Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Wild Bunch

Photos of Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Lancaster
This photo of Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Every morning, on my way to work, I would drive past a few patches of wildflowers that immediately puts a smile on my face. I had first noticed a patch of orange flowers about 3 miles into my drive. And then on another day, a patch of purple wildflowers appeared in another location. The grand surprise, about a week ago, was when I noticed a new bed of wildflowers of reds and whites, yellows and purples, popping up all over the place! It always makes my heart sing when I drive past.

One of the wildflower beds had a sign that read "NCDOT Wildflower Program". I came home and googled it and guess what I found? The NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) began the Wildflower Program in 1985 as part of an initiative to beautify the highways. How cool is that? Wildflower beds are installed and maintained across the state by Roadside Environmental personnel and apparently many of these bed are marked with wildflower signs indicating the type of flowers. I have yet to see these signs, but then again, I'm supposed to be driving so I can't really pay too much attention.

Because, speaking of which, I drove my car off the road and hit a road sign today. Luckily, I was driving real slow around the bend, like at maybe 15mph, and I was on the back roads of our relatively quiet neighbourhood. And guess why I did that? I was trying to see a mockingbird sitting atop a telephone pole! Fortunately, no one was hurt, and the car was alright save a few scratches to the side mirror.

lesson learnt: DO NOT birdwatch while driving.

which is also why I will probably never learn which are the wildflowers I see every morning.

Etsy Pick of the Week :: VerseauVintage ::

I totally have to gush about this Etsy store I found! I am completely in love with the vintage items featured in VerseauVintage. All the pieces for sale have such an elegant and classic feel to them!

I would have hearted like a million items on there but thankfully, Etsy gives you an option to heart the shop instead, so that is what I did. But oh I do love the shoes - from pumps, to heels, to moccasins; and the bags! Oh I do! I do love!

Here are some of my faves!

blue pintuck pumps
Cobalt Blue Pintuck Leather Pumps

quilted purse
80s Buttery Soft Black Quilted Leather Purse

stacked heel brogue
Brown Leather Stacked Heel Brogue

leather clutch
I.Magnin Noir Pleated Leather Black Clutch

eelskin flats
Eel skin Leather Flats (Wished this was in my size!)

Espresso Brown T-strap Woven Sandals

I think I'm going to get something from the store with my next paycheck! ♥

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Birding: make a donation today!

Via Cornell Lab of Ornithology

As I was out in my garden planting some new seedlings yesterday, I heard the songs of the Northern Mockingbird. This was the first time I heard this bird sing its ever changing tune for at least a good half an hour. I was so amused I walked right under it to listen to its song. It was sitting atop a lamp post and didn't fly away when i approached. It did like to make short flights of circular twirls around the post as it was singing. I'd like to think it was dancing.

Speaking of birds,

the Cornell Lab of Ornithology sent forth a team every year to do a challenge to see how many bird species they can spot over the course of 24hours. Team Sapsucker, the team who sets off on this challenge, managed to spot 261 species last year. This year, they aim to break their record, in efforts to raise funds for bird conservation.

On the Big Day 2011 in Texas, the team broke the national record, spotting 264 species. Thanks to supporting friends and members of the Cornell Lab, this event has raised nearly $200,000. The fund-raiser is still going on. So if you'd like to read more about it yourself, go to Big Day 2011 and make your donation today!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cute little Margo!

This little girl is amazing! I am in love with her drawings! They are simple yet detailed, innocent and fun! And the blog name My Strawberry Unicorns! How fun is that???

I hope she continues to update her blog. She inspires me to doodle!!!

Chloe Dao Special

So this is the Chloe Dao (of Project Runway fame) dress that I bought and finally wore.

lucille front lucille back

This picture of the same dress is taken off Lot 8, Chloe Dao's Boutique in Houston, Texas.

Lucille - front

This was the other dress i tried, which had fitted me like a glove.

Kim front

But i fell in love with the first and I know I made the right choice. :)
I'm not a heels kinda girl. But what do you think? Pair it off with boots or heels?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!


Wow, April is a busy month! First spring break, then Earth Day, and now Easter. J and I attended church today and man, was the preacher feisty! I was so afraid he was about to explode at any moment, him preaching the way he did. All red in the face, he delivered a powerful and forceful speech. I actually enjoyed the service very much.

It was a glorious day! We couldn't bear to spend it indoors so we trudged outside to do some bird watching and hiking in the fields. The day has grown longer too. It was still light out at 8pm!

dandelion puff


Wildflowers are always beautiful

Daisy is out to play

So is Don Vito

I hope you had a lovely weekend too!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Here are some ways to love our Mother Earth!

In addition to reusing egg cartons, try fruit peels! So cute!

citrus peel

Via Readymade

Buy handmade!

belle terre

This lady lives in NC and is living the life I aspire towards! She is planning to start an organic farm, and has an etsy store making handmade soap that are beautifully packaged! Check out her Etsy store Belle Terre

Shop 2nd hand!

Use yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores as a shopping haven to redecorate your house. You don't have to pay loads to have a stylish pad!

pauls apt

Paul's Artistically Scavenged Apartment via Apartment Therapy

Unplug electrical appliances when not in use. Did you know that power is still consumed when your electronics are plugged in even though they are turned off?

Line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer! We've hung up a line at our workplace to dry the water table aprons, instead of using the dryer, especially now that the weather is so nice and warm!

Take public transportation or ride a bicycle if possible! Leave your car at home!

Spend your money on companies and products that work towards sustainability.

And that is also why I've taken the pledge. Please do it today too!

Do you have good ideas to go green?

Skirt-ing the issue

I love skirts. Mostly short ones. For my petite frame (read: vertically challenged), I don't think I look good in anything below my ankles. I have a few skirts that reach my calves, but that's about pushing it.

But I am totally loving this getup.

Via A Cup of Jo

From the round sunnies to the slouchy comfy tank, to the bright green striped maxi skirt! Imagine completing the outfit with a pair of gladiator sandals! Love!

I've been wanting to make skirts for the longest time. It seems like the easiest piece of clothing to make. Well, maybe second easiest.

I made a tank top using stretch jersey knit material before and that wasn't too bad.


I've painstakingly made 3 pairs of fisherman pants and that was quite alright too.


And I've even taken it into my head to attempt a hoodie once!


So skirts shouldn't be too much of a problem right? Especially if it has only an elastic waistband!

I'll be keeping a lookout for the perfect material to make my first skirt!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Have you had a nutritious breakfast today?


J's grandparents gave us some fresh blueberries from their patch. We were going to make some yoghurt with it, but I called first dibs and made myself some yummy breakfast!

J had bought the WRONG kind of cereal. My favorite is Honey Bunches of Oats Peaches. He got me the plain kind! *hmph* So this morning I sweetened it up with a little bit of blueberries and raisins, and that made it all OK!

Liberty Antique Festival

Photography by Kathy L. Green

Goodness me!

my google calendar just sent me an email reminder (so clever?!) about this antique festival that I read about a long time ago, and had the good sense to mark it down.

The Liberty Antique Festival takes place near Liberty, NC which is about a 90 minutes' drive away from where I am. The next festival date happens on Friday 29th & Saturday 30th April which are no good dates for me because I work all weekend. :(

Here's the excerpt taken from their website. Actually, because I'm so lazy, here's the whole paragraph.

Twice a year 400 dealers from more than 25 states pack a 100-acre farm near Liberty, North Carolina with 18th to 20th Century furniture and paintings, as well as pottery, glass, clocks, dolls, toys, military items, fishing collectibles, decoys, jewelry, quilts, folk art and “in the rough” country Americana! It’s the way it used to be—NO CRAFTS OR REPRODUCTIONS—just truckloads of antiques and collectibles. You’ll bring something home from this show!

I'm so bummed! The next festival dates are in September so I hope I get to go.

Address: 2855 Pike Farm Rd (formerly Andrews Rd), Staley, NC
Phone: (800) 626-2672
Hours: 8am-5pm
Price: $7 per person, children under 12 FREE!

Also free parking!

Spread the word if you live in the area!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Natural food dyes for your Easter Egg Hunt!

Via Craftzine

Coming from a non-Christian family, I never celebrated Easter, did not really understand the significance of this day and associated Easter with chocolate bunnies and colorfully decorated eggs.

This Easter, however, the mother-in-law (MIL) invited J and I to go to church. Her son is about as un-religious as I am, but we like keep things cordial, so we oblige on special occasions like Christmas and now, Easter. "Girl, you're about to find out how big a deal Easter is around here!" was what my girlfriend had said to me.

So we were supposed to go BUY our Easter outfits with her tomorrow, but I checked my bank account, looked into my closet and then double checked my bank account, and thought it wise to wear something I had already owned. I did have at least 2 dresses in my closet that I have not worn ever. Knowing how conservative the dress code is (no denim, no dress/ skirt above the knees) I think I might be able to pull it off with a cardigan on my back and maybe a slouch to make my dress look longer?

Anyway, i came across this blog which excited me more than anything else about Easter excites me. The writer teaches you how to make natural food dyes to colour your Easter eggs, and even put flower/leaf patterns on it. It looks so fun, I just might have to try it out myself on -- yes, my next day off!

Here is the page and I hope you have a meaningful and fun Easter holiday!

10 things i did on my day off


1. Got my driver's license (FIRST thing in the morning)
2. Prepared ingredients for chicken casserole supper
3. Vaccumed and dusted the house
4. Started reading 20000 Leagues Under the Sea!
5. Bird watched for a bit (saw a hummingbird!)
6. Watered and weeded the garden
7. Did the laundry
8. Updated my blog!
9. Finished a 500 piece puzzle in 2 hours (with MIL's help!)
10. Called my parents (because I didn't do it over the weekend)

Phew! That was one busy day! I felt so accomplished! I think I rather like waking up so early in the morning, I get so many things done!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oh my dear cantaloupe, if you want, we can-e-lope!

Now that's a quotable quote straight out of J the cheeseball.

Yes, we are planting cantaloupe. The J-man planted 3 in a not-so-straight row, along with broccoli, zucchini, pie pumpkin, tomatoes, thyme and chillies.

Today we transplanted a few more plants - the thyme and the chillies, but I remain skeptical. I was against transplanting them because they were mere wee plants, looking so weak and fragile.

Chilli and thyme

It was my turn today to weed. I got out my spade and little three pronged rake, and was bent over for nearly 2 hours weeding about two thirds the plot of land. And oh do the roots go deep. The grasses are the worst. It has become personal, this tug-and-war between me and the grasses. I get in there with my fingers when raking doesn't do the job. The cluster of roots grow in such a vast tangled network, I actually get a huge sense of achievement when I finally unearth those suckers. The clovers are the easiest to pull out and I enjoy chancing upon them because it gives me a moment of reprieve from the tough ones.

That said, weeding is very therapeutic. Maybe the weather was just right. The sun was shining overhead but the cool breeze kept me from sweating buckets. I smiled when I heard the birds chirping around us, and didn't realised how much I missed them when the feeders went empty for a week. Now that they're filled, the birds swarm the yard again!

The father-in-law (FIL) bought a new "squirrel-proof" feeder and replaced one of the old ones. Let's see how well this one works. Or maybe the squirrels will eventually figure a way out, like they always do.

In any case, here is the picture of our plot of land. Not very big, but when you have to do all the work, it's not very small either.


This little guy kept finding its way onto my shirt. My neighbour says its a gypsy moth, but the google images show a completely different caterpillar! Does anyone know what this is?


IMG_1620 IMG_1625
My stringy sunflower sprouts! and a new broccoli sprout! YAY!

More fun gardening stories later!

Penny Saver Tip #3: What to do with a disused photo frame?

The J-man was fumbling around in the dark one night. Only he flipped a photo frame that was hanging on the wall, along with the light switch. As a result,


we have one poor frame feeling slightly abandoned.


But with a screen, a pair of scissors and a handy glue gun,


I made the perfect home for all my randomly strewn earrings!!



Monday, April 18, 2011

Happiness abound!

J and I had received an invitation to a friend's wedding next month at Myrtle Beach, but had to shelve it when we realised we also had to pay for J's school fees right about the same time. We decided to send them a wedding gift instead, and do it traditional Chinese style - a red packet gift of money and this!

Double happiness

This character is traditionally used in Chinese weddings. It is made up of two "xi" which means happiness, so two of them makes "double happiness"!

When I finished the first one, I enjoyed it so much I made another for the Etsy store!

Double happiness 2

I had to cover up the threads at the back even though i've been the neatest I've ever been. Then again, I could have been a little tidier snipping off the edges peeking out of the hoop. Any other ideas how i can finish off the back? (See photo above)

Here's one method that I found online at Maximum RABBIT designs

I love embroidery now! It's so much fun! And I've got a few more designs up my sleeve. I hope I find a better way to finish off the edges by my next project!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What we did this weekend

We went up to Wilkesboro for Grandma's birthday. These are what we found in their yard...

Slug on fungi

A poor little ruby-throated hummingbird

The hummingbirds are back! We put out our hummingbird feeder last weekend, but I've yet to see one. And my sunflowers started to sprout! We also planted the broccoli and bush beans and snow peas in the ground, and will probably need to weed them soon. We had better work on our garden this Monday. Will post pictures of the garden soon!! Yay to growing our own food!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

H&M PrintMix Collection

I want my H&M Printmix FIX!





Images via H&M

I'm in love with prints!!! Take me shopping right now, summmm-bahhhhh-deeeeeee!!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thrifting: Yard Sales!

I love yard sales! Although i STILL have yet been to one here in the states (glares pointedly at the J-man) i've been bookmarking all the yard sale events around my area religiously every weekend. The down side of my work is that i have to work weekends, and that is when the yard sales take place. Especially on Saturdays. Most Saturdays I have to work. :(

When i do get an odd weekend off here and there, my clever husband has a way of working up excuses to work out of MY plans, and do his instead. *mutter*

This past Saturday my co-worker, lovely Miss Patti, told me she was going to a yard sale. She asked if there was anything I wanted and I had casually remarked that I'm a fabric hoarder.

On Tuesday, she left this in front of my locker at work, with a smiley face on a note attached to it.


She had gotten it for a dollar.

Isn't that neat?

But instead of paying her, I told her that I'll do her sewing project for free. She had wanted me to help her with curtains for her little cupboard and would pay me for my effort. But i think i'll trade it for fabric any day!!!! Love you Miss Patti!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Oyster Mushroom Heaven

Okay, so this is the recipe for the killer cream sauce mentioned in a previous post.


Oyster Mushrooms in Cream

Serves 2:

1. Wash and prepare 10 oz oyster mushrooms. Drain 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, cut into thin strips. Wash and prepare 2 scallions and cut into pieces 3/4 in long.

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the mushrooms and fry briskly over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, onions, and 1/2 cup whipping cream. Bring to a boil, then add 1/2 tsp thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Prep time: 15minutes!!

These creamy, aromatic mushrooms can be served with a baguette as an awesome appetitizer. Sure to impress, but so easy to make! I'm not sure how it would taste if you substituted with another type of mushrooms. My friend's mom tried it with portobello, but it turned out a little wrong. We haven't really experimented with any other types of mushrooms yet, but when we do, I'll let you know the results!

Dryad's Saddle

By the way, I ate some freshly picked Dryad's Saddle, and felt nauseated the whole day. It might be a combination of mind tricks, but even though it's an edible type, it apparently didn't agree with my stomach. Yucky-poo! J, however, heartily gobbled up his share (and what's left of mine).

Alright, till next time. Please pray I live to tell my foraging experiences.

Embroidery fun!

My first attempt at non-cross stitch embroidery!

chain stitch ellie

Presenting chain-stitched Ellie!

I drew the elephant one day and decided I liked him so much I wanted to try embroidering him. I bought some tracing paper and traced him onto to the fabric before pulling it through the embroidery hoop. But because I used a piece of scrap fabric, it wasn't big enough to be pulled taut on the hoop. As a result, the stitching was uneven and the fabric was all scrunched up. :(

No matter, I'll definitely be getting more embroidering done because it's so much fun!
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