Thursday, November 27, 2014

How to Allow You and Your Mind to Take a Break

Thursday, November 27, 2014


If you think that, by pushing yourself to complete your work or a piece of art, even if you are tired, would make you a diligent person, well think again.

When your mind is blocked, it is your body's way of telling you that you need to rest or sleep, even a nap for just 15 minutes.

I never thought I would say this, but for someone who supports the idea of a balanced work-play life, I find myself not allowing myself to rest.

I wasn't aware of this at first until recently, when my schedule became tight and I started getting active in the community. Mind you, I even have a day job to juggle as well. Everyday, I would try to complete my tasks at work as much as possible (which seems endless), go home, have dinner and attend to my chores, and then start my other work. Whether I am doing my freelance projects, blogging or crafting, I am basically working day and night.

I moon light. Then I would go to bed.

At first I was happy; the term "busy is good" means you know you have an active lifestyle. I thought "Okay, yes I have an active lifestyle plus I enjoy what I do," but as I go on this way, I started to forget about the most important thing in my life: Me. (which sums up for rest, self-pampering, etc.)

It came to a point that, even when I am going to bed, my mind is filled with thoughts, "I have to do this tomorrow.... pay the bills... don't forget your meeting... reply an email..." it goes on and on and on...

I love what I do, yes, but I was not kind to myself at all because I was not giving myself the chance to rest.

Suddenly, sleep or even just a nap has suddenly became precious to me. I have learned that, no matter how much you fuss & rush to complete your tasks, it never ends. It will never end until you say stop. And when you try to complete it when you are tired, in a long run this habit snowballs.

I find that, there's just no way to force yourself to complete something when you are completely drained out. 

Sadly, in Asian culture, we don't encourage the idea of resting during our lunch break at work. The phones will never stop ringing, and as long as you are at your workstation, that means you are still plugged in to work-mode. So, we get out of the office for lunch, but the hustle and bustle outside won't do any justice either for us to completely rest our minds.

Up until now, I am still trying to cope with the night & day tasks. Unfortunately, it is end year and that means plenty of projects lined up. BUT, through this experience, I did learn something, which is how to allow your mind and yourself to take a break

Here's how:

1. Literally walk away or sit away from your desk to avoid anything that will remind you of things to do. Come back to it 5-10 minutes later.

2. Tired after work? Give yourself a break by plonking on the sofa and watch some TV even if it makes you lazy. Sometimes, lazy is good, trust me because I am quite anal myself especially when I see the house messy when I get home.

3. Long shower with music playing and sing along with it. I can't explain why, but surprisingly this really works. Maybe it is because being alone in the bathroom allows you to step away from reality for a bit. Music is therapeutic and water has a natural calming effect, which it is good to practice cleansing with salt and water or with aromatherapy body wash every once in awhile to de-stress.

4. When you are not in the mood to do your work, then don't. Step away from it and don't force yourself to work on something when you are not feeling it. Forcing yourself to complete your tasks when you are not inspired can cause mistakes or unable to deliver good results. Especially if it is a piece of artwork; never ever paint or craft when you are tired.

5. Meditation, quiet time, reflection, silence, stillness, whatever you want to call it- this truly helps a lot. I regret to say that I have stopped this method for awhile, BUT I am going back into it. All you need is to be quiet and still with your eyes closed for awhile. You don't have to block out any thoughts, noise or sound; they are there on their own, and you just need to watch it pass by like a passerby. 

6. Finally, this is important: Sleep. I have learned my lesson that sleep is important. If you need a nap, then do it. I was never a nap-person ever since I was a kid, and that affected me a lot because now that I am older, I find it difficult to fall asleep. But I am trying very hard to break free from that pattern and trying to get good shut eye as often as I can. Of course, it helps with going to bed early (ironically, I am a night person, and I get ideas when I stay up. Haha!)


Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Meet Creative: Luthien Thye of Altered Alchemy

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

People ask me why do I enjoy blogging. Well, besides rambling monologues on the blog, I enjoy blogging because it encourages me to get out there, and meet the creative community to create content. To be honest, I am quite an introvert myself. No, really, when I tell my friends that I am an introvert, most of them find it hard to believe that I am one. They find me a people-person, but most of the time I really enjoy being alone (I am not creepy I promise). However, whenever I meet or get to know a fellow crafter or a creative enthusiast from the community, it's a whole different experience. You get this amazing feeling when you are talking to someone who has so much in common with you, not just in terms of the art, style and interest, but more of sharing similar left-brain patterns and habits. And you get to exchange notes, it's nice being able to meet people who can relate to you. That's how I started the 'Meet Creative People' on the blog; to maintain the people-inspire-people spirit in the community.

Today's feature is Luthien Thye from Altered Alchemy. I've seen and heard about Altered Alchemy for couple of years; I remember how my heart skipped a beat when I saw her art that is filled with mixed media artistry and magikal elements; simply took my breath away. I am honored to be able to interview Luthien, the magikal crafter behind Altered Alchemy and here she shares her sorcery with us. Luthien has a great sense of humour, I laughed to myself as I was going through her interview. So, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Name: Luthien Thye
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Links: Website | Facebook

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1. What is your day-to-day like as a creative person? How do you juggle your tasks, projects and personal life?

Mostly I dream a lot, and just indulge in my own little world in my head. Dreaming is the main element in my creative process. Reading and watching movies (mostly fantasy), also helps with my creative process. 

As to the second part of the question, you have already provided half the description to my day-to-day life i.e. “Juggling” … the other half of the description would most definitely be “precariously” :)


2. All creative people have their own toolbox. What’s in yours and what are your favourite tools?

I would say that my most indispensable tool is my Imagination. I am most frustrated when my Imagination goes into hiatus.  Now, besides that … there are some tools that I would almost certainly use every time I make a piece of jewelry. My hammer, which is nothing high tech just one from ACE, my bench block, my 3 pliers, my awl, my favourite patina and a piece of cutoff tree trunk which I obtained from some guys cutting down trees on the LDP. The trunk works like a bench block for me to shape larger pieces, and I love it!

3. Fill in the blanks and complete this sentence: “Whenever I am creating, I am....”

“Whenever I am creating, I am quite oblivious to reality



4. They say creative people are eccentric weird; so, how weird can you get?

Hmm… not overly weird ...

I believe that I'm either an elf masquerading as a human, or I'm a hybrid vampire-human, depending on how I feel on a certain day. I have a bunch of imaginary friends whom I talk to, cry with, laugh with … and brainstorm ideas with … usually at night. That's not overly weird right?


5. Name your top 3 favourite books for ideas:

Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter Series, and Twilight Series


6. Music mixes are awesome! What’s your music playlist when you are creating & making art?

Contrary to popular belief, I am not a music person. I prefer to have a movie like Lord of the Rings going on my laptop beside me while I'm creating. I can probably recite the LOTR script better than the actors! Or just silence. Total silence allows me to regress into the worlds I create in my head. This is my happy place where I can visualize my designs and make them come to life.

But if I must choose my 'arty' playlist … It would mostly definitely be Celtic music.



7. How do you organize your creative ideas & inspirations for reference?

I don't. I am a rubbish organizer. They are all just in my head, in a jumble. I dream of something, I start making it immediately. And then I allow the piece to take its own shape, if it wants to. Sometimes, the piece of art I'm making takes on its own life; it has a mind of its own. When I recognize that moment, I simply allow it to lead me. Mostly my pieces evoke a story. I like to imagine a story that goes with my art. It gives the artwork an identity, a soul. Perhaps my stories are an indirect way of organizing my ideas and inspirations. Hmmm … that's a thought!


8. What is your favourite place to go to for inspirations?

My happy creative place in my head.
Also, very old places, places ravaged by time …



9. I SPY with my little eye:  Who’s your favourite creative person (artist/crafter/baker, etc.)?

Hmm … I was going to say Michael DeMeng, artist-sculptor-alchemist extraordinaire.

But then, I suddenly thought of how I actually started to delve into what I'm doing. It brings me to Viggo Mortensen. 


Yup … THE Aragorn of LOTR. I loved him as Aragorn; I thought he played the character with intensity and integrity. So I started researching on the man behind the character. To my surprise, he is first and foremost an Artist, then actor. He paints, photographs, publishes, writes poetry and acts. And in each branch of Art, he excels, because he is passionate in what he does. He is the one who inspired me to begin this journey.

Very clichĂ© isn't it? Girl fangirling actor … actor turns out to be her inspiration. 
But weirdly enough … it is what it is.


10. If you didn't discover this creative interest, what would Life be for you?

I believe I would still be doing something creative. I don't think I could live a life without being involved in some form of art.

11. Describe your creative work with just 3 words:
Fantastical, Ravaged, Old-World


12. How your creative passion inspires you?

My creative passion inspires me in every way, every day. It is me.


13. What was the most difficult part of running a creative biz?

The selling.  The marketing. That part is really difficult for me. Marketing myself and my work.


14. What sort of lessons do you learn from it?

That I need a marketing person to do that for me? LOL!


15. What is your Kung Fu style to fight creative blockages?

Ugh!! Imagination on PMS?

Watch LOTR, read Harry Potter, workout? Nothing really, if it's blocked, it's blocked. I just wait. And hope it'll come back soon :)


16. Give the readers some love! Do you have any tips, advice or words of wisdom?

I DO love my readers! Anyone who takes time off their schedule to read the stuff I have to say, I am very grateful to.  Do I have any words of wisdom … well; all I can say is to be passionate in what you do. If you love what you do, it shows in your work without you even trying. If you love what you do, time just flies, it doesn't become a chore. I'm a romantic … I believe that dreams come true, if you're passionate enough about them!



17. Daydream mode ON! What do you want 5 years from now?

I'd like to make more art of course! Maybe take my work to a different level. Publish a book definitely. I taught my first international online workshop this year, and I intend to do more of that … maybe in 5 years I even get to travel to a different country to teach. HAH! That will be cool! I want to have a proper studio, and if it's not too much to ask, I want to make a Travel & Living program which revolves around art.

Big dreams, eh? But then again, I'm a romantic … I believe...


The other side of my blogging life- uncensored

I tell myself all the time that I am a work in progress. When I am in doubt, I allow myself to feel doubtful. When I am feeling demotivated, I plonk on the bed and go on a series-marathon with a glass of coke at the bedside.

I am like that.

So, when I am feel an emotional downswing in blogging, I am honest about it; I don't need to wear a mask to conceal, because it is what it is. When there's up, there's down and vice versa. And I know this is jus

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Birthday Insight: Why it's okay to turn 29

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I came to work claiming dramatically to make my colleagues laugh. Even though I said "Just take that 1 number away and get me back to 28!", but in truth, it's just another year older that's all. I had memory flash backs before me; like recalling back when I was 15 years old picturing the 29-year old me and often wondered how will Life be for me.

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I had a simple 29 birthday. The night before that, I wanted to be random with my birthday plans and how I wanted to celebrate it.

So, I asked Justin "Can I do everything terbalik (backwards) tomorrow?"

Justin: "Huh? What you mean?"

Me: "Terbalik lah. Like, instead of eating breakfast first, I eat dinner first, then breakfast, then lunch at night." I laughed like a little girl.

Justin: "Oh! Of course you can. You know like how first thing every morning, you will take Fuzzy out of her cage and then feed her breakfast? But this time, you can take Fuzzy, go one circle like 'weeeee'... and then put her back again.

I couldn't stop laughing after that because I was picturing myself doing everything backwards.

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I didn't expect anything big for my birthday. I was already grateful that I am still here, present with my loved ones, celebrating with the love of my life and in our first home (even though it is rented).

It was super lovely to received a number of Birthday wishes on Facebook, especially from new friendships I've made from the creative community. I am truly blessed. I remember, 5 years ago, I couldn't even say this at all, let alone believe that I am blessed with goodness.

As I reflect back my Life 5 years ago and to date, I realized that turning a year older encouraged me to see Life in a bigger picture. As corny as this sounds, I am really truly grateful that I am alive and for what I have achieved in terms of Love, Relationship, Self and Passion.

We hear this most of the time, wishing for bigger things like luxury, money or success. It is not wrong, because everyone's entitled to their own preference or opinions. It's just not my kind of thing to use it to measure my happiness and success in Life.

I know that some of us, we give ourselves a finishing line that by the time we reach 29 or 30, we need to at least own a car, buy a property, getting a high-paying salary or having a high-position at work.

I can relate because I used to have similar goals in life too. I decided to see things differently when I learned that the key to happiness is me, my self.

I finally felt a heavy load lifted off my shoulder when I finally realized that I have actually attained a couple of achievements already. Though it may not be what we would commonly ask for, but I give thanks.

So, on my birthday, when we were out for the day; I said to Justin, "Now that I have turned 29, I think I have achieved Life success. Not success in terms of money, power, property, but success in my journey."

I have finally developed understanding in self-love and a balanced relationship with Justin; we have grown so much together and overcome our baggage. Not only that, I have finally connected the dots between self-love and creativity. For the past 5 years, I have learned to get to know myself all over again. 5 years ago, I was not the person that I always loved to be, instead I was the person that was constantly beating myself down. I was my own blockage, my own unhappiness, my own prison.

Looking back, it feels as if it is someone else's bad dream...

Now, to me being 29 isn't just about gaining monetary or material success. It's about how far you have come in Life to attain true Freedom of Self. When it comes to my work-passion, I am truly blessed to have discovered my way back into art and creativity. So much change has become of me, and it's all part of growing up.

Next year, I will be a year older, hitting the big 3 0. It's scary, but perhaps good scared like a new roller coaster ride. Sure, I'll complain how old I am already, losing the stamina to stay up late or walk for an hour, but I love this adventure. I love the fact that I have finally discovered what I love most about myself, and that helped me with my confidence and anxiety issues. And I'm looking forward to start the next 10 years, just like how my life started at age 20.

Have an awesome November!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Meet Creative: Violet Yee of Biru Waves

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Today's feature is an interesting one. I am also terribly sorry that I have been pending the interview blog features; October has been such a busy month for me. It has come and gone so quickly, and now that it is November (my favourite month of the year), I am hoping that I can finally release ALL of the awesome pillow talk sessions that I have gathered.

I love the name Biru Waves (Biru is Blue in Bahasa Melayu); it has a nice ring to it. Just saying the name makes me think about the crystal blue waves of the ocean, the smell of the sea, and the fluffy cotton candy clouds.

Violet Yee, Crafter behind Biru Waves, is a talented person in Advertising. She is a Desktop Artist, a Mother to 2 beautiful girls and still finds time to balance her work-life by crafting jewelries and designing greeting cards.

Name: Violet Yee
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Links: Jewellery Website & Facebook | Greeting Cards Website & Facebook

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1. What is your day-to-day like as a creative person? How do you juggle your tasks, projects and personal life? 

As I work in an advertising company where non 9 to 5 environment exist, it is very challenging for me to juggle everything. My first priority is my family. Luckily, my husband is very supportive and my children give me my space whenever I am in my craft room. Normally, I would steal about an hour after work (10pm – 11pm) to create my jewelleries, papercrafts or cards.


2. All creative people have their own toolbox. What’s in yours and what are your favourite tools?

My favourite tools are glitters, acrylic paint, leaves, grass, dry flowers or anything goes when I am doing my jewelleries. I like organic designs.

When I am doing my cards, it’s my own simple drawings coloured with copic markers and I use pattern papers for the background. I also use clear stamps and other embellishments.



3. Fill in the blanks and complete this sentence: "Whenever I am creating ____, I am ____ "



 “Whenever I am creating something no matter if it’s jewellery or a card, I feel very blessed that I am able to use my hands, my sane mind to create stuff.


4. Describe your creative work with just 3 words: Unique. Simple. Down-to-earth.

They say creative people are weird; so, how weird can you get? I keep creating stuff but have not taken the time to sell them.

5. Name your top 3 favourite books for ideas:

Cardmaking Magazine
Mollie Makes Magazine
Papercraft Magazine
               

6. Music mixes are awesome! What’s your music playlist when you are creating & making art?

I listen to all kinds of music. My playlist consists from romantic songs such as ‘Feelings’ by Morris Albert to ‘Eat Sleep Rave Repeat’ by Fat Boy Slim and then back to ‘Feelings’….


7. How do you organize your creative ideas & inspirations for reference?

I am a messy crafter. I don’t have a creative organizer. I have no rules. I just sit down stare at the items I have on my table and I create from there.


8. What is your favourite place to go to for inspirations?

Pinterest & Etsy


9. I SPY with my little eye:  Who’s your favourite creative person (artist/crafter/baker, etc.)?

Card Making:
Kristina Werner, Lawn Fawn Design team, Hero Arts Design Team, Torico (Stamparadise)

Resin Jewellery:
Britta Böckmann of BoldB, Jen Cheema, Shannam, Kangaroom Studio





10. If you didn’t discover this creative interest, what would Life be for you?

I think I will be a very boring person.


11. How your creative passion inspires you?

Creative passion had taught me to be curious and that there is no set rules when it comes to using different mediums, such as combining Resin with Polymer Clay, Glass with Nail Polish, Paper with leaves as patterns and plenty more.




12. What is your Kung Fu style to fight creative blockages?

Looking at magazines, watching YouTube channels, going into Pinterest & Etsy shops.


13. Give the readers some love! Do you have any tips, advice or words of wisdom?

Do not be afraid of challenges. Be curious. Be different. Be humble. Take criticism with a big smile and welcome them with open arms because there’s bound to be a lot of that coming.


14. Daydream mode ON! What do you want 5 years from now?

See more people walking around with my jewellery.
See more people receiving greeting cards made by me.
Having a shop of my own.



Monday, November 10, 2014

Life Hacks for Everyone

Monday, November 10, 2014

When I moved out and into my own apartment, I find myself intrigued with smart and crafty ideas that makes home-organizing easier, without spending a dime. I started to Google for all kinds of tricks and tips; and it led me to life hacking ideas for home organization. So, you can imagine how delighted I was when I was approached to share about Go Hack it My.com, a homegrown website with life hack ideas for everyday, for everyone.

This humble website has an interesting background. Go Hack it My was founded by a team of college students. Their aim was to create a platform for people like you and me, to submit our life hack ideas, allowing us to exchange our life hack ideas with one another.


Currently, there are already 20 life hack ideas ready for you to try it out. I have to admit, some of it are very impressive, and it makes you go like "Oh my god! Why didn't I think of that?!" stuff like that.

If I were to give you a sneak peek now, let me share with you two of my personal favourites:
The Cable Roll - thrifty indeed!
The 'So Many Clothes, So Little Space' Hanger idea.
I love this hanger idea! I would never have thought of this, and it is definitely a real space saver especially for us girls. I have yet to apply this though, but when I do, I believe it is going to come in handy since I have more clothes than Justin. I practically own the entire wardrobe! And I still complain that I need more space! Gah!

Here's another peek: This is pretty cool especially for organizing our dressing table. Correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure some of us have experienced this before; we put our hair pins or clips and hairbands in a basket and/or drawer, and it is still unorganized. Because it is small, it gets lost easily. Perhaps you might want to try this and have it placed in your basket on your dressing table.

So simple...
Stack em' up! for hair stuff!
I think, this is the first Malaysian life hack website I've come across so far. Although it is fairly new, but the good thing is there are already some decent ideas up on the website. Plus, the clean minimalist website design makes browsing easier since it's a photo-focus, photo-heavy website.





Well, there you go! Visit Go Hack it My Website today.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

'Goddess: I Am' Plus Bazaar @ Pop by Jaya One, Oct 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The title Goddess: I Am was inspired by plus size wear Adevi Clothing, one of the booths that I came across at the Plus Bazaar at Pop by Jaya One, held last month. 

This would be my second time attending a bazaar organized by homegrown community Fat is Fab. I remembered their first bazaar; it was just as empowering as the second one, except this time around, there were more vendors with more goodies offered such as lucky draw and a photography booth by FIF.
Me and Justin getting our photos taken for fun by FIF Photo booth!
I can't help but feel inspired by FIF; I was reminded to always celebrate women (even men) of unique sizes by giving thanks every day for having a body.

The word 'Fat' is just a label, a term. There's nothing wrong with our body*. We are just bold, beautiful, curvy, sexy... most importantly, we are goddess within like every other woman.
L to R: Adevi Clothing, The Bear, YY Gift & Packaging
Being at the bazaar, I felt at home, and a great sense of belonging; Call it what you want, and yes I don’t look like I just step out of the magazine cover; but I am okay with it because I am aiming to be Me.
BLOOK+

Justin and I had a blast! It was a down-to-earth bazaar, featuring all kinds of vendors ranging from crafts, food & beverage, large size shoes, plus size clothing (even BLOOK+ was there!) bath & body, and more. I met so many nice people. Everyone was friendly!
Artsy nick-nack store by Samuel Store

Large size shoes by Pretty Big Size

Handmade and trinkets by Ghem & Co.

Typically crafty and colourful by The Lollipop House


The range of booths are not just limited to Plus Size wear, so that means it is still an event open to everyone. Of course, for those who are struggling to find clothes with their size, you will definitely get good bargains at Plus Bazaar. This means, you should be following Fat is Fan on Facebook so that you can keep track of their next event. Also, I refused to use the word ‘right size’, because to me, there is no right or wrong size for us unless you accidentally purchased the ‘wrong’ clothing size.

I salute the organizers; one for stepping forward to make a difference, two for empowering people everywhere regardless of their body size, because it is all about ‘Self-Love’ and ‘Loving your Body’.
Body loving, self pampering by Love Is
I have encountered experiences where my weight seems to be the main topic in conversations. I have experienced relatives making comments, having a nasty peer making remarks about my thighs, ex-colleagues who kept saying the same thing about my weight (is there no other thing to talk about, really?), and finally having other comments like looks matter most. Okay, I get it. But what about having a positive mindset? How about, talent and skills? Or personal development, or having inner-strength? Or about LIFE? Aren't those much more important to discuss than fussing about our image?

This is why the women behind Fat is Fab truly inspired me! They have successfully changed a number of people’s mindset, and was applauded by many for being one of the first few organizations to throw a fabulous bazaar to celebrate individuals of different sizes.
L to R: With Merl, one of the FIF organizers and Philo, founder of Love Is and 1420 clothing


Personally, I think that there is a big difference between obsessing about being thin and body-loving. Just because women are big, it doesn't mean that they don’t love their body enough to eat right and lose it; and at the same time, there’s also no harm to eat right and lose it. However, I think the most important thing is to make sure that you are constantly checking in with your intentions no matter what you do, whether you are trying to lose it or if you choose to remain the way you are, as long as you appreciate your Self and Respect your Body.

With this, I end this post with a quote:
Thank you #jenniferlawrence




*amended