Easy DIY paper covered pencil tins

I think this is the easiest craft I have ever done! As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have recently built up a small collection of pretty paper and I’ve been looking for crafts to use it on! Plus, I love the idea of recycling things that would normally get thrown out, so I’m happy to find a use for these tin cans! And they turned out pretty nice :)

DIY paper covered pencil pots

The paper I used is ‘Into the Woods’ by UW Scrapbooking, which I bought at Popular Books (in Hong Kong). Isn’t it pretty?! The paper only measures 15cm by 15cm which isn’t long enough to wrap all the way round the cans so I had to use two pieces of paper for each can. This means that there are two paper seams, which isn’t ideal but I’ll survive ;)

Easy recycled tin can craft

The cans that I used were ones that had a ring pull on top, so the lid came off in a smooth circle. This meant that I didn’t have to file any rough edges which I would have had to have done if I had used a tin opener to open the cans.

To cover the cans, I first measured the distance between the metal strips at the top and bottom of the cans and cut paper strips to that width. Then I stuck them onto the cans by gluing the back of the paper strips with a glue runner (I put the glue around the edges and then in stripes over the rest of the surface) and then very carefully stuck the strips to the cans. I tried to make sure they were as straight as possible!

My favourite one is this one with the fox paper – so pretty!

Fox paper pencil pot

I was really pleased with how they came out, and now they are sitting in pride of place on top of one of our bookcases – where the pens are in easy reach for us but not our young children!

Have you done anything similar yourself? Please let me know in the comments below – I’d love to see what you’ve made!

Thanks for reading!


Candid Hong Kong – fish for dinner

Every fortnight week I share a photo that shows a little insight into Hong Kong life. Sometimes they are things that made me smile, classic Hong Kong sights or just really unusual things.

This isn’t a particularly unusual sight in Hong Kong, but it was unusual to me when I visited Asia for the first time. The concept of having live fish and seafood in tanks for you to pick your dinner from is not particularly prevalent in the UK! Many local or seafood restaurants here will have a tank or two at the entrance or in the window for customers to peruse. This photo was taken in Rainbow Restaurant on Lamma Island, and it has a particularly impressive fish selection!

160614 Candid Hong Kong Rainbow Restaurant fish display


Thanks for reading!


Building names that make me smile – part 3

I’ve written a couple of posts like this before in the past (you can find them here and here) but there are just so many great names in Hong Kong! I think sometimes they sound a little bit funny because they haven’t been translated well, or else they are something that sounds really great in Chinese but it doesn’t come across as well in English. So here is my final round up of Hong Kong building names that make me smile.

First of all, it’s good to know that your builders will never accidentally offend you…

Tactful Design and Build


Could there be any better place to work than this one?

Perfect Commercial Building


It’s not a great bar…

OK bar


Everyone is very pleasant and cheerful here.

Genial Manufacturing Limited


Whereas, they’re all after the money here…

Chasegold Tower


And finally, just… no… I have no idea.

Greatmany Centre


And also, here are a few other favourites that I haven’t managed to take pictures of:

Honest Building – no lies here

Great Smart Tower – full of clever clogs

Top Glory Tower – for the best of the best


Have you come across any great building names where you live? I’d love to hear more!

Thanks for reading!


Candid Hong Kong – product demonstrations

Every fortnight week I share a photo that shows a little insight into Hong Kong life. Sometimes they are things that made me smile, classic Hong Kong sights or just really unusual things.

This is something that I quite often see on the streets of Hong Kong. In a gap between shops or an empty shop front there will be someone doing a live product demonstration, usually with a microphone, talking very loudly and very fast. And usually there is a crowd of people around. It seems that Hong Kongers love to see these demonstrations! Or maybe it is just because there is often a bargain on offer.

This product demonstration stall was particularly elaborate – it involved a fully working shower system! I think the man was selling shower heads, or maybe shower filter systems?

160607 Candid Hong Kong product demonstrations


Thanks for reading!


Layered name DIY card

One of my friends recently had a baby and I wanted to make a card for them with the baby’s name on. I really liked font I used for my niece’s birth card (which you can see at the bottom of this post) but I wanted to do something different with the card itself. I’ve recently bought some pretty paper supplies so I thought I’d put them to good use! And this is what I came up with:

Layered paper card tutorial

Isn’t it a cute name?

Whilst this card was pretty straightforward to make, I was surprised by just how long it took. There is a lot of cutting out! But I love the layered effect, so I think all that cutting is worth it.

If you’d like to make something similar yourself, read on for the tutorial…

Firstly you will need:

  • Card blank
  • Paper in different colours and patterns
  • Craft knife or scissors
  • Glue (I used a glue runner but pritt stick or any glue suitable for paper will do)
  • Pencil
  • Printer (optional)

Firstly (and this is also the fun part), decide what colour papers you will use and in which order. I always find it quite difficult to find colours and patterns that match together well!

Once you have picked your paper, you now need to pick your lettering. You can either use a font or draw the letters yourself. If you are drawing the letters, then simply draw the outline onto your paper. If you are using a font, then you need to choose your font. I used Marcelle, which is free on dafont.com (this font has a textured appearance but since I only wanted to use the outline and not the printed letters it didn’t matter). I typed the name I wanted to use on the card in Word, did a ‘print screen’ and pasted it into Paint, where I flipped the image backwards using the Rotate > Flip Horizontal command, and saved it as a jpeg.

Reflect the image in Paint

I then inserted this image into a blank Word document so I could size it to fit my card blank. And then I printed it onto the back of my patterned paper (which happened to have a different pattern on the back).

Backwards print

If you know a quicker way of doing this, please let me know! It was a bit convoluted, but it worked.

I then cut around the text with a pair of scissors. I filled it in where the text didn’t quite join up and made some of the thinnest parts a bit thicker so the papercut would be easier to handle. I’m not very skilled with a craft knife which is why I used scissors, but I used one to cut out the holes and the fiddly bits. If you are better at cutting out curves with a craft knife than me then you might want to use one for the whole thing!

Next, glue your papercut onto your next colour/pattern paper. I liked the idea of having the text in a pattern and using plain colours for the rest of the layers, but that’s just my preference. Using a pencil, draw around the text layer, trying to keep your line a certain distance away from the text at all times. I smoothed out many of the features of the text but kept some of the major indents and shapes.

Drawing the next layer

Now cut out along the line you have just drawn. Erase any pencil marks still showing. Stick this layer onto your next layer of paper and repeat until you are happy with the overall look and size of your piece. Mine had 4 layers in total.

Papercraft lettering card

Now you can glue it to your card blank and you are done!

Baby name card papercut

Luckily, my friend loved it :)


I was a little disappointed with the contrast between the name and the next layer. I think I should have used a darker coloured pattern for the top layer. I also made this card for a little girl’s birthday using the same technique, and I was much happier with the colours.

DIY layered birthday card

Do you like this layered look? Let me know if you have a go at something similar yourself!

Thanks for reading!


Candid Hong Kong – not your usual view

Every fortnight week I share a photo that shows a little insight into Hong Kong life. Sometimes they are things that made me smile, classic Hong Kong sights or just really unusual things.

I took this picture in the Cyberport area, and the view doesn’t really match up to the name. Nor does it match up to most people’s view of Cyberport (with its large, modern estates), or Hong Kong in general. I was just really surprised to see something that looks like this at all, but especially on Hong Kong island. It’s so unexpected that people still live in such small, chaotic buildings like this when so much of Hong Kong is made up of concrete high rise buildings. I guess it’s just a glimpse into the massive rich-poor divide that there is in Hong Kong. And maybe an insight into the way that most people used to live in Hong Kong before the high rise buildings took over. I guess that at some point the people who live here will be evicted to make way for more high rise developments, that seems to be the way things are in Hong Kong.

160531 Candid Hong Kong shanty towns


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Clearwater Bay Second Beach

I feel like all the nicest beaches in Hong Kong take a bit of effort to get to. I guess that’s pretty unsurprising, otherwise they might end up being not so nice (i.e. overcrowded and dirty). Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung is touted as the nicest beach in Hong Kong, but it takes several buses plus a 2 hour hike to get to. Sadly, the only time I’ve ever been it was raining so I didn’t really get to enjoy the beach! Another beach that I quite like is Cheung Sha Wan on Lantau. To get there you need to get to Lantau somehow (such as a ferry to Mui Wo) and then get on one of the Lantau buses and ride them along the winding and hilly roads (which my husband really hates!) to the beach. But at least this beach has some lovely restaurants and is near a village so you don’t feel quite so in the middle of nowhere.

But a great beach that is a little more accessible is Clearwater Bay Second Beach. There are many ways to get there, such as take the MTR to Hang Hau and get a taxi, or go to Tsuen Kwan O MTR station and get the 103M minibus. Or if you are in Kowloon, you can take the 91 bus from Diamond Hill station. It still takes us about 1 1/4 hours to get there from Hung Hom though!


The beach itself is really beautiful, set in a bay with the golf course on one side and hills on the other so all you can really see is the sea and greenery. The sand is fine and clean and the water is very clear (hence the name). Importantly, the beach doesn’t get as busy as those on the South side of Hong Kong island, although on a sunny public holiday it will still get fairly busy.


There are the usual changing facilities with toilets and showers, and lifeguards and shark nets in summer. There isn’t a huge amount of shade and I don’t think you can hire sun umbrellas, but lots of people bring little tents to sit in! We were lucky that we arrived fairly early and were able to find a gap in the shade under the trees at the back of the beach.


There aren’t any restaurants but there is a little refreshment kiosk selling cold drinks and dumplings so you won’t starve, but it’s still a good idea to bring your own food and drink (if you can carry it – we always end up taking huge amounts to the beach with our young children!).


This is somewhere where I would have never thought of going myself but some friends invited us, and I’m so glad they did! So I’m sharing it with you too. It’s not exactly a secret but I don’t think that most people go there.


What is your favourite beach in Hong Kong? I’d love to hear other people’s opinions!

Thanks for reading!