Friday, March 28, 2014

New Lens, New Adventures

I have something up my sleeves for weeks now and I am so excited to share it with you here.


After 6 years, I said goodbye to my old Canon lens (that came with the body as a starter) and traded it in for the new Canon 17-70mm lens.

Actually, that is an appetizer for my new adventure announcement.


I loved how sharp the pictures are... actually, sharper than the photos I took with the previous lens because there were fungus in the lens already. Eeeks!

And so, with these new photos, I decided to make digital wedding invitographs! I coined this term, invitograph, which means invitation by digital photographs. I'm seeing more people creating Facebook events to invite guests to their wedding. Couples still do send out wedding invites, albeit less these days. The older Chinese traditional folks still appreciate a physical card. But for those who are actively on Facebook with their friends, they can post an invitograph on their event page. I think that would be so nice! I don't know how the response will be, but I really want to do this. What do you think?

Another new adventure is modern calligraphy. I have been waiting to do this but I wasn't sure about what nib to use. I bought the Speedball Hand Lettering and Calligraphy Kit from Amazon and it's still sitting nicely on my shelf because I am a coward. Then recently, an opportunity of my lifetime came in the form of Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls herself in Singapore conducting a beginner's workshop on calligraphy. I simply could not miss it!

So here I am, practising whenever I can.

It's going to be an exciting road...

Letters To My Boys : Everything's Good

Dear Daniel and Darren,
Nothing makes me happier than watching the two of you play together. In my opinion, the both of you get along fine. I have seen other siblings fight and quite frankly it shocked me. For now, I am very glad that I have not seen any violence or aggression between the two of you other than the usual harmless banter and whining. You are considered gentle, my boys, I am so proud of you.

Daniel, oh my precious Daniel. You are going to be 9! You still hold my hand and hug me. At night, you still want me to tuck you into bed and lie next to you until you fall asleep. I wish I can do better. Sometimes, I am so tired I just want to quickly shower and get into my own bed, so I tell you "Not tonight sweetcakes, I have many things to do first and I am so sleepy". I always regret it, but I can't help it. I want to do better. The time will come when you no longer want to do all those. A part of my maternal instincts was also to let go slowly. I don't want you to be a mama's boy, all clingy, and dependent. I want you to start living your life, to learn about life, sometimes without me. You have to learn how to face disappointment, loneliness and rejection sometimes. Oh gosh I hope I am doing it right. But I do see you are rather resilient and gracious in overcoming negative things, and I hope you carry this gift forever. Everyday you make me proud.

Darren, oh my sweet Darren. You turned 4! At this age, like your brother, you say the funniest things, make the funniest faces and most adorable noises. You are undoubtedly at your maximum cuteness age. I see a resemblance between you and your brother, of the soul kind. I feel your kind heart, good nature and your strong spirit. You have no idea how happy that makes me. Because you are the second child, by textbook, you are more courageous and rebellious.. in a cute way now. You are very determined and insistent. You are also sensible and smart. Please stay that way!

Mummy loves you, always.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Loving This Colour Right Now

Tank top from Cotton On
Tassel pendant necklace from Cotton On
iPhone cover from Holiday Plaza (don't you just love that old mall?)
Washi tape
Crepe paper from Popular

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Five Rules Smart Parents Never Break

Written by Daniel Wong, a learning and personal development expert, and a certified youth counselor. Taken from here.

Rule #1: Focus on progress, not performance
We live in a society that's obsessed with key performance indicators (KPIs) as a measure of success.
It's no surprise that we take the same approach when it comes to parenting. Parents closely monitor their children's performance in exams, co-curricular activities, and many other areas too.
But when parents are overly focused on performance, children often start to think that all that matters is the outcome, not the process.
It's crucial that parents help their children to understand that life is a continuous journey of learning, improving and developing. Results are important, but the growth process is far more important.
For children who don't understand this, their self-worth can become based entirely on their performance, which is detrimental to their future development.
If you're a parent, I encourage you to make an intentional effort to acknowledge the positive behaviour or attitude demonstrated by your children, so that they'll concentrate on these areas which they have control over in trying to reach their desired outcomes.
This will put the attention on being engaged in the process, rather than being concerned only about the results.
Rule #2: Allow your children to make mistakes
All parents want their children to be perfect. This implies that their children don't make mistakes.
Of course, we all know that no one's perfect, but you'd be surprised at how hard many parents try to prevent their children from making any mistakes at all.
It's through mistakes that children learn and grow, so parents should allow children to make plenty of errors. It goes without saying, however, that if your children are about to do something criminal or physically dangerous, then you should step in.
Don't shelter your children from experiences where they're likely to go through some amount ofstruggle, disappointment and pain, because these experiences are the ones that will shape your children for the better.
Rule #3: Show your children respect
Please don't get me wrong; I'm not suggesting that you become a pushover or that you let your children walk all over you.
It's important to set clear boundaries and expectations for your children, but this should be done respectfully.
Parents tend to greatly value obedience from their children, and they feel like they aren't good parents if their children are disobedient.
While obedience is important, it can sometimes come at the expense of the parent-child relationship. Your children might be extremely obedient when you're around (yet secretly resent you), but may change their behaviour completely when you're not around.
The true test of parenting is how your children adapt to life in the "real world" once they leave home. This means that the primary goal of parenting isn't to nurture children who are obedient; instead, it's to nurture children who are mature and independent.
Show respect to your children by involving them in the decision-making process whenever possible, asking for their opinions, and never speaking to them as if they'll never be able to make wise choices on their own.
Firmly establish the expectation within your family that the respect should be mutual, meaning that your children should also communicate respectfully with you.
Rule #4: Avoid praising your children for their intelligence (or any other trait that isn't under their direct control)
It's common to hear parents say the following to their children:
  • 'So clever!'
  • 'So smart!'
  • 'So pretty!'
  • 'So handsome!'
Dr. Carol Dweck, world-renowned psychologist at Stanford University, has done some fascinating work on just how harmful it can be to children when you praise them in this way.
(Coincidentally, I had the honour of co-presenting with Dr. Dweck at an education conference last month. Her research is incredible, and she's a really nice person too!)
When parents praise their children for characteristics that largely cannot be controlled, such as intelligence or beauty, the children can become obsessed about living up to these labels.
Take intelligence as an example. If your daughter answers a science question correctly and you say to her "Wow, so smart!", what do you think she'll start to associate being "smart" with? Naturally, with being able to solve science questions.
Dr. Dweck discovered that children who are praised for being "smart", like in the example I just mentioned, tend to avoid trying out challenging problems in the future, because this would put their "smartness" in jeopardy.
As a parent, I'm sure you want your children to take the initiative in stepping outside of their comfort zone and taking on new challenges. So what should you do instead?
Praise them for their effort and their choices. Rather than saying "Wow, so smart!" to your daughter, you could say something like this instead: 'That was a challenging question that you just solved. I saw that you spent 30 minutes getting to the final solution. That's a good effort. I'm proud of you for putting in the time to make sure you really understand the concept. Aren't challenges fun?"
This kind of praise helps to instill in your children the understanding that challenging tasks are fun. Unfortunately, many children grow up with the mindset that challenging tasks should be avoided!
Rule #5: Allow natural consequences to run their course, unless there are very good reasons not to
Many parents confess to me that they nag their children.
All. The. Time.
So if you feel like you're a serial nagger, rest assured that you're not alone. In fact, parents frequently share with me that they feel like nagging is the only weapon in their arsenal to try and get their children to comply — but that it hardly ever works.
Instead of nagging, I recommend that, as much as possible, parents allow natural consequences to run their course. Consequences are often the best teacher. After all, adapting to the "real world" is all about making choices and dealing with the consequences of those choices.
For instance, if your son forgets to bring his completed homework assignment to school, don't bail him out. When his teacher punishes him, he'll learn the importance of being organised so that he won't forget to bring his homework to school the next time.
Here's another example. It's common for children to leave their dirty clothes — usually their school uniform — lying on the floor, instead of placing them in the laundry basket. (It's even better if you've trained your children to do their own laundry, because then you definitely won't have this issue!)
A lot of parents will nag at their children not to repeat this behaviour, but will pick up the dirty school uniform and put it in the laundry basket anyway.
I encourage you not to do this. Instead, allow the natural consequences to run their course. Eventually, your children won't have any clean school uniform to wear, and they'll be forced to re-wear their dirty ones.
Once the dirty school uniform starts smelling bad enough, their friends will probably notice, and might not even want to hang around them because of the stench.
Quite quickly, your children will learn that it's a good idea to put their dirty clothes in the laundry. And you won't even have to nag!
It's important that when you allow natural consequences to occur, you don't do so with an "I told you so" attitude. That attitude is sure to cause your children to become both annoyed and angry with you.
On the contrary, your tone and attitude should communicate to your children that you're on the same team as them, and that you want them to find long-term success.
In closing...
Some rules in life can be broken. But if you break the five rules described in this article, you may end up with a broken relationship with your children, which may affect their chances of success later on in life.
I encourage you to give it a try following these rules, and see how well your children respond.
Wishing you all the best on the crazy and exciting journey of parenthood!

Monday, March 17, 2014


Are you on pinterest? I think any designers, lovers of anything and everything about art should be on it.

Here are some of my favourite pins:

White and Organic Homes



The Kombi thing is spreading yes?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Western Calligraphy Workshop with Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls

Until now, I couldn't believe how lucky I was to have met Maybelle last Thursday at Bloesem Creative Spaces in Singapore.

I reached my office at 7a.m. (are you reading this, boss?), checked my emails, browsed through some of my favourite design blogs when I had a thought of revisiting a post I saw some weeks ago called Petals and Penmanship. I clicked on Maybelle's link which led me to her website, and to her blog where she announced she was visiting Singapore for a workshop. Then I searched further and found out that she has an Etsy shop! It was the very kit that I have always wanted to buy!! Here's the shop if you'd like to know.

THEN. I read further and realized the workshop dates has been sold out. I was crushed.

THEN. There was an extra special class held, ON THAT DAY ITSELF. 10am-1pm.

I was jumping like a boy high on sugar.

So I emailed bloesem, and started calling at 9am, every 5 minutes. Yes, EVERY 5 minutes. I was desperate. This is something I cannot miss in this lifetime.

No replies, no answers.

I finished up my labwork and sat down at 9.55am. What should I do, what should I do.

Heck. I requested for half day leave which was supportively approved (YAY!) and went straight to bloesem at Tiong Bahru.

I spent 10 minutes getting lost at the MRT station. So I took a cab. Here's the address if you'd like to go:
59 Eng Hoon Street #01-79 160059 Singapore

I finally arrived at 10.45am. I creeped inside and saw that she was demonstrating to a lot of people. I whispered to the lovely bloesem founder, Irene Hoofs, and her co-worker Zara, about how I just found out about the workshop and would REALLY REALLY want to join. At first, they told me nicely that it was already full. Oh well, at least I tried.

THEN, she says, oh, two people didn't show up! Irene was so kind to let me squeeze in. Thank you Irene and Zara!

For the next few hours, I was in a happy place.

This is the sample written by Maybelle.

Calligraphy is all about practise practise practise.

 Courtesy of Maybelle.

The sifu at work.

More of bloesem shop.

I met Ruth, owner of thelittlehappyshop selling Shinzo Katoh products and many kawaii things.

 Lunch provided. LOVE the packaging!

These were provided as a kit for the workshop which cost SGD180. 


The goodie bag.

I have yet to write any word... I guess I am still dazed with the adrenaline rush that day. 

Friday, March 07, 2014

Mosquito Die

My favourite pastime at home has been killing mosquitoes.

That electric repellant device where you insert small rectangular refills everyday... not effective.

At evenings, around dinner time, I'd use a fly swatter and rapidly swing it around or flap it to knock them down midair, some land on the floor giddy, then I go for the kill. SWAT! It actually works. Within 15 minutes, I could kill about 10.

Then my mom bought me an electrical mosquito 'racket'. I swing it gently to tap flying mozzies and they literally spark.

Within 15 minutes, I killed more than 25!

I really don't know where they are coming from...

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

My Wall Art

I can never find good wall art in JB. The closest I've seen is that movie poster prints in City Square. I can't find the name of that shop because it's not listed in their store guide. But if you have ever been there, you'll know it. Movie themed prints on wooden board frames, superheroes, celebrity icons etc. Very Hollywood.

I just want simple ones. So a crafter gotta do what she's gotta do.

These are in my boys' room. 

These are on the midstair landing. The triangles were hand printed using foam sheets cut into that shape, and stamped repeatedly with kelly green acrylic paint.

A bit colour clash, but it's the trend yo!

*sniff sniff* I smell business opportunity. 

But I'm still in the oh-heck moodiness. I still can see my dream of setting up a shop at the old JB town, but it's kind of faded now. I wanted to spread the love for good tasteful trending art to the local folks, but now I don't care anymore. Maybe I feel that Johoreans are not ready in terms of art and home decor. 

Dear Ikea, WHEN are you coming to JB?