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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Upcycled Journal Box

I have a problem with hoarding paper and journals. The potential for great works in a blank notebook always seems slightly hedonistic to me. Because of this, I have small piles of notebooks on my desk that can avalanche at any minute. I force myself to purge and organize at particularly threatening times but there are some that have to stay on my desk for easy access when I'm scrapping or crafting. 

Rather than let them pile up and fall, I decided to make something that would let them all sit nicely on my desk. A friend of mine recently gave me a gift from her holiday which I loved, but when I saw the box it came in, ideas sprung to me.

(Another problem with me: I see all kinds of potential in things people would just throw to the karang guni man. I like to pick them up. -_-!!)

Here's my craft project then, the upcycled journal box.

Sidetrack: here's the cute gift that was in the box, a colour-changing Snoopy mug! ( I finally got a dog present! )

Upcycled Journal Box

Materials needed:
- Box
- Decorative paper (mine came from an issue of Flow Book for Paper Lovers. I highly recommend the magazine if you like cutting and pasting paper. Check them out. It's also available at Kinokuniya and Allscript. )
- Pencil
- Scissors
- Glue
- Stickers (optional) 

1. Cut away the portions of the box you don't need. I wanted a curved opening so I drew one on the box and cut it away. I also cut away the side flaps. 

2. Place the box on the back side of the decorative paper. Trace out its shape. 

If you cut a curve like I did, I recommend leaving roughly an inch allowance. See where my finger is pointing?

3. Along the curve, cut slits so that it looks like you have little bricks all along the curve. 

4. Place glue all along the back side of the paper, especially the parts along the lines. Then press the box onto the paper. The front half of your box is now complete.

Here is why I cut the little 'bricks' for the curve. You will find it easier to press down the paper onto the box if you do so.

5. Repeat the same steps 1-4 for the back of the box and you are done!

Tadah!!! Completed box!

6. (Optional) I pasted some stickers from my Flow Book for Paper Lovers as decorations.

Here is the finished box, sitting prettily on my desk with my small journals inside. 
It's telling me that no matter how much clutter I have, it's gonna be okay. :) 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Don't Give Up, There's Hope Yet

Yay, I'm done with my art journal! I was supposed to finish in March, oops, but better done than never!

Ironically, I thought of both these images at different times but somehow their messages worked well together. I did the one about Hope first, slightly inspired by my recent watercolour class and also because I'm generally feeling quite optimistic around now. I'm managing to balance work and play and most days work doesn't feel as dreadful as it did. So, a small message to myself, there is hope after all.

The one about Daydreams was just done tonight. This phrase was cut out from a desk calendar I have. Daydreams are so important and sometimes, their inherent hope is what keeps you through the day. I love the quote so much that I never wanted to do anything with that scrap of paper so why not I reiterate the message to myself in my journal? Don't ever quit your daydreams. 

And finally, the last page of my journal:

Husband is always saying I'm turning into a cat one day, why not self-fulfil his prophecy?

That's the end of my art journal for March! I'm still ploughing through my April focus of writing and so far I *think* I have a good number of posts up! Ganbatte! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Loudest Person




The taxi arrived in due course. He yanked open the door and threw his laptop case and backpack inside, then almost threw himself into the seat in his hurry to get to work. 


The driver started but before they managed to reach the CTE, they were already caught in the usual bottleneck of massive traffic trying to reach the same destination as them. The taxi driver sighed and settled in for the wait. To kill the time, he said to the passenger behind him, 

"Sorry, sir, this road always sees jam."

"WAH LAU of all the BLARDY DAYS!"

Did the driver get thrown forward by the braking and jerking of the taxi or by his back passenger's voluminous rant? He wasn't sure.


He tried subtly turning up the volume of the radio, but it was a morning talk show and no match for the civilised yelling from behind. He sighed and tried leaning his head on his hand, hoping the passenger wouldn't notice that he was putting one finger into his ear.

By the time they reached Shenton Way, the driver was almost certain he had lost half his hearing. 


Well, he may be loud, but at least he was generous, the driver thought, wincing as his passenger slammed the door shut with more force than necessary.


When he appeared in the office, Susan braced herself. 


She felt as if she had been thrown back by a hurricane. "He's in the meeting room. Don't worry, I already told him you were caught in a very bad jam. He's not angry, apparently you're not the only one in the office who were caught too."


Susan sighed as he went off. He wasn't too bad a person, did good work too, just too bad for that scary voice of his. It's a wonder he never got a sore throat.


Mr Cheng was aware of the good work his subordinate did, and the wonders he managed to pull with the projects to get them to finish on time. But being well aware of his employee's shortcoming, he made sure the ear buds were securely in his ear before he came in.


Even with the ear buds, he still felt the force of his volume. Were these really professional safety ear buds like the man in the shop said? They seemed to have no effect. He quickly collected the thumb drive from him, promising to look through it and give his feedback by email. Yes, email was safer and quieter when dealing with him.


Gods, the laughter was worse.


At the end of the day, he hollered a GOODBYE to all his colleagues. Everyone jumped and there were a series of small accidents like spilt water and emails typed wrongly. The usual affairs that happened when he left.

He took the train home this time, startling a whole carriage of passengers when he went WAHAHAHAHAHA maniacally at a video on his iPhone. 

Finally he reached home. He was about to wrench the door open when he suddenly checked himself. Instead, he opened the door excruciatingly slowly, in case there was a creak.

After taking off his shoes, he tiptoed into the house, gingerly placing his bag on the floor, and went into the bedroom.

As he thought, his wife was there, asleep on the bed. Leaving her there, he went instead to the pink crib and gazed lovingly at his baby daughter, blissfully asleep with that angelically innocent look that only she had.

"hello, baby girl, Daddy's home," he whispered to her, so softly that the rustling of the leaves outside sounded louder.


The prompt this time from Pocket Muse:

"People at the bitter end of any continuum invite trouble. Begin with an extreme end and see what happens."

From the way the prompt was written, the idea seems to be for a thoroughly unpleasant person who gets into trouble. I think that with some people, their character flaws don't always have to be their sole defining feature and they don't necessary have to show the character in a bad light either. With this, I thought of the idea of a man with a flaw that was clearly at one end of the continuum, ie his loud hollering voice. The people around him are obviously bothered by it but decide that this is outweighed by his good points. 

What might make such a man change his behaviour on his own? It must be a compelling reason and what more compelling than his first born child? ;p 

Initially, I only used caps for his speech, but I didn't think that was enough to show his speaking volume. So, I also tried to play around with font size instead. I like the way it turned out and it adds a certain aesthetic as well. :)  

Well, that's 2 stories from Pocket Muse so far. 2 more at least to go for the month of April...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Getting Crafty: No Sew Pen Holder

It has been a lazy weekend. I fell asleep both on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and now I have a FOMO feeling of missing out on stuff! Well, at least before I napped I managed some craftiness this weekend and I made this pen holder:

It's a no-sew project so I used cardboard, fabric and glue.

 The project is a simple open pouch, quite like the kind you put sunglasses in. First, I had to cut the cardboard to the size and shape I wanted. Then I used the glue to glue it to the fabric. 
I wanted to give it a little bit of leeway so that the pens don't pull apart the bottom, so I folded a small piece of fabric and pasted it to the bottom. This acted as a pocket. Then I put glue on both sides and the bottom and closed the pouch.

This is the final product with the pens inside. Hopefully it motivates me to write more! 

Cost of holder, not including scissors and glue = $2 from Daiso. The cardboard was the piece used in the packaging. Long live Daiso. :p

BTW I didn't think of this myself, but got inspiration from a tutorial at the instructables website. You can go there and search for all kinds of tutorials.