Monday, July 29, 2013

love the here and now

I took a trip to Hawaii years ago with a friend of mine.  Being the true New Yorker that he is i.e., he didn't have a driver's license, I was behind the wheel throughout our vacation, and me being me, we often got lost. I remember taking a wrong turn and finding my way to a beach I had never explored before.  It was beautiful, and the first thing I said was "I can't wait to come back here again", to which my friend replied, "You're here right now".

In that spirit, I made these...

And, in the same spirit, I made these...

Clockwise from top: couscous with pesto and tomatoes (using mom's basil); bibinka and binbinkitas (a Pilipino spongy cake), buko pie (more on that later), and peach cake (using peaches from my Uncle Vic's tree).

The occasion:  To celebrate my dad's birthday a bit early while both me and my brother are in town, and to have a send-off dinner for my brother who is heading back to Hawaii.  I'll be heading back to NYC next week, so times like this when we're all back home are rare.  It was a blessing to sit together for dinner as a family.

I decided to bake a buko pie specifically for the celebrants, my dad and brother.  My dad is from Batangas in the Philippines.  Each time we go to his hometown, we take a narrow road where, without fail,  my dad points out a lake, a volcano, a lake in a volcano, and fruit stands selling buko, or young coconut.  We make the traditional stop for fresh buko juice and during our last trip in February we ate fresh buko pie.  My dad loved it, and my brother LOVED it!  So, I looked up some recipes, and me being me, didn't follow them and came up with a recipe of my own.  Dad polished off his plate, and bro went back for seconds.

To family and to loving the here and now.  Cheers!

Supplies for card: 
Stamps: My Favorite Things Chalkboard Greetings
Inks: Stampin' Up (calypso coral, island indigo, peach parfait, pool party); Memento (tuxedo black)

Friday, July 26, 2013

fabulous, oh yes you are!

I'm nearing the end of my one-month visit in California, feeling sad about family time coming to an end, mixed with excitement about returning to NYC.  As great as being home has been, I only wish I could have spent more time with my sister.  She works really hard and is always busy or too tired to craft with me:(  She's been so busy that she's behind on making thank you cards for her son to send out to family and friends who came to his graduation party a couple weekends ago.  So, I took it upon myself to use the techniques and tips I've learned from Summer Card Camp 2 and work on some cards for her.  What are little sisters for? :)

In one class, we were challenged to "try something new", or make a card using a different style than we're used to.  I'm still pretty new at this, so I'm not sure if I've developed a style, but I do know I'm not skilled with backgrounds, patterns, and graphics.  So, I got out of my comfort zone a bit and made this.

The faded parts of the blocks are unintentional, but I can dig it.  Reminds me of bricks in a way.

After building up my confidence a bit, I decided to stamp an entire background using just a little square.  You better believe I was holding my breath after my card base was halfway stamped.  There was no turning back!  Luckily, my mess ups weren't that bad, and I kind of like how it looks classy/expensive:)

And lastly, I used the technique of coloring on die cuts to make this simple card.  The splotches look a lot like a blouse I used to rock back in the day.

And, would you look at that?!?!  All three cards make a nice little set.


You're Amazing
Stamps: Simon Says Stamp Talk Bubbles 2
Inks: Stampin' Up (pool party, baked brown sugar, wisteria wonder, concord crush); Memento (tuxedo black)

Fabulous, oh yes you are!
Stamps: Simon Says Stamp Talk Bubbles 2; Mama Elephant Hello
Inks: Stampin' Up (pool party, baked brown sugar, wisteria wonder, concord crush); Memento (tuxedo black)

Inks: Copic markers; Ranger Distress Ink (dusty concord, broken china)
Dies: Paper Smooches Thanks Word

Thursday, July 25, 2013

enjoy this day

Usually I need to have someone in mind when I'm making a card so that I have some inspiration, but today I was inspired by the photo in the Paper Smooches Picture Perfect Challenge and decided to play along.

My brother, sister, and I tried several times to take pictures like this in Hawaii, where someone is holding up the sun, but we never got one that turned out like this...

Very cool.  So, I decided to use the colors and shape to make this...

I did some masking so that I could make the little bird on the right have an eyes-closed blissful expression.  So stinkin' cute!

Thanks to Paper Smooches for such a fun challenge!


Stamps: Paper Smooches Spring Fling and Flap Happy
Inks: Copic markers; Ranger Distress Ink (spiced marmalade, wild honey); Memento (tuxedo black)
Dies: Simon Says Stamp mini hearts set

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

out of this world

Can I just say that I love Mama Elephant stamps?!   Their images remind me of those Sanrio characters that I loved from back in the day...the Little Twin Stars and Tuxedo Sam were my faves.  I used two Mama Elephant sets and the distress ink technique that I learned in Summer Card Camp 2 to create this card.

This card is for one of my dear friends, my party-planner partner in crime.  She always comes up with fun food-themed party ideas or any idea to get our friends together.  Some of my top NYC memories are because of her -- the 80s backyard boogie, Thanksigivng leftover throwdown, and Old School Play Day in Brooklyn's Prospect Park -- all her ideas, and I just helped to execute.   She has such a magnetic personality -- we're all just drawn to her energy, fun spirit, and sass.  It's time that I say thank you.


You're Out of this World
Stamps: Mama Elephant Cosmic Stars and Starry Night
Inks: Ranger Distress Ink (tea dye, vintage photo, faded jeans, broken china, dusty concord); Memento (tuxedo black); Copic markers
Other: circle dies

Monday, July 22, 2013

so many reasons to celebrate

This past weekend goes into the record books as one of the most crazy-fun weekends ever.  There were so many things to celebrate: the peaches in the backyard being ripe and ready for picking, participating in a full-day workshop with my favorite blogger/crafter, Amber, from Damask Love, family from all over being in town for the festivities, and much much more!

I made this fun little shaker card for my friend's birthday, using the technique presented in Summer Card Camp 2.  My friend and I have known each other since our college days in Berkeley, and we both ended up moving to Brooklyn, living just a 5 minute walk from each other.  Gotta keep your loved ones close!  Full disclosure -- I really made the shaker card for my friend's (almost) 2-year old daughter.  I think she'll have more fun with it:)

My family is huge!  So huge we held a 2-day party because we had so much to celebrate and had to break up the fun between 2 days.  For real.  Graduation celebration (2 nephews graduated from high school and my niece graduated from college) on Saturday and two birthdays on Sunday.  I prepared mini cupcakes, cookies, and mini trifles for the dessert table.

It's amazing to see the next generation growing up, finding their passions, and going out into the world.  A huge thank you and congratulations to all the parents, families, mentors and teachers who supported them along the way.

And, lastly I got the good news on Friday from my friend on the arrival of her baby girl, Anika.  Mama and Anika are healthy and happy.  I made this card to send the proud parents and baby all my love.

Supplies for Cards:

Shaker Bunny
Stamps: Mama Elephant Up and Away
Inks: Memento (tuxedo black); Derwent Inktense pencils
Other: patterned paper, foam sheet, circle dies, transparency sheet, glossy accents, assorted beads, sequins, and glitter

Welcome Little One
Stamps: Mama Elephant Nursery Deco
Inks: Memento (tuxedo black); Derwent Inktense pencils
Other: patterned paper, glossy accents

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

love always, always love

It's been a very emotional past couple of days for me, and I think these cards reflect that -- a mix of deep sadness and small flashes of hope that someday I hope will become brighter lights.  Until then, I continue to believe that we are all connected to each other and that everybody matters.

It's Week 2 of Summer Card Camp 2 , and for this card I used the clear embossing and distress ink technique that Jennifer McGuire shared. I flipped around a sentiment by doing a little masking, so I could say what I really wanted to say. 

For the next card, I used the paper piecing technique presented by Jean Manis.  The shiny spots are from sun shining in through window blinds.  I think it would actually be pretty cool if I could figure out a way to achieve the same effect in ink.

And lastly, I made this card for the WPlus9 Monday Mood Board challenge.  I just love using their Fresh Cut Florals set.  With all the layering options, I was able to find the right combo of flowers to reflect the mood of this card.


Love Always, Always Love
Stamps: WPlus9 Fresh Cut Florals; Verve Small Phrases
Inks: Stampin' Up (chocolate chip, pool party, baja breeze, certainly celery, pistachio pudding); Versamark
Other: clear embossing powder

Sending Love Your Way
Stamps: Craft Lounge Sending Love; Lawn Fawn You've Got Mail
Ink: Memento (tuxedo black)
Other: patterned paper, heart pin

Thinking of You
Stamps/Dies: WPlus9 Fresh Cut Florals
Inks: Stampin' Up (perfect plum, wisteria wonder, so saffron); Memento (tuxedo black)
Other: enamel accents

Saturday, July 13, 2013

a simple hello

This is my first time joining a Paper Smooches SPARKS Challenge, and I must say, I am really pleased with how this turned out.

I have been very behind in making and sending out thank you cards to a group of close friends who threw a surprise dinner for me last month.  They were all in my head and heart as I was making this card, and the process was pretty funny.  I die-cut a bunch of butterflies in flashy colors (hot pink, fluorescent orange, very 80s), thinking that they would spring off the little dotted lines, and right when I had the yellow butterfly land on the "h", I moved the rest of the little critters away with a gentle sweep of my hand.  That moment when a butterfly lands on a flower and all feels right in the world...that's how I felt when I had a celebratory surprise dinner with my friends.

Stamps: Paper Smooches Flap Happy
Dies: Paper Smooches Butterflies 3
Inks: Stampin' Up (daffodil delight, sahara sand, coastal cabana); Memento (tuxedo black)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Card Camp 2

I transitioned out of my job less than 2 weeks ago and promised myself that instead of stressing out I would take some time to reflect and think about what's next for me, spend some time with my family in California, and be a creative way!  Thank goodness I enrolled in Summer Card Camp 2, an online class where I get to learn all kinds of techniques and tips from crafters and artists I look up to.

In Day 4 of the class, we took on a 10-minute challenge.  I was completely amazed by Jennifer Rzasa's overlapping die-cut letter technique, so I followed her lead and came up with this card made for a friend of mine who is transitioning out of her job.  I wanted to congratulate her for her great work and wish her the best. Note: I finished in just under 12 minutes.  Over the 10-minute time limit, but a vast improvement for me.

For Day 3, one guest artist used sequins so I did the same.  I had been thinking about making a card for two of my friends who will be celebrating their anniversary by taking a trip to Puerto Rico.  I love them so much -- how fun they are, how much they support each other, and how they go on adventures together.  So, I googled "how do you say Happy Anniversary in Spanish?" and came up with can barely see the sequins, but they're there!  You just have to shake the card a bit.

And, for my first day of the summer camp, I used the colors and sketch provided and made this...

The sentiment captures just how I'm feeling.  Transitioning from a job can be exciting and stressful.  I've decided to be positive and make the best of this time.  Thank you to my sister for giving me full access to her art supplies.  And, speaking of supplies, I think I"m supposed to list which supplies I used for these cards, right?  


Woo Hoo!
Stamps: Taylored Expressions (Simple Greetings); Studio G i-cling
Dies: MFT (By the Letters)
Inks: Stampin' Up (coastal cabana, pure pumpkin, melon mambo, daffodil delight)

Feliz Aniversario
Stamps: Paper Smooches (Chubby Chums)
Dies: MFT (By the Letters)
Inks: Memento (tuxedo black)
Other: patterned paper scraps, acetate, sequins, and beads

Make Lemonade
Stamps: Lawn Fawn (Make Lemonade); Fiskars (Border-a-Plenty)
Inks: Stampin' Up (coastal cabana, pure pumpkin, melon mambo, daffodil delight); Derwent watercolours; Copic markers
Other: Ranger glossy accents

Wedding Under the Stars

Last week I had the honor of providing the sweets for the wedding of two friends of mine.  The wedding took place on my old stomping grounds in Berkeley, CA (Go Bears!) at the Lawrence Hall of Science.  The bride and groom, both Cal alum, chose a Berkeley/academic/nerdy theme, complete with a blue and gold color scheme, a composition book program, and test tubes filled with candy.

For the wedding reception dessert table I prepared blue/gold mini trifles (lemon pound cake/mixed berry compote/lemon curd whipped cream) and red velvet mini cupcakes topped with blue and gold flags.  The bride joked that my red velvet cupcakes would be the only red allowed at her wedding.  The Cal and Stanfurd rivalry can be pretty serious!

I'm thankful for all the hands and hearts that made the dessert table a success.  My sister let me use her equipment and kitchen, my parents made the cupcake toppers, and my friends from Brooklyn who also traveled to Cali for the wedding took their spot in the assembly line and helped put everything together.  Last but not least, my nephew who just graduated from high school and aspires to be a baker, became my assistant.  He squeezed and zested about 30 lemons, cut up hundreds of pieces of pound cake, and came with me to the wedding to get hands-on experience of catering an event.  My nephew was so excited about  the feedback we received that on the ride home that he asked if we could make the mini- trifles for his upcoming graduation party.  I said sure, but asked him if we could use store-bought pound cake to cut down on time.  He said no way.  I asked if we could compromise and use box mix pound cake, and again he said no, stating that we needed to bake everything from scratch like we did for the wedding.  I couldn't be a prouder auntie.  He answered my trick questions correctly and passed the first test.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hello and welcome!

Welcome to my blog and my very first post!  After much encouragement, some gentle nudges, and even a few full-on threats from family and friends, I finally put this blog together as a way to share my work.  And, by "work", I mean anything homemade, handcrafted, and heartfelt that is created in my home.  My plan is to share with all my readers (that's you, sis!) the desserts, cards, and other creative projects I've made, as well as the stories behind them.  So, here goes...

Please note: I am clearly a late bloomer and I have much to learn, so please be kind and patient as I am quite  new to this blogging thing.  Kindly offer suggestions for improvement.  I'm very open to feedback.