Snail Mail Writing – Bringing Back the Old Days

When I was in elementary school, 4th grade perhaps, I had a pen pal from the U.K. Her name was Tara, though unfortunately I don’t remember much about her! All I know is I probably got her pen pal ad from a kiddie magazine from school and decided to be ‘pen friends’ with her. Who would’ve thought I’ll be back to writing snail mail after a very loooong time?

I just got some snail mail from my friend Paola from Spain, and I have to say that every envelope she sends is full of goodies inside. I always light up when I see something from her in our mailbox! I remember my husband saying, ‘I don’t like you. Why do you always get fancy mail?’

Snail Mail Writing via Happy Hands Project

I wasn’t looking for a pen pal last year, actually. I wanted to join a Christmas crafty mail exchange from a blog in the U.S., but unfortunately all of them wanted to exchange mail locally. There were just a handful of us from other countries and I was paired with Paola. Then the exchange didn’t happen, because of high shipping rates outside of the EU (and shipping to Singapore would be exorbitant). Well, don’t worry, I didn’t take it too hard. I looked for another mail swap and exchanged my calligraphy with a wax canvas apron by Anhaica Bag Works, but that’s another story.

Snail Mail Writing via Happy Hands Project

To my surprise, I still got mail from Paola (full of goodies, albeit lightweight) and we started exchanging mail since then! A few days ago I got a polaroid post card from Madrid and a paper garland, and before that I got some stickers and tea. I’m contemplating what to give to her this time, and I’m excited to put together something nice! I have a few other pen pals right now and I’ve just sent out a few handmade calligraphy greeting cards to them. It’s also a great way to put my calligraphy and lettering skills to good use. It’s great practice, too! How about you, would you consider sending some snail mail love?

My Very Own Letterpress Business Cards by Twenty O Four

This has been long overdue! I was so excited for my family’s trip to Manila last December because my freshly lettepressed business cards were waiting for me. Oh, how I loved them! They were done by Twenty O Four, and they were done so nicely. Customer service was awesome – Jihannee was a pleasure to work with. I have started passing some of these around – you’ll get one if I bump into you, my dear reader, that’s for sure!

Letterpress Business Cards via Happy Hands Project

Some Thoughts on Enjoying Life

Slow Down Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

Friends and family knew that I had a rough start this year, and we were lucky to have our darling girl up and about now. She had this terrible bug and had to stay in hospital for days, so much longer than we expected. Design and calligraphy work were piling up and the backlog was heavy on my shoulders. I couldn’t sleep, either at home or in the hospital.

During down times in the hospital, I had a few minutes to contemplate.

Ever since I became a mom, life has become even more fast-paced. I count minutes, work around a schedule and beat myself to stick to it. I get miserable over a few minutes wasted. I rush and try to cram everything in a day, trying to forget that there are only 24 hours and that includes sleep. I want to spend as much time as I can with my daughter that when I go out, I try to rush everything so I can get home right away. Sitting in the hospital while my girl sleeps made me realize that yes, I was wasting so much time in there doing nothing. And it’s perfectly fine. I’ll be able to manage my work schedule when we’re home and she’s better. I’ll be able to sort things out in time anyway, why rush everything?

I’m happy to say that while my little girl is still on house arrest, and we had to trim her beautiful hair because dread locks were starting to form, she’s so much better now and busy as a bee. And I keep reminding myself to slow down and enjoy what life has to offer. I should take a little stroll and enjoy the view instead of sprinting like a madman just to get home.

Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you. Hmmm. I’d like that.

Life is a Song. Are You Singing Along?

If the  quote below is true, I guess my current soundtrack would be a very fast-paced dance song. And yep, I’m ‘singing along’ but I’m getting a bit breathless from trying! For the Moms who read this – do you remember when the old-time parents used to tell us that we should be prepared when we have our own kids? Do everything you want to do, go where you want to go, because when you start having kids, it’s game over?

Life Is A Song Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project
I don’t agree with ‘game over’ (I love being a Mom and enjoy every minute of it) but my toddler who just turned two has been challenging my stamina lately. A few weeks ago, we were at a play gym for a complimentary class. It was a wonderful mommy-and-daughter bonding time. She was very enthusiastic and absolutely loved the place. All the kids and their moms were in place, seated together in a circle. Oh, we were seated quietly, too – for maybe two minutes max. She was up running around and exploring all the other equipment in the gym.

The best part was storytelling. She loves stories and is very fond of bedtime reading, but at the gym, music was blaring and she would rather dance around to the songs rather than listen to the story! All the kids were seated, as always, while she dances in the middle of the circle. She was dancing without a care in the world! I didn’t try to restrain her or anything. I just sat back and watched, and reveled in one of the happiest moments of my life.

What song is your life playing right now?

Julia Grigorieva’s Whimsical Art

Are you ready for some magic? I am starting the week off with a fabulous art find from Russian artist Julia Grigorieva. I guess I have always been fascinated with whimsical artworks ever since I was young (not much of realist, sorry!) so this kind of creativity always has a moving effect in me. As a kid I am all eyes and all ears watching fairy tales and fantasy which probably explains why I am always attracted to anything ‘magical’.

Julia Grigorieva does paintings and illustrations for children and adults alike. How I would want to get my hands on the children’s books that she has oh-so-beautifully illustrated! And if you want something for free, she is generous enough to have 2 seamless Christmas patterns for download which are perfect for the coming holidays. Below are a couple of her paintings that we can feast our eyes on. Enjoy!

Julia Grigorieva via Happy Hands Project

Want to see another amazing artist? A print of Hillary Henslee of The Painted Arrow was featured here.

Etsy Great Day to Shop: Dreamy Gold & White

I currently have a deep, indescribable fascination with white and gold lately. I love the purity of white, and the sparkle of gold. I’d say everyday is a good day to shop, but it’s better if it’s handmade and created with love. Check out this list I created on Etsy:

 

Gold and White List via Happy Hands Project

Top row, from left to right:
Paper Maché Bowl by etco | Holiday Card Set by CraftColorfully | Chilled Eggnog Eyeshadow by BeneficialMineralsCo

Center row, from left to right:
Gentle Reminders Pencils by AmandaCatherineDes | Vintage Inspired Gold White Crown by adamsblankie | Handpainted Stick Earrings by vickygonart

Bottom row, from left to right:
Organic Cotton Hemp Lumbar Pillow by melongings | Coconut Milk Bath Powder by AmeliaBathandBody | Yoga Eye Pillow by RLFNest

Aaah… don’t you just love Etsy? Check out the rest of the curated list here. Have fun shopping!

Hello, Bohol. Hello, Summer!

Hello Summer! Wading at the beach.

These pictures still make me smile. Last month, my little family and I flew to Bohol, Philippines to spend a few days at the beach. It was our first time there, and the island is just beautiful. I’ve seen pictures of this place before but nothing beats being there in the flesh. As much as I do not want this to turn into a travel-related blog entry, I can’t help it! I have to let you in on how we spent our Summer this year.

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We stayed at the Bellevue – a new resort on the island and they have a nice infinity pool which we enjoyed very much. Of course we had to stay at the 2 feet-deep pool, but my girl had a blast – so 2 feet it is! I’ve never had so much fun in a kiddie pool.

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The view from our suite is that picture above. Absolute beauty! You can walk out on the balcony and just stare at the beach. It’s that nice.

We went on a day tour around the island as well. You cannot miss that one. I’ve being seeing the famous Chocolate Hills on TV for as long as I can remember, but being up there on the viewing deck is beyond compare. It was breathtaking! Well, yeah, literally, too because we had to climb hundreds of steps to get tot the top. The climb – and the view – will take your breath away.

The Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Philippines

View from the Loboc River Cruise, Bohol, Philippines

We hopped onto a boat for the Loboc River Cruise as well, went to the Baclayon Church Museum to see artifacts which included Catholic priests’ garments embroidered in gold thread. And gigantic song books all written in calligraphy! On carabao skin! The church was an artifact in itself, too, because of its old Spanish architecture dating back from the 1700’s.

Museum sign at Baclayon Church, Bohol, Philippines

If given a choice, I wouldn’t want to leave. Even my daughter wanted to stay – there was a playroom at the hotel basement and she can spend hours there if given the chance. I haven’t even mentioned the spa yet. Carrying my toddler around under the scorching heat of the Philippine sun made me so deserving of a massage! The spa at the Bellevue surely gave me a chance to unwind and relax. Oh, my back!

So here’s to hoping that our next summer will be as fantastic as this one. To those still enjoying the summer heat, I hope you’re all having a well-deserved break basking in the sun!

The Bellevue, Bohol, Philippines

 

Perfect Pretties {02}: Black and White

Wow. Things have been pretty hazy from where I am. Let me tell you about what’s been going on lately here on the tiny island of Singapore. Thick smoke blowing from forest fires in the Indonesian island of Sumatra is being blown by winds to Singapore and Malaysia, and the air is just bad. Really bad. Everyone’s walking around in surgical masks, and as of last night, I could no longer find a single box in the 3 drugstores I went to. Sadly, there will be no outdoor activities in the next few weeks or so for us. I know, I know, I’m too lazy to jog nowadays – but my daughter misses the playground and doesn’t understand why she had to stay indoors!

So anyway, while we’re all staying inside the house, why not check out these lovely things I’ve seen around the web? This week we’re going back to basics with this collection of black and white pretties. Yes, I do love a burst of color every so often, but one can never go wrong with black and white. Over at my Etsy shop, the most popular items are always those set on a chalkboard background. Here you go! I hope you’ll like these as much as I do!

Perfect Pretties {02} via Happy Hands Project

1. Buntings by Happy August :: 2. Graphic Print by Therese Sennerholt :: 3. Wrapping Paper Ideas via Scandinavian Deco :: 4. Wooden Dala Horse by Story North :: 5. Fabric Tote by Butter Design Lab :: 6. DIY Chalkboard Painted Bottles via Bell’alimento

Postal Travels Magazine – A Pen Pal’s Best Friend

I remember having a pen pal when I was about 10. Her name’s Tara and she was from the UK. That’s all I remember about her now, but I have an amusing recollection of how excited I always was whenever my Mom hands me something from the mail. Oh, I guess old habits die hard. Until now I still love to write. And still get very much thrilled when I have something waiting for me in the mail box!

Postal Travels Magazine via Happy Hands Project

With the resurgence of snail mail and pen pal writing, while doing some research, I have stumbled upon Postal Travels Magazine. Tee and Karina are the ladies behind this online publication, and I must say they are very enthusiastic about the art of snail mail. The magazine features DIY crafts, stationeries, letter-writing, pen pal ads and stories, interviews, and my favorite – giveaways!

I am still beaming (slightly on the outside, but mostly on the inside) because they featured the Happy Hands Project. Yup, I have an interview in the Postal Travels June issue, so I hope that’s another reason for you to check it out.

They currently have this Traveling Notebook project which I think is a fantastic idea. It will be passed on to different people from different places, and each person gets to write something creative on a page or two. Then the notebook will be sent to another place again. How exciting! I am definitely signing up. If you need to know more, flip to pages 18 and 19 of the June issue.

If you haven’t gotten into the pen pal writing thing yet, Postal Travels might just be the inspiration you need to get started.

 

Happy To Be Back On The Blogosphere!

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I’m not sure if any of you noticed, but my blog suddenly turned non-existent for a week at least. E-mail accounts were down as well, and I was in cold sweat. The saddest part was that my blog entries that were supposed to be posted on schedule were removed from the face of the Earth. We could not retrieve it.

I will not go through the technical nerdy stuff, for I myself do not understand what exactly happened. I am just amazed at how my friend, who developed my site, migrated it to another server, re-coded everything (the codes, too, were nowhere to be found), and tidied it up according to my requests.  It was really awesome.

So anyways, you can now get in touch with me through e-mail again! I have a lot of things lined up and I’m happy to be back in the game – though I’m still catching my breath because well, I have a lot of catching up to do. Thinking of how to rewrite at least 4 entries makes me want to cry.

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Meanwhile, the latest wall art that I have in my shop is very timely. Think happy, stay happy. Nothing can be more apt for me right now. Despite the online mayhem, I’m just happy to get back on track! Good to see you here, and welcome once again to the Happy Hands Project!

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