Sunday Sketch vol.3: Abstract Butterfly

The key to drawing swirls and swoosh and curves is to go with the flow. Let the pen guide you to the first shape that pops up in your mind, then improvise while adding different shapes. Sometimes straight lines and sharp change of angles could add an element of surprise to your sketch. 

After you have outlined your work, create variations with the thickness of the curves and continue editing until you are happy with your work.

Sunday Sketch: vol.1 // vol.2 

Christmas Wish List

Muji christmas wish list and new finds

A collage I made out of MUJI's catalogue last year. I am still really interested in the mug fondue and fruity aroma tea bags so I might buy one of them next time when I go to the store. Meanwhile, I wish all of you a happy Chirstmas. Drink a lot of eggnog, play a great list of festive music, and spend a splendid time with your family!

Sunday Sketch vol.2: Doilies and Flowers

"For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them." - Aristotle

This is going to be quite a challenge for me, in the coming months, I am going to share some of my sketches, both old and recent, every Sunday onwards. I want to do this as I review my previous work and prepare myself from a drawing project I am going to work on in 2015. 

Please forgive me if some of my work look a bit childish - I am still a novice! The process of trail and error might not turn out to be the prettiest, but I believe in the value this gives to a learner. Slowly but surely, through experimental learning, lies the potential of improvement.

Sunday Sketch: vol.1

Quote: Neil Gaiman

Handdrawn with black pigment ink on watercolour paper.

"May your coming year be filled with magic & dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to makes some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself". 
- Neil Gaiman

Craft: Beaded Hair Tie

Hair ties are always useful to be around. I always have one with me, either on my head forming a nice pony tail or on my wrist getting ready to be used. To add an aesthetic value to this practical accessory why not add some embellishments to it so it can look good both as a hair tie and as a bracelet when you are wearing it around your wrist?

For this DIY you will need:
1. Hair tie
2. Pilers
3. Jump rings 
4. Flat T pin
5. Pearlescent and glass beads

  1. Start by gathering all the materials and determining what colour of beads you would like to use. 
  2. Place bead to the T head pin. Trim head pin to length and bend the pin 90 degrees above the bead.
  3. Create head pin loops to each of the beads using the pilers.
  4. Using jump rings, link the beads together. To create levels join the jump rings for two or three times before adding the beads to the end of the chain.
  5. Link all the separate sections with one big jump pin.
  6. Secure the dangle cluster to an elastic hair tie.

Sunday Sketch vol.1: Watercolour Floral Painting

I'm happy to announce that I have survived the first year of uni! This is a busy year but I have learned a lot about animal science and biology. It is fun to have those random facts I heard from the lectures pop up from my mind while shopping for cotton sweaters, or soaps, or eggs. (I know, it is all very random.) Now I am back home, I am excited to use this months-long summer holiday for crafting, drawing or maybe even some cooking. 

The soft, elegant and dreamy properties of watercolour have always attracted my interest. I have tried it out today and what a better way to share my process with you. Hope this will become an inspiration for you. 

First, draw the outline of the flowers with a light pencil, then fill in the space with a light wash of colour. Add another of a darker colour until the expected colour is reached. I do not have a watercolour palette so I used watercolour pencils instead.

Click here to view the step-by-step guide in full size.

Life: Currently Loving

Who can resist a planner with beautiful printed designs? I have been doing journaling for the 3rd year now and I can't wait for the year to come so I can fill up each page with notes and doodles. This will be one of my upcoming yearly projects that I am very excited about. I will reveal more about this challenge later towards the end of the year.

I have been wanting to learn watercolour for a while. While I was browsing watercolour artwork online I stumbled upon Linsey's work. This Summer Breakfast is one of my favourites, along with the succulent illustrations. 

With bergamot, rose and musk notes this scent is refreshing, clean and unique, which is worth the name Bianca. It is a shame that Tocca do not sell miniature version of this perfume. I would like to test this fragrance on my skin and see how the scent reacts with my skin and temperature.

DIY: Small Flower Arrangement

With spring around the corner, brighten your day with a whimsy arrangement of fresh flowers. It is lovely to have colourful florals that brings life to your house. You don't always have to buy them from a florist though, there are surely gems hidden in your neighbourhood among the foliages for you to discover. Take a stroll outside after dinner and look for blossoms that bloom in the season. Trust me, this is so relaxing it will be one of the most enjoyable moments of your week.

I have found flowers in different colours and texture. I have got purple, red, white and yellow flowers with board and needle shaped of leaves. Play with these elements to create an interesting arrangement. Also, try to search for plants that can stay alive for a longer period of time so you won't have to change flowers as often.

I have used a candle holder as a vase, but there are many more ways you can style it. You can use buckets, ornamental vessels, or even teacups which will certainly be cute and chic. 

Display your collected flowers in your vase half-filled with fresh water, place it on your table and admire your beautiful visual display. It is an easy and pretty craft that is definitely worth a try.

Quote: Think of All the Beauty Still Left Around You and Be Happy

Download your wall paper here.

Other quotes you may like:

Tutorial: How to Make Your Own Painted Rock Paperweight

The papers on my desk always got blown away in the windy seasons. It is disaster discovering my 20+ page notes scattered on the floor when I come home from uni. Imagine the time it takes to reorganise them!

A couple rocks from my backyard are very handy helpers to guard my sheets against the wind. I made one from the beginning of the year with a red heart painted on it with nail polish. Now I am going to bring in 3 additional members to my collection and here is how I dressed-up them.

I have sketched of a couple designs and picked the one which is more minimalistic as the final. And then I drew them onto my rocks using an opaque white marker. The one I used is UNI Paint Marker, but you can use other brands such as Sharpie or even another medium such as acrylic paint.

First draw a simple triangle and fill in the space within. Add a few dots to one side of the triangle and lines to each side of them.
This is my favourite one: It is just an arrangements of dots in different sizes on one corner of a flat rock. Try to work from a small circle and expand it until it reached the desired size.
For the last one I just smeared white paint to one corner of the rock and let dry. The effect is simple but powerful. I reckon it will look even better in liquid gold/gold foil.

Finish them with a protective seal of varnish and they are good to go!

Written Words: Second

Time  Is like sand  If you are Distracted  For a split second  You will discover Your grip  Is too loose Or you have  Hold it too tight  Either way It slips  Through your fingers  Like water  Running down streams. (Just live the moment)

Just live the moment.

There are two ways I handle my deadlines. Either I be a procrastination queen, throwing my tasks to the back of my mind like throwing waste paper into a bin, convincing myself that ignorance is bliss, or I freak out and start to micromanage my time to the minutes, ended up getting nothing done because my plan just lacks flexibility; one delay will cause a domino effect to all the other tasks.
So if you are reading this, please don't try to be me. The only thing this will do is to make you stress. What I am trying to do now is to be more conscious of what I am doing right now. Keep asking yourself whether what you are doing at the moment will lead you closer to your goal. Hopefully, then we can both get something done in the end.

Nonetheless with all the work, we all need some relaxation, right? I just want to share a really embarrassing incident happened to me yesterday. I assume you all know what a four-wheel drive is, but clearly I didn't. I could never manage to remember the car models. When I was told to follow the "four wheel drive" earlier, I got really confused, and responded, "Isn't every car four-wheeled?" My friend just laughed for a whole minute until he told me he was referring to the model of the car. Apparently I have taken it too literally.

I'm such a car idiot.

Life: Currently loving

1. Lominax Fragrance
A simple yet graceful scent that sets up the mood of a good Friday night. It is always a good idea to invest in some room spray or scented candles for a special day, or just to make a day special.

2. White chocolate and Macademia Nuts Cookie (by Apple of My Eye)
White chocolate and macadamia nuts cookie has officially bested my no.1 favourite (triple chocolate) and become my cookie-to-go. Instead of having the intensity of richness and sweetness, these cookies are on a lighter and nuttier side of the cookie spectrum. I love the occasional satisfying crunch the macadamia gives. Nothing too empowering, but the aroma lingers.

3. Sanderson Luxury Bed Linen Lorelei
A new bed sheet that I have bought as I moved into a new room. I like the simple and contemporary look of the design. It adds pattern to the room without screaming for attention, blending perfectly into the furnitures.

Written Words: First

Sometimes I ask myself: If I was not born, and I am yet to be a member in the cosmo, what would happen then? If I am not born into this world, there would be nothing that could cause distress to me, but at a cost of sacrificing the happy moments I could have.

I do not hate life. In fact, I love that it is bumpy once in a while, so that there would be a contrast, to act as a reminder of how much goodness we could get from it. What would happen though, if I was not gifted to this existence. Would I be free?

I wish I could find out myself.

Miniature: New Etsy Listings

I have been spending my time on my miniature work. I'm glad to share my recently listed Etsy items with you. To browse them, please go to my Etsy shop

A sponge cake sandwiched with layers of chocolate cream topped with white icing and decorated with lace and flowers.

A metal alloy hair clip with danish pastry stack garnished with chocolate sauce, cream, and mint leaves.

A ring with berry and cream waffles on a plate.

hair clip bobby pin with an egg, asparagus and bacon toast.

Another hairpin with 3 puff pastries, strawberry, and cream.

two hot dogs with tomato sauce and ketchup on a sterling silver earring post.
Lastly, two hot dogs with tomato sauce and ketchup on a sterling silver earring post.

Apart from these updates, I have been drafting for my future projects. I will show you my sketches soon!

Quote: Don't Merely Exist. Live.

"If you are not happy, you are not living your life correctly."

It is good to be on top of your work, focused. Nonetheless, apart from your personal endeavours, don't forget to spend some quality time to grow laterally, expending the breathe of your life.

Challenge yourself with new things, try something interesting, relax yourself being mindful about all the nature and people around you. You will be amazed what you will find.

On top of all, you are living.

Count not the days in your life, but life in your days.

Download your wallpaper here.

Other quotes you may like:

Tutorial: A guide to the makings of miniature food

It has always been hard for me to tell my friends what I do when they ask me about what I do in my free time. They look confused when I tell them I am "crafting miniatures", but going in lengths explaining about what it is just don't seem right. But still, though this hobby is a bit weird, I am happy that I have discovered it. To all of you that know this craft, or who are interested to it, I'd like to share how I work from start to finish. If your approach is different, tell me about it, I'd love to know! :)

Here's how I do it:

1. Finding ideas
First find out what kind of food you want to make. Do you want to make a donut, cake or hamburger? Search for inspirations either online or from cookbooks/magazine. My favourite is FoodGawker and Pinterest, the submissions/pins are photoed in brilliant photography that makes both your mouth drooling and your stomach rumbling.

2. Draft
Draw your design on a sketch book to help you visualise your work. I find this really helpful in letting myself know what exactly I want, especially in the later stages. I've sketched in the same size scale and added labels of what layer it is on each section (it's almost like biological labelling diagram).

3. Research
Figure out how to create the best colour and texture by working on an experimental piece of clay. If you couldn't think of any idea how to make it, always search online for miniature tutorials. Your favourite miniaturist might have some posts that give you some ideas.

4. Craft!
This is pretty self-explanatory, time to dig in and create your work! My favourite tools are  size 0 pointy paint brushes, toothpicks and X-Acto craft knifes. The key to this is to be patient. Many things can go wrong, maybe it does not look like what you expected or in a miniaturist's nightmare, you dropped the tiny bowl of blackberries you have been working for six hours onto the floor. Sometimes you might need to re-do your work, other times perfecting it. But once you've gone through the process, you will be so happy about your work!

5. Photography matters
Finishing your work is not your last step after all of these many hours you have put into though. You still have to photograph it to share it with people who are not able to see your work directly. To take a even, well-lit photo, try using a light box or a few mirrors toeflect light. Plus, being able to keep a soft copy of what you have done is just delightful. To take a even, well-lit photo, try using a light box or a few mirrors to reflect light. Save it in your phone and share it with your friends when they look confused about what miniature craft is about :)

Life: Currently Loving

Currently loving Realliving magazine T2 Birdy Nassae Ithilwen
1. Real Living Magazine October 2014
I rarely able to read a magazine from front to end, but this is one of the rare exceptions. The beautiful pastel-themed cover caught my eye while I was grabbing my groceries in the supermarket. Flipping through the pages, I find it so divine that I bought it immediately, and I'm glad I did.

If you love Earl Grey, this is the ultimate version you can look for. With the extra scent of flower blossoms and citrus, the elegant smell is pleasantly invigorating. The moment you start pouring water over the tea leaves, you will find yourself in Utopia.

3. Birdy
I love her dreamy voice. Her album makes really good study music. Birdy's covers are smooth and soft, just like the calming sound of raindrops dripping at the window while cuddling in bed. My personal favourite is her exquisite People Help The People.

Tutorial: How to compose a perfect surprise snail mail

Snail mail letter and gift. Nassae Ithilwen.

Whether it is your pen pal, your best friend's birthday or your sibling's Christmas gift, a thoughtful mail with all sorts of notes and presents will certainly be a pleasant surprise to the receiver. Here are some tips and suggestions on what you can include in your assortment of wonderful things.

Pretty note paper letters
There is nothing more heartwarming than expressing what you think of and like about the person you love. Write about the unforgettable memories, funny jokes and tough hardships that you have been gone through together.

Find some motivational quotes and sayings that can cheer up your friend when they feel down. Print the quotes or write them in little square card stock decorated with stickers and doodle drawings.

Little presents
Find some beauty product samples (body lotion or hair conditioner) or other gifts such as stickers or hand drawn watercolour cards to give to your loved ones. Wrap them pretty and decorate it with ribbons or washi tapes.

Current obsessions/ mood board
Whether it's the music, art, books, recipes or any other things that you are obsessed with currently, share it with your friend and let them fall in love with your new discoveries as well. Jot them down on a list then folded into a mini envelop, or for the more artistic gals, create a mood board and let them see the collage visually.

Tea/ coffee bags
Nothing is better than reading a letter while sipping a warm beverage, inhaling the flavoursome aroma of the tea/coffee. Include one of these in the mail so they can enjoy this experience.

Snail mail letter and gift. Nassae Ithilwen.
Example 1: (Clock wise from top left) a hand written note, quotes written on a card sealed in a mini envelope, origami paper with current music and websites that I like, small card with gratitudes and things that I want to say to my friend, and a teabag for her.

Snail mail letter and gift. Nassae Ithilwen.Snail mail letter and gift. Nassae Ithilwen.
Example 2: (Top) An envelope wrapped with ribbon; (Bottom, from top left downwards) A teabag, an printed note, an envelope, "good music" note, little wrapped present, second note paper, third note sheet, a decorative strip to wrap all the notes together.

For more snail mail inspirations, visit my Pinterest board. Create your own snail mail and spread some love! I am sure you too will enjoy making something pretty for your friend.

Quote: Life Is Too Short Not to Enjoy It

I am pretty sure life gets chaotic once in a while; you know, when things just pops up out of the blue at the worst time, leaving you running around going crazy trying to get things in control.

Earlier this week, my computer broken down along with all my lecture notes three days before an important mid-semester exam. Panicking, I rushed to the Apple Store for repair (the brilliant Genius checked out that my hard drive cable has malfunctioned) so I could get it back as soon as possible. I would have decided to call this a bad week, but then thinking so would not make my problem disappears. On the bright side, going to city means that I can go to my favourite tea shop and relax with a sample of tea, while waiting for something that cannot be pushed ahead. It is after all the state of mind. If there is a choice, why not enjoy it?

I have picked these wild flowers and plants last year at autumn. This photo I took always brings me back the memory of that fine day, when the flora are full of colours. I have added a quote and made it a desktop background wallpaper.

Hope this will be a warm reminder for you to take pleasure of the things in life :)

Download your wallpaper here.

Inspiration: 3 Miniaturists I Adore

Miniature has been a hobby of mine for five years. It began with a Japanese miniature craft book I spotted while I was browsing in a book store in a Tuesday afternoon. It was love at first sight.

I didn't know the extent this discovery could have brought me, but I must say it is one of the most enjoyable time that I have spent, pulling all nighters crafting. I stayed up not because I have an urgent deadline to meet, but the keen fascination I have on creating something that is so small you can put it on the tip of your hand, yet still full of detail as if it was in real life scale.

Below are 3 amazingly talented miniaturist that I admire. They have given me lots of inspirations in this hobby I'm passionate about. And every time I see their new work I am in awe with the texture, composition and skills that they have achieved. Do check out their websites, they are truly gifted artists.

I would describe Tomo Tanaka as the King of miniature. Even now I still mistakenly think the food from his photos is real, if you don't tell me it is from his blog. Above is one of the many examples of his outstanding skills in creating a convincible gourmet dish that you wish you can eat. Just look at the texturing!

2. Petit Plat
I have been following Stephaine from the very beginning of my miniature adventure. The playfulness and cheerfulness of her creations warms my heart. I also like the way she photographed with a shallow depth of field that makes her work stands out. And you just have to love the way she show the scale with everyday food objects!

3. My Tiny World

Look at the texture details, that is just remarkable how Bözse can make the corns look so realistic. I imagine her spending a long time arranging the kernels with care. That must have required a lot of patience.  Great work Bözse!