Thursday, July 21, 2011

Scene Around Taipei

Now I'm writing to you from the other side of the world in Taiwan, instead of my usual L.A. haunt. Kevin, Jenn, my Dad and I took a tour of the Presidential Office Building here, kind of like the White House. This was the only spot we were allowed to take a photo inside the complex that was closely watched by the military. Kevin and Jenn are wearing Taiwan flag beanies, and I wonder what the tour guide was thinking about having to take this photo with us.  It was originally built in a Baroque style in 1895 by the Japanese for their Governor-General. It became the Presidential Office Building in 1950.

The interior courtyard
Exterior of Presidential Office Bldg.
My Dad took us to a dumpling and noodle shop that he said was reminiscent of the traditional little shops built around army camps. 

Interior of restaurant
Exterior of dumpling restaurant
I always marvel at the mass rapid transit systems of other places. We took the MRT here which is really convenient. The platform just opens to the outside and the apartments. Kevin pointed out there were sound dampeners along the rails. 

On the platform
In the Ximending shopping district, there is a historic octagonal 1908 red bricked building called The Red House which was Taiwan's first public market. When we went inside though, there a was large display of Smurfs decorated by Taiwan's celebrities.

The Red House exterior
Red House interior
Now we are about to leave Taipei and will be on our way to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Take care and hope you are enjoying your summer plans,

A Sassy New Design Team

Sassy Lil' Sketches

I've missed being on a sketch design team since I finished my term with Sketchabilities, so I applied and got on another design team called Sassy Lil' Sketches. It is worth is just to be on that team so I can say I'm a Sassy Lil' designer. They release a new sketch every week for cards and layouts, along with DT samples. Feel free to peruse the site for great ideas or you can participate by linking your own creations to the sketch post for a chance to win monthly prizes or load your projects into the gallery. I'll only be posting one layout a month, on the 4th Tuesday, starting at the end of August. I've been using their sketches of late for myself anyways so it won't be too taxing.

Cindy Layout
My recent Cindy layout was based on the June 14th Sassy sketch.

Cindy Layout
Christmas Layout
I also made a Christmas layout after I was inspired by the May 21st reveal. Here is the sketch:
I saw the stacked photos as a column of presents and interspersed the photos among them. I also moved the vertical strips from the right to the left side of the page so it balanced out the stack of presents.  

Christmas Layout

I changed the circle with the journaling on top into a house with journaling since it matched my Christmas theme better. The house was actually the packaging for some ribbon. I glued some small pictures onto the windows. I drew the wood trim with a black pen onto the photos. I cut the shutters so they open a bit. 

Journaling on House Background
Here is a close up of one window.

Window and shutters
On top of the presents, I drew a giant bow and had the ribbon cascade down the presents. I colored it in with some Stickles glitter glue. 

Stickles Bow

Feel free to interpret a sketch however you want. This wasn't specifically a Christmas sketch, nor were these Christmas papers or embellishments. I used the Neighborhood collection from Crate Paper.  

I'll be back with an official Sassy reveal on August 23rd. In the meantime, be sure to check out the site and be inspired by all the versatile sketches and gorgeous layouts. 

Take care,

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Midwest Tour

I wanted to share a bit about my trip to the heartland. Every time I go and visit Kevin's family, it seems a bit unreal, like the setting is from a childhood storybook. I'm used to the crowded urban centers like Taipei and L.A., so all that sprawling land and a close-knit community seems so foreign to me.

Branson, MO
View of Branson from the Shepard of the Hills Tower
Before visiting the whole family, Kevin and I headed to Branson for a few days with just his Dad. I heard that Branson was the new country music capital so I was expecting it to be like Nashville, but it was actually more like an early version of a family friendly Las Vegas. There is a central strip of shops, restaurants and theaters nestled amidst the greenery of the Ozark mountains. I found the contrast a bit startling. They are most famous for the musical variety shows that can be found all day long, starting at 10 A.M. I recognized quite a few acts from former America's Got Talent contestants. We even went to watch one of them, the Three Redneck Tenors.

Three Redneck Tenors

Springfield, MO
A half an hour drive from Branson is the city of Springfield. The real reason I wanted to make a quick jaunt there was for a scrappy reason, I wanted to visit Allison Davis' family store, Scrapbook Generation. I met her Aunt Karin and her sister Stacey who work there and they were super friendly.

Scrapbook Generation
Karin and Stacey
I saw a lot of Allison Davis' layouts displayed around the store like an art museum.

Kevin and his Dad were very patient for this part of the trip. Afterwards we visited Fantastic Caverns also located in Springfield. It is just one of four caves in the world that has a driven tour as opposed to a walking tour. I learned that these caverns held concerts like with Buck Owens, that were sold out, spanning theaters to be built and therefore was the genesis of Branson's musical tradition.

Jeep tour through Fantastic Caverns

Wingo, KY
The main reason for our trip was to visit Kevin's Dad and all the relatives who live in the vicinity. Dad is showing Kevin the frame he built in his woodshed. 

Kevin is driving a go cart in the backyard. It was recently purchased for his two nieces and it can really take off and almost flip on turns. 

Backyard go-carting
On July 4th, Kevin and his brother-in-law launched numerous fireworks in a spectacular display, like the ones at Disneyland. This is an actual picture that I took.

July 4th backyard fireworks
St. Louis, MO
We actually flew out of the St. Louis airport since it is one of the closer airports to Wingo. We spent a few days there with Kevin's sister and nieces to take in the sights before we left. We toured Grant's Farm which is the estate of the Auheuser-Busch family and saw the Budweiser Clydesdale horses. 

There is The City Museum which is an interactive museum housing salvaged items. People can climb around numerous rooms and tunnels. 

Of course we had to visit the St. Louis arch. Kevin's grandfather was a steelworker along with many others, who helped to build it. The rickety yellow pod is what you ride up the 630 feet arch, which is the tallest manmade monument in the U.S. 

Lauren and I mimicking the arch
The pod to the top,
it holds 5 people and is a 4 minute ride

 Here is the view from a tiny window at the top of the arch. It shifts around on windy days.

View from the top of the arch
We also stopped by Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis which is one of the most gorgeous buildings I've ever seen. The inside contains 83,000 square feet of glass mosaics, some of which were made by Tiffany & Co. 

Cathedral Basilica exterior
Cathedral Basilica interior

Hope you enjoyed seeing my trip. In a few days I'm off for Asia and another set of adventures. I hope to blog from there, if not, take care until next time.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Sorry for the long absence, after a whirlwind tour of the mid-west, I'm finally home and am up and running again. It was a wonderful time spent with Kevin's family. Before I talk about my trip, here are some scrappy updates...

Handmade Gift
Here is one of my nieces wearing a headband I made and mentioned in a previous post. It does look so much better on the recipients.

Audrey with her new headband

New Design Team
When I finished my term with Sketchabilities, I was looking for a new venue to creatively challenge myself. I'm very excited to be accepted on ScrapFIT's design team. Here is some more info about this site:

    ScrapFIT has two workouts (challenges) per month, with awesome sponsored prizes! We are all about             keeping you actively scrappin'!

 Check our "Workout Challenges" on the 1st and 15th of each month and you will have until the last day of each month to add your layout.  Complete both challenges and double your chances of winning!

Join in and stay scrappy active with us!

My new design team

This is different from a sketch blog, as each challenge is totally different from the previous ones and will really stretch you as a scrapper and help you keep creatively fit.

ScrapStreet Magazine
One of my layouts will be seen in the September issue of ScrapStreet magazine in an article on different ways to use punches. I  can't show the whole layout, but I can give you a glimpse. I punched out some stars from patterned paper, and arranged them as my background paper. I also randomly popped up some of the stars for added dimension.

I also layered different sized circles to make life preserver. 

Take care and talk to you soon,