Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Scribble

Inside'll only get this if you're Singaporean

I have a busy day ahead, looking forward to an afternoon & evening with friends.

But first, housework calls. And I have sundry things to attend to on this Saturday morning (like planning an upcoming party!).

And before that, I'm perusing some regular reads. I like blogs that have a friendly, personal vibe and are updated fairly often. Collectively, these blogs that I read most often are about life, craft, fashion, food...
A cup of Jo
Elise Blaha
The daily bucket
Oh so Coco
What I wore

And off to work we go...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Gardens by the Bay: "before" photos

Looking forward to visiting the newly launched Gardens by the bay
Way to go, Singapore.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Old Neighbourhoods: Tiong Bahru

This year (and indefinitely), travel plans are on hold.

Which isn't a bad thing, as it's pretty relaxing staying put.

And there are quite a lot of things to do in Singapore if you put some effort into doing more than the usual eat/shop/chill combo.

Like sight-seeing around Tiong Bahru and taking photos of old buildings. Admittedly, food features quite strongly in this sort of adventure too.

Tiong Bahru Market, home to delicious local food (and cheap too).

Old buildings.

Round the corner from Seng Poh Lane, there is Por Kee Restaurant (good zhi char food - yummy!) 

I love sights like this. Low-rise buildings, roads, bright yellow lines on dark grey roads, set against a clear tropical sky.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Re-use and Re-cycle

Like most people, I get a fair amount of brochures, junk mail and the like.

What a waste of good material, like this sparkly catalogue from Takashimaya.

So my trusty Martha Stewart butterfly punch was whipped out, churning out some sparkly butterflies to be used in cards or given away to anyone who wants them. Pretty.

And the remains of the brochure went into the pile of newspapers to be sold to my regular karung guni man who comes by on alternate Saturdays.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The story behind: cat in the doorway

So anyway I thought of a new random series - 'the story behind' my instagram photos. Or at least, some thoughts behind a photo.

Where: Haji Lane

When: A warm day in June, after lunch and on a day of tending to medical matters and whatnot. 

With: The BFF

I like the old shophouses, peeling paint and graffiti, contrasted with air-conditioned interiors and purveyors of pretty trinkets and atas items.

I like the quirky things you find along the lane, really dingy on the outside, and right along a narrow road (watch out for the occasional vehicle!). The cat in the doorway (name: Jack) looking out languidly onto the street was an unexpected sight. It's funny how things and places sometimes remind you of people - and the cat reminded me of my brother, who likes cats.

I like how I found a little respite & oasis in the middle of my day. If I could bottle up the feeling of that day, it would be a little warm and fuzzy.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Birthday card for Anne

If it weren't for the photos in my computer and this blog, I wouldn't have realized that I've made more things than I thought this year.

This is a photo of a little birthday card for Anne. (And I described how I overcame my inertia to create things here.)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Christmas Challenge

This is me reminiscing about a little challenge that wen and I did for Christmas cards last year.

It started with us having hot drinks at Starbucks, and me peering at the cup sleeve and going, hmmm, we could make something out of this.

This led to a challenge to make our Christmas cards for each other using at least part of the sleeve.

Relaxation...and an idea was born...

I used part of an old Starbucks brochure too.  I really liked the collage work. Was  so glad to find another use for it.

I wrapped a piece of firm backing with paper, and hand-cut a tree from the sleeve. I added little embellishments.

Scribbled a Bible verse on the back,...and used more of the recycled sleeve.

~ The End ~

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Right Now (A Sunday Morning)

Right now, the house is peaceful and dreamy, resting.

I had planned to go to church but one look at dad dozing quietly in his chair and I decided that right now, home is where I need to be. Things have come full circle - now I make his daily dose of protein-laden milk, get him hydrated, change the dressing for his tube that comes out of his stomach. It's sometimes heart-wrenching to go to work when I'd rather stay home and do little things to make him comfortable, like adjusting blinds, cushions, pottering around the house.

On a side-note, I've really enjoyed the lull of June, and the freedom of being able to take vacation leave for a few days each week. All those years of saving up my leave days sure came in handy. And in a funny way, I have really gotten a lot out of my leave days without traipsing through airports and foreign taxis.

I feel accomplished today, having cleaned house the day before. This morning, I tackled my bathroom cupboard. I love cleaning up and re-arranging. I always start with having a plastic bag on hand, and that gets the momentum going for chucking away things that need to go (expired products, etc), finding new uses for things, re-discovering things I'd forgotten I had. I just created a shelf of Things To Be Used, like luxe soaps and shampoos, and these are now in line of sight so I'm more likely to use them soon. End result: I am all set for work next week, with cosmetics arranged nicely, makeup brushes washed, and cupboard re-arranged. Instant Inspiration. Ahhh.

Right now, I'm just savoring and enjoying the little things in life.

2 quick house-related links:
Ali Edward's yard - something in me yearns to garden and see things grow, though I don't like bugs and don't know much about gardening.
A house that appeals to me - it looks welcoming, practical, nice to be in, love the children's room blue walls and lettering. Love the lack of clutter, or at least, well-organised clutter. Less is More!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

In which I make a custom printed book

Well I finally did it.

After having the idea percolate for a looong time, I finally made a custom book. I had a lot of fun making it, and it was very well received so the effort was totally worth it.

The working title 'Thank you for the music' (ABBA riff-off) was for a book I imagined for my uncle & aunt who have hosted countless parties and family gatherings. My 21st disco party, I might add, was organized by them too, which probably tells you a lot about the fun-loving Party Central people that they are.

The book took about a week to put together. I spent a few nights organizing photos, letting themes emerge and organizing the pages.

Although I'd started off wanting to use blurb, the iPhoto software turned out to be pretty good too. Price-wise, the Apple option was a little cheaper too based on the size of the book I waned to make. I paid about $60 for printing & delivery. The quality was good, no complaints there. The iPhoto software lets you edit the photos on the spot, so that was very user-friendly.

Seeing as my 10+years worth of photos were largely centered on chinese new year, Christmas, new years and birthday parties, that's the main way I organized the photos. Some considerations: I wanted to make sure everyone was in the book (hurt feelings wouldn't do, oh no), and that included photos of loved ones far away. Inclusiveness - very important for this book.  And I was particularly pleased of this page where I squeezed in lots of photos using an old shot of my aunt's photo wall.

Since food is such an important part of our gatherings, I included a 2-page homage to the lovely food we'e enjoyed over the years.

It took a week for the book to be printed and delivered. And when it arrived, I engineered a dinner at my aunt's and presented it to them after dinner.

For posterity, here's a snippet of conversation:

Uncle: What's this? (Seeing the apple logo on the sleeve) An iPad?
Cousins: No lah!!
Uncle: (Removing the sleeve) A book!
Cousins: OMG you made a book...
Aunt: (After several stunned moments looking at the first few pages, and getting a bit teary) This is better than an iPad...

Awww! Like I said, totally worth it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Old Houses

The fascination with old houses continues.

Taking photos of them, that is.  To actually live in them - well, that would need a whole lot of renovation.

No. 37 at Seabreeze

On a back lane at Rochester

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Faith & Art & Craft

Well, hello there. Things in my life have been relatively good, and I've been enjoying this time when my dad is stabilizing and gearing up for another round of chemotherapy next week. We take each day and week as it comes, and we are more appreciative of the times we have together.

The photo above came about on a day in which I was reading about Faith. I also happened to be in a make-something-mood that day. For some reason, I find it easier to work with scraps of craft materials whereas untouched, beautiful pieces of paper tend to give me Crafters' Block. I get such a thrill from repurposing materials that might otherwise have been chucked away.

I used paper scraps, a piece of black ribbon snipped off from a t-shirt, rub-on letters courtesy of Chelle (the closest thing to a sponsor that this blog has!) and ta daaaa...hooks that came with old ikea photo frames. I never know what to do with them and yet it seems wasteful to throw them away, so I have had quite a few idling away in my drawer for years.

I used washi tape to attach the hooks to the back of the paper and voila, a little reminder of faith for my noticeboard. Oh and of course the hooks can be recycled again and again.

About faith.  'Faith must be tested and tried before it becomes real in your life...the purpose of God is to see that perfect faith is made real in His children.' (Oswald Chambers). The grace of God helps me know and believe that He is God, and He is Good. Even though there are bound to be sad times ahead, it is wonderful that God has given me His hope of better things to come, hope of His never-failing assurance that I am His child, secure, safe and free. Despite my foibles, failings, inconsistency, I am loved and accepted because of what Jesus did on the cross. To Him be all the glory.

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him..." Hebrews 11:6

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21