new top!

I made this tank top and brought it on our trip to Chica­go. It was per­fect for the heat wave that hit us (day­time temp of 40°C+!!) dur­ing the trip.

new top 1

I bought this fab­ric from a craft show last year. Prob­a­bly a good mate­r­i­al to make dress shirts or blous­es, but I don’t have pat­terns to make those. I just traced a tank top that I had, and after all the seams were sewn I hemmed all the raw edges by rolling them in a cou­ple of times and sewing them in place. After the top was made I thought adding a pock­et would make it look more inter­est­ing with the diag­o­nal stripes. 

Pret­ty rudi­men­ta­ry. I did­n’t even mea­sure, which result­ed in the top being too nar­row when it was first made, so I resort­ed to adding a strip of fab­ric on each side under the arm. You can kind of see it in this picture…

new top 2

… which made the arm­holes a bit too big, but I don’t mind it too much. Oh yes, and I make a diag­o­nal hem­line where the back is longer than the front. It was kind of an exper­i­ment. I keep see­ing dress­es and skirts with that kind of hem­line and was won­der­ing if I just have to cut the fab­ric diag­o­nal­ly to achieve the “high-low” effect. 

And we took the pho­tos while walk­ing through Grant Park :D

Next time I make a tank top I can prob­a­bly trace this one, except make the arm­holes small­er. Mea­sur­ing before cut­ting would prob­a­bly be a good idea too :P

Hope every­one’s hav­ing a good week!


levitating in chicago


This was tak­en at the Art Insti­tute. The pho­to does­n’t do it jus­tice, but with the lush green trees fil­ter­ing the sun­light, the sound of the foun­tain and the sig­nif­i­cant­ly cool­er air in the shade, it felt as though it was an elven garden.



On the water­front between Grant Park and Mil­len­ni­um Park.


Did­n’t take as many lev­i­tat­ing pho­tos as I hoped. We took pub­lic tran­sit and walked every­where, my legs were too tired to jump on most days :S But I’m hap­py with the two we took :D

Have a hap­py Sun­day, everyone! 


chicago drawings

And we’re back! :D

Before I went on the trip to Chica­go, I made a (small) goal to make one draw­ing a day, based on what­ev­er I saw on that day. It was intend­ed to be a way for me to get back into draw­ing, but it had real­ly unfold­ed into a time of reflec­tion, rel­ish­ing the day, trea­sur­ing qui­et time shared with Mike, and think­ing more about what I saw, learned and expe­ri­enced and how I was moved by these things.

The draw­ings are in a note­book that Mike gave me. It has this quote print­ed in it:

The past is a ghost, the future is a dream and all we ever have is now.” — Bill Cosby


July 18 — we vis­it­ed the Shedd Aquar­i­um. We learned about how the health and well-being of life in the sea, in the sky and on land are all connected. I made this draw­ing at night in our hotel room. The words that came from the draw­ing: Corals, bar­na­cles, kelp, sea­weeds, jel­lies, one ocean.

day 1


July 19 — we vis­it­ed the Adler Plan­e­tar­i­um. Before head­ing to Mil­len­ni­um Park, we stopped at a Dunk­ins Donut for $1 iced cof­fee and free WiFi. Through the store win­dow I was look­ing at the iron and wood struc­ture of the ele­vat­ed train tracks that run through the city, and the owl stat­ue on top of the pub­lic library. Ear­li­er in the day, we saw draw­ings of how ear­ly astrol­o­gists record­ed, tracked, and made sense of the stars they saw in the sky. A vol­un­teer told us about light pol­lu­tion and how we don’t see stars in the city any­more. Still ear­li­er in the day, when we were wait­ing for the bus head­ing to the Plan­e­tar­i­um, we chat­ted with a man who asked us to help him out with break­fast and then start­ed to tell us about him­self. He said he got com­pla­cent. So, I guess this is kind of a prayer.

May we find our light again
Our North Star
May we rest in the knowl­edge and the faith that it is still here
Even when we don’t see it

day 2


July 20 — Vis­it­ed the Muse­um of Sci­ence and Indus­try. Saw a film about the endan­gered coral reefs, and was amazed by the sea slug swim­ming. I sup­pose this is also a wish.

The hum­ble sea slug danc­ing, send­ing waves rip­pling across the ocean, reclaim­ing space.

day 3


July 21 — we vis­it­ed the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Stu­dio that day. Real­ly inspired by how he blend­ed archi­tec­ture with the sur­round­ing envi­ron­ment, and his use of geo­met­ri­cal pat­terns that were inspired by nature. And in the front yard of his home there was a gink­go tree — my favourite tree — the largest, tallest, most majes­tic gink­go tree I’ve ever seen. Mike and I sat at a Star­bucks before meet­ing up with a friend. I drew while he read blogs. Bliss.

Desire of the human heart to be attuned to the rhythm of nature.

day 4


July 22 — Vis­it­ed the Field Muse­um. Most amazed by the bio­lu­mi­nes­cence exhib­it. Learned about why cer­tain crea­tures and plants glow (i.e. mat­ing, dis­cour­age preda­tors “I glow, there­fore I taste bad!”, burn off excess ener­gy, etc.). Also fas­ci­nat­ed by pre­his­toric sea crea­tures, before the dinosaurs, in the Evolv­ing Earth exhib­it. Had a thought about mak­ing plush­es of those creatures. 

The art of survival.

day 5



July 23 — On our last day in Chica­go, we vis­it­ed the Jane Addams Hull-House Muse­um. Being a social work stu­dent I have read a lot about Jane Addams and her work in text­books. What the text­books did­n’t men­tion was that art forms of all kinds were thriv­ing at the Hull-House. It was­n’t just a place that pro­vid­ed afford­able shel­ter and food, child­care and employ­ment, it was also a place where peo­ple’s minds and spir­it were nur­tured and ener­gized by lit­er­a­ture, music, tex­tile art, pot­tery, paint­ing, poet­ry. It reaf­firmed my belief that the arts are also essen­tial in help­ing peo­ple get to where they want to go. What I also did not know was that Jane Addams was a big fan of the Arts and Crafts Move­ment and the designs of William Mor­ris, as am I :D The draw­ing was inspired by a his­tor­i­cal pho­to­graph of the chil­dren at the Hull-House paint­ing in the street in front of a stair­way. It was drawn at the air­port, wait­ing for our flight home.

Stair­case to somewhere.

day 6



Our trip end­ed there. Too short of course :( But what I real­ly val­ued was the expe­ri­ence of tak­ing time to sit down and draw. And to think, to some­how find words to con­sol­i­date my thoughts, which made me feel quite a bit hap­pi­er actu­al­ly. Or maybe it was just because I was on hol­i­day. Any­how, I’m hop­ing to find more oppor­tu­ni­ties to do more of this at home.

Mike and I are in the process of com­pil­ing our pho­tos of the trip — we took so many! With lots of sto­ries to tell! Can’t wait to post them!

Have a hap­py rest of the week, everyone!


how i love crocheting

how i love crocheting

 The Weath­er Net­work says it feels like 38°C. And all week I’ve been work­ing on this very cozy sweater. I had an idea and I just had to make it. I could­n’t help myself. Oh, how I love crocheting.

Wear­ing it to take a pho­to is a dif­fer­ent sto­ry. The exas­per­a­tion is evi­dent on my face. It was like the 4th take or some­thing. Def­i­nite­ly not the best pho­to of the sweater or of me, but it would have to do.

I’m going to have to put it away until fall. But I’ve come to love wear­ing this kind of open­work sweaters. I had to stop myself from wear­ing this sweater every­day after I made it in ear­ly spring. So com­fort­able. Not too warm for indoors but warm enough for walk­ing to the sub­way and such when layered.

I also like sim­ple geo­met­ri­cal pat­terns. With cer­tain cro­chet lace gar­ment pat­terns one can risk look­ing like one is wear­ing a giant doily. I thought geo­met­ri­cal pat­terns look a bit more fashionable.

The inspi­ra­tion for this sweater comes from this marsh­mal­low lace sweater. It’s a knit­ting pat­tern. There’s no way I can under­stand the pat­tern, but I love how it looks! How I wish I could knit bet­ter. I thought fig­ur­ing out a cro­chet ver­sion of it is prob­a­bly the next best thing. I found a dia­mond grid pat­tern for a cowl in this book by Doris Chan and basi­cal­ly adapt­ed the pat­tern to make two “T” shapes with some neck shap­ing. I then sewed togeth­er the shoul­der, under­arm and side seams to make a sweater.

I used some cheap and cheer­ful pur­ple acrylic yarn that I bought a long time ago, and ironed on low-medi­um heat under a wet tow­el to soft­en the yarn. Kind of like block­ing but not real­ly. I think it works well though.

Just want­ed to share this last project post before Mike and I head to Chica­go for almost a week! :D Sum­mer trip! :D Will see you when we get back! :D

Until then, keep cool and take care, friends!



shell 1


I have these pho­tos sit­ting on my desk­top for a while now. For some rea­sons I kept putting off writ­ing about the project. I guess I’m just not sure whether I can clear­ly artic­u­late the com­plex­i­ty of it. But I guess it does­n’t have to be too com­pli­cat­ed. And it was a fun project to make :)

The exer­cise was about cre­at­ing a ves­sel that can hold uncon­di­tion­al love. It was for a group that I was run­ning with a cou­ple of my col­leagues, but because it was a small group that day and every­one seemed to be rather engrossed in their own projects with­out need­ing much help, I cre­at­ed a ves­sel as well.

shell 3

It’s a shell that is made of many old shells. The imprints of the old shells gath­er sand and grits and sharp bits that pass by and trans­form them into a pearl that gives a guid­ing light, a wis­dom that shines through the sur­round­ing dark­ness of the ocean. The wis­dom to see one­self and oth­ers with clar­i­ty and compassion.

It was made of clay. Was­n’t fired or any­thing, just paint­ed with dilut­ed acrylic. I paint­ed the pearl with a mix­ture of pearles­cent and glow-in-the-dark paint. It glows some­what in com­plete dark­ness but too faint for the cam­era to cap­ture. I still like the way it turned out though. 

And I paint­ed the out­side of the shell with some sil­ver metal­lic paint.

shell 4


And this short poem comes to mind. I came to know it through my mentor:

Last night, as I was sleep­ing,
I dreamt — mar­velous error! -
that I had a bee­hive
here inside my heart.
And the gold­en bees
were mak­ing white combs
and sweet hon­ey
from my old fail­ures
– Anto­nio Macha­do, trans­lat­ed by Robert Bly


Have an excel­lent, ener­gized start to the week, everyone!


swing away

Look what I found on my way home the oth­er day :D

swing2Yarn bombed swing! :D

With these love­ly cro­cheted flow­ers and hearts…






The flow­ers sway­ing in the wind…



It made my day :D grate­ful for the per­son who took the time to spread some joy!

Have a won­der­ful week­end, everyone!





this week’s awesome finds

Sum­mer craft­ing! :D

Beau­ti­ful giant doily rug from Cre­ative Jew­ish Mom.


Origa­mi bags for trips to the farmer’s mar­ket :D Pat­tern on Whip Up.


Scarf to shrug for breezy sum­mer nights. How-to on Scarves dot net.


I think I might try to make this sum­mery dress! Tuto­r­i­al on Mer­ricks Art.


Ice cream pil­lows bring cool thoughts. Pat­tern by Twinkie Chan on Michaels.


From plain t‑shirt to fab­u­lous shrug — like mag­ic! By Aunt Peach­es.


Have always been intrigued by croc­o­dile stitch. Might start by mak­ing these love­ly flow­ers from B Hooked.


Hor­cha­ta Milk­shake! Looks so deli­cious! Made with coconut milk! :D anoth­er must-try. Recipe on Hen­ry Hap­pened.

Hap­py sum­mer craft­ing! :D











summer picnic

Mike and I went with my fam­i­ly to their church’s sum­mer pic­nic at the Roy­al Botan­i­cal Gar­dens in Burlington/Hamilton. Over 300 peo­ple came, pic­nick­ing and singing togeth­er :D 

We also spent lots of time walk­ing around the dif­fer­ent gar­dens and tak­ing pho­tos. And of course, lev­i­tat­ing :D


Guest appear­ance by my sis­ter :D 


A mul­ti­colour Chi­nese hibis­cus! Isn’t it amaz­ing? I’ve only ever seen red and yel­low ones.


Pok­ing at the hearth in the gar­den gnomes’ hide­out :D


A girl was blow­ing bub­bles by the reflec­tion pool.


Shrimp plant! :D


In the rock garden.


Sum­mer is lush green.




Hope there’s plen­ty of sun­shine as well as refresh­ing rain­fall wher­ev­er you are :)


lots of love

love knots1


I was mak­ing part­ing gifts for a team of peo­ple I’ve been work­ing with for the past year. Need­ed a pat­tern that was quick and airy for the sum­mer. Came across this pat­tern for a sim­ple scarf made of love knots (or Solomon knots), it was per­fect :D

I used Mary Max­im’s Step it Up. I love the colours and they’re quite afford­able. I think I’m going to make myself a scarf as well!

love knots2


Have a love­ly week! :D


in retrospect

It’s just occurred to me a few days ago that I missed gen­uine mud­pie’s 3rd birth­day! *gasp* :O

It’s some­times in March, and now it’s July. I total­ly missed it. It’s come and gone and I did­n’t even notice, like noth­ing’s happened.

And I did­n’t share an anniver­sary pattern :(

I feel real­ly bad about it. Like I’ve cheat­ed every­one and myself out of a celebration.

Come to think of it, it’s been a hard year.

I turned 30. My grand­moth­er passed away (her funer­al was on my birth­day). My oth­er grand­moth­er had been seri­ous­ly ill (she’s okay now). My mom was deal­ing with some new­ly dis­cov­ered health con­cerns. School work was intense, where sup­port­ing oth­er peo­ple through their sto­ries of pain brings up my own sto­ries of pain. And then I found myself in a series of con­flicts, some small and fiz­zled out soon after they start­ed, some seri­ous­ly hurt the feel­ings or well-being of all par­ties involved, and in the process a val­ued friend­ship was lost. At the end of it all I was in quite a bit of dis­tress, with feel­ings of guilt, self-doubt, fear, ques­tion­ing my own char­ac­ter. And so I total­ly for­got about gen­uine mud­pie’s 3rd birth­day. Nor did I spend much time to process my turn­ing 30.

I was at a nar­ra­tive ther­a­py train­ing about a week ago. In demon­strat­ing a tech­nique of ask­ing ques­tions, the pre­sen­ter asked the vol­un­teer inter­vie­wee to iden­ti­fy a pea-size prob­lem in her mind and then answer his ques­tions in rela­tions to that prob­lem. I was glad not to be the vol­un­teer inter­vie­wee because all of my prob­lems are at least clos­et-sized, and if I start talk­ing about them I might imme­di­ate­ly burst into tears and that would be embarrassing.

One of the ques­tions the pre­sen­ter asked was: what did­n’t the prob­lem know about you, that if it had known about you, prob­a­bly would have left you alone?

For some rea­sons that ques­tion stuck with me long after the train­ing was fin­ished and into the week­end. It was one that I could­n’t quite answer for myself about my clos­et-sized problems.

On the week­end I brought home my most recent grad­u­a­tion pic­ture to my par­ents’. My par­ents have a col­lec­tion of grad­u­a­tion pho­tos from when my younger sis­ter was in ele­men­tary school. It’s grown to be quite a large collection.

And when I looked at these pic­tures, it was kind of like step­ping back and look­ing at the big pic­ture that spanned the past 12 years and gain­ing a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive, and an answer came to mind for the question: what did­n’t the prob­lem know about you, that if it had known about you, prob­a­bly would have left you alone?

You chose the wrong per­son to mess with.

I turned 20 in a hos­pi­tal. I did­n’t believe that I would live pass 22. I was con­vinced that anorex­ia was how I was going to live my life and how I was going to die.

And by the time I turned 30, I’m mar­ried to the best, most car­ing, most lov­ing hus­band. All of my fam­i­ly mem­bers sur­vived the ordeal that was anorex­ia and emerged with deep­er under­stand­ing and love for one anoth­er. I have a pos­i­tive rela­tion­ship with food and I’m in good health. I eat what I want and go where I want to go. I’ve earned 3 uni­ver­si­ty diplo­mas and am about to start on the 4th. I’ve start­ed doing what I dream of doing as a career.

I would not have lived and kept going if not for God who for some rea­sons would not let me die even when I gave up on my own life, and for the fam­i­ly and friends who have con­tin­ued to love and sup­port and believe in me, who have been there along­side me even when I could not care for them, even when I did not believe in myself. I’m priv­i­leged with resources and sup­port­ive rela­tion­ships, and I’ve also worked very hard to use those resources and sup­port to get to where I’m at today.

So, prob­lem — what­ev­er you are: guilt, self-doubts, fear — you chose the wrong per­son to mess with, and you can­not take me down with you.

And reflect­ing on me turn­ing 30 and gen­uine mud­pie turn­ing 3, I’d like to say that I’m grate­ful for every word and ges­ture of love and kind­ness that has been extend­ed to me, from every per­son I have known in per­son or through this blog, for a brief moment in time or for years. I’m grate­ful for God’s end­less pro­vi­sion and great love. I’m grate­ful for dif­fi­cul­ties and con­flicts. All of these things open my eyes to new pos­si­bil­i­ties, lead me home to the core of what I val­ue, and allow me to extend out from the place of home into the world with deep­er under­stand­ing, courage and love.

return with us 

This was cre­at­ed with words from a poem called The Ini­ti­a­tion Song from the Find­ers’ Lodge in Ursu­la LeGuin’s Always Com­ing Home. I found the image in a Nation­al Geo­graph­ic mag­a­zine exact­ly the way it looks now, with a hole cut out on one page and a pic­ture of the hori­zon on the page behind it. It was made in reflec­tion on my year-long place­ment in a com­mu­ni­ty pro­gram, but I think it applies to the “turn­ing 30” and “turn­ing 3”  reflec­tions as well. 

Thank you for jour­ney­ing with me, awe­some ones :)