Thursday, March 29, 2012

personal drawings

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beloved fat one!!! (and congrats on scoring a goal, Capt'n!) =P

... today I also received a little surprise in the mail that made up for everything else that went wrong in my day... a beautiful bird drawing of my very own!!! LOVE IT. This one's a keeper! (so is the drawing)... haha.

Monday, March 26, 2012

inspiration: Etsy Features

I've always wanted to open an Etsy shop. But I still haven't figured out what I would want to sell - I just can't seem to settle on ONE idea... instead my mind is constantly running off in a billion directions, leaving me scatter-brained. haha. Anyway, here are some 100% handmade goods I found on Etsy that are simply amazing...

...a fabric pencil pouch with a personalized message (from printsnpatterns)...

...this ridiculously cute octopus from cheekandstitch (anything with a monocle + moustache = genius in my books)...

...a crocheted wool ring box by NeedleNoodles (wouldn't that be a cute proposal prop for a crafty girl!)...
...and if you're super crochet crazy, you can buy a PDF Pattern that teaches you how to make a whole SUSHI SET (also from NeedleNoodles).

...oh and remember that hamburger girl self-portrait that I drew a few weeks ago?

...well imagine MY EXTREME EXCITEMENT when I found THIS on Etsy...
OH MAN. Who knew a burger headband actually existed?! I can't crochet, but I would like to make my own somehow!!!

This crochet creation of epic proportions was made by Priscilla of You Cute, an Etsy shop that specializes in tasty crochet. Check out her other handmade goods... I would wear one of these on my head and prance around ANY DAY.

I am officially obsessed with all this handmade grub. They're like the little cartoons I draw all the time... except in CROCHET FORM!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

DIY inspiration: Statement Necklaces

I've been wanting to make some STATEMENT NECKLACES lately, and I have some ideas but today I'm going to go out and scour for some supplies. Meanwhile, here are four AMAZING tutorials that are definitely inspirational. I especially want to try out #2 and #3 (the spray-painted rhinestone necklace & the feather necklace). Looking at these projects just spurs me even more on a CRAFTING CRAZEEEEEEEE....

1. a creative crochet chevron necklace from "Two Butterflies"...

2. a rhinestone necklace that's been given the neon treatment (via a pair and a spare)...

3. this amazing fabric feather necklace from Alisa Burke...

4. a simple DIY for a Pearl & Ruffle Statement Necklace (from Refinery29)...

These necklaces definitely make a statement and will probably become striking conversation starters!

DIY: 1 Blouse, 10 Looks (Re-styling with Lace)

I always like thinking of different ways to alter or add some little details to my clothing. I liked this silk blouse for its easy-to-wear cream colour and its standout black collar. It would definitely go with all different kinds of coloured cardigans and blazers. I did think it was a bit plain though, so I started thinking of how I could jazz up the shirt a bit. So I came up with this DIY: LACE BLOUSE EDITION to demonstrate a whole bunch of ways to alter a simple button-up shirt like this one.

Well, the first easy add-on that doesn't require any kind of sewing is a thin belt. Depending on whether you want to stay monochrome or add a punch of colour, you can use a thin black belt with gold details (like the picture below), or go for a bright-coloured one. 
Cinching a belt at your natural waist will give the blouse a less-boxy, more-defined look.
Lace is always a simple DIY addition and I thought adding some black lace detail would contrast nicely with the pale colour of the blouse.  
 The first way to add lace doesn't require any sewing at all - just tie a bit of lace into a bow around the collar. I like non-sew DIYs like this because if you ever get tired of the look, you can scrap it easily.
 Another way is to tie the lace around your natural waistline to have it act as a belt. 
 Now let's move on to our endless lace sewing options. Look #3 here is simply to sew a strand of lace at the bottom of the shirt which helps balance out the black collar and instantly adds some subtle detail.
Sewing the lace along the sleeves will add more flair to your shoulders! Since this shirt has black buttons underneath a flap of cream fabric, I would also consider sewing the "flap" to the side in order to expose the buttons underneath for a different kind of look.
This DIY would require sewing two lace lines horizontally across the shirt. I think this look would be nice with a gold statement necklace worn up top. 
(Yes, that title is a Canucks reference, haha)... Anyway, I think this would be an interesting take on the V-neck. 
...don't worry - we won't try for a triple.
I think this look would only work with two or three buttons showing at the top. It gives the blouse a kind of pseudo-scoop neckline, or a "lace bib" for grown-ups.  
Sewing two vertical lines all the way down is an elongated look that can create the illusion of a slimmer torso. (I just made that up right now, but really, I just think it makes the shirt look more interesting in a very symmetrical way). In my opinion, adding a thin belt to this look ties it all together.
I don't know what inspired this one, but I think it definitely adds an interesting element to the blouse. This look would definitely be best without a cardigan over it, in order to show off the lace lines sewn on one side. If you really can't stand the asymmetrical-ness, then get more lace and sew the same pattern on the other side!

So... what do you think about the looks? Like? Love? Utterly despise? haha... Let me know which ones are your favourites. With so many options, I still haven't decided which one to actually use. (My excessive-spending side is telling me that the solution is to buy 10 copies of this shirt and make all 10 styles). =P

Friday, March 23, 2012

snowflakes in spring

My uncle's maid grew up in Indonesia, and she had a totally different upbringing from me. We speak different languages but we try to understand one another through conversing in broken Cantonese. I never had a maid or helper around the house growing up, so to me, she's a newfound friend. Yesterday, we talked about each other's families and faraway homes, and I showed her some of the doodles from my sketchbook. Later, she came back with a snowflake she had just cut out of paper. We spent the next half an hour cutting paper snowflakes out of old Indonesian magazines. My snowflakes turned out weird (I'm not very good at making pretty ones), but I really liked hers so I posted them up. Then I got the idea of making a little wall mural and reverted back to what I'm comfortable doing - doodling of course! So I drew a little cartoon girl to complete the wintry scene that we taped onto my uncle's wall. haha. 

After that, I was feeling in a creative + poetic mood so I started thinking up snow metaphors which led me to writing a HAIKU poem... (Do you remember having to do those in elementary school? haha)...


shredded coconut
God's dandruff lacing the ground
falling like manna

haha that's my sad adult Haiku attempt. I'm sure my Grade 6 self could've done better.

Oh and I also made a poem about snowflakes using every letter of the alphabet in order. Just because I felt like it. It gets weirder at the end, but to me it still makes sense. =P

albino bits of cake deliriously, endlessly falling. gusts of heaven-sent ice-cream just kissing the lids of mountains. nymphish opalescent petals, quietly reeling. starlights twirling upon velvet watercolours like xeric yeast-zits.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

artist spotlight: erin jang + food sketches

I recently stumbled upon a blog called FOOD SKETCHES, and being a food lover, I was instantly intrigued. Erin Jang, of The Indigo Bunting, is a New York graphic designer who started this site as a personal project to document some of the food she eats. Side note: (she also used to be the senior art director at Martha Stewart Living... how cool is that!?!)...

Anyway, with her permission, I'm going to share with you two of my favourite food images from her site! The first is "Parm Birthday Cake" which I particularly love because of the colourful sprinkles. Just looking at this deliciously delectable drawing makes me want to eat cake.

This second image is "Gumballs" which is such a fun, rainbow-coloured print.

To check out more tasty food pics, head over to FOOD SKETCHES here. Just looking at all her images prompted me to create my own "food sketch" with a tribute to one of my favourite foods -
the hamburger.

So here's my version, inspired by Erin's colourful images!

Actually, I've thought of creating a flat 2D burger print like this before as an acrylic painting (and probably will do a large-scale version of it on a giant canvas one day). It would probably make me very very hungry if I saw this print hanging in my living room every day. haha.

 I'd probably try to nibble at the canvas.

Monday, March 19, 2012

tips for thrift store shopping

One of my favourite people, Amanda, is in New York studying fashion design right now (yes, isn't that like a girl's dream come true? =D!!) and she sent me an article about thrift-shopping in NYC. I wish I could be there to go thrift store hopping with her, because honestly that's one of the major things I miss about home. To all my friends who shook their heads disapprovingly at the way I scoured Vancouver thrift stores for clothing + furniture, you have not seen Hong Kong thrift stores hahaha. To all the Hong Kong locals - let me know if there are any good ones, because the ones I've seen are creepy, dark, and look infected with hepatitus. Anyway, I'd love to see what New York thrift shopping has to offer, but for now, here's the article by Refinery 29 with some tips for thrift store shopping!

all images from Refinery 29

 I don't know when my own obsession with thrift stores started, but maybe it was when I was a 10 year old, going on Saturday morning excursions with my mom to yard sales where people were selling cheap knick knacks and second-hand goods out of their garages. I distinctly remember my first second-hand purchase was a $2 nike sweater from one of those garage sales. Favourite sweater ever. (Aside from the red and black plaid sweater I owned - totally ugly-Christmas-sweater worthy - that said SCOTLAND in big bold letters on the front). I was so cool.

How come kids nowadays don't go through such an awkward clothing phase? I attribute my later coolness to having experienced that awkward phase, contrary to popular opinion that suggests I'm still in said phase. haha.


Here are some of MY tips on thrift shopping (specifically) for clothes + fashion accessories:

1) be happy: It sounds kind of silly but you've got to be in the mood for thrift-store shopping. If you're in a hurry, it's probably not a good time to be hunting for unknown treasure in the depths of a dark second-hand lair. If I'm in the right mood though, I can spend hours combing through assorted racks of fabrics and rummaging through shelves brimming with trinkets. For me, thrift store shopping is a therapeutic, enjoyable treasure-hunt of an experience!

2) be open: Going second-hand shopping is not for everyone, but if you're willing to attempt it, you have to be open to possibilities. The outside of the store may look like a run-down warehouse, and the inside might be overwhelmed with dust bunnies, but sometimes those are the best places for hidden treasure waiting to be uncovered. 

3) be risky: But not in the scandalous way. Take some fashion risks - since thrift store prices are so cheap, you can try some styles that you usually might not try if paying regular prices at the mall. It's an inexpensive way to experiment with fashion and find one-of-a-kind pieces that are beyond the current trends.

4) be eagle-eyed: hahaha. seriously. be as sharp as a hawk. I usually like to look at accessories (handbags, belts, jewelry) and I head to those sections with the intention of finding some cheap but interesting additions to my accessories collection. If you're searching for something particular, switch to tunnel vision and use your thrifting eye lazers to zero in on that specific colour, fabric, print, or style that you're hunting for.

5) be androgenous: (creeped out by the headings of my tips yet?) Okay, so for this one, I just mean that if you are a girl, sometimes you might find something worthwhile in the men's section. I do it all the time at Urban Outfitters, where they sell men's clothing in some colours that most straight men would not wear, and that's exactly where I find my size XS men's cardigans that are more comfortable than form-fitting women's ones, and often slightly cheaper too!

6) be inventive: This one's a biggie! If the chain of a small handbag is broken, maybe you can cut it off and use it as a clutch. If a belt is too long, sometimes the leather can be cut and shortened. If you see a skirt in a cute print but it's a tad too long, think of how you could bring up the hemline for a more youthful look. If a blazer fits nicely but the buttons are not your style - that could be an easy DIY fix! There are endless possibilities with thrifted items!

7) be selective: Now this is the opposite of #6 but it's just as important and this tip balances out the amount of spending that takes place. You might have a whole pile of clothes that you want to re-sew and re-new, but... (and this is a lesson for myself as well)... only buy something if you're REALLY going to take the time to fix it up. If you don't have time and it's just going to sit there in your closet, then don't buy it. 

8) be thrifty: kinda sounds ironic while we're talking about THRIFT shopping, but sometimes even if you're grabbing all these amazing cheap items, the price CAN add up. Make sure you ask yourself, "am I really going to wear this or am I only buying this because it's $2?" If it's the latter, then drop it and run from the evil lures of the beast named Impulse Buying.

9) be kind: if you've collected a whole pile of items and decide not to purchase some of them, do put them back in the sections where you found them or give them to the shop workers. Most thrift stores are pretty organized and it's pretty annoying to have piles of unwanted clothing lying all over the place, discarded by customers.

10) be patient: I usually go thrifting alone just because when I take people with me, they tend to get bored faster than I do. haha. You really have to be patient. Sometimes, you'll search for a long time and come up treasureless. Don't be sad if you can't find the perfect coat of your dreams right on your first thrifting attempt.  You have to be willing to look through racks and racks of moldy sweaters or stained t-shirts... but when you find that one gem of a spotless white blouse, mint-condition pearl earrings, or vintage leather bag... it's totally worth it.

 Here's one of my thrift-store shopping locations back in Canada (near Steveston Village in Richmond!)
...and here's a picture that my (reluctant) friend took of me with my newly-found lace curtain (currently residing in my room). After he took this picture, seeing how I was still lurking around every inch of the store, my friend said: "I'll wait outside". HAHA. I still remember that.


I started out my list of tips with only three points, but somehow I rambled it out into a full-fledged list of TEN. haha. Hope this info is useful... and someday, I'll do another post on some of my favourite thrift store finds! If you have any awesome thrift store purchases and don't mind sharing, send me pictures! I'd love to see what you've found!



Saturday, March 17, 2012

DIY: Crochet-Pocket Cardigan

I bought this cardigan today for $10CDN - it's cream-coloured with cute crochet pockets on the sides. Funny thing is, I had seen similar cardigans like this and it had actually given me the idea to DIY my own crochet pockets on cardigans I already owned... but this cardigan was so cheap anyway that I succumbed to buying it. (Does that make me a bad DIY-er?) haha. I feel like I've somehow betrayed the crafting community. HAHA. 
It is a really easy project that you could try though. You just need two crochet doilies and a needle + thread to sew them on. I also think it would be cute if you found two small heart doilies to make heart-shaped pockets! My cardigan is a light oatmeal colour but a darker cardigan produces a different look, with crochet pockets that really stand out (like the navy cardigan below). If you have trouble finding small dainty doilies, you could use two big ones and just fold them in half. 

I also wanted to share with you a simple but fabulous tutorial I found online to "fancify" any living space. (fancify? I think I just made up a new gotta admit, it does sound legit!)... 

The tutorial (here) is from Ad Astra per Aspera and it teaches you how to make these lovely heart-shaped doily decorations (below).
 I've actually gotten something similar hanging in my room back in Canada. I basically poked holes in the middle of round paper doilies (of different sizes) and threaded strings of christmas lights through them so that I had a delicate garland of white lights and doilies. Again, an easy way to FANCIFY a room!

"Fancify" (c) copyright 2012, Laura Kwok. 


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