On the Road Again… Destination New Zealand


Travel and adventure are always on the table in my life. Discovering new places and learning new things is a passion that will never fade. While visiting different places is always fun, I also love living in a new place that’s different to what I’m used to. So far, I have the contrast of Canada and Japan, but now we’re throwing New Zealand into the mix!

I’ll share with you my experiences and artistic discoveries from in and around New Zealand. Hopefully while we’re here, we’ll be able to travel to other destinations like Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands, and anywhere else that strikes our fancy.

I regularly love to read adventures and travel stories from different travel blogs. The stories and beautiful photography make me want to roam around from one place to another, so when I’m not actually traveling to a new place, I’m definitely planning the next trip.

If you are looking for some travel inspiration, make sure to check out some of my favourite bloggers:


If you have any favourite travel writers/bloggers, please let me know by leaving a comment below!  Would love to read about their journeys around the world.

The Beginning of a New Business?

I love Etsy and have always wanted to start up my own Etsy shop, but I’m not sure how I should go about it. There are also tons of other sites like Etsy that seem good too.

I love to make many different things, whether it’s with paper, fabric, wood, plastics….anything. I would love to share my handmade things with others, but don’t have much of an idea how to go about it.

Do any of you sell products online? What advice do you have for someone who wants to dive in, but doesn’t know where to start?

Please comment below and let me know what you think!



How to Create a Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) Picnic at Home

As mentioned in my previous post about hanami (complete with origami cherry blossom tutorial), I wanted to recreate a cherry blossom viewing picnic scene that’s very common in Japan right now.

Japanese washi - cherry blossom

I decided to use a variety of cute sakura kirigami/origami to create a peaceful hanami atmosphere, then I added some common hanami staples like a cute plastic ground sheet (used as a tablecloth), cherry blossom chopsticks, onigiri (rice balls), noodles, grilled fish, sweet snacks, and the last but not least, beer and wine.

Japanese bento - cherry blossom picnic

Japanese bento decorations


Japanese bento deocrations - takuan


Japanese hanami picnic spread

To stay on theme, I also used my felt cherry blossom coasters, kirigami cutout sakura placemats, sakura printed placemats, and a couple of mizuhiki sakura that I made a few years ago.

Cherry blossom coasters


Cherry blossom toothpick holder


Japanese mizuhiki cords - cherry blossom


Kirigami cherry blossom

Please let me know what you think!  I’d love to hear suggestions for future picnic setups!


Cute Japanese Bento Accessories for Hanami

Before I show you the complete hanami lunch setup, I want to show you some of the adorable bento accessories that I have straight from Japan (you can also find some through Amazon here).

This is a lovely metal cutout set that you can use one cheese, deli meats and vegetables like carrots:

Japanese metal bento accessories

This is a very sweet set that has a variety of shapes, including individual petals to decorate dishes.

Cherry blossom Japanese bento accessories

It even comes with extra decorations that you can add in your bento boxes.

Hanami Japanese bento accessories

This mini mold makes cute little shapes for tiny onigiri (rice balls).

Cute Japanese rice ball shapes

You can make bento with mini rabbit heads, star shapes, flowers and little bear heads.

Japanese rice molds

A three set of rice ball shapes. These are medium sized and some with three different shapes.

Japanese rice shapes

You can make rows of hearts stars and bear heads…. aren’t they cute?

Cute Japanese rice shapes

You can make the shapes as simple or as decorated as you like. Most people like to make the onigiri shapes and decorate them with Japanese nori (dried seaweed paper). I don’t have any special seaweed shape punches, so I’m stuck cutting everything out by hand, but you can get seaweed shape punches on Amazon.

Japanese Egg Moulds

I have a couple of cute Japanese egg moulds and just wanted to quickly show you how the eggs turn out.

Japanese Egg Moulds

The key to making the shapes in these moulds is to peel them when they are still relatively warm and immediately lock them for a few minutes. Make sure to place the eggs straight up in the mould and squish them down with the top. Don’t worry, the eggs won’t break apart.

Japanese bento

To make a nice little bento, you can fill the box with some rice, cut the eggs in half to show the cute pattern with the yolk and add a few cherry tomatoes for colour.

If you would like to get some Japanese egg moulds, you can find them on Amazon.

Toronto National Home Show 2014

I recently went out to the National Home Show & Canada Blooms. There were 700+ exhibitors showing off environmentally friendly products and services for everything your home would need indoors and out (including tons of landscaping ideas).

We spent about 4 hours walking around to see as much as we could, but we still didn’t manage to see everything.

To give you an idea of what they had, check out these photos:

air plant

Lovely air plant in a shell



Beautiful azalea in a planter box.


Hanging tulip display

I love this hanging tulip display.



Typical example of an Ikebana arrangement.


Yellow Ikebana

Yellow Ikebana arrangement.


3D art

Interesting painting with a 3D metal wire tree.


Modern wooden outdoor decor.

Artistic outdoor decor. Find out what the cream wall really is in one of the photos below.


Rock wall with moss

A rock wave feature with moss.


Potted plants

Large potted plant arrangement.


Mini orchids

Mini orchid arrangement.



A collection of paintings.


Wheelbarrow flower arrangement

A wheelbarrow flower arrangement.


Decorative wooden wall

I would love to try a wall decoration like this.


rock table

I absolutely love this rock table!


Indoor flower field

A field of flowers.


String vases

Here’s a great idea for decorating plain vases with colourful string.



Great succulent arrangement.


Rock arch

This rock arch display must have taken a lot of work.


Outdoor rock feature wall

Simple rock wall feature to double as shelves outdoors.


wooden outdoor room

Love this hidden room.


Pink flower

Interesting pink flower. Anyone know what it’s called?


Moose cutout

Also love this moose cutout.


Mini flower arrangement

Smaller flower arrangement I’ve ever seen.


Colourful Japanese maple leaves

Japanese maple leaves.


Tropical ikebana

Tropical Ikebana arrangement.


Simple Ikebana

I love the simplicity of this arrangement.


Black Ikebana

I love the striking colour combinations for this arrangement.


Hanging flower chains

This would be a pretty flower display for parties.


flower bikini

Nartural flower bikini.


Elephant outdoor fountain

Outdoor fountain… not sure about the elephant though.


flower dresses

Creative dresses.


Purple flower dress train

I love this purple flower dress train.


Flower carousel

This is the cutest flower carousel ever!