Thursday, September 20, 2012

You Is Right


I've squandered 20 days in September. It almost feels like I'm not serious about producing stock for my Christmas craft market. It's not that I've not made anything. I have. But just little items here and there, all in various stages of completion. Not a staggering amount. In fact I'm quite ashamed of how little work I have done. I've not yet drawn up a master plan of how many of what to make. I just know I want to hit the number 74 just so I could reach my goal of 1000 Projects Before I Die.

And before any of you ask again, I AM NOT DYING. It's a goal I set out for myself a while ago and back then, I did not know I could sew so many items. If I had known, I would have set a higher goal like 10,000. Now that's unreachable I'm sure.

Once I reach 1,000, I will not keep count anymore. I used to want to keep on counting but now I don't really care to.  Hope hubs isn't disappointed. It's really getting to be a chore - this counting.

The weather in Singapore is getting humid and smoggy again. A horrid combination. We're just done with the month long Hungry Ghosts Festival. So now I can breathe again. I kept getting told it's the last day of the festival and then it turned out to be untrue. I really should get a Chinese calendar.

So I was basically in this no-hurry mode and yesterday bam! It hit me. I panicked. I peeked inside my stock closet and was alarmed there were so few items. Yes, I knew I didn't have that many. Still I had to see with my own eyes. I tried fainting but it didn't work. I tried pretending I had plenty of time. It didn't work. Finally, overcome with anxiety, I started sewing. That's the one thing I can count on. Panic often results in some small creativity in me.

I decided I wanted to make a few lunchtime bags. Yes, yes. I know I already have lunchtime pouches. These are bags. With zips. And handles.

I'm going to call this version 1. It's not too big and not too small. But I think I need to make another version because many women carry large wallets. Like me.

I decided to add a zipper because most women feel comfortable if bags have zips.

Originally, on paper, I wanted the bottom to be rectangular. But while sewing I changed my mind and decided the bottom would mimic the top. The hardest part of sewing this little bag? Top stitching around the top.

Today I started working on other zip pouches so my sewing mojo is back. I'll show you the others another time.

* * *

From next week I'll be joining an exercise group in my neighbourhood. I had failed to find a Pilates class close to home and decided that the next closest thing to Pilates is Tai chi. A few days ago, the instructor called me to confirm the class. It will be outdoors and the instructor is a Chinese helicopter. Yes, I'm as terrified as hubs is. This Tai chi guru can't speak a word of English. How on earth will I cope? My fluency in Chinese is not exactly zero but ordering food in Chinese is different from getting instructions to go left, go right, hold the pose. Speaking of left and right, to those fluent in Chinese, it's a piece of cake to. But for a long time I couldn't for the life of me remember which is which.

Left is zuo.
Right is you. (yes, as in you, you, you, go stand in the corner)
Many years ago, I was working in this company and one day I was delighted to discover a kindred soul. This guy, let's call him Charles (his real name) was pretty bad in Chinese too and he was sent by his folks to study in Canada, possibly to escape learning Chinese. Anyway, I told him how I could never remember left and right in Chinese. He told me he had the same problem and gave me this little trick which worked. He said the trick was to imagine pointing your finger at someone and say "YOU". Since I'm right handed, I would point with my right hand. So YOU IS RIGHT.  And ZUO would then be LEFT.

Let me just say this trick worked its magic. Each time I need to tell a taxi driver the directions, I would find myself pointing my finger,  and say YOU. If it's left, I want, I would lower my finger and say ZUO. I know, what an insane way to learn Chinese. Incidentally, Charles is left-handed. So he had to think the OPPOSITE. Just imagine his left hand pointing and saying YOU.... and then his brain tells him it's the opposite.

Anyways, when I'm doing the Tai Chi, I hope I won't find myself pointing my finger going YOU! I wonder if my instructor is worried. The other day he asked me if I am a YANG something something. I had no idea what he was talking about. So I told him my age because YANG has the same sound as YOUNG. He roared with laughter. I think he knows he's getting a clown.

And just so you know, I tried very hard to be fluent in Chinese. I spent more time on Chinese than on any other subjects in school. (which was silly) All my Chinese teachers did nothing to help me. They expected me to just naturally know the language. They told me I was lazy. And I wasn't. When I became an adult, many people I worked with helped me learn the language better, often giving up part of their lunch time. Despite all my efforts, it was always a struggle. Now I'm pretty sure I'm dyslexic in Chinese. Otherwise, it just doesn't make sense. Because I tried so freaking hard.

1 out of 74 bags completed.


Carol & Eddy said...

Your post made me laugh :-) are you sure 'Charles' is not my husband, Eddy? Cos that's exactly how he 'mastered' left n right in Chinese, too! HarHar. My 4 1/2 speaks better Chinese than I do :-( I just can't seem to get the intonation right.

Amys Crafty Shenanigans said...

Awesome post - I love a bag with a zip :) Cool fabric too!! Good luck with the Tai Chi.

Linda said...

When I started reading your post, I immediately looked up at the date at the top of the post. When I saw September 20, I thought you had somehow changed the date to read later than it really is. Then it dawned on me that it really is SEPTEMBER 20 and not August 20! Where did August go? I have no idea!!! Yikes!
I learned some Chinese from your post today. I can't wait to use it in front of all my Mexican friends. (I live in an area that is at least 70% Mexican American. I can't speak fluent Spanish either!)
Love your bag!

Laurie-Jane said...

I know what you mean about the air in Singapore I spent four days there last week and wheezed the whole time. So much incense and smoke and where was the blue sky? Had a wonderful time and absolutely loved the new gardens.

Connie Mitan said...

I think this month has been tough on a lot of us. I know my time has been wasted (craft-wise) over the past few months, and just when I found the motivation to get back to work, the hills near our home caught on fire and our Valley has been filled with smoke for the last 2 weeks, and it won't get better for at least another week.

As a side note, I thought I would let you know, I'm sharing the blogging love by nominating your blog for the One Lovely Blog Award - come see:

Fiona said...

Taichi is quite fun! I've done it for some time and I do not know if its coinidence or what, I did not fall sick at all during the period I was learning Tai Chi. And yes, you can perspire doing Tai Chi despite it not looking vigorious at all. Have fun!

opportunityknits said...

I have the same problem with left and right in chinese when giving directions to taxi drivers. Your method (or is Charles' method?) is perfect for me! I will remember clearly from now on, easy peasy. Thanks, Jane! :) Love reading your blog!

Little Blue Mouse said...

Ha ha, loved this post! I'm behind with my blog reading so you've probably already updated on how you got on with the Tai Chi, I hope it went well.

I love the fabric you've used for the lunchtime bag.

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