31 July 2017

The 100 Day Project: Some Reflections

For the past two weeks, I've been talking about the #100DayProject. I only heard about it a few days before it was to start. My instagram feed (of mostly creatives) was flooded with photos and declarations that they were participating. It was like they were in on a secret. So I investigated. And I joined on a whim. This write-up sealed the deal:

It's a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal. For the 100-Day Project, it's not about fetishizing finished products—it's about the process.

The 100 Day Project has been one of the highlights of my year so far. Here are the reasons why:

My Mom passed away early this year. I've been feeling lost but I have been forcing myself not to fall into a hole of depression. Thus I turned to my anchor: crafting. It gave me something to look forward to, a distraction for loneliness.

Many times, tears flowed while I crafted especially when I made something nostalgic like painting my favorite dresses when I was a child. Or drawing the pairs of shoes I wore to school because these were tied to memories with Mom. I went back to the books my Mom read to me like "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" which resulted in my sewing of three bears: 

It was heartbreaking and then therepeutic. It made me feel connected to my Mom since we did a lot of crafts together.

The great Carrie Fisher once said, "Take your broken heart, make it into art." 

Each of us has a benchmark, a way in which we measure that this day was a "good day". For me, it's when I made with my hands and produced something that I was proud of. And the #100DayProject encouraged just that.

We live in a time where self-expression can take on many forms. Isn't that exciting? My preferred methods: "crafts" and "confections". There are many new crafts that I tried like making a mandala, working with polymer clay, and tyring out bounce calligraphy. And the same is true with baking and making desserts -- there are so many recipes and techniques to try and eventually master.

By getting out of our comfort zone, we are rewarded with breakthroughs and bravery.    

I finished the #100DayProject and I did it everyday...TADA!

There were days I was tired and busy. There were days I had to give up my crafting space because of houseguests. And there were days when my mind drew a blank saying, "Yikes! What am I making today?" There could have been many excuses not to go on, but I still did.

Half-way through the project, our cheerleaders and project organizers Elle and Lindsay sent this message: "I am creating at my own pace. I will finish my #100DayProject in my own time. I trust myself."

On Day 100, Elle posted this photo:

My favorite line: "You shared your work openly and vulnerably, you took risks."

And now that the #100DayProject has ended, here's what I'll do:

"So keep showing up. Keep creating. What you make matters."

24 July 2017

Creative Everyday

In a photo story last week, I showcased the crafts and confections I made for The 100 Day Project. I was able to craft every single day for 100 days. Something I enjoyed but it was quite the commitment! I've written down some thoughts on how I did it. Can I share them with you?

Start with a list. I like lists because they always keep me organized and on track. I make a "To Do" list everyday, I have a "Grocery List", a "Craft Store List", a list of books to read, a list of new recipes to try, and so on. I just love the satisfaction of crossing off the items on my list with a red pen.   

Before embarking on "The 100 Project", I made a list of "easy crafts" and "crafts to try". The "easy crafts" took 10 to 15 minutes of my day and were very familiar. The "crafts to try" required more time to understand instructions, room for hits and misses, and to develop my own style. This includes baking because of the prep time involved.

This combination of "easy" and "intermediate/advance" crafts kept me on my toes. For busy days and days that I just wasn't in the mood to create, I could draw or make a small watercolor painting. For days when I had more time, I was ready to experiment. Whether the results were successful or not so, I still felt a sense of accomplishment because I tried.  

Have your tools handy. It's easier to make stuff when you have the tools for it. If I want to try a new recipe, I know that my pantry has to be stocked with flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. If I want to build a scrapbook, paper, glue, stickers, and photos should be within reach. 

I find that a "project pouch" is useful whether for home or travel. It's just a small bag filled with basic supplies for your craft of choice (ex. crochet hook, yarn, a pair of scissors; or brushes, a sketchbook and paint). I can take it with me anywhere, craft when there's some free time, and I won't have an excuse not to craft.    

Create a dedicated craft space. I wish I had a craftroom or a she shed but apartment living has its limits. I've made do with a table that doubles as a craft table and where I do the photography for this blog. It's usually piled with supplies and current projects, but I always gravitate towards it. It's where my imagination comes alive. It's my happy place.

I hope this has inspired you to make crafting part of your everyday. TADA!

18 July 2017

The 100 Day Project Round-up Part Two

Welcome back! I just completed "The 100 Day Project", an exercise in creativity, commitment, and discipline. I chose the project, "100 Days of Crafts and Confections" that I documented on Instagram.

Yesterday, I showed you what I made for Weeks 1 to 10. Here's what I did for Days 51 to 100:

Week 11 (May 24 to 28): This week, I drew inspiration from other artists participating in the 100 Day Challenge. I used their projects as prompts. These are my versions of "100 Days of Shoes", "100 Days of Hands", "100 Days of Blue", "100 Days of Shopping Lists", and "100 Days of Cardboard Collage"

Week 12 (May 29 to June 2): Another experiment with pyrography/wood burning, gift wrapping using my wood-burned tag, a watercolor for National Doughnut Day, a pressed flower pendant, and a "Mama Bear" made out of felt

Week 13 (June 3 to 7): A sketch to signal the arrival of peonies, a watercolor inspired by an evening at the ballet, origami hearts (which I use as bookmarks), my first attempt at mandala making, and a flower made out of giftwrap/pink tissue

Week 14 (June 8 to 12): I baked a batch of popovers with a side of strawberry cream cheese, "Throwback Thursday" was a sketch of old school gadgets, a brush calligraphy quote, a sketch of my buddies from childhood dance class, and giving life to an old matchbox (it's now a greeting card!)

Week 15 (June 13 to 17): I made chocolate sables using a piggy-shaped cookie cutter, another watercolor inspired by nature, a mermaid sketch using a ballpen and a supermarket flyer, ribbon remnants turned into page flags, and adding color to the cover of a notebook

Week 16 (June 18 to 22): A portrait sketch using my non-dominant hand, a coloring postcard, a watercolor painting of kiwis, pressed flowers on gift tags, and "Papa Bear" made from felt

Week 17 (June 23 to 27): I made my own tassel earrings, gift tags with pompom noses on clown drawings, banana dulce de leche pies, a winged-creatures collage, and a watercolor of my favorite dresses when I was little

Week 18 (June 28 to July 2): Mini greeting cards made from scrapbook paper and flower stamps, white chocolate bonbons, flower stamps and watercolor, a hydrangea sketch (announcing summer's arrival), and a coloring page that reminds me of a magic carpet

Week 19 (July 3 to 7): A watercolor of mums inspired by a trip to the New York Botanical Gardens; I made my own vanilla extract using this recipeI packaged it in a recycled bottle, decorated it with baker's twine and a hand-written label; I made a farmer's bounty sketch, and practiced my brush calligraphy (the caption to this photo is: "If Plan A didn't work, the alphabet has 25 more letters")

Week 20 (July 8 to 12):  A brown paper package tied up with string (and embellished with stickers), practicing my brush calligraphy with the quote, "Mistakes are proof that we a trying", Baby Bear to complete the "The Three Bears", a collage made by painting over washi tape and peeling these off when the paint was dry, and a sprinkles cake to celebrate Day 100...TADA!

For everyone who participated in #the100DayProject, congratulations! And to everyone who joined me everyday, thank you! Your comments and "likes" gave me fuel to finish.

I hope this inspires eveyone to keep making things.

17 July 2017

The 100 Day Project Round-up Part One

Can I just say "Whew" and "Wow" at the same time? I just completed "The 100 Day Project"! It's both a relief and a proud moment.

The 100 Day Project is a free, yearly global art project that anyone can participate in. It had participants choose an action and do it for 100 days like "100 Days of Shoes" or "100 Days of Flowers". The other rule was to document it on Instagram with the tag #the100dayproject and your chosen hashtag (ex. #100days of shoes). 

I chose to do "100 Days of Crafts and Confections". Here is a recap of the projects I completed:

Week 1 (April 4 - 9): Blackout poetry, bounce calligraphy, earring making, baking a chocolate cake, a watercolor inspired by the orchid show

Week 2 (April 10 - 14): An entry in my travel journal, a pompom zipper pull, a bookmark made from Washi tape, blackout poetry, an Easter greeting card
Week  3 (April 15 - 19): Playing with sun prints, a bunny ear headband, ribbon rose hair clips, updating an old necklace with a tassel, a spring-inspired painting

Week 4 (April 20 - 24): My take on mangoes with sticky rice (my favorite Thai dessert), homemade macarons with pistachio ice cream, mini pain au chocolat, gift tags made with white pen on black sticker paper, pressing flowers

Week 5 (April 25 - 29): A leather tassel, a pair of earrings, art inspired by cherry blossoms

Week 6 (April 30 - May 4): Blackout poetry, a paper airplane using an old map, bookplates, a vanilla pound cake using my newly-acquired loaf pan, an entry in my travel journal

Week 7 (May 5 - 9): a pendant made from a pressed flower, lemon poppyseed bread, watercolor flowers, and a trinket tray made from ovenbake clay

Week 8 (May 10 - 14): more bounce calligraphy, experiments with wood burning tools and beechwood tags, a greeting card, brownies from Dorie Greenspan's "Dorie's Cookies" book, a page from a coloring book 

Week 9 (May 15 - 19): a watercolor inspired by the irises growing outdoors, blackout poetry, handmade silver earrings, carving a stamp, inking my stamp on stationery

Week 10 (May 20 - 24): blackout poetry, papercutting, a coloring session (using illustrations on a paperbag), folding paper boats from old bill envelopes, turning a Metrocard subway/bus pass into a notebook (just add scrap paper!)...TADA!

Tomorrow, I'll share what I did for Weeks 11-20. See ya!

10 July 2017

A Polymer Clay Project

Hi guys! Have you crafted with oven-bake clay? 

I tried it for the first time. It was quite exciting!

Except for baking time and temperature, the package didn't really give instructions on how to use it.

 I kneaded the clay to soften it and leveled it out with a rolling pin. 

I used this leaf-shaped cutter/punch that's handy for cookies and pies. 

I transfered the cutouts in a mini muffin pan to achieve a bowl-shape. To avoid the clay from sticking, I put a little cornstarch in the grooves of the pan (which, after baking, I realized you don't really need).

I put the muffin tin inside a pre-heated oven (275 degrees Fahrenheit) and baked for 22 minutes (the length of time depends on the item's thickness).  

After letting the leaves cool, I painted them with watercolor. This kind of paint doesn't adhere well but this was the look I was envisioning -- uneven and streaky (like pottery baked in a kiln).

If you want a solid color, acrylic paint maybe a better option or use colored clay. 

I allowed the paint to dry and here's how I used my polymer clay leaves: 

As a chopstick rest for an Asian-themed dinner. TADA!

It can also function as a paintbrush or pen rest. Double TADA!

03 July 2017

Let Your Hat Do the Talking

Sunshine and time outdoors are two things I absolutely love. And many times, I like to wear a hat for both protection and fashion.

Maybe you've seen this hat in different versions: 

via Pinterest

via Eugenia Kim

via Shopbop
Aren't they cute? They are quite pricey, but why buy when I can DIY?

All we need is a hat.

We also need pipe cleaners/crafting stems, needle and thread, and a pair of scissors.

After deciding what word or phrase to use, I spelled it out with the pipe cleaners/crafting stems. They are easy to bend and I cut them with a pair of wire cutters.

Attach these in place with needle and thread.

It wasn't so hard to make.

This hat is ready for a vacation! TADA! and aloha!