Monday, January 31, 2011

And The Rabbit Zip Pouch Goes To..........

The Prize

Hey you,

Thanks to everyone for playing along. I'm very touched by the response. It was really fun reading all the comments. I really felt like a queen for a few days. You guys made me laugh and giggle and blush. How sweet! This giveaway unearthed a few "lurkers" too. I was thrilled to bits. And the best part of this giveway? I got to know some of you a little better.

A total of 51 entries were received. You know I'm into statistics, rite? So here's the breakdown of the 51 entries in terms of location.

US - 13
UK - 8

Are you surprised the most entries came from US? I'm not because I know most of my readers came from US. I've started getting more readers from UK in recent months. I have no clue why. One last interesting tidbit about the stats: All 7 entries from Singapore are from people I know!

I couldn't possible use a random generator to select the winner. It felt so inpersonal. So I let the rabbit pouch do the choosing. I wrote the names of all entries onto exercise paper from my girl's old books. Yes, I checked and re-checked I had all 51 names. Then I put them into the rabbit zip pouch.
Then I zipped it up and shook the pouch a few times. The idea is to unzip the pouch and let the names fall out until I had 1 name left. And that would be the winner. I counted the entries as they dropped out of the zip pouch. Eventually I had 50 entries! I shook the last name out. What? It wouldn't come out? What a tenacious entry. I had to fish out the name myself. This entry really really wants the zip pouch.
The winner
And the winner is Toscaberries who is from Jakarta, Indonesia. Congratulations Regina! Once I get your address, I'll ship your prize to you. Once again, a BIG THANKS to everyone. I hope you all had fun.

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Giveaway - Finally!

Edited 31st Jan 2011
My giveaway has closed. Thanks to everyone for entering.

Lucky Red Rabbit Zip Pouch
Yay! I have attained 200 fans for my facebook page. It doesn't take much to make me happy, does it? Thank you dear readers for your support. Now, I can give away my Lucky Red Rabbit Zip Pouch to ONE lucky reader. In case it isn't obvious already, I'm giving away the rabbit pouch because it's The Year Of The Rabbit which officially begins next Thursday 3rd February.

To enter, just leave a comment in THIS blog post. It's open to anyone, anywhere in THIS world as long as you have an address I can post to. (No P.O box address tho') Any comments received up to Monday 31st Jan 8.00 am Singapore time will be accepted. I will draw a winner using a random method. Include your email if it isn't linked to your profile already. Winner will be announced on Monday 31st Jan night-ish. (Singapore time)

Btw, repeat entries will be deleted. So, what can you comment on? Well, I'm most curious to know where you are from. Or you could tell me about yourself.  Or tell me a joke. Knock yourself out.

See ya.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Life This Week

This week nothing much happened. I moved some furniture around, did some cleaning and of course hurt my back. I am officially too old to do furniture moving. No, I wasn't doing spring-cleaning for Chinese New Year. I did it because 2 men in purple came to my home to install (for free) optical fibre broadband connections to my home. In a month's time, my home will be able to surf internet at super-sonic speed. Except I have no idea how to go about getting it!

Preparations for Chinese New Year in my home has begun!
Me hubs braved the queue at the bank and "bought" this Fortune package. It consists of crispy $10 and $2 notes plus 3 packs of red packets. Married folks have to give red packets containing money to children or single folks during Chinese New Year. I dislike this custom the most. There I said it. Yes, I dislike giving money away.

We usually don't buy any Chinese New Year food. We just depend on me hubs to "rescue" food from his office. Here are some "rescued" goodies.
Nothing special about this butter cookie other than it's shaped like a rabbit on account of it being The Year of the Rabbit next.
These are hazelnut cookies. It crumbles easily in your mouth and it really feels like you're eating a big tablespoonful of chunky peanut butter. Does hazelnut tastes like peanut? If I can't fit into my new Denizen jeans, it'll be due to these hazelnut cookies.
These are prawn rolls. I believe dried prawns are the fillings because they "smell". Me hubs actually paid money for these because my girl loves them.

Hmmmm, what else did I do this week? Oh, I tried to do a giveaway of my fab Lucky Red Rabbit Zip Pouch. Yes, tried to.
You see, I have a facebook page Projects By Jane. It's hard to get fans on my page, I'll be honest. Anyhoo, the number of fans finally crawled to 192 and I thought Woohoo just 8 more and I get 200. 200 is such a nice round number. So I said I would do a giveaway of my fab Lucky Red Rabbit Zip Pouch if I hit 200 fans on my facebook page Projects By Jane. I expected by some miracle the number would just shoot up. I mean 8 fans isn't that many, right? Wrong. The last I checked, I have 193 fans. That's still 7 short of my goal. Does it matter if I hit 200? Not really but I have nothing much else to do. Hahaha. No, it's a challenge. So I just need 7 or more folks to LIKE Projects By Jane. Then I'll do my giveaway. How long will it take to reach 200? Only time will tell.

Lastly, I have made a new bag - a messenger style crossbody bag. And it's sold already.
Remember my Houses ricco-ricco fabric by Kiyohara? I had a few enquiries for bags made in this fabric and to be fair, I sold this bag to the FIRST person who enquired.

I usually buy fabric in just 1 yard or at most 2 yards. When a particular fabric is popular it's usually sold out when I go back for more. I was lucky to be able to get more of this Houses fabric.

And that's all I did this week. See you soon.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Challenge

Remember this Alexander Henry Skulls & Roses Crossbody bag I made last week? And remember I confessed how I came about purchasing the fabric? Well, the truth is, I withheld some information. You see, I didn't just purchase the Skulls & Roses fabric. I purchased it in TWO colourway! Now you understand I was really excited yet unsure about my purchase. Then I showed them to me hubs. Who said, no woman would buy a bag made in the fabric I had just bought. That made me nervous. That's why it took me over a month before I took the plunge and made the bag above.

Well, long story short. I listed the bag on Etsy on 17 Jan and it sold on 21st Jan! After my screams of excitement died down, I went to wake me hubs. (How to wait, right?) I demanded that he said he was wrong about the skulls and roses fabric. Despite his sleepiness, he raised one finger in the air and said, "I want to qualify what I said. I meant, no woman would buy a bag made in the skulls and roses fabric at MAAD."

(for the newbies, MAAD is where I sell my bags 2 days every month at red dot design museum)

Did you guys hear what he said? That, my friend, sounds like a CHALLENGE to me.
A few days ago, I had made this crossbody bag in the other colourway. I've decided I will save this bag for sale at my next MAAD which will be from 12th to 13th Feb.
I made this bag the zipper pouch method. In order to insert the handles, I did a psuedo box corner. In fact you could say the top and bottom of this bag are constructed the same way - psuedo box corners. Verdict - not exactly the most elegant way to insert handles.
I have just 2 more rounds of MAAD. That's not a lot of time to sell this darn bag. I'm getting nervous already. Geez, how did you guys let me talk myself into another challenge? Anyhoo, hope it sells at MAAD, so me hubs has to eat his words.

Friday, January 21, 2011

How To Tell Chinese New Year Is Round The Corner

Ways to tell Chinese New Year is Round The Corner:
ONE - lanterns are the favourite decoration in shopping centres.
TWO - older women appear with tightly permed hair.
THREE - long queues form outside banks. (to get new notes)
FOUR - red packets become prized goodies.
FIVE - strange looking food appear in my fridge.
SIX - bald looking plants are sold everywhere.
SEVEN - traditional TONG-TONG-CHIANG Chinese New Year music is played everywhere!!!
EIGHT - a sea of RED everywhere you go.
NINE - traditional PING-PLIANG-PONG Chinese New Year music is played everywhere!!!
TEN - a sea of RED everywhere you go.

Let me explain the strange fishes in my fridge. Okay, actually I can't. One morning I woke up and there they were living in my fridge. Me hubs who apart from hoarding books, CDs, DVDs, T-shirts and shoes, can't bear to see food thrown away. So he rescues free food from the office which no one wants to eat. The 2 fishes signify abundance, I think. They belong to the custard family. I'm not eating them. Would you eat them? They look gross. Me kids don't eat anything in the jelly or custard family despite all my attempts as a mother.
Have I ever told you the name of these bald looking plants which almost every Chinese home worth its salt will have for decoration? Promise me you won't laugh if I tell you. Ready? Pussy Willow. Did you laugh?
When the buds bloom, the plant will look like this. No Pussy Willow has ever adorned my home. We keep it free of any hint of Chinese New Year.

In case you're here for my eye-catching bags, let me introduce you to my green polka-dotted mini zip handbag.
I love making mini zip handbags. The handles took the longest time to make though. One thing that's been bugging me lately is I haven't found a way to make such handbags using a single handle - you know from end to end? I could only insert the handle via the side seams but that's not what I want. Oh well, something to obsess over.
I mentioned in my last post I was doing the Amy Butler's Style Stitches Sew-along? I'm afraid my progress hasn't been good. Thing is, I realised that I have to use the templates which came with the book. But I'm not having the courage to cut them! So I have to trace them out. Oh, it's such a chore. But at least I have laundered the fabric chosen. In a week's time when I'm done with the tracing... I'm kidding. I shall sacrifice the templates. See ya.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Amy Butler Style Stitches Sew Along


The 2nd half of 2010, I kinda felt I hit a plateau in my sewing. When I started teaching myself to make bags, I only learnt to make 2 basic items - a zip pouch and a drawstring pouch. Based on these 2 models, I experimented with other combinations and each time I tried something new, I felt such a rush. But the last few months, mainly due to my commitment to too many craft markets, I made mostly items which could sell. That meant I made items I had made before - the variety only came in the fabric or small nips and tucks. I think if I were to carry on like this, it would surely kill my passion for bag-making.

This year, I decided I would make a wider variety of bags and try techniques I would not normally use. But I'm realistic enough to know I'm not that creative to be able to come up with a large variety of bags to experiment with. I had experience with store-bought bag patterns in my early bag-making days and the icky thing is the patterns are printed on very thin paper.  And the paper sticks to you. Plus, I can't make head or tail of the instructions. It's worse than reading Chinese! But surely the most horrid part is each bag usually comes in a million pieces of templates. Yes, yes, I'm exaggerating.

So I'm participating in Amy Butler Style Stitches Sew Along. What attracted me was the book which had all these fab bags made in Amy Butler fabric. Plus it's in English!
Today the book finally arrived from Amazon. Me hubs bought it for me. If it were up to me, I would go to Borders. I guess I'm still feeling stung over the Sashiko embroidery thread which never arrived and not getting any refund.

Anyhoo, this Sew-Along is hosted by Bree of My Crafty Crap. The first bag I will make is the one on the cover - The Cosmo Bag. I haven't started. I just got the book! The idea is to make 1 bag a month. So I guess you'll be seeing 12 new bags this year.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The One Wooden Ring Bags

This week (and it's only Wednesday) I completed a total of ONE bag and that's a big accomplishment because it's not one of those drawstring or zip pouches which one can spit out in an hour or so. This is a REAL bag with handles and pockets (3 total) and zippers and all.
Yes, it's the return of the One-Wooden-Ring bag. This time in red and white nautical.
This bag is all about the one-wooden-ring. Without the one-wooden-ring, it's just like any other ordinary bag.
I used recessed zipper once again.

I was wondering what I could do differently with this bag design the next time I work on it.
I've done cross-body with recessed zipper.
I've done cross-body with flap.
I've gone multi-colour with recessed zipper and shoulder length.
I've gone vintage with recessed zipper and shoulder length.

I think I should tinker with the zipper bit and not do it recessed the next round.

Oooh, today I went for my very first 2011 jog. Since the icy weather swept thru' Singapore, I had not pespired once. Being used to feeling hot and sweating on a regular basis, not sweating really bothered me. I know it's silly and me hubs has teased me before. So, craziness aside, after I dropped my girl off at the Chinese language centre for her enrichment class in the evening, I saw that it was sunny! What better way to bring out the sweat than a good ole jog. So I put on my jogging gear (adidas black and red shoes, a hanky tied round 1 wrist, a tiny bag containing my phone, money and keys) and headed for the park where the jogging tracks are. The problem with jogging so close to dinner time was by the time I reached the park, I was starving to death! But I was determined to sweat and managed to jog slow-mo style at least 2.5km. I don't know how I did it. After just 100m, I was huffing and puffing. I'm so out of shape. The good news? I sweat up a storm. Yay! Never felt so happy sweating. Good nite and I know tomorrow I'm gonna ache all over.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Barang-Barang Bags

It feels wrong to gripe about how cold Singapore is when elsewhere in different parts of the world, people have lost lives in the recent flooding. So no, I won't complain. Besides not sweating at all in this icy cold weather isn't really that bad compared to feeling hot most of the year. The weather does feel wrong this year, doesn't it? I mean if hot and humid Singapore becomes cold, how much colder it must be for other countries in the colder climate. So my friends, wherever you are, stay warm, stay safe.
I have gone back to basics and made a few bags using the "front zippered pouch" style. A while back I wrote a little tute on how to make a front zippered pouch and so if you fancy making one for yourself, go to my little tute here.

I'm calling these pouches I made The Barang-Barang Bags. Barang-barang refers to personal properties or what I call "all my stuff".
So I wasn't kidding. You could stuff plenty into this pouch. I managed to stuff 2 novels inside.

Still using the "front zippered pouch" style, I made the next one into a sling barang-barang bag.
The most interesting part about this bag is the pleats used to create depth. If you're killing yourself trying to figure out how it's sewn, you can rejoice because I have another tute that explains the technique. Go here. It's not really step-by-step but many people have used it and understood.

The last bag is really a repeat of the polka dot sling bag except this time I use a skulls and roses print.
Yes, I know it is a little hardcore. Even I felt a little creeped out cutting the fabric! Me hubs said most women don't like skulls the way I do and wonders if anyone would buy the bag. I'll have to say that I'm not into skulls-skulls but more tattooish kind of skulls. So why on earth did I buy this rather realistic looking skulls print? Okay, I'll be honest here. I saw that it was a Alexander Henry print and once I had walked away from a Alexander Henry print and regretted it completely because when I went back, it was sold. So that's the stupid reason.
I have one other bag made which I'll show in my next post. Last week wasn't a productive week for me and the reason I'm almost too embarrassed to say is due to the cold weather. I spent every morning wrapped up like a cocoon fast asleep on the couch for a couple of hours after the kids are off to school. I was too cold to move! Never thought I would say this but hope the sun shines soon. Take care.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January MAAD 2011 Post-Mortem

I didn't want to do January MAAD. But I had already committed to do 6 continuous months and so I have to do it. You know I feared January MAAD would be quiet. I knew it would be quiet. I expected it to be quiet. But to actually live thru it, minute by minute was quite torturous. Yes, darn it. It was quiet. The die-hards came. I'm grateful. Without the die-hards, what would happen to us? The portrait painters came but they're just browsers. A few of my friends came. Thank goodness for friends! My SIL came too! Thank goodness for family! Still, minute by minute, second by second. Just picture it.

My sales went down. No surprise. What a way to start the year! 2011 sucks already. I only managed to sell 11 bags & pouches. A big chunk of the money I made went to rent. I'm so OVER working hard to feed the landlord.

My table on Saturday
My table on Sunday
My rabbit zip pouches did not sell like hot cakes like I wished for. I have 3 left.
Lucky red
Pink Rabbit
Purple Rabbit
To make myself feel better, on Sunday, I treated myself to a nice breakfast at Weng restaurant.
Breakfast tea
While drinking my tea in the restaurant, I realised I was the only customer. Deja vu. It's not just red dot design museum. The whole area is dead on weekends. Btw, take a look at the cup. Do you agree it's OVER DESIGNED? It's very hard to drink tea from this cup.
Dumplings noodles
My lunch came from the same restaurant. In the evening, I took my kids to the same restaurant for dinner! So all my meals on Sunday came from Weng restaurant. You know what? I think I'm done with the dumpling noodles for a while.

Sunday was torturous. Me and my nap were in a wrestling match. Sometimes it won. Sometimes I won. Sometimes it was a tie. (you know when you nod off for a second and then jerk awake? that's a tie)
I stared at the ceiling lights to kill time.
I stared at the air-conditioning unit to kill time.
I stared at the floor to kill time.
I stared at the giant doll installation to kill time. Its big head walked into my head once and gave me a headache!
I stared at my children to kill time.
I stared at the empty tables to kill time. (some sellers forgot to show up)

It didn't work. You can't kill time. (I learnt that the painful way in 2010) I  sure don't look forward to February MAAD. And hey, the next time I tell you I'm paying upfront to sell at this-or-that place 6 months in advance, please, please scream at me. Good nite.
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