On the Pursuit of Happiness

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

― Marcel Proust

I had an absolutely terrible morning.

After waking up early to a racket created by our two dogs, this morning was filled with one disappointment after another. From chores to major life events, everything was a big let-down.

It is hard to work (or do anything, really) when you are sad and upset. It is especially difficult to teach with a heavy heart because kids do not learn anything from a teacher that’s dull and lifeless. I could barely muster the energy to leave my room, let alone go to work. I had to think of something to cheer me up. Fast.

Stamping makes me happy. My recent foray into the world of hand carving has cemented this into fact. I enjoy the process of creating, and stamping is the only activity so far that fulfills my need for instant craft gratification.

Armed with my hand carved stamps and stamp pads, I decided to make thank you note cards for all my officemates. Making the cards helped greatly improve my mood. Not only did stamping give me instant happiness, writing down things I am thankful for made me realize how loved and blessed I am despite of today’s disappointments.

Notecards made from index cards and decorated using handcarved eraser stamps

Notecards made from index cards and decorated using handcarved eraser stamps

What do you do to make yourself feel happy on a bad day?

Meet My Crafting Buddy

I had 2 projects lined up for the first 2 days of February — decorate the office’s bulletin board and prepare prizes for a friend’s bridal shower. I had ample time to prepare, and I even put together inspiration boards on Pinterest. But the last two weeks of January were surprisingly busy, and I was only able to prepare for these projects 2 days before they were due.

Enter Adobe Illustrator, aka my dirty little “crafting” secret. I use this program to brainstorm layouts and draw templates that can be printed out and cut.


I work at a reading clinic, and we take turns in decorating the bulletin board in the waiting area. My colleague and I wanted to combine the ideas of LOVE because it’s February and READING because we’re reading clinicians. Also: research shows that children who read with parents get better grades.

Bulletin board concept

Bulletin board concept that I laid out in between classes

The words “someone you” and “LOVE” are reflected in their mirror image to hide the outlines from the front.

bulletin board templates

bulletin board templates

My co-teacher Nat helped me in cutting the words and hearts. Thanks, Nat!

The finished product:

Finished product!

The children put heart-shaped PostIts over the books they wanted to read with a loved one.


My husband and I made a poster for Mara and Sheng‘s underwear drive for monsoon flood victims. I used the panties I drew to make panty buntings for a friend’s bridal shower.

The panties spelled out “HERE COMES THE BRIDE” and were printed on sea foam green, lilac, and powder blue papers.

For panty buntings

I also traced the template over wrapping paper to make “lacy” panties.

Finished product:

panty buntings

I hung the panties on lilac-colored yarn using wooden clothespins. The panty buntings went well with the existing decor of the venue.

I was also able to design and print labels for the prizes and favors.

Anti-dengue citronella sprays and soaps never looked so classy.

Anti-dengue citronella sprays and soaps never looked so classy.

Thanks to my best friend AI, these projects each took just under 2 hours to complete.

What do you do to make arts and crafts projects easier?