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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)