Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Amy Butler Style Stitches Sew-Along for May - Perfectly UnPleated Clutch


It's the last day of May and I just made it for my Amy Butler Sew-Along's May bag. The first thought that came to my mind when I was going through the instructions was:
I hate the handle.

The second thing thought was:
It's gonna cost a lot of fabric to make those pleats!

First of all, I don't like handles which look unbalanced. I just bothers me. But in the spirit of the sew-along.... Second of all, when I took a look at the amount of fabric required for the pleats, I almost fainted. For the SMALL clutch alone, you need 2 pieces of 8" X 54" of fabric.

All the "in the spirit of the sew-along" couldn't convince me to invest that much fabric in one clutch which if you look at closely is really just another zip pouch. So I made an Unpleated Clutch.


Seriously, without the pleats, the clutch looks boring. I'm almost embarrassed to post the photos!


This is what it looks like without the handle.


I just want to lop off the handle!

Is it just me? Sorry if I come across as rather negative about this "clutch". Maybe it's just my fabric choice? If I ever make this clutch again, I'll first of all, bury the handle in the deepest ocean and secondly, do something about those crazy pointy ends.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hoo Goes There?

Hellooo,

Isn't it nice to just sit back and read blogs like usual and not have to enter in all the giveaways? I've won nothing. Have you?

The past few days, I've been in the midst of my epic journey through The Land Of The Owls. I've come to learn that most folks LOVE owls and owls and cute are tightly associated. So it's just me then with the creepy feeling from real owls. Just as I am slowly conquering my fear of heights, I am surely taking small steps towards not being afraid of owls.

So I've been pre-occupied with embroidering my owls. Yes, this is how I conquer my fear.


First up, as threatened, I made an owl wall organizer.


It's mostly just running lines for each of the 3 panels. It took a very long time mostly because I made the bias binding myself and when sewing it to the organizer, I did it the traditional way - by hand. This is my first wall organizer. Does it look weird? Me hubs says it looks "interesting weird".


I'm thinking this is one possible use for the organizer - sorting out your mail.

 

I made another owl zip pouch. This one is quilted. I call it "Caged Owls". Usually, for my bags and pouches, I have the showy bit on one side only. But for this pouch, I did it on both sides.


This is the other side and the owl is "caged" as well.


Here's the boxy bit. In case you're interested, "caged owls" simply reflect my fear of owls. Geddit? I'm the one who's in the cage. Caged by my own fear. So deep! Don't worry. Deep down I just like pretty stuff.

Next on my to-do list is another Amy Butler Sew-Along.

Some Singapore news. Remember the body in the water tank story? Well, residents were rather uneasy about drinking water from their tap after the incident. I mean, wouldn't you? One question: How long would it take you to go back to using the water from the tap if you were in the affected resident's position? (touch wood) Me? I would move. Btw, thanks to those of you who told me where your water came from. It was certainly informative.

Well, the member of parliament of the affected residents resorted to drinking water from the affected tap to lead by example. But the residents were too pissed to buy it. So finally it was decided the affected water tank(s) would be replaced. It will neither be cheap nor easy.

More news related to the Singapore Election, sort of. One issue which kept popping up during the election and carried on with a life of its own is the ministerial pay. I don't know the exact amount of pay the ministers get this year. But based on a 2009 figures, an entry-grade minister received an annual salary of SGD$1.57 million. The Prime Minister's salary that year was SGD$3.04 million. Staggering, right? What most locals cannot buy is how much more a Singapore junior minister earns compared to President Obama!

Singaporean's unhappiness with the ministerial pay has been around for a very long time. Surprise! Last Sunday, the Prime Minister announced a formation of a committee to review the pay. Whatever the outcome of the review and however small the pay cut is, I believe it is still better than nothing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mother Of All Giveaways

Hello dear friends,


Yes, I know some of you have day jobs. But if you do have time to spare and can't get enough of giveaways, here's more. Sew Mama Sew! organised a motherload....yeah, you get it.

You don't have much time. By Wednesday May 25th 2011

I'm sorry I can't do the homework for you and tell you what's up for grabs. (there are far too many giveaways!) The lists are nicely organised into "International shipping ok" or Not. For restricted shipping, the countries are listed so that makes it easy for you.

To win handcrafted item(s) + supplies/materials (this could mean a handmade item, a pattern or FABRIC) go here.

To win sewing + knitting supplies/materials (this could mean more patterns, yarns or FABRIC) go there.

To win handcrafted item, go to this link.

Good luck!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fabric Giveaway Alert!

Hello folks,

As you may know, I enter a lot of giveaways for fabric. Thought I'll share them with you. I'm only posting the ones where you can enter easily e.g. one comment/tweet and without country restrictions. Good luck.

Win a pile of lovely scraps? Go to An Art Nest. By end May 2011.

Win a Dena Fishbein Kumari Garden Holiday fat quarter bundle? Go to Hawthorne Threads. By this Wed 25th May 2011.

Win 5 yards of solids plus other giveaways. 10 winners will be chosen. Go to 1 Choice 4 Quilting. By Sunday 29th May 2011 10pm eastern time.

Win a $75 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop. Go to Everything Etsy. By this Tuesday May 24th 2011 EST.

Win a fat quarter bundle of Annie's Farm Stand fabric. Go to Sew Fabulous Quilt Shop. By May 31st 2011. psst. I really hope to win this.

Win a Bella Parade fat quarter bundle. Warning: This one requires you to jump a couple of hoops. Go to 13 Woodhouse Road. By this Wed 25th May 2011.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Truth About Owls

Hello Internet people,

Yes, it's been a while. Basically, I had nothing worthwhile to blog about and that's why I've not blogged. I know some bloggers who have the energy to blog everyday and I admire their passion. I, on the other hand can be classified as a lazy blogger. I blog whenever.

So what's up with me? Well, first of all, my sleep sucks. I've been unable to have a proper sleep through the night for a couple of weeks now. So I have to have 2 sleeps a day. One awful one and a fantastic nap in the morning. So that pretty much took away many of my hours. I really hope I can get back to sleeping a normal 8 hours a day like every other human being on earth. It's exhausting when you don't get the right kind of sleep.


I have to confess I'm rather scared of owls. I know me hubs will say I'm scared of many things which is not untrue but totally mean. Let's be honest. Owls come out at night. That's creepy. Owls live in jungles. That's scary. Owls have weird beady eyes and since they come out at night, seeing the eyes at night would be super terrifying. Owls are loners. That's disturbing. Owls are associated with darkness, sorcery and evil. So my question is. At what point did these brilliant textile designers turn these creepy birds into such adorable creatures on fabric? I mean I love owls in fabric print. I would fork over money for it. Just look at my latest zippy pouch. It has an owl. It doesn't look evil. I even sewed little running stitches all over it.


I made this large zippy pouch for myself. See, I have a large wallet so it needs a custom-sized pouch.


Perfect size. My sister, Elaine gave me this owl print many moons ago. I made a few items with it in the past and I have a little bit left and I'm thinking of making it into a wall organizer.


Speaking of birds, does anyone eat quails eggs? I usually just boil them in water. My kids really dislike removing the shells. Surely there must exist an instrument to remove quail's eggshell.

Here's some Singapore news. Since the election in early May, two ex-prime ministers have resigned from the cabinet. If this sounds puzzling, basically what happened was after the ex-prime ministers stopped being prime ministers, they continued to be ministers in the cabinet, namely Senior Minister and Minister Mentor. Of course the big deal is that one of the two is Lee Kuan Yew whom many credit with transforming Singapore from a poor village to an economic success. He's 88 this year so that's a good age to retire. But he still holds an important biz post so I don't think it's a full retirement.

In other news, residents living in a block of flats (not mine, thank goodness) discovered that a dead body was found in their water tank. Gross, right? Worse, they had been using the water - drinking, laundering, showering, mopping and all. What fascinated me hubs about this story was that our water came from water tanks. He thought our water came from water pipes! In my old home, I could actually see the water tanks on the roof. So I knew water came from water tanks there but in my current home, I cannot see the roof at all so I really have no idea where my water comes from. My question to you dear readers: Where does the water to your home come from?


If you are on my facebook page, you'll know I've been tatting. Well, I finally managed to finish couching my tatted lace to a piece of fabric. Couching is tedious. There must surely exist a simpler method. My tatted lace is rather crude. But I'm improving.

Lastly, if you're on facebook, you ought to read this or risk getting your facebook profile yanked. As of May 11 2011, facebook has made changes to guidelines pertaining to contests, promotions and giveaways. If you're wondering why you no longer see giveaways announcements on facebook, here's why. If you can't access the link, it's because you are using facebook as page. (If you are reading this post from facebook, when you click on the link, you may have to click on 1 additional link "go to facebook.com") Go here. See you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Balance Checkbook Cover for Amy Butler Style Stitches Sew-Along

Hello all,

I had been looking forward to making my checkbook cover and I couldn't help but use the MoMo fabric which I had always adored.


I made this on Cooling Off Day which turned out to be a super hot day. How apt. Cooling Off Day falls on the eve of Polling Day when all election campaigning is disallowed. I was already getting sick of the campaigning news so I was just happy to be able to do some sewing in peace and quiet. But I then got very, very upset. See this checkbook cover is for me. I have a chequebook which I keep losing so I thought this would do the trick. Instead of searching for my chequebook, I would search for the checkbook cover. Now, after I had cut out all the pieces of fabric needed, it occurred to me to take out my chequebook to see if it fits. Guess what? It doesn't.


Now you understand that I have already cut out all the fabric needed. Why it didn't occur to me to check before I snip snip is beyond me. As it turned out, Singapore chequebooks must be way longer than American ones. Do I have any American readers? Please do me a big favour and fish out your checkbook and tell me what the measurements are?

I've always assumed all checkbooks have universal measurements. Like passports and credit cards. Anyhoo, I woke up on Saturday, which is Polling Day to firstly vote followed by another round of cutting of fabric. I just made everything a little longer.


See, now it fits.


In keeping with the spirit of the sew along, I tried to follow the sewing instructions as much as possible. The only thing I don't like is the placement of the snaps. I prefer to place them as close to the edge as possible. Somehow I don't see myself making another one of this cover.

On to other news. Well, the Election results are out. We're still a one-party ruled country. No surprise. The big victory for the opposition is the capture of a GRC which is a Group Representation Constituency. GRC was created in 1988 comprising of 4, 5 or 6 members to contest as a group. In all, 14 GRC (a total of 69 seats) and 12 single-member-constituencies were being contested. Since the creation of GRC, the opposition has only been able to capture SMC. So, it is a big victory for the opposition. The final result? 60.1% voted for the ruling party. This translated to 81 seats for the ruling party and 6 seats going to the opposition. If you think mathematically it sounds wrong, go back to my explanation of GRC. And you may think 6 seats is pathetic but in the last election only 2 seats went to the opposition.

So a big win for the opposition but only a tiny step towards a better Singapore.

What does the majority of Singaporeans want? Clearly, they want the ruling party to form the government but the dip in popular vote shows a growing number who wants change. How the ruling party treats the loser candidates, critics and netizens who had spoken up openly during the Election campaign period will be an indication of which direction this country is heading. With the end of election, I think I will go back to my sewing and beading which are really far more exciting (to me). See ya.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Beadwork Needlecase Heirloom And Election Fever


Hello dear friends,

It's been a very exciting week for Singapore. Have you heard? Singapore is holding a general election and for the very first time for a very, very long time, majority of the seats (82 out of 87) are being contested. This is pretty unusual for Singapore as most times, it's a walkover for most constituencies resulting in many citizens having never ever voted in their entire life. Well, for me, I'm of course very happy to report that I get to vote. Yeah, yeah, I'm still sore I did not get to vote in the last election. Actually, all seats would have been contested if not for a goof-up by the team aspiring to contest for the remaining group of 5 seats. They submitted their nomination forms late by 35 seconds.

So I've been occupied with reading up on election news and totally neglected my blog reads. I'll catch up next week, promise. Meanwhile, my beading continued. Hey, check out my beaded needlecase necklace. I finally completed it. Hmm.. I can't be sure but I think some of you guys are drooling over it!


Isn't she a beauty? It took hours and hours to complete. I have no idea how many delicas I used. They are really tiny, itsy-bitsy beads and many times I send some flying in the air, into my T-shirt when I knock my tray. I have one golden rule when beading. Once the beads are gone, I don't try to search for them. It's a waste of time. For those of you who have never beaded and wondered how I manage to insert the needle into the beads seeing how the hole is so tiny? Well, the trick is you have a pile of beads and you just stab blindly at the pile. At least one will enter the needle. If you have more than required, you can just easily flick it from the needle. Ah!!!


If you've been wondering why this is a needlecase, now you see? The needles go into the wooden tube and you just cap it on. Although I can't imagine wanting to put needles in this baby, for sure!


Making this needlecase required knowledge of two techniques. For the cylindrical body, you need to learn even count tabular peyote. For the flat top and bottom, you need to learn even count circular peyote. All these terms may sound exotic but they're just techniques to arrange the beads in a certain order to get the shape or pattern you want. If you have crochet experience, beading would be a breeze for you as the concept is very similar. The execution of course differs as in beading you use needle and thread/beading line.


Here's a look at the cap top which is made using circular peyote. This is a lot harder to make compared to tabular peyote. Guaranteed to make you scream the first time around.


The fringes are the easiest to make. You just twist the thread! I really have nothing related to beading lined up just yet so I'll probably get back to my sewing for a while.

Tomorrow, Friday is Cooling Off Day. I'm guessing Singapore must be the only country in the world to have a Cooling Off Day before Polling Day which is Saturday. For those who are unaware, Singapore has been ruled by one party since 1959. I am old enough to have lived thru' 3 prime ministers. This is possibly the 4th time I'm voting in an election although I cannot be 100% certain.

During this past week, to woo the electorate, sweeteners offered by the candidates have ranged from upgrading of estates including walkways to being the people's voice in parliament. For me, I live in a pretty new estate. It is only 12 years old. When I bought my home, I noticed that the architect had thoughtfully incorporated walkways and made use of existing structures to provide shelter when it rains. He gave us a nice mini park, an exercise area, an amphitheatre, a court yard for ball play and two playgrounds. Plus a very nice garden. So you could say residents in my estate pretty much have it all. I always wonder why other estates did not get all the goodies that came with my home. The constituency I live in is not a "hot seat" being contested. That probably explains why we're not being wooed with anything. Like I said, we have all the good stuff.

This year's election has become more widely discussed than before. Possibly due to the fact that this year, many of the candidates from the opposition parties are not your usual riff-raff. Even kids have jumped on the wagon. My kids who literally don't care about anything beyond games or korean pop asked me a few questions about the election. It seems the kids too wondered who they should vote for, if given a chance. When they started to repeat stuff they had heard in school regarding the election I found myself warning them to be careful about what they say in public.

What are we afraid of?
My kids asked me.

It seems that fear of speaking about politics in Singapore has been instilled in me for so long that I no longer know what I'm afraid of. Do I teach my children to be afraid like what my mother had done?

With my one single vote, I vote for a Singapore that tolerates differing views on politics. I say No to an iron fist rule. I vote for BETTER.

But what does the majority of Singaporeans want? That question will be answered on Sunday.
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