This blog was like a home. I’ve been away for a while. It’s been dif­fi­cult to return from a sea­son of loss­es, in which I’m still find­ing myself wan­der­ing. This is one of my repeat­ed attempts in find­ing myself. 

Every year Mike and I make Christ­mas cards. A tra­di­tion since we’ve been mar­ried a dozen years ago. This year we almost did­n’t make it, but we did final­ly, with just what we have. We thought we need­ed oth­er things, but real­ized, as we were going through the process, that we already have what we needed.

We had an idea to make block prints of a hedge­hog with mush­rooms grow­ing out of its back. Mike told me about this plush toy that he and his broth­er got from a mas­sive Kinder Egg when they were chil­dren one Christ­mas. Our nieces and nephews now have the hedge­hog. The chil­dren kind­ly share a photo: 

(The mush­rooms on this hedge­hog are green, blue and red.)

We thought about mak­ing a block print of the hedge­hog with lino blocks. I thought it would be too much work. I thought we could just use foam pieces from food trays. 

I cut shapes of the body and head of the hedge­hog from the foam tray with a basic util­i­ty knife. Mike had the bril­liant idea of tap­ing (with dou­ble-sided tape) the foam shape to the bot­tom of a glass con­tain­er in order to make prints. That way, I can see exact­ly where the shape was print­ing onto the paper, and have an almost per­fect reg­is­tra­tion (in print­mak­ing terms). 

This is the foam piece (head of the hedge­hog) taped to the bot­tom of the glass con­tain­er, and me brush­ing acrylic paint on it with a foam brush.

This is me press­ing it onto the card with the oth­er part of the hedge­hog already print­ed on it.

I hope this makes sense. But if it does­n’t, and you’d like to try a sim­i­lar thing, just leave me a mes­sage in the comments.

Here is the herd of hedgehogs…

May you too find joy and com­fort in both famil­iar and unex­pect­ed things around you this hol­i­day season.

Send­ing much love.

Merry Christmas!

This year Mike and I mar­bled paper using shav­ing cream and made Christ­mas cards with them. It was a lot of fun and I wish you can smell the refresh­ing scent from across the screen! :D 

Thank you so much for jour­ney­ing with me this year. Though my posts have been few and far in between since the fall, this blog has been with me since 2010 and is still a joy­ful anchor amidst var­i­ous busy and chaot­ic times in my life. Thank you for being a part of it by vis­it­ing, read­ing and shar­ing your thoughts too!

Wish­ing you a won­der­ful hol­i­day, with time to pause, rest, re-ener­gize, craft, eat good food, share lots of laughs with your loved ones, and craft some more :D

adventures in paper marbling

I vol­un­teered to make some book­marks for my sis­ter’s church fundrais­er. And as I was look­ing for ideas to cre­ate cool effects on paper, a friend asked me to sign a birth­day card she’s made for anoth­er friend, using a piece of paper that she mar­bled with shav­ing cream. I’ve seen this before but nev­er thought of try­ing it. Until now! 

So I dashed to the dol­lar store for the shav­ing cream and the gro­cery store for food colour­ing, and pulled out the largest bak­ing pan I had. I used a 140 lb. water­colour paper that I had on hand (cold press/smooth, as I read that toothy/textured paper does­n’t work well), and cut them into book­mark-size. I want­ed to stamps some words on it, so I used mask­ing tape as a resist, to tape off a sec­tion in the cen­tre. I had no idea whether the dye will bleed through. We’ll see.

The first dip was MAGICAL!

When I saw this on oth­er tuto­ri­als I used to think, how does the mar­bling not smear when you peel it off the shav­ing cream? But it does­n’t! I used a spat­u­la to scrape off the excess cream.

Here’s a bunch of them I made! :D


This was so much fun, and clean up was a breeze. Also, it smells refresh­ing. Per­fect for kids. Or adults who don’t like clean­ing up. Who likes clean­ing up any­way? So per­fect for every­one, most like­ly :D I fore­see mak­ing many more of these for oth­er projects!

Hap­py weekend!


new chapter

I was invit­ed to an altered book work­shop a while ago. It’s a great way to jour­nal. I altered a few more pages after I went to the workshop.

The above is a sec­tion that I man­aged to fin­ish in the work­shop, done by glu­ing many pages togeth­er in the end of the book, then cut­ting a win­dow through all the lay­ers, then glu­ing it down to the back cover.

I then tried to exper­i­ment with this tis­sue paper paint­ing method, but I think one needs to use spe­cial tis­sue paper that “bleeds”, which are not the ones from the dol­lar store. So any­way, I thought I’d paint an octo­pus instead. The Chi­nese char­ac­ters say “octo­pus of prose”.

So then on the next page I tried mak­ing a found poet­ry, and this was when I real­ized that this book (which I picked up many years ago from a “FREE!” bin at work because the cov­er was a very nice teal colour but I actu­al­ly have no idea what the book is about) is actu­al­ly set in Toron­to! It’s a bit hard to read in the pho­to so here’s the poem:


In the meantime,


on the dusty shoul­der of the Don Val­ley Park­way, feel­ing the cars swish by on their way to King and Bay.

This was a time of


made every­one nervous

limped along the gravel,

the one hum­bling period

No mat­ter where

remained a rich tourist

the Holy City

At night, it shimmered.

Then I worked on the cov­er. Weav­ing words and hand­made paper and the roars of an Alber­tosaurus (she’s from my Tyrrell Muse­um ticket).

The book form lends itself nat­u­ral­ly to mir­ror image print­ing. I thought this looked like a sea drag­on rising. 

I called this piece “Myceli­um Run­ning,” which is also a very cool title of a book about the unseen organ­isms that keep the bal­ance of the earth. Myceli­um is the veg­e­ta­tive part of a fun­gus. Not the roots, but rather the branch­es. And the mush­rooms are the fruits of the fun­gus. Myceli­um is vital in ecosys­tems for its role in decom­pos­ing plant mate­r­i­al, and it com­pris­es of some of the largest organ­isms in the world. 

This is called “minc­ing my words,” made after I roy­al­ly failed a job inter­view, and remem­ber­ing oth­er inter­views that did­n’t go as I hoped. With pieces of my hand­writ­ten notes from school and resume, and feel­ing like I was pre­tend­ing to be who I was not, going in cir­cles and nowhere. The weav­ing on the left and the X’s were a way of me say­ing “NO” to the whole thing. 

This is my favourite. It’s called “Revenge of the Upside-Down”. But we, we who are female, we who are racial­ized, we who are dif­fer­ent from the so-called norm, are not back­ing off. 

Close-up of the glit­ter and determination!

So, I thought it’d be fit­ting to post about this project today, and to end the post with this par­tic­u­lar image, as I’m tran­si­tion­ing from full-time front­line work to aca­d­e­m­ic work in the fall, start­ing a new chap­ter, wad­ing through uncer­tain­ties, chas­ing a dream. 

In the mean­while, I’ll have a sum­mer with less work and more time for craft and fun adven­tures :) Stay tuned for more projects and pic­tures! Thank you for jour­ney­ing with me, always.



tea runs in my veins

I got a new clear phone case and was for a long time look­ing for the per­fect decal to put on the phone. I want­ed either a pile of cats or one sim­ple black cat, but I could­n’t find any­thing I liked with the right size. So one day I just got frus­trat­ed and decid­ed to make my own. I got some origa­mi paper and a clunky util­i­ty knife and was just going to exper­i­ment, but this crea­ture appeared. It has the per­fect grumpy look!

And I sand­wiched it between the phone case and the phone :D

I thought he’d also make a nice desk­top com­pan­ion. So I asked Mike to make a few wall­pa­pers to share :)





I think the phone one works best on the lock screen. Just click on the size you want to save the image.* 

To quote Dr. Ogden from Mur­doch Mys­ter­ies: “The brain requires a con­stant flow of oxygen..or tea!”

Have a hap­py week­end, everyone!


*A friend­ly reminder: my images are for per­son­al use only, please don’t repost the images with­out cred­it­ing this blog, and please absolute­ly don’t sell the images. 

there is no try

“Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda

origami yoda

So I did! Fold­ed this origa­mi Yoda on a leisure­ly Sun­day after­noon ^_^

I’ve nev­er got­ten into Star Wars as a kid, but recent­ly bor­rowed episode 7 from our friends, and then decid­ed to watch all of the oth­er episodes to under­stand the sto­ry line. And now Angry Birds Star Wars makes a lot more sense! :D and I devel­oped a new appre­ci­a­tion for the immense­ly wise Yoda.

The dia­gram is designed by Fumi­a­ki Kawa­ha­ta, and it’s linked here. I found parts of it quite dif­fi­cult to under­stand, and it’s kind of a com­pli­cat­ed mod­el, so I watched this YouTube video and fold­ed along. My folds aren’t very neat, maybe I will fold it again some­day. I’m still quite proud of it.

An excel­lent week, may you have :)


the cranes of double happiness

Update — May 6, 2015:

I’ve just received a com­ment from origa­mi book author, Mr. Didi­er Boursin, inform­ing me that the origa­mi crane card mod­el comes from one of his books (his com­ment can be found below).

I want to clar­i­fy that in the orig­i­nal post (see below), I have clear­ly stat­ed that I did not invent the origa­mi crane greet­ing card instruc­tions. I have in all hon­esty for­got­ten where I’ve learned it. I was an avid fold­er in my teenage years, and have pored over prob­a­bly over a hun­dred origa­mi books from the library. I have been fold­ing this dia­gram from mem­o­ry for many years, but I do not own the book that con­tains this dia­gram, nor do I remem­ber which book con­tains this dia­gram. With some exper­i­men­ta­tion I came up with this dou­ble crane ver­sion, and thought I would share it in case oth­ers would also find it useful. 

From his list of pub­li­ca­tions it is evi­dent that Mr. Boursin is a pro­lif­ic origa­mi design­er and author, and so it is like­ly that I’ve come across this crane greet­ing card mod­el in one of his books, or a book that includes his dia­gram, as he has sug­gest­ed in his com­ment. How­ev­er, it was nev­er my intent to deceive the read­ers or dis­re­spect Mr. Boursin and oth­er origa­mi design­ers. I apol­o­gize for not remem­ber­ing where I ini­tial­ly learned this pat­tern and there­fore could not prop­er­ly cite it when I wrote this post. And so, since now we know where the pat­tern comes from, out of respect, I am tak­ing down the rest of the instruc­tion on this post. 

If any­one is inter­est­ed in fold­ing this mod­el, please con­sult Mr. Boursin’s list of origa­mi books. 

Thank you for reading,




Last week I men­tioned that I was going to a wed­ding (pho­tos to come! :D). I decid­ed to exper­i­ment on a vari­a­tion of my usu­al origa­mi crane greet­ing card, which has only one crane, and make a dou­ble-crane ver­sion. I was quite proud that it worked out! So I thought I’d share the fold­ing instruc­tions here, in case it will come in handy for you some day too :D

I must say, though, that I did­n’t invent the origa­mi crane greet­ing card instruc­tions myself. I learned it from a book, but I for­get what that book is… there might also be instruc­tions of it float­ing around on the inter­web some­where. If you’re not famil­iar with mak­ing origa­mi cranes, it might be help­ful to first try your hands on the orig­i­nal origa­mi crane to get a feel of how some of the folds work (video here).


party flowers

The hall­ways in our apart­ment build­ings are pret­ty dark and grim. There was a new neigh­bour who moved into the apart­ment across the hall and she hung a small flower wreath on her door, and it made such a dif­fer­ence! So, inspired by my neigh­bour, I decid­ed to make a small flower wreath for our door too! I took the idea from the flo­ral par­ty hats on Oh Hap­py Day.



A close up of the tis­sue paper flow­ers. If you look care­ful­ly you’ll see the half-ripped neigh­bour­hood watch stick­er I was attempt­ing to cov­er with the flowers.


And I actu­al­ly did make flo­ral par­ty hats. We were going to a wed­ding show­er for a friend this week — so excit­ing! I love weddings. 


The one with the bit of tulle is for the bride-to-be — here she is! :D


And us par­ty-goers :D


Cakes at the par­ty! They were as pret­ty as they were delicious.


And when we got home I con­tin­ued par­ty­ing with a friend who came over to make a col­lage thank-you card for a prof (art-mak­ing par­ties are the best kind of par­ties!), and she so kind­ly brought over some macarons!


Feel­ing total­ly spoiled!  And the card we made was so total­ly awesome!

Wish­ing you a won­der­ful Tuesday! 




recycling bin kaleidoscope!

A while ago I showed you a project I did in school, the altered book project, where I turned a botan­i­cal for­eign book into a kalei­do­scope. I thought I would share the process here, but with a chal­lenge for myself — every­thing I use must come from the recy­cling bin!

It even has turn­able, inter­change­able lens­es, like my altered book project :D


I’ve made kalei­do­scopes with groups of kids in the past (6–12 years old), and they seemed to have lots of fun and quite proud of what they made. For the younger kids I cut some of the parts for them ahead of time, like the clear plas­tic, and the hole in the mid­dle of the eye piece (because it’s eas­i­est to cut with a util­i­ty knife). For the old­er kids I just made copies of tem­plates and had them cut out the shapes them­selves (except the hole in the eye piece — I still cut that ahead of time).

Old­er kids (8+ years old) can prob­a­bly han­dle a lot of the steps them­selves, but help from an adult would be nec­es­sary for this project, espe­cial­ly for stuff involv­ing the util­i­ty knife and hot glue gun.

There are lots of instruc­tions for home­made kalei­do­scope, like this one. But I’ll show all the steps here, makes it eas­i­er if any­one’s going to try this.

So! From the recy­cling bin, I pulled:

- Two card­board tubes. One is slight­ly larg­er than the oth­er in diam­e­ter, i.e. a loo roll (aka TP tube) is usu­al­ly larg­er in diam­e­ter than paper tow­el tube.

- Fly­ers with pic­tures of flow­ers, i.e. the gar­den­ing section.

- Bit of card­board from a gra­nola bar box.

- A stiff sheet of clear plas­tic from the pack­ag­ing of a swiss roll. A sheet of clear plas­tic that’s large enough for this project may be hard to come across, so if you can’t find any, over­head trans­paren­cies or project cov­ers work perfectly.

Then I used these tools:

- Clear pack­ing tape

- Hot glue

- White glue

- Util­i­ty knife

- Scis­sors

- Ruler

- A bowl

To make the kaleidoscope:

First, make the prism by cut­ting out three pieces of clear plas­tic. It needs to fit snug­ly inside the small­er paper tow­el tube. To deter­mine the length of the short side of each piece, I Googled “para­me­ter of a tri­an­gle inscribed inside a cir­cle”. I found this for­mu­la that some­one real­ly smart came up with and fol­lowed it.

The for­mu­la is: 3 x square root of 3 x radius.

The radius of the small­er paper tow­el tube is 2 cm. So fol­low­ing the for­mu­la I got 3.46.

I mea­sured 3.4 cm on for each short side. It does­n’t real­ly mat­ter how long the long side is, as long as the three pieces are iden­ti­cal in mea­sure­ment. I just har­vest­ed as much plas­tic from the pack­ag­ing as possible.

Then I taped them togeth­er along the long sides with some pack­ing tape, form­ing a prism.

Now for the kalei­do­scope tube, I took the small­er card­board tube and cut it to the same length as the prism.

To make the eye piece (i.e. the end where one looks in), I traced the end of the small­er card­board tube on a piece of card­board, print side up. I then drew a larg­er cir­cle around it and cut it out. Then I cut out small tri­an­gles all around, and fold­ed the notch­es up. Final­ly, I cut a small cir­cle in the cen­ter with a util­i­ty knife.

This piece is then taped to one of the ends of the small­er card­board tube with pack­ing tape, like so (prob­a­bly looks nicer if you glue the notch­es down with some white glue, but tape is quicker).

One could prob­a­bly wrap/decorate the tube with some nice papers at this point, but I did­n’t have any­thing in the recy­cling bin that I liked, and plus I like how it has the “recy­cling bin look” with the bare card­board, so I just left it.

Then I took the prism and put some white glue all along the edge of one end…

Then I slid the prism inside the tube with the eye piece, with the glue side going in first.

I let it stood, eye piece down, to dry for a while…

Which made it a good time to make the inter­change­able lens­es, from these flyers!

I put a short length of pack­ing tape on a pic­ture of the flowers.

Then I scraped it with my thumb­nail to get rid of any air bub­bles, so the tape is in com­plete con­tact with the paper.

I cut out the taped areas of the pic­tures and immersed them in a bowl of water, let­ting them soak for a few minutes.

Then I took it out and start­ed rub­bing off the paper fiber on the back of the image (the side that’s not taped).

Remove as much fiber as pos­si­ble, and you’ll get a trans­par­ent image! Pret­ty neat, huh?

While I let these dry com­plete­ly, I took the larg­er card­board tube and cut them into rings that are about 1 inch tall.

To attach the ring to the image, I put hot glue all around one end of the ring, and placed it on top of the image, tape side down (this is a bit tricky, an adult should do it). After the glue cooled down I trimmed the image around the ring.

While I was at it, I tried mak­ing lens­es with a pressed flower by tap­ing it on a piece of clear plas­tic. (the flow­ers did­n’t come from the recy­cling bin… but I just want­ed to see how it looks in the kalei­do­scope :D)

And some some tis­sue paper dots made with a hole punch, also sand­wiched between clear plas­tic and pack­ing tape.

I attached both to card­board rings the way I did with the fly­er images.

So it’s done! Let’s put the lens­es on the tube and test it out…

Mike found that the fly­er image of the tulip worked the best, and I agreed with him.

The one with pur­ple flower is also pretty.

The pressed flower was too cen­tered to make any inter­est­ing illu­sions, I think.

And the tis­sue paper dots looked alright, but the shapes weren’t as inter­est­ing as the tulips.

I think pressed flow­ers would make cool illu­sions, just need to per­haps use more flow­ers so they cov­er the whole lens. I’ll be on the look­out for flow­ers to press this sum­mer! :D

Kind of an odd project, but I’d love to see it if you do give this a go!

Have a great start to the week!