Thursday, February 28, 2013

Something Blue


I'm still alive. And yes, I'm still addicted to the candy smashing game. It's not so bad now. I have better self-control. I've reached level 62. (the chocolates scare me)

Enough about this silly game. Sorry if I got a few of you hooked to the addiction. Apart from smashing candies, I've been busy with mostly technical work. It's gruelling work and very glamorous. It's also very time-consuming. I lose track of time a lot. Sometimes you could hear me calling out to the kids:

Is it midnight?

I don't think I've mentioned anything about craft markets this year. You know what? Seems like craft markets are booming this year. At least in Singapore. I've been receiving notice of this and that craft market almost every week. Unfortunately, I'm not signing up for any of them. Yet.

Firstly, I'm quite tired of making stock. Last Christmas took a lot of joy out of sewing for me. This year I want to make fewer of the same designs. I mean, those days of making 10 of this and that is over for me. I cannot do it again.

Secondly, I am committed to selling at VivoCity. I've been selling at VivoCity since October 2011. In January this year, the organiser of VivoCity craft market announced major changes to the way we sellers are charged. Previously we paid a rental fee plus a sale commission on the total sales. The change means that now we only pay a rental fee and zero sale commission. The rental is of course much higher and you pay more for the booths with better locations. Which verifies what I have always suspected - I had been getting the suckiest locations previously because they are priced the cheapest now. With this new arrangement, you really need to think hard if you are able to sell enough to cover the new higher rental.

What I don't like about the new arrangement is I have to sell more frequently than I want to. As I produce everything myself, it is a herculean task to keep up my stock. Plus, it's very little profit. Anyhoo, I thought long and hard about it and decided I would stick to VivoCity for another year. Tentatively, I will be selling from May to July. I say tentatively because it seems the schedule is not out so I'm on tenterhooks.

I have not started making bags for sale. But I will sew like a mad woman in April.

Today I have something blue to show you.

I started work on this design in November last year and I sold a few during Christmas. I managed to get some useful feedback from browsers and customers as well. I made this polka dot version yesterday and my girl said she liked it. That means it's not old-fashioned.

Oh, remind me never to spring clean again. I've had such a hard time locating my sewing supplies. My fabric is now in the storeroom and every time I want to find a particular fabric, I spend hours hunting for it.

But look what I found while searching for a beige polka dot fabric. This running stitch embroidered flying horse with beads and sequins! I must have sewn it years and years ago. The perl embroidery thread - I'm so over it. It's definitely turning into a zip pouch once I locate the zippers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I want candy


I want to tell you about the new game EVIL that has me gripped tightly around its pretty little fist.

I play it on Facebook and guys, if you've never played this game before, it's not too late. Don't play it. It's very enjoyable addictive.

Have you played Tetris or Bejeweled before? Candy Crush Saga uses the same concept. The objective is to burst the candies. You do it by matching 3 or more same coloured candies. You get special candies if you match 4/5 candies. These special candies will do wonderful stuff for you if you match them. KABOOSH! WANG! BING! BANG! Um, I mean, gruesome stuff happens.

There are hundreds of levels in this game. It's horrible.

Oh, I play it with the sound on as long as no one objects. Since I play at home, I'm pretty safe. When you do good, a man with a deep voice will say SWEET, TASTY, DIVINE or DELICIOUS. It's hilarious. No, I mean, it's horrible, horrible.

The genius in Candy Crush Saga lies in the limited lives given to you. You get 5 lives. (you get more if you pay real money) Each time you don't clear a challenge/level, you lose a life. Once you lose all your lives, you can't play any more. You have to wait out the time needed (1/2 hour) to get each of the 5 lives back. Of course you could ask your friends to grant you a life. heehee.

When you first play the game, there is a lot of hand holding and it's pretty easy. And you clear levels after levels easily. And you think to yourself: Wah, I'm so good ah! Then it starts to get not so easy. And that's when you start getting hooked because you want to clear the level. The dem level. Sometimes you get stuck for days and days. The game has an element of luck, choice and wtf! The difficult levels are in my opinion from level 20. I am at level 38. I really should quit cold turkey because all my sewing time has been um... invested in this evil game.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I heart u

Hello friends,

"I feel it in my fingers
I feel it in my toes
Love is all around me
And so the feeling grows"

Today is the day of love. Let's celebrate. Muah, muah, muah to everyone. I know some of you may be anti-valentine's day but I'm gonna wish you anyways.


♥ ♥ ♥

Yesterday me and hubs went out on a date - food, shopping, movie and more food. The whole shebang. Yes, let's call it our Valentine's Day date but really it wasn't. I saw two different women, both holding bouquets of flowers. The first woman was with her date and I was thinking. Are the women supposed to hold on to the bouquet of flowers throughout the date? How annoying. Good thing I did not receive any flowers. (cough, cough) Speaking of flowers, I received nothing from hubs today. He set down a decree. Today. That there will be no gifts for Valentine's Day or Christmas. I'm really okay with it because I got him nothing as well.

You know, in my younger days I did feel a little jealous when I see women receiving flowers and gifts on Valentine's Day. I remember this particular year. I was still in my 20's and I was working for this organization where Valentine's Day was a big deal. Throughout the day flowers, gifts would appear on someone's table and there would be squeals of delight. I received nothing. I knew a close colleague who received a gift (a box of chocolates) from a secret admirer. Wow! How romantic. I was so excited for her but she was really more fearful it was from someone she did not like. We were expecting the secret admirer to somehow come clean by the end of the day but no guy came forward. Very disappointing. Later, we discovered the secret admirer was a woman. Hmmm....On my part, I was starting to FEAR I might get a gift from a secret admirer as well. It didn't happen. That evening as I took the train home, watching other women with their bouquets of flowers really hurt me. I never felt so unloved. Which is why I really hated Valentine's Day in the past. I didn't like to feel unloved.

I did a little crafting today. In honour of love, I made a heart pincushion. Having tided my sewing area so well, it took me a long time to find everything I needed.

I had these little bits of remnants for a long time, since 2009. This fabric is quite special to me because it's a fabric I would never buy now mainly because it's too thin for bags. In my earlier days, I would buy any fabric if I liked the print. I never thought about the weight of the fabric or if it's made of cotton.

I sewed some simple embroidery. It wasn't really necessary. The fabric sells itself. The pieces of fabric were pieced together randomly in crazy quilting style.

I sneaked in a "I ♥ u".

What? You thought I was gonna use it as a pincushion? It's too pretty to stick needles in!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Year of the Snake


Today is the first day of the Year of the Snake.

I would like to wish everyone a fantastic Year of the Snake. May you have joy, good health and prosperity. If you are a seller, I wish you heaps of sales. Yes, heaps and heaps of sales.

I woke up early this morning (because I checked my phone and saw I had an Etsy sale and HAD to get up but yay for the sale) and smelled the air. Yep, there was no mistaking the smokiness from the mass burning of incense paper the night before. It's just about right. The Year of the Snake smells no different from the Year of the Dragon.

Yesterday was the last day of the Year of the Dragon and we Chinese traditionally gather somewhere to have a reunion dinner. For us, it's at my MIL's.

The dragon sure isn't giving way to the snake easy. The last 3 days has been nothing but rainy with floods in a few unfortunate low-lying areas.  In the photo above, we're leaving for my MIL's and this was after waiting for 2 hours for the rain to let up. I don't know why my iPhone doesn't capture the rain well but it was pretty heavy.

For our reunion dinner we had the usual fried food - fried mid-joints and prawn fritters. There were many dishes prepared but I usually just eat these two.

Of course we had the obligatory lo hei. (tossing of salad for good fortune). Above is the before image.

Here's the tossing. The higher the better. Anyway, I didn't have the heart to show you the after image of the salad. Just imagine what the salad would look like say, after a horse had run through it - a few times.

We also played mahjong - for real money. My kids have never gambled with money before. Before we have only played for points. Me and my girl lost to SIL(the big winner) and son.

This year we were really good with observing of traditions.

We remembered to put the pomelo and mini oranges (what are they called?) on the dining table. It's a symbol of good fortune.

I did not clean my home today in order not to sweep away the good fortunes. In fact, just to be sure we keep the good fortunes in, I'm going to refrain from cleaning for a whole week.

I did good on the Mandarin oranges - queued up for them and most importantly remembered to bring them when we went visiting today.

We gave red packets to everyone we were obligated to give.

We visited three homes.

For once I wore something reddish. I wore old sandals because I don't like to limp when I go visiting.

Hubs found the opportunity to wear his hideous snake t-shirt.

He loved it that I screamed in fright when he first put it on.

Today at my mother's, we had a 2nd lo hei. It got me wondering. How many lo hei's can one have. Would one lo hei cancel out another lo hei?

My great/grand niece - isn't she cute? She knows how to use chopsticks!

That's right little girl. Show the older ones how it's done.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The dragon is leaving

Hello friends,

This might interest you. If you're Chinese, dig Chinese culture, has eaten Chinese food or watched a Chinese movie, you'll be happy to know the Year of the Snake is coming. Real soon. This also means the Year of the Dragon is ending.

I might as well come right out and tell you me and hubs almost got the dates for Chinese New Year wrong. It was last weekend and I asked hubs when's Chinese New Year. He said it's in 2 weeks' time. I said are you sure? He said sure. Yes, I know I could easily look at the calendar but I am a lazy person.

Then my mother called and guess what? Chinese New Year is THIS Sunday. My mother routinely calls me to remind me I have not telephoned her. This is how she usually starts the conversation:

I lie (die) you lunno(dunno).

She can't say d to save her life.

I would remind her that SHE did not call me either. hahahaha. This is our little dance. She sees it as her duty to telephone me to remind me of all the important dates for the year like Chinese New Year, major prayer days (so I'll close the windows) and her birthday.

Son drew a snake for me. I rejected the first one because it's too scary. This one smokes.

Anyhoos, since I had been sleeping (a lot) this week no thanks to fighting a dizzying migraine, I'm left with just today and tomorrow to prepare for Chinese New Year.

Here's my list if you care to read:

♥ My spring cleaning has pretty much come to an end - meaning I decided to stop cleaning.

♥ Changing of bedsheets and curtains - that's hub's job.

♥ Put out recycling on Friday. And if the recycling guy doesn't come and pick them up again, I'm throwing them into the rubbish bin. Recycling cannot be this hard.

♥ Buy 8 mandarin oranges. This is going to be the hardest task. Buy one crate of mandarin oranges? No problem. Buy 8? I'll have to brave the supermarket queue.

♥ Buy ingredients to make cookies and queen cakes. This is a last minute decision and I'll probably not be able to get all I need.

♥ Stuff red packets with money. Everyone's getting old notes this year.

♥ Buy toto. It's a $5 million dollar prize. Every year the lottery company makes the people part with their hard earned money for a stab at winning $5 million. Most end up losers.

I was born in the Year of the Dragon and there's this belief that your animal year is a special year. But I want to say this last year hasn't been great for me. So many ailments and I can honestly say I wasn't very happy. So I look forward to the Year of the Snake and hopefully it will be good. Oh, my mother was born in the Year of the Snake. And one of my sisters might be a snake too. Hopefully it be a great year for them. See you soon.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What I learnt about bead stitching

Dear friends,

I'm aware it's February already. I promised myself I would start sewing in Feb but I did not. I spent the first day of Feb beading away. But sadly I'm putting down my beads. It's not goodbye. It's just back to reality. You know - sewing bags and writing patterns.

I've had a really great January. Did not have a single dull moment.

Although my experience with beading is not much, I've realised I already have my preferences and hatreds.

Seed beads
Singapore is a beading heaven. There are so many beads supply shops that one is spoilt for choice. Before I started to understand my own preferences, I would simply buy just any kind of seed beads. But after struggling with imperfect and odd sizes of seed beads, I realise that I really don't want the aggravation of culling the odd sizes. It's fine to use any kind of seed beads when you only use a few pieces. But when the entire design consists of seed beads, you want it smooth sailing.

I've discovered that Miyuki seed beads are the most uniform in size. However, I have problems buying them in Singapore. Other than this one shop, I can't seem to find them anywhere else. And yep, you guessed it. They're horribly expensive. I have used another brand Toho which is much cheaper and I am able to buy them at one particular shop in Chinatown. However, the colours are really limited. When it comes to colours of seed beads, I'm very drawn to matte colours. And Miyuki beats Toho hands down. Toho beads are very light and I would say as uniform as Miyuki beads. I've discovered another Japanese brand called Matsuno beads. I haven't tried using them yet but I got the feeling they're not as good. It's just based on sight and feel so I could be wrong. They're cheaper than Toho beads so I won't be unhappy if they turn out to be great.

I've also discovered that not all Japanese seed beads are equal. At Golden Dragon shop in Singapore, the crew recommended some Japanese seed beads. I've tried them but the beads are all unevenly sized.


Delicas are cylindrical beads while seed beads are rounded. Miyuki seems to be the dominant player in delica market. In fact, you could get Miyuki delicas in several beads shop in Singapore. At Golden Dragon, these delicas are kept in a showcase and you need the crew to take them out to show you. I really wonder why the shop chooses to keep the delicas in the showcase. I mean how do you see the colours? And Golden Dragon has pretty surly crew! So far I've only used Miyuki delicas and they're so perfect. I will try Toho delicas one day just to compare. I'm pretty certain Toho delicas are cheaper. On my wish list? Larger delicas. They're really hard on the eyes.


I've used nylon and polyethylene thread. For the nylons, I've tried Nymo and Meister. I dislike both. For nylon threads, you need to stretch and condition them by pulling them against beeswax. Other than the horrid smell of beeswax which I cannot stand, the nylon thread tends to tear and fray easily. The pros? They come in many colours.

For polyethylene thread, I love Fireline because they're so strong. I have the 4pound, 6pound and 8pound with 4pound being the finest I can find. They only come in 2 colours - crystal and smoke. I think I can live with that. Cons? They're really hard to cut. You need a dedicated scissors or a nipper.


Spiral Rope

I really love this technique of making jewellery because it's so easy and I love the spiral look. Certainly I should stop making spiral rope necklaces and bracelets. Anyway I made two more and yes, they will be the last ones for a long while.

These are the seed beads combo I used. I used Toho seed beads. I can't take credit for this combo. I would never use orange colour but I saw this combo on this tute and really liked it. Since I already have the turquoise and the cream, I decided to go to the bead shop to get a small pack of orange seed beads. These are size 15 which means they're very, very small. (the bigger the number, the smaller the beads)

I really love how the necklace and bracelet turned out but I think the necklace doesn't suit my skin tone.

Flat Herringbone Stitch

This green/blue bracelet is done in flat herringbone stitch. This is a stitch I'm unfamiliar with and I wanted to make a practice bracelet using this stitch. I used Japanese seed beads in the biggest size I could find. The beads turned out to be very uneven in size and I'll say it if you won't. The bracelet is hideous. Well, I got to practice the stitch. I think for future flat herringbone bracelets, it would be wiser to use a cylindrical bead instead of a rounded seed bead. The nature of the stitch makes it easier for the beads to sit together if they're not rounded. Oh, would be nice if the beads are of uniform size! These Japanese beads came from Golden Dragon and I would be happy never to buy them again.

I learnt this flat herringbone stitch entirely by watching these youtube videos:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Even Count Flat Peyote Stitch

This bracelet is done using Miyuki delicas in even count peyote stitch.  Peyote stitch is really good for making pretty patterns especially if you use delicas. Since the delicas are cylindrical, they all stack up nicely to give you a canvas to "paint on".

I realise I really don't care for flat bracelets. There is another stitch called odd count flat peyote stitch and I decided I don't need to practice it because it's quite similar to even count flat peyote stitch. Odd count flat peyote stitch is even better if you want a nice symmetrical design "painted" on the "canvas".

Tubular Peyote Stitch

I have learnt tubular peyote stitch before when I attended a beading class.

Remember this needle case I made? The body is made using tubular peyote stitch and the cover is made using circular peyote stitch. I used Miyuki delicas. This needle case is not easy to make for a beginner but for someone more experienced, I think it's not so hard. The difficulty lies in getting the right colour bead in the right position for the designs. Of course the more intricate your design, the harder it is on your eyes!

Anyway, I decided to start on a tubular peyote stitch bracelet. To make this, I let the seeds straddle a knitting needle. It just makes it easier to hold. I used size 10 Miyuki seed beads. This video explains tubular peyote stitch pretty well. I'm unable to complete this bracelet but I didn't intend to. I've put this in a WIP case and I'll work on it whenever I'm sick of sewing.

A lot of beading work is repetitive and it's usually the first few foundation rows which are difficult. So that's my plan - to have a few WIP beading projects and work on them when I can steal away. I promise not to cheat!

There are so many more stitches to learn in beading. Unfortunately, I need to be serious about sewing again. It's really been fun discovering stitches and my own preferences. I think I could make a really good beader if I had started at least a decade ago. However, I'm getting older and my failing eyesight is the one and only thing standing between me and my beading. Well, that and my sewing. I can't believe I wrote that!
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