Friday, December 17, 2010

kindred spirits

"Because," he said, "I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you-- especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly."
--Chapter XXIII, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

My favourite quote from the book ♥

In one of my second year English literature courses, I was taught to read this book as a story of a woman's oppression and looming entrapment in patriarchy, and I believed that for years until I re-read this book this year. In the time that has passed between readings, I’ve grown, matured, and discovered real love. Under that light, the book reads much differently, and I can identify with much of what Jane feels. To me (and I don't care what my English profs would say about it), this is a story of growth, of perseverance, and definitely of love. It’s perhaps more lucrative to be cynical and force jaded readings into this novel, but I don't believe that was Brontë's intention.

The imagery of this quote is breathtakingly beautiful.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Self-strung (not technically "handmade") necklace from materials at this lovely store in tokyo. Super simple and inexpensive!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


"Hanging, swaying, pulsing, the most vulnerable and insubstantial creature, [the jellyfish] has for its defence the violence and power of the whole ocean, to which it has entrusted its going and its will."

--Ursula Le Guin, Lathe of Heaven

Friday, November 5, 2010


Birnel on whole-grain knäckerbrot (crispbread)

I came across Birnel in switzerland. It's a golden syrup made from the concentrated juice of pears. I was happy to find that it's all natural--it has only one ingredient: pear juice. It's light and has a fruity tanginess to it, and tastes excellent on my morning toast or as a sweetener.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010


two of my favourite graphic tees from japan-- the top one is from hanjiro (gorgeously designed second-hand store... i absolutely adore it), and the bottom one is one of the 2008 halloween series from uniqlo (once in a blue moon there's something there that i like).

that pink t-shirt seriously rocks

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

honey biscuits

Yummy yummy Tirggel honey biscuits!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


This glass enamel rose brooch is one of my favourite pieces of jewellery.  I’ve had it since I was about ten years old when I discovered it at an estate sale and fell in love with it. Oddly enough, I never had the opportunity to wear it until this month. It’s never too late!

When I wear it, I tend to think a lot about the person who owned it before I did. I wonder if she loved it as much as I do.

Monday, September 20, 2010

jane eyre

"Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns."

--From the preface to Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Zürich, Switzerland

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I’ve never liked nectarines.... they're hard and get progressively more sour as you work your way to the centre... or so I thought.

The other day, I saw these beautiful pink-red-orange orbs almost glowing in their ripeness from a distance. Mesmerized, I rushed over only to see the sign: Italian nectarines. "Well, then," I thought to myself. "They look absolutely delectable. They can't possibly taste bad if they're this gorgeous..." utterly unable to stop myself, I picked out a few of the reddest ones and bought them. At home, I washed them, put them in a bowl, and eyed them warily. Could something so irresistible be sour? Could these really be nectarines?

The answer is no: these are not nectarines; they are the fruit of the gods. They were firm but not crunchy; sweet but tangy; juicy but not watery. For once, the appearance was not deceiving.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Emerald green wheat field on my jogging route

On my usual jogging route, I see lots of interesting flora and fauna... including bright orange slugs that I like to watch and sometimes gently handle. A slug tried to eat my hand, and the sensation of the slug's radula scraping against my finger was surprisingly strong. I did learn my lesson when I couldn't wash the slug slime off my hand afterward, even after vigorous scrubbing with soap. I bet there are some useful applications for such a tenaciously adhesive substance.

I think since I’ve been away from suburban lawn/garden culture, I’ve fallen in love with weeds and slugs. Slugs are so fascinating... and kind of cute. And fields of clovers are just one of the most calming, natural scenes for me.
A big snail

This flower cluster looked like a giant snowflake... in summer


Einstein exhibit (all photos in this entry from Historisches Museum Bern website)

I had some business to attend to in Bern, Switzerland a few days ago, and afterward, I took the chance to go see the Historisches Museum Bern (Historical Museum of Bern) and its Einstein permanent exhibit. Even though once again, I was dashing through in the one hour before the museum closed for the evening, I really enjoyed seeing all sorts of cool medieval artifacts in the history wing of the building and reading about Einstein's life in the permanent exhibit. I hadn't known about Einstein's legacy as an activist for democracy, civil rights, and ending lynching in the United States.
Mind-bending mirrored staircase (much cooler in real life than in this photo)

I really wish i had more time to look at things more carefully because there was so much to see. I was especially impressed by the interior staircase leading into the Einstein exhibit-- it was tiled in large mirrors on all sides, and it really felt like I was inside an MC Escher painting (this one). I probably could have just stood on that staircase all day, staring in wonder.
I love this big, round painting, "Child of Munich"

This painting, the Münchner Kindl ("Child of Munich") appeared as part of the Einstein exhibit as he had attended school in Munich. I fell in love with it... something about the facial expressions of the figures really captivated me. 

Museums in Switzerland often are housed in ancient castles, and there is a feeling of history in every room and corridor. Many of the buildings are several centuries old, as evidenced by the extremely low doorways made in a time when people were much smaller in stature. Stepping through one of these tiny doors is like walking into another time... a very unusual feeling.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I came across this doll in a thrift store, sitting under a big neon sign that said "Olga's Bar."

Sunday, August 8, 2010


The historic old town of Thun

These photos were taken when I visited the lovely city of Thun, Switzerland during the Swiss national holiday celebrations. It's such a beautiful place, with blue-green rivers all around, quaint castles and picture-perfect old streets. The weather was a bit damp when we were there, but it was fun nonetheless.

Our cozy hotel... never let it be said that the Swiss are not a patriotic bunch

Our stay there was very enjoyable, especially our group breakfast out on the veranda overlooking the lake, with the soaring blue mountains as a backdrop.
The wonderful lake... I wanted to swim in it... there's always next time!

Friday, July 30, 2010


Delicious heirloom tomatoes in a refreshing Greek salad

Sunday, July 25, 2010

great expectations

"So, throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise."

-- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, vol. 2, chap. viii

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Sliced negi (Japanese green onions)

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Cassis sorbet for a hot, hot day... lounging on the bed.

Triple food posts today :)


Mmm, I tasted a custard cornet for the first time yesterday... delicious!

clouds for breakfast

Zopf (Swiss twisted bread) clouds

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Bern, Switzerland

Thursday, July 8, 2010

the taste of summer

For me, raspberries are one of the defining tastes of summer. Usually, i pick them in my mom's sunny garden and eat them fresh off the vine, juicy and fragrant.

The other day, I saw freshly-picked raspberries at the store and thought that I ought to try German raspberries, so i bought a little basketful. They were the very best raspberries i've ever had in my life: sweet, plump, and not sour at all!

They tasted like relaxing, sunshiny days of lying in the grass with a good book... mmmmm...

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Lucerne, Switzerland

in the capital

Thursday, July 1, 2010


In our front yard

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Bern, Switzerland

Magnolias are one of my favourite flowers. Even the branches of the magnolia are graceful and elegant. 

make your own paper flowers

(image source)
Links to tutorials for these kusudama flowers on Elizabeth Anne's cute website

(image source)
Pretty paper rose tutorial by dozi

robot garland

(image from Made by Rae)

Me, I’m a huge fan of robots. When I saw  this tutorial on Made by Rae, I was delighted. It’s so cheerful and fun!

There’s probably lots that you can do with these... if you have a dark-coloured wall, I imagine that robots made of aluminum foil would look really cool! Or, you could chain them vertically, or stack them in geometric patterns on the wall.

Love them!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Midnight chocolate cake
Moist and delicious :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

t-shirt yarn

T-shirt yarn dishcloths (seen on Craftster)

T-shirt yarn accessories (seen on Craftycrafty)

A pretty guitar strap from a tie-dyed t-shirt (seen on A Spinner Weaver)

Lately, something called "t-shirt yarn" has been going around the crafty parts of the internet. Basically, it's a cotton yarn that you make out of old t-shirts and then knit or weave into all sorts of cool things.

It's easy to make, and there's a great tutorial here. I can't wait to give it a try myself. It's a really practical way of upcycling old t-shirts and it produces a great-looking result!


(image source)

(image source)

I had never heard of dugongs before until someone made a reference to them the other day. I was pleasantly surprised when i looked them up-- they are adorable!

Dugongs (Tagalog for "lady of the sea") are gentle marine mammals that are closely related to the manatee. They are currently close to extinction due to being over-hunted by humans. Dugongs are herbivorous, and unlike manatees, they live strictly in marine environments.

They are so cute... I want to give one a hug.

plastic bags --> cute shoes

I love these shoes!
They were made by a talented young woman from plastic bags that have been heated and compressed. I've made compressed plastic bag crafts before, and the result is surprisingly sturdy. These shoes look like they'd also be water-resistant and great for rainy days.

Link to source (in Spanish)

lovely moccasins

Exquisite, handmade moccasins from Darlingtonia.

somewhere, a dog barked

Illustration from this amusing article on

Thursday, June 24, 2010