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Category Archives: 2. Features

Inspiration Monday: Just perfect for the teacher (or maybe just me :x)

I’ve started on a teaching job after graduating and going for my Europe trip, leaving crafting aside for a while. It has been on my mind though, but it’s not every day that I feel I can incorporate it into my life.

But today, I found some ideas that would be perfect for the classroom 😀

If the boys in my class fold paper airplanes, as they do with their worksheets (!!!), they can stay back to do this to recycle all that paper I have in the office. A much more fruitful use of their time. Of course they will have to complete the worksheet as well, if they had dared to fold the airplane with that.

http://www.michelemademe.com/2011/02/paper-airplane-garland.html

Almost every day, I bring an apple to work. However, I don’t have anything to hold it in. This would be great…if I learn how to crochet, that is.

2011-05-apples-cover.jpg

http://make-handmade.blogspot.com/2011/10/crochet-tutorialget-to-grips-with.html

And as for all those unwanted books, maybe this 😡 Until I find an idea which doesn’t destroy them so much…for now I can’t bear to rip apart hardcover books which I know I will never read.

http://papernstitchblog.com/2011/04/06/new-diy-craft-project-how-to-make-a-book-picture-frame/

 

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Inspiration Monday: Pretty Swiss houses

I’ve just come back from Europe and in this month there, I’ve seen so many beautiful houses which inspire me to make my own house as beautiful. It’s unlikely that I can have the wood carved balconies and windows in the Swiss countryside, or even a lace curtain, but there are some tips I picked up. And I love that the concept is so simple and eco-friendly– just make do with what you have!

Twigs, twine…

The plentiful pine cones you see on your way home…

Or just paper, but you already knew that 🙂 

Play with your food! Yes, play away…

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Hello! What have you been up to? I’ve been in the kitchen lately throwing food into my rice cooker and then going off to learn some Photoshop and plan my upcoming trip. I was just beginning to appreciate my rice cooker so much for its convenience…

until I saw these pictures, styled by Evelina Bratell and shot by Carl Kleiner and featured in the book ‘Homemade is Best’. I haven’t read the book but I agree with the title! Now I think I really have to consider the part about throwing everything in, which I have to admit is convenient and fun, but maybe I need abit more of the fun!

Don’t worry rice-cooker, my heart is big enough for liking this and liking you 😀

How to live a simple life

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I really like waking up early, and for me early is 8am. I like mornings because the day is fresh, the air is cool, and my mind is peaceful and undisturbed enough to absorb what’s ahead.  This morning was spent reading a chapter on Simplicity in Peter Kreeft’s book ‘Making Choices’. I really love the idea of being simple, and try to embrace simplicity in my crafting– using eco-friendly materials and repurposing items around the house for my craft projects instead of buying things…

But we can always take another step in embracing simplicity. He shares a few tips of simple living which I really like. In fact, I’m feeling so charged up right now and all revved up to live even more simply ;D

Here’re just two suggestions:

Master time. Many of us live as if time is our master. We’re always just too busy for important things. Even though we have so many modern gadgets to help us, we still do not feel as if we have more time to do what we want. Kreeft says there’re 2 sorts of time, the big bad monster time, Chronos, which passes by with the ticking of the clock and the movement of the sun, the kind of time we are “swept away in”

and Kairos, time with “a human face”, the kind of “time we make and take” to do things. The important ones.

To be simple, make time! Don’t let time pass by you mindlessly. Stop and smell some flowers. Take walks. Grow your own vegetables!

Yesterday, I made time for painting in the park with a friend, and I felt so refreshed after that I came home and made time for housework. Kairos: Chronos –> 1:0

What are you going to make time for? Off my mind, I’m going to make time to visit the grandparents, more painting in parks, cook my own meals and exercise 😀

Another tip I’m liking is to be silent, inside… so you can listen to your heart, ask some important questions like, ‘is this really what I want?’ It helps to switch off the TV, your ipod, the computer…

which I’m going to do in 5 minutes! Tata! 😉

Walk on water

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‎’walking on water” is an entirely sensible thing to do. It’s staying in the boat, hanging tightly to our own sad little securities, that’s rather mad.’

(George Weigel, in this article)

Yesterday, I wrote about remembering our big dreams and being dutiful to them. But it’s not easy, because fear sets in. To remind myself to not be afraid and take a leap of faith, I handcut the words, “Walk on Water”. As a Catholic, it reminds me to keep my eyes on Jesus and trust Him in every little thing as well.

This inspirational piece is now sitting prettily on my shelf, together with the repurposed clock and my grandma’s bird 🙂

Childhood dreams

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I was sitting down with a blank paper, trying to brainstorm my perfect workspace and life.

And I found it hard. These days, I have felt the enthusiasm seep out of me, because I’ve been interacting with people who don’t value what is handmade, and feeling lonely because I want different things for my life and there’s no kindred spirit to share what it’s like trying to figure out how to generate some side income from my work.

Then I was reminded of my childhood, and a favourite diary from my childhood days where I would draw and write my big dreams as if I were in a magical world.

I was in a world where the 2 characters in my clock came to life at night…

and, where I was a famous artist…

I also was crazy (in a good way) to write letters to fairies and call for letter submissions in the magazine I wrote for an imaginary audience and sometimes a younger sister.

Actually, I was surprised to see that I wrote the artist dream down because although I’ve always liked crafting, I didn’t remember dreaming so big that I was a famous artist! It’s funny as well because my english was so bad that I couldn’t think of an adjective to put before ‘artist’. Since ‘artish’ didn’t work, I stuck with ‘famous’. And my signature was amusingly pretentious as well–notice how I had to write my name and add the end stroke separately?

As an adult, I’ve been made to think whether ideas are feasible, profitable, which is well and good. I need to do that. But oh, sometimes that can get in the way of big dreaming and once in a while, pulling out the diary of big dreams helps remind me of who I am and what I want.

I was so blessed to have two conversations yesterday with two friends who secretly for one and not so secretly for the other want different things in life too and it’s good to know I am not alone 🙂 But it’s sad to hear how they struggle and sometimes keep their dreams locked up, like I sometimes do because I don’t want to be dismissed as a crazy idealist :X

But what is crazy? I recently chanced upon this quote while researching on Rome…

‎’walking on water” is an entirely sensible thing to do. It’s staying in the boat, hanging tightly to our own sad little securities, that’s rather mad.’

(George Weigel, in this article)

OK, I need to mention it was said in a Catholic/Christian context. This is research on Rome afterall. But I feel it’s so true for us all! We all have dreams, but for one reason or another, we’re holding it inside us, afraid. Because of that, maybe some of us are not living the lives we are meant to live but what others and society want us to live.  The Disney fan in me has got to remind you that Mulan says, you have a duty to your heart.

What dreams do you have? Are you secretly a quite sane but considered crazy idealist too? 🙂

Art with meaning

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Although I believe that beauty/art has inherent worth, I also like it when works of art have a further meaning.  Today, I’ve been inspired by two works of art 😀

The first is a wedding card my friend Jon made. I had thought that the card (on the right) is a picture of the moon and a mountain, but it is actually the Tai Chi symbol, which is very fitting for a wedding card!

Jon describes the meaning of this card in his blog:

I decided to draw the t’ai chi symbol because I think it is fitting a symbol as an ideal on what a relationship should be.

The two halves are very distinct from each other. Usually, when we look at opposites from a Western point of view (let me emphasize the word, usually), we tend to look at them as two separate entities. But for the Chinese, opposites are never viewed as two separate entities. They are distinct, yes. But despite it, they are both one. And that’s what couples should remember – we’re both very different, and though we share some similarities with each other (hence the little seeds of the opposite colour within each half), we are still one.

Distinct, yet one. That’s very much what marraige is.

Read more at his blog, and check out his other insightful posts on the way as well.

Another picture which I was also inspired by today is “The Old Testament Trinity” by Andrei Rublev because it is a picture which invites me to participate–the viewer is invited to enter into the intimacy with the figures in the picture through a rectangular opening that the figure on the right points to.

Andrei Rublev. The Old Testament Trinity.

This is the story behind this picture, as told by Henri Nouwen:

 Long ago in Russia, there were many attacks made on a small town, and in a monastery the monks got very nervous and could no longer concentrate on their prayers because of all the violent conflicts throughout the world. The abbot called his icon painter, Rublev, to paint an icon to help the monks remain and prayerful in the midst of restlessness, trouble and anxiety…

Rublev painted an icon based on the visit of the three angels to Abraham in Genesis, seated around a table of hospitality. In the icon, the figure in the centre points with two fingers towards the chalice and inclines towards the figure on the left, who offers a blessing. A third figure on the right points to arectangular opening on the front of the table through which the viewer is invited to enter and participate in the spiritual actions.

…When the monks allowed themselves to be part of the community formed by the three figures and let themselves be drawn into that circle of safety and love, they were able to pray and not lose heart…As we place ourselves in front of this icon in prayer, we come to experience a gentle invitation to participate in the intimate conversation that is taking place among the three divine angels and to join them around the table.

I would love to have this picture framed up on my wall so that I can enter into the house of love whenever needed through the little rectangular opening 😀