Wallflowered

I feel inspired to embark on a new ‘home improvement’ project with every change in season. This summer, I decided to add a personal touch to our feature wall in the lounge room.

Previously, we hung a replica, or rather, a cheap copy of the famous Chinese contemporary artist, Yue Mingjun’s work. I wanted something light-hearted and reflective of our asian roots then. Plus, the figure in the picture bears a slight resemblance to my husband, especially when he is in the shower. 🙂

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This project has been long in the making. It was difficult to find unique photo frames that complement one another. I didn’t want boring black and white ones. I found some nice rustic looking ones from an eco-friendly shop in the old town of zurich. The frames were made by a south-african artist using recycled materials. We found another 2 on our trip back to Australia. The next step involved finding interesting images. I finally decided on a few of our travel pictures and family portraits. I also blew up some photos into frameless portraits to make it more interesting and provide different textures to the project.

My wall project:

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Deciding on the perfect layout

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Final composition

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Close up of images

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What I REALLY REALLY want to do (albeit self-indulgent) is to blow up this kaleidescope-pattern as a wall paper for the entire feature wall. This was done using the different funny effects on photobooth on the ipad and we had such a blast pulling monkey faces.

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Nope, the New Year is not here yet…

Well, that’s according to the Chinese lunar calendar anyway. The Chinese New Year falls on the 23rd of Jan this year and we will be flying to Australia to celebrate this important holiday with my husband’s family.

I used to take these festivities for granted. More often than not, it simply meant having extra public holidays and that it is time for me to book my getaway to Phuket or Krabi! To anywhere in the world actually. As long as there is no loud flute/cymbals/drums/more clanging cymbals-New Year tunes playing in shopping malls and elevators. (this reminds me of the time when my husband, my 2-month old son and I were stuck in the Singapore Flyer and had to endure almost 7 hours of Christmas jingles playing over the intercom. Did I mention it was a TECHNO soundtrack that was playing in ‘loop’??!!)

Chinese New Year is typically the one time in the year you get to see ALL your relatives who never fail to ask whether you have a boyfriend, when you are getting married, when you are having kids; or compare with one another how well their kids are doing in school. In my primary and secondary school days, it was the best opportunity for my mum to hassle my relatives on my behalf to buy a raffle for my school’s never-ending fundraising drives.

I was in Singapore last year over the Chinese New Year period and met up with my cousins and ex school mates. Many of us have kids now, and the festivities seem to take on new meaning when you become a parent. I must say, kids relish in the celebrations the most. They get to stay up late on the eve of Chinese New Year because the later you stay up, the longer your parents will live – that’s according to tradition. They also get to feast on many goodies like pineapple tarts, loveletters (rolled up thin sweet wafer biscuits) and bak kwa (bbq sweet meat), and receive red packets filled with money from the adults.

Seeing our extended families come together to exchange well-wishes and the new generation of my cousins’ kids, nieces and nephews playing together, the culturally-jaded (and over-exposed to western media) me is just starting to realise how much our cultural heritage defines our identity, even if we don’t speak our mother tongue fluently or can hardly remember how to write our names in Chinese characters.

Yes, sometimes it takes living away from people similar to you in culture and language to make you cherish these traditions, and to want to teach your kids about them.

We will be having a Chinese New Year reunion lunch with a few other Singaporean families this weekend. We will be having steamboat, or what the Swiss would call, Chinoise fondue, where you dip all types of meats and vegetables into a tasty broth. Singaporeans favorite pasttime is eating, and I know we will be eating from lunch ’til dinner, and have many bottles of the spiciest chilli sauce on hand.

To get into the festive mood, Timmy and I decided to make some Chinese New Year decorations. We made some goldfish with paper plates and colored paper. To the Chinese, goldfish symbolises good luck and fortune. Hope the New Year brings more blessings to our family!

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Aye Aye, Sailor boy!

I was inspired by our recent trip to the Italian Riveria to redecorate my son’s room nautical style. I think anyone thinking of giving their kids’ room a spruce should give this a try. It is fairly easy to find and make things related to the seaside and beaches. Kids enjoy picking seashells, learning how to tie nautical knots and paint wooden hanging ornaments too. I reckon I have another 5 years before my 3 year old decides he wants to cover the walls with his favorite rock band/superhero posters and insist on us painting his ceiling black.

Transforming the bed into a ship
Hand-painted wooden nautical motifs
Hand-sewn bunts using felt and vintage fabric
Hand-painted seagull motif on fabric to hide cluttered shelves