The Paper Demon Tries New Things

My challenge as a jewelry maker is remembering that sometimes my materials can speak for themselves.  I can get so caught up in the challenge of folding something fabulous or winding wire into interesting shapes that sometimes I forget that just showing the paper is all that’s really necessary.

I finally remembered that this week, and decided to try a few simple styles with my most beautiful chiyogami in simple basic frames.

The frames came from Fusion Beads, my favorite source for collage and resin blanks.  I tried antiqued silver and brass for this project, because I think the aged look sets off the organic, exotic feel of the Japanese paper beautifully.

The paper is my best and favorite–in glorious shades of teal and turquoise, orange and yellow, and iridescent silver and gold (a one of a kind paper that i’ve never seen outside the shop in Asakusabashi where i found it last summer).

The biggest challenge is, for me, always the resin.  I know there are loads of crafters out there making all kinds of gorgeous things with resin, but for me, it’s torture.  I make 4 things before 1 works.  It’s a nightmare.  But then, when it works, it’s gorgeous!  What to do?  it’s a conundrum.

Well, at least til I found Magic Glos, a UV-curing resin.  One part, so no mixing, and a 30 minute cure under a UV light (or sunlight) instead of 3 miserable days with resin.  For ADHD jewelry makers like me, this is a godsend.  Here it is on brass.  What do you think?

My kanji stamps finally arrived from Japan, so I can start personalizing my tiny Note to Self Journals.  Personalized jewelry makes such a great holiday gift.  I am happy to have found a way to make personalized, customized origami jewelry with a Paper Demon touch. Right now I have stamps for:









ki (energy)

Also tiny birds, butterflies, and Japanese and English alphabets.

Ki, Eternity, Inspire

I love these little journals.  They’re folded from a single 6″ sheet of Japanese washi paper.

They aren’t the most sophisticated tiny bound book in the world,  but they have a sweet simplicity that speaks volumes.

1 1/4" high

Find them at Paper Demon Jewelry:

The Paper Demon is working on an ebook on tips for Etsy Success!

I’ll be sharing one tip a week for the next few weeks, as I get ready to launch the book.

This week’s tip is:  price your items right!

Pricing is a bit of an art form!  Price too high and your customers will run away.  Price too low and your potential customers won’t take you seriously.

In general, sellers on Etsy tend to price too low.    Remember that your work is handmade and only you can set its true value!

When in doubt, raise your prices!

A higher price gives a stronger impression of value for your product.   Of course this has to be backed up with superb photos and compelling and exciting (and thorough) product description.

And of course your customers have to be able to find you, which means working hard on keywords, tags, and advertising and promotion.

But in the end, you want to communicate that your products are valuable.   Pricing is one important way to do that.  Look at your competitors, and get a general idea of the price range in your craft area.  Then lean toward the higher end!

Here’s the key to Etsy success:  Want to sell more?  Raise your prices!

Paper Demon Jewelry is about being bold and unafraid, taking chances, and leaps of faith.

One of the things I love about Japanese paper is its combination of delicacy and strength.  It’s the very essence of beauty, but try and tear it, and you’ll be surprised at how strong it is!

Japanese paper expresses the contradictions of life and I find it a perfect medium for expressing myself.  It inspires me!

I decided to give that inspiration form in a new creation: Note to Self–Tiny Journals to Call Your Spirit.  These journals, folded from a single 6″ sheet of Japanese paper, contain 8 blank pages and 2 pockets.

Note to Self: Customized Journal to Call Your Spirit

They are completely personalizable.  You can buy them blank, or you can have me fill them with your selected stamped letters, initials, names or words, or Japanese characters or images.

Closes with a golden cord; accented with a crystal

Some of the characters I can stamp into the journals are:










Keeping joy close to your heart ("joy" note in pocket)

I’ll be listing many colors soon.

I notice that designers both large and small always seem to use the words kimono, origami and geisha to market any item that is even vaguely Japanese.  That always annoys me.  Just because a pattern is Japanese doesn’t mean it comes from a kimono, people!

Of course now I’m guilty of it too.  I grit my teeth and tag my items “origami,” and “kimono” because I know that those are the search terms that people use.  As a 25-year Japan specialist and scholar though, oh how it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

But now, I’ve actually created something that I proudly call the Geisha Kanzashi Hairstick.  Why?  Because I modeled it on the kanzashi hairsticks actually worn by modern-day geisha in Japan (and yes, there are still geisha in Japan, although not a lot.  They live and work mainly in Kyoto and some traditional areas of Tokyo, entertaining at expensive private parties).

Geisha Hairstick in Red Chrystanthemum

This kanzashi hairstick is a 5 inch carved bone stick tipped by an imported red tensha bead in the traditional Chrysanthemum pattern.  Tensha beads are a special kind of Japanese bead in which the image is adhered to the bead through a heat process.  I found these at a shop in Japan and fell in love with them.  I have them in black also, in an origami crane pattern and a dragonfly pattern.

Kanzashi Hairsticks tipped with Tensha Beads

All of these patterns date from kimono patterns that are hundreds of years old.

I modeled the Geisha Kanzashi on the short hairstick tipped with a round red bead almost always worn by geisha in the back of their elaborate hairstyles.I modernized it a bit by using a round matte gold bead at the end instead of a (slightly scary) inch-long metal point!  But otherwise, I tried to stick close to the original in spirit.

This kanzashi is not meant to hold a chignon, the way a long “chopstick” does, but rather to ornament a lovely updo.

I make a long Geisha Hairstick for holding up the hair as well.  This one is modeled on the long “waterfall” of wisteria flowers hanging from the left of the geisha’s hairstyle in the lower photo above.  I replaced the wisteria with cherry blossoms but am happy with the waterfall effect nonetheless!

I can see someone wearing these hairsticks as part of a geisha Halloween costume, and then wearing them out to dinner the next day, and with jeans the day after that!

I was inspired by Japan’s modern-day geisha.  But you don’t have to be a Geisha to wear them!

You love giving gifts, but you hate wrapping gifts.  I get that.  Wrapping gifts is stressful.

That’s where I come in.  I wrap your gifts for you.  I send you hand-folded Japanese jewelry boxes, hand-folded Japanese gift boxes, and hand-folded Japanese gift bags.  All created using traditional origami box folds, and all made from eye-poppingly gorgeous imported Japanese chiyogami paper.  Lacquered jewelry boxes also available.

The PDJ Hand-Folded Origami Gift Bag with Japanese Bead Zipper Pull Extra

Two of the sizes available--2 inch and 4.5 inch

The flat box--6 inches; other sizes available.

And all complete with coordinating ribbons and handles, and optional Japanese imported cute doo-dads for customization.  Custom size orders also gladly accepted!

The PDJ Heirloom Gift Bag is like enclosing your gift in another one of a kind gift.   I start with heirloom quality chiyogami paper.  Each of these papers comes with a story.  All chiyogami papers are replete with history and symbolism.  This paper in the photo, for example, is the Hinadan Pattern.  It is the pattern traditionally used to decorate the doll display for the Girls’ Day Celebration in Japan.  This pattern has been used and loved by Japanese girls and women since the 18th century.

With optional zipper pull from imported Japanese bead

The bag shown is 4 inches high.  (Custom size orders gladly accepted ) .  It’s finished with metal eyelets and handles of imported mizuhiki cord from Japan, in your choice of colors.  The one pictured here is sparkly red.  Green, white, silver and gold also available!

Inside view

If you want, you can add on an optional zipper-pull or pendant dangle made from an imported Japanese bead like this one, embossed with a glorious chrysanthemum pattern.  Goldfish, fabric beads, geisha hair dangles and other one of a kind items are available.

You need these.  You really do.  You want to impress her.  Christmas is coming.  Do you really want to wrap all those gifts?

(Special Introductory Pre-Christmas Price:  $4 for small boxes, $6 for heirloom gift bag; $4 for regular gift bag)

One of the things I love most about Paper Demon Jewelry is that it’s a cross-cultural endeavor.  It gives me a chance to celebrate American holidays and American trends using Japanese materials, and to celebrate the beauty of Japanese handmade materials in a way that American buyers can relate to.   Origami crane earrings for the winter solstice anyone?

Origami Cranes in honor of the Winter Solstice

It’s a fun creative stretch.   It takes some creative imagining to figure out how to relate my traditional Japanese paper and fabric to things going on in the US!   The good part is, I don’t know too many other jewelry makers who inhabit this odd little Japan-America jewelry-making niche.

Two trends hot on Etsy right now are woodland animals and Halloween.  Both of these inspired me to dig out my bag of chirimen fabric from the hall closet and start experimenting.   I didn’t abandon my beloved paper art jewelry and origami jewelry—just set them aside for a bit to enjoy the chirimen fabric I collected on my last trip to the Nippori textile district of Tokyo.

BTW, I love Nippori!–a total mecca of old and new fabric, notions, and sewing goods of all kinds!  It’s pretty close to Asakusabashi–the jewelry and bead neighborhood–by subway, so if you’re a craft-hound, you can spend a very happy few days up there in Northeast Tokyo!

A shot of a Nippori fabric shop, from Ismoyo Green's blog

For me, Nippori is all about the chirimen fabric–the traditional crinkly silk (now rayon) used in all traditional Japanese fabric crafts.

Ironically, for a lot of Japanese women, who by the way adore hand sewing as a rule, Nippori is all about finding the American and European fabrics they can’t find anywhere else!  But for me it’s chirimen.  Gorgeous, gorgeous colors—-of course.  Amazing patterns. Check them out in this screen shot of the Japanese fabric store (my GO-TO shop for all Japanese fabric items, btw!  Visit them in Japanese [better selection] at

Screenshot of one of the chirimen pages at

OK, so anyhow—digging into my chirimen collection, I decided to try my hand at woodland creatures and Halloween items.

Et voila, I present to you my Chirimen Uguisu Bird.  The uguisu is the bush-warbler, but because of it’s beloved evening call, is known as the Japanese nightingale.  it’s also known in Japanese poetry as the “Sutra-reading bird” because it’s unique call sounds like “Ho Hoke Kyo” (it really does!!!!) which is the line from a famous Buddhist sutra in Japanese.

The Japanese Bush-Warbler, aka Uguisu, aka Japanese Nightingale

And here are the Tanuki, which look like racoons but are actually Japanese racoon-dogs.  Not sure why, but that’s what the dictionary says.  Tanuki are beloved in Japan, although in a mixed-feeling kind of way, since they’re known as destructive, mischievous gluttons.  But cute destructive, mischievous gluttons.

Tanuki Pals

And then, there are my owls.  Owls are called Fukuro in Japanese, and they’re a symbol of good luck because their name contains the word “fuku” or luck.

Owl Brooches

last of all, my Quizzical Owl Halloween Squishy.  Who can resist a name like that?

Quizzical Owl Halloween Squishy

Chirimen fabric for Halloween!  Why not?

50 is a watershed.  A landmark.  I’m coming up on 50 in a few years.  Can’t say I’m thrilled about that.

I am thrilled, though, that I’m only 3 sales away from 50 sales on Etsy.  That is a good 50.  That’s a 50 a person can embrace with enthusiasm.  No downsides to 50 sales on Etsy (well, except maybe that there aren’t 51!)

Anyway, to get us to 50 as FAST as possible, I’m offering a cool giveaway for blog readers ONLY!  Free Shoji Pendants to PDJ blog readers who make purchase #48, 49, or 50 (or all three at once!).  You can check them out in different colors at Paper Demon Jewelry’s Etsy store.  To qualify, you MUST type in “BLOG FAN” in the Mssg to seller at checkout!  That’s the only way I’ll know you saw this on the blog, and not on Facebook or Twitter (where I’m also doing a giveaway promotion, but NOT with Shoji Pendants!)  Offer only good ’til we reach 50!

Shoji Pendant in Robins' Egg Blue

Regular readers will notice my fabulous new wallpaper!  Just how cool is this?  And I did it all by myself, without even once crying or making a frantic phone call to wonderful partner.

I am not expert, but I’d like to share what I learned.  This is for people using WordPress!  I have no expertise to share beyond what I just did!

If you click on your Appearance button , and look at the categories under your “theme”, you will see listed last   “edit css”

If you click on that, a box will appear with some explanation and directions about css and html.

Scroll to the very bottom of that and press enter to start a fresh new line. In that new line, cut and paste this:

  background-image:url('http://YOUR IMAGE URL HERE')

Now, in the place where I have written “YOUR IMAGE URL HERE” you need to enter the url of the image that YOU want to have as background.

Any image can be used.  (I will tell you about cool wallpaper patterns below, after I finish these instructions.)  It just needs to be uploaded into your media section on your blog.  So, just upload an image as you would any image that you were going to use in a post, and at the bottom, you will see that it is given a url.  That is the url that you will enter in the place “YOUR IMAGE URL HERE”.  Make sure that you don’t have any spaces anywhere in this line of html code.

After you do that you click preview, and your site with wallpaper should pop up in a new window.  If you like what you see, then sadly, it seems you do have to purchase the WordPress Custom CSS Upgrade, for $14.97 a year.  If someone knows a way around that, let me know.  After you purchase it, you should be able to go back to your Edit CSS page and a new button will have appeared next to “preview”, which is “save stylesheet.”  Press that, and voila, you’re done.

Now, in my case, after I paid, when I went back to my other window with the Edit CSS box open, I had  NOT been automatically updated to allow me to “save stylesheet.”  So in my case, I had to copy the 4 lines of html code I had entered, close that window, open the edit css window again, and paste it again in the new window.   That window did provide the “save stylesheet” button that comes after you pay.

It worked!

If I can do this, anyone can do it.  Seriously.  I don’t “do” html.

But here’s why I stuck it out:  Because, when I went online to look at free wallpapers, I could not believe the glorious bounty that met my eyes!  In particular I want to share  the best and coolest site for free wallpapers that I found.  It is

From sheer Boddhisattva-like altruism, as far as I can tell, Harvey R, the mastermind behind this site, has created a completely free gallery of gorgeous, lush, original, stylish, and hip graphics patterns that, get this, are completely customizable for color and dimensions!   Why?  Why would he do this?  I don’t know.  He asks for a $1 donation.  I gave him $5.  Everyone should go there now and give him $1.

Here are a few of his graphics:


This last one is my favorite, other than the fabuloso one I picked for this blog.  The neo-Japonesque thing he has going on is what I love most.  But the best part is, all the colors and scales are fully customizable.  So this cool grey-green thing that I have on my design here?  I did that myself….

This is the photo of Harvey that pops up when you download one of his graphics:

“Emergency,”  the caption reads, “My wig is not good!  The ads on this site are currently not covering the hosting fees. After you download one of my patterns please consider donating just $1,-or more if you are feeling generous-so that I can afford to keep this site running and buy myself some razors and maybe even a new wig.”

Harvey’s site rocks.  Visit it.  Enjoy the eye candy. Maybe download a treat for yourself and try your own wallpaper (incidentally it worked on Twitter too!!)  And give the guy a buck.

We had to go out an learn how to make more!  Silk paper, that is!  In an impromptu lesson by renowned basketry and fiber artist Donna Sakamoto Crispin, who lives in Eugene.

Cloud Series: Earth by Donna Sakamoto Crispin

I knew of Donna’s work from exploring fiber artists in Oregon, and got in touch to talk about maybe using her bamboo paper in my jewelry.  She generously invited me to her house, and when I arrived, even more generously gave me a lesson in making my own silk fiber paper!

I had never even heard of silk paper before, but one look at the glorious colors of the silk fibers and I was instantly hooked.

silk fiber from Woodland Woolworks

Best of all, the fabulous fibers above are actually RECYCLED!  They are leftovers from the silk sari industry!  How cool is that? Find them at Donna’s recommended source right up the street in Salem Oregon:  Woodland Woolworks

Here’s what I made: two pieces of silk paper, one in pink and green, the other in blue and green.

My first silk paper

I can’t wait to do more.

Driving home I kept playing with it, imagining all the cool possibilities for jewelry.  Scrunched up it makes an interesting organic plant-like shape.

Silk paper and sterling silver pendant

How lucky I feel to live in a town filled with such extraordinary artists.  And in a town where artists are so willing to generously share their knowledge.  Thank you Donna!

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