Tuesday, September 25, 2012

5 Years Ago Today

Update: Giveaway is closed. Winner announced here.

Hello folks,

It's the 25th September and do you know what day this is? Yes, exactly 5 years ago, also on a Tuesday, I started this blog. Can you believe it? I've been blogging for 5 years.

5 very long years.

You know what that means? I've aged 5 years since that fateful day. I've also put on weight and accumulated a host of health conditions. Other than that, I've pretty much stayed the same. It's as if I ran and ran and still stayed at the same position.

Which is sad. Almost like the 5 years didn't happen. Somewhere at the back (way back) of my head, I had the idea I would become very successful. That money would pour in from advertisers. (make money while I sleep) It didn't.

Which brings us to why not.

Traffic.

Blog traffic.

Not enough.

According to Blogger, since May 2008 when Blogger stated collected stats, my blog has received a total of 376,901 pageviews.

Impressive? Not really. Not over 5 years.

One million pageviews. Now, that's impressive. When will I achieve it?

There are ways to increase traffic.

Like blog every day.
Which I did for 1 month in April.
My stats doubled.

Like write stuff people are interested in reading.
hahahahahaha - I'm too self indulgent.

Like submit my blog posts for syndication.
hahahahahaha - I'm too lazy.

Like write more tutorials.
hahahahahaha - I'm still too lazy.

Like write controversial stuff.
hahahahahaha - seriously, I'm still too lazy. Besides, it's not me.

Anyhoo, what's the point of this post? Other than whining about "boo-hoo, I'm still not successful," here's the deal.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my regular readers (there are probably 50 of you plus, minus) by having a little giveaway.

Yes, people.

THIS IS A GIVEAWAY.

Here's the prize which ONE of you will win, to be selected randomly by random org. 

View 1

View 2
Like it? Love it? It's 1 yard of a very interesting dress patterning print and 1 yard of a green print. So you get a TOTAL of 2 yards of fabric.

How to enter

Answer this question: What was the last song you listened to?


You have a maximum of 4 entries per person. For each entry, you must leave a comment leaving your email. (you can write your email like this: e.g. username AT gmail DOT com)

Additional entries
- Blog about this giveaway. Leave your blog post url.
- Tweet about this giveaway.
- Facebook about this giveaway.

Please.....
☻ You must leave your email address if your blogger profile is not tied to your email.
☻ Open worldwide.
☻ Ends on last day of September 2012, Singapore time.

♠ Winner will be announced in the first week of October 2012. Winner must respond to my email of her/his win within 48hours. Otherwise Mr Random.Org will find another winner then.

Good luck. Oh, the last song I listened to? Fiction by Beast.

p.s. just in case you don't know what to make with the fabric if you won, go look at my bags patterns here. (self-promotion)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

You Is Right

Folks,

I've squandered 20 days in September. It almost feels like I'm not serious about producing stock for my Christmas craft market. It's not that I've not made anything. I have. But just little items here and there, all in various stages of completion. Not a staggering amount. In fact I'm quite ashamed of how little work I have done. I've not yet drawn up a master plan of how many of what to make. I just know I want to hit the number 74 just so I could reach my goal of 1000 Projects Before I Die.

And before any of you ask again, I AM NOT DYING. It's a goal I set out for myself a while ago and back then, I did not know I could sew so many items. If I had known, I would have set a higher goal like 10,000. Now that's unreachable I'm sure.

Once I reach 1,000, I will not keep count anymore. I used to want to keep on counting but now I don't really care to.  Hope hubs isn't disappointed. It's really getting to be a chore - this counting.

The weather in Singapore is getting humid and smoggy again. A horrid combination. We're just done with the month long Hungry Ghosts Festival. So now I can breathe again. I kept getting told it's the last day of the festival and then it turned out to be untrue. I really should get a Chinese calendar.

So I was basically in this no-hurry mode and yesterday bam! It hit me. I panicked. I peeked inside my stock closet and was alarmed there were so few items. Yes, I knew I didn't have that many. Still I had to see with my own eyes. I tried fainting but it didn't work. I tried pretending I had plenty of time. It didn't work. Finally, overcome with anxiety, I started sewing. That's the one thing I can count on. Panic often results in some small creativity in me.

I decided I wanted to make a few lunchtime bags. Yes, yes. I know I already have lunchtime pouches. These are bags. With zips. And handles.


I'm going to call this version 1. It's not too big and not too small. But I think I need to make another version because many women carry large wallets. Like me.



I decided to add a zipper because most women feel comfortable if bags have zips.


Originally, on paper, I wanted the bottom to be rectangular. But while sewing I changed my mind and decided the bottom would mimic the top. The hardest part of sewing this little bag? Top stitching around the top.

Today I started working on other zip pouches so my sewing mojo is back. I'll show you the others another time.

* * *

From next week I'll be joining an exercise group in my neighbourhood. I had failed to find a Pilates class close to home and decided that the next closest thing to Pilates is Tai chi. A few days ago, the instructor called me to confirm the class. It will be outdoors and the instructor is a Chinese helicopter. Yes, I'm as terrified as hubs is. This Tai chi guru can't speak a word of English. How on earth will I cope? My fluency in Chinese is not exactly zero but ordering food in Chinese is different from getting instructions to go left, go right, hold the pose. Speaking of left and right, to those fluent in Chinese, it's a piece of cake to. But for a long time I couldn't for the life of me remember which is which.

Left is zuo.
Right is you. (yes, as in you, you, you, go stand in the corner)
Many years ago, I was working in this company and one day I was delighted to discover a kindred soul. This guy, let's call him Charles (his real name) was pretty bad in Chinese too and he was sent by his folks to study in Canada, possibly to escape learning Chinese. Anyway, I told him how I could never remember left and right in Chinese. He told me he had the same problem and gave me this little trick which worked. He said the trick was to imagine pointing your finger at someone and say "YOU". Since I'm right handed, I would point with my right hand. So YOU IS RIGHT.  And ZUO would then be LEFT.

Let me just say this trick worked its magic. Each time I need to tell a taxi driver the directions, I would find myself pointing my finger,  and say YOU. If it's left, I want, I would lower my finger and say ZUO. I know, what an insane way to learn Chinese. Incidentally, Charles is left-handed. So he had to think the OPPOSITE. Just imagine his left hand pointing and saying YOU.... and then his brain tells him it's the opposite.

Anyways, when I'm doing the Tai Chi, I hope I won't find myself pointing my finger going YOU! I wonder if my instructor is worried. The other day he asked me if I am a YANG something something. I had no idea what he was talking about. So I told him my age because YANG has the same sound as YOUNG. He roared with laughter. I think he knows he's getting a clown.

And just so you know, I tried very hard to be fluent in Chinese. I spent more time on Chinese than on any other subjects in school. (which was silly) All my Chinese teachers did nothing to help me. They expected me to just naturally know the language. They told me I was lazy. And I wasn't. When I became an adult, many people I worked with helped me learn the language better, often giving up part of their lunch time. Despite all my efforts, it was always a struggle. Now I'm pretty sure I'm dyslexic in Chinese. Otherwise, it just doesn't make sense. Because I tried so freaking hard.

1 out of 74 bags completed.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oppa Gangnam Style

Unless you've been away from Earth, you would have had your senses invaded by this youtube video called Gangnam Style.


Here's the original video. Watch it if you haven't already. (welcome back to Earth). And don't worry if you don't understand a word of it. It's in Korean. With a smattering of English words.

Oppa Gangnam Style

This video hit Singapore in August this year. The over 183 MILLION views it has received - I probably contributed 20 views. Alright, I confess. It's closer to 40.

Eh - sexy lady

Singapore has a huge K-pop and K-drama fans. But, and I'm not saying with 100% certainty, most of the fans (mostly women) go for the pretty boys.

Psy, on the other hand, looks like a regular uncle. I have been to Korea and to be fair I was only there for a week. Most Koreans we saw look pretty good. Our tour took us to non-city areas as well and I was shocked to see the other kinds of Korean. They kind of look like Psy. Short and less pretty. I think that's what makes Psy appealing. He goes against type - his uncle looks and of course, that crazy dance. Who knew dancing like a crab is so internationally appealing.

According to Psy on Ellen, the secret to the video's success:

Dress classy, dance cheesy.

Ahem. I beg to differ. I think it's:
Dress cheesy, dance crazy.

If you think it's easy to dance crazy, try it. Psy tried to teach Britney Spears on Ellen. He failed by the way. She no listen good. And Psy handled Ellen well. He asked to introduce himself. Not just dancing. Hey, he's not a dancing monkey, Ellen!


I've watched the dance moves over and over again and finally figured out why I can't do it. You need 2 right feet and I have 2 left feet. Ah so! But I think I've nailed riding an invisible horse.

Oppa Oppa 

Psy appeared to have more success on the Today show. Go here. (you have to watch an ad first)

Oppa Gangnam style 

This song and video does get a bit annoying over time. Especially when you hear it and see it everywhere. (I would put the figure at the 10th time) In fact, it will get to a point when....

via (I don't know who to credit)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Will and Kate's Singapore Adventure

Prince William and his wife Kate were in Singapore from Tuesday to Thursday. This is their adventure in Singapore.

First the orchids.

via

This lovely white orchid is Princess Diana's.

via

This multi-coloured one is named after Prince William and his wife Catherine.
I like Diana's more.

 If I ever have a flower named after me, I want it to be a hibiscus. It grows singly and has a bright cheerful orange-red colour. I'm a bit of a loner and my face turns red easily. Ha!

Prince William finds out that the people in Singapore are generally shorter than him. Well, he is almost a giant.

via

He did what any sensible tall prince would do.
He bent.
A lot.

via
via

via
Kate had to bend too.
via

via

During the couple's visit to the Kranji War Memorial, someone finally had the decency to hand Kate an umbrella. But it looked like a toy umbrella. I've never seen anyone use such umbrellas before. In fact, it looks a little like the kind used in Chinese funerals.

via
They had chicken rice too. 
Have I mentioned how crazy Singaporeans are over chicken rice?
But they did not eat the kind sold at regular food courts that locals eat at. I think they had the rich men's version.

via
It was a nice visit. Next time they come, I hope they bring Harry.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Messenger Bag with gusset Bag Pattern



Folks,

My Messenger Bag with gusset pattern is finally available for sale at my Etsy shop here. Delivery is via email which means you'll only get it when I'm awake and near my computer. If you prefer instant download, you have to get it from my Craftsy pattern store here. Sign-up is free and painless.

This pattern has taken a very long time to produce. I forgot which century it was when I started working on it. Honestly it didn't take that long to produce. I just worked on it on and off and then on and off again due to my craft market commitments. As you've probably figured, that's a terrible way to work on something that requires a lot of attention. Haha. I wrote myself a lot of notes so I'll remember where I left off. But as always, I can't make head or tail of my own notes.

Anyway, very happy to report that it's finally done. Yay! I'm really far more relieved than happy. I've been friends and enemies with this pattern for a few months. We're still on speaking terms. But it's good we don't have to see each other 24/7 anymore. Trust me. I'm someone who's only good when I come in small doses. Ask hubs.

So in this Messenger Bag with gusset pattern, you will learn how to fit the gusset and I love big pockets so I threw in big pockets. This is not a regular pocket but a pleated pocket. Not hard to achieve at all. It's all in the pinning. ;) Lastly, I've included a long adjustable bag handle. Nothing revolutionary here. It's all in the hardware.

My last 5 patterns were 1 hour projects. This new pattern is not. It's a weekend project. I doubt if anyone could complete it in an hour. I would suggest a minimum of 6 hours the first time you make it. I'm not kidding.

Once again, this pattern would not have been possible without the help of my testers. Momshoo, Suzee and Ms C. I really appreciate their hardwork and feedback. Thanks ladies. I thought it would be fun to let you guys have a look at their makes.

pics courtesy of my testers

Making this bag pattern has drained me from top to toe. I may have to crawl back into my cave and sleep for a thousand years.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Panda Bears And A Real Prince and Princess

Singapore hasn't had such exciting visitors till this month. Last Thursday, two giant panda bears from China arrived by plane - Singapore Airlines, of course. Honestly you might think what's the big deal about panda bears. Well, have you ever seen a real panda bear? Me? I've seen a real bear in Korea. But it looked brown and dirty although it was able to beg for food and dance around. A panda bear is in a class of its own. The black patch over its eyes and ears. Isn't that the cutest? Especially so when the bears are so large.


The two giant pandas Kai Kai (male, 5 years old) and Jia Jia (female, 4 years old) are breeding bears. I think you know what that means. I wonder if Singapore gets to keep the cub if the mating is successful? Both bears are on a 10-year visa pass. Gosh, I hope our people don't um...cause them to die. They're like, endangered, you know?

Well, they get to live in a $8.6 million home at River Safari. I think $8.6 million will buy a lot of bamboo for the bears. They're only open for public exhibition end of the year. I guess that means I'll catch them next year.

via
Another celebrity couple on their way to Singapore are Will and Kate. Yep, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will arrive in Singapore on Tuesday as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. If you're wondering why the Queen's people are visiting Singapore, it's because Singapore used to be a British colony. That was years and years ago and later when Singapore achieved independence, we joined the Commonwealth.

Am I excited about the royalty's visit? Sure. I mean, how often do you get a real prince visiting your country? And I'm really curious. Why are the couple called the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and not Prince and Princess? If I were Kate, I would want to be called Princess. I mean, what's the point of being married to a prince? And in all the fairy tales I read as a young child, none mentioned the prince could have um...receding hairline. Prince William certainly looks good enough to be able to carry what little hair he has. But didn't you feel a little cheated? Just look at Kate. She has the nice glossy long hair the fairy tales promised. I'll bet they have beautiful kids.


UK in Singapore has suggested the public go to Gardens by the Bay, near the Super Trees Grove to catch the royal couple on Wednesday. Excited as I am about the royal couple's visit, I'm not one to go somewhere just to get a glimpse of someone. Besides I've been to Gardens by the Bay and I got lost and don't fancy getting lost again. Sure it's daytime but a reader left a comment that she went in the day and got lost too! Prince William (I refuse to call him Duke) will be planting a tree. I don't know if it's going to be a Super Tree. I hope it is. How cool will it be? A Super Prince William tree. And at night during the light-up, you will see a crown.

The royal couple will only be here for 3 days. That's just about right. Singapore is so small that you could see everything there is to see in 3 days.

In some small ways the royal couple are like the Giant pandas. They are celebrities and when they are on display, they have to play the part. I can't imagine being publicly scrutinized. To me, that would be a living nightmare.

Oh, you know the Queen Elizabeth paid a visit to Singapore in the 70's? She visited a block of HDB flats in Toa Payoh which is a very tall building. I forget how tall it is. The top of the building was specially built with a viewing gallery, I'm guessing to give special visitors a good view of the city. Well, one day many, many years ago, I was working for a company which built flats in Singapore and I was chosen to go on a tour of the flats in Singapore. One of the stops we had was the same block of flat that Queen Elizabeth visited and we were given access to the same viewing gallery. The guide told me that the exact spot I was standing at was where the Queen Elizabeth once stood. Yes, I was that close to the queen!

Hubs wrote a column on the celebrities' visit too. Go here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

VivoCity Craft Market 1st to 2nd September 2012 Post-mortem

I spent the weekend at VivoCity Craft Market. My counter was along the walkway. Not my favourite location. Can't emphasize that enough. I find it too noisy. People walking past you all day. But you can't choose the location of your counter. So you just have to suck it up.


This was my table display on Saturday. Not my best work. I did realise the table display was flawed but I was not motivated to change it. My kids came to help out but one of them fell ill so both went home. I always feel guilty when they come to help me but then again, when they're home, they just sit on their butts and play games.


A back view of the counter. Bet you thought it's all glam-glam.


I like to have my photo taken early on Saturday before I know if the day is good or bad. That way, I'm capable of smiling. Yes, that's my girl photobombing my beauty shot. She also MADE the wooden thingy that's holding up my Perfect size lunchtime pouch board. (see pic below) My son MADE the wooden thingy holding up the Projects By Jane signboard.


Sales on Saturday was very bad. I was shocked that I only made a few sales. However, I noticed a couple of counters along the walkway did fantastic. So I napped a lot because I did not bring anything to occupy my time. I thought I would be too busy writing receipts......


This was Sunday's display. I made a few subtle changes. Mandy said it looked better. She's quite good at table display so I'm glad she said that.

Sales was a lot better on Sunday. What a relief. I really thought it would be another day for snoozing so I brought some tatting to pass my time. Hubs came to keep me company on Sunday evening. VivoCity is a huge shopping center and I always enjoy going shopping while someone takes over the counter for me. In the early days of my selling at craft markets, he was terrified to be left alone to man the counter. But now he's pretty experienced.


On Sunday, a customer saw this pocket tissue holder with the cat illustration and she said it looked familiar. Oh, as it turned out, she had bought a pencil case from me in 2009 - 3 years ago with the same cat embroidered on it. I couldn't believe it. I was so thrilled. I've only used the cat illustration twice so I knew immediately which item she had bought. My girl drew this cat when she was in kindy. And nope, no one bought this item. One man pondered for a long time over my pocket tissue holders. Finally he gave up and left without buying anything.


And I was really so happy to make one last sale - the mama sexy zippy wristlet late in the night sometime before closing. Because, as you know, I find that customers don't care for bags and pouches after 9pm. So really, you just sit there for 2 hours just killing time. What a bonus.

Usually after a weekend at the craft market, I'm really exhausted and don't want to think about making more stuff. This round was no different. I felt quite spent. I know it won't last. Today I was out all day running errands and I was thinking that should I not get a slot selling at VivoCity during Xmas, I would have a leisurely few months ahead of me. This year I committed myself exclusively to VivoCity and never applied for table space anywhere else. So on the one hand, I was thinking I would be disappointed not to have any more craft market for the rest of the year. And on the other hand, the amount of time for lazing around sounded so attractive.

Well, when I reached home, I checked my mail and yes, I did get a slot for Christmas. You know what that means? I have to start making stuff to sell for Christmas. Starting this week. Crap.

And how was your weekend?
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