Thursday, December 23, 2010

Disco Santa's Christmas Carnage

A very special Christmas story, starring Warner, Nellie, Templeton and Disco Santa...


"Oooooh man... I am so hungry... hey wait, it's Christmas already?"


"Hello little fat man in a silver jumpsuit!"

"What! How dare you objectify me! I'm going to destroy you with my petroleum-based product fuel!"


"Oh mah gawwwww... the stench is unbearable! Help me, help me... I can't breathe..."



"Gasp... bleagh... ugh..."


"Warner! What the hell? Are you on the drugs again?"


"Wait... what's that awful, awful smell?"




"Oh my goodness gracious me! The carnage!"


"Disco Santa, I told you to stop eating so much fiber! Your farts are toxic! Toxic!"




Ho ho ho!

Merry Christmas from Disco Santa! (No dolls were harmed in the making of this post).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Coming to America

A few more family photos I scanned while I was in California. I like this batch because they trace my parents' journey to -- and my family's beginnings in -- the United States.

Mom and Dad as university students

My Mom and Dad met when they were both architecture students at National Cheng Kung University (國立成功大學) in Tainan, Taiwan.

Mom's awesome red jacket

Behold at my Mom's awesome red jacket!

Dad before leaving for the US

In 1978, my Dad, his cordovan bag and that stick he was carrying (I need to ask him what that was) moved to the United States to go to grad school at UC Berkeley. Here he is at Taipei Songshan Airport with one of my uncles, my grandma and one of my aunts (my Dad has four siblings).

Mom's engagement party

For a year, my Mom and Dad had a long distance relationship, with my Mom in Taiwan and my Dad in California. Thirty years later, Ron and I would also have a LDR -- but he was the one in Taiwan and I was in NYC. Before my Mom moved to the US to join my Dad, the two of them got engaged remotely. I love the dresses my Mom and my aunt are wearing (I have my Mom's dress... it's hanging in my home office) and my grandmother's qipao.


The two of them got married in San Jose by a judge who had the COOLEST CLOCK IN THE WORLD. Look at that clock! Oh my goodness!

Mom and Dad's wedding portrait, 1979

My Mom and Dad had a wedding reception a little bit later at UC Berkeley. My uncle Daniel took their wedding photos.

Mom and Dad's first car

They bought a car...

Mom in my parents' first apartment

... and rented an apartment...

My family's first house

... but then they got a surprise -- me! -- so they bought a house.

Mom pregnant with me

... my Mom made one beautiful pregnant lady.


My Mom had me -- the first person in my family born in the United States -- and then a year later, my brother came along.

Double trouble

Doesn't my Dad look shell-shocked?

Family portrait

And that's how the Shu family ended up in America... and that most American of institutions, the Olan Mills family portrait! Now I have family members in the US, Canada, Taiwan, Singapore, China and England. And I'm pretty sure some of my relatives are from Mars. We're truly an international -- and intergalatic -- family!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My fabulous parents

I want that dress!

I just returned from a trip to California. One of the things I love about going back to my home state to see my parents is digging through old photo albums. I covet pretty much everything my parents wore in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including my Dad's bell bottoms. I wish I owned more dark denim flared jeans. One of things that impresses me about these photos is that my parents managed to keep their sartorial dignity during an era that was known for some pretty regrettable fashion. I've never seen a photo of them sporting polyester pant suits or crazy floral prints -- in other words, nothing that a hipster would wear ironically now. Both of them really have a classic sense of style.

Dad in San Francisco

Mom in front of the SF skyline

Mom in a straw hat

Mom visiting Stanford

Dad and King John

Mom at the beach

Dad and his bellbottoms

Mom's awesome blue sundress

I threatened to post these photos under "vintage inspiration." Ha ha, just kidding Mom! Though seriously, clothing I wore when I was a teenager is now being sold as vintage. I'm 29! I blame fast fashion.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Redecorating the Dollhouse

The Triplex, Sept 2010

Dining room and parlor

The kitchen

The girls' bedroom/study

As a little girl, one of my dreams was to have a dollhouse. I adored miniatures and even owned one of those four-story Barbie townhouses with the plastic Grecian columns. It was hideous, let me tell you. Later on I bought a plywood dollhouse kit from Michael's, but furnishing it was beyond my 11-year-old budget. It wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties that I finally got a dollhouse I am truly proud to call my own. Of course, now it's a bit embarrassing to admit that I'm a 29-year-old that owns a dollhouse, but there is nothing wrong with being an adult who plays with toys. Besides, dollhouses are hip -- or so says the New York Times.

My dollhouse has changed a bit since I put it together two years ago:

The Blythes' new home

I really want to redecorate the living room to give it a modernist vibe and add a bed and proper 1:6 scale bookshelf to the bedroom/study. While browsing on Etsy, I found the magic of Smidge House:

I really, really love the mixture of oranges and greens in the first photo. I do love complementary hues! I am thinking of using Dr. Edna's office from "Mad Men" for my color palette inspiration:

I'm going to wait a bit before I start the redecorating since I tend to change my mind a bit. For those of you who are wondering if my dolls get any say in what their home is going to look like -- the answer is no! I spent Saturday afternoon carefully dusting every floor of the triplex. The girls spend absolutely no time on housekeeping, which is ridiculous. They do own a 1:6 scale Swiffer and broom, you know. They have no excuse!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Heart La Petite Mu Mu

Mu mu at the window
Photo from the first roll taken with my Rolleicord Vb. For more pictures, check out my other blog.

I discovered La Petite Mu Mu at last July's Taipei Toy Festival and just had to take her home with me. She's one of the most gorgeous toys I've ever seen! I love those colorful raindrops on her blue coat.

La Petite Mu Mu by Fion Ko

Mu Mu is by Hong Kong artist Fion Ko and according to her bio, she's a four-year-old girl who "lives in a featherlike dream." When she isn't hanging out by the window or standing guard in front of my quilt fabric, Mu Mu keeps my husband company on his desk and hides from our crazy cat.

I have a lovely collection of toys I want to photograph. Many of them are from Hong Kong's Crazy Label. Are there any toy collectors reading this blog? What kind of toys do you collect? What do you do with them (photography, display, flipping the lights on really quickly so you can catch them while they are still up and about and before they turn back into toys, etc.)?

Monday, September 6, 2010

My favorite color is rainbow

Fabric for Color Wheel Quilt

If everything goes as planned, this stack of fabric will become the color wheel quilt from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. When I was little, I loved picking up big boxes of crayons and arranging all the colors in a spectrum. And then I would eat them. Just kidding! I was never one of those kids who ate crayons. Just glue.

Rainbow of fabric

I find looking at rainbows and color wheels very soothing. The way my eyes glide over the different hues as they transition into one another puts my mind at rest. When I was organizing those crayons, one of my favorite parts was holding up different shades of one color and deciding which ones belonged next to each other, especially if they were of similar value. I felt the same way when I was arranging the fabric for my color wheel quilt, and I also had to consider which patterns would look best next to each other. I won't finalize the arrangement until I cut out the pieces, though.

Greens to purples

I bought most of these fabrics from Jo-Ann's prodigious fat quarters section when I back in California for my wedding. Others are from Yongle Fabric Market here in Taipei or Purl in New York City -- so the three places I've called home are all represented.

I've never machine quilted before, so I'm making a simple quilt out of a couple wide pieces of fabric to practice using my walking foot. That thing is scary. I keep thinking the "teeth" on the bottom are going to eat my fingers. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sweet Teeth

Ring by Charlotte Burkhart
After five years of warding off dentists with various excuses, I finally got my remaining two wisdom teeth pulled. They were my upper set and the left one didn't fully emerge until I was 24 years old and starting my first journalism job. That year was full of personal and professional transitions for me and every time I got anxious I would run my tongue over my budding tooth and think "Relax... you're still teething!"

As it turns out, what I should have been thinking instead was "Oh shoot, I hope my gums don't get inflamed!" But every time I was told I needed to get my extraneous third molars extracted, I felt verklempt about losing my lucky tooth. I finally bit the bullet (haha) last month, however, and scheduled an appointment. Now I have two molars soaking in a dish filled with rubbing alcohol and water on my desk. What, oh what, should I do with them?

For inspiration, I turned to Etsy. Charlotte Burkhart's sleek, modern settings highlight the different textures of the wisdom teeth she uses (either yours or from donations). I think her Mountains of Wisdom ring (above) showcases the tooth best, but I also like her Split Wisdom Tooth Bracelet:

I think the roots are the most interesting part of teeth. Mine certainly didn't come out looking anything like I expected. Burkhart also has an amazing pendant featuring a photo of Max Schreck in "Nosferatu."

The vampire trend has carried over to Etsy and there is tons of stuff in the shape of fangs. My favorite is this movable pendant by JL67. I wonder if you can wear it as facial jewelry by clamping it onto the end of your nose.

Victoria Camp's white clay fang necklace is also cool. It's simple and elegant, so you can wear it without your outfit screaming "Happy Halloween!" from a mile away (not that there is anything wrong with that... Halloween is my favorite holiday!).

Tibault & Toad's tiny tooth pendant is adorable. I almost expect it to put on a little top hat, grab a little cane and start tap dancing.

One of my favorite thing about this ring by Ardent1 is that it looks like tiny little silver pomegranate seeds, even though it is actually cast from animal teeth. Then again, I haven't eaten solid food in 50 hours and everything is beginning to look edible to me now, including my computer... mmm... computer...

These soft, fluffy pillows by Hootenanny are actually pouches for kids to put teeth in for the Tooth Fairy. And they look like cupcakes covered in white icing... okay, seriously, I have to go shovel more yogurt down my throat. When I was little, the Tooth Fairy used to leave silver dollars for my brother and me every time we lost a tooth. That was exciting, though I managed to figure out that the Tooth Fairy was my Mom when I was about six. But I still made her give me money... teeheehee. I love the smirk on the right pouch's face. It looks like it's thinking saucy, illicit tooth thoughts ("Gimme some of that sugar, baby!").