My last blog post was the end of 2013, and I had mentioned being in a transitional phase. A lot has changed in the time I was away from this blog.
Doll making has been a journey, I started because I wanted more options out there for Asian and mixed children. I have always loved art, working with my hands and also children, so it was easy to fall into. I started to become part of the craft community and it was lovely. Being far from my family, I wanted to build a community around myself. Then a door got shut in my face and another and it was hard trying to find connections with other mothers. You know what is also hard, being rejected for my beliefs. I felt pretty lonely in that time, and I felt very outside of everything I was trying to build.
Luckily I have a really great husband that reminded me of a small dream I had started, he told me, maybe those doors had been shut because it’s time to leave it behind.
My family had grown bigger than I had expected, my oldest son was learning at a fierce rate, and my second son was getting ready for school. I was really starting to get focused on healthy eating for my whole family. I was sharing books with my children, I have always loved children’s books, so we were all in the right place together. I started the Little Free Library, and I had also started a little project called The Kaleidoscope.
When my first son began reading, it was like magic, I felt like my childhood was being reborn and I was also like I was getting a new chance. It felt like I was getting a chance to readjust my life, like a reset button. I turned all my focus onto literacy, and my children and I began working on a dream. I was still making dolls but only for local shops or the occasional request. I also started to focus on my health by going to spin classes, and running again, and then I picked up yoga. I studied food, and neurology, and life unfolded in quite a beautiful way. Things were coming together and it felt much better and more in balance than it ever had.
Doll making was right for my life for a season but that season had ended. I met wonderful people, and learned so many skills but I think it was a stepping stone to what I was meant to do. I had been teaching the entire time and I started drawing again, and painting more. Wood dolls are a great canvas to pick up and put down with little ones around. Not buying fabric, and not having time for sewing, made me realize, I had too much. With all the freeing changes happening, we also started to minimize our lives. Living as a family of 6 in Vancouver, minimalism is almost forced. If you want a clean, uncluttered house with four little ones running around, you have to learn to purge. The less we had, the more time we had. I cannot explain this one but it is true. We started spending more time outdoors, part of this was also because my children were all a bit older now. If you want you can read more about that here.
My oldest son gave a TEDTalk in November, and I am so glad I stepped back and refocused so that we could be at a place where I could foster that for him. I might be found at a fair here and there with my boy. I have a few more projects I am working on, and you probably won’t find me here because it’s time to move on. My dolls will be found at select shops. You can find me on Instagram here, with a post here and always here.
Life is a journey, and I adapt with the changes I go through with life and with my growing children, but the constant will always be children. You will always find me inspiring or being inspired by children because that is my heart and soul. I have always wanted to make an impact in the lives of children, and be a part of something greater than myself.
I still have a desire for community and I have been taking the steps, which require bravery, to get there. I am going to keep putting myself out there. I have met some pretty wonderful people through the Instagram community and connections through the craft community and my goal this year is to be braver about making real connections.
Those doors that were shut, actually freed me.
Changes. I like change, and I am fortunate to be the kind of person that can adapt to changes. Our lives have evolved over the past few years and one of those changes, was simplifying our lives. As a family of 6 living in Vancouver, minimalism is necessary. Some steps were easier than others.
I love books, I love to read, and so we found ourselves at the library more often. When I do purchase books for myself, you can find them recycling to another book lover via The Little Free Library. I have a lot of children’s books, I also have a lot of children in my life. My children, my students at Arts Umbrella, and the children I tutor all reap the benefits of them. This was my biggest struggle.
I have never had an excessive love of shopping for clothes, shoes or accessories, so these things are easy for me to keep minimal.
Being an artist was where I thought my biggest challenge would be. I couldn’t stop creating, it’s very much a part of who I am. I told myself that I wouldn’t buy any art supplies or materials unless they were needed. I would only make what could be sold or given away and I must love it myself to the point of not wanting to let it go. The idea was that it would be thoughtful and unique.
Minimizing art supplies was actually much easier than I anticipated. It has been very easy to live with what I have, and let go of what I didn’t need. Having an openness to being inspired by others has led me down an unexpected series of giving that has been good for my soul.
If you are an inspiring minimalist like myself, I have learned any step big or small leads to a better quality of life.
If you know me, you know I love to read, and I adore Children’s books. So when I came across a Little Free Library in late August via Instagram, I was smitten. I thought on it a few days and by September 4th, I was officially approved for Little Free Library 8963, a month later my official steward plate arrived. My dream for this Little Free Library was to be nestled in the trees on Granville Island.
I was able to make that dream a reality, so please come out Sunday, November 3rd from 10 am to 12 pm. At 10:30 there will be a reading of Oliver Jeffers book, The Incredible Book Eating boy. We just love Oliver Jeffers and what better book than a boy who uses books to get smarter.
I have been working at Arts Umbrella on Granville Island for the last 7 years and I think Granville Island is a most charming place to visit. The idea was very exciting, but I had no idea how to propose this to Granville Island officially. It took some time to find the right contacts, and then I began an official proposal, which I had never done before. It was a quite few weeks after submission, I was being patient and trying not to get too excited, and then I got an email. After going through my proposal and having a ground meeting for location scouting, I was officially approved. I met some wonderful people, all who were so kind and all supportive of Little Free Library and its movement for Literacy. My Father-in-law whom is a talented architect, helped with the design of the blueprints.
I am very excited to be a part of the Little Free Library and it’s Literacy movement. If you are local, please come out and join us for the Grand Opening on Sunday November 3rd from 10 am-12 pm. Hope to see you there.
You can read here to learn more information about Little Free Library.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
- Dr. Seuss