Micro Gift Wrap Stories

Featured Photo: Greta Penny, owner of The Design Craft Etsy store, has such a lovely green malachite wrapping paper for sale. It looks like a emerald geode!

I love gift wrapping! I just finished wrapping my gifts for my friends. Looking at my gifts now, you would have never guessed that I came from humble beginnings in the gift wrapping world.

I used to wrap my gifts in newspaper and cut letters and images from magazines to make cards back in the days when I thought buying a Hallmark greeting card was expensive. It eventually dawned on me that I needed to stop making cards that looked like it belongs to a criminal! 😀

Ransom Note Generator – I suppose you can make less creepy ransom notes with these color themes!

Unlikely Gift Wrap Solutions

Homemade cards run in the family. 😉 My brother once took a Cheese It box and refashioned it into a birthday card. He wrote with a permanent black marker, “Have a cheesy birthday!” Upon receiving it, his best friend roared with laughter! He absolutely LOVED it!

My dad used to wrap clothing gifts for his nieces in former Budweiser boxes. I remember us all laughing together at what seems to be a gag gift. My cousin smiled when she opened the box to find a pair of cute overalls and a striped yellow shirt from Old Navy. No alcohol for minors! We have an odd sense of humor and love to recycle and reuse our resources as much as possible.

I’ll never forget the day when mom asked for my help to wrap a gift up for a birthday. It was my first project. I reused some pretty yellow paper from an old gift and made some beautiful curly bows. The family looked at it with a bit of admiration, and from that day forward, my parents left me in charge of the gift wrapping.

Discovering the Art of Japanese Gift Wrapping

Over the years I’ve been inspired by various artists and cultural wrapping techniques. Jane wrote a wonderful post about International Gift Wrapping to Suit All Cultures. I really enjoy the elegant folds in Japanese gift wrapping. They’re beautiful!

Shiho Masuda has a lovely YouTube channel for all sorts of gift wrapping ideas! ❤ Time to up my game!

Outstanding Blogging Award – Culture Shocks

Thank you!

Featured Photo by Clifford Photography on Unsplash
Jyotsna Shenoy at Art Psycho nominated me for the “Outstanding Blogging Award”!

RULES:

  1. Provide the link to the creator’s original award post. (very important: see why in step 5)
  2. Answer the questions provided.
  3. Create 7 unique questions.
  4. Nominate 10 bloggers. Ensure that they are aware of their nomination. Neither the award’s creator, nor the blogger that nominated you, can be nominated.
  5. At the end of 2020, every blog that ping-backs the creator’s original post will be entered to win the 2020 Outstanding Blogger Award!

This award was originally created by Colton Beckwith

Jyotsna’s Questions:

Which book(s) have you read / are going to read in the last/next 10 days? Any books released in 2020 that you would like to recommend me?
My next post will be about all the books I’ve been “skimming and sampling”, but not quite diving in. For me, some books are like a snack rather than a feast.

However, my answers for this specific question are:

In the past 10 days, I’ve read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Lee’s cover is very beautiful and rather intriguing to me.

The next book I’m reading is “The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win” by Maria Konnikova. It was published June 23, 2020. I don’t know if I can recommend it yet, but I love card games and curious to see what wisdom Maria has to share!

Image Credit: French Poker News

State a fun fact about you that makes you stand out in any generic crowd, do you have any rebellious feature that makes a point in your bio?
I don’t know if this makes me stand out as many high school students in my class were expected to learn this, but I memorized the first ten lines of the Canterbury Tales in Middle English and secretly enjoyed it.

The Prologue is the first 30 seconds

I also really enjoyed the learning process of creating my own illuminated texts one autumn season, and wouldn’t mind taking a calligraphy class! Despite its impracticality, I enjoy the visual aesthetics of fancy penmanship.

As for the second part of this question about any rebellious features… I read this article by Personality Growth and was intrigued by its title, “Is Personal Responsibility the New Counter Culture?” This question resonates with me because my own sense of personal responsibility has caught people around me off guard sometimes.

Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

There were times when my parents and I didn’t see eye to eye, but I didn’t rebel much against them except when it came to defending a few unconventional friendships that I’ve had. I guess I love reading about rebellious individuals and learning how they think by listening to their stories, but I don’t really participate in “typical” rebellious activities.

Though I consider myself well-behaved and well-mannered, sometimes, I think I shock people when I support highly idiosyncratic or bohemian individuals. This pondering leads me to think of this quote below:

Well-behaved women seldom make history.

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

When I think of this quote, I think there are many interpretations. The link I attached to Laurel’s name summarizes what her intention was when she said this. Focusing not on whether women should misbehave in order to be memorable, but on the fact that there are many women who have done remarkable things throughout history yet are not recorded or documented. That’s slowly changing with social media and more female representation.

Give away a couple of your favorite latest Netflix series or Anime that you would want me to watch?

I can offer some variety for you. 😉 I don’t think I can say that these shows are my favorite of all time, but the latest Netflix series that have caught my attention as of late are: The Good Place, Mr. Robot, The Crown, Agents of Shield, and Chuck. Some are hilarious comedies filled with action and others are somewhat dark and intriguing.

Image Credit: https://wallpapercave.com/w/wp1865491
https://wallpapercave.com/w/BVJEsby

As for anime, I’ve been enjoying The Dragon Prince and The Vinland Saga. 🙂

Dogs or cats (or a third option)…and why?
I love petting other people’s dogs and cats, but I don’t think I could be an owner of either. I enjoy birds though! Lovely morning chirps!

Image by Foto-Rabe from Pixabay

Name 3 snacks that figure in your cheat diet!
Fried chicken, Crème de Pirouline Chocolate Hazelnut Wafers, Nutty bars!

What are your pet peeves (top 3)?
I think my pet peeves shift around every time someone asks me this question on an award. Right now though, they are 1) Passive aggressive behavior, 2) Bigots, 3) Complainers

For how long could you possibly unplug and stay clear from any social media? (time in minutes/hours/days?)

Some are more easier to stay away than others. I can stay away from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for months. It’s more difficult for me to stay away from LinkedIn, WordPress, and YouTube.

My Questions:
(Inspired from https://icebreakerideas.com/icebreaker-questions-biggest-list-ever/)

  1. If you were sent to live on a space station for three months and only allowed to bring three personal items with you, what would they be?
  2. Be in the movie of your choice, what movie would you choose and what character would you play?
  3. What do you think is the greatest invention in your lifetime and why?
  4. What is the best gift you ever received?
  5. What is the funniest prank ever played on you?
  6. What was the best museum/gig/ play/game you have ever been to?
  7. What is the most bizarre encounter you have had in life (at work, personal, from travel, with friends)?

My nominees

Image by floherrou0 from Pixabay

I think you guys are all troopers for blogging at all during a pandemic season. You all are invited to entertain the rest of us with these questions if you wish! Cheers! 😀

#SoCs- Ornamental Tales

Linda G Hill: SoCs – List

Hello!

It’s been such a busy season for me. I have an ever growing list of all sorts of to-do lists. School, career, relationships, books, movies, recipes, some crafty creations. When I face some stress during the school season, Aristotle’s quotes remind me of a reason why I put myself through it all:

Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

Aristotle

A friend shared with me that last one a long while ago. It stood with me ever since!

One day, you think I would have more sense, and cut back. Give myself more breathing room. Maybe I can burn some of those lists and send those ashes flying away on a windy day. 🙂 Experts say that people can optimally focus on 4 or 5 things at a time.

The present is such a gift. Right now, heart-warming stories of ornaments are on my mind.

When we were kids, my parents decorated our Christmas tree with greeting cards friends gave us, bookmarks, ornaments we made as kids. Glittery paper rings, popsicle stick frames, ornaments made out of yarn or dried noodles. I was always touched by my parents’ sentimentality and wondered why they never bought any ornaments or threw any of our creations away.

For them, the ornaments are more than just a pretty fashion accessory for the tree. There’s a story behind each of the ornaments. How happy we were to make these ornaments for our parents. How happy my parents were to receive a card from our neighbors and friends. How it brought us all together. A tree brimming with true joy and happiness.

When I was a student officer for the Guild of Geeks, I loved painting ornaments on the windows of the school with my fellow club members for a holiday contest for Christmas. We also painted Beamo, Dr. Who’s time machine, among other well known pop culture references. We won 2nd place which scored our club to have lunch with the university president on her balcony! We actually had some folks trained in light saber fights. What an amazing, albeit nerdy memory!

I remembered when one of my friends who was running for office extended an olive branch to his opposition by creating a Christmas ornaments with his opposition’s son. Despite things getting ugly during election time, I wonder what memories his son will choose to take with him. Hopefully, remember the spirit of the season in spite of politics.

I want to create a new memory. My mom and dad collected some pine cones on their nature walks. I took some back with me during Thanksgiving. I’ve been wanting to create a pine cone wreath. Give some out as Christmas gifts. I found so many inspirational ideas!

I was also curious about some other random stuff like The History of Ornaments and What kind of Christmas ornament are you? Quiz.

Saturday Symphony #19 – The Magic Paintbrush

Jude is the host of Saturday Symphony. This weekend’s theme is:

TALES FROM THE FAR EAST. The far East includes;
– Russian Siberia
– Mongolia
– Taiwan
– China
Japan
– North and South Korea
– Hong Kong
This week share something themed from this part of the world.
It can come from real life experiences, a favourite story, history, myths, books and legends.

Hello! I’m really excited about this prompt because I will be sharing a tale from a new book I bought from the bookstore during Thanksgiving break. I waited in line at the Japanese bookstore for about half an hour before being able to go inside. In fact, I haven’t even read any of the tales in this book until this post.

The Magic Paintbrush

China, chinese folktale

There once was a very poor young man named Ma Liang who loved to draw very much. One night he had a dream that an old man gave him a magical paintbrush and asked him to help people. When he awoke, the magic paintbrush lay beside him.

Whatever Ma Liang drew with the magic paintbrush came into being and he used its powers to benefit the struggling people around him. He used the brush to paint a river next to a dry field and to draw food for the poor. Quickly his fame grew, and everyone was grateful to Ma Liang.

In the same village lived a rich man who soon came to covet the magical brush. He didn’t want to help people but instead wanted to paint gold and make himself richer. In the dark of the night, he sent his servants into Ma Liang’s home, and while Ma Liang was sleeping, they stole his brush.

The next day, the rich man painted many pictures of riches beyond belief. But no matter how many he drew, none of the images would come to life for him. Frustrated, the rich man ordered his guards to capture Ma Liang and bring him forward. When Ma Liang arrived, the rich man demanded that he draw for him or face punishment.

The quiet Ma Liang smiled and agreed. He asked the rich man what he would like, and the rich man said he wanted a mountain of gold. So Ma Liang painted a mountain, but he painted it in the middle of a vast sea. The rich man then demanded a large boat to sail the ocean with enough room in its hull to carry all the gold. So Ma Liang painted a huge sailboat, and the rich man and all his cronies got in it and set sail. But when they got halfway to the mountain, Ma Liang painted a wicked storm, and the boat capsized and all the men were lost at sea.

From that day on, Ma Liang and all the people of his village lived happy and peaceful lives.

Featured Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash


Saturday Symphony #16 – Together In the Shadows of the Forest

Hello all, happy Saturday!

Jude is the host for Saturday Symphony. Here is ponderous thought for the week :

FAIRY TALE EDITS
Ever wanted to change the fate of one of your favourite fairy tale characters?
This week share with us,
Which character?
In which tale?
And how you’d change their fate.

This week I’m inspired by the story of Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the hunt. She is a fierce warrior and can be quite vindictive when someone kills those that she protects or insults her family. She and her brother Apollo killed Niobe’s children when Niobe mocked Artemis’ mom, Leto. You do not want to get on her wrong side!

Artemis remained an eternal virgin and never married. Actaeon, a mortal hunter, mesmerized by her beauty once saw her bathing naked in the valley which was forbidden. Artemis who was very livid turned him into a stag, and he was later killed by his hunting hounds.

In my poetic retelling, I explore what would have happened if Actaeon and Artemis fell in love instead. What if they got married? Would Artemis learn how to be forgiving? Would she take a different, less extreme route to justice?

Below I played around with Magnetic Poetry to create this story. 🙂

Halloween Fun in the Time of Covid

Stella, my owl pumpkin

Fated to be a darling delight
Sweet owl shares a wisdom so bright

that she is blissfully unaware of her insight
Colorful fiesta greeting throughout the night
Not at all bothered by her short height!

Thanks, Mr.A for this Halloween Blogtober tag! Halloween is over, but this serves as a pleasant distraction from the election.

(,,◕ ⋏ ◕,,) RULES (˼●̙̂ ̟ ̟̎ ̟ ̘●̂˻)

  • Thank the blogger who tagged you and link their post
  • Put the rules after an introduction, then answer the 13 questions
  • Tag 13 more bloggers to participate in the game
  • Use these same Halloween questions, or create new ones of your own

What’s your favorite thing about October or Halloween?
I love October Poetry Writing Month! I always learn new poetry styles and love experimenting with techniques. Didn’t get a chance to fit that in this year, but maybe some other time. I love pumpkin spiced lattes, decorations, costumes, and beautiful fall weather!

How much do you spend on Halloween?
Typically $20 USD for a pumpkin, treats, and materials to make a costume.

What do you think the average person spends on Halloween goodies & does it match what you spend?
In my neighborhood, they go all out spending anywhere from $500-$1000 for decorations, candy, party supplies, and costumes. So no, it doesn’t match what I spend at all! 😉 My neighbors love to organize as a group and create a spooky vibe for the trick-or-treaters. There’s always something new every year. Covid really changed things, but there were drive-thru options.

Does social media influence how much you decorate for Halloween, causing you to spend more?
Interesting question! There’s so much power in suggestion! I personally don’t spend more, but it does give me ideas to improvise.

Do you buy or create your Halloween costumes and what was your favorite costume so far?
Both, depending on the season! I loved dressing up as a ghostly Little Bo Peep and a Renaissance lady!

Share a trick you have played on someone at Halloween.
I’ve never played a trick on someone, but I had plenty play a trick on me. There was a time a boy gripped my ankle from a hole he dug in his parents front yard as I was passing by! Another time, a neighbor told me that I should head over to a particular house because the owners give big candy bars. I arrived at the residence only to be scared by a guy dressed up as Jason handling a chainsaw!

Do you have a favorite Halloween treat?
Butterfinger chocolate bar!

What is something you can do with a pumpkin once Halloween is over?
Stick it in the compost bin! Roast the seeds and season it with soy sauce! Grow another pumpkin from the seeds.

Do you consider pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable?
Fruit because a pumpkin has seeds! Vegetable because it grows on a vine! Vruit-Fegetable! 😉

What is the scariest food you’ve ever eaten?
Balut, a fertilized duck egg delicacy. You can learn more about it here. When I was a kid, I didn’t give it too much thought, and it always tasted delicious! Nowadays, I just can’t do it anymore. I just can’t. It feels wrong.

Do you have a favorite Halloween drink?
So, there’s this drink that I have dubbed the “Eyeball drink” based on how it looks! In reality, those “eyes” are actually basil seeds. It’s an incredibly, yummy sweet drink with gelatin pieces.

People usually spend money on Halloween, but have you ever made money related to this holiday?
Well, there was a time when one of my neighbors ran out of candy, so he pulled out his wallet and gave us cash instead! And…another time where my cousin really enjoyed the party I hosted, and she slipped a $50 bill in my purse.

Have you ever read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley or another frightening book?
I read Frankenstein as freshman student in college as part of the summer reading club. I also read a couple of vampire books to get me in the frightening mood. 🙂

I tag:

Happy belated Halloween!

Halloween Avatoon Fun

Hey all! Hope you’ve been well! “All work and no play” has taken a bit of a toll on me. As the day draws near, I’ve explored some Halloween activities.

Previously, I’ve enjoyed writing some spooky tales like in Ominous Meeting or What Happens in Japan Stays in Japan.

I’ve dressed up as a cat for all my virtual meetings, and I will be carving a pumpkin tomorrow. I would like to go beyond 2-D geometric shapes, and Google has provided me with much inspiration. We’ll see!

Out of curiosity, I decided to check an app that Jude has used to create his avatars. I didn’t anticipate how much fun I was going to have with “Avatoon”. Thank you, Jude! In the Halloween spirit, here is my gallery! Enjoy!

Kinda Square Photo Challenge

Featured Image by lisa runnels from Pixabay

Hi everyone! Becky Winchester over at the Life of B has hosted another square photo challenge (KindaSquare) for October. This month’s theme is related to kindness:

  • Something of the kind (mirror images, carbon copies and doubles)
  • Our imagination kindled (inspire us!)
  • Of its kind (a unique object or could be a picture of nature and wildlife)
  • Kindred spirits (kindness in action or photographs of people)
  • Take kindly to (something you like such as my Warbler on Sunday or Ellie’s cheese)

Kinda Square’ Rules:

  1. Take a square photograph of something that reflects the theme
  2. Create your post for any day in October, and pingback to one of my daily squares
  3. Include the theme’s tag – KindaSquare
  4. Leave a comment on my post as well as your link
  5. Whether you post squares or not, be a kind member of the Square team and make time to visit others and the square galleries

I took some creative liberties with my gallery frames and included all 31 shots! Enjoy! 🙂

1. Volunteered at Habitat for Humanity with this gal! We chatted about our favorite Korean dramas!
2. Our Rotary Club hosted a fundraiser to build these cool mini-libraries around town.
3. 10 Bit Works is an awesome maker space. Members build all sorts of neat projects here!
4. These cute scarecrows are a sight for sore eyes at the coffee shop!
5. These ducks were not afraid of me at all! They waddled right at me expecting a meal!
6. Meet Chi-Chi and Coco, our lovely parakeets!
7. So many monarch butterflies on my morning walk!
8. Lovely flowers that remind me of a trumpet!
9. Gwangju Pagada’s entrance is really inviting!
10. Love the heavy contrast of light and dark! This sole leaf caught my attention!
11. What a peaceful pond! The saturated colors were so calming!
12. These fascinating tree root knots created a woven masterpiece of light and shadows.
13. An incredible fire show at a local Japanese restaurant!
14. An incredibly beautiful and ornate church door of a UNESCO Heritage site!
15. Nothing like an obstacle course to start your morning! It’s harder than it looks!
16. I’m grateful for the ability to vote. I have friends on all sides. It’s been a crazy election cycle.
17. These purple berries look so delectable, but they might be poisonous. So… NO SA!
18. Take a seat! I always welcome a park bench when I see one. Wonderful conversations take place.
19. Such a bright, cheery lot!
20. I was climbing a tree, and I saw this curious tag. I wonder whose studying this tree!
21. This lovely, clay nativity set was made in Mexico. A blend between simplicity and symmetry!
22. I absolutely love pop-up greeting cards!
23. San Japan anime convention poster is stunning! Sparks a sense of wonder!
24. I love how the sun light hits this particular flower. It was such a gorgeous day!
25. There’s always a compelling story behind an old, rusty piece of machinery!
26. I love stories that begin with ‘Once upon a time’! Every person has a story to share!
27. During the pandemic, I began to cherish this pink bubble of positivity.
28. This park has a “Kindness Rock Garden” where people can pick a rock and paint it for others.
29. I wonder what the artist was thinking when he made this sculpture!
30. The little boy wants to take the moon home with him!
31. My friends had such a lovely floral arrangement when I visited them!

#Saturday Symphony – Voodoo Dolls

Good evening! The horror genre is not exactly my forte, but I want to deliver a story for Jude’s birthday and introduce the month of October! It’s been a long while since I’ve last indulged in this genre and maybe, I’ve purposely chose to stay away. 😉

Lois Duncan and Tess Gerritsen are two of my favorite horror/ thriller authors who successfully gave me the chills. I also interviewed a parapsychologist and learned about some mysterious encounters he’s experienced to discover some inspiration. Hope you enjoy my flash fiction below!

Dicey Appearances

Lightning lit up the sky as the rain from the thunder storm pelted the mailman. The package finally arrived at the man’s doorstep. Weeks ago, he bought a set of adorable, amigurumi voodoo dolls from Etsy. It was the perfect gift for his granddaughter.

Image Credit: Etsy – Creative Chaos Arts

He placed the dolls in her closet and walked away to make some dinner. Little did she know who resided in her closet. A shy, young girl emerged from the dark. She curiously peeked outside and immediately shut the door.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Spinning their webs, the spiders watched as the dolls sprung to life and began walking around. They danced around the girl, and she was happy to have new friends. One of the dolls did a somersault in the air and landed on the dome of a board game.

POP! The magnified sound of the dice reverberate throughout the closet. Five slimy leaches materialized in the dome and slithered away from the closet in search of a host. They found a sleeping dog peacefully unaware of the danger that lurked nearby and stealthily surrounded it.

Pirouetting in the air with the finesse of an acrobat, another doll landed on the dome. POP! A terrifying creature materialized. One hungry demonic sprite flashed its sharp teeth at the ghostly girl and opened his red, gleaming eyes. Ensconced in the tight closet space, it opened the door eagerly waiting to tear into some juicy flesh…

Imaged Credit: Mysterious Universe