Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kaeden's photo collage :: the 3rd year

This photo frame memory keeper of Kaeden is done up only recently.  It contains the photos of him when he was a new 2 year old until the day he celebrated his 3rd birthday. As my photos get more and cluttered each day in my computer, I decided it's time to start printing these physical photos before I lose them virtually. Kaeden got to be involved in putting this frame together as well.

This frame contains coloured photographs unlike the previous two as Kaeden's growth slows and colours would be nice to highlight the surroundings and items in those pictures. I also included photos taken of Kaeden with my grandfather and his grandparents which I thought to be important for there were the interactions between them at that age.

Here are the close ups:

Soon, the 3-4 year old frame to do! He's going to be four in just 3 months' time. My baby, now a  kiddo who does head stands and argues back! Here is a photo that might go into the frame-to-be.

Kaeden learns to roller skate this morning with most of the protective gears in place. He is learning on the new pair of Fisher Price skates which I had him wait to open on Sunday. He is now on the step 2 mode, inching forward r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Last minute gifts

Last minute gift

It seems inevitable that we would have to do some visiting as a family this weekend, starting tonight and I thought I could escape all of it. Not that I don't like visiting. Brian has been really occupied with work these past days and I'm hoping for some quiet family time together, plus there isn't a long weekend holiday here. It's back to work on Monday. It's the same for coming New Year's day weekend! hhmmph...

tea towels

Christmas paper tags

I realized I haven't prepare anything for the home visits. (Quite unlike the me in the past two years. I guess I was really hoping for the quiet time real bad.) Last evening I printed out some Christmas tags (for free, from Geninne and Camilla Engman. Some more pretty ones ::here:: !) in a jiffy in Brian's office and then headed to the supermarket to purchase some tea towels and packets of biscuits. It's a little sad the office printer's ink system had gotten wonky hence explained the only red and black-ish cards. But it will do. and I have a thing for tea towels if anyone has already noticed. They are such practical and pretty things.

Last minute gifts

I wrapped up the packed biscuits on each tea towel bento style and attached the cards with twine this morning. They are really inexpensive and quick to put together.

Happy holidays, everyone!

ps. I promise to write one more post here before the year's end.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

of waiting & giving

Please excuse my few and far between blog posts. It ain't so that I haven't been crafting and nothing exciting or special had happened lately. I had attempted to sew a dress, in particular this pattern from burdastyle and I had failed. Miserably. That was about 2+ weeks ago. Then I had a house guest for a week from two Saturdays ago. Our friends' son, a very well behaved 11 year old came to stay and play. It was a valuable time having him around I must say. In the midst of it, we baked and I sewed two pouches which just didn't seem new to warrant a spot in this blog anymore.

It's coming to the end of the year and I always do a spot of thinking of how my year's been. How's yours coming along? I'm happy to report that Kaeden has grown a few centimetres and he's getting to be a lot of fun to be around. He makes me laugh at least once (off setting the times he made me mad, of course) a day. It is always something he says out of the blue, very candid views of his that amazes me each day. 

The other day, grandpa gave Kaeden a present after a trip but I decided to hold him off from opening it until later. He's been getting a few gifts from friends lately. I also had an intention of him learning to skate so I bought a pair of roller skates and had it gift wrapped. I decided Kaeden had to learn to wait for X'mas='opening of presents day' by rewarding him a candy for each day that passed. He's been good so far. We don't celebrate Christmas but I like the tradition of gift giving and receiving. Who doesn't? I'm going to involve Kaeden into making/drawing something for Brian and me in return. Hopefully he'll enjoy the special year end tradition and from it,  learn to show appreciation to loved ones by sharing and giving.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

fabric by the Kilogram

fabric by the Kilo
Along Jalan Dr. M. Isa; Palembang

fabric by the Kilo

Just after lunch and on the way home yesterday, I spotted a little shack by the road with a banner out front advertising sale of fabric by the weight. I thought I'd managed to contain my excitement well (I could have gone hysterical. Not that I needed to buy fabric. I just thought that finally, the thrift gods are smiling at me.) and stopped our ride not too far away and checked the place out.

I'd to remove my sandals before stepping into the tiny place where lots of fabric are stacked around on the floor. There is a variety of materials, some in big bundle bags and in one of those containing good lengths of sweet plain white/cream lace the locals are fond of using as curtains which I really like seeing through their house windows.

While browsing and sifting through the stash, I chatted with the two ladies in the store. Ibu Yaya is the shopkeeper and from whom I learn that her stock came from Bandung; a place of textile factories and popular for its many clothing factory outlets. and gosh, was I glad I talked to them because they shared with me more thrift/vintage shopping venues, of one I verified later in the evening. I was two bagful happy from that trip. Thank you, thrift gods.

From the fabric shack, I bought about 600gm of fabric. 2metres of navy coloured swiss dots cotton, a big remnant of pale pink/blue polka and 2metres of a very pretty light weight border print.

about 600gm

Saturday, November 19, 2011

a la tropical dress

a la tropical dress

a la tropical dress

After browsing online and seeing many dresses, I was very drawn to a particular design. A tank bodice with ruffled skirting. I wanted to try and sew something like it without purchasing any pattern. Hence I used the sorbetto top pattern I had lying around in my sewing room, adjusted the sides by making it straight seams (also omitting the centre pleat) then cut into the batik I had lying in shelf, with the remaining pieces of it used for the skirting. I added lining for the bodice too, using pre-loved cloth from a pair of Indian silk pants once belonging to Brian.

This pullover dress made was really a toile garment which I'd hoped it would turn out okay and still wearable. I gave myself all the chances to make as many mistakes I could as I went along with this project. I did made one mistake though, which I was too lazy to remedy: the only in-seam pocket I wanted to add was inverted. 

Here are the sources of my inspiration:



I particularly adore the black cat dress designed by Leah Goren and it is one I'd seen my favourite fashion blogger Erin: Calivintage wore so often. This dress has resulted in me contemplating using stamps+fabric ink on white/plain canvas to create my own fabric pieces. I think I ought to go ahead and get those fabric ink pads already.

After donning the dress on for a short outing to the library yesterday, I found that I like its loose fit but I could make the neckline higher and shorten the bodice a bit more.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Making it work the Pinafore way


Remember the dress I made back in June? I haven't worn it since. It was so forgotten in my wardrobe. The reason it hasn't seen daylight was I'll be showing some skin if I were to wear it, something I'm not comfortable doing in this conservative society I'm currently living in. I've no qualms wearing it and similar style of sundresses though, back home Singapore. It would also be too warm to wear a bolero/jacket over. I cut up the matching bolero I made to go with this 40's style 'sports dress', to top up fabric for the quilt I made for Brian recently, deciding that the bolero isn't my thing after all for now.

Later I found the joy of layering, particularly wearing dresses over my chiffon (3/4 sleeves) tops. Before that, I've been browsing the internet and found myself really liking some 60's inspired designers' shift dresses: especially this! I want to work with what I already have to try to achieve similar looks. I decided to alter the hemline of my floral 'sports dress' to above my knees and wear it pinafore style.

Besides my existing dresses, I've also been wanting to get more mileage out of my camera. I've been bugging Brian to work the functions of my camera and achieve some photos I aspire to have, of me, er-hm. Goal: I need to take more quality photos of people. Here's one of a jumping shot I so wanted to do for a long time. Um, I've to iron out the not-capturing the Bozo-ish hairstyle part, with my dear photographer.

jumping me

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Birthday Brian

On Sunday evening, we held an early celebration for Brian's birthday with extended family in our backyard.  We quickly moved indoors though, because of the irritating houseflies lurking around our food. ack. I thought it was important to have this memory created  (party. not houseflies.) for my husband, having his father around to mark his turning a year older.  Fun family time together is precious.

my handmade presents for Brian: a quilted blanket and a plush toy

and today's the day. Happy Birthday, daddy Brian!

Friday, November 04, 2011

I've been sewing.


Just. not. blogging much. and I'm sewing on a case of need to. I need to get a present. I have a lot of cloth  in storage and I self-imposed-need to start using them as much as I can. Hence I make the present. for a very special someone whose birthday is next week but we'll have a small early celebration this Sunday. Barbeque! and I'm going to cook. (flex fingers. arms stretch) So I have to have the present ready by then. which I did! by today.

So here are pictures of the readied present(s) for a peek or two. 

a surprise fella

Thursday, October 27, 2011

sugar 'n raisins pinwheels

sugar 'n raisins pinwheels

My oven refused to work after the move to our current home and I'd to wait more than a month for the spare part to arrive and for it to be fixed. Brian kept saying we'd bought a lemon. Now that the lemon is functioning again since for a week, I'd baked a batch of brownies and a banana bread, each time involving my three year old into the baking activity. Kaeden was really enthusiastic and interested in "helping" me and I found great joy in that.

Some days ago after reading ::this::, I couldn't wait any longer and had to try the recipe out after lunch today. I really wonder how marmite would taste on pastry. But because I'm involving the boys who have sweet tooeeth and are lovers of raisins to "assist" me, I had to try a sweet version of the pinwheels. I followed through Melissa's recipe except for using savoury ingredients, I used brown sugar granules (about half cup), half teaspoon of cinnamon and a sprinkle of raisins. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

altered :: 'Sunflowers' vintage dress

altered :: 'sunflowers' vintage dress

remnants from altering

altered :: 'sunflowers' vintage dress

My collection of vintage clothing is growing slowly but surely; mostly dresses, two tops and two rompers to date. and I adore every piece of it, with some on the very frequent wear rotation. My recent acquisition is an autumnal shade of yellow sunflower print button down dress with a bow as the front feature; bought from ::here::. I love that it has two deep side in-seam pockets and the cotton material is still wonderfully thick. The dress is a little large for me and long too, being an 80's style I believe.

Today I finally altered it, by taking in the sides but not cutting into it for in the event, which I'd never wish upon myself,  that I put on weight,  I could remove the stitching. The permanent change I did to the dress was the length. It was originally tea-length, a rather frumpy look on me. After the alteration, the dress now rests above my knees and I think the dress has taken on a 80's does 50's look quite nicely.

updated on 31 October '11, Monday

um, here's a photo of me wearing the dress on Saturday.

Friday, October 21, 2011

some carriers

bags for mats
Bags for our yoga mats

'Strawberry & friends' gift pouch
A 'Strawberry & friends' gift pouch - for a small friend

'Strawberry & friends' gift pouch
The other side of gift pouch & contents

I'd been away, back to Singapore for two weeks along with Brian and Kaeden. The main reason back was to attend my cousin's wedding which I'd been looking forward to the past months. On a few occasions, Brian and I went looking around at schools as well, one which could be Kaeden's future learning place. The whole trip, my mind was on overdrive, mapping out some plans and worrying over some, to the extent I was afraid I'd turned into an insomniac. Now that I'm back home, I'm catching up on sleep and looking forward to attending my yoga classes. I find that going for classes help shape my week and doing yoga stretches have upped my stamina a lot these days.

I need to replace my tearing old yoga mat bag but I couldn't find a sturdy one to buy in Singapore. I usually bring two mats along with me each time so I need one which could withstand the weight. Out of necessity, for there's a lesson tomorrow, I quickly sewed one up with fabric once bought from Ikea and then another, yesterday. I removed the strap and drawstring fastener from the old bag and sewed it onto the new one. I used some pre-loved fabric and brown trim to make another for Brian, who sometimes followed me into class after some hoaxing on my part.

The last Saturday before we left for Singapore, Kaeden attended his music lesson and his classmate sprang a birthday favour pack on him. It was her birthday recently. Hence on a sewing high, after the bags, I made a gift pouch using the Strawberry Shortcake theme fabric again for holding the contents we intend to give as a belated birthday present.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

'bows on shoulders' blouse

'bows on shoulders' blouse

'bows on shoulders' blouse

'bows on shoulders' blouse

I've been reading that Fall is making its way in the Northern hemisphere by this time of year and I can't help but wonder how it is like to prepare a wardrobe for the change of a season. Where I am, tropically hot, I could count the number of times it had rained for the past two months on my fingers. The that-time-time-of-the-year Sumatran haze even worsened the air. Black ashes on the floor at my backyard by every morning. I'm certainly looking forward to the monsoon rains!

Because of the weather, I've been turning to wearing sleeveless blouses a lot. I made myself a new one yesterday, adapting the sorbetto pattern by adding a few inches on the shoulders for a variation. Hence the bows on the shoulders. I was inspired by ::this::. I had some leftover fabric from a previous project: a smock I'd worn quite regularly; because it's a little sheer, always with a camisole underneath. This time, I lined the blouse with a thin white cotton. It was the first time I lined a self made garment.

This new blouse is a great piece to wear with my favourite scarf in air conditioned places and had helped me keep cool for most of today I'd been out.

Here's me: sneaking a photo before heading out, in my 'bows on shoulders' blouse.

'bows on shoulders' blouse

and just reading Sarai's post on her chevron top made me think I ought to go ahead and make mine. and I really like her pair of velvet clover pants.

Friday, September 16, 2011

50 pouch project :: mish-mash || completed!



It's pretty much the doldrums here. The slight differences to the daily bits were meeting up with the consul and an invitation to a Hakka association's 8th anniversary in the past days.

Sewing front: I finally stiffened my back and completed sewing the pouches I promised my mother.
Read about my:
This final batch of 20 is made of various prints; new/pre-loved fabric. I also considered the fact that there would be male recipients hence a small quantity of "manly" prints I could put together in my best effort.

I think I'm done with anything pouch or bag for now.

* Note to self,
and really, I want to share this post- Lune Vintage: Count the day.
It's a nice read and a great reminder for myself.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

sail ahoy! :: lunchbag

sail ahoy! :: lunchbag

sail ahoy! :: lunchbag

sail ahoy! :: lunchbag

I figured the best way to get back into my sewing mode is to start complete the projects I'd promised to make for a dear friend and my mother. After the move into the new-to-me house and then later, a week long off work for Brian meant I have not been anywhere near my sewing machine. It had been a nice albeit uneventful (after the house move) family time together.

I finally got to finish off making the lunch-maybe breakfast-bag for my dearest pal who likes to have her cereal in her office. I bought her a red food canister and an extra round container, then set out to measure the size of the lunch-bag which folds over 'paper bag' style. Using unused vintage nautical theme linen pillowcase, blue gingham cotton for lining and denim straps. I gave the straps some length so she could carry the bag over her shoulder and the extra bag room space for the occasional indulgence of a packet of chips, or two.

(Thank you Brian, for your left arm support. Ref: top picture)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Strawberryland :: pencil case

pencil case

Left: Apricot :: She is a little baby with an unusual vocabulary. Apricot and her pet bunny Hopsalot lived in Big Apple City before moving to Strawberryland.

Centre: Strawberry Shortcake :: A natural leader, Strawberry Shortcake gently guides the residents of Strawberryland. She is kind, resourceful and always ready to help a friend in need. Her pet cat is named Custard - a pink cat with white polka dots.

Right: Lemon Meringue :: Lemon Meringue is a very proper young lady. She likes to primp and preen, fuss and muss and do all things feminine. She can occasionally get a little overbearing, but her heart is in the right place (and she's often right!). She has a pet frog named Frappe.

pencil case

Left: Huckleberry Pie :: The sole male character, for the most parts, in Strawberryland.  Huck bore more than a passing resemblance to the more famous Huck Finn, from his straw hat and overalls to his tendencies towards fishing and general laziness. He has a brown dog with green and white striped ears - named Pupcake.

Centre: Raspberry Tart :: She is quite the practical joker and quick with her wits (and mouth). She's also a little vain. Raspberry Tart can lack tact and be a little too outspoken but like most in Strawberryland, she's berry sweet! Her pet is a Monkey named Rhubarb.

Right: Plum Puddin' :: Plum Puddin' started out life as a boy in the original cartoon drawings. But he eventually became a she - and she's pretty rare as a doll! Plum Puddin' is the bespectacled genius of the group. Her pet is an owl named Elderberry whose large eyes are a perfect match for Plum Puddin's round glasses!

(Identification and description of characters, quoted and adapted from ::here:: and ::here::)

I was preparing the materials for the making of the remaining pouches of my 50 pouch project and I decided to add one more into the making, to give to a new friend of Kaeden's. A little girl who is a few months younger than my son. My long time hoard of a vintage Strawberry Shortcake print fabric came to mind. I was really glad I could cut into it! Finally. Making something for a little girl!

I pieced and sewed the characters together and turned the two fabric pieces into a pencil case which I add a few new stationery into. I'd never played with Strawberry Shortcake (and friends) dolls and I just learned less than an hour ago, that every character has a pet and there are quite a number of them in Strawberryland! Being who I am, I had to identify and learn who are the ones on the pencil case I'd made, so do excuse the introductions above!

home for now

home for now

home for now

home for now

We have stayed at the new rental place for a little more than a week now. I'm growing to like the new environment, especially now that the kitchen is so accessible and the sink is at a great height, I find myself enjoying washing the dishes. really. We have a smaller space now than we're used to before and there are new sounds I have to get used to too. There is a little more work needed to be done around the house and by the time they're completed, I should be a happy person in my comfort zone.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sewing Secrets :: About Fabrics

image source
image source
image source

Today marks the official first day move to the new-to-us house, with all the shifting and arm work of stacking/packing/lifting heavy stuff. It had been a stressful past week, and I'm hoping this week's move will not incite any more flares (read: me) than necessary. I need to get back into 'the cool'.  

I don't know when I can get things organized and get into the groove of sewing again. Maybe two weeks' time? I saw this post over at Millie Motts and found it to be an incredibly useful information hence I re-post it here, for I'm sure to refer to it again, and again in the future. Thanks, Millie Motts!