Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who Ya Gonna Call?

My dear readers,

If there's something weird
and it don't look good
Who ya gonna call?

So are we all in agreement? If there are ghosts in your home, you call the Ghostbusters. (not that I'm necessarily saying I believe in the existence of ghosts)

Now, the question on my mind is. Who do you call when you find a war relic aka BOMB in your backyard?

More than a week ago, a manager in Singapore found out the hard way. He called the police. As would I. I have watched plenty of American TV police. You always call the police because the police will take care of stuff.

However, unknown to the poor manager and majority of Singaporeans, he forgot to check if he was on private or public property before he made that call. Because as reported here, "he was told by the police that authorities would not help get rid of the relic since it was found on private property." However, the police did give him the contact of specialists who could remove the war relic aka BOMB for a fee. After the manager failed to hire the specialists, the police finally stepped in to bring in Singapore Armed Forces' Chemical Biological Radiological and Explosives Defence Group (CBRE) to remove the war relic aka BOMB 25hrs after its discovery.

This is very disturbing, right? Firstly, I'm rather shocked that the police does not have its own bomb disposal unit. I mean, Law and Order, NYPD Blue, Criminal Minds and even CSI have their own bomb disposal unit! Secondly, the distinction between private and public property. Which thankfully turned out to be a huge misunderstanding. Phew!

On June 22nd, the police clarified here that it was more an issue of public safety. Should it determine that the discovered war relic aka BOMB "not pose an imminent threat to public safety", it "could be removed by specialist contractors." So if I were to dig up a war relic aka BOMB, and it doesn't look like it's gonna blow up anytime soon, it's my problem. I'm just so glad I live in an apartment with no garden. The war relic aka BOMB weighed 160kg (352pounds).

This week on Monday, yet another war relic aka BOMB was discovered. This time it was disposed of without any hoo-ha. But I'm shocked that war relics aka BOMB even exist in Singapore. I mean, after World War II, didn't someone go around Singapore checking for war relics aka BOMB and removing them? This is scary. Fyi, I live less than 1 train station from where the first war relic aka BOMB was discovered.

On to less disturbing matters - my blog. I think of my blog like a little virtual garden that I own and from time to time, I like to pretty it. Check out my favicon. So cool, right? A favicon is a small icon sitting next to the url. Me hubs made me jealous when he created a favicon for his blog and of course I had to have one. The only problem is the favicon doesn't appear on IE browsers. Anyone knows how to fix that? If you're lusting after your own favicon, click here and get one for yourself.

Another school term has started. Say hello to waking up at 6am again. My girl did not start school well. Her teacher returned all the files containing completed worksheets on the first day of school. My girl's backpack got so heavy that while walking up a slope after school, she fell! Nothing major, just a couple of bruises. There ought to be a law against heavy school bags. My son actually got off to an easy start. It turned out his English teacher had tricked them into reading more books than required for an assignment. He only wanted ONE book read for an opinion assignment. And I was hounding my son all June to read all the books! There ought to be a law against teachers who trick.....

No, this is not my home. It's my friend, PeriwinkleSu's new workshop. Doesn't it look gorgeous? So white and clean. It was once my dream to live in a white and clean home. hahahaha.

Here she is in action (the one in apron) conducting a workshop in patchwork applique and hand quilting crafts. If you live in Singapore and keen to attend her workshop, go to her blog to check out the details.

These are 3 examples of crafts she's teaching. Take your pick.

I will see you soon.

*song lyrics - Ray Parker Jr

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This Is How I Press My Seams Open

When I make my bags, I put a lot of work into pressing my seams open. I realised very early on that if your seams don't look well-pressed, your bags will end up looking homemade instead of handmade.

Most of the time I press my seams open. When my fabric is too bulky, I will press my seams to one side.

I don't know how other sewers press their seams open but today I'll show you how I do mine. I have 2 ways of doing it. The second method avoids pressing on the right side of the fabric.

First method:

Without opening the seams, press on the sewn seams for both sides of the fabric. (wrong side of fabric only)

Next, observe that the seams naturally fall towards one side of the fabric.

From the right side of the fabric, use your hands to spread open the 2 pieces of fabric still allowing the seams to fall naturally to one side. Press firmly on the seams to get a crisp seam.

Turn fabric to the wrong side and you will see that the seams are pressed towards one side.

Spread open the seams and use the iron to press heavily on the seams. You may have to do it more than once to get the seams to lie flat.

Turn to the right side and press on the seam line.

Your seam line looks good and there are no creases. For side seams, I would be happy with this result. But if this was the top of a bag and you need to topstitch the edge, pressing on the folded edge first would give you a nice crisp look.

Second Method:
If for some reason you don't want to use your iron on the right side of the farbic, try this method.

Without opening the seams, press on the sewn seams for both sides of the fabric. (wrong side of fabric only)

Next, observe that the seams naturally fall towards one side of the fabric. (towards red fabric)

Do this from wrong side of fabric. While you press the iron along the seams, tug gently at the red fabric. This is to avoid getting creases.

Spread open the seams and use the iron to press heavily on the seams. You will definitely have to do it more than once to get the seams to lie flat.

Your seam line looks good and there are no creases. For side seams, I would be happy with this result. But if this was the top of a bag and you need to topstitch the edge, pressing on the folded edge first would give you a nice crisp look. Iron over a hanky/press cloth if you really must avoid direct contact between iron and right side of fabric. Alternatively, finger pressing works as well.

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I don't use steam when I press seams open. I usually interface my fabric and the steam would cause chaos to my interfacing.

Should you have any other way to press bag seams open do share them with me.

Lastly, I've just noticed how disgusting my ironing board cover is. Time for a change!


Bag Patterns at my Etsy shop

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Baby I'm A Star

Once a year I have to go through this event. It seems the tradition of celebrating one's birthday is fully entrenched in my home.

Yes, I'm a year wiser. I celebrated with a strawberry cake. I ate everything myself. Anyway, no one wanted a bite. Okay, I didn't really know. I was starving and it's a really tiny cake.

The best part about birthdays are the gifts. Of course my family agonised over what to buy. That's part of the fun.

This star charms bracelet came from my girl. I love bracelets and it's just perfect for me.

This necklace is from my son. I know how much he dreads shopping, especially for presents. So it's always interesting how he manages to pick really good choices. The necklace is an interesting colour and I love bright red crystals and stones.

It's me hubs's fantasy to be married to a rock chick. So he got me a leather bracelet to complete the look. Okay, I fudged that. It is my fantasy to be a rock chick. Can you see "Jane" hammered on the leather?

Me hubs surprised me with a second present. Yes, he got me a stuffed toy. I'm naming it "Bear". It will come in handy when I need a prop when taking pics of my bags.

We went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. It is quite a departure from tradition. Usually this family doesn't go to a Chinese restaurant unless the guest of honour is over the age of 60.

I'm starting to look like a homeless person again. Look at my hair. 2 days before my birthday, I tried to get my Cindy to cut my hair but she was off.

Me hubs and I suffered from headaches after the meal. It's called too-much-MSG syndrome. There ought to be a law....

See ya.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hello! I'm Pimping My ePattern Today

Hello friends,

Now that I have a jumbo computer monitor, I thought it fitting my images grow in size as well!

Ladies and gent, please check out my very first ePattern.

How to make a Perfect Size Reversible Lunchtime Pouch in 60 min!

It's easy. I'll hold your hand all the way. Promise. <Ahem> It costs US$6, currently available at my Etsy. Go check it out. Heart it, kiss it, buy it, whatever you want. Your comments are welcome too.

Now, a bit of history. About a year ago, I started working on producing a ePattern. Here are my excuses why it took so long: laziness, hardware issues, software issues plus I booked too many craft markets. Anyhoo, this year, I'm very free, right? But I was still NATO (No Action Talk Only).

Finally, in June, I decided to chain myself to the computer and get it done. My butt was literally stuck to the chair. I swear my rear end became so flat it's planking! Through sheer willpower, I resolved all the hardware and software issues and finally, it's done.

To be honest, I'm quite exhausted. I took at least 100 images. Then I had to go through the 100 images to select the better ones. Then the editing. (the sewing just took a tiny % of the time) I think I spent waaay too much time on this little ePattern. But you understand it's my FIRST one. It's like giving birth to a baby. Just keep fussing over it. Btw, it's a girl.

Any questions, so far? hahaha. Do you want to know why I chose my Perfect Size Reversible Lunchtime Pouch to be my first ePattern? Well, it's the first pouch I taught another human being to sew. Um, that human being Fiona. But I did re-invent the pouch a little just to give it a bit of kick.

The first pouch I made looked lonely. So I gave it a sibling.

Before I knew it, there were four.

Somewhere after 80 images, I went a little cuckoo. Because I started to imagine the pouches were little puppies romping playfully.

Would you believe I'm already starting work on my next ePattern? Plus, I have a couple of FREE tutes coming up soon. See you real soon.

If you prefer to buy the pattern off my blog, read FAQ before clicking "Buy Now"


Thursday, June 16, 2011

How To Kill A Computer Table, Ah?

Hey folks,

This morning I woke up and this is what I saw.

Yes, it seems one monitor is not enough. Now we have dual monitors! Me hubs made it happen in the dead of the night. How totally spoilt can I be? In case you're wondering, I'm still totally mesmerized by my big TV monitor. While writing this blog post on the smaller monitor, I'm also watching a music video on the large monitor. And of course I keep exclaiming to no one in particular:
My god! It's so clear. It's so sharp. I can see everything!
It's insane.

You know how I was hoping to "retire" my rescued-from-dumpster-computer-table? Looks like my dream is fading fast. Me hubs cleverly arranged the monitors so they are perfect for my frail neck.

So, my friends. How do I kill a computer table? Any ideas would be great. Remember it has to look like an accidental death.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Size Matters

Hi people,

Something happened today that has forever changed me. Me hubs out of the blue decided to connect his 32" HD TV which he had bought to watch Blue-ray stuff to our computer. Our computer monitor is 22".

Check this baby out. Use the size of the keyboard to compare! My dear friends who are still using regular size monitors, size is everything! Everything is so clear and sharp and huge. You are looking at the new me. I have become a monitor snob. Hahaha.

Me thinks me hubs "gave away" his beloved HD TV just so he can get a new TV. The Great Singapore Sale beckons.

Btw, the computer table my very expensive monitor sits on is actually something me hubs "rescued" from the dumpster. And that was like 15 years ago. Can you believe how cheap we people are? Perhaps my "new" monitor might recify the situation. As the monitor is so huge and it sits on a shelf higher than the table, I have to strain my neck. It's time to check out the furniture stores!

Does this happen to you guys? This is what the cables look like under the table. I can't for the life of me get them to obey.

I've been working very hard these few days (honest) but I've nothing to show yet. Singapore weather is still erratic. Hot, rain, hot, rain. Do you know that I never leave home without my umbrella?

Speaking of hot, have you heard of this new controversial club set up in Malaysia? It's called Obedient Wives Club. It has 800 members. One of the founders said:
"When husbands come home, wives do not welcome their husbands with warm alluring smiles and sexy dressing ... That is the reality today," 
Oh gosh, I had no idea warm alluring smiles and sexy dressing were the key to a successful marriage!

Amazingly, it seems a Singapore branch is being considered.

According to the linked report,
The Obedient Wives Club has been slammed by critics everywhere, saying that it degrades women by saying that it is the wives' duty to make love better than "first-class prostitutes" to solve familial problems.
I am speechless.

And I was speechless on my wedding day, many moons ago. On the day, after leaving the Registry of Marriage, I entered me hubs home and his mom performed some kind of ritual. Then she put a long gold chain over my neck. While doing so, she whispered in my ear,
You must obey me! You must obey me!

Like I said, I was speechless. Later I asked me hubs if he expected me to obey his mom and he laughed.

Do whatever you want, Jane.

And so I did. I tried my best not to antagonize me MIL and stayed out of her way as best as I could. When a Chinese woman marries a Chinese man, it seems she marries a Chinese MIL too! Me MIL could have pioneered the Obedient DIL Club!!! Could have, would have.

Much later, I asked me hubs if he expected me to obey him and he laughed.(nervously)
No, I just want your love.

Okay, I made the last part up. I can't remember what he said. It's like 16 years ago! But it was definitely not a YES. He is too afraid of me. Okay, I made that up again. Me hubs is not afraid of me. But he's smart enough not to give me any reason to hit him.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What June 2011 Brought

It's June already and it's the school holidays in Singapore. But my kids have a very busy schedule and it's worse than school days because there's no routine. I keep track of where everyone has to be by marking on the calendar. But I tell you, there have been a few near misses. I honestly can't wait for school days to start.

Usually I would be busy going out to craft markets to sell my stuff during the school holidays. But this year, I seem to have difficulty finding good places to sell. I'm so avoiding places which charge high rent and it seems rent keeps going up! Anyhoo, rather than stressing over selling enough to make rent, I decided I would just stay home. And focus on improving my skills in photography and photo editing.

Remember my tatted lace? I made it into a zip pouch. Do I make too many zip pouches? I really like my simple boxed bottom zip pouch. It's wide enough for a big wallet and basic essentials. I like the idea of matching lace with denim. It's a perfect match. Soft with rough.

I've been selling my items on Etsy for a while now and it seems I never paid attention to Etsy's preferred size for photos for the front photo. I've done some homework and for this front pic, I used 1000 X 1000 pixels and I do believe it makes a big difference. I don't know why I didn't bother before. I used to wonder why my photos get cropped horribly. Well, now I do. I've listed this pouch and you can go here to see the difference. If you want to read what Etsy recommends, go here.

For this iPhone zip pouch, I forgot that for a front photo, I have to use landscape. If you use portrait, your image will be cropped by Etsy. The sun has died on me so I had to make do with what I have. I have listed this pouch on Etsy and you can go here to take a look.

Me hubs says the fabric I used is very cheena. (Chinese) Honestly, when I look at the fabric, I don't think it's Chinese at all. I think it's very romantic. But that's just me. Deep down I really love fabric with flowers but it seems liking flower-flower fabric is not cool. But that's a secret between us, okay? I'm in the process of making a few more flower-flower items. Hope me hubs doesn't get a heart attack.

Just before school ended, my son's teacher reminded us that one homework due when school reopened was giving an opinion of 4 required books. Of course I almost had a heart attack. Hunting down the books took me a while as the library did not stock that many copies. Now the hard part - reading them. Part of my duty as a mom is to read the English books my son has to read. I decided to start with the thinnest book.

I read this book on the train. I know this book won awards and all but it was boring to me. I really forced myself to read it. I'm just glad it was a thin book.

On the other hand, I could not put Prey down. I'm a huge fan of Michael Crichton and he is such a good story teller. And no, this is not one of the required text my son had to read.

Yesterday was a good day for me. I went shopping with my BFF. Yes, I have a BFF. She's not a blogger so I can't link to her. I rarely get to see her so it was a treat. When we were students, we often wondered if we would grow old together and still be friends years and years later. I'm really happy that here we are with kids and all and literally growing old together.

What else did June bring? Ah yes, last Sunday, Singapore flooded. Again. I am old enough to have lived through the years when flooding in Singapore was common due to poor drainage. The drains were fixed and only very low lying areas were flooded. Since last year, it seems something changed and flooding started happening in places which had either never flooded before or not flooded for a very long time. Okay, I'm not an engineer so I don't know how the drains system works. But I wonder if it is a result of urbanization. Everytime Singapore flooded, I feel ashamed. Listening to the feeble explanations and excuses. And no, rain does not cause flooding. Because if it does, everywhere will be flooded everytime it rains. Just saying.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Great Singapore Sale Loot

Hello ladies and gent,

Every year for about 2 months there's a Great Singapore Sale. This year's sale is from 27th May to 24th July. Most shops and department stores give huge discounts and it's almost silly not to shop.

End May I had already picked up some fabric using a 25% discount coupon (including sales items). I'm so ashamed to show you the fabric so I'm hiding them in my storeroom for the moment.

Last weekend I chanced upon a baazar where I spotted 3 wooden boxes on sale. It was 50% off! Unbelievable, right? It turned out the 3 wooden boxes were the ones I had been eyeing for a while. The shop owner had used the baazar to promote some of his items. You see, since early this year I had wanted to buy these 3 wooden boxes but the price was way too high for me. I kept waiting for a sale. So yes, from time to time I would nip into the shop and check out the price. I cannot describe to you my excitement when I saw the 50% discount. I swear my hands trembled.

Did I say wooden boxes? They look more like treasure chests! I can't explain why I like boxes and containers.

This is papa chest.

And baby chest fits into mama chest!

Baby chest is the cutest.

After buying the chests, I walked past another shop which sold flip flops. Buy 1 get 1 free! OMG!

I like these flip flops but they are too expensive for me. But 2 for the price of 1 works for me. So me and my girl got a pair each. Alas, my dream of sharing footwear with my girl is no longer possible. Her size is 1 larger than mine.

Here you go. A shot of me toes. One question: Why do jeans manufacturer always make jeans long enough for women with impossibly long legs? I'm only 166cm (5 ft 4 inches) tall and I always have to fold up my jeans twice. How do shorter women cope? Fold 3X?

This is a hat box, I think. No, I didn't buy it. Me hubs brought it home from work. And he didn't fish it out of the garbage bin. It's a gift from Sylvia! You know, one day when I start exhibiting signs of a hoarder, I hope someone has the good sense to take me to a doctor.

Okay, this sign has nothing to do with my blog. It's just a pic I took when I was out shopping. It's an ad for a massage. What I really want to tell you about is my new obsession - Pinterest. Do you guys have an account in Pinterest? I had heard about it a while ago but did not get an account until about a week ago. And yes, this pic of a relaxed baby is now in my Pinterest. Psst. I hope my baby pic doesn't get deleted because it's a no nudity policy at Pinterest.

Anyhoo, like every social media, there's a follow and if you wanna follow me, go here. You do need an account first. Click here for an invite.

Previously, I used to store my photos in flickr. But I've hit my limit and I'm too cheap to go pro. I tried picasa but it's horrid. I got a tumblr account but it wasn't quite what I wanted. As long as Pinterest stays free, I think I'll stick with it.

Pinterest is basically like a pinboard where you can stick photos you like according to categories. The great thing about pinning here is you can pick photos which do not belong to you and put them in your category. When you pin, you can do it from a web page, etsy shop or your computer. The source url is captured automatically. Isn't that great? For me, pinterest might just become a PICTORIAL BOOKMARK. It's like a dream come true for me.

Right now, I mostly pin images which belong to me. I've pinned a few images from other bloggers but only of their tutorials. If I know bloggers, they would not mind if you link to them via images of their tutes. I have also linked to a few sales sites but mainly to remember where I could obtain the items. So far that's pretty safe but I'm really not too sure about  laws or etiquette  regarding pinning images which don't belong to me. Say, I see a pic of a bag blogger A has made and it's not for a tutorial. And I credit blogger A by leaving the link back to her, can I pin it without asking for permission?  Any ideas?

Still interested in Pinterest? Click here for an intro.

I've only been pinning (crazily) for a few days now and I've learnt a few things:
1. You need a pinboard (category) to pin. You can't let the image "float". This is a feature I like about flickr.
2. If you pin from your shop listing, e.g. etsy shop listing, once the item gets sold, etsy changes the url. This means the url link captured previously becomes dead.
3. If you pin from your blog, be sure to pin from a specific post and not from the home page. What you want to capture is the permalink.

Happy shopping and pinning!
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