Throwback Thursday: DIY Hawkeye Costume

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I painted a Hawkeye shirt for a friend’s son last Halloween. I spent many late nights trawling the Internet for photos of Jeremy Renner in costume. It was torture πŸ˜‰

I don’t have photos of the process because I kind of made it up as I went along. I tried to put as many design elements as I could, but alas, my pitiful painting skills can do no more.

I fashioned his armband out of black garter and made shin guards using black cardboard. We found a cheap bow and arrow set at a toy store and the husband painted them black.

My mother (who is quite the stage mother, despite her vehement denials) wanted me to include thigh straps because she saw a photo of Renner in costume. She even zoomed the photo on her iPad to prove it. I reminded her that my sewing skills are practically non-existent. She agreed to forgo the straps on the condition that her future grandchild (i.e. my future offspring) will get leg straps in his/her Hawkeye costume.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the little one decked out in his gear, but I did receive this beautifully illustrated letter after Halloween.

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Best thank you note ever!:)

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How my family copes

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My family deals with grief by making things.

On the left is a photo of the postcard and stamp I made when I heard about my aunt’s death. The postcard was one of the four cards I made that was displayed with my aunt’s photos.

The flowers were designed by another aunt (under the art direction of my mother, as she likes to say). The signs were some of the few things I hastily calligraphed on the day of her wake.

It’s been a month since her hospitalization, and almost 3 weeks since she passed. I’m still trying to process the fact that we won’t be spending the holidays with her this year.:(

Rest in peace, Auntie. We love you.

Playing with Layers and Patterns

I should not be left alone with an eraser and a craft knife when I am bored, because something like this will definitely happen:

paisley pattern stamp

hand-carved paisley pattern stamp

I carved the paisley pattern stamp and its layer stamp while waiting for my husband to finish work.

coloring the paisley pattern

You can use stamp pads, color markers, or water-color to fill in the pattern.

Which coloring technique looks best to you? Drop me a line and let me know! πŸ™‚

Happy Birthday, Little Steps!

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To my dearest cousin,

Because sending snail mail across the pond is difficult from my side, I am posting my greeting on my blog. It’s been a while since the last time we celebrated your birthday (and mine) together. When you come for a visit, we will make up for all those missed celebrations. πŸ™‚ I miss you more than I thought I would (haha πŸ˜‰ ).

May you be blessed with even more love, happiness, and good fortune this year. Happy birthday!

Send my love to S and T.

Love,
Lye

On the Pursuit of Happiness

β€œLet 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.

PROJECT #1: BULLETIN BOARD

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.

PROJECT #2: BRIDAL SHOWER

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?