26 January 2015

Hand-Stamped Tags

Happy Monday friends! Today I'd like to share with you a cool craft tip that you can use for gift tags or labels for your handmade products.

All we need are an ink pad and a set of alphabet stamps.

Well, make that two or even three sets. Sometimes, you'll need two or more of the same vowel in one word. These alphabet stamps are very inexpensive anyway (less than $2 per set at the craft store). 

Using the alphabet stamps, spell out the words you need and secure them together with washi or masking tape.

Add some ink and press it on a paper tag or sticker label.

Instant tags that you can further customize with more stamps or your own handwriting. TADA!

19 January 2015

Colorful Hearts

I'm that type of girl who loves to receive birthday cards and I do love to send them out, too. While it's easy to run to the card section of the department store, I take that extra step of making the birthday cards myself.

Today, I'm turning this blank card from blah to TADA!

I'm using this heart-shaped cookie cutter to trace a pattern.

I'll play around with my favorite watercolor palette.

First, with my paintbrush, I apply a wash of water on the paper. Immediately, I add some color. I like how the pigment gradually spreads and how it bleeds into the color beside it.

This has some magical tie-dye effect.

Here are the designs I came up with. I positioned the heart differently on each card and used colors that each recipient would favor.  

And then, another layer with rubber stamps is in order.

I'll personalize it some more based on the friend who will receive it. 

Maybe this has inspired you to make your own greeting cards -- your own version of blah to TADA!

12 January 2015

Theft Time

It's a brand new year and I was wondering if you make any resolutions? I don't since keeping them is quite the challenge. But I do like to make lists like new crafts to learn, books to read, recipes to try. 

Here's a book that I'm reading. It's quick to finish, quite insightful, grabs you with the title, and encourages you to steal ideas.

I took a calligraphy class late last year and the only way to get better is to practice. Here are some quotes in the book that jumped up at me:


Did some of these words resonate with you? Whatever art form you are pursuing, I hope you find ways to improve it this year (yes, even if you have to steal). 

Have a great week, everyone!

05 January 2015

A Fresh Start

How are you feeling now that 2015 has just begun? There's a saying, "The days are long, the years are short" and I can only agree. While I remember everything about 2014, it seems to have whizzed by so quickly!

Here is my 2015 planner. I still write everything down. I'm old school like that. I'm filling it with appointments, to do lists, blog posts, and article ideas. I'm also jotting down daily highlights I call, "This Made My Day" and "The 5 Things I'm thankful for Today". I'll begin and end each day with this journal of sorts.

Here is a quote I found on Pinterest. I like it a lot. I hope you like it, too.

May you have a beautiful and blessed 2015!

01 January 2015

Happy New Year!

I'm excited to welcome 2015. May this be the year we turn all our blahs into TADAs!

29 December 2014

A Year End Reflection

One of my favorite places in New York City is Main Street Park. It's a small patch of green right below the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn.

Here's the reason why I love it:

It has an expansive view of lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Jane's Carousel. There's this majestic view of the concrete jungle yet you are so close to the water and surrounded by many trees.  

I only go twice or thrice a year, always in the summer. It's a perfect spot during sunset when natural light makes the buildings glow. When darkness hits, lights from buildings, apartments, the surrounding bridges, and boats on the river reveal another side of the city.  

I always seek gratitude whenever I'm here. 

It's also the muse for a yearly tradition: watercolor practice.

It started in 2012. This was a random sketch in my visual journal. It was colorful, haphazard, full of detail.

In 2013, this is what my skyline looked like. I had just taken watercolor classes where I learned techniques to refine my style.

I liked how you can tell a story with different shades of a single color.

This year, I visited again. This was made quickly, with washes of color layered on top of each other.

And those tiny dots?

It's glitter built into the paint! NYC is a city that always sparkles, doesn't it?

I take comfort in the fact that this city, this bridge, this view will always be there. It will always welcome me back and allow me to stay as long as I want. 

It will be the same, but like my paintings, it will be different each year.  

As another year ends, I'm already looking forward to the summer and the next version of the same painting. 

In a few days, as we begin a new year, I wish to simplify. To pare down to the essentials. But also to make better versions of what already exists.

And I wish the same for you.

25 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

I wish that you are surrounded by family and friends, gratitude in your heart, and gifts that are most meaningful to you.

Here's to the holidays! Cheers everyone!