Rhinestic's Knick Knacks

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Artist in Me

I don't know if you still remember but a few months back (that would be in the year 2014..), I got myself a watercolor travel kit by Van Gogh (Royal Talens) before my Tokyo trip. (Digging up post.. over here!)

I managed to paint quite a bit over there.

But after coming back to Singapore, that fire in me suddenly turned to water with a bad touch of alchemy and vaporized into steam. Do not ask me how that happened... (Come to think about it, I guess I was very busy having business meetings with Ailyn from Tat'sWorthy@Such for our collab workshop!)

Then 2015 arrived, and on the very spanking new day, while strolling at a nearby park, I decided to dish out my 95% untouched mini sketchpad and started sketching things that I was seeing around me. A little painting wouldn't hurt too.

Random wilted leaves, pods and flowers on the pathway

Tree stump with a bush of weird tendrils

Tree with bunches of yellow flower.. 

I think I was on a roll! A few days later, I busted out my ink pen and the Japanese watercolor set that I got from Tokyo. This time, I challenged myself to a less-than-30-minute doodle and paint. I ended up walking around my studio and doodled random art supplies.

And then the painting and drawing bug took over my life, kinda. I chanced upon this large pinkish cloud in the sky one evening..

Evening Sky - Ink, Watercolor and Gouache on 5" x 7" watercolor paper

Getting a little bored of see-draw-paint, I decided to play around with illustration and a different kind of style.

The Chirpy Gentleman - Ink illustration on watercolored background (5" x 7" watercolor paper)

I also toyed around with abstract watercolor painting!

Jellyfish Universe - Watercolor and Gouache on 5" x 7" watercolor paper 

Did another illustration on watercolored background for the most recent work..

Garden of Herbs - Ink illustration on watercolor background (5" x 7" watercolor paper)

More illustrations! More paintings! Here I come!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Crafting Quick Tips: Cutting Shrink Plastic Sheets into Equal Halves, the Easy & Quick Way

If, for some reason, you need to cut many sheets of shrink plastic into equal pieces (perhaps for organizational purposes, or if you're like me, need smaller pieces for craft workshops), and you happen to have a scoring board with measurements, a long ruler and a really sharp pointed pair of scissors (I guess a craft knife would work too), you're in luck! (Pardon the unglamorous floor shots coming up!)

All you need to do is to, first, decide where to cut the shrink plastic. I had to cut mine in half lengthwise, so I placed my shrink plastic on my scoring board and measured the width. I divided the value by 2, and that gave me the position where I needed to cut my plastic. 

Place your long ruler on the midpoint (I didn't place the plastic on the 0" mark, so I had to shift my mid point accordingly), following the groove at that measurement. (You simply just have to remember where you need to place your shrink plastic and the point where you need to place the ruler for the other sheets of shrink plastic that need cutting)

Then, take your craft knife or the sharp tip of your scissors, lightly score along the midpoint, using the ruler as your support. (The key here is to use a light pressure. The plastic should score very easily and accurately with the help of the ruler.)

You should get this nice scored line on the shrink plastic.

What you need to do next is to fold along this scored line. 

It should fold nicely without much fiddling.

Then, unfold, and refold in the reverse direction.

The shrink plastic should snap into 2 easily and cleanly!

There you go! It's really simple and fast, and there's no need for sore hands! (Trust me, you'll get sore hands trying to use scissors to cut tons of shrink plastic. Ditto when trying to keep a good pressure when using a craft knife to cut plastic!)

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Craft and Zakka Shopping at Tokyo! - Part 2

Finally got this 2nd half of my craft and zakka shopping experience at Tokyo up! Do let the maps take some time to load!


Uguisu the Little Shoppe

Located in a vintage apartment and hidden within a serene part of Roppongi, Uguisu the Little Shop sells an assortment of goods crafted/designed by Japanese and international artists.

I immediately fell in love with the blue arch door.

The interior of this quaint little shop was as charming as the facade. It's almost like stepping into a secret cottage filled with magical goodness. I, myself, was drawn to the beautiful porcelain lace accessories designed by Kimiko Suzuki.

The website mentions that they only open from Fridays to Sundays, so do take that into consideration when planning a trip down to this little gem! They also have very detailed instructions as to how to get to their shop. We followed their recommended route and it was quite a straight-forward walk. You'll get to see the Tokyo Tower somewhere along the way too. :)

Pull the map down a little to get the Roppongi-Itchome station in view. (It's hidden behind the white box..)

Souvenir from Tokyo

Located within the National Art Center, Tokyo (which is just a short walk from Roppongi Station, Hibiya line), this museum shop stocks interesting souvenirs (snacks included!) from Japan and all over the world.

National Art Center, Tokyo. So many people on a Friday!

While the main shop and gallery are at the basement, another smaller shop space was opened on the first floor just this year (edit: I meant early 2014. Wrote part of this post some days before the New Year of 2015... *sheepish smile*). Do visit both shops as the one at level one focuses more on Japanese goods and the one at the basement is more of an international affair (at least when I was there).


Thanks to the typhoon warning, I had to do a last-minute reschedule of some places near the tail-end of our trip. What was supposed to be a full 2-day craft shopping itinerary became a single-day rushed trip. I'd recommend giving Jiyugaoka its own well-deserved single day trip and putting Nakameguro + Daikanyama (and possibly Shibuya) on another day.

We started our craft shopping at Jiyugaoka as a few of the shops there open earlier at 10 am (yup, even on a nice Sunday morning). Jiyugaoka reminded me a little of Shimokitazawa. Though not as 'hardcore' old school, it still retains a bit of its nostalgic charm, especially the Jiyugaoka Department store. And with the outdoor "wagon sale" going on and makeshift stalls being set up by the side walks selling pre-loved vintage items, it felt all the more nostalgic.

I met up with a friend (She's the young lady owner of Sakaeya Kimono shop. Do check out her kimono rental offers if you intend to travel to Tokyo for a trip!) the day before for a hiking trip, and she shared that she previously stayed at Jiyugaoka. She said the place was kind of confusing (as in the roads, literally) and in the modern day, it was well-known with the ladies as a fashion paradise.

Confusing, it truly was, so prepare a map! Besides being a fashion paradise, it's also a crafter's haven! There were numerous craft stores and I only managed to scratched the surface! (So sorry for the almost non-existent photos of the craft stores here!)

Check & Stripe

The shop that opens at 10 am and it's a surprise to see that there were already a few customers in the shop that early in the morning! This lovely little fabric boutique has a pretty cottage-like facade while the interior has the distinctive Scandinavian feel to it.

I actually love the fabric selection in this shop. And I still regret that I did not get anything from here!

I am not really into shabby chic, so the floral cottons that most of the craft shops sell are not exactly up my alley. However, Check & Stripe stocks fabrics with chic printed designs as well as single colored linen fabrics. Ah, the agony of not getting any!

If you love Liberty of London fabrics, this is a must-see. They have one whole section of Liberty fabrics!

Besides fabrics, they also sell lots of trimmings, iron-on patches and kits. If you want to get something and yet have no idea what to get, I recommend getting one of the kits.

(Looks like the shop is not stored in Google map, so the name is not showing up. Here's the map in their site.)

Nu: HandWorks

This craft store is located on the 3rd floor of the Fulel With building. And if I remember correctly, there's a small Tokyu Hands lifestyle store right beside it.

Nu: HandWorks is a relatively small shop but it sells all kinds of supplies and tools for your crafting needs, including their in-house sewing patterns. They also stock a pretty wide variety of fabrics from all over the world.


Pico the fabric store, and NOT Pico the restaurant! Well, XB made the mistake and stored the address of the restaurant into his Google map app instead. And I was pretty sure something's not right when I was referring to my own map! However, the man was the one leading the way, so meh~.

Anyway, we managed to find it in the end, but along the way (edit: if you walk from the train station, that is), you'll pass by Hobbyra Hobbyre, another craft store.

Pico is one of those stores that sells fabrics bordering on being too shabby chic for me.. So if you like shabby chic or cute designs, this store is the one for you!

I would say, price point wise, the fabrics are very affordable. And while their designs are not exactly my cup of tea, their selection is HUGE. If you need something to sew for children or even for scrapbooking, this would be a good place to source for fabrics.

Hobbyra Hobbyre

Hobbyra Hobbyre is another Liberty of London paradise! And the similarity to Check & Stripe ends here.

While Check & Stripe had a modern Scandinavian feel, Hobbyra Hobbyre gave me a very strong English/French vibe. There were many embroidery kits available and they had a good selection of quilting kits. And though it was only October, they were already selling kits for sewing Christmas ornaments!

Besides fabrics and kits, they sell sewing notions, sewing and knitting tools as well as knitting materials. They also have a section selling Japanese sashiko kits, which I was the most interested in.

Popeye Camera

If the hipster in you are into lomography, stylish camera accessories for your camera or just simply crafting with photos, then pop by Popeye Camera! They also provide photo printing services, including film developing for all your negatives! There are 2 Popeye Camera stores with the main store focusing on the products and photo printing, and the side store mainly serving as a cafe and gallery.

Map for main branch:

Map for the side branch:

Jiyugaoka Depato Basement 1

Entering into the Jiyugaoka Departmental store is like stepping into a really large time capsule. Built some years after the 2nd World War in the 50s, this mall still retains its old school style of shops. It's just next to the train station, so if you are into retro stuff, definitely check it out!

Now, to the craft shopping part. If you venture down to basement 1, you'll be welcomed by a few haberdashery and craft stores. If you are a button lover, Duck Button will not disappoint. Besides selling a large array of buttons sourced from all over, it also sells other sewing notions and handmade items.

The flags say "Duck"!

If you are more into fabrics or other craft materials, do take a look at the other couple of shops nearby!

... Or you can try and find this giant Kewpie..

Whether it's cute or scary, it's still debatable...


After visiting Jiyugaoka, we took a train back towards the direction of Shibuya, and alighted at Nakameguro. After witnessing the crazy shopping crowd at Jiyugaoka, it was a nice change to be at a more peaceful area of Nakameguro. Perhaps we were there at an off-peak season. Though I had trouble finding the couple of shops that I wanted to visit there (& Stripe has shifted to another place nearer to Yutenji station), we had a lovely stroll along the river while doing some window shopping.

Daikanyama is only a station away from Nakameguro (along the Tokyu Toyoko line), but we decided that we loved the walking adventure and continued our walk to Daikanyama (in fact, we loved the walk so much that after venturing around Daikanyama, we chose to walk back to Shibuya from T-site!). Daikanyama had a slightly different vibe from the other areas in Tokyo. More international, less Japanese? Perhaps it was a Sunday, and many foreigners had just finished a service at this international Church within the area.


I adore Heidi. I would have regretted if I had really given up on finding this place and gave it a miss. Another place which the Tokyo Craft Guide failed me.

Okay, let me back track a little. I did store and bookmark the address in my google map app. But for some reason, my map refused to work in offline mode at that time. And of all things, XB did not store that address in his own map app. So, all we could do was to rely on the 'abstract' map in the guide.

The exact location is not exactly clear in their map.. What I could interpret was what looked like a big office building... And the building name was totally different from the one given in the guide. I tried to ask this lady manning a sweets shop (!!) within the building, and she hadn't any clue either.

I must thank God that at that moment, XB had a very urgent nature's call and while he's doing his business in the washroom, I managed to find free public wifi from a cafe nearby and got the shop's exact location!

Heidi is on the 2nd floor of Inouchi Building

It's somewhat like Sugartown, but Heidi has its own unique character. It's a one-part gallery and one-part zakka shop. Besides selling quality handcrafted items (by independent Japanese designers) and stationery, Heidi also stocks a variety of craft supplies, including a yummy selection of fabrics from famous Japanese brands like Nani Iro and Echino as well as iron-on patches, laces and trims sourced both locally and globally.

And, and! While I was there, I was lucky enough to find Danish Moomin mini storybooks in the shop! As I've said, I adore this place. ^.^

Curly Collection

Funny thing was, I didn't have the intention of visiting Curly Collection as I am not big into girly kawaii-ness. But while trying to find our way to Cocca, this striking shop of reds and pinks popped up right in front of us, across a traffic junction that we were crossing..

Since we were already there, I thought I might as well take a look. Though not exactly my style, there was some retro-ness in it which was quite endearing. The shop sells a mixture of ready-made goods and handcrafted items, as well as sewing kits and grab-bags, all having the same girly, kawaii and somewhat retro style.


Cocca is the boutique line of the popular fabric company Kokka. Located along a small road, this stylish and lovely shop houses fashion wear and interior & lifestyle products made from their own line of textiles as well as actual bolts of fabrics on the 1st floor, and an exhibition area on the 2nd floor.

If you would like to make something for yourself, they also sell kits which feature smaller fabric pieces of their signature textile designs.


If you are into beautiful architectural and interior design, then T-site is definitely worth a visit if you are in Daikanyama. T-site houses a 3-building bookstore called Tatsuya and an adjoining T-site garden. The bookstore has an intricate lace-like facade made up of the 'T' motifs, while the interior is chic and modern, with a swanky cafe to chill in.

While they have a pretty big section on design books (which I was quite thrilled about), the craft books section was surprisingly small. If you intend to shop for craft books, I suggest taking a trip to Kinokuniya instead.


Shibuya is a well-known shopping paradise with 2 large malls (Tokyu Hands and Loft) catered for the crafter in you. But do you know that there's a cozy makers' cafe right at a quiet corner within Shibuya?

Maps for Tokyu Hands and Loft:


If 3D printing or laser cutting & engraving intrigues you, and you love making things, then FabCafe will be right up your alley. Even if you do not have any project in mind, it's still fun to chill in the cafe and look at what others are creating!

'Fabbing' corner!

FabCafe offers mini project kits that you can purchase and create on the spot, letting you have a feel of how the machine works. I was torn between the laser engraved macarons set and the laser cut and engraved personalized stamp. Eventually, permanence won over gastronomy, and I chose to make the stamp.

When I was there, only one of the staff could manage some basic conversational English. With my half-baked Japanese (have not touched the language much since I last had my JLPT 6 years back), we managed to sail through the instructions portion without much problem.

I was given an iPad which I doodled my design on.

The final image was then transferred to their main terminal, where further configuration was set, and the design was finally sent to the laser cutter to be engraved and cut on the rubber material.

Once the rubber material was engraved and cut, the staff proceeded to cut the wooden holder for the stamp.

Too bad they didn't have any glue on hand, so I had to wait till I was back in Singapore before I could assemble the final bit together.

FabCafe has branches in other parts of the world too.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Collab Workshop a Wrap!

Our collaborative workshop was held a couple of Saturdays back, and it was a blast! Once again, thank you to all who participated and I hope all of you had loads of fun!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Have a Merry Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Hey, My Mum Let Me Keep 'em!

My mum wasn't big on hoarding things. (Let's face it. She has extreme OCD. XB said I have x% of her OCD syndrome, but unfortunately, I also have the hoarding syndrome.) Before I got married and had my own apartment, my mum would make it a point to "force" my brother and I to clean out our rooms every end of the year (and that would include hilarious threats!). That said, she allowed us to keep some items that are of great sentimental value to us, though she threw out some of my stuffs (including drawings done when I was a kid...) when I shifted! Sadness.

Let's start from the oldest items that I have managed to keep.

Nostalgic much? I think I had these books when I was in kindergarten or Primary one... That would make them more than 25 years old! I remember enjoying looking at the instructions of the watercolor how-to book for ages even though I didn't dare to request my mum for a watercolor palette. The origami book was very well used though (maybe origami papers were cheaper than watercolor). Back then, I would sneak unfinished origami pieces in the pages, hoping one day I would finish them when I understood the instructions fully. I was one weird child..

If you were born in the early 80s in Singapore, then these shouldn't be strange to you!

The infamous Young Scientist badges that we could attain in Primary school if we finished a set number of tasks for a particular badge. Actually, I kept the certificates while my mum has my badges in her scroll of badges... (Hey! Found something that my mum hoards!) I remember everyone in my class started with the Young Botanist badge. I then went on in my upper Primary years getting the Young Ornithologist (not my favorite) and Young Astronomer (something that I love since young, though I've moved on to enjoying the astrophysics part of things more) badges.

Okay, for the next folder of items... Laugh all you want, guys...

My personal collection of cut-out lyrics from "星期五周报"... "星期五周报" (literally translated to Friday's Weekly Papers) was our weekly Chinese educational papers for the Primary school students (usually those taking Chinese as their mother tongue). We were encouraged to buy them and read the articles/do the Chinese exercises , but most often than not, we would skip to the last page and find out what the lyrics of the week were. Those were the days!

Back in those days, we did not have the luxury of smart devices and social media, and once we'd graduated from Primary school, it wasn't as easy to get in touch with one another, unless we got into the same Secondary school. But we had something else to remember the fond memories we had with one another.

Months before our PSLE, most girls (and the occasional boys) would invest in autograph books just to get fellow classmates/schoolmates to write in them. Usually, one would write their profile and then a short poem (who came up with this first 'template', no one knows).  Looking at all those 'cliche' poems really chalks up some memories.

When I got to Secondary school, I took up Girl Guides as my extra curricular activity. I still keep the full set of uniform till this day!

As the saying goes.. Once a Guide, always a Guide! Even 2 decades later. :P

As I've mentioned earlier, my mum discarded all my very old artworks. However, as I got into my teens, I decided to keep a folder of my own proper drawings (the drawings are less than 20 years old, but I guess I'll still post them here..).

During my Primary school days, I love drawing human figures. Not your usual stocky round faced character with 2 scary blob eyes that was taught to kids back in those days, but the normal proportionate ones.

It then, for some reason, progressed into portrait drawing. I didn't have any formal art training (maybe except for still life drawing in my Sec 1 and 2 art classes?), so everything was pretty much trial and error. When the magic of internet was born during my JC days, I finally managed to search through the web and learnt a thing or two about figure drawing as well as manga drawing.

The above are a few of my portrait drawings (Inuyasha made it to my portrait drawing list!) starting from left: Agents Scully and Mulder (1995), Taylor Hanson (1998), Zac Hanson (2000), Inuyasha(2003).

The current me is still meddling with art but I have sort of shifted my artistic focus to more stylistic and abstract kind of work. I really enjoy injecting unexpected elements into my pieces nowadays.

And so, here ends my mini life story of the items that managed to slip through my mum's scrutiny and be kept in my memory box. :)

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Agatha from Green Issues by Agy on "I Didn't Throw It Away".

We have become such a throw-away society, but there are some things in our households that we still keep. Why is that so? Perhaps this blog train can unlock the reasons behind it! Follow the daily posts on this blog train and read about the stories behind the things we have kept for many years and why we didn't throw them away.

Tomorrow, Hello, Mrs Tan will be sharing with us her very own story about the items she still lovingly keeps. So hop on over to her blog to know more about it!
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