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Map Art

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I’m going to travel really soon and have been spending a good amount of time looking at maps, which can be rather boring and head-spinning.

So rather than look at all that, I thought why not look at them as an art. Obviously, I’m not the first person who thought of this, you can find so many ideas for map art here! For handcut maps, hop on over to Studiokmo and try to find your city.

From Studiokmo–part of Singapore, where I live 😀

singapore mapcut

Here’s Vancouver, where I did an exchange programme at. See Stanley park?

vancouver mapcut on white

And wouldn’t it be nice if you could wear something like this NYC Subway map dress so that you don’t have to carry a map along with you? You may get alot of stares though, from lost people.

21 Creative and Cool Subway Map Inspired Designs (21) 1












Play with your food! Yes, play away…

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Hello! What have you been up to? I’ve been in the kitchen lately throwing food into my rice cooker and then going off to learn some Photoshop and plan my upcoming trip. I was just beginning to appreciate my rice cooker so much for its convenience…

until I saw these pictures, styled by Evelina Bratell and shot by Carl Kleiner and featured in the book ‘Homemade is Best’. I haven’t read the book but I agree with the title! Now I think I really have to consider the part about throwing everything in, which I have to admit is convenient and fun, but maybe I need abit more of the fun!

Don’t worry rice-cooker, my heart is big enough for liking this and liking you 😀

How to live a simple life

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I really like waking up early, and for me early is 8am. I like mornings because the day is fresh, the air is cool, and my mind is peaceful and undisturbed enough to absorb what’s ahead.  This morning was spent reading a chapter on Simplicity in Peter Kreeft’s book ‘Making Choices’. I really love the idea of being simple, and try to embrace simplicity in my crafting– using eco-friendly materials and repurposing items around the house for my craft projects instead of buying things…

But we can always take another step in embracing simplicity. He shares a few tips of simple living which I really like. In fact, I’m feeling so charged up right now and all revved up to live even more simply ;D

Here’re just two suggestions:

Master time. Many of us live as if time is our master. We’re always just too busy for important things. Even though we have so many modern gadgets to help us, we still do not feel as if we have more time to do what we want. Kreeft says there’re 2 sorts of time, the big bad monster time, Chronos, which passes by with the ticking of the clock and the movement of the sun, the kind of time we are “swept away in”

and Kairos, time with “a human face”, the kind of “time we make and take” to do things. The important ones.

To be simple, make time! Don’t let time pass by you mindlessly. Stop and smell some flowers. Take walks. Grow your own vegetables!

Yesterday, I made time for painting in the park with a friend, and I felt so refreshed after that I came home and made time for housework. Kairos: Chronos –> 1:0

What are you going to make time for? Off my mind, I’m going to make time to visit the grandparents, more painting in parks, cook my own meals and exercise 😀

Another tip I’m liking is to be silent, inside… so you can listen to your heart, ask some important questions like, ‘is this really what I want?’ It helps to switch off the TV, your ipod, the computer…

which I’m going to do in 5 minutes! Tata! 😉

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 🙂

Childhood dreams

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I was sitting down with a blank paper, trying to brainstorm my perfect workspace and life.

And I found it hard. These days, I have felt the enthusiasm seep out of me, because I’ve been interacting with people who don’t value what is handmade, and feeling lonely because I want different things for my life and there’s no kindred spirit to share what it’s like trying to figure out how to generate some side income from my work.

Then I was reminded of my childhood, and a favourite diary from my childhood days where I would draw and write my big dreams as if I were in a magical world.

I was in a world where the 2 characters in my clock came to life at night…

and, where I was a famous artist…

I also was crazy (in a good way) to write letters to fairies and call for letter submissions in the magazine I wrote for an imaginary audience and sometimes a younger sister.

Actually, I was surprised to see that I wrote the artist dream down because although I’ve always liked crafting, I didn’t remember dreaming so big that I was a famous artist! It’s funny as well because my english was so bad that I couldn’t think of an adjective to put before ‘artist’. Since ‘artish’ didn’t work, I stuck with ‘famous’. And my signature was amusingly pretentious as well–notice how I had to write my name and add the end stroke separately?

As an adult, I’ve been made to think whether ideas are feasible, profitable, which is well and good. I need to do that. But oh, sometimes that can get in the way of big dreaming and once in a while, pulling out the diary of big dreams helps remind me of who I am and what I want.

I was so blessed to have two conversations yesterday with two friends who secretly for one and not so secretly for the other want different things in life too and it’s good to know I am not alone 🙂 But it’s sad to hear how they struggle and sometimes keep their dreams locked up, like I sometimes do because I don’t want to be dismissed as a crazy idealist :X

But what is crazy? I recently chanced upon this quote while researching on Rome…

‎’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)

OK, I need to mention it was said in a Catholic/Christian context. This is research on Rome afterall. But I feel it’s so true for us all! We all have dreams, but for one reason or another, we’re holding it inside us, afraid. Because of that, maybe some of us are not living the lives we are meant to live but what others and society want us to live.  The Disney fan in me has got to remind you that Mulan says, you have a duty to your heart.

What dreams do you have? Are you secretly a quite sane but considered crazy idealist too? 🙂

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!