Sunday, September 30, 2012

Miss You Dad!

It's been sixteen years!  I still miss your humor, compassion and stillness.  I wish you have met my son, I tell him stories about you all the time.

He was about five years old when I told him the moth story.  You see, a few hours after you passed away, Aser and his family found a moth inside their van on their way home from the hospital.  Terry and Toy got distressed with the moth flying around in the van so Aser told them that it's just Grandpa making sure we get home safely.  When they got home the moth was gone and they could not understand how it got out when all the windows were rolled up.

Everyone of us had moth sightings that first week after you passed away.  All of a sudden there's a moth in the house and soon it will be gone, no open windows or doors!  Over time, we all got used to visiting moths and we all like to think that it's you dropping in on us.

When Ian was about five years old, he started freaking out when he saw a moth flying around in his bedroom.  He wanted me to "kill" it when it landed on the far wall towards the ceiling.  That's when I first told him about the moth story and it calmed him down.

One day I heard him talking while I was in another room.  When I asked him who he was talking to, he said, "Oh, I was just saying hi to Grandpa, he's over there" and pointed to a moth perched on the wall.  Not long after that the moth just disappeared.  To this day, he's thirteen years old now, he still says Hi, Grandpa whenever he sees a moth in the house.  I hope you can hear him.

I love you Dad.

Dad and his loyal friend, Butch.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Orchids - Purple Phalaenopsis

I was at my Mom's earlier today and this single purple flower caught my eye.  It's the last of the buds from this particular plant and it was quite spectacular.  The color is deep purple and some areas are so dark they look black from an angle.

Funny how I go to her house everyday and never noticed it.  The color must have peaked today and combine with the bright sunlight streaming through the window it was screaming to be noticed.

Unfortunately, I don't have the exact hybrid information so can't share that with you.

Christmas Cards 2012 - Part 1

September is normally too early for me to be making Christmas cards and these cards were made in August.!!  Back in June, I won one of the giveaways from our group meeting.  I don't think I ever mentioned here that I am a Stampin' Up Demonstrator hobbyist.  I occasionally attend group meetings and workshops to get new ideas and spend a day with a group of talented artists.

At our June meeting, my upline Patty Bennett told us to write down on a piece of paper our name and one item that we would like to get from the upcoming Holiday Catalog and she will draw one name.  She picked my name from the bucket and I selected the Ornaments Keepsake Bundle which consist of a nine-piece set of clear stamps called Ornament Keepsakes plus the coordinating eight-piece dies called Holiday Ornaments Framelit dies.  Woohoo, I was elated since I never win anything from raffles like that.

I didn't get my actual prize until early August since items from the Holiday Catalog were not available until August first.  And to show my appreciation, I tried to make some cards to share with our group right away.  I quickly realized that I am not so keen on the ornaments as my main focus for card making since I have been playing and creating with ornaments the last two Christmas seasons.  I struggled with the layout and design but I finally managed to create something I can live with.

This one is another center-step card.  The card base was embossed with an embossing folder and all the elements were heat embossed in white embossing powder.  This is the most elaborate of the three samples I made.  I was going for a non-holiday look using holiday stamps but ended up with a poinsettia looking focal point so it's a holiday card after all.

This is the side view, you'll see why it's called a center-step card.

This card is more traditional and I think I achieved the clean and simple look I was going for.  Again, all elements were heat embossed in white embossing powder.  I was too lazy to dig for a better sentiment.

Lastly, my favorite!  I will actually make more of these and send them out this Christmas.  I had this layout in mind and I was able to execute my vision pretty quickly.  When I finished the card, I thought it looked retro and named the photo file 'retro Christmas'  but when my niece saw it she said "Oh, this one is very modern."  You be the judge.

 All supplies used were from Stampin' Up.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wedding - Bridal Shower

And finally, the card I made for the Bridal Shower.  This is another center step card, a type of pop-up card.

The main image was embossed in black, very dramatic!  And in keeping with the beachy wedding theme, I sponged the panels in turquoise ink and used masking technique to simulate billowy clouds.  I attached a piece of kraft cardstock to the bottom and heat embossed it using clear embossing powder to simulate sand and scattered the tiny flowers with pearl accents.

At the bridal shower, I won one of  the games we played and got these sparkly votive candles for being the first one to guess five correct answers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beach Wedding - Invitation

When my cousin Nina announced that she's getting married I offered to do her wedding invitations.  I told her I will make some samples and she can decide if she wants me to make her hand-crafted invitations or she can go with professionally printed ones.

It will be a beach-themed wedding and her color of choice are turquoise and dark pink.  She wanted "beachy" items incorporated in the design and possibly include real beach sand.

I made three samples in three colors.  She could not decide between the white folder with turquoise accents and the turquoise folder with turquoise accents.  In the end, she decided she wants them both - 35 white and 35 turquoise invitations.
I used seashells as the main design elements.  All seashells were heat embossed in clear, white or turquoise for texture since I will not be incorporating real beach sand.  The white invitations were embossed in clear embossing powder which, unfortunately, I could not capture with my small digital camera.  The turquoise invitations and all the inserts were embossed in turquoise embossing powder.  And the turquoise bands were embossed in white embossing powder.
All the white cardstocks for the invitations and inserts were sponged with water-based turquoise inks for the "ocean/beach/waves/blue sky" concept.  The seashell embellishments on the bands were die cut from kraft cardstock and sponged with brown water-based ink for dimensions.

All the texts were done in Word and printed in 65 lb cardstocks.  I originally planned to use 110 lb white cardstock but could not find a printer that can handle that weight.  It took a team of six women roughly six hours to put together 70 invitations.  My heat tool stopped working around the third hour and I had to run to the craft store to get another one.

Total cost of materials including the new heat tool was approximately $250.00.  I was told that this style of invitations cost between $600 and $800.  A considerable savings if you have time to invest in designing and making hand-crafted invitations.  Although with some adjustments you might be able to cut the time in half, like eliminating the heat embossing and just stamp the images with appropriate inks and you can also eliminate sponging all cardstock and leave them plain white or ivory.  I do not recommend skimping on supplies.  I used premium cardstock and adhesives.  You want your invitations to stay intact and withstand the post office handing.

There you have it.  If you're thinking of taking on a project like this, consider yourself warned!  LOL!  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Cardstocks, rubber stamps, embossing powders, inks and adhesive were from
Folders were purchased from
Dies were made by Lifestyles Craft Seashells Die purchased at

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beach Wedding

The location:  Sam's Chowder House, Half Moon Bay, California

The flowers:  White Phalaenopsis, White Dendrubiums and Pink Freesias

The favors:  Votive Tea Candles with tiny seashells and a variety of natural seashells scattered on the tables.

Potted white phalaenopsis were used as centerpieces on tables.  Curly willows and raffias were added to the potted orchids for dimension and balance.  Tags with table numbers were tied to the raffia bow.

Tomorrow, the wedding invitations.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day Ten - Hoya

One of my all time favorite flower is this baby, Hoya Carnosa.

When I was a little girl growing up in the Philippines, my sisters and I will get all excited when these bloom because we picked the flowers and wear them as earrings!  Each flower has a long thin stem that's perfect as an earring post.  We used to call them 'forget me not' because that's what the adults called them.

A few years ago, I was describing them to a co-worker and she wanted to see pictures.  That's when I did my research and found that they're actually called hoya.  They are also known as waxplant, waxflower or waxvine.

In the late eighties, my sister Ida and I shared an apartment in Alameda.  We were on our regular trip to the San Francisco Flower Market when we stumbled upon this plant.  You can imagine our delight as we reminisced about how we love to wear the flowers as earrings.  We quickly bought the plant and put it in our patio.  Every year, towards the end of December when the the nights get really cold, we bring it indoors and hang it in the living room.  By the end of January, it will be blooming.

Now that we live in Berkeley, they stay outdoor year round except when there's a frost warning.  We now have three plants and they continue to bloom every year.

I recently read that a study showed that Hoyas are excellent remover of indoor pollutants, so maybe it's time to re-acclimate them to indoor environment.

These are images of other varieties of Hoyas that I found in public domain sites.  I would not mind having these, they're gorgeous!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day Nine - "Green" Card

Being a cardmaker, I'm always on the lookout for everyday items I can incorporate in my card making projects.  One recent project involves recycling Costco brand tissue boxes.  I saved all my empty tissue boxes from the office with the intention of using them for a future card project.  During allergy season, I use a lot of facial tissues!

This card is pretty simple and can be made in under ten minutes.  The focal point layer was die-cut from one of the tissue boxes I saved.  I think it turned out real nice and it's green, as in recycled green.

Stay tuned for more green projects.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day Eight - Network Cards

Have you ever been in a situation where you run into old friends, acquaintances or former co-workers and you get into chatting and then as you say goodbye, they ask for your contact information to keep in touch.  You both scramble for a pen and paper to exchange information and sometimes either one of you doesn't have them on hand.  That's happened to me.

Some people have business cards that they pass around but why settle for the ordinary printed cards when you can create your own fun and easy "business cards" or network cards.

I have done these cards years ago and recently revisited the idea since I'm looking for a job and have a lot of occasion to pass on my contact information.

These are a few of the ones in my purse now.  The purple case can hold ten cards and keep them together.  A few weeks ago Target had business card holders in their 'dollar bins' so I grab some and just added scrap paper to the lid and a quick tag with my initials.  Once again, I took the fun route and opted for the non-traditional monogram.  The downside to the case is it can only hold five cards.

 I kept the cards really simple.  You don't want them bulky so they can fit in people's wallets.  I don't know why but that's where I put business cards I get from people.  You need good adhesive so they won't fall apart.

One last thing, I made these for my son and one of his friends when they promoted from fifth grade.  At that age, most kids don't have cell phones yet so they came in handy when other kids ask for their email address or telephone numbers.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


This pleasant surprise showed up last week.  It grew from an "abandoned" planter relegated to a corner in the backyard.  My first reaction was 'Wow, you look familiar'.  I was pretty sure I knew what it's called but I couldn't come up with the name.

Google search time.  I started with "variegated flowering plants", clicked on images and browse through hundreds of pictures.  Then I started over with "heart-shaped leaves plants", again clicked images and voila!, it's a begonia.

Back to Google search, this time I typed 'begonia'.  As soon as I saw American Begonia Society I knew the "begonia world" would be huge.  Onto Wikipedia to try and identify the species.  According to Wiki "the plants are monoecious, with uni-sexual male and female flowers occurring separately on the same plant.  The male contain numerous stamens and the female have a large inferior ovary and two to four branched or twisted stigmas."

After hours of reading, I learned that begonias are either cultivated for their leaves or their flowers.  The ones cultivated for their leaves are quite stunning, with colors that are just as exotics as any flowers from the rainforest or some other remote far away place.  I want the ones with variegated purple leaves but I didn't find  a picture at public domain image so I can't show it here.

I decided that this beauty is a male begonia with showy variegated leaves even though they're green. :-)

Day Seven - Masculine Cards

I always struggle with masculine cards.  Almost all cards I create have some kind of floral elements to them and tend to be on the "girlie" side.  I always start with colors: blue, green and brown shades to me are masculine.  I stay away from any shade of pink although I totally disagree with a statement someone once said: "real men don't wear pinks".  I don't remember who said that, might have been my extremely sexist former boss.  I have seen quite a few men looking fine in a pink shirt!

For me, pinks just don't it when it comes to cards for men.  So I stick with blues, greens and browns.  Since I can't use floral patterns or elements, I stick with geometric patterns when choosing papers or embellishments.  I also avoid ribbons, instead I use twine or linen threads.

Here's a card I recently made for my brother.  I couldn't resist adding blings.  After all,  men like blings too!

And these are what I call CAS, clean and simple.  The card on the left features "buttons" made with cardstock.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day Six - Children's Art

As soon as Ian was able to write his name, around four years old, I made him sign his thank you cards to everyone who ever gave him presents.

One day, when I was gathering all his drawing pads and loose paper drawings, an idea came to me.  Ian loves to draw when he was younger but now he only draw during Art class.  I scanned some of his drawings and saved them as jpeg files.  Then I ordered prints to be made from an online photo place.  When the prints came, I cut and mounted them on cardstocks and turned them into Thank You cards.

These two were from his dragon phase.

This one was from his Pokemon phase.

See how easy it is to personalize your cards.  And you will be featuring original "works of art".

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day Five - What will we eat?

Mom is leaving for the Philippines today to visit her sisters and brother.  She will be there for four weeks.  The main topic of conversation during family gathering leading up to her departure date has been what will we eat while Mom is away?.

In addition to our family gathering EVERY Saturday, my son Ian and I, my sister Ida and brother Joel eat dinner at Mom's EVERY day.  That's because we all live next door to each other for the last ten years or so.  Every Saturday, with few exceptions, my sister May and her son Nicholas, my sister Leila, Ida, Joel, Me and Ian  come over to Mom's to hang out and eat lunch.  Occasionally, my brother Aser and his family would come down from Sacramento.

Saturday morning we gather the food.  Trips to Berkeley Bowl, Monterey Market, 99 Ranch, Oakland Chinatown, Farmer's market in El Cerrito, Berkeley or South City.  In the summer, we go to the farms:  Larry's in Suisun, a couple of cherry farms in Brentwood or Suisun area, peach farms in Capay Valley and other ones in between.  In the fall, we drive to Half Moon Bay to pick up fresh crabs.

Where ever we get the food, Mom cooks and we eat.  We've learned not to say, "you know what's good, (name any dish)" if you don't really mean it because Mom will make it the next day, if not the same day.

Did I mention we're all grown adults, except for Ian and Nicholas, who eat Mom's cooking regularly?  We love hanging out as a family and actually have a great time together.

What now, you ask?  The consensus seems to be eating a lot of salads.

I'm sure I'll make some crock pot meals but take outs sound good to me!!!

Day Four - Target

I love Target!!!  Though lately, it seems every time I make a Target trip my purchase total is always over a hundred dollars. The random things you pick up while browsing the aisles sneak up on you.  Today I went to Target with my niece Terry to get: hair color, zit zapper and mints for Ian.

I started in the E.L.F. cosmetics area and picked up a $3.00 make-up brush, $1.00 eyelash curler, $1.00 mascara, $1.00 bronzing powder, $3.00 Tinted Moisturizer and $1.00 zit zapper for Ian.  Ten dollars plus tax, that's a pretty cool, I thought.

This is how I justify grabbing all those E.L.F. items:

  • Ian is starting to get zits and Terry swears by the E.L.F. zit zapper so had to get that.
  • I'm going to a wedding next Saturday and I haven't worn mascara is ages that I thought it would be nice to wear mascara, waterproof of course, because everybody knows people cry at weddings.
  • I would need eyelash curler if I'm putting on mascara
  • I already have the $1.00 make-up brush but Terry said "they fall apart and actually damage your skin, the $3.00 brush is 100% better!"
  • The Tinted Moisturizer has sunscreen and I need sunscreen for the outdoor wedding next Saturday.
  • The bronzing powder I actually need because the one I have is almost all gone 

I also bought a $12.00 birthday gift for Terry, so I'm now at $22.00 total plus tax.  How I went from twenty two dollars to one hundred and two dollars, I don't really know.  Obviously, I checked the receipt closely as I roll my almost empty cart to the parking lot and everything seems to be in order.

I made a mental note to stay away from Target but I'll probably be back next weekend!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day Three - All About Favors

Still tinkering... can't seem to add links properly, more research needed.

One of my favorite project is making favors, party favors that is.  Birthday party favors, wedding favors, even high school reunion favors (my 35th year high school reunion, halfway across the world!).

It can be as simple as personalizing plain, store-bought items or more involved custom made items to fit a themed party.  If you need hand-made party favors or favor ideas for a party let me know.  I'll be happy to assist you.

Here's the latest favors I did where I just added custom tags for these beach-themed votive candles for an upcoming wedding.  The picture shows almost all of the 110 pieces I made.

These are the ones I made for my 35th High School Reunion.  Some with chocolate candies, some with mints and even jelly bellies.

These are my sister Leila's quickie weddings favors.  No worries, she's not pregnant or anything.  They decided they want to get married and they got married quickly!

These are Girls Night Out favors I did for one of my girlfriends.  They're made with card stock and I used a technique called faux croc embossing on four of them as shown on the first photo.  I think they're adorable


And finally, these are the first mini purses I played with.  I made these for another Girls Only event and I gave them as teachers gifts.  I also made some for my UPS delivery driver (a female, of course!) as an appreciation for taking my packages to my Mom, next door, if I'm not home.

My current favor project is for my Aunt's birthday party.  I'll show you pix when they're done.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day Two

Still mocking with setup and customization of my blog.

One of the things that I like to tinker with is digital designs.  I am using My Digital Studio by Stampin' Up.  I created my header using MDS2, the latest version of My Digital Studio.  If you'd like to know more about it email me at  Here's a page I created recently to memorialize my son's first day in eight grade.

Stay tuned for more updates as I fine tune my blog.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My family has always been into crafting.  We always say " I/We can do that."  But the single event that turned me into the crafter that I am today happened over fifteen years ago.  One evening as I was channel surfing, I came across QVC where they were presenting a heat embossing tool.  I watched the whole presentation and bought my first crafting tool!  I thought it was the coolest thing and actually used it to create heat embossed items for many years.  I still love heat embossed technique and often used it on my cards.

Love how this card came together.  The black heat embossed main image really pops out.  The card fold is called center step card.


Day One

Finally, my own blog!  Hello everyone.  This is the spot where I'll be sharing my random thoughts and crafty creations.  I'm all about family, so you'll hear some family stories especially about my 13-year old son, Ian.  I love food, so you'll read about good eats and maybe some recipes.  I love to do crafty stuff, so you'll see my creations  and the creative process.