Monday, 23 January 2012

Support Sewing by Hand

Ok for many of you who don't know my secret... I am going to come right out and declare it here... I only sew by hand! I do not own a sewing machine, the only one we have in the house is broken, and I only rely on thread, needle, and my hands!

Sure it can be tedious to finish up a project that may take only a couple of hours to finish with a machine, but for those of us who are not confident with a machine, sewing by hand can pretty much take you just as far.. Trust me, I sewed my bags and my clothes just with my hands, so I know it is possible.
And I've found it very therapeutic to sew by hand...

So my mom was the one who empowered me with the basics in sewing, like how to thread a needle and make a dead knot etc. But I had to also research on techniques to improve my skills in order to make sure my dresses don't fall apart when I'm walking down the street or something...

So for all beginners and those dabbling with handsewing out there, I support you! I have been told by many that handsewing has no durability and not as good as a machine etc.. but I have you know that I have proven it all wrong.. and I'm here to point you to the right website that has given me invaluable techniques and tips.

Here is the link to the website.

And here is the video I personally use till today with all my projects. Here is the direct link to owners youtube site.

So don't be afraid of learning to sew, there are thousands of sites out there that can help you with it, hopefully I've helped you start!


Piedra Negra ~ Great Mexican food

Ever since my cousin brought me to eat at Piedra Negra, I've gone back several times... It's sooo good! Very sinful and unhealthy, considering most of the things I always order are the fried stuff...

But so yummy! Located at the end of Haji Lane, map here.

My cousin's office is at Haji Lane, so she goes to it so often that the chef knows her, and of course he's apparently a real mexican.
Prices range from SGD$10-$20 for food. Alcoholic beverages are also available.

The BF & I went this Saturday, and it was raining badly, so if you've been to Haji Lane, you will know that the shop houses are small and campy, and the restaurant is in one of them, so when we sat on the outside by the road, it got a little wet...

My favourite is the Chile Rolleno, which is basically a stuffed green pepper with cheese and it's coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried. So it's served with jalapeno and tomato-based sauce and black beans, and when you cut into it, the cheese just oozes out... so it's crispy outside and gooey-cheese inside... drool..

Ok the BF's favourite is the Garlic Cod, which I've tasted and it's really good and a much healthier option to the other fried choices on the menu.

So even the BF finds the guacamole they serve with their nachos not too bad, but of course, him being the good Panamanian grandson, he still feels his grandma's better! [well actually I must admit that too.. and nothing beats his gran's salsa]

I love love the colourful decor of the restaurant and the whole mexican theme, it also blends nicely with the rest of Haji Lane's quirky and colourful look - the shop houses in the rain are so whimsical..
Love the mexican tiles accent..

Other great stuff to try on the menu, that I personally love but unable to consume at one time in one meal, are the fish tacos and the flautas.

So even if you are going to be a tourist in Singapore, do come down and check out the place! Great place to just hang out.


Good Morning Brekkie! ~ Simply Bread

Firstly, before I forget again.. Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐!
I don't celebrate it much anymore, thus the reason for the major posts, been at home vegging out in front of the telly... 

Anyway, I want to share with you a great place that I have been going to with the BF for breakfast! Of course this is based in Singapore for all the international readers out there! So if any of you are planning a visit to our little cosmopolitan island, maybe you can check out these recommendations!

Simply Bread at Guthrie House on Sixth Ave is a lovely place to have a satisfactory wholesome breakfast. Much better option than MacDonalds... click here for the map.

It's also a bakery that bakes all these yummy wholewheat breads and sweet baked goodies, and it's always freshly out of the ovens in the morning. Usually by late afternoon they'll be running low on the breads as everyone in the neighbourhood probably pops by every morning and leaves with a loaf under their arms. It's also a very family-oriented place, weekend mornings will have the place packed with parents and their kids.

The breakfast they serve are all fresh too, using their own breads and all cooked fresh, none of the pre-heat stuff that fast food places have.

They also serve lunch, which are usually the selections of sandwiches, but I think they have sandwich specials everyday too.

The cinnamon roll isn't bad... I love love cinnamon rolll... very hard to find in Singapore these days.. 

The menu.. click to enlarge and see it clearer..

I usually get the eggs.. you can add things to it.. this was an omelet with shitake mushrooms... and roast peppers draped on top because they forgot it and served it on the side for me instead.. hahaha

So if you ever do get up early on a weekend morning and looking for a pretty good fresh brekkie, head down to Simply Bread! 


Beach Kaftan DIY ~ E.L.

On a recent company retreat to Phuket, my colleagues and I went a little ga-ga over the beach kaftans. So I bought a couple for myself and a couple for friends too.

So below is one that I got for me, and of course, a beach kaftan is usually worn over your bikini on a beach, but I think it works too as a summery outfit!

Wear it over a tank top and shorts, and I feel the green paisley patterns on it looks great with brown and bronzey accents. Wore it with my Topshop strappy gold-bronze sandals, with my brown purse the BF bought for me from Target [hey fashion can be affordable too!], and brown skinny braided belt to pull in at the waist.

Ok so I may have bought this kaftan, but it's actually really easy for you to make one yourself, especially if you're not visiting Phuket anytime soon to get one of your own...

I did up a tutorial on how to make it, I haven't tried it personally, but I'm pretty sure this is how it was made anyway.

First Step: Start with 2 scarves with the same pattern and measurements.
The measurements below are just an estimated one.

Technically, the width should be able to stretch from your shoulder to your wrist to make the sleeves. And the length should be how long you want the kaftan to be, so 56 inches should stretch over your shoulders to reach slightly below your waist on the front and over your bum on the back.

So take note of these measurements if you are going to cut out from your own cloths instead of using ready-made scarves.

Step 2: Sew on buttons on one scarf with the loop holes on the other, this is the part that keeps the kaftan together.

And as seen below in the diagram, there should be enough space between the 2 sets of buttons, the space should be left unsewn so your head goes through it.

Step 3: So when it is done, put it over your head, and there will be the buttons down your front and back.
So hope this works if any of you try it out!

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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Simple & Elegant hairdo ~ E.L.

I've been doing this hairstyle ever since I caught one of my friends doing it in the exam hall, I was sitting behind her during the paper and she did the whole hairdo in 2 seconds even without anything to secure it in place! I was so impressed!

So now I'm sharing it with you here, unlike my friend's hair, it does need a hair-tie rubber band to secure it in place. It's so easy and quick to do this! And it works for hair at my length and longer, for straight or curly, thick or thin hair.

This is a great hair-do if you're having a bad hair day, it can quickly give you a neat look. If you want to use it for a special occasion you can jazz it up with fancy pins or even a hairband.

So I used only a single hair-tie rubber band and it stays in place, but if you find your hair slipping out, you can always use bobby pins that are the same colour as your hair to hold it in place.

Have fun!


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Chan Luu Inspired Bracelets ~ E.L.

These bracelets are super popular among craftsters, and there several online tutorials on how to make them for much cheaper prices. I guess the reason why the original Chan Luu bracelets are highly priced is because of the real gemstones.

So I wanted to make an affordable one for myself, and yet not skip on the luxury of gemstones... I bought this string of semi-precious yellow gemstones, I think they're yellow aventurines; and a string of them cost me only SGD$7. Then I got these bronze coloured chords, and I used a vintage button from my mother's collection for the clasp.

I think it works out nicely! And cost me less than $10 to make! So instead of using normal beads, use semi-precious gemstones that are affordable and glamorous. Just note that when using gemstones, be careful and gentle with them as they do break easily.

 If you can't get nicely shaped gemstones I think it can be just as pretty to use those faceted ones, like these randomly cut ones:

Citrine Chips Beaded Bead

Here is the tutorial I used to make it. Check out the owner's blog.


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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Weave yourself a colourful watch band!

Currently home bound on medical leave because I finally succumbed to my flu and saw the doctor...  and as predicted the drugs are doing really funky things to me... so I'm fighting it by posting a tutorial! yay!

During my trip in Bangkok, I saw a stall at one of their markets selling these watches with really fun bands on them, they were weaves of colourful faux leather strips! So when I got back, I decided to try it out myself, I've never weaved before so this was a self-taught process.

Hopefully you can understand my steps below and my kooky illustrations :)

If you get it in a mess the first few times, just keep trying! It's really fun when you mix in your favourite colours and you can just as easily make them into friendship bands/ bracelets too!

What you need:

  1. Seven colours of faux leather strips [choose your own favourites!]
  2. End-clasps for the band
  3. Attachment clasps for the whole watch - lobster clasp / hook and eye
  4. Watch face without the straps
  5. Clip board to hold your strips in place when you weave
So I used 7 strips because the watch face is quite broad, so my band needs to have a wider width to fit snugly to the face, so you would need to measure it out by weaving a bit first and see if it's too small or too large to go with the watch face you picked. 

If your band is too small, where you can see the rod of the watch where the band is supposed to cover, then you may need more strips to add on to the width, or if it's too big just take out as many strips you need to. Also the end-clasps for the band needs to be wide enough to hold all your strips together, if you have too small ones then it won't fit all your strips. Or if it's slightly small, you can overlap the strips when you crimp the clasp over it at the end.

This may sound complicated, but really it's not! It's really fun when you get the hang of it, and it's really cheap too! Faux leather strips can be bought for as little as 70cents a piece!

So with the finished band, you can use any old watch face that you like, I used my Fossil one, which my friend D. gave to me on my 21st Birthday, it came with a detachable strap so it's easy to change the it. But you can use any old one, or cheap one will do too where you can just remove the strap/band. 

Before you attach the band to the watch face, you will need to end off the weave. After you ensure that the band is long enough to go round your wrist and that its width is just nice to fit the watch's face, use 2 of these claps to grip the ends of the band - use a pincer to pinch it down hard on the ends so that they do not come off.

up close picture of the clasp - they can usually be found at hobby stores selling jewellery supplies and such. Usually sold in a small pack of 4 pairs they are inexpensive too!

So once clasped, attach the watch face to the band, the loop guard where the straps are usually attached to can be easily popped open, use a tweezer or pincer to grip the small rod and push it into one of its sides, it will usually spring out from the tension; to attach it back, do the same by placing one end back to its place then push it down and it the spring-like action will push the rod inward enough for you push the other side back in. Ok hopefully you'll understand what I just blabbered about!

For the watch clasps itself, you can use any that you may have, or a simple hook and eye clasp as I have used!

This weave band is so fun and addictive once you know how to make them! You can turn it to more than just a watch, it's also popular as friendship bands/bracelets! Make a few with variations of colours and mix it up with braided bands and wear them all together for a fun a bohemian look!


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