20 May 2019

Stand By Me

Around the same time last year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married! And just recently, their baby boy arrived!

Like most people around the world, I watched their wedding rites on television. I love a good wedding, and one that involves royalty -- even more! I watched when Prince Charles wed Lady Diana and also when Prince William married Kate Middleton. The pomp and circumstance, the guests, the hats, the outfits, the first kiss...I adore all of that!

Even if it was a big wedding, it still felt intimate and personal. The love between Harry and Meghan was palpable. 

One of the memorable moments during their wedding was when the choir sang "Stand By Me."  Here's another version where they sang aboard an airplane! What a treat to the passengers!

What an appropriate song for matrimony!

Here are the lyrics. It was a good excuse to practice my brush calligraphy. My favorite line is "No I won't be afraid, just as long as you stand by me."

When we got married, my husband and I danced to "I'll Take Care of You" by Steven Curtis Chapman. How about you, do you have a favorite song that gets you all emotional? 

13 May 2019

A Beautiful Biscuit Tin

A good friend of mine lives in Hong Kong and everytime he sees me, he always has a gift. It's usually food because food tripping is one of our favorite things to do. We always egg each other, "Here, you have to try this!", "And this!", "And this!" even if we're stuffed. And that's a mark of a true friend -- he or she wants you to take pleasure in his/her foodie discovery.

One of the things he let me try were these almond flakes. Light as air, buttery in every bite, and had just the right crunch from the slivered almonds. You can't stop at just one. Needless to say, they were polished off in very little time.  

But all was not lost because the almond flakes were packed in this adorable tin!

The bakery that makes it comes out with a new design every month to protect counterfits! I think it would be dangerous to have the bakery near me because I would be there everyday for the baked goods and to collect all the new tins that come out. LOL.

Jenny Bakery Hong Kong, Mother's Day 2017 cookie tin
This one was designed for Mother's Day. And I could definitely feel the love between Mama Bear and Baby Bear. 

I've kept the tin with the promise that it'll always have a treat inside. When I feel like I need a snack or a sweet nibble after dinner, I just have to open the tin.  Here's what I've put inside so far: 

Molasses cookies flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger

Chocolate chip cookies with peanuts and pretzels

Fudgy chocolate Crinkles

Simple Snickerdoodles

Brown sugar shortbread

And even popcorn!

To this day, I've started quite a collection...TADA!

Do you like to keep biscuit tins, too?

12 May 2019

Happy Mother's Day

Howdy folks! Do you remember drawing pictures for your Mom for Mother's Day?

Well today, I'm doing just that. I'm taking a page from my adult coloring book to honor all the Moms out there. 

I chose this page with blooms and birds and used some watercolor.

I like how it tells the story of a mama bird watching out for her baby. And even when the baby learns to fly and soar, mama bird will still be there whenever the baby needs her.  

To all you Moms, a big, big THANK YOU for all that you do for us! Happy Mother's Day!

06 May 2019

New Uses for Old Envelopes

Hello everyone! Today, let's turn old envelopes from blah to TADA!

The first inspiration comes from this book:

It's a compilation of works written by the great American Poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).

She wrote about 1,800 poems in her lifetime but only less than a dozen were published. Many of the poems she wrote were part of letters to friends; were found inside "fascicles" or booklets she sewed herself; and on envelopes that she recycled. It's as if she had billions of ideas but not enough paper. So she used whatever she could find!

Here she writes on the flap.

And here, the inside part of the envelope.

The preface of the book mentions: "Written with the full powers of her late, most radical period, these envelope poems seem intensely alive and charged with a special poignancy -- addressed to no one and everyone at once. They remind us of the contingency, transience, vulnerability, and hope embodied in all our messages."

The pages of the book show the actual envelope poems and beside each, a more legible presentation of the poem. Here are a few examples: 

Through what transports of Patience/I reached the stolid Bliss/
To breathe my Blank without thee/Attest me this and this --/
By that bleak Exultation/I won as near as this/Thy privilege of dying/
Abbreviate me this/Remit me this and this

'Twas later when the summer went/Than when the Cricket came -/
And yet we knew that gentle Clock/Meant nought but Going Home -/
'Twas sooner when the Cricket went/Than when the Winter came/
Yet that pathetic Pendulum/Keeps Esoteric Time

On that specific pillow/Our projects tilt away -/The Nights' Tremendous Marrow/
And whether Sleep will stay/Or usher us - a Stranger To Situations New/
The effort to comprise it/Is all the Soul can do/
Exhibition - Comprehension of Comprising

I found some envelopes in my recycling bin and I tried my hand at writing poetry: 




You can see a theme of frustration: about the passing of time, about the chaos in the world, about the cold...I just had to get my feelings out. My poems are not at par with Miss Dickinson's but at least we share a love for repurposing envelopes. 

I plan to practice poetry writing on more envelopes and other paper scraps then add these to my art journal.

Here is another idea I learned from Twitter:

A lady tweeted that she cut the corner of an old envelope and turned it into a bookmark!

I love this blah to TADA! idea. It costs nothing and fits perfectly on any kind of page.

This one is from the blog archives:

Valentines Day crafts, crafty recycling, blah to TADA!, upcycle old bill envelopes, stationery
Make tiny envelopes out of old bill envelopes (use the plaid/printed side). You can find the tutorial here.  

Also, I used old bill envelopes as a background for stamping:

Bullet Journal accessories, personalizing a bullet journal, craft stamps and ink pad, labels
I made these labels for my bullet journal. 

And finally, why not use an old envelope to make more envelopes:

Open up an envelope you no longer need.

DIY envelopes, handmade stationery, uses for old boxes
Trace the shape onto cardboard (I repurposed an empty cookie box...TADA!) and cut around it. Now we have a template for an envelope.

scrapbook paper, handmade stationery, DIY envelopes
Use it to trace around all kinds of paper like gift wrap, scrapbook paper, magazine pages, notebook paper, or old calendars. 

scrapbook paper, handmade stationery, DIY envelopes
Fold the envelope and glue the three sides together. All we need are matching notecards and we've made our own stationery...TADA!

Look at that! We've extended the life of envelopes originally destined for the trash.

29 April 2019

The New York Botanical Garden

For several years now, a trip to the New York Botanical Garden has been a personal rite of spring.  It must be the anticipation of warmer weather and witnessing the miracle of growth.

Here are the flowering plants that I most look forward to:

Cherry Blossoms 

Magnolia Trees 

Daffodils

A visit to the conservatory is also a must. It's picture perfect on the outside.

And there's lots to see inside and the temperature feels more tropical, allowing a condusive environment for these plants:




It's also where the annual Orchid Show takes place. Orchids from all over the world, in every size, shape, and color!









Being surrounded by these blooms have only inspired me to capture them in watercolor:

watercolor, watercolor flowers, art journal, travel journal, watercolor painting, how to paint orchids


watercolor, watercolor flowers, art journal, travel journal, watercolor painting, how to paint orchids
Here's wishing everyone a beautiful spring!