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Cut Out Calligraphy New Year Decoration

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 …

DIY Ang Pow Packets

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Walking through the Lunar New Year decorations in the shopping mall yesterday, reminded me that we'll need to get hold of some Ang Pow packets (little red envelopes for new year money). We usually get them free with purchase from departmental stores and supermarkets, but you'll often end up with too many or too few of certain designs/sizes. I'm not entirely keen on making unnecessary purchases just for those red packets, let alone advertising for corporations who are already making money out of us.

That's when these pretty backing papers springs to mind:



I got these lovey looking backing papers from the Diamond Jubilee issue of Crafts Beautiful (UK magazine). One of the many perks of buying crafts magazines is the little craft-making tools or craft materials that came with the magazines. But the downside is: they can become a clutter too. I had used them to wrap quite a few presents and made a couple of gift bags; yet several years on I'm still having plenty of th…

Handmade Turquoise Beaded Napkin Rings

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In the past, we had some disposable napkin rings made out of old Christmas cards. Then I made some permanent ones using remaining beads from my handbag project. These were made in 2009, and I'm still using them for special occasions.



I've tried a very simple and basic weaving pattern, and it took me less than 3 hours to complete this set of 4. And I managed to use up all but 2 of the turquoise beads from the handbag project. The white beads are leftover from the beaded bracelet.

For weaving instruction please see handmade beaded handbag.

They've been put into good use since: