Paint and potatoes

Here’s what Jamie and I did on Tuesday evening… 

One of these papers bears my artwork. Guess which one?

What happened was we had a bunch of potatoes that were turning green. I remembered reading somewhere that this wasn’t a good sign when it comes to consuming them, so I thought why not do something else with them instead of just throwing them out. 

I watched a YouTube video (I’ll embed the video below) on how to make stamps out of potatoes, and found that it was really simple to do. So I went ahead and did it. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

All you need is potatoes, a kitchen knife and some cookie cutters.
Here’s the full collection I made that day.

Here is Jamie really excited just after we’d finish setting up and before the activity had actually begun… 

It was the first time Jamie was using stamps, so he didn’t really get the concept of pressing it onto a paper and lifting it up and repeating the same actions in a different spot on the paper. 

After showing him how it should be done a few times, I finally gave up and let him have fun with the paint in whatever manner he preferred. 

Letting Jamie create artwork with paint as he pleases.

Here’s the thing about art & craft activities with toddlers: Sometimes you can’t really foresee how they might want to do the activity. Most times, they want to do things their own way, and this means they may sometimes do it differently or wrongly (from our adult point of view). 

But I guess part of the fun is letting them explore and try things out in whatever ways they want to in order to satisfy their curiosity. Indirectly, I guess they’re learning something there. 

The challenge for me is being gracious enough to let things be and suppressing the desire to intervene or influence how he experiences it. Also, that disdain for messiness which may actually be necessary for them to grow and learn. 

A side note: Jamie has this really cute way of pronouncing “potato”. It comes out sounding like “pee-tay-toh”. I think it’s absolutely adorable. Heh. ๐Ÿ˜

And I shall leave you now with the YouTube video below. 

Drop me a comment if you have done something similar too? I’d be curious how it went, especially if you did it with a toddler like I did. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Long live DIY


I would really love to stay and write a decent post about the artsy activity that Jamie and I did today, BUT it’s just slightly past 12 midnight. And the bad mummy that I am, Jamie is not asleep yet.

So this will have to do for now. I stumbled across it while doing a quick round in YouTube as I soaked my fungus infested toe in a salt bath.

Which sound is your favourite? Mine will forever always be that of a pair of fabric scissors slicing through a large piece of cloth.

And what in the world is ASMR? (Was reading it in the comments). Need to find out.

Camp Nanowrimo, day #3

Precisely what it says.

It has begun. 

Based on my past track record, especially with Nanowrimo, I have not ever finished what I started before. So, it doesn’t bode well for me. But hopefully this time around, something will change and I’ll actually make it to complete my goal. I’ve set myself a very low one this time: Write 31 pages in July, with a spotlight on creative writing. 

I’ve managed to keep up to target so far with an average of a page a day. What would be great is if I can write ahead of time and complete a few pages at once so I have some buffer to spare when I start falling behind (which will almost certainly happen at some point). 

Should I share what I have penned down on this blog? I’m not sure yet. Would it bore you to read 31 days of random, unrefined writing? Let me think about it a bit more before I decide. Perhaps I’ll just share the link to the Google Doc version or something.

Anyway, just a brief description about my Camp Nano project: It’s called Imperfect: A Creative Project and is based around the said theme. I don’t intend for it to become too melancholic, although for the time being, it seems a bit slanted towards that based on what I already wrote. I intend for it to be more of a hope giving, mindset busting kind of thing, but let’s see if I can actually achieve that. Will need to inject some sunshine and humour into it on the next page I write. Hehe. 

Meanwhile, it’s awfully late (isn’t it always?) and I’ve got work commitments. See you later. 

Booked

BookXcess store at The Starling, Damansara Uptown

It’s been a pretty chillout time over here for our family, since we’ve got a four day weekend to enjoy right now, thanks to Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays. Instead of cramming activities together and rushing about with almost zero downtime (as would happen for us on a typical weekend), it’s nice to have the opportunity to take a more leisurely approach for a change. 

One of the things we’ve done so far was to visit the relatively new BookXcess store at The Starling, thanks to the hype created by this particular says.com post. (If you aren’t familiar with the name, these BookXcess guys are the ones behind those epic Big Bad Wolf sales that we often enjoy over here). 

Our main aim was to hunt down more Thomas & Friends books to add to Jamie’s collection. And I am happy to report we did achieve that goal…

 

Thomas & Friends books for our little boy ๐Ÿ™‚

Books, particularly those from overseas, are an expensive commodity here in Malaysia. Not sure about how it is where you’re from, but here, paperback novels cost anywhere between RM20 – RM40 (and in some cases, perhaps even more than that). So budget-wise, it’s rather costly to frequently purchase new books. 

But thanks to people like BookXcess, we are able to obtain books that are brand new but yet at a much cheaper price than their original retail value. Apparently the books are sourced from places where there has been excess stock that was difficult to clear or something like that, hence the ability to offer it at a discounted rate to hungry readers out there like us. 

Look at that price slash. It makes such a huge difference to parents like us.

For parents looking to continuously expand the bookshelves of their young children, this is an infinitely good thing. Just you look at that difference in the price tag. Mind you, these are not even hard cover books. So a normal price of RM32 for a short, thin children’s book like that is just absurd. At RM7.90 or RM9.90 though, it all seems like a more reasonable amount to impose on our wallets. 

So thank God for stores like these. It gives Deric and I a chance to rejoice, because finally we have new material to read to Jamie every day, instead of those same few tales that we have already been reading to him ten thousand times. 

Anyway, since we are on the topic, let’s talk a bit about my own love affair with books. 

I guess you could say my passion for writing stems from my interest in books because if there was no desire in me to read books, I think it’s highly unlikely that I’d want to endeavour to write them. (I have yet to successfully write a book though, but that is another long story for another post/day). 

It is because of my parents that I developed a love for books, and for that I am grateful. It was to the point that I would literally pick up anything and read it. The only limitation to that being more of whether it’s something that I deliberately wanted to read about or otherwise. 

What I do regret though is not having read enough books by this age. I should have been more well read by now, and it would have done wonders for the way I write. But unfortunately, I didn’t do more back in the days when I had more time on my hands. Right now, I have more books on our shelf at home than I can cope with, and that’s kind of sad. I want to be able to buy new books, but I feel it’s not justified because there are so many in my possession that I haven’t even read yet. 

Guess I should make it a priority to devour all the unread books I have as soon as possible. Perhaps nursing time is a good opportunity (while that routine still lasts for Jamie and I). 

Anyway, I’m proud to say that Deric and I seem to have passed on a love for reading to Jamie and it seems to be a habit he loves, at least for now. Let’s hope it sticks in the long term. Fingers crossed. 

A trip on the craft sideย 

It’s late (again) and I shall need to scoot real soon to catch some much needed snooze. But I thought I’d just drop by to share this fantastic Pinterest song parody that I pretty much identify with because I have always been a crafter at heart. 

I think I haven’t said it enough on this blog actually, but these things have their roots all the way back to my childhood. I remember crocheting and knitting in primary school while sitting it out during P.E. period (hehe a long story as to why, and which I shall address in a separate post). 

I still think of DIY and craft projects as a brilliant way to unwind and to serve as my creativity outlet. I may not be that capable in the things I produce, but somehow just working on something is hugely satisfying for me. I shall attempt to blog more about this undying passion of mine (which seems to be surviving even better than my love for writing, ironically). 

Okay, gotta dash. See ya! Meanwhile, enjoy the video! 

Rain and cupcakesย 

Rainy week it has been. Today is no exception to the ongoing streak. I don’t mind, really, since I love rain. 

Jamie does too, except once the thunder and lightning get too much. I decided to keep the curtains drawn and had some music playing on Spotify to keep him distracted today when it was pouring. But I think it wasn’t as dashyat as yesterday so he didn’t seem to be affected. 

Yesterday, he would have this slight look of terror every time he saw a lightning flash. He can now anticipate that after that comes the thunder. (We had an episode last weekend where our neighbours in the landed homes beneath us had a fireworks party and it absolutely terrified Jamie because it seemed as if it were just outside our balcony. He has been extra nervous about thunder ever since). 

Well, he’s asleep… for now. I am having an early coffee break. Not a common occurrence in this job of mine as Work-At-Home-Mum. I’m eating cupcakes that I baked yesterday. Also while it was raining. There are 2 left. I *should* be leaving one each for Deric and Jamie… but it’s tempting to just have another… No one would know… *rubs hands gleefully* 

On a more serious note, I’m actually feeling a little melancholic today. Perhaps it’s the recent challenges of breastfeeding Jamie at night (he has been having more midnight awakenings, teething perhaps?) and also the mundaneness of chores and work. I don’t even feel I’m perky enough around Jamie (and I have always tried to be since I want to raise him to be a cheerful boy and not melancholic like me). 

I had sketched out a plan to write a book. It’s currently on hold as I manage my workload. My work is sort of on pause mode because I feel I’ve hit a wall for one of my ongoing jobs and am dawdling while waiting for the client to reply me on the issues (I generally do not like to talk about work issues on this blog so that’s all I will say about it). 

Quick lament to say that for some reason lately I seem to have lost the spark for writing. I can still do it, but I find little delight in it. It’s like I’m on autopilot. Muscle memory. Responding on reflex. This is worrying. What should I do about this? 

I still daydream about selling handmade stuff of mine. I tested out a modest little motif for some hairpin design I thought would be good to start off with. I need to work out costing. I can’t because I need to go out to check out the materials. 

I want to do craft projects but there never seems to be the right time. Or I put other things as more of a priority over it and never get round to actually doing anything. I have so many planned and pending projects! I’ve told my husband countless times that I might die buried beneath all the tools and raw materials I’ve purchased for crafting. 

Meanwhile, my ukelele’s only function at the moment is to entertain Jamie. He will frequently exclaim, “Guitar!” and gesture towards our study where the uke and Deric’s guitar and other miscellaneous music instruments we own are stored. Once in awhile, I will relent and take the uke out for him. I still haven’t progressed from learning chords from the C key (in fact, I think I’ve forgotten what F chord is like). 

Sigh. My music interests seem to have dwindled too. Even choosing songs on Spotify to play for myself is such a difficult task. What tunes do I like nowadays? Why can’t I figure it out? 

More rain now and a very loud burst of thunder. My heart nearly stopped worrying Jamie might awaken in fear in his bed. He didn’t. Back to my coffee. Forgive my long post. It’s been awhile since I shared my thoughts. 

Shorter stories next round. I promise. 

 

Corny matters

wp-image-215120012jpg.jpg
Easy to make and safe to use around a toddler. Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚

I have been putting off mending the books that Jamie has ruined for a very long time. My concern was that he might end up eating whatever form of glue I used for my repair work. 
I actually took time to scour the Internet for some homemade alternative that would be safe for toddlers. And to my relief, there were actually tons of options out there. 

I finally settled for cornstarch glue as it seemed the least problematic (no warnings about mould as what I had seen mentioned for glue made from regular flour) and was fairly easy to make. Plus I had everything I needed already stocked in my kitchen. 

So, after much procrastination, I have at last repaired those poor, neglected books and they are back on the shelf for Jamie to wreck havoc on once more. Hehe. 

wp-image-1395180990jpg.jpg
What freshly made cornstarch glue looks like.

There is now also a jar of leftover cornstarch glue ready and waiting for a reason to be used. I wonder how long it will keep actually… I fret about mould appearing, but so far, so good lah. 

The books I’ve mended are holding up pretty well thus far. And I haven’t got a thing to worry about if Jamie is decidedly peckish one of these evenings and chews on some of those spots I glued back on. 

In case you had similar concerns about using regular commercial glue products on toys or books that your toddler uses, you can check out the cornstarch glue recipe I used here.

wp-image-1519455297jpg.jpg
Cornstarch glue resurrected from the fridge turned out to be a little hard and lumpy. Boohoo.

Just a little note: Since the first time I made that batch of cornstarch glue, I have pulled out the leftovers to use at a different time and it turned out to be pretty hard and lumpy. I tried adding hot water to it to get it to be more liquidish, but it didn’t work out very well. In the end, I resorted to popping in the quantity I needed straight into the microwave for a quick heating session. That worked out better. 

I have jotted down the date that I made the cornstarch glue on the jar and I will update this post when I notice it going bad in any way so you’ll know how long it can keep if stored in the fridge like I did. 

For a future batch, I would like to try a slightly different glue recipe/tutorial which incorporates some form of preserving agent like salt or vinegar like this. Or I may even go out on a limb and start experimenting with other types of homemade glue too. 

Well, whatever the case may be, rest assured that I’ll be right back here to report on how that works out when the time comes ๐Ÿ™‚