Friday, May 29, 2009

[Wedding Series 3]- Gown inspiration

To a bride, a HUGE part of the wedding is the gown. Perhaps for some even, the gown IS the wedding. Of course, I too am wandering down this path on the search for the perfect gown. Idealistic as it may sound, I believe there's a gown out there for me. And I'll know that I've found the one once I try it on. It will be one of those "ah huh!" moment. Or to paint it more dream-like, suddenly I will hear the wedding bells chime in my ears, I will be bathed in the golden rays of the sun and the birds will be singing. 

However, to find that perfect gown is no small feat. Obviously, this has to do largely with the fact that mortal me is kept grounded by a budget. It definitely helps to have an idea of what one is looking for. And for me, this comes alot from movies that I've seen (I'm such a movie junkie, ain't I?). I'm sure there are lots of great wedding gowns featured in the films but these are what left an impression on me.

[image from today Fashiona]

Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City movie. I think it's safe to say that more eyes and attention were on what she would be wearing as her wedding gown than on the storyline itself.  To me this is almost the quintessential wedding gown. So elegant and it truly makes a statement. By Vera Wang.

[image from Shiny Style]

The other wedding gown that generated lots of hype in the same movie is the above by Vivienne Westwood. So much character!

[image from, left to right: Bella Naija, Entertainment Weekly]

(above left) I adore Kelly Rutherford's character in Gossip Girl, Lily Van Der Woodsen. So flawed, so paradoxical, so attractive. Sophisticated socialite but always with that biker chick in her threatening to break through. Seemingly superficial but hiding a kind beautiful soul inside. Gorgeous gown that suited Lily to a T-- simple, classic but always with a detail that stands out.

(above right) I still remember clearly the scene in Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts' character says she feels like a bell and swishes sweetly in this gown.

What kind of wedding dress do you dream of? Are you the dramatic kind or does simplicity rules? Full lace? Vintage?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Be Green, Be Chic - Envirosax

What image comes to your mind when you hear "reusable shopping bags"? For me, it's a dowdy-looking middle-aged woman at the supermarket with a rectangular-shaped monotone reusable bag. The bag screams free-of-charge because it has a huge print of a retailer's logo on it. So, I would usually try to squeeze my purchase into the bag I am carrying. Or, I'll walk home guilt-ridden with a plastic bag in my hand.

I recently received 2 reusable shopping bags as gifts and were delighted by how chic they looked. Have you heard of Envirosax?



I guess the images did the talking, huh? 

Read more about Envirosax and their philosophy here. Of course, check out their series of cool designs too!

[images from Envirosax]

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vintage Sewing Machines


My mother picked up sewing in her younger years and we had an old Singer sewing machine for a long time. I recall seeing her wipe the dust off the machine occasionally to amend pieces of clothing. She said she used it alot more before she had us. Watching her, I was always thrilled at the pedaling and at the turning of the wheel. I would stand next to her, pestering to turn the wheel. To pacify me, she would let me turn it once and get me to buzz off. 

When I entered my teenage years, I was always trying to furnish/decorate the house. But that young and amateur head of mine was adamant that a vintage sewing machine could not fit into the modern look of our apartment (yeah, I was into that look then...). Eventually, we got rid of the machine.

As I got older though, I started to appreciate all things vintage and till now, I can't get enough of it. One day, I came across a picture of a vintage sewing machine sitting prettily in a house. From then on, the image stuck in my head. I thought of that old sewing machine of ours and wondered why in the world I wanted to sever relations with it. Ah, the foolishness of youth!


The workspace on the left is made for me! Look at the huge "S"!




To satisfy my satisfaction with pre-loved items, I talked a girl friend (that's what are friends for) into spending a Saturday afternoon at Salvation Army with me. Then I saw it! A vintage sewing machine! I decided right that moment I was going to get it. We both didn't drive. But I wanted it so bad that we went onto the main road and looked out for larger than usual taxis. We were in luck. Then, the both of us lugged the machine from the taxi into the lift and to my apartment. I'm proud of our accomplishment! Of course my mum wondered what in the world was going in her fickle daughter's head when she saw the machine. But I didn't care. I was grinning for a long time. 

I am loving the vintage sewing machines in the images above! Either as a decorative piece or as the heart of the sewing studio. These are too pretty!!

[images from left to right, top to bottom, from the Flickr photostreams of: joontoons, JerusalemTheArtsyMomma, Catslye, keightyj, danny mansmith, Rogue & Wench, dream7184, artsmith_satx]

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The acrobat in you

I am inspired by this today:

How often do you let fear circumscribe your actions, make you mediocre, prevent you from dreaming, or prevent you from listening to your inner voice?

My parents would disagree. What about finances? I will probably fail. I don't think I'm good enough. What will people think of me? It will cause a lot of inconvenience to others.... 

Instead of these restricting thoughts and images you are conjuring up in your mind, I recall an advice from a book I read, The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine, to think of the image above. The acrobat who is literally taking the plunge, leaping from one trapeze to another in mid-air. Of course it's scary. But it's totally sublime.

And creative pursuits are often such. Because to be creative is to be different.

Friday, May 22, 2009

[Wedding Series 2]- Birdcages

For a long time, birdcages never meant much to me. They were simply birdcages. Lately however, I've noticed that they are increasingly being used as decorative items not just in the house but at weddings too. Just last week, I went shopping for birdcages with my bride-to-be girl friend. She was given the option to buy or to rent.

Unlike their plain predecessors, these decorative birdcages now sport more detailed designs. Needless to say, they fit perfectly into an outdoor wedding. But who's to stop you from bringing the garden inside? Give your indoor wedding a garden theme with the use of birdcages and various other elements. The look is cheery, filled with the vitality and promises of Spring!



Play around and be creative with the birdcages-- to hold flowers, cards or as a table centerpiece.

I can almost hear the birds singing. 

[images from top: The Bride's Cafe
last: Save on Crafts]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vintage Ladybird

 
Pss... I'll let you in on a secret but promise not to laugh, ya? When I was a kid, I picked up reading real late. I recall going to elementary school and really dreading the sessions where we had to practice reading. The teacher would hold up a huge book. She would read a little, get us to read as a class, and also get students to read aloud individually. Before she called out a name, my heart would be thumping so loudly I was sure the kid next to me could hear it too. During those moments, I was sure the thing I wanted most in the world was not to be called. Obviously, my wish didn't always come true. I would find myself standing up and staring at the alphabets in the book. They were just alphabets strung together, some forming a larger group, some smaller. 

I don't know when exactly, but thankfully, somehow along the way, I learnt to read. I integrated into primary school pretty normal. That must be a huge "whew" for my parents. Haha. Why was I so slow? I'm not sure. It's not that I wasn't exposed to books. My mother read alot to me before I went to school. We went to the library frequently and my parents bought me books as well. I had a pretty decent collection of the Ladybird books. "Puss in Boots", "The Enormous Turnip", "Red Riding Hood" etc. I saw these on the internet recently and they conjured up the memory illustrated above. Did you own the Ladybird books too?


It's a shame we tossed out my collection when we shifted. It's so ironic because I feel like getting my hands on them now. I have a fascination with vintage things. 

By the way, I can write fine, right? 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Paper and Plates

I love paper. Don't you? Check out these paper plates designed by Joshua Gajownik. Nope, they're not the flimsy disposable ones you get at the supermarket.

Cute huh? Other than the obvious function of carrying your food, I think it'll be great as a gift after you scribble a message along the lines with permanent marker. The one on the bottom left reminds me of my pre-school writing book where I had to try my best to write within the printed lines. Top left reminds me of upper primary when I wrote my compositions on these writing pads. Top right? I hate all things Mathematics related, inlcuding graphs. Opps, did I just use a strong negative word on my happy blog space? I know you'll forgive me for this.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eat Your Tickets

Come enjoy some cookies with me? I've just put the kettle on for tea as well. Isn't the vase of daisies on the table pretty? I got them this morning from the market. They were beaming at me.

*Giggle* Delighted by these cookies, aren't you? Carbo and sugar make me happy but ticket cookies are cute! Guess what? I learnt that in Russia, there are 6 digits on transport tickets. It's believed that if the sum of the first 3 digits is the same as the last 3, you've got in your hands a lucky ticket and you should eat it. Hence, Art. Lebedev Studio designed lucky ticket cookies that I am sure would taste good too. Isn't that witty?

Oh, the plate's almost empty. Don't worry, I'll top it up. By the way, you look adorable with the crumb on your lip!





[images from Art. Lebedev Studio]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Who am I?

To some people, business cards are just business cards. It has to serve its function and help you with your networking. For us creative souls however, our business card says the world about us. It has to be the quintessence of our art. After all, if we aren’t the ones to lead the pack with beautiful business cards, then who? Check out these cool business cards. I feel like getting my hands on them just for collection’s sake.

Hairclips anyone? Useful for a bad hair day until you get to Yuka.


Talk about leaving an impression.


[images from creativebits]

Ivan of creativebits has done a great job on his post on creative business cards showcase and he updates it too! Click here to access his post and see loads more quirky business cards.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Announcements - Wedding & Wedding

I'm breaking 2 pieces of news today. You ready?

News #1: some fellow bloggers were wondering if I am getting married and have suggested that I do a wedding-related series. So, I guess I'll say it here *girly giggles* yes, I am getting married. We are intending for our big day to be in early January 2010.

I bought my first bridal magazine a few months back. It was joyous and exciting to be flipping open the cover of the magazine. I told myself then that that was a moment worth remembering. You know how people always say that pregnant women wear a glow on their faces? I am convinced that engaged women who shop for wedding magazines have that same glow! I browse these magazines in my spare time, sticking post-its everywhere and filling my head with decor ideas for my big day. Last weekend, I started my wedding inspiration journal. I had loads of fun and would like to share some of it with you.




[click on image to enlarge]

News #2: I have also decided to start a weekly wedding-related series, as suggested. These will be posted on Fridays and it will be on my preparation adventures, ideas from other sources etc. I love that in this way, I would be able to share great wedding-related finds with you and the posts would also serve as documentation for myself. How does that sound? I would like to invite you to go on this ride with me. Would you be keen to do so? Do let me know and I certainly welcome your comments or any ideas/suggestions you have related to this series. 

Meantime, have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you on Monday. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Colour my World

Passing by a shop yesterday after dinner, I was captivated by something in the display window. It was a set of collector's colour pencils. I realised that colour pencils still fascinate me as much today as when I was a young girl. This is despite not having used them for a while. 

Even more than their functionality, I love them for how they look. I recall that getting a bigger set of colour pencils was always in my wish list. The BIGGER, the better. My eyes would then be able to trace the never-ending row of differing shades, moving from warm to cool. I appreciated the subtlety in the shades. There can't be just blue. You got to have sky blue, royal blue, navy blue... Hence, I was anal about putting the colour pencils back in their original positions. Having a pencil in the wrong position would wreck my colour gradient observation exercise!

After having these memories invoked, I decided to remind myself once again how beautiful colour pencils are.




This was and still is my dream set.

I had these double-ended ones and the Staedtler Luna set. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hands up the Real McCoy - Meiji Chocolate Bars

We all know that the Japanese are fantastic with food replicas. Other than to entice (yes, it works), they also play a very practical function. Foreigners who are not conversant in the Japanese language are thankful for them. Point to a replica that beckons your name and soon after, the real thing is placed in front of you. You won't want to play Charades when you are carrying a hungry stomach.

So, yes I do know how real these replicas are. But I recall that I was still pleasantly surprised when I saw these "Meiji Chocolate bars" when I was in Japan.

"What? You think we haven't seen Meiji Chocolates?" Patience my dear, look on.

Meiji Chocolate Bar Puzzle! Isn't it cool? The packaging is exactly like the real McCoy! And if you are more concerned about the puzzle than being overwhelmed by how cool this is, here's how to play: scramble the pieces and then attempt to re-create the chocolate bar. There are 2,339 ways to solve it. 

To add on to the cool factor, the puzzle comes in white, milk and dark chocolate representing the difficulty level-- easy, beginner and expert.

Another chocolate bar?

These are making me crave chocolates now. Are you feeling the same? But if you do get your hands on the puzzle and solve it, there's every reason to get a real bar to treat yourself!

[images from Strapya World]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gorgeous and Cheery Home - Debi Treloar

Most local interior design/home decor magazines feature photo after photo of minimalist apartments. Otherwise, they'll be resort-themed. It's as if these are the only 2 ways to decorate one's abode. Seriously, go to the appropriate section on the magazine rack, close your eyes and pick a copy of any interior magazine and chances are you will be greeted with either of these styles. I do appreciate the clean and sleek look (I am proud to be a neat freak). And I was once into the whole resort thing as well. Afterall,despite being a city of skyscrapers and high-rise dwellers, we are a sunny tropical island. But these were just flings, infatuation. I have found my love - eclectic designs.

So I enjoyed a moment of thrill when I spotted this apartment in Style:Living magazine. It's the apartment of the wonderful photographer Debi Treloar, her husband Colin Holding and their 3 children! A 3-storey Victorian house that was previously not showered with the love it so deserved, Treloar and her family transformed it into a gorgeous cheery home. White-painted wooden floorboards and walls thrown to life with bright colourful furniture and decor. It says alot when one is able to create harmony through the use of various recycled or vintage pieces. Additionally, I really like that they simply let their creative juices flow with the brave use of colours and patchwork wallpaper. If I have a mental image of a dream interior, this would be it! I really should just let the pictures do the talking.



[click to enlarge images]

Definitely also check out Treloar's portfolio over here. I won't spoil the surprise by posting any photos here. I promise you won't be disappointed. They'll totally perk you up.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beautiful Design + Chocolate = Askinosie

I spotted Askinosie Chocolate in a magazine I was browsing lazily last Saturday. It was one of those days where you go through the motion of flipping the pages because everything in the magazine seem dull. What a lousy issue you say to yourself but you continue because you are secretly hoping there will be some hidden gems in the pages to come. So you turn one more page….and then you spot it! Your eyes widen and your heart beat a faster. Ooooh! I This was exactly what happened. I zoomed in to read the text and it was only then that I found out it’s chocolates and it’s called “Askinosie”. It may well have been any other product and I would still have been captured by it. Yes, it’s the packaging. How can I resist? I’m exaggerating? Take a look and judge for yourself. By the way, I hereby shamelessly declare that I make decisions/choices based on aesthetics.


Obviously, I had to go online to learn more about this wonderful find and I realized there’s a lot more to these bean-to-bar chocolates. Unlike large industrial chocolate manufacturers, Shawn Askinosie (yes, that’s the founder’s last name) supports poor farmers in Mexico and Ecuador by hiring them to grow small batches of beans. The packaging was designed to honour these farmers. The distressed brown parchment paper wrapper is printed with a photo of the lead farmer, his name, the bean’s origin, the variety of bean. Also clearly indicated are the cocoa content, the process used, a “choc-o-lot” number and the Web address (askinosie.com). Enter the choc-o-lot number online and you can retrace the journey. Askinosie chocolates contain just 3 ingredients: cacao beans, cocoa butter and pure cane sugar.

I would be overjoyed to receive these as gifts. They’re too cute! Chalk-kate Box (left) which comes with a chalkboard top for my sender to scribble messages on and Month's Supply of Dark Chocolate (right) so that I don’t over-indulge.

They carry other chocolate-related products as well. Check out their website for more.

I also enjoyed reading about Shawn Askinosie’s story. He was actually a criminal defense lawyer for close to 20 years before finding his passion in chocolates. You HAVE to visit their cool website to read more about his story and to feast your eyes further.

[images from Askinosie]

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Blogging My Way

Monday, 4 May 2009 (actually it's 5 May 2009 for me over here) marked the end of my 4-week e-blogging course, Blogging Your Way (BYW). That was my first ever e-course and it certainly set a high bar. I am so proud to say it here that our teacher is the amazingly talented yet friendly and down-to-earth Holly Becker of Decor8. I can't recall how I stumbled upon Decor8 but since that day a few years ago, it has become my daily bite. Even on days when I go on vacation, upon return, I always read the old posts and continue from where I left off. I enjoy reading Decor8 for many reasons. Its aesthetics appeal to me, I *heart* the images that Holly shares (eye candy!), she posts regularly, her style is one I identify with, I love the way she writes, she transports me to a creative world.... But most of all, I appreciate how supportive she is of small indie start-ups (which I really hope I can call myself one one day) and how she doesn't hesitate to share her knowledge and experience. 

So one fine day, when I saw Holly announced on her blog that she is starting an e-course, I leapt at the opportunity and without even knowing the course fee. This is coming from me who takes forever to make decisions eg. what shall I eat for dinner? Is the pink top better than the black? Out of 800 applicants, I am one of the lucky 207 who got into the class! From that day on, I looked to day 1 of the course with anticipation. I wasn't disappointed. I was the only one from Singapore and there I was, meeting people from all over the world! Putting myself out there and interacting with like-minded creative souls really fed my inspiration. It boosted my confidence when I tell people that I blog because I realised it's no trivial affair. Amongst the LOADS of precious lessons I'm taking away from the course, I think the most important would be the need to be authentic and true to myself, to dare to dream and chase my passion. I can't say it enough but "thanks so much, Holly!"

I was also very fortunate to be able to work with a group of wonderful bloggers who gave me constructive feedback on my blog. These folks have been really supportive. They are at:

For Your Inspiration - Mothers out there would enjoy Karen's blog which has some interesting series. 
Discover Interior Design - Kristin's blog is pretty and packed with beautiful pictures
Lolalina - Laura's blog would appeal to the girl in you
Magchunk - Maggie's character comes through in her writings and you'll enjoy reading it. 
When I Grow Up - Michelle is a life coach and you'll enjoy her unique and lively blog
Frozen Brooklyn -  For those who have ice-cream as one of their great loves
Sam's Notebook - Lots of great finds, lots of eye-candy
Sparkling Ink - Trust me, you wouldn't be able to resist the "droolingly-beautiful" food pictures on Tiina's blog and the accompanying recipes. 

So now, I am a member of the first graduating class of BYW Friends (I'm proudly displaying the logo on my main page)!