Monday, October 31, 2011

Post-mortem: VivoCity 29th to 30th October 2011

Hello friends,

Fake tree outside VivoCity - anyone noticed the leaf giving me the finger?

How are you? I slept the whole day away. I'm sick as a dog. My tummy feels weird. When that happens, it means I will have a bad headache. Hours of headache. My face hurts. My eyes hurt. My stomach screams for porridge for dinner. I never want to eat porridge for dinner. Except when I feel sick. Yes, you're thinking what I'm thinking. I'm gonna lose some weight from this illness for sure! Woo hoo!

My son is sick too. He has a fever. He rarely gets sick. It's his first day of his year-end school holiday too. Don't worry. The fever does not affect his ability to play electronic games. Hope it's not a bug. Don't want my girl and hubs to get sick too. We need them to get food.

So I spent the weekend at VivoCity selling my bags. I did not have a good start. After getting my counter, I started to set up my display. Then I was told to move one counter away for my own sake as the counter next to me sells pottery art and painting is involved.  See, the paint could fly in the air and splatter on my bags. It was only one counter away so it was no big deal so I moved. But it took a long time to get the key to the new counter. None of the keys fitted. Then I tried the key from my old counter and boom! It worked. Still I felt the Universe was trying to tell me something!

I thought the new counter was a pretty good location anyway. I snagged 2 sales while I was setting up. I was actually thinking to myself it's gonna be a great day.

Then I was told to move. Again. You know, it's never nice to be asked to move. To be asked to move twice in one morning is bordering on UGLY. This time, my counter was literally carried by the staff to another location, next to the cashier. (Oh yes, there is a cashier system) Once again, I felt the Universe was trying to tell me something. Alas! I'm half deaf so I could not hear.

I'm not the kind of person who acts like an ass in public. I'm usually cooperative and nice. Maybe that's why I'm the one who has to move?

This is my table display on Saturday at my NEW PERMANENT LOCATION. After my move, I had ZERO sales for a few hours. I was quite moody for a while. I mean, you understand, right? I stopped trying to figure out what the Universe was trying to tell me.

I was also moody as on Friday I had found out my portable hard drive where I kept my 2 weeks' worth of work in my ePattern and photos had died and I did not have any other copies. On Friday night I had gone to 2 computer shops to get it repaired and was refused. These are professional PC repairmen and they have no guts to open up my hard disk? What kind of world do we live in?

Around 4pm, me hubs called me with the good news. He had broken into the hard drive and retrieved my data. The clever, clever man. I am so in love with him right now!

While on the phone listening to the good news, I started getting sales. And it got better and better from then on. The traffic was fabulous. My total sales on Saturday was pretty decent. I finally heard what the Universe was trying so hard to tell me.
Jane, we're moving you from a bad place to a good place!
At least that's what I heard.

This was my table display on Sunday. On Sunday, the crowd was different - more families. There were more browsers than buyers. My sales dropped. I managed to make a few sales so it was still alright.

Did I tell you? My neighbouring vendors are very nice folks. The one next to me sold organic baby clothes. Two very lovely ladies. I enjoyed talking to them. There was also a home decor vendor whose wares I kept checking out. Next to her is Corinna, a German lady living in Singapore. She makes really adorable dolls and owns Cute and Cosy.

Here is Corinna modelling my iPhone zip pouch. Psst... so glad she didn't hang it on her ass bum.

My counter faced this shop selling winter clothes. So I'm like staring at it all day. It's a good thing I brought my sweater and scarves because it got really cold. Otherwise I would have gone into the shop and bought myself a winter outfit. But it wasn't like cold all the time. Sometimes, it got really hot so I have to remove my sweater and walk around.

There is a restaurant called Carnivore to my right and all day I keep thinking I want to eat meat. A couple of times I went to the entrance to sniff the food. Sometimes I act like a dog.

This lovely outdoor scenery was just a few metres from where I was. A couple of times I went out for fresh air only to end up inhaling 2nd hand smoke. It's gotten to the point where open spaces in Singapore are always invaded by smokers. Across the water is Sentosa an expensive island experience for tourists.

Anyone wondered how my stamped linen did? I was curious too as it's the first time I'm selling these.

This was a hit. Groped and poked and commented on. I'm just surprised no one bought it.

The girl with balloons and tulips were bought by 2 young girls.

I have another craft market coming up on 11.11.11. I can't think of anything significant to offer on that day. I have around 10 days to make more items for sale but I think I may be out of action for a few days. I can feel a fever creeping up on me. So see you in a while. Good nite.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Queen of zip pouches


How are you guys? It's really cold and rainy in Singapore. Demmit! Me mom is right. It's gonna rain every day until December. She's like a undiscovered weather satellite. This morning I took a 3-hour power nap as last night I lost track of time and went to sleep really late. I don't really have to justify my napping as you all live like really far, far away in another country but readers can be so judgy. (it's a real word; google it) Hmmm, where was I? Oh yeah, napping. I woke up in time to see the sun dying and quickly took photos of the stuff I had made. I got really lucky. After about 10 minutes, it rained like a hurricane. Usually I like to take photos between 2pm to 5pm because I like to take pics against a wall background and by then the sunlight would have reached my wall. Doesn't make sense? Anyway, I have news.

This weekend I'll be selling my bags and stuff at a shopping mall called VivoCity. It's a HUGE place and I'm not kidding when I say I can get lost in there. It's right next to the sea and it's a gorgeous place and you could spend the whole day there. It's my first time selling at VivoCity so it should be interesting. If my kids go with me, I might be able to do some shopping while they man the counter. Woo hoo!

So I was auditioning my pouches to see who's gets to go to VivoCity. You know, one day you're IN, the next day you're OUT. Hahahaha, what am I saying? I'm mixing my TV world with my real life. Every darn pouch I made gets to go to VivoCity.

You know I've been keeping count of the number of items I've made since September 2007, right? I keep count here. I discovered that I have made a staggering 232 zip pouches of which 186 are rectangular/square ones and 46 are wristlets. Are you impressed or amazingly blown away? I'm like a machine or something right? How can any human being make so many zip pouches? And certainly I should ask myself why I keep making zip pouches. But they're so versatile!

So, in honour of making 232 zip pouches, I declare myself the Queen of zip pouches.

Last night I was up making the stamped thingy into more zip pouches. Let's go to the runway, shall we?

Houses on raw linen

Hearts and vine on linen cotton

Leaves and apple on linen cotton

Girl with balloons on linen cotton

Tulips on linen cotton

I made a few other zip items a few days ago.

Apples wristlet

<Giggle> I've actually cut out the apples fabric for 2 more zip pouches but never got round to sewing them. Might be too much, right?

Henna wristlet

Henna coin pouch

You know what I noticed at craft markets? Caucasians dig this henna fabric most.

Country wristlet

I'll bet you knew I like this fabric because it has houses on it. It's linen cotton and I got a discount!

Flower flower wristlet

This fabric? I'm just trying to use it up. Need to make room for new fabric!

That's all I've made so far. Hey, Happy Halloween if you're celebrating it. It's not a tradition in Singapore. Okay, some scary news from Singapore. On Tuesday I read in the news that there was a drowning at Bedok Reservoir in Singapore. My first instinct was to ask me hubs to bet if it was a male or female.

Two things to deduce from this: One - I have a gambling problem. Two - I'm insensitive.

Okay, let me explain myself. Btw, I lost the bet of $10. It was female. I haven't paid up. I'm terrible at losing. Where was I? Yes, the explaining.

1. It all started in June this year. A lower half of a body was discovered in Bedok Reservoir. It turned out to be a young man from China who had gone missing in April. He could not cope with living in Singapore.

2. In September, a young woman and her young son drowned in Bedok Reservoir. The woman had problems with her estranged husband. They were dressed in red. Why red? There's a superstitious belief that a dead person dressed in red will become a vengeful ghost. Which is why at wakes no RED is allowed. Must remember that.

3. In October, an Indian foreign worker drowned in Bedok Reservoir despite witnesses' attempts to rescue him.

4. 2 days later, a Chinese man was rescued from Bedok Reservoir. He claimed to be drunk. Too drunk to remember he tried to end his life. He's still alive.

5. 2 days ago, an elderly Chinese woman drowned in Bedok Reservoir. She was dressed in RED.

Now you understand why I made the bet? Suddenly Bedok Reservoir became the go-to place to drown. I do hope the number stops at 5. Are these copycats? Maybe if the papers stop publishing the death, it may stop.

Geez, I just remembered I used to live close to Bedok Reservoir back in the days when the contractors were digging it. Me and my siblings used to go to the bottom (it wasn't filled then) and walk around. I cannot remember how tall the reservoir was but really freaking deep. Once, my brother went to the bottom and his slippers got stuck in the sticky mud and we saw he was sinking!  How scary it was. We pulled him out and decided to stay out of the reservoir. We wanted to live. You know what? I think Bedok Reservoir is alive!

See you next week kids!

Craft market details:
29th to 30th October 2011 (Sat & Sun)
11am to 10pm
Level 1, near POSB in front of Denizen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My name is Jane. I am a stampaholic.

Hello readers,

Miss me?

Since I attended my first rubber-stamping workshop, I had been fantasizing about the stamps I would carve. You know how obsessed I get when I'm sewing my bags? It's true for stamping too. My obsession has not reached Intervention level yet as I don't have my rubber blocks. While waiting for my rubber blocks to arrive (and I was prudent enough to buy just 2 blocks), I went out to buy more ink. I buy the little ones. They're so darn cute. I wanted to buy EVERY colour available. Fortunately my kids were with me and I have to set a good example. I only bought 5 colours.

These are all the little fabric ink I own. I have a brown ink which I use for my label but it comes in a big tray. 

The problem I have with buying ink is I can't tell how it will turn out on fabric. I am most happy with Poppy Red, Cerulean Blue and Emerald. They look fantastic on fabric. Have you heard of Cerulean Blue? It's such a gorgeous name. If I have a third child, I would call him/her Cerulean Blue and ruin his/her life forever. Alright, I'm kidding.

Cerulean Blue.

I'm hating Bubble Gum which is just pink. It barely shows on fabric. I'm thinking if I ever use pink ink, I have to use white fabric. But ewwwww.

I couldn't wait for my rubber blocks and used a tiny bit of leftover rubber from the workshop and I carved a simple leaf. My leaf has no veins as it's so small I have no idea how to make the veins.

Here I've sewn stem stitch for the branches. As you can see, I'm totally fine with cliché ideas. The apple is done in long and short stitches.

Yay, more Houses. I did not have any round rubber so I used a cork to stamp the tree and the flowers came from the rubber behind a pencil.

I have to admit that using cork is a last resort. Cork does not hold ink well.  I searched my home for something round and flat and couldn't find anything! The next time I'm at the stationery shop, I'm checking out the round or oblong shaped erasers. And I'm itching to carve a REAL tree.

Over the weekend, I looked in one of my many messy drawers and discovered a bag of treasures. Inside were professionally-carved stamps. They were all used before but they look fine. I have no memory of how I came to possess them. See the little girl I stamped all over? I did not carve that. I'm nowhere near that level of superbness. I dunno why. When I see a girl, I automatically think balloons. Or maybe I just have the cork in my hand?

Here I've added the balloon strings. Doesn't look so weird now, does it?

Here I used  more stamps I found in the Treasure Bag. The heart stamp is really intricate. The flowers look doable. Will try and carve me some next time. And I discovered a leaf with veins!

I'll be honest. Using professionally carved stamps is a lot of fun too. And so much less time-consuming. But once you've carved your first rubber stamp, I believe you'll be hooked. My rubber blocks have arrived. What shall I carve? These are just some ideas:

♥ Tree
♥ Skull
♥ Baby
♥ Bunny

I'll see you real soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Here comes the rain

Ladies and gent,

Yes, it's wet, wet, wet in Singapore. Last week I explained to me mom what I am doing now and found it hard to explain what an ePattern is. Then I realised that I only needed to tell her that I take photos of how I make a bag. And you know what she said?
It's going to rain every day until December!
She's almost right. It's raining lots but not every day. Unfortunately, it rains on the days I am free to do a photo shoot. I've tried taking photos with flash and artificial light but they look horrid.

Since my last post, I've managed to let the days slip through my fingers. I've not accomplished much. Everything seems to be in progress. My kids' exams are over though. That's such a relief. My son has to apply for a specialised course for the next two years of secondary school. So we're waiting for his results. He did put in a big effort for the exams so I'm expecting not too bad results. The only paper I'm worried about is Literature as he claimed there's no use studying for it etc. To be honest, I'm quite blur about secondary school streaming. But what I know is apart from English, Chinese and Math, the two other compulsory subjects are Literature and Chemistry. Good grief. I hope my son doesn't have to study Shakespeare.

My girl's results won't be out till end November. Meanwhile, both kids have been living it up with their tablets and games. Life is honestly too good for them. They lie down all day and complain they're tired.

Last week I grossed some of you out when I showed a photo of an excised mole. My apologies. I had such a giggle over the comments though. The more you ewww the more I giggled. On Monday we took me hubs to the doctor once again - this time to remove the stitches.

The wound is healing nicely. When I first saw it after the stitches came out, my stomach felt a little weak. The doc gave it a good scrubbing to get rid of the debris which explains the redness. In case you're really into the Mole Story, here's me hub's take on what made him remove the mole. Read here. Fyi, me hubs is going to remove one more mole - the one below the eye.

Kids, in this case, I want to blame my MIL. I think if she hadn't called the mole below his eye the "teardrop mole", I don't think me hubs would go to the extent to have any surgically removed. The word "teardrop" really bothered him. I never even noticed he had moles! (true story)

As for me, when I was young, people (my family and friends) would tell me what a big head and long face I have. Not once, not twice but again and again. Like it's a crime. Like it's the worst thing in the world. Like I could do something about it. Like wtf! So now, I'm always thinking I have a big head and a long face and if there's a surgical procedure to shorten my head and face, I would!

I'm not perfect. I do say stuff to my kids that I shouldn't. Like tell my son he's tall. He is very tall. But he's self-conscious about it so I stopped. And I've told my girl she has big feet (but they're not that big). So I seriously need to watch my words.

Next weekend I have a craft market and I haven't made many items. Same ole' story.  I think I try to do too many things at the same time. It's not working out. I do have 3 owl wristlets to show you. Do they look familiar? hehehe

I will be selling these owl wristlets at my next craft market. Right now they're sharing a handle. I do have to dig through my stash to find more of the fabric to make two more handles.

Oh yes, I wanted to do a giveaway to mark my four years of blogging and I just want you to know I haven't forgotten. I've already decided what to give away but we have to wait for the stars to be aligned. So be patient and wait for it. It will be sometime this year. Meanwhile, thank you for reading and big thanks to my commenters. If you wish to receive a reply from me, please note that you need to link your email to your blogger account. Otherwise I will see a "no-reply". See ya.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm a happy stamper

Friends, readers, total strangers,

A confession. I thought I knew a little about stamping as I had read up a tiny bit on it. I had drooled over stamps and stamping and ink and thought all I needed was the desire to learn.

As I found out at yesterday's rubber stamping workshop at The Little Happyshop, you need to be steady with your hands. Let me just say this first. I enjoyed the workshop a lot. It might not show on my face but I did.

Who is this homeless looking guy? (Just kidding, Joe) He's the rubber stamp guru - Mr Joe Chiang of Monster Gallery. Yep, this is the man. Honestly, I took a bad pic of him. I blame it on the light.

Here's a better shot of Joe. (I pinched the pic from his facebook.)

There were five ladies in the class. It was held at The Little Happyshop and it looked like a happy shop. I kinda felt happy when in the shop so it's a good name. Very good fengshui!

These are the essentials for the class - rubber, scraper, sharp pen cutter, tracing paper and dark pencil.

The easy part is transferring the image to the rubber. A reverse image is transferred. Must remember this. I had to do this twice because the first time my outline was too thin. So I got left behind! I'm the slowest "kid" in class. At some point during the lesson, I heard Joe saying "Let's wait for Jane!" hehehehe

Cutting the outline is the hard part. If you're a stamper you'll know about the valley you have to carve out. I'm quite clumsy and was a little nervous about hurting myself. At home when I cook, it's common to hear me yell out in pain. In fact, my kids are so used to it they won't come running unless I cry out "Help."

Where was I? Ah yes, the valleys. They are harder to cut then expected. So I cut and I cut and at the end, my result is quite crude. My lines are jagged when they should be smooth. Also, I did not taper the waste enough so the stamping gets additional lines. But I got the idea. I'm the sort who gets better with practice.

When I reached home, I worked on the stamp a little bit more and it looks a little better.

This morning I had a few minutes to spare and decided to work on a new stamp. I made a tulip because I like using tulips in my embellishment. It looks like a crown. I'm not even sure I've seen a real tulip. Well, a tulip is pretty easy to carve but I managed to not get the precise outline again. Much more practice is required. Once I get additional rubber, I'm carving every day.

Ah, a peek at my inspiration notebook. Meet Teddy, my new bear. I named it after a dog. I have limited ink colours . I would love turquoise, teal, red and hot pink. I settled for this dunnowhatkindofblue blue. The pink was too light.

I combined the stamped tulips with some embroidery. I'm soaking it to see if the colour fades. If it doesn't, it'll become a coin pouch. What do you guys think?

Friday, October 14, 2011

This is how I draw and sew a bag dart

Today I'm going to show you an easy and primitive way to draw a bag dart. First of all, you must understand the purpose of a bag dart. It is to create volume so the bag won't look flat.

Two things to consider:
- size of dart
- position of dart

The size of your bag dart needs to be relative to the size of your bag. How pointy or long you want it is best decided by using a paper pattern and pinning it till you get what you want.

The position of your bag dart is best where the side seam meets the bottom.

Here's a demo on 2 of my bag patterns:

How To Draw A Bag Dart

Crescent bag pattern

All you need is a paper pattern, compass and a ruler. For this pattern, I want a dart with a width of 1" and the sides are 2" each. Note: The 2 sloping sides are always equal.

First, using the compass, mark 1" on the curved line where you want your dart to be.

Measure 2" with the compass and from one point of the dart width, draw an arc.

Use the compass to draw another arc from other point of the dart width. The 2 arcs must meet. From this meeting point, draw your sloping lines to each point of the dart width to form a triangle-ish shape.

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Recessed Zipper Shoulder Bag Pattern

I pulled this pattern from my recessed zipper shoulder bag tute. I wrote this tute in 2009 - blast from the past!

Because the side and bottom are not a continuous curved line, the width is marked differently. From the lowest point of the pattern on the right, mark 1.5" - one on the bottom and one on the side. From these, mark 1.75" arc. Where the arcs meet, draw 2 lines to each point of the dart width.

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How To Sew A Bag Dart

There are 2 ways which I have used to sew bag darts.

Cut Out Method

For this method, I cut the dart out of the pattern. Important to note that for this method, the size of the dart is minus the seam allowance.

To sew the dart, right side together, match the sloping sides of the dart. Sew dart starting from the widest part. Backstitch at both ends. I usually use a 0.25" seam allowance.

Old School Method

This is the method I usually use. Important to note that for this method, the size of the dart includes the seam allowance because you are sewing on the dart lines.

The dart lines are transferred to the fabric. I use a dressmaker's coloured pencil to mark the lines. Right side together, match the dart lines. Use a pin to match the lines. Sew on the dart lines starting from the widest part. Backstitch at both ends.

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- If you find your dart points are bulky after sewing, you can omit the backstitch at the pointy end and knot the thread manually.

- To reduce bulk for matching darts, iron darts seam in opposite directions.

I hope this is helpful to you. Leave a comment if you have any questions.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tale of one mole

So, today was the day. Me hubs got a little nervous.

Goodbye mole. Me hubs regretted not plucking the mole hair.

The waiting area is nice with running water and fish to calm the nerves. Don't want any patients to flee!

I don't think the clinic is prepared for Big Foot. (I got to wear the plastic bags over my sandals too!)

In the studio for a Before photo. The photographer didn't say "smile".

The doc is just giving jabs to numb the skin. Me hubs acted like a baby and asked to be put to sleep. The doc declined

We had to wait a short while before the doc start CUTTING the mole out. I think me hubs is stoned. (on imaginary drugs)

I didn't get to witness the actual surgery. It was over very quickly. The bandage gave me a fright though. Can you imagine how scary he would look if he had removed all 3 moles at once?

We got to bring home the excised mole. The hair is still intact. I knew the kids would be grossed out. Couldn't wait to show them! It'll be one week before the stitches come off and we can see what the scar looks like.

Exciting day for me. Now, you all remember why you came to my blog in the first place? Yes, my bags. I have one to show you.

It's another of my one-ring wonder bag. But look at the gorgeous blue. Another cotton canvas from kiyohara.

It's the bottom shot again! I'm getting just a tiny bit tired of making bottoms this way.

It's a recessed zipper bag. If you're wondering what the bit of red in the lining is, it's the pocket. See you guys real soon.

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