Saturday, December 25, 2010

bundling up :: year's end

bundling up

bundled up

dishcloth and paper tags

Lastly I bought some jars of homemade organic jam (from Mei; Oma Anna) which I stored in the freezer and whenever I plan to visit a family who's celebrating Christmas, I'd bundle it up along with the tea leaves and biscuits with two new dishcloth before I step out of home.

This ought to be my last post of the year.

I wish everyone a wonderful festive year end.

If you have had been following my crafted work I'd put up here in this blog, read my thoughts I'd let on and even encouraged me with your precious words you'd left me here, you need to know I'm very thankful, with all my heart. Thank you. so much.

Happy new year, 2011.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

filling the jars :: chocolate chip biscuits

jars of biscuits

jars of biscuits

Filling the rest of the empty glass jars with freshly baked chocolate chip biscuits.
Paper illustrations printed with credits to Camilla Engman.

Monday, December 20, 2010

filling the jars :: tea leaves

tea leaves

tea leaves

tea leaves

My plan this time round for giving relatives who celebrate Christmas: a simple bundle of foodstuff put together to each family. I like the idea of giving food, it's meaningful and very practical. Almost similar to what my parents would do with their siblings near the celebration of lunar new year/mid-autumn when they would purchase and exchange yummy goodies for each household. I like that tradition.

My collection of glass jars are taking up the kitchen cabinet space. I decided to use them as packaging. (If you find removing the paper labels on the jars a chore, I find soaking them in water and a bit of dish detergent overnight helps, and of course, a mighty scrub as well.) A helpful handyman sprayed the metal lids with white paint. Then I bought some black tea leaves, filled some jars and cut and paste the labels on them.

Friday, December 17, 2010

swinging pouch

golf pouch

golf pouch

golf pouch

After hauling out the big bag of old clothing (for cutting into some to make the puppy purses) and not returning it into the cupboard where it came from and later on, Brian suggested I make a pouch for golf accessories for the course, I decided to continue digging into the stash for re purposing and make a pouch for myself. I added batting and a small piece of leftover lace and a ring I salvaged from somewhere.

I sewed three compartments for the golf balls, inexpensive plastic tees and markers. But judging from the current stage of my swing, I'll likely need a separate big bag for many golf balls.

Monday, December 13, 2010

in the print

apron in print

Xin told me my apron got featured on the cover page of 'the Sunday times' (national papers in Singapore), 'Lifestyle' section yesterday and she kindly scanned and forwarded me the image. How surreal. If I were to be in Singapore, I'd imagine myself holding and staring at the papers for a long long time and feeling ecstatic to the last bits.

::click here:: to read about the article on Xin and her shop, Doinky Doodles!.


and oh! I had Xin made me a golly doll.

Isn't he the cutest?

Do visit Doinky Doodles! brick and motar shop+studio if you're in the lion city. It's a place where I found myself smiling in the heart, and totally immersed in the enjoyment of the materialized creative works.

Friday, December 10, 2010

from the same litter

puppy purses

puppy purse

puppy purse

As I was searching for inspirations and looking back at my photo archive in my computer, I found the image of vintage animal purses which I'd loved many years back and still do.

Animal Purses pattern, year 1948.
Information of it ::here::
Sale of pattern ::here::

Aside from new zippers, thread and ribbons, I made my own version of the lined puppy purses, entirely out of fabric from the family's old clothing. The four purses which will be stuffed with chocolates/stationery are year end gifts for Kaeden's cousins.

Are you planning gifts already? 

Monday, December 06, 2010

a lanyard

lanyard cardholder

lanyard card/pass holder

blue suede string, store bought card holder,
small scrap fabric, rick rack, red bird kuti-kuti

a dear friend who works in a bank

Friday, December 03, 2010

F.D. theme:: ladder & fire hydrant props

ladder & hydrant props

Following my previous post, the above are the ladder and hydrant props; made of cardboard, glue, tape and florescent paint. The ladder made by yours truly and the hydrant, made by Daddy Brian.

Here are the photos of our "firefighter" Kaeden.

"firefighter" Kaeden

"firefighter" Kaeden

"firefighter" Kaeden

Oh, the hose? It's a plastic washing machine water outlet hose.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

F.D. theme:: a (mini) fire fighter's jacket

F.D. jacket

F.D. jacket (back)

F.D. jacket (front)

Kaeden has a little tykes ride n' rescue coupe for nearly a year. He recently told me he would like a "small small" ladder, hose and a fire hydrant as well, after his close observation of the little tykes' Fire Department logo sticker of those items on the coupe. He is into imaginary play now, which was interesting to watch and listen on my part. I told him getting him a ladder is out of question but I could make him a fireman jacket. He wants the jacket but he's adamant about the ladder.

A light bulb went over my head when Brian's purchase of a golf club bag came in a long big cardboard box a few days ago. Making a cardboard ladder is do-able, possibly a standing paper hydrant too. That will be my next project, now that the jacket is done.

The Chinese-style jacket's tutorial and pattern guidance is from this book. I was bent on making full use of whatever materials I have. I found a piece of dull burnt orange upholstery/drapery sort of fabric given to me (thanks Iris!). Not the best suited colour but it will do, the heavy weight material would give the jacket some form of structure. The orange reflective strip was bought from Daiso (Sg), something which Brian bought for cycling but didn't get to use and the patches (for elementary school Scouts and Brownies, I think) were bought in a market in town a long time ago.

The tiring part of this project is drafting the pattern. I had had lower backache for a whole day and night. I ought to stop working on the floor already. After cutting the fabric up, I must say the rest of the sewing is fun. I used shoelace for binding in the edge and serged up all the seams. Velcro for fastening and black felt for the lettering at the back. After three afternoons, I had the jacket made, a little on the big side so the fellow can grow into it. Considering the low cost of the materials, I felt very satisfied with it. 

I'll give the jacket a wash and post up photos of my little fire fighter wannabe later this week.

F.D. toy vehicles

(Kaeden's battered collection of the F.D. toy vehicles.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

giving thanks:: chocolate chip biscuits

give thanks: biscuits

chocolate chip biscuits

I baked a batch of heart shaped chocolate chip biscuits this morning, to bring to a thanksgiving party at the library later in the day. The basic recipe is ::here::, except chocolate chips are added instead of almonds. It was really quick and easy and definitely my go-to recipe now for biscuit making. I packed the biscuits in plastic containers which came with store bought cookies previously. I do feel good that they got to be re-used, justifying my hoarding of every empty plastic/tin/glass container that comes my way. Then I finished packing by gluing on handwritten and printed paper labels. The vintage circus characters are printed from ::here::.

Happy weekend.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


mended quilt


Mending:  a quilt (that I made many moons ago) which got shelved after the frequent usage the last time (before Kaeden knows what walking is about), the batting got wonky and threads came apart off the patchwork after a few washings. The quilt hasn't seen daylight since until yesterday, I realize the household needs a spare blanket. Everytime someone's blanket is being washed, a person has to go cold that night and it's always Brian. Poor sod. Before we go out and buy new bedding, I ought to give the quilt a chance for its usage again. After taking care of the patchwork parts, I took apart the batting and replaced it with a new vintage dull bed sheet for interfacing. The quilt now has a nice weight without the bulk. I'm pretty happy that it'll be useful again.

Monday, November 22, 2010

fabled envelopes

fable envelopes

fable envelopes

The nearest local bookstore near home doesn't carry that big of an envelope size range, hence I have had trouble getting hold of the right ones for my clover postcards, especially when I want to send some other small things along with them. So I got to making my own envelopes, using the pages from an old hand me down storybook. The short stories aren't that engaging and the pages are aged with yellow spots so I didn't feel too guilty tearing the book up. It could only yield 10 envelopes. I stuck white self adhesive labels on for address writing space.

to be in clover

clover keychains

clover keychains

clover postcards

This year end (I'm aiming early next month), I'll post out cards to friends, sending them greetings and wishes for the new 2011. It's something new for me to do. The cards I'll be sending shows a photo image I'd taken and they are printed into postcards at a local professional printing shop.

I'm also done with making 6 clover key chains, if you recall my resolution. Each of it will be sent together with a small set of blank clover cards to my few precious girl pals whom I'd kept in touch/met up with throughout this year.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


owl journal

You might recall seeing my finished *owl embroidery work, my original intention for it to be a calendar cover but I decided against it at the last minute. Hence I shelved it until today, I made it into a cover for a new ring bound journal book instead. An early made present for a family friend. (view more of it here and here.)

*owl embroidery pattern from this book I wrote about before.

Some other news:

+ If you know the dogs in my family, Mickey our first, isn't doing so well. He's been lying down a lot now, needing assistance to stand and limps, not eating much. He's a ravenous eater so that part makes me sad. He usually recovers from anything that afflicts him before. It's probably age, although he's not that old (9 years?). If we're in Singapore, there's no question of him seeing a vet, pronto. But not here. I'm sorry, I'd heard some horror stories, I'm just not confident of anyone who can help him out here. I'm feeling so weary about it.

+ We made the trip to the library yesterday and met a wonderful lady who had been very kind. Kaeden got a new hot wheeler and an orange ball. (Thanks Evi, if you're reading this!) I sort of regret not visiting the library in those earlier months. I did a search to check if there's any information about the library online and found Katie's blog. (She wrote a post about the library and her postings about her stay here struck many right chords in me, except upon self reflection, I'm less involved in the society here hence less experiences.) The exterior of the library looks like this.

If you are planning to be or already are in the town of Palembang for a long while, looking to know the English speaking community or just thinking of borrowing books (in English), I take the liberty to share the address here:

English Library
Jl. MP Mankunegara No. 100
Palembang 30114
ph/fax: (62)711 818 897

Do call to ask the opening hours+/directions, if it's going to be your first visit.
Closed on Mondays, Sundays and I believe, public holidays as well.

+ Happy wedding day, Brian. We'll go for that hamburger later.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hello Golly!

a page from R.Dahl's book

When I was re-reading Roald Dahl's autobiography titled 'Boy and Going Solo', I came upon the photo taken when he was very young, posing with his sisters and one of them, holding a little black doll. Because I've the spare time now, I decided to re-discover and dwell upon my sense of intrigue with Golliwoggs. The controversial character, because of the sensitive topics that would arise of it, could also be called Golly (once a trade mark and named by an English preserves company, Robertson's) by some. But I prefer to stick to the original name, given by the creator of a series of Golliwogg's stories, Florence Upton. I'd imagined that the existence of the doll has been around before the author and that part of its history, I hope to find out more.

a Golly doll postcard

My interest in Golliwogg leans towards its demeanor. I haven't read any of Florence's books yet but it was described at its best, a fun loving character with its quirks and shortcomings. Golliwogg is said to be teddy bear's best friend too. This is something else I plan to find out more on. The beauty of this male doll is that aside from his signature big hairdo and wide smile, there were so many renditions of it (clothing,  the types of smile, nose or without etc) and I'm excited about the future possibilities of it that artists could come up with.

'Collecting Golliwoggs:

Reading and then flipping many times through the book 'Collecting Golliwoggs: Teddy Bear's best friend' by Dee Hockenberry has helped opened my eyes to the dolls made and the memorabilia from the earlier times. When some dolls hadn't look that much appealing at my first glance, I paid attention to them later on, then began to appreciate the details and later on found myself realizing that 'Hey, this doll isn't that bad looking.' and saw that it's nice to look at after that, all in a matter of a few more glances and comprehending the details. A reflection I found pretty similar to my dealings with living beings.

I aim to make my own Golly doll, not wanting to hasten the process, preferring to research into it and slowly draft its pattern and source the materials. At this point, I won't launch into a collecting frenzy for finances (current and future) certainly don't allow that! But what I'd like to do, is to check the market out for related books/stories and in the future, approach artists for their handmade Golly versions. That would make the process of me acquainting with the special Golliwogg a meaningful one.

big smile!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

almond biscuits

almond biscuits in a jar

almond biscuits

almond biscuits

After the occasional flipping through pages of a book* given to me (thanks Amanda!) while searching for inspirations on entertaining my 2+ year old Kaeden, I had shelved the suggested activity of decorating biscuits in my mind for a later day. Perhaps we haven't had enough of those cookies. The day is today.

Despite the power trip, I lit up my gas oven with a match stick and get moving with the ingredients. I had a pack of almonds brought over from Singapore. Following the simple recipe in the book, I adjusted it a little by adding crushed almonds and a dash of vanilla.  I tried getting Kaeden to help me cut out the biscuits. He did a few and dashed off and occupied himself with other things. I won't give up on getting him interested in baking with me. Anyway, after the biscuits were baked, the house smelled like it was Chinese New Year for a while. It was really really nice.

I packed some of the biscuits fresh off the oven (after it's cooled a bit) into a small jam jar, covered with a piece of paper doily and brought it to visit a cousin who has a new baby in the family and returned home to glace some of the others from the biscuit batch with icing, topped with almonds.

* An Usborne Guide: Entertaining and Educating your preschool child
(I found its later paperback version, available from sellers in amazon.)

Almond biscuits recipe

125g butter
125g white sugar
250g plain flour
half tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
1 handful crushed almonds
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius.
Beat butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl, then add an egg and beat into the mixture. Sift in the flour and salt, and mix. Add into the mixture, the crushed almonds and vanilla essence. Mix to form a ball of dough. Roll out the dough and cut it into shapes. Put them on a greased tray and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

33 / thirty-three / 三 十 三

Brian's birthday

The evening before yesterday, Kaeden chose four colored balloons for me to blow up and attach to its stick holders and also, taping cone shaped party hats out of paper the boy and I had randomly painted on before and stashed aside. I found a glass canister and stick the balloons in and we had a centre-piece for the dining table where in the morning of Brian's birthday, saw a spread of strawberry topped cheesecake, card from our friends, present and cookies made by Puri of ideku handmade (see more of the delish~ cookies, here.). Needless to say, the edibles were yummy! Eating cake and cookies for a birthday breakfast can easily become a family tradition.


Here's a photo, I promised to show, of Brian wearing his gift, posing beside a decoration piece in the hotel where we had our dinner last night.

Monday, November 08, 2010

embroidery corner

embroidery corner


As much as I'd like to embroider at a leisurely pace, I found myself procrastinating and delaying my latest embroidery project. It has been lying around the house for too long, hence I aimed to complete it today which thankfully, finished embroidering in the afternoon. There are a few spots in the house where I embroider. There's one place with cushions (from Amesh of Dreamesh and they're very useful things for someone who has to stay on the floor for considerable amount of time.) where I find myself to be the most, working on the embroidery and keeping Kaeden entertained while he plays at the same time.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Book: Singing and Rhyming (1950 By Ginn and Company)

Singing & Rhyming book

the bus

the aeroplane

It's been a long time since I'd stepped into the English Library in Palembang until yesterday, when I've run out of reading materials and started feeling fidgety. The library here is small and the volumes are usually old but each time I go there, it feels akin to stepping into a candy store and discovering a new flavour. I'm always thrilled to pick up an old forgotten book that contains treasured words.

In yesterday's case, it was a beautiful year 1950 book of song lyrics, even stories (!) and their accompanying music scores. A compilation of 208 titles, I think. (More images of the book here and here.) It's been fun going through familiar songs and I'm aiming to expand my limited repertoire, teaching Kaeden as I go along.

I hope to stay committed to visiting the library here regularly. and also hopefully, get to keep a copy of this treasure: Singing and Rhyming in my book collection someday. I have one in my possession now!