Archive | May 2014

DIY Jade at Lu-Fung Jade Workshop, Hualien, Taiwan

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My mum and her auntie pattern. Haha.

Lu Fung Official Website
Address: No. 91 Zhongxiao Street, Shoufong Township, Hualien, Taiwan.
Email: lufung97@yahoo.com.tw
Tel: +8863 865 2323

After Jade hunting at Baibao creek shared in the previous post, we went to Lu Fung Jade Workshop (如豐琢玉工坊) nearby to have our raw jade made into accessories. If you didn’t bring your own Jade, you can also pick some rough ones at the workshop to try DIYing your own jade accessories at a fee. You get to take them home.

This workshop is funded by the government to retain the heritage of jade booming industry back in the 1920s – 1940s. Back then, Taiwan jade was mined by the Japanese and was extremely famous around the world. In the town where Baibao creek is, many families survived on Jade crafts and the town was prospering. But after years of prosperity, the town got complacent and the industry died. In order to preserve this part of the history, the government support Lu Fung Jade workshop which allowed visitors to learn more on Jade processing.

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Above is a quick recap of what we picked!

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Here’s how to differentiate a jade versus a rock, jade allows light to penetrate!

There are five steps in the process.

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Step 1: Cutting them to reveal more details and characteristics of the raw jade. In the above picture, the raw jade is huge and that is the size you will pick when you go after Typhoon season!

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Remember the big green one we picked? The Jade craft master cut it into half to reveal the jade inside. Isn’t it amazing? What looks like a rough rock revealed the beauty of the jade inside! The master advised us to keep the jade as per the way it is. After cutting it into halves, it looks like a rugged jade mountain paperweight.

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Step 2 & 3: It involves the designing and cutting of the rock to the desired shape.

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Step 4: Smoothing out the jade using sand paper like material. This is really tough! While trying it out, I hear my fingers getting scratched!

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We are not very good students. We really suck at it. Haha.

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Trying hard to focus on it but still sucks.

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Gave up and got the master to do it!

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Step 5: Polishing and Buffering the jade using horse skin. This step we left it entirely to the master as it requires great technique and tolerance for heat!

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Step 6: Assembling and adding finishing touch.

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That’s my final product! A teardrop shape keepsake! The transformation is amazing! There is a Chinese Proverbs which goes

“玉不琢不成器,人不学不成才” which is translated as “Jade must be carved and polished before it becomes an ornament, man must be educated before he can achieve great things.” and yes, isn’t it true!

Jade Picking at Bai Bao Creek, Hualien

Another one of my favorite destination in our Taiwan Trip is Bai Bao Creek (白鮑溪) in Hua lien. During a holiday, I prefer to be engaged in an activity while taking in the scenery, it definitely beats just making a photo stop at a location.

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At Bai Bao Creek, we were there to hunt for jade! As the source of the stream flows from an old Jade mine, there are plenty of raw Jades left for picking even after the miners stop mining them.

According to our tour guide driver, around 3 days after the typhoon seasons, the jades which are picked are bigger than palm size and they are rolling around you for your picking. Usually the aboriginals will go upstream in the forested area to pick them and sell them to the nearby Jade workshop. Even though there are plenty of jades to pick after Typhoon season (October – November), it is a dangerous activity (plenty of snakes), takes a lot of energy (to carry those rocks down) and requires a lot of luck (it must be around 3 days after typhoon season). Our tour guide driver once happened to be available for picking and managed to lug down a whole bag full of jade!

Even though it wasn’t Typhoon season during our picking (mid May), we did manage to pick a few in that 1 – 2 hours of picking. It requires some techniques, patience and luck!

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That’s my family hunting for jade! There are a lot of back bending activities, lifting huge boulders aside, balancing in the fast moving streams and algae covered rocks and attempting to differentiate between rocks and jades!

A few characteristics of raw jade, they are green and when put against sunlight, it is a little translucent.

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Too bad we are only there for a short 1 – 2 hours, otherwise, I would love to swim in the stream! The water is crystal clear and very cooling! Perfect for a dip during a hot day!

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That’s me and my sister showing off all the loots we picked! To give credit to the real pickers, my Dad picked one decent size and quality jade which is suitable for further processing, my sister’s boyfriend picked one decent size and quality jade and a few rough ones of good size. I picked a lot of tiny ones which we can’t do much with them and my mum picked a huge rock with only 5% of jade content in there while my better half, he got none as the heat got into him. Haha.

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You see the big black one? That’s the one my mum found! Haha. She was resting and playing with water most of the time. It seems like we picked a lot, but there is only 2 which can be further processed. The rest is either too thin or that there are cracks in the jade which is not suitable for processing.

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The big green one was found by the tour guide driver! He is good! In the next post, I will share how it looks like after processing them!

“8 reasons why I feel like the Luckiest Girl on Earth”

Here is a post which I have been meaning to write. It is a post all about him and I felt so proud of him while writing this post. No, I am not sharing who he is here but I would like to share on why he is such a great person to love. I often read articles shared on Facebook like “When you know you are dating a gentleman” or “Top 10 things that differentiate a man and a boy” and all.

Here is my very own list of “8 reasons why I feel like the luckiest girl on Earth” and I feel really proud penning this down. Basically, it is a list of things which guys can do (some of the points are very broad and can apply to girls too) if you want your girl to feel like the luckiest girl on earth. HAHA.

“8 reasons why I feel like the luckiest girl on Earth”

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  • Because he sacrifices his own comfort for my comfort without a word of complaint

He often picks me up from Yoga even after his own workout session just to ensure that I have my dinner and that I get home safety and comfortably. The yoga studio is usually either in town or in the north and it takes a long time for me to get home. Very often, I will just settle for bread as dinner after the session because of the traveling time. But he will rush his workout session and dinner, just so he can pick me up!

  • Because he spends time with my family, actively talk to my granny and participate in family activities

You know how sometimes you feel that it’s such a chore to talk/spend time to/you’re your relatives and families where they can be longwinded and intrusive? But whenever we visit my family, he will actively talk to my grandma and participate in whatever that is going on. My grandma even told me that he is very easy to love. Haha. Awww.

  • Because he often makes me look good in front of his family

He often initiates to buy food and gifts for his family and when we present the gifts for them, he will often say it is from me! Tell me how not to love this man? But that aside, he still shares my clumsy and forgetful moments with his family just to tease and laugh at me. So perhaps, he doesn’t exactly paint a good picture of me in front of his family. Haha.

  • Because he loves me for who I am

He is rather accepting of my clumsy, forgetful, overthinking, emo and messy nature. Instead of nagging me, he chooses to advise, laugh, poke and tease me. This man accepts whatever I am and is amused most of the time.

  • Because he makes me a better person

Sometimes he is my better half (the other time, I am!) where he teaches me to take care of my health, drink more water and exercise more. His love for his family and sacrificial love even for his extended family makes me want to be a better person like he is too. Whenever his family asked him to pick up his aunt from the dialysis centre even on a Saturday night where it can be disruptive to his social plans, he has no complaints. He never once needed to be asked to send or pick up his family members when they go on a holiday.  He is also a kind person. Do you know of anyone who picks up snails on the road and put them to the grass patch just so it won’t be crushed by pedestrians? Perhaps the snails will be screaming silently “Not this WAY!” but he saved their lives. Haha.

  • Because he don’t mind spending extravagant amount on gifts on special occasion but it must be useful and can make me happy

So I will never receive my Chanel 3.55 from him but boy, he got me a Cable Box when I am stuck in a room with four walls and no entertainment, an iPad Air so that we can watch movies on budget flight to holidays and now, he is going to sponsor half of the tour package for the upcoming New Zealand trip for my birthday! But at this rate of spending, we will never be rich. Boo. Haha.

  • Because he is my cheerleader and motivator in life

Sometimes he inevitably stresses me when he asks me when I’m going yoga, not because he wants to stress me but just because he needs to make arrangement to pick me up.  This ensures that I go for my yoga lessons at least three times a week. After each session, without fail, he will say good job and I felt like a shining star thereafter!

  • Because I can learn new things from him

He has the most amazing knowledge on cooking and animals which was accumulated from the years of watching food channels and Nat Geo/ Animal Planet.  He has so many fun facts about animals that I’ve never heard before. At times, I will doubt him of the theory though. Haha.

So what are some things your other halves do that makes you feel like the luckiest person? Do share and add to the list!

Rainbow Village, Tai Chung, Taiwan

My second favourite place would be Rainbow Village (彩虹眷村) in Tai Chung. This place was added last minute into our itinerary as we had sometime for a quick tour and photo taking.

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The bright cheerful colours in this Rainbow Village cheered everyone there who visited the site.

In the 1950s, Rainbow village was built for nationalist soldiers, where it later becomes a residential area. Previously, the Government of Taiwan intended to pull down this village for redevelopment, but because of Rainbow Grandpa (彩虹爺爺)’s drawing, the government decided to save this village. His drawing became famous after people petition to preserve it. Rainbow Grandpa still resides in this village and without any formal training in Art, he painted every walls, doors, grounds, rocks and more! His imagination and creativity is amazing! Till date, he continues to paint even in his late 80s and volunteers assisted him by printing his work on post cards and accessories to fund his interest.

Here are the pictures!

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No stone left alone! Haha.

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This is the entrance to Rainbow Grandpa’s House!

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We were also very lucky to be able to meet Rainbow Grandpa himself who is nice to allow us to take a picture with him. When I absentmindedly left the postcard on the table, he even reminded me to take it! Haha.

Evergreen Grassland, Cingjing, Taiwan

I know I’ve been away for a while and if you’ve been following me on Instagram @somethingboutrenes, you will know that I went for a holiday in Taiwan! It was an awesome 9 days and I’m going to slowly share some of my favourite sites which we have visited! Boo. Holiday is over and can’t wait for my next holiday to Hanoi in July!

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Ok now about this place we visited. It is my favourite place in Taiwan, Evergreen Grassland at Cingjing! This place is perfect for people of all ages! Who doesn’t love fluffy sheep? Except my sister who cried and refused to walk down the hill. Haha. Our tour driver guide got to drive up to pick her up!

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I think this is the only place where I have this gleeful smile in all pictures taken here!

I love the experience of feeding the sheep and oh, the view was amazing! Here are some pictures of the Evergreen Grassland at Cingjing!

There are two parts to this farm, the first is to interact and feed the free-roaming sheep. During weekends, they even have sheep shearing performance and other sheep performance. Almost like a mini New Zealand! We didn’t go during a weekend but it was still all good fun.

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If you are wondering why the snacks are all on the floor, it is because I got so nervous when the sheep starts charging towards me while I was dropping coins into the machine. When they pushed and stomped on my feet, I quickly dropped the last coin in the machine and forgot all about the brown paper bag. Oops.

The second part of the park is where the cute Windmill is at! It is also where the rest of the sheep is kept behind the fence and is where the best pictures are taken. There is also a horse show where riders from Mongolia do acrobatic acts while riding horses.

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After you exit the park, you will see many vendors selling local snacks and fresh fruits! One of the interesting sight is a honey store which displayed how these hard worker bees pick up pollen from flowers! Look at those tiny yellow balls next to their legs, they are flower pollens!

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Really miss the rolling hills, the fresh clean air and the cute fluffy sheep among the green green grass!