Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Origami Bag Set

This week I continue my journey thru' Amy Butler's Style Stitches Sew-Along. If you haven't heard of it, what happens is each month this year, I make 1 bag from the Amy Butler's book. So far I've made The Cosmo Bag. February came and went and no bag. I read the instructions for February's Reversible Everyday Shopper and came to this conclusion:

It's really just a tote with a giant front pocket. See for yourself.

Take away all the props and the bag is just a regular rectangular tote. This kind of bag, I've made enough of already. That's why I skipped February.

This is the March bag. It's called Origami Bag Set. Sounds exciting, doesn't it? Tell you a secret. It's really just a zip pouch. (apologies to Amy Butler)

No surprise I was excited by the Origami Bag Set. Sure, I've made a total of 158 zip pouches to date. Staggering, isn't it? But I'm always intrigued to see how other sewers construct their zip pouches.

There are a total of 6 sizes to choose from. I did not make all 6 sizes. Just the mini. I chose this size because it's longer than what I would normally go for. Btw, Amy Butler's sizing is quite different from most humans. This pouch is MINI. Take a look at the pic where I put a pen for sizing. Trust me. This ain't no mini.

As it turned out, how Amy Butler sews her zip pouches is a method I've used myself. When you do it her way, you can topstitch the exterior and the lining together along the seam where the zipper is. The only annoying bit is you can't sew the zipper to the fabric from end to end. You have to leave 1/2" of side seams unsewn at the ends.

When I want to sew zip pouches quickly, I do it my way where I just sew from end to end for the zipper bit. The difference is I can only topstitch the lining. But that's okay because the exterior fabric won't get caught in the zipper. It just gives a different look.

I'm actually looking forward to April's Checkbook Cover because I have a cheque book which I keep losing! See you soon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

16 Years

It's hard to believe but I've been married 16 years to the same man! Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. Where did the time go?

Before I was married, I wondered how it was possible to stay married for a long time. Well, after 16 years, I still don't have any answers. I guess one good thing is you forget. All the bad stuff. And you cherish all the good stuff. I have a pretty bad memory!

The one thing I did not bargain for after getting married is having to watch women flirt with me hubs. Since my memory is bad, I cannot remember anything that happened before this year. But two women have stood out because it happened not too long ago.

Both women work at a food court near my home. One sells beverages. The other sells wonton noodles. Me hubs told me that during Chinese New Year, the beverage lady shook his hands to wish him a Happy Chinese New Year when he went to get his tea one morning. Me? I got nothing. Not even a surly look. Since that fateful handshake, the beverage lady would greet him with a big smile and did I detect, a heaving of the bosom? Maybe I'm too sensitive. But I get me hubs his tea most mornings and so far, I have not been hit on.

One day, me hubs and I were walking home and the wonton noodles lady was walking towards us on her way home. She gave me hubs a big, big smile, a cute little wave of her hand and maybe a "hi". I don't remember. I was too shocked. Because I definitely saw her THRUST her gigantic bosom at me hubs as she walked past.

Oh the nerve. I find it so disrespectful of these women to do all this openly flirtatious gestures towards me hubs even when I'm right next to him! What's with all that heaving and thrusting of bosoms? They know I can't compete in this department because I have nothing to heave or thrust. Yes, I'm built like a boy. (Me mom did shed a tear or two over this)

Right this minute, I'm suddenly remembering another noodles lady who would giggle excitedly whenever me hubs bought prawn noodles from her. Sadly, another full-bosomed lady.

I can imagine growing old with me hubs although I shall have to find ways to deal with horny drinks and noodles ladies.

I'm remembering you're here to check out what I made so here it is:

Here's my 2nd needlebook. It looks like the first one, doesn't it? Well, the houses differ a little bit. Me hubs says I should make something similar again but not another needlebook.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Matchy Matchy

Last week when I made 3 sets of matching pouches, I was not under any illusion that customers would snap up the sets. I mean, how many people would buy more than one zip pouch made out of the same fabric. In my entire short selling history, I've only come across one person.

Now I've always wondered. What makes a couple dress up in matching outfits? Recently I came across couples dressed in similar tees and jeans. One couple wore RED male version and RED female version of a polo with BABY BLUE male version and BABY BLUE female version of a brand of jeans. Is this a new trend? I don't know about you but seeing matchy matchy outfitted couples make me laugh. Madly. Like a lunatic.

I dont' get it. Why would any grown woman want to dress in the same outfit as her boyfriend? I'm making a wild guess that these aren't married couples because I can just imagine the conversation:

Wife: Honey, today we're wearing matching RED polo and BABY BLUE jeans.
Husband: Are you INSANE?

But I can imagine dating couples, especially "new love" going for it.

Girlfriend: Honey, today we're wearing matching RED polo and BABY BLUE jeans.
Boyfriend: This is so INSANE. I had the same idea.

So, I wanna know. Have you ever worn matchy matchy outfit as your boyfriend/partner/husband? And what compelled you to do so.

Me and hubs have never worn similar outfits. Its' the truth. However, he has given me tees which he has outgrown. Last week I wore one of his tees which he's still very much fond of. (without his permission) He was quite upset!

Remember this needlebook? My very first needlebook. Ever since I displayed it at craft markets, it has become a star attraction. Customers would look at it and ask me what it was. A few suggested I make a notebook cover similar to it. Anyhoo, I SOLD IT at Iluma March Art Market. This was my most exciting sale. When I made the needlebook I had no idea if anyone would buy it. I mean, how many people sew? Who knew a GUY would buy the needlebook? I'm still so happy over the sale.

So you can't be surprised I'm making another needlebook?

Thought I'd show you how I do the embroidery. I use a water soluble pen to make general guidelines of the drawing. Then I sew using back stitch. Once the embroidery is complete. I soak the linen in cold water to get rid of the ink. And that's how I do it. See ya.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Iluma Art Market 19th to 20th March 2011 Post-Mortem

Hey you,

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Btw, thanks for all the wonderful comments in my last post. I unearthed a couple of former lurkers. Yay!

Sarubobos display to amuse the crowd

As some of you who live in Singapore may know, Iluma has changed ownership and with that in mind, I went with the possibility that this could be the last time I sold at Iluma. I had pretty good memories of selling at Iluma with only 1 disastrous outcome. So over the weekend when I sold at Iluma, I kept a positive mind and I'm so happy it worked out. My total sales? 28!!!

I was a little absent-minded and forgot to take pics of a few people who came by. Here are the ones I remembered.

Meet Cindy. I know her from red dot design museum. Love her hair!

Meet Weng. This guy feeds me! And he made 1 sale for me!!!

Meet my little nephew. This is the effect I have on little kids. That's why my career as a kindergarten teacher was short-lived.

Meet Batman. That's my BIL. Early last week I saw him and mentioned I would be selling at Iluma. He said he would come by and he did!!!

Meet moi. I had a hard time posing for this pic seeing how I had to resist the rabbit ears and the tilting of the head hehe.

Have you heard? I went into the rompers business. This is a teeny little project I'm doing with my younger brother. I'll list them in my catalog soon. I discovered rompers aren't hot at Iluma.

I had a little secret agenda when I sold at Iluma. Just before the 1 week school break, I attended a parent-teacher meeting at my girl's school and was told my girl lacks confidence when it comes to oral presentation. She clams up when she's with a total stranger. Seeing how the oral exam's coming up soon for her primary school final, I thought it would do her good to help me make some sales. (it's like training in oral presentation, right?) I gave her on-the-job training and let her handle the customer on her own. I'm mighty impressed. She was very good. She made a total of 6 sales. I actually saw her grow more confident right before my eyes.

On Sunday, my son managed to make 2 sales. I was watching from a distance and I was happy that he was able to handle the customers well and he even put on a smile!

So that was my little thing and since I had my little helpers man my table, me and hubs went to have our mini-date. Yes, we held hands.

We went to a red building next to Iluma for tea and guess what it's called? Can you see the sign, top left of building? Little Red Dot.

It had a rather interesting sign on the tables. No Durian! I really wanted to find out what bad experience the cafe had to include the fruit in the sign. If you've never eaten durians before, let me describe it to you. The most foul-smelling fruit on earth. But that's just me. Many Singaporeans love the fruit. I can't eat it. People have mocked me for not being able to eat it. I'm so one-of-a-kind.

Lastly I have a bag to show you. This is another crescent bag. I like it a lot but it didn't sell. I have no craft markets lined up yet so I'm gonna laze around for a while. See ya.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Iluma Art Market This Weekend

I have a date with Iluma Art Market this weekend! Yes, I've booked a table and for 2 days I'll be battling the wind, the sun and the rain (if any). Yippee, another outdoor art market.

In the past, whenever I go out to sell my bags, I always wonder if it's going to be my LAST craft market. I get discouraged if the sales aren't good and start to wonder if I should keep going.

This week I have done a lot of reflection. Being in the handmade biz, I often want to be appreciated for what I do. Because I make everything I sell, I do admit I sometimes take it personally when I get negative comments or sniggers. But that means giving control to a total stranger to determine what happens to my biz. So I'm taking back the control and whatever happens, I'm gonna roll with the punches. (I've always wanted to use this expression!)

One day I will stop selling my bags. But until then, I hope you enjoy everything I make.

These are just a "few" things I made this week.

19th to 20th March 2011 (Sat & Sun)
Iluma Art Market
201 Victoria Street
12 noon to 7pm both days

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

my thoughts this week

Life is unpredictable. One minute you're buying fabric from a Japanese website, the next, lives are lost, towns are swept away. Were you affected by the disaster? Watching the disaster on TV can make it seem unreal. But this time I felt the fear, the uncertainty. I knew people who were in Japan when it happened. Yes, they are safe. Those moments of not knowing - it's nothing compared to the ones in Japan who are searching and grieving for their lost ones. I cannot imagine.

This week, my extended family lost a member who met with a tragic end. This is my first death experienced as an adult. It felt unreal, almost dream-like. Am I still in shock? I tried to remember my last contact with the person during Chinese New Year but it was very brief. I remembered he chatted with me on facebook last year. He wanted to tell me how he felt as a new father. Life is unpredictable.

It is the living who is most affected by the passing of a loved one. They are the ones who have to make sense of the death and keep going.

I believe in the tenacity of the human spirit. Japan - the Land Of Handmade will rise again. In time, my family will heal.

Meanwhile, life must go on.

Rest in peace, W.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Never Lived Alone

I like to sew. Everyone knows that. But what most people don't know about me is I dislike mending. My family has learnt this thru' experience. Any holes that need mending or any alteration is automatically put on the waiting list. In the past, me hubs would nag me to death before I would, very reluctantly do whatever alteration was needed which usually took just a few minutes of my "precious time". Now he has grown weary and decided to just do the mending himself. As for alteration, I believe if he could, he would.

I'm also the kind of mom who does not feel any embarrassment if my kids walk around in clothing with holes in them. My girl would often point out holes in her clothes and suggest I mend them. I would procastinate or just put it on the "waiting list". Yesterday, a miracle happened in my home. My dear daughter asked for a needle and thread and said she would mend her clothes herself.

Just look at that wonderful sight. Head bent and feet turned up in deep concentration. I will cherish this moment forever. Yay! No more bugging from the little princess about the holes in her clothing.

She did such a good job. See where the arrow points to? It used to be a hole. I didn't even have to teach her. I think every human being is born knowing how to whip stitch. You know, just go round and round.

Okay, my son has a shirt (his school uniform) which has a nice little hole. It really bothers me hubs. With me girl's newly acquired skill, I suggested to son that he mends his shirt himself. He was of course quite against the idea. Oh, what would motivate a boy to mend his own shirt?

This week I was supposed to up my stock for my date at Iluma Art Market from 19th to 20th March. Instead I spent time watching movies. Today I watched The Resident.

It sounds like a bad movie. But I'm not very selective when it comes to movies. I mean, I LOVE Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo for goodness sake. My favourite comedien other than Steve Martin is Rob Schneider.

What attracted me to The Resident is the idea of living alone. All my life I've never lived alone. When I was young, my family was huge. When I was married, I lived with me hubs family. When I moved to my own home, I had kids. So I was never alone. During those days when me hubs was still in the reservist and had to go sailing for 2 weeks, it was me mom and mil who was more paranoid about me being alone. They would call and call. Geez, I wasn't even alone. I had 2 kids. I remember when I was still single, whenever my 3rd brother went to serve his reservist duty, I would sleep over at his home to keep his wife AND kid company. Like it's the most normal thing in the world.

I've read in some blog posts that kids in western culture leave their family homes to live on their own when they turn 18 or so. Is this true for most folks? I can't imagine my kids leaving home at such a young age. I can imagine them living with me till they get married. Gosh, did I say married? Right now, I cannot imagine my kids getting married.

Well, I think living alone can be pretty scary. Just 14 minutes into the movie, I already started hearing noises from here, there, everywhere. The Resident is really about a perverted landlord who lusts after his tenant. I was sure Hilary Swank would not do a bad movie. I mean, this is a Million Dollar Baby! Also, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, (the creep) was Uma Thurman's Accidental Husband. And I think she has good taste. (because she has such long legs) Bad taste aside, the movie has a good (creepy) moment like when Jeffrey Dean Morgan used Hilary's electric toothbrush for kicks. What I didn't understand was when Hilary was told the rent for the apartment was $3300 and she acted like it was a steal. Really? In Singapore, $3300 could get you a house, I think. And that's why most folks in Singapore live with their parents. The rent.

Nope, you didn't come to my blog to read about the movies I've watched. So here are 3 striped items I made.

Here's hoping my striped items pay the rent for my Iluma stall.

I usually have some problems matching the stripes at the seams. This is my best match to date. Hopefully I'll stop watching TV and movies long enough to make a few more items for Iluma. See ya.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March MAAD 2011 Post-Mortem

Hey folks!

How was your weekend? I had a rather quiet weekend. No, just kidding. As some of you may know, I was at red dot design museum hawking my bags. I had a rather nice time actually. Surprise? Yes, it's safe to read this post. It's whining-free.

My bag display
Check out the cool thingy I bought from Ikea to display my lunchtime pouches. My little pouches really clutter up the table - this is such a space saver.

Here's me on Saturday. I wore my threadless tee. p.s. i promise not to tilt my head the next time I have my pic taken.

Oooh, I had light. I discovered lights make my bags appear more attractive. p.s. i promise not to make the peace symbol the next time i have my pic taken.

Sales was better this month - a total of 9 bags and pouches. Not great, I know but remember February MAAD? So I'm grateful.

I have 1 pic of my cutomer. This is June with her new bag. I think you've met June before. Thank you June.

This was my little workshop. I spent my free time sewing sarubobos.

My girl kept me company on Sat afternoon. She soon grew bored so I let her take photos of my sarubobos.

She took lots but most were blurry. I like this one best. It shows a child's perspective.

I took lots of photos of my sarubobos too. I made a total of 7 sarubobos until I ran out of stuffing. Sarubobos are a great way to use up your fabric remnants. If you're the DIY kind of person, you might want to try out my tutorial to make a few sarubobos to call your own.

On Sunday - today, I learnt to make Crème brûlée from Chef Shun. It turned out to be rather fun.

Here's Chef Shun with his apparatus.

I whisked! Btw, this is my very first ever cooking lesson.

I torched!

I made Crème brûlée.

That's me about to dig in. It was gooood.

Hope your weekend was good too. See you all soon.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The N Word

Hello people!

How are you? Last week I was feeling really good. I started sewing pouches again and best of all, me hubs brought home a gift for me.

You might know I have "a thing" for containers. So I was over the moon when me hubs took this gorgeous metal tin out of his bag. It used to contain cookies (can you imagine?) and he had rescued it from the garbage bin at work. Okay, maybe he really took it from the snack table at work but somehow the idea of him digging thru' the garbage for me sounds so romantic.

Yes, I washed it and now it is where I keep all my sashiko thread.

I was really feeling energized and wanted to make many, many wristlets but was derailed by a thundering migraine. Do you suffer from migraine? I haven't had one since my Open Doors experience and that was quite a long time ago. So it took me by surprise. I often forget how painful migraines are. I especially hate the ones which come with nausea. If you are a fellow sufferer, you'll know what I'm talking about. The worse bit is not that you vomit. It's that you feel like vomiting but don't. It was totally my fault. I found myself extremely hungry and extremely cold one day in a situation where I could rectify neither. A perfect trigger for a migraine.

I've recovered. Thank you. Re-born once again. So I've managed to make a few more wristlets before my enthusiasm runs out. Here they are.

8 wristlets. Imagine how many more I could have made.

I used linen-cotton for this lot using my fave fabric. Five are made using Echino fabric.

You've met Echino Fuchsia.

You've met Echino red panther.

You've met Echino brown animals.

Now meet Echino beige birds.

And Echino sky blue peacock.

Here's a crowd-pleaser - Yuwa pseudo cross-stitch.

For the vintage lovers - Yuwa grey polka dots.

Lastly, for the romantics - roses with dots and stripes.

Lately I've been watching a lot of reality TV and I've started to notice that on 2 shows, the N word is used very frequently. Do you know paula abdul's dance show? I don't know the name but it's very similar in format to American Idol as in there's a panel of judges, there's viewers voting and there's the N word. Just watch the shows and see how many times the judges scream out "you nailed it.", "you nailed it baby!".

What's with all these nailing? I know there's another meaning to "nail". Heard it on The Big Bang Theory. I assure you the meaning is totally different.

I don't think I've nailed anything in my life. Sure, I think I did a good job but did I nail it? Not too sure about that. I've been nailed though. By a nail. Right through the sole of my foot. When I was a kid, I walked around bare-footed a lot. Never been nailed by a nail? Then you can't imagine how painful it is. Extraordinary pain. I remembered how my sisters tried to comfort me after. They boiled green beans soup for me. In fact, whenever I am injured, (and I was rather accident prone) my sisters would boil green beans soup. Till today, whenever I smell green beans soup, I would feel that everything is okay.

Lastly, I'll be selling my bags at my LAST maad this weekend. Woo hoo.

5th to 6th March 2011
red dot Traffic
28 Maxwell Road
Singapore 069120
11am to 6pm both days

I'll see you guys soon.
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