Sunday, December 7, 2014

Baby G's 1st Birthday Cake

Yes, our Baby G is ONEderful.  If only my stamina could match hers and being the sole baby carer is not this challenging, I would have wished for her to stay this small chubby self for much longer.

To celebrate Baby G's 1st Birthday, I gave myself a challenge to bake her a 2-tier cake. Why is it a challenge? Before this, I have not successfully baked a cupcake that has risen properly. What more a whole 2-tier cake?

To make sure I get the cake right this time, I did 3 cake trials to get the right colour, texture & taste. I had chosen to make the kind of cake I saw trending on Pinterest the recent years - ombre layer cake. So I made my very own version, a pink ombre sponge layer cake with Pandan (Screwpine) flavour.

After the first trial, I realized the normal food colouring from the local supermarket shelf is not suitable for baking because the colour would evaporate in the heat. I went to find solution online and discovered colour gel paste is the way to go.

The second trial was when I successfully achieved the pink ombre. But unfortunately, the texture & taste were not quite right. It was densed, heavy and a tad too sweet.

Though this trial cake had four layers, it looked short because it did not  rise properly. A day after that, I had the third trial to ensure my cake rises. I did a normal oblong cake in a bread pan without layers & colouring. It turned out fine. NO photos taken for that, nothing much to see anyway. 

Then, with a leap of faith, I proceeded to make the actual 2-tier birthday cake. Baked the bottom tier & covered it in regal icing. I had so much unforeseen problem with it, it took 5.5 hours to complete. The following day, I continued doing the same with the top tier which took 3 hours. On the third day (gee, doesn't that sound like something you hear from the bible?), I finished the cake with icing decorations. This too took much longer than it should because the icing decorations were made without the proper craft tools. The only shaping tools used were a cocktail pick and both ends of a chopstick.  Besides the icing, I also made two mini buntings and printed some stuff for the decoration. I love how adding the bamboo sticks could instantly add height to the cake :)

Ok, too much words. Now, I shall let the photos do the taking.

 Voila! So what do you think?

Well, since this a 2-tier cake, I specially ordered a tall cake box for it too.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Posh Beanie Hat

Well, I was inspired by a beanie hat design I saw in a departmental stall.

For the life of me, I can't remember which brand it was. It costed approximately £50 after 70% discount. When I got home, I googled to read more about the design. This beanie with attached veil look was showcased during Spring Fashion 2012. I discovered several designers made their debut on veiled beanie hats - Bernstock, BCBG Maxazria, Jil Sander, British milliner Stephen Jones; with prices ranging from £80 to £150. Later I also found some more affordable versions by Miss Selfridge & ASOS. 

This fashion had only very little attention from the time it was first introduced but they appeared to have received some appreciation on Pinterest & Etsy.

It was not a big trend which the UK high street retails took on, so I have not seen that beanie in most shops. 

Anyway, I decided to give it try. This is my 4th head gear since I came to London.

While it may not be the latest fashion find and as some may say 'so last year' but I couldn't agree more with Chanel...

I love wearing my diy version. And I also enjoy the nodding & smiling approvals I got from strangers that stared and stared at the hat. At a lunch, some posh ladies from the other tables complimented on the hat. Another lady on a busy tube platform even reached out to stop me just to ask where I got it. All that just for £5 ^_^

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Strawberry Millinery Clip

During this phase with Baby G going from milestone to milestone, so much has been going on I could hardly do much of anything else until she is fast asleep. 

The mister decided we should check out the Hyper Japan. It was convention held at Earls Court at the end from our home. It was not a straight foward trip with the pram in tow. I always feel I have to bring the whole house when we bring Baby G with us :D

Anyway, the night before I felt one ought to put on a little something extra when attending any Japanese event. So I quickly looked through my stash of craft supplies that are easy to reach (as more than 10 boxes from previous house move are still sealed & hidden away). 

The following photos are the self explanatory diy steps...


To make it look a little more whimsical ( or ridiculous whichever you reckon :p ), I added two wing clips which I bought at the convention itself.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DIY Clipboard Frames

Nowadays, I would only do a project when there is a need for it. So, this project was done because there was a need for suitable wall displays.

I was commissioned to come up with some creative solution for blank walls of a facility room which has just been repainted.  There was no budget for this project, so I tried my best to diy the frames with A2 mounting boards instead of buying actual photo frames.

Materials required : mounting boards, clipboard, glue gun, blade, elastic band

Cut a border from a board for the frame and attach the frame to the another board with glue gun.

Then, attach the clipboard to the mounting board with elastic bands. Another option for this attachment is to use cable ties.

Try to make one yourself too :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cloud Pillow

It's Throwback Thursday! ^_^

While Baby G was still in the womb, I was excited and couldn't wait to kit up for her nursery corner. One of the things I so wanted to do was to hand make a soft toy for her. So I began ogling at Pinterest and decided I would like to make something whimsical but not too ambitious. I started with the idea of a cloud.

The materials used were fabrics from clothing I almost discarded. Among them 
were socks that shrunk after several wash.

 I choose the most colourful pairs. Cut to desired shapes and sewn it the edges up 
before I started stuffing it.

Then, I also used a dark grey cotton turtle neck I had. After that, two sheer pink circles 
of felt were for the cheeks and simple hand sewing done for the eyes & smile :)

When those sewing were done, I sewn the cloud edges and left one opening to allow stuffing 
of the fibre I took from an existing cushion I opened earlier for another project. This is 
definitely a cheaper way of getting the fibre than to buy a whole new pack of it. 
I sewn it shut after that.

So... there you go, a cloud buddy for my Baby G. It was the first item 
in the cot while it was still pending for more furnishings.

I think I could almost hear some of you whisper, "Why such a dark cloud, not white or blue?" It's for very practical reasons. I did not want white as it gets dirty easily. Did not use blue either because I wanted more pink to come through in this creature to signify it's a baby girl I made it for... though I usually cringe at too much pink and I always try to use more neutral colours in her other baby stuff. And this dark grey soft fabric came from my top, so I thought... that's made with mummy's top, another personal touch to it.

She is now 8.5 months old and I am glad she has taken to it. Just a couple of day ago, she moved it (while she commando crawled) from one corner of the cot to the other end where she fell asleep.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sew Pleased

When I was commissioned to design and produce this artwork, I was really excited about it. A small square piece of cloth was given as the base material. The artwork would be included in a prayer tapestry which would showcase many other churches' artworks in England for Lift Up 2014, Elim's Year of Prayer. 

This complex project landed on me suddenly but fortunately I managed to finish it in just 6 days.

These were the materials which I intended to use but not all 
were needed in the end.

A friend of mine saw this while I was still working on 
the artwork. She thought this padded hand was spooky :D

This was the quickest way I could think of getting a hand shake shape at 
that moment. Later, I realized I should have tried using a glove instead.

Description has been included on the reverse of the 
label tab within the artwork.

I tried my best to use several types of textiles 
and textures to create an interesting 3D artwork.

The completed artwork. So pleased :)

The tapestry will be completed and displayed in 2015. Can't wait to see the big picture!



Friday, July 4, 2014

Hello Kitty says Selamat Datang!

Did you know that Sanrio Hello Kitty has its first theme park outside Japan? It is located in Johor, a Malaysian state at the tip of the peninsula, next to Singapore.

Hello Kitty has many fans among the Malaysians and in my opinion, particularly among the oriental Asians. McDonald's in Malaysia would occasionally design a collection of Hello Kitty soft toys for sale. And fans would queue up to purchase the meals just for the sake of collecting each design.

Anyway, this is a congratulatory post to applaud my sister-in-law, Mei Li, who has been scouted & found online by a Philadelphian book publisher to share her amigurumei patterns for Sanrio.

Click here to read about Mei Li's book

Mei Li was discovered & picked by Quirk Books to share her Japanese crochet toy designs in conjunction with the iconic Hello Kitty's 40th anniversary. It is Sanrio's first amigurumi book in English and it would be officially made available to the public on 16th September 2014. But if you want to make sure you have a copy, you could pre-order it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Canada and UK.

Meantime, go check out her blog, amiguruMEI, where she shares her kawaii amigurumi patterns & tutorials. All free! Since 2012, her blog has received about 550,000 hits while her Instagram followers has risen to 10,000 and counting. She also shares some of the patterns with a UK based magazine, Simply Crochet, and craft ideas via a Malaysian  newspaper's biweekly craft column.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Baby G's Arrival Card

Throwback Thursday!

On 7th October 2013, exactly two months from the arrival date of Baby G, my mister came home with a lovely bouquet while I was making my last batch of cards to announce Baby G's arrival.

Well, I don't think I am a perfectionist but some people would say I am a bit OCD. Before Baby G arrived, I made sure her arrival cards would be designed, completed and ready with addresses and stamps to be mailed.

I started making this card one month after we moved into a new home and two months away from the delivery due date. Yes, a little crazy, but I like to plan ahead whenever I can esp. when I know I would not be able to spare any time to do anything else other than caring for my new love :)

This was me sitting cross-legged in front of a makeshift table churning out cards for the last time before starting a new lifelong 'project' - raising Baby G. Doing this while there were still boxes yet unpacked.

Not being a particularly girly girl myself, I decided to be a little easy on the pink while designing the card. My idea of using the feather on the card cover was to signify a newborn as light as a feather.

It was a great opportunity for me to use these small doilies. I had fun doing the heat embossing of the words on them.

This 'lottery scratching patch' thingy was an idea I saw on online. I incorporated it in the announcement slip concealing the full name of Baby G.

These were the announcement slips stuck on the left pages while the right pages were a collage of Baby G's photos. Forgot to snap a picture of the right page. Oh, mummy brain!


Just as I intended it to be - simple but classy. Nothing too girly to give away the gender before they revealed the concealed name and the pink wrapper hiding the baby photo.

Guess I wouldn't be producing that many cards for a long while. Baby G is rather needy at the moment. She is uber adorable!