Posts

Handmade Advent Calendar - Absolutely Reusable and Washable

Image
Forgive me God, for I have been lazy...
I started making my very first DIY Advent calendar in April, thinking that I have all the time in the world to finish it. But I was wrong.

As I'm using 100% reused and recycled material from everything readily existing in the house, it means that all forms and shapes are made from scratch. And my plan is to make 24 individual little bags with hand stitched numbers on!

The moment I started, I encountered a problem: my embroidery skills are nothing to shout about so stitching the numbers on with threads is out of the question. Thankfully, a solution came soon enough, which is to shape the numbers with colourful ribbons or strings then stitch them onto each bag. Phew... the plan went on...

During the first few weeks of its production, I was gung-ho and adamant about it, watching Hallmark Christmas movies while stitching away; then I got tired because it took way longer and more complicated than I expected it to be 😭 !

Then I got busy, then I …

Tote Bag Upcycled from Depeche Mode Vest

Image
Been really lazy since Chinese New Year. And thanks to the extreme heat, it's painful to sit down for hours trying to make something.
But there has been some occasional rain recently so I've managed to steal a few cooler hours here and there to get something done.

I was given a Depeche Mode vest (bootleg one by the way, but still loved it!) a few years ago, but it never fit me properly- or should I say - it's my weird-shaped body that couldn't carry it off 😅

I would usually give away my old clothes to charity collection but definitely not this one - no way! Couldn't bear to see it gathering dust so I decided to turn it into a bag. And yes I haven't had too many bags yet 🙊

All I did was sewing the bottom together to make a base with gussets, trimmed off the shoulders and hemmed them; then finished with straps made from an old knackered neck tie. Took me one rainy evening 🌧 plus two punctured fingertips.

I'm now ready to go shopping with my new pride - th…

Cut Out Calligraphy New Year Decoration

Image
Compared to Christmas, we're not that big on Chinese New Year decoration. However, this year we've moved back to the old folks', and we shall just join in the tradition.

As usual, I'm not keen on the shop-bought decorations as they are often too horrible looking - too much gold or glitter - just make me cringe. Apart from the 2 sets of lanterns I made out last year but didn't get a chance to put them up, I decided to do my own calligraphy decoration for the front door.

I say calligraphy, but I'm really using a craft knife and a few sheets of coloured foam I had from past projects. Main reason being, I no longer own any traditional Chinese calligraphy tools such as brush and ink - but being an ex-advertising creative, I will always have my craft knife with me 😁


It wasn't a very difficult task, although I would wish for the weather to be cooler to make it easier. 
Just draft each character on rough paper, cut them out to make stencils, then trace onto each r…

Recycled Congkak into Christmas Candle Stand

Image
Merry Christmas!

Haven't been active lately due to living situation, which is why there's no Christmas tree this year ☹️
However a friend's Facebook post caught my eye and cheered me up. She found an old "Congkak" (a Malay traditional wooden game) someone threw away, and turned it into a beautiful candle stand centrepiece for Christmas.

So I've asked her permission to share the recycling joy here:




Photos courtesy of Miss Liew Siew Eng.

I Saved Myself £44 And The Future Of A Hush Puppies Luggage Bag

Image
When I arrived at the airport last June, I realised that the rubber grip on both my luggage handles had broken into pieces - disintegrated - literally! I ended up tying my scarf (I happened to be wearing one for the travel) around one just so that I could carry it without hurting my hand. I (and the luggage bag) survived the 3 weeks.

This is mainly due to it being left in the spare room for the previous 2 years (that was how long I went without a holiday), and exposed to the very hot morning sun for hours on a daily basis.


The cheapskate that I am, throwing the bag away is definitely not an option, let alone a Hush Puppies! It was the first time ever in my life that I bought such a high end luggage - for my kind of standard - and obviously, when it was on a really great deal. Being a 5-year-old luggage, it still is working really well except for the broken rubber grips.

So the next option is to get them repaired, or at least just the handles replaced. I found a bag repair centre in to…

Pruning Mint For Newer, Healthier Plant

Image
During the few weeks of dry spell and extreme heat in January, most of our home grown mint plants from cuttings became rather unhealthy looking, branches were dry and hard while the leaves were browning too soon. It was my cue for a cruel to be kind action: an absolute pruning.


It really seems like a very cruel thing to do, as I'd have to cut the dry and dead bits all the way down till I can see some green in the middle of the cut stems, so that the plants get to grow new shoots again.

Within 10 days, we've got some fresh new leaves sprouting all over the pot, new life just in time for the Lunar New Year of the Dog!


I believe we'll have lots of mint leaves to harvest and dry for another lot of homemade mint sauce 😋

Handmade Decorative Lanterns from Used/Old Red Packets Ang Pow

Image
Ang Pao envelopes a.k.a. the red packets, a must have's for Lunar New Year but also a thing that will become clutter over time. We can never get the right amount of a certain design, and we'll often be left with too many unused/odd ones. Although I've handmade some this year but there is still a stack too many from previous years and some of them have specific year or zodiac design on which can't be used for the following year.

Growing up, we used to lots of fun making little lanterns with old red packets as festive decoration, and I think it's time to relive that sentiment.

Instead of the usual squarish designs, this is one in a spheric form, using just 1 basic modular shape:

Cut red packets (ang pao packets) into equal circles (about 8cm diameter) and draw an equal triangle on the reverse side. Fold on the triangle outlines, then glue the shapes together to get these:


The 2 round shapes are for the top and the bottom, whilst the long strip goes in the middle and …