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Category Archives: 5. Personal Projects

Magical places and handmade baskets

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You know the secret garden, or the place somewhere over the rainbow? I love the idea of having a little beautiful place to be happy and alone with magical nature. And lucky me, I have it! In my grandma’s backyard! OK, technically I’m not alone. But really, my grandparents leave me to myself to take photos and touch their plants 🙂 I took grandma’s paper modular basket for a little photoshoot today in my favourite place…




Laying the basket for me so I can take a photo, only to have me take a photo of her laying the basket… 😀




Tutorial: Mini magnetic boards

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Limitations force us to think. For some time, I’ve been deciding between having a magnetic board in front of my desk, which would be great to stick up goals and weekly planners, as well as inspirational pictures, or…

a shelf, which would clear the clutter from my desk and allow me to put more things within reach.

The reason I had to decide…my wall space was too small.

I asked the dad for help. He sauntered into the room, tried to fit the big magnetic board here and there, and then suggested I do away with it because I had not space and well,  “all you need is a piece of metal.”

Despite my university education, it hadn’t occurred to me. With the light of this ‘revelation’ shining in the dark crevices of the brain, or so I imagine, I went around the house with a piece of magnet, putting it against any surface I thought would attract. It worked with spoons, forks, jam jar covers, milo tin covers…

My final choice, as you can tell, were the metal covers.

Here’s what I did:

1) Paint the 3 tin covers sky blue with clouds. I used 3 layers of acrylic paint, and left enough time to dry between each layer. Coat with 2 layers of varnish, leaving enough time to dry between the layers.

2) Paint the magnets sky blue. Leave aside to dry.

3) Find silhouettes of birds, adjust to size of magnet using the ruler in Microsoft word.

4) Handcut them out on a piece of paper painted with a darker shade of blue.

5) Apply a thin layer PVC glue onto the back of the bird silhouettes with a toothpick and adhere to magnet.

6) Coat magnet with varnish and leave to dry.

7) Stick a big blob of blue tack at the back of each tin cover and adhere to shelf.

Let me know if you try it 😉

Walk on water

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‎’walking on water” is an entirely sensible thing to do. It’s staying in the boat, hanging tightly to our own sad little securities, that’s rather mad.’

(George Weigel, in this article)

Yesterday, I wrote about remembering our big dreams and being dutiful to them. But it’s not easy, because fear sets in. To remind myself to not be afraid and take a leap of faith, I handcut the words, “Walk on Water”. As a Catholic, it reminds me to keep my eyes on Jesus and trust Him in every little thing as well.

This inspirational piece is now sitting prettily on my shelf, together with the repurposed clock and my grandma’s bird 🙂

Grandma’s birds (part 2)

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First things first! Making this paper sculpture requires patience on your part. The comforting thing is that it does get easier as you go along 🙂 Next, there is no hard and fast rule as to the shape that the sculpture can take. As such, I don’t think it’s useful or practical to give tedious instructions as to how you should be piling the shapes on other shapes and how many shapes to pile on each side for the tail and the head.

*Did you catch Part 1 of this? If not, here’s the link. You need it to make the basic shape.

What you need

  • around 300 pieces of the basic shape (less if you want to make it smaller), at least 4 in a different colour to highlight the tail and the head
  • 2 googly eyes or two that you fashion out of black and white paper yourself
  • small orange paper for the beak
  • cardboard base cut into a circle/oval shape (mine is ~9cm x 7cm)
  • a reasonable amount of patience 😉
Before you begin, take note of the right angle of your basic triangle shape. You will need to take note of whether the right angle is facing inwards or outwards.
OK, you’re ready to learn the basic steps!
1st layer (main body)
Stick 8-9 basic shapes near the edges cardboard base, with the right angle facing outwards.
(If you did the basic shape right, there should be 2 flaps for each basic shape.)
2nd layer (main body)
For the next layer and all subsequent layers, insert the basic shapes such that the right angle of the triangle is facing inwards. 

You will want to insert the basic shape (2nd layer) such that each basic shape in the 1st layer can fit 2 basic shapes.

Subsequent layers (main body)

This should be easier. Look at your basic shape and notice that there are 2 little compartments in each basic shape. Insert the basic shape of the subsequent layer such that each compartment fits into a separate basic shape in the previous layer.

After you have completed piling around 9 layers of these shapes (again, no hard and fast rule) , you have something like this:

Choose 2 adjacent parts for the head and tail of the bird and start piling on more layers in these 2 parts. For the one I did, the tail is around 4 shapes wide.


Fashion a head separately from at least 6 basic shapes

Now we return to the main body. I piled on more basic shapes at the side for the head. BUT do you see something different? I’m piling the basic shapes directly on top of the one below now.

Which will be joined together with one basic shapeFinally insert the head, and you’re done! 😀

For more eco-friendly repurposing projects, craft-related news and an update when my Etsy shop launches, like my facebook page or better still, add this blog to your Google Feed 🙂 Thank you!

Soh family clock #3

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Soh family clock #3



I wanted a super simple look for this clock. If the quilled shapes look kinda familiar, it’s because they are the quilled shapes I made and had fun playing over Chinese New Year  😀

Check out the repurposed Soh family clocks #1 (comes with the tutorial) and #2 too!


Grandma’s birds (part 1)

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I like to think that whatever creativity I have in me can be attributed to the grandparents. My grandpa fashions little tools for making Peranakan desserts out of wood. And my grandma has been making beautiful bird paper sculptures lately from used paper one may otherwise throw away. I’m loving the colours of this particular bird. 

If you would like to make good use of all that paper around your house, you could try making one yourself.  Here’s how to make the basic building shape:

1) Take a square piece of paper and cut it into half.

2) Fold into a quarter. The purpose of this is to create crease lines.

3) Unfold the quarter. The shape you see is the one you start with.

4) Fold the 2 ends towards you aligning them with the half crease line.

5) Turn over. Fold up the 2 ends so you have a square shape.

6) Fold up the bottom triangle half.

7) Fold your triangle into half again.

8) You should see 2 triangular compartments.

9) These will be used to for the insertion of another similar basic shape.

What my grandma did was to glue 8 of these basic shapes on an oval cardboard paper (cut from 7cm x 9cm cardstock) and add around 9 layers to form the body of the bird. She added more building shapes at 2 sides for the neck and the tail. I don’t think there is a strict rule, the shape of every bird can be different. The end product serves pretty well as a pencil holder for me and a beads container for her.

There’ll be another post next week with pictures which show how to make this 😀 For now, you can start folding as many of these basic building shapes if you are keen.

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Introducing Smiley

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Before you read this, take a pencil and draw a happy face. There is a purpose to this. Come on 😉 If nothing else, it’ll make you a wee bit happier.





If you’re game, ask the person beside you to draw a smiley too.



Done? What does your smiley look like? This is mine, and I’m going to bet that the smiley you drew is different from mine, and different from the person beside you.

I’ve tried it with friends before. Though smileys are simple to draw, I can’t quite copy my friends’ versions of smileys, and they have a hard time drawing the smiley the way I draw it. The way we dot the eyes. The character of the strokes. We’re all unique. And we don’t have to try hard to be unique. We just are.

I’ve just introduced the Whimsybeams logo, but logo is such a horrendous word. It’s a smiley, it’s happy, it shouldn’t be called a logo, which if I didn’t know English, I would think is a serious word. Just look at your face when you say ‘logo’. Then look at your face when you say ‘Smiley’. Do you see yourself smiling? Slightly? 😀

Things I love about Smiley:

1) She is effortlessly good-looking– this ties in with my belief that simple is beautiful 🙂

2) She is unique

3) Looking at her makes me happy. Looking at her makes my friends happier. Does she make you happier?

4) She has been with me for years, since I was 17. She has dutifully sat beside my name unless it was a worksheet that my school teacher would be seeing. Something like this:


I’m sure there’s more.