Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In the Mail: An Itty Bitty bit of Home

I was so surprised to receive this in the mail today!


My dearest friend Sherry Jess sent me a surprise package to remind me of home. Thank you my dear girl! I am having a good laugh reading through it!

So, just a brief introduction. Singapore English, or more affectionately known as Singlish, is a form of pidgin spoken in Singapore. Because we live in such a culturally diverse society, our everyday lives are a mix of many different languages. Singlish has become our very own unique blend of English, Malay, Tamil and all the various Chinese dialects!

As I flipped through the introduction, I was almost bent double in laughter, reading through the paragraphs heavily peppered with Singlish terms.

Here are a few excerpts of some of my favorite entries, the phrases I always use back home, but have not heard in awhile. And in my current situation, I am most likely not going to be understood if I were to use them.

alamak |ah-lah-ma'h|

A Malay expression of dismay, surprise or alarm that has long been rumoured to mean "Allah's mother" but more likely comes either from the Arabic "Allah Ma'ak", meaning "God be with you" or "Allah maaf kar" meaning "God forgive you". It is thus used to denote a situation or action of such calamity or stupidity that God's intervention is necessary.

(My note: Most people use it as an exclamation, an equivalent of 'OMG')


"Alamak! Why you go and do this sort of stupid thing?" translates into "OMG! Why did you do such a stupid thing!"

kan cheong |gkahn tjee-ong|

A Cantonese and Hokkien term meaning nervous, harried, overanxious or uptight.


"Your exam in June, now only March, you so kan cheong for what?" translates into "The exam's in June and it's only March now. Why are you so nervous?"

kan cheong spider

Epithet describing someone who's kan cheong, i.e. a nervous wreck.


"Eh, don't so kan cheong spider lah! Also not late, hurry for what?" translates into "Can you not be such an overanxious twit. Why are you hurrying? We're not late."

Somehow, I feel very English after all the translations...

To PRISCILLA (this one's for you!)

pecah lobang |bper-cha loh-bahng|

A Malay phrase which literally means to break a hole. It's used in the same way as the English phrase "to let the cat out of the bag".


"Don't tell him anything secret. He like the BBC like that, sure pecah lobang." translates into "Don't tell him anything confidential. He's sure to broadcast it like the BBC."

So if you're interested in reading further, or have plans to move to Singapore in the near future, The Coxford Singlish Dictionary is a very good guide to help you understand 3/4 of the population. Okay. Now i really miss home!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Crafting on a Monday: Tee-Shirt Recon Tutorial!

Yes! Being very good and productive today. Made a bag for another friend and did a little stash bustin' (double yay!!!). Dug out the J-man's tee shirts. Put them through the wash and got ready to cut them up!

This shirt has never been worn before. I bought a size too small for him. Well, actually it was just nice, but he insisted the belly showed. So, he never wore it. Hmph.


I liked the print on this shirt, and I love racer back tops.

So, I got out my seam ripper (insert sinister laughter)

First, i ripped the seams of the sleeves, and took the sleeves off.
Then I ripped the side seams. And last I ripped the collar seams and removed the collar.

All that's left holding the front and back of the shirt together are the shoulder seams. By keeping the shoulder seams together, you can easily pull it over your head and 'wear' it to measure out how much excess material you need to trim off. I did that and pinned the sides together while wearing it, to give it a snug fit. Then, without removing the pins, i (very, very) carefully took the shirt off by pulling it over my head again.

From my pinning measurements, I drew a line down the shirt, cutting off two inches at the top down to one inch at the bottom (see photo for clarification). This is so the shirt will taper inwards, giving it a more feminine shape (i hope!)


I also decided i wanted the back panel to be narrower, more like a racer back if you know what i mean. And because only the shoulder seams are intact, i could flip the front part of the shirt away from me and concentrate on the back.

I folded the back panel in half lengthwise. Then proceeded to trim off the excess material. I took a wild stab, no measurements needed or it really depends on how you like it to look.


Now to put the top back together again. Pin the shirt with right sides together. Sew the edges of the sides together. Now my shoulder seams were looking a little rough, and i was afraid after seam ripping near it, the seams would start to fall apart. So I cut off the shoulder seams, pinned it and re-sewed the shoulder seams together.

I apologise for the lack of photos, and if the instructions are not very clear. I was too impatient and excited, i forgot to take photos along the way. Feel free to add comments on how to make this tutorial clearer!

Anyway, here is the end product! Yaay! One more new piece in the wardrobe. I might just make it for the next Me-Made Challenge!


Daisy approves too!

Oh yes, don't forget to enter the giveaway, if you haven't already!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Spreading Good Cheer Giveaway: Where it all Began.

Time to spread some good cheer and love all round again! xx

In this post, I would like to take some time to recap and reminisce about how and why I picked up crafting.

Way back in time, when dinosaurs roamed the land, a group of friends and I decided to start our little 'fairy' store called Mustardseed, creating whimsical organza pouches and cushion covers, inspired by Shakespeare's fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Our collaboration lasted but a mere few months, during which we set up shop at flea markets or whatever fairs we could land a booth at. We had a steady stream of orders, but it was a pity we were all so young and new to life. We were at a transitional stage, waiting to get into college, waiting to start a new phase, waiting for exciting things to happen.

And so we went on our individual ways.

I never forgot the joys of camaraderie, of designing and sewing into the wee hours of the night, of rushing orders, preparing for fairs, of selling our items. We were so thrilled when we did an interview for the local paper about our little venture.

But I also remember one of the hardest pill to swallow was pricing. How to price our items so they could be agreeable not only to our customers but also our pride. So many times we had lost customers because we refused to mark our prices down. I think we were pretty naive, and not too market-savvy. One thing though, we believed ourselves to be true artists.

The next Christmas, I handmade my first gifts for my new college friends. I still remember the vaguely square shaped zippered cushion cover, saved only by the awesome print and colors. The tiny pink coin pouches, flimsy little things, without any lining (*gasp*), and horribly aligned zippers.

But I felt an immense pride.

Then I crafted on and off, letting the bustle of life distract me mostly. About four years ago, I lugged my sewing machine with me when I moved to China, where I rediscovered the joys of gifting my handmade items. Ten years on, I am still crafting, sewing basic shapes and simple stuff, but with more pizzazz. I am picking up neat tricks here, new skills there, and even made some crafting friends! Most recently, I started an Etsy store, just because I've always wanted to, and maybe (subconsciously) in tribute to Mustardseed.

So in honor of Mustardseed and my first crafting buddies, i am doing a giveaway. I just made a purse organizer for a friend's birthday. As usual, I made one more for the Etsy shop and one for this giveaway!


This Faux Patchwork Pouch / Purse Organizer is up for grabs! It measures 8.5" x 4.5", has a zipper closure and is padded with polyester batting and fully lined. Oh and it also comes with the cute button charm (or whatever you call it).

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment below by 4th of July, 11:59PM EDT. (Thought I'd make it a 4th of July celebration tie-in too!) I'm going to ship internationally too, so join in the fun everyone! I'll be selecting a comment at random. You don't have to, but following my blog will be really nice, give me an extra dose of encouragement, and not to mention reap good online karma.


Good luck!

If you have any when-it-all-began crafting stories too, i hope you'll share them with me. I'm a sucker for sappy/ happy stories. Post a link to your blog entry together with your comment below. I WILL read it i promise!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

hp deathly hallows

:: July 15, 2011 ::

J and I plan to make it a date night.

We're so excited! Are you?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thrifting: Martha's Vineyard Community Yard Sale

In case we decided to go on a shopping spree, we limited our yard sale budget to $20.

We spent every dime of it, but in return we got

Another fabric stash! *YAY*

Hitachi Rice cooker!

And a juicer that i forgot to take a picture of.
Oh! And the Chime-o-Matic Rice Cooker makes a sound *diiing!* when it's ready! Too cute! I love it!

Butwe both got everything we needed, so money well spent!

A girl can dream, can't she?

Ok so this is not an Etsy shop feature, but my lovely friend from the sunny isle of Singapore is dreaming of making it happen, starting her own site selling delish items that will make a fashionista proud!

So as promised, and in the spirit of the GREAT Singapore Sale (that is so totally going on right now on the other side of the world), I present you...

The Dream Machine

...bringing stylish items to your doorstep, two pieces at a time.

Go check it out!

After all, us girls can dream, can't we?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

News from the garden: The gods must be listening

Oh little baby, our precious eggy-plant!

And credit also goes to the busy buzzing bee seen here.

We harvested this too!

And with all that zucchini and crooked neck squash, the J-man battered and fried into tempura - Japanese style! Except we dipped them in ranch dressing. It was divine!!


baby mop

I showed this to my MIL tonight and she exclaimed,

"Don't be doing that to my grandbabies!"

talk about child labor.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

felt cupcakes

"I cannot be comfortable when you're holding a pin."

- the J-man, on crafting and hugging simultaneously

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crafting on a Monday: Sleepover Craft Party!

The girls decided to have a sleepover Sunday night at Lauren's. We had planned on watching movies, eating pizza and sharing girly secrets. *giggles*

Being the over zealous bunny that i am, i also decided to plan for a little activity time to share my crafting love with the girls. I searched for a whole bunch of head accessories' tutorials for the girls to try out. But... lesson learnt: the next time we do crafts in a party, there should just be a little less alcohol involved...

I made Lauren a turquoise flowery headband to match her outfit

Jess likes hers with a big droopy orange bow

Jessie did a modern take on a felt flower piece.

It was such fun i think we're gonna do it again! Both the sleepover and the crafting! Yay!

Monday, June 20, 2011

News from the garden: Before & After

The discovery of the septoria fungus our tomato plants has been really disheartening. But when we looked at the bigger picture, it has been a wonderful learning experience so far. I don't think I am in a position to complain when I see what Mother Earth has so generously given.


A sprawling homegrown paradise

New fruits of our labour:


Banana peppers

More crooked neck squash, a whole bunch actually

Lots of flowers, but please give us some eggplants soon!
See the bee in action? *like*

And I love that there has been so much generous sharing all around. We swap vegetables with our neighbours and friends. I think we might be eating zucchini all season because everyone is harvesting bunches!

Thank you, Mother Earth!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ode to the Unsung Hero


When I was a little girl,
You were always the tallest, strongest man in the whole world.
You would sit me on your shoulders, tickle me with your beard.
When I had my bouts of asthma, you would carry me in your arms, rush me to the nearest doctor.
You would rub my back, when i'd wake up, wheezing and coughing, in the middle of the night.
You went to live and work abroad to make ends meet, even if it meant leaving the family.

When I was a little older,
you never interfered with my decisions in life.
You encouraged my interests even though I sometimes gave up.
You gave me the freedom to travel the world, even as you worry about my safety
You watched as i moved further, for work, to marry and to live, now halfway across the world from you, even though it meant only seeing me once a year.

You made these sacrifices and so much more.
I cannot tell you how much I love you.

All that I am today, is through your encouragement and your support.

Happy Father's Day!

You will always be the #1 man in my life and in my heart. I love you!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Good morning world!


I'm going to the Martha's Vineyard community yard sale today!

That's a first! First yard sale, yipeeeeee!

Have many lovely cups of coffee and a great sunny weekend! x

Friday, June 17, 2011

Culottes vs Skorts

Guess what came in the mail?


My little mustard yellow Anthropologie card! It came in a little brown envelope, tucked into a tiny floral drawstring pouch! ooh such extravagance! i likey!

Not that i'm ever going to be able to afford or buy anything from Anthropologie. But they provide such great Pinspirations!

My girlies had a discussion the other day: Culottes vs Skorts

Never in my life have I EVER heard the term "skorts" and i thought they meant "Culottes". So when I said it, they all went "Whaaaa?"

Apparently, I was the weirdo.

So i decided to do a little research of my own.

According to wiki...

the word "culottes" describes a split or divided skirt or any garment that "hangs like a skirt but is actually pants". During the Victorian Era (mid- to late-nineteenth century) long split skirts were developed for horseback riding so that women could sit astride a man's saddle rather than riding side-saddle. The term "culottes" was co-opted from the original French definition of the word to describe these split riding skirts. Later, split skirts were developed to provide women more freedom to do activities such as gardening, cleaning, bike riding, etc. and still look like one is wearing a skirt.

and a skort...

In place of the term "culottes," the term skort (a portmanteau for skirt and shorts) is more widely used in some areas. While some garments sold as culottes resemble short trousers, to truly be a skort it needs to look like a skirt. Thus, they differ from trousers or shorts by being much fuller at the bottom (hem) than at the waist. A skort is shorts that have a front covering to resemble a skirt or short pant legs with a same length or longer skirt sewn over the top.

So i went to and found this!

Odonata Culottes

Too cute!

And this at

skort 2

I guess culottes still look like a pair of shorts, just a little more flirty, flared pair of shorts. But a skort needs to really look like a skirt. Or maybe they're just used interchangeably.

Bleagh. What do they know.

What do you call it?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Etsy Pick of the Week :: Magnolia Handspun

This week, I give you a lovely little Etsy shop that sells beautifully colored homespun yarn with yummylicious names. I'd like to feature art materials as opposed to finished creations for once. And it is amazing how even a material used to make other creations, can be a form of art in itself!


The lovely lady Camilla is the brainchild and talent behind the Etsy shop Magnolia Handspun, where she sells yarn she spins and dyes by hand. She has graciously helped me out with a short interview. So without further ado, here is a little more about this amazing woman and her works of art.


1. How did you first learn to spin and dye your own yarns?

I learned to spin by borrowing books at the library. I bought a drop spindle and practised and practiced... this was a few years ago. I wanted to spin more yarn and finally decided to buy a spinning wheel. I met a woman who selling her used one - she wanted to buy her husband a new saddle for his horse and decided that she would sell her wheel she rarely used...and so that was how I got started.

I joined a local spinning guild where women of all ages guided and taught me. At that time, I was pregnant with my 4th child and had to haul that spinning wheel through snow drifts every other Wenesday morning to the spinning guild- but I was very determined.

I grew up in Scandinavia and spent my summers with my grandparents in Sweden in the country. I learned to use natural dyes such as birch leaves, blueberries , cabbage, just to name a few. My grandfather always encouraged me and taught me about native plants that grew in the area that could be used for dyeing.

Via Madeline Bea

2. Many people have bought and used your yarn in their creations. Do you use your own yarn too and do you have a special creation to share?

Yes, I use my own yarn... but you know how the saying goes " A potter eats off a broken bowl"
I just don't seem to find the time. When I spin yarn, I wonder sometimes who that skein will go to...where it will go to...Australia, Spain or Ohio- and what will become of it.
I do knit knit hats, cowls and fingerless mitts that I sell at a local boutique in town.

Via Earthern Purl

3. One of the reasons your yarn caught my eye was the amazing colors you put together. What is the inspiration behind the different color palettes?

I studied art many years in college and also went to interior design school. Color is my bff.
I love color. I find inspiration in nature, fabrics, food, inside a sea shell......the possibilties are endless.

My color palettes just happen- they are what I feel at the moment.

bella bella
Bella Bella

4. I understand you have just started your Etsy shop not too long ago. Do you have any words of encouragement for new Etsy sellers, especially those who sell their own works of art?

I am relativly new here - not even a year...
I guess I would say, be kind, be kind, be kind.

Nobody wants to buy from a snorky person.

Use your manners and say thank you- appreciate your customers and they will appreciate you. Make it effortless to buy from your shop the easier the transaction the more buyers will come. Back up your product- be true to your art and your heart.

Don't give up.


Camilla has also shared with us a knitting pattern that was created exclusively for her yarn. The Aspen Ice Lace Cowl was created to fully showcase the colors and texture of the yarn. If you are a knitter, you might want to get a skein and have a go at it! If you do, please share images of your final project!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

News from the garden: Attack of the Tomato Killers!

So the garden has been very giving.

Crooked neck squash

But Mother Nature hasn't been very forgiving. It's been raining hard and raining tons. After a few nights' worth of heavy showers, we would walk apprehensively into the garden in the mornings. Sure enough, there would always be a bean plant here, a bell pepper there, knocked over, dashed to the ground. Soiled and muddy. Demolished and destroyed.

The J-man patiently re-erects them, staking the plants, straightening them out. He would water and I weed. Together, we try to keep this fragile garden going, growing.

But just as we thought we'd managed pull one over Mother Nature, disaster strikes again! Our tomato plants are infected. The leaves have spots on them and are yellowing. And they start at the bottom of the plant. The tomatoes are thankfully unharmed as far as we can tell. We've been trying to identify the possible viruses but it's really daunting and frustrating trying to sort through a million different contradicting pictures on gardening websites! We don't know if it's septoria, blight or goodness knows what else!

Here is a photo and if anyone knows what it is, or if you know of any good gardening sites, please help!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Crafting on a Monday: Mandala embroidery in the works!

Been so busy working over the weekend! Summer camp is coming up and I've been asked to plan for 2 camps! It's so much fun though! I'll be adding stuff like blowing bubbles, flying paper planes and growing beans in the curriculum! Can't wait to do the camps!

And just as I thought i was going to have a lovely Monday to rest... my neighbour calls to ask me to babysit!

We've been busy drawing...

Doing tree rubbings...

Picking wildflowers and blackberries...

And I've been snatching bits of quiet moments to do this...

This is the little cupcake! and her brother is with the J-man somewhere out in the woods...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Etsy Pick of the Week :: It's You & Me in Summertime!


It's an explosion of colors! I made this treasury list and loved it so much that I want to share it with you all! Just looking at the colors make me feel so happy! Ain't it such a sunshine summery palette? So now instead of ONE Etsy store feature, i give you SIXTEEN! O_O

I was going to do an interview with one or two Etsy stores but I emailed them too late. So perhaps that'll go up another time.

Meanwhile, if you click on the individual thumbnails, it will lead you directly to the stores. I painstakingly made sure I linked everything up. So have a summery blast shopping around! I <3 Etsy!
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