Saturday, 19 December 2015

Ipoh, Perak

Ipoh is the capital city of Ipoh state, Perak, Malaysia. It is surrounded by beautiful limestone hills with wonderful cave temples.There are a lot of interesting tourist attractions in Ipoh like Perak Tong, Gua Tempurung, Kek Look Tong, Sam Poh Tong, Theme Park - Lost World of Tambun,  and etc. Apart from the tourist attractions, Ipoh is also well known for its local dishes and restaurants. If you are a food lover, It is a good place for you to try out some special local cuisine like Ipoh Bean Sprouts Chicken, Ipoh Salted Chicken, Ipoh Chee Cheong Fun and etc.

    Since we spent the whole morning visiting Gaharu Tea Valley in Gopeng., we could only visit a few attractions nearby the Ipoh town in the afternoon. My family just followed my plan to visit Kek Lok Tong and  Ipoh Old Town.

Kek Look Tong is a cave temple which is not far from Ipoh town... Here you can feel the power of universe and enjoy the beauty of the cave over the sky.

The entrance  of Kek Look Tong.

The interior of Kek Look Tong

There is a beautiful garden behind Kek Look Tong. 

The surroundings of the garden.

Our next spot in Ipoh is Ipoh Old Town. After taking some photos in the railway station, we strolled around the streets in Ipoh Old Town. We enjoyed walking around the streets ... nostalgic feel.

You can see many old buildings around Ipoh Old Town. Many of them still functional until today. To me, it is very interesting in exploring old Ipoh on foot.

Ipoh Railway Station

Street view of Ipoh Old Town.

Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng, Perak

Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng in Perak was our first destination in our one day trip planning list for this holiday. It was an educational and relaxing activity in a green valley. Gaharu Tea Valley is a a Gaharu (Agarwood) plantation in Gopeng,Perak. There are approximately 200'000 Gaharu trees.

What is Gaharu tree? We found the answer here. With RM10 per adult and RM5 per children, we took a scenic tour in a guided mini van which took us to three spots in the valley. The first stop was the viewing tower where we got a briefing on Gaharu tree and the history of the valley. The second stop was the painted animal trees spot and the third stop was the lovers park.

The entrance of Gaharu Tea Valley.

An amazing view of the valley.

Painted animal tree.

Lover trees

Colorful staircase at Lovers Park.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Adjustable Sliding Knot Bracelet

A simple adjustable bracelet might keep your most meaningful memories right on your wrist. I made this adjustable bracelet with a cowrie shell focal bead. I found this cowrie shell at the Pangkor Island Beach some times ago. The lengthwise opening and the broken domed side of the shell happen to turn it into a natural focal bead. If you have many seashells in hand, try to choose the shell with a naturally-made hole or you have to drill the hole with a driller. Today, I'm going to show you how to tie sliding knots to make an adjustable bracelet.

1. cowrie shell focal bead (or other seashell with hole)
2. two cords / twines in different colors (same length)

Before we start making the bracelet, we have to determine the length of the cords. Measure the length of the desired length of your finished bracelet and double it (add more inches if you want more margin to slide the knots closely to the focal bead). Cut two cords in different colors and the two cords should have the same length.

Step 1. Pick the yellow cord and fold the cord in half at the midpoint and insert the fold through the hole of the cowrie shell.
Step 2. Bring the two cord ends through the fold and pull the cord ends until the head knot snug to the right of the focal bead.
Step 3. Repeat the steps to tie the green cord at the opposite side.
Now you should have two cords (yellow and green) in the left and right of the shell respectively.

Step 4. Line up the yellow and green cord ends side by side. Measure 3" from the yellow cord ends, fold it back on itself and underneath the other cords as shown in the photo number 4.
Step 5. Coil the ends around the two parallel cords 2 -3 times.
Step 6. Thread the yellow cord ends through the loops and draw the ends out completely.

 Step 7. Pull the yellow cord tight. The first sliding knot is done.

 Step 8.& 9. Repeat on the other side with the same method. Then, trim the ends. You can trim the ends to a desired length for certain styling purposes.

This is my finished cowrie shell bracelet.

A simple adjustable cowrie shell bracelet is so easy to make and it can fit almost every wrist!!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

How to Make a Paper Bead

Beads can be used for various types of artworks or crafts, so did the paper beads. Have you ever thought of making bracelet, necklace, beaded curtain or other crafts from paper beads? You might think that the paper beads are not durable.Yes, it is not so durable if you compare them with the wooden beads, stone beads, or plastic beads. Anyway, you can make the paper bead more sturdier by adding some paint or polish over the surface. You'd be surprised that some strips of rolled-up paper can create a series of fashionable and decorative crafts.

Usually, we use recycled paper such as old magazine pages, old calendars, leftover pieces of wrapping paper and etc to create colorful paper beads. To me, I like to making paper beads with old magazine pages. Let's go through the step-by-step instruction below.

1. magazine page
2. wooden toothpick
3. glue
4. clear nail polish (optional

Paper Strip Pattern 

[ click here to download the paper strip pattern ]
Step 1 : Draw the paper strip pattern on the paper. The picture above is an example of the pattern (long isosceles triangles). I marked a line of dots on the top and bottom edge of the paper before I drew the whole pattern. The dots should be evenly spaced apart. I made the dots 1cm apart but you can use your desired measurement. Connect the first dot at the top and the first dot at the bottom with a straight line, then, connect the first dot at the top and the third dot at the bottom to create a long isosceles triangle, after that connect the third dot at the top and the third dot at the bottom to create the second isosceles triangle and so on. Continue your drawing by referring to the example above until you have the desired number of triangles to cut out. By following the example above, you can make 20 strips and each strip can create a bead in 2cm long if you are using a piece of A4 size paper. Please excuse my poor computer artistry, you can probably draw up a better image. Anyway, you can download this pattern for your own use if you think it is useful.

**note : The area with brown color is the unwanted area.

Step 2 : Carefully cut out the strips.

Step 3 : Roll the wide edge of the paper strip over the toothpick. Continue rolling the paper strip around the toothpick. Try to keep the paper snug to the toothpick and the both sides even. 

Step 4 : Once you reach where about 2" from the end of the strip, apply some glue on the whole skinny part and continue rolling.

Step 5: After the bead is dry, you can use any kind of varnish or polish to coat the bead before you take it off the toothpick. This is the optional step. Usually, I use the clear nail polish to coat the bead and let it dry in somewhere it won't get stuck on anything for about an hour's time. When the coating is dry, remove the bead from the toothpick. Done.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Dual Color Baby Booties

This is my another knitting pattern for baby booties. It will creates a very attractive garter stitch texture. I knitted these baby booties with double-yarn. This pattern calls for two skeins of yarn (pink & white), use a strand of each skein at the same time and you have to treat these two strands as if they were a single strand while knitting. It is very easy and fast to get it done.

If you are not interested in this granular look baby booties, you can try out another simple knitting pattern for baby booties.

Baby size : 4 - 6 months
Finished length : approx 4" (10cm)
Gauge : 6 rows = 1" ; 4 stitches = 1"  in garter stitch

1. two skeins of yarn in different colors (100%  acrylic, weight 40g )
2. a pair of straight needles size 7mm
3. yarn needle or tapestry needle
4. two small buttons

knitting abbreviations :
K - knit
Kfb - knit front and back
Kfb2 - knit front and back two times
SSK2 -  slip slip knit two times
SSK 3 - slip slip knit three times
K2tog2 - knit two together two times
K2tog3 - knit two together three times
YO - yarn over
sts -  stitches

 Knitting Pattern

 Right bootie
cast on 25 stitches
Row 1 : (wrong side ) : K all
Row 2 : (right side ) : K1, Kfb, K8, Kfb, K1, Kfb, K1, Kfb, K8, Kfb, K1 (30 sts)
Row 3 :  K all
Row 4  : K2, Kfb, K8, Kfb, K2, Kfb2, K2, Kfb, K8, Kfb, K2 (36 sts)
Rows 5 - 9 : K all
Row 10 :K12, SSK3,K2tog3, K12 (30)
Row 11 : K all
Row 12 : K11, SSK2, K2tog2, K11 (26)
Row 13 : K all
Row 14 : K7, knit next 2 sts, bind off 12sts, K6

Now, you have two sets of 7sts on your needle.

For the first set of 7 sts :-
Row 15 - 17  :  Knit 3 rows.
Bind off and cut yarn about 12" to sew with.
(Leave the second set of 7 sts on the left needle when you knit the first set of 7 sts)

For the second set of 7 sts :-
Rejoin yarn at where you started binding off the 12 sts and cast on 9 sts tightly.
Row 15  :  K all sts
Row 16  :  K to last 3 sts. YO, K2tog, K1 (buttonhole)
Row 17  :  K all 7 sts
Bind off and cut yarn.

Left bootie
Rows 1 - 14  :  same as right bootie

For the first set of 7 sts :-
Row 15  :  K7, turn work, cast on 9 sts tightly
Row 16  :  K all
Row 17  :  K to last 3 sts. YO, K2tog, K1 (buttonhole)
Bind off and cut yarn about 12" to sew with.
(Leave the second set of 7 sts on the left needle when you knit the first set of 7 sts)

For the second set of 7 sts :-
Rejoin yarn at where you started binding off the 12 sts.
Row 15 - 17  : Knit three rows.
Bind off and cut yarn.

Finishing : Fold bootie with wrong side together and using the method of sewing invisible seam for garter stitch to sew up the heel seam. Then continue sewing the cast on edges (bottom edges) together with the whipstitch. Weave in yarn ends. Sew button opposite buttonhole on strap.

Note: attach button or any decorative accessories securely to avoid choking.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Colorful Yarn Pompom

I can still remember that when I was a child, my mum made me a few colorful pompoms that pleased me so much. Of course, my mum taught me how to make a simple pompom. The method used by my mum was the"two circles" method where you have to keep poking the yarn through the hole in the center.

The "two circles" method is very time consuming, especially when you are trying to make a larger pompom. Well, I am going to show you how to make a larger pompom with an alternative method. This method will requires 4 pieces of arch-shaped cardboard and you do not need to poke the yarn through the center hole.

Materials :
1. Four balls of yarn in different colors                 
2. Cardboard
3. Binder clips

How to make a colorful pompom  

click here to get the pompom template

Before we start making a pompom, we need a pompom maker. You can make your own pompom maker with cardboard. The cardboard can be a toothpaste box, cereal box and etc.  The picture shown is the pompom maker template, it consists of  four arch-shaped pieces. The ratio of the outer circle to the inner circle is 2 : 1. Anyway, you can draw your own template in different ratio for certain purposes. If you do not want to make your own template, just click on the picture to get the template for your personal uses.


Print out the template on a piece of paper. Simply cut out the pattern pieces and glue them on a piece of cardboard.

Once the glue is dry, cut out the shaded area of each pattern piece. Then bend along the horizontal/straight  lines as shown in the photo.

Pick up two arch-shaped cardboard pieces and hold them together.

Wind the semi-circle closely with four strands of yarn in different colors. Keeping the winding even and not leaving gaps. Continue until the semi-circle in the middle of the arch-shaped cardboard is filled up with yarn.

Pick up the other two arch-shaped cardboard and make another bundle of yarn. You should now have two bundles of yarn as shown in the photo.

Put the two bundles of yarn together to form a full circle.

Hold the two halves together with four binder clips as shown in the photo.

Slide the scissors between the two layers of cardboard and cut open the wound yarn around the outer edge.

Draw a long piece of yarn between the two layers of cardboard. Pull the yarn tight and tie a firm knot.

Take off the binder clips and cardboard. The look of the pompom will looks like this.

Trim the pompom with scissors until it is perfectly round.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Layered Lace Flower Hair Elastic

I was in the mood for a big layered lace flower hair elastic... I got bored with my monotonous hair style and I wished to style my long hair with a vintage charm. An inspiration shot into my mind when I was looking at those old style laces that kept in the bottom of a box. Normally, we will need wider lace ribbons to make a larger layered lace flower. A larger lace might cost you a pretty penny, what if you wish to make a larger  layered lace flower with a diameter up to 3.5 inches by using a one inch and 0.5 inch wide lace ribbons? Yes, I will show you how to make a lace flower hair elastic with a budget-friendly method. You will find that crafting can be affordable, friendly and fun.

1. Two lengths of one inch wide lace ribbon, 18 inches and 13 inches long respectively.
2. A length of lace in different color/shade, 0.5 inch wide and 8 inches long
3. An embellished fabric-button
4. A piece of elastic
5. Felt cloth
6. Matching thread (match to the felt cloth)
7. Hot glue

Thread the needle. The length of the thread should be about twice the length of the lace. Sew a running stitch all the way along the edge evenly. Remember to leave an enough tail of thread at the starting and ending point for gathering purposes. Then, gently pull the tails at the both sides to gather the lace until the length of the lace is about 5 inches. Tie a knot a the back of the lace with the two tails to form a circle. Be careful when you tie the knot, don't  shorten the length of the gathered lace. The diameter of the circle should be about 1.5 inches. Then arrange the pleats evenly with your fingers.

By using the same method, make the second lace flower with the lace that measures 13 inches long. This is the smaller flower, so the diameter of the second flower is about 1 inch. After that, make the smallest lace flower with the lace which is in different size and color/shade. The diameter should be about 0.5 inch. Now you have 3 lace flowers of different sizes.

Draw two circles in different sizes onto a piece of felt cloth and cut them out. The diameter of the big and small circle are 2 inches and 0.8 inch respectively.

Pin the biggest lace flower onto the big felt circle. Sew the lace flower in place along the edge of the circle with the matching thread because the stitches will be less likely to stand out at the back. The photos shown above are the front and back of the biggest lace flower that sewn on the felt circle.

Sew the other two lace flowers in place one by one as shown in the photos. Then, attach the embellished fabric-button at the center by using hot glue or sew it in place by hand stitching.

Sew the elastic at the back and hot glue the small circle over the stitches for a neat finish. Done. Now, you can put your hair in a ponytail or bun with this vintage fashion accessory.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Lace Flower Brooch

Are you finding inspiration for your lace brooch project? I'm going to show you  how to make a fancy lace brooch out of lace and fabric-covered button. I believe this noticeable feminine piece will add interest to your ensemble.

1. One piece of fabric-covered button
2. A length of lace
3. Safety pin
4. Felt cloth
5. Matching thread
6. Hot glue

Cut the lace to an appropriate length. The length of the lace that I use in this project is approx. 17" and the width is approx. 1". Thread the needle. The length of the thread should be about twice the length of the lace. Then, sew a running stitch all the way along the edge evenly. Remember to leave an enough tail of thread at the starting and ending point for gathering purposes.

Gently pull the thread at the both sides to gather the lace. Pull the thread completely, this will create a heavy ruffle and you can see the lace flower is taking shape.

Pull the thread very tight and make a couple of knots with the tails of thread at the back. The lace flower is done.

Now, attach the fabric-covered button on the center of the lace flower by hand stitching or hot glue the button in place. I embellished the fabric-covered button with a sequin and a bead before I sewed it down. You can use any embellished button or other embellishments instead of a fabric-covered button.

Draw two circles in different sizes onto a piece of felt cloth and cut them out. The sizes of the circles are determined by the size of the chosen safety pin.

Attach the big felt circle onto the back of the lace flower, you can either sew it in place or attach it in place with hot glue.

Sew the safety pin in place as shown in the photo.

Attach the small felt circle over the stitches for a neat finish and it is ready to pin on your outfits, bags, scarves, hats and etc...

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