Thursday, November 17, 2011


I just remembered to mention that I went to Sequoia National Park during the summer, did you know how long we took to plan the trip? Yea just the night before... at 10pm! This is not recommended since we had to wake up at 4.30am just to make time for the drive lol. Anyhow the park contains the world's 2nd largest trees - the giant sequoia. The park is quite large: 404,051 acres excluding the neighboring King's Canyon National Park, which we did not go to since it was just a day trip. During the summer, the temperature gets rather warm even up in the mountains. It was a tiring 8-hour drive one-way; which the gas price only made worse. I went to check out the website, the majority of the park is roadless wilderness which can be explored only by horse or foot, looks beautiful but we are heading there for the trees and the crystal caves only.

The trip towards the park was nice enough, the scenery is pretty interesting despite being dried up. Can't say the same for the return trip when it's pitch dark.

This is Lake Kaweah but nope this is not our destination.

Here we are, Lodgepole Visitor Center. I think it took maybe about 1.5 hours to get up here from the main entrance. Very bright sun. Crowded too. 

Welp ok... now I understand. I can't see the top of the trees lol

General Sherman's Tree (the world's largest tree in terms of wood mass) is in the center, there are a lot of people there snatching to take photos with it so I just took it from afar. Yeah you can barely see the humans right?

General Sherman's Tree from another angle.


After oogling at the trees and breathlessly trekking out of the Sherman's trail, we decided to head to the Crystal Caves, they are all guided tours so you have to book your tickets ahead of time at the visitor center... limited tickets. Last tour is around 4.30pm? And make sure you get to the allotted schedule on time by calculating the 90 mins drive from the center to the cave trail. And then there is also a half-mile trek to the cave itself which is about another 30mins. The caves are only open in summer from May to October.

Warning of what's to come.

For most parts of the trail there are no protective railings along the chasm, so maybe this is not suitable for those too afraid of heights . If anyone wants to murder anyone this is the best place me thinks. That didn't stop me from photo taking though my legs were getting a little woozy from the height.

The temperature in the caves is cold, about 9 degrees celsius / 45 degrees fahrenheit. It is also a bit slippery at times because of the wet ground.

Stalactites and stalagmites and orbs.

In the early days, people had lost their way exploring these caves, it's a terrible maze in here with many through and not-through holes left right up and down. The worst thing happened to this guy who was lost for days in the dark, alone, with no light, food or water. He crawled around trying to find his way out. Fortunately he was rescued.

Predominantly calcite deposits.

Back into the summer heat... the tour was about 45 mins. The tour guide was friendly and informative, tours are run by volunteers.

Climbing uphill back to the car was terrible, to say the least.

Squirrel crossed in front of us to laugh at how breathless we are

We didn't see any bears (fortunately). We forgot we had food in the car; there were warnings that bears might ransack your car if you left food in it. Anyway it was a very, very, very long drive back (dangerously) as we were all falling asleep. By the time we reached home it was already 1am! I think it will be a while before I take another road trip.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I've been trying out my hand on art pendants since last month, ruined quite a few during the glazing part where the glass is sealed with the artwork. Especially tricky.... having a lot of problems with bubbles & blank holes around and under the glass after the whole thing has cured! =( 

Also imperfect glass from suppliers, colors that aren't as vibrant once the glass is set, etc...  So this is the first successful one, it is a magnifying glass dome with one of my old artwork 'Girls in Cemeteries' on a gold-plated base. The little rose is a cute accent. Hope you like it! Available in my Etsy shop here:

Also tried out this thing called Gilder's Paste. It is GREAT I want all the colors muahaha... Wax-based, works like shoe polish, the ones I got were a little hardened so some thinner needed to soften it down. Simple. It's about US$9.00 per tin including shipping. Tried it out on 2 pendant settings and they are looking dandy so far, will still need a layer of varnish to seal them. I mis-bought 'Verdigris' when I needed 'Patina', so recently ordered the plain white; hopefully I can mix them down to a minty color.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Got to stop buying.... vintage kitchenware! =)

Bought these from my last trip to vintage malls in Ontario & Redlands. Going there again in Dec, who knows what else I am going to waste my money on lol. I'm not even going to use them I just love to OWN them for eye candy.

Holly Hobbie set porcelain mugs! I've sold the same images on handmade rings and necklaces using 1970s Holly Hobbie cabochons.

Very well made and great condition. Hand-painted with gold trim (love mugs with gold trims!) and signed on the bottoms.

The backs. Did I mention it was such a Deal (yes deal with a capital 'D')! Many thanks to the vendor.

Art deco 1920-1930s plates, opalscent. I just loveee how simple and cute it looks... the shape, colours, everything! Four in a set.

See what I mean by opalscent! Semi-transparent. Great condition, you know these weighed heavy and I had no choice but to put them in my check-in luggage and was so relieved that they survived the trip! Customs people tend to be very rough in handling our luggages.

1960s Raffiaware thermomugs. Perfect colours especially that shade of pink + what I call shit brown hehe. The insides have black scratches but who cares =)

Sunday, November 6, 2011


So it's the last day of our trip and we did some last minute shopping at Ximending again.

One of the many back alleys of the older part of the area. They mainly consist of small restaurants.

This building has many collectible toy shops on the top floor, sports gear on the lower floors.

Yoshitomo Nara books on display. I have Slash with a Knife but a different cover. This little art & Japanese magazines bookshop is sooo crowded.

A giant Bowser for my bf. Searched in Singapore for 2 years but no one here sells it.

Finally got a snapshot of our hotel room... it's a little small but comfy.

Jacuzzi with rainbow lights in the bathroom since I didn't get to visit any hot springs. 

Bought a large market bag (cute zipped kinds street vendors liked to use) for 80NTD (US$2.70) at Ximending as a check-in luggage for my mom's shopping goodies. Worked very well. I'm not much of a shopper though. We later got a cab to the airport, a set price of 1,200NTD (US$40.00) from the hotel to Taoyuan International Airport.

Such a long queue to check-in our flight, that 2nd line is not a 2nd line but part of the queue! Because of that Qantas grounded air fleet incident, our flight was delayed for 3 hours. I was stuck in the airport for 6 hours... midnight, nothing was open and no food just vending machines since they were undergoing renovations =(

We were there first but somehow ended middle of the line. The plane was fully booked and they had to check-in our hand-carry luggage for lack of space in the cabin overhead compartments. Only had to pay for that one check-in market bag though. Not sure if I'd ever want to take Jetstar Asia again =/

Here's my shopping stash anyhow:
A fan of Taiwanese beauty products! This one is from My Simply brand, no preservatives, no alcohol, and inexpensive (I think I paid 169NTD each, about US$5.70). Smells divine. Tea Tree for acne prone skin and Job's Tears for brightening, for use as a toner.

This was a buy two for the price of one. I like the LOVEMORE brand but haven't seen this in Singapore so bought it to replace my moisturizer.

Says there buy one get one free at 199NTD (about US$6.65) but purchased it at 180NTD for both. 7 sheets per box.

Lookie - Old Master Q candy by Morinaga Taiwan! Sour plum candy. Cute & retro I used to read Old Master Q comics when little. Just googled it, the comic artist is still alive - 87 years old! 

The Starfruit flavour one is also pretty tasty.

Only bought 2 cardigans during the trip.

The ribbons and shell buttons!

Nostalgic cards, don't think they are postcards since the backs are printed with words too. Old Taiwan Railway poster and the other one is Doraemon glue-bubble toys packaging from the 80s. 30NTD each (US$1.00).

Bought these postcards from the National Palace Museum. Emperor Kang Xi and the Empress Dowager. 20NTD each (about US$0.70).

 Welp that's it for my Taiwan trip =)