May 31, 2011 § 18 Comments
Today, head right over to CRAFT to see my latest project contribution. It’s a fun three-tier cake-shaped chalkboard for you and your little ones to make. In fact, with little ones or without, anyone can indulge in this calorie-free craft. Who doesn’t love decorating cake!? Follow the easy steps in my tutorial.
May 28, 2011 § 13 Comments
May has been one mammoth month that had me out of routine. It’s been a while since I’ve allowed myself the rare pleasure of social existence. I — a homebody, who allocates the bulk of my free time to staying in and creating stuff and blogging here about said created stuff and being a telephone junkie — socialized (in the flesh) through the month of May. Mind you, I am no recluse at any degree. I thoroughly enjoy company. It just happens that most social outings leave me with remorse at the consequential lack of productivity.
This month was different. My parents came to town for a few days. I enjoyed the company of old friends and former co-workers by dinners-out and random congratulatory visits to my home. It’s been a wonderful, welcome interruption to an otherwise methodical life. Getting engaged has filled me with sooo much love from all the people in my life I’ve come to know — including you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your warmest and fondest wishes!!!
O.T. came back to my side of the continent for the second time this May, this time for a possible job in the east coast. He had an interview in Albany a week ago on a Friday. I skidded out of my office parking lot that afternoon and found myself in Albany seven hours later. We decided to drive the extra few miles to New York City for a brief weekend getaway.
Having taken the car and driven into Manhattan, we didn’t accomplish much at all. We crawled through traffic nearly the entire afternoon on Saturday. From my car window, the view was consistently as such: a stampede of pedestrians sifting through the streets amidst a sluggish stream of taxi cabs and cars. I felt moments of deliriousness (architect Rem Koolhaas’ book “Delirious New York” is nooo misnomer). We have 5 million people here in T.O.. The Big Apple has 8 million. The difference is apparent.
One strange thing happened in New York that got me deep in thought. ..a sign??
I already came to the conclusion over half a decade ago that I am a magnet for low-probability circumstances that beg the question — What are the chances?!? As you’ve come to know the story of my fateful meeting with O.T., I cannot explain the non-coincidences to which I am often exposed. However, I go with the flow.
My gas light turned on as we entered Manhattan and we consulted with the outdated five-year old GPS my brother lent me. The old sage showed us several gasoline pump symbols on the screen and advised us of their locations in range of my car’s position. We chose the closest. And through the thick of pedestrians, cabs, and cars, we managed to go into the location suggested — where no gasoline station is actually in existence. Instead, in its place was Martha Stewart Living.
I once toiled over a job application for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. It was back in 2009. In July of that year, on a flight from Manila to Detroit, as I pondered the future of my already dying business, I had something of an apparition. I realized that very moment, somewhere over the Pacific, that my real love is not the wedding invitations I was making, but the act of making. The joy is in the process of conceiving ideas and bringing them to life, whatever those ideas may be. I dreamed on that plane that I will craft the rest of my life under the guidance of Martha Stewart and I will have the platform to be able to produce things that people can use and enjoy, and in turn, I will fulfill my calling. I broke the reverie to turn to my dad to my left, then brother to my right, and uttered the words “I will work for Martha Stewart. It’s what I’m meant to do.” to which they replied with unspoken bemusement.
It wasn’t long until October 15, 2009 (a momentous day as it happened to be O.T.’s milestone 30th birthday, of all days), Martha Stewart was hiring a Crafts Associate! I scrambled through the coffers, and submitted three of my favorite works that would summarize the diversity of my ideas.
Of course, we all know I didn’t get that job nor get close to getting that job. I know somewhere buried in a drive of thousands of digital resumes and portfolio samples was mine. But I didn’t let it hinder me from continuing to do what I’ve loved to do since I learned to hold a crayon. A year later, in October of 2010, it occurred to me that I have all available platforms to share my crafty ideas with the world. So I started this blog.
Last weekend, when my GPS unknowingly led me to Martha’s studio as opposed to a gas station and while being confounded by the improbability of that very circumstance, I was reminded of the very big dreams I had only two years ago. Maybe 2009 wasn’t my time. Maybe the heavens have given me this nudge to try that dream again. Maybe this one brief, bizarre experience in New York is a harbinger to be heeded.
May 19, 2011 § 70 Comments
It’s been raining cats and dogs here in Toronto. We have been swamped with seven consecutive days of rain. I’ve been ogling the clear umbrellas at the dollar store for over a year now and with all this wet weather, finally found a good excuse to pick them up. Doodling a custom umbrella is one rainy day project to soak in during this rainy season!
I have had a hard time finding that cute umbrella. It didn’t occur to me until experiencing all the rain this week that I can design my own umbrella any way I want. Oh, the torrent of possibilities! Skyline? Spring flowers? Sunshine? The list is endless and, luckily, the dollar store is fully stocked with these clear umbrellas this season. I will have an illustrated umbrella collection by the time all this rain ceases. For now, let it keep raining cats and dogs.
You will need: a clear umbrella and permanent markers.
1. This project has little margin for error, so I decided to sketch my cats and dogs on paper before tracing them ON THE INSIDE of the umbrella with my Sharpie.
2. Continue the design around the umbrella.
3. Color away! I wanted a simplicity to this design considering it’s quite cheeky to begin with, so I used my Sakura Permapaque white paint marker.
Now get outside, step into a few puddles, and sing in the rain!
May 15, 2011 § 64 Comments
This is a story about my travels. It is also a story about my love.
Last Sunday night, one week ago, was yet another of those recurring drives from the airport. I watched O.T. disappear past the security gates of BUF Buffalo Niagara International Airport. He flew home to California after eight elated days in Toronto. This time, our parting was rife with optimism. It was only eight days before when I picked him up at the arrival gate and the course of our lives became clear.
For every cheerful hello and tearful goodbye we’ve exchanged at various airports across North America, we were bound to arrive where we are today. In over two and a half years of traveling between two coasts, we boarded many planes and parted through many clouds. Our cloud has a silver lining.
Back in 2008, I was half asleep at SFO San Francisco International Airport’s Gate 45A, awaiting my morning flight. The guy beside me spoke. A query: “Are you going to Michigan?”. I was groggy and a little baffled, but the question didn’t register as anything unusual. The fact is, my parents live in Michigan and this is a question I am often asked. I replied, “No. I’m going to Toronto, but I have a transfer in Minneapolis”, assuming he was not familiar with the airport code and meant to ask about Minneapolis. Yes, he, too, was on his way somewhere with a transfer in Minneapolis. A conversation ensued about our past travels.
Half an hour later, our boarding call. He uttered, “Maybe I’ll see you on the plane.” I mused, boarding pass in hand. We were quick to notice the seats on our respective boarding passes. He was assigned 46-A and I, 47-A. “Well, what are the chances? We will see each other on the plane.”
And so, we boarded that flight together. The lady at 47-B was happy to exchange her seat for his, a window seat. He and I sat together through the duration of a three hour flight, absorbed in candid conversation without a minute of pause. He, in show-and-tell fashion, kept me amused with pictures on his iPhone — his latest visit to a San Francisco art gallery, a recent hiking experience in the red woods, and an Anderson Silva fight. I was fascinated. His interests aren’t so random. My minor in Fine Arts history and annual wilderness camping experiences and the occasional UFC Pay-Per-View viewings with friends just paved a sense of accord and appreciation in those three short hours.
We disembarked at MSP Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He asked if I would like to eat lunch. We had our first meal together. We shared sushi. We exchanged contact information and parted amicably. He shook my hand.
The following day, he called me when he landed. He was visiting Istanbul. I was at home in Toronto. I was surprised he called, despite expecting him to. I picked up the phone amidst a cleaning frenzy. I told him I was selling my piano and a potential buyer was on the way. He asked, “Can you play one last time on your piano before it is sold?”. “What would you like to hear?” . “Elton John.” “I don’t know any Elton John off the top of my head.” I played him my favorite, Sun and Moon from Miss Saigon. The door bell rang. I made a request, “Do you mind calling back in half an hour? I’m home alone and the buyer is male.” He agreed.
The buyer came in, a young electrical engineering student from the University of Toronto, my own alma mater. He tested out the keys. I asked him to give it all he’s got and play what comes to mind. He played Elton John’s Can You Feel The Love Tonight and purchased my piano. I was astonished.
What are the chances that Elton John’s Can You Feel The Love Tonight would be played by a random buyer in my home within minutes that I was asked to play Elton John by the random stranger living in California, calling me from Istanbul, and who I met at the airport whose plane seat was randomly one away from mine?
Well, things aren’t so random.
Back at SFO, moments before meeting O.T., the airport personnel responsible for checking me in was named Romulo — my father’s name and not a common name. I had a short conversation with Romulo. I noticed his nametag as he noticed my birthplace on my passport. Butuan. It turns out the hometown of Romulo at the check-in desk was Butuan — a not-too-significant city in one of the southern islands of the Philippines. A city I haven’t seen since I was ten months old. This man who hailed from the city of my birth, this man who has the same unique name as my father, was the man responsible for checking me into the flight where I would soon meet my husband-to-be.
Are things ever truly random?
The piano buyer, who unbeknownst played Elton John without request, was completing a degree in electrical engineering. Why wasn’t the piano buyer pursuing a more common degree like business administration or psychology or biology? Before pursuing his Masters and PhD in computer engineering, O.T. completed his undergraduate in electrical engineering.
What are the chances?
O.T. called me back within half an hour, as promised. O.T. called every night ever since. There was never a single day since we met that he didn’t call.
A few weeks later, O.T. and I found ourselves at LAS Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, this time not so randomly. We met, planned. We shared our first kiss, unplanned, by the baggage carousel.
Sometime later, we found ourselves at SFO once again, where I love you’s were exchanged for the first time.
In the past two and a half years, we have shared many blissful and tearful moments in airports across North America like YYZ Pearson International Airport in Toronto, JFK International Airport in New York, DTW Detroit Wayne International Airport, and as far away as FCO Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome and IST Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul.
Two weeks ago, he surprised me with a request to pick him up at BUF for a late night flight. I drove in from Toronto listening to Buffalo’s Joy FM station. As I approached the airport parking, the radio played Can You Feel The Love Tonight. I cried.
At the airport, by the baggage carousel, an orange suitcase caught my attention. I could use an orange suitcase. We were waiting for his red suitcase which never made its way around the carousel. He said, “Well, maybe we should check out the orange suitcase since you like it so much.” He pulled it off the carousel and I thought he lost his mind. “This suitcase is for you”. It was tied with a bow. The crafter that I am, I said gaily, “I love this ribbon, I saw it at Michaels”. I laughed. I opened the suitcase. It was loosely packed with two heart-shaped Will You Marry Me balloons. He dropped on bended knee. My eyes were fogged. He asked the question. I said yes. People clapped. Two elderly ladies standing beside us started taking pictures.
One of the ladies said, “This man sat beside me on the plane and he told us what he was about to do tonight. I’m so happy to share in this beautiful moment in your life. I have been married to my husband for sixty years and wish you the same happiness I’ve had in my life.”
What a wonderful lady he sat beside on the plane on the night he proposed to a woman he met on a plane. What are the chances?
The passport to our future is stamped. I am soaring on cloud nine. I know I am truly blessed.
May 7, 2011 § 30 Comments
Mother’s Day is hours away, but there’s still lots of time to make these beautiful foam roses in minutes. They’re much more dainty than the no-fuss paper roses I made for Valentine’s, and perhaps far more versatile. In a few simple steps, you can make these sweet rose magnets, rose pushpins, and rose jewelry.
You have probably made paper roses before by cutting and rolling spirals of paper. This applies the very same technique, however, I’ve added the petal details by employing a simple tool that many of us have stowed in our crafting bins — scalloped scissors.
You will need: scallop-blade scissors, hot glue gun with glue sticks, and thin foam sheets. I purchased a multi-colored package of 36 – 4″x6″ foam sheets from the dollar store. They quality is much thinner than what you would find at the craft stores, however, they are the perfect thickness for this purpose. The thinner the foam sheet, the smaller you can make your roses.
1. Cut your foam sheet into 2″x2″ squares. A 4″x6″ foam sheet can yield six roses.
2. Using your scalloped scissors, cut each square into a spiral. Two and a half revolutions around the spiral should be sufficient.
3. Starting from the outside of the spiral, roll the foam sheet inward.
4. Apply hot glue to the bottom of the rose.
While the glue is still hot, you can apply the rose immediately to a magnet, thumb tack, earring backing, or fashion ring.
Happy Mother’s Day!