24 May 2017

Pink Balloons

An act of terrorism taking young, innocent lives in Manchester. What has happened to this world?

In a vigil last night, pink balloons were released in memory of the victims. 
I am saddened by all this tragedy caused by hatred. Nobody wins.

22 May 2017

Blackout Poetry

I first learned about blackout poetry through Austin Kleon. It's taking a page with text (from a newspaper, magazine or an old book), finding words that stand out and blocking out all the remaining text with a black marker. The words that remain create a new story.

Here is my very first attempt:

"Rough Waters"
The blue waves of the ocean
A treacherous and unknown sea
I clung fast to this corner
I nearly drowned
All the water washing over me
The sun has helped to dry
And I feel better since

It's quite addicting, almost like those word hunt games. I'll share my process if you'd like to try your hand at it. 

Start with an old book. I found this at a thrift shop and I bought it for the purpose of crafting. 

The other supplies I use are binder clips to hold the book open, a pencil, an eraser, and a black marker.

I randomly choose a page and scan for words that, when linked together, make sense.

I underline these words with a pencil.

Then "blackout" all the other sentences with the marker.

Then I erase all the pencil marks.

You are as brave as you are pretty, my dear
Glowing brightly
Of silver and gold

I always add a title and sometimes accent with watercolor. 

There are other ways to do the "blackout" where the poet becomes an artist, too. Look here:

"Keeping up Appearances"
Pleasing, lovely, magnificent
Precious, rare, curious, costly
Everything seemed without a spark of life

Never fear

It will be a dangerous undertaking
We ought to do it
We shall do it
It requires a lot of courage for me
But I am going

That's turning an old book from blah to TADA!

15 May 2017

A Purse with Pompoms

Today's craft is part of my #100DayProject. It's simple to do and shows you a few souvenirs from my travels.

This is a coin purse that I got from a solo trip in 2004 to the mountains of Banaue and Sagada in the Philippines. The handicrafts in this region include knits, woodwork, and woven products like bags and blankets. 

I liked this minimalist black and white pattern. But over time, it felt it needed a make-over.

I found some embellishements in the form of a tassel, pompoms, and beads. The beads are from a beach trip to the Dominican Republic. I had my hair braided and the lady secured the braids with these colorful beads. And of course I kept them thinking, "Maybe I can use them again someday". 

I strung everything together with a needle and thread.

It can be as long or as short as you would like.

Knot the end securely and attach the tail of the thread through a jumpring.

Attach the jump ring through the hole of the zipper with a pair of pliers.

And here it is -- my coin purse now has more color. TADA!

08 May 2017

Flowers for Mother's Day

Hi there guys! Thanks for stopping by.

Inspired by these cards I found at Anthropologie, I'm making a Mother's Day greeting.

 I did a little sketch and filled it in with watercolor.

I added some definition with colored pencils.

Then I trimmed off the white border.

Freshly-picked flowers in a mason jar!

I added a twine bow for textural detail.

After writing a message...

Tuck it into an envelope, ready for mom. TADA!

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful moms out there!

01 May 2017

Leave a Book, Take a Book

Have you been spring cleaning? Maybe you have some extra books that you've already outgrown and are ready to part with.

Here's a great idea: a community library where anyone can take a book as long as a book is donated in exchange.

It's inpired by The Free Little Library. Have you heard of them? I think it's so cool what they do.

Imagine everyone, especially children who don't have easy access to books, who can benefit from this. As the sign says, "Today a Reader, tomorrow a leader." TADA!

24 April 2017

How About Some Leather Crafts?

I haven't really worked with leather that much. But when I was looking for fabric in the garment district, there was a plastic bin at a store that I could not ignore.

It was filled with all kinds of leather scraps! From neutrals to metallic, even animal print. They were priced based on size and thickness. I just had to get a piece.

I settled for this tan pebble finish. I paid $3.00. I guess that's expensive for this little piece...but this is New York City. So if you're lucky to be working with leather products, always keep the remnants. 

Le Sud Tassel
via Cuyana
For today's blah to TADA! transformation, I'm going to make a tassel key chain. I've seen these in shops and thought to myself (like I do many times), "Why buy when I can DIY?"

These are what we'll need: a hot glue gun and glue sticks, a pair of scissors (or an X-acto knife and self-healing cutting mat), and a key ring (this came from an old keychain).

Cut yourself a piece of leather and even out the sides turning it into a rectangle (you can eyeball it or use a ruler and pencil).

Cut one long strip of leather that will become the handle. Cut it as long or as short as you want it. 

For the bigger piece of leather, cut fringes, making sure that the size of each fringe is uniform.

Insert the leather strip into the key ring and hot glue the ends together.

Attach the end of the leather strip to the top of the bigger piece of leather, also with hot glue.

Tightly roll the fringed piece of leather, adding a bead of hot glue every so often.

Secure the end with more hot glue.

An easy to make tassel key chain. TADA!

Use it for keys or as an embellishment for bags and purses.

Have a good week!

17 April 2017

Spring into Crafting

A new beginning.

That's the message of springtime. Vibrant green leaves, blue skies, lush floral yellows everywhere! Every year I witness it and I never get tired of it.

Spring is also a fun time to learn new things. Can I share with you what I've been up to?

I discovered Kremer Pigments through Instagram. It's a shop selling raw materials like dyes, solvents, and tools to make your own paint. Make my own paint? I never thought that was possible. I'm used to going to the art store to pick up what's readily available. But I can make my own paint?! 

I attended one of their workshops taught by Roger, the shop manager and an artist himself. We learned how water-based paints like acrylic and watercolor are made (essentially mixing pigments with a medium, putting these in a paint pan and letting them dry). I was fascinated with all the information from working safely, which materials to use, and that personal technique affects the outcome of the paint. I know there's so much more to learn but I was happy to dip my toes into it. 

This is Eric Ripert. I got to listen to him at an event launching a memoir he wrote entitled 32 Yolks. He's a very accomplished chef and here's a well-written article about him. I admire him because while he's at the top of his game, humility and kindness have not escaped him. It's always good to surround yourself with inspiring individuals, don't you think?  

This year, I will keep on crafting. It's one of my greatest passions. I have a long list of crafts I want to learn and I promise to feature them here on the blog. Have you seen these DIY kits from Brit + Co. in collaboration with Target?

Such cool projects (and this isn't a sponsored post)! There's something for the beginner or intermediate crafter. I'm still deciding which one I want to get. How about you?

And finally, while scrolling through my Instagram Feed, I was seeing the hastag #the100dayproject. The 100 Day project requires the participants to choose an action and do it for 100 days (from April 4 to July 12, 2017). It can be "painting", "hand lettering", or "encouragement". Anything you want. As long as you practice it everyday for 100 days and document your progress on Instagram with the tag #the100dayproject and your chosen hashtag (ex. #100days of painting). On day 101, you would've become a better person and a body of work to be proud of.

The past few months have left me tired. So tired that I stopped looking at the beauty of the everyday. The quote above, "Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." really hit me. 

And also because I'm up for a challenge, I'm taking part in it! 

My action is "100 Days of Crafts and Confections". My goal is to learn new crafts, cook and bake sweets that I've never tried making before, and when the opportunity surfaces, to learn from masters in these fields.  

Wish me luck!

10 April 2017

A Chocolate Bunny

Easter is coming right up and I thought I'd make something in the kitchen.

I bought this chocolate bunny mold sometime ago and thought maybe I'd play around with it.

I melted some chocolate using the double boiler method.

Once the chocolate was melted and smooth...

I poured it into the mold, filled in the little crevices, and tapped the mold on the table to get ride of any air pockets. Then I let the chocolate harden inside the fridge.

After an hour, it was time to unmold my bunny.

Did I tell you it's made of dark chocolate?

I think it's a perfect surprise for the adults because they deserve Easter treats, too. TADA!

Have a Happy Easter!