Thursday, March 29, 2012

Don't Throw it Away

When I started buying materials for my craft hobby in early 2009,  my hubby said "good, that's not an expensive hobby, you only need papers, glue and a pair of scissors". I smiled and I thought -he had no idea what I am getting into*-*!

Honestly, paper crafting in this day and age is not cheap.  One needs to be savvy in finding ways to create something nice without breaking the bank. It is a challenge most of the time but there are ways to do it. I'm so happy when I saw Paper Crafts current issue focusing on "Practical Solutions" where they showed tons of ideas on how to paper craft on a budget. Moxie Fab is also hosting a series of interesting challenges around this issue: "Don't Throw it Away" is one of them.

It's confession time. I have a hard time throwing things away. I don't think I am hoarder {at least not yet} because the only things I can't get rid of are those related to paper crafting and cooking! Case in point: I keep original packages of scrapbook kits, glossy covers of pattern papers that come in bulk and even sheets of alpha chipboard after using all the letters that were originally attached to it. I know in my heart that someday I will have a use for it ... like this one!


I repurposed this empty alpha sheet into a card by cutting the chipboard the same size as the card, making sure that the letters I want are within the frame. Using scrap papers from previous projects, I attached the scrap papers at the back of the letters I want to highlight.

Since the focal point of the card says it all, I just stamped a simple sentiment at the bottom to complete this project.

I'm loving it! Thanks for visiting *-*

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Plane or Train, that is the Question

Three weeks ago, I needed to go to Ottawa for another work-related travel. Normally I would book a super early flight so I can be in Ottawa in 45 minutes {flying time}, do what I have to do and if I don't need to spend the night for social dinner, I will go back to the airport and fly back to Toronto the same day. Practical, right?

Well, I have to say almost. If I calculate the total travel hours including the taxi ride from my house to the airport and back plus the time spent checking-in to boarding time plus the dreaded security check plus the delays {which is almost always}, to me, it will be more humane to travel by Via Rail to Ottawa. That's what I did and so happy I did it!

Tell you why:

I booked a business class ticket since the super saver business fare is LESS EXPENSIVE than the economy plane fare to Ottawa!

The business class cabin is cozy - the seats are comfortable and definitely more leg room. There is also a section where 4 seats are facing  each other {like Harry Potter's Hogwarts Express} with the big table in the middle that a group can use if you want to conduct a business meeting while on board.


Since I live 15 minutes from the stain station {while a taxi from my place to the airport will cost me $200 both ways!}, I drove my car and parked in the overnight parking area just across the station for free! {again airport parking is $45 overnight}. There's also no need to be in the station an hour before boarding or no security line up to deal with.Unfortunately, the station near my place is under construction  so the current waiting area is quite small and nothing fancy about it. On my way back however, the Ottawa station is spacious and the lounge for business class travelers offers magazines, hot and cold beverages, and comfortable sofas.

Now the FOOD .... they are truly delicious and wine  keeps on coming {during lunch and dinner schedules at least}! On my way to Ottawa, lunch was served and I had spicy tuna roll for appetizer with chardonnay; pasta with creamy ricotta and white truffle sauce {again, red or white wine or both *-* and dessert was coconut cheesecake, Belgian chocolate, coffee or tea and port wine.

On my way back the following morning, hot breakfast was served and I had a choice between cereals, oatmeal or cheese omelet all served with hot croissant, fresh fruits, coffee, tea and juices.

One thing that the train do not offer is the entertainment video or music that I usually enjoy while traveling by plane. HOWEVER, there is free WI-FI so I was able to do some work, answer emails or even blog. AND you can use your phone to text, make phone calls or just do whatever you want with your bazzilion apps  through out the journey!

Of course I can't travel by train all the time considering the distance of some of the places I need to go for work, but at least for Ottawa and Montreal destinations, I am so glad I have this option.

It may not be the Orient Express of Europe or the Palace on Wheels of India yet I still  get to feel how our ancestors traveled in the past while having the benefits of modern technologies on board!

Tut tut tut! All aboard!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Miyako Odori in my Mind

beauty / smile / woman / beautiful / girl / makeup : maiko (geisha apprentice) ichimame, kyoto japan  舞妓 市まめさん  

On my bucket list is to attend Miyako Odori - the largest and the most famous dance performance of the mysterious geiko {geisha} and maiko {apprentice geisha} in Gion Kobu. These colorful and artistic performances of geiko and maiko happen every year from April 1-30 usually when cherry blossoms are in bloom. I know in my heart one day I'll be there but tonight, I will be satisfied with this card inspired by spring kimonos worn in these dances.

I was also inspired by Moxi Fab World  "DIY Embellishments Challenge" and the sketch from CardPatterns. Using chiyogami papers from my stash, I created the kimono ensemble as my DIY embellishment {collar, kimono dress and obi} for my little "geiko".
Another DIY embellishment is the hairpiece, which I did using a small flower lace and attached a pink gem to match the kimono.
Then I stamped  the face using my hero arts Japanese dolls collection and attached it to the kimono.
And ... Viola! My little geiko is ready to perform!
By the way, traditional tea ceremonies are also part of the festivities so I added this tiny tea pot on the simple sentiment.

Oyasumi nasai!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bites and Nibbles@ Rol San


Location: 232 Spadina Ave. {China Town}, Toronto
Great for:  Dim Sum

I can't remember how many times we have eaten at Rol San - this is our go to place when the cravings for Dim Sum set in. Since we don't live anywhere near China Town or downtown Toronto for that matter, we have to drive at least 45 minutes to get here on weekends. Good thing, hubby works downtown so in those cases when I have to pick him up from work, I look forward to our "Dim Sum date".

Dim Sum is ordered directly from a menu and not from a novelty cart that goes around the restaurant in some Dim Sum places. Our favorite: Mushroom dumplings, fried shrimp cake with chives and siu mai.

 Prepare to wait in line as the place is usually brimming with fellow dim sum enthusiasts. Cart or not, the food here never disappoint! You will be hooked!

Sihk faahn 食飯!

Rol San on Urbanspoon

Simple Elegance

Clean, simple and elegant. That's what the current Tuesday Trigger is. Who can resist this color combination? Room, fashion or even in a card, this is simply elegance!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Marigold Blossom made from Cupcake Liner

I first saw this marigold blossom from  Martha Stewart Living sometime ago. I have forgotten about it until yesterday when I saw the Household Challenge from Moxie Fab World and decided to use cupcake liners for this gift bag project.

This is so easy to do....

You will need colored cupcake liners {I used medium size for this project} and twine.

Separate 7 liners from the stack. You can use 2 colors if you want to.

Re-stack the liners you are going to use {if you are using 2 colors of 2 different sizes, place the bigger ones at the bottom} and make 2 holes at the bottom.

Bind the liners together with a twine and make a knot at the back of the liners

Crimp/fold the bottom of each liner to create the blossom.

Viola - the finished blossoms: Notice the yellow-orange blossom which I made by using 4 yellow and 4 orange cupcake liners.

I hope you will have fun doing this as much as I did!

From My Kitchen to My Craft Room

I'm really excited to share this project I did this morning for Moxi Fab World's "The Household Items Challenge". With a dash of creativity and a pinch of resourcefulness, everyday household items such as cupcake liners can be a focal point of a gift bag.

I used 7 pieces of medium size cupcake liners from my kitchen to create this flower {steps on how to make this flower to follow  Find the steps here}. Then  I stamped and paper piece the green vines while the sentiment is heat embossed using white embossing powder. All of these elements are grounded on top of  a biscuit paper doily {again from my kitchen *-*}.

The only thing I bought for this project is the white gift bag for $1 from the Dollar Store. The gold tissue is left over from last Christmas gifts.

Just look around the house and you can make something as plain as this ....

 .... into this!

Have fun and thanks for visiting,
Mei Ann

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Moss and Pink Lemonade

Pinterest is such a haven of inspiration! Just looking at this photo makes me want to invite my girlfriends over for an afternoon tea party at the garden - all of us wearing our summer dresses and matching hats! *-* Too early for that I guess, but I will definitely do that this summer. *-* In the meantime, I'll settle for this card I made for Just Us Girls' spring moss, pink and cream color combo challenge.

I used my Stampology stamps to create the flower and vine background.

I added some punched butterfly in the same shade of colors to kick it up a notch and as Emeril Lagasse would say ... Baaam!

A warm and fuzzy card for a friend in need.

Thanks for visiting,
Mei Ann

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring has Sprung

 What a beautiful way to start the first day of spring! When we woke up this morning, 
the whole town was covered by dense fog ..... if mother nature is sprinkling the budding trees and sprouting tulip bulbs 
with teeny tiny droplets of water.
A sure sign of new life, new things and new beginnings!

Welcome back spring,
Mei Ann

Easy as 1...2...3

How easy and fun can this be? A pattern + an image + a sentiment challenge from CAS-ual Fridays - a fool-proof formula  I can always go to whenever I have limited time to design a card.

I used a boarder punch to make the narrow loop design and attached it to a colored stock card to create a pattern then stamped a tree on the white space and finally added the sentiment on the colored card stock.

Voila! Another CAS card for any occasion!

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