Our last big trip of the summer: England.  A couple of days in the English countryside and the remaining days in and around London.  Our precious goddaughter was christened.


And we were able to get acquainted with all things British.

phone booths

Apparently, English bees aren’t aggressive so I was able to get close to them for some fun shots.


I wish I could say that we were in front of our summer home.

Us square

My boys.  What drove this trip is that my oldest is starting high school.  That means that we only have a few more summers with him home.  I’m feeling the time crunch with all the family things we want to do.  Going to England: check.st james park

Seeing an English goose: check.



chia pudding

covent gardens

Coffee on the Thames with a good friend.

Thames coffee

And, of course, the family had to have Fish ‘n Chips!

fish n chips

notting hill

It was a fun place to take pictures and a fun place to visit.  To be honest, London was a little much for me.  If (big if) we ever to go again, I think I’d spend most of our time in the countryside.  Maybe take a day or two to learn to drive, then visit some villages and estates.

England, you were beautiful.  Thanks for having us.

Made in Taiwan

I was born in Taiwan.  I was raised in Taiwan.  Now I live in the US, but I still love and miss the place where I grew up.  Every summer I take the family back and now hopefully my kids will love it too.  I heard a travel show once describe Taiwan as a glimpse into what Mainland China might have been like if communism hadn’t swept through.  It’s a lovely place if you love the city and a lovely place if you love the country.  We stay in the capital city – all crowds and business, but just an hour away and we are out in the fresh cool air of the mountains.  So that’s my plug for the beautiful island.  And here are some of my favorite shots from our trip.

cow on mountain

My favoritest shot – some water buffalo grazing on a mountain top.

sensei poo

And where there are water buffalo, there is…

blocked trail

These water buffalo followed us up the mountain trail, blocking the only path down.  It was a tight (and scary!) squeeze, but we made it down.  Whew!

boats danshui

Boats docked on the Danshui river.

cat wants in

Cat wants into my favorite clothing shop.  The shop cat was relegated to the front porch because a customer with dogs was in the store.

pork on a stick

The food.  Ahhh the food.  It was delicious.


Spring onion pancakes.

custard cream puff

Custard cream puffs.

Fortunately without a car we took public transportation and did a lot of walking to work off the yummy food.

fishing lights

The lightbulbs on this fishing boat were so unique.  I want some in my house!

Hanging sandals

Grass sandals drying out.

huwei fort door

Door knob.

huwei fort

Old military fort.

Lin Mansion2

Old mansion from the 1840s.

LinAnTai door

Love this door!

LinAnTai kitchen

Traditional Chinese dining room.

LinAnTai kitchen2

Traditional Chinese kitchen.



mushrooms 1


silk waterfall YMS

Silk waterfall.

view from elephant mountain

The city.

YMS gate

The family.

Vacation is good.  Vacation in a place you love is even better!  Thanks for making it through my little travel post!

Creating Art When You Have Zero Drawing Ability

I’m such a cheater.

But I feel pretty good about it.

I saw this little flower in a field and loved it’s shape and beauty.  Took the shot and started to wonder it if would be possible to paint it on canvas.  But what do you do when you want to paint something but have no drawing ability?  You tap into your other strengths and figure out a way to cheat.

projector flower

First, I loaded the picture onto my tablet.  Then, taped tracing paper to the tablet and traced the flower with a marker.  I did it this way because I’m really not skilled at drawing with a mouse.

projector tracing

Then, I photocopied the image onto a transparency and made a projector using my cell phone flashlight, glass door and canvas.  It reminds me of the old overhead projectors my teachers used in class.  This is best done in dim light.


After painting my gray background, I traced the image of the flower onto the canvas and filled it in.  I could only be happier if I actually knew how to properly paint, but I haven’t figured out how to fake that yet!


projector art


This weed is apparently called a Smallflower Dessert-Chickory or Texas Dandelion.  So purty.

Rosalie Quilt

I made this quilt for my friend Jessie “no-pink” girl.  This pattern, the Rosaile Quilt from Valorie Wells, is nice and easy, but like any quilt, takes a good deal of time.  I’ve been working on this one for months.

Rosalie 1

I pulled deep from my stash.  I see some old Amy Butler in there, some Joel Dewberry, some Heather Bailey and even some Hobby Lobby fabric.  Some fabric I’ve had so long I don’t remember who designed it.  A few years ago the “oldness” of the fabric might have bothered me, but I’ve learned that unlike my high school clothing trends, as long as I like a fabric print, it is timeless.
Rosalie 2I’ve made hexagon quilts before, but this pattern is much easier than how I’d done it in the past.  The pattern comes with 2 hexagon sizes.  I made a twin-sized quilt using the smaller hexagons.  I love how it turned out and love it’s soft wrinkley-ness.  I’ll see Jessie in a couple of weeks bearing this as a gift.  I truly hope she likes it.



Bag for Imogen

Little Imogen was dedicated at church this morning.  As her godparents, we got her a children’s Bible and a lamb.  The lamb beat out the bear because a lamb is a much more biblical animal.  :)
Bag for Imogen
She hasn’t even had her first birthday so she doesn’t need a bag, but a personalized gift bag was a must.

Imogen bag 1
I started yesterday afternoon and gifted it this morning.  Whew!  Unfortunately as I was handing it to my friend, I realized I hadn’t hand-stitched the opening in the side seam.  Oops.

Type 1


1 year ago today we were in the hospital with my 11 year old learning how to do the job of a pancreas that had stopped producing insulin. Today we marked the day with doughnuts for breakfast.

Before you judge, remember that Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. It is not caused by or made worse by eating sugar as long as treated properly with insulin. :)

We are grateful for insulin and grateful for the wonderful doctors and nurses at our children’s hospital that helped us on this new journey.  Overnight my son went from feeling incredibly sick to returning to his happy, bouncy self.  

When I think about how much brain power it takes for us to keep track of his insulin needs, I see how incredible God is for making organs that can do so much work without us having to think about it.  Diabetes has made me more grateful.  It has robbed me of much sleep and taken away some of my “me” time.  Diabetes has made me a better mom.


Spectacular Softies Contest: Pinky the Pom Pom Turtle

Leave it to Sew Mama Sew to throw a contest that I really want to enter.  I can’t remember the last time I entered an online contest. The Spectacular Softies Contest sounded so fun and I’m not even normally a softie maker.  I think I’ve sewn three total.  Maybe.  Here is entry #1:  Pinky, the Pom Pom Turtle.
Pom Pom Turtle
Pink linen, wool felt and lots of hand-stitched pompoms.  Pinky deserved a name full of alliteration and fun.

Here’s her belly.  Poor girl was only on her shell for a moment.

Turtle Under

And now, to her great relief, she’s right side up again.  Here’s an aerial view.

Turtle aerial

The rules say I can enter more more than one softie.  Bet you can’t guess what my next post will be!

Craft Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well, crafting is my apple. It's what I do to maintain my sanity while taking care of my family. I homeschool my three boys, ages 11, 12, and 13), am a quilter, a bagaholic, and a pattern designer.
© 2006-2015 Craft Apple Creations



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