Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two Bugs And A Flower

I am on a crusade to turn all my usable fabric remnants into bags and pouches. In my latest quest, I was bitten by the bugs.
I had two narrow strips of linen-cotton print and it really bothered me so I pieced them with raw linen to make this zippy purse. I have yards and yards of raw linen because you can never have too much raw linen. The thing with raw linen is it makes you want to sew some embroidery on it and so I sewed a ladybird in stem stitch. I know a ladybird has the dots in black but i wanted red dots. The red dots are sewn in satin stitch. If you want a good tip on how to sew satin stitch, go to Melly & me. I was just looking at the image above and realised I haven't read Dan Brown's Angels & Demons which Mandy had lent me a while ago. I hope she won't ask for it back yet as I'll be needing it as a prop.

I'm not too fond of satin stitches mainly because when I was 12, I was chosen to do embroidery in school. The last time I did any embroidery was when I was 7. In between I had to do Art. Unfortunately, the teacher in charge of embroidery was my Chinese Language teacher, Mrs Lim. If you remember, I'm not fluent in Mandarin and oh boy. Mrs Lim was not the most patient teacher and on top of that, my results in my Chinese language was putting her in a bad light. All that bad blood resulted in a really unpleasant experience for us. First of all, she gave me a most hideous green linen to work with. Then she drew little shapes on 4 corners of the linen. Without even showing me how, she expected me to magically create beautiful stitches. I didn't. Then I misunderstood her. I thought she wanted satin stitches. What she really wanted was long and short stitches and the stitches had to reflect shadows. I think it's a form of Chinese embroidery. She was crazy to think I could do it on my own. After months of scolding and unpicking and redoing, she finally gave up and accepted my satin stitches. At the end of the school year, she returned it to me to bring home. She did not magically transform it into a bag or anything. She said I could use it as a table cloth. In my home?

When I was 14, I had to do a art project in school but we could pick anything we wanted. I chose embroidery. I was the only one. My Art teacher, Ms Ong who incidentally had an unhealthy obsession with me thought I was gonna do a huge quilt project. To be honest, I chose embroidery because my brilliant plan was to hand in the hideous table cloth I did when I was 12. I was 14. What did you think? I had absolutely no interest in sewing or art projects. So the whole year when everyone else was busy with their chosen project during art period, I read story books. Ms Ong was free and easy with me because she thought my quilt was too large to lug to school. Anyway, the months flew by and finally I had to hand in my project. I seached for the hideous green linen table cloth and to my horror discovered that someone in my home had used it as a rag and it was stained all over with dark soy sauce! I didn't think I could get away with handing it in. The next day I told Ms Ong I forgot to bring my project. So she gave me 1 last chance. That night, I found a square fabric and I sewed thru' the night. I sewed an exact duplicate of my hideous green linen table cloth. I handed in my project to Ms Ong and she was a little shocked it was just a table cloth. Still, she gave me an 'A'.
Still on bugs, this time I did a roach. Me hubs wanted to know who's gonna buy something with roaches on it. The roach is done in backstitch with some satin stitches. I used sashiko thread.
To offset the blue and white, I made the lining cheery.
Originally my plan was to sew a bug on the flower but sanity overruled.
I think pink twill goes well with indigo.

Noodlehead has a few zippy pouch tutes. If you're a beginner, you might want to check them out. Try Lil Cutie Pouches first as it's the most basic and explore the others later.

17 projects completed.
983 more to go.
Btw, it bothered me hubs that I didn't try to count the number of bags I've made since I started sewing bags. So I might just have to do it and that will completely change my project count. Gotta please the man.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fabric Remnants Bags

Today is Wednesday. For the past year since September 2009 on Wednesdays, I have been faithfully going to a gym for my morning pilates class. I signed a contract to exercise for a year. Did I get the svelte body I used to own? No. Did I get looser muscles? Absolutely. Sadly, I'm saying goodbye to the gym after another 8 more sessions.

Sure, I could sign up for another year, or 2 or 3 or 4. But I'm not. Since I started my contract at the gym, I have been harrassed by the staff working at the gym. In the beginning it was not so bad. They would tell me about this or that promotion that was ending that day, that week. Would I like to extend my contract and get 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 years free? They would whip out the calculators and punch numbers furiously to give you a very good offer. I would decline. Since this year, the harrassment got worse. Whenever I go for my class, I need to drop my membership card into a box. When I leave, I just pick up my card from a tray. The staff cleverly hide my card forcing me to talk to them and that's when the hard-sell starts all over again. I told them not to hide my card from me but they would not listen. The more daring ones would call me or text me. They are very thick-skinned and just keep on trying to get me to sign a new contract. They have nothing to lose. I have had enough. 8 more sessions and I no longer have to listen to their crap.

Human polluters. Some days they really get to me. I wish I could terminate my relationship with the polluters who hang around the square in my area. They promise they're not trying to sell you something. They are. They block your way. They invade your personal space. They keep talking to you even when you indicate you don't want to listen to them. Even the eyebrow shapers would grab my arm and try to steer me to their shop.

At home, I'm not safe from them. I have a phone. They call me wanting to know if I want to sell my flat. Every day. It's a different person each time.

I simply cannot escape it. I have no choice but to endure it. I notice not everyone is as bothered as I am. Maybe I am the way I am because I grew up in a big family. 4 brothers and 4 sisters plus me mom. All my life I craved solitude. I've never had my own room. I've never lived alone. When I was married, I lived with my husband's family. 6 people under 1 roof. When we lived in our own flat, I already had my son. Then I had my girl. Zero peace.

I'm so glad I have my mornings to myself. You know what I mean? When nobody wants anything from you. Well, except Wednesday mornings. 8 more weeks.

It's a good thing I have my bags to make me happy. When I am making my bags, I am really focused and this helps me forget about my frustration. The last 2 days, I went thru' my remnants. Now you know how I hate to waste my remnants and I love to cut them into usable pieces and make something.
Remember this Ikea fabric? No, I could not resist making a drawstring bag.
A pink twill for the lining.
And a big, fat, round bottom.
For this bag, I had a larger amount of fabric to work with. It's like looking at a painting.
This is the back.
No surprise. Another recessed zipper shoulder bag with a zip pocket and patch pocket inside.
This bag called for an oblong bottom.
This narrow strip of fabric was turned into a pencil case.
This is the back.
A peek inside.

Would you believe I still have some remnants left over? I ran out of ideas so I shall leave them for another day.

Oh, one other thing. I was planning on making a couple of granny bags. But looks like granny bags aren't calling out to me. So I'm gonna have to wait for the "call".

14 projects completed. 986 more projects to go!
Thanks for visiting. Good nite and sweet dreams.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hit And Miss

A while ago, a fella craft seller told me what I sell is hit-and-miss. She suggests I go into customisation. Unfortunately, I did not take her advice. So what has continued for me is I still make whatever interests me. Why don't I do customised bags? I don't know. Too many reasons. Too much resistance from myself! When I make something customised, I often feel there's too much pressure for me to get any joy out of making it.

Whenever I sell anywhere, I usually get enquiry about customisation of pouches or bags. They would say, I like this bag but I don't want this, this and that, etc. I always say No to these people. Perhaps it's my pride but I just don't want to make something someone else visualized.

Some day I may do fabric customisation. That's an easier version of bag customisation which I think I could do. Say I have a few bag designs and a fabric collection for the customers to choose from. I think I could make the same design over and over again in different fabric. That's something to think about.

So it's no surprise that sometimes I make a bag that cannot sell.
I absolutely thought this linen cotton crossbody bag was a winner. I made it in late May in time for June MAAD. Nothing. July MAAD plus 3 Iluma dates and it's still with me! I'm puzzled it doesn't sell. I have a faint feeling it could be the slouchiness. I left this bag totally uninterfaced. I do adore the fabric combo though and decided I would make another bag in the same fabric combo. Crazy or what?

Here's the tote I made. I made sure to interface it! I had this long odd piece of the linen cotton print and of course I wanted to make a bag out of it. I must say I really enjoy making bags out of odd pieces of fabric. I get my thrills from such challenges. This time I left it simple - no embroidery or fancy stitch work.
It's a recessed zipper bag.
Here's a peek at the inside. 1 patch pocket and 1 zipper pocket. Check out the bottom.
I wanted matching bottoms. Hope it sells at my next craft market sale.

11 projects completed.
989 more to go. Good grief. Was I on medication when I started this 1,000 projects?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fat Bottoms

It's been a very cold week in Singapore raining on and off. So cold that I wore a yukata over my regular Tees and shorts when I'm home. Last Saturday some areas in Singapore flooded and unfortunately for some it was their second time since June 16's spectacular flooding. I'm just happy that where I live, it doesn't flood. Just puddles.

Bad weather is weighing on my mind now as in August, from 20th to 22nd, I'll be going with the MAAD gang to the Singapore Art Museum(SAM) to sell our handmade creations. Well, actually the stalls will be outside SAM so now you understand why rain would ruin everything. I must cater for flooding! The SAM gig is part of Singapore HeritageFest 2010 – Heritage Sparkles in the City. There will be performances inside SAM as well as outside.

The 3-day SAM gig is just a month away and despite my extremely low stock, I'm still sewing slowly. Today, I was counting the number of bags I have and I started to panic. So next week, I resolve to put in 8 hours of sewing every day.

I should mention that I won't be selling at red dot design museum from 7th to 8th August. I have a party to attend.

This week my mind is still on drawstring bags. However, my focus is on the bottoms. My previous batch of drawstring pouches had flat bottoms.This week, I played around with FAT bottoms. What a difference a fat bottom does to a drawstring bag. Take a look.
Rectangular bottom

I was delighted to discover I have enough leftover of this fabric to make a medium size drawstring bag.
This bottom is deliberately small in order to create a poufy effect. If you don't know how to make a small circle match a larger circle, here's how. You sew long running stitches on the larger circle and pull creating gathers. The larger circle will also become smaller. Pull the thread tighter till both circles match. And that's how it's done.
Poufy Drawstring Bag
Piped Round Bottom
This drawstring bag is much larger. I wanted it to have a fat bottom but without the pouf. Also I added a little red and white gingham border at the mouth of the bag just for fun.
I completed the 2 zip pouches I was working on. The red one with elephant applique is listed for sale at my Etsy and my Zibbet. Available until 19th August. Take a look if you are interested.

Another 5 projects completed. 990 more projects to go!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Chinese Wedding Banquet

I had a great weekend. On Sunday I attended my nephew's wedding and since 90% of my readers are not from Singapore, I thought I'll share some photos of the wedding dinner. So if you aren't Chinese and has never eaten Chinese food before, I hope you will enjoy the feast.

A typical Chinese wedding in Singapore will have some ceremonies at the bride and bridegroom's homes. It ends with a HUGE wedding dinner usually held at a hotel.
Before you attend a wedding dinner, you gotta prepare red packets containing gifts of money. The 2 gold ones are for the tea ceremony. Close relatives get to drink tea from tiny tea cups served by the bride and bridegroom. Two red packets are given to them. The red one is for the dinner. See how classy I am? I chose Mr Potato! How much money you put in the red packets is strictly up to the individual. Close relatives are usually very generous. For me, I just phone my mother and she tells me how much to put.
My nephew's wedding dinner was held at a hotel. In the pic above, you can see the lights which are on every floor of the hotel.
This is what I wore. In the past, black is a no-no. I wore a red pendant for a bit of red.
No, I'm not attending an art house movie. The photos next to me are of the bride and bridegroom. Oh, did I mention my nephew is a very tall and handsome young man? Congrats to the couple.

Let the feast begin.
Delux Combination Platter
Clockwise: Roast pork, spicy jellyfish, 5 beancurd rolls with crabmeat, prawn salad with mixed fruits, roast duck
This is just the appertizer and it's delicious.
 Braised Shark's Fin Soup with dried scallop and crabmeat
Our waiter dishes the soup into small bowls for each of us.
Sauteed Prawns with Cuttlefish and Kong Po sauce
Anything with Kong Po sauce is spicy. If you can take the spice, this dish will delight you.
Steamed Star Garoupa Hongkong Style
Ok, my family doesn't eat fish with bones. We are the fillet kind of people but my kids went mad over this fish. So did I. This item is what we gonna order the next time we go to a Chinese restaurant.
Crispy Garlic Chicken Served With Prawn Crackers
I liked the prawn crackers more than the chicken because I'm not a fan of garlic. Never eaten prawn crackers? It's grainy, crispy and tastes like heaven.
Braised Sliced Sea Whelk With Mushrooms and Broccoli
I tasted msg.
Braised Ee-fu Noodles With Yellow Chives
Strangely, the 2nd last dish is always a heavy carbo. The chef probably don't want you to go off feeling hungry so they stuff you with carbo! I really like this noodles. I shall attempt to cook it one day.
Chilled Strawberry Yam Pudding
I'm guessing the pudding is shaped like a fish because it's auspicious.
This is how it's served. It's the first time I've eaten anything like this and it tasted strangely good.

A total of 8 dishes. 8 is of course an auspicious number in Chinese culture. I had a really good time. I got to see all my siblings and my mom.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

1,000 Projects Before I Die

In a previous blog post, I wrote that I once told my girl I wanted to make 1,000 bags before I die and Tammy from Tamdoll asked me how many more bags I have to go. Well, you know what? I haven't been counting. And I'm really too lazy to go thru' my old blog posts to do a count. What I've decided is I'll start counting from today and my goal is to make 1,000 projects. Um, yes. It's 1,000 projects, not bags. Why? Well, sometimes I make other stuff and I want to count them too. The deadline? Yep, before I die. Sorry if it sounds rather morbid. But it's a positive thing for me. I have a goal and I have a long deadline. Plus I'm pretty sure I'll achieve it. Oh, what happens when I complete 1,000 projects? Well, I'll find another achievable goal. What did you think?

To be perfectly honest, when I told my girl my 1,000 bags wish, I said it more to make her feel comfortable that I was going to be around for a long time. At that time, I was just feeling extreme exhaustion and muscle pain all the time and feeling down a lot and I guess it worried my girl. She asked me, What's the one thing you want to do before you die? She was really happy to hear my answer because I mean, 1,000 bags takes a long, long time to make. From time to time, she would inquire about the progress and I would give her a very small number and that would make her smile.

Anyway, all that is history as my muscle pain only pays short visits nowadays. Plus I don't have to rely on any meds. Now that I have energy and the motivation to make bags, I'm kinda yearning for immortality. I know, it's crazy.

This week I decided to travel back in time to the dinosaur period when I didn't know how to sew a simple drawstring pouch. So I went thru' my old blog posts and of course I felt terribly amused. I thought it would be really interesting to see how differently I would make drawstring pouches. So I made 5!
I'm afraid I went a little nuts. I forgot how fun drawstring pouches are!
I discovered I had a little skulls and bones fabric left and I made these 2 little pouches. The blue casing is larger and the purple casing is size cute.
This is the first time I used Sevenberry crepe fabric and it's addictive!
This indigo is a linen-cotton. The texture is of course the best bit about linen-cotton.
I'm pretty sure this linen-cotton print will make some of you drool.
I thought I'll show those of you who are sewers how these drawstring pouches are sewn. The above image shows how you lay the fabric.
Just sew around the perimeter and leave a gap on each side for the drawstrings. Of course you must leave a gap in the lining for turning the bag right side out. And that's how I do it.

I have listed these drawstring pouches in my Etsy and my Zibbet. Please take a look. I will unlist them on August 19th as I have a craft market sale from August 20th to 22nd.

Yes, it's terribly exciting. I have 995 more projects to go. It's now or never!

Have a great weekend and I'll see you next week.
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My Applique Patterns

My Embroidery Patterns