Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crochet sun hat and a large tote for Barbie


Another day. Another crochet hat. I have been sucked into the crochet universe and am trapped. <wave>

My "Russian" doll (it's from Japan) has claimed this hat. I used the same red crochet yarn I used for Melly's Ruffled Crochet Hat. This yarn is very special to me. Around 2004, I started learning to crochet. I had tried crochet when I was a kid but never really went beyond chain stitch. When I was a student in secondary school, I gave it another go but still went no where. In 2005, I bought a few balls of this red yarn and started learning from books. It was slow and tedious but I managed to learn the basics. So these red yarn are my lucky yarn. Unfortunately my skills in crochet is quite limited as in 2007 I got sucked into bag making. But it's adequate enough to make simple accesories. Where was I? Yes, the red yarn lasted till today. I made a few items here and there and I had this small amount left and I really just want to use it up.

This hat once again started with a beanie. Is there any other way to start a hat? My "Russian" doll is actually a jewellery case. Cool, right?

Truth is I made the "sun hat" (I don't know what it's called) for Barbie. It's a single crochet (US) hat. This very Bratz looking Barbie was a hand-me-down from my bff's daughter to my daughter but I have claimed it. (my girl used to play with dolls but have now developed a deep, deep fear of them) Bratz-Barbie (let's call her that) is wearing my Pullip doll's kimono. Pullips are larger than Barbies. So it's a little large. Oh, I discovered the little ironing board is great for dolls to sit on.

Not surprisingly, Barbies are hard to photograph - the sheen of the skin and all. I'm not entirely against sexing up my doll. I was going for a NC16 pose but Bratz-Barbie's joints are quite loose.  So here's a PG13 pose. I don't have the skills to restring her so just use your imagination....

Do you like what you see?

Oh, baby...
(this was actually a failed pole dancing pose as the legs wouldn't wrap round the "pole" so Bratz-Barbie ended up with a Pilates pose) - she insisted on wearing the hat.

What makes this Barbie look like a Bratz is the lips. This doll is slightly larger than regular Barbies. So the hat will be a little loose on regular Barbies. It won't fit a Pullip. But it will definitely fit a J-doll.
If you're ever in the market for a sun hat for your Barbies, here's the "formula" I used. Please know that I do it by trial and error so let me know if you see any mistakes.

Start: Make a ring any method you like e.g. ch3, join ch with slip stitch to form ring OR chain 2 and make R1 into 2nd chain from the hook.

R1: Make 6 ch in ring - 6 sts
Mark last stitch with safety pin because this is a spiral and you want to know where your round ends.
R2: Make 2 sc in each st around - 12 sts
R3: (Make sc in next st, 2 sc in next st) around -18 sts
R4: (Make sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st) around - 24 sts
R5: (Make sc in next 3 sts, 2 sc in next st) around - 30 sts
R6: (Make sc in next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st) around - 36 sts

R2 to R6 are the increase rounds. Do you need to do up to R6? It depends on the yarn weight and stitch tension. What you should do is after every round, place the crochet work on top of Barbie's head. The "flat pancake" which you have created should be a littler smaller than the top of Barbie's head. This is when you should stop your increase.

Here you make the height of the hat. How many rounds of R7 should you do? I would stop when the crochet work is just above the ears.
R7: Make 1 sc in each st around  (repeat this round until work is above the ears)

Here you make the brim of the hat.
RQ: (Make sc in next st, 2 sc in next st) around
RR: Make 1 sc in each st around
RS:  (Make sc in next st, 2 sc in next st) around
RT:  Make 1 sc in each st around
RU:  Make 1 sc in each st around
RV:  Make 1 sc in each st around
End: Skip 1 st and slip st to next st. Fasten off and weave ends of thread into crochet work.

I made a bag as well. A simple single crochet bag with no closure. I used perle cotton for the body of the bag.

The handles are chain stitches. It's quite sturdy and it is a real bag. You can carry other dolls in it or whatever dolls need.

The bag is reversible!

The handles are attached to the top of the bag using 2 knots.

I love it. Making little bags for dolls is a lot easier than for humans. Use less supplies too.

Linked: Sew Many Ways

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ruffled Crochet Hat For Melly

Melly has a new hat. It's really a beanie like the one I made Neve here. Except for Melly's hat, I added ruffles. She has long hair and I think it she looks odd with a beanie.

I made this hat very fitted. So much so that each time I remove the hat, I mess up Melly's hair.

I'm wondering how other people crochet a ring. I know of 3 methods of starting a ring.
Method 1. Make 4 chain stitches. Slip stitch into last chain stitch from hook. Work into hole of ring.
Method 2. Work all stitches into first chain made.
Method 3. Magic loop.

I usually use method 2 because I like the hole in the center to be small. I don't use the magic loop because I can never remember how it's done. It's like rocket science!

I used the spiral method to make the rounds. I used single crochet (US) throughout. Once I had the right amount of height, I made the ruffles by making 3 single crochet in every stich. In the next round, I made 2 single crochet in every stitch.

Do you have any secret recipe for a perfect circle?

This is the method I use. I think it's a commonly used method. It is by no means perfect.
R1: Make ring of 6 sc - 6 sts
R2: Make 2 sc into each st around -12 sts
R3: (Make sc in next st, 2 sc in next st) around -18 sts
R4: (Make sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st) around - 24 sts
R5: (Make sc in next 3 sts, 2 sc in next st) around - 30 sts
R6: (Make sc in next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st) around - 36 sts

Usually when I hit R6, my "perfect circle" starts to look a little like a hexagon. So what I do is I abandon the "formula" and I scatter my 6 extra stitches "equally". I really just eyeball it and avoid increasing in places when I see the peaks of the hexagon. If anyone has a better method, please share with me.

If you're wondering what Melly and my wooden mannequin are doing above, they are moonwalking. Isn't that obvious?

Crochet is a lot of hard work and mathematics. Would crocheting a doll's outfit be too much work? Stay tuned.

Linked: Skip to my lou, Sew Many Ways

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Crochet Beanie

I took time off from my <ahem> very busy schedule and made a crochet beanie for my little Hujoo doll, Neve.

I'm not an expert in crochet and I don't know any fancy crochet stitches. But I managed to wing a red beanie.

This is my first attempt. Okay, it looks just like a bowl! I used thick yarn just because it's lying around. All the stitches I used are double crochet (US). Round 1 is the ring. Round 2, I worked double crochet in every stitch. Round 3, I doubled every other stitch. Round 4 onwards, I worked one double crochet in every stitch.

Neve has quite a pouty profile. She looks so bitchy in the red beanie. If only I will let her wear something other than granny panties.

I made a second attempt at a beanie for Neve. This time I used the blue yarn I have had forever. Just want to use it up, you know? This yarn is thinner so I needed to make more stitches. Again I used double crochet (US) but because the yarn splits easily, I make my stitches into the "holes" of the double crochet instead of the "chains". For the finishing, I used a pink yarn to make single crochet (US) stitches so the brim will tighten a little.

One little fault I find with Neve is that it's not very posable as the elbows and knees are not articulated. Sometimes she looks quite dead.

At least she's bald. Gasp! You didn't know? Yes, Neve is very, very bald. A bald doll is actually very desirable as you can change the look of the hair.

Neve looks better with her red wig on. I think her hair colour matches the beanie. (by accident)

Just love the way Neve glowers.

Linked: Skip to my lou, Sew Many Ways

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Payhip hip hurray

Hi guys,

Previously (here), I wrote about how I sell digital downloads on my blog. Honestly, I'm very happy with ejunkie. The price and service is great. But due to circumstances beyond my control, I've had to switch my blog ecommerce platform. I am now using Payhip.

For those of you interested in using Payhip to sell, I'll share a little of my experience. Firstly, Payhip is a "new kid on the block" in the digital publishing market. It launched in September 2012 and is based in UK. It targets indie authors enabling them to sell directly to their fans via social media or what evers. It's not like Etsy marketplace so you have to find your own traffic. If you like selling directly from your blog, facebook, twitter, instagram, this would suit you.

Signing up and uploading your stuff is very easy. The user interface is quite lovely. (compared to ejunkie, hahahaha) Payment accepted are Paypal and major credit cards. You set your own price and for every sale, Payhip gets paid 5%. You need to pay the transaction fees for Paypal payment processing as well.

You get paid immediately. (woo hoo!)
If your customer resides in a European Union country, Payhip takes care of VAT for you.
Customer can download immediately without having to wait for the email link. (The email will get sent as well)
Supports PDF stamping. 
Supports affiliates.
Supports coupon on a per item basis. 
Gets a landing page for your products. See mine here. (it takes a while to load)

Customer can only buy one item at a time. Payhip does not provide a shopping cart. It's just a "Buy Now" button.
Supports Kindle which is a con for me because I don't want this option but I can't remove it.
Does not support coupon applied to whole shop.

Overall, Payhip is a minimalist ecommerce platform. There isn't much customisation one can do. If your needs are simple and your items are not priced high, (5% commission - do your math) Payhip might suit you.

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Some good news for my customers who reside in a European Union country. VAT is applicable for digital downloads. :( The VAT rate is set by the individual EU country. As you know, VAT is a consumer tax which means the consumer pays for it. The good news is I am "absorbing" <cough, cough, choke> the VAT for you if you buy from my blog This means that I pay for the VAT out of my own pocket. (you're welcome, EU customers) You will pay the same price as all non-EU customers. (note that this arrangement of me absorbing VAT is subject to change e.g. i feel fed-up/pissed off, stop feeling generous in future)

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More good news those of you who haven't bought my patterns yet. I have created 10 coupons for each of my bag pattern. (if I have 100 patterns, i would have to create 100 coupons!) Each coupon is good for 25% discount and it is valid till 18th January 2015. There is no limit to the number of times you use the coupon. And yes, yes, EU customers can use the coupons as well.

To buy my pattern, either click on the image below or go to
Do read my FAQ before you buy.

coupon: PERFECT25
coupon: BOXY25
coupon: EASYCLUTCH25
coupon: EASYSLING25
coupon: IPHONE25
coupon: BOWTIE25
coupon: MESSENGER25
coupon: SEXY25
coupon: TREASURE25
coupon: GETUP25

To buy my pattern, either click on the image or go to

Monday, January 12, 2015

Eat to live

I'll admit it. I'm very fussy about food. For as long as I can remember, eating has always been a necessity. There wasn't much joy about it. When I see people enjoying food, I feel so envious. I'm a terrible cook so it's not like I could cook myself something delicious to eat everyday. Occasionally I find something I enjoy eating a lot and you know what I do right? I eat it to death until I get sick of it. That's really because there aren't many kinds of food I like to eat. Okay, mostly I lack self-control.

Last year, as if I purposely wanted to make my life even worse, me and hubs decided to stop eating 4-legged animals and poultry. Yeah, sure we carried on eating seafood but even then, our mealtimes were very, very sad affairs. We eat out a lot and as we discovered, having a restricted diet is hell. Our options became very limited. Still we stuck it out. And we would have carried sticking it out. But end of last year, I became a little depressed and when I was struggling to get myself out of the darkness, I decided to go back to eating meat. I thought that having one less struggle in my life would be a wise thing. I'm still not eating red meat as I don't like them. But chicken, here I come! I thought hubs would soldier on bravely but he decided to "join me" in my meat route. Bastard!

Quite honestly, I feel a little ashamed and sad even, to go back to meat. I really thought we could eventually go vegetarian.

This year I wanted to try a little harder to find different kinds of food to eat. For starters, I've stopped buying Thai rice. Most of you probably know I'm Chinese. And it's true what they say about Chinese. We can't live without rice. Yes, we eat rice every day. For as long as I can remember, my mother has always bought a certain kind of rice from Thailand. She is quite particular about the kind of rice she buys. For many years, I would buy the same kind of rice and it never gave me any problems. But for the past decade, I had switched to a blend of white and brown rice and the only kinds sold where I live are a NTUC in-house brand. It's not expensive and we ate these rice for so long without issues. Late last year, I discovered MILLIONS of weevils in my bag of rice. I had only bought it for 2 weeks and used only two cups of rice. So not too old right? The MILLIONS of weevils sent all my hair standing on ends and I couldn't buy or eat rice for a while. So what to do? I looked at the other rice available for sale and discovered a new kind of rice.


This brown rice from Australia is amazing - not too hard and not too soft. Just perfect. It's very different from Thai rice in texture. It's also not expensive so this family can carry on cooking and eating rice at home. I just hope it doesn't sprout weevils.

This is another amazing rice I have discovered - short grained Japanese rice from Yonehachi restaurant. This is inspiring me to cook my own Japanese rice!!!

This is Thai rice from Nara Thai restaurant. I wonder how the colouring is done. I find it interesting how adding a little cashew nut enhances the taste of the rice.

This year is going to be the year I lose weight. Ha ha. Seriously, I am on a "less carbo" diet. And do you know how much I LOVE, LOVE carbo? I absolutely have to eat bread. Every. Single. Day. Plus the Chinese thing of eating rice. Every. Single. Day. How to cut carbo, right? Well, firstly, I will eat half a tiny bowl of rice instead of one bowl. I will eat one slice of bread instead of two. I will not eat cake. Man.... I'm already starving just typing this down. I will also cut down on my intake of instant noodles. These delicious ramen (tom yam flavour) is seriously my downfall. To counter my craving for noodles, I have switched to buckwheat noodles. Are they less fattening? I don't really know. But I know I won't eat buckets of buckwheat noodles.

The first time I bought buckwheat noodles, I paid a fortune for them as the mountain tortoise that I am, I bought from Isetan supermarket. I probably overpaid 1000%. Anyway, I have since found a shop at Central Mall which sells nothing but imported Japanese foodstuff and the buckwheat noodles are really cheap.

This is soba sauce which goes with the buckwheat noodles. You add water to the soba sauce otherwise it's too salty. Honestly, it's just soy sauce. And I bought it from Isetan supermarket as well, overpaying by 1000%. The shop at Central Mall also sells soba sauce, at a fraction of the Isetan price.

This is how you eat it. Just pour the cooked noodles in the soba sauce. I have discovered that cold buckwheat noodles is the bomb.

Late last year, I discovered that I really like salsa sauce. I've never paid attention to such sauce which hubs buys for eating with chips and his carrot slices. One day, I added the chunky salsa hot sauce to my pasta and BAM! I got hooked.

Another sauce I discovered late last year as well is Jamie Oliver's chilli and garlic pesto. I have never tasted pesto before. It has never occurred to me to try pesto. Let's just say pesto is not in my vocabulary. One day we were at Cold Storage supermarket and the pesto sauce looked so inviting that I bought it to try thinking it'll be one of those meh moments. I was so wrong! Pesto has opened up my taste buds. Suddenly I'm tasting flavours and bingbangboom stuff. How on earth did I go through life never tasting pesto? Pesto is the besto!

I think 2015 is going to be such an exciting year for me, foodwise. Already I've been eating and tasting different stuff. Why, today I even ate Hainanese chicken rice for lunch! It's steamed chicken which I would previously never eat even if you paid me and I enjoyed it so much my brains screamed!

And what's your food diet for 2015?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Mystery of Multiple Opening of Firefox Windows

Dear folks,

It's only Week 1 of 2015 and since Monday I have been slowly going insane. I use Firefox browser and on Monday, it started going mad. There were two problems. The first one. Typing any url on the address bar doesn't work. I couldn't navigate to any site at all. When I typed in a search on Google, the behaviour of the search history was weird. I tried using the search function on my computer data and the same weird behaviour. The second problem. Multiple copies of my Firefox kept opening by itself. Non-stop. I couldn't close them fast enough.

I tried every other web browser I have - Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, Chrome. All of them gave the same problem.

The first thing that came to mind was I have a virus. Fortunately, I have another pc I can use. I downloaded a few virus scanner - Anti-malware, adwcleaner, Junkware removal tool and a rootkit removal utility. I ran these programs. Yep - lots of so-called virus on my pc. But I couldn't see any real malicious virus. Just lots of cookies. Running the scan took ages. After I had done all the scanning, I would re-install Firefox to test. I did this over and over again, each time doing more - even going down to opening Firefox in safe mode, disabling all the add-ons, going to the registry to manually remove unnecessary files, running a few of the virus scanning in safe mode. I also tried restoring the pc to a previous timestamp. Each restoration took a long, long time. Each time it looked hopeful but during the reboot I would be informed it was unsuccessful as well. And I tried this experiment a few times, thinking a different timestamp would yield a success.

Nothing worked. No matter what I did, the thousands of Firefox windows kept opening. And opening.

On Wednesday, I told hubs I was giving up. It was too depressing and stressful. I was very reluctant to give up my computer because it has Windows 7 and my other pc uses Windows 8 which I dislike tremendously. Also, all my programs are installed on this computer. On Wednesday night, before I went to sleep, I decided to do one last thing. I re-indexed all the files on my computer. I thought that might help with problem one - which is the search function was off. Indexing took a very long time so I left the computer running and went to sleep.

This morning, I tried the seach function on my computer and it worked! I could search properly again. I wanted to wake hubs but thought I had better re-install Firefox to see  if it worked. And it did. I was able to type in a url and navigate to the correct site. I was so happy I wanted to scream and shout. And then it happened. The hundreds of Firefox windows started popping up. Like crazy. I tried to close them all but they kept coming at top speed. It was so frightening. I was so desperate that I removed the battery in my wireless keyboard. To my amazement, the Firefox windows stopped popping up.

So the problem was in the freaking keyboard. I had previously told hubs this was a possiblity but we forgot to buy a new keyboard to test it out. My god. We could have saved ourselves so much headache. Today we bought a new non-wireless keyboard (play safe) and yep, the Firefox windows no longer pop up mindlessly. I can stop feeling so tensed now. And maybe get on with some real work like write a bag pattern.

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It's gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshine' day.
It's gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshine' day.
- Johnny Nash

Friday, January 2, 2015

Farewell 2014

Hello 2015,

Guys, what were your thoughts on the last days of 2014?

Are you sad to leave 2014? I'm very happy to leave 2014 behind. It's not that 2014 was not a good year for me. It was so-so. Just that I wanted to fast forward to early 2016. See, 2015 will be a difficult year. Both my kids are sitting for GCE 'O' and GCE 'A' levels end of this year. I expect lots of stress, tension, shouting and crying. (all me) So I kinda want to avoid all that and zip forward. Unfortunately, real life can't be fast forward. So 2015 has to be lived, month by month, week by week, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second and moment by moment.

The year ended with a cold spell in Singapore. You might know it's hardly ever really cold here except in an air-conditioned room. How cold was it? It was so cold my teeth chattered when I washed my face. I took the liberty of not showering for 2 days! I promise to shower today.

It's been raining since September. I kept wondering, will it ever stop raining? Well, today the sun shone a little in the morning but the sky grew cloudy again. And it barely rained. Just a little drizzle. I think that's a good sign.

I didn't accomplish much creatively in 2014.

Bags and pouches
I didn't make many bags.
 What? I made 5 brooches?

I made one embroidered wall hanging. What's the right term for something like this?

Bag Pattern
I released one bag pattern.

Free Tutorials
I wrote a few backbreaking free tutes. HERE. When I write a tute, I don't always know the impact on anyone. I hope enough people will find them useful. So I appreciate those who have written in to let me know it did.

2014 was the year of the dolls.
 The Pullips.

The Dals.

The Hujoo.

I've got a few (ahem) more dolls I've yet to show you guys.

I learned to use a DSLR. I still have much to learn. I don't have the knack for photography but it's a skill I need for my blog and my patterns.

I got better at Illustrator and Indesign. I just want to know enough to get my stuff done.

Medical Fees
We spent a bomb on doctors. Me, my girl and my son. I don't think hubs saw any doctors in 2014.

I ran very little and finally got my act together and attended a twice weekly exercise class. It's not enough. Hubs and I finally got to run together twice in organized runs.

I gained more weight. wtf!

I wasn't a regular blogger. I came and went as I pleased. My blog traffic fell. 2012 was the year I peaked. Kinda sad. But there's still enough traffic to get me motivated.

Social Media
In real life, I'm not a social person. I stay home most of the time and hardly speak to any human outside my family. On social media, I have the same real life awkwardness. So you won't see me engaging much. Still, social media goes hand in hand with a blog, imho. So once in a while, I emerge from my shell to post something.

Having said that, I don't have much hope for my Facebook page. I don't pay FB money to boost my posts so hardly anyone get to see my posts. I do cross post on my google+ so if you want to google friend me, it's here.

I'm fairly active on Instagram. I use it as a personal account and not so much biz. So if you want to know what I ate today, I am projectsbyjane.

I'm trying to use Twitter more. So if you want to find me, it's projectsbyjane. Is it too late to learn to use Twitter?

I'm also on Ello but I don't know how to use Ello. Might give it up soon.

So that was my year in 2014. And how was 2014 for you?
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