Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gong Xi Fa Cai

So today marks the first day of the Year of the Tiger. Any tourists who landed in Singapore would be shellshocked. Like "What happened? What happened?"  Because apart from the essential services, most businesses are closed.

The day began with the kids waking up to hongbao (red packets) under their pillows. The idea is to suppress the evil spirits. (My mother-in-law is quite anal about this) My kids don't care about that because they're just happy to get the money. They get $50 each. Big money.
For breakfast, the kids had 1 chocolate cake each. I bought these cakes from the bakery near my home and I think they were marketed as Valentine's Day cakes. But my kids didn't care about that.

It is the tradition on the first day of Chinese New Year to visit your close relatives. For me, it's always about the bag.
I had made this bag during my last MAAD. Although I finished it late Sunday and put it up for sale, there were no takers. So I gave it to myself!
I used sewn-in snaps for the retro look. The outer fabric is from Ikea. Some people cringe when they hear "Ikea". But I love Ikea. The lining is pink twill. The handle is made of ruby red cotton. I sewed some running stitches on the fabric to give it a me-look.
My bag matches my outfit. I wore T-shirt and hipster shorts because it is very hot and most homes we were visiting aren't air-conditioned. I played safe with my hair by washing it the night before.

We visited 3 homes in all. The first home, my husband's aunt's place is a Hainanese (Chinese dialect) home. It means I don't understand anything that is spoken. Everything pretty much sounds like how Chinese language is to a non-Chinese. Like " haaa ching chang pling plang eee caw". Okay, I'm exaggerating. Since I'm Chinese and I know some Chinese dialects, it really sounds like this to me: " haaa ching chang pling plang" .

I enjoyed the 2nd home the most because it's where my family gathers.
This is my youngest brother. He is the host. I come from a big family - 4 brothers and 4 sisters in all. We are also very tall people.

My kid brother had bought 5 bags from me last year to give away to "friends". As it turned out, he was giving them to my 4 sisters and my mom TODAY! How sweet. I was so taken aback but very pleased! My eldest sis who was a professional sewer was also present.  She made all my Chinese New Year clothes for me when I was young and I loved them all. She doesn't know it but she inspired me to become a sewer. When I was younger, she saw me painstakingly drafting a pattern for a PJ bottom and she asked me what in the world I was doing. I told her I wanted to make a PJ bottom for one of my nieces and she proceeded to show me how it was done. She took the fabric I had, used her ARM as a measuring tape, used a pair of scissors to snip here, here and there and suddenly the fabric was cut and ready to be sewn. I couldn't believe my eyes. I sewed following her snips and I managed to sew a decent PJ bottom. I was in awe and wanted to be able to do what she did. No, I still can't sew clothes for humans to save my life but I think I'm halfway there with bags.

The 3rd home we rarely visited. It is where my husband's cousins gather. Ever the "business woman", I handed out my cards. Hehe.

Then my husband had to go to work. All in all, not a bad CNY altogether. My kids had the best time, eating all the forbidden food and collecting hongbao money. Big money.
Discarded hongbao packets sans money.

Tonight my One World One Heart Giveaway ends. So don't submit any more comments for the giveaway past tonight midnight Singapore time. The winner will be announced in tomorrow's (15 Feb) post. Good luck everyone.

Finally, have a grrrrrr Year of the Tiger. Be fierce.


Valeria said...

hermoso el bolso! me gusto mucho!

Chris H said...

I had to laugh at the thought of you not understanding the language! May the Year Of The Tiger be a good one for you!

ebygomm said...

I love Ikea fabric too, I made a bag for my sister from some fabric I got from there and I think i'll have to make one for myself as well

Dee said...

I love your posts. I have learned all I know about chinese new year from you....
Yesterday (14th) we were driving and saw a group of aboutt 8-10 folks in drgon pants with the top part nearby. I told my family that it was chinese new year and the must have been getting ready for a parade (or perhaps one had just finished). when they asked how i knew I told them about your blog.
btw i felt sorry for them in the heat as it was a scorcher here and those costumes were heavy looking with many layers of red, yellow and orange.
Happy New Year... may it be a good one.

Liverpool Lou (Anne) said...

Loved reading this post Jane :) Love the bag - I bought some fabric from Ikea last year to make some tote bags hehe. The cakes look yummy mm mm! Lucky kids getting loads of money ;)
Anne xx

Name : Wendy said...

Hey, the bag you're holding is very nice. Colors combination are perfect, retro yet look a little oriental in terms of the shape. Keep it up!

Tiba said...

Thrilled to read your blog and ahem saw the pics. The adorable Gibbon bag will be well looked after and no..I am not giving it any little girl anytime soon ha ha
Will cajol all my friends to visit MAAD.

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