Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kreativ Award

Fantastic! Thank you Doda for the award. I never thought of myself as a 'kreativ' blogger. I just keep on trying to make the stuff I create to top the last one I just did. Things can only get better. Woo hoo! Happy happy joy joy! Right, I am to list out 7 things I love and the 7 people this award will go to...

I quite like how Doda did her layout so I'm gonna follow suit.

I love... (in no particular order)

My sense of sight and touch, without them I wouldn't be able to see the beautiful colours and feel the wide variety of textures, especially papers, with my finger tips; the feel of stroking my cats; the warmth of holding hands.

My country. I get to... ride a sports bike on full throttle legally, being a certified scuba diver, a former aikidokai, and a jungle hasher (so far) all the above in my own back yard. I love the greenery, great place to retire, peace and quiet, no taxation, and Singapore is only a two hours plane ride away if I need a change of pace and visit friends overseas.

How fortunate I am. Very grateful for all the good that had come and is coming my way.

My Sweetie. 'Nuff said.

Very good chocolate.

Stop-motion animation. I absolutely adore stop-motion animation. My whole dvd collection is on stop-motion. The amount of time to shoot something frame by frame, let alone a movie length. Moving the models a fraction at a time. Blood sweat and tears but the results are fantastic. First stop-motion was the claymation Morph, it made an impression on me. I thought he was absolutely adorable! (may Tony Hart rest in peace) I didn't know what that kind of animation was called back then. Then I saw an american version in the form of Gumby. I knew of Aardman Animations from Creature Comforts, for English when I was in year 9 in school, now they're famous for Wallace and Gromit which I gladly watch over and over again. In art school, I was introduced to the surrealist works from the likes of Jan Švankmajer and The Brothers Quay. I was blown away. Right now, I'm trying to get copies of all their works. Then there are the main stream ones such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride that everybody knows... right? I used to make models and storyboards with the intention of doing stop-motion animation while in art school... damn, I was such a wallflower... Maybe it was meant to be... Who knows... Not too sure if I do have the patience to make one, it's very challenging, but I do know I absolutely love watching them and I appreciate those who took the time to do it.

I can't think of a 7th one... I'll come back to that later...

The Award now goes to...

I really admire her work, there are no words to describe how I feel about her creations. How I look forward to the day when I can meet her in person. I'll probably have stars in my eyes...

Shayne and Kelly

These guys go together, so much fun to read their crafty adventures and they live at opposite ends of the States.

Dang and Blast!

I have yet to find out her real name. But I like her.


I love her books. She specializes in historic leather bindings, I'm seeing books which I've never seen before, and she recreates them like a forensic scientist.


When she has a knife and paper in hand, a magic kingdom appears.


She was a scuba diver turned baker. I love the little fondant decoration she does. Will be ordering soon!


This is one cool lady.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Engagement Folders (Buku Permintaan)

You got that right, it's folder with an S.

When I got engaged several months back, I was in a dilemma... and a bit stressed. More along the line of what my folder is going to look like than anything else (everything else was great) my folder was nonexistent until the nth hour. 

After all these times of making custom orders for other peoples' engagements I was stuck with mine! I didn't know what colour scheme I was going to do. I didn't how I was going to design it. Most important was the colour scheme, it wasn't until the week of the engagement function did I finally decide on the colour scheme, more along the line of the fiance decided on the colour scheme, I just ran with it.

Option A was a bit ostentatious for me, I was just trying to make the feathers work because I already bought them. I thought it'll be something different. 

Option B is more classic. More me, but of course this was THE function wasn't it.

In the end, on the day itself, I asked the family, and they chose option....

Which one would you have chosen?

Monday, January 26, 2009

My 5th Beginners Group

Explaining how the corners should be cut. 
Apparently, I got three cameras pointing at me....

Happy and proud: Renee, Shao Ling, Maya, Suzy

My 5th beginners group for stab binding. Reason why I've only been teaching stab binding so far is because it is a versatile binding. It is also the same binding used for when they get to the level of making their own albums! So the next step they'll be learning is tabbing pages... As soon as I work out how long that is going to take, because a beginners class can go anywhere from the 3 hours I allocated to them finally deciding it's time to go home 2 hours later. You can see why I don't do night classes, we'll end up going home by midnight! Goodness knows how long the intermediate class is going to take...

I'm taking a two weeks break after this. I need a sunday for myself, I got a valentine's book to do, not to mention a few others... 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lin's Sketch Book

This is the book block, ten signatures was sewn in. I forgotten the coptic sewing at the head and tail of the block. I like the pattern the thread made on the black ribbons. First time doing it. Not too bad. Got to practice more...

Pink and black. Black and pink. It's cute in a pretty gothic way. I'm not sure how that works but that's the best way to describe it I feel. And Lin agrees. She got the fabric and pearl shell buttons and wanted a book she could use to do her drawings in. The book measures to about 12 inches by 8 inches and over an inch thick. I used some of the buttons to add details to the black bows on the spine.

I actually owed her this book and there are still some leftovers of the material, I decided I'm just going to make some more books in different styles for her, in lieu of her birthday presents for the next few years, she is my future sister in law after all... A book a year, hehehe. That way by the time I used up all the material, she'll have a set of colour coordinated books! How cool is that?

Lin has yet to get her hands on this book... It's currently on display :-p

Friday, January 23, 2009

Freak Flooding

This is the junction that leads to my work place (turn left), 
to my fiance's area (straight ahead),
to my area (turn right)

Two nights ago the whole country was hit by six hours or so of heavy downpour. Didn't think much of it. I made my way over to my fiance's place that evening, it was still the early part of the heavy rain. Around 11 at night, his mother told us to look outside and we were surprised to see that the whole street was filled up with water. He lived in a cul-de-sac and the house was right at the end. The water was coming from the river behind the house and it came gushing to the front, and at the beginning of the street the storm drain was overflowing with water and was making its way towards us. Water was coming in from both ends. Neighbours were moving their cars to higher grounds nearby, mainly our driveway because the house was built higher than the rest of the houses on that street, to avoid getting their cars being submerged. One house was built so low water came up to thigh level. I couldn't get home until the next morning.

On the way home along the highway I saw abandoned cars at the side of the roads. These were cars that got caught in the flood and the engines died. I wondered how the rest of the country fared. On my way to work, saw more abandoned cars and one car, a Mercedes no less, was pointing in the other direction and at an angled that it blocked a whole lane. The current must have been so strong it pushed the car. The tunnel underpass on the highway was completely filled up with water and I had to take a detour. Some roads were unpassable due to the amount of mud and debris the flood water had left behind. And when I got to work our building had no electricity. The power station for the area was 3 feet underwater. Some of my colleagues didn't come to work because their houses was affected as well. Some places had five feet of water in half hour that night. One friend of mine spent five hours driving around trying to make her way home or at least a place to stay. She ended up sleeping in her car.

Newspapers for the past few days published pictures of the flooding. I found a link that got pictures that even I could never imagine that it actually happened. There were two reported death, one was a lady who's house got hit by a landslide and the walls collapsed on her, she lived up my road. And the other was a teenage girl who tried to walk through the flood water to get home and got swept from under her feet and got herself jammed in the storm drain and drowned, and that street is next to where my fiance lives.

The past few days the atmosphere was solemn, some roads were cleared up and others still caked with mud. It rained this afternoon and I was on edge thinking that if it's still raining after an hour I'm going home, because where I worked, it's in the worst affected area of the flood and I had no intention of being caught in it.

It may not be as disastrous as some places around the world, but it sure was for us. I labelled it under, 'interesting'.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An Angel Came To Visit

Isn't she a cutie! This is Aisyah, four months old (I hope I spelt her name right) Her dad and I have been friends for the past fifteen years or so. He came by the house one day on his way to his parents and she was with him, the mummy was busy at home so he took Aisyah out so she could do house chores in peace. We all fell in love with her, Win, mom and I. Best well behaved baby ever. Well, in the short time she was around.

Coincidentally, I made a book for another angel, my dear cousin Angeline. My friend Alison asked for a book for Angeline's birthday. I remembered last year, Angeline's sister Adeline asked for the same thing as well because Angeline loves to write. I made three books, all pink themed and Adeline fell in love with one of them and kept it for herself. For this book I just had to add wings, I couldn't help myself. It's too good a coinkidink not to. Angel wings for Angeline. I wonder what she thought of it...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Work In Progress

My book block. I like how decorative the sewing pattern is on the spine that's holding the ribbon down. I've prepared the boards for the covers last night, and the metal tooling front it's going to have. I'm making this book for my fiance, he's in the background. He's been asking for it since the beginning of the year so he could use it for work, ok so I'm about 3 weeks late with this one.
I'm doing a case binding. The last time I did this was back in uni, that was what, a decade ago. Eep! And I remembered it didn't take as long. Maybe because there wasn't alot of factors to worry about.

This book got lined pages and watermark logos. It will be cased in mock black leather with an embossed logo on the front in silver metal. I'm not sure how the book is going to turn out in the end. It looked good in my head, but I made the metal tooling a tad too big (well, alot too big) but I decided to just go with it anyway because I spent all afternoon and evening doing the tooling.

I had to redo the cutting of the boards twice because the first ones didn't have enough overhang. I was trying to be economical with the boards... and several more cuts because the boards weren't squaring up.

Hopefully today I'll be able to do the cover and you never know, actually case in the book. It's going to be nervewrecking that part because that's the moment if you screw it up, the book is screwed. Hence why I'm taking my time doing this book.

So far so good.

Monday, January 12, 2009

First Bookmaking Class for 2009

Click on image for a larger picture
L to R: Lian, Suzy, Nonah, Fizah and Jennifer

Phew! A fun class it was. We finished a bit later than I scheduled it to be due to various reasons, but that didn't matter, what mattered was that everybody had a great time and left feeling very proud of themselves. Let's see... Lian had a visual challenge because she left her glasses behind... Suzy took pictures of every step of the bookmaking process... Fizah was James Bond with the power drill... Nonah was very impressed with herself... Jennifer found out she can be skillfully creative.

Lian or Ms Tan to me just over a decade ago, or Madam Tan for others, was my former deputy principle. I used to go to her office every morning to have a chat when I was a student. She owned some of my earlier art (painting I did) and crafty (I made macrame washable bookmarks!) pieces. And the odd occasion where I go into her class for extra Biology lessons. We've kept in touch sporadically after I left school and it is nice how even though we hadn't seen each other in a long time, it felt like it was only yesterday. During the bookmaking class I just said to her how funny it is that the student is now the teacher teaching the teacher who is now the student. She rolled her eyes with a smile on her face and said, "What is the world coming to?"

This was one of the various reasons, Jeon and Chiong dropped by during class to give me a cake. They just got themselves registered yesterday. Congratulations again you two! May you both live happily together.

The book behind the cake was what I made during the class. I picked up the paper I used for the cover in 2006 in Singapore. I think I'll cut the tails of the ribbon bow shorter...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

First Book For 2009

Kinda freaky isn't it. I can't remember what the figure was suppose to be. One of those Balinese gods. Its a tie dye material that was meant to be a sarong because it got borders on the 2 meters length. I got two of those, the other is the same design but a tan coloured background.

How I ended up buying the said materials was, last summer I had to go to Bali for a conference, and on the last day there was some free time and I wandered off on my own. One of the places I wandered into was this area with a big sign saying 'Market Stalls' or something along that line. I like markets. Fun stuff. But this market was kinda dodgy. The stall keepers were hanging outside looking like vultures. Turned out I was the only tourist at that time. I waved them off. One of the locals tagged alongside me and started up a conversation. Since she seemed nice, I relented and went to her stall (should've listened to my gut instinct). Didn't see anything I like and proceeded to walk out. And the female blocked my way! Insisted I buy something. Refused to let me out until I bought something and she was getting mad. Making sure I'm not going to be in mortal danger I ended up selecting the said materials, bargained it down to what I think is an okay amount, if I recalled it worked out to $8 (~5 USD) for both.

She was so grateful for the sale and proceeded to immediately tap everything in the shop with the money (to bring more sales luck). While she was distracted I quickly went out and batted off the hands that tried to grab me to come to their stalls as they witness the whole proceeding with hungry eyes.

I figured it would make an interesting book cover, and now that I have, I still got a whole bunch left. Make more...?

I used a long stitch binding with wrapping on the spine, I added sequins and beads on the eyes. And when the light catches it the right way it'll look red. I used the same material on the inside as the end sheet. It feels a bit too much... maybe because the print is kinda busy. I wonder if it'll work on a bigger book. But I like how on this size that print of that one figure I centered it to the cover.

I might just do a giveaway for the rest of the material. Somebody is bound to like it...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Blue Green Secret Diary

A mother commissioned a diary for her thirteen years old daughter who loves to write for Christmas. The daughter had requested for blue and green, glitter, pen holder and something big where she could write as well as stick pictures in. That was the gist of it, there were more details on what she likes and it reminded me of me when I was a teenager.

And I thought, what would I want at that age? Something cool, something that I can grow up with, but at the same time still fun. I guess that's where all the glitter stuff comes in. You could see it at the end sheets.

The book resulted in a 12 by 16 inches wide and about an inch thick. It has a journal section with alternating blue and green pages with an exposed spine long stitch binding, some pictures or whatnot could be stuck in there. But I also added in a concertina spine flag book about 7 by 10 inches wide for her to stick in anything she'd like and it'll still be ok as the spine can take on the swell. I had to do the flag book twice because the first one got screwed up due to I was rushing it.

Mental note: Never rush making a book because you end up spending twice as long.

My favourite part, the double pen holders. You can't open the book until you take out the pens that are holding the covers down. Totally love the colour combination, individually the materials I used looked boring on their own, but when combined together with the bright green accent from the ribbon they look fantastic. Well worth making this book.

When the book was delivered they were not home and it went straight under the tree already wrapped up and name tagged. I was told that when she opened it, the mother said it was a success.

I'm happy :-D

More pictures of the blue green diary here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The 3rd Bookmaking Class & Waiting List

Clockwise from left: Dewi, Zana, Wina, LK

Here're the kids from the third class. That day was suppose to be a full class, and on the nth hour, they started dropping out like flies. One of them thought it was at night. Well, it must meant to be for Dewi and LK to have me for themselves, they got my full attention and because of the unexpected opening, Zana and Wina jumped in the chance to join in too. It was everyone gain. Dewi made her book with gusto, she weilded the knife and metal ruler well, straight edges everywhere. LK took down notes every single moment, making sure she didn't miss anything out. Zana and Wina, I left them to their own devices, they made enough books each already to know what they're doing.

The classes for this January are fully reserved since last Sunday, but if there are those of you who are still interested I would advise you to join the waiting list, and any unexpected openings I shall be in touch, as well as when the next scheduled class is happening, you'll be the first to know so you can get your seats if you didn't get it the first time around... hopefully I can sort out where I'm getting one of my supplies before then, the item ran out faster than I anticipated. So, drop me a line and your contact details so I can buzz you as soon as someone said they can't make it, at the very most it'll be the day before, unless you guys say otherwise.

There are two unscheduled classes happening, and they're both sorta like a girls day out event, private sessions. One has already confirmed with 5 pax and the other is still up in the air... We shall wait and see....

I need to make more kits!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

How I Celebrated New Year's Eve

Didn't go out. Didn't have a do. Didn't have anything. Instead I was in my studio making books. Relished the fact that I didn't have to be some place making small talk some where and twiddling my thumbs. Don't get me wrong, I love a good gathering, I was just never big on celebrating a new year. But when it comes to birthdays, especially when I'm the one throwing it, planning happens like months in advance.

Anyhoo, getting back to the subject, I've been meaning to try out this particular binding. I didn't think they're that sturdy from looking at the pictures of those that I've seen who made these kind of books. I've been going through my Keith Smith books lately and figured I could use the sewing onto tape binding and using it for the ribbon binding. So by adding extra ribbons I created more connection points between book block and cover. They're not bad, quite pretty actually. The blue and white one is dubbed the Cinderella Book. The purple one went to the States on new year's day.

The other binding I've been doing was the long stitch variation minus the exposed spine of the book block. I love the combination of the orange book with the red binding. That one went to the States too.

These books came about because I wanted to use up the stack of blue sections that was lying around for a while, been meaning to turn them into books... and now I have!

A productive night indeed it was ^_^


Contact me at