What is the best comeback blog post?

I don’t know but I’m starting mine with this –

To be honest, I often have long breaks so this is not the first time I’ve returned to blogging. It’s figuring out what to write for my comeback post that has always been difficult. I have no excuse to offer. It’s just my ‘blogging rhythm’ is different from the others and that I can not maintain that regular rhythm.

So what did I do during this period? There have been a lot of events and milestones that are blog-worthy but didn’t share them because I wanted to keep them private. However, I can share to you that I have devoted my time offline to practicing calligraphy and making artsy-fartsy stuff on the side during this period of absence. Happy to say that my hard work paid off and I have finally developed my own style! I was asked to do a small project addressing envelopes and I had a blast doing them with my new calligraphy style. I even did the project pro bono just because I enjoyed the whole process 🙂

Right now, I’m brushing up on brush calligraphy and, still, I find it very challenging. But I’m not giving up this time. My brush pens just arrived — brought to Cambodia by my sister last week – and I’ve been using them non-stop. The pens are heaven-sent. The pens are from an online art shop in the Philippines. I saw the shop’s ad from a musicians friend catalog and the rest, they say, is history.

Looking at my practice sheets, gee, I have a death grip! I think I need to work on having a lighter touch for my upstrokes. As you can see in the photo, those lines aren’t much different compared to my downstrokes! I want them to be much, much thinner. I definitely still feel like I’m trying to get more control of pen and hand movements, but hopefully these will improve soon.

Signs, signs: Loom bands craze

As you might have noticed, it has been more than three months since I last posted. I’ve also not been reading blogs – just because I feel so meh. You can also say that I’m trying to find out – like an experiment of sorts – what it is like to be (almost) blog-free. Something like that.

I actually found out that I missed blogging. And reading other bloggers’ posts. So now that I basically have some free time, I can actually return to blogging *crossingmyfingers* and be transported again to other virtual worlds.

So let me come back with a recent anecdote involving my soon-to-be-six-years-old niece, Chappy.

A must-have accessory these days, this I learned from my six-year old niece, Chappy.
A must-have accessory these days, this I learned from my six-year old niece, Chappy.

Two weeks ago, Chappy sent me this cute present – a bracelet made up of tiny rubber bands that she made herself.  I appreciate her interest in handmade stuff and sent a message to her through my sister’s FB to thank her for the lovely rubber band bracelet. Chappy promptly corrected me – this is called a rainbow loom band bracelet, not a rubber band bracelet. I feel so old. These loom bands looked the same as the rubber bands I played with in the 80s. I find nothing fancy with these loom bands but it’s probably just the old me. Apparently, this is the hottest toy in the planet these days!

My sister told me she is so seriously into it that she asked her dad to buy her more loom band kits. She spends a lot of time making bracelets that she told her dad she is starting her “bizniz”. And one morning, everyone at home were surprised to see these signs she made herself and asked Grandpa, my dad, to post on our wall. I think these handmade signs deserve a post for this week’s Signs, signs meme 😛

I think these loom bands are great for children for these not  only allow them to be creative but also give them something fun and worthwhile to do (making things) for hours while mums or dads are busy over something. In the Philippines where it is now the rainy season, the loom bands will keep them busy.

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Stash-buster Challenge 2013, Project #6: Vintage rose doily

This week’s featured project is this vintage rose doily that I finished sometime ago. I gave this as a present to a fellow Postcrossing member from Netherlands who, with her whole family, came to Cambodia for their Christmas holiday last year. I think I made the right choice – it’s light, doesn’t take up much space in her baggage, and most of all, she (like me) loves anything and everything handmade!

This lovely rose doily is one of the first things I learned from my mother.  From the doily down to the roses and leaves, my Mum taught me all of these (and a lot more) decades ago, including how to attach the leaves to the roses, and the roses to the doily.

stash-buster challenge 2013 round rose doily
I recently made this for a Postcrossing friend who came to Cambodia for a holiday. Proudly handmade by yours truly, Sreisaat.

If you ask me where did the pattern come from, that I do not know and my mum already forgot where she got it from. I did a Google-search — et voila! You can find the pattern all over the Internet!

 

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Stash-Buster Challenge 2013: Project #1, Crochet hearts

Last week I signed up for the Stash-Buster Challenge 2013 over at Lana de Ana’s site. Well, I was already preparing to crochet something when the news of my sister’s pregnancy came out, I got so excited that I forgot all about it.

So I have this box full of yarns, yes? There are a lot of things I want to do for the challenge and it’s difficult to select an idea or a project to do first. But since it is February and Valentine’s day is tomorrow, I decided to make mini-hearts. I found a very simple love-heart pattern via Google search and after two practices, I was crocheting non-stop!  Look how many mini-hearts I made?

stashbuster challenge 2013 crochet mini hearts applique

Who doesn’t love hearts? They’re tiny but cute and they can be used in various ways, like an applique to use on your sewing projects or embellishments to your craft projects, glued or sewn onto a card for a sweet Valentine’s card, or even as cute decorations in your room or even a Valentine’s party?

Now that I have enough hearts, I wonder what am I going to do with it? Luckily for me, there is Pinterest that offers a lot of inspiration. I’ll post what I decided to do with the mini-hearts a little later. (UPDATE: Here’s what I did with the mini-hearts!)If these were yours, what would you do with them?

 

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Show-Off-Your-Shell-Button

A handmade Christmas card

With all the free time I have ever since quitting my job, I am in a kind of mission to do anything and everything handmade.

You can call me a DIY-warrior (more like a trying-hard DIYer, snark.) So I told myself that, this year, I am going to make my own Christmas cards to be sent out to our family and close friends. Never mind that I announced this some months ago, I am always sure I’d end up to be down the wire anyway.

In as much as I wanted to make the cards look like Christmas in Cambodia, I failed to really come up with something bearing Khmer influences. Maybe because Christmas is not officially celebrated here. Or perhaps I am beginning to get lazy again. Lame excuses, I know 🙁

So here’s what I can only come up with:

This is the first "output". I have yet to put the finishing touches.
This is the first “output”. I have yet to put the finishing touches.

With a made up pattern, I crocheted what looked like a holly wreath with faux pearls accent and red crocheted ribbon. I used a light green cardstock and added a darker shade of green washi tape. I glued the crocheted holly wreath on to the cardstock using an ordinary glue (I could not find any fabric glue here) and utter a little prayer that they remain stuck to the card, lol.

I also made use of my metallic pens to write on the card. However, as you can see in the picture, my handwriting is awful so I’m using alphabet stamps instead. I will post the final version here next time.

I am only making a few for our family and closest friends – I finished 8 holly wreaths. I have yet to do the cards and the messages on them. My poor eyes could no longer endure the long hours of crocheting they easily tire and tear up from eye strain. And don’t get me started with the backaches! Lol. I am sounding like a very old woman, eh?

As painful as it sounds, I am determined to make handmade Christmas cards a yearly tradition for me and my husband. You see, I’m like that. I like torturing myself over and over again.

P.S. This is my first entry to Creative Crafts Thursday. Come join us by clicking the badge.

Creative Craft Thursday

The PELUKA Sisters at Le Duo’s Christmas Village

Yes, if you want to see the PELUKA sisters in person, just visit us at Le Duo Restaurant! *lol*
Seriously, we joined the Christmas Bazaar at Le Duo. It’s one thing  in our wish list that we were able to do this year. The first time was at the Mith Samlanh’s fair, and now here. We are all into this for fun and experience, and of course, if we can sell our handmade items then GOOD for us!

Just look for this sign - which, by the way, was hand-drawn by one of Le Duo's owner's daughters. Neat, eh?
Just look for this sign – which, by the way, was hand-drawn by one of Le Duo’s owner’s daughters. Neat, eh?

Le Duo is one of the popular Italian restaurants in the city. A week ago, they held a very successful bazaar and due to public demand, they extended it to ten more days (started yesterday and will run through Dec 23). Anyone who is looking for great Christmas shopping ideas, including fabulous Christmas decors, should not miss the Christmas Village at Le Duo. The Christmas Village bazaar is not as big in terms of vendors and space compared to the one hosted by the Women’s International Group (WIG). However small the area may be there are rows of booths with lots of stuffs for the family and for that particular someone who is very hard to shop for on your list. There many new things and products (and food!) in the different booths there and you might just find what you’re looking for at the Christmas Village.  Our booth, right picture, is here. We have unique handmade jewelries and crocheted crafts.

This is a closer view of the products at the Peluka sisterhood stall. It was named after Josiet as she’s the main contact this time around.

All our items are lovingly handmade. From left, Josiet's accessories; top right, barefoot sandals and crocheted bracelets; above, crocheted flower doilies, scrunchies, etc. We will give you special discounts if you buy more than one item. Promise!
All our items are lovingly handmade. From left, Josiet’s accessories; top right, barefoot sandals and crocheted bracelets; above, crocheted flower doilies, scrunchies, etc. We will give you special discounts if you buy more than one item. Promise!

Please excuse the shameless plug. If you want to see more of  Josiet’s accessories and my and Lui’s needleworks (mostly crochets)  accessories, visit us at Josiet Accessory and Sreisaat Crafts, and My Crafting Den, respectively.

There is no admission fee at the Christmas Village Bazaar so, please, come and have a look. It is open at 4pm until 8pm. Remember, it will run until Dec 23. So what are you waiting for? Bring your family and friends and enjoy the fun, fab finds, and good buys!

More Christmas Village photos at Mumsified. Thanks to Mumsified and PinayMum for manning the booth last night.

Photo Hunt #50: Colourful crochets

Ladies and gents, I am pleased to share with you some some of my hand-made creations:

Colourful, aren't they?
Colourful, aren’t they?

At the foreground are glass coasters in multi-colours, to the left are flower doilies and some blue-yellow flowers, and the items that look like brain corals are scrunchies (hair-ties). Except for the glass coasters which were made by my PELUKA and yarn sister PinayWifeSpeaks, the rest are made by  me. We both are opening our Etsy shops sometime soon. We are still making more items and I am doing samples to be sent to a friend’s shop in Siem Reap — I’m so excited! Right now, I am waiting for the cotton yarns to arrive as the ones available in Phnom Penh are all acrylic wool only.

I’ve been trying to hook up (pardon the pun) with the young out-of-school girls in my neighbourhood to learn this particular needlecraft. There were a few interested who turned up but they didn’t have the patience. There was only one who stayed but the gravity of hanging out with friends at the mall is stronger so she, too, eventually didn’t come back. Oh well…

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Stuff I do when I’m bored (aside from blogging)…

I recently picked up crocheting again, thanks to the crochet hooks and a book that my mum-in-law sent me. Prior to my return, I have long been inspired by the many craft bloggers I met online. They are amazing bunch of creative and enthusiastic people creating things by hand, whether by knitting, sewing, quilting, embroidery, crocheting, baking, and scrap-booking, among others.

Feeling a bit jealous, I began crocheting and some of my finished, as well as on-going projects, are in my crafts blog, Sreisaat Crafts*. Yes, another blog! I may have joined the crafts bandwagon a little bit late now but I’ve been crocheting since my grade school days. Thanks to my mother who passed on to me and my sisters her love for yarns and needleworks. I think this is a great pastime for me who, for the past months, has been complaining of being unproductive and idle after I’d quit my full-time job. Anyways, so I started with the easy ones… the scrunchies. They are elastic hair ties and are not very difficult to make as the stitches are mainly single and double crochets. I would later on move to a more challenging project once I get used to the hooks and  I have achieved the right “tension”.

So my finished products will be sold next month, at the Mith Samlanh Fun Fair where me and my PELUKA sisters are joining again. We do not expect to sell much, really, but if we do, a percentage of the sales will be donated to the Mith Samlanh/Friends NGO to support their various projects for the streetchildren in Phnom Penh. Here are three samples:

Crafting with Sreisaat
Crochet scrunchie in chocolate brown and ecru.
Crafting with Sreisaat
Lovely pastel colours.
Crafting with Sreisaat
In golden yellow and brown.

If you like to purchase one of my scrunchies, please leave a comment or email me (see my Contact pate). An Etsy shop, perhaps, will be in the offing once I have gathered enough confidence. I just wish there are more yarn shops/craft shops here in Phnom Penh. The yarns available are very limited :C Anyway, please watch out for my Etsy shop in the coming days!

*NB: Sreisaat Crafts no longer exist. All the blog posts there have been incorporated in this blog in 2015.

New crochet project, so wish me luck!

I’m back again after a couple of loooong months. Well, I might have been gone but I wasn’t slacking at all. I’ve been making granny squares for my couch, for one. I don’t know long it will take me to finish a 1.5m x 2.5m cover but my game plan is to finish hundreds and hundreds of granny squares like these:

granny squares2-8x6 (1)

I believe I am doing well, but in order to finish a massive cover like I mentioned, I will have to crochet as fast as I can! I still haven’t found an online site that sells cheaper mercerised cotton threads. There is absolutely none here in Phnom Penh.

The idea of a couch cover came from Craft Passion after I saw this lovely halter-neck top she crocheted for her daughter — all made from colourful granny squares. I am so excited the wheels in my head started turning. The top would look good on my  nieces, too, so I might just make it another project for Christmas, you know, when I’m done with the cover.  Thanks, Craft Passion. I love your tutorials and the accompanying photos. They are so easy to follow!  There are also a lot of neat craft projects and tutorials — and not to mention cool giveaways — in her blog! I tell you, you should go check Craft Passion to see what I’m raving about.