Rhinestic's Knick Knacks

Friday, December 19, 2014

Hey, My Mum Let Me Keep 'em!

My mum wasn't big on hoarding things. (Let's face it. She has extreme OCD. XB said I have x% of her OCD syndrome, but unfortunately, I also have the hoarding syndrome.) Before I got married and had my own apartment, my mum would make it a point to "force" my brother and I to clean out our rooms every end of the year (and that would include hilarious threats!). That said, she allowed us to keep some items that are of great sentimental value to us, though she threw out some of my stuffs (including drawings done when I was a kid...) when I shifted! Sadness.

Let's start from the oldest items that I have managed to keep.

Nostalgic much? I think I had these books when I was in kindergarten or Primary one... That would make them more than 25 years old! I remember enjoying looking at the instructions of the watercolor how-to book for ages even though I didn't dare to request my mum for a watercolor palette. The origami book was very well used though (maybe origami papers were cheaper than watercolor). Back then, I would sneak unfinished origami pieces in the pages, hoping one day I would finish them when I understood the instructions fully. I was one weird child..

If you were born in the early 80s in Singapore, then these shouldn't be strange to you!

The infamous Young Scientist badges that we could attain in Primary school if we finished a set number of tasks for a particular badge. Actually, I kept the certificates while my mum has my badges in her scroll of badges... (Hey! Found something that my mum hoards!) I remember everyone in my class started with the Young Botanist badge. I then went on in my upper Primary years getting the Young Ornithologist (not my favorite) and Young Astronomer (something that I love since young, though I've moved on to enjoying the astrophysics part of things more) badges.

Okay, for the next folder of items... Laugh all you want, guys...

My personal collection of cut-out lyrics from "星期五周报"... "星期五周报" (literally translated to Friday's Weekly Papers) was our weekly Chinese educational papers for the Primary school students (usually those taking Chinese as their mother tongue). We were encouraged to buy them and read the articles/do the Chinese exercises , but most often than not, we would skip to the last page and find out what the lyrics of the week were. Those were the days!

Back in those days, we did not have the luxury of smart devices and social media, and once we'd graduated from Primary school, it wasn't as easy to get in touch with one another, unless we got into the same Secondary school. But we had something else to remember the fond memories we had with one another.

Months before our PSLE, most girls (and the occasional boys) would invest in autograph books just to get fellow classmates/schoolmates to write in them. Usually, one would write their profile and then a short poem (who came up with this first 'template', no one knows).  Looking at all those 'cliche' poems really chalks up some memories.

When I got to Secondary school, I took up Girl Guides as my extra curricular activity. I still keep the full set of uniform till this day!

As the saying goes.. Once a Guide, always a Guide! Even 2 decades later. :P

As I've mentioned earlier, my mum discarded all my very old artworks. However, as I got into my teens, I decided to keep a folder of my own proper drawings (the drawings are less than 20 years old, but I guess I'll still post them here..).

During my Primary school days, I love drawing human figures. Not your usual stocky round faced character with 2 scary blob eyes that was taught to kids back in those days, but the normal proportionate ones.

It then, for some reason, progressed into portrait drawing. I didn't have any formal art training (maybe except for still life drawing in my Sec 1 and 2 art classes?), so everything was pretty much trial and error. When the magic of internet was born during my JC days, I finally managed to search through the web and learnt a thing or two about figure drawing as well as manga drawing.

The above are a few of my portrait drawings (Inuyasha made it to my portrait drawing list!) starting from left: Agents Scully and Mulder (1995), Taylor Hanson (1998), Zac Hanson (2000), Inuyasha(2003).

The current me is still meddling with art but I have sort of shifted my artistic focus to more stylistic and abstract kind of work. I really enjoy injecting unexpected elements into my pieces nowadays.

And so, here ends my mini life story of the items that managed to slip through my mum's scrutiny and be kept in my memory box. :)

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Agatha from Green Issues by Agy on "I Didn't Throw It Away".

We have become such a throw-away society, but there are some things in our households that we still keep. Why is that so? Perhaps this blog train can unlock the reasons behind it! Follow the daily posts on this blog train and read about the stories behind the things we have kept for many years and why we didn't throw them away.

Tomorrow, Hello, Mrs Tan will be sharing with us her very own story about the items she still lovingly keeps. So hop on over to her blog to know more about it!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Backdated: Cut Out + Keep Interview & No-sew Vinyl Bag Tutorial

I realized I have forgotten all about that mysterious project that I was referring to here! Okay, let's backtrack a little bit.

3 months back, I was invited by Cut Out + Keep, a huge crafting community, for an interview for their DIY Fashionista section in their blog and to provide a tutorial for a DIY fashion project. I took up the invitation and started to get busy for the interview and tutorial.

I finally had the interview done and had the tutorial up just before I flew to Japan. I was notified by the lovely Cat (who started Cut Out + Keep when it was just a crafting blog) that my interview would be up in November.

Hop on over to Cut Out + Keep to read about my interview and get the tutorial for the No-sew vinyl bag!

Playing with glass...

Not too long ago, Artbeads was having some major promotion and I managed to get the Ultralite Beehive Kiln for a pretty decent price (though the promo price was exactly the same as the original price at JEC Products, I had a further 10% discount plus Artbeads has a relatively cheaper expedited international shipping rate)

The only thing was, I had to get a step-down transformer since we are using 240V here. If someone at the home improvement shop had told us that transformers usually only perform at 80% their efficiency, then perhaps I wouldn't have been so puzzled with the glass fusing results I had! (Or perhaps, I should have done some read-up earlier....) Meh~

Fail #1
I was using an extension cord that was serving 2 other laptops and a 250W transformer. I guessed the kiln did not have enough amperage and was not hitting the intended max temperature.

But I had a good laugh at those ugly looking slabs.

Fail #2
I switched to another power line which was not used by other appliances, but still using the 250W transformer.

The glass seemed to fuse better, but what's up with the frosted look??

Try #3
I did some read-up and got to learn about devitrification. Apparently, my slabs of glass were soaking in the devitrification temperature for too long and unable to hit the molten state properly. Looks like my kiln was lingering in that temperature way too long and unable to hit a higher temperature.

At the same time, I was curious about transformers and did a fast research. That's when it hit me that I really needed a transformer with a higher wattage. (Actually, I was already suspecting it on my first fail but wasn't too sure...)

Armed with a 300W transformer, and with slightly better glass cutting skills, I think I finally managed to get something pretty lovely!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2nd call for Collaborative Workshop!

Ailyn and I would like to thank all those who have signed up for our workshop for the past 3 weeks. We still have a few seats left, so if you are keen to join in the fun, sign up now by emailing us at rhinestic@gmail.com!

Christmas is coming! What about making some Christmas themed accessories to adorn your outfit? They will make pretty cute gifts too!

Participants are not limited to using our sample designs. Let your creative juices flow and come up with your one and only whimsical accessories combo!

Resin x Washi Tape Collaborative Workshop

Date: 20th Dec 2014, Sat
Venue: Coffeemin Clarke Quay Central, Level 2

2 sessions to choose from:
Session 1: 1pm - 3pm
Session 2: 3:30pm - 5:30pm

Fee: SGD68 per person (All materials and tools are included)
Take home: A pair of earrings + Bunting brooch

Light refreshments + drinks will be provided. :)

Hope to see ya all soon!

Etsy Shop: Christmas Cards Instant Downloads~

Hi guys! My newly designed Christmas Cards Series "A Geometric Christmas" is up for sale at my Etsy shop! Head over there now to browse through them!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Collaborative Workshop: Resin x Washi Tape

Ailyn from Tat'sWorthy@Such and I will be holding a collaborative workshop this coming 20th December at Coffeemin, Clarke Quay Central! Information as follows:

Light refreshments and drinks will also be provided! To register, please email us at rhinestic@gmail.com. To know more about Coffeemin, please click here~

*Edit: There has been a mistake of the date in the flyer, and has been corrected. It should be 20th Dec, not 24th! Please take note!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Craft & Zakka Shopping at Tokyo! - Part 1

Finally getting this post up! Let me first apologize for the lack of photos, as I was more focused on finding the places and ogling at the crafty/designer goodness...

Before heading for our Tokyo trip, I actually bought the Tokyo Craft Guide e-book by Frances Arikawa & Angela Salisbury from here. The e-book has really nice graphics and a wealth of information. As it was published in 2013, bits of the information was a little outdated. However, it was still a good source for my list of to-go-to's as well as being handy to have it stored in my phone.

I also went through my list of liked Japanese craft pages on FB to check for more recommendations. And while I was at it, my inner "stalker" went to check out a few of my friends' similar likes. It might sound kinda shameful, but hey, I managed to find some really cool places to visit!


Tokyu Hands

Shibuya might have the best Tokyu Hands in Tokyo, but I think the Tokyu Hands in Ikebukuro is not far off the mark either. Our hotel was within walking distance from this Ikebukuro branch, and I had the luxury to make multiple shopping trips there.. If I had the ability and capability, I would love to bring the whole craft and DIY sections back home!

My only gripe was I shouldn't have been too hasty to make my major bulk of the shopping that late in the evening (on our first day of our trip... Over-excited much?). Tokyu Hands offer tax refunds for foreigners if they spend over 10000 yen on non-consumables. Which would be easily attainable if you are a "craft-spendaholic" like me. Trouble was they only offer the refund on the same day (no roll-over) till 8 pm. 

So, if you intend to spend over 10000 yen and want to get a tax refund, do so way before 8pm! Not too sure if it's the same over at other branches though.. (It was too early for closing announcement when I was at the Shibuya branch)


While planning our afternoon programme for our Mount Takao hiking day, I was torn between going back to Nippori and going to somewhere new. I eventually settled on Kichijoji since it is also along the Keio line.

We took the express train from Takaosanguchi to Meidaimae and changed to the Keio Inokashira line towards Kichijoji. We lucked out and managed to hop onto another express train.

I wanted to check out Yuzawaya but that's when the Tokyo Craft Guide failed me. The map in the e-book indicated that Yuzawaya was on level 7 and 8 within OIOI (Marui) building. The directory at the shopping mall said nothing about Yuzawaya and a number of shops were boarded up for renovation. Oh well, at least I got to take a look at Seria (similar to Daiso)!

Feeling a little disappointed, we took a walk to Nakamichi-dori where most of the indie craft and zakka shops are located.

Nakamichi Dori

It's a nice narrow street flanked by many small shops and cafes. Lots of cyclists too. I had fun looking at the vintage buttons at L. Musee, the beautiful myriad of novelty yarns at AVRIL and lots of wonderful knick knacks by known as well as indie designers at various shops. I scored a few Moomin postcards at coeur de coeur and other random goodies at Cotswolds.

The blue dots indicates roughly the part of Nakamichi dori which we walked. Zoom out to see where the Kichijoji station is.


After having a nice stroll along the street, we popped by Loft which was also in the vicinity. Loft has a similar concept to Tokyu Hands, though it lacks a proper craft and DIY section. But it makes up for it with its large selection of stationery, paper goods and souvenirs. Surprisingly, I found a small section dedicated to fine arts painting. Got my Japanese watercolors here!


While we were walking through the basement area back towards the Keio Kichijoji station, I happened to pass by a sign printed with the characters "Yuzawaya". Apparently, Yuzawaya has shifted to the 8th and 9th floor of the newly renovated shopping mall atop the train station! Called Kirarina, this shopping mall also houses a pretty huge bookstore on the 7th floor.

Kirarina Directory Pillar

I am glad I didn't give Yuzawaya a miss. It's always nice to visit a proper craft store in Japan (especially since Kinkadou closed down at Ikebukuro) and have, at one glance, a comprehensive selection of craft supplies. If I were to really compare, Tokyu Hands focuses more on the latest trending crafts and you might not be able to find everything that you need (especially yarn and fabric selection).


Harajuku might not be the first on your list with regard to arts or zakka shopping, but believe it or not, this is where a young and hip exhibition space, a really cool select shop and a Danish lifestyle store reside.

They are all within walking distances and if you do not mind walking a little further out into Aoyama, there's a shop that sells traditional goods made from originally designed textiles with a modern twist.

Design Festa Gallery

5 years ago, we passed by Design Festa Gallery. This time round, we made a point to visit the gallery. There were a few different mini exhibitions going on, showcasing mostly students' works. There's even a cafe within the gallery. While it may not be of a prim and proper "arts museum" style, it's still very interesting to see an edgier and grungier version of an arts space. Which is pretty apt for a place such as Harajuku.

Zentangle wall art

Sugar Town

Amidst what seems to be the residential area of Harajuku, a wondrous shop exists. Sugar Town, it is called, and it sells gifts of happiness.

We took a walk (while questioning ourselves if we were lost) from the Design Festa Gallery and almost missed the sign board. Sugar Town is located on the 2nd floor, and though not very big, it has a decent selection of products designed by global indie designers, including handcrafted items.

I got this really chic single-sided triangles earring by Fil et Bijou, and a piece of tenugui by our very own local Japan-based designer, Polkaros.

Flying Tiger Copenhagen

I have to admit that I only got to know about Flying Tiger Copenhagen because we passed by it while we were making our way from Sugar Town to Sou Sou. Which was a nice surprise!

While the name doesn't sound like much, this Danish craft and lifestyle store actually packs a punch! And very affordable at that! It also gives a very Ikea-ish vibe, which is always welcome in my book. :)

I actually got myself a pair of socks (with mustache prints!) because all my ankle socks couldn't make it for hiking (learnt it the hard way from our Mount Takao hike) and we would be having our next hike at Mount Mitake. While the socks cost only 300 yen, the quality is pretty decent.


SOU・SOU is not your usual shop that sells traditional goods. It is a lifestyle + boutique store which merges traditional and modern into one seamless style.

The main thing why I wanted to visit this Aoyama branch was that they have a section selling their originally designed textiles and tenugui.

More autumn yellow goodness. I also got a magenta shibori-dyed tenugui for my mum.

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