Explore The Secret Garden In Your Heart

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

🌟 Check out the making process of the Garden Floral Dress 👗🌸

girl in a garden surreal fashion digital art
“Garden Explore”
Fashion design & Digital art: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

*All outdoor photos taken with no one else around. Keep safe social distancing.

No.9_Esthers Waltz by Esther Abrami

The Garden Explorer

I remember when I was a kid, every day I woke up with excitement and anticipation. The outside world always seemed colorful and magical. A park, a playground, a plot, a back yard, even a sidewalk can make me stop and wonder for a while, and of course, there is the wonderful light from the sun, mystical clouds, aromatic herbs, the pleasant sound of birds……I was always interested in and inspired by the simple things around me. I could make many places my secret garden, a hidden alter for me to paint and write all the untold stories.

girl and cat in a garden surreal digital art
“Secret Garden”
Fashion design & Digital art: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

Find Inner Peace & Joy

As I’ve got older, for a long time,  I felt I lost the ability to sense and explore the charms around me, because life got too busy and complicated. I either did not have time or I did not have the energy to cherish the lovely little things around me, instead, I was stressed with other things, the same stuff all adults stressed with, I felt just stuck in repeated circles…….Till one day I realized it is actually pretty simple to get myself grounded again.

girl wears pink floral dress straw hat
“Garden Party”
Fashion design & Digital art: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

I have noticed that when I choose to listen to my heart and allow myself to enjoy the things around me, allow myself to be simple again, I automatically let go of unnecessary anxieties that distract me. The same simple things inspire me and present new ideas if I allow myself to be open. The desire to explore and create, which not only brings me joy but also brings me inner peace. The secret garden is always there.

The Secret Garden

brooklyn botanic garden
Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden
Image by USA-Resisebologer from Pixabay

Brooklyn Botanic Garden was founded in 1910, a beautiful estate located in between prospect park and Brooklyn Museum. The combination of exotic plants and the unique ‘Garden within the Gardens” design highlights the whimsical charm of this place. I visit this Botanical Garden every year, every season. Every visit brings me something new and refreshing, the smell of flowers & trees, the sound of birds and bees, the cross-cultural architectures …… maybe they are exactly the same plants, the same buildings, but there is always something different when you let yourself to explore.

pink roses in a garden
Garden Roses
Photo by Joel Halbert

The truth is, no matter where you are, no matter how many times you pass through the same things and situations, you are not trapped. It is up to you to discover the beauty around you and you can build your own secret garden.

Wonder Journey In Dumbo, New York……Bring Magic Into Reality

wonder girl baby doll dress
“Lost In The Wonderland–Night Play”

The Max Family Garden, Dumbo, New York. 2020

Fashion& Digital Design: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

The joy of wondering

Summer is short this year in New York, it is probably short in other places in the world as well. The virus “Covid” is like a hidden lock, closing the usual activities and entertainment. Without beaches, vacations, and parties, summer seems never really begins, the fall is already here. But it’s ok, I am not all that disappointed, I started my journey of wonder, I simply find there is no time for feeling down.

One thing I do a lot during the pandemic is free my imagination to wonder. It might sound a bit easy and lazy, but when you put your ideas into action, you will push yourself to learn and create. The process of wondering and creating generates magical and positive energy.

(*Note: All outdoor photos taken with no one else around . Safe social distancing, safe photoshoot.)

girl and bird surreal art
“Lost In Wonderland–Dawn Play” The Max Family Garden, Dumbo, New York. 2020

Fashion& Digital Design: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war with reality.”

Alice started her adventure with curiosity, wondered through the rabbit hole, she explored the most bizarre and exciting world. I often wake up with odd and funny dreams, which add lots of colors in my night world. While the day-time is filled with routine, I would think about how to turn magic into reality, it turns out there are many ways. One way is to be open to your wondering imagination, get inspiration, then take action. Before the pandemic, I knew nothing about pattern making (Patternmaking for Fashion Design)or sewing, now I can not stop creating my own clothing designs and transferring them into digital art. It is a learning process, I explore, I make mistakes and I enjoy it very much.

The baby doll dress for the curious kids

alice in wonderland inspired dress
“Lost In The Wonderland–Day play”
The Max Family Garden, Dumbo, New York. 2020

Fashion& Digital Design: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

This cotton baby doll dress is a wonderful piece for me. I found the cotton fabric online and they are actually meant for kids’ wear. However, I immediately had the look of the baby doll dress in my mind when I sew the fabrics, it is a perfect type of dress for the forever kid in my heart.

Materials For creating this baby doll dress

  • The baby doll dress pattern
  • Light cotton Fabrics. eg: cotton lawn, cotton poplin
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing needles and threads
  • Pins
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Fabric scissors
  • Steam Iron

Sketch, Cut and Sew

DIY baby doll dress sewing pattern
DIY baby doll dress sewing pattern

The Wonderland

This stop of the wonder journey is The Max Family Garden, located in Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY.  This open-air garden shares a wall with St. Ann’s Warehouse, a performing-arts venue.  The original brick walls and the scenic archways represent an industrial and rustic aesthetic, they also provide access for community members and visitors to come together for exploration and inspiration. I have visited Dumbo many times before, this garden corner always fascinated me. The Max Family garden, any garden in-fact is a wonderland if you want it to be.

Chai Tea White Russian Mocktail With Homemade Non-alcoholic Coffee liqueur

I decided to make this Chai Tea White Russian mocktail after craving for my old-time favorite cocktail: White Russian. Back to a couple years ago, I would just go get the liquors and make a cocktail in no time. However, the more I drink tea the more I feel it is more fun to try to create tea-infused mocktails. The process is whimsical and profound.

chait-tea-white-russian-mocktail
Chai Tea White Russian Mocktail

This mocktail is combined with chai tea and homemade coffee liqueur. It is very easy to make, and you can even make it a decaf version with decaf chai and decaf instant coffee. The taste is still as wonderful!

chai-russian-ingredients
Ingredients

Chai Tea

chai herbs
Chai Herbs

Chai Tea is a black tea mixed with aromatic Indian spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and black pepper. Chai tea has a distinctive fragrant. It is known for helping digestion, lowering blood sugar and boosting immunity.  It can also be a coffee substitute due to the caffeine content of chai tea.

iced chai tea
Iced Chai Tea

Chai tea tastes great by itself, is a balance of spicy and sweetness, it also goes well with milk, cream or non-dairy nut milk. You can enjoy it hot or cold.

Non-alcoholic Coffee Liqueur

non alcoholic coffee liqueur
Non-alcoholic Coffee Liqueur

This homemade coffee liqueur is easy and delicious. Even without alcohol, the combination of coffee and cocoa definitely gives you a nice buzz. With the sweetness of brown sugar and the aroma from vanilla extract, this coffee liqueur stands up well next to anything shop-bought.

Chai Tea White Russian

With some fresh cream on the top and pinches of cinnamon powder, this Chai Tea white Russian mocktail is finished. The taste of it is smooth and aromatic. The sweetness and spice from chai perfectly balanced with the chocolate coffee liqueur, the final touch of cream just makes everything smooth and gentle.

chai-tea-russian-with-cinnamon
Chai Tea Russian With Cinnamon

Ingredients:

  • 4 bags of chai tea ( or decaf chai tea)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee powder ( or decaf coffee powder)
  • 1 1/4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup
  • 2-3 tbsp heavy cream (or half & half)
  • Water

Method:

1. Put chai tea bags into a glass jar, add hot boiled water, let it steep for 6 mins.

2. Take out the tea bags, add simple syrup into the jar, stir, let it cool down.

3. Pour 1 1/2 cup of water into a pot, boil.

4. Add brown sugar, instant coffee powder, cocoa powder, vanilla extract into the pot,           stir well, turn off the heat.

5. Pour the coffee liqueur mixture from the pot into a glass jar, let it cool down.

6. In a glass filled with ice, add 2 1/2 ounce chai tea mixture and 1 3/4 ounce coffee liqueur.

7. Add 1 1/2 ounce heavy cream ( or half & half)

8. Sprinkle cinnamon powders on the top.

9. Enjoy!!!

Related Art:

afternoon-tea-digital-art
“Afternoon Tea” digital art by Terrisa Chen @Rock Ur Tongue

Check Out More Tea Mocktail recipes:

Blue Butterfly Flower & Oolong Tea Mocktail

A Delicious, Magical, Dreamy Tea Mocktail –– Violet Fizz

“Violet Fizz” is a non-alcoholic drink that is extremely delicious and dreamy. The magic blue-purplish color with the creamy white foam is just beautiful and tempting.  It takes a bit of time to make this mocktail, but the process of making it is full of fun and surprise. It certainly encourages me to be creative, and I found that if I try to be creative, magic is everywhere.

violet fizz mocktail
Violet Fizz: blue butterfly flower tea-infused mocktail

This beautiful herbal tea-infused mocktail gets a magical appearance and a tasteful flavor. The components of this drink are made from three main parts: blue butterfly flower tea; egg white and cream; sugar and citrus.

violet fizz ingredients
Violet Fizz Ingredients

The Violet Color

The dreamy violet color of this drink comes from butterfly pea flower tea. It is known for its ability to change colors depending on the PH level. Since there is a combination of lime juice and lemon juice in this drink, the acidity changes the tea’s color from blue to purple. In this drink, I made some blue ice cubes from the butterfly pea flower tea first and crushed the ice, so when I pour the lime and lemon juice infused mixture into the crushed ice, it turns a magical violet color.

purple crushed ice
Crushed ice

The white foam

The lovely white foam comes from cream and eggwhite. For a rich foam, You can do a dry shake first and then do a shake with ice.  I chose to shake with ice directly because the last touch of club soda really did the trick for foaming up the top. However, It is important to give the egg white and other ingredients a thorough shake. ( shake about 2 mins) I used a copper cocktail shaker.

foam-top

The Taste

The taste of this drink is rich, refreshing and full of layers. It is Sweet and citrus, fruity and creamy. With the fragrant of butterfly pea flower tea and the aroma of orange blossom, this mocktail drink is simply indulging!

drink with a straw
Enjoy it with a straw

 

Violet Fizz

Ingredients:

  • Blue butterfly flower tea ( butterfly pea flower tea)  10 g
  • Lime juice 1/2 oz
  • Lemon juice 1/2 oz
  • Simple syrup 1 1/4 oz
  • Heavy cream 1 oz
  • Egg white 1
  • Orange blossom water 1/6 oz
  • Orange Peel 1-2
  • Club soda

Method:

  1. Boil some water.
  2. Put the dried butterfly pea flower in a glass or cup, add boiled water. Steep for 5 mins and let it cool down.
  3. Pour the blue tea into an ice cube tray, freeze the tray about 4 hours.
  4. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Pour in lime juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, heavy cream, egg white, and orange blossom water.
  5. Shake, shake, shake ( about 2 mins).
  6. Pour the mixture into a tumbler glass.
  7. When the blue ice cubes are ready, take them out from the tray and put them into a high-speed blender.
  8. Crush the ice with high-speed mode.
  9. Add the crushed ice into the tumbler glass.
  10. Top with club soda.
  11. Add orange zest on the top.
  12. Enjoy it with a straw.

 

mermaid cat digital art
“Mermaid Cat” Digital Art by Terrisa Chen

Check Out Tea Drink Recipe with blue Butterfly flower Tea & Oolong Tea:

Homemade Milk Tea With Blue Butterfly Flower, Oolong And Whipped Cream