A time to craft, a time to give

I had a lovely time crafting with some other crafty mamas last week.

It. Was. Therapeutic.

We were all so focused on learning new tricks from mama J, and one another, and checking out all her cool crafty toys!

Like a little craft party. Chatting and crafting.

I sometimes wonder why I carve out time to do this, like, don’t I have something else better to do (like run last-minute baby-related errands)?

But seriously, I can’t think of a more meaningful way to spend the days leading up to Christmas (or till the day I pop). And I thought Vera will also have fun chipping in in small ways, and she’s at a good age to be learning about giving and putting other people’s needs ahead of our own. 😉

Plus like I said…It. Is. Very. Therapeutic. And so it must be good for my body, soul and even baby.

Here is the first set of cards I have. They are priced at a set of 4 for $10. If you see something you like and want to place an order, you can leave a comment or email me at mamawearpapashirt @ gmail.com!

We’re also calling out for donation of scrap materials so if you wish to contribute to this project, please get in touch too.

All proceeds will go to a local charitable organisation to help children with special educational needs. (The name is under wraps at the moment, as we are still applying for the relevant permits.)

In the coming days/weeks, I will be uploading more card designs onto the Facebook page, so stay tuned.

Here are the other mamas involved in this project. Do look out for updates on their blogs too in the coming weeks.


Do we need a reason to give? Is it only during Christmas that we start to share our blessings around? Not really…The only reason is love. Love without boundaries.

Thank you for supporting this cause! And please spread the word and love around. 🙂

UPDATED: Check out new designs for mother’s day here!

PS. Special thanks goes to Claudia from The Loving Mum who contributed the craft materials.

Little Lessons: Beauty happens when we least expect it

Vera’s artwork never fails to bring a smile to my face, especially her recent ones…

We do leaf prints from time to time. One day, she transformed her red leaf print into a strawberry, just by adding black dots with a pencil.

from leaf to strawberry

Another day, I returned home from work to find this. Her portrait of our family, with JJ, herself (with the long crazy hair), and…little baby J! I was most surprised to find that she is already including baby #3 into the mix…I take it to mean that she just can’t wait to welcome him into the family. 🙂

I love her colours… (Left: “hairy” fireworks. Right: colourful ice-cream cones filled with purple and yellow rolled-up paper tissue, and topped with a Cornetto-style cover.)

Finally, this drawing of herself, with long earrings (yes she’s girly like that), and rainbows and flowers – just a handful of her favourite things. It now hangs on our family photo wall in our master bedroom.

I know I sound like “proud mama” all over this post, but I can’t help it.

These may not be Picasso, but they are lovely works by the hands of my little girl. Through the bright colours and happy expressions on her drawings, I see her joy and zest for life.

I can also recall three things I learnt from an art workshop long ago. [Read: Every child can draw]

  1. There are only two areas where a child can be free and enjoy full control. One of them is play, the other is art.
  2. A supportive environment is all you need to help grow your child’s interest in art.
  3. Allow your child to enjoy the creative process, and refrain from judging the outcome.

I’ve never placed much expectations or pressure on her to colour well, or to draw something neatly, or to paint a logical scene. To the adult eye, her art may come across messy and unrefined, but I enjoy hearing her talk about her work, her craft, and seeing how proud she is of them.

I hope to cheer her little passion for art on simply by being there…and by allowing her to make her own choices and explore freely with different materials/medium.

May the creativity and imagination of our children thrive. And may we adults learn to never hinder, judge or discourage this beautiful process.

This is the post #6 of the Little Lessons series – because as parents we are always learning with and from our children. If you want to follow the entire series, you’ll find each new post listed here every week.


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50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic at the ArtScience Museum

“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.” – Ansel Adams

NatGeo Afghan woman

You might recognise this famous photograph of an Afghan girl (left), taken by Steve McCurry for a cover of National Geographic. The word “haunting” has been used to describe her eyes, eyes that had seen too much horror for a young lady. The photograph on the right is the same woman, 17 years later.

At the 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic exhibition, I came in touch with photographs that were engaging, compelling, and insightful, revealing the inner lives of  people and animals across the globe.

Below is a series of photographs, made up of panoramic shots, of an underground cave in the Bahamas. It’s amazing what professional photographers will do to pursue their passions, including exposing themselves to a certain degree of danger. Apparently, these underwater caves had never been explored before this expedition.

This is a photograph of a sleeping Tuareg family in Sub-Saharan Mali. The photographer, Joanna Pinneo, had actually travelled to Mali to see how the drought was affecting Tuareg nomads. The trip led to her meeting a local family, and she was actually invited into their home. This was how she managed to capture this intimate moment.

This photograph of some wandering, lost camels shrouded in fire and darkness was actually taken in the day-time. But the smoke and fumes from the destruction of war make it seem like it was taken at midnight!

This photograph of a polar bear was taken blind. The photographer simply rowed his boat closer to the bear, and put his camera into the water and clicked. Amazing how even such “accidental” photographs can be so beautiful.

What I really like about the exhibition is how it gives a better understanding of the way people and animals lived in their original habitats, and also how humans and animals interact or impact on the other.

This one below of Jane Goodall, a British primatologist, bowing to a chimpanzee named Jou Jou who was seeking some attention and affection, was particularly touching.

We also had a chance to make our own photograms! This simple workshop aims to imparts basic darkroom techniques to participants, and allows visitors to create their own photograms using traditional print photography methods.

Here is my photogram composition (left), and how it turned out on the photographic paper (right). It was quite fun for me to experience the darkroom again (having gone through a photography module once). It would definitely engage the older kids aged 6 and above.

photogram fun

This 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic is running at the ArtScience Museum until 27 October 2013. If you prefer a guided tour to learn about the stories behind the iconic photographs on display, tours are provided complimentary every Sunday, 11:30am-12:30pm, on a first-come-first-served basis.

The ArtScience Museum is also running a “What’s Your Story” contest, on Facebook. Do check it out, as you’ll stand to win a S$500 shopping voucher and a 1 night’s stay at Marina Bay Sands!

How to make a simple DIY lantern for Mid-Autumn

It’s Mid-Autumn festival this week! Have you been enjoying mooncakes with your family?

We spent our previous weekend making and decorating a simple paper lantern.

Here’s what you’ll need:
1. A4 coloured paper
2. Clean cake boxes (or any other thin cardboard material)
3. Paint (or old pieces of artwork)
4. Scissors, pencil, double-sided tape and craft glue
5. Clean wooden chopsticks

Step 1: Make diagonal folds on an A4 coloured paper, starting at one corner and working your way to the end. Unfold and do the same starting from the opposite corner. Unfold, and you’ll get nice regular diamond shapes throughout the paper.

Step 2: Decide with your child how you wish to decorate the lantern. For instance, JJ likes ladybugs, and I got him to stick black circles at intervals all around the paper. (It’s easier to do this when the paper is flat, rather than after it’s rolled into a circular lantern shape at the next step.)

Step 3: Roll up the paper and fasten the ends with a double-sided tape. This forms the body of the lantern. *You may need to help your child with this, and it’s not easy to stick the ends together without creasing the paper.

Step 4: Place the circular end of the lantern on a thin piece of cardboard (I used an old cake box I had lying around). Use a pencil to trace the circumference. I found that the double sided-tape matched the size of the circular base, so you can use that too as it forms a more perfect circle. Draw 4 extra rectangular strips sticking out from the circle. (These extra strips will be folded in later and stuck to the inside of the lantern.)

Step 5: Cut the circle out together with the 4 rectangles. Use double-sided tape to attach the rectangles to the inside of the lantern. (Optional: You may decorate the base with some coloured wrapping paper, by sticking it on and cutting around the edge.)

Step 6: Use a pin or sharp pencil to poke two holes at opposite ends of the lantern. Fasten a piece of tape just above the hole to prevent tearing. Insert a string and tie the ends. This string will be wound around the end of a chopstick later on. 

Step 7: Re-use old artwork done by your child, by cutting it up into the shape of a butterfly (or another animal if you like). Decorate it with glitter glue or other art materials that you have around the house.

Step 8: Fasten the decorated butterfly onto the lantern body with double-sided tape.

Step 9: Use some craft or super glue to attach a tea-light candle to the base of the lantern. *Because the lantern has a tall body, it’ll be easier to light the tea-light using a lighted candle instead of a lighter.

Step 10: Wind the string around the end of a chopstick and use a drop of craft glue to help secure it.

Happy Mid-Autumn, folks!  🙂

Happy butterfly lantern

A craft and a poem for teacher’s day

Here’s a simple craft idea for a personalised photo-frame gift for teacher’s day.

What you need:

  • colourful scrap paper (I collected scrap from Vera’s previous art pieces, which they happily tore up on one occasion)
  • an empty photo-frame (I got mine from IKEA)
  • fabric washi (DAISO sells these really cheap!)
  • a quote on children and learning (I did mine with white words printed on black / dark-coloured background)
  • glue and scissors

1) First, lay out the scrap pieces of coloured paper on the glass or paper-backing of the frame, to have an idea of how the collage will look like.

2) When you’re happy, glue the pieces onto the paper backing.

photo frame craft

3) Print the quote and cut them out in phrases; glue them onto the scrap collage

4) Get creative with your fabric washi or normal washi tape.

5) And you’re done! I came up with the quote by the way, but feel free to use it if you like. 😉

a personalised photoframe

And here’s a little poem, inspired by a teacher I once had in primary school:

I once had a teacher,
whose name I can’t recall.
She was someone quite special,
she held me in esteem.

Simple primary school works of writing and art,
she read and showed them publicly.
Giving me words of encouragement
like no other teacher had ever had.

For a little girl still trying to find her sense of worth,
that teacher was priceless.

Those in positions to influence the young,
Wield the power to build a future and a destiny.

She was a funny and quirky teacher,
But she saw hope in a young child,
and set her dreams aflame.


For more inspiring ideas, check these posts out:

  1. Handprint flowers by MalMal Our Inspiration
  2. Inspirational tea bag tags by Scissors Paper Stone blog
  3. Mirror memo board by Skip to my Lou 
  4. Pencil flower bouquet by Whipperberry

Happy teacher’s day in advance! Teachers, especially those of a dedicated and passionated variety, are a priceless bunch, don’t you agree?

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