23 November 2017

Time for Thanks

It's Thanksgiving here in the U.S. -- a time for food, family, and the start of the holiday festivities.

As I do evey year, I like to pause and take stock of what I have been blessed with. And that includes a loving family, thoughtful friends, good health, food in the fridge, a warm blanket, a bag of chips when I crave something salty, a chocolate bar when I'm feeling down, a greeting card in the mailbox, finding a five dollar bill in my jeans, uplifting music from the choir, a reliable bus line, a new set of watercolors, a moment of quiet for meditation.

I am also grateful that I get to write this blog where I can share my thoughts and ideas. I am thankful for all of you who come and visit. That's always a TADA! for me.

Thank you and I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!


20 November 2017

Nifty Napkin Rings

The holidays are just around the corner and here's a craft that will turn your dinner table from blah to TADA!

Let's make some napkin rings! Most likely, everything we need, you already have.

First up, cardboard boxes. Simply cut these into letter O's. 

Second on the list is yarn (I found these in a garage sale).

Wind the yarn around the cardboard ring, securing the ends with hot glue.

You can opt to use a single color around the ring or use a combination of two or three colors.

Make a tassel with more yarn and attach it to the ring.

The color combinations might be a little a odd but I think they're unexpected.

Make a napkin holder for each of your guests and you can give them away as a party favor at the end of the evening. TADA!


13 November 2017

The Giving Plate

I was at one of my favorite gift shops when I saw this:


It's The Giving Plate and it has this inscription: 

"This plate is for everyone to give love and kindness away. Let its gift bring joy and comfort while it's with you this day. Cherish the precious memories made with your family and your friends, then pass it on to someone else so its giving never ends."

It was my first time to see one and I thought it was such a TADA! idea. It's a plate that you bring to a potluck with something you made (like a roast chicken, a meatloaf or a bundt cake). You leave the plate with the party host for her to keep. When she is invited to another potluck, she'll use this plate to serve her dish.  She leaves the plate with the party host to continue the cycle.

It's encouraged that the back of the plate is signed (with the name and the date, and even the dish) with a permanent marker to track where the plate has travelled. 

You can find plates like this on Etsy. I also found these cute ones as inspiration if you want to make your own using this technique.


Image result for the giving plate

Image result for the giving plate


It's a nice tradition to start now that the holidays are just around the corner. Enjoy your week!

06 November 2017

A Beaded Brooch

Howdy everyone!

Many years ago, I received this brooch from a friend. She knows me well enough as the girl who appreciates a handmade gift.

It's a pretty dragonfly made of semi-precious stones like malachite, azurite, quartz, and jasper.

Stones and crystals have caught my interest lately because of the different "powers" possessed by each and every kind. My readings from the web have led me to a description of the stones in my dragonfly:
  • Malachite (green) -  is a Stone of Transformation, assisting one in changing situations and providing for spiritual growth
  • Azurite (deep blue) - this stone awakens psychic abilities and helps the user to recognize intuition and spiritual guidance when it occurs
  • Quartz (yellow) is a Golden Healer stone to help create a sense of confidence, zeal, happiness, and adventure
  • Jasper (red) - is a stone of physical strength and energy; it stimulates gently and steadily, enhancing stamina and endurance, and increasing the amount of chi, or life force, in one's aura. It is a stone of health and passion, and brings the courage to face unpleasant tasks and to rectify unjust situations.
Imagine that...what a wealth of energy!

It's easy to make a brooch like this one with a brooch pin, thin-gauge wire, pliers, a wire cutter, and an assortment of beads.  

Another clever idea is to use old or broken jewelry to make something entirely new. "Blah to TADA!" is what I call it!


30 October 2017

Halloween Treats

What are you guys up to this Halloween?

halloween cake pops, halloween treats
I made a few cake pops! Inside, they're devil food's cake -- is there a more evil flavor fit for Halloween?

halloween cake pops, halloween treats, skull cake toppers
Then I coated them with white chocolate, very imperfect, to mimic a skull.

Then I decorated the cake pops with these paper toppers. TADA!

May you all have a fun Halloween!

26 October 2017

How To: Embroidered Shoes

Hello there! I've got a bonus post for you this week.

It begins with a pair of shoes:

TOMS diy embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes
I've had these for at least 7 years. They're easy to slip on and off, goes with most items in my wardrobe, and are very comfortable. Plus the company's advocacy where "for every purchase, a new  pair of shoes will be given to a person in need" is truly inspiring.

TOMS diy embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes
I wore it too often that a hole eventually developed.

And then I stopped wearing them. I didn't want the hole to get bigger and I was afraid I would be mocked for my ripped shoes. It's not exactly as cool as wearing ripped jeans, right? 

I thought about how I could repair my pair. How could I turn this situation from blah to TADA!

TOMS diy embroidery \, hand embroidery on shoes
And so I drew on them.

TOMS diy embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes
And embroidered them.

TOMS diy embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes, floral embroidery on shoes
One shoe doesn't exactly mirror the other. But the same colors and flowers were used, allowing them to still look cohesive.

TOMS diy embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes, floral embroidery on shoes
The only challenges I had were: (1) too much handling of the shoe made the white pencil marks of the pattern disappear. My remedy was just to draw over. (2) Not being able to make tight knots to finish the stitch because I put the design towards the hard-to-reach toe area.

TOMS diy embroidery, floral embroidery, hand embroidery on shoes
Now, I am able to wear these again. The floral embroidery instantly gave them a second life...TADA!

Please let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by!

23 October 2017

Cats and Books

How are you today? I hope you are having a good day!

When shopping for new stuff, it's likely that they come with these tags. I can't bear to throw them away. I think they deserve a fair shot at a second life.

Armed with cat-print Washi tape, a sheet of assorted cats, a pair of scissors, and some glue, I'll transform the tags from blah to TADA! 

Here's one that I made for my "100 Day Project". It's a collage using pages from an old book and rubber stamps.

The washi tape and cat cutouts disguise the brands on these tags:




I like to use them as bookmarks for the stack on my bedside dresser.  TADA!

16 October 2017

A Tiny Trinket Tray

Hi there! I thought I'd share another craft which was part of my "100 Day Project."

It's a trinket tray made of polymer clay.

Here's how I made it:
  • Step 1: Slightly knead the polymer clay and with a rolling pin, roll it out.
  • Step 2: Cut out your desired shape using cookie cutter.
  • Step 3: Place the clay in the cup of a small muffin tin (this gives the clay a bowl-shape) and bake for around 20 minutes in a 275 degree Fahrenheit oven. 
  • Step 4: Make sure the clay is hard (not dough-like) before taking it out of the oven. Allow to cool for several minutes.

I decorated the tray with a felt-tipped marker. 

I love to use it for small pieces of jewelry. TADA!


09 October 2017

A Trip to Maine

Over the summer, I treated myself to a creative retreat. The purpose was a break from routine and to come out refreshed with new ideas.

And because I've never been, I decided to go to Portland, Maine.

I rented a well-appointed cottage on a peaceful street.

There was a lot of quiet time to brainstorm, write, and paint. I found this bowl in the owner's cupboard and the indigo paint, I bought at the Art Mart

Here's a page from my travel journal. I tried to capture a day on the ocean where I got to see several lighthouses...

Including the Portland Head Light (the oldest light house).

A calm day on Casco Bay.

The view from the Eastern Promenade.

Maine is known for their lobsters. These are lobster traps, just a typical scene.

I had to indulge in fresh lobster rolls at the Portland Lobster Company.

I always make time to visit the vibrant farmer's markets.

Maine is also known for their blueberries.

 The Stonewall Kitchen was born in Maine.

To satisfy my sweet tooth, I stopped by a few bakeries like and Rosemont Market and Bakery, Tandem Coffee and Bakery, and Standard Baking Company.

As with other New England cities like Boston, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, I also discovered that Maine is teeming with makers and artists.

An afternoon at the museum (with an impressive museum shop).

My first time to attend a poetry reading! The power of the spoken word in the beautiful Longfellow Garden.  

Summer nights in Congress Square Park means music and dancing.

Sea Bags are totes made from old sails...TADA!

Chart makes jewelry and keyfobs made from old maps...TADA!

Greeting cards and postcards made by Maine artists!

Reading recommendations at Longfellow Books

Crafty kits at Circa Home and Vintage.

Lots of possibilities at the Knit Wit yarn store.

Vintage finds and local crafts at these shops: Pinecone and Chickadee, Blanche and Mimi, Folly 101, and The Merchant Co. 

Antique treasures at Portland Flea for All. I loved all these independent shops!

Here is a print of a mermaid with Allagash beer in one hand (it's a city of breweries) and a doughnut on the other (they're also known for their potato doughnuts)...a perfect souvenir from a very memorable trip.  I've already framed this and added it to our gallery wall at home...TADA!