water phoenix

Breaking down and becoming whole again.

I should probably invest in better watercolour paper. But then if I were to use good quality paper I probably wouldn’t be able to paint as freely, because I would be afraid that I would ruin the expensive paper. Anyway. It’s somehow morphed from an attempt to copy this photo with watercolour…

And I’m not sure why I wanted to copy this photo in watercolour. I almost never copy photos, and I don’t usually paint realistically. But somehow I wanted to know what it’s like to paint this with watercolour.

I have been in a bit of a funk lately. Self-doubts, lack of motivation, feelings of hopelessness and ineffectiveness and all the nasty stuff. I felt like I was on the verge of a breakdown.

I’m feeling better today. I guess now I know why I wanted to copy the picture in the first place.

a week in polariods

I had originally made a montage of polaroid pictures, but then I thought they didn’t really work all clumped together. So! Here are the pictures, in their glowing polaroid colours.

Earlier in the week we went to a birthday party for a little person who was turning 3.

My first acorn sighting of the season! I’ve seen acorn caps here and there, but not a whole acorn until now! I didn’t have my camera with me at the time so I brought it up stairs for a photo-shoot.

Then we went to see a show at a… lounge? You can probably tell I don’t go to shows like this very often. But I really enjoyed the music and the energy of both the band and the audience. And good company :D

Yesterday we went to a beach in Prince Edward County. One of our friends brought a butterfly fruit tray.

And we made s’mores on the portable grill! :D

We climbed 2 sand dunes to get to the beach, and on the way we saw berries that looked like blueberries. Being a chicken and all I didn’t try to eat it, but a brave soul who tasted one (and lived to tell the tale!) said it tasted like blueberries, except it had a pit inside.

Very fine sand, and some serious sandal tan!

Feet now in water! Pretty cold. A nice walk though.

I like this picture because the colours of the water and sky are the shades of beach glass, which I didn’t find any at the beach, not even stones! Just shattered shells and a bit of seaweed. Oh well.

Have a lovely week!

A crochet gathering

Exciting news! I have an opportunity to demonstrate how to crochet this wrist-cuff-turns-cup-sleeve this coming Wednesday, August 18, at 6–7:30pm at the Walmer Centre. Come join us if you want to learn basic crochet stitches while making something useful! Yarn and buttons will be provided, and drop me a note if you need a hook! After my crochet demo there will also be a knitting workshop, from 7:30–9pm! Come to both and you’ll be all set for many of the fabulous crocheting and knitting patterns out there!

Speaking of fabulous patterns, I came across this truly amazing (and free!) potholder pattern a while ago, and I thought to myself that if I ever need to make a housewarming gift I will definitely make this. And here it is! An origami potholder for a new home :D

It’s actually quite straightforward and easy to make, but very impressive looking when it’s done. It’s quite magical how it all turns out. You’ll have to make it to experience the magic :P I think it will also make a nice coaster (with thinner yarn and smaller hook) or Christmas ornament (with very thin yarn and very small hook)!

So, anyway, have a fabulous weekend! And feel free to come join us on Wednesday for a needlecraft gathering!

Spontaneous cake-making

1. One Friday night, after watching this new cake show called DC Cupcakes (though it is nowhere as good as Ace of Cakes), we were inspired to bake cupcakes. We filled one muffin tray but had leftover batter that wasn’t enough to fill another muffin tray, so I poured it all into a loaf pan and figured we could have a flat cake as well.

2. But then once it was baked, it occurred to me that I could decorate it! Like in the show! So I leveled off the top… (and unlike in the show, we didn’t simply toss away the cutoff, we ate it, like good children who don’t waste food.)

3. … and then I cut it crosswise into 3, and spread frosting onto each. We happened to have leftover store-bought frosting in the fridge, it was a good opportunity to finish them up! The bottom layer was cream cheese flavour and the top two were vanilla.

4. We also happened to have nectarines in the fridge, so Mike sliced them thinly and sandwiched them between each cake layer.

5. Ta-da! Gâteau pour deux! We even sprinkled cinnamon on top and used a fancy blue plate for the photo-shoot! :D

6. And this is us, enjoying a cross section of cake. I guess it’s like a strawberry shortcake, except with nectarine…

Have a sweet Friday everyone! :D

The lake in polaroids

Mike told me about this polaroid maker this morning — it’s the most awesome thing ever! I happened to be going to the waterfront this afternoon, so I took a bunch of pictures to test it out :D so much fun! I love polaroids. The real ones are obviously better, but a real polaroid camera is too expensive to have. So I’m quite happy to settle for the fake one :) It even has sound effects and fingerprints. A bit cheesy in some ways perhaps, not a big fan of fingerprints on every picture myself, but I love the way the photographs turn out — the saturated colours and the softness and the vignetting — so very cool! And the polaroid maker free to download! :D

The picture of daisies wasn’t taken at the lake. I took it over the Canada Day weekend. I just thought the daisies would make a good first test-run! And so here are the pictures at the lake! :D

Walking on the boardwalk!

Geese! They were initially swimming in a V formation until they saw me approaching. Then they sped up to swim toward me. I think they thought I had food. And then they realized that I didn’t. So they swam away.

Duck and duckling!

A pretty purple plant.

A wind giant!

Underwater vegetation!

Bright sunny day!

Now I just have to resist the urge to turn all my other pictures into polaroids…

Have a lovely Thursday!

A week in haiku

Mushrooms found in plant!
Library pin now bookmarks
a dismayed snowbear.

Peanut butter joy!
Ancient turtle swimming by
festive bibimbap.

Shadows in sunrise
Spontaneous cake-making
aboard eastbound train.

Nothing brilliant,
but friends, it is rather fun.
Happy Saturday!

Adventure in dough, part 2!

The salt dough ornaments are all painted! :D

I painted them with watercolour, followed by 2 coats of gloss acrylic varnish. Despite the nasty smell of acrylic varnish while they were being painted, they actually still smelled pretty much like cinnamon and not very much like acrylic after the varnish was dried. I’m glad! :D

This one is my favourite. Just a very subtle blue.

Before I painted them I kind of pictured them in porcelain blue (that’s why I used watercolour), so I painted several like that.

I was going to paint all of them blue, but then I figured since I got all my colours out I might as well see how they look with yellow and pink…

The surface started to crack a bit after the varnish was dried (you might see it if you look closely), but I don’t think it’s a big deal.

I’m actually quite happy with how they turned out, and I quite enjoyed painting them! So I think I might make more of these ornaments with the leftover dough instead of making owls. I can always make another batch of dough to make owls.

Have a great weekend! :D

Favourite things of the week!

This week’s favourite things share a nautical theme… perhaps the weather is just getting too warm for my liking and I’m thinking about cool breezes by the sea…

Check out this brilliant sea glass jello recipe by Recipe Girl! The white part is made of condensed milk and I looove condensed milk. I remember going to cafes with my aunts and uncles in Hong Kong when I was a kid, and I would order toast with butter and condensed milk. I’m sooo trying this out as soon as I can! Jello and condensed milk are on my grocery list this week!

Here’s another brilliant sea glass idea from Crazy for Creations! I have a lot of sea glass pieces that are too small to wrap with wire, different colours too! So now I just need to find a way to drill through them…

And now, a very stylish Sailor’s Knot Bracelet from Etsy’s blog! I’m quite drawn to the simplicity of it, and as I’m writing this I’m suddenly reminded of my failed canvas-dyeing experiment, which I haven’t blogged about because I’m kind of disappointed by it and have tossed it aside until more ideas come to rescue it out of its sad, lonely corner — and now, here’s an idea!

Have a happy Friday! Keep cool!

Adventure in dough

Recently I was given a cookie mold with lovely teapots in it…

… it even came with a booklet with cookie, salt dough and beeswax recipes… (and a pig on the cover, eating watermelon!)

So, today I decided to test out the cookie mold with the salt dough recipe from the booklet…

1. I mixed some cinnamon into the dough to give it some colour and texture. Then I pressed it into the mold with the heel of my hand (as per the booklet’s instruction).

2. Dough, pressed.

3. Dough came off the mold pretty easily. I cut them apart with the back of a butter knife.

4. I then placed them on a silicon baking sheet to make sure that they wouldn’t stick. They were going to be tree ornaments so I cut a small slit at the top of each with the tip of a butter knife for ribbon.

5. Baking… at low temp. for a long, long time. (about 2 hrs. Probably not the smartest thing to do in a small apartment in the middle of summer, but lingering aroma of cinnamon was nice.)

6. And the moment of truth! This is the one that turned out the best, I think. I was disappointed that the salt in the dough seemed to have risen to the surface during the baking process, and so now we can’t see the cinnamon :( I should have remembered this from previous dough craft attempts!

Surely there is a way to prevent this salty crust from forming? Hmm… need to find out. But I’m going to paint this batch of ornaments, and will keep you posted about how it goes!

I still have half a batch of dough left (my hand got a bit sore from pressing dough into mold), so I think I might make some owls, like this one I made years ago…

And now, a haiku to summarize today’s adventure:

Flour, water, salt

Where did the cinnamon go?

Great fun nonetheless.

From the garden: A haiku

Fiery bloom standing

Fire petals beaming

Golden trumpets a‑swaying

with songs of crickets.

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This is actually my first haiku attempt. We were watching Veggie Tales: Sumo of the Opera today and I felt very inspired.

Tomorrow I’m going to take a mental health day aka craft day :D My plan is to slightly alter a shirt and try out a cookie mold. So, more about crafts tomorrow!

Wishing you a fabulous week ahead!