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Paper flower bouquets

Sometime back, my friend Cherie and I put together some bouquets for the wedding made from artificial flowers. Those were beautiful but my hands were also itching to complete the paper flower set for the wedding (comprising paper flower pew decor, corsages and boutonnières and now bouquets).

So I managed to squeeze in some time to put together a few paper flower bouquets.

Here’s a closer look at some photos I snapped before the wedding:

paper flower | micheleng.com

A single large paper flower for our darling flower girl Sophie.

paper flower bouquet | micheleng.com

A simple flower bouquet for our sweetheart maid-of-honor Rachelle (she’s the reason we met!).

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Paper flower corsages and boutonnières

Not all pinned corsages and boutonnières have to be made of fresh flowers! There’ve been really cute ones used, such as action figurines and even sweets.

To stay true to using paper flowers, our pinned corsages, boutonnières and flowers for my hair were also made of paper. Other paper flower items include the church pew decorations, the flower girl’s large flower, my maid-of-honor’s and my hand bouquet. Yes, my friends thought I was crazy.

But now that the wedding frenzy is over, there’s finally more time to share more of what was done!

paper flower corsages and boutonnieres | micheleng.com

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How to dye paper flowers

Most paper flower tutorials call for dip-dyeing crepe or tissue paper before creating the actual flower. This technique is slightly different as it colors the flowers after you’ve already made them.

This gives you more control on placing the colors, and lets you change the flowers of your present flowers if you’re bored of them!

The real reason I had to do this was because we originally created white flowers for our church pews for the wedding and were feeling pretty pleased…

dyeing paper flowers with a dropper | micheleng.com

…until later on someone kindly pointed out that in Chinese culture, white flowers were used at funerals and symbolized death! Turns out this is drastically different from what we’re used to in some Western cultures where white flowers signify peace and are commonly used in church weddings. Mega oops!

Thankfully there was enough time to fix it. I didn’t want all the flowers to be too pink as the church was already pretty orange in color. So I figured the next best thing was to use a dropped to insert colors at the base. And we were actually much happier with these flowers than the original white ones so thank goodness it all worked out! :)

How to do this:

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Gold dipped feather brooches

Things are ramping up now that the wedding is drawing near and craft projects really help to make me happy amidst all the craziness.

At our wedding, we wanted something to identify our friends who are helping out so that guests can easily approach them for any assistance. As bracelets won’t be suitable for our male friends and not as easily seen, we decided brooches would be a better option.

This would also make a nice simple gift for friends (or yourself!) if you’re not preparing for a wedding :)

DIY gold dipped feather brooch pin

We didn’t have a specific theme for the wedding but rather a general color theme – coral, mint, gold and grey. This made it much easier to just put pretty things together without a specific reason :)

For our brooches, we decided on simple feathers dipped in gold to suit the color theme. And since birds of a feather flock together (trying not to be cheesy here), we figured it was apt that our closest friends were wearing them!

Here’s how to make them:

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How to hammer rivets (and make a tent?)

It’s our pre-wedding photo shoot tomorrow! Our photographer Andrew is wonderfully creative and we’ve decided to go for more casual candid shots. We figured if we did traditional pre-wedding shots in formal wear and stared at each other romantically, we may end up sweating and laughing like little kids the whole way.

One of the ideas we had was to set up a tent as a joint activity (the evening scene will be pretty magical, but we’ll keep it a surprise for now!). A good analogy to us building our first home together eh? :)

To set this up, we had to hammer rivets into a large piece of cloth to tie it down to the tent poles. I figured I’d post up the process of hammering rivets as a sneak peek, and in case anyone else will need instructions for it too…

how to hammer a rivet

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Clay ring plates

We’re pretty much three months away from our wedding and things seem relatively calm for now. Or so we’d like to think :)

This past weekend, I managed to squeeze some time to make something for the wedding – a clay ring plate. I liked the idea of a plate as we’d be able to use it in our new home instead of tossing it aside after the wedding.

make a clay ring plate | micheleng.com

This was my first attempt which is far from perfect. But the imperfection slowly grew on me… Somewhat organic and beautiful in an unpolished way. :)

How to make this:

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Mixing paper flowers with real flowers

Flowers for weddings can sometimes cost a bomb. And it also feels like a waste to be tossing so many flowers after the ceremony if no one wants to take them home.

I’ve been quite keen on making paper flowers for our wedding but we’ll see how many I can whip up in time. I had thoughts of mixing paper flowers with real flowers but wasn’t really sure how they’d look.

And then I came across these!

paper flowers mixed with real flowers
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Make a wedding card box

One of the best parts of planning a wedding has definitely got to be the DIY craft projects!

The project for today was a wedding card box (also known as an ang bao/ “red packet” box in Singapore).

make a wedding card or angbao box | micheleng.com

As people usually place money inside cards or red packets, I decided that a box would be better than an open case. Just for safety reasons, as cautioned by the wiser, older folks ;)

Read on to find out how to make one:

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Save the date!

Things have been a crazy whirlwind and it’ll probably be even crazier over the next few months. But the good news is that the date for our big day is set!

There’ll be even more DIY projects to come as we prepare for our wedding and I’m excited to share them with you. :)

First up, a brief version of our save the date card design:

save the date | micheleng.com

(I’ve removed some details for privacy but you get the general idea.)

More about the design

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Turn old leggings into a fancy pouch

Ever had a pair of leggings which you hardly wear anymore but love the color? Why not turn it into a handy pouch or a pencil case instead!

In another of my what-was-I-thinking moments, I got this pair of leggings with a zipper at the bottom of each leg a few years back. They came in handy for some photo shoots but I never got a lot of use out of them (especially since I’m now in hot, sunny Singapore).

But I really loved the texture and color of this pair (some kind of purple-grey which I’m sure someone has coined a name for). So… since I was short of a pencil case recently, I decided what better way to re-use this great fabric and turn these hardly worn leggings into something useful! :)

DIY leggings into pouch pencil case

Read on to find out how!

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Make a PVC makeup brush holder

Combining the love of sewing and make-up? What more could we ask for!

While there are often makeup brush holders in stores, they often come in black faux leather. I’m not a huge fan of those as the dark colors make it hard for me to see my brushes and the material disintegrates over time. Plus, they often don’t come in the exact specifications I want – I have a usual set of brushes that I tend to carry around for travel or touch-ups for others on set.

There have been some DIY tutorials I’ve come across, but they often feature ones made of cloth and require a lot more sewing than I’d bother to do for this (oops!). In addition, cloth brush holders can’t be wiped easily and you’d have to wash them frequently to ensure it’s hygienic enough.

So… in comes a custom PVC makeup brush holder!!

DIY tutorial - PVC makeup brush holder

Customize this to hold your usual set of brushes (and even your sponges/ powder puffs). No need for hems since PVC doesn’t fray like most woven fabrics. Plus, see exactly what you’re carrying and clean it easily when it gets dirty! The list of benefits goes on and on… :)

Here’s how you can make your own:

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Make a chunky ring box

Some time ago, I came up with a tutorial on how to make a ring box in 5 minutes. This definitely helps to organize your rings and saves space on your dresser when you mount them on the wall!

However, certain chunky rings wouldn’t be able to fit themselves into the thin slits of this design. So… here’s a new design for chunky rings specifically!

make a chunky ring box DIY tutorial

Here’s the tutorial:

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Fabric and accessories markets in Guangzhou (part II)

If you happen to be in Guangzhou or are planning to make a special trip there to source fabric, boy are you in for a treat! Zhongda fabric market is one of the largest fabric markets in China and the number of stores go on forever! For more details on the China Fabrics and Accessories Center in the area, check out part I of fabric and accessories markets in Guangzhou.

The feel of the China Fabric and Accessories Center and the traditional Zhongda Fabric Market are worlds apart. At the latter, be prepared to watch out from being run over by human traffic, bicycles, motorcycles, push carts, cars, vans and trucks. They seriously come towards you in all directions and it isn’t helpful that I’m terrible at avoiding traffic. I think my heart skipped a few beats with every few steps…

2. Zhongda Fabric Market (中大瑞纺布匹市场 — Zhongda Rui Fang Bu Pi Shichang)

Zhong da fabric market guangzhou china

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Fabric and accessories markets in Guangzhou (part I)

If you thought Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong was the bomb for shopping for fabric and accessories, wait till you head to this area in Guangzhou! With the Zhongda fabric market and other trading buildings, this is really one of the largest markets you could ever access!

A highly recommended visit for you if you happen to be in Guangzhou and love shopping for material to make stuff with, or if you are sourcing fabric and accessories for your business.

Zhong Da Fabric Market Guangzhou

I only had a few hours there before my flight (I probably only covered the tip of the iceberg), but here are some areas that you can check out.

p/s I’m going to be including some Mandarin words in case you need this for reference to show the hotel concierge or cab driver.

1. China Fabrics and Accessories Center (广州国际轻纺城 — Guangzhou guo ji qing fang cheng)

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Turn old zippers into a new necklace

Do you remember the craze when random zippers were placed all over clothes and bags? Now that the trend is over, you may not be feeling so hot for this look. Why not use those zippers and turn them into something else!

Here’s an idea for the weekend – a simple yet classic zipper necklace:

zipper necklace diy tutorial

Here’s how:

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Organize your wires with a handy wrap

With the increasing number of gadgets I carry around for travel, the corresponding number of wires have been adding up! I used to toss them all into a pouch but after a while, the wires would just become a tangled mess. Has this happened to you too? :)

I’ve been wanting to come up with a solution for some time and finally got down to it today! Made from fabric and some velcro, this wrap helps to separate your wires neatly. What’s more, it can be rolled up for storage in a cupboard or a suitcase without taking up additional, unnecessary space!

wire organizer DIY tutorial

Here’s how:

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Turn old clothes into a necklace

Ever had old jersey knit tee shirts or sweatpants lying around? Turn them into something more wearable like a necklace!

DIY tutorial - how to turn old jersey clothes into a necklace

Here’s how:

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Make a (simpler) knotted belt

Knotted belts are fun to make and wear and clearly I can’t get enough of them! For those who thought this knotted belt tutorial looked a bit too challenging, here’s a tutorial for a simpler one!

DIY tutorial on how to make a simple knotted belt

Here’s how:

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Make a knotted belt

Love knotted belts? Here’s a tutorial on how to make your own. Easy to throw onto skirts with elastic waistbands or to pair with dresses that need some waist definition :)

tutorial on how to make a knotted belt DIY

Here’s how:

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A tulle drawstring bag in 5 min flat

Drawstring bags are handy for chucking things in and really easy to make! But what’s better about a tulle version – you can actually SEE what’s inside! :)

how to make a tulle drawstring bag in 5 minutes fast and easy

After making a gown recently, I had a small bit leftover and figured I’d make something out of it. Another plus point about tulle – no fraying! (Feel free to use an old tee shirt to make this too! No fraying either!)

So here’s sharing with you – how to sew a tulle drawstring bag in about five minutes flat.

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Make a felt clutch

Sewing a flat felt clutch is simple and makes for a great gift! Here’s how to sew a quick unlined one with hand stitches.

how to make a felt clutch tutorial

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Posting artwork on society6

If you love creating photographs and prints, wouldn’t you love seeing it on various applications and formats? I know I would!

I’ve recently discovered society6 and it’s such a breeze posting up artwork. In an instant you can see it in various formats such as art prints (plain and framed), cards, iPhone cases and more!

It’s been some time since I did a tutorial on making crepe flowers but I just can’t get enough of the photos created – so upload them I did. My favorite application is on the iPhone case which I’m tempted to order for my own use:

iphone 4 case crepe flower tangerine society6

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Make a no-sew peplum belt quick & easy

I’ve been waiting for some free time to do this tutorial and I finally found some time before this afternoon’s photoshoot (will post up photos of that gown later on!).

Peplum belts are a quick way to jazz up any pencil skirt and they’re actually really easy to make. This tutorial is for you if you don’t know how to/ don’t feel like sewing. Just a little bit of glue and you’re all set!

leather peplum belt tutorial no-sew quick and easy

Here goes:

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How to make a kindle or ipad sleeve

Want a simple and inexpensive way to make a sleeve for your Kindle or iPad? Restyle a thin padded envelope from the post office! This works as a flat clutch for essentials too :)

how to make a kindle or ipad sleeve tutorial

Here’s how:

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Make a necklace out of paper clips

I’ve been mega excited about this post and have been waiting for a non rainy day to do up the finishing touches. Finally! A gorgeous necklace made out of paper clips.

paperclip necklace with spray paint and nail polish

Here’s a simple tutorial on how to make one for yourself!

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Chain stitch in two simple steps

The workshop I’m giving on handstitching, embroidery and the making of a felt clutch is drawing near! In anticipation, here’s sharing with you a quick tutorial on how to do a simple chain stitch.

Chain stitches are mighty useful ones – use them to create much fancier stitches than plain straight stitches, without much fuss! So here goes:

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How to stitch a simple star

embroidered simple stars on a grey pouch

Embroidery can be quite fun and easy if you want to add a little something extra to your stuff. Read on to find out how to stitch a simple star!

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How to upcycle a plain tee

plain grey tee shirt

Have you ever gotten an oversized tee as a free gift or have one stored somewhere from the old days (a.k.a. something you would never wear out)? Other than tossing it or sleeping in it, here’s one idea to make it nice and wearable!

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The many uses of felt

Felt is amazing. It’s one of the materials that you can make an endless list of things with!

The most obvious use would be felt clutches and bags which are relatively quick to make. (I was preparing some material today for a workshop I’ll be giving on simple felt clutches for first-timers. Really excited to see what the class whips up. Check out some of the felt and fabric…)

pieces of felt and cotton

But of course it doesn’t stop there. Check out these awesome felt products!

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Free chevron printable thank you cards

It’s always handy to have thank you card designs on your computer because you never know when you may need to print some last minute!

Building on a previous post on chevron cards, I’ve decided to share more in different colors for you to use. So go ahead and write a quick thank you note to anyone in your life today!

free thank you card blue chevron printable

{download blue chevron}

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Inspirational infrared photography

With all the cool prints going down the runway, here’s a closer look at one of my favorite photography styles which I wish they’d print more on clothing. Infrared photography!

Using digital cameras that are sensitive to infrared light, a visible-light blocking filter and photoshop, many photographers have produced so many breathtaking images!

The end result is always so surreal and inspirational. Here’s some examples of beautiful infrared images to start off the week :)

tropical garden infrared photography by michilauke

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Make a ring box in 5 minutes for cheap!

Are your rings often in a heap on your dresser? Even in plates and bowls, rings tend to get messy.

I have no idea how I’ve put up with digging out my rings or even forgetting about some at the bottom of the heap:

wooden bowl plate containing rings

Unfortunately, a lot of the ring holders I see in stores are somewhat old-school. I wanted something simple with a clean look. I also wanted to wall mount this to free up space on my dresser.

And so I made my own using a spare small box and some cheap melamine foam that you can get at the two-dollar store. (For those in Singapore, I got it at Daiso!)

how to make a ring box in under 5 minutes for cheap

Sharing how I made this ring holder box here so you can make one of your own. Cheap and fast – who wouldn’t like it! :)

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How to save torn bag handles

how to save torn bag handles and give it a new look with ribbon Have you ever had your PU leather bag handles tear on you? If the rest of the bag is still intact, it’d feel like such a waste to toss it!

This happened to me recently and I decided to try my best to save the handles and give it a new look! All this just with some ribbon lying around!

Here’s how:

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How to make a duo-coloured ring in 5 minutes

easy steps to make a dual coloured ring in five minutes finishedWant a pop of colour and inexpensive but fun ring?

I was playing with some wire today and figured why not! Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make your very own duo-coloured ring in under five minutes! And using nail polish helps you feel better about having so many bottles in your drawer… :)

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Free thank you card designs!

Ever wanted to say a quick thank you to someone with a small card? There are times when we’ve wanted to but with no time to run to the store. Or even when we’re at the store, there’s much difficulty in finding a simple, fuss-free design. I know I’ve had those experiences one too many times and I now stock up on my own stash of cards!

Seeing how chevron DIY designs are trending on Pinterest nowadays, I’ve decided to create a new series of thank you card prints featuring… you guessed it! CHEVRON.

free thank you card print out design blue chevron Continue Reading →

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What else can you do with crepe flowers?

There have been many beautiful photos online of crepe flowers being used as event decorations. But after the party is over, it’d be a waste to toss them aside or store them till who knows when.

Here’s one idea: take photos and turn them into gorgeous cards or canvas prints! As examples, here are some of the photos and card prints I’ve made this week:

beautiful crepe flower cards set of four

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Happy Fathers’ Day!

Fathers’ Day comes early! For my family at least – we try to celebrate days like this a week earlier so we don’t have to deal with crowded restaurants and overpriced set menus.

For quite some time I’ve been in charge of getting the card/ present together and organizing family dinners out. This year was certainly no exception.

The only problem is that I generally can’t find cards that I’m happy with – most of them tend to be quite tacky and expensive. Conclusion? Make my own cards. After all, it’s the heartfelt words written inside that count right? :)

Cards for males usually don’t include flowers and hearts – things that I’m best at drawing. So this time I turned to the computer, whipped up a geometric design and slapped on the words. Printed it and pasted it on thick blue card that I managed to find (phew!). All in about 15 minutes before rushing to the dinner.

happy fathers day card design

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How to make crepe flowers fast and easy

crepe flower purple

It’s been a long time since I’ve made flowers with tissue or crepe so this weekend I thought why not? Only this time, I’m planning to find a multitude of uses for them so stay tuned!

In the meantime, here’s a tutorial on how to make them. Enjoy :)

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A village full of painting talent

I’ve always had the utmost respect for painters and nothing is quite as wondrous as watching them in action. While in China recently I had the opportunity to visit the oil painting village in Dafen and it was simply out of this world!

While the streets look like any other in the area, a peek into each shop shows a ton of paintings and many painters in action.

First up, my favourite photo taken with my handy iPhone. If I could paint, this is what I would want my painting corner to look like:

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Felt clutches for the new year

A lot of times when traveling, I can’t help but bring home some cool fabric for -some project-. The problem is that having an idea is very different from sitting down and actually doing it! Hence the stacks of material lying around (oops!).

This year, I’ve decided to stop buying fabric until I’ve finished using up the ones lying around in my room (except for commissioned work of course).

Part one of this clear-the-clutter attempt? Thick felt which I bought from Tokyo. Loved the colours, loved the thickness, love felt.

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Painting at arteastiq

Things have been crazy for the past few weeks and when they do get crazy, it’s always useful to have a different creative outlet to refresh yourself.

Thanks to Groupon, my friend and I got a session at Art Jam at Arteastiq for only $28 (the usual price is $48 though they have different packages such as two-for-one romantic Mondays). This includes one drink, a 50 x 50 cm canvas and brushes to take home as well as free flow acrylic paint.

They provide books and pictures if you want to pick a reference. Alternatively, you could email them a picture for them to print out on the spot.

Admittedly, this was the first time I have painted on a cotton canvas (or painted properly at all) so the experience was a teeny bit more stressful at the start. Or at least until my favourite whiskey hot chocolate drink was served.

So here’s my first attempt at painting some flowers. The purple didn’t come out as bright as I’d liked cos clearly navy blue + red doesn’t equal to bright happy purple…

Just a quick tip – it’ll definitely be useful to think about where your light source is. Or rather, you should definitely plan how you paint things in advance rather than dab on random gradients which I did! :X

And of course, plan your background before you start! I only decided to paint it a lighter colour on a whim and that resulted in much pain in filling everything in carefully. Love the seafoam green though!

Would have painted the sides of the canvas a different colour if I had more time. When asking my friend if I should paint them in the first place, she quoted her AEP teacher in Secondary School telling her that it should look beautiful on all sides. That definitely applies to many other things in life!

When done, the peeps at Arteastiq staple your canvas frame into a handy box that allows it to dry without touching anything. (The photo actually shows me holding it altogether afterwards cos I got too excited in ripping it open and forgot to take a photo!)

So there we go, my very first canvas painting experience. :) Would recommend everyone to try it out whether you think you’ll be good at it or not just because it’s fun, relatively affordable and a great opportunity to try something new!

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‘Mark my words’ collection and other cool stuff

Signed up for a stall space at a Creme Creative Market bazaar at the Cathay yesterday. Though most stalls were occupied by established local brands, I decided to give it a go when asked since that would give me a deadline to finally finish some of the things I’ve been wanting to make for the longest time.

So there it is, my simple and last-minute set-up:

On the left are some clutches made by an overseas artist which I love like crazy. Decided to bring in a few extra since I felt that people here would love them too and they definitely did! The large bronze laptop clutch (see previous post) was also on display for custom size orders and the navy blue and orange pouches are part of my latest brainwave – the start of the ‘mark my words’ collection.

For a few months I’ve been meaning to make these totes and pouches that allow for fun and re-labelling with alphabet stickers. Not only do these make great gifts with custom messages, but they’re excellent for organising your stuff too!

The vinyl alphabet stickers are removable and re-stickable times infinity (somewhat like car decal stickers) and I had to work with a custom printer to get them done (thanks for your patience Ken!)

Each pouch comes with a satin lined interior – hot pink for the vermillion pouches and turquoise for the navy blue.

It was a mad rush mass sewing these pouches the day before and didn’t get down to all the colour combinations and sizes I wanted to make but will be working on those shortly!

If you’re interested in purchasing or distributing, do email me at sayhi@micheleng.sg! :)

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Hand-stitching with love

There’s always a certain joy in hand-stitched bags, both for the maker and the receiver.

See the gold trim being cut out from a previous post.

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A cool bronze laptop clutch

For the longest time I’ve wanted a laptop case that didn’t look all IT and gadget-y and something that I could carry everywhere with my handbags without any stark contrast. 

To be honest, I’ve never seen something that I felt fit the bill and so with my usual mantra of ‘if you can’t find it, make it yourself’, I finally got the time to whip out some faux skin I carried back from Japan to make this:

An laptop case that looks more like a clutch! Featuring bronze distressed skin on the outside with full padding and a dark brown cotton twill lining within. My 15” macbook pro fits happily inside:

Will be making a couple more in different variations (like gunmetal skin with a turnlock closure) to sell at a bazaar coming up on 7 Nov, so stay tuned! 

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Weapon of choice for today = chicken scissors!

Weapon of choice for today = chicken scissors! (Working on a new bag design today!)
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Flat zippered pouch

So it happens that every time I travel to Bangkok, Malaysia, and so on, my mum asks me to look out for a flat zipper pouch with an additional zipper pocket on the outside (good for storing coins on quick grocery trips). The original one, which is now falling apart, was given to her by a friend who went to Thailand.

A seemingly simple task yet I could not for the life of me find a similar pouch on my many trips!

And with my usual principle of “if you can’t find it, make it yourself”, I set out to make her a pouch in a bid to take a mental break and clear some scrap material.

I’ve made many bags before but not a zippered pouch so here goes my first attempt:

Hope she likes it and hope it withstands the crazy pressures of wet market shopping!

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