Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Great Craft Exchange

Hey folks,

I don't know if you're aware - I'll be attending The Great Craft Exchange at Marinate this Saturday as a vendor. (It's in Singapore. Apologies to international readers!) This event is organised by Momshoo. The idea for this event is to destash craft supplies. It is open to public and if you're interested to attend as a shopper, you can read about it here. I'll be sharing a table or floor space(whichever is assigned to us) with Corinna.

Date: 17 March 2017, Saturday, 3pm to 5pm
Venue: 6 Ubi Road 1 Wintech Centre #05-13 S408726

As you know, I no longer do craft markets. Between 2009 to 2013, I bought or was gifted a fair amount of craft supplies. Since I can't take them to my grave, I've decided to either sell or give them away this Saturday. I'm not bringing a ginormous amount of craft supplies because space is limited. Also, I've discovered I can't part with many of my craft supplies!

Anyway, I thought I'll post photos of some of the items I'll be bringing. I apologise for not editing the photos, all taken with my phone as my hand-held Dyson vacuum cleaner injured my wrist and I'm limiting the usage of my right hand to allow it to heal.

p.s. I won't tell you which items are free. I'll let you guess.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

What February Made

Hey folks,

I know it's March but I've yet to do my February Makes round-up. February was such a big month for me. There were highs and super lows. What a month. I feel I'm still catching my breath! I didn't manage to do my #yearofmaking2018 every day. I think I skipped 6 days in total. It's not bad actually. Try it and you'll know. Life gets in the way.

Firstly, at the start of February, I decided to stop taking my medication to prevent headaches. (fyi it's not paracetamol) I had been taking one (or two if bad) every night since April last year. It helped a lot and I didn't have as many headaches. It made my life so much more bearable. But I paid dearly for it. One side effect of the pill is my appetite is ginormous. I just eat and eat. I'm not someone with much self control in the first place so you can imagine the amount of weight I put on. Getting fat plus growing old is such a bad combination, I just couldn't go on like this. So I made the decision to stop the meds. (I mean, I could stop aging, right?) Don't worry. I have spoken to my doc before about stopping the meds and he's pretty okay with it. He does think exercising diligently is the way to go instead of depending on medication. So cold turkey it is. (doc's idea) Anyway, the headaches and other numerous chronic pain came back real fast. I hadn't realised that the pill had reduced my chronic pain as well. It was so, so horrifying to relive all kinds of pain at once.

I decided I had better come up with an exercise routine everyday that I could tolerate and maintain. So hubs and I walked up the stairs from my 3rd floor to the top floor (16th) nearly every day. Twice. When we reached the top, we took the lift down and walked up again. The first week, my headaches were crazy after the walks. I lay in bed for hours to recover. I never caved in though and now they come once in a while. It's a huge improvement for me! Hubs who has a cruel streak suggested I do the steps, two at a time. And I listened to him! It's a lot harder but I managed to do it. (Jiufen, I'm coming for you!!! <shake fist>)

Other than the stairs, I only jogged 3 times and swam once. I'm supposed to swim at least once a week. I'm just so lazy and not motivated enough. Really need to do better in March. One thing I am quite consistent with is my walks. I made sure I clocked a minimum of 5000 steps a day but I usually exceed. I should aim for 8,000 steps a day in March. Sadly, despite all these little bits of exercises, my weight barely dropped. I guess some bad eating habits haven't been dropped yet. (they haven't)

So back to my makes. I wanted to make hearts because you know, Valentine's Day etc. I used dpn for the first time! It's so hard. I can handle dpn when there are many stitches to go round. But when it's just two stitches on each needle, my brain says whatthe%$#@@. I tried Bethany's heart and kept doing it upside down because my brain went on sick leave. A friend (who has knitted since she was an infant) said for dpn, you can change the number of needles and distribute the stitches evenly. So I decided 2 dpn was all I can handle and I tried Bethany's heart again and the stars aligned and I managed to knit a heartish looking heart. Obviously I made a lot of mistakes but it's a heart. Then I tried again and for some reason my heart (the red one) ended up looking like something a cat spat out. So I decided to make myself feel better and crocheted a heart. Crochet is so much easier for me.

Remember my lace scarf I started in January? It's still nowhere near finished. I must confess that I've lost it. It's somewhere in my home. I did some spring cleaning for Chinese New Year and I put it in a safe place. Too safe because I can't remember where it is.

Speaking of Chinese New Year, Liu Wen, a China born model wished her followers on Instagram "Happy Lunar New Year" and was criticized for it. Hubs and I talked about it and it seems in Singapore it is acceptable to say Lunar New Year. In fact there was a time in the past when Lunar New Year was trendy. But nowadays, people have reverted to Chinese New Year. To me, Chinese New Year is more accurate but I don't get offended if someone says "Happy Lunar New Year" to me. It's all good. When we go visiting, we usually say "Happy New Year". We omit the word "Chinese" because we know it's Chinese New Year.

In Singapore we have this Chinese New Year "tradition" of tossing the salad for good fortune and you need to toss it as high as possible. Of course there will be idiots who toss the salad roughly and it lands on the table. I read a report that this tradition is criticized for wasting food. What do you think? Fyi, we eat the salad afterwards. I personally don't care for this "tradition". My mil is quite creative with the salad varying it slightly each year but she always makes waaay too much salad and God help those who have to eat the leftovers.
On the first day of Chinese New Year, I wore a Ripcurl shirt cum tablecloth matched with a h&m skirt. This year was super hard to find clothes because of the weight gain and I was hoping no one will be so rude as to point out my increase in body fat. No such luck! My aunt-in-law informed me that I was really fat. She used her arms to indicate how fat - like the size of 2 rhinos. And just in case I wasn't convinced I had gotten that fat, she told me I am now waaaay waaaay larger than hubs. Now that really offended me. I told her she was so wrong but she insisted she was right. I'll admit at one point I was so angry I wanted to strangle her to death, right there in the train in front of many witnesses. But this Year of the %$##% Dog, I decided to be less angry and more forgiving. So instead of strangling her, I plotted in my head to spit in her water. (I didn't) There! I feel better already. When I visited my mother where my extended family had gathered, not a single person dared to mention the word "fat". That is until one of my sisters looked me directly in the face and exclaimed, wah, why soooo fat. Sigh. Breathe in. Breathe out. Year of the %$##% Dog. I don't have any chance of spitting in her water so I decided to let it go. Chinese relatives are the worst, right?

I did a lot of embroidery in February and for the Year of the Dog, I sewed seed stitches. Not particularly well done but I was in a hurry. I think I'll draw up the dog again in Illustrator, export it to a pdf and send it out in my next newsletter. So wait for it. Just have to find the time...

I started a heart collage but I feel so unmotivated to finish it.

This is where I'm at now and I feel everything is so forced. Anyway, I'll put it in the wip pile together with the missing lace scarf. One day when I feel it's complete, I'll talk to you about the techniques used in the collage and interpret for you the various segments.

What else? I made a little Chun tute.

And I made a running stitch Treasure Pouch. I can't bear to use it yet!

Lastly, I don't quite understand why, but I started a running stitch sampler. Tell you something funny. I drew lines on the fabric to see if the guidelines will make my stitches more even. I usually don't use any guidelines for running stitch. I used a newly bought water soluble pen and after I had finished stitching, I tried to wash off the markings. I scrubbed and scrubbed but you could still see faint marks on the fabric. I was so pissed. I swore and cursed at the manufacturer of the pen and in the middle of my rant, I realised I had used frixion pen instead of the water soluble pen! I'm an idiot.

I told you February was a big month, right? Well, the GCE 'A' levels results were finally out. My daughter, despite her epic pessimism did well enough to enter University. This idiot prepared me so well for her imminent failure that I had already done some research on how to retake her A levels. It's not cheap and I wasn't looking forward to another year of having to convince her to take lessons from a private tutor. What a relief! I think I strutted around for two days. Her results helped to make up for 2016. In 2016, we had gone to our son's school to get his A levels results and although we had felt it coming, known it coming, our hopes were crushed. Devastated. My boy who throughout his primary and in early years at secondary school, did well academically lost his desire to study from the age of 16 to 18. He did not do well in his A levels. He had very, very slim chance of getting into University and in the end, his application was rejected. I still remember the feeling of crushing defeat. Hubs was very affected because he believed. I was more prepared for the bad results and rejection by the U but still, it's like a bad report on our parenting. Fortunately, I had enrolled him in a polytechnic... You know the cliche saying "when one door closes...". It's true. The hard part is knowing which door to open. I think we got "lucky". Now I believe he's got back some self-motivation. He hasn't graduated yet so we still have to keep an eye on him... When will parenting end? Don't say never.

Uh, this post is not over yet? Well, February decided to end with a bang. I think the Universe is screwing with me. On the last day of Feb, my daughter was with her friends on the train when she blacked out momentarily, fell and hit her head. I ended up taking her to the hospital, did many tests which thankfully came out normal and was told what happened to her was a random thing. She spent a total of 24hrs at the Emergency ward and I spent an eternity in the waiting room. (the chairs are horrid) We haven't received the final bill. I'm hoping the insurance will cover everything. I'm just glad my daughter is fine now. It would be too cruel otherwise.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018



Fyi, the year of the rooster is almost ending. So fast, right? The Year of the Dog will begin on Feb 16 and end on Feb 4 2019. You know what that means? Most Chinese locals are busy spring cleaning, buying and baking festive food in preparation for Chinese New Year. Well, I really wanted to skip the spring cleaning myself but in the end I decided to do "a bit" of vacuuming and tidying today. The bloody dust will return in a week's time anyway!

Usually my home is devoid of any Chinese New Year decorations or goodies. I can't remember why but that's the way it has always been. (maybe rebel without a cause?) This year however, I became interested in making my own "Chun" paper cutting. My friend, SK showed me how it's done and it's so easy. In case you don't have a single Chinese friend to explain "Chun" to you and you don't know how to google, it means Spring. In China, Spring Festival marks the start of the new year. In Singapore of course we do not have Spring but it doesn't matter. The "Chun" character is hung or pasted everywhere in malls and homes. Some people go to the extent of putting the "Chun" character upside down but let's not go there.

So I took the liberty of creating 2 versions of "Chun" using Illustrator. I've uploaded them to my google drive so you can download and make your own "Chun" paper art.

By the way, this is how "Chun" is written. It's pronounced "Choon" like in moon.

The straight edges version. Download chun v 1.

The curvy version. Download chun v 2.

I assume everyone on earth knows how paper cutting works but just in case, here's what you do. First you print on A4 or letter size paper. Print at 100% or Actual Size. Fold paper on the dotted line, staple outside the lines and cut exactly on the lines. You can print the template directly on coloured or fancy paper provided it's A4 or letter size. Just REMEMBER to print on the WRONG side of the coloured/fancy paper because remember I have a dotted line which will be visible after cutting.

You can also trace the whole template off a nice scrapbooking paper and cut with scissors or if you aren't scared of craft knives like me, use it.

So here's mine. The left one's cut off a scrapbooking paper and the right one I printed on a piece of well, red paper. I've pasted mine on the wall. You can mount them on a art board or something but it's not necessary.

You can also create an applique. If you don't know how to create one, check out my applique tutes. I traced the template onto the fusible paper (in half) and stapled outside the lines. The stapling is really important to prevent your fabric from shifting.

After the shape has been cut, I bonded the applique to a background fabric and sewed running stitches all around. For the applique, I used  leftover fabric (a momo print) from my craft market days. I had left the fabric in the water for too long and the red had bled into the white. For Chinese New Year or just being Chinese in general, red is lucky so win-win. Looking at the applique now, I wished I had been smarter in my fussy cutting and not have so much red at the bottom right as my background fabric is also red. (a leftover Ikea fabric) Are you impressed I can remember my fabric's names?

I've pasted my "Chun" applique to the wall using masking tape. Please feel free to use other less clumsy methods.

My daughter likes the first one. My son prefers the second one because he says it looks like calligraphy. I didn't ask them what they think of the applique because you know, it's sewing and I can guess their answer.

Okay, I think my home is ready for the Year of the Dog. Bring it on.
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