Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Home Made Christmas Gift Tags //DIY//

Water color art has always been a hobby.  I love how the paint flow on the paper and seeing the color radiates when it dries. It is a soothing activity that calms and relaxes your mind.  Please check my water color art (here, here, here and here)

So last night I created these 4 christmas gift tags. I could not be happier with the result. And this morning I can't wait to see the gifts with the tags on them. So I finished wrapping 3 gifts so far.

Oh, I am planning to create this tutorial on a my youtube account so you can see how I created these cute gift tags in the near future.

I have been planning to use these images as a free down load images for my follower. But to be honest I still have to figure out how to do it. So I am hoping to do this a week before christmas or else I will create another art for my readers. So please be patient as I am so excited to create some for you.

Let's take a look how they look.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Almond Tea Cake

Woke up  only to find another rainy and greyish day today. I was supposed to make some Ginger Cut Out Cookies  but I feel lazy going to the store to get some fresh ginger so I quickly found some ingredients in my pantry for Almond Tea Cake. So this was what I did this morning.

This simple almond cake is a good companion to drink with a warm cup of tea in the afternoon or coffee in the morning during a cold rainy day. In fact I am having it with a cup of Mint Rose tea right now and it just perfect for the afternoon treat during a wet weather in New York.

I love the cake liner  bought from Ikea a while a go.  I knew I wanted to put the batter in the Ikea cake liner.  And they are pretty as a Christmas little cakes on the table as well.


Almond Tea Cake

~ 1 cup almond meal
~ 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
~ 3/4 cup egg whites (from 5 to 6 large eggs), at room temperature
~ 1 cup sugar
~ 1 tbsp honey at room temperature or slightly warm
~ 1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Whisk together the almond meal and flour until blended.
2. In a stand mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites. When the whites change from loose to slightly loose foam, add the sugar in a steady sprinkle, over 4 to 6 minutes. The whites will be glossy and moist.
3. Sift the flour mixture over the egg whites in 3 or 4 portions. Gently fold each addition before adding the next.
4. Fold int he honey, followed by the butter. The batter should be glossy, light and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 425 deg. Brush the cups on a mini cupcake tin with additional melted butter. Sift all-purpose flour over the molds to coat them, invert, and tap several times to shake out the excess.
6. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling them three-quarters full. Bake until golden brown about 35 minutes.


Happy baking Everyone?

Chanelling My Inner Creativity //Part 2//

I have been challenged myself to try to create a beautiful of (what I called) 'vignettes' photography for the past 4 or 5 days. 

My inspiration came from a photographer I admire very much; Christina Greve. I love all of her photography images very much. It is so pretty, clean and elegant. If you go to her instagram collection her vignettes photography will truly inspire you. I mean not only that - when you read her entire posts it will motivate and encourage you to be better in what ever you are doing; in her case is photography.

I am a person who always like to learn something new. I love to challenge myself to be better and Christina Greve's blog gave me the motivation and the confidence I need. 

I do not mean that you must copy everything from her or other successful blogger you know - but you can take a similar approach to your own unique style. And this is what I did.

There is no secret to do this. You just have to trust yourself and have fun with it.

There are a must in order to get a good image - you need a good camera lens and a DSLR camera. I am not sure if you can use your camera phone but I know there is a good camera phone that suitable for this project. My phone just won't do it.

There are several things you need to know before tackling this project.

1. Pick a theme
2. Have a good background in contrast to your subject
3. Do not put too many items
4. Work with something small first and develop from there.

So let's take a look at my images that I have done so far.

On this image my subject is the vintage camera. And by the way, it was belongs to my husband when he was much younger and I believe this was his first camera. The chocolate truffles and a cup of tea are the support items to the camera. The white material and the small flowers are just a decoration. They are adding drama to the whole setting.

On the next image I wanted to show case the golden clutch. It was once belongs to my mother and she gave it to me a long time a go.  The perfume, lipstick and earrings are the support items to the clutch. The aqua card and the flower are and again as decoration.

The heart and star twig christmas tree decorations are my subject and the rest are just the support items and decoration.

 Before I took the above picture, I used the weathered plank woods as a background. The image did not come out as good as the white background. It was because the star and the heart twigs are the same material as the wood background. It does not have enough contrast. But once I played around with the aperture of the camera and took a closer shot and I  changed the focus to the white roses that everything else became blurred, the image looks much better.

Here the focus is  my mother in law photograph.
 Isn't she pretty? She was a singer when she was a teenager. And she still have a beautiful voice.
I just grabbed a magazine to photograph a long with her picture. And I love it very much.

You can create your own background. This white board I created by painted it myself. You can use a plank wood by putting them side by side together or one plywood like mine above. And you can paint with any color your want. (here and here) I am sorry for I do not know what language is the second one but you can use google translate to use the step by step. 

I used Nikon D3100 camera with Nikon Nikkor 50 mm 1.4 G lens for images no. 1, 3 and 5. I used 50 mm f/1.8 lens for image no. 2 and 4. Can you tell the difference? The reason is when I was in the middle of those projects the new lens I bought came. So I used the new one instead to finish the project.

Another thing that is important is try to set up your setting near a window or a door where a lot of source of natural light comes in. Unless you are using the 50 mm 1.4/G. This lens is fast and good to use under a low light condition room.

While I am here, I would like to talk about the lens. I have been using the 50 mm g/1.8 for the past 2 years. And I love it very much. And it is good for a starter prime lens to own.  I have learned to steady my hand without using the tripod with this lens. It is good to use this lens often because it forces you to take picture with steady hands. Because with a good light and steady hands, you can get a decent sharp image with this lens. I felt that I need to upgrade my lens and I am very happy with the new 50 mm 1.4G. It is fast and it is also auto focus. So my husband who can not use manual mode can use this with auto mode easily to take picture of me when I need him to do so.

So what are you waiting for, give it a go! Pick a theme, may be the best and easy theme is your cooking to start with.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Chanelling my Inner Creativity //Part 1//

I am sure it happens to all of us that once in a while, we as a blogger encounter some kind a frozen state where you do not know what to write as a topic on the blog. It happened to me  for the last few days. But strange enough that I was motivated to take my camera and photographed some stuff to create something creative enough to put on the blog.

I do not know if it is because of the weather here in New York that has been gloomy, rainy and gray or my brain went in to a blank mode. So when the time like this, it hit my mind that I need to be honest to my readers. I need to tell the truth and as it is. So this is my topic.

Today and as I was cooking beef brisket {oh...the smell is so heavenly right now in my house} I managed to work on my home office/studio/art room. And I can't wait to share some pictures with you. As I finished putting the art works on the wall, I saw  another side of wall need some art works as well. Then my mind went into the basement where I put all of my mood boards that I created when in school that had been in a storage for 10 years that I thought would be nice to hang on that wall. I immediately went to the basement, opened the box and I was so excited seeing those mood boards. I can't believe how beautiful they are. And still in great condition in which I noticed that I packed them nicely so it won't get damage.  I opened it one by one and display in on the wall sitting on the floor. I took 3 of them to my studio and just put them on floor against the wall. Already they look so beautiful. Perfect for the wall. I can't wait until tomorrow to get some tools to hang them on the wall in my studio. And take some pictures of the room.

My mind was racing into thinking that I need to take pictures on these boards and how am I going to present them as a story as my blog post. I do not know just yet. But it will be my next project in the future. I was thinking also to make a small video out of them and put it on youtube. And that is another project I need to tackle sometime  in the future. 

So I have been working on this project for the last 3 days. Each day I took objects from my collection and photographed them. It happened last Sunday evening I got a huge white roses table arrangement from a friend's wedding reception. So I ended up with so many white roses in vases around the house. And they are perfect to jazz up the collection for photography purposes.

Here are some of the vignette collection I photographed.


 I really love how these images turned out to be. They looked so rustic and weathered. Before, I always wondering how to get this look on photography. But actually it is very easy you just need to use a dark or brownish background - in this case a weathered plank woods. Then when editing the images just play around using light room and light room presets to get this look.

Thank you so much for reading and have a lovely Thursday evening!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Adriana & Mikey //Children Holiday Photography//

How adorable are these two siblings. My love taking pictures of children always so much fun and I can never get enough  trying to capture children's candied images. They are not the easiest to photograph but somehow I enjoy them a lot. 

Prior to the session I came up with the christmas lighting as a background. I love how the lights became a dapple of circular lights looking from a distance. I too must come up with creative props all the time. I do not want to give my clients with the same props for each session. It must be a little different one session than the other. That 'noel' sign I made from scratch. The tutorial is here.

I love the decorative bird cage I got from Michaels with the vintage christmas ornament balls in it. It is pretty to use it as a prop.

Thank you so much for looking. I hope you had a fantastic day today!

Noel Sign/Prop DIY //Children Holiday Photography//

I looked and looked for a sign for my next Children Holiday Photography session but I could not find any. Well, I could not find the one with a reasonable price. So when I was looking around at Michael store - I came up with an idea using the single alphabet that are available there. There are tons of alphabets with different sizes and shapes. I always love browsing around at Michael trying to find a DIY ideas. And you can't go wrong at that store since there are so many crafts and tools to work with. Not to mention that the price are reasonable too.

So here is the tutorial.
What you need.
~ 1. Decide the size of the entire sign and pick the alphabets
~ 2. Dowel (available in the dowel area)
~ 3.  Loctide glue
~ 4. A brush
~ 5. Paint (I used red acrylic paint)
~ 6. X-acto knife
~ 7. A few of small christmas decorations to decorate the sign.

1. First arrange all the sign to form a word you wanted. Then flip it up side down. 2. Cut a small pieces of dowel then glue it to the back of the letters to join them together. When it dries - paint it with the color you have chosen.

3. Do not forget to paint the back side as well.  4. Before gluing - arrange your decorative pieces on the sign. When you are happy with how it looks then glue it one by one. Now the Noel sign is ready. 

You can decorate with any decorative pieces you want. You can also put glitter on the lettering. I am planning to do this again next year.

So this is how  the Noel sign looks.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

20 Most Popular Old Blog Posts

Time went by so fast and now we are already in the month of December 2014. Before the year ends - I would like to dig up my most popular DIY, cooking, art & home decor posts from the the old archive to share with you. Although these posts are old, if you missed these posts at the time you can take a look again once more time and see if you like the useful tutorial.

Sometime in the near future and before the year ends I would like to share some of my next year plans with you like New Year resolutions, what I am going to change in the blog and start with a new and fresh look. I have been thinking about this for the past month or so and I realize that I truly need to change the blog overall look a little. I know that this blog has becoming something somewhat different entirely like I am posting more about photography. As I mentioned before, I am starting the photography business and I like it a lot. So there will be some changes but I still do like to share some DIY, home decor, cooking with you also because I feel that those are still my passion.

So sit back, relax and enjoy these old posts.


Lemon Drop Cake (Mother's Day)


 Salmon with Sriracha Sauce and Lime

Christmas Yule Log Fondant Cake


2 Tiered Naked Butter Rum Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Melt in Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies



 Pretty Cylindrical 'Pin Cushions' Container (DIY)


 Painted Spring (with Easter Eggs and Flowers)

Coffee Filter Roses (DIY)

Mother's Day Chalk Board Card (DIY)


Home Made Beaded Push Pins Inspired by Anthropologie (DIY) 


Home Made Geometric Print and Tulle Bow Gift Wrap (DIY)


Home Made Anthro Inspired Throw Pillows (DIY)



House Tour {Living Room + Dining Area}


House Tour (Master Bedroom Revealed)


 Easy Fall Decor

A Slice of Our Home (Living Room)

Vintage Plates and Cups for Home Office Desk (DIY)


Sweet and Lovely Water Color Perfume

Roses Under a Veil

Sea Shells, Skeleton Key & The Secret


So there you have them. I do hope you enjoy the 20 old blog posts I picked for you to look once more time before they all gone forever buried in the old archive.


From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for looking!

Have a beautiful Monday Everyone!