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bits + pieces

my sweet spot – crafting away!

It had been awhile since I crafted so I decided to get my creative juices flowing and crafted away! The first project was easy – it was a mini album based on what I started on this blog since January- Personal project\two people twelve times\2011. All I did was to print out the photos from January to May so far and started scrapping.

Inside the album: The journal entry was lifted from the blog but edited slightly due to limited space. I like the fact that when the year comes to a close I will have something to remember us by for 2011 and since I’d started it on this blog, it really isn’t any hard work putting it together.

The other project which I am looking forward to doing is an album about our little nest. What I had done so far was to paint the chipboard album in burnt orange (‘cos that is the colour of our house’s facade) and completed the cover page. Now I just need to take photos of different spots around the house and journal about it!

I also popped into the bead shop the other day during my lunchtime and bought some of these gorgeous handcraft local wood and glass beads. I want to make a necklace out of these wooden beads interspersed with the white glass beads for an organic yet modern look..but somehow I haven’t been able to come up with a design that I really like, so I decided to walk away from the project and wait till inspiration struck again.

But what I did end up making with one of the wooden beads was to make a ring out of it from this pair of earrings Jaimee bought me for my birthday last year. I love the earrings but sadly I haven’t been able to wear it because the studs kept falling out, so they had been left aside waiting to be re-purposed again. I am glad I finally found a way to wear it again because I really like the whimsical feel!

hi, my name is Noddy

and I was born last Saturday 19 December. I was handcrafted by a man who loves his wife very much and wanted to surprise her for Christmas. You see, the man’s wife had recently picked up sewing and bought some sewing patterns for stuffed animals. But she never got down to doing it ‘cos as you know, it’s the festive season so she was busying about with all the festivities.

Seeing how the wife is always making stuff for people, the man decided to make something for her himself. He took out her sewing patterns for stuffed animals and decided to make me, a giraffe. It was not easy, I tell you. He didn’t succeed the first time; had bought the wrong kind of fabric apparently. Thank God he didn’t give up or I wouldn’t be here telling you my birth story! In the end, he took a denim fabric given by a girlfriend of his wife (thanks, Zoe!) and kept his fingers crossed that his wife wouldn’t know. (She didn’t cos remember I told you how she was busy with all the festivities?)

I must say my birthing process was pretty labour intensive. See these buttons on me? That took almost half a day to sew! But the man persevered. He even had to go on Youtube to watch some teaching videos when he ran into difficulties. Despite all these, I could feel the man’s excitement as he sewed me up bit by bit. I could see him smiling away every now and then; perhaps he was imagining the look on his wife’s face when he gave me to her.

Finally, after days of working behind the wife’s back (he had 2 days off work, you see), I was completed last Saturday. The man was so excited about surprising the wife he couldn’t wait till Christmas. So when she returned home from an engagement party, a conversation like that took place:

Man: So, don’t you want to know what I got you for Christmas?

Wife: But it’s not Christmas yet…

Man: Oh, I’m just afraid you may stumble into it when you are in the house….

Wife: Oh, you mean it’s already in the house somewhere?

Man: Why don’t you go find it?

I was eventually found on the bedside table of their guest bedroom. My most vivid memory was a shriek from the wife followed by her uncontrollable laughter. She couldn’t believe that her husband had made me just for her. ‘Best Christmas present ever!’ was what she said to him. I felt really loved then. That night, I slept in the couple’s room and had my first sweet dream. I guess this is what they mean by ‘feels like home’.

P/S: I later discovered that the wife also loves taking photograph, lots of them in fact. Yesterday morning, she took me out to the dining table and started taking pictures of me from all angles. I felt like a stuffed toy model!

glimpses of Christmas around the house

This Christmas is an extra special one for us since it is the first Christmas in our little nest. For a long while, I was undecided about getting our old tree out from storage and decorating it. Finally, I decided against it. Somehow, the idea of having an artificial tree wasn’t as appealing to me as it was before. Nonetheless, something has to be done in order to get into the festive mood of the season!

But I gave myself a challenge – to recycle all our existing ornaments and not buy new ones. So I went on a ‘hunting and gathering’ trip and looked for twigs that I could use…These were what I made from them:

Centrepiece for our dining table; the personalized ceramic star was the only Christmas decorative thing I’ve bought…

Centrepiece for our outdoor dining table; all ornaments were bought from IKEA in previous years…

Outside – Twiggy wreath on our front door…

Inside – On the little ledge beside our front door…

Presents corner!

P/S: I am a guest blogger on Mish’s blog today writing about ‘a handmade life’, go check it out.

homemade Christmas

Every Christmas, I try to make some of my gifts and cards instead of buying everything from the mall. It’s my way of reminding myself not to get too caught up with, unfortunately, the materialistic aspect of this festive season. I realized I’ve wrapped up some of my presents before I could photograph them but here are the rest I’ve made so far…

A hand-cut poster in a gorgeous timber frame scoured from opshop – for Zoe and Nico

I love it whenever CS gets roped into my crafting adventure as well! Here he’s using our latest tool purchase – a heavy duty staple gun!

A cork board backed with flannel cloth and animals cut out from felt cloth which…

I can imagine this little guy having a good time with it!

And finally, I’ve made something from my sewing exploits – stuffed alphabet letters for little Edward and Kezia..

I am also making a couple of these button necklaces as gifts; I really like my latest haul of  “vintagey buttons”  I bought at the opshop weeks ago!

Challenge: This Christmas, how about making 1 or 2 handmade gifts instead of buying all your presents from the shops?

daily: photos + words

Yesterday, we had Karine and Ivana over for dinner. So during lunch break, I went to do my dinner shopping at this Asian shop which I go to regularly. I reckon all Asian shops have the same philosophy when it comes to displaying their goods – practicality rules over aesthetics!

What’s for dinner: tom yum soup, prawn omelette and stir-fry choy sum with garlic. And we used our outdoor dining set for the very first time!

After dinner, Ivana had a go at my sewing machine, taught me a few tricks and made me a ‘bread bag’ from my rags. Apparently, this is a common  item in an European kitchen that they use to keep the bread. Of course, the practical Asian in me couldn’t help but exclaim out loud: But why do you need a bread bag since they already come in a bag?! Tsk, tsk, reminder to self: sometimes we need to create beauty even out of the most mundane stuff…

daily: photo + words

Yesterday, Mish and I had lunch with Julie our church mate. She’s leaving for home (Wisconsin, America) this Friday after working here as a nanny (to 5 kids!) for the last one year. Bye, Julie!

Julie

Then, CS surprised me with a ‘just because’ bouquet of flowers when he came home from work. Funny thing was when I opened the garage door to greet him, I actually asked ‘have you got anything for me?’ which was totally random but caught him off-guard because ‘how come she knew?’ Of course, I didn’t!

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After dinner, we had telly time and I experimented with paper cutting. For a while now, I’ve been an admirer of Rob Ryan’s work but I can’t really afford his art pieces so I decided to try doing it myself. I printed one of his easiest works and started cutting away. Then I backed it up with another piece of cardstock, framed it in a secondhand black wooden frame, and gave it to CS, who was really happy because he thought that was his birthday present. Well, the best is yet to be, honey!

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P/S: One sad news: the HUUGE spider mentioned in our last post died mysteriously two days ago. CS reckoned it was because the smaller spiders he had been feeding it were poisonous…

weekend: photos + words

This weekend was pretty low key for us. Mainly, we did things in and around the house like:

1) Mowing the long-neglected lawn – see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of mowing…

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2) Assembling and oiling our new teak outdoor furniture – now we are ready for spring/summer alfresco entertaining!

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3) Learning how to sew on my vintage Swedish sewing machine – all thanks to CS who went back to the kind old man who sold us the machine at the flea market and learned all the basics from him so he could teach me in return!

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4) Doing some craft – finished the Christmas album, made some cards and 2 necklaces (see messy desk as evidence of ‘crafty’ time)

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5) Playing with spiders – check out CS’ latest catch; it’s HUGE!!

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hitched!

We hosted a little engagement party for Jaimee in the office this morning. She had been away on a two weeks’ holiday in Vietnam and her boyfriend pulled a surprise by proposing to her during the trip. She was so excited that she smsed me: “Sorry i could not tell you in person but last night ryan asked me to marry him and i said yes! miss you all.”

Mish (read her version of the story here) and I then decided to throw Jaimee a little party when she returned to work. And we started by decorating her desk with balloons and banners:

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Then Mich and Cate baked her this awesome chocolate trifle cake:

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And I, of course, was the designated card-maker:

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Congratulations, Jambo Rainbow!

weekend: photos + words

What we got up to over the weekend:

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– Hosted a steamboat dinner on Friday night for 4 Americans – Mish, Nicole, Julie and Erik who enjoyed themselves thoroughly because it was their first time;

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– Discovered that Americans don’t usually eat prawns with shells and heads intact; that’s why the funny expression on Mish’s face as she just couldn’t bring herself to break the prawn’s head because “the eyes are staring back at me!”

– Read more about it on Mish’s blog;

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– Started out making two birthday cards but ended up also making Christmas cards on Saturday afternoon;

– Installed lights on the roof of our patio, kudos to hunk who singlehandedly installed them himself;

– Watched the movie ‘State of Play’ to wind down our night;

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– Had our Sunday breakfast at this cafe which is an institution in Freo and was almost closed down this year by the local council if not for the petition signed by its many loyal cafe patrons. It’s staying put for now;

– Brought Erik and Julie out for lunch after church. Both of them had roast duck and roast pork for the very first time;

– Shared with Erik over lunch what food to eat in Singapore since he is travelling to Asia next month (and I’m still craving for my chilli crabs…);

– Tweaked the patio lights as hunk wasn’t quite happy with the “safety aspect of having 2 wires so close together in such a compact trunking” ?! (his own words) as I was totally clueless as to what it meant – “but the lights worked what, don’t they?”)

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– Had Julie over because she’s putting together an album for her host family when she leaves Perth in mid-November; it’s going to be an album with all the recipes she’s cooked for the family in the last 8 months;

– Taught her how to use the various scrapbook tools I’ve got and we brainstormed on the album layout;

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– TA-Dah! The completed first page of her recipe album!

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