Happy News: A New Adventure!

Posted Sunday 23 September 2012 and filed under: Hong Kong,Just Sharing

I have always loved to draw – I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that numerous times before! When I was in High School 20+ years ago and it was time to start applying for Uni courses, my parents encouraged my creativity as a hobby but advised it was better to study business or information technology in order to build  stable future. And like a “good Asian” daughter, I followed!

Since moving to Hong Kong 18 months ago, I rediscovered my love for drawing and illustrating. And although I didn’t want to admit it – I’ve realised that I DO love it more than sewing and making soft toys. And it’s something I want to invest more time in and develop – and more importantly, I’ve realised that it’s something I want to learn more about.

With encouragement from hubby, I decided to apply for a course in illustration (even though I have no formal qualifications in Art whatsoever!). I looked at options here in Hong Kong but the ones I wanted to do were taught in Cantonese. So I looked at distance learning courses (part-time) and applied. And guess what?

I got in!! I AM SO HAPPY AND SO EXCITED!!! And I start next month! With family life and work and other commitments, it means I will have to be SUPER organised but pursuing something I love is worth it! I have one simple goal, and that is to be a better Illustrator.

And I am excited to be able to share some snippets of my progress on this new adventure with you :-)

Other snippets of life here in Hong Kong recently:

The Mid-Autumn festival is close (end of this month) and the decorations in public places are up, like this amazing lantern-inspired scene that can be found at Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade:

Butterscotch brownies from Awfully Chocolate in Mong Kok (so good!):

And growing my collection of Sonny Angels. They are like a lucky dip where you don’t know what’s inside the box when you buy one. I’ve been wanting the Owl one but still haven’t found it yet!

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In my Shoppe: Original Illustration – “Dandelion Bride”

Posted Monday 17 September 2012 and filed under: Hong Kong,Prints, Patterns & Fabric

I completed this illustration a while ago. I couldn’t decide whether it was truly ‘finished’ or not so I’ve let it peacefully sit by the window the last few weeks. This past weekend, I picked it up, refined a few things here and there, and then, finally, I considered it complete :-)

I took home up a few Prima coloured boards on my recent visit to the local art store, with the intention of trying something different with my watercolour illustrations. I’m really pleased with how she has turned out.

Dandelion Bride” (watercolour paint + silver pen + pencils):

The texture of the board was tricky to work with at the start, but after a few adjustments, I found out how to get the coverage I was aiming for and I think it adds character to the end result. I really like how the lighter colours pop out from the caramel base too.

This illustration is larger than my other illustrations and measures 29.7cm by 40.5cm.

I’ve made this illustration available in my etsy shoppe – please note that it is the original illustration (unframed) and not an Art Print, so I only have one of these available :-)

You can find it here: Original Illustration – Dandelion Bride

It’s been a gorgeous weekend – lovely family time, a fantastic run, and a fun catch-up with friends. The weather is finally starting to change and it’s starting to feel more like Autumn (my favourite season!).

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The View from our Window

Posted Thursday 13 September 2012 and filed under: Hong Kong

Sunrise:

Cloudy morning:

Afternoon:

Dusk:

Evening:

Apparently Hong Kong has has more buildings above 500 ft (or 150m) than any other city. It also has thirty-six of the world’s 100 tallest residential buildings; and more people in Hong Kong live or work above the 14th floor than anywhere else on Earth, making it the world’s most vertical city. The other side of this, of course, is high-density living and small living spaces (the average apartment size in Hong Kong is 600 square feet).

This view definitely helps our small home feel less claustrophobic!

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New Art Print in my Shoppe! “A Ponte de Promessas”

Posted Sunday 9 September 2012 and filed under: Hong Kong,Prints, Patterns & Fabric

I really love how this illustration turned out as an Art Print! Especially the colour and texture!

And this is what it would look like framed:

You can find it my etsy shoppe here: Art Print – “A Ponte de Promessas

How has your past week been? Is it just me or is this year just zooming by! I must be honest and say that I cannot wait for the end of this month – it’s when the 5 months of consecutive 30°C+ days and high humidity in Hong Kong will finally come to an end! I am SO looking forward to the cooler months.

It’s also Mid-Autumn Festival at the end of this month, which is such a pretty and colourful celebration here. In preparation, the lantern decorations are starting to appear:

And I have happily started indulging in Mooncakes! This one is a snowy (non-traditional) Mooncake filled with black sesame paste and a dollop of peanut butter!

So, so, so good (nom, nom, nom).

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In my Shoppe: Love Small Nordic Scandanavian Style Embroidery (Out of Print) – Chinese Craft Pattern Book

Posted Saturday 8 September 2012 and filed under: Good Finds,Hong Kong,Just Sharing

THIS BOOK HAS NOW BEEN SOLD.

I literally let a out of squeal of happiness when I stumbled across this book.

SO MANY cute embroidery patterns influenced by Scandanavian design – Moomin, teacups, kitchen utensils, iconic furniture, woodland creatures …. and that’s not all of the patterns you’ll find in this little treasure trove.

It also has sewing patterns for a few home and personal items like slippers, bags, book covers, cushion covers and a tea cosy. This book is written in Chinese (Mandarin) but includes easy-to-follow illustrations on how to put the projects together.

This book is now out of print and I only have one copy, so if you love Scandanavian design, this is a fantastic craft book to add to your collection!

More information on the book:
Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: Reascend (2007)
Language: Chinese (Mandarin)
Book Weight: 300 Grams
Condition: Brand New

It’s now in my etsy shoppe here: Love Small Nordic Scandanavian Style Embroidery (Out of Print) – Chinese Craft Pattern Book SOLD!

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In my Shoppe: Lovely Small Felt Mascots – Chinese Pattern Craft Book!

Posted Wednesday 5 September 2012 and filed under: Good Finds,Hong Kong,Just Sharing

It’s no secret that I love craft books! I have a huge collection of all kinds of craft books back in storage in Melbourne and – let’s be honest – another ever-so-slowly growing collection here in Hong Kong :-) I do spend quite a bit of time in bookshops in Hong Kong and I have come across some fantastic craft pattern books. Yes, they are in Chinese (Mandarin) but just like the awesome Japanese Craft Patten books many of you are familiar with, these books also have very easy-to-follow illustrations and photos.

What better way to share the love then make some of these books available in my etsy shop. So from time to time – when I come across really awesome craft pattern books – I’ll put a few books up in my shoppe.

The first of these is “Lovely Small Felt Mascots“.

This book has the patterns for 30 super cute, animals, sea creatures, people and fruit! All are made using felt and require simple hand-stitching, some glue and a little bit of fibre-fill/stuffing.

Here are a few pages to give you an idea of what you can find inside the book.

They are small, which makes them an easy project for kids and adults. If you’re keen to learn about how to make softies, these small, felt projects are a great way to learn about simple form and construction as a basis for making larger softies.

Other information about the book:
Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: Arts Ippudo (2007)
Author: Chen Chun-Chin
Language: Chinese (Mandarin)
Book Weight: 300 Grams
Condition: Brand New

Please note that I have only found one copy of this book (it was published back in 2007) – so if you do want it, snap it up quick!

It’s now in my etsy shoppe here: Lovely Small Felt Mascots – Chinese Craft Pattern Book

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Scenes from Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Posted Friday 27 July 2012 and filed under: Hong Kong,Travel Snippet

The family and I went to Hong Kong’s Ocean Park a few weeks ago on one of Hong Kong’s many public holidays. The last time I was at Ocean Park Hong Kong was in the mid-1980s and I was around 10 years old. So it was some kind of wonderful to be visiting it this time around with my own children!

I forgot how amazingly scenic Ocean Park is, being built on rolling hills right by the sea. Honestly, the views (and associated heart palpitations) from the cable car ride are pretty much worth the cost of admission.

We didn’t get to go on too many rides as my youngest unfortunately fell short of the minimum height limit (which was from memory about 120cm). On the upside, it did mean that we spent quite a bit of time playing carnival games, which ended up being lots of fun (consequently I also found out that I am surprisingly good at the shooting games – I attribute that to many hours of playing PopCork!). So at the end of the day, we had two very happy girls with a bunch of cuddly prizes!

Next time we’re hoping to see the animal shows and enclosures. This fun park is definitely worth a whole-day visit if you are in Hong Kong (just be mindful of the height restrictions on the rides!).

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A Red-head in my Sketchbook and a sneak peek of Disneyland’s Toy Story Land

Posted Tuesday 15 November 2011 and filed under: Hong Kong,In My Sketchbook

Here’s a quick sketch I completed over the weekend:

It was a busy (but good) weekend so I only had half-an-hour or so to do this one. I’m really loving these markers – I think I’m getting the hang of them. I’d like to try and get a more blended/graded effect with the skin tones so now my focus is to acquire a few more colours!

I can’t believe I’ve reached mid-way in my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project. I really love how this project has motivated me to get drawing again, to do so on a regular basis, and to experiment with pencils, paint, markers, etc. I hope I can keep going after I fill up this sketchbook.

Part of our weekend was spent checking out the new Toy Story Land at Hong Kong Disneyland. Thanks to the kind folks at Harbour City, we were invited to a sneak peek before it officially opens to the public at the end of this week.

The massive models of childhood toys are impressive. You really do feel like you are wandering through a child’s toy box :-)

There is a company of life-sized plastic soldiers that provide comedic entertainment whilst you wait in lines for the rides. There are only a handful of rides available at the moment and we managed to try two, with the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop ride becoming the firm favourite with the girls. We also had some photos with Woody and Jessie.

I think it’s great that HK Disneyland has added a new section just for Toy Story……..now how about one for Monsters Inc., wouldn’t that be awesome?! :-)

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Brunch at Linguni Fini in Central, Hong Kong

Posted Saturday 10 September 2011 and filed under: Hong Kong

Linguini Fini

Last weekend we were invited by friends to enjoy brunch at a new Italian Restaurant in Hong Kong – Linguini Fini. The restaurant was launching its Brunch menu on that Sunday so we were quite excited to take part in the experience.

The atmosphere of the place is quite vibrant, fresh, and laid-back, with excellent staff/customer service, and most definitely family-friendly. Linguini Fini also take pride in the fact that they use organic and natural farm-fresh produce that is sourced locally. All meat, poultry and eggs used for their meals are hormone free and all dishes are prepared without MSG.

We’ve been living in Hong Kong now for just over 6 months (how time flies!) and the one thing I really love for brunch – Eggs Benedict – is something I’ve never had in Hong Kong. Needless to say, I’ve been CRAVING it. So you can imagine my joy when I spotted Eggs Benedict on the menu! Mine!

Linguini Fini: LF Benedict

The LF Benedict (English muffins, mortadella, poached eggs, and ‘nduja hollandaise) is absolutely delicious and I really like the twist on the hollandaise sauce – a spicy, sausage flavour. Another standout was the Monte Cristoforo sandwich, which is made up semolina French toast, LF pancetta, provolone, and a good drizzling of maple syrup.

Linguini Fini: Happy Jack's Daily Pastry Basket

The girls devoured Happy Jack’s pastry basket – especially the brownies. They are the fudgie kind that instantly melts in your mouth. We had to remind them to leave some for the rest of us!

Linguini Fini: Brownies are awesome!

And what is brunch without dessert?! We tried a number of desserts. And all were incredibly yummy! I really like their take on Tiramisu – mascarpone crema, coffee cake crumble, frozen chocolate, and tiramisu gelato:

Linguini Fini: Tiramisu

I also had some of their caramel & cinnamon ice-cream. I’ve never had these two flavours combined before but it’s a real winner! The girls absolutely demolished the Hot Chocolate Affogato (graham cracker biscotti, marshmallow gelato, covered in a rich, hot chocolate sauce ….. nom, nom, nom).

We’re definitely looking forward to coming back to Linguni Fini to try some of their other menus!

Linguni Fini
1/F, THE L PLACE,
139 QUEEN’S ROAD,
CENTRAL, HONG KONG

[Thanks to the Mister for letting me use some of his photos!]

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There is always room for dessert …

Posted Sunday 12 June 2011 and filed under: Hong Kong,I Like Pullips and Blythes

Oh the food in Hong Kong. I must admit I’ve had some amazing food adventures in Hong Kong so far from Michelin-star restaurants to hawker-style establishments. Perhaps I will blog about some of them in the future but for now, I wanted to share the crazy-good desserts I’ve had because at the end of the day I am one, giant, walking, sweet tooth.

There are so many shops here that are purely serving dessert menus. Here are my favourites:

  • If I’m looking for a ‘healthy’ dessert (meaning that there’s actually some fruit instead of just pure sugary goodness), I quickly duck into the nearest Hui Lau Shan. They do a lot of desserts and drinks around mango – so I’m a sucker for their mango mochi, mango pudding and anything with mango and glutinous rice balls! Follow Me Foodie has a really good review of some of the mango dishes here.
  • Honeymoon Dessert is another dessert chain. As a family we’ve enjoyed a few of the dishes here. My fave are the glutinous rice balls in sesame seeds and crushed peanuts, with a little bit of sweet syrup.
  • Chung Kee Dessert is yet another dessert chain – I told you we were quite spoiled for choice here :-) This chain is a little different in that they serve a range of shaved ice desserts but also serve many fruit-based desserts. My fave without a doubt is ‘Six Fortune Rice Dumplings‘: glutinous rice balls in ginger soup, with fillings such as egg custard, green tea, red bean, sesame, peanut paste and purple sticky rice. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I even instagram’d it!
  • One dessert that I wish I could have again and again is the super indulgent “Oreo” that I had from the Mandarin Grill + Bar. They make this right in front of you and basically it’s made up of ice-cream; a thick, rich chocolate cream; and crushed chocolate cookies. I know it sounds really simple but it is SO, SO GOOD! I will add that the dinner I had at the Mandarin Grill and Bar was also unbelievable – a visual and gastronomical delight. You can see photos of what we enjoyed over here: Dinner at Mandarin Grill + Bar by MrGadget.

P.S. Freya up there says hi! :-)

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