upcycling projects | being creative

Upcycling projects I

When you really break down and take apart the labels of these containers, you truly see what they are: glass, plastic, metal and paper. They are no longer a glass jar of tomato sauce or a tin can for black beans. Maybe they are now planters for your new seedlings, or a container that holds your pencils and pens. Maybe they are pieces of a new art project you are working on.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, before you throw away your “trash” into the recycling or your garbage bin, really look at it and think about how it may be useful in other ways. Maybe you can give life to it again in a whole new way.

Upcycling paper rolls

Obviously, please do your research and always put your and others’ safety first.

Some observations I’ve had while working on upcycling projects:

  • Some things really are useful in other ways. It’s silly how some of these things are sold in stores and it might already be in the house already (i.e. mason jars, rubber bands, or pieces of fabric).
  • After seeing multiples of the same containers I have been accumulating, it makes me wonder if I really need the product it used to hold or is it something I can make by myself (i.e. squeezing my own orange juice, making my own tomato sauce, baking cookies, etc).
  • It’s a nice exercise in creativity. These projects have allowed me to really look beyond the original packaging. And also, my stuff. It has given me new perspectives on value of items in general, their functionality and their purpose.
  • Some of these projects have truly beautified my life and home that would not have otherwise existed.

I’m currently working on a few upcycling projects in the moment. When they’re completed, I’ll make sure to record them here.

Other posts that may inspire or interest you: 

eco-friendly things I’m excited to do this year
colorful flower wreath | upcycled egg cartons | sustainability
plastic bottle bird feeder | sustainability
DIY: mini scrapbook by upcycling toilet paper rolls | sustainability
upcycled long-sleeve shirt into zippered shoulder bag



A couple of days ago, I was feeling rather sluggish. Again, a likely symptom from the humidity, but also because there were many things I had on my mind. There were two things I did to combat this feeling: 1. I took rest 2. Just did something; anything.

The easy one was obviously the resting part. I fell into the rabbit hole of YouTube videos and came upon one about sustainability and farming. What a beautiful, quiet life. This then inspired me with the doing something part. I decided to check on my garden and the status of my flowers. The purple petunias are thriving as always.

The sluggish part of me sort of disappeared. One task lead to another one. I then worked on the house a little and made some minor repairs I’ve been meaning to. And today, I conquered my insomnia by attacking the dishes in the sink early in the morning and have food prep ready for cooking later.

Motivation is key they say.

This was originally written in July 2019. I guess I wasn’t motivated enough to press “Publish” …


blue butterfly

The newness and inspiration can be overwhelming in anything. Forget thinking about what ifs and consequences, let’s just act. Create art that doesn’t need explaining or a backstory. The kind of atmosphere that isn’t so serious and stupid. I want the kind of feelings I got when I first fell in love. The butterflies that started in my heart and never wanted to fly out.

cozy yet lively

sunrise window

it’s subtle
the warm winter morning
settles nicely
yet lively.
hues of orange, pink and blue

contained excitement
through a window.

I walked into the room to get something, but something caught me instead. It was subtle. Slow. I felt overwhelmingly calm, yet energized. Inspired. My greedy soul wanted to savor it longer and hold it. So I took a photograph. For you to see.

ways dreams can come true

I haven’t read any of those books that tells you how to achieve your dreams. It’s an odd conflict. I want to learn and yet, I don’t know if it’s something you can really…..learn?

I think it’s more of what you do, a little luck and a change in perspective. I’ve experienced all three of these circumstances. And what I’ve gathered from the overall experience is:

  • Hard work pays off (whether it is unintentional because you are so passionate or intentional and you’ve put in the hours of effort and sacrifice).
  • Be good to yourself and listen to yourself (you know yourself better than anyone else. If you are happy, go with that).
  • It takes time (it’s the journey and not the endgame necessarily. We may decide on path and then go onto another. It’s all part of it).
  • Gratitude is the foundation for all of this (if you aren’t able to be thankful for where you’ve come from, how will you feel when you get to the top? Identifying the top and reflecting how you got there is key).
  • It’s not going to be completely what you imagine (there is always some bad to every good and vice versa. It’s not going to feel 100% like you think it would feel).

First, you have to learn more about yourself. Are you happy right now with where you are and what you are doing? If so, then you probably are already there. Congratulations! Maybe there are other things you’d like to achieve or maybe you are content with where you are. Or maybe you want to see what comes along.

If you’re not happy or feel like something is missing, maybe you can ask yourself even more questions. What does make you happy? Are there any skills that you are particularly good at that you can support you financially? I guess the last question is assuming that achieving your dreams means doing it 24/7.

But maybe you don’t even want to do that. Maybe you want to accomplish things on your down time (outside of work) like training for a marathon (shout out to my cousin!) or just cooking for fun.

Either situation still allows the ability and time to go for your dreams because it’s up to you when you have made it a reality. You are the boss of your own life.

You create the levels, the ultimate challenge and the reward.

Some helpful steps are: deciding what the dream is, breaking down the steps to get closer to it and be realistic with your time and financial situation.

Second, I feel like one can achieve their dreams just by accident. Being at the right place at the right time can be a life-changing event. Maybe you checked something off your bucket list and it’s been a goal for a very long time. Perhaps you and a friend attend an event or you join a club and you become more involved. Or you meet a new person and they have connections to the industry you want to break into or they happen to have an opportunity you can take advantage of. Maybe you went on vacation and realized the many things you want in your life. Or, the cliche celebrity story is that someone has “discovered” you. Again, you’d have to decide what you dreams are in order for them to be realized.

Thirdly, I think sometimes our dreams don’t look as what we imagine. They don’t feel like how we think we should be feeling. What if you are where you want to be and have not realized it? This takes looking at your situation objectively and looking at it in a wider view. Maybe you thought the path would be more glamorous or you thought you’re supposed to feel happy all the time. Or that life will be without challenges. If your dream is more than just a one-time task or goal, then achieving it also means the continuation of working on it with stamina, patience and passion. Unless, of course, you decide it is. Because it is ultimately up to you. There is no manual or perfect model.

recharge and be

I can hear you snoring. The deep rhythm vibes in and out of your core and you are one with all of yourself. Your mind sets itself from the day of accumulating stimuli and finally it can do what it wants by itself; without noise or visuals or any intentional movements from your body. Maybe that’s not all true, or any of it or all, but as I breathe in, I feel this. I feel the singularity it yearns.

Let yourself recharge from all that you gave and received today. Let your whole being take itself into account to formulate a creation that is the foundation of who you are and who you will become.

You are a sweet human with energy ready to share and pour itself into this vast landscape of concrete madness interrupting the masterpiece of mother nature we all should love more.

Let it be. Let yourself be.

just be.

color & design: photography and music videos

color blinds
“color blinds”

I think one of the most surprising things I learned about myself is that I really value design and color. They could be about anything; food presentation, home interiors, choreography and fashion. It’s silly to not know before, but now that I do, it seems so obvious. I did not have a desire to study graphic design or art academically. But I did for film production. I remember being a young critic on how films should have been directed. Or how I would notice all the little details on their set and the most random props. I don’t do this anymore, but I would be the kind of person who would watch a film and then re-watch with commentary from the director or the actors because I was fascinated with their viewpoint or thoughts on a scene. For fun, I would take photographs of buildings in strange angles or preferred to watch dance competitions as opposed to American Idol. Now that I think about it, maybe that was why I was so drawn to indie films. Although they are using traditional forms and processes of media, they present different and unique ways of doing them. They create visuals that are more interesting and memorable. They all kind of live for being imperfect in their way.

A few years ago, I experimented on color and light with a friend. I compiled edited footage of each experiment we did and made a short film.

And then I wondered, how many other videos are out there that have some really cool editing techniques? I used to spend so much time watching different music videos. Here are a few I thought were especially unique that used color or editing in interesting ways.


Kishi Bashi


In case you’re curious, here are some photographs from past color and light experiments. IMG_0987IMG_2981


Do you see the toilets?

going with the flow


I haven’t painted in so long. I’ve had mini sparks of inspiration here and there to get my supplies out and just start. But I always end up resisting it. Or I’m too lazy to actually do the work. The motivation in me to do things this week has dwindled down a lot compared to last week and the week before. I’m tired. My sleep has been suffering and I know deep down that’s probably the culprit to all this de-motivation. But why the no sleep?

Seeing this painting makes me really happy and proud. It no longer exists because I added more color afterwards that made it a whole new tone and painting entirely. The color was orange-red and it just made it more spicy. Here, it’s calmer. I remember creating this piece on a whatever, normal night at the apartment. I had painted a bit before; just playing as always. And I really liked the aquamarine color along with the cobalt blue. The wavy lines came out of my mood at the time. I had no care on how this painting turned out. I just wanted to paint.

I felt so inspired that I even posted it up with a poem on here. Here’s the post if you want to read it. The poem goes…

they say our lives will go into waves
they’ll dip down to the ocean floors
and shoot up to the stars
and ride on a shooting star.
and when a toddler points up
on a clear dark night,
he’ll see someone’s dream come true.
the white spaces in between
insulates us from the let down
of our traveling lives.
here comes a high one again,
i’ll catch you on the wave…

I used to be more of a “go with the flow” kind of person, but nowadays, I’m less so. It was fun to be that way, but in some ways, costly, wasteful and absent-minded of me. Well, wherever I end up going, I’ll always have this image to remind me of what really matters in life. Catch you on the next wave.

acknowledge this

There is a constant stream of doubt. From you. From me. From strangers who have opinions about the lives of people they’ve never met. There is judgement and fear. Insecurities and criticisms run rampant because it’s become normal and arguably encouraged to be better, to improve or succeed and these journeys are never clean. They’re never picture-perfect now matter how many beautiful pictures you see. Has this always been the case? Maybe. I’m not sure. This isn’t a sudden realization or anxiety that is new to me. It’s one that has always been living in the back of my mind and nowadays, a forefront of it. And I know I’m not alone.

When you let the doubt in, remember that it should also be balanced with fact. Fact: you’ve made it this far. You’ve come a long way. No one’s situation is perfect. There is always something we desire that we don’t fully understand. There are people in our lives we admire and are inspired by, but we don’t know exactly how they live or what they’ve gone through. Maybe they’re people we work with or people we see on television. We think we know who they are. We want to. It’s strange and illogical to believe that they’ve gotten where they are now without any kind of struggle, challenge or adversity.

Acknowledge your true potential.  Live for you. Don’t let any doubt outweigh the progress you’ve made thus far. You deserve and have earned all the happiness you feel. Do not let anything get in the way from feeling it.

Edit: Also, there is no timeline other than the one you create yourself. There is no standard you need to live by other than the one you want to live up to. I think many of us have this need to please others or to uphold a certain kind of image. There is no right or wrong, it’s up to us how we want to live.


There is so much building inside my heart. The sorrow I feel is so full that I can’t contain the tears and they just fall. Aimlessly. I do not know what it is my heart is trying to say. Am I crying for what was? Am I crying for a release? Am I crying to tell myself something?

Heartbreak is defined as “overwhelming distress.” There is so much of this feeling lately.

Hearing this song has given me comfort in a deeply meaningful way. The answers do not come. But the feeling of knowing I am not alone has. The thing about heartbreak is that it is a very common occurrence and every single person has felt it in some capacity. Yet, it is such a solely individual feeling. We can all commiserate and relate, but the inner thoughts we have are ours alone to keep and carry.

The particular way our heart breaks is so painful that the arrow that made the shot hit right at the spot where no one else can touch it. The wound is so tender and frail that even the softest touch can sever any connections at all.

But this is not forever. This is true. Our hearts are strong. They rebuild. They mend. We heal ourselves piece by piece. Every day. And one day, when we feel this pain again, we know that it will be okay. Love is and always will be the answer. Feel that.

song featured: O (Fly On) by Coldplay (extended)

moving forward

There are these little baby steps that appear. Out of nowhere, there are traces of movements heading towards one path with little footprints behind me. It’s automatic like breathing. Whether there are turns coming or roadblocks, that I do not know. I can’t see far ahead. I can’t see it at all. I am scared. I fear the ruins of what I do not want to see. I fear of the big rocks I cannot push away. But the struggles do not define the outcomes of what is meant to be.

My father told me that there are many more paths than one. Right and wrong has no meaning because there are things we cannot deny. Humanity was founded on mistakes and achievements. Along with little footprints, what also follows are other little footprints. An army of who we have aligned ourselves with. An army of resources we have gathered during our journey.

The strongest forces we carry most of all are the will and love for ourselves. We are survivors. We are survivors of the loved ones we lost. We are survivors of all the potential nightmares we have avoided and we are survivors of the ones we couldn’t. But more than survivors, we are creators. We are progressing all the time; whether we want to or not. If feeling stagnant is what you feel, fear not, because each day is progress. Little steps and big steps are still steps toward the future. The question is, what are the kinds of steps do you want to be making?