Friday's Eco-Tip: Don't throw out those tea bags!

I am an avid tea drinker as you can see from the photo. At least two cups a day and more on weekends when I'm at home. My fave tea is Earl Grey. And I drink camomile tea every night before bed. :)

Once I'm done drinking my tea, I dry my teabags and save them for the plants in the garden. I mix the tea leaves in the compost as a natural fertilizer and use the tea bags to cover the holes in the pots. The strings and tea bag labels are tucked into my layouts. *winks*

P/s: Coffee grounds make great fertilizer too!


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How I put a layout together...

The one about the elevated pancakes

It's been a while since I shared my creative process for a layout so here's a quick tutorial on how I  put a layout together these days (with the need to incorporate paper scraps, happy mail bits and ephemera). This layout was shared last month on the blog so you might have seen this before.

I start off by picking out my base piece of patterned paper, then find smaller pieces that coordinate to mat the photos. I also try to find scrap pieces to tuck underneath my photos to create a mat for my decorative elements. Once I'm happy with the main composition, I just stick my pieces down with a mixture of wet and dry adhesives. This forces me to commit to the placement instead of moving pieces around (a real time-saver). I do leave the edges of each piece unglued so that I can tuck small little bits like a ribbon tab or a small piece of paper to pull the elements together.

Because I'm working with so many patterns, I like to find ways to draw attention to the photos.  Like "framing" the face and embellishing around the photo.

Then I start adding in the the washi tape for a little bit more pattern and also to serve as a top layer of adhesive. And textured die-cut pieces for interest.

And fun embellishments. :) These days, I've been "journaling" with stickers and quotes.

The final step for me is the title work. Now, lots of people might start with the title work first but I do it at the end because I'm trying to use up my mish mash chipboard letter/sticker collection. You know, squeezing in as many bits without overwhelming the layout. *winks*

There you have I put a layout together. :) It is relatively fast and I do about 4 layouts in one sitting even though I share them in over 4 weeks (because let's be real, that drawing thing takes up a lot of time! *LOL*).

Has your creative process changed over the years?


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Another CNY 2019 layout

Still working on those CNY layouts using the CNY decorations. :)

This one features mum carrying her grand-niece Luna.

I had lots of fun fussy-cutting the elements, trying to fit as many CNY decorations in as possible.

Playing along with Stick It Down.


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How to accelerate your learning

They say learning something requires hard work and putting in the time. And according to psych writer Malcolm Gladwell, 10 000 hours of "deliberate practice" are needed to be world-class in any field. Science supports the fact that humans have a near-infinite capacity to learn (neuroplasticity) so mastering the skill of learning can allow us to not only retain more information but also to learn at a faster rate.

Okay, I'm not planning to be world-class in any field but I am most interested in accelerated learning because there are soooooo many interesting things to learn in the finite amount of time I have left on this earth.

Here are some ways that I have accelerated my learning....hopefully you can implement them to accelerate your learning too.:)

1. Keep an open mind.

The older we get, the less risk we are willing to take because we think we know the calculated risks involved. Just last month when I was in Hanoi, I went kayaking for the first time at Halong Bay. Now there was the option of just sitting in a boat and letting the locals row you to see the caves but I decided to be adventurous and kayak instead. I mean, the water is 5 metres deep, I can swim, I will be wearing a life jacket and there are plenty of people around to "save" me if I did fall into the water, right?

Of course, excitement did not trump over fear. When I got into the kayak from the pier, it rocked side to side and I immediately started thinking that I was going to fall into the water. And then they passed me the paddle and I started to panic because it was quite heavy (to me) and that cave in the distance started to look further than it is. Never mind that the bestie was just behind me. I mean, on hindsight, that moment was totally laughable now. But at that point, I was a little scared for sure. Especially when I started paddling and water kept getting into the kayak.

But then, I just watched others kayaking by and slowly got into a paddling rhythm. And once I learned how to steer left and right and paddle backwards, my confidence grew and I started to relax and enjoy myself.

Clearly confident enough to stop to take a selfie. *winks*

2.  Learn from a variety of sources.

We all learn things differently. Some people enjoy learning through the written word (that would be me!), others need feedback from someone else on learning (take an in-person class), some like watching videos showing step-by-step instructions.

Personally, I enjoy the written word the most. So I tend to hit books or blogs/websites first when researching about a subject. Then once I get the gist of the basics, I watch a video to reinforce my learning. And if there is a chance to get feedback from someone in the field, I would ask questions to further reinforce what I've learned.

When friends ask me how I improved on my eye drawings, I would tell them that I practise every time I wear my eye-makeup. I wear fun colours on my eyelids (My eyes are hooded so you don't really see them unless I blink.*winks*) eyelids are my canvas. It's way easier to practise on something 3D than it is on something 2D. It has really helped me to "see" how light affects colours at different angles.

I haven't taken any in-person art lessons to get feedback but I've certainly learned a lot from makeovers at the makeup counters. *LOL*

3. Accept that there will be some parts of the process that you will HATE.

I will not lie to you. Some parts of the learning will be tough. And extremely boring. You must have the discipline to keep on going even when the going gets tough. Of course, you start with lots of enthusiasm and motivation with your goal clearly in sight. But as the difficulty level increases, you start to lose enthusiasm and self-doubt sets in. This is perfectly normal. It is okay to cut yourself some slack. Learning something new is always challenging.

Like learning the basic facial anatomy...that was so painfully boring but totally necessary for me to learn if I wanted to do portraits.

But you know me...I learn the rules, then reinterpret the rules to make it fun for me. *LOL*
Do what works for you. Just because somebody else is doing this doesn't mean you HAVE to. You are the captain of your ship. But of course, learn the basics first. Without a clear grasp of the basic concepts, you will encounter problems further down the learning road.

4. Practise mindfully.

I try to be creative in all aspects of my life. Like when I eat at a fancy place, I might try to take an artistic shot of my know, practise composition and adapting to light situations.

I also challenged myself to NOT repeat an eye look (18 months and counting) and NOT repeat an entire outfit (I have to change up my shoes/bag/accessories) because it forces me to go out of my comfort zone and create more interesting outfits (and better utilize my wardrobe).

I think the more you challenge your brain, the faster it learns.

There you have it. My tips on how to accelerate your learning. What is your learning style? Do you like reading books or watching videos or attending an in-person class?


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The one about the almost free meal

You know how my sister loves a good a $2 meal (including delivery) from Grab Food during their promotional period. Clearly needs to be documented right? *winks*

Plus it coincided with us getting a new refrigerator too (see huge cardboard box in the background). Kind of a 2-in-1 layout. Ahhh...memories of how we had to "save" the ice-cream from dying by eating it for breakfast. *LOL*

Sorry for the slight digression...let's get back to my sister and her delight at scoring another great deal! ;)

Do you know that I try to incorporate ephemera on every single layout? Like this tag I got from Fresh when I went for a facial. See if you can spot it on the layout....

Have you spotted the tag? I actually cut it into 3 and used them to "frame" my photos!;)

Playing along with Let's Get Sketchy.


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Mixed Media Monday: Sketching with my non-dominant hand

Artist Ivy Newport likes to start her portrait-sketching with her non-dominant hand because it is looser and you can get more organic lines. Something about drawing what you see rather than what you know. So I decided to give it a go in my latest self-portrait drawing.

Brace yourself ain't pretty! *LOL*

I gave you fair warning didn't I? *winks*

Let's look at the positives shall we? It clearly looks like a face. So 1 point for Team Yvonne's Left Hand. The placement of the features is pretty spot-on too. Mind you, no erasing was involved. Another point for Team Yvonne's Left Hand, agree? Hehehe.

And it took like five minutes. Because Team Yvonne's Left Hand isn't that adept at holding a coloured pencil and wanted to get it done quickly. Seriously though, Team Yvonne's Right Hand isn't that great at sketching either.

I must agree that the lines are pretty organic... the brain focuses on the reference photo and just commands the eye-to-left-hand to just draw what you see.

Here's a look at how Team Yvonne's Right Hand tried to "save" the sketch. ;) Still using that single coloured pencil.

A little more progress...

Here is the arsenal of supplies I used for this monochromatic portrait.

So, have you tried using your non-dominant hand for art?


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Card for 2019 Spring/summer Coffee Lovers Blog Hop

So I found another freebie card in my stash and decided to whip out a quick card for the 2019 Spring/Summer Coffee Lovers Blog Hop. (See previous post: what I did to a "free" card.)

Here's how the card looked like before I glued stuff on it....*winks*

I challenged myself to reuse stuff I got as part of some happy mail. :)

Hope you are having a great weekend so far!


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Your weekend project: Upcycled vitamin container

Hello friends! Happy Friday! Just a quick project to share upcycled vitamin container...perfect for gifting some candies/small objects. :)

I had this project on my mind for quite a while but as you can see from the size of the container, it took me a rather long time to get through this bottle of Vitamin C (I prefer to get my vitamins through real food but will take a supplement when necessary..or when I 2x a week...*winks*).

I cut some patterned paper to size and ran it through my trusty Xyron Creative Station for an even layer of adhesive.

Then I just adhered it to the vitamin container.

Next I added a blue ribbon.

I finished off with a button and a scallop-shaped journaling card. I like the idea of repurposing this plastic container that the recipient can reuse as a display container or regift to someone else.

Happy weekend friends!


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More eye sketches from #the100dayproject

17/100. I worked on Bristol paper for this eye sketch. I totally forgot how nice wax-based pencils are on Bristol paper. :)

18/100. Channeling my fave eyeshadow colour on this eye sketch.

19/100. Clearly I was home and had a little more time for this eye I went all know, watercolours and alcohol markers. *winks*

Well of course life got in the way and I had to play catchup with eye sketch 20/100.  I chose the lazy person's way out by using a ballpoint pen. *LOL*

21/100.  This was also another catchup eye sketch so I stuck with just a few colours.

22/100. An eye sketch a day did start taking its toll on me at this point. So I decided to work on a watercoloured background base for a change.

Back to my fave eye colour for eye sketch 23/100.

24/100. Inspired by an editorial photo in a fashion magazine.

25/100.  Exercised a little restraint on this eye sketch...and I love how it turned out.

26/100. Not sure about the brows. Hahaha.

27/100. Clearly a catchup eye sketch...;)

28/100. A colourful eye inspired by the watercoloured background.

So #the100dayproject has been a little harder than anticipated. I love drawing the eye but that's when I was drawing an eye a week and enjoying the process of adding different details as the week progressed. Now that I "HAVE" to (not really...I can change the scope/type of project) produce a completed eye sketch for each day, it has become less enjoyable and feels more like "work".

Will I make it to eye sketch #100? Only time will tell [dramatic music plays in the background]. ;)


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