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

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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.

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

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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. 

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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.

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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™‚ 

“Mugged”

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So the story goes that last Christmas, my family was given home decorated mugs as gifts. As a result, my Mum’s interest was piqued and she asked the giver what she had used to design the mugs. 

This eventually led to my Mum being lent the very marker pens that were used to draw on the mugs. And she was even given several of the extra plain undecorated mugs that the giver had on hand (leftovers from the ones she had bought to distribute as Christmas gifts). 

And so, my Mum ended up deciding to give Deric and I each a plain mug and to allow us to decorate it for ourselves so we could use it as our dedicated mugs whenever we had dinner at my parents’ place. 

A cool idea, no doubt, which especially appealed to a person like me who loves craft activities in general.   

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But Deric and I put off decorating those mugs for a very long time and it was only recently that we actually got down to it. Part of the main challenge was deciding what to draw, but thankfully there was Pinterest to help us in making that choice.

There was another limitation that we soon discovered the moment we started drawing on the mugs: The marker pens that we were to use had thick tips and the ink in them wasn’t flowing too well either. 

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These limitations made me decide to stick to mug designs that were mostly text based rather than image based, because it would be difficult to draw precisely with markers in the condition that I had described. 

Hence, this is how I arrived at the decision of putting “Coffee – A hug in a mug” and the words “CAFFEINE”, along with the diagram of its atomic structure on my mug.

As for Deric, he decided to go with a superhero theme and picked a design focussed on Green Lantern. 

All in all, it was a pretty fun activity (decorating our mugs) and I think both of us would be open to doing it again. Only with brand spanking markers that had thinner tips and flowing ink supply.  Hehe. 

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Castles in the sky

There’s a fine line between optimism and irrationalism, and I think most of us are a little unclear on where one ends or where the other starts. One memorable incident that I experienced some time back illustrates this perfectly, 

Story goes that I was talking to a friend who would be soon kickstarting a freelance career of her own, having already worked several years in the field of her expertise. Hers is a different industry from mine, of course, but having tried to do a bit of a freelance stint in the past, I had this inherent belief that it wouldn’t be easy for her to start things off. Nevertheless, throughout this particular conversation that I had with her, I remained positive and encouraging about her choice of a career move. 

After all, I had always dreamed of someday moving on into a freelance career of my own.

In the course of our chat, I mentioned to this friend that should I ever get my way to earn money in the field of my choice, I would have loved to craft custom made bags in the same manner that a tailor would custom make clothes for his/her customers. 

I had expected that she would have been encouraging at the very least, since this was in essence not that far a cry from what she herself was opting to do in the near future. But surprisingly, she was more pessimistic about my dream career direction than she was about her own. 

She even went as far as to say she didn’t think there was a very promising market for such handcrafted bags. It was awfully disheartening to hear her bash my dreams down to a pulp. Even more so since I had just seconds ago been so supportive of hers. 

I doubt she was being spiteful in what she had said in response to my sharing. But nevertheless, the effect was a negative one and that’s probably why I remember that incident to this day. 

Honestly, this doesn’t feel that much different from how I used to feel whenever I considered the possibilities of becoming a writer for a living. Back in the earlier seasons of my life, I deemed it almost an impossible feat. I had had very limited exposure to publishing in general, and hadn’t ever won a single essay competition in school nor had I even joined a student editorial body to learn some of the ropes. 

In other words, I had no track record or glowing portfolio with which to convince others that I could do a decent job writing, And yet, to cut the long story short, I have actually become a writer by profession today.

Well, I have yet to earn a single Ringgit from anything I have handcrafted, but who knows what the future may hold? I think what’s important here is not to entirely rule out the possibility. 

For now, I just glean inspiration from posts about other crafters who have made it in monetising their passion just like this one: Top 10 Malaysian handicraft makers.

Sigh.