Tuesday, February 13, 2018



Fyi, the year of the rooster is almost ending. So fast, right? The Year of the Dog will begin on Feb 16 and end on Feb 4 2019. You know what that means? Most Chinese locals are busy spring cleaning, buying and baking festive food in preparation for Chinese New Year. Well, I really wanted to skip the spring cleaning myself but in the end I decided to do "a bit" of vacuuming and tidying today. The bloody dust will return in a week's time anyway!

Usually my home is devoid of any Chinese New Year decorations or goodies. I can't remember why but that's the way it has always been. (maybe rebel without a cause?) This year however, I became interested in making my own "Chun" paper cutting. My friend, SK showed me how it's done and it's so easy. In case you don't have a single Chinese friend to explain "Chun" to you and you don't know how to google, it means Spring. In China, Spring Festival marks the start of the new year. In Singapore of course we do not have Spring but it doesn't matter. The "Chun" character is hung or pasted everywhere in malls and homes. Some people go to the extent of putting the "Chun" character upside down but let's not go there.

So I took the liberty of creating 2 versions of "Chun" using Illustrator. I've uploaded them to my google drive so you can download and make your own "Chun" paper art.

By the way, this is how "Chun" is written. It's pronounced "Choon" like in moon.

The straight edges version. Download chun v 1.

The curvy version. Download chun v 2.

I assume everyone on earth knows how paper cutting works but just in case, here's what you do. First you print on A4 or letter size paper. Print at 100% or Actual Size. Fold paper on the dotted line, staple outside the lines and cut exactly on the lines. You can print the template directly on coloured or fancy paper provided it's A4 or letter size. Just REMEMBER to print on the WRONG side of the coloured/fancy paper because remember I have a dotted line which will be visible after cutting.

You can also trace the whole template off a nice scrapbooking paper and cut with scissors or if you aren't scared of craft knives like me, use it.

So here's mine. The left one's cut off a scrapbooking paper and the right one I printed on a piece of well, red paper. I've pasted mine on the wall. You can mount them on a art board or something but it's not necessary.

You can also create an applique. If you don't know how to create one, check out my applique tutes. I traced the template onto the fusible paper (in half) and stapled outside the lines. The stapling is really important to prevent your fabric from shifting.

After the shape has been cut, I bonded the applique to a background fabric and sewed running stitches all around. For the applique, I used  leftover fabric (a momo print) from my craft market days. I had left the fabric in the water for too long and the red had bled into the white. For Chinese New Year or just being Chinese in general, red is lucky so win-win. Looking at the applique now, I wished I had been smarter in my fussy cutting and not have so much red at the bottom right as my background fabric is also red. (a leftover Ikea fabric) Are you impressed I can remember my fabric's names?

I've pasted my "Chun" applique to the wall using masking tape. Please feel free to use other less clumsy methods.

My daughter likes the first one. My son prefers the second one because he says it looks like calligraphy. I didn't ask them what they think of the applique because you know, it's sewing and I can guess their answer.

Okay, I think my home is ready for the Year of the Dog. Bring it on.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Running Stitch Treasure Pouch

Last year I noticed there was an increase in sales of my Treasure Pouch pattern. When I say increase I don't mean by hundreds (I wish!). I actually mean instead of zero sales, there was a 2 digit sale.

When I first wrote the Treasure Pouch pattern, my intention was to teach my sister to make the pouch. I wanted something that wouldn't scare off beginners and at the same time, I included some embroidery for those who were comfortable with sewing. I wasn't expecting much in terms of sale. Still...

Anyway, I was encouraged by the "surge" in sales and I thought I'll show my appreciation by making a Treasure Pouch using simple running stitches. Kind of to inspire those who have bought the pattern. And even those who haven't bought the pattern because well, you already know how to make a drawstring pouch, I hope I inspire you too. Plus I do need a drawstring pouch for when I walk over to the coffeeshop to buy tea.

Just so you know, I used running stitches because I lurve running stitches and not because I'm lazy. There's something so innocent, sweet and naive about running stitches which attracts me. Also, they remind me of my mother's stitching. My mother is not a good sewer. She doesn't know how to use the sewing machine and her hand stitching is like a child's. And I don't understand it myself but I often find myself wanting to mimic my mother's innocent hand stitches. But believe me, once you know how to sew well, it's very hard to make your sewing look deliberately child-like.

I have this small amount of greyish fabric in my stash and I thought it would be perfect for my drawstring pouch. In the beginning, I thought of doing a ombre stitching effect but I looked in my embroidery floss stash and discovered I don't have much variety in greys.

So I opted for a go-with-the-feel kind of strategy. I used blue chalk to mark the lines. Do you ever notice white chalk or white pen don't work as well or dark fabric? I use blue chalk/pen for nearly everything.

I sewed horizontal running stitches on one half of the fabric and vertical running stitches on the other half. It's not a creative thing - I just got bored. When I sew running stitches, I prefer to use non-fusible interfacing.

I made the drawstring pouch based on the Treasure Pouch pattern but I modified it a bit on account of my wallet being rather long. So my pouch is slightly taller.

Here's a view from the horizontal lines side.

And this one's from the vertical lines side. I used to take photos of my bags hung from this hook but I rarely do that anymore because I use the other side of the wall as the lighting is better.

I can't believe I don't have any beads that matches the pouch. I usually tie a bead at each end of the drawstring. I guess I need to rectify the situation. A visit to Chinatown is clearly needed.

This is the inside. Polka dots in black and white.

I just love the rippled effect created by the running stitches. I can't wait to use this pouch the next time I go buy tea and the tea ladies will stare at it and wonder where I bought it. Yes, that's my fantasy - tea ladies envy.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What January Made

Hey folks,

On 2nd Jan this year, inspired by Kim Werker, I decided to make a commitment to make something creative every day. Yes, every day. Throughout 2018. The idea is to post a photo (or two) of what I'm working on on Instagram. There is no creative police to check on me - it is a personal promise I make to myself. I was curious to see what I could create. In the past I made stuff mainly to sell so being profitable and making a quick sale became part of the equation. This time though, I don't have such restrictions.

I think I was quite successful the first 3 and a half weeks of January. I posted a photo on Instagram every day. Even when my physiotherapist broke injured my neck in an attempt to heal me (yup, I fired him), I carried on crafting. I was unstoppable. I explored crafts I wasn't competent in. I revisited old favourite crafts. I had so much fun. I felt so c r e a t i v e. I'll admit though I aimed for quick-to-finish projects. Is that cheating? It's not, right?

The last 5 days or so, I went AWOL. I had a sinus attack. Got sick as a dog. The last thing on my mind was crafting and Instagram.  I was so sick I neglected all housework. Hubs had to learn to operate the washing machine. When we ran out of cups and spoons, my daughter was persuaded to load the dishwasher. Today I'm no longer on my deathbed but the last of the vicious sinus cretins continue to hold on to my nerve points for dear life. I'll recover completely. Eventually. In fact, I have enough energy that I think from tomorrow, I'll be able to jump right back into #yearofmaking2018.

So this is my total haul in January:
I had expected to make more knitted stuff but my injured neck put a halt to my knitting. I don't have any memory muscles for knitting yet so knitting does cause some strain to my shoulders.

Crochet is what I call my cop out craft. When I am dried up and not inspired or panicking (what to make, what to make), I turn to crochet.
Making these bead crochet bracelets reminded me how much I love beads + crochet.

These two were desperate crochet crafts. Then I remembered how much I love crochet balls.
I tried broomstick crochet and discovered I don't like it that much. The lace looks a bit too inelegant for my taste. (no offence to broomstick crochet lovers!)

I made one freestyle embroidered brooch. To be honest, such brooch are difficult (to me) because you don't make any plans and just let inspiration guide you. Sometimes inspiration isn't there for you! I would like to explore more free and easy brooches because they push my boundaries. Of course the chance is high that I'll end up with boring or ugly brooches but I've reached that place where that's ok. We can't be brilliant every day.

The last thing I completed before falling spectacularly ill was this fabric cuff bracelet. Another exercise in just making it, not planning it. This was tough. Sometimes the freedom to create anything can become a restriction.

I almost forgot. I wrote a tute on how to sew an embroidered fabric brooch.

I have one WIP. This is a lace scarf. I followed a recipe Kate sent me. I can't seem to make much progress on this scarf because I keep ending up with too many or too few stitches. Thus the ripping out over and over again. Hopefully this gets completed in February.

Now that I've gone through 3 and a half weeks of making something creative everyday, I have a better idea for February. I won't chicken out and opt for quick finish projects. Three things I'll keep in mind are: improve my knitting, use my fabric stash and do something different some of the times. I may write one or two tutes (energy permitting) and I know I want to try Bethany's heart. I haven't figured out dpns yet. Just hope I don't stab myself in the eye!

I hope I have excited you enough to do something creative if not everyday, then at least once a week. If you don't wish to follow me on Instagram (why won't you follow me?), but want to follow my progress, you can stalk follow my hashtag instead. That way, you can remain anonymous. ;) I have created a hashtag #projectsbyjane2018 for crafts created in 2018.  Alright then. I'll see you in February.
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My Applique Patterns


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