full heart


Last week­end was a very full one! We went to a farewell par­ty for icon­ic Hon­est Ed’s, orga­nized by Toron­to for Every­one

If you’ve ever vis­it­ed Toron­to, you might have been to Hon­est Ed’s. That was where I like to take out-of-town friends to impress them any­way. It is an enor­mous department/bargain store that lit­er­al­ly invites you to get lost in it. Lit­er­al­ly because there is a sign on the build­ing that says:


Lost part­ly because there was SO much stuff! And so much real­ly dif­fer­ent stuff, all kind of orga­nized in a maze-like for­ma­tion. If you were there for the first time and look­ing for some­thing spe­cif­ic, you’d prob­a­bly get kind of frus­trat­ed, but then quick­ly dis­tract­ed by the cheesy slo­gans hand let­tered in cheer­ful colours everywhere. 

But if you were like me, who lived right across the street from Ed’s for a while and then con­tin­ued to shop or meet peo­ple in the neigh­bour­hood, you’d know exact­ly where to get the 99 cents loaf of bread and tinned fish for lunch, or ban­dan­nas for a sewing exper­i­ment (and this!), or those 2 dol­lar waf­fle shirts for days that turned cold sud­den­ly, or large quan­ti­ty of t‑shirts for sum­mer camp, or socks, or just to get anoth­er pic­ture of that giant plush moose head on top of a grand­fa­ther clock with its eyes pop­ping out, or to kill time, or escape from real­i­ty for a cou­ple of hours in the evening. 

Hon­est Ed’s was named after it’s own­er Ed Mirvish and opened in 1948. As not­ed on Toron­to for Every­one:

“Beyond his bar­gain prices and pun­ny ways, Ed was known for his abil­i­ty to bring peo­ple togeth­er and build com­mu­ni­ty in wacky ways: roller der­bies, 72-hour dance marathons, free turkey give­aways, to name a few. Per­haps most impor­tant of all, Hon­est Ed’s was a mod­el for inclu­siv­i­ty. Every­one, no mat­ter how you looked, what you did, or how much you made — was wel­come at Ed’s. Whether you made a pur­chase or sim­ply enjoyed walk­ing around and brows­ing every­thing from kitchen­wares, cloth­ing, toys, fab­rics, to knick-knacks (SO MANY knick-knacks!), Ed’s had a way of instill­ing won­der and mak­ing you feel at home.”

And from the Jane’s Walk that we par­tic­i­pat­ed in (more on that lat­er), we also learned that he offered very afford­able rental spaces — and they remained afford­able despite the rapid increas­es in rental costs every­where else in the city — to artists and arti­sans in the sur­round­ing Mirvish Village.

There was no place like this place. 

And so a group of good peo­ple brought more good peo­ple togeth­er and orga­nized one last very vibrant mar­ket­place in hon­our of Hon­est Ed’s. 

The jux­ta­po­si­tion of vin­tage glass­ware and under­pants very much cap­tured the spir­it of what this place was.

The artist who hand let­tered all the signs for the store over the past years was there paint­ing cus­tom signs for visitors. 

In 2014 when the news first came out that Hon­est Ed’s will be clos­ing, there was a sale for all the hand let­tered signs used in the stores. So my friend and I went there and lined up for over 5 hours and each got our­selves a few signs. One sits in front of my desk at home, it says “hol­i­day coat­ed marsh­mal­low bis­cuits * 99 cents”. Very spe­cial because it’s got stars on it and they don’t make pen­nies anymore! 

In a dif­fer­ent part of the build­ing there was a com­mu­ni­ty hub, where one could sprawl out and read all the Sun­day flyers…

… and very smi­ley police­men do yoga with the kids.

Mike and I were most look­ing for­ward to the retro ice cream social. (and you can see there is a set­up for music or spo­ken word per­for­mance in the back)

And intu­itive paint­ing! :D

Peo­ple were invit­ed to paint on mer­chan­dise tables. The theme of our table was Hon­est Ed’s.

This was our work! The black dash­es were meant to be foot steps but it’s all get­ting a bit lost there… that was the point I guess :) And Mike paint­ed the streetcar. 

This was under our work by some­one else very talented.

Then we par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Jane’s Walk in Mirvish Vil­lage, where a num­ber of pre­vi­ous ten­ants spoke about the changes they expe­ri­enced after the city block was bought out. At the end peo­ple who went on the walk also shared their sto­ries of Hon­est Ed’s and Ed Mirvish. There were def­i­nite­ly expres­sions of sad­ness about see­ing such impor­tant part of the city go, but there was no anger, or bit­ter­ness, just the acknowl­edge­ment that every­thing good will inevitably come to an end, and there is hope that what is com­ing will car­ry on the lega­cy of embrac­ing diver­si­ty and inclu­sive­ness, and the space will con­tin­ue to bring peo­ple together.

In fact, you can see the vision for the new Mirvish Vil­lage here.

After say­ing good­bye to Hon­est Ed’s, the next day we went to the Warm­ing Toron­to knit­ting day. Here’s the hat I fin­ished :D

It’s a two-colour fish­er­man’s rib hat that was knit­ted flat and seamed togeth­er. I learned the 2‑colour rib pat­tern from this Craft­ster post. The decreas­es are not very neat at all, I’ll learn how to do prop­er decreas­es with this kind of pat­tern next time.

It was a very relax­ing after­noon of knit­ting and hang­ing out with peo­ple who knit :D If you live in the city, the project is still col­lect­ing hats and scarves till March 26! The orga­niz­er can arrange for pick­ups along the sub­way lines. Check out the Face­book event page for details.

Have a love­ly week, every­one! :D




I haven’t writ­ten in a while, but I’ve been craft­ing day and night (lit­er­al­ly, I knit in the sub­way in the morn­ing and I chip away every night at this mas­sive cro­chet project as soon as I get home), and have made so many things, that I can’t show you because they’re Christ­mas gifts! But I promise there will be an exten­sive Christ­mas craft­ing post after the holidays!

I do want to share with you this found object art­work I made in a car­ing for self work­shop last week­end (if you can trav­el to the Toron­to area and are inter­est­ed in work­shops that explore the ther­a­peu­tic qual­i­ties of cre­ativ­i­ty and art-mak­ing, do check out Petrea’s web­site and work­shop offer­ings, some free projects there too!). I’ve always loved found object art. This one is — pearls of wis­dom ris­ing out of moss, with a mon­u­ment of past bat­tles that shape this ground, bathing in moon­light. Kind of in the same line as my last post about moss.


And this is an exer­cise about inten­tion. We think about an inten­tion that we bring to our work, and while think­ing about or med­i­tat­ing on that inten­tion, we choose dif­fer­ent yarn and things to wrap around the twig. There’s a mar­ble in the space where the twig branch­es out, to rep­re­sent clarity.


There are also oth­er neat things I learned from the work­shop, like draw­ing man­dalas, which I’m try­ing to prac­tice at work as a way to take breaks. Try­ing is the word :S But I’ll share the draw­ings when I have a few more. 

In oth­er news, I attempt­ed to carve a jel­ly fish out of an eras­er. I’ve nev­er tried this before and I think it turned out not so bad! It’s part of a hol­i­day project, which will be revealed at hol­i­day times! :D


Hap­py week­end everyone!


keep calm and carry moss


I bought these beau­ti­ful vin­tage shad­ow box pen­dants from Etsy shop youarenot­the­bossofme to put moss in :D It turned out beau­ti­ful­ly, I’m so pleased. Looks like there are a few more of these pen­dants for sale, pop by the shop if you’re inter­est­ed in mak­ing some­thing sim­i­lar! I bought the moss from the mod­el-mak­ing sec­tion of my local art store. Or one could put in small stones or yarn or tiny shells or what­ev­er one finds mean­ing­ful to car­ry around.

I’ve always felt more con­nect­ed to water-relat­ed analo­gies — like the riv­er, or the sea, going with the flow, fill the gaps, like what Bruce Lee said,

“You must be shape­less, form­less, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bot­tle, it becomes the bot­tle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

One can’t make a dent in water, it can’t be hurt. 

But I’ve been feel­ing drawn to moss late­ly. Ground­ed and tena­cious. It can be pulled out of the ground and be dam­aged, but it comes back again, reach­ing and cov­er­ing even fur­ther grounds. Its roots spread wider than eyes can see. It re-emerges always after win­ter frosts.

So maybe it’s about acknowl­edg­ing the hurt rather than say­ing to myself that things don’t or should­n’t hurt. And maybe it’s about stand­ing my ground rather than fill­ing what­ev­er gaps or needs oth­ers put before me, try­ing to be every­thing to everyone. 

A bit of reflec­tion as I enter anoth­er year in my life! :D Anoth­er year wis­er, hopefully.

Thanks for vis­it­ing today! 


luna love

Photo 2016-04-24, 9 26 06 PM

Recent­ly remind­ed of my fond­ness of Luna, advis­er to the Sailor Moon and her friends. She has all her flaws, with her moments of pan­ic, embar­rass­ment, dis­ap­point­ment, fury, exhaus­tion, melt-down, uncer­tain­ty, even occa­sion­al mean­ness (in one episode she drew a pic­ture to make fun of Usa­gi for becom­ing “fat” :S), but she always holds on to her pur­pose, and deter­mi­na­tion to ful­fill her pur­pose. And she does­n’t take crap from people.

AND! She shows us that unpleas­ant moments can be quite com­i­cal! (in some ways)

Must have to do with our recent trip to Asia. We’ve in fact come across a lot of Sailor Moon mer­chan­dise while there. Won­der if Sailor Moon is pop­u­lar again, in a nos­tal­gic kind of way, or its pop­u­lar­i­ty has always been con­sis­tent in South Korea and Hong Kong?

Any­way, did­n’t buy any­thing Sailor Moon while on the trip, so I was search­ing on Etsy a cou­ple days ago, and came across this per­fect­ly Luna pin back but­ton in this shop, I just HAD to get it :D

I need a feline men­tor to demon­strate how to say no (there are more of these if you also feel like you need to say no more often). It’s mak­ing its way across the con­ti­nent as I type :D In the mean­while, I found a plas­tic Luna key ring some­where at home, so I sawed the plas­tic ring part off its top and glued a pin back on it. Ta-da! My very own portable feline mentor.

Photo 2016-04-30, 4 26 50 PM

Have a very good week­end, everyone!




underwood 315

Came across a good quote that I want­ed to dis­play at my desk at work. Thought about hand­writ­ing it, or find­ing a good type face for it and print­ing it out, but then remem­bered that we’ve inher­it­ed Mike’s grand­moth­er’s Under­wood 315.



It took us a while to get the imprints look­ing right. At first we thought the rib­bon was out of ink. After all, Mike remem­bered that the last time he saw it used was in the 80s. But then we tried to adjust a num­ber of things, and even­tu­al­ly we were actu­al­ly able to get a dark enough imprint.

I typed the quote 3 times over to end up with one that does­n’t have typos — proof that I’m far too used to typ­ing on the com­put­er and being able to eas­i­ly erase mis­takes. The first time I ever typed was on a com­put­er key­board; this is actu­al­ly the first time I’ve used the type­writer. And how did peo­ple use their pinkies on the type­writer? The keys require quite a force to make an imprint on the paper. I imag­ine get­ting cal­lous­es on the fin­ger­tips, much like play­ing the gui­tar. But I find it to be quite a reward­ing expe­ri­ence! To prac­tice and prac­tice and final­ly get it right :)

And it reminds me so much of print­mak­ing. Espe­cial­ly with the two-colour rib­bon. One just would­n’t know exact­ly how the words will appear, there are always slight vari­a­tions even if the let­ters are the same. Maybe I will try to make more things with it :D

Have a won­der­ful start to the week, everyone!


yarn blessings

Photo 2014-09-01, 12 08 29 PM

This came to me a while ago and I meant to write about this ear­li­er, but was going through some stuff (more below) and then went on a trip

I got yarn in the mail! From my friend Amy :D She has so kind­ly asked me to try out her pat­tern and sent me this gor­geous yarn. I absolute­ly love the for­est tones in it, with the yel­lows and greens and blue. What a trea­sure. I love work­ing with var­ie­gat­ed yarn and see­ing how all the dif­fer­ent colours blend dif­fer­ent­ly in each stitch. Can­not wait to start mak­ing the cowl!

What cowl, you ask? The Love-Me-Knot Cowl!

The love knot (or Solomon’s knot as it is also called) is one of my favourite cro­chet stitch­es. Here’s a handy tuto­r­i­al if you had­n’t used it before. I find it very med­i­ta­tive, and makes a del­i­cate fab­ric with a nice drape. It also makes very quick projects because of the height of the stitch­es, per­fect for last-minute presents (or, if you’re like me, you might be mak­ing Christ­mas presents already). And cowls are espe­cial­ly great because they’re styl­ish when worn indoors and they don’t have long ends that get caught in coat zip­pers while wear­ing out­doors. It is gen­er­ous­ly shared by Amy to down­load for free on Rav­el­ry :D

But this par­tic­u­lar skein of yarn is more than just yarn. It actu­al­ly arrived at a time when I was very much not myself. I had just fin­ished my final semester, feel­ing lost, pur­pose­less and more than a lit­tle afraid after being in school on and off (more on than off) for 10 years, which result­ed in four degrees but lit­tle job expe­ri­ence. Sent out dozens of job appli­ca­tions and heard noth­ing in return. And then there was admin­is­tra­tive mix-up at school that could quite pos­si­bly jeop­ar­dize my grad­u­a­tion. My future was look­ing rather bleak.

And then this yarn came in the mail, with a love­ly hand drawn note, and gen­eros­i­ty and kind­ness that expects noth­ing in return. It remind­ed me of what I want to be for oth­ers and why I took the (long) path to be where I am today, and brought back some sense of pur­pose. I’m there­fore tru­ly blessed by this yarn, and most impor­tant­ly Amy’s friendship.

(And since then the admin­is­tra­tive mix-up has been fixed and I WILL grad­u­ate! But I digress…)

Do give Amy’s pat­tern a try! And for the begin­ning of fall I would like to pass on an Irish bless­ing that one of my favourite teach­ers shared with me:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.

Hap­py Sep­tem­ber! May you find joy and new learn­ing in all that you do.



owls from far away

Got a won­der­ful sur­prise in the mail last week from my friend Nan­cy — owls! :D

Photo 2014-06-21, 10 41 18 AM

This beau­ti­ful ceram­ic owl charm. We’ve been going on adven­tures togeth­er for the past few days and it makes me so hap­py :D

And this fun owl puz­zle! He’s now set­tled hap­pi­ly on my desk (please excuse the unsight­ly dust. It’s since been dust­ed. Yikes.)

Photo 2014-06-21, 3 25 19 PM

And this love­ly sun­shiny dish cloth!

Photo 2014-06-22, 9 36 57 AM


So grate­ful for your gen­eros­i­ty, thought­ful­ness and friend­ship, Nancy!

Hope every­one has a won­der­ful week!



for mothers


this is a bit late in the day, but it’s what I would love to be able to present to you in per­son — the first wild flower bou­quets of spring. For you bring forth life and make it full with your great love. To all moth­ers, moth­er fig­ures and moth­ers-to-be: wish­ing you much joy and bless­ings on Moth­er’s Day and every day.


here comes the sun

As Christ­mas approached Ontario encoun­tered a pret­ty severe ice storm. All the trees were all encased in ice overnight. They looked absolute­ly mag­i­cal, but weight of the ice also caused the branch­es to snap and fall, car­ry­ing pow­er lines with them, and thou­sands were left with­out pow­er for days. The pow­er in our build­ing was down, but we were blessed with friends who opened their home (and cup­board full of tea!) to us and fam­i­ly we could stay with. 

Still we stayed a day in the apart­ment with­out light and heat (how I took these lux­u­ries for grant­ed when I had them!). The sky was also very grey that day, and as the day began to grow dark at 3:30 in the after­noon I was start­ing to get this feel­ing that the pow­er out­age sit­u­a­tion was­n’t going to end. When we left our apart­ment to stay with my fam­i­ly and Mike’s fam­i­ly for the hol­i­days our build­ing’s pow­er and water sup­ply was still down. They were stay­ing on the news that the pow­er may not be restored for every­one before Christ­mas. Here’s hop­ing that every­one will be warm and safe over the holidays.

When we arrived at my par­ents’ today the sun shone through the clouds as it was set­ting. The ice on the tree branch­es start­ed to melt and was sparkling like jew­els. It remind­ed me of the words from this song by Relient K, which was also the theme song for the movie The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

It’s always win­ter but nev­er Christ­mas
It seems this curse just can’t be lift­ed
Yet in the midst of all this ice and snow
Our hearts stay warm cause they are filled with hope

And every­thing it changed overnight
This dying world you brought it back to life
And deep inside I felt things
Shift­ing every­thing was melt­ing
Away oh away
And you gave us the most beau­ti­ful of days

Cause when it’s always win­ter but nev­er Christ­mas
Some­times it feels like you’re not with us
But deep inside our hearts we know
That you are here and we will not lose hope


Wish­ing every­one a mer­ry Christ­mas and a new year filled with joy, peace, love, and hope.




hope is like a country road


“Hope is like a road in the coun­try; there was nev­er a road, but when many peo­ple walk on it, the road comes into existence.”
Lin Yutang

(Acrylic on raw can­vas with oil pastels)


In the past years I’ve been work­ing / intern­ing / vol­un­teer­ing in var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ty agen­cies, run­ning groups that use expres­sive arts to sup­port women in deal­ing with dif­fer­ent chal­lenges. Time and again I wit­ness hope grow­ing like wild­flow­ers amongst and with­in peo­ple as they work togeth­er and share expe­ri­ences, wis­dom, joy, and pain; each per­son a light that bright­ens the path for oth­ers. I think this is true in many oth­er com­mu­ni­ties and groups too.

And I’m grate­ful for you. I don’t think I say this enough, but I so appre­ci­ate the time that you take to vis­it, your inter­est in the things I make, your kind and encour­ag­ing com­ments. Whether we’ve spo­ken or writ­ten to each oth­er or not, I cher­ish all of the con­nec­tions that we’ve made through this space. 

Thank you so much! And I hope you have a won­der­ful weekend!