Dear readers,

It's officially March!

This year I have set my energy aside to complete 5 goals that I wish to achieve: 

1. Gift Wrapping

2. Natural Dye

3. Needle Work

4. Pattern Drafting

5. Illustration

This month - SPROUTING marks the third month of my progress on each of the goals above. Some have been progressing on a pretty consistent rhythm; others have been somewhat motionless. No matter what the end result may be, the hardest part is, to begin with, "something" and to keep the momentum flowing. Here's my latest update on:

1. Gift Wrapping

Hurray! I've completed 25 posts for the Chinese New Year wrapping tips, which I will be delighted to share full details in my next post on 18th March. I sincerely hope that by sharing ideas of using what's available in your home as gift wrappers will inspire you with a fresh pair of lenses at effortless wrapping techniques. After all, not all gifts have to come wrapped in paper (like how it used to be), which promotes wastage - after unwrapping a present, we throw away the wrapping paper, and the "wrapping-throwing" cycle continues. With what's available from our home, we can save money by going green, so stay tuned for the upcoming post - The complete cycle of Chinese New Year Wrapping Ideas on 18th March.

green wrapping account: @wabisabi.wrap

2. Natural Dye

I love going to the wet market to hunt for fresh ingredients. It's a place where you can have a sense of the changing seasons around the world with the availability of seasonal imported vegetables and fruits. Since I have been experimenting with natural dyes, whatever I find in the wet market has great potential to be processed into beautiful natural dyes. 

This month, I am using a bag of "scrap flowers" as my medium. During my childhood days, my grandma used to forage fresh flowers from her beautiful garden monthly to use as offerings to Gods. After praying, these flowers will be considered "flowers with blessings". Utilizing a big pail filled with clean water and blessed flowers, we would enjoy a flower bath(花水), for every family member to be showered with countless blessings. How beautiful and blessed is that?

Another way to make your own flower bath is to visit places like the wet market, locate the florist shop, and request for "scrap flowers"(碎花). It will cost you about $0.50 - $1 sgd for a bag of flower mix. 


I bundle dye (steamed dye) all kinds of flowers and let them air dry for a day. Below are images of my current experiment on wet market "scrap flowers"

3. Needle Work

Honestly, I had not had any progress for this segment, which meant that I have not been able to complete the red dress that was to be mended with an entire chain stitch. Click here to read my previous post for the full story. In order to progress on this craft, I will need to set aside time and mark out a target completion date to finish the dress, in order to progress in this skill.

4. Pattern Drafting

There is this navy dress with beautiful floral prints from Kanebo (Made in Japan) which I have stored for a long long time. I knew if I'm going to restore this dress, it would take me ages to complete. Judging from the sewing and the joinings inside the dress (see below pic),  I am guessing that it was a homemade dress from the 1980s which was completed with 50% machine sewing and 50% hand sewing. My friend C has fallen in love with this dress the moment she saw it and moreover, it was in her size!! Lucky girl C was!

I can foresee by restoring this dress, it will lengthen the shelf-life of this dress for another 10-20 years. Well, it's time to do some intensive restoring and pen down a journal on this. at the same time.

This is the second month that I've been working on this dress. As I dismantle and sew it back neatly, my OCD has discovered more and more challenges such as different measurements on the left and right sides of the sleeve, pleats that are in random measurements, and the finishings are driving me nutty. In the end, I took more time than expected to complete a small portion of the dress and am still progressing with the mending, one portion at a time. There's definitely a need to write a full story on this process and to share my blood, sweat and tears on completing this dress.

5. Illustration

There are many books and videos that teach illustration. I bought this book almost a decade ago, to motivate myself to pick up the art of illustration. It's been more than a decade and I should be grateful that it hasn't been too late to start something new now. The drawing practice in this book seems to be fun compared to the traditional guides for illustration. 

Take the first exercise as an example - drawing cones and cubes with different perspectives, has helped me to develop the ability to convert complicated forms into simple shapes like cones and cubes, which is fundamental to draw a human figure in all sorts of movements. This ability will take time, practice and experience to develop. 

Here are some of my practice sheets which are rough and imperfect. Judging from the sheets, I still have a long way to go but I'm determined to get better each time that I practise.

These are the updates for my 5 goals in the month of March

My recent found treasures:

He is truly a treasure! I have seen his work many years ago, but I never realized that the material that he uses are all from landfills. Recently, I came across a video about Thomas Dambo and how he worked on recycled materials such as plastic and reclaimed wood in the most innovative of ways. 

Images Leo The Enlightened via Thomas Dambo official website

Future Forest by Thomas Dambo

A forest that is made entirely of plastic in a way you couldn't have imagined. Click here to see the full documentary on how this coolest art installation was made from scratch.

All beautiful images from Future Forest via Thomas Dambo  official website

His work has really been an inspiration for me. Every work he does, he does it in a meaningful and fun way to create an impact in people's minds. The way he interacts with kids, workers from the landfill, people who work with him, warms my heart. It is rare to see an artist who has so much gratitude to the people around him. I can't help to wonder what made him the Thomas Dambo of today. Keep up the great work, Mr. Dambo! :)

2. Izzakaya Bottakuri

Image via Netflix

A Japanese series on Netflix, the only thing I like about this is the content and the recipe!  There is a total of 11 episodes in this series and at the end of each episode, the actress will feature the drink and the food that she prepared in the episode (with full recipe and the preparation process!!). For those who enjoy cooking and eating, this show is a must-watch for you.

Here's my version of Misozuke after watching and learning from the series:

May your goals sprout with you,

Waee Waee