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14 Jan 2018

Jewellery Design and Fabrication Short Course with Caratell

My fascination and curiosity in jewellery designing and production led me to sign up for the Jewellery Design and Fabrication short course/workshop with Caratell last year. It was held once a week from 7-10pm for about 4 months at Beacon International College. I did wondered why I was so greedy for skills and knowledge since I was also in the midst of attaining my part-time degree at the same time. Total fees I paid was S$1000.00 which excludes GST. Too bad at that point of time when I registered, the course was not yet made claimable under SkillFuture

The lessons were taught by Michael Koh, a jewellery designer as well as the boss of Caratell. A friendly and approachable lecturer who is always willing to impart his skills and knowledge to his students. My course mates, including myself would always bombard him with plenty of jewellery related questions from designs to costing to technical and practical stuffs. We even visited his outlet at United Square and also his jewellery production workshop as well.  

We all started off with basic sketching of what we would intend to produce. I basically stick to just using copper as my material (provided) since I did not want to risk investing into more expensive materials such as gold and silver which my other course mates did. Overall, I learnt about the processes from cutting shapes, annealing, polishing, craving, connecting joints, using moulds and more. It definitely wasn't easy and it takes plenty of practise and years of experience to reach Michael Lao Shi's (teacher) level of quality.  
Although it could be torturous during certain point of time such as filing (a lot) to smoothen sharp edges and fumes from the torch that kept irritating my eyes during the annealing process, I did learnt a lot from Lao Shi. I kept changing my mind on the design and ended up creating the abstract stacked ring that could fit nicely on my finger. Having hands-on sessions are always fun as I get to relish the moments of honing my crafting skills in the process.

3 Jan 2018

Rounding Up my 2017 with a Touch of Photoshop

2017 has been a playful year for me as I started to explore the artistic side of myself, trying to manipulate images with my mediocre photoshop skills which would perhaps be seen as a joke to those experts out there.

I probably found my source of inspiration and editing style leaning towards gamification and escapism. The Japanese anime "One Piece" would be my escapism while unrealistic landscapes and predicaments were influenced by the gamification concept. Somehow my overly wild escapism concept, together my editing got a little off the grid for some to tolerate, as seen in 2 to 3 of the following images below. Still images got a bit lifeless and I played around with gifs during the last few months in order to input some life/motions into them. If only I could handle motion graphics/animations and have more than 24 hours a day, I would definitely create more digital artworks for fun. Each edit took me an hour or more to complete.  

Anyway I finally completed my part time studies of 2 years duration, in order to attain a degree while working. Loving the sense of freedom and the thought of not having to flip through notes while camping at Starbucks any longer. I even attended a hobbyist short course in jewellery fabrication as well, that lasted about 3-4 months and I have yet to blog about.

I am thankful to my blogger friend Kenny who brought me along as his +1 for countless fun events such as food tastings and some lifestyle ones this year. All my boat images below were shot by him too and I used them to play with my edits! I attended quite a couple of DBS events as well such as DBS FasTrack, Singapore Coffee Festival 2017, Pangdemonium's Fundraiser Concert - THE JAM and more. I had a chance to watch a magical theatrical performance - The Nutcracker, which I enjoyed so much. Not forgetting the crafts related skills which I picked up such as Finger Knitting, Arm Knitting, and Cross Stitch, which I would probably forget as time goes by.

Spending my Christmas volunteering and performing a small role as a delivery boy / thief in a church related performance was indeed thrilling, fun and satisfying. The play was about imparting good values to the audience and thankfully I need not speak much since the play was in mandarin.

I did not travel overseas this year but had a staycay with mum at Sentosa. I spent my New Year's Eve with the same group of bffs as during pre-Christmas. Although they were always annoyingly late for meet-ups, we had fun and took plenty of wefies with filters. Thank you to my different group of friends whom I still continued to hang out with, be it a meal or catching up throughout 2017.

Bye bye 2017 and hopefully 2018 would be more fulfilling and inspirational!  

"Thousand Sunny" from One Piece anime spotted

World in Flames

Static Storm

(no edits, mundane right?)

(no edits, mundane right?)

First Gif created of candle illumination.

Pokemon Suicune

Mystical skies

Dystopia Escape

Rune Stones and Blood Moon

Inspired by Hidan of Akatsuki in Naruto's episodes

The "plotagraph" of the swirling aurora animation could be found on my instagram feed.

Newby Advert Calendar

Beer running wild at Turf City

27 Dec 2017

Cross Stitch Experience from a Newbie Perspective

Never would I imagine myself holding a needle and cross stitching my first (and also my last) 3 mini cross stitch projects. In fact I have previously planned to give away these 3 cross stitch crafts as Christmas gifts after ironing and sealing them neatly into little frames. 

I had no prior knowledge or experience in cross stitching and I started off splitting the thread and using 2 of 6 strands to cross stitch on the (probably) 18 count aida fabric from the centre. The count meant the number of holes along an inch of the aida which means the larger the count, the more detailed the artwork would be. Just like pixels in graphics. I basically followed the symbols shown on the patterns (graph) sheet provided in each kit, always remembering to secure the thread firmly during its opening and closing.

Each project that was painstakingly cross stitched by me took at least more the 5 hours to complete, with breaks in between of course. My eyes were about to pop out due to the close colour variation, also stitching white threads on white aida fabric could drive me crazy. My neck and shoulders had started to ache as I counted each squares carefully/repeatedly, not wanting to unstitch any mistakes. My thread often tangled up as I stitch and those stupid auto-knots kept disrupting my momentum which causes frustration. The use of a highlighter indeed proved to be important since it acts as a guide for the completed segment. Indeed a test of my patience.

The sense of achievement was definitely satisfying as hardly any guys my age would successfully complete such craft which was in relevance to a granny's hobby. These floral stitch art on aida fabric actually turned out rather vibrant and beautiful especially when they were placed together in a row. I would love to see my friends' mum reaction after they knew the gift was cross stitched by a guy!

20 Dec 2017

Arm Knitting Experience from a Newbie Perspective

I admit that I do buy stuffs on an impulse at times, just like the many T-shirt yarns for finger knitting and 4 thick flat 'Handy' yarns for arm knitting in this post (and still have in the next post). I bought 2 blue, 1 coral and 1 black ones while the brown and white ones in the images below were arm knitted by me at my ex-workplace.

Not an expert in materials but the handy yarn is made up of 20% Laine Wool, 35% Microfibre Polyamide and 45% Microfibre Polyacrylique. Soft to touch, pretty warm and very mild prickly feel against sensitive skin.   

Should I say that I am thankful to have small arms? The smaller your arms, the tighter your stitches would turn out. In addition to that, I also pulled it rather tightly resulting in these beautiful tight looking stitches found from my images. I guess that thick wool or yarns would be more suitable for arm knitting since your arms act as needle this time.

Youtube once again definitely have many tutorials on how to do arm knitting but just lack of options on what products you could craft from this easy to learn technique. Typical products such as blankets which you could bring into the cinema or office, neck scarfs, and bags or clutches which are more tricky to handle. By controlling the number of loops on your arm, you could adjust the specific size based on your preference. I attempted a challenging task to arm knit a dual coloured piece as shown above, alternating between blue and black, connecting them using knots. Main problem would be a bag/clutch lining would be required since the 'handy' yarn stretches easily with pressure.

Anyway, I have left it incomplete for now and hopefully I would transform it into a usable large clutch once the lining part is sorted out.  

18 Dec 2017

Finger Knitting Experience from a Newbie Perspective

Finger knitting was the first basic crafting skill which I had picked up many months back that did not require any needles or hooks unlike embroidery, knitting, crocheting, etc. It just requires your fingers as the technique suggests, which was relatively easy to learn yet requires practise for consistency. Although consistency could be a challenge to many but patience is definitely a challenge to most. 

Mesmerised by an ex-colleague's finger knitting craft pieces as she showed me her beautiful bracelets crafted from T-shirt yarns (also known as jersey yarns), I ended up buying many 'balls' of them to play and experiment with. (Note: Finger knitting does not necessary have to use T-shirt yarns) I basically selected shades of similar colour so that I could play around with dual coloured bracelets instead of the boring single colour. I even experimented with three colours combination that portrayed a tribal feel from the blue, pink and khaki which I liked so much. By adding some beads or charms which my ex-colleague does would further accessorise and personalise your bracelet if you are feeling adventurous.

More of a personal thoughts blog post instead of a tutorial since Youtube already have plenty of finger knitting videos available. Just some tips from a non expert right here would be that each ball of T-shirt yarn have different level of elasticity. The more elastic the yarn is, the less torturous it would be for your fingers since tension is required to prevent your final piece from looking like loose ropes, unless you wanted it that way.

You could also make these T-shirt yarns out of your old T-shirts as well if you intended to save money. Simply cut out your T-shirt in stripes, or joining different stripes with knots. Patterned T-shirts could turn out rather attractive when made into bracelets as well, be it using two (thin) or four (thick) fingers to ''knit''.

Be it bracelets, necklaces, scarfs or floor rug, just enjoy the finger knitting art and craft experience and have fun!

1 Dec 2017

Antoinette Christmas Collection 2017

A beautiful story always captivate my heart before my tummy. I enjoy hearing other people's stories as much as how I would enjoy narrating my own through blog posts. The festive mood has once again returned with a new Christmas theme menu finding its way back to Antoinette.

As Chef Pang wanted to create a magical and nostalgic feeling for everyone through his creations, his creative and artistic fairytale story started off with A Walk in the Forest (petit S$55.00 / grande S$110.00). Being a sucker for anything with chocolate, I loved how the cake evokes an enchanted feel with edible twigs, soil, leaves and mushrooms. Pairing this cake together with my mildly bitter yet addictive Antoinette's Iced Chocolate (S$7.00) lured me deeper into chef's enchanted realm. 

Probably halfway through a walk in the forest, one would experience Winter is Here (petit S$50.00 / grande S$100.00). It is a snow-white looking log cake (not featured in this post) that has coffee components in every aspects. 

Upon the arrival of winter, the Snow Globe (10cm S$15.00 / 15cm S$65.00) is formed and being the most attractive dessert that I have come across this season. Encased in the cute snow globe like a terrarium, I could not take my eyes off the miniature landscape crafted within. Besides bringing me joy, the dessert proved to be my top favourite that day since the cream cheese mousse was really light as the raspberry marmalade added a contrasting tartness.

I almost could not resist taking a bite into the Forbidden Fruit (S$12.00) that was crafted into the exact shape of an apple. A fruity dessert with almost all its component constitute from an apple. Not forgetting to mention the naughty looking Randolf the Squirrel (S$70.00) that was sculpted out of a block of chocolate. I would love to nibble on its wood textured block-body though.

As I got myself crazily excited over the desserts, I would not want to miss the festive savoury dishes I have tasted as well. Coffee Glazed Ham and the Laksa Roast Chicken were both somewhat comparable but my preference still went to the chicken dish that has a marinate that won me over. Ignoring my allergic to shrimps which was definitely used not sparingly in the laksa paste, it paired so well with the tender chicken flesh that could quickly becomes an addiction too.

I ended the meal with another glass of drink, the Yuzu Green Tea Bubble Bath which I caught sight from another guest. It has a yellow duckie floating atop on a foamy bed that I just had to pose for pictures with. At first I did not quite enjoy the unusual fruity-tea taste. Yet the more I drank, the more I enjoyed it. I even brought home the rubber duckie which could squeak when squeezed.

It was a wonderful start of my pre-Christmas experience and I have already started counting down to Chirstmas holidays!

(Note that the dishes I mentioned were my personal picks.)

Coffee Glazed Ham 1kg

Forbidden Fruit (S$12.00)
Laksa Roast Chicken 1.2-1.3kg

Chocolate Gianduja Ball Christmas Tree (S$95.00)

A Walk in the Forest (petit S$55.00 / grande S$110.00) 

Christmas Macarons (S$3.50 each / 6 pcs - S$19.00)

Yuzu Green Tea Bubble Bath

Christmas Stollen (petit S$9.00 / grande S$16.00
Festive Cookies (Raspberry Snowball, Meringue Kisses, Croquant, Almond Shortbread, Orang & Chocolate Checkered Cookie and Orange & Hazelnut Shortbread

Randolf the Squirrel (S$70.00)