Friday, March 28, 2014

March 2014 Giveaway

Giveaway has ended. Winner posted here.

Hello dear readers,

As some of you know, I am doing 12 giveaways this year - one a month. I realise it's almost the end of March. Well, I finally found the time to take photos for my March 2014 Giveaway. Here it is. I hope you like it!

So this is what I'm giving away - one crazy patchwork embroidered sexy zippy wristlet.

The pattern of this wristlet is based on my sexy zippy wristlet pattern which I published in 2011. Wow, that feels like a long time ago. The sexy zippy wristlet pattern is very basic and does not cover any patchwork or embroidery. It only covers how to sew up the zippy wristlet, so remember that those of you who are thinking of buying the pattern.

SALE: I have changed the price of this sexy zippy wristlet pattern from the regular price of $7 to $3.50 (a 50% discount) for a limited period until 7th April 2014, Singapore time. Only at my Etsy shop.

How about a few more pics of the zip pouch which ONE of you will win?

Oh, I have to show you these 2 pics as well. It's a bit cruel... Don't judge me. Bear thought he was the star of the giveaway. Shhh.

How to enter?

♥ Leave a comment on this blog post. Since this zip pouch was made in the crazy patchwork fashion, I thought it'll be fun to complete this sentence.

I am crazy...........

♥ One entry per person, duplicates will be deleted.

♥ Please leave your email address if your profile is not tied to your contact info. If you use Anonymous to leave a comment, you must include your email address.

♥ Open to anyone, anywhere who loves pretty stuff.

♥ Ends 7th April 2014, Singapore time.

One winner will be picked by and the winner must respond to my email notification of the win within 48hours or I will pick another winner.

In case you don't know, I'm also at

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hey nineteen


Yesterday morning I woke up at my usual ungodly hour of 5:50am to get the kids ready for school and while walking past the dining table, I saw a wrapped present. Nothing unusual about that because yesterday was my 19th wedding anniversary and I knew hubs had got me a present. Except it had a note on it that said "Open Now".

I got very excited because hubs and I had already talked the day before and we had both agreed that we would open our presents at the end of the day. See, I had to go for my Nikon camera class in the morning and we would meet for lunch and I didn't want to bring the presents out. (my present for hubs is very big!)

But I couldn't open the present right away as I needed to take care of the kids first. Also I wanted to do it when I was alone. (blush)

So I was sitting at the computer waiting for the kids to get ready when suddenly I felt 2 hands on my shoulder. I immediately screamed thinking it was a psycho killer mainly because I had been watching Hannibal a couple of days ago. Also I knew it wasn't my kids because at such an early hour, they're in no mood to kid with mom. And it couldn't be hubs because he wakes up much later. And so I screamed. Well, it was hubs. I guess he wanted to see me open the present! Which made it even more exciting. What could it be? What could it be? It was big and I was quite afraid it would be a household item like a vacuum cleaner or a water flask (which he got me for a present one year) or a kettle.

After the kids had left for school, I gave hubs my huge present and I opened his. And then I screamed. Again. I could not believe my eyes.

It was a doll. A doll of my dreams. For quite a long time I had secretly wanted to buy myself a doll to dress up. Yes, I'm aware I already own Melly. But Melly has a babyish kind of body and she can only do a few poses due to the limited number of joints. Anyway, I didn't act on my secret desire and would just go online to look at the photos of these dressable dolls and in Singapore there are a few shops which sell a few of these dolls. Sometimes I take hubs to these shops and I would just stare at them through the showcase. I really did not expect to receive such a doll from hubs. It was such a surprise!

Oh, you must be wondering what was the huge present I got him. It was a memory pillow. It looks just like a regular pillow. Hubs has these crazily broad shoulders and I often see him struggling to sleep. So I thought/hoped a memory pillow would help him.

Anyhoos, unknown to him, I had prepared another present for him.

I got him a white long sleeved pullover except it was something he already owned. A week or so ago, he had worn the same thing and he said he wished he could get rid of the yellow stain on the front. So I decided to make it my little project to get rid of the yellow stain for him. Except I had no idea how. The pullover had been washed many times already and somehow the stain remained. I went to the supermarket and found a Japanese magic soap (yes, it's actually called magic soap) that could remove any stain. I followed the instructions and the stain became less obvious. Quite magical actually. But you could still see the yellow stains. I felt so desperate. Finally I soaked it in a lot of bleach. An hour later, I saw that the yellow stains had completely disappeared. OMG. I wished I had tried bleach right away. Drying the pullover took some effort as I didn't want hubs to see it. This present made him laugh so I think he liked it.

So I was going to get ready for my Nikon camera class when hubs came out of the room and handed me a plastic bag. He asked me to look in the bag and inside was...

another doll! I couldn't stop laughing. What? Hubs said he needed to give me a second doll since I had given him two presents! This doll's eyes are different in colour, did you notice?


Anyway, I had to go to Nikon school and learn how to use my camera.

This guy is my teacher. Here I have taken of photo of him flapping his arms. (it's part of the lesson) This class is pretty basic and it's free. I did learn a few things but most of what he taught I already knew.

After class I went to meet hubs for a Japanese lunch.
He wore my gift!

I wore my camera!

This is what we ate. This restaurant specializes in gyoza. (dumpling) Eating with me can be quite a pain because I take photos of my food before I eat. Usually with my phone camera.

After lunch, we decided to walk under the hot sun to check out a stationery shop. We hadn't been there before and since it was nearby... The shop is called Overjoyed and it is in a run down building. I was quite expecting the worst. Finally we reached the building and we were dripping with sweat and ready to faint. Then I saw the shop and honestly, I felt overjoyed. It is such a nice, clean pretty shop. So unexpected. And it's air-conditioned too. Hubs took pics of me shopping.

Actually Overjoyed is in a very good location because just across the road is an art school, Lasalle college.
I wonder who designed the school building. It's so interesting.

Finally we went home. It had been a long hot day. I went to check out my new dolls and almost fainted. There is an extra doll!

I went to ask hubs why there's another doll and he just kept laughing. Finally he said: I love you three times as much. Awww.

I do feel absolutely over the moon. Over and under the moon. Is this what it feels like to be spoilt rotten?

Oh, I just remembered I have other dolls...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One Ring Wonder Meets Paris

It's been a while since I made my one ring wonder shoulder bag. I really love this design and choosing the fabric is the best part of my "job". I think many sewers (sewists) feel the same way as me. Buying and selecting fabric is really enjoyable. Sometimes the sewing can be frustrating especially when you battle with the sewing machine. Anyway, I had been thinking of using the Paris print fabric which my friend Mandy the Milliner had given me some time ago. This is a rather thick fabric which is perfect for a bag this size. Unfortunately it wrinkles a lot. I had to steam the crap out of it.

I showed hubs the bag AFTER I had made it and he said the red handle was too overpowering. Honestly, I don't feel strongly it doesn't work. I think it depends on the person using the bag. In my opinion, it's not too bad. My girl loved the contrast.

This bag is a recessed zipper bag. I usually use continuous zippers for larger bags. I don't know if this is what other sewer (sewists) do but continuous zippers are so much easier to sew. I didn't have the perfect lining for the bag so I went for a baby blue giant dots. I mean, with the red handle, why not baby blue polka dots inside? This bag has 1 pocket outside, 1 pocket inside and a divided pocket also in the lining. I'm very generous with pockets again. Do you guys like to sew pockets? I find them a chore.

This is the second of 10 bags I'm making. 8 more to go!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

February 2014 Giveaway winner

Hey guys,

My February 2014 giveaway is over. Thank you so much for participating. The question I asked in the giveaway was "What is your favourite fruit?" I diligently went through all the fruits the participants named and realised that I've eaten every single one except pomegranate and avocado. Well, one time I ate a avocado by accident and then spat it all out so I don't know if that counts. I've even eaten Tin Rodriguez's mango of the "Philippines variety". (nope, you didn't win, Tin) But there are two fruits I would absolutely never eat again - jackfruit and durian. How to say? Ugh, phui, yuk. No offence to lovers of these fruits but I couldn't eat them. I don't know if it's the smell or the taste. I tried both fruits when I was young and then had a major vomit session. Now the smell alone is able to make my stomach go ill. People say if you're a Singaporean, you will like durians. I wonder who came up with that? A durian seller? I do know that many Singaporeans looove durians.

Without further rambling, the winner of my February 2014 giveaway is:

Congratulations to By Night! The winner is someone I know in the blog world. You can say we go waaay back some time after I started blogging and somehow our paths crossed. By Night is also a handmade artist and she makes bags, pouches, softies and even lace gloves for sale. She crochets, knits and sews clothes as well. She is a lady I much admire and I've watched her grow in her craft over the years. I hope she likes the little pouch. Go check her out for yourself. She has a blog here.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Second hand goodies


Recently I became curious about people's attitude towards buying second hand goods. Some call it pre-loved or pre-owned. Whatever you call it, it's not first hand, fresh from the factory.

When I was young, using hand-me-downs (mostly clothes from siblings and cousins) was the way of life. New clothes were confined to uniforms or Chinese New Year outfits. For my case, my eldest sister made one outfit for me every single year until I was 14. When I was 15, my sister, Elaine gave me 50 bucks to buy clothes and that was the year I discovered I could wear anything I wanted on Chinese New Year and not be at the sartorial mercy of my eldest sister. Our toys were discarded ones my mother's employers donated to her. Either that or she dug them out of their dustbins. We were not fussy about how my mother obtained them. I always thought she was very resourceful. One year, my brother wanted a bicycle and she wheeled home an old bicycle which still worked. I told her I wanted a doll and she came home with one minus a leg or two. At the end of each year when we got our textbook list for the following year, the first thing we did was to contact our cousins to get hold of their textbooks. One year when I was 14, my sister had the balls to ask my neighbour to give me a few of their textbooks. When I had my two kids, we asked many people for their unwanted baby stuff especially clothes. And when we were were sure we no longer would have any more kids, we gave everything away. 

So using second hand goods was never a problem with me. But we never paid for them. They were always free.

The year we moved into our flat we did consider buying 2nd hand furniture. I don't know what it's like in other countries but in Singapore, it's not so common to buy 2nd hand furniture. Firstly, where would we go? We tried Salvation Army and you have to remember it was 1998. The place smelled so bad that we (okay, it was just me) ran out gasping. I haven't been back since then so it's possible the ventilation is much better now. Anyway, we ended up buying from Ikea.

I think the first thing I ever bought 2nd hand was a book. In the old days, books were far more expensive. As I read a lot, I would visit bookstores that rented out their books. If you return them within a certain period, you get some money back. These books were quite expensive to rent like $17 for a novel. If you're not late returning them, you'll end up just paying $3 to $5 for them.

Times has changed.

These three 2nd hand novels cost me just $10 in total. And I get to keep them forever.

The second used item I paid money for was a Osim vacuum cleaner. I paid $200 for it. The actual cost was way, way more. It was around one year old and in good condition.

In Singapore the attitude towards paying for pre-owned items has probably changed as there are many flea markets selling 2nd hand goods. I'm only guessing the attitude has changed due to the presence of such flea markets. As for me, I never could bring myself to pay for things like used clothing or even accessories or bags. It's not so much the money but I couldn't imagine being able to wear a total stranger's clothes. Which is strange as my mother had over the years given me clothing from people I don't even know. I mean if the clothes came from someone who had died, she sure wasn't going to tell me. I also felt icky about using someone's bags. Like god knows what it once carried or maybe the owner had died or something. Yep, extreme paranoia.

Oh, here's a side story. One year I was possibly 10, my mother sold my favourite Chinese New Year outfit to the karang guni man. He's basically someone who goes door to door asking to buy used goods like books, clothes, newspapers and electrical products. And he usually doesn't pay much money. I had worn the outfit to death and it was too short and too tight on me already. My mother decided to sell it for whatever reason. The following day, I saw the karang guni man's daughter wearing my favourite outfit. Demmit. She had taste too. I felt so insanely angry when I saw my outfit on the girl who was my age and slightly smaller than me. She probably love the outfit to death because she wore it every single day. Every time I caught sight of the girl in my favourite outfit I would think stuff like: she wants to be me. It was so crazy. I felt she was stealing my identity. I never got over it.

I think I've changed a little bit. A short while ago, there was a flea market below my flat and this lady was selling stuff she no longer wanted - clothes, shoes and this bag!

It looked quite new. It's a huge bag which is a necessity for me as I carry a jacket and a large scarf and boxes of panadols and my giant wallet and an umbrella and several pouches when I go out. I'm usually not so keen on the plastic texture of the bag but this one had birds and flowers. And it's HUGE. The lady wasn't asking much money for it so I bought it. I asked her if it was her bag and she said yes and I don't think she was lying. Okay, she could have been lying but the important thing is I believe her. I said why don't you want it anymore and she DID NOT say it once carried something dead so I bought it and I've used it many times since. It smelled quite nice too. Yep, did the smell test.

So I was on a roll and when I attended my son's school carnival not long ago, I had no qualms paying coupon money for this beaded bag. I forgot to do the smell test because it was in a plastic casing so I got fooled. Unfortunately it does smell a little. I think the fabric is suede and I really like the beaded embroidery. I will need to "smoke" out the smell first before I could use the bag. Geez, I hope it didn't once carry something dead.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Shoulder Bag

It's been a while since I made anything larger than a pouch. Making bigger bags is a lot of work. I almost forgot that part. I must be rusty because I jammed up the sewing machine once. It happened right at the end with just 3 more inches to go. Hubs was waiting for me to go climb the staircase (it's a form of exercise). I rushed it a little and got bobbin thread all jumbled up. And my Janome is a pretty awesome machine. It rarely gets the bobbin thread tangled. I have to remember to listen to my sewing machine while sewing. It gives a little warning "ahem" if I'm pushing it too hard.

I've had 1 yard of this very cheerful Ikea print for a while and  I thought it'll be perfect for this shoulder bag.

When I take photographs of my bag at the balconey, my gang comes along.

This time is Little Red's turn to pose with the bag.

Can you tell I'm struggling with the setting on my new camera? The late afternoon lighting is too low. I try many settings just to see what works. Luckily my model is a stuffed doll.

I was very generous with the pockets for this bag. One in front, 2 divided pockets inside and one more zipped pocket also inside. I'm usually stingy with pockets. Tell you a secret. I don't really like to sew pockets.

I struggled to get a shot of the zipped pocket.

Usually when I sew zippers, I baste using large stitches to hold them down. I don't use glue. But this year I want to try other different ways of doing stuff and I used Steam-A-Seam. It's like a double-sided tape except you need to use a hot iron to apply over it to make it stick to your fabric/zipper. It does make it easier to align your zipper.

This is the first of ten bags I'm making this month. 1 down, 9 more to go!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hello March

Dear fellas,

It's the fourth day of March and before I say "where did March go", I thought I had better planned out what I'll be doing this month.

I have a lot of stuff to do, like make 10 bags for a sale, finish up my applique patterns and learn to use my new camera.

I have been using Canon S100 since Feb 2012. It's a very light, compact camera. I bought it when it first came out and it worked great for a few months and then it stopped working. Turned out it was a manufacturing fault and I had the lens changed and it worked but I always felt the images looked not as good. Last year, I noticed the Auto mode stopped working. All images taken in Auto mode turn out blurry. Can you believe it? The Auto mode doesn't work! For such an expensive compact camera, I felt really let down by Canon. The one good feature about this camera is that it takes great pics in low lighting condition. The warranty has expired so I don't know if I want to pay to get it fixed. This camera has other modes which still work and I use the manual mode when taking pics of my bags so I don't absolutely need another camera.

When I say I use the manual mode when taking pics, I don't mean I really know what I'm doing. I am one of those people who goes completely blank when cameras are concerned. The S100 is quite dummy-friendly. I barely have to change many settings to get my images. If your settings are wrong, something will keep blinking and you just change your setting until it stops blinking. Haha. That's pretty much how I used the S100.

This is my new camera. My dear hubs bought it for me. It's a entry-level dslr Nikon D3200, so not the latest model. Because of that, the price is really good. In fact it costs just a little bit more than what I paid for the Canon S100. I have no experience with dslr so it's quite challenging. For a compact camera, what you see is what you get. There's no assembling. For a dslr camera, it comes in 2 pieces - a camera body and a lens. And yes, you need to attach the lens to the body. The manual is of course written in Greek. I discovered youtube is the best place to go to learn anything. After putting the lens in the camera body, I had to attach the neck strap which I felt was totally necessary as I was so afraid I would drop the camera. And it is a heavy camera. The advertisement says it's light. Liar! It's freaking heavy.

One thing I found out about dslr cameras is you're not encouraged to look at the screen when you take pictures. You're to use the teeny little window. Ever since I used my first digital cameras, I have always used the screen. I thought that's what the screen's for. So what's the screen for then? Well, you're supposed to look at the information like aperture, ISO, shutter speed and a bunch of other stuff. Yep, exactly. After watching an intro to photography explaining aperture, ISO and shutter speed, my brain exploded. If I don't want to be stuck with the Auto mode or the semi auto modes, I figure I better learn what numbers go best with what speed. Because unlike the S100, nothing blinks at you if you get it wrong.

I tried snapping a few pics using the Manual mode and the first one came out pitch black. Oops. Yes, the classic I forgot to remove the lens cap. After removing the lens cap, the images still came out very dark. After watching a few more youtube vids and falling into deep sleep many times, I managed to take a few better images. Worse goes to worse, I can always use the semi auto mode - Aperture Priority to take your photos. Here you can let the camera select the shutter speed for you. For me, I find figuring out shutter speed is the hardest.

And how's the weather been like for you? It's been hot in Singapore. And dry which is a change as last year it rained a lot. We even had a few bushes burst into flames. Oh, a bit of haze has come back too. It's almost like last year all over again except without the rain. I haven't continued with my jogging as I had hoped. I just felt too lazy and too tired and too old. Growing old is hard man.

But I've enjoyed going to the swimming pool. I'm still able to fit into the gigantic swimming costume I bought in January last year. Last year we tried going swimming regularly but the rain made it hard. This year we tried harder and I hope to keep it up. Today we went again and hubs took a few pics of me with his iphone but he forgot to turn on the hdr so I'm a bit in the shadows which is a good thing as I still haven't lost the past few years' Chinese New Year weight.

I hope you have a lovely March!

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