Friday, May 30, 2008

A trip to Mackinac Island take three...

The vacation is too short. Like it or not, we got to go back home.

We spent the last hours walking around the area. I like Mackinaw Crossings best as it has stores, attractions, cinema, playgrounds within one area. It's just like an open air shopping mall...
I bought local souvenir and soap at Mackinaw City soap.

As we were driving along the northern part of Michigan lake, we saw a storm coming our way. The lighting looks so amazing. I tried to take the lighting picture, but of course, it's always too late.... This is the closet one. To the left, you can see the bright light from the lighting.

We stopped just before the border to get dinner. As we were about to leave, another storm band was heading our way. This one arrived with hails.

I'm glad we arrived home safely. It was very tiring but refreshing...
If we were to go there again, I would spend at least 2 days on the island. There are some places we didn't see like the Grand Hotel tour and historic tours. I still yet to eat more local food.

I've been to Martha's Vineyard. I think I like Mackinac Island better as it's so unique with no motorized vehicle... Besides, it's so much closer to us...
As for a place to stay, I'd stick with chain hotels that is close to the downtown area.

Hm... where do you think we should go for a vacation next?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

And the Bigib Designs blog contest winner is...

The poll has closed... and the name has been drawn...

Most people voted to spend the check even though expert thinks spending the money would be your 8th priority.

I personally thinks it's all depends on your priority. What expert thinks is just an opinion.
For me... I decided to spend it also... he-he

To learn more about the drawing process, you can visit my Flicker page.

And the winner is...


You have 2 weeks to claim you prize. Please contact me conny(at)bigib(dot)com with your name and address.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A trip to Mackinac Island too...

The next day, we took a ferry to Mackinac Island. We bought the ferry ticket online, so we just wait in line once we arrived. I saw people brought their own bikes, strollers... Well... I left my new bike at home.

The weather was gorgeous,... not too hot, not too cold... Just right. It took us 15 minutes to get to the island. As we approached the Island, we were pointed to the Grand Hotel, governor's summer residence and Fort Mackinac.

Jared, our tour leader who dressed up in 1880 soldier uniform, told stories about the Fort Mackinac history. We also saw the cannon and riffle blasting reenactment.

What I love the most about the island is because there's no motorized vehicle allowed. The main transportation is horse and bike. No air pollutant from the cars, but may be from the horse dump.
This picture showed how your luggage delivered to your hotel rooms. Really with horse power.
I could imagine how it feels in the old days when car was not invented yet.

No honks... people would just yell at you... One cart stopped and the driver yelled at me, "Heading your way...." I was too busy taking pictures and not realizing that I was standing on a driveway.

I just got to take horse pictures. This one wasn't very happy as he/or she "neighed" me right after I shot her...

Originally, we want to rent a bike right when we arrived. I'm glad that we talk to the tourist info first before renting a bike. Since most of the things are within the walking distance, you don't need to rent a bike unless you want to circle the island.

There are at least 5 bike stores. The price are about the same,... they are pretty competitive. Look for the bike you like. You can test drive it... well sort of. If you don't like it within a few minutes riding, you can return the bike and find different stores.

I rented a cruiser and a burley. Total ride is about 8 miles and took us about 2 hrs with few stops. It was a pretty flat ride. However, with 2 kids in tow and a backpack full of kid's stuff, camera, diaper, snacks, water, milk, extra clothing... it was a bit too much for my leg and buns.

We had lunch at Millie's. We could buy a sandwich and eat it during our bike ride, but I figured it's easier to dine it. We had ice cream, pop corn, and of course, I got to take Murdick's fudge home. Yum... And of course, stop by the Trading Post to buy t-shirts.

On Friday, I will talk about our last day at Mackinaw City...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A trip to Mackinac Island

No... it's not Golden Gate bridge. It's Mackinac bridge.

This last Memorial Day weekend, we went to Mackinac Island.
It took us about 8 hrs driving to get there. We stayed at Courtyard Inn and Suites in Mackinaw City. Don't get confused with the Courtyard Inn by Mariott. This place is not a franchise.

We rented a double queen bed room. I think it's expensive compare to the price we paid and the room we got. It think it has a bad insulation as I could hear people walking and taking shower. Other than that, I think it has the best location.

I like the idea that the hotel sits in the downtown. It is within walking distance to get the the Shepler's ferry, restaurants and stores.

Tomorrow, I will talk more about Mackinac Island...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Handmade Cards by Amana

I admire illustrators...
Even though I say I can draw (buildings), I believe it's harder to draw expressions.
As I was strolling down Dawanda stores, I stumbled on this card. It's hand made by Amana of
Not only it's nice to see, great color and fun design, best of all, it made me smile...

Won't you agree?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What expert has to say about "Economic Stimulus" check?

All right..., this is not the first time I mention about "Economic Stimulus" check.
What could be more excited...? Uncle Sam gave us a check...!

Most reader voted for spending the money...As for me... I already spent it even before the check arrives. Is it a wise thing to do?

Well,... here's the expert has to say about it, an excerpt of the article "Fund your own 'economic stimulus'"

1. Fund your emergency fund
2. Wrestle your bills
3. Pay down credit card debts
4. Invest in the future
5. Invest in your potential
6. Don't let the house sink you
7. Give your ride a little TLC
8. If you want to buy something, make it worthwhile.
9. Combat poverty
10. Recharge your batteries

Other than spending, I plan to donate, save and invest it. What do you think...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A name necklace to honor Ms.W's pet...

This necklace is to honor Ms. W's dog who recently passed. She was adopted as Sugar and then named as Abbey. It just happen both names has 5 characters and so it's very symmetry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wedding anniversary gift idea.

I learned that Eighth wedding anniversary gifts could be pottery, bronze or even linen or lace.

I have an idea what I want for the gift. I want a functional items, made from pottery, with the dates and names on it preferable, stamped not painted. I have been trying to find a clay thrower from Etsy and beyond. Most couldn't make it because they need about 1 month to deliver. I'm towards the edge of frustration and start thinking alternatives.

I suddenly remember a pottery store in downtown Waukesha and spoke to Michael from the Potter's shop . I explained to him what I wanted, the size, the color, the writing and the date when I need it. It turns out that he could make it for me, by the date I needed. Wow... he made my day.

The mug turned out to be what I expected. The part I love, other than it's personalized mug, is the thumb rester. It made holding the mug so very comfortable.

Thank you Michael for your help to make my idea a reality.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Madison Farmers' Market Wisconsin

Wow... you can tell Spring is on just by looking at how many people are out and about. It's not too hot, it's not too cold, it's just right.

We were at Madison's Farmers Market. I was so amazed with how crowded the traffic is... bumper to bumper human traffic. I managed to squeeze through the traffic. The best part is,... I got what I was looking for. Morel Mushroom.

Happy Spring...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Look what I did with the "Economic Stimulus" check?

As of right now, most Americans are $600 or more richer... The check is in...and I already spent it.

I decided it's time for me to buy bike for myself, that I have been thinking about since last year.
I bought a hybrid, 7100 TREK WSD (Woman Specific Design) in blue and metallic color.
So far, I'm loving this bike.

First, it's very comfortable for leisure riding. I could imagine myself riding this bike with a skirt because it has low bar, so I don't have to throw my leg over it.
Second, I choose planet bike seat which is very comfy...
Third, I got a 16" bike which is the right size for me.
Fourth, it's the first bike that really fits me well, with the color and the features I like..
And may I say " Un velo pour moi?" or
"Een fiets for mij" or
"Una bicicleta para mi" or
"Satu sepeda untuk saya"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Very crowded Spring sky...

Hm... didn't realized how many plane passed by our sky... Ding...! a good inspiration...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Around the world...

Our janitor at my office hardly speak English. We use "sign language" to communicate.
So, my friend showed me "Google translate" where you can choose which language you want to translate from and to.

I never really have to use it, but I think it's a cool idea to be able to speak more than one language. With this idea, I designed round pendant that you can twirl, just like a globe.

So...should I say "En todo el Mundo"?

To learn more about this product, please click on this link.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Meet Alex Whatton of

As I was strolling around Etsy, looking for a gift for our anniversary, I stumbled upon this card. I was thinking this might be suitable for my hubby, who loves listening to the radio, even when he's mowing the lawn. The card is colorful, fun, somewhat describe him and made me laugh... Which makes me wonder, who is the artist who made this...

I met Alex Whatton, of Martha Haskins. I began by asking her, what is it with the shop name...
MarthaHaskins: Martha Haskins is my grandmothers' name. I never really got to know her, I wanted to honor her memory.

Bigib: Can you tell me a bit about your background?
MarthaHaskins: all started when I was about five years old and my mother took me to my first art class. [It helped that she had started her own art school called Artsplace in my hometown (Cheshire, CT) and it was basically my daycare!. I always loved how I could express myself with art, but I never thought that I could make a living doing it! Which meant that when I went to the University of Connecticut, I actually left with a degree in ethology and got a job working for a biotechnology company in New York rather than painting. After a few months there (and a life-changing honeymoon) I realized that I needed to get back in to my art. It was the best decision of my life!

Bigib: Why do you use markers to work on your pieces?
MarthaHaskins: Lately I've been using a new set of Prismacolor markers because it was a birthday gift from my mother and also because my husband and I are moving to New Jersey and I had to pack-up most of my studio, including nearly all of my painting supplies. The truth is, I love how acrylics and markers are so permanent. With acrylics, sure, you can paint over anything, but you'll always have bright colors (and they dry quick!). I love the portability of my markers, as well. If I'm off for a weekend trip, I grab whatever five colors are calling out to me most and see what happens. Sometimes it works...sometimes...not so much!

Bigib: Any new project you are working on?
MarthaHaskins: I am hoping to work on some more fruit and vegetable paintings for a friend of mine from high school. She works for Edible Arrangements and has been decorating her house with my work. I am totally flattered and love to make things for her. We're thinking a large pinneapple next. My produce paintings have a very "pop-art" affect to them...I think you either have to love it or hate it!

Bigib: I always wonder, what is your design process... some artist sit down and do nothing and suddenly... ding... she got the idea. How about you?
MarthaHaskins: Hmm...I would have no idea how to describe it. Sometimes, I have no idea what I am drawing. Most of the time I sit down with one idea and out flows another one. The image I started with looks nothing like the end process! Inspiration is all around and sometimes one word can spark a painting.

Bigib: Do you innovate?
MarthaHaskins: I wish I could say that I "innovate." Better, cheaper, faster? I'm there - but nope, no idea. I take the long slow road and to tell you the truth, I'm really enjoying the ride.

Bigib: What is your favorite piece and why?
MarthaHaskins: My two favorite items are "Juicy" and "Frank Snowboarder" right now. Juicy is inspired from a Gary Lohr photograph that was given to my husband and I as a housewarming gift. I had just received my new prismacolor set and I was trying to figure out what colors where in the photograph and I loved the result! It really seems juicy to me! Frank is actually the silhouette of my husband from one of our ski trips...I love the burst of color and the sporty feel. I could just see it hanging in a young boys room.

To learn more about Alex pieces, please visit her store at

Friday, May 9, 2008

A mother job description.

Looking for a person who is loving and able to fill these responsibilities :
A cook, Recreation directors, Teachers, Financial planners, Family Managers, Chauffeurs, Decision Makers, Counselors, Story Teller, Health Care providers, Janitor...Still open for new responsibilities as time pass.

Work time: Flexible hours. Most of the time would be 6 am-9 pm. Sometimes from 9 pm-6 am, depending on the situation.

Reporting to: 2 demanding bosses. One doesn't speak English and the other one pretended that she doesn't understand English.

Compensation: Lots of hugs and kisses. Please apply within...

These are just an example of what a mom does. In 2006 study shows, a full time mom would earn $ 134,121. If you work outside from home, you would earn an extra $85876.

Remember, May 11, 2008 is Mothers day. Don't forget to treat her well that day.
Happy Mothers' day to all moms...

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I think Spring is officially here... It's one of my favorite seasons. It gets warmer... reached around 80's yesterday... People are taking a walk or jogging or biking, the tulips are blooming, morel mushroom are in season, the buds are popping...
Look forward to being out and about...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mothers day gift ideas...

Mother's day is just around the corner. As a mom myself, I have some ideas of things I like. If you are still looking for an idea, how about some of these ideas:

1. Make your own card. Nothing is more special than home made card. I always love receiving cards from my daughter.

2. Cook for her. You can bake, cook, grill... If you never done so, you may be surprise how creative with cooking... I'm sure she would love it...

3. A Spa gift basket for her... She would love have a relaxing time for herself.

4. Last but not least, a name pendant with all children's name on it. It's something that she will treasure all her life...

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Meet Vicky from

Wow... look at the color. This piece caught my eyes when I was strolling along Etsy shops. It's one of the original mixed media piece from Mintage Designs.
I just have to go in the store and meet the designer.
Vicky a native Vancouverian made this piece from "spirit money" and Canson drawing paper.
So, I decided to interview her.
I began by asking about her background

My background, living in this culturally-diverse city, and my travels abroad contribute to the imaginings that ultimately find themselves into my artwork. I haven't had any formal training in the arts, but ever since I can remember, I have loved creating with my hands - drawing, painting, cutting, pasting, and sometimes even banging away! This is what I do when I have spare time outside of work, family and friends.

Bigib: Why do you use the material you're using to express your creativity
Some of the materials I use play on themes I like to explore in my work. Old vs new, east vs west, etc. I enjoy using found objects in my work to bring new life to something that could otherwise be discarded. I love using newsprint and will often mix print of different languages.

I use "spirit money" which is burnt in chinese ancestral worship ceremonies in my pieces. One can often find asian influences in my work.

Bigib: What's new project you're working on, or anything coming up?
I've just finished a piece that is part of my rainscapes series. It is titled "the unfortunate fate". I haven't listed it on etsy yet as I'm thinking of offering it as a print and need to decide which method would produce me the best prints.

I am also preparing for a craft fair called gotcraft (May 4; in Vancouver.

Bigib: How is your design process
Usually an idea forms in my head while I'm on the bus, walking home, or even driving. Usually I'm on my own and I notice something (alot of times, something insignificant) that sparks an idea or image in my mind. This then grows into a full-fledged idea and sometimes I may scribble it down in my sketchbook. I don't always carry it around so you will also find scribbles in my agenda.

Bigib: Do you innovate?
One of the ways I innovate in the creative process is looking at something and being able to find a purpose for it that it was originally not intended. For e.g. One time, I wanted to build a small shelf. It had to be very specific dimensions. I ended up finding a discarded bed frame, took it apart, and reconstructed it into a very unique bookshelf. See for yourself.

Bigib: What is your favorite items
My current favourites are rainscapes I for it's textures and simplicity, and rainscapes - "the unfortunate fate" for its bold statement on a very important issue.

Bigib:Anything else you want to share?
For a along time, I kept telling myself that I would spend more time on art. And for the longest time, I kept putting it off. Just recently, I started getting creative again and it's been great. I know there are a lot of priorities and obligations in everyone's lives (I work full time and have a 16 month old son), but it's a fine balancing act, and it's been very rewarding to get back into it.

To learn more about Vicky's pieces, you can visit

Monday, May 5, 2008

First Communion Bracelet for Lucy and Ellie...

Other than hand stamp First Communion bracelet, I also make the square alphabet name style bracelet. Ms. F ordered two for her twin nieces in Amethyst and Pink color.
Happy First Communion day Lucy and Ellie...

Friday, May 2, 2008

What it takes to make Personalized First Communion Bracelet?

It's Friday....
It's still a work day for me as I am catching up with First Communion bracelet orders.

My daughter was very curios with what I was doing. I was explaining to her that I'm making bracelet charms.
I love doing it because it's one of the most soothing time for me. As I put my magnifier on and poof... I turn to a "creative owl"

The most difficult part is making the charm, the personalized part. From designing,

hand stamping,


cleaning, which takes probably most of the time compare to the stringing part. But I think that what makes it personal. Just like a caterpillar who turned to a beautiful butterfly... it takes the time and process to make it happen.

The picture shown is the charm in the process. It looks black after soldering process.

After "bathing" and thorough scrubbing, you'll find the charm in the bracelet like this...
What do you think?

Disclaimer: This article just to give an idea of general process in making hand stamp charm. It is not intended to replace the metal class instruction. Please consult your metal teacher for detail.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

For the fear of Public Speaking...

Perhaps the most feared thing in the world for many people is public speaking. I remember how frightening it was when I had to do presentations, both at school and work.

In 2002, I joined Waukesha Toastmasters where I achieved my ATM-B and CL. It helps me not only with public speaking but also help boost my confidence.

With do respect, Mr. President, I think Toastmasters help you improve your public speech.