Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Can't Believe School Holidays Are Almost Over


It's the last week of school holidays and my children and I are desperately clinging on to the last few days of our unstructured life. We sleep late, wake up late, they play computer games all day while I sew. Our meals are taken at odd hours. In other words, we are having the time of our life.

But all good things must come to an end. From next Monday, we go back to being regular people.

By the way, I see you. :D

Yes, the family went to see Avatar 3D. What we paid could feed our kids an entire week.

This weekend I'm doing another stint at red dot design museum.

Details:
2nd and 3rd Jan 2010
11am to 7pm
Admission to museum is free on these 2 days

To be honest, I haven't spent much time making bags. I have maybe 6 new bags. Too many tasks. Too little time. Excuses, excuses.  In 2010, I hope to sell at red dot design museum every month.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Money Bag

This is a canvas bag I completed last week but didn't get to post until today. Since I've started giving my bags names, this is called The Money Bag. It is a top zippered bag which is extremely hard to construct well. I have yet to completely get it perfect. So why do I keep trying? Sigh. I really don't know. Maybe I'm just born this way. Needing to climb Mt Everest every week.


The zipper, side and bottom gusset together forms a circular "belt". The most crucial aspect of this bag is of course the measurement and sewing of the "belt".
 
This "belt" is sewn to the front and back pieces. If your measurements or sewing are "off", they won't fit. The sharper your corners, the harder it is to keep out the little crinkles.

This is the bag inside out. Of course you can't see any raw seams! The stamp is my label.

Next year I hope to make more of these bags except with more interesting shapes.

It's Christmas Eve in Singapore and the weather is really grey. Wherever you are, I hope you have a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Take care and I will see you soon.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Patchwork Passport Sleeve For Viv

I love it when Viv asks me to custom make something for her. The last time I made a bag for her, I had such a great time. Her reqirements are usually very functional. Like I need this for this purpose. That's it. The rest is up to me. Because she is from a creative line, I know she can accept it if I make something that is aesthetically out of the norm.

This time she needed a passport sleeve. I wanted to do patchwork but not the conventional way. I'm not really into symmetrical patchwork.  I also wanted to embroider with my running stitches, what else? It was fun making this sleeve. No plans - just let my imagination go where it wanted to.

It's hard to see where it's patched!

Front
Front - inside
Back
Back - inside
I hope she likes it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Six Degrees Of Moi....Sort Of

On one of my MAAD sales, a lady chatted with me about one of my granny bags. She was also carrying a granny bag bought from Bali.

The next time I saw this lady was in November MAAD when she helped man a table for Lotus Fund Raising. She looked so familiar that I went over to talk to her. I asked her if we knew each other and she remembered talking to me about granny bags. But  I was sure I knew her from before that. Out of the blue it struck me. I asked her if she used to work for a software sweathouse XXX and she said yes. Apparently we worked as programmers for XXX when it was set up as an "experiment" to test a business model for outsourced programming. We were unaware we were part of the "experiment" until it proved successful and it was disbanded. Oh yes, all very Fringe.

I was overjoyed I recognised her after so many years. She did not even recognise me!

At December MAAD, my old friend was back again to man a table. She only manned it on Saturday and on Sunday, a couple, Gek and David took over. I had noticed the couple before but never spoke to them. This time, my table was opposite the Lotus Fund's table and sometime in the late afternoon when business was slow, Gek wandered over to my table and started chatting with me. She told me David's daughter in UK, Anna also sewed. The narcissist in me immediately pressed a name card in her hand and suggest Gek pass Anna my blog and try out my tutorials.

I'm shocked they actually called up Anna and told her my blog name. You know, the darnest thing is Anna had already found me and had already tried out my Boxy Pouch Tutorial! Anna beat me to it and did a post here.

I'm delighted to discover that Anna makes bags for sale and this one's my personal favourite.
Linen Chloe - photo used with permission by Anna
If you want to see more of Anna, go to Funky Diva Designs. And those of you who read my blog, you never know. You might just know someone who knows someone who knows me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

White on Blue - EtsyBloggers Blog Carnival Dec 2009 Post

This is my first time doing a post for EtsyBloggers Blog Carnival. The question I am answering is: What are my favourite color combinations and what have I created using them?

I like white on blue. My inspiration comes from Sashiko, a traditional Japanese art form where decorative white embroidery is sewn on blue fabric.

White on blue makes the white so startling and that is why I am so smitten by it.




These are what I've done. Simple outline embroidery pouches and a shoulder bag.
For my future projects, I hope to incorporate my tatted lace on denim.White lace on blue is almost like sewing the outline of the lace on the fabric. I think.

What you see here is my practice tatted lace. It takes a long time to tat one motif so I don't think I can make many.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Making Money While You Sleep

First I have some good news and bad news to share.
The bad news:
I only sold 1 bag at smu's Fashionista Live On Stage. Hehe.. it's always about me. What did you think the bad news was? So sadly, I had to lug all my bags home. My husband has decreed that I stop selling at flea markets and just focus on red dot design museum. I've decided to listen to him. (curtsy)

But I had a nice time with my fellow MAAD seller, Wyrrd Rune.We had fun!

The good news:
Psst. It's about me too... Since May this year, I've "allowed" nuffnang to place ads on this blog. I've finally earned my first SGD $50 (exact figure is $50.96) so I can cash out. This amount may be very insignificant to most people but I'm so thrilled by it I can barely contain myself. As my husband puts it very nicely. It's making money while you sleep!

Um..those of you who want in on the action, just click on the nuffnang links on the blog. Please read the FAQ and check if your country's part of the region targetted. All the best!

For those who read my posts through feeds or facebook, you won't be able to see the ads unless you come to my blog. So please come visit once in a while.

My next sale will be at the red dot design museum from 2nd to 3rd Jan 2010. My goal is to make 12 new bags. Apart from that I have a few custom orders to take care of: a passport holder for vivi, a bag for kim and 2 more items for christin.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fashionista - Live On Stage

I gave myself 2 days off to recover from my last sale and as usual it turned into a week. As I have discovered, there is life outside my bag world. Like housework, laundry (hehe), cooking, iTunes, movies and shopping.

Tomorrow I'll be at SMU selling my bags.
My last outing at SMU was not exactly a success. So excuse me if I'm not too excited about tomorrow. fyi: I had committed to 2 dates to get a discount on the rent. :D

I'll be selling my bags at rock bottom prices since it's my last craft sale for 2009. Alright, the real reason is I'm sick of lugging them around and I want to make room for more new bags.
This time round, I'm sharing my space with wyrrd rune productions. She sells vintage gothic and victorian accessories.

Today I started work on a new bag.
Here's a sneak preview.

I notice that I get the most ideas to make bags when I'm either too busy to sew or just before it's time to sleep. Is this the same for everyone else? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

CalKat

This post might seem strange to my regular readers. Let me explain. I've joined this group called etsybloggers and one of the "rituals" is to promote a featured blogger/seller or be banished.

Calkat is Carrie and Kathy - December '09 featured etsyblogger. They have 3 shops.
 
Can you guess what this is? Is it a bullet, an alien egg?
Find out here at their shop: Calkat.etsy.com

If skull rings' your thing go to : ametista.etsy.com

This one's my favourite: yogafairies.etsy.com

Monday, December 7, 2009

Guess Which Bag Was Groped The Most?

4th and 5th April 2009 was a turning point for me. It was the first time I sold my bags. I chose red dot design museum mostly because I didn't know of any other places where I could sell handmade items at an affordable rental rate. Also, I had "auditioned", accepted and sent a cheque. There was no turning back. And that was my first MAAD.

I cannot believe it has only been 8 months since my first MAAD and I had sold at MAAD a total of 6 times this year. I thought I was all grown up already but the past 8 months, I kinda grew up a whole lot more - at MAAD.

I knew from my first MAAD that making the bag is the easy part. Selling it - now that's hard. Because I am in the handmade market, I have to be the one selling my stuff. Also, that's a MAAD rule. I have never sold anything in my whole life. I am also a shy person unable to make social talk with strangers. I had to re-invent myself to talk about what I do, to connect with the customers, to interest them and finally make the sale. I can't say I have mastered the skills required. It's still hard but I'm glad it's all very interesting.

Back to December MAAD which happened over the weekend.
The title of Most Groped Bag goes to my Madam Bag.

Almost everyone who stopped by my table, gave Madam Bag a squeeze, a stroke, a tug or a 2nd look. I almost felt sorry for her, um..it. Finally a lady (I noticed she carries a lot of purple stuff) bought her, um..it. This purple-liking lady checked the inside of the bag and noticed that I don't have any raw seams. Those of you who read my blog regularly will know I will go to any length to prevent any raw seams from showing. And she noticed. She noticed! She is my ideal customer. I almost broke my No.1 cardinal rule of "never fall in love with your customer".

Early in the morning just before opening shop on Day 1

I mentioned in my last post that there would be a fash-bash at Dec MAAD? Boy, I had no idea what it really meant. While I was setting up shop, there were already customers milling around! Saturday was madness. The traffic was unbelievable. It was definitely due to fash-bash because MAAD doesn't have that kind of marketing pull. Sunday was slower but it was still more than the usual MAAD crowd.

So, are you ready for my sales statistics? I sold a total of ...drum rolls...32 items! - comprising 13 large bags and the rest were pouches and a few accessories. This is my wildest dream come true. I doubt if I can ever attain this record again.

All my new designs were sold out fast. You know what this means? I'm getting better at making what sells. I'm still going to continue to inject bits of Jane P in most of my bags. You know, god forbid I get too commercial. A show of hand, those of you who are not rotflol.

Remember my pink-purple fleece hoopla?
First let me shout this in my husband's ear: "You were wrong hubby! The customer loved the pink-purple fleece!" Now take that you potato eating guy you!

My heart-with-wings bag made in Oct '09 was hard to sell. I wanted to make another heart-with-wings bag but I can't until this one's sold. Some people were interested but maybe it was too pricey? On Sunday, a cool lady (she sounded American but I can't be sure) finally bought it. I almost broke my No. 2 cardinal rule of "Never shed tears in front of customer who buys a hard-to-move bag." Whoo hoo!

Now on to my goodies.
A little birdhouse from momshoo. Isn't it cute? You can view more of her stuff at flickR. I got to know SN of momshoo at my first MAAD. A cute girl with nimble fingers.

Next, a pretty bracelet from Serenite Designs. I got to know her this MAAD. She has very pretty Shabby-Chic accessories. You'll buy up her whole store! Her stuff went like hot cakes.

This pretty flower was given to me by Wyrrd Rune, another MAAD regular. All because I mentioned I wanted to make flowers for my bag. Hey, ZR, did I mention I want an apple mac? :D So check her out. She has some really cool stuff. Btw, I'll be collaborating with her this Sat. More on that next time.

Then, there's Mandy. This girl really makes me laugh. I love her to death. She sells some feathery stuff. Okay, just kidding. My kids told me her stuff sold like crazy. She makes amazingly gorgeous hair accessories using ribbons and feathers. Check her out at her forest flame. Don't worry. No birds were made bald in the process. Btw, she bought one of my skulls and bones bag - the one with pink-purple fleece. She's one of my royal-loyal customers. My husband says Mandy spoils me! Thank you Mandy for spoiling me. Muah! Muah!

Lastly, I want to say a big hello to Courtney from US but lives in S'pore and bought 3 items from me. I did make you laugh, didn't I? Come back next month, won't you? And I am so sorry I almost broke my No. 3 cardinal rule "Never make your customers laugh so hard they pee in their pants."

Okay, I just realised there's more. To Christin: thanks for buying my bags and your custom orders. (I had to chase her away before she bought my whole shop.) Just kidding. See you in Jan MAAD.

Finally, thanks to Jon for coming round to make me laugh like a hyena. Bought nothing again! Darn it.
 I'm sorry this post is so long. Thanks for staying with me!

Friday, December 4, 2009

It Was The Night Before Dec MAAD



Hey everyone!
It's the night before my sale at the Red Dot Design Museum and once again I have left many tasks till the last minute. I had hoped to make more bags but I was too sleepy!


So here are the details:
5&6 Dec (Sat & Sun)
11am to 7pm
red dot design museum
28 maxwell road
admission to museum is free

Other than the usual crowd, there's fash-bash (fashion baazar). So bring lots of cash (credit card is also accepted). I'm doing some shopping myself too. I'll be giving a 30% discount on my er..older designs. For my new designs, it's nett price. (my apologies) Oh yes, one more thing. I've sold my "cowardly baldie" bag already! Thanks ST!

Despite all my outstanding tasks, I'm still making bags! But this one's for me. (my husband thinks i should sell it but i'm holding on to it)  It's a prototype for my new granny bags with zippers. I've made a granny bag before here. But what I really wanted to achieve was the granny bag look without the bias binding in which case it wouldn't be called a granny bag anymore! You get what I mean. Read on. (please excuse the photos - today was one big grey day)


First I cut....


Next I pleat...


 Lastly seam everything together.



I like the cotton tape look.

You will see more of this bag in the future. I shall call it "Not The Granny Bag". I'm getting to like the idea of naming my bags.

For those of you in Singapore, see you this weekend. To my friends in faraway lands, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Ol' Skulls And Bones

I am running low on creativity. I find that I am repeating myself. Here's my latest bag - a simple long handled black bag with the skulls and bones motif done in running stitches. My secret agenda was to use up the pink-purple fleece. Oh, the burden....

The lining and flap lining were made using fleece. What else!

 
My son posed for me because my girl didn't want to. He was quite embarrassed. Look how lanky he is. I can't he believe I've had him for 12 years! Seems like only yesterday I had just given birth to him and when the baby was placed in my arms, all I could say was, "Why is his nose so flat?" My gynae said, "You're Chinese, your husbanad is Chinese. Of course your baby has flat nose. Chinese have flat noses." Well, my gynae was wrong. My son's nose is no longer flat. It unflattened.


2009 is a milestone year for my son. It's his last year in primary school. Last week, we went to his primary school to get his exams results. His grades were within expectation. He aced Math, his favourite subject  so we were all happy for him. He obtained As in all the other 3 subjects. We were thrilled he got A for Chinese. After investing so much money and effort in Chinese tuition, I'm glad it paid off. Today, we received a letter that he will get something from the government for his good results. I hope it's real cash and not some voucher. I'm so proud of him!

This is a book I've been studying for the past few days. It seems my son has to submit a selection of 6 choices of secondary schools he prefers. The unpleasant task of selecting the 6 schools fell upon me. It's truly a nightmare. I chose the schools by comparing the aggregate my son obtained against the range of aggregates of the students of each school. So naturally, my first choice went to the best school in my area. On Sunday, we took the bus to the school to see if my son could get there on his own next year. It turned out to be pretty easy. Still we had to take 2 different buses! Hello public transport ministry? I detect some monopoly here. I used the same algorithm to choose the rest of the schools. Wise or wrong, the deed is done. Come 22nd December, we'll know. Hope I don't have to beg some school principal for a transfer! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Think I Over-Pleated!

Having recovered from my pleat phobia, I dived back into the pleating scene once again. I was really excited to use my green white stripes uphostery weight cotton fabric. Once I had this skirt which had very large pleats with very large bands and very short and I thought I looked really good it it, a bit like a kilt except the pleats are in front and back as well. So of course I wanted to make a bag of that skirt. Now this is something I thought I would never say. But I think I over-pleated!

The problem is when the pleats are too deep, the flare becomes too wide and the band is unable to support curvature. Am I making sense? Also if I had made the bag longer, it wouldn't have looked so weird.
Trying to use up my pink-purple fleece!

Also, when my husband looked inside and saw I had used my pink-purple fleece, he screamed. In horror. I ask for an Apple computer and he doesn't blink an eye. But put pink-purple with green and he screams. Now you know where his priorities are.

After making this bag, I had an small, odd rectangular length of fabric. So guess what? I made another pleated bag. But having learnt my lesson, I was careful with the pleats.
 

I did not want to give my husband a stroke so I avoided using the pink-purple fleece.


And the large bag said to the small bag fuming, "That lady bag maker! She said I was over-pleated! Can you believe that?"
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