The Run Up to the Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year is one of my favourite seasons of the year. 

I love all the buzz in the air in the days leading up to the lunar new year as everyone is out buying new clothes, goodies, decorations and food for the festivities.  

I always make a visit to Chinatown before the Lunar New Year to soak in the atmosphere and buy some goodies for my home. This is the one time in the year when I actually enjoy being in a crowd. And with that, my preps are complete. 

How did u and your family prepare for the lunar new year? 



In my last post, I wrote about how I was learning to give, in the context of contributing financially to a worthy cause.
In the last few days, I've been doing some giving in a slightly different manner- giving my stuff away.
Not surprisingly, the struggle of wanting to keep everything for myself reared its ugly head again. And this was stuff I have never used/ hardly used/ unlikely to use again. But I'm taking baby steps.
Anyway, if you have never heard of Freecycle, you should. The idea is to recycle stuff by giving them away instead of throwing them away. In Singapore, it's a brilliant Facebook page where people upload pics of stuff they are willing to give away and people who need them respond. It's a vibrant community where a wide variety of things have changed hands and been saved from the fate of being dumped in the landfill.
In packing for the big move, I realised how much stuff I have accumulated. My clothes alone filled up 1 whole car! And there was a whole bunch of random stuff that others could put to much better use than I had. So I joined the Sgfreecycle fb page and started giving. It is quite a hassle to arrange meet ups, reply to messages, and even queue up at the post office to get my stuff weighed and buy the stamps, but I feel it is all worth it when I think of the wastage saved and the happy people who will put my neglected stuff to good use. Like this girl who got a brand new collection of coasters.
Here are pics of some of the other stuff I have given away. And there's more to come!

I've been so greatly blessed. Now it's time to bless others.


I surprised myself at how hard I found giving recently.

I came across the Darkness Interrupted  project through a friend's facebook post. This was a project to bring solar lamps to poor households in Indonesia. The benefits were multifold- this became a source of income and empowerment to the women; their children could use the lamps to read/study at night; solar lamps were much safer than the kerosene lamps; and this was much more sustainable both in terms of for the families as they did not have to keep buying kerosene, and for the earth as they no longer burned fossil fuels for light. I thought the initiative was simply brilliant.  
Solar lamps charging in the sun
It is one thing to declare how good I think an initiative is and how much I support it, but it is another thing to put my money where my mouth is.

When it came to opening my wallet to support the initiative, there was a struggle within. Questions arose in my head, like whether the money will b used well, how sustainable was it really,  and I even thought about all the things I could buy for myself with that money. In the end I did give and I'm sure the money will be used well and help improve the life of at least one woman and her family. But the internal struggle both surprised and disappointed me. It was a clear alarm bell for me about how much value I put on material things.

Giving is an art that I'm learning. Not just monetarily, but to give my time, effort, skill, and heart.

If everything I have comes from the Lord, who am I to try and hold anything back?

Home Improvement: Bedside Table Cover

What did all of you do over the weekend? 

I had a very productive weekend with another home improvement project :)

I've had a problem with my bedside table for awhile. This is what it looked like.

The main purpose of the bedside table is for my phone and iPad to sit on and charge when I'm in bed. Then there's also the face stuff that I bought recently. I figured having it next to me before I sleep makes it more likely that I will use them. All that made my bedside table a big mess. The bigger problem was that my phone kept falling off the table as it could not balance on top of wires/containers when it vibrated with each message/call.

In addition, we got our bedside tables from a garage sale at $5 each and they had the laminate popping up and cracking, made worse with me plonking my wet cups on top.

What to do? What to do?

Take out my pretty cloth ans sew a bedside table sleeve of course!

Here's what my bedside table looks like now *beams*

My iPad and phone now have their very own pockets to sit in. They can now charge in comfort and they never have to take the scary dive off the table again.

The containers filled with facial goodness have their very own pockets too. easy access to everything and a clear table top.
I added a pretty broken glass coaster (a gift from the US from a lovely friend) so that my wet cups will no longer cause problems.

*Here's a little tip: Put a small piece of a anti-slip pad (the kind people put on their dashboards) under the bedside table sleeve so it will not slip off even if one side is heavier than the other.

Anyone wanna place orders? I could customise one for you for $30 :)

Remaking a Classic

Remember that little home improvement project that I said I was working on while Carpenter Kwek was hard at work? I have finally completed it!
The kwek parents had generously offered to let us use their very expensive Classic Chinese rose wood living room furniture set. Being dark wood with bright red and gold embroidered silk cushions, it wasn't quite our style. But since it was free, our choice was obvious. Since moving to the new Kwek Kampong, we decided that it was time to make the set work with the rest of our house instead of having all our guests blinded by the shiny red seats. It is amazing how a simple change of cushion covers can make a world of difference to the whole look. 

I had gone to Tanjong Katong Complex and Chinatown to try And get the covers sewn by professionals, but not only did they not have fabulous cover designs, I could not believe that a simple covers would cost me at least $380' all the way to upwards of $900. So I decided to save that money and do it myself. I had lots of beautiful cloth lying at home anyway since I had a habit of buying beautiful cloth whenever I travel. So I dug out 3 of my favorites and got sewing. 
Like the finished products? This has been my biggest project to date. I'm mighty proud of myself *beams*

Carpenter Kwek

Carpenter Kwek was hard at work on the first day of the year, sanding and varnishing this old kopitiam chair that someone had discarded, as well as an old shelf that we had asked the former home owners to leave behind for us.

Check out the finished products. The kopitiam chair looks amazing now that the old floral pattern on the seat can be seen again.
What do you guys think? Carpenter Kwek's handiwork is pretty awesome in my humble opinion.

I on the other hand was working on my own little home improvement project. Watch this space.