29 November 2013

Group Effort

I hope you all had a delightful Thanksgiving packed with funny stories and full bellies!

Let me conclude my week with a final "gratitude collage" that I put together with an autumn leaf, watercolor, and a little imagination.

I call this, "Hooray Team!" because I am thankful for collaboration, cooperation, and teamwork. I think it's TADA! when everyone gets along and a project turns out superbly because of collected efforts.

And with that, I wish you all a fantastic {shopping} weekend!

28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving in the U.S. today! 

I wish you and all you love a very, very Happy Thanksgiving!

27 November 2013


I have a little project called "Gratitude Collage" that I'm doing all this week. 

I figured it's a good way to preserve the beauty of fall and to count my blessings.

I just gathered some leaves, pressed them in between scrap paper and books to flatten them. Then I glued them on paper, then enhanced with watercolor. Here's what I made today:

"Girls in Fancy Dresses" is what I've named this collage. 

These are what I'm thankful for: 
  • Friends that I can always lean on, the ones who are supportive, understanding, and even if we haven't spoken in a while, we'll always pick up when we left off
  • Occasions to get primped and pretty
  • For that little extra cash for a dress or shoes, because many times, "I have nothing to wear!"  
  • Reasons to celebrate
  • Lovely memories of parties past

26 November 2013

A Gratitude Collage

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

I'm basking in the beauty of Autumn and sharing pictures from a few trips around the neighborhood and out of town.

While it's blah that the trees are shedding their leaves, I think it's TADA! that vibrant carpets are formed on the ground.  I decided to pick some of these leaves for a project I call "Gratitude Collage".  

You see, it's Thanksgiving here in the U.S. this Thursday, and part of tradition is to look back and think of all the things we're grateful for. All this week, I'm incorporating leaves with watercolor to do just that.

This collage is called "Warm and Fuzzy". Can you spot the leaves? If you guessed "hat", "scarf" and "mittens", you're right!

Little things like these make a brutally cold day more manageable, keep me from getting sick, and they add some TADA! to a rather blah winter wardrobe.

How about you, what are you thankful for?

25 November 2013

Autumn Splendor

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a fun weekend.

I'm feeling a little wistful. November is coming to an end. And so is 2013. But there is a little thrill creeping in now that the holidays are on their way. 

So today, just photos showcasing the beauty of Autumn. A little quiet time before the rush begins...

I collected a few leaves from my autumn walks. Tomorrow, I'll show you how I we can turn them from blah to TADA!

22 November 2013

Our Last Photo Together

"Art is healing."

My classmate in watercolor class said that one day. And in the past weeks, I've proven it to be true. 

If you've been reading my posts, I've shared that I lost someone dear to me -- my Auntie Edith. I was very close to her and she was one of the women I really looked up to.

Arts and crafts has held my hand through the good days and more so, the more challenging times of my life...as a means of expression, a routine to turn to, an homage to memories. 

I painted this farewell gift for my Auntie Edith. She knew I was taking up watercolor and was immensely supportive.

In it, she's happy and peaceful on a plush chaise lounge. We, her nephews and nieces, surround her. She didn't marry or have children but she was a second mother to all of us.

It's a picture I wish we had all taken when she was still around.

But instead of regrets, I'll take it as a reminder to cherish the everyday. And to capture as many of them in pictures.  

Now that the holidays are approaching, you might want to do the same with all you hold dear.

Have a restful weekend, everyone!

21 November 2013

A Sweet Angel

All this week I've been celebrating the life of my mom's sister, Auntie Edith, who received her angel wings in October. Honoring her was the TADA! thing to do, and all the crafting has helped me through the sadness.

My Auntie Edith loved Christmas. She had the loveliest tree in all the neighborhood. She gave the most thoughtful presents and they were all wrapped with creativity and care. 

Today I'll be making an ornament, a new one to add to our tree. The materials are things I found in my craft stash: a clothespin, lace, strung sequins, gems and white felt. Hot glue or needle and thread are the other things we'll need.

The clothespin acts as the body. The lace as the dress. The sequins as the halo.

Wings made out of felt.

Embellish with more sequins and gems.

Add a face using a fine tip marker.

A sweet angel, as sweet as my Auntie Edith. TADA!

20 November 2013

The Glass Box

To be consistently happy, everyone should have a box.

I know, that sounded totally weird so let's backtrack a bit. 

Last year, I wrote this post about creating a "Happiness Box" where, over time, you fill a box with mundane objects that you associate happy memories with. When you're feeling low, rummaging through the box should summon good times, thus helping to brighten your mood.

The past weeks have been blah for me. 

I lost my Auntie Edith, one of my favorite people in the world. I will never have those afternoon chats with her. She won't be there to help me out when I have a design dilemma {she was an interior designer, artist, writer and crafter}. Who would share my excitement over the Christmas windows on 5th Avenue? 

And so I'm making myself a box. It's inspired by the many shadow boxes she used to make. Maybe I'll write about them here one day.

I found this beautiful box at Anthropologie. It's a jewelry box made in India.

The glass and mirrored panels make it a perfect storage and display case. Here's how I turned it from blah to TADA!:

I filled it with treasures that my Auntie Edith gave me. I lined the bottoms of the box with items that she had touched {ex. a prayer card} or had her signature {photocopies of letters she had written me}.

Here's what I put inside:

An intricate watch with a black leather strap that she owned and passed on to me. I like the use of the Greek Key pattern, a symbol of infinity. Pardon the pun, but truly, with the people we love, time is gold.

This section of the box has a spiritual theme. Like many women in our family, she had a special connection to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Every year on her birthday {May 8}, we would go to Church, all dressed in white, and offer flowers to Mother Mary. After that, we would celebrate Auntie Edith's new year with a birthday feast. 

The medal, prayer card and silver cross necklace were all from her. She hoped these would bring me protection.

She loved jewelry and she also loved giving them away. In general, I prefer small, dainty pieces. Except when it comes to cocktail rings. And she knew I liked them. Here are the ones she gleefully gave to me: 

Aren't they TADA!?

And as a final touch, I added this locket with her portrait.

Auntie Edith and me. This is OUR box. A reminder of our special relationship and the little pleasures that we shared.

19 November 2013

Take Away the Worries

"Look for these worry dolls." That was my Auntie Edith's last request from me.

My dear Auntie Edith, my mom's sister, was already at the hospital. Her spirits remained high but she was feeling much discomfort. Seeking different methods to ease what clouded her physically, emotionally and mentally. No harm in trying. 

In this tiny box are tiny people.

They are called Guatemalan Worry Dolls.

They can be purchased individually or as a group {doesn't this look like a family?}.

These are traditionally given to children. Legend has it that the dolls can take away their worries: "If you have a problem, then share it with a worry doll. Before going to bed, tell one worry to each doll, then place them beneath your pillow. While you sleep, the dolls will take your worries away."

I think these are adorable. They are local, handmade, and tell a cultural story. Just the kind of thing my Auntie Edith valued.

She is now in the great beyond. I'm quite sure she is peaceful and free from all worries.

I couldn't help getting a few more worry dolls that I'll hand to those near and dear to my Auntie Edith. She was just the kind of person to give away little gifts like these. 

I wish you a worry-free day today!

18 November 2013

Crafting Away the Sadness

Last October 14, I lost someone I loved very dearly.

Auntie Edith was my mother's older sister. I was particularly close to her because she was the "cool aunt" -- very approachable, always there when you needed her. 

When I was a child, she was a fairy godmother who gave me the Barbie Doll for my birthday or a Swatch watch for Christmas. She always had presents for me and my brothers whenever she traveled. She was very thoughtful like that.

As I grew up, she was a big influence in my life. She was an interior designer by profession, always seeking and creating beauty. She was also very crafty -- decorating Christmas trees that would land in pages of magazines, wrapping the prettiest presents, and coming up with beautiful table settings. 

I recall all the beauty she brought to life and it pains me that I will no longer see any more of it. 


To help me through the sadness, I am going to craft.

When my husband and I got married, my Auntie Edith helped us create an "autumn wedding". Here is one of our tablescapes. If you look closer, you might notice the napkin rings? These were lovingly made by Auntie Edith {one for each guest...and we had quite a number of guests!}. They are made of cardboard {collected by my father}, ribbons, leaves and berries. They added a festive touch and our guests got to take them home.

Today, I'll make some of these napkin rings. I think they'll be perfect for the coming holidays. Here is what we'll need: an empty paper towel roll, raffia, dried leaves, a pair of scissors and a glue gun.

Trim the paper towel rolls into smaller rings {about 1 1/2 inches tall}.

Cover each cardboard ring with raffia. You may use twine, yarn or ribbon -- whatever you have on hand. Secure the ends with hot glue.

Here are the rings all wrapped up. Now, it's time to embellish with leaves {just trim the stems and attach with hot glue}:

These would be a nice addition to a Thanksgiving table: 

Blah paper towel rolls are now TADA! napkin rings! A tribute to my Auntie Edith and all the lovely meals we've had together.