Friday, December 28, 2012

My 2012

1. Daniel started formal schooling.
2. I flew to Bangkok SOLO and had the BEST shopping trip EVER. Just me and my colleague friend scouring for good deals at the best markets. Chatuchak, Asiatique, Siam Square, Central World, Platinum Mall and Jim Thompson wholesale from a Friday afternoon to a Sunday afternoon. And I even had time to take a dip at the hotel pool. It was relaxing, fun and fruitful. As I said, the BEST trip of my life.
3. My husband's only sister (younger) got hitched.
4. I lost my iPhone 4S :(
5. Revamped my craft corner and made lots of love adorable projects and pretty things there.

It's been a wonderful and blessed year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Morning and TOYS Overload

I woke up on the beautiful Christmas morning to find Daniel fixing up his little brother's supermarket trolley toy. Ahh... heartwarming.

OK, now I have a gift guide for 7 year old boys. Robot, remote helicopter and web-spinning Spidey figurine. I also have a gift guide for 2-plus year old boys; supermarket trolley, PlayDough pack, and Duplo (baby Lego).

Also, I came across a very useful post on the wrong toys we buy for our kids and tips on how to avoid them, taken from here.

These are the questions you ask before buying a toy:

1. Is it a passive toy?: Can you actually play with it or do you mostly watch it?

2. Is it Age Appropriate? Is it too young for your child or will they outgrow it very quickly? Or, is it too old for your child and you will either be storing it away until it's a good fit or your child will insist on using it and become frustrated every time. [The City Car I'm discussing might earn a point or two if my son were old enough to assemble it himself.]

3. Does It Require Assembly Each Time It's Used? This is an especially important consideration if your child doesn't have a dedicated play space like a play room or basement or other out of the way spot where a toy can stay for a long time. While there is novelty value to a toy that only comes out once in a while, in general, a toy that requires lengthy assembly and takes up considerable floorspace is not going to be played with often.

4. How Much Room Will It Take Up in Your Home? This relates to the question above about assembly and is particularly important if you live in a small home. It's just one of the realities of small space living - the size of a toy matters. We are currently in negotiations with my son over a large toy garage that he almost never uses - until we mention trading it in for something new (and smaller!) and then it gets an immediate flurry of use as he insists he loves it.

5. Is it Cheaply Made? I'm all for affordable toys and am a bargain hunter at heart, but there's a difference between something being inexpensive and being cheaply made. An inexpensive toy is not a good value if it's going to fall apart while your child is still enjoying it or before it can be handed down to someone else.

6. How much Play Power Does it Have? I wrote about this concept last year (attributed to Richard Gottlieb). The gist of it is this formula: Play Power (PP) = Joy + Durability / Cost. Put another way, the most fun for the least cost. Generally, classic toys like balls and blocks fall into this category. They are used for a long time because they are well made and span several age groups.

There is also an important factor, which is creativity. Can the toy be made into different things based on the child's imagination? Lego is a very good example. Role-playing toys are also fun and encourages imagination, like dress-up costumes, props, figurines, kitchen cooking set, doctor's play set and the always popular Police set.

Frankly, no matter how old we are, there is something about walking into a toy shop and feeling a little smiley.

ps. missing him
"Santa won't you bring me the one I really need? Won't you please bring my baby to me?" -Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You

Neon Pink

Neon is back! Well, apparently for some time already. But I recently started to adore it, especially with gold and mint.

These could be my happiest Christmas arrivals.

Confetti card stamped using rubber eraser refills.

Five Stones game beanies, one is hand drawn using neon pink fabric marker.

Etsy is a great place to find neon.

Neon Pink Dipped Triangle Earring Studs by BoutiqueMinimaliste

Studded pink neon genuine leather & gold double wrap bracelet with gold tassel by sewsephine

Neon Pink Charm Necklace - Vintage Locket - Oval Vintage Pendant by TheBloomingThread

Neon Pink Gold Dipped Scallops, Polymer Clay Necklace by AQuietCuriosity

Hand Printed Linen Cushion Cover - Neon Pink Polka Dot by hellomilky

Neon Pink Owl Tote Bag - Natural Linen Owl Tote Bag by LesMiniboux

I know it's weird to some of you, but it may grow on you!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Eraser rubber stamp

I bought a pack of those refillable white rubber eraser tubes for mechanical pencils. They make fun stamps. Gather some pretty colour inks and wa la!

End of the World?

Frankly, I am excited about tomorrow, whether or not the 21st December 2012 Doomsday will come true.

“How can the world end in 2012 if my peanut butter expires on 9 March 2013?”


I am excited about New Age's prediction that the date marks a positive spiritual transformation and the beginning of a new era. I really look forward to this. There's this realm I want more people to be in, and myself. I can't pinpoint what exactly it is, but it's definitely a higher level of spiritual state than we are at now. Maybe like a global spiritual evolution? I'm fascinated.

But what if it's the physical catastrophe like bad planetary cosmic clash or solar maximum, causing the world to shut down ie no electric, no solar power (that IS scary), and... OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG...


I have a confession. For the longest time, I had this wish that we all go back to basics. That somehow, the world can no longer support our greed and destruction, and we are forced to live a simple, primitive and communal life. Grow our food, barter trading, make our things, lots of DIYs, and lots of creativity.

This brings me to realize that not many of us possess the basic living skills and knowledge. You know, how to grow a variety of vegetables and fruits, how to hunt, how to distinguish between safe and lethal berries, how to fix our own home etc. And it'll the best time to own vintage mechanical machines like the typewriter, the sewing machine and letterpress. No matter what, modern people forced into primitive living will still enjoy pretty things won't they!

Now I wish I possess these skills.


And the best part... money doesn't matter anymore.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The Chinese Betrothal Ceremony or Guo Da Li

In the traditional Chinese Betrothal ceremony, like a pre-wedding ceremony, basically, the groom-to-be and his close family (could be parents or aunts/uncles) visits the bride-to-be's family home on an arranged auspicious date, gives her a set of things, and then the bride-to-be's family returns him a set of things, they offer prayers, the groom-to-be goes back to his family home and perform prayers too. During this time, the bride-to-be's family also lavish her with the traditional bridal gifts. It's like Christmas gift exchange I tell ya.

As the eldest sister-in-law (become Dai Sou no joke), I had the honour to put together these for her, as my mother-in-law is no longer around anymore. She would've been the happiest mother to see her only daughter get married.

The BABY set. Bathtub, basin, scoop mug, and potty. Also, new red umbrella (preferably with lace hehehe), and a sewing basket.

Part of the potty contents (from left to right): Dried red dates WITH seeds(Hong Tzao), bai he (dried lily bulb), lian zi ( lotus seeds) and dried longan (must be in shelled form). You can easily buy these from the Chinese Medical Shops. I stuck double-happiness stickers on each of the packets. So handsome.

The potty content: Those packets of foursome dried condiments , I now call them The Potty F4, along with two oranges and a red packet containing some money (RM10 for the little boy who has to pee in it). The potty is covered back with red paper. On the actual wedding day, a little boy (nephew or cousin of the groom) will have to punch through the paper, retrieve the red packet, and then pee into the potty, after emptying the contents of course. This is to ensure that the couple will be blessed with children who can be easily potty-trained. Kidding folks, kidding...

In the sewing basket: A pair of scissors, pin cushion, thread and needle set (thread spools must come in even numbers). I also included a mirror and a comb, just for fun.

I gotta show you these adorable towel set for the couple! These are from Aussino.
You may also give bedding set (red the better), two pairs of bedroom slippers (traditionally, the couple is given wooden clogs), a pair of red marital/wedding lamps to be placed on each side of the couple's bed. Alternatively you can get two ordinary bedside lamps and stick the double-happiness stickers on them.

Tea set. For the tea ceremony.

A couple of dessert bowls, with matching saucers, chopsticks and spoon.

The cakes to be distributed to family and friends from both sides of family. It is basically pastry filled with bean paste or lotus paste, almost like mooncake.

The gifts from groom-to-be. Roast pork (yumz), the betrothal basket containing oranges (in even numbers), the F4 condiments like above, and dowry. In Chinese traditions, everything involves money.

Also part of the gift from groom-to-be: Two bottles of liquor/wine, two red long cloths (to be hung above the main door), two sets of dragon&phoenix candles.

These are placed on the prayer table outside of the house, at the porch.

Praying to my late mother-in-law. The cakes are also offered at the altar.

The bride-to-be's family then returns the groom-to-be some items from the gifts:
One set of the dragon&phoenix candles, one red long cloth, oranges (in even numbers), two bottles of orange juice (don't get those carbonated ones like F&N because in Cantonese it means 'hei' and it's not good, so I got Twister), and part of the dowry. Now, the dowry is always the trickiest part. The groom's family can give RM1888, or RM8888, or even RM88,888, anything in between. This is always the hottest topic among the aunts and coffeeshop kakis but frankly, it doesn't matter. Like I said, it is just a token.

Sorry, there weren't anymore pictures beyond this because the roast pork had me at hello.

Oh, and the groom-to-be and his entourage goes back to his home and offer prayers as well. The end!

The baby set, umbrella, mirror, thread and needle set, pin cushion are from Bliss Marriage.
17 Jalan Indah 16/12 Taman Bukit Indah 81200 Johor Bahru Malaysia
The ladyboss was very helpful! She actually sat down with me and taught me all the traditions and items needed for Guo Da Li and the actual wedding day.

Bath towel set from Aussino, Plaza Singapura, Singapore.

Sewing basket from some random home appliance shop in Kluang.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Would You?

Go down this motherflippin slide of head-exploding death? I have a heart attack just by looking at it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to Make And Play The Five Stones Game

Well, they are not really stones, but cute and soft little bean-filled bags. Back in school, we call it Batu Seremban. This is a traditional childhood game we girls used to play everyday during pre-assembly and recess. One could get rather obsessive and addicted to it. Now, kids could only feel the same way about iPads.

So, I wanted to bring it back. Hopefully Daniel will enjoy it!

What you need:
1. Five pieces of fabric cut into rectangles, measuring 8cm x 4cm.
2. Something to fill it up with. I use polypellets bought from Spotlight. You can use green beans. Or even small beads from old unused bead jewelry. Some use rice but I think after some years, they seem like they are leaking ricey powder.
3. Needle and thread.

What you do:
Fold the fabric pieces in half with the right side facing each other like this, and stitch the sides.

Turn them inside out.

Fold a hem inwards.

Fill up the fabric sacs with polypellets or beans or small beads.

Slip-stitch the opening. Or just stitch it up your way :)

Cute beanies!

How to play:
Traditionally, the first move (sometimes called the jockey) is to hold the five stones in your palm, toss them in the air, catch them on the back of your hand, then flip them up and catch them in your palm. If this is a little too hard to master, just skip it and get on with the rest of the game, which is played as follows. (Note: All the moves are done with one hand.)
Step 1: Toss all five stones(1,2,3,4,5) on the ground. Pick Stone 1 up. Toss it in the air, and while it is still mid-air, pick or sweep up Stone 2 and catch Stone 1 before it falls to the ground. Do this for each of the remaining Stones 3,4 and 5.
Step 2: Repeat step 1 but pick up two stones at a time.

Step 3: Repeat step 1 but pick up a combination of three stones and one.

Step 4: Repeat step 1 but pick up all four stones.
Step 5: With all 5 stones still in your palm, toss one up and quickly place the remaining four on the ground, and then catching the falling stone. After catching it successfully, toss it up again and pick up the four stones on the ground.
Step 6: Toss all five stones on the ground. Pick any two stones. Toss one in the air and exchange the other with one on the ground. Do the same with the remaining stones on the ground.
Use only one hand! At the end of this step, you will have two stones in your hand.

Step 7: Toss the two stones held at the end of Step 6. Pick up one stone from the ground and then catch the two falling stones separately in each hand. Do this until there is three stones in one hand and two in the other. Throw the two stones and catch it separately. Throw the remaining stone and catch it with the hand that has all the stones.

Step 8: Toss all five stones on the ground. Your opponent then selects a stone to be thrown in the air. The player has to pick this stone without moving any others. The player throws the stone in the air and picks the remaining on the ground in one clean sweep.

If at any point of time the player fails to complete this set of eight steps, he/she will have to forfeit his turn to his opponent. Upon his opponent's failure to complete, he will return to the incomplete step, starting from the very beginning of that step.

Note: There might be several variations of the steps but it’s ok! Just play it as you deem comfortable. You may visit the youtube link below for an example of a visual demonstration.

Monday, November 19, 2012

How to Make A Simple Bow Tie

I think bow ties are coming back. Remember Abdul Kadir, Mr Bow Tie? You will know if you have read enough Lat comics. He was the only minister who dared to wear patterned and colourful ones. Onz la Dato!

Now, patterned bow ties are like fashion statements. Like a cool geeky accessory. I have not seen any nice ones in JB, so what does a crafter with a nifty sewing machine do? Make some!

What you need:
1. Two pieces of fabric measuring 3.5 inches by 5 inches.
2. One piece of fabric measuring 4cm by 9cm. I just couldn't fit it in inches. Sorry for the unit inconsistency. Crafters are liddat.
3. Cotton twill ribbon/tape.
4. Small metal buttons.
5. Fray glue. Optional.

What you do:

Place the two big pieces of fabric together, with the right sides facing each other. Sew around the edge and leave a 4cm gap in the middle. For the smaller piece, fold it in half (long side) and sew one side.

Turn them inside out. It's easy for the bigger piece, but not so for the smaller, thinner one. Use a forcep or tweezer if you must. And have lots of patience.

TIP: If the fabric you're using is thick, turning it inside out will be impossible. Do this instead. Then fold it in half (long side) and do the slip-stitch.

The slip stitch is awesome because it is hidden. It is as if you turned the piece inside out.

Use slip stitch to close up the gap in the big piece.

This is the turned-inside-out pieces. Iron them.

Take the small piece and fold it in half. Sew an inch away from folded side.

Again, turn it inside out so that the extra bits are towards the inside. It looks like a thick ring doesn't it.

Next, pleat the center of the bow tie piece like this.

Fold it the same way to one side so that you can squeeze in the center ring. If it can't fit, you can thread in a corner of the bow piece first. OR make a bigger center ring.

You will need to do some adjusting so that the pleats are nice, even and centered.

Next, slip in the cotton twill ribbon behind the bow. The length of the ribbon is measured first beforehand. You can do this my measuring around the neck, and give an extra of 1.5 inch to fit around a shirt collar.

Use fray-stop glue to seal the edge. If you don't have the glue, use any strong glue will do, my favourite is UHU. And then sew the little silver snap buttons on at the ends.

Make different ones!