Friday, August 29, 2008

First attempt to Patchwork - Pincushion

I started to exploring handmade craft ever since I became a boring 'tai-tai' (expat wife) in China . Patchwork is one of the crafts I explored after coming to Shanghai, July 2007.

If you ask me how did I stumble into this field ? To be frank, patchwork or quilting has never even come into my mind at all. I remembered the first few days, after unpacking all the stuff and tidied up the house, I was so desperate finding ways to re-adjust myself to this new environment. The only thing that could cool down my emotion is definitely surfing the web. I didn't remember what was the keyword I typed in google, may be something like 'what to do in Shanghai for passing your time besides shopping' (hehe) but things just got started during that surf.

I found a quilting school then. It was owned by a Korean, JingShi patchwork. I checked out their sites, saw wonderful bags and quilts made the Korean teacher. I was so excited. We immediately visited the quilt school on that weekend. I fell for the school immediately. The teachers (a Korean and a Shanghainese) were very friendly. One important condition that really eased me a lot was their flexible time and duration to work on the project. I signed up for the course straight away.
I took my the first class on the following week. This was my first project. :), under the good guidance of my Shanghai teacher, Madam Huang Hui Feng, a very cute and funny lady. Madam Huang is older than anyone of us but her heart is still very young that sometimes she really made me laugh a lot due to her happy-go-lucky characteristics.

Another good teacher is Ms Cho Hye Jung, a Korean lady. Ms Cho was then my teacher for intermediate level. Ms Cho is a very soft speaking lady but sometimes funny too. She has more than 10 years for patchwork experience and won second prize for her patchwork project in Korea before. Communication may be a little bit of problem for her right now because she has been in Shanghai for almost two years but she tried very hard to learn speaking Chinese language, right now she can speak quite well already.

Another nice administration staff is Xiao Gao. Though she is not in the level of teaching us but she is defintely an important piece of resource in this patchwork school. Her professional way of marketing the school products really impressed me that I wish that one day if i really own a shop, i could find someone like her to work with me.

There are many patchwork school in Shanghai but I believe it's not the matter of paying money and learn something. The atmosphere in the class is rather important. This school makes people happy and enjoy every moment of making their project. I believe not many patchwork school in Shanghai is able to achieve a result like what I described. Overall, I felt so lucky to be able to find such a school.

Be extra careful - Chinese Herbal shop scam in Hong Kong

I followed my husband to Hong Kong for business trick yesterday. You must think that I must have a lot of excitement to share with you about the beauty of Hong Kong right ? Wrong ! I am about to inform you about the trick that the Hong Kong herb shop used that could let you end up with big regret and worst of all, a sad trip that you swear you will never want to visit HK any more.

I believe a lot of people out there must have experienced the same thing, just that a lot were left to forget the bad experience. Well, I am not ! Cause this bad experience just happened to us a few hour ago, and I am still burning with anger right now and swear that I must publish it in my blog !

It happened at one of the herbal store in Jordan, Hong Kong. I was coughing very badly before coming to HK. I went to a nearby chinese herbal shop to look for some cough syrup. Well, I would say the staff there were very nice to us, kept giving me a lot of explanation about my health problem. In fact, he's quite sharp spelling out all my health my problem. Thing is, due to his polite attitude, I thought he was someone sincere. Then he explained that the cough syrup will never help me cure the bad cough at all, I would be wasting money.

So he suggested another 2 types of herbs for me. Of course we we took a good look at the price, HKD 65 + HKD 10 for another type, ok, fair enough. Big mistake !! You should not look at the price alone because you don't know the measurement / price, in Chinese word, they called it 錢 & 兩. And guess what, those measurements were written in such a small sized fonts that I believe old people would never be able to read.

Next ! I would say too smart that they can be very good psychologist if put to good use. They knew we were quite receptive to the suggestion. Then quickly, they suggested in a 'quicker motion', telling us, taking another 2 smaller portion of another 2 types of herbs is good enough. Of course we took a sharper look of the prices and of course, repeated the mistake ! And this time, because they know we will take a closer look at the smaller fonts printed at the bottom of the price, so this guy quickly pulled out another paper with health information about the two herbs, this really shifted our attention to look at the price details.

And next, they provide even better service by helping you to grind the herbs into powder. Well what have you to reject the item when they are all ground into powder? This grinding service really act like a consent agreement that you agree with their suggestion already. And next, they gave you nice packaging.

Ok now, take a look at their calculator, we were both shocked to see that the cheaper herbs they suggested ended up to HKD9700 !!! We quickly argue about the price, then they started to show you the prices show were meant for 錢 (smaller portion, eg. gram to Kilo) but the herbs they gave us were all in 兩(bigger portion, eg. Kilo).

We couldn't even reject the goods at all cause they already ground them for us.

This people are really cunning and you can never trust them at all.

I remembered I once saw a news about China tourists complaining how they were tricked into buying branded goods but ended up imitaion goods. I thought this would never happen to us, well, their tricks don't appear in branded goods only, in fact, any kinds of goods they find possible to cheat the tourists.

I believe a lot of tourists visited Hong kong before must have been through the kind of bad experience like mine. So be extra careful when you visit the herbal stores in Hong Kong. Don't end up like us.

If you really want to buy the herbs in Hong Kong, REMEMBER ! Always ask them to total up the price for you first BEFORE they grind it into powder (though I don't know what other trick they will 'top up' next ).

Do you think I still have the mood to enjoy in Hong Kong ? I hated so much to leave Hong Kong now !

In fact, if you have the kind of money to visit Hong Kong, save it for Japan. Cheaper and definitely value for money !

A friend, a powerseller in Ebay, the story behind.

I recently 'met' an old friend from the internet. She is now a powerseller of ebay now. Thought I want to get some tip from her about how to sell effectively in ebay. She introduced me to her site I was surprised to find the hard time she'd been through. Well it's not the normal kind of hard time any successful person in the world been through but this has something to do with your health condition forever. She went through a acoustic neuroma surgery before that caused her to face permanent facial paralysis forever. From what she described about her situation that time, I could feel her sadness and despair that time. She was once such a cute girl really attracted lots of guys attention during college life, tall, slim and beauty, what else could you ask for ?

Worst of all, she was jobless after her surgery.

Her courage to pull herself back together and look forward again really makes me salute to her. I believe she must have used whatever strength she had during the hard time to think of her future. It's good thing that she thought of internet business. Not all of us would come out a solution like that for sure. Some people use a life time to search for a way to earn income but never get the answer. You can only pray for direction.

I wish her all the best.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Clay work - Flower wreath

Made this one on 8th Sept 2006. Though it's made 2 years ago, it's still my favourite craft work.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Recording the past - soft clay box

Why I said that ? Actually, I uploaded lots of my works in ringo last time but the service was called to a stop ! I need to re-do the whole thing again. I'll upload my clay works first.

This was made by soft paper clay, light clay whatever clay the Japanese called it. I was staying in Danshui, Guangzhou, that time. It's very light and feels like chewing gum. It comes in different colors, just match and mix to get the color you want, shape it to your favourite things (little doll, flowers, etc) let dry and there you get, a nice little work :) . Oh, I learn the technique myself. It's too expensive to pay for an instructor to teach me in Hong Kong. Overall learning cost is around RM10k. See, I proved to myself that I can do it too.

Notice anything ? I recycled my moisturizer container. Save money and most importantly protect the environment, agree ?

Brief introduction

Hi, there. Welcome to my blog. I am crazy about lots of handmade items, most of all, patchwork, clayworks and icing decoration.

Few years ago, I was a highly motivated System Engineer working in a big consulting firm situation in the KL Twin Towers. Never in my life would I even have the slightest thought of staying in China, until my husband got a job then(Yeah, a lot of thing was unexpected, what shattered me the most was the place we first came was a small village in the inland of China), so here i am now. Suddenly my life changed from an IT professional to a housewife, well, over here they called it 'expat wife'. Life was not that easy for me that time. I started to look for meaningful ways to pass boring life (most people think that expat wife lives a good life, but i don't think that's true). I tried many things, icing decoration, baking, knitting even clay works, everything self-learning. Though I was 'fully-equiped' with those skills, I still find emptiness within myself.

Praying hard for GOD's guidance, after shifting a few places, we finally settled down in Shanghai. This move meant a lot to me, first I got to get out of rural area and living a better lifestyle, of course ! Second, it's where I first stumbled into patchwork. I don't quite remember how I managed to find my patchwork school at all and frankly, I had never even thought of patchwork in my life. I believe the Almighty actually answered my prayer. Thank GOD!

This blog is going to be the best place to record my daily life from now on ^^.