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!