Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Same DNA

Hello folks,

It's a lazy day in Singapore. The sky is overcast and very grey all day long. It is also a public holiday. Today is Hari Raya Puasa. So to all my muslim readers,
Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Me mom told me once that she observed that it rains every Hari Raya Puasa. She has no statistics to back it up just her memory. Well, it hasn't rained today so she might be proven wrong. But the sky is quite dark at the moment so there's still a chance. If it doesn't rain, she'll definitely get a call from me tomorrow. Haha we do this every year.

I spoilt the day by making it a Clean The Flat Day. Fortunately the kids were very cooperative and did their fair share. There are only 4 of us living in this flat and somehow we manage to accumulate a lot of junk. I'm guilty of the most junk especially with my fabric and sewing supplies. I decided all the cleaning and mopping was my exercise for the day and I shall skip the dreaded jogging.

I completed 2 bags over the weekend. I used my fabric remants as I really dislike having bits and pieces lying around.

This is a bag I've made before. Remember the Crescent Bag? I did not try to make any changes to this bag other than adding a zip pocket in front.

This is the 2nd bag I made. Notice something familiar about this bag?

Maybe putting them side by side will help. Yes, the top half of the 2 bags are exactly the same. You could say, they have the same DNA? For the 2nd bag, I modified the bottom half to create a roomier bag. I straightened the curves a little and added a flat bottom. What do you think?

I think Bear enjoys sitting in it.

What I love is the bottom. I wanted a rectangular shape but with some softness. Bear loves it. Swear.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

And the winner is...

Hi all,

I saw on TV the might of Hurricane Irene and I hope everyone in the affected areas is safe. I feel lucky to live in Singapore. All we get are heat and humidity and that's nothing really.

Singapore's Presidential Election is over. The 4-horse race turned out to be a 2-horse race. 1 candidate lost his $48k deposit as he only received 4% of the votes. Poor guy. I won $100 betting on him losing his deposit. Yes, it's awful making money off somebody else's loss. But the poor chap didn't stand a chance. He had a poor image (loose canon) and even worse enunciation. Why didn't his supporters tell him?

In the end, the race was between 2 former ruling party members - one a heavy weight former cabinet member while the other was a member of parliament. So you could say, Singaporeans generally voted in a conservative manner. Based on the voting pattern in the recent 2 elections, it's clear to me Singaporeans prefer not to rock the boat.

These 2 Tans ran neck and neck till the final count. The winner, Tony Tan won by 7,269 votes which is a margin of only 0.3%. But no matter how narrow the margin is, the election is over and life as we know it will carry on.

Now for something I'm more familiar with - sewing. Another Houses something-something.

Originally, I wanted to make another card holder cover. When I made the previous card holder, I had scribbled down the cutting measurements on a scrap paper. Unfortunately, my handwriting was messy and I misread the numbers. So it turned out to be too small for a card holder.

I decided it would look good as a needlebook.

And as a "bonus" this needlebook comes with 2 side pockets. I've been working on a few curvy sexy zip bags. Come back and check them out in my next post. See ya.

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's cooling off day again

Today is Cooling-Off Day for Singapore's Presidential Election. Voting day is tomorrow. As a joke, the sky poured all through morning. Generally, I dislike heavy rain in the morning because the kids have school and walking to the train station requires three umbrellas and three rain jackets. On top of that, the kids eat their breakfast while they walk. In case you're wondering why they don't eat at home, it's because the kids are unable to wake up early enough to eat at home. Anyway, it's only a problem when it rains.

Well, the weather stayed really nice and cold after the rain. It's so rare to experience such cold air (without freezing) and not sweat at all. So I would loved to have stayed home and sew or snooze. But I had to be out all day.

Remember the Ikea grey roses fabric? I made another bag with it. Nope, not getting sick of it yet.

I made another been-there-done-that bag. Honestly, this bag is getting just a wee bit boring for me.

I wanted to try something different with something familiar. So I went back to the good ole zip pouch. What's different about this zip pouch is how the handle is made.

Thought I'll include a BEFORE image before I complete the handle. See it's really just a zip pouch.

Once the handle is sewn on, it becomes a zippy bag. P.S. The bag is hanging on my sewing chair.

Just to give you an idea how small this zip bag is, look at my phone. I think this bag is really cute. If I were to make it again, I would have to make the area where I sew the handles on less bulky. I broke 3 needles sewing the handles on.

But what I really love about this bag is the bottom. It's so boxy. I used a layer of batting for the bottom but you can't see it.

Back to the Presidential Election. As you may know, in my family, I'm tasked with deciding who to vote for. I do take my job seriously and I've been busy reading up on the 4 "Tan" candidates. The Election is very much like a job interview except it's a $4 million job interview. The voters ask the candidates questions and based on the answers given, the "interviewers" think it through and decide who they want to give the job to.

Have you ever been asked this question at a job interview? It's my personal no. 1 hated question.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years' time?

You either give a completely fake answer or you say something stupid.

For the presidential hopefuls, the questions are geared towards personal standing on issues like death penalty, detention without trial and use of govt reserves.

Let me explain a little about one of the key roles of the Singapore President. He holds the key to Singapore's past reserves. Each year, there is a budget surplus which goes into Past Reserves. Over the years, the amount of money has grown. The amount is not publicised. But it must be substantial enough to warrant a $4 million President to guard it. So if the government wants to spend a part of the reserves, it needs the okay of the President.

That is why the choice of the President is important. He must be someone who is smart, fearless, fair and well-versed in finance. Honestly, none of the candidates fit the bill fully. So I think I'll have to go with the fearless candidate.

In my family, we too have our current reserves and past reserves system. Every month me hubs transfers a sum of money to bank A (current reserves) which I use for household expenses. By the end of the month, most of the money is used up. We have a bank B where we keep our "past reserves". I usually don't withdraw money from bank B but if I do, I inform me hubs so he doesn't get a heart attack plus he's the President. (I'm the Prime Minister) Occasionally I forget to do so but me hubs is eagle eyed and will ask me about it. So far this system has worked for us.

Come back on Sunday and I'll tell you who our new President is. See ya.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grey roses

Hi lovely people,

Hope your week is going well. Miss me? Sewing-wise, things are going a-slowly. I wish I can sew faster but I'm really, really slow. And I like to do a lot of other stuff in-between my sewing. Like watching TV, listening to music, snoozing, drinking tea and thinking about the bags I want to make.

I fear I have become quite smitten with this Ikea grey roses fabric. So far I've made two bags with the fabric and there are two more in progress.

I made 2 familiar looking bags. Yes, I made similar ones a couple of weeks ago. I'm just tinkering with the size.

I made this 1" smaller this time round with longer handle. I'm guessing anyone who buys this bag is likely to wear it crossbody.

Of the two, I'm loving this one more. I made it 1" wider. I do believe I nailed the size for this one.

I'm so loving this bag. If it doesn't sell, it's going to moi.

Today my son came home with food he had cooked in school. This is his 2nd year learning to cook. Usually when he tells me he brought food home, I get a little scared because it means he wants me to eat it. I still remember the healthy salad he brought home last year. My stomach still turns thinking about it. If the food turns out good, he's likely to gobble it all up in school. This year there was the healthy burger which Dad had to eat because I wanted to live. And while chewing, Dad kept saying to son: This is how much I love you.

Like I said, I wanted to live. So back to today. I sniffed at the fish nugget and it didn't smell too bad. I tried some and would you believe it? It's absolutely delicious. I ate all of it. I hope he'll make some at home.

Nothing much is happening in Singapore. I'm kidding! This week is campaign week for the presidential hopefuls. Me and hubs have this deal where I get to choose who becomes our President while he chooses the curtain. It's a fair deal as I don't care what our curtain looks like while he does. See you in a couple of days.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What a little pouch taught me

Hello dear readers,

If you're a regular reader you'll know my stand on raw seams. In fact I made raw seams my enemy No. 1 and would scoff at bags made with raw seams showing. You could say I'm a finished seam snob.

Well, this week I unexpectedly gave myself a little challenge. Which is to turn a coaster into a coin pouch. You understand that I have not stepped out of my comfort zone when it comes to sewing for a very long time. I make bags one way and one way only - with finished seams.

But with this little coaster-pouch, unless I take the whole thing apart which meant removing the binding, I couldn't possibly turn it into a zip pouch doing it my regular way. I could of course leave it as a coaster but my flaw is I rarely back down from a bag challenge. So I did the unthinkable. I handsewed the zipper onto the coaster.

Inside the lining, the raw seams on the zipper are visible (horrors) if you look closely. Many times, I wanted to ditch the whole project because I felt I was not being true to my handmaking principles.

After I sewed the bottom together, I look at this baby and I see how I've been living under a rock all these while. I doubt if I could ever make this pouch the finished seam way. It got me thinking. When I became intolerant of other methods of making a bag, I cut myself off so many possibilities. Many times I have wanted to try this or that shape just to see how it would turn out. But the one and only method I sew with always stood in the way. Like if I couldn't achieve a finished seam look, I would not make it. It was always the "finished seam" way or no way.

I feel like I have been reborn. Just like after a migraine attack you believe you can do anything except this is a sewing re-birth. Am I starting to sound silly? I do believe I am experiencing a maturity in my sewing mindset.

It is so apt that right after my rebirth, I dove straight into finishing a "difficult" bag that I had been trying to make. I had this amount of leftover Ikea fabric and thought this was the perfect bag for it. hahaha.

I started making this bag last week but I put it on hold as it was killing me trying to hide all the seams. In fact, I put it aside thinking it may never be completed.

But in the end, it all came together beautifully and I made it the finished seam way. Not that I'm not happy with the bag. I am. I love the result. But I'm no longer so in love with techniques and clever ways of making stuff. Making bags is meant to be fun for me. If I have to agonise over it, I think I've lost my way.

In view of my new-found tolerance, I'd like to mention that today is Cook A Pot Of Curry Day in Singapore.

In Singapore, most folks live in flats in areas which are densely populated. Living at such close proximity, it is no surprise when differences occur. Last Monday, a report in the local papers was on the high number of neighbour disputes and how a Community Mediation Centre (CMC) played its part in helping settle disputes. A CMC mediator quoted an example of a dispute between a family from China and a local Indian family.

The dispute was the foreigners from China objected to the local family cooking curry due to the smell. After mediation, the Indian family agreed to cook curry only when the Chinese family were not home.

I guess you can imagine the outcry that resulted. With Singapore becoming so uncomfortably crowded due to increasing number of foreigners, it is very easy to point fingers at the foreigners. Plus throw in 5 cents worth of opinion from every Tom, Dick and Harry and this controversy could easily have gone out of hand. It is also unfortunate that curry is the dish of dispute because Singaporeans LOVE curry.

Fortunately Singaporeans are rational beings. Also, I believe most Singaporeans aren't anti-foreigners. And this is how Cook A Pot Of Curry Day came about. Someone started it and it went viral. This day is a positive outcome of something negative. I don't see it as a protest but as a stand about tolerance of differences.

And in view of my new-found freedom from raw seams snobbishness, today when I have my curry, I will toast to future projects with raw seams, bias binding seams, french seams, in fact any kind of seams.

Friday, August 19, 2011

If I were a coaster

Dear readers,

Thanks to those of you who gave me suggestions on what to turn my not-a-coaster into. I've turned it into a coin pouch. Some hand sewing was required. Ouchy.

As a "reward" for your effort, here's a little ditty for you. (inspired by if i were a boy) It has no tune and no rhyme. Just rambling from a delirious mind.

If I were a coaster

If I were a coaster
I would sit on the table all day
and wait for a cup of coffee
or a glass of juice
to sit on me

I would chase after stains
and I'd never let any water ring stay

If I were a coaster
I would get wet and dirty

But I am not a coaster
I am a very pretty coin pouch
With a zipper and a ring clip
And coins to keep me company
all day

So I don't have a clue
How you sit all day on the table
Every day it's the same

I would go crazy honest
never able to go out
Meet up with other pouches
Instead, just waiting for Jane to come home

I'm sorry
It's a little too late for me to be a coaster
I have been zippered up
And the coins are in my tum-tum

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Excuse me, what is your surname?

Today is Nomination Day for Singapore's Presidential Election which is set for August 27. It is official. The four men granted their Certificate of Eligibility are running for President.

What do these four candidates have in common?
1. They are men.
2. They are short.
3. They are above 55 years old.
4. They do not agree on the role of the president.
5. They have the same surname - Tan.(read Ton and not suntan)

According to wiki, Tan is the most popular surname in Singapore. Everyone here knows at least one Tan. Many of my former teachers were Tans. Let's see, Miss Tan, Miss Tan, Mdm Tan and Mr Tan.

I don't have a common surname. Poh is not exactly a rare surname but it's not common enough that whenever a criminal has the surname Poh, I would take an interest to see if I'm related to the criminal. Thankfully, so far I've not spotted any relative.

In the past when I was working, joining a new organisation often means having one or two folks come up to me and say excitedly, "Eh, I'm also a Poh!" This often happens during Orientation Day. Once, this guy after finding out I am a Poh, asked me where my family lived. I described the village I lived when I was a kid and he got so excited as he grew up in a neighbouring village. He acted like we were long lost kin. And we could be. In the old days, folks from the same clan tend to live in the same cluster. I mean, when I was a kid, it didn't surprise me that majority of the folks in my village had the same surname as me. In fact, I thought Poh was a common surname.

So, what is a popular surname in your country? I've heard of Smith, Kim and Park.

Yesterday I made a card holder cover to keep all my discount and reward cards. I have so many of these cards that it's impossible to put them in my wallet.

I have these plastic sleeves which hold the cards. Really convenient. Now I can stop digging in my bag for the cards.

I made this round coaster thing without any plan whatsoever. But I don't want it to be a coaster. I wonder what I'll do with it. Another UFO? (unfinished object)

See you soon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What happens in the MAAD museum stays in the museum

Hey people,

Hope everyone's having a great weekend. If not, well, there's always next weekend. As for me, I'm still recovering from my late night at the museum on Friday.

Friday was the first time MAAD was held at night. So what are the new features? First of all, there were sellers outside the building. I did not do a count but there were possibly 10?  To be honest, selling outside the building is not a bad idea. It's visible and you catch the passers-by. The minus part? You need good weather and strong lighting. As for me, I much prefer indoors because I don't like to sweat and I'm terrified of my bags dropping onto the dirty ground.

The red floor where I used to sell at turned into an exhibition area. There were the giant black grapes. I wanted to say balls but I changed my mind.

And a really cool guy giving interesting haircuts. The haircuts were free on Friday but you need to be able to carry it off. My hair is still growing out from its last butchering so I passed.

The other change? We no longer get tables to display our wares. Instead we get a large suitcase on a stand. I really struggled with displaying my stuff and came totally unprepared. I saw that some of the sellers were really creative with the display. One lady used a branch to hang her goodies.

Another change? There were SO MANY sellers selling fabric bags.

Janet came! She used to sell at MAAD. Remember? A number of people who used to sell at MAAD came too.

Actually a lot of people came. The traffic was fantastic. The MAAD team did a great job. An area was set aside for drinks and music, sort of like a pub. As the night grew later, I noticed a number of flushed faces and bits of tipsiness.

My sales, however was not proportionate to the traffic. But it was pretty decent and way better than my last time at MAAD.

Two people actually came dressed in pyjamas. These two "poets" provided a free service of typing out on a typewriter a poem based on one word you provide. I provided the word "projects" and when I received my poem, it turned out to be some random gibberish typed out in no particular meaningful way. And yes folks, once upon a time, before computers were born, the typewriter was a great invention.

I did not feel as sleepy as I thought I would. I guess the surprise visit by two presidential-hopefuls took care of it.

Singapore has to vote again. This time for a President. The last time Singapore voted for a president I was still unmarried! Since then, there has been 2 walkovers. See, in order to send your name in on nomination day, you first need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility. The criteria is quite stringent so very few people qualify for the post. This year, surprisingly out of 6 men who applied, 4 were granted the Certificate. This means it may be a 4-cornered fight. We will know for sure on Nomination Day which is 17th August.

The post of President is largely ceremonial. It has some blocking powers and the job of "guarding" the country's reserves. It is also a well-paid job. I hear the figure $4 million in the net but I don't have an official source. So let's give or take a couple of k's? To be honest, I don't think the 4 men who were cleared to run are in it for the money.

Usually, the government would endorse a candidate but this year it decided not to openly endorse anyone. Okay, it kind of told us their preferred candidate.

This is Tony Tan. He is running for President. And he came to MAAD! I was very surprised. It shook me out of my sleepiness. The MAAD team did a great job with the publicity, didn't they? Psst. Tony Tan is the ruling party's preferred president. He used to be a deputy prime minister. He is a very powerful man. I am most impressed by his hair! It is so in place and smooth. And he has incredibly good skin.

You all know I'm a politician groupie, right? See K Shanmugam and Dr Yaacob Ibrahim. Well, I sure couldn't pass up the chance of getting a pic with Tony Tan. Gosh, now looking at the pic, I can see that I'm standing waaay too close to him. And I'm crying over my bad hair day. I washed my hair before I left home and totally forgot to use any conditioner. So when it dried,  it went WHOOSH WHOOSH in every direction. Can I blame my new hairstylist? Can I? Just look at Tony's hair. I want hair like his except in chestnut brown. Mandy took this pic for me and she only took ONE shot and I had to have my mouth open saying something to her.

Here Tony is having his portait painted by a group of painters/sketchers. Yes, I followed Tony around the museum for a while with his entourage. After some time, I saw Tony leave.

Things became quiet for a while and I was thinking to myself wouldn't it be fun if the other 3 candidates showed up? Suddenly a man appeared before me with the biggest of smile. It was another presidential-hopeful Tan Jee Say! I couldn't believe it. We shook hands and I must say he has a very powerful handshake. Warm and sincere. I'm afraid to say I know very little about Tan Jee Say as he is not a public figure like Tony. I tried to look for him later in the crowd but couldn't find him as he wore checks which are too everyman look. On the other hand, you could spot Tony a mile away on account of his glossy white hair and big black glasses.

Now looking at this pic of me and Mr Tan, I notice that I'm standing waaay too close to him too! What's wrong with me? Mr Tan has such lovely skin too. And nice hair. When I look at my hair I want to cry.

When I finally found Jee Say again in the crowd, I saw that his entourage included hot babe Nicole Seah who had run and lost in the recent General Elections. Although she was popular, in my opinion, she did not stand any chance of winning contesting in a constituency anchored by a previous prime minister. But man, her hair is so gorgeous and she has fab skin. I wonder where she goes to get her hair done.

After the entourage left, I waited for the other two Presidential-hopefuls to show up but I guess they did not know about MAAD.

The last hour before packing up is always the hardest. Time crawled between 11pm to midnight. There were still lots of visitors. While packing up, I managed another sale! For some reason, when you pack up, you're bound to attract folks to your stall.

It was an interesting and fun night for me. I got a little drunk from the excitement and most importantly, I got a great taxi driver when I left. Slept all the way home.
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