting. Though you'll want to.

In jewelry news, I've replenished the stock of cuffs :)
Made 3 new cuffs yesterday!

Also, if you are a reader and you'd like to score a FREE SAMPLE of my new Lip Balm (this is NOT released yet!), please send me an email here: and name the message "lip balm sample". US Customers only please (sorry!!!) and don't forget to include your FULL NAME and SHIPPING ADDRESS.

Till next time,
lisaHQCD @ Twitter

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

IMPORTANT: Take a Moment to understand SOPA/PIPA

If you've been on the internet today, you might have noticed some site blackouts.
One of the more popular blackouts include Wikipedia-- where would we be without the amazing people who contribute to Wiki? Sure, I totally understand that you can NEVER reference Wiki as an official source on a paper, but good authors will ALWAYS go out of their way to provide proper evidence of where their information is coming from via the footnotes. And most of the time, you can use your own judgement to determine if those footnoted sources are legitimate.

These blackouts here to protest against the SOPA/PIPA legislation.

If you have not yet heard about SOPA/PIPA, now is a great time to take a few moments to educate yourself. The passing of this legislation could mean the end of internet freedom, and many of our well-loves sites will be blocked by the government, effecting millions of individuals all across America. Now, many of us are on the internet because we want information. What's the point of having the internet if it gets censored the crap out of... like China? I was in China a few year ago. I have used their internet. It sucks.

Here are a few good resources to get some info on SOPA/PIPA about:
(yes, there's a reason I'm using Google and Wiki links-- could you imagine your internet life without them?)

Social media will be at its end if this passes. Imagine how different your life would be without Facebook, YouTube, Google, Etsy, Twitter, etc. etc.

As a result,
Many people will lose their jobs, and they won't be able to do anything about it, even if they've done nothing wrong.

The government will monitor and control everything we see on the internet.
This leads to a misinformed public (well, the media already does that, but it could get way worse if this legislation passes...).

What this means for us small business owners:
If you sell through Etsy, consider your business closed.
This is why:
And this is only the tip of the ice burg.

What this means for us bloggers:
Are you a beauty blogger? Did you buy a product and hate it? Have you seen this web article?
Here's an excerpt:
" Here is an example of how the legislation, which is meant to do good, could actually cause harm to beauty blogs such as this one: A blogger could place a negative review of a product he or she purchased with a photo of the item.  Perhaps they also include a photo of the product they found online or that was given to them by a PR person. The company, angered by the review seeks remedies under SOPA, which would essentially shut down the site. Note that it would not result in simply removing any copyrighted material, instead it could shut down an entire site without notice.  Also note that I mentioned items that might not actually be copyright violations. I would argue that they would not be.  I used those examples because, in the case of a photo, a company could attempt to argue that their logo shown in the photo was copyrighted, and in the case of a PR photo, I am aware of a past instance where a company demanded removal of such an image from a blog. I believe it was the Estee Lauder Company (A SOPA supporter) at that, and I had another blogger confirm their memory that it was Estee Lauder company, but I am not 100% positive in my recollection there.  In any event, in that example, the problem was remedied through communications sent under existing law, and the company was informed that the photo was provided to the blogger to use . Under SOPA, the company, if it felt so inclined, could cause the website to disappear for some time before anything was resolved. Now, imagine what this Act might do to your favorite larger sites such as You Tube, Facebook, and Twitter.  If you are a social media fan, you should be very concerned."

Yep. It's that simple. Forget freedom of speech.

What this means for the average American who surfs the internet for leisure:
Any information you get from the internet will be skewed. Look at the people who support SOPA/PIPA; though the initial intention of the legislation is to protect intellectual property (which I'm a HUGE advocate of, as a fellow artist), the proposal is poorly written and there are just too many loopholes for large corporations to use to their advantage.

Here is the list of companies who are against SOPA/PIPA. I'm not surprised that any of them are on there because they will be the ones who "gain" the most of it.
If you look at a list, do you not notice a pattern? :)
This event has fueled me more to support local, small businesses.
I have a huge blurb for small business who use cheap materials obtained through means of child labor and other unfair situations (whether or not they know it), but I'll keep my mouth shut on that for now, as I could write a whole post on that easily.

SOPA/PIPA has the potential to negatively impact all of America. I'm not certain if congress understands the wide scope of if this legislation. The internet will never be the same. You'll never be able to browse Reddit again. You'll never be able to Google Search "what's going on in Iran" and get half the truth. You'll never be able to look for negative, constructive beauty reviews again.

Please take a few moments to contact your local representative to voice your thoughts.
Fortunately, although the Google logo is blacked out on iGoogle today, you can still fully utilize their search engine. Run a Google search to find the contact information of your respective representative.
We can only get results if we pull together.

Anyway, bottom line is: I love the good intentions behind SOPA/PIPA. I hate how it has HUGE potential to get really out of hand and cause way more harm than good.

Thanks for your time.
I appreciate all my friends who have taken the time and effort to make others around them aware of this issue. Please make sure you pass the message on to your friends and family to use the internet.
Tweet about it.
Facebook it.
Blog it.
YouTube it.
.... while you still can.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Of Meows, Noms and Shinies

This is Loki.

He likes chin scratches and face pets.

He also likes to lay awkwardly.

This is his signature pose... flat on the ground with legs spread. Super attractive, eh? haha

I also made macarons.. 1 batch of batter, with three very different results. It's confusing.

First batch: (same batter)

Ugly and cracked.

Second batch (same batter):

um... the feet pooled out and the shells were super fragile

Third batch:

Perfection. Strange.

And at some point, I went on an earring binge!

Emerald, one of a kind earrings!

These were one of a kind, and out of stock, sorry I'm late in posting :(

Some classy earrings:

Giant SWAROVSKI leaf earrings:

And Faerie Forest collection:

Over the weekend, I made my first batch of lip balms.
I have yet to perfect the recipe-- but I'm giving out samples for you to try :)--- you will have a chance to give your input before the formula is finalized!

Tonight, I had the craving for potato chips... so I put my new mandolin to work and made some!

Frying in olive oil..

Seasoned when hot:

So that the flavoring will stay...

and this is the seasoning I used and it's awesome:

How is everyone's week coming so far?
What are you looking forward to this week?