Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pot

A few months ago, I bought a pot of happy plants. No, I didn't make the name up. I was told the plants require very little water and care and could last a couple of years. I was very happy to make the purchase because I am a known plant killer and have never successfully raised any plants. Nope, not even cactus.


Fast forward a few months and I did it again. My happy plants or should I say unhappy plants died. They literally unrooted themselves from the pot. I don't think I should "take care" of any more plants in future.


The pot is rather nice. But it's very small and not very useful. The diameter is around 9.5".  Plus it has a hole on its base.


For now I have turned it into a pot to keep my pins. Usually I just scatter these pins around my sewing table.


In future, I may give it to Neve. She could use it to take a bath. Do you know in the old days, Chinese families have these very large pots which we use to store our water. The water kept in such pots are very cold. My family had one in our village home. I suppose it is possible to go into the pot when bathing but in our family we didn't do that. We use a plastic scoop to pour water over ourselves.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Helloooo Kitty

Guess what?

via
I'm participating in the Hello Kitty Run on 1st Nov which is next Saturday. I'm not really a Hello Kitty fan but hubs is and after he signed up, I jumped in as well. You know what I always preach:
A couple that runs together stays together.
This year we didn't have a chance to do any runs together apart from the amazing race run we did as a family at Japanese Garden (here). Hubs will only do 10km and above while I'm only capable of running up to 6km. My fitness is not in very good shape lately. I haven't been able to go swimming or running. The air is pretty bad and I still have daily headaches. It's a big headache for me!

via

It's a 5km fun run for Hello Kitty's 40th birthday. Hello Kitty is now a ahjumma!!! There won't be much running. It will be packed with kids and people walking. The starting point is at Vivocity and the route is across the bridge linking Sentosa with Singapore and around the perimeter of Sentosa island.

This run is quite expensive. I paid $70 while hubs got a better deal at $65 as he pre-registered. Yesterday we got our race pack and it is a little disappointing.

This is my race bib. I am, of course, running as PROJECTS BY JANE.

This is the plushie. It is small.

This is how small the Hello Kitty plushie is.

I really like the running tee. I have a thing for tees with a different colour around the shoulder. This is size M which is slightly big for me but I don't mind it. Most size M would fit me perfectly. There was a long queue of people waiting to do a size exchange.

There was a token pack of cereal which went to my girl. And that was it. Everything came in a red backpack - the kind you won't really use. I was hoping the plushie would at least come in a case or box or a container of some sort. 

Hubs ordered this towel thinking it's a large towel but it turned out to be a small towel. It's perfect for me when I go for my Pilates and Cardio classes.

I couldn't resist a peace sign photo with 40 year old Hello Kitty. Now if only one of us had kicked the box out of the way.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

September/October 2014 Giveaway

Giveaway is closed.

Hello,

I was going to wait for a blue clear sky to take photos for my giveaway but looks like the monsoon season is here to stay.

Once again, I am going to pick 2 winners. And what's up for grabs this round?


First, a House brooch and a pack of 4 Frixion pens.
 
I made the House brooch a short while ago. It's made of felt, fabric, some batting and it's a house of love. I added a bit of simple embroidery. The Frixion pens are the exact same ones I use when I sew or do embroidery. These are very fine - 05 to be exact. When I use these pens to mark on my fabric, I'm very careful and I don't scribble all over the right side of the fabric. The fact is, it is possible to get ghost lines after you iron on the markings. When I use these pens to draw for embroidery, I make sure I sew over the markings. And because these pens make very fine lines, I have no problem doing that.

Next, an elephant brooch and one yard of FABRIC!
I gave up trying to take a decent photo of the fabric. It's a very pretty fabric.

I made the elephant brooch last month(?) and it is back stitch embroidery on linen.

Both winners will also get a PDF of my latest bag pattern.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/204278646/janes-little-boxy-bag-pdf-easy-sewing?ref=shop_home_active_2

How to enter?

♥ Leave a comment on this blog post. Tell me which package you prefer. Frixion pens or fabric. If you feel like it, you could tell me a joke. So, the first winner picked will get her choice and the second winner picked gets the other prize.

♥ 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 houses, elephants, pens or fabric. And yes, even if you've won before, you are welcome to enter. Don't be shy.

♥ Ends 3rd November 2014, Singapore time.

Two winners will be picked by random.org and the winners 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
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Monday, October 20, 2014

News roundup

It's been a while since I shared some news of Singapore. I know a few of you who used to live in Singapore would like that.

A Pizza Hut customer saw red when she found the words "Pink Fat Lady" on her takeaway order receipt. She complained and Pizza Hut apologised.

 Singapore Dove (the soap) immediately seized the opportunity to use "Pink Fat Lady" in a facebook "campaign".



Early this month, a food court was ordered closed after photos of cockroaches were circulated. (here) The tenant was 1983 and I was reminded of my own bad experience with a food outlet run by 1983.


I realise now I should have complained when I was served mouldy bread by 1983 sometime in 2012. (see here) What happened was I told the cashier I was given mouldy bread and you know what she did? Took the bread from me and threw it into the rubbish bin. Not a word of apology. I was so stunned I did nothing but glare at her. After a while the cashier said she will ask the crew to make another sandwich for me but I rejected it as I couldn't eat their bread anymore. After that, the cashier simply acted like I was invisible. I should have asked for a refund! Sometimes I'm so meek. I remember when I found a beetle in a loaf of Gardenia bread many, many years ago. After hubs complained, they sent someone to my home with a brand new loaf of bread, not exactly the same one I had bought but something more expensive. (yes, I still eat Gardenia bread but have boycotted 1983)

The Singapore Sports Hub, opened this year and built at a cost of $1.33billion apparently has been unable to grow grass properly on the lawn of the National Stadium. The pitch is patchy and sandy. It's embarrassing! Well, one thing though. At least we know now they use real grass. Methinks it's the soil and not the grass. Maybe they need some REAL fertilizer to aid the growth. Like bullshit. Hahahahahaha (okay, the bullshit part I stole from hubs)


Lastly, this came out in September. Have you seen this Singapore Ikea advertisement spoofing Apple? It's really funny. I laughed until I cried. Watch here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What's the weather like in your October?

Friends,

This whole week I spent most of my time sleeping because I caught a mysterious bug. All achy, head achy, mi-grainy. Today is the first day I didn't take any day nap. The 11 hour sleep I had might have something to do with it!

October is not cooperating with me. It's been humid, hazy, cloudy, thunder storming or just raining. I need good sunlight to take photos for my next pattern. When is the sun coming out?

Oh, a few weeks ago, my girl turned 15. Here she's 5.


Here she's 15.

During the photoshoot for her birthday, I discovered my Nikon camera only had a 2-second delay. I had to run from the end of the table to behind my girl to get myself in the shot. All the photos had me blurry, huffing and puffing except for this one. I think I stepped on my son's foot.

While digging in my archives for my girl's photos, I discovered these rare pics of my mother taken in 2004 at my brother's pink apartment. She never ever plays with us when we were kids. But in these pics, she was showing her grand kids that she, too, could do the hoola hoop.

Hope you're having a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Three tests and guess what I'm sending by post?

Hello!

Remember in September (here) when my hearing went all awry. Well it's about 95% back to normal again except for a ghost of shrillness now and then which I can totally live with. It got me thinking. This is a warning bell. My body is breaking down. I'm getting old. I have to be more proactive in taking care of my health.

I have been procrastinating and never got round to going for three tests which I am long overdue for this year. Somehow there will always be something more important for me to do and the three dreaded tests kept getting kicked to the back of the queue. The hearing thingy... that was the kick in the butt I needed.

The first test.
Well, well, well. What have we here? Want to know what's in the envelope? If you answer yes, you'll be very sorry.

I shall tell you anyway. Heard of the test called FIT? Me neither. My mother has from time to time mentioned to me about her going to collect a kit at the clinic, going to the toilet and getting my brother to post an envelope for her. Somehow I never managed to put all the information together to comprehend what she was saying. Now I do.

FIT stands for Faecal Immunochemical Test. Need I say more? Yes, you send your poop in the envelope to the test center. Well, at first, that's what I thought. Like how gross. But you don't exactly send a lot. The kit has a little stick and you jab at your thingys and then you put the stick in a tube containing chemical and shake it all up.

I shan't tell you how hard it was to collect the sample. (It was very hard. How do I catch it? The reflex required... the gross factor...) You have to send two samples over a period of one week.

The Second Test.
This test, called the pap smear I've done before several times. It's nerve wrecking. Firstly, you need to be alfresco. Secondly, I only trust one man with my privates. He is the man who delivered my two babies. Unfortunately, he has also become popular with stars, celebrities and daughters of millionaires. So he has become expensive. Today I went for this test at the Cancer Society and it was free. My doctor is a female and amazingly she managed to make me laugh. So it was not too bad. Okay, maybe just a little bad. While I was there, she did a clinical breast exam as well. She said she did not detect any abnormal stuff. Is it wrong that the breast exam felt rather nice!

The Third Test.
I haven't gone for the third test but I will. It is the mammogram. This month happened to be Breast Cancer Awareness month in Singapore so it is extremely hard to get an appointment for a mammogram. I will keep calling the hotline though.

I have done this test before a long time ago. It was traumatizing. My chest is flat as a runway so the technicians have a hard time squeezing my thingys in the right position. I am so not looking forward to being squeezed.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed all my results will come back "perfectly normal". Have you done these three tests before?

Monday, October 6, 2014

How I sell digital downloads of my bag patterns on my blog

Hi folks,

In my last post here, I blogged about my latest bag pattern and I wondered if any of you noticed that I gave the option of buying my digital pattern on my blog? Well, several of you bought the pattern so I know some of you noticed. Thank you, by the way.



I thought I'll share with you how I sell my digital patterns on my blog. When I was starting out with my bag patterns "business", apart from producing the instructions/patterns, the one thing that I struggled with was how to put a "Buy" button on my blog, collect payment and have the digital pattern AUTOMATICALLY sent to the buyer.

The first option I looked into was paypal since I use paypal as a main mode of payment/collection. There is a way to sell digital goods using paypal but it looked so hard. I mean, everything was so technical and words like IPN mean nothing to me. So I said, "no thanks."

I came across ejunkie in 2009 and I even got an account and everything but I was too busy with my craft markets and never pursued it. I vaguely knew it provided shopping carts services for digital as well as physical goods. In layman terms, it does the hard stuff for you.

Around 2012, I had sufficient number of digital patterns for sale and felt it was time to look at ejunkie again. I started a free trial subscription and began seriously looking at the website. To be honest, I dislike the website a lot. It's really hard to look at. The font, colours, layout, ugh. But I'm not marrying ejunkie so I stuck it out. The navigation (user interface) is a little old fashioned. But you know what? You get used to it. Once you figure it out, it's really quite simple. All you have to do is enter the details, upload the digital file and your file goes to the ejunkie server. To enable selling of your digital pattern on your blog, just go to ejunkie and copy the html code for the specific pattern. Next paste it on your blog html editor. When you view the codes on your blog, they appear as a button. And that's it. You can start selling. All you need is to get readers to your blog. All the troublesome stuff like checkout page and collecting payment are done by ejunkie. Well, technically, ejunkie doesn't collect payment. But it integrates with your payment processor. Like for me, I use paypal. Ejunkie gets paypal to collect the payment and put it in my account.

You also have the option of creating a nice shop banner but the checkout page is very, very basic. No frills. If you want to have an idea of what I'm talking about, go to this post and click on the "Add to Cart" and you can see for yourself. Don't worry. If you don't complete the transaction, you won't be charged for it. I also have some examples on projectsbyjane.com. Check them out. Don't be scared!

Well, to continue my story. During my free ejunkie trial,  I put the "Add to cart" button on one of my patterns in an old blog post and shockingly I made a sale. I checked my paypal and yes, the money arrived safely. That blew my brains out. I quickly put "Add to cart" buttons in all the posts which were promoting my bag patterns. Ejunkie has stats to allow you to view the downloads. I noticed that the early customers don't always download the patterns right away. So I felt I needed to write up a FAQ and you can see my version here. Much, much better. Now my customers know exactly what to expect and I no longer worried about the downloads. In fact I don't even look at the stats anymore.

I wished I had used ejunkie right away in 2009. I consider it a wasted opportunity. If wishes...

Let's talk about pricing. Nothing's for free, right? Currently I am on a 10 products, 50mb limit plan for $5 per month. This is the most basic plan. I get a discount for using paypal so it's under $4. All I need to do is sell one pattern a month and it will cover the cost of my ejunkie plan. That's not hard to achieve.

The next plan on the list is 20 products, 100mb limit for $10 per month. With my last pattern, I have hit the 10 products limit. I think $10 per month is still affordable. But if I were to upgrade to the 20 products plan, it would mean that I had better work really fast and come up with another 10 new patterns. Otherwise it won't be economical. Ejunkie gets really expensive once you go beyond 120 products. The price plan after 120 products is 250 products for $40 per month. I doubt if I will ever, in my lifetime hit 120 products. But if I do, I will definitely look for cheaper alternatives.

Next, customer support. I only needed to contact customer support in the beginning. I made the mistake of creating a subscription plan during my free trial and that action removed the free trial. The thing about ejunkie's subscription is any time you change the plan, whatever discounts, etc associated with the previous plan get dropped. The customer support was fantastic and very reassuring. I got back my free trial and a even follow-up to see if everything's fine. I was very impressed. I don't know if other people get the same great support but that really sealed the deal for me.

Some of you may question why there's a need to sell my patterns on my blog when there are marketplaces like Etsy, Craftsy and Patternspot which support instant digital downloads for sewing patterns. One big reason is these marketplaces are loaded with competition. To be able to make one sale out of the thousands of patterns is an achievement. Second reason? These marketplaces with the exception of Craftsy take a big chunk out of your earnings on top of the amount you have to pay your payment processor. Selling on my blog is much cheaper as I only need to pay paypal's monstrous fees and what I pay ejunkie is peanuts compared to what Etsy and patternspot gobbles up.

I hope this post is helpful to those of you who are looking to sell your digital products. I only mentioned services and marketplaces I have used. There are definitely lots more out there I haven't explored. Please feel free to leave a comment of other marketplaces which support instant digital downloads or any suggestions.

p.s. this post is loaded with ejunkie affiliate links.
E-junkie Shopping Cart and Digital Delivery

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jane's Little Boxy Bag Pattern

Hi guys,

My new bag pattern is finally here and up for sale at my Etsy shop. This year I was a little slack and never got around to finishing any bag pattern until now. The heart was willing and so was the head. But many obstacles, mainly my real life got in the way. Finally I got into the groove and managed to finish it.

This little boxy bag pattern was supposed to be my 4th bag pattern but it kept getting pushed to the back of the queue. So it became my 10th bag pattern in my growing bag empire. I first started making this bag in 2009. I made a few for sale at craft markets and although I always managed to sell them I stopped making them for sale when I got really fed up with people coming up to squeeze the boxiness. It annoyed the hell out of me. In 2012 and 2013, I started making them for sale again at my Vivocity craft market. Enough time had passed and my tolerance of people squeezing my boxy bags has increased. The idea of making the writing the bag pattern took root and well, it's now 2014.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/204278646/janes-little-boxy-bag-pdf-pattern?ref=shop_home_active_5
https://www.etsy.com/listing/204278646/janes-little-boxy-bag-pdf-pattern?ref=shop_home_active_5

As the name suggests, this is not a big bag but a little boxy bag. Due to the design, making it big is not ideal. I have come up with an ideal size - it is not too small with enough room for a large wallet, keys, make-up and plenty more.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/204278646/janes-little-boxy-bag-pdf-pattern?ref=shop_home_active_5

https://www.etsy.com/listing/204278646/janes-little-boxy-bag-pdf-pattern?ref=shop_home_active_5


If you like to play with colour, you can use different fabric choices for the handle and zipper gusset. I personally just like to have the handles in a colour that pops.

Rough dimensions of finished bag:
Across bottom is around 8.75"
Depth and height is around 4.5"

Suzee's version

A few people I would like to thank for making this pattern:
Suzee of Applehead Threads for being my faithful tester
♥ Jon for the loan of his camera lens and tripod
Mandy for giving me the fabric with the footwear print which I used in the tutorial
♥ the customers who came to my Vivocity market in the past and gave me feedback on this bag

This new bag pattern is sold at my Etsy shop here. If you guys have an Etsy account, do me a big favour and go favourite it. It really makes a difference, I promise you. And thank you so much.

By the way, if you prefer to buy this pattern directly from me here on my blog (it's an instant download digital PDF), click on "Buy Now" button below but please read my F.A.Q. before you do so.

USD $8
Buy Now

Oh, I let my dolls have a go at my little boxy bag.

Neve is so small the bag has more than enough room for her.

Melly fits lying down but her legs need to be in a sitting position.

See the look on Neve's face? It's her bag now.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

My Bag Pattern Shop

https://www.etsy.com/shop/projectsbyjane

My Applique Patterns

https://www.etsy.com/shop/projectsbyjane?section_id=15580078&ref=shopsection_leftnav_2

My Embroidery Patterns

https://www.etsy.com/shop/projectsbyjane?section_id=15580078&ref=shopsection_leftnav_2