30 November 2015

Advent Calendar Ideas

I hope all of you had a nice Thanksgiving weekend. Now, Chirstmas is upon us.

A friend of mine and I were talking about advent calendars and how she wanted to make one for her two year old.

And that's all I've been thinking about. Advent calendars.

The idea is to make a countdown to Christmas day. It's exciting because a small gift is opened each day (day 1 to day 24). But I do like the idea of an activity that the whole family can enjoy, or performing a random act of kindness, or reading a new book leading up to Christmas.

Here are a few cool ideas:

via everyday miracles
Using matchboxes

via lapin blu
Gifts hanging from an embroidery ring (or wreath)

via gotlandsliv
Lunch bags

via oh happy day
Trees and tiny boxes

via la petite cuisine
Using a tree branch

via the fox and star
Origami paper and washi tape

via hometalk
A shoe organizer

via parents
A baking pan and colorful paper

I hope you're feeling inspired to make your own using everyday materials that turn blah to TADA!

23 November 2015

Thanksgiving Thoughts

This Thursday, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. I guess like Christmas, it can get muddled with all the dinner preparations and shopping deals. 

Before things got busy, I took time over the weekend to take a walk in Central Park and think about everything I'm thankful for, expecially for good health and new opportunities.
I also wrote a few thank you notes to some dear friends.

And later this week, I'll bake some pie.

I hope we don't forget that it's about togetherness and being grateful for all that we have.

Have a good week, everyone!

16 November 2015

Canstruction 2015

Hi there! Over the weekend, I went to CANSTRUCTION. It's a design competition and exhibition featuring teams of architects, engineers, and contractors who build structures made entirely out of cans of food. These are displayed in a public place (Brookfield Place in New York City) and are later donated to City Harvest.

Here are some of my favorites:

"Ask the Magic 8 Ball"

"The Butterfly Effect"

Another angle of "The Butterfly Effect"; it's based on the idea that a single butterfly flappings it's wings on one side of the globe can start a hurricane on the other.

"Scare Hunger Away" (Ghosts are imaginary, hunger is real)

"Spanning the Hungry Rapids" 
(Together, we can make hunger water under the bridge)

"What's up, Doc?"

"BatCAN: A signal to end hunger"

"Tony the Turtle Knocks-out Hunger"

"Time to Derail Hunger" (The clock at Grand Central Station)

"Leave Hunger in a Fog"

"Pipe Down Hunger" (featuring Yoshi from Super Mario Brothers)

"Yoshi's Soup'er Mission" (another one featuring Yoshi)

"Feeding Our Future"

"Presidential Candidates: Donald Trump"

"Presidential Candidates: Kanye West"

"To Canfinity and Beyond"

"To Canfinity and Beyond" (detail)

"Taking a Byte out of NYC Hunger"

Cans for a good cause? I think it's blah to TADA!

09 November 2015

Just Some Handmade Gifts

How was everyone's weekend? I got some handmade gifts from a dear friend at work:

My friend's nickname for me is "Claire Bear" that's why it's extra meaningful that she gave me this little sweetheart teddy bear. His arms are stretched out, ready for an embrace. 

She also gave me a hat, a scarf, and hand warmers in two of my favorite colors: black and Tiffany blue. They are perfect for the coming winter. 

Her lovely Mom made all of these. I wish I could knit like her. You know that I'm a frustrated knitter

Handmade gifts...I think they are TADA!

02 November 2015

Edible Roses

Wow, November has arrived. 2015 is just flying by so quickly, don't you think?

Today's inspiration are these delicate pink roses. I'm going to make my own version using gumpaste.

I take a fist full of gumpaste and knead it. Then I add some gel food color and knead it some more until the gumpaste is saturated with color. Then I roll out the gumpaste with a rolling pin.
I cut out small circles using a cookie cutter.

Then I thin out the circle with a bone tool and cell pad. Roll the bone tool around the circle so it thins out and resembles a petal.

Moving the bone tool around the center slowly forms the gumpaste into a bowl-shape. I use this piece to cover a small styrofoam ball. I use egg whites as glue.

I keep making more petals out of the circles I cut out. (Keep the gumpaste wrapped in plastic wrap when not in use to avoid it from drying out). I attach each petal on the styrofoam ball with more egg white.

Slowly form the petals to resemble a rose. You can go tighter (still a bud) or looser (full bloom). I made this rose to look soft, droopy, and with some mild imperfections. 

This is ready to go on a cake. TADA!