Thursday, June 5, 2014

Boys can craft too… just bring them to a Canon PIXMA Craft Workshop

For the first time ever, I brought the elves to a Canon PIXMA Craft Workshop on Saturday 31 May at the Inter-Continental Hotel. The theme was “We Are Family!” and it was definitely one popular family event as streams of adults and their little ones queued up to register, get their goodie bags and excitedly go through the materials provided by Canon.
It took a bit of coaxing but my older elf, who at first thought of the event as “girly stuff” eventually joined in the fun with his craft-crazy sister. We posed with mustaches, speech bubbles and spectacles at the photo booth, fixed crafts together and the kids started getting into the games with their peers.

My gal even got a photo with the lively and witty hosts, Jeremy Yeo and Joanne-Marie Sim!

We made two items, a door hanger and a photo holder. The Canon-provided materials were all printed from their Canon Creative Park website and all we had to do was to cut, paste and stick them in any way we wanted. I did most of the cutting and let the elves decide how they wanted to decorate.
Before the event we were asked to store a few of our favorite family pix in our phones. We then printed them out using the Canon PIXMA Printing Solutions app at the printers stationed all around the ballroom. It was so quick and simple and the colors were vibrant!

The kids were well-entertained with games that had them interacting with each other and running around the ballroom looking for answers to Canon-related questions on “clouds” that were posted above the various printers. My gal was thrilled when she won a prize bag of exclusive Canon products!

In between, there was a tea break which was a delicious treat of egg tarts, dim sum and carrot cake. It was heartwarming to see all the family photos and the love and detail that went into each craft item. Sharing our table was a family of five with mummy, daddy and their three children helping one another to finish their creative keepsakes. As there was only one set of double-sided tape and scotch tape and a couple of scissors, it was a good moment for my children to learn to share and wait patiently for their turn to use the tools. We had a great time chatting while crafting too!

Canon organises these craft workshops at least twice a year near the school holidays. Registration is free so places get snapped up real quick. So look out for details for the next one and make sure you sign up. You'll definitely have an enjoyable family-bonding time!

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Robotic Invasion!

So the grand plan was to create a town where the smaller elf's Little Ponies can roam. My gal happily selected the buildings and structures she wanted and in a few seconds, each page of beautifully-coloured templates, looking just like what we see on screen, were printed out on the Canon Pixma MG5570 printer that Canon sponsored.

Then the work for mummy began.

Most of the structures were easily cut out and my gal actually figured out how to put together the hospital on her own by following the instructions at the Canon Creative Park website (with some of her own idealistic architectural imagination as you'll find out later)

But the green tunnel took a bit of contortionist skills to glue the parts together as I bent the paper here, there, and everywhere to form the shape and make the side steps stick to the tunnel. At one point I was nearly using all four limbs to hold them in place while I applied glue. Finally it was all done. But before the Little Ponies could gallop about their town, the Hero Factory robots decided to have a go at it first.

 We imagined all sorts of hilarious scenarios like this one: "Hmmmm, so which way in?"
(By the way, you may have noticed that my gal exercised some architectural creativity in gluing the different parts of the hospital together.)

Santa: "I sense there's someone else here besides me…"

And voilĂ … the amazing tunnel! Robot: "Arrrggggh, how do I get in?! Time to lose weight…"

Poor Santa, he keeps getting targeted. And all he wants to do is to deliver toys to children. It's a tough job I tell ya.

We had a good hour of fun playing around with the make-believe town. Go check out the heaps of buildings, roads and other craft projects that can be printed from Canon Creative Park as well as Canon PIXMA town. I dare say even adults would enjoy the challenge of piecing together some of the famous landmark models.

*note: Although Canon sponsored the printer for this post, all experiences shared and opinions expressed here are entirely of my own.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

Melanie Lee, the very real author of Imaginary Friends, is a friend I got reconnected to recently. Til then, she was mostly logged in my memory as the super-multi-tasking intern who impressed the boss at my workplace with her ability to work on several writing assignments simultaneously and still churn out great work.

Photo by NH Tan

When we caught up again, Melanie still impressed with her fortitude and happy attitude towards life and her witty, ironical writing style. Some of the notable entries on her blog are the ones she did under the Blogging from A to Z challenges in the last three years, including haikus for this year's challenge. Two of these collections were published, including Imaginary Friends

When Melanie asked if I'd like to join the writing process blog tour, I said "Yes!" and here are my answers to the questions.

1) What am I working on?
I recently completed a magazine interview with three socialites who are starting a social enterprise to mentor mothers, especially single mothers, to be successful entrepreneurs while finding fulfillment at home and in their careers. On a slightly more practical front, I dug up some fun and well-reviewed playgrounds in shopping malls for a Great Singapore Sale supplement on 30 May. So if you want to know the best places to deplete the energy of your bunnies, you know where to look!

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I love profile stories and I like to think that I try to make them different by bringing out the personality of the person I'm writing about in a vivid way. On my blog, I try to inject ironic humour in the everyday things we do as a family and in my own personal growth journey as a wife, mother and individual.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I was terrified that I'd become a tiger mum that obsessively ferries her children from one enrichment class to another, sorts out laundry according to color or irons underclothes. I mean, you can't have time to mutate if you're trying to meet deadlines, right? But seriously, writing has helped me to be a better mum as I connect with other people and learn more about the world around me. 

4) How does my writing process work?
Intros to me are very important. I can spend ages refining intros, but once that feels right, the rest of the story comes together very quickly.

Another quirk of mine: I must munch on something whenever I'm writing.  This mindless conveying of morsels to my mouth while lost in thought or typing has resulted in low-fat yoghurt and fruits replacing chips as snacks…. until I discovered Jagabee's seaweed flavored ones.

Also blogging about their writing process today are: Debs G, Dorothea Xu and Lyn Lee! 

Do also pop by the pages of the following wonderful ladies in the next few weeks to see what they share! Aida and Genevive are internationally well-known scrapbookers who have worked with renown brands that only pick the best to be on their design teams. Nicole is a beautiful, sweet friend and writer/editor who started an online place that tells the personal and heartfelt stories of people who suffer from mental illness.

AIDA HARON  (2 June)

Hello, my name is Aida Haron. Blog hops are common in the crafting industry and through our blogs, we post designing ideas, useful tips or products we use. My current work is a Designer and Educator with the scrapbook store Made With Love Singapore, and am on the Design Team of Sizzix US. Other bits about me are: I prefer to keep life simple, am a wife and a mum, I love to cook when there's time, and we share our home with four cats.

I'm a wife, a mom, a teacher, a do-it-yourselfer, an entrepreneur, a scrapbooker and an autism advocate.  I am obsessed with paper and photos, organising, planning, keeping memories, making lists, making friends and anything related to it, like Instagram, Facebook (don't judge me lol), my filofax and Project Life. 


We all have stories to tell. The Tapestry Project SG is an unfunded initiative that advocates mental health education through the power of the narrative. 

The idea of mental illness is often abstract, institutionalised and highly stigmatised -- factors which discourage the sufferer from seeking early treatment. 

Through the sharing of personal stories, we are reminded of the human aspects of mental illness and the potential for recovery.

The Tapestry Project SG represents an interwoven community that abides by hope and courage. We hope our stories, personal and professional, bring encouragement and insight to the sufferer and those that love them. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Quick & Easy Bespoke Box

I like handmade things because they give a personal touch. But some days, making something original requires creative promptings.

Two weeks ago, Canon sponsored a group of bloggers with Pixma printers each to blog about the creative things we can do with crafty resources at Canon CREATIVE PARK and Canon PIXMA town. I've always wanted a Pixma printer for its printing quality and was quite thrilled with my MG5570 model (although I was also eyeing the fire engine red one another blogger received, but gratitude girl, gratitude).

What can I say, the websites were created to avoid pre-mature life span shortening for procrastinators like me. I had a gift for my mother-in-law but no box to put it in. So I headed to these two websites and found a basic floral box template that I could print, cut and decorate just the way I want it. 

It was super simple. The instructions were clear and the cut-outs well marked with fold lines. The only challenge I faced was the folding of the "petals" so that the top looked like a perfect flower. Obviously, I was no match for the most idiot-proof of visual instructions. The box was hitherto building up well but now threatening to look like origami gone wrong. Suddenly, the paper folds fell into place and a perfect flower was formed. Hooray! 

Meantime, my daughter has found that she can build a whole town out of paper from the Creative Park site. Looks like the Little Ponies will have a new neighbourhood to roam about soon.

Put your gift inside the box

Crease along the dotted lines and fold the "petals" towards the left 

Voila, you get a pretty floral cover for your box

Personalise it your way and it becomes a unique gift!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Reading Imaginary Friends

Imaginary Friends is THE book that initiated me into the e-book world. 

I'm the old-school type who'd rather flip pages than swipe screens. But because Melanie Lee first published this as an e-book, I decided to give the media a try and bought it at Kobo to support my writer-friend whose lively, witty style is always a joy to read.

Plus who can resist the curiosity of reading what our fruits, tea bags, and motorbikes might say and do if they were real?

Each of the 26 stories has a moral that is both funny yet oh so true. There is the yak who tried to stop her husband from yodeling until he survived a hunting attempt ("Don't try to change your spouse into someone he or she is not") and the atas European-made xerox machine who finally learned to work with "cheap" paper sheets when they choked him each time they were fed into the copier ("In today's globalised world, you'd better learn to appreciate diversity").

While I think my 10- and seven-year-old would not have appreciated details about tea bags being boiled alive or octopuses being served up as sashimi, I mostly had thought-provoking moments with the occasional chuckle at clever references to well-known childhood characters such as Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk and Ariel the mermaid weaved into the fables. I had imaginary friends in toys when I was a kid, but never would I have imagined them to be so sophisticatedly human.

So thanks to you, Imaginary Friends, I've re-discovered slices of my childhood and also the convenience of having several good reads all packed into one device without the bulk. Now stop kidding around and get along with your bohemian travel neighbours in the Kobo Library, please.

Imaginary Friends is now available in paperback at MPH, Books Kinokuniya and Books Actually. Its electronic version can be found on and Meet author Melanie Lee and the print edition's illustrator Arif Rafhan at the book launch on Wednesday, 7 May, 7.30pm at Books Actually, № 9 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168645. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sleepless in Sydney...

A little family trip to the land Down Under. So far, we've...
1) experienced the wettest day in Sydney in the last 5 years
2) seen the most interesting contemporary art for free
3) come up close to one of the largest crabs in the world - the Japanese spider crab
4) had the best bacon and egg panini breakfast ever
5) frozen our noses off in the mountains
6) eaten ourselves broke

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My perfectly imperfect home

This layout was a lesson for me in itself.

Just as I was all ready to pin the elements down after misting the kraft cardstock, the kids accidentally overturned a cup of water and paint on it. I was gonna freak out - at them and at the "ruined" layout when I thought: Hey, isn't this what a REAL home is all about - messy, unexpected, perfect simply because it's IMPERFECT.

So I told the kids it's ok, mummy knows it's an accident and it's perfectly fine - a big step in self-control for me.

And the more I look at the layout, the more I love it, because it's such a reflection of the spontaneity and randomness of everyday home life.

Supplies Used
Sizzix: Banners & Keys Set #657402
Maya Road:
Kraft Mini Tickets
Kraft Scroll Frame Journaling Tags
Wood Bingo Bird motif
Green Gingham Point Blossom
Sheer Journaling Tag
Butterflies Mini Chipboard Set - painted with MM Ruby 
Specialty Glaze and TA Copper Kettle Glimmer Glam
Bethany Mini Alphabet Chipboard Set - inked with Tsukineko Rich Cocoa Memento ink
How's the Weather Mini Chipboard Set - painted with TH Distress Crackle Paint (Picket Fence)


Pps: American Crafts + Crate Paper
Rub-ons: American Crafts
Flower: Prima
Flair Badge: October Afternoon
Buttons: Crate Paper
Baker's Twine