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DIY Face Masks from Old Ties and Old Clothing

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During these movement-controlled days, besides worrying about the shortage of surgical masks, the accumulating disposal of the one-time use masks is also a concern - not to mention the money we would have to keep spending on buying them. As I have more than usual free time on my hands, there is really no excuse why I shouldn't look into learning to make some washable reusable face masks for ourselves. After studying the structures of the existing surgical masks and what other people have shared online, I have made a few for the people around me. What I have done is to add a pocket to some, in order to slot in a filter pad if needs be. Another add-on feature is the adjustable clip-on straps so that there is no need for elastics bands over the ears. The main reason for this is that the elastic bands would dig in to the back of the ears and could be painful over time. Secondly, I am making all these with existing materials I can find in the house, and I just do not have them at hand.

Grow Your Own Bean Sprouts at Home

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I still remember one of my early secondary school science lab projects where we were told to bring some mung beans in to school, place them in a beaker lined with a layer of cotton then filled it with water and left it covered for a few days. When we went back to check on them, they had all sprouted into bean sprouts that we usually find in all sorts of cooking, and the looks on our little faces! Few decades later, while the whole world is in a lockdown situation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the usually simple routine of grocery shopping became something not quite simple. Of course, thanks to the higher beings who invented the world wide web, we can now easily purchase our grocery needs online and get them delivered to our doorsteps. However, there are still things that we can't get easily, or they might be sold in large unit while we only need like a handful, such as bean sprouts. Here's when my old school project comes in handy. I am pretty sure that most domest

Chinese New Year Couplet Calligraphy Without Brush

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It's been more than 30 years since I last practised my Chinese calligraphy, as well as last owned a Chinese brush or ink! But Lunar New Year is just around the corner and I really want to put up a spring couplet (春联) on the door, just to get into the mood. I've even written a few sets of my own couplets - not from the usual ones that had been published for many years which everyone else is using 😁 There are or course, professional calligraphers at shopping malls to write these on the spot for any paying customers; but as usual, I'm cheap 😜😂! And I still hold on to the idea that - if I can do it myself, I shall try not to pay someone else to do it. So I thought I'd try - with or without the calligraphy tools. I began with the sourcing of the "Four Treasures of Chinese Study" (文房四宝) around town, in all stationers and book stores I can get to by public transport (yes, I don't own a car), but to no avail. Well that's a lie - I did find the brus

Handmade Advent Calendar - Absolutely Reusable and Washable

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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

Tote Bag Upcycled from Depeche Mode Vest

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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 p

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 trac

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.