Sunday, January 18, 2015

Supermart Collective Launches Store to Support Malaysian Artists & Crafters

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Warning: This is a photo-heavy content. The good stuff featured here will drive you nuts, so grab your wallet & keys and get your butt there! haha!

Last weekend, I was invited to attend the official store launch of Supermart Collective. It was my first time meeting with one of the brainchild of the creative store, Aaron Lam and his graceful wife Chrystin Choo, who was hospitable and accommodating, making sure that I get to meet the local designers and creators behind each brand.

With Supermart Collective team.

Located in the hottest spot of Klang Valley, you will be able to find Supermart Collective in Asian Avenue, Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall. Among the row of shops, I guarantee you won't miss the famous tagline: Fresh . Local . Original on the front of the store.

Supermart Collective is a collective store that carries a variety of brands by local artists, designers, crafters and even bath & body artisan.

What the store offers is refreshing! Besides visiting bazaars that are usually a mix of handpicked items and a couple of craft vendors, today we finally have a store that not only gathers popular homegrown brands, but a store that focuses on supporting the local creative community. The objective is to make it accessible for the public instead of waiting for bazaars to check out the merchandise or only view them on online stores. As a shopper, sometimes I want to be able to see the product in person too; it's just part of a shopping experience.

Brands that were featured are non other than, Arttee Apparels, TinyPinc, I Will Studio, Tikii-Fun in the Sun, Never Wake Clothing, Power of Word and Mae Day; other brands include DidiMalao, Little Fren Crafts, Oh and Ah, Notbook-Notbuk, Earth Care Soaps and much, much more.

Let's not forget, 'Individium' too, a stunning homegrown apparel brand inspired by the periodic table of chemical elements; each element has its own characteristics similarly to humans. Individium celebrates a universe of ga-zillions individuals who are unique and different!

... And just like the rest of the indie creative brands, you get to experience authenticity!... well, hence the tagline "ORIGINAL"!

L to R: Chrystin Choo and Aaron Lam 

L to R: Vicky Lai and Liew Wei Jane of Power of Word

L to R: Bahijah Wahid and Ilsa Roslan of Arttee Apparels

Jiet Wong of Didimalao

L to R: Kathy Ho and Will Sii of  I Will Studio

L to R: Ian Chan and Adrian Leong of Never Wake Clothing

Boone Lee of Tikii- Fun in the Sun

The store was filled with guests that were invited to the launch, and the featured designers were celebrated by the presence of the media- a good opportunity for the local artists and crafters, including our Malaysia creative scene. The launch attracted passersby, and soon after that, the store was packed.

While the crowd was busy admiring the assorted merchandise available such as handmade clay accessories, or natural homemade bath and body products and indie designed apparels, I quickly catch up with Aaron Lam, to learn more about his views on supporting the local creative community.

"... With a store like that, that allow Malaysians to shop for local creatively designed and handmade brands in one spot, Supermart Collective also looks out for other upcoming local artists and crafters too especially young & talented design college students," said Aaron.

It's true. Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall is surrounded by several colleges. Whether the kids are majoring in art & design or not, this opportunity gives them a chance to expand their horizon.

'We need more young creative entrepreneurs, who loves & believes in what they do best'

After 10 years of being part of the creative community, I am personally glad to know that today, we have a store like Supermart Collective; more importantly, we share the same viewpoints of heightening Malaysia's creative community. Supermart Collective provides a platform for young independent creative entrepreneurs to showcase their creations.

Based on personal experience, it can get pretty challenging for local artists and crafters to start, particularly on making sure that the business gets good exposure and maintain consistency in terms of sales. However, as time goes by, we are changing and slowly, this country is beginning to recognize the qualities of the creative arts and handmade.

10 years ago, I was in college too when I first started my creative business as a Fabric Painting Artist. It was a learning experience; while I had a couple of clients such as La Senza for children, Dragonfly Tattoo and couture boutiques, but it wasn't enough and those days, it was not easy to maintain on your own and gain recognition altogether.

Well, thanks to Supermart Collective, now local artists and crafters finally have a shot at making a name and gaining exposure.

So, Malaysian creatives, if you are looking for a platform to grow your creative artsy craftsy business, you know where to go now and who to talk to. And for creative enthusiasts, finally a place to go where you can support local creative brands in one spot.

It's like a supermarket of goods, except that you can find assorted homegrown fashion apparels, stationary, handmade accessories, artisans soaps and more. At Supermart Collective, you get the freshest and the most original designs produced by local Malaysian creative brands and designers.

I'm already nuts about the place!

Here are some of the featured products:
Earth Care Soaps

Little Fren Crafts

Oh & Ah

Little Syam

Notbook - Notbuk

Mae Day (I Love Mae Day by the way)


Supermart Collective
Lot F1. AV. 139, Asian Avenue,
First Floor, Sunway Pyramid
Facebook: SupermartCollective

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Living the Crafting Spirit and Making Magickal Things

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lately, I have been feeling happy and cheerful. Perhaps it is because the creative waves has finally come crashing through my doors, and it feels as if I am standing there, with my arms open wide saying:

"Comeee tooo Meeeeee!~"

I am telling the universe each day to fill me with lots and lots of creativity. I think this is really, really important because it helps me with my day-to-day and keeps me sane too. Not that I am insane, hell no. Weird? Yes. Quirky? Yes. Clinically or psychologically insane? I don't think so. I personally think that one of the greatest challenge as a Human Being living on Earth is that you find yourself often battling with your inner self. Most of the time it is because of external causes, or how we were raised. Creativity somehow puts us in our place and remind us where we belong in our hearts. It helps us to stay grounded, believe in ourselves and each time we create something, not only we are proud of ourselves, but we recognize that bliss that we have just created with our hands.

That bliss, that experience, that thought, is priceless. That little moment, that spark, cannot be seen with naked eyes. It is unseen, but it is real. It is like a speed of light, too quick to see. But you can feel it, that's for sure; and it is only You alone that can experience it.

I am inspired these days. Inspired by new friends that I've found connection with. Inspired by my own interest, and realized that all these years, my interest in so many things finally made sense and finally come in handy.

My inspiration came flowing in non-stop and I started making these;


And then, I turned them into these:

What amazes me is the magick that happened right after that; it was very quiet for awhile, when I posted my merchandise for sale. I told myself to start small, and that it is okay to start all over again and re-build myself once more.

This didn't happened much for me 10 years ago; it was different, and I realized that it was because I was very hard on myself. The world didn't gave me any expectations, I gave myself those expectations. =) And the more I was hard on myself, the more I was getting farther away from the results that I seek or expect to receive. I was in the creative business, but it wasn't as fruitful as it is now.

The wonder that happened after making these and posting up on my Facebook page was the most amazing bliss of all.

'I am finally living the crafting spirit,' I thought to myself.

It's a bliss. And I love this feeling... You might think that I am being a hippy-dippy, but I can tell you, it's not about that. It's that connection with your inner self when you create; that connection with your higher self when you are in that state of mind as you create with your hands.

I am in touch with my inner Self.

The clock may be ticking. It took me 10 years to start all over again. The day I finally step away from that expectation, take my time, let the world turn and let everything change; I find myself in a state of of inner-freedom.

What would I do without these hands?

Everyday I give thanks that I am born with these gift. Those movies you watch about people with magic powers, perhaps that's what it feels; to look at your hands and at yourself in the mirror, and to feel every single energy and blood flowing through your veins in your body... as you are aware of the gift of making things with hands and an eye for little things in life, that's the magic powers the movies are talking about.

How thankful I am to be part of this creative life.


Writer's Block Inspiration: 100 blog topic ideas to Blog about

Vintage Typewriter, Photo Crafts Cafe | Digital, Shia Lynn 2013
So, I have been mentioning a lot about dealing with writer's block lately, and definitely experiencing it too. I don't know if it is because of post-holiday-season-syndrome, but one thing I know for sure is that my heart, my hands and my body crave to do something creative, more than just writing.

Being a blogger is one of the best things that ever happened to me. It's been more than 5 years already, and everyday I give thanks that I have hands that allow me to express myself creatively.

Even though my day job requires to write, a lot! Nevertheless, I still love to write and most of all, I enjoy blogging.

I shared this image recently on social media (below). It received quite a response, not in terms of Likes, but in terms of receiving positive feedback that those who saw this post, was deeply inspired and motivated to start or continue blogging.

I have to admit, that there are challenging times as a blogger or maintaining a blog. If you ask me, which is tougher, thinking every week what topics to blog about OR maintaining a nice looking blog... well I'd say the first one: thinking what to blog topic to blog about.

I have spoken to a couple of people who have blogs but don't blog often, they expressed too that it isn't so much about the writing, but it's trying to figure out what to write to keep the blog active.

Although, I have a good friend that is quite unique in her own way. She has a blog, but doesn't blog much. She's in the field of design and photography, so that makes her a detail type of person. Since she's not much of writing person, she takes photos of her quirky collectibles and figurines to create rotating GIF photos. So, everytime she gets a new toy, she takes blog about it that way.

Very quirky.

Well, I've decided that, as much as I have experienced my own fair share of "blogger's block", I am going to list down here, ONE HUNDRED (100) blog topic ideas that anyone can blog about.

You can add on to this list too if you like, otherwise just use this as your go-to if all else fails. After all, it's free.

You can blog about:

1. What happened yesterday

2. Best thing happened to you every week

3. Daily gratitude or what you are grateful for

4. Your favourite book

5. The BEST book you have ever read (there's a difference)

6. Weirdest childhood experience

7. Most memorable childhood experience

8. Scariest experience ( I wanted to include childhood)

9. Life changing moments in your life

10. Little things strangers do or did

11. Kind people you have across that are called 'earth angels'

12. Top 20 favourite, most creative blogs and why it is appealing

13. If you are an artist, blog about your current painting

14. If you are a crafter, blog about your recent project

15. Give an advice (from your own learning experience)

16. Things around the house you can upcycle

17. Your Favourite Recipe

18. A list of easy recipes, so easy that even those who can't cook, can do it!

19. 5 most important must-haves when you travel

20. 5 most important art material must-haves to bring along when you are travelling (for the art journal-ers)

21. 10 favourite places to see or would love to see

22. Most favourite craft project to do

23. Most favourite kids craft projects (not just for mommies, for aunts, sisters, uncles, dads, grandparents...)

24. Most favourite Birthday experience

25. List of things you like to do on a rainy day


Sunday, January 11, 2015

6 Ways to Stay Creatively & Productively-Focused

Sunday, January 11, 2015
Featured photo cover: Ode Art Cafe, SS15, Subang Jaya | Facebook Page

My day-to-day can get pretty hectic and even though each day is a different day, it can turn into a routine. I find that it is very important to stay focused, or at least, make sure that you get a good dose of creative juice pumping in your veins because this would keep you motivated and productive.

My day job also requires me to work on the computer all the time. And with technology these days, what not with social media, sometimes we tend to get carried away on the internet and lose focus. Don't get me wrong, I like checking out Pinterest all the time for inspirations and ideas, but too much of something throws you off balance and then you find yourself sort of like drained out.

As I blog about this topic, I am also speaking from a personal experience; I love the internet. I mean, I am a blogger after all and my blog need to go hand in hand with the internet and social media. But I am also a writer and an artist/crafter. That means, it is equally important for me to maintain balance too to make sure that I am productive, not just glued to the computer all the time. I need to be able to work with my hands too. Whether you agree or not, sometimes, we do get carried away on the computer and it takes our focus away from attending to what's more important. Therefore, I have decided to come up with a couple of tips on how to stay creatively, and productively-focused and I hope this post will be helpful to you too:

1. Give Yourself a certain time/hour-limit on social media.

Whether it is Facebook, or Twitter, etc., encourage yourself to only spend a little time on it, do what you need and get it out of your system, then immediately get back to work or what ever it is that you are half way doing. By doing this, you don't have to do it cold turkey but gives you a sense of balance. At least you are being fair to yourself. However, if you want to completely stay off social media, you are more than welcome to do so, then just give yourself a week, month or two to stay away. You might just find yourself feeling renewed.

2. Keep a creative journal and a set of colourful Sharpies with it.

This will be a place for you to write your thoughts down, doodle, collage or keep notes on anything that you find interesting or inspiring. Even if you are going to tell me "Oh! I can't draw, I'm not an artist!" Well, let me tell you that it's not about talent, it is about staying grounded creatively and mentally.

3. Visit places or travel.

I find this one of the most important things to do to maintain a balanced lifestyle. When you visit new places, you are opening up your horizon, and allowing yourself to see things beyond what you know in your everyday life. This is one of the best way to gain inspirations too, and certainly a healthy change of environment.

4. Take photos.

Taking photos has helped become an observant person. The one thing photography has taught me is to learn how to notice the little things in life, and spot details. It doesn't matter if you know very little about photography, these days we have phone cameras, digital cameras or semi-pro cameras if you are up for a little challenge. Other than that, just snap away!

5. Self-Reward

Motivation doesn't have to come from someone else. You can do it for yourself too by rewarding yourself once in awhile. Whenever you find yourself, having to work long hours, or stuck with a big pile of work, tell yourself to do your best, and then reward yourself. It doesn't have to be anything big, a good meal, a good bath, or cozy up with a nice movie would be good too. My favourite is a good meal and my favourite movie or tv show.

6. Stop the comparison

We may all be alike (human) but we are different and unique in our own way. I have a personal experience recently that might've made me feel incompetent of another's forte. Even after blogging for 5 years, my Facebook fan page Likes isn't as high as other bloggers. I might not have as much sales (from my handmade merchandise) as other crafters, but after much thought and self-reflection, I realized that it doesn't really matter anymore. I told myself that I have a choice, to either spend my entire energy feeling dissatisfied, OR I can spend my energy on a solution instead, and I need to choose wisely, because there is an effect for everything. Likewise with everything else, whether it's a hobby work, at the office, etc. When you stop the comparison and spend your energy more on yourself, and of course, stop beating yourself up; you will begin to see the change in you.. and you will begin to see your unique abilities. The more you focus on recognizing your skills, the more you become passionate in your work. There is no science formula or magick behind this- just plain logic.


Well, there you go! I hope this will certainly be able to start your day. This isn't just a reminder for you, but I wrote this as a reminder for myself too. We all need reminders, it's not a bad thing, it's just a notification to make sure that we always maintain our balance and stay on track.

Maybe that's how 'post-it' was invented!

Have a happy week.

Monday, January 5, 2015

And to quote the Chinese, "New Year, everything New!"

Monday, January 5, 2015
Today was my first day back to work in the first month of the year.

I was very sick for the past couple of days, and was thinking to myself "Oh gosh! What a way to start my year!"

It felt long to be away on medical leave including the weekend because as soon as I got back to work today, I had to face my biggest nemesis of all- writer's block!

I find myself staring blankly at the computer screen for few seconds, trying very hard to attend to a write up that I haven't had the chance to complete for some time.

Along the way, of enduring this... this... writer's block! (and I drop it like a hot potato!) I noticed something about myself; I noticed that each time I am stuck trying to complete an article, there's this yearning inside me. I find myself craving to draw, eager to make something, or read a book.

Perhaps this is my body's way of telling me that I don't balance my lifestyle with enough creative juice because even when it comes to my blog, all I do is work, work, work.

I love my work though. Especially this passion turned biz thing. I've done it all my life, and I can never get enough of it, no matter how tough times are, or how insecure I feel sometimes.

But I am a work in progress.

So, today over lunch, I confide in my friend that I am concern about my progress... about my journey getting back into making art. And she tells me that I need to be confident in myself, and believe in my work.

I needed to hear that, that's all I wanted.  Life is just funny sometimes, we have the answers, we just need assurance.

Later on, I tell myself that it's time I set my focus straight again and make sure that I am on track. And I realized that, that's the beauty about life, about being in a Human body; you make mistakes, you missed a chance, but you never really ever did missed it completely because you have the next day to relive it again, and another week, month and finally another year.

It's like a freakin' ball game you know (even though we don't have baseball here in Malaysia), you will never strike out, even though the umpire catches the ball first before you hit homerun because everyday is a new ball game.

I'm mighty proud of myself though. I recently encouraged myself to do the One Zentangle a Day 6-week course book by Beckah Krahula. It's a self-learning course that allows me to do it at my own pace. I've always wanted to take up courses, and I think besides enrolling at actual classes, I would enjoy self-learning courses as much as attending classes too. Helps with establishing some self-discipline and perhaps I needed this to nudge me forward to do the other mixed media online courses that I've been wanting to do too.

I look forward to a better year, a brand new year.