Friday, September 30, 2011

One ring good, two rings better

My dear blog readers,

How are you all? Everyone okay?

I was staring at my pile of fabric remnants and feeling really sick of moving them around because I've run out of space to store them. I realised that I had to either throw them away or give them away. Unfortunately the second option is turning me a little paranoid. I see the look of fear in the people whom I constantly dump my scraps on whenever I approach them. Throwing them away is out of the question because it's like throwing away money. So I did the next best thing. I used them to make a bag.

I used the Ikea remnants first because they take up a lot of space. I had the butterfly fabric, the leaves fabric, the peacock fabric and the grey roses fabric. Although these fabric are in the black, white and grey, I was a little worried that mixing them together might not work. But I think it worked out quite well. Some of the larger remnants were of very odd shape and creating a patchwork wasn't as easy as I imagined.

What do you think? I sewed a few running stitches as I thought the left side looked a little bare.

This is the other view. This was a lot harder to patch as there were curved remnants.

If you're thinking this bag looks familiar, it's really my One-wooden-ring bag but this time I used 2 rings. I'm calling this my Two-ring-better bag. I left the handle adjustable.

This is the side view.

The bag closure is recessed zipper. I used the grey roses for the lining. Bear is pleased with the result. Tell me - do you love it, hate it or don't really care? See you soon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One blog seven views

Do you embrace change or are you someone who needs to be dragged through any itsy bit of change? Or are you, like me, a wait-and-see kind of person? I'm referring to technological changes in particular in the internet.

Have you heard? Blogger now provides seven dynamic views for your blog. What does that mean? It means that a reader now has the option to view a Blogger blog content in seven different ways. That is, if the blog owner has enabled the dynamic view ability. Right now, I have not enabled the dynamic view for a few reasons which I'll go into later. But I'll give you a preview of what my blog could look like in future. Yes, sort of like a crystal ball.

But before that, dynamic views only work if:
  • Your blog is public. Meaning no sign-in.
  • Your blog feeds are fully enabled. In the Settings | Site feed tab, you have enabled either Full or Jump Break for your Post Feed.

Here's the preview of the seven views of my blog:

Classic View

The classic view is pretty much what you're used to already. Except for one very important extra - infinite scrolling. Infinite scrolling means scrolling through the pages without having to click on a page or "older posts". And even after clicking on a specific post, infinite scrolling is still possible because you are really looking at one big giant page.

Flipcard view
You either love or hate the flipcard view. It's great for blogs with lots of pics. Each pic points to a blog post. Infinite scrolling works when you are in the flipcard view - meaning you could scroll through the images. But once you've clicked on a specific post, you only see one post and the infinite scrolling is lost until you close the post and go back to the flipcard view.

Magazine view
I'm not impressed by the magazine view. I don't really care how the posts are laid out. Other than the layout, it's similar to flipcard. Once you click on a specific post, the infinite scrolling ability is gone.

Mosaic view
I can't tell the difference between flipcard and mosaic. The funtions are similar.

Sidebar view

Sidebar view looks promising. However infinite scrolling only works on the sidebar. I'm getting obsessed with infinite scrolling!

Snapshot view
In Snapshot view, all the pics of each post is shown. Other than this difference, it has the same functions as Snapshot and Mosaic.

Timeslide view
Timeslide view is a blogger's dream. It pulls together all posts by the month. Reading all my posts through the years won't be so hard then!

What do you think of the seven dynamic views? Which ones do you like? One other thing you probably didn't get from the images of the above views is this: The reader gets to choose the view. It's totally in her control.

If you own a Blogger blog and would like to preview the dynamic views of your blog, you can go here to enter your blog name and it's totally safe, no worries. Look for the word "Preview".

Before you excitedly go off to enable dynamic views for your Blogger blog, let me tell you the reasons why I haven't done it for mine.

  • The sidebar disappears along with all my ads and widgets.
  • The header looks different and my header ad disappears.
Once Blogger rolls out the option to customise the header and sidebar, I'm in. Until then, I'm sticking to my static view.

You know what I wished Blogger had done instead? Allowed the blog owner the option to limit the views for her blog. I really like to have control over what the reader sees. Of the seven views, I believe most of my readers will just use Classic or, Sidebar. Those new to my blog might go for Timeslide.

p.s. If you're enabling dynamic view for your blog, I beg you - please keep a copy of your BEFORE template. At least if you don't like your new look, you can always revert.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm not friends with the sun anymore

Dear people who read my blog,

How was your weekend? Want to hear me whine about mine? First of all, I wish to declare that from today onwards, I will no longer do outdoors craft markets. Please remind me if I should forget. I do recall making such a declaration a year ago but I soon forgot about it.

I am not a outdoorsy kind of person. You know that right? I don't do camping. I don't do picnics. I'm an indoor kind of person. There has to be a roof, a door and preferably air-conditioning. Clearly I forgot all that. After spending 3 days outdoors over the weekend manning my stall, let me just say this. I am such a freaking princess!

The craft market was just 5 counters right in the middle of a path used by many pedestrians to get from one building to another. The whole day, people just streamed past us in droves. It was not easy to get people to stop and have a look around. I can understand why. It was hot and humid.

Table on Friday

I was hot and humid. Sweat poured out of me all the time. I drank water and juice the whole day just to keep myself hydrated.

5 Reasons Why I Shouldn't Do Outdoor Craft Market
- I die without air-conditioning
- There are insects
- People smoke in front of you
- The sun
- I develop bra rash

I have recovered from my bra rash, thank you. The trouble with open spaces is it attracts smokers who make it their smoking corners and they have no issue smoking a few steps away from you. In addition, it attracts couples who have public display of affection issue. They neck in front of you. I mean, really go at it. For minutes.

I only had to man my stall for 5 hours on Friday. 5 hours really dragged especially when my sales really stank. It didn't help that sales for the seller on my right was spectacular.

Well, all Friday evening, I started at this poster at a cafe a few steps away from my stall. Guess what I had for dinner?

It came in a really long plate. The luncheon meat was nice. The egg was good. But the rest of it was too oily. Still I finished everything.

Entertainment came in the form of returning birds. Just a few steps in front of my stall is an open-air car park where there are many tall trees. These trees are home to birds. Not 1 bird. Not 2 birds. Not 10 or 20 birds. But a GAZILLION birds. And they return home to roost TOGETHER. Not quietly either. Every darn bird twitting away. I felt like I was going completely deaf. But if I were completely deaf, I wouldn't be able to hear a GAZILLION birds twitting.

And for 3 evenings, I sat thru' the Coming Home cacaphony.

Table on Saturday

I spent 12 hours at the stall on Saturday. It was mercilessly hot and humid. Although I kept myself hydrated, I think I passed out a few times. Or maybe fell asleep. I couldn't tell the difference. At some point, I fantasized smoking pot. No, not the illegal kind of pot. I live in Singapore you know - where drug possession (over a certain weight) means death by hanging if caught. You understand I live a very clean life. I don't smoke - not even second hand smoke, I don't drink and I don't even listen to heavy metal. 2 tablets of panadol is all it takes to get me high as a kite.

But last Saturday, I hallucinated about smoking pot - the cooking pot kind. Though I don't know how it can be smoked. Alright, I'll admit the fantasy wasn't well thought out. Well, my body was kinda over-heated so it's understandable. Fortuanately sales was not bad so I was brought to my senses from time to time when a customer bought from me. Shaken awake more likely.

Sunday was a litle less hot. But I was still traumatised from the previous day's heat and over-compensated with the drinks. This aloe vera ice blended drink really spoke to me. I definitely over drank because I had to keep peeing.

My stall is next to a Charlie Brown cafe and almost every minute, someone is posing next to Snoopy for a pic.

When I started taking pics of unattractive plants, I knew I was thoroughly bored. Sunday's sales dropped but was still better than Friday's.

Overall, the people who stopped by my stall were pretty nice. I only had one bad experience. This foreign lady wanted to buy one of my larger bags. She was unwilling to pay the stated price. She offered to pay for the bag in her currency. Not at an equivalent rate but an amount she was willing to pay. (I checked the exchange rate when I went home and she had given herself a $15 discount!) I declined her offer and told her I couldn't give her a discount. Then she reasoned that after a currency conversion, my bag would be very costly to her. I still wouldn't budge. How could her country's weak currency be my concern? But I kept this thought to myself. Rather miffed, the lady pointed to the top stitches on my bag and asked if I used a sewing machine to sew the stitches. I said yes, of course.

She jerked her thumb at my HANDMADE signage and said, "and you say Handmade!"

That was her parting shot. Yeah, she TOLD me. Apparently, I can't call my stuff handmade seeing how I use a sewing machine! Well, sticks and stones may break my bones, at least she didn't steal from me!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hung like an elephant

I invest a lot of time watching TV sitcoms and TV police series. It is always disappointing to me when the shows I follow get cancelled or an actor leaves a series. The last two years been traumatising for me TV-wise. First, Law and Order died. Then Law and Order: LA died. Then Charlie Harper got killed by a train in Two and a half men.

If this carries on, I may have to stop watching TV altogether. So I was very interested to see if Ashton Kutcher could persuade me to carry on with Two and a half men. As it turned out, he could. Because, did you know? Ashton Kutcher is hung like an elephant. That's right. Like an elephant. Not hung like a horse. Not hung like a killer whale. Thank goodness not hung like a donkey. But hung like an elephant.

So I'm sticking around. To see more of that elephant.

Speaking of elephants, for some strange reasons, when I hear "hung like an elephant", I immediately visualise a curvy elephant trunk.

Wow, this week is going too fast for me. I've been sewing every day and I feel like there aren't enough hours for me to sew. Do you ever feel this way sometimes? When you have all the time in the world, you can't motivate yourself to make anything. But when you have limited amount of time, you end up with boundless energy.

I made 10 zip pouches. Yep, that's how much energy I have. I made them in 1 day.

No worries. I have nothing to prove with this skulls and roses zip pouch.

Placement of the hearts is a little off.

I could look at this fabric all day.

The rest are familiar fabric which I can't seem to use up.

I made an exciting bag. I know it doesn't look it. It's a simple rectangular messenger crossbody bag. But....

In the past, I would make such a bag with a magnetic snap for closure. Yesterday, I tinkered with the zipper installation and viola! I have a zippered messenger bag. This bag is really exciting for me because I have developed a new and easy way to install a recessed zipper in a bag. For me, when I make a bag, it's not just about the functionality or the look. It's also about the amount of time it takes me to make it. Naturally, faster is better. Looks like you're going to see more of such bags in future. I'm also thinking of doing a ePattern but one day at a time.

Lastly, I'm going to be busy this weekend. From Friday to Sunday I'll be selling my bags and stuff at a local mall. Yes, I know I just did a craft market but let's be honest. While I like to pretend I'm running a business, it's in reality a very expensive hobby. And in order to support this hobby, I do need to go out and sell and make some money.

The hours are very long for this gig. I'll bring stuff to occupy my time for sure. It's my first time selling here so the usual questions apply - where's the toilet, where can I get my tea and what's the crowd like. Where I'll be located will be about 400 metres away from newly opened H&M. Do you have a H&M where you live? Is it overrated? Me hubs thinks it has my kind of clothes - you know the kind for a longish upper body. Maybe I'll have time to go have a look-see. Details of my gig below:

Venue: 313@Somerset
(Level 1, at the discovery walk, beside Charlie Brown Cafe)
Friday 6pm to 11pm
Sat 12pm to 11pm
Sun 12pm to 10pm

If you are in Singapore, swing by and buy something, won't you? I'll see you next week and give you the highs and lows. By the way, September 25th will mark 4 years of blogging for Projects By Jane. I will do a giveaway sometime next week. So come back, come back.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sorry no cure


What did you do over the weekend? Me? I made 6 reversible drawstring pouches.

I've been desperately trying to increase my stock as I feel rather nervous about Christmas approaching. Yes, you heard it right. Christmas is coming in about 3 months and I hadn't been vigilant about keeping my stock at a decent level. If I don't start making stuff to add to my stock now, I will feel very pathetic in December. Ideally I would like to have 100 items on hand by December but that's an impossible figure to achieve. I don't have the energy. Like over the weekend, I was aiming for 10 drawstring pouches but 6 was all I could manage. I realise that when I make anything in batches, I feel drained more easily. Still I have to try as hard as I can to increase my stock.

This time around, I went a little crazy with power over the mix and match choices. I'm pretty happy with the end result.

Don't the pouches look like little puppies just chilling? Let me introduce them, starting from green polka dot, clock-wise - Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Janet and last but not least, Michael.

Last week in Singapore, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) caused an uproar with a unpopular decision.

Its CEO, cancelled a popular 6-year old "Halloween Horrors" event at the Night Safari
- 2 weeks before it was launched
- after selling 1000 tickets
- after a group of final year Polytechnic had spent 7 months working on it as their gradeable project
- after spending $1 million

The CEO said sorry. Halloween had nothing to do with conservation. Then she remembered the President just attended a mid-Autumn festival held at the zoo. And we all know the mooncake festival has nothing to do with conservation. So now, the spin is - events need to have an Asian focus and be family-centric.

The CEO said sorry. No one told her the students' work would be graded.

The CEO clarified that there were no religious reasons behind the cancellation but she did indeed say 
"a lot of money spent on an infrastructure (Haunted House) of devil worship". In addition she added that there were "controversies about the 31 October festival, where some U.S. schools even ban Halloween events."

I only know Halloween from TV and movies. As far as I can tell, it's a harmless tradition which is meant to be fun. I don't associate devil worship with a Halloween haunted house. Plus, we live in Singapore where 1 month out of every year, businesses and individuals deligently go about spending huge sums of money to stage events and burn paper products to "feed" the hungry ghosts. And I'm saying it's an accepted practice. If you can live with "feeding" the hungry ghosts, how can you be offended by a haunted house?

And I'm always unimpressed when anyone says, the US this or the US that. It sounds more like the person ran out of anything substantial to back up her decision.

This brings to mind an exchange between me and a customer when I was out selling my bags. A customer admired one of my pouches but expressed reservations about the animal print I had used. I asked her what her concerns were. Her reply? She was afraid the animal had a spirit in it.

What!? I assured her the animal print is just a print. And there were no spirits in my bags. I wasn't even keen on her buying the pouch as I honestly didn't want to be drawn into any spiritual debates. When I make a bag, I only care if it looks cool or not cool. She did buy the pouch eventually although I can't imagine why with all the reservations. I guess that's how awesome my bags are.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

You can never have too much storage space

Hello friends and strangers,

A few days ago I had a real big scare. I tried to upload a photo to my blog and was informed gleefully by Blogger that I had run out of space. How is that possible? Me run out of space in blogland? But there's endless space in the net. Right? Right?

Oh dear folks. I've been so ignorant. Apparently I'm only allocated 1GB of free space to keep my images and stuff. What!? 1 GB? Still, 1 GB is a lot of space. I can't believe I've used it all. What on earth have I been uploading? And just to be clear, you get 1 GB per google account.

I started to panic over the thought of losing my blog. I mean I love my blog. No, really, really love. Like in love. It's my baby. First thing I do in the morning, I check that it's still breathing. Last thing I do at night, I check that it's still breathing.

Now you see the awful fear creeping all over me? Me hubs suggested I delete some unwanted images from picasa which stores my images. Okay, hold your horses. Before you gallop off to merrily delete, just know that deleting the images from picasa will delete them from your blog. So you could easily end up with a blog with no images! There's no UNDO so be careful.

Deleting the images from picasa involves checking each post and getting rid of duplicates and unwanted images. Sounds easy? It's an impossible task. Picasa doesn't tell you which images are linked to which post. After 5 minutes, I gave up. I decided giving google US$5/year for an additional 20GB of space is totally worth it. Yes, Google sells space too. I bet you thought they just sell searches.

Today I received notification my extra space has come in and to my utter delight, I have 27 GB which means an additonal 7 GB! How did that happen? Wow, now I have all these space, I'm no longer feeling like I have to be nervous about uploading many images.

Coincidentally, I wanted to write a post about how I store my sewing supplies. For the past 2 weeks, I had been trying to tidy up my sewing supplies. It started with me moving a chest of drawers from my sewing table to the floor. Just 1 move and I ended up spending the whole day moving stuff from the drawers to elsewhere. You understand I'm not de-cluttering because I "need" the stuff.

This was the elsewhere some of my stuff had to go to. I re-discovered this DIY stacked boxes which I bought from Ikea 12 years ago.

Here are my frequently used sewing machine needles and sewing needles. The ones I rarely use are kept in some other boxes.

I have a lot of wooden rings for my one-ring wonder bags. On the right are my ink.

Despite a limited storage space in my home, I have the inability to junk some of my stuff especially when I've had them for years and never used them. These handy needle? I was attracted by the name. Thought they would come in handy. Turned out I couldn't find any use for them. But I keep hanging on to them thinking one day, they would come in handy. Do you own these as well?

I personally feel this is one of my best ideas for storage. See I have floating sewing machine needles which have not been used enough times to be thrown away. I used to just chuck them aside and each time I needed to use them, I had to squint just to see the size of the needles. What a waste of time! I just stick white batting to the box and the numbers represent the sizes. See how HANDY it is?

This mooncake box is now home to my bobbins. I like to create little compartments.

My sewing machine thread used to be in 1 giant shoe box but it got too unmanageable. I had other storage methods for my sewing machine thread in the past but they all failed. This current method works as I can find the colour I want easily. They stack up too so it saves on space. What I would really like is to store the bobbin with the corresponding top thread. I tried it once using sticks and styrofoam. It lasted until the styrofoam gave way.

My embroidery thread is a complete utter mess. I wound them in cardboard and put them in the little cubicles. The cookie container keeps the unopened thread.

These 2 mooncake boxes are home to my zippers. I'm afraid to say there's no better way to store zippers than using a rubber band to tie them by sizes. The ones in the blue box are my continuous zippers which I buy by the yard. If you think I have a lot of zippers, I do use them up pretty fast.

These 2 recently acquired mooncake boxes have been put to good use. The pink one is for my velcro. See how useful the compartments are? I'm not a velcro person. They stick. I prefer other closure methods. But they're good to have around because you don't want to run out to the shops everytime you need something. The deep red box has no compartments but I've made my own. These are good for my sewing notions. Notice the heart key? I wonder why I kept it?

This hat box is perfect for my rope and string. I keep straps on the cover of the hat box. I have no idea why I own so much rope and strings.

I used to buy a lot of these $2 boxes but the novelty has worn off. Also, I really dislike the "liver spots" which appear on the inside. This one keeps my elastic. For someone who doesn't use elastic, I sure own a lot. Mostly inherited stuff and a couple of impulse buys.

These are at best 20% of my sewing supplies. I'm quite a hoarder and not very tidy. If you have any ideas for storage to help keep me sane, do let me know.

Wow, this post is image heavy again. Looks like I'm already squandering my 27GB. But this time, I made sure to delete the uploaded images I don't use! See you soon. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

iPhone zip pouch ePattern is here

Hi friends,

Do you suffer from zipperphobia? Symptoms include cursing, irritation, UnFinishedObjects and poor finishing. When I produced my iPhone zip pouch ePattern, I had in mind folks with zipperphobia and yes, I have the cure. Even if you don't fear the zipper, this little ePattern will suit you. I do the thinking for you. You don't have to crack your brains to figure this one out.

That's right folks. My iPhone zip pouch ePattern is finally out. And as always, I'm pimping it.

I had planned to launch the ePattern by August but it seems I'm still pretty fussy when it comes to photos and little details. I hope that by my third ePattern, I would have become more efficient.

Of course this zip pouch has all its raw seams hidden.

Each zip pouch takes an hour at most for beginners. Once you get the hang of it, you could easily whip them out at half the time. The best bit? You only need a small amount of fabric - a great way to get rid of your remnants.

A big thanks to my testers. They did all the hard work! Do me a big favour and go to my Etsy shop and heart this ePattern or buy it! Thank you. Muah! See you in a couple of days.

If you prefer to buy the pattern off my blog,
Read FAQ before clicking on Buy Now button below.
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