Friday, December 31, 2010

This Much I learnt in 2010

It's 1am in Singapore on the last day of 2010 as I write this. Me and son just had a most satisfying supper - cup noodles. What makes cup noodles late at night so delicious beats me. So here I am on the last day of the year - tummy filled and totally sleepless. So I think I'll share with you the Top Ten Things I learnt In 2010......(Yes, I copied from Letterman)

1. You can have too much sleep.
2. You can't make-up sleep.
3. When you can't sleep, you can't sleep.
4. I love to sleep.
5. Waking up is hard.
6. There is no alternate universe.
7. Life goes on even after Law & Order is cancelled.
8. Motherhood is a nightmare.
9. Sewing is hard work.
10. Singapore will always be hot and humid.

I'm kidding, I'm kidding. That was the fake Top Ten list. Here's the real one.

Top Ten Things I learnt In 2010
1. You can never have too much stock.

2. Stock up in advance.

3. Ice-cream cures migraine.

4. Friends come and go. Good friends stay.

5. Don't just feel grateful. Show it through your actions. Especially to your loved ones.

6. People copy the stuff you make. ALL THE TIME.

7. It's a dog eat dog world. Just don't get bitten.

8. Stress affects everyone - even children. Cherish your kids.

9. You can't make everyone like you. But you must always like yourself.

10. However tough life gets, life must go on.

 I know Christmas is over but I'd like to leave you with a picture of a Santa striking a Marilyn Monroe pose found at the window display of Ted Baker in Singapore. Is it creepy? Funny? Hope I made you laugh.

Here's wishing everyone a better 2011. See you next year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Little Dragon Dumplings

On 19th December 2010, as I packed up my stuff at Iluma Christmas Arts Market, all I wanted to do was sleep and sleep. So last week I did a lot of sleeping. Indeed I slept till my hips hurt, literally. When your hips hurt from sleeping too much, you know you've exceeded your sleep quota! So I started sewing again. I really wanted to get my stock up to a decent level again and so I started with my Perfect-size Lunchtime Pouches. (easiest to make)
Little Dragon Dumplings!
If you're Chinese or has eaten Chinese food, you would have eaten xiao long bao which literally means little dragon dumplings. Yay! My pouches look like food.

During my early days of sewing, matching fabric and colours took up such a big chunk of my time. I'm happy to say that experience does count because nowadays I have developed some matching instincts. I made a total of TEN pouches.
Toy story aliens
Check out the bottom!
Animal prints
Rilakkuma
Red Elephants
Pink Elephants
Green Polka Dots
Anything polka dots are hot, I've discovered. I ordered a bunch of Michael Miller's polka dots fabric recently and guess what? Everything I ordered was sold out! I really prefer small dots like the one in the pouch above. The bigger dots freak me out a little. Am I weird? Sorry, don't answer that.
Kokka
For this pouch, I made it with a little brown trim - you know, just to make it interesting for me.
Serendipity or flower-flower
Ticking Stripes
If you're wondering, ticking is just upholstery cotton.
Taupe
I have discovered Junko Matsuda's Taupe. If you're into the antique look, you will like this fabric. I do, but so hard to find in Singapore!

This week is the last week of the school holidays. Even though I am technically well-slept, I do dread school reopening on 4th Jan as I don't like to wake up at 5:45am. It's too early. It also means I can't sleep late anymore. I can sew really super well from 11pm to 2am. It's probably due to the lack of distraction.

This last week of school holidays is as always spent doing the last minute tasks. Like getting hair cuts for the kids. Like buying new school shoes. Like buying stationery. My home is like a mini stationery shop but there's always something else the kids need. This means me and the kids have been braving the crowd because everyone else has left the same tasks till the last week.

This week is also the week where I wean the kids off too much computer and TV time. Limiting their access has resulted in them bartering housework for more access. I'm such a lazy parent that I have caved in to some bartering. I mean, they're willing to vacuum and mop the floor! Plus fold the clothing and put them away. So don't feel sorry for me next week when my kids suffer from withdrawl symptoms. See you.

Friday, December 24, 2010

So This Is My Christmas

I've never celebrated Christmas, at least not in the traditional way. When I was young, all my knowledge of Christmas came from books, TV shows and movies. Because I watched a lot of American TV, for a long time, I thought Thanksgiving was related to Christmas! Of course I know better now. To the young me, Christmas meant snow, Christmas trees, presents and turkey. Of course there was Santa Claus.

I knew Santa Claus wasn't real because in Singapore most homes did not have chimneys and no chimneys - no Santa. Also, I did not receive any presents when I was a kid. I hoped for a very, very long time that snow would fall in Singapore. Of course I know now cold can be unbearable. Plus Singapore is too close to the equator.

I received my first Christmas present when I worked for an American company. Christmas was BIG in this company, almost compulsory. When I turned up for work on Christmas eve, there were presents on my desk! I received a t-shirt and something ornamental. I gave the givers nothing in return because I had no idea! There was a Christmas party everyone had to attend at night. A new guy asked me to attend it with him. I said yes and waited for him to pick me up in the evening. He called later to say he had to skip the party as he had a conference call. I did not attend the party after all as I was too embarrassed to attend it alone.

When I got married, me hubs and I did not observe any traditions for Christmas until we had kids. My kids knew Christmas from kindy. Christmas is BIG in kindy. So I bought a tiny ornamental Christmas tree and bought the kids presents because they expected it. We did this until they outgrew kindy.
This was 2004
Christmas morning, 2004
1 year me mom was living with me during the Christmas period and she got a present too!
Her present? Tea bags. I snagged the container!
What I like to do during the Christmas period is go to Orchard Road to look at the Christmas decorations, trees and light-up. We used to go every year at night because the effect is different. But I noticed that as my kids grew older, they really showed a lack of enthusiasm and I fear it's just me that's excited by the light-up.

This week I took a break from sewing because I wanted to take a break from sewing. We went to Orchard Road during the day and the decorations were pretty impressive. Here are some nativity scenes.


The decorations were pretty inpressive too.
Santa Cow?
Big balls
Of course, the malls went crazy with the trees.
A street tree - wish I could see it at night!
This tree is really tall - almost 3 storeys high.
I have to show you The Most Pathetic Christmas Tree In Singapore. It's at a shopping place near my home.
What is Christmas without cakes and cookies? My kids did the work. I watched and washed up!
The kids did not enjoy getting their hands dirty.
The cookies tasted delicious even though some came out darker than the rest. We ate everything within 2 days.
Choc chips cookies, can you tell?
Choc chips cup cakes, can you tell?
The kids made cup cakes and since they liked choc chips on everything..... These disappeared into our tummies within 2 days as well.
Star cake?
No, we didn't bake this one. Me hubs brought it home from work. I have to say it is way too sweet. I ate everything but the icing. My kids are afraid of fancy cakes. Couldn't get them to eat it. One reason I prefer to bake my own cup cakes is I can put less sugar.

 Happy holidays everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Iluma Christmas Arts Market 18th to 19th December Post-Mortem

Boo. I had to wake up at 6:45am this morning. I know for most of you folks, that's normal. For me, after sewing hysterically for weeks and a weekend spent at Iluma selling my bags, I just wanna sleep in. My son's school wanted the boys to be in school early for something-something. As I have told you before, despite the school holidays, my kids still go to school for sports. I've discovered this year that in Secondary School, sports is a major part of a student's life. It was really cold this morning. I seriously didn't want to get out of bed. Boy, I really feel old when I feel cold getting out of bed. I know that cold in Singapore is probably "regular weather" in some countries. I don't know how folks in cold weather countries cope. I know me bones rattled this morning!

Oh, how hectic has my sewing life been the past few weeks? It's been insane. I'm quite amazed I could sew at this rate, just spitting out pouches and bags day after day. But I'm so glad I can take a break.

This weekend at the Iluma Christmas Arts Market, I learnt a few things. First major lesson. The night before a craft market, DO NOT eat any take-away crab smothered in salted duck egg yolk which your husband brings home. No matter how delicious it looks or tastes. It was 1am on Saturday morning and I was still up packing my stuff. Me hubs came home from work and told me about the unusual treat he had brought home. Of course I had to eat it. It was strangely delicious. And oily from the egg yolk. And salty from the egg yolk. And so joyously great to eat. I literally fell in love with me hubs all over again while I was eating it. And thinking happily it was a good thing my kids were asleep as I didn't want to share the crab!

Anyway I woke up with a not-so-good tummy. I felt like the yolk was taking a mighty long time to digest and that gave me a huge headache which raged the whole morning. Great lesson for greedy me. I'm just so glad my kids came along to help me. I was rather snappish in the morning. But my kids were real understanding. I'll post a pic of the delicious indigestible crab later if I can get it from me hubs.

Edited: Yes, got the pic.
Yummy. Crab smothered in duck's egg yolk
Second major lesson. Stock up, stock up, stock up.
Day 1 - table
Day 1 - rack
Day 2 - table only
My stock was pathetic. On Sunday, I had to ditch the rack. Still, I managed to sell a total of 23 bags and pouches! I couldn't believe it. I feel so loved. Muah, muah.

I wanted to try out new lucky tees to wear at my craft markets and wore my Threadless tees on both days. 
Saturday - Sex, Drugs & Rock-and-roll Tee
Sunday - Refresh Your Ego Tee
I sold 3 of my Echino bags. That made me so happy.
Blue Panther Mini Zip Handbag

Red Panther Crossbody Bag

Red Panther Sexy Wristlet
I sold all my zip pouches except this one. I wonder why?
Red Panther Zip Pouch
So I have 2 other Echino bags left.
Echino Fuschia Birds Crossbody Bag
Echino animals/birds crossbody bag
For the brown bag, I wondered if anyone noticed that I used brown houndstooth canvas for the handle? Took me 1 hour just to turn the handle inside out because canvas is very stiff. Ouchy. I did it while watching a TV show.

If you are interested enough to see which bags I have left in my stock, please go to www.projectsbyjane.com

Petra from White Cottage came to visit. Last weekend, her White Cottage partner, Janet came by. Why don't they come together? I was sad Sally from SalangCreation did not sell because she was just next to me the previous weekend and we can yak all day. But she came by to say hi. But I have my dear Vivien to talk to. Plus, she feeds me!  Her girl Amelia sells costume jewellery and owns fabric co - an online fabric shop. Check it out dear fabric lovers. She's giving a discount. Oh, my sister, Elaine came too. And she bought my stuff! She's always showing support for my bags and I'm so grateful for that. Family love. I saw a few repeat-customers who came to buy my bags. I really appreciate the effort. I felt touched.

I shall leave you with this funny (at least I think so) photo of me. Hope it makes you laugh.
See you in my next post.

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Last Craft Market for 2010

Last Sunday on the way home after my Iluma Christmas Arts Market, I felt this wave of exhaustion overcome me. I was thinking that I have ANOTHER craft market to prepare and make bags for when all I wanted was to just sleep till 2011. For a few minutes, okay hours, I actually envied those "handmade" sellers who BUY their products from overseas to sell at craft markets. You know who these sellers are from the huge amount of stock they have on their tables. But no, I soon got over the envy because I'm in this for my passion in bag-making. Although I really, really just wanna sleep till 2011.

Last week I was garang and made Echino bags I thought were cool and women would want. Turned out only 2 women were willing to splurge on them. This week I decided to concentrate on replenishing my stock. (Also, I'm aching all over and still sleepy)

First up, 3 stripey poufy drawstring pouches.

faded red/white nautical
faded blue/white nautical
taupe ticking
Next I made some cotton zip pouches with my favourite print and some remnants.
Pink MoMo
Yuwa Kitty
Michael Miller's Apples
RJR 3 little pigs
faded blue/white nautical
Robert Kaufman's birds print
 I discovered I did not sell out all my zip pouches last weekend. The Robert Kaufman's birds print was the last zip pouch standing.
Linen cotton zip pouches
This week I wanted to make some zip pouches with my linen-cotton print because I LOVE linen-cotton.
Flower linen-cotton slub
Yuwa psuedo cross stitch
Echino red panther
Yuwa polka dots
Oooh, I made a sexy curvy wristlet. I really like the shape. It took me a while to template it. Eventually, the curve looked best when I used a plate from the kitchen to draw the curves. I kept the zipper area a little curved but not too much.
Echino red panther wristlet
I have 6 perfect size lunchtime pouches left and really didn't need replenishing. But I wanted to make a new batch. I modified the casing a little and now the new batch is reversible. Plus I added beads.
Mr's March Antique Rose by Lecien
Green polka dots
Khaki polka dots
Yuwa Kitty
Michael Miller's apples
I think this is all the energy I can summon to make this week. This morning, for the first time I slept 8 straight hours and I felt really good. So I'm ready for my last craft market for 2010.

This weekend I won't be wearing my Roots lucky tee. Me hubs is scouring the net for more Roots tees for me. The one shop that sold Roots tees in Singapore closed down some time ago. So come Saturday and Sunday, I shall need some divine intervention to help me sell my bags and pouches.
Jane & her lucky tee
Last weekend at Iluma, I tried a popular drink sold at a little kiosk near where I sold my stuff.
Bubble Tea
To get this bubbly goodness, you have to join others in a long, long queue. Seriously, would you queue till the road just to get a drink? The black thingy in the milk tea is pearls, I think made of tapioca flour. Very chewy. To be honest, the drink isn't that fantastic. Just like any other ordinary milk pearl tea you can easily get elsewhere. But already I'm thinking of how to persuade my kids to queue up to get me another cup of pearl magic tomorrow! If you're in Singapore, please drop by Iluma to buy my bags and pouches. It's my last craft market for 2010! See ya.

Iluma Christmas Arts Market
18th to 19th December 2010
201 Victoria Street
Singapore 188067
12pm to 9pm both days
Nearest MRT stn: Bugis
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