30 October 2017

Halloween Treats

What are you guys up to this Halloween?

halloween cake pops, halloween treats
I made a few cake pops! Inside, they're devil food's cake -- is there a more evil flavor fit for Halloween?

halloween cake pops, halloween treats, skull cake toppers
Then I coated them with white chocolate, very imperfect, to mimic a skull.

Then I decorated the cake pops with these paper toppers. TADA!

May you all have a fun Halloween!

26 October 2017

How To: Embroidered Shoes

Hello there! I've got a bonus post for you this week.

It begins with a pair of shoes:

TOMS diy embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes
I've had these for at least 7 years. They're easy to slip on and off, goes with most items in my wardrobe, and are very comfortable. Plus the company's advocacy where "for every purchase, a new  pair of shoes will be given to a person in need" is truly inspiring.

TOMS diy embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes
I wore it too often that a hole eventually developed.

And then I stopped wearing them. I didn't want the hole to get bigger and I was afraid I would be mocked for my ripped shoes. It's not exactly as cool as wearing ripped jeans, right? 

I thought about how I could repair my pair. How could I turn this situation from blah to TADA!

TOMS diy embroidery \, hand embroidery on shoes
And so I drew on them.

TOMS diy embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes
And embroidered them.

TOMS diy embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes, floral embroidery on shoes
One shoe doesn't exactly mirror the other. But the same colors and flowers were used, allowing them to still look cohesive.

TOMS diy embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes, floral embroidery on shoes
The only challenges I had were: (1) too much handling of the shoe made the white pencil marks of the pattern disappear. My remedy was just to draw over. (2) Not being able to make tight knots to finish the stitch because I put the design towards the hard-to-reach toe area.

TOMS diy embroidery, floral embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes
Now, I am able to wear these again. The floral embroidery instantly gave them a second life...TADA!

Please let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by!

23 October 2017

Cats and Books

How are you today? I hope you are having a good day!

When shopping for new stuff, it's likely that they come with these tags. I can't bear to throw them away. I think they deserve a fair shot at a second life.

Armed with cat-print Washi tape, a sheet of assorted cats, a pair of scissors, and some glue, I'll transform the tags from blah to TADA! 

Here's one that I made for my "100 Day Project". It's a collage using pages from an old book and rubber stamps.

The washi tape and cat cutouts disguise the brands on these tags:

I like to use them as bookmarks for the stack on my bedside dresser.  TADA!

16 October 2017

A Tiny Trinket Tray

Hi there! I thought I'd share another craft which was part of my "100 Day Project."

It's a trinket tray made of polymer clay.

Here's how I made it:
  • Step 1: Slightly knead the polymer clay and with a rolling pin, roll it out.
  • Step 2: Cut out your desired shape using cookie cutter.
  • Step 3: Place the clay in the cup of a small muffin tin (this gives the clay a bowl-shape) and bake for around 20 minutes in a 275 degree Fahrenheit oven. 
  • Step 4: Make sure the clay is hard (not dough-like) before taking it out of the oven. Allow to cool for several minutes.

I decorated the tray with a felt-tipped marker. 

I love to use it for small pieces of jewelry. TADA!

09 October 2017

A Trip to Maine

Over the summer, I treated myself to a creative retreat. The purpose was a break from routine and to come out refreshed with new ideas.

And because I've never been, I decided to go to Portland, Maine.

I rented a well-appointed cottage on a peaceful street.

There was a lot of quiet time to brainstorm, write, and paint. I found this bowl in the owner's cupboard and the indigo paint, I bought at the Art Mart

Here's a page from my travel journal. I tried to capture a day on the ocean where I got to see several lighthouses...

Including the Portland Head Light (the oldest light house).

A calm day on Casco Bay.

The view from the Eastern Promenade.

Maine is known for their lobsters. These are lobster traps, just a typical scene.

I had to indulge in fresh lobster rolls at the Portland Lobster Company.

I always make time to visit the vibrant farmer's markets.

Maine is also known for their blueberries.

 The Stonewall Kitchen was born in Maine.

To satisfy my sweet tooth, I stopped by a few bakeries like and Rosemont Market and Bakery, Tandem Coffee and Bakery, and Standard Baking Company.

As with other New England cities like Boston, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, I also discovered that Maine is teeming with makers and artists.

An afternoon at the museum (with an impressive museum shop).

My first time to attend a poetry reading! The power of the spoken word in the beautiful Longfellow Garden.  

Summer nights in Congress Square Park means music and dancing.

Sea Bags are totes made from old sails...TADA!

Chart makes jewelry and keyfobs made from old maps...TADA!

Greeting cards and postcards made by Maine artists!

Reading recommendations at Longfellow Books

Crafty kits at Circa Home and Vintage.

Lots of possibilities at the Knit Wit yarn store.

Vintage finds and local crafts at these shops: Pinecone and Chickadee, Blanche and Mimi, Folly 101, and The Merchant Co. 

Antique treasures at Portland Flea for All. I loved all these independent shops!

Here is a print of a mermaid with Allagash beer in one hand (it's a city of breweries) and a doughnut on the other (they're also known for their potato doughnuts)...a perfect souvenir from a very memorable trip.  I've already framed this and added it to our gallery wall at home...TADA!  

03 October 2017

Hygge at Home

I'm happy that you came over!

Yesterday, I waxed poetic about a Nordic concept called HYGGE.

Hygge is being cozy, feeling safe, and taking pleasure in the simple things in life. And in this hectic and chaotic world we live in, who doesn't want that?

I've fallen in love with HYGGE and here's how I've added it to my life:

Homes are the HYGGE headquarters. So I made myself a hyggerkrog or "a place in the room where you come to snuggle up with a blanket, with a book and a cup of tea."

Mine is a little corner with a sleek reading light, a side table, a comfortable chair that my husband and I bought when we were newly married, and a recently purchased ottoman. I "feathered the nest" with pillows and throws in neutral colors. 

This is where I start my day with meditation and prayer. At night, I love to sit here and read with only the reading light and a collection of candles:

It's said that, "there is no faster way to get HYGGE than to light a few candles". When they're lit, the glow and faint floral scent eases me into relaxation.

Being in nature, like going on hikes, is truly HYGGE. Bringing nature indoors is another option.  

I like browsing flea markets and I've taken home some vintage finds like these records that I listen to every now and then. It's affirming that this hobby of mine is considered HYGGE: "One can find everything one needs to create a lovely home in a vintage store, and the fact that all the things there have a history makes them even more interesting and hyggelig."

This blue cup and saucer are also a vintage find! I found it at the Country Living Fair

Treating yourself with cakes, pastries, chocolate, and comfort food are also high on the HYGGE list.

I also have my favorite things close by like books, photos, old letters and handmade crafts.

Because, really, HYGGE is making the most out of the moment and all its pleasures.

In case you want to learn more about HYGGE, here are a few books that I would recommend:

See you next week!