Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DIY Paper Luminaries Tutorial

Finally, here it is!
My long overdue tutorial on how to make your own Paper Luminaries.

plain paper lantern (battery operated, for portability)
colored tissue paper (used ones will do)
round disk template (I used a CD cover)
permanent double sided tape (or glue gun if you prefer).
I like the tape, less messy and safe for little fingers (for little ones).

Step 1:
Using your round disk template, trace and cut circles from the paper tissues.
Short-cut Tip:
Fold the papers together for multiple cut-outs.

Step 2:
Fold each circle in half then glue or tape the middle in the paper lantern randomly.

Step 3:
Keep going until all circles are folded and taped/ glued to the lantern.

 Here, I'm halfway through.

Step 5:
Turn it on (make sure your batteries are new) and admire your luminary.

Step 6:
Make some more!  And have fun. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

DIY Paper Luminaries

I made these for my friend's wedding recently.  Plain white paper lanterns (from dollar store) transformed into floral ball luminaries.

Here's the yellow version.  Want to make yours?  Stay tuned for the tutorial I'll be posting pretty soon.  

Thanks again for stopping by and sharing my morning.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Paper Garland - Part 2

Remember the paper garlands I made last week? 
I made pink versions of it for our friends' wedding.

We used the white ones as entryway accents at the dinner reception.  
The soft lighting made the threads in the garlands seem invisible.

Enjoy, and don't forget to share your photos if you make some.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paper Garland

If you have stash of paper piling up and wondering what to use it for, here's an idea. Make paper garlands. So easy to make. Punch holes or shapes, then sew the thread to connect each using your sewing machine.

Our toddler enjoyed helping in both punching the holes and handing the paper to me for sewing. Not only was it delightful to see these delicate garlands adorn our windows, but seeing the delight in my boy's eyes from doing such a simple project was priceless.

We used regular copy paper and sewn two together. If you use scrapbook paper or construction paper, one each will be enough. These will be perfect as party decorations or just to bring cheers to any space. Mix different colored papers for a bright palette.

Hope you like it! If you happen to recreate this project, share the photos. I'd love to see it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Back to the lenses I go. Here's a quick straight out of the camera (SOTC) shot I took of my niece. She happily posed for this playful shot while we were celebrating her mom's birthday. We pulled out some roses (real ones) from grandma's vase. The blooms complemented the blush in her complexion.

To make this portrait shot interesting, I applied the 'rule of thirds' as I would in a painting. Fill 2/3 of the frame with your subject, find the right lighting (or set up one), then snap away. This was taken in the evening, thus the warm ambient lighting.

Looking at this portrait made me realized how grown up she is now. Years do go by quick indeed. It was just yesterday when she was just a wobbly toddler. Look at her now.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tiny Treasures

'Tiny Treasures'

It's wet, cold and rainy outside. The weather has beckoned the beginning of Fall. So, what to do with an active toddler in the house? Pull out some paper, markers, glue and scissors for some fun, creative finger puppet time.

Drawing his finger puppet.

What to do: Trace finger on paper. Cut around the finger trace, leaving about 1 1/5 inch allowance on both sides and 1/2 inch on top. Glue the side allowances allowing space for the finger, fold the top then glue. Then have fun drawing and embellishing your paper finger puppet.

Meet Fireman Sam.

Telling the story of Fireman Sam.

The best part: Put on a show! Hearing little ones tell their 'made-up' stories is the best part of all.

So proud of his new finger puppet.

A priceless inexpensive way to have fun and get your little ones' imagination into play. And the bonding time you get to spend with them are tiny treasures you'll cherish.

Have fun!

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Momentary Pause

Things have been pretty quiet in my blog for few weeks now. This is the reason. I've decided to take a brief pause from painting and writing to focus my time to the new addition in our family. In fact, I have him in my lap as I was typing this (with one hand cuddling him and one hand typing).

Such momentary pause doesn't mean idle time. How can it be? Working, raising a toddler and now another munchkin, fills up my 24 x 7. But I'm enjoying the 'ride' more than ever (with a new carseat in the rear). So pardon me for being away for a while. Babies don't keep. I want to enjoy their smallness, when I can still scoop them up with my two hands and raise them up in the air.

Because pretty soon, they won't be little people anymore. Worry not though, I won't wait 'til they're young men to resume painting and creating. The next canvas is already primed, waiting to be painted the next time their nap times coincide.

I'll be back with a promise to bring you even more exciting posts...very, very soon.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trail Tales

I love biking and the way it allows me to explore new places. Last weekend, we drove to Geneva and biked along the Fox Riverside Trail.

This is where our adventure brought us to. The historic Fabyan Village, where an old Japanese Tea Garden rests.

How timely for my ongoing 'hundred gardens' project. I can't wait to jump to the seventh painting. Right now, it's time to resume working on the sixth.

But wait, you still have to see the fifth.

- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Secret - Straightening Doors

Novice and professional painters alike occasionally come across the challenge of painting straight edges. Let me share you one of my tried and true technique - masking. With what else, but a masking tape!

As I was working on the fifth painting, trying to straighten a brush stroke with a tired mommy hand wasn't just happening. Plus, I didn't want to lose the 'impressionist' feel of the painting by restricting the movement of my loose, freehand strokes.

Masking tapes are plein air artists best friend too. Here, I just put a three-inch tape to achieve a somewhat straighter edge. By doing it, I was able to continue painting loosely without worrying about the edges too much.

Voila! My door frame looked like what it's supposed to be. It's not perfectly straight. But painting isn't about photographic illustration. For me, it's about creating shapes, strokes and smudges that represent 'something'.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Focal Shift

Working on the fifth. Right now, I'm deciding to shift the focus from the obvious focal point, which is the blue door. I want to lead the viewer's eye to something unexpected.

Stay tuned to see where it will be. But while you're here, why not tell me what you think. I'll be happy to hear your suggestions.

- Posted from my iPhone

Pastels and Patience

'Robin's Peach Tree'
Chalk pastel on paper. 9 x 12 inches.

I learned that although my boy enjoys painting with me, you can't expect two year olds to sit down on a 'real' art workshop. Not yet.

During the recent arts fest in our town, I signed him up for a two hour pastel workshop for a mere $8. The first fifteen minutes, he was doing fine. Until he realized that it was more fun to run outside. The 'fifteen minute attention span' won over.

So, there I was. Left with a box of pastels and a black paper scribbled with abstract lines and curves. I felt sad for the teacher, she must have thought my boy didn't found her workshop interesting enough.

I apologized and was relieved to hear she knows exactly how toddlers are. I decided to 'salvage' what was in front of me and this is what I came up with in less than an hour. The only time I could spare before I lose sight of my toddler and my four month old baby (in my sling) wakes up.

I could have left it as is and brought another abstract work to add in our growing collection (and I mean 'growing'). Moms and dads, you know what I mean.

Instead, I took that opportunity to show my boy what patience can bring forth. When he exclaimed, 'Mom! My bird, nice!', I knew it was worth the effort.

- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

4. Garden Companion

'Fletcher and the Geums'
Acrylic on canvas. 11 x 14 inches.

Posted this afternoon at 5 pm.

I'm heading out to the door, but I wanted to share this to you. I'll be posting the details and inspiration behind this painting when I get back. See you later!

Update tonight (It's 9 pm right now here in Chicago).

I'm back. So, you're wondering who our furry friend is. Say hello to Fletcher. He's one of Mark Delepine's garden companion. Mark is a math teacher and self-taught master gardener from Berkeley, California. Ever wonder how to grow a lush garden in drought-prone area? Mark has the answers in his blog A Garden for a Serial Plant Fetishist.

Thanks Mark for sharing this adorable shot of Fletcher. And thank you Fletcher for keeping me company for the past few days.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Brushing the Hair

The day is almost done, and so is my painting. My boys took quite longer naps this afternoon, which allowed me to paint a little longer than usual.

Tomorrow, I'll post the photo of the finished painting.

Hope you like it and I'd love to hear what you think.

Mystery Subject Revealed

I posted this inverted image last Saturday to ask readers what they think this is. One reply I got from my Facebook Page is that it could be a vintage upholstery. Now, let me introduce you to my newest subject - Fletcher.

I'm getting more excited to finish this painting. It's a step outside my comfort zone, since I don't usually paint pet portraits. But when I got this image for the 'hundred gardens' project, I knew instantly I have to paint it.

Stay tuned as I keep you posted on how this painting develops.

Right now, I'm making the darks darker using a mix of phtalo green, burnt umber and alizarin crimson.

- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Going Green

Egg cartons for planters, anyone?

That's what I call 'thinking outside the box'. Better yet, 'planting on the boxes'.

Happy Sunday! Go green and grow greens.

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, July 30, 2010

Brush vs. Hammer and Drill

Step 1 to 5 Completed. Twenty five steps to go!

Instead of brushes, I chose the hammer and drill today. After months of searching, I finally found the perfect shoe rack for our mudroom. We scored this Ikea TV stand on a clearance sale. 70% off. If you haven't put any Ikea furniture together, let me warn you that it requires tons of patience.

Big help from our little man.
He enjoyed handing out the lightweight pieces to me.

There are no words in the instruction manual, only photo illustrations. The screws, bolts and nuts are all packed together, without separate labeling. You've got to figure it out which piece matches the one indicated on the manual.

All done! Repurposed IKEA TV stand serves as shoe rack.

After almost four hours of hammering, drilling, screwing and awkward bending, I finally finished putting it together (with extra help from my little man and my mom).

Now, we're able to walk in the mudroom without tripping on piles of shoes. It's low enough for our boys to sit on and if it can hold the weight of a flatscreen tv, it should be sturdy enough to occasionally sit on.

My next project will be to put a cushion on top. So, tune in. In the meantime, I'm headed to reward myself with a warm, lavender bath.

- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, July 29, 2010

3. White Garden Room

'White Garden Room'
Acrylic on Canvas. 11 x 14 in.

Welcome to Boxwood Cottage's White Garden Room. This is our third stop in our Hundred Gardens tour. Carola welcomes us in her lovely cottage in Bremen, Germany. Take a seat and savor the delectably designed white room in her garden.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Once there was a Nest

Carpe diem. Seize the day. A phrase we often hear, but only a few amongst us takes to heart. I, for myself is guilty of occasionally taking the hours for granted. Do you find yourself caught up in the busyness of your day that you forget to realize that there are momentary chances to make a huge difference even through our smallest deeds.

Like the day we found this nest in our yard. My friend and I could have chosen to ignore it and proceed to drive to our destination. Instead, we took the opportunity to teach my little man a brief, but meaningful life experience. To touch a precious nest that once held and nurtured tiny feathered nature friends.

Thinking back, I believe it was there to remind us to make the most of each passing moment in our days. Because someday, we'll all leave our own 'nests'.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shades of Summer

Today, I'm taking you to our backyard. It's the first thing I fell in love with, before we decided to buy our property few years ago. The old trees give a sense of nostalgia, which often makes one wonder their actual ages.

My husband built our beautiful paver patio as a mother's day gift. Now we get to enjoy the serene summer breeze under the natural shade and dine al fresco. My flowers are blooming too, what more can I ask for?

Perhaps, a little more painting time. Right now, it's all about the 'art of relaxing'. Because in few minutes, the silence will be filled with my boys' playful laughters.

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pebble Patio

Almost done, just dry brushing the pebble patio. I intentionally didn't worked too much on the pebble details, so as not to take the spotlight out of the focal point.

Are you able to tell which is the star (focal point) of this painting already?

- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fluffing the Seat Cushion

It's Sunday morning & I got to squueze in some painting time before the boys get up.

I'm moving on to the next garden, thousands of miles away. You can't see much of the two wrought-iron vintage chairs I'm painting yet. I'm spreading the purplish cream paint to create an impression of a seat cushion today.

Tune in tomorrow to see where our 'Hundred Gardens' tour will lead us.

Enjoy your Sunday! Thanks for stopping by again.

- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2. Rose Gate Garden

'Rose Gate Garden'
Acrylic on Canvas. 11 x 14 in.

Happy weekend everyone. Today, I'm bringing you to a lovely seaside cottage in Nantucket beach in our 'Hundred Gardens' tour.

The subject for this painting is contributed by celebrated photographer and teacher, Paul Schwartz from Rochester, New York.

We left the rose trellis gate unlocked for you. Come inside and explore the gardens with your imagination.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Growing the Roses

It's past ten in the evening and everyone's asleep. Now, I'm back to the canvas to do some of the last finishing touches on my second painting for my 'hundred gardens' project.

I enjoyed smudging the highlights with my finger, it creates a nice Seurat-like marks on the painting. Try it next time you paint, you'll definitely enjoy it too. Think 'finger painting'.

Tune in, 'cos tomorrow I'll let you know where this beautiful garden is. Good night for now, I got a painting to finish.

Thanks again for joining me in my late nights and mornings here in my blog.

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

1. White Cheeked Songbirds

'White Cheeked Songbirds'
Acrylic on Canvas. 9 x 12 in.

First stop on our 'Hundred Gardens' tour is Manama, Bahrain. The sweet image of these white-cheeked bulbuls resting on a bird's bath was contributed by photographer and writer Mahmood Al-Yousif.

The Himalayan Bulbuls are medium-sized passerine songbirds which are commonly found in Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Beginning

'A thousand steps begin with one', so goes an ancient Chinese proverb. Today, I officially embarked on my 'hundred paintings' project featuring garden themed subjects.

I chose to paint these two white cheeked birds as to start with, as a symbol of the new heights I'm taking. Why two? Because this project is a two-way collaboration between me and the garden enthusiasts across the globe.

If you love photographing gardens or simply enjoy them, I invite you to join my project by sending your photos.

Tomorrow, I'll post the details about this painting.

See you at the gardens!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Musings

Somebody was up early today to paint with me. I was preparing to start the first painting for my 'Hundred Gardens' Project.

Watching him work on his own space reminded me to enjoy the process with childlike wonder. To occasionally break the rules of art for the sake of pure creativity.

Watching his brushstrokes made me realize once more that we can be who we want to be. In this case, the artists we desire to be. Not defined by the style of art we do, but defining the art we make by who we are.

Just like his painting, others may see it as just another child's doodle. But for him, it's his own 'work of art'. A product of his thought and creative spirit.

- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Flea Market

After baking a quiche for breakfast today, we walked to the flea market. Seeing these flower baskets was a welcome treat. I love how this lady uses old baskets and crates as flower pots. It gives her arrangements a nostalgic and organic feel to it.

It's cloudy today, walking along is easier without the usual summer heat. As of this post, I'm still looking for vintage fabrics & buttons to use for my fall/ winter collection.

Hopefully, I'll find what I'm looking for.

How about you, where are you headed this Sunday?

- Posted from my iPhone