Friday, April 17, 2015

Tatting elbow

Hey folks,

Ever since I caught tatting fever last weekend, I had been tatting up a storm. Tatting for me comes and goes. Sometimes I even forget tatting exists. Then my interest gets reignited and off I go.

For the past few days I had been sitting on my ass just literally tatting away. Yesterday I made my last tatted item and decided to stop. The fever was over. Besides my elbow was hurting and I do believe I have developed tatting elbow. I could also easily have hurt my elbow some other way as I am extremely clumsy. I hope the elbow stops hurting because it's my right elbow and I am right handed. Also every Friday, I go for my cardiomix class which has some sort of kickboxing thingy and I need a good working pair of elbows. (kickboxing sounds so cool rite? it's just crazy swinging of arms and legs)

So I was tatting rite, and I decided to make the items in my craftsy shuttle tatting class. This craftsy shuttle tatting class is taught by Marilee Rockley and there are 7 projects altogether. The projects build up your tatting skills. I will tell you what I think of this class later on. I signed up for this class around 2 years ago but I only made 1 item. It was the floret tatted earrings and I gave it away to my friend, Vivian who loved it. And I have a photo of her wearing the earrings somewhere on my computer but I have no idea which folder to look under. So...

Anyway, I thought it was time I attempt a few more items in the class. The first thing I made was the same floret tatted earrings. It is a fairly easy and straightforward tatting. This time I made them for myself. Nowadays I want to be very selective when it comes to making stuff. I don't want to make every damn thing. Like do you go shopping and then tell yourself, "I can make that. And that. And that." AND you actually make them? With so much clutter in my life, I want to make stuff that I would use. And that's why I took the trouble to buy stainless steel earrings findings. Stainless steel is not surgical steel so it's possible my skin will react badly. Only time will tell. When it comes to jewellery, I like it to have some gold, platinum or a gun metal look. I got really lucky I was able to find earrings findings AND jump rings in gold to match the golden beads. I think I'll rock these floret earrings.

 
Next project... I was very attracted to the classic edge bracelet and I used red thread with blue toho beads. Again, not a difficult pattern. It's just a lot of repeats. I can see myself wearing this bracelet for many years. For the closure, I used a toggle clasp. Can you tell I love this bracelet so much?


This next rhapsody necklace I wasn't attracted to at all. Now I said I would choose my projects carefully and not end up making something I won't use. But the instructions looked complicated and I had never done any tatting that had a mirror look. I attempted this project solely to upgrade my skills. Well, I must say I learnt a few tricks. But making it was a nightmare. It was very easy to make mistakes and I certainly made a few which I couldn't undo. All in all, it wasn't fun at all. Plus, it turned out quite ugly. Okay, it's butt ugly. I will never wear it. If I make it again using a thinner thread, I may like it more but I don't think I can go through another process of making it again.



I was excited to make this next bracelet because it's my kind of thing. It is fairly easy, lots of repeats and it used split rings. But after making it and trying it on, I see that parts of it tend to stick up. I tried to get them to stay flat but it just won't work. Somehow the sticking up part spoilt the look of the bracelet for me.



There was a parfait snowflake which I didn't make but I watched it mainly just to learn something. And there was another pair of earrings which I deemed far too ugly to make. But I sat through it as well.

Now I'm going to tell you what I think of the class but you want to take it with a pinch of salt because this is just my experience. First of all, I am a fan of Marilee Rockley, the instructor. I think her tattings are really gorgeous. But if I were brand new to shuttle tatting and I take her class on craftsy? I think blood would come out of my nose, my eyes and my ears. Maybe my head would explode. I think a lot of the fault lies with the camera person/producer/director of the class. When you want a close up of what she is doing and mind you tatting is very small and hard to see, guess what? You will get a front shot of the teacher from the chest up. Why? The point of view of the camera irritated me as well. Like stay with her hands, come on! Pay attention. Also, Marilee doesn't show to the camera the in-progress shots of her tatting nearly as clearly as I would like. I was able to follow the class mainly because shuttle tatting is not new to me. Still there were times when I had to replay over and over just to understand what was going on. This was especially true for the rhapsody necklace. So why did I enrol in this class? I was attracted to adding beads to tatting. I have tried bead tatting before and I learnt it from a book. But the process of learning from a book caused blood to spill out of my eyes, ears, nose and mouth and maybe my head exploded a little. So did I get anything out of this class? Yes, I achieved my goal of learning about adding beads to tatting and I am happy about that.

If you are new to shuttle tatting there are lots of youtube videos available. Like tatted treasures and she is just one of many. Marilee offers some free tutes too. See here. Tatted treasures as well as Marilee use the traditional way of holding a shuttle. I think most people who can't tat have problems with the traditional way of holding a shuttle. There's a youtube instructor who teaches another way of holding the shuttle. I tried it and it's a lot easier to get. Try it here. She has over a hundred tatting videos but they are silent ones. There are English instructions so if you can get used to the non-verbal...p.s. she has crazy nails too. I have tried switching to this new method of holding a shuttle but you know what? My muscle memory automatically uses the traditonal way.

Tat's all for now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

If you drink...



Folks,

Hands up those of you who drink. And how much do you drink?

One glass a day? Okay.
Two? Hmmm.
Three? Really....

Okay, I'm just messing with you. I'm not the alcohol police and this is not an intervention. I thought you guys might be interested in this new The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act which kicked in from 1st April.

Under The Liqour Control Act, these are not allowed:
• No drinking in public places between 10.30pm and 7am.
• Retail shops have to stop selling alcohol after 10.30pm. Also no takeaway from drinking places after 10.30pm.

• 2 areas, Little India and Geylang designated Liquor Control Zone face stricter control.
Drinking alcobol public spaces is banned in these zones from 7am on Saturdays to 7am on Mondays, as well as from 7pm on the eve of a public holiday to 7am on the day after the holiday.

A first-time offence for illegal drinking will carry a fine of up to $1,000, while repeat offenders could be fined a maximum of $2,000 and may face a jail term of up to three months. Shops selling alcohol beyond the permitted hours may face a fine of up to $10,000. Penalty for offences commited in the Liquor Control Zone are significantly higher - 1.5X more.

How do I feel about this Bill taking effect? I'm all for it. But then again, I do not drink. Neither does hubs. So we are not curbed in any way. Imagine having to remember the restrited hours and know if you are in a Liquor Control Zone. My choice of poison is tea and so is hub's. Now if drinking/purchase of tea is restricted, that would be a different matter...... I would start a (online) protest.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tatted Pendant

Last night I shared this tatting-in-progress pic on my Instagram (projectsbyjane). Now I know me well. Many of my in-progress work end up forever in-progress. Have you looked in my tatting container? It's horrible. Tangled thread and so many in-progress motifs. The problem with tatting and also with crochet? All that stupid end threads you have to hide. Ugh.  All my in-progress tatting just need the end threads hidden!!!

Well, instead of finishing up all my old in-progress tats, I made a brand new motif - with a black and red Lizbeth #20 thread. A lot of tatting are variations of doilies. You know who doesn't need a doily? Me. They are dust trappers and with so much stuff in my home collecting dust, the last thing I want is one more dust trapper.

So my tatted doily is my new pendant. This tatting is easy to make. You know what's the hard part? Putting in the two split rings. Ugh. Is there an instrument out there to do this insanely difficult task? I had to do it with my eyes closed for fear the rings would fly into my eye.


I made a few small mistakes with this tatted pendant but they were so minor I didn't feel like unpicking and fixing them.


I only have a few necklaces to choose from and I picked this surgical steel chain because it is not too thick for the delicate pendant.

I found it hard to photograph my tatted pendant in my balcony. So I held it in my hand and stuck it out of the "window". There's no window, just an empty space with window grilles which I had pushed to one side. As you can see, I have a maker's hand. Crinkly and slightly rough and my hidden index finger has a forever peeled skin look.

I wasn't entirely happy with my shot so I tried something else. I let my hand dangle out of the "window" and got this shot. Too bad the wind made the pendant move around.

To prevent the pendant from flying around, I leaned as far out as I could and placed the pendant against the wall outside my flat. With my right hand, I fumbled with the setting and took this shot. And that was when I realised if I had been more careless I could very easily have plunged to my death because I was leaning out of my "window" and with my exceptionally long torso combined with my large head, it would have no chance against gravity.

Alright, back to more tatting. (I've got tatting fever) and I promise to stay away from my open balcony!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bird on a bee hive patchwork garden

I think I have already told you guys a gazillion times how much I love Janet Bolton's applique style in A Patchwork Garden. Well, I'll tell you one  more time. I soooo dig her innocent, folksy, hippy, child-like, loosey goosey way of making applique. But much as I try, I can't do it like her. I so want to. But I have finally admitted it to myself. I am much too anal.

This is the book that I wish I own.

This was the unfinished quilt I started possibly 8 years ago.

And Janet's Beehive and Wild Cherries was what I was trying to make.

I honestly was going to leave the quilt unfinished FOREVER because I felt it wasn't me. I couldn't feel the love.

This week I was feeling a bit traumatized by my Nikon DSLR camera. After a few months of struggling with images getting corrupted, I finally sent it to the service center. Based on the conversation with the customer service staff, I'm not confident they will even be able to do anything to fix the issue because data corruption happens now and then. Short of them giving me a brand new camera (which they won't), I may end up having to buy a new camera. When I was taking photos for my last pattern, once I shot a few hundred images only to find them all corrupted. I nearly had a mental breakdown. I had to resort to taking a few photos at a time just to be safe. Hubs and I don't have any luck with cameras. We are defintely going back to a Canon for my next camera. I wonder what's a good, solid model to buy?

Anyhoos, where was I? Without my Nikon, I dug out my old Canon S100 to see if the camera still worked. Well, it still sort of don't work. The Auto mode is totally shat now. With the manual mode, I could still take images but not all the setting work. So I was taking some test pics and I used the 8 year old unfinished quilt as my test object. The more I looked at the unfinished quilt with the stray threads hanging loose the more irritated I got. I can't believe I let this thing sit around for 8 years. What's wrong with me?

So I started working on it. The first thing I did was to finish the beehive. But the quilt still looked empty. So I added a blue bird.


The blue bird is done in needle turn applique and finally I feel like this is my quilt. It was missing a bird all these while!

For the backing, I vaguely followed Janet Bolton's method which is very simple. Fold in the raw edges and topstitch. I don't like that I can see the stitches on the backing!

My applique aesthetic is clean and simple. That's my style so I think I'll stick to that from now on.

I can't believe it myself. Finally got this UFO done and done. I want to tell Janet!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Hey 20


Last week hubs and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. I can't believe it myself. Has it been that long?

Traditionally, we would celebrate by going out for a meal and exchanging gifts. This year I proposed that we do something together instead. Anyway hubs said to not make a big deal of this 20th anniversary.

One day, he said he had a crazy idea. Usually when hubs says he has a crazy idea, it is crazy. I braced myself for it. Hubs proposed we hold a wedding dinner. You see, when we got married, we did not hold a traditional Chinese wedding dinner. We had the civil ceremony at the Registry of Marriage. This was followed by a lunch reception for relatives at his home arranged by his mother. Most Chinese would hold a wedding dinner at a restaurant or at a hotel. That is a lot of money and 20 years ago, we were poor. I didn't want to borrow money and I didn't want to spend all our savings feeding our relatives. And that was what we wanted.

Anyway, hub's crazy idea was to hold that Chinese wedding dinner we didn't hold 20 years ago now. I thought about it for a few seconds and said No. It's even more expensive to hold a Chinese wedding dinner today and seriously, I still don't want to spend any of our savings feeding our relatives.

We ended up spending the day at Universal Studios theme park at Sentosa. Remember I have height phobia, motion sickness issues and I believe hubs has some issues with the scarier rides as well. Somehow that didn't stop us.

We didn't plan the day very well and ended up arriving at Sentosa just before 3pm. And Universal Studios theme park close at 7pm. The tickets were $74 each so once we paid up, we had to try as many attractions as possible to make it worth the money.

Unfortunately we didn't get a copy of the map and later we were too lazy to walk back to the entrance. At first we just walked around very unsure which attraction to try first. The attractions are divided into 7 zones - New York, Sci-fi city, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away, Madagascar and Hollywood. We went into Sci-fi city first.

I'll be honest. I was very nervous. I haven't gotten on a ride for a very, very long time. Since my height phobia was triggered, I had spent a lot of time avoiding heights. The past few years, I had felt myself getting better. I no longer have to take the stairs at certain shopping malls. I could even take some of the long escalators. I almost wanted to bail but having already spent $148, I had to die trying.

Hubs asked me to make a decision which attraction to try first. Otherwise we would just be walking around. I panicked and then I saw a little boy entering Transformers The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle. And I thought to myself, if this little kid could do it, so could I. And we walked into the unknown.


This was hubs after the ride. He enjoyed it a lot although I'm pretty sure I heard him scream a bit. I was too numb to know if I enjoyed it. All I knew was I survived the ride. It was a lot of 3D effect. A lot. And a lot of non-stop back and forth throwing you forward, sideways and forward and backwards again. How did the little kid survive?

After the ride, my legs were a little shaky. This was a good choice for me because I knew now I wouldn't die in the ride.

At Sci-fi city, there is one other ride - the Accelerator. Perhaps I should have started with this ride. It's much more harmless.


Next we went to Ancient Egypt zone. This zone is spectacular. I wanted to go to Treasure Hunters which looked not frightening but the waiting time was long. Instead we went into Revenge of the Mummy which had no waiting time. However no bags were allowed and we had to go put our bags in a free locker.

We were behind a couple with an old man and when we were inside, the old man hesitated. So we got on the ride without them. I wondered if they ever got on the ride. Anyway, how do I describe Revenge of the Mummy ride to you. Have you seen the movie? It's like being in the movie. Except it's much, much, much worse. It was the most TERRIFYING ride of my life. TERRIFYING. I'm surprised I did not pee or defecate in my pants. I'm surprised I'm still alive. I'm surprised I didn't hurt myself.

Before the ride started, hubs warned me I had to make sure I keep my head pressed against the headboard. I'm so thankful he said that to me. Because right away, you get flung into hell. Your head and neck get slammed left, center, right, forward and backward and forward and backward. It was unending. I never even got to see any of the 3D effect the maker put so much effort into. I kept my eyes shut throughout. So did hubs. The ride was very, very forceful. If the old man had taken the ride, he would broken his neck. I swear my heart stopped many times. Throughout the ride, I just concentrated on keeping my head against the headboard. Sometimes it didn't work because your neck gets slammed left and right anyway. But I kept trying because the last thing I wanted was a neck injury. And the ride was long. I just screamed in my head, over and over and over: I don't want to die. Seriously, you should be strapped in like in a rocket. It's not funny.

When the ride ended, a crew clapped for us. Inside she must be laughing her head off. My legs quivered for a long, long time.


The Lost World was next and we rode the Dino-Soarin. It wasn't that scary but I didn't enjoy being high in the air. There was a Canopy Flyer which has you flying through the air and it looked too scary for me. But later I thought I should have tried it. We also tried Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. This one is where you sit on a raft and you get prepared to get soaked. We could have bought ponchos but we didn't. Instead I used hubs rain jacket. In the end we got wet anyway. I didn't think the ride was exciting enough. By luck, we walked into Water World when there were vacancies. This is a live water show with stunts and explosions.




We sat in the area where we were likely to get wet. The show was really good. Very entertaining. We didn't get very wet because you can see the water coming and take cover.


We finally got to do Treasure Hunters at Ancient Egypt. It was lame. You get in a jeep and it travels slowly through some Mummy the movie related decorations. Can you see the beetles in the pic above. That's more or less what you get. Hubs lost his regular glasses on this ride and it almost ruined his day.

Next was Far Far Away zone and we went to the Shrek 4-D Adventure. It's really just watching a movie. Except, want to know what 4-D is? You get to feel the action. Like when the characters are riding on a cart, you get to feel the jerking motion. And when Donkey spits at you? Yep, you get water on your face. I didn't like this adventure at all. The jerking around wasn't fun and felt uncomfortable. There was a cemetery scene where I swear I felt someone tough my legs. I think I screamed.

I decided to skip the ferris wheel and the junior rollercoaster. Again I regretted skipping the rollercoaster. It can't be worse than The Mummy.

The Madagascar zone was very kiddy and the rides are totally harmless. We skipped Hollywood as it's a stage show and we didn't want to queue up.

New York was our last zone and we were racing against closing time. We went for the Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase. It is a kiddy ride. I don't know. I think The Mummy ride ruined me. Every other ride was nothing compared to it.

We got into the last attraction just in time - Lights, Camera, Action. I didn't expect much because the starting was boring. We had to watch Steven Spielberg on TV talking about setting up the effect for a hurricane. After it was over, we went into another room. We stood in front of some railing and below was water. What happened next was we got to experience a hurricane. Winds, stuff flying, water on fire. The ending was spectacular. Me and hubs got thoroughly soaked. I forgot what came flying into the water and the wave made a direct hit at us. I don't know why we were so lucky to catch the dirty water. Right smack on our faces and hubs front was dripping wet.

We ended the night with a simple meal at Nam Nam. I had seafood noodles.

I think this is going to be our most memorable wedding anniversary. We experienced the most terrifying ride of our lives. We were outdoors for half the day. We had water thrown in our faces, more than once.

Plus I got to pose with Vin Diesel.
 I'm too shy!

After all that waiting, hubs took ONE pic.


Here's to the next 50 years together.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Say Hello to my new pattern - Jane's Basic Clutch

It's been a long time since my last pattern. I'm very excited to introduce to you Jane's Basic Clutch PDF sewing pattern.


I started work on Jane's Basic Clutch a long time ago but only managed to push myself to complete it in Feb 2015. My confession: I have many, many WIP patterns in my desktop. Some of them, I'll probably never complete.

Anyway, Jane's Basic Cutch is another pattern I made catering to beginners. I feel for beginners because I still remember when I first started making bags in 2007, I spent so much time trying this and that and no doubt the experimentations helped shape my bag making skills; still I felt it took up a lot of time. And with everyone leading busy lives, time is a limited commodity.


For Jane's Basic Clutch, I chose a simple shape but there's enough challenge in this little clutch for beginners to learn a thing or two.


I have cut the pattern such that sewers can use different fabric for the flap, front and back. For my version, I have made the back the same fabric as the flap. When I showed the clutch to my son, he said, "Oh, the back is a surprise!"


I've kept the inside simple as well - just one patch pocket and this pattern comes in ONE SIZE only.


I'm pricing this pattern very affordable. It's only US$6. You can buy this pattern from my Etsy shop.

Maria from Mia's Creation tested this pattern for me. Here's her version. Notice she made the back and front out of the same fabric while the flap is a fabulous bird print. This is a more "conventional" approach. Thanks Maria!


Suzee of Applehead Threads also tested the pattern for me. Here's her version. She followed my version of the clutch and used the same fabric for the flap and the back. She used a hidden magnetic snap if you're wondering about that.

I think both Maria's and Suzee's versions are lovely. Thank you ladies. I hope sewists/sewers wanting to try bag making will like Jane's Basic Clutch.
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