Saturday, December 26, 2009

Me Likey

I am looking out for a chest of drawers from Dorothy Draper but they are so expensive (between US$1,400 and $16,000) and I was wondering if there was a way for me to create one on my own. Her pieces are so rare and I feel envious when people write on blog posts how they pick it up at garage sales for $50 or something unbelievable!

 This one is available from a cool shop in DC called Sixteen Fifty Nine.

This one is probably more tame in colour but it comes in pink, orange...I love it, love it, want it! Hope I find it at a flea market!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Christmas Quilt

I seriously don't know if this will be in time for Christmas because embroidering it has taken me such a long time.

I wanted to do a redwork quilt for some time and had some Christmas fabric leftover so this was what I worked on. The pattern is not mine, it was from an Australian Quilt magazine I bought back in the 1990s (yes I keep all my quilt magazines!) but I changed the redwork pictures because some of them were a little bit strange looking.

More to come later! I am in the process of basting the quilt (I do it the old fashioned way, sticking it to the floor and running large stitches through the sandwiched quilt.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hans Olsen Table

I know this is a Craft blog but in a way, furniture making is a craft in itself and I love furniture, especially when they are not mass produced and hand made. When we first moved from Singapore to the USA, we needed a dining table but I was disappointed by all the MDF and veneered top stuff we were finding in the stores. There is a chap in DC who makes great furniture called Thos Moser and his furniture is like poetry.

Through daily reading of Apartment Therapy, I became influenced and started liking Mid Century Modern furniture, especially those by Danish/Scandinavian furniture makers.  We were particularly taken with a table by Hans Olsen and were prepared to buy it - but it would have cost us a lot of moolah as the seller was going to ship it by air. The seller was based in Denmark.

Then one day, while scouting around in ebay, we saw the same table and chairs by Hans Olsen and it was at a ridiculously good price and even though we already bought a teak dining table via Craiglist, I knew we just had to have it. We won the auction and now it is sitting in our basement, away from the children's harmful hands, ha ha ha. When we move into a better place, we will be able to place it in the right room.

Here are photos of it...
The table is round.

It can extend out to seat 6 people. That is not Matt's hand by the way. It is the seller's.

The chairs slide and fit perfectly under the table.

Look at this joinery. What an amazing work. No nails.

The six chairs.

The chair has only three legs.

We love it! It is a keeper! I said it to the boys, that it will be theirs when we get too old and we need to downside. So Cameron asks if he could photocopy it since he knows they won't be able to share it!

This is the one from Denmark that we let go. I prefer ours more because of the three legs!

Lonny Magazine

Through other blogs, I came across this great online magazine, Lonny Magazine and they just released their second issue. It is such a neat magazine, I had to blog about it in this blog and my other one so that you do not miss it! Here is the link. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Need A Blog Makeover!

I am entering into a giveaway - a chance to win a blog makeover here by Bloggy Blog Designz - I hope I win. I am so bad at making my blog look nicer, I am also hopeless when it comes to the simple things like formatting paragraphs and such.

Enter it for a chance to win!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fleece Blanket.

Ok, I have been so busy lately, but still found the time to make a fleece blanket for Cameron. James' one is coming up next.

I went to the Black Friday sales - to Joann's the fabric and craft shop, where else, LOL? I spent the whole morning there after church, I skipped lunch and just wanted to buy the right things, not to overspend (if that is possible, me in a fabric shop!)

The quilt fabric was already priced at $3.99 and then there was another $1 off.  Notions were all at 50% off and because I started quilting again, I found out that my huge cutting board was warped from the trip from Singapore to here. I bought the biggest one priced at US$49 and got it for $24.50. Ace man, ace!

As I was done, I queued up at the cutting counter when two ladies, a mum and her teenage daughter had bales and bales of fleeced stacked up in their trolley. They had with them a snuggly blanket and it looked so cute. They were talking loudly about how much to price it at to sell to people and she said something like "$30". It was so cute that I wanted to buy it from them but then I stopped short and took a good look at it to see if I could make it myself. Fleece was on sale, slashed from $9.99 to $2.99.

I then thought, there must be an article on the internet that teaches you how to make fleece blankets and I was right!

I bought these and got down to work.

For James as he loves space

For Cameron.

First, I placed the two fabrics, wrong sides together. Then I trim the edges so that they are all the same. I used 2 yards but now I think I should have bought 2.5 yards because my kids are tall.

Then I trim off the corners. I used about 4" for the side against the grain and 5" for along the grain.

Then I cut the fringes an inch apart. They are then tied into double knots to secure them. Repeat all until the very end and voila! Nice and warm blanket. I used it last night as the boys found it too hot.

Top of the blanket.

Reverse side of the blanket. Note, the room is very sparse, like the rest of our house. My reasoning is that we are going to move out in a year and don't really want to hang things up the walls and fix it up after we leave.

Cam pleased with his new blanket. Actually, he was a little cross because I stopped him mid-play to make him take the photo!

Total cost $12. Not bad, eh? Now to start on James' blanket!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yoga Mat Holder

It was Reva’s birthday in October and I wanted to make her something practical. When I found out she does yoga, I decided to make her a yoga mat bag. I used Amy Butler’s free pattern and it was really easy to follow. I am not too sure about the fabric though but the pattern called for heavier home decor fabric so my choices were rather limited. What do you think? Should I have gone for something more neutral?

It feels great to start sewing again after a break. I think I will be making a quilt next…

Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Shelf

Ok here is my first woodworking project. As I mentioned before, it is something so small but I never imagined I had to use so many tools to get it done. I thought it was just a saw some nails and perhaps a drill. Shows how much I know about woodworking.

I love the natural colours of the wood. I did not paint it, it was oak (the lighter one on the outside) and walnut. I just put oil and polyurethane on it to seal it.

Love the grain of the wood. Fine woodworking apparently involves no nails. I wanted to sign up for the furniture making course which was the next event but it starts at night, just before Matt gets back from work and I have no one to help babysit the kids. See the top left hand corner with the faint burn mark?

These pegs and the curved part of the bookshelf were sanded down with a disc sanding machine - not your normal random orbit sander and I had to move fast because when I lingered, it caught fire! It got so hot that the wood just burned. I was also scared to go too fast lest my fingers get caught in the machine and break my fingers! That was why we had so many to make, just in case one did not work out.

So anyway, I bought a single bed, totally raw and unfinished so that I could do my own staining. I appreciated the lesson that I learnt in order to use some of the tools in the right way. I gained enough confidence to buy myself a Dewalt Random Orbit Sander at Home Depot! I got to use it today but the whole place was filled with yucky sawdust.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Autographed Toys

J came back two days ago with an autographed fish - all the students in his class had one and they were given a fabric marker to sign with. Isn’t that just a fabulous idea? The fish represents the Primary School, gecko represents the Intermediate, etc..

So C is also interested, he wants to write on the fish but big brother says “No! It is for friends who are leaving or people whom I won’t see again - I will still see you!” C then asked me to make one for him as it is also his last week at school. So last night, in a panic, I looked around on the internet for some ideas of cat pictures and saw one which seemed easy to sew. So I drafted up my own pattern and made this in a few hours. I would have liked black buttons for eyes but I didn’t have any. I also did not put in a tail until everyone complained that it seemed like a naked cat so I had to unpick it to sew in a tail. Let’s see what it looks like tomorrow after everyone has written on it!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Recycled Scarf

As we are clearing out most of our things, Matt had to throw a few of his suits as he could not fit into them. It just seemed like a shame to throw away good quality wool suits but no one wears them here in Singapore as it is too hot.

So I cut up his suits and made them into a scarf, using accent fabrics - batik. I followed Denise Schmidt’s pattern but I could not understand the instructions in her book (my English is not good), so I just followed the idea and did it my own way. I had to put a quilt batting inside because I figured it was too thin for a scarf. Now it is kind of like a pillow…yikes. One thing is for sure, Matt’s neck will be kept warm when we move to Washington DC.

After doing this scarf, I made another one, without the batting.

This is the finished scarf.

I am not too sure if Matt would wear it as it is very different, as in weird.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

While I Was Sick...

This is an Eric Carle Quilt, fabrics from the USA. It is for a friend's son. She loves Eric Carle so when I give the quilt to her, I will present her with the book, "Brown Bear" as well. Will post more photos when the entire quilt is finished.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Elephant Quilt

I haven't had the time to do a lot of quilting. I have been so bothered by work that all I wanted to do was just wallow in reading other people's creative blogs! Anyway, I have just finished putting the elephant blocks together and now I don't know what border to complete it with. I like the purple mini border but now the final border has to be something bright to bring out the colours of the elephants.

By the way, I made this quilt for C's teacher who is having a baby but I am going to give her something else now. The orange elephant in the quilt is crooked despite me unpicking it and putting it on a new muslin cloth. I will tell them that it is a naughty elephant that doesn't want to do what it's supposed to!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Being Inspired

Eversince I saw Jenny's art piece at the American School Silent Auction, I have been in a sort of frenzy trying to glean as much inspiration as possible from books and magazines. I have been looking at art books, craft books and even how to write creatively. I am just so hungry to create something but the stuff is all stuck inside of me.

Jenny and I met up shortly after that auction and I told her that I was not creative. I could make things using patterns or copying other people's ideas, but never make anything from scratch. She said something that has stuck in my mind, "You say you are not creative because you are afraid to lose control and not allow yourself to make mistakes."

Know what? She was right! I have a huge blank canvas, 40" by 40" in my storage, waiting to be painted upon since we moved into our Woodlands flat almost 2 years ago! I know what I want to do with it but I am afraid of mucking up because I have never attempted to paint on such a large piece of canvas before. Due to that, it remains empty. How ridiculous am I!

Now, I feel ready to explore and Jenny suggested that I go for a walk with Matt, completely blindfolded and trust that Matt will lead me in safety. She promised that it would be a liberating exercise. While I don't think I am going to do that, I think that am ready to start on a smaller scale. I am going to start experimenting with fabrics first as I have so much of it at home! When something comes into fruition, I will post it here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chinese Cut Outs

The Chinese are just so good with their fine motor skills. Can you believe this is rice paper, painted and cut so perfectly? Lots of projects come to mind!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Uncommon Quilter

I borrowed this book from our local library because of the catchy title. The Uncommon Quilter by Jeanne Williamson was a surprise and a big inspiration! She makes quilts out of mixed media such as cardboard, plastic, brochures, ribbons, fabric, and she even paints on them.

I was so inspired by her work that I wrote to her and she replied yesterday! She wrote that she wanted a picture of my quilt when I was done with it. I am making a "travel quilt" of Matt's travels recently. He was in Melbourne last week and he left for London on Sunday. I have asked him to pick up maps, brochures. I am excited of what he will bring back!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Auction Quilt

On the weekend, my son's school had a fair on and they had several activities in order to raise funds. Many classes had to prepare or donate something. Parents would then make a bid on it. There were many beautiful creations on display, many of them photographs of the children, quilts, paintings, trips with teachers, a car park lot at the school, recipe books compiled by the children with their photos in them. I was particularly taken by my girlfriend's artwork, she graduated from Princeton with a degree in Architecture and later on a Masters in Design from Harvard University. I loved her work so much that I wanted to bid on it; it was mixed media with coconut, recycled paper which she made and it was framed up in a beautifully. What stopped me from bidding was the children from Grade 2 had drawn their self portraits which I thought a parent was going to love buying for their own child.

Then, Matt suggested that I commission her to create something for us and I am very excited about it! Jenny and I will be meeting up sometime soon to talk about how much she is going to charge. This is what struck me: She is very confident in what she produces and is ready to be assertive when someone says, "May I commission you to make ...." whereas, I lose all confidence and do it for free, especially when friends ask me to create something for them. This is where my weakness lies. I know that I can take good photos, can create decent enough quilts but baulk when asked to sell my services.

Back to the auction. One of the things I bid for was a quilt. I liked it because it was quite a generic one, it was not class specific (some of the class quilts had their photos on it) It was a T-Shirt Quilt, with attractions from Singapore. I have always wanted to make myself a T-Shirt quilt with all the places that I have visited. Since there is a possibility of us moving from Singapore, I thought it would be a perfect purchase. I bid $50 and won! I am so happy because this definitely would have cost me more than $50 to make. The contribution was from a kindergarten class. The backing was made with Singapore Airlines trademark Singapore Girl uniform fabric. I love it!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Some of the students at the school I teach at made a diorama of the Twelve Apostles and I thought, "Luckily when I was in school, I never had to do any of this rubbish!" I thought rather smugly.

When I went home that day, my Grade 1 son gave me a sheet from school.

"School Project: Diorama." It read. "You are to work with your child to make an Animal Diorama and a presentation about the habitat of the animal of your child's choice." Super.

We had a week to finish it because J had been ill and absent from school for almost a week. This weekend, we all chipped in and put together this snake diorama. It was really fun. Even the youngest joined in to collect twigs and stones. J and C cut up the bushes and made them into 3-D shapes.