“Cookie Butter Coconut Rice Pudding”

trader joes speculoos cookie butter

After a long day’s work, it’s all about being creative in the kitchen with what you can find. I managed to put together some chicken wraps and a coconut rice pudding one night from what was in the pantry.

I must admit, some days I found it difficult to blog about “finding art in the everyday”, despite the entire premise I initially started out with – that anything can be art.

So when I found an unexpected spark of creative genius and inspiration during my 30 minute rush of trying to put together a meal before I got #hangry, it re-charged my creative battery .

The chicken wraps turned out well, but the coconut rice pudding was a little bland. As I was stirring the pudding with unsatisfaction, it hit me. I had Trader Joes’s Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter.

trader joes speculoos cookie butter

Should I? Could I? Hesitantly I took a spoon and stirred it into the pudding.

Eureka! It worked! It really did work! And it was good! Very good.

So there you go. Cookie Butter Coconut Rice Pudding.

In that exciting breakthrough, I remembered that creativity comes unexpectedly, even when you’re not trying. So trust yourself to take chances. That’s how new things get made.

Cookie Butter Coconut Rice Pudding Recipe:

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup of sticky rice
3-4 cups of coconut milk
5 tbsp sugar
2-3 tbsp. of cookie butter

1. Put the water into a medium size pot and bring to a boil. 2. When the water is boiling, bring the heat down to medium and stir in your rice. When the rice has absorbed most of the water, begin to add in the coconut milk, 1/2 cup at a time until absorbed. Keep stirring and adding coconut milk until the rice is cooked. This will take aprox. 20 minutes.
3. When the rice has absorbed all the fluid and cooked all the way through, turn the heat off. Stir in your sugar and cookie butter.
4. Enjoy warm or cold.

Note: This post was not endorsed by Trader Joe’s. It really is just delicious.

“Art In The Dark: But, How?”

Inside my boot by Richelle Himaya

“Inside My Shoe”, 2015
Digital photograph
iPhone camera

As I logged offline and turned off the lights during this year’s Earth Hour, I sat alone thinking to myself, now what am I going to do? And as the clocked ticked, I asked myself, what if it was always dark, or if there were only glimpses of light, what would I do to be creative?

In the middle of writing my paper last night, a black-out happened. I was out of luck on power with my cellphone battery at 1% and my laptop holding on by a bar. It was late and I decided I’d give up on freaking out on how I’d finish my paper, or how I’d go on Twitter to check if Toronto Hydro had tweeted out any messages of power outages in the area.

I sat in my bed and relaxed. Sometimes art is in the quiet, or in not seeing. Sometimes art is not doing anything.

In art class, we’d focus  on an object and draw or paint it. Classes were usually 3 hours at a time. What was nice about it was that in that time you were able to just  take a break from the  hustle and bustle of the outside world.

Inside my boot by Richelle Himaya

So art in the dark? Why not? Maybe looking at each black-out as an opportunity to just log off is the opportunity to create nothing. Who says you need anything to show to make art.

“3 Tips: Easy Sketchbook”

Sketchbook Project - Tabs by Richelle Himaya

Just near the end of last year, I finally mustered up to fork out the cash to get a sketchbook from The Sketchbook Project. My dreams of finally being able to exhibit again, even if it wasn’t in a gallery, would somewhat be fulfilled as it traveled across the U.S. and perhaps be chosen to be looked at out of the thousands of other sketchbooks in the library.

The pressure was on. What would I put in it? It was going to be digitized and people would be able to see it. What if it looked…well…bad!

And so the only reasonable solution was to of course, procrastinate until 3 days before the deadline to mail it back to Brooklyn, NY. Not to mention, by the time I finally realized that my $70 would go to waste if I didn’t fill up the pages pronto and mail it out however means necessary was on a weekend and the earliest mailout would be 2 days before the deadline!

I spent a minute going back to my old ways and began to over think what I’d fill the pages up with again and then I told myself to quit it! Time is literally money!

So here are some tips to fill up a sketchbook if ever you’re in the situation where you need to fill up a $70 sketchbook and mail it out to Brooklyn in time for it’s American tour:

1. Cut paper. Do it and repeat it. Stick it and move on! Patterns are very contemporary!

Sketchbook Project - Tabs by Richelle Himaya

2. Draw a box and some lines. Voila! You got yourself an abstract composition.

Sketchbook Project - Fishing by Richelle Himaya

3. Sketch a face. The roughness of the lines adds to the emotion of the person in the portrait.

Sketchbook Project -self portrait by richelle himaya

There you go. 3 easy tips to get any sketchbook done. No fuss about it! Look out for my sketchbook online. Search: Richelle Himaya. It’ll probably take another 3 months.

“Awkward Experiment”


First Car Wash

Awkward Experiment, 2009 – Present
Free WordPress.com blog, The Ryu Theme template

In 2009, as part of a studio course I took in undergrad, we dealt with seeing art in new ways and one of the topics was digital art. I created a blog called the Awkward Experiment and it was more of a way for me to jot in random, playful and awkward experiences of life with having little to no context and to see how people would respond. I didn’t intend to have much of an audience, but if found, could be something they could scratch their heads or giggle at.

A lot of the time we experience things, pause to process what happened, maybe laugh it off, then move on. But wouldn’t it be neat if we could capture those pauses and keep a note of what made it memorable? What if we didn’t have a camera to capture that time in a photograph?

I had a laptop. When you hit the keys as you type, doesn’t it made a sound? Couldn’t then your laptop be made into an instrument?

If art really can be anything, then can’t we use anything to make anything?

Share your ideas on some outside-the-box tools for making art.

“#Project365 #Self”

#Project365 #Self

#Project365 #Self, 2015
Digital photography
iPhone 5s camera, Instagram app

In my attempt to get creative in the midst of the crazy Mondays, not-much-lesser crazy Tuesdays-Wednesdays-Thursdays, TGIFs, no sleep-in Saturdays, and church Sundays, I started a 365 project.

There were 2 things I could always count on that I’d have at all times: my phone and my face! So, for my 365 project, I decided that I would take a self portrait each day for a year. I didn’t want my project’s focus to be on how to make a perfectly composed portrait (although that’d be pretty cool). I wanted to explore what made each day’s portrait unique and the reality of how someone probably looks when plopping on the couch after a hard day’s work – tired!

I was never really the type to get on the #selfie wave because I didn’t like being photographed, so this project was quite the push to get outside of my comfort zone. Plus, because it was going to be on Instagram, other people would see it too.

At times, I found myself trying to find the right angle, choose a nice background and pick the right filters and it soon became too much work. So, I decided to leave it up to chance and just shoot. What turns out is an interesting account of that day even when you think you didn’t do anything special. Each photo ends up being unique and I began to finslly be comfortable seeing myself.

Have fun and give it a try. Don’t be afraid of your own face! You’re lovely!

Share links to your #365projects with me in the comments below.

“New Streetcar!”

new streetcar

I saw it! I finally saw it!

It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed the simple things in downtown, Toronto. I grew up in Jamestown, just by Wellesley and Parliament, and later moved to Scarborough. As I’ve previously mentioned, I attend church on Sundays, which happens to be in the Bathurst and St. Clair West area, so this does get me back in the city. Surprise! I saw the new Toronto streetcar for the first time. Why was I jumping up and down in the church parking lot? Because the new streetcar looks awesome! How amazing would it be if that excitement happened more often.

Nuit Blanche, the all-night contemporary arts festival that happens once a year, tries to capture that same excitement of seeing something unexpected in our public spaces.

So my challenge to the City of Toronto and all artists alike is let’s make the excitement happen more often!

“Popcorn Palette”


Any guesses? If you said Garett’s popcorn in Garret Mix on a cement ground enlarged and pixelated beyond recognition, you would’ve been right.

Below was the original photo taken using my iPhone.


When I say inspiration can come from anywhere, why not start with the ground up. Or from the sky down. Whatever.

To enlarge the photo, I didn’t use anything fancy. I opened up the original photo on Paint, zoomed in, then cropped.

Do it yourself and share your palettes with me @icallthisblog.

Note: This is not a paid endorsement for Garrett’s popcorn.

“Window Tour”


I looked out a window and just kept looking.

How often do I look at photographs in depth anymore? Not very much.

I decided to go through some old photographs of my trip to Chicago last October and put together the “Window Tour.” In a time when technology has allowed us to capture images faster than we can click, we often don’t see the little things that make each second different. Here’s my way of going back.

Click on the image above to view the entire set.

“It’s not funny”


Today’s Pink Shirt Day, also known as Anti-Bullying Day.

Personally I’ve been bullied growing up, and I think it’s very rare that a person can say they’ve never been bullied. Come to think of it, I’ve never heard anyone say they’ve never been bullied before. And if you can remember, it’s a horrible feeling.It makes you feel alone and very low. It’s embarrassing and it makes you feel powerless. And as much as people think it can be ignored – it’s nearly impossible.

For those of you struggling right now – don’t be afraid to get help.

Share and help raise awareness to #StopBullying. #Itsnotfunny