Monday, April 30, 2012

Where did April go?

You know what? I know exactly where April went because I blogged every single day.  On 1st of April here, I decided I would blog daily for the month of April in order to find out where my time went. Since it's the last day of April, then today is the last day of my daily blogging.

Oh, don't be sad. I'll still be around. I think posting 4 to 5 times a week is what I'll do from May. That's still plenty. Sure I could post daily if I wanted to. It doesn't take that much effort. But I don't want to run out of stuff to write about. I don't lead a very interesting life and I don't make that many interesting items to show you. So that's pretty much why. Also, I think for at least 2 days a week, I should keep some thoughts private. You know, just for me. :)

What I want to know is - Did you guys enjoy my 30 days of blogging? I know at least 4 of you did! And really, thanks so much to those of you who commented, facebooked, shared, tweeted or emailed me. I know you wanted to encourage me. It's great to have such wonderful readers. Those of you who were quietly reading away, I know you were quietly cheering me on. Am I right?

So what did I achieve in April?

My diet
I have to say cutting cheese and milk out of my diet was my greatest achievement. I only cheated on 2 occasions - one subway melt and an ice-cream (a few people put the word ice-cream in my head!). I had 2 little headaches after eating these and that put me back on track. The rest of the month, I totally had no cheese and milk. And the result - I was headache and migraine free.

Since early this year, I had been getting very severe headaches and migraines. I was starting to live on panadol daily. It really scared me.

After this experiment, I know I have to be very strict with my diet if I want to be pain-free. I know there are a few other triggers for headaches and migraines but I feel the big hurdle is over.

My fitness
I'm also really proud of myself for getting off my butt and exercising 5 times a week. For 3 days, I jog 6 rounds round the park. For 2 days, I use the exercise machines to rotate my joints and tone my muscles. On weekends, I absolutely refuse to exercise!

I went from zero to 5 times a week!

My ePattern
I published 1 ePattern and started work on 2 others. This is one area I need to have more discipline on. I think I need to set aside specific time of the day to work on ePatterns only. That way I won't be distracted. Right now I only work on it when I'm tired of sewing. That's not a very good plan.

Producing ePatterns is very tedious and honestly quite boring work. It all boils down to being diligent.

Sewing for craft market
Another area I have totally zero discipline in. I really just sew when I feel like it. It's crazy. This is not a good way to work. Of course sewing items to sell is sometimes not all fun and games. When something sells and you have to pay the rent, obviously you need to make more of the same. But it gets boring. Oh you know, I want to have fun and I want to be creative. Seriously, sometimes you have to just do it regardless of what feelings you have.

And I have to keep telling myself that!

Time wasters
I think I'm managing my time better in this area. Since I've become anti-Pinterest, it's been a big help. I have cut out 2 shows from my must-see list - Fringe (the different timeline thing just sickened me), and House (too tedious). Hopefully I'll cut out more shows and that'll give me more time for work.

♥ ♥ ♥

I have a craft market this weekend and of course I'm starting to sew like mad again. I wanted to have at least 4 lunchtime pouches ready and I managed to make 3 more so that makes 5.


I don't know how many of these I've made in total but it's getting harder and harder to get myself interested. Right now I'm just motivating myself with using remnants and getting the colours matched.

Today my sewing machine threw a hissy fit and I had no choice but to unscrew it and give it a cleaning. Do you guys clean your sewing machine? I really hate unscrewing my sewing machine because I'm so scared I'll never put it back nicely again.

These are the 3 lunchtime pouches I made today.


This is what I call a hit and miss fabric. Sometimes it sells very well. Sometimes you couldn't give it away. Today the sky was very dark. I had to use a very high ISO in order take my photos. I'm still not understanding the concept of ISO. But I do know I need to keep increasing the number!


Same fabric combo as another drawstring pouch I made. I'm running out of drawstrings.



I unearthed a small amount of this grey polka dotted fabric. Oh it was buried by my stash. This is a you either love it or nothing fabric.


This was the last unsold drawstring pouch from my last craft market. I wonder why. It's cute! (The bottom is red)

If you've been coming to my blog daily to check for updates, there's an easier way to get updates.
- facebook
- google friend (see my sidebar for "My entourage")
- email subscription (see my sidebar for "follow by email")


For the benefit of those who are technologically challenged, I'm displaying my 10 most recent posts on my blog homepage (projectsbyjane.blogspot.com) so you don't have to hunt for them.

See you in a while.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Skulls and roses

I don't look like someone who has a thing for skulls. First of all, I don't look wild. The only part of me that looks anywhere near wild is my hair and that's because I don't comb it. If I comb it, people (hubs) will keep asking me, "what happened to your hair?" And that's why I prefer not to comb my hair.

Second of all, I'm middle-age. Skulls is something you associate with younger folks. Am I right?

Thirdly, I have no tattoos. Not even the rub-on ones. I don't even apply any eye make-up. It's really because I have sensitive skin. I do admire goth eye make-up (on others) as well as interesting body art.

But I do have a thing for skulls and if possible, with roses and birds. I keep it cool, nothing overboard. I don't want to be known as the skulls lady.

It all started with t-shirts.


This one I really LOVE because it's so unusual - skulls with snake and eagle. Also, the skull is not obvious. This could be my first skull tee. Unfortunately I've grown in girth and I can barely breathe when I wear it. I still keep it because when I die, hubs has to squeeze this onto me. Just kidding. 


This is a pink tee and although I like the skulls motif, I found the fabric too thin. This tee is even smaller and the only chance I have of being able to wear it again is if I am reincarnated.


Surprisingly no one notices the skulls on this tee. The skulls look a little haunted. This is a super comfy t-shirt.


I thought the skull with the top hat was really cool but the quality of the t-shirt was a disappointment. It collapsed immediately after one wash. It's now my home wear.


I think I got my money's worth for this Levis T-shirt. I wear it every week. I even wear it when I go jogging. It looks terrible and horribly worn out. But I will continue to wear it till holes appear.


I made the applique on this cheap $5 tee years ago. I was in my t-shirt design phase. I failed miserably in the construction of the skulls. It took me a long time to sew everything.


I no longer wear this tee but I'm keeping it for old time's sake.

I just noticed all my t-shirts look really crumpled. How does one keep t-shirts uncrumpled?


From tees, I soon moved to bags. This is possibly my first skulls bag, made in 2009. I still remember the customer who bought it. A couple came to my table at MAAD. The guy was on crutches. I saw them exchanging looks when they saw this bag. They had a small discussion and the guy took out his wallet. Yay, he paid! I know. It's quite sickening but I have very detailed memory of certain events in my life. Thank goodness I don't remember every single event.


This was my second skulls bag, another 2009 bag. My son who was 12 when this pic was taken has grown even taller!


My third skulls bag - this one without any embroidery. I remember I judged the woman who wanted to buy this bag because she didn't look "the type". I kept asking her if she knew it was a skulls bag. I could easily say that about myself. But I really didn't want her to come back to return the bag in tears. I know it's hard to imagine. But some women are unable to "see" the skulls.


I have just 1 watch with skulls motif. Yes, it matched my pink tee!

I fear I may have reached the peak of my skulls obsession. I haven't bought anything with skulls for a very long time.


A few days ago, I ran out of tees to wear to sleep (it kept raining) and hubs offered his pink skulls tee to me. I tried it on and immediately took it off. It felt too creepy to me and I didn't think I could go to sleep in it. Yep, the end is near.

I went through my stock for next weekend's craft market and discovered I only have 1 miserable lunchtime pouch left. I will have to make at least 3 more. I made one today. 


Surprise. Another skulls and roses.



I'm awful, aren't I? Imagine you're having a nice lunch and this woman sits down next to you and she plonks her skulls pouch next to your bowl of noodles giving you the fright of your life! Well, if this happened to you, I'm the person responsible. See you tomorrow.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Alien eyebrow shapers

Ladies and gent,

I'm convinced the aliens have landed on earth and infiltrated the eyebrow shaping industry.

What? What?

Let me explain.
First let's take a look at my face.


This is a pic of me when I was younger and thinner. Never mind. That's how I want to remember myself. Everyone just play along. It was taken by my friend, Jon. Anyhoo, take a look at my eyebrows. They are unplucked and unshaped. Exactly how I like them.

Many many years ago I did attempt to get them shaped. I went with 2 friends to an eyebrow shaper's home and I was then subjected to much pulling and tweezing with a thread. Sure I did not look too bad. But the hair grew back. Very fast. I felt it was too much work to fight nature and that's why I leave my eyebrows alone. I need all the time I have. I'm still at book 1 of the Harry Potter's series. By the way, Harry is a wizard!!!!!

Back to the topic. Where I live, there is a shop which specialises in eyebrow shaping. I think it involves shaping and inking the eyebrows. Ew. There's a video that shows what horror you're in for at the entrance of the shop

The women who work at this shop have started to take an interest in me. Of course. With my unplucked eyebrows, I'm a prize catch. As their shop is near the entrance, I am bound to walk past these women. One woman in particular has made it her mission to harass me.  Let's call her "Ah Lian".  Every time I walk past Ah Lian, she would come right up to my face and wave her hand IN MY FACE and say "HELLO, blah, blah, blah."  and try to shove a brochure in my hand. The more I indicate I do not want her service, the more she felt encouraged. Now I no longer say anything. I just get away as fast as I can. But honestly, I want to scream out all the swear words I've learnt since I was a kid out loud in my Chinese dialect. Why do women want to bring out the worst in me? Is it MY FACE?

Today was the worst. I saw her stationed near the entrance and quickly walked behind a store display in order to walk past her without being seen. She must have eyes at the back of her head (think alien) because she waited for me at the other side of the store display (sprang out even) and once again waved her hand IN MY FACE so close her hands touched MY FACE and without blinking she acted like nothing has happened and continued saying "HELLO, blah, blah, blah." Never mind I had both my hands full of bags of grocery. She still tried to stuff her brochure on me. I silently sent a few fireballs her way but my magic did not work. She did not burst into flames.

And that's why I'm pretty sure Ah Lian is an alien disguised as an eyebrow shaper.

Me hubs say she's making sport of me now just to amuse herself.

♥   ♥   ♥

Today was a very short day for me. I woke up very late. Yes, Jane needs her 12 hour sleep once in a while. I made 2 easy drawstring pouches. One to please the ladies and one to scare the ladies.




Can you tell which one will scare the ladies?

Even though I'm capable of making more complicated pouches and bags, I get so much pleasure from making these simple drawstring pouches. The fun really is in putting all the colours together. See you tomorrow.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The world's biggest smile

For the past few days this week, me hubs on waking up has been giving me the biggest smile in the world.


Yes, kinda something like this.

First thing in the morning.

After he gets out of bed.

Nothing wrong with that.

Except.

Me hubs is not a smiler. I'm more familiar with his grouchy face. In fact I  don't remember the last time he smiled at me before this week. Was it the day BEFORE we got married?

Some back story....

I have often complained to hubs about the surly service I get from the middle-aged aunties who work at food stalls near where I live. Is it MY FACE? I don't mean I get the usual unfriendly service. No, these aunties fight over who get NOT to serve me. I mean, I'm standing right there. I can hear everything. Once this particular auntie absolutely refused to make tea for me because she insisted I had not queued up. I had. Even though the cashier assured her I had queued up, she refused to make that tea for me which I was buying for hubs. Finally, the cashier had to make the tea for me. So unbelievable right? Most of the time it's not this bad. I just get a "What do you want?"

Hubs on the other hand had no such problems. He told me he received good service. I did not believe him. Until a few days ago.

We were at a supermarket and he went to the gourmet ham counter to buy his pepper ham. I joined him and to my surprise, hubs was giving the gourmet ham auntie the world's biggest smile.


Yes, kinda something like this.

What? What?

Why is he smiling at the auntie? You mean, he's capable of smiling? And why does the gourmet ham auntie look so happy and why the hell is she smiling back? Plastered on her face is the world's biggest smile. She even made a small hand gesture to hubs to indicate the number 6 as in 6 slices of ham. They have a secret hand language as well? Is this a date? What's going on?

After we left, I was in a daze for a while. I mean, I needed to digest what I had witnessed.

Firstly, the smile. So, hubs is capable of smiling. Not just any smile. A killer smile.
Secondly, no wonder he gets good service. He's paying for it with that dem smile.
Thirdly, I felt outraged.

I told hubs how I felt and yes, he laughed his head off. And that's pretty much how for the past few days, hubs make sure to give me the world's biggest killer smile the minute he gets out of bed.


Yes, kinda something like this.

And if you must know, I'm still getting crap service from the aunties.

♥♥♥

Lest you forget this is a bag making blog, let me show you a couple of items I made for my next craft market.


Remember the fat tabby named Meow I drew here? I've made them into drawstring pouches.


I'm a little disgusted the lining looks better than the exterior fabric with my drawing. It's reversible but I'm hiding this fact from customers. Shhhhh.


Would the buyer of this pouch be happy or sad the lining is of some skinny cats?


For this other fat tabby drawstring pouch, I'm using a different drawstring. It's made of lily yarn (I think) and braided tightly. I'm afraid I'm going to have to purchase a cigarette lighter to burn the ends so they won't unravel. I'm no friend of fire. Will surely burn myself.

Can you believe this is my 27th post this month? See you tomorrow.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Easy Clutch


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I've been asked many times if I have a ePattern for someone who has never made a bag before. It seems to me there is a demand for such a pattern because I get asked this question a lot. So I finally buckled down and produced my first ePattern for a beginner. Originally I wanted to use the word "virgin" instead of beginner but I can imagine all the misunderstanding that could arise. So I stuck to a safe and easily understood word.

I used a very simple easy shape - what can be more common than an envelope?  Incidentally envelope clutches have been around for a very long time. I have seen pictures of very ancient ones. They're usually heavy on beads and embroidery.

It never occurred to me that writing the instructions for a very easy clutch for someone new to making bags could be hard. I actually thought it would be a breeze. It turned out to be the hardest ePattern to do. I fretted over every single instruction. I worried the beginner wouldn't understand. I tried to think like a beginner.

I made over 10 samples. I shot and re-shot the photos. The original fabric I used was blue. Then I ran out of the blue fabric. So I had to re-shoot all the photos. Because now the clutch is puce. (it's a real word)

After all the fussing and editing, I finally decided it was perfect. Oh, I had great help too from Suzee who not only helped me test but gave great suggestions too. Suzee owns Applehead Threads on Etsy. Please give her some love. ♥

I have been very lucky in my choice of testers. They always deliver!


Right now this ePattern is available on Etsy. Here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cure for insomnia

Today I needed an extra cup of coffee because I tested my son in his Chinese proverbs. The first part involved him writing out the characters that I read out. My droning voice put me to sleep. There were 50 proverbs altogether. I'm on a break now. Later I may have to test him on the meanings of the 50 proverbs. Coffee may not be enough. Chilli?

This morning I found it really hard to complete the last 2 rounds of my jog. I had to visualise a glass of iced lemon tea while I ran. Possibly, my tongue was hanging out. Seriously, I'm too old for this keep fit thing. Seeing how easily and happily the senior citizens were exercising made me mad. How do they do it? What's their secret? Is it green tea? I want to surrender. I'm so, so tired. I want to black out.


I finally resolved to finish up my pocket tissue holders. See, I dislike sewing the gap in the lining and I would put off doing it. As a result, I accumulate a bunch of pouches needing the gap sewn. Which makes it worse because I ended up having to sew the gaps for 15 pocket tissue holders.

However boring it was, it's finally done.


I'm a little surprised I made so many. It makes me nervous too. I have a craft market coming up next week and I'll sell these. Since it's my first time selling these items, I have no idea if they will sell. I hope I sell a few. I really do. Because if I don't sell any, I'll cry for sure. No, I won't cry while at VivoCity. Probably wait till I reach home and go stand in a dark corner.  Not a small sniffling cry but a big, mother WAAAAA... (practicing my crying)

Linked to Tea Rose Home Partay.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A visit to Little India

Today hubs and I went to an area in Singapore known as Little India. I think you can figure out why it's called Little India.

With my stock being built up, I find it a little challenging displaying all my items on the counter at the VivoCity craft market. Today's trip to Little India was to look for space savers for my craft market display.

It's not so easy to get to Little India. It needed 3 different train lines just to get close enough and then you have to walk. During our walk to the shop, we noticed there were many interesting trade going on here. Most of the shops smelled. I saw at least 3 that traded old stainless steel kitchen ware. If I ever want to become a hawker, I know where to go.

Also I saw 2 Indian temples. These had sculptures all over the building. Quite amazing.



These pics were taken across the road with an iPhone so I don't think you can see the sculptures clearly.

We ate at Little India as well. Ironically, we did not see any Indian restaurants. I think we were only on the fringe which might explain why. We ate at a Thai restaurant.


This is prawn crackers. They serve this to you first so you won't faint from hunger. It's oily and delicious.


This is mango salad. If you've never had mango salad, let me see if I can describe it to you. After the 4th or 5th mouthful, you feel like you've been shot in the head by a gun loaded with chilli.


Hubs had fried rice with chicken. I think it was really spicy because I heard him sucking in air a lot. Also he kept saying he wanted ice-cream.


I had sambal stingray with white rice. The sambal chilli is very spicy. After the 4th or 5th mouthful, I felt like my chest was shot by a machine gun loaded with chilli. I wanted ice-cream too.

So what did I buy?


I bought this display thingy that could "stack" up my pouches.


Yes, this little thingy is quite clever. It's $5!


This necklace holder is for my brooch display. The "arms" turn so the customers would not have problems viewing all the brooches.

Hubs bought something to house his watch collection. I'll show you once he sets it up.

This shop I went to specializes in display wares. It has everything under the sun. You really have to hunt for what you want. The service is non-existent. You need to grab someone by the arm before they'll serve you.

Also, I'm pretty sure we were overcharged. No price tags. The next time I go to this shop, I'm bringing along my most gangster looking friend

Monday, April 23, 2012

A tabby named Meow

Yesterday I read in my news feed a story about this fat cat named Meow that weighed 18kg!

via
Gosh, look how fat the cat is. It's even bigger than the lady carrying her. I immediately jumped at the chance to draw her - the cat I mean.


Here is Meow dancing. Er, I mean, shuffling. Her nickname is Pui-Pui. (read it rhyming with oui in French) Why Pui-Pui? Well, in my Chinese dialect, pui means fat. Ah.....


Here she is having a snack.

I don't think I nailed Pui-Pui's fatness though.

Illustration drawn using zig pens. (i'm a amazon associate and will earn a teeny sale commission)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why I Deleted my Pinterest Boards

Hello ladies and gent,

How was your weekend? It's Sunday night here and almost the end of another week. I've given this a lot of thought and today I finally decided. I will delete my Pinterest boards.

Yes, sir. I'm deleting all the images I had gathered on carefully categorized pin boards. All that effort will be for nothing. I did not pin many images from other blogs due to copyright issues.

Here's the reason why. I've been spammed on Pinterest.

I've been spammed before - on my blog and my mail. Those I could deal with as I could simply delete and that'll be the end of it until another spam comes along. I had the control. Plus nowadays, Blogger is really good at catching spam comments. You don't even have to lift a finger. They go straight to the spam folder. As for my mail, since ditching hotmail and switching to gmail, I've discovered Gmail really does a good job as well stuffing spam mail into my spam folder. Occasionally a few slip through but once I report these as spam, they no longer get to my Inbox.

What happened to my images on Pinterest - you might want to take an interest because it might already have happened to yours.

Here's the mo.

A spammer repins your image to her board.
From her board, she edits the LINK in your image.
She points the LINK to a webpage that sells something.

So now we have 2 versions of my image.
- My original from my board with the LINK to my blog.
- A repin in the spammer's board with the LINK to her webpage.

Anyone who clicks on MY image from her board will see her webpage.
My spammers earn affiliates fees from sales made from the webpage.
Anyone who goes to the webpage via MY image and buys something will help my spammer make some money.
Nothing wrong with making money from affiliates links.

But this is done illegally by hijacking my image without my permission, all aided by Pinterest which allows editing of  LINKS of repinned images.

And there's nothing much I can do about it.
I tried removing the LINK in the spammer's version of MY image.
But it cannot be removed.
I reported the spammers to Pinterest.
They did nothing.
Maybe Pinterest is busy.
Maybe Pinterest gets too many such complaints and I'm in the queue.
Whatever.
It sucks.
I hate being spammed this way.
It feels so helpless.

And you know what? Finding out whether your images have been spammed isn't that easy.
First of all, you need to go to the board where your image has been repinned to.
There, you have to click on your image.
When you are in the page where it's just your image, you need to click on the image one more time to see where it goes.
If you've been spammed, it is obvious because it goes to a site you have no association with.

My spammer's website sells supplements targeted at people who may want to lose weight. I'm "lucky" it's not a porn site. Or a site that sells worse stuff.

Whatever.
I hate feeling helpless.

I tried to think of all the reasons why I need Pinterest:
1. Traffic - in the early days of Pinterest, I did get a fair bit of traffic from Pinterest. Now it's not enough to be worth the trouble.
2. A place to bookmark sites and images. You know what? There are other apps available that does the same job on your desktop. Far away from spammers.

Not enough reasons.
I'm keeping my account for a while just to allow me to do tidying up.
Those of you who had followed me, you just have to come to my blog from now on.

Oh, one more thing.
After deleting all my images from Pinterest, my repinned images including the ones being hacked still exists!!!
Hopefully, in a few days, a black hole will open up and swallow them.

Finally,

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Draw something

Have you guys played Pictionary? Yes, I'm calling from the last 2 decades. When my kids were young (funny statement!), we played Pictionary now and then. If you've never heard of this game, it's a word guessing game where one person draws and the team guesses the word. In my family, this game usually ends in tears.

Now on mobile, we have Draw Something and on my desktop via facebook, I have Draw My Thing. A friend introduced me to Draw My Thing and although we never got to play with each other, I've played a few rounds with my family. It's definitely another Time Waster.

Draw Something is a 2-player game while Draw My Thing allows more than 2 players. Check out this guy's drawings from Draw Something. He's quite incredible and certainly has a good knowledge of pop culture.

I'm playing my own Draw Something game on my post today.

Draw Deer Caught In The Headlights Pig


Draw Dieting Pig


Draw Don't Look At Me While I'm Peeing


Draw Why Are You Looking At Me?


Draw Karate Chick



These 5 drawings are based on my girl's drawings she drew for me in 2009 when she was 9. I used them in a few embroidered zip pouches. Go here if you're curious about them. p.s. I really love the rabbit and the cat. p.s.s. apart from cleaning after my girl, feeding her, waking her, caring for her, I'm paying her royalties of 20 cents for each of her drawings.

The following I drew this afternoon. I tried to draw like a 9 year old. (I think I succeeded!)

Draw Pig Getting A Mugshot (caught stealing swill)


Draw Slow And Steady Wins The Race (remember my little turtle from here?)


Draw Middle Aged Bird


Draw Bird That Chopes Table


Draw Gangster Bird



Draw Fur Loving Bird


Draw Piss Off


Hope you have a fabulous weekend.

....all drawings done with zig pens. (i am a amazon associate and will earn a meager sale commission)
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