It all started at the beginning of Singapore’s circuit breaker where I chanced upon some ads that Polymer Clay jewellery makers posted on Instagram. That was when I took notice and showed my mom about this new craft that we might both enjoy.
Moments later, she googled more about it and immediately “took action”. We bought our first set of polymer clay on Spotlight. While we waited for it to arrive, we went through many tutorials and beginner guides online to find out how we could get started with this new craft. My mom was all along into handicrafts as she designed many resin pendants since four years ago.
Finally, after a week (feels very long tbh as we were so excited to start after seeing all the tutorials online), we received our starting materials. Polymer clay of different colors from Sculpey Premo & Accents.
What I felt when creating crafts with Polymer Clay?
“It is just like PLAY-DOH!” I exclaimed. The texture was just right after conditioning the clay. Not too soft not too hard and sticky. It was fairly simple to work with. There was an indescribable happiness I’ve felt when I saw my “babies” come to live after baking in the oven. 😀 I still get that joy when I pull out a tray baked beauties.
Over time, I explored different styles and not sure why but I feel that braiding polymer clay is just so satisfying. Seeing how each braid overlaps nicely on top of the other but at the same time ensuring that not too much pressure is applied. Otherwise, there will be those dents on the back of the braids. Lots of attention and patience are placed into creating these delicate pieces.
These are some styles that I have experimented and created thus far…
So what’s next for us?
We will definitely be creating a lot more designs of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, charms, and 3D printed polymer clay cutters which will be made available for sale on our website.
On top of that, we will also be creating some polymer clay tutorials and beginner guides based on our experience thus far. Do keep a lookout for more updates by following us on Instagram!
For those who had visited the Land of the Rising Sun (Japan), I’m sure you had brought home the cliché variety of KitKat or bottles of sake for your loved ones. If you want to be a little more original during your next trip to Japan, you might want to consider getting these beautifully designed Daruma Dolls that are handcrafted with high quality workmanship from the Japanese.
The Daruma is a traditional Japanese doll which people believe could help them achieve their goals and obtain good luck. During my past three trips to Japan, I had brought home these dolls to display on my shelves but little did I know about the history behind them… Until now. If you are like me, attracted by their designs, do stay on and read the rest of this post where I will explain their slightly disturbing origin, the types of dolls and how to use them.
So… what actually led to the rise of Daruma Dolls?
The Daruma dolls have symbolic representations where the shape was modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen sect of Buddhism. Zen believers stress the importance of meditation and takes no interest in doctrinal refinements. Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5/6th century CE and credited with the conveyance of Zen Buddhism practices to China and subsequently to Japan and eventually became very popular in the West from mid 20th century. Its actual origin is muddled with mystery as there the documentation of his life is mixed with legends.
According to one tradition, Bodhidharma stopped in a Shaolin monastery in China for sometime and continued his travels until he decided to meditate in a cave. He was famous for his practice of wall-gazing. Legend goes saying that Bodhidharma meditated for nine years straight without moving, eyes fixated to the wall and seated in a cross-legged position without taking breaks or closing his eyes. Except for one occasion, after seven years. He was so infuriated with himself and grabbed a knife to cut off his very own eyelids to make sure that he will never fall asleep again. The pieces of eyelids which fell to the ground eventually sprouted green tea leaves which eventually became a belief among Asian people that drinking green tea helps one to stay awake. Of course, Science would explain that it is due to the caffeine inside it but legends explains that the tea was created because of the “eyelid-plant”.
The goriness does not end there… Bodhidharma also suffered from the loss of his four limbs where legends said that it had gradually withered and fell off his body due to nine whole years of immobility.
This is why the Daruma resembles the head and torso without all limbs. Also, it is believed to have exhibited all characteristics of Bodhidharma and it is often associated with the Japanese proverb ‘nanakorobi yaoki – 七転び八起き’ which means ‘fall down seven times, stand up eight’. The Daruma might look unstable at first glance but just a mere push, it will still come right back up. It is a symbol of resilience and recuperation.
How to use Daruma Dolls?
I hope that the morbid history behind the Daruma Dolls did not scare you off and you might want to know more on how you can actually use them to your favor. These dolls are believed to be able to help one achieve their goals and dreams by providing them luck and the strength to be resilient. They are also popular gifts of encouragement in the Japanese culture where they are often commercialized by the Buddhist temples to help with goal setting.
Initially, the Daruma’s eyes are blank and you will have to make a wish and paint one of the eyes. Once your wish or goal is realised, you can then paint the other eye to thank the god for your achievement.
However, do note that these Daruma charms have an effectiveness of only one year. After a year, you should return it to the temple from where you had purchased it and burn them regardless of whether you had attained your goals. This is a symbol of freeing the god and it is not meant to be treated as giving up on one’s goals but it is a renewal of one’s vows by purchasing another Daruma. There is even a ceremony named Daruma Kuyo is held in several temples in Japan where tons of Daruma dolls are burnt altogether. The next ceremony will be held at the Nishiarai Daishi Temple in early Feb 2021.
Modern day Daruma
Let’s talk about the colors. In modern day Daruma designs, the color of the doll varies. The most common being red as it originated from Bodhidharma’s red robes. Also, in the Asian culture, red symbolizes prosperity, good luck and fortune. There was also another myth that the color red was due to the smallpox incident that occurred during the Edo period in Japan. Children who was diagnosed with the illness had to wear red hoods. If they died, they were often wrapped up in red funeral robes. As such, the Daruma are typically red as it associates with this myth and symbolizes resilience and wishing one to have a speedy recovery.
Today, there are many uses of the Daruma design as it could be vastly seen adorned as bracelet charms, pendants and even tattoos.
Even the Daruma doll’s facial hair has a symbolic meaning. The eyebrow represents the shape of the crane and the mustache takes after the tortoise. This was to match the Japanese proverb of ‘the crane lives 1,000 years, the turtle 10,000’.
Nowadays, the designs have shifted to using cats and many other forms to be incorporated in Daruma. This inspired me to create and design my own series of Daruma jewellery. I hope that this blog post helped you understand the origins of Daruma dolls and perhaps encourage you to get one during your next visit to the rich heritage and cultural land of the rising sun. 🙂
“Don’t touch this! Don’t touch that! DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE!” Indeed, the situation had become worse as we see countries closing their borders, students abroad returning to their home countries, social distancing at hawker centres and many more… If you are thinking that this post is about reminding you to not touch your face? It’s overrated. This post is dedicated to remind you to not be paranoid… I’m not asking you to throw a “don’t care, won’t affect me” tag across your forehead. But what I am trying to emphasize is the fact that as citizens of our own respective countries, we need to do our part to combat this troublesome, sickening and mad virus. Lemme break it down for you 🙂
Tip 2: Don’t be Paranoid.
Lately, there are many mediums sharing news and fake news about the virus. Just merely scrolling the realm of social media giants, you will stumble across at least five posts on COVID-19 in a minute. Not one but five.
Does this make you feel stressed, confused and scared in times like this? If your answer is a confident “YES” continue reading. Even if your answer is “NO”, let’s just continue reading as you might have some ideas on what to do after reading it 😀
How can you have a peace of mind and not be overly paranoid?
Firstly, eat healthily with at least two servings of fruits each day and cut down on sugary food especially the snacks you munch on while staying at home to chill and watch Netflix all day, everyday. This will help you to boost your immune system to function properly and combat the virus. At the same time, for ladies out there, it will help maintain your weight while binge watching your favourite dramas.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.. Be it dancing to your favourite music at home or taking a walk around your neighborhood, WHO recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity everyday for adults and an hour for children. This was part of WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 on 20 March 2020.
If possible, head out of your house to walk or jog or run while either wearing a mask (if you have sufficiently stocked up before the virus) or keep at least 1m distance from others. If you are “grounded” at home, mediate, search for exercise videos on YouTube, walk around your house. It’s awesome if your house have stairs, walk up and down like a gazillion times 😀 Trust me, you will feel great after sweating it out (maybe even in your PJs) but who cares right! You’re at home. Just exercise and move about comfortably.
For workaholics, GET UP! Move about every 45-60minutes. Un-glue yourself from your chair even if your have your back support cushion there or your thousand dollar product. You still need to move. Now, sing it with me!
“I like to move it, move it I like to move it, move it I like to move it, move it” – Madagascar
For those who are bored at home, listen to music, read a book, watch Netflix? These activities sound pretty individualistic horh? Don’t fret, if you crave social gatherings and want to interact with people. Grab your Mom, your Dad, your Brother, your Sister, your Ah-Ma, your Ah-Gong. Sit down and play board game! Or Mahjong! HAHA. It helps to stimulate your brain while spending quality time with your family members. Of course, for gamers out there, play Dota la! Can interact with people leh! See lah! all my Singlish also come out liao. Jia-lut… Not so bad after all right? Staying at home lar-gi best! If you think you poor thing, nothing to do at home… check out this video below. I can guarantee after watching it, you can say bye-bye to all your complains.
Okay now for the last tip below, dun say I never say horh…
If you do go out, please maintain your hygiene. Watch what you are touching and remember to sanitize or wash your hands whenever possible. Please carry tissues with you and cover your mouth with it if you accidentally cough, maybe due to dust? Let’s keep our fingers crossed and check out the video below.
For a more Asian touch, check out KING KONG NEWS NETWORK close up interview with Mr. Batman aka Mr. Bad Man’s family on how their special anti-COVID19 methods.
With that, I’ll end this post with a big thank you for reading through this and I hope that this post has reminded you to keep calm and carry on whilst being careful when you are outside. Keep a lookout for When Covid-19 strikes: Part 3!
Do also check out my previous post on not circulate fake news, if you haven’t done so!
“Sia la…. Tonite cannot go out again :(” Excuse my singlish and short-forms but the COVID-19 threat is real, and rapidly getting worse… Surely, many of you are nervous and some are unsure of the validity of the information you are reading. As such, I have compiled 3 most important tips that we must all practice to keep the virus at bay so that we can continue with our daily lives. Also, a big thank you to all front-line workers working non-stop to take care of patients and ensuring that our surroundings are properly disinfected.
Tip 1: Don’t circulate fake news
Given that we could easily access information rich social media applications, we are an easy target for those who wish to cause unnecessary social anxiety. Fake news is nothing new but what’s new is how easy it’s become to share information with friends and family. Many are often guilty of not pausing to check the source before sharing which lead to fake news spreading further till the point that it will be difficult to retrace the steps once it gets viral. Now… let’s get critical.
Who sent it?
Received the info or link from your friend or a family member? PAUSE, TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND COUNT TO TEN. If it is a url to a website, check the link. What is the domain name? Beware of sites that end with a second-level domain like “<yourNewsProvider>.com.co”. It might be designed with the intention to trick you to click on it. If you received a picture/info-graphics, check for spellling errrrrors (<–on purpose) and verify the logo source. If so, do not share with others. I repeat, DO NOT SHARE! If you still have doubts, you can use tools such as Google Reverse Image Search to determine if the image was altered.
One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes receiving news from various news agencies on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter might seem trustworthy. However… it is so easy for one to create a fake account claiming to be a reputable source (when they are not) – just like the image below. As such, I cannot iterate enough but please.. let us all question the source we are reading and receiving.
What’s the content?
Ask yourself, “Is this post or story trying to persuade me to do something?” If so, let’s examine the evidence. A credible article will include many facts and quotes from experts with actual data and charts to back up their claims. Another way to discern if an information is true is to see who else is reporting the news as well. For the very some piece of information, are news providers such as Channel News Asia and The Straits Times reporting similarly?
The Smart Local had also published an article about the chain of fake news that caused public panic and turmoil, check it out here.
Important links to keep abreast of the latest COVID-19 news and updates:
On a lighter note, check this video out! Mikey shares that he uses tabo instead of toilet paper since everyone across the globe is panic buying it. His humor will definitely keep you entertained (especially if you are working from home) for the next 5 minutes!
Stay safe everyone and don’t forget to wash your hands! 🙂 Do keep a lookout for my next post coming out real soon.