Sunday, June 30, 2013

June holidays, despite the haze

Singapore has been occasionally hit by smoke haze from forest fires in nearby Sumatra, Indonesia, brought over by wind.  The haze this year was the worst so far, with the PSI hitting 401 at 12 noon on 21 Jun and persistent PSI readings in the Unhealthy to Hazardous range since 17 Jun. Luckily the haze eased after a week, but everyone is still cautious and stocking up the N95 masks. 
Photo taken from my office window 1 hour after the worst PSI reading on 21 Jun.
I couldn't resist adding this photo for comparison.
This was taken from the same place on a fine day on 10 Jul, 12.20 pm.
The sea and the port could be seen on the horizon.
We couldn't do much during this school holidays as a result. We baked more scones and tried baking some cupcakes.  

At least, we did manage to go for a family outing at Sentosa when DH was back from China, just before the haze got real bad.  We cycled for an hour and had 2 rounds of the Luge & Skyride, followed by a movie "Man of Steel" and a late dinner at Vivocity.  

Utilised a pair of free tickets to the S.E.A. Aquarium and the Typhoon Theatre at the Maritime Experiential Museum on the expiry date itself, almost forgotten due to the haze!

And I tagged along Joey with her school table-tennis team for a cycling outing to the East Coast, followed by a Korean BBQ buffet dinner at Ssikkek in Oriental Plaza.

Back to crafts and swaps.  I received the May "Forest Fantasy" ATCs from Jan Gray (USA). These are the first doll-ATCs Jan's did - "We're all mad here" and "Forest Elf".  Aren't the cards lovely?  I love the colours especially - rich and mystique.  

The NEEDLESnCRAFTS "Summer" Moo exchange has just arrived.  Going clockwise from top-left:  Moo done by Mel, Janet Chan, Rose Jonid, Radha, "Sunshine" from Vivian Ong and the last one by Usha.  Another great swap, thanks to Janet for hosting it! 

The 3rd swap I joined in the Paper_Traders group was the Crackle ATC swap - crackle effect on the background to be precise.  I didn't want to spend on crackle paints, so I used glue with acrylic paints. It wasn't easy or was it that I used the wrong glue?  I only managed to get some crackle effect after trying on the 6th piece.  I even resorted to brushing my silver crackle nail polish to some of the ATCs!  So these are my attempts.
As the theme is free, I made paper-punched bride and groom and tatted a pair of small dimpled hearts for these "Two Loving Hearts" ATCs. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Some New Swaps and Techniques to Me!!

The ATC-ArtDolls group hasn't been too active the past few months.  We managed to get the May swap going with the "Forest Fantasty" theme, the requirement was human heads with animal bodies!  Not a normal theme I would go for, but it was a mini-challenge.  I did my doll-ATCs with elephants and monkeys.  A rather fun theme to do actually.  One set went to Vanessa Soto in USA, and another set was traded at the ATC session in Bishan Library last Thu.

We met a week earlier this month as Moses will be busy with his preparation for his new job in Indonesia.  We'll miss him and all his coordination effort for these ATC sessions.  We decided that we will carry on with help from all the regulars.  Cheers to everyone!  Back to what we did on 6 Jun.  Based on Barbara Reid's illustration using plasticine, we came up with all these colourful, creative and picturesque ATCs within the hour.  Amazing, isn't it?

These are what Kristine and I did.  I wasn't in the mood to really create something, so I spent just a few minutes to shape a new merlion, at least everyone could tell with just a glance :)        
Sor Huan was so sweet to do this card for me after I commented in the last session on how pretty her set was.  Using the some girl, she used natural plant materials and fabric to create different look on each and every ATCs.   The origami bee was done by who else, but Rita, our origami guru.     
Remember the upcycle altered book project which I participated earlier this year? I took 6 photos with 6 soft toys to complete a double page of "Home is where the heart is". The collaborative books which we created are now exhibiting in Bishan Library for the month of June!        

I joined a new group, Paper_Traders, and learned a few new things in my first few swaps.  Have you heard of intuitive watercolour technique?  There are a number of  posts on various blogs: Zorana's, Beckie's, Carol's.  This is the first time I tried, and it was so rewarding and satisifying an experience.  I felt playful splashing watercolours around and at the same time, I was filled with anxiety. Curiosity crept in once the colours dried.  What do I visualise?  Can you see?  Can you not see?      

The first few pieces of ATCs I drew with this technique made me realised I'm not too bad an artist, LOL!   I sent in [from top left going clockwise] (1) My Toys, (2) Dinosaur, (3) Sewing by the Lamp, (4) Dance is the Hidden Language of the Soul, (5) Take a Moment to Admire.  

More done: (6) I Spotted a Fairy, (7) In The Pond, (8) Dancing, the child of Music and of Love. (9) A Walk in the Wood.  I'm doing more for our next ATC session in July :)    

Next was the Gypsy Deco Book swap.  I used a combination of stamping, die-cut and the same watercolour technique to create these "Gypsy Fortune Telling" pages on 3.5" square scrapbooking papers.  Fortunately, they are at least presentable as I was quite clueless on the gypsy theme.  I'm now trying another new technique (to me) for a third swap, still working on them, so more about it in my next post.

Before that, here's the tatted bookmark for Moses!  All the best to his new job!