The story about the cheese tarts


So two Saturdays ago, I tried my hand at baking some Japanese-inspired baked cheese tarts. Apparently, the Japanese have got the perfect formula for creating the most delectable cheese tarts which you can eat in several ways - 

1. Fresh out of the oven with soft centers of lava cheese oozing out.
2. Chilled so the cheese custard tastes like soft-serve ice-cream.
3. Room temperature - gooey, creamy and delicious.

Like with most of my baking adventures, I researched extensively online for the most "doable" recipes and then tweaked them to suit my needs. I have only been baking for a year but I find that reducing sugars by at least 1/3 and up to 1/2 of the original recipes doesn't affect the actual baking. Once you reduce the sweetness, you can better taste the other flavours in your baked products [You should see nephew #2's face when he ate my lemon curd tart...I was sure he would give up eating it since it was really tangy...but it seems he now has a better appreciation of lemons...*winks*].

Even though I have amassed quite a bit of baking equipment in the last year, apparently I didn't invest in individual small tart tins or pastry cutters. *LOL* So I weighed the dough, rolled them as evenly as I could and then stuffed them in my muffin tray. And hoped for the best.

I was supposed to blind bake the tart shells, take them out of the tray, add in the cheese custard and then bake them till they turn a nice toasty brown.

Of course, the tart shells were too delicate to come out of the muffin tray (errr...I didn't grease the tray) so I had to fill them up with the cheese custard and send them off for the final bake with my fingers crossed. *LOL*

They came out smelling soooooooo good. But of course, there was THE problem of actually getting them out of the muffin tray. The Gangster Gang (niece + 3 nephews) were all set with their spoons to eat those cheese tarts out of the muffin tray. *picture the scene with your mind's eye...hehe*

But the tart shells shrank as they cooled and with the added weight of the cheese custard, I was able to get the cheese tarts out of the muffin tray totally intact! Yay! :)

But the good fortune didn't last long. Everyone wanted one and refused to share. So my sister and I didn't even get to eat the cheese tarts except for some crumbs left by the niece.... :(  So I baked more the very next day. These photos were actually taken from the second bake because with all the drama, I didn't manage to take any photos! *LOL*

And that is the story about the cheese tarts....my little baking adventure..hehe. 

Playing along with Stuck?! Sketches.


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A fall-inspired tag


Hello friends! I'm currently working on using up my chipboard stash (yay, go me!). My chipboard collection gets quite a bit of usage first as "stencils"  for my mixed media projects before they end up as dimensional pieces on my projects. Do you do that too?

As always, my tag base is cardboard from packaging. I glued 2 pieces together for a sturdy base before covering the front and back with paper scraps and painting with a layer of gesso. 

When the gesso layer was dry, I went in with some mists in fall-inspired colours.

And since I was playing along with the Fall Coffee Lovers Blog Hop, I had to add in my Maya Road wood token with a coffee cup, nestled between fall leaves.  *winks*

I finished off with a Maya Road diecut hello and some pretty trim.

These are some of my fave colours to use on projects and I love how it turned out - perfect for adorning a gift bag of coffee beans, tea bags or hot chocolate.

Happy week ahead friends!


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Ideas for double page spreads

I don't do many double page spreads even though I really enjoy the challenge of putting them together. Double pagers are great when you have lots of photos to incorporate and the usual 12 x12 page is not big enough. Or when you have uncoordinated photos related to a specific event/activity. Here are some ideas for double page spreads. 

Double page spread for Blue Fern Studios

1. Use a repeated motif as a unifier.

You don't have to use the same background patterned papers for both pages. Here I used those fussy-cut blooms to unify my pages.

The double page birthday spread
2. Make your own patterned backgrounds.

Can't find coordinating papers? Create them yourself with the help of some mists and stencils.

A double-pager
3. Let your title work span across the two pages.

This was one of those single-page layouts that turned into a double-pager because I did not have enough space to fit all my printed photos. Hence, more photos on the left-facing page..hehe. But I managed to find a similar chevron patterned paper and used the title work to unify the two pages.

Yam shenanigans

4. Mirror your pages.

Well, sort of. At least the photo mats? *winks* I also carried my title work across the two pagers. But as you can see, using the same patterned paper background on both pages already trick the eye into seeing the two pages as one unit.

Double page spread for Maya Road/Simple Stories swap

5.  Take your embellishments across the two pages.

Here, I used the twine, lace trim, clouds and wood embellishments to unify the two pages.

Double page spread for Maya Road Photo Play Paper swap
6. Coordinate with similar colours across both pages.

Keep to coordinating colours to tie your pages together. On this double-pager, I kept to the main colours of red, green and silver on both pages. The fussy-cut banners across both pages also helped to create a cohesive double-pager.

So there you have it. 6 ideas you can use for your double page spreads. Will you try them out?


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A mixed media canvas that lights up...


So the other day I was commissioned to do a mixed media canvas as a farewell gift for a dude. There were a couple of requirements:

1. Must incorporate photo of dude on motorbike and make him look "cool".
2. Must incorporate multiple photos that are not related to each other. 
3. Must have bling but not the girly kind.

And my own requirements was to upcycle as many things as I can from my stash for this project. *winks*

Well, the dude on the bike would have been easier to incorporate if the photo had included the whole bike and his foot. But the back of the motorcycle and his foot were not in the original photo. *insert dramatic music that signals trouble*

Fortunately, I keep lots of "junk" like old toy parts. Unfortunately, the toy tyre was a tad bigger than what I needed so I did a bit of optical illusion by angling the bike....and hiding his missing foot in a cloud of exhaust fumes [aka white feathers...hehe]. Did my optical illusion work?

Given that I could NOT use my usual ammunition of floral blingy glittery stuff as embellishments,  I thought it would be fun to add some battery-operated LED lights so that the group photo is like a billboard.  Which kind of works with all the computer cables I used. *I think?*

So the main group photo was housed in a black plastic packaging case [I knew I kept it for a reason...hehe] which can be lifted up to incorporate the unrelated group photos. 

Even the title work was from hard foam from old packaging. I threw in some buttons and nuts as my "bling".

Now the recipient can just prop up this canvas on his desk and use it as a light source at night.  :)

What do you think?


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Working off the cheese tart at the playground


Saturdays are my baking days. Because I have official and discerning food tasters (nephews + niece) who LOVE everything I make... *winks*

Of course, I make sure my food tasters stay in shape too. Like working off the cheese tart at the playground last Saturday. Yep, I feed them, then make them sweat it out! *LOL*

And yes, I'm now working on my Echo Park Paper fussy-cut bird collection...;)

I had lots of fun fitting in little fussy-cut elements like the plane and monster. 

Playing along with Stuck?! Sketches.


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Mixed media eye on canvas


After doing so many eye sketches in my sketchbooks, I decided to challenge myself to go bigger and do a mixed media eye on canvas. This eye was painted a 16 x 16 canvas.

The base of the canvas was covered with crumpled wrapping tissue for texture. Then I went in with acrylic paints, watersoluble crayons, gesso and stencils before drawing/painting my eye.

At first, I struggled with blending the paint colours to create the depth in the eye. Then I went in with old faves - paint markers and acrylic ink-filled waterbrushes and it somehow came together....after a while. I think. *winks*

What do you think?


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A Christmas gift box in September?


Yep, apparently so. I'm starting on my Christmas projects early this year...(yay, go me!).

I started with a really nice tea box from TWG (all my decorated boxes come from recycled packaging). Since the brand was only on the top lid and back spine, I went with a strip of patterned paper that covered just those areas. And added a strip of pearl trim for a decorative edge.

I went with one big decorative cluster along the bottom right of the box, right down to where the lid of the box opens for a waterfall effect and it does help guide the eye to where the opening of the box is.

Now to find things that would fit into this box. What? I'm supposed to do the Christmas shopping before doing up the gift boxes? *winks* 

Happy week ahead friends!

P/s: For a complete listing of the products I've used on my project, please head over to the Maya Road blog.


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How to use seemingly disparate elements on your layouts

Well friends, I've been told that I've a knack for putting seemingly disparate elements in a somewhat cohesive manner on my layouts. Really? I've been scrapbooking for so long now and my only goal is just to use up my stash!  But I did a run-through of my layouts to pick out some commonalities that might help you use seemingly disparate elements on your layouts too. *winks*

Are you ready? 

The layout with lots of stuff

1. Try using paper strips of similar width.

Even if the papers don't match, the paper strips provide a cohesive feel that help tie the pieces together. On this particular layout, the paper fish tails really aid in guiding the eye throughout the layout.

Let's make pancakes today

2.  Have your patterned paper characters look at your subjects.

This is a technique I use a lot - having fussy-cut patterned paper characters look at my subjects. It is a fun way "frame" your photos. 

Someone has a crush

3. Try working with just three main colours.

Keeping to a trio of harmonious colours makes it easy on the eyes even if the patterns seem to clash.

How many paper scrap pieces did I use on my layout?

4. Keep patterns in small doses.

Play with little bits of patterns so they serve as little accents and don't distract the eye from your photos.

The one with lots of brads

5. Use a grid format.

Somehow laying elements within a grid structure just works because the eye has a "framework" to guide it through the elements.

Bandage buddies
6. Go whimsical.

Well, nothing has to make sense in a whimsical scene so just have fun! Here, I went with a postcard scene and even added props!

So we won tickets to see Kooza

7. Use repeated shapes.

Repetition of shapes - circles and rectangles- provide the eye relief to this seemingly messy layout.

Everybody loves cheesecake

8.  Create a decorative "frame" around your photos.

Place all your decorative elements along the perimeter of your photos. This creates a "frame" that ties everything together.

There you have it,  8 ways to use seemingly disparate elements on your layouts. Have you employed any of them on your layouts?


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