Friday, November 29, 2013

Would you rather?

One time not long ago, the four of us were on our way home by train and it was maybe just 5 or 6 stops but it was a depressing kind of day and to kill time, we played the game would you rather. I think you know how this game works and it's bound to get a lot of giggles.

One of the questions asked was:
Would you rather be rich but unhappy or poor but happy.

We all chose rich and unhappy except hubs who preferred to be poor.

Anyway it lifted our mood and one of the questions I asked was:
Would you rather be hairy with a pretty face or smooth skinned with a butt ugly face?

Okay, no offence to all my hairy readers but I chose butt ugly face. I simply can't face being hairy. Yes, I know you can shave and all. Still, butt ugly face it is.

So, would you rather be hairy with a pretty face or smooth skinned with a butt ugly face?

Today I made one bag. It's very likely to be my last crossbody curvy bag. It's about time I move on to smaller items. November's almost over. Demmit!

I used sashiko thread for the blanket stitch. I prefer straight stitch (for the look) but blanket stitch is more secure. Holds the rabbit better.

Beige and white canvas polka dot for the lining. Feels good doesn't it? Just looking at the polka dots. See you.

My Xmas 2013 catalog has been updated. HERE.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Cycling and Walking Day

Yesterday we went cycling. Yes, all four of us. Outdoors. Under the hot sun. Willingly. No gun to our heads.

I've never seen hubs ride a bike before and it turned out he can. I myself have not been on a bike for decades. My 2 kids had learnt to ride bikes from my SIL. We travelled by train to a station in the east and somewhere near the station we could rent bicycles. It was hub's idea to cycle from that location all the way to the east coast.

Except you can't cycle all the way to the east coast. At one point, we had to cross this overhead bridge which spanned across the highway. It was very long and scary. Hubs and son just went ahead. At one point I saw hubs turn back to give me a "you're on your own" look. So I had no choice but to cross the bridge. Going up was scarier. So I hunched my body and that helped a lot. But once I was on the highest point, walking across wasn't so bad. I haven't had a chance to see if my height phobia is back but I think I'm getting better. Of course don't expect me to go bungee jumping.

We pretty much just did one thing. Cycled all the way to the end of the path. I was last. I was always last. It was quite exhausting cycling. Every part of me hurt. Especially my buttocks. (still does) At the end of the path (and it was after cycling for a very long time), everyone turned back. Somehow I got separated from the rest and got lost. A search party of one was sent. Hubs came to my rescue.

After returning our bikes to a kiosk, we went in search of public transport. We saw a underpass and after consulting a cyclist who told us we could reach a road where we could get a taxi and it's only like 1.8km away. I don't know what we were thinking. But 1.8km sounded so doable to us we just took his advice.

On our left was the highway. On the right, it looked like an army camp. We had no other way but this little path which went on and on and on, further east. Finally, we gave up. 1.8km was ridiculously far. We decided to turn back.

Going back where we came!

But my girl was exhausted. We had to drag her along. My son is really fit. He never once complained. We kept walking and walking. Then it started raining. There was lightning and stuff but the rain never got bad.

Finally, we came to an area where we could possibly take a taxi. Hubs saw an available taxi and sprinted forward as it was quite far away. And he nearly got hit by a cyclist. The taxi didn't see us so we kept walking. Then another taxi came and this one saw us. Woo hoo! We got into the taxi and headed home. After a short while there was a thunderstorm and we were so glad not to be out in the rain.

But our taxi got caught in a massive traffic jam and it took us a very long time to reach home. In fact it took us $40 to reach home. Despite everything, I enjoyed myself. Once my buttocks stop aching, I'll make hubs take us there again. Next time we'll be smarter, I hope.

Although I was so tired, I made another bag before I went to sleep. I felt a little guilty having not made anything since Monday. I used the Anna Griffin fabric which one of my readers had suggested using as an outer fabric. I think this bag looks really nice but for some reason, it doesn't look as good in the photos. I showed it to hubs and he said WOW. And he rarely says WOW for anything I make.

My Xmas 2013 catalog has been updated. HERE.

Monday, November 25, 2013

I See Red

If you think I'm an extreme person you're right. There I was working with nothing but black and white polka dots followed by blue and white polka dots and now at the other end, I choose to go with a fabric that has at least 7 colours on the print. Yes sir, I went back to my other love - Ikea fabric. If hubs would let me, I would decorate my entire flat in Ikea items. Nope, he wouldn't let me.

Making these curvy crossbody bags take time. You just can't rush it especially when you work with zippers. In case you don't already know, zippers are known not to cooperate. You have to make them. I always use continuous zippers for my curvy bags. You buy them by the yard/metre and you have to buy the zipper sliders separately and if you don't know how to insert the sliders, you can get the sales staff to do it for you. Which I never do because I like to insert the sliders only when I absolutely have to.

Just in case you are running to the store to buy continuous zippers, please remember they aren't for everyone. The ones I use are wide and have GIANT teeth. I've seen others which are not as wide with regular teeth. But I prefer the wider ones. The GIANT teeth are really hard to sew through. So be prepared. I use jeans needle to do it. I think size 100/16 will do the job as well. But don't you hate the sound of the needle going through the teeth? Grrr.

The supply store I go to only stocks continuous zippers in red, beige, black and white. If you want other colours, you will have to order but you need to buy the minimum the factory asks for which is a lot and totally not worth the money because it'll take you decades to use them up. So I stick to red, beige, black and white.

Today I thought I'll show you some glimpses behind the scene.

See how many pins I need to hold down the zipper? Did I mention how uncooperative zippers are? Even continuous zippers.

Ah, the slider is in. I repeat. The slider is in.

And why can't the store sell red sliders?

Oh hubs said the RED is a bit much. A bit much? I say go red or go home. Okay, okay. I have bought a lot of red strap. Have to use it somehow.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nursery Rhyme Curvy Crossbody Bag

What drew me instantly to this fabric I used for my latest bag? The nursery rhymes. Despite being an adult and all, I find it impossible to walk past anything related to nursery rhymes. Like once I walked past a shop that had a pair of humpty dumpties sitting on the wall and I immediately went in to ask for the price. It was $25 EACH so I had to not buy them. It was heart breaking...

My love affair with nursery rhymes started when I was 7 and I entered primary school. I had skipped pre-school because my mother has so many kids that she only let my youngest brother attend kindergarten. When I was 7 I had no idea that most of the kids in my class had already had some form of education. I didn't even know I could have gone to kindergarten. So all in all a good thing because being ignorant helped a lot in those days.

Soon enough my form teacher (I had one teacher who taught everything and one teacher who taught Chinese) discovered I was not mute. Just that I had never been educated. I spoke no English. I mean zero. At home in those days we spoke our Chinese dialect which has no written words. But Miss Read was a patient little woman. Looking at her class - a mishmash of kids who knew the entire alphabet and kids like me who stared blankly at everything she said, she decided the best way to teach was via nursery rhymes.

Now I know some teachers teach English using methods like flash cards or A is apple, B is for boy. But based on my experience nursery rhymes really worked for me. Every day, Miss Read would use a giant poster with gorgeous illustrations of a nursery rhyme and pointing to the words, she would sing out the rhyme and our job was to mimic her.

I thoroughly enjoyed her class. We sang, we made ridiculous actions, we laughed. After a while, the written words started to make sense. In those days we did not have to learn to write until the second half of the year. First we wrote on a mini chalkboard. Later we wrote with pencils on a single lined exercise book. Even writing was fun because we got to write out the nursery rhymes.

Certainly we had reader text books to learn from but they were really basic. I even remember the first book. The first page said "A house." The second page said "This is a house." And that was chapter one.

So thank goodness we had nursery rhymes and really that was how I learned English. Every day we would shout or sing every single nursery rhyme we knew. By the time I got to learn to write, I already knew enough words to read every single book in the class library. It was not a very big library.

This is one side of the bag - Mary had a little lamb. I remember we loved to bleat like lambs when we sang this rhyme. Primary One was the best year of my school life.

I remember for Ring Around the Rosy/Rosie (or Ring a Ring o'Roses) we would do the ring and dance around and then fall down on the ground. But Miss Read never told us the kids (in the rhyme) died from the illness so we always, always laughed very hard when we fell to the ground. I guess she did the right thing. 

It's Sunday here and originally I planned to go cycling with the kids. (I haven't cycled in decades) But hubs went to climb stairs (vertical marathon) and take a selfie of (with) the sexiest Singapore man alive and my girl stayed up last night to catch Dr Who plus it looks like rain. So it's going to be a stay home Sunday. Oh, my mother said it's perfectly alright if I don't do any housework since I'm busy sewing. So I'm letting the mess carry on.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chasing the stripes

So you guys thought I was on a sewing roll eh? Bag after bag. Pouch after pouch. Snap, snap, snap. 
Some of you guys knew I was going to snap. Soon. Like now.

I've never smoked pot and never will. It's also illegal to do so in Singapore. But I'm pretty sure I was kinda high (probably from inhaling all that lint) when I made the one and only pouch yesterday. Yep, the roll is so over.

So there I was cutting and sewing and staring at the fabric and then I suddenly had this obsessive need to match every single stripe. And some of you know how hard that is.

Especially when the "buttocks" of the pouch is curvy. This pouch is working those curves.

I even lay down to make sure the stripes at the bottom matched.

I tried to get the stripes on the strap to match up too. But you know it's impossible to get them all perfect. I think I came quite close.

Ahhhh, my favourite pairing - beige with red and white stripes.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sew Jane Sew

Has this ever happened to you before? You have to be somewhere for something really important like a life changing exams and you have just the right amount of time to reach your school in time except everything depends on the train driver getting you to your train station at the normal speed he is supposed to go. Except just 5 minutes away from your train station, you suddenly feel the train slowing down. And you go: whatthehell whatthehell? Come on man. Go faster, you stupid train. And that's all you can do because there's nothing else you can do. It's beyond your control. And you know you're screwed because you'll be late for your life changing exams.

Well, right now I'm doing all I can to make sure I have everything under control. Because you know how I am when I prepare for a craft market. I procrastinate. I don't sew when I'm supposed to sew. I mean I had a lot of time to prepare for this market. A lot. Sure I had a lot going on at home to deal with but I do waste a lot of time doing other stuff like watching every episode of whatever favourite shows I'm following. That's plenty of hours down the drain.

So what I'm saying is, I'm sewing my head off before November ends. And you know it will end. Very soon. I don't want to find myself on that train slowing down just 5 minutes away from my stop.

In the past, I would plan what I would sew - like x number of this, this and that. This year, in this aspect, I'm out of control. I have no plans. I'm incapable of planning. Whenever I sit down and tell myself to write down what I should make next, I just sit down and stare into space. My planning capability has been completely erased. However, if I just look at a piece of fabric, I would somehow be able to make something, whatever I fancy. You could say I let the fabric choose the bag. So far it's been working because I managed to make a number of items - maybe not yet enough for a 6-day market but I won't feel ashamed come market day.

I have 4 drawstring bags this round, nothing fancy but practical items women could use.

Still trying to use up my polka dots. These 2 are made from twill and twill is a little hard to photograph especially for the lighter colours. You can see the light bouncing off the "twills".

One of my eagle eyed readers spied this fabric which I used as a lining for one of my bags. It's a lovely Anna Griffin fabric and he suggested using it as a outer fabric.

Isn't this red and white stripes drawstring bag soooo cute? I'm using remnants so the size is smaller and I think I made it work. Can you see the polka dots lining peeking out? I don't know what most people use to match red. But I usually like to match it with beige. I think these 2 colours are so perfect together. Am I right? Or is it just me and my shat eyes?

I've updated my Christmas catalog HERE. I have decided that I will only post 1 pic per item.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Houston, the blue and white polka dots fabric have landed

Believe me. I am just as frightened as you are. Looking at my blue and white polka dots bags, I realise they look exactly like the black and white polka dots bags I made last week here. If you look closely, you can tell the blue from the black. But for someone like me with shat eyes, they kinda look the same! Oh god! What have I done? I hope there are many blue and white polka dots lovers coming to VivoCity in December. It's useless worrying. So let's have a look at the "haven't we seen these before" bags.

I swear this is the last polka dot sling bag I'm making. If you like the pattern, you can get the digital pattern at my Etsy shop. Here.

Yes mam. Another crescent bag. Hate making these now. Won't. Make. Another. One. For. At. Least. A. Week. Puke, puke.

I personally like this shoulder bag a lot but for some reason, it doesn't photograph well.
Is it the photographer?

This one's an old friend. My Get Up And Go Go Sling Bag. What a stupid name I gave it. Why didn't anyone stop me? If you like the pattern, you can get the digital pattern at my Etsy shop. Here.

Now this is a bag I LOVE making. That is why I don't make so many in a year. Because I don't want to get sick of making them. My one-ring wonder.

And I thought it'd be so great for the customer to get a luxurious thrill every time she opens her bag. Big polka dots baby!

As you can see, I'm on a roll. I have a few drawstring bags all cut up ready to sew but I think I'll take a little break. I have a Law and Order SVU episode calling me. Later, internet friend.

p.s. i'm not updating my Christmas 2013 catalog this round as I have difficulties getting the images to load. i'll do it in my next post.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Must Make More Bags Fast

It is becoming clearer and clearer to me that I am not making my stock for Christmas fast enough. It's almost December and the amount of stock I have is, if I manage to sell them all, just enough to pay for the rent and costs. To make any real money, I've got to put this Jane machine to work. And I am the first to admit I'm not working even half the speed I'm capable of. Some of you are probably rolling your eyes thinking I'm already working like a maniac. Well, that's cause you make like what? 10, 20 bags a year. For me, I have to make at least 50 for ONE weekend market. And my Christmas market is 6 days long. I'm not complaining, really. Just trying to see where I am right now and I'm pretty scared I have so much work to do.

Well, anyway I had the fantasy I could make a total of 10 crescent bags. I couldn't. Who was I kidding?  I only made 2 more. You know what? I got so sick of the black and white fabric I had been using I went for some colours.

You know I really like bright cheerful colours, don't you? I couldn't resist a rabbit clutch. Yes, yes. It screamed for a rose polka dot. My girl said this clutch is very Chinese New Year. Speaking of which, Chinese New Year next year comes really early. It falls on 31st Jan and 1st Feb. It'll be the year of the Horse. And I am married to one. A horse. I mean, a man-horse. Oh, you know what I mean.

I've updated my Christmas catalog. Check it out HERE.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Black and White Polka Dots Scare

I had a heart stopping moment yesterday just as I was finishing up a bag. I'll tell you in a minute what that moment was and believe you me, you won't believe it.

See, I had been sewing continuously bag after bag using the same black and white polka dot fabric and all of a sudden I asked myself these questions:

Have I over invested in these black and white polka dot fabric? Did I make too many bags in black and white polka dot fabric? Is it possible no one will want to buy these black and white polka dot fabric bags?

I am so troubled by these questions because for my Christmas craft market, I did not just buy black and white polka dot fabric, I bought polka dot fabric in every darn colourway I could find. So that's the plan folks. It's gonna be a polka dot bag feast for moi.

It's a done deal already. I've paid for the fabric. I've made some of the bags. If people don't like the polka dots, I'm going to make a huge loss.

I'm not saying I won't make bags in other prints. But it's going to be 50% polka dots. Man.....

So keep your fingers crossed polka dots are still in.

Here they are in black and white splendour:

The Crossbody Curvy Bag

The Crescent Bag

The Sling Bag
Oh, if you like this bag pattern, it's available at my Etsy shop. This one's made without the patchwork option.

Everyday Shoulder Bag

So, what do you think. Will these sell? Btw, I have created a catalog for my Christmas stock for the benefit of those of you who may not be able to make it down to VivoCity or simply can't wait for 18th to 23rd December. Go here.
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