Sunday, November 17, 2013

Swap, Swap and More Swaps

I'm really behind showing all the gorgeous swaps I have received, I hope I didn't miss out anyone.

1 of the reasons why I like doing ATCs - besides learning new art and craft techniques when creating all ATCs and whatnot, I also learn new things as I research on techniques and themes. I found out about Found Poetry from this particular swap hosted by Kate Robinson (USA) in the artisttradingcards group.  

Found poetry is the literary version of a collage - take existing words of text from a book or article and reform the words and ideas in interesting ways.  The following are what I managed from specific pages of “The Empty Chair” by Jeffery Deaver, as specified by Kate.  I cut out words from the text and re-arranged everything to come up with these. 

Starting from top-left going clock-wise: (1) The Dance, (2) Her Garden, (3) I Can, (4) The Lover. I did 3 similar sets of 4 cards, all with painted water-colour background and die-cuts, except (3) was drawn with markers. I felt quite pleased with myself and almost think I could be a poet!  

See what others did. From left to right: (1) “She would never know” by Kathy Haynes (USA), "Three men shrugged" by Valerie Orner (USA), (3) "She was utterly exhausted" by Stephanie B Aliberti (USA).  Possibilities are just endless!  Try it!  You may discover the literacy side of yourself in the process! 

I also tried using the erasure method on 1 of the pages to compose a similar poem to "Her Garden" mentioned earlier.  The selected words and phrases when read in order, compose the poem.  However, I didn't "erase" the majority unused text, but circled the selected words.

For the Paper_Traders group, I participated in another 2 ATC swaps in the last 2 months.  For "Wings and Things", I folded flat origami roses for the Little Butterfly Fairy's Rose Affair, and added a pair of tatted ring butterflies at the back of the ATCs.  Ok, let us see what other participants did.  Going clock-wise from top-left:
(1) Pattie McClimans - "Nature", (2) Valerie Thrift, Greece - "Let the FAIRY in you fly!", (3) Nydia Dominguez - "Baby Fairy", (4) Bevlea Ross, Australia' - "We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents", (5) Pam Prosser, Australia - Butterfly Fairy, (6) Carolyn Albro, USA - "Transform".

The other Paper_Traders’s swao was the Postage Stamp People ATC Swap. This is another new thing for me, using postage stamp with a face or head and combining with collage, drawing, etc. to create postage stamp people.  A challenge for me was finding the postage stamps.  Singapore hardly issues such stamps, perhaps there aren't enough famous people in Singapore!  I only managed to find a few miserable number of suitable stamps among the extras in my small stamp collection. 
My works aren't as creative as what I received.  Everyone else did extremely well!
(1) "The Older I Get, The Better I Was" by Bevlea Ross, Australia; (2) "She is not just an ordinary garden faerie" by Lilian Mederak, Canada; (3) "Ray Charles" by Eileen Kirban, USA; (4) "Have a purpose in life" by Beckie Holso; (5) "Embace Imperfection" by Lucy Leatham; (6) "Catch a Wave" by Amanda E.

Katja Joulak from Sweden contacted me for a private swap. As she was intending to use my ATCs for an article she would be writing and the deadline was tight, I didn't have time to make new pieces. I sent her a fabric ATC "K is for Koala", Ellen's Office Days (a self-portrait) and the "Bling Bling" Race - The Gemican (No.6).

Katja took time to make and sent me her fabulous works - (1) Stamped Wings, (2) Paper Doll - Queen of Art, (3)  Fabric ATC - "Blinged Green" 2/2.

And her article that was published (page 1 of 3).

Sunday, November 10, 2013

ATC @ Bishan Library Oct 2013

The word collage originates from the French word “coller,” meaning to stick or to paste. You select any materials or found objects that you want and stick them right down to produce a piece of collage artwork. Collage may be the mix of bits of different things and media, for example magazines, fabric, package labels, paint pictures, into a single arrangement.

In a word collage, you would be using words and gluing them together on a surface area like a sheet of paper to express a feeling or thought with lots of words. You are making the collage more imaginative – more than a couple of words in writing – by utilizing different fonts and colors. But don't let your creativity stop with fonts and colours!

I made the above collage ATCs for the Oct ATC session in Bishan Library on 10 Oct, but had to miss it as I was catching the flight to New York that night.  Looked like everyone had a colourful night!

Well, the next ATC session would be on 14 Nov (Thu), 6.30 pm, at the Bishan Library.  The theme: Fantasy.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Colours of Fall in Stamford

13 Oct 2013 (Sun), sunny, 13 deg C.
DH managed to squeeze some time to come out from his course.  On recommendation from our cab driver,  we went to Stew Leonard's at Westport Avenue  Stew Leonard's is a chain of 4 supermarkets in Connecticut and New York which Ripley's Believe It or Not! deemed "The World's Largest Dairy" and Fortune magazine listing it as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For".

There were games in the market and lots of animatronic singing animals perched on top of shelves that would sing and dance, even running trains, which entertain customers of all ages. I have never seen so many fresh herbs and variety of cheeses too!  All those gourds and vegetables are such a sight, wow!  We haven't seen so many of these huge pumpkins in our life. Halloween is not widely celebrated in Singapore and definitely not in any big scale. The amount of food and fresh produces had me breathless.  Lobsters were relatively cheap so we bought whole steamed lobster and big tub of lobster salad and some very tempting fried chicken pieces for a simple lunch.
We spied hay rides in the car park, some Halloween photo corners and a small petting zoo too!
I didn't want to go but DH decided to make a trip to the SoNo Market Place at 314 Wilson Avenue. It was a disappointing trip, so quiet a place, with just some stores opened. We ended the day early as hubby had a night module back in the hotel - orchestral leadership.  I sat in as an observer.

14 Oct 2013 (Mon), sunny, 15 deg C.
14 Oct 2013 was Columbus Day, and a federal holiday since 1934.  The Stamford Museum & Nature Center (39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford) had lined up special programmes for the day.

I first went for a guided hike through the SM&NC forest. It was a fine day for hiking and a great feeling to be out in the nature. Even felt magical to touch all those maple leaves, oak leaves and acorns that I have been tatting all these while!

There were quite a number of animals in the Heckscher farm and compound. Was it that I have not been to our local zoo for too long? I felt it was really up closer and personal here in this place.  So thrilling to admire all the different animals within close proximity.

Lots of fringe activities on the native American culture held on that day.  I also tried starting a fire spark and drilling a hole with simple hand-created tools.  And I found out about s'mores and had my first-ever piece done the bonfire way! A great treat for those who like marshmallow and chocolate! 
An exhibition, "By Her Hand: Art of Native American Women".  In the exhibition, one can "meet" the Native American women at the turn of the last century in the western United States, who transformed everyday objects such as basketry, pottery, textiles and beadwork, with personal expressions of artistic flair.  They were identified as true artisans and their highly-prized works are part of this exhibition.

 Awesome blooms and fall scenery.
Spent the evening with DH shopping at Best Buy, T.J. Max, Great Deals and Walmart along Connecticut Avenue and dinner at Red Bean Asian Bistro.  The food wasn't too bad, I almost wanted to go back a second time for more.

Monday, October 28, 2013


I went on a 2-week trip to Norwalk, Connecticut and Manhattan, New York.  My first trip to USA - a long flight of 23 hours including a stop-over at Frankfurt, Germany.  DH went for a month-long course, while I joined him the last 2 weeks.  I was very much on my own to explore this big and diversified country, with DH joining me on weekends, and some nights for meals and night shopping.

Norwalk is a relatively quiet and peaceful place, compared to Manhattan, so I have the experience of 2 different "worlds" and "colours". Yes, colours. Colours of fall!!

I flew on 10 Oct, 11.55 pm flight (Singapore time), which was re-timed to 25 mins later.  Arrived Dolce Hotels & Resorts at 32 Weed Ave, Norwalk, in the afternoon on 11 Oct (New York time). Too sleepy to go anywhere that day...z..zz.zzz...

12 Oct 2013 (Sat), sunny, 14 deg C.  
Armed with my small Kipling backpack with all I need and walking boots, I started my adventure in Norwalk with a visit to the Maritime Aquarium at 10 North Water Street. This aquarium was founded as part of the efforts in mid-1970s by the city government and local organizations to revitalize the South Norwalk business district ("SoNo").  Though not as big as Singapore's SEA Aquarium in Resorts World Sentosa, the small colourful frogs and horseshoe crabs really caught my attention.  And Thor made an appearance that day!
 I followed with a cruise on Long Island Sound.
Took a walk to the Norwalk Museum at 41 North Main Street, but it was closed, so I walked on to the SoNo Switch Tower Museum at 77 Washington Street for a little bit of railway history. The museum is a fully refurbished 1896-built switch tower, formally used to house the mechanism of switching trains from one track to another. The operators then would operate the switch tracks by throwing levers in the tower. And that's what I tried.

Do you know "Confessions of a Shopaholic" was partly filmed along Washington Street in SoNo!
Ended the day with a dinner with DH and company at In Thai restaurant ar 456 Main Ave for obviously some Thai food. Some dishes were creative and certain ingredients used were different from that used in Singapore's Thai restaurant; but taste-wise, I still prefer our local ones.   
Transportation here was difficult without a car of your own.  Everyone drove.  Though there were public buses, but there were distances to walk to and from bus-stops, and remote most of the times. Since there were hardly people walking on the streets, there wasn't anyone to ask for directions if you were lost. Call 203.855.1764 for Norwalk taxis. Black Norwalk taxis driven by the black. Have this feeling of 黑社会! Fares were expensive. Doing up the sums, I chalked up US$210+ over the 5 days going around Norwalk and neighbouring towns on my own!   (Exchange rate US$1=S$1.249)

Friday, September 27, 2013

How's this for a title - "Agatha Christie Travelling as Hercule Poirot to NYPS Mooncake Festival to Knit and Crochet Wonders of Nature?"

The title links all I'm going to talk about in this post!  Sure remind me of linking memory exercises :)

Ok, here we go.  Remember the famous detective swap?  I did Dectective Conan for Cindy, and my own paper doll from Phyllis Boggs (USA) finally came - Agatha Christie as her famous detective Hercule Poirot. It really is just 1 doll; the suit, hat and moustache are layers added on top of Christie. Funny that I have never read any of Christie's novels although I like detective stories. Ok, I just downloaded and is now reading her first novel "The Mysterious Affair at Styles", and enjoying it.

The Map Mania ATC Swap, hosted by Roselyn Pratt (USA) of the Paper-Traders group, came fast in the mail.  Paris seems a favourite place for most people!  Going clockwise from top left corner - Paris street directory & femme in watercolour by Pam Prosser, "Road trip" by Mel Dunkley, "Travel Broadens The Mind" by Jo Murray and "Bonjour!" by Beckie Holso.

Roselyn also enclosed a vintage-looking handmade card.  I must really look into starting a file binder for all the greeting and often handmade cards that came with swaps.  I never dispose any, but they are scattered everywhere now!  But before I forget, thank you, gals, for your fantastic works and Roselyn for hosting!

Mooncake Festival fell on 19 Sep this year.  Mooncakes is one of my favourite festive food, but we seem to have a piece too many this year.  Ok, this is not the point.  Accompanied my girl to her school celebration.  While she was busy demonstrating Chinese calligraphy and writing couplets for the crowd, I was painting away on Project Batik 360 meant for presentation in the grand opening of Chingay 2014.  Great idea/activity to kill 2 birds with 1 stone!

I believe knitting and crochet are pretty common in a lot of places/countries, and I think it would start a verbal war debating which is easier – knitting or crochet?  Perhaps more may say knitting, but personally, I feel that crochet is easier.  After all, there is only 1 loop to work with in crochet, but every 1 stitch in the whole width is 1 loop on the needle in knitting. Lose concentration for a second, I will drop 1 stitch and hopelessly make a bigger hole when I try rectifying it!  I must admit I’m not expert in both, though I did attempt to learn both when I was still a child.  Never master knitting well enough to do even a small project on my own without someone guiding and helping me with my mistakes, though I manage to crochet bookmarks, teddy bears and small projects.  But nothing beats tatting for me!

Why the sudden talk on knitting and crochet?  Cos’ I brought my girl with me to Betsy’s knitting and crochet workshops in the Bishan Library last Sunday.  Kristine has not done either before. Her verdict: Her eyes were going to burst after the 1 hr and 2 hr workshops respectively in 1 afternoon!  No knitting or crochet project anytime soon for her.  But she was sure thrilled to complete the crocheted owl, although we only crocheted the last few rows and not from scratch.

That evening, I captured these lovely colours of the sky on my handphone from my bedroom window.  Talking about wonders of nature!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ATC @ Bishan Library Sep 2013

The theme for Sep ATC session was "Colour Wheel".  I did it literally, making colour wheels, but with little ghosts for the spooky colour wheel, extraterrestrial beings for the alien colour wheel, and flowers for the garden one. Now, I have a simple colour wheel in my pocket!
During the session, we created ATCs with pressed leaves, flowers and seeds, courtesy of Sor Huan.  Thank you, Sor Huan!

Here are our creations in the hour!  The first 2 on the left in the top row are mine, while the right-most on the 2nd row is done by Kristine.

I traded my colour wheel ATCs with Richard's butterfly, Melissa's yellow bird and Geok Lan's pop-up fence.

The Oct session will be on 10 Oct (Thu), 6.30 pm.  Theme: Word Collage.  Here are some samples from the swap I have done and new ATCs I did.   Postcard on the bottom right came from Bev Langill (Canada).  Her first piece never made it here, thanks, Bev, for making the replacement!

I spent 1 weekend cycling.  Cycling has never been more fun now, with all the parks and park connectors developed throughout Singapore. 1 of the longest routes is the Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network (PCN), with a total of 38 km.  Joey and I attempted the route on a cloudy and windy afternoon.  We cycled for 4 hours, with a break for an ice-cream and another one at the end, some occasional photo shots, and wrapped up the last half hour cycling in Pasir Ris Park itself along the coast.  I didn't measure the distance we covered, but it should be more than 25 km. 

Although I have had cycled enough, I had to go for another round the next day, this time with Kristine!  She just learnt not long ago, but fell and hurt her elbow. This time, she managed much better with more confidence.  We are sure looking forward to more cycling trips!  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dress Form and Bookmark Swaps and Teachers' Day Presents

Another one "busy" weekend attending workshops in libraries - Watercolour Painting, Chinese Knotting and Finger Painting!


Met an ex-colleague too!

It has been some months I have not done any paper doll.  The ATC-ArtDoll group went inactive, but it's back now with Cindy Whiddon (USA) hosting Aug swaps.  I painted Detective Conan for the Famous Detective swap, and decorated my first ever altered dress form.  I folded the origami roses again, but much smaller this time. The whole dress form is about 6 inches tall. Both went to Cindy.

My altered dress form from Jan Gray (USA) came in a pair!  Thank you, Jan!

I just managed to finish 1 set for my own album.

Oh yes, remember the Stitchmap's Summer Bookmark swap?  I received 2 cross-stitched and one hand-embroidered bookmarkers.  Aren't they a treasure!?!  The bird house from Hollie Poley, the pansies from Kriss Svidro and the feather-stitched from Lyn Gaskill.

Finally, Teachers' Day presents! This time round, the children did them mostly on their own - flowers and cards done by the girls and the scones baked by Ivan. I bought them the materials and ingredients, and helped out here and there on the last night.