Monday, May 15, 2017

Fun DIY with Cement - A Concrete Craft Project

I finally fulfilled my concrete lust! The preparation took a couple of months maybe.. how come so long?? It was because I took time to hoard packagings in the form of boxes and toilet rolls to be used as moulds. You will see...

But the main mould I wanted to make was this. Something I got from Taiwan. I couldn't believe it's concrete.. so smooth and almost flawless, like clay.

To replicate it, I need to make a mould out of it. So I got this rubber mould-making kit by Smooth-On.

I prepared less than expected actually, and had to quickly top it up. A lot of frantic stirring!

Slowly poured and filled up the container.

After a day, the original concrete tray is removed and wa la, I have my mould! Senget because I probably dabbed it too hard as I was trying to remove air bubbles.

What's next? The real deal! I got this creative cement for craft by Rayher, supposedly contains minimal dust for safe crafting.  

Didn't follow recommended ratio here. Just gasak.

The consistency is based on 'feeling', according to cement-expert husband.

 Filled up the mould.

Filled up the other paper packaging boxes I collected. I wanted to create something similar, like a desk decor with an indented space for placing name cards or little stationery things like paperclips etc. So the pebbles were for weighing down the boxes to create that indent.

While allowing those to cure for a few days (soaked in water), the following weekend, I started another batch, this time I mixed the Rayher and the grout cement the husband brought home. The stark difference between the two is that Rayher produces the natural signature grey colour of concrete while the husband's grout is whitish. Sounds so wrong. Hahahaha.

I've always wanted to make the geometric planter. You can find many tutorials and photos of the trending triangle/pentagon/hexagon planters or tealight holders on Pinterest.

It's actually quite easy. Just cut up 11 pentagon shape from a cereal box, using a master shape that is printed from Powerpoint. The size is up to you.

Then build up the vessel and stick with masking tape.

 This was the collection of moulds I had planned on filling, but eventually I had to abandon two of them.

Making cross-shaped fridge magnets, like I did previously.

Another replicate of the desk tray using the rubber mould, another desk tray using packaging boxes, a geometric planter and a cube planter using milk carton. So this batch was made with a mixture of the Rayher cement and the grout cement.

The verdict! Boy, it was exciting unveiling each one of them.

First, the cross magnets.

Not quite as smooth and perfect as the first batch I made last time. It could be the cement mixture I'm using this time. There were more holes at the edges caused by tiny bubbles that formed during the curing stage.

But I still like the raw imperfect result of it. The pieces had to be sand-papered to smoothen the edges of the bottom part where the magnet is at. 

Next, for the planters and tray that were made using packaging boxes, they had to be emerged in a pail of water for a day or two, then scrubbed to remove traces of paper that stuck on some surfaces.

After leaving them to dry for another day, they were ready for finishing touches like clipping away the extra bits and sanding them down to smoothen any sharp edges.

Here they are!

 Styling attempt...haha.

And finally, the replicate I've always wanted to produce.

Spot the difference? I was amazed! So the one on the far right is the original tray. The middle one is made of entirely Rayher cement, the first replicate attempt, while the one on the far left is made of the mixture of Rayher and grout cement, second attempt. I was very surprised at the reproducibility of the first replicate. It was like the exact copy, the smoothness and the colour. When I was mixing the cement, there was a lot of doubt because the cement mix was very rough and felt like there was a lot sand and stones. Quite unexpected!

The one made with the mixture of Rayher and grout cement produced a lot of characteristic holes which some may deem rather adorable... you know, like cheese. But this one is fairer. I will try again with 100% grout since I'm running out of Rayher, but I really do like the colour of Rayher, the signature grey concrete colour.

So that was my 2-weekend cement adventure!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Overhaul My Heart

22 April
- submit car to FA Wagen for checks. Symptoms: loss of power, engine a little shaky,  catalytic converter warning light briefly flashing

27 April
- FA Wagen informed that engine needed overhaul, compression test failed. Quoted 30K for complete overhaul if required. First cardiac explosion (me). The husband says his racer-mechanic friend can do it. "I'll take care of it", he says. Pulse came back with a tingly warmth.

29 April
- towed to racer-mechanic's workshop. Sobbed a little.

1-7 May
- car still untouched. Racer-mechanic friend has a race event. Will be free after this, he says. Second cardiac explosion.

8-14 May
-"Oh, they have a race in China this weekend. Will be free after this." Third cardiac discharge. Pulse is no longer with tingly warmth, now turbulent with toxic fumes diffusing out of my burning scalp.

I NEED TO pray for patience PUNCH SOMETHING. PMS, you are not helping.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Another one?

No no, not what you're thinking.

Usually, the husband and I rarely communicate during the day when we're at work. Because you know, we're no longer in our courting-newly-wed years anymore.

And then, out of the blue, he has been wishing me good morning for a few days, adorned with the blowing heart kiss emoji. How cute.

Then it's not cute anymore when he finally asks, "Can I go to Bangkok with my friends? Golf trip"

At least he asked, you say. He'd probably already secured his tickets. Asking is just to prevent divorce.

First leisure trip with friends?, you ask. Nope. He has enjoyed his buddy-trip every year since he met his group of businessmen friends. Every year.

Yes, I am jealous. Yes, I am sour about it. He has NEVER taken me on a trip. He said he wanted to. He even took some brochures. WOW. Just WOW. I'm just worth a brochure.

Sometimes I feel that marriage is a trap for women. The men will never be trapped. They get to go on golf trips.

I need to meditate now. And I believe in karma. Such a bitch, this one.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Attempt To Sell On Instagram and Facebook

Today I clicked on many buttons and links to learn about setting up ads on IG and FB. I trembled and quit Safari altogether.

Still not ready, but close...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

This Or That

Hah... 40 years old and still fickle. I get bitten by the mid-life career switch bug now and then. And lately, this bug was strong. It got me listing all the potential jobs/career I could have. Well, quite pathetically, there's only 3 in my list.

1) Teacher
3) Business in design

Actually, those my semi-retiring dream jobs. Nothing fancy. Kindy teacher, IKEA cashier or running my small little business online and participating in craft fairs. But first, I always always always do research...

So I searched for colleges that offer part-time courses in Early Childhood Education. I read forums where people talk about their experiences in switching career, in teaching, in everything good and bad about it. It got me all sparked up.

You hear this often, "I left my high-paying job to do something I'm passionate about", or "I'm 10x poorer but 100x happier". I wish I had the guts to make those statements. Or maybe bravery is about shoving those dreams away because responsibility is more important. I don't know.

Sometimes I believe my life is perfect the way it is right now. Stable job, good salary which becomes awesome after the MY-SG conversion rate, wonderful colleagues, fairly stress-less work environment, daily commuting so-so (sometimes smooth, sometimes bumpy), have time for family, and HAVE TIME TO CRAFT. What more can I ask for right!

I know a certain person will tell me, "Don't be stupid", while a fair share of folks will encourage me to follow my dreams. Should I be stupid?

- conversation between Mrs Darling and Michael, taken from Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Designing Stamps

Some time in October last year, I've started listing wedding save-the-date rubber stamps on my Etsy and Carousell Singapore shop. Surprisingly, I've gotten most buyers from Carousell.

And I decided to finish these wood-mounted rubber stamps once and for all, so that they are ready for sale.

And I've been Taobao-ing again... heheh.

Happy days!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017


I have nothing planned for 2017. It's partly because I think I overdid it in 2016. I actually felt guilty splurging last year. So this year, I'm going to save money. DOPE!! I JINXED IT! Don't say don't say!

2016 was an Apple whore year. Because my Macbook Pro was stolen during a house robbery, I had to get a new one.

Then I bought an iPad mini for family use, specifically for the boys to learn and to assist in their homework. But so far, the only apps opened are Minecraft, Roblox, Geometry Dash, Minion Rush and Youtube showing Roi Wasabi aka Guava Juice immersing himself in a bathtub filled with mac and cheese. By the way have you seen the Nutella one? Good luck to him cleaning the bathtub. Also by the way, do you know that children's ambition these days is to become a Youtube star? Can be millionaire wan leh.

And then, I splurged heavily on the husband. He lost most of his beloved watches in the robbery, including a Samsung smartwatch. So I replaced it with an Apple watch since he converted to an iPhone. But I was also torn between the watch and a laptop because his old one was robbed too, and he was looking for a basic one for work. I walked out of Best Denki with an Apple Watch (first gen, with titanium strap) and a Macbook. I actually felt scared and stupid, not because I regretted it, but because I felt these were too much to give at one go. But I think they are useful, practical, good quality products that will last a long time.

Lastly, seeing that my mom's Xiaomi phone is giving her (and me) headaches, I went to find a second-hand 16GB iPhone 6. Mistake! Mummy dearest wants a phone that can keep one thousand photos and 'no need to delete wan'. Actual words from her, "I want to see photos I took from year 2013 wan". Then it struck me. Shit, tech savvy people like us can back up our photos on our computers and iClouds or Google Drive or what-nots, but people like her hoards photos on ONE device. So that iPhone is still in my drawer. I think I will sell it back.

Taiwan in September, Hong Kong in December. Splurged on SQ flight.

That was my 2016. I will not be impulsive this year.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Year 2017

I felt like I charged into the new year in quite a hectic way. After the Hong Kong trip, we attended my  cousin's simple wedding luncheon on Christmas Eve in Singapore.

Cousins unite.

Thinking there might be massive jam, we took the KTM train from JB Sentral for the first time and returned to JB the same way. The whole journey was quite smooth. THEN, we found out the traffic back to JB was CLEAR. Tu lan.

On Christmas day, I went to the wet market early in the morning to get ingredients to make my potato salad for a BBQ dinner that night.

On Boxing Day, I celebrated my mom's birthday at AEON Tebrau City. Whole day. The kids spent the whole day at Fanpekka while my mom explored the new wings on her own because I was imprisoned in Fanpekka. Exiting the parking lot at closing time was unpleasant. I don't know why they can't place the Autopay Machine at every exit points. I could only find ONE and the queue was long.

The next day, I had to buy Darren's new school uniform for Primary 1. Homaigod! My baby! Went home to wash the shirts and pants.

Then it's more outing with cousins and aunts the following day.

Next day, it was Darren's school orientation which lasted till 11am. After that we headed to AEON Bukit Indah for lunch and some fun at the arcade playground. I forgotten about Daniel's tuition so we rushed home and rushed to the tutor's place.

This fishing game is so fun! The boys actually sweated a lot after playing for almost an hour.

Then finally got to reorganise my reading corner, the boys' room and the pile of DVDs we've collected over the years. Organising your home is no joke. So mentally draining.

Then, jeng jeng jeng! SCHOOL STARTS on the 1st of January. For the first 3 days, parents were allowed to visit the class during recess to bring food or whatever.

Thank goodness we live so near the school. So I had been back and forth, bringing him oats for recess, and lunch on stay-back day. I even met up with an ex-colleague for a quick brunch and tour at the old town Jalan Tan Hiok Nee. I also sneaked a couple of hours to shop at City Square and KOMTAR JBCC. My old Marks&Spencer briefs lasted 5 years and had become so worn that it tore just by stretching the fabric. Old ones go, new ones come! I've never swiped my credit card so many times before.

Also did some cooking since the boys started school. 

My helper came back before the weekend and I'm back to work. Life is starting to be normal again.

What a chiong start to the new year. I hope yours was more awesome.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Hong Kong

Long overdue post! I'm still on leave since 16th December 2016, because of the annual maid's leave. While most are back to work on 2nd Jan 2017, I was still shaking legs at home... NOT! Gosh, I don't know how come this time I was SOOOO busy at home and running errands. I was really going non-stop and now I'm burnt out!

Our non-stop action started with a 4 day trip in Hong Kong. This trip, I brought my mom and the two boys while the husband had peace and freedom back home. Nyiaha.

Before the trip, I chanced upon klook, an awesome website where you can book tours, attractions and activities with a bit of discount. I was sceptic at first but after some review research, I booked our airport transfers, Disneyland and Ocean Park tickets with some savings. Here we go!

Day 1
Bright and early flight on SQ's A380. Our first time! Man I can't remember when was the last time I was on a national carrier since budget airlines existed. I splurged on SQ this time for the experience and for the little luxuries we won't have on a budget flight.. especially for the in-flight entertainment!
The boys were super-excited! And the other little luxury is SQ's in-flight meal. That little tray of delight. Sorry I sound like a suaku, heehee.

At the HK airport's arrival hall, I could have skipped this queue to get the HK Airport Express train tickets since I have already booked via klook. If you book with klook, go straight to the train station, just follow the signs that says "Airport Express Train".

The trains come in 5-10 minutes intervals and the ride was just 25 minutes to Kowloon.

Kowloon station where we boarded the free shuttle straight to our hotel. We stayed at Holiday inn Golden Mile  at Tsim Sha Tsui. The location was just perfect! It was next to Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station and walking distance to Esprit flagship store and Harbour City, both which we didn't go to. But there were many shops around the hotel itself anyway.

After settling into our hotel room, our first venture was Ladies Market.
I forgot how crowded Hong Kong is!

A must-go-to market in Hong Kong. We got most of our souvenirs here, like fridge magnets and key chains. My mom bought a wallet and the boys bought a drone toy. I saw a lot of imitation Anello bagpacks, seems to be the trend now I think...was so tempted to get one! But frankly, I felt everything was rather expensive. For an Anello bag that fits the A4 paper, it was HK150 which is like RM80 plus. Not cheap I say. That's why we didn't shop much. 

Great way to end the first day in the hustle bustle of HK city.

Day 2

Day 2 was all about Disneyland! Watching the Mickey Mouse train arrive was already exciting!

Our first Disneyland experience!

Did I mention Hong Kong is crowded? Disneyland is not spared.

They say the parades in Disneyland are one of the things you have to see. I thought this was one of them, turned out, it was just a little march. And guess what I missed all the parades! I had wanted to catch the Disney's Paint the Night Parade but missed it because the boys were busy playing the rides, and they were not interested in watching any parades. Boys just want action!

Had to queue for 30 minutes for their first ride, which lasted one minute. Xiao.

I think Toy Story Land is the fun-nest part of Disneyland. It is such a happy land.

Most of the rides require adult accompaniment for children, so I had to sum up my courage for this one. I was scared but it was exhilarating! 

Slinky Dog ride. Queued 45 minutes for a minute's worth of ride. But seeing the boys scream and laugh made it worth. But then Darren went "I WANT TO GO AGAIN!" Luckily I convinced him to move along.

Mystic Manor. Some indoor spooky tour. Disney kinda spooky.

 It was dark by 6pm, and Toy Story Land looked even more magical! The queues for the rides were getting shorter so we went on the Slinky Dog again.

Bad we-fie..haha.

 Some Jedi show where little fans come on stage and get trained with some light saber moves, and then some drama to thrill the kids.

We stayed on until 9pm for the fireworks because it's suppose to rock. The verdict? Quite spectacular, the only peeve was the crowd.

After the fireworks ended, we had to walk through the Main USA Street to catch our train back. There was artificial snow falling along the short street. Quite magical.

Look. At. The. Crowd. I kinda got worried about getting back to the station but we made it back a-okay.

I find trips like this very educational for kids. He learnt that you can never find a seat on a packed train on a Sunday night. Haha. This guy's a sport, never complained.

Day 3

I must be mad or the best mom ever because the next day it was Ocean Park day! 
I booked the admission ticket and the one-way bus transfer. After a short walk from our hotel to the meeting point, the guide was there to check us in and soon we were on the bus to Ocean Park. Very easy and convenient!

 The crowd. Homaigod.

 First thing we wanted to do was to ride the cable car to The Summit. 
 The queue!

I was bit scared at first.. haha. The view was brilliant. The cable car lines actually goes really high up.

 At The Summit, we headed to BayView Restaurant for our lunch. I couldn't book the tickets with meal voucher because it was sold out on klook. Now I know why... the meals are expensive!

Kid's Meal Combo.

Curry Chicken with Prata. In Hong Kong?! I had to respect his decision. Pre-teen now you know.

Mum had this fish set. 

You know how it feels during lunch hour at a crowded food court in Singapore? Exactly. I was very lucky to have found a table with an awesome view.

After that we took the rotating viewing tower thingy up to see the whole Ocean Park. Very nice.

The poor boy, couldn't go onto a lot of rides because of the height requirement. He was quite disappointed for the first ride no-go and was adamant about asking the 'bouncer' why, why why. Kesian.

On his own, again. I'm such a chicken-shit mom.
Sorry Daniel.

We made it to the Ocean Theatre for the Ocean Wonders Show. It was a madhouse! There were no seats left and people were crowding at the top trying to get a glimpse of the stage. Such a huge disappointment. 

Luckily I found a spot for the kids.

Waiting for the show to start... well, at least the boys got to see dolphins and a sea lion swimming and performing their tricks.

 Old Hong Kong Street.

Ahh, it's always so magical and heart-warming to listen to Christmas Carols.

In the Grand Aquarium, which was our last stop in Ocean Park.

Bus ride to Admiralty Station.

First double-decker bus ride for the boys. Lucky we got the front seat!

My mom wanted to try roast goose in the land of roast goose. So before leaving Ocean Park, and thank goodness for free wifi there, I googled for the best roast goose restaurants and logically chose Chan Kee at Mongkok because it is nearer to Tsim Sha Tsui. The other restaurants were in Hong Kong Island itself.

Roast goose and roast pork rice. Verdict? Sorry, I'm actually not a goose person, so I can't really judge! I just felt that the roast pork was too chunky. And there was no soup. Everything was dry. In Malaysia, there is always a small bowl of soup with your chicken, char siew and siew yok rice.

Just after we left the restaurant, I remembered that my dad wanted a packed roast goose to try. So I ran back and tapau-ed half a goose. They are very familiar with tourists tapau-ing all the time so they knew what to do. 

After that, we headed back to the hotel. It was still before 10pm, so while my mom and 2 boys stayed in the room, I ventured out a little and saw this little shop selling colourful ceramic serving ware. They were quite cheap so I bought 2 bowls.

Last night in Hong Kong.

Day 4

I had intentionally booked a late flight back to Singapore so that we could spend more time in the city on our last day. My mom's number one list to go to was the Wong Tai Sin temple because everyone told her Wong Tai Sin will fulfil your prayers.

Some stalls near the temple that sells amulets, auspicious bracelets and souvenirs.

After that we headed back to the hotel to check out, left our luggages with the concierge and took a little last stroll around the block. 

I wanted to get Wife Biscuits or Sweetheart Cakes and Hang Heung is the best. Luckily the shop was  near the hotel. And no queue! That's why I just love the hotel's location.

THE lou po peng. Bought 4 boxes to give to family.

Really nice. The advice is to get them on the day you are leaving Hong Kong or the day before, for the freshness. Also, carry them yourself all the way to your flight in your hand-carry bag, 
STRICTLY NO check-in!

So that more or less concluded our rather fruitful Hong Kong trip! 
We managed to catch the free shuttle to Kowloon Station, followed by the express train to the airport, just like how we came. Easy peasy!

Kid's meal dinner. I must say, the boys had a great time from the start of the journey right up to the end! Thanks to the in-flight entertainment!

Tzoi Kin La Hiong Kong!