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Fix It Friday - The Extra Hole In Your Trainers

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Fix It Friday -  The Extra Hole In Your Trainers
How do you wear your trainers?
Do you lace them all the way to the top?
Or do you leave that last hole unlaced?

fixing trainers

I have no issue with my trainers. After 4 years, the soles and outers are still in very good condition (I wear them once a week).  However, I have holes at the inner heel of each foot. I showed my husband and he replied, "That's what happens when you don't lace all the holes".

Oh really? Yes, really!

I never took the last holes seriously at all.

What are the holes for?
Well the extra shoe-lace hole is there to stop our feet from sliding out of the shoes and, more importantly, stop your heels getting blisters. Since I haven't been using that extra hole, my feet have been rubbing against the heels of the trainers and now they have holes. Tying them up will mean you can't be lazy and just slip your feet on and into your trainers. Besides, you don't want to ruin your trainers right?

[Note to self - must get the kids to use the last lace hole so that they don't slip their trainers on and off, and end up ruining them!]

fixing trainers

I'm going to fix it
So to stop the holes getting bigger, my top hole will be laced up, and I have now added a bit of felt to the inner heels. I just used white craft glue and stuck a piece of scrap denim that was slightly bigger than the hole.

I'm good to go! Hopefully these trainers will last me a little longer.

Do you have any tips on how to make your trainers last a bit longer?

fixing trainers

My Wardrobe Audit - I have too many clothes

My Wardrobe Audit - I have too many clothes
Yes, it's true! I may upcycle, I may sew, I may love making things, but I have too many clothes.
I happily thought that I had less than 20 items but when I started auditing my wardrobe last week .... oh, two......forty......!!

wardrobe audit

Wardrobe Audit
So this is what I have (includes upcycled items as well):

20 tops (inclusive of t-shirts, work shirts, and lots of upcycled ones)
5 dresses (three upcycled, one swapped and the other just very old!)
4 casual trousers
2 pairs of jeans (one mended)
5 pairs of shorts  (two mended, one upcycled)
2 yoga pants
2 jackets (one upcycled)
LOTS of corporate shirts (from previous company functions)
1 pair of trainers
1 pair of plimsolls
2 pairs of sandals
1 pair of Birkenstocks
3 pairs of formal shoes (2 x black and 1 x red)

And the most ridiculous thing is that most of the office items were from my time when I was deskbound. Well, you know what this means...they have never been worn since I left my job in 2012 .... 3 whole years untouched and in my wardrobe. In fact, I did give some away to the Clothes Swap in September.  I think I am still in the "I will upcycle it" stage, but considering it has been 3 years, I don't think it will happen.

wardrobe audit

Not only will I not be getting more stuff, but I will be clearing some of it out, and thinking about what needs to be part of my wardrobe. AND if I do upcycle, I will make sure that I wear it.  Time to sort out my clothes!

Do you have too many clothes?
wardrobe audit
PS - I think I should include shoes as well!

Sustainable Fashion Awareness - Connected Threads Asia

Sustainable Fashion Awareness - Connected Threads Asia
I haven't been posting as many DIY upcycling tutorials as I would like to lately. This is because I've been busy with a friend, Raye Padit, organising awareness events about sustainable fashion, and really thinking about my next move in life (okay, that sounds drastic, but more on that in a later blog post!). 

It's been a very exciting journey for us - the idea was mooted during a casual conversation a year ago, well actually at the "A Darn Good Mending Cafe" at Mini Maker Faire.  A few questions came to mind:

1. Why don't people make eco friendly fashion choices?
2. Why don't people consume only when needed?
3. Why don't more fashion designers help grow a sustainable fashion industry?
4. Why is Singapore not catching up in the sustainable fashion industry?

One year (and many conversations later), we decided to set up a "for purpose organisation" , Connected Threads Asia, a platform for all stakeholders of the fashion industry to come together and get the conversation going on how to make Singapore's fashion industry a sustainable one. The organisation will also be the country coordinator for Fashion Revolution Singapore. 

I am really excited and very hopeful for this movement to grow - I must say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has been reading my blog over the past 8 years too.  I don't think I would be sitting here writing about this without your support. 

Our first official event (and launch!) will be on 23 October (7pm) with the Singapore premiere of award winning documentary, Cotton Road, followed by a panel discussion with industry experts. 

If you live in Singapore, I do hope you can make it and take part in the discussion. It would be lovely to see everyone.

Fix It Friday - Fixing Yourself, Making It Better

Last week's Fix It Friday almost didn't happen because I had such a hard time getting out of bed throughout the week - I had a really bad migraine. It's the first time I had experienced it. I was actually wondering whether it was due to hormonal changes, stress or even dietary issues. I needed to fix myself!

I had to cancel all my appointments and then I had doubts about Friday too.

Eventually, I just had to reach for my Panadol .... and Friday happened, but it felt like a quick fix rather than something long term.

Friday Happened - Better Encounters

So when Friday happened, I met a wonderful lady before my Fix It Friday session. Vinisha of Better Breads bakes lovely vegan breads - no eggs, no preservatives, and her special ingredient - love! I watched her bake her bread and ended up buying two loaves - Bread Velvet and Golden Harvest.

I watched how fulfilled the ladies were at my Fix It Friday - they learned how to repair zippers, and by hand too!

After Friday
After Friday, and the migraine episode, I've decided to take better care of myself.

If I don't take care of myself, how can I get creative?

Eat Better
I will try to buy organic if I can afford it but I will definitely eat more greens and vegetables, grains and DIY my own. Fewer unhealthy snacks. We started to make our own nut butters; this one's cashew nut with pumpkin seed.

Give Time To Yourself
I only just realised why people go on sabbaticals; it's not to be lazy (as most people think) but to replenish themselves, get inspired, plan, and focus on the things that are important. I'm going to have small breaks throughout the day, go for a walk in the park, meditate, and if things get bad then a longer break! Oh, and it means switching off those gadgets too.....Ommm......

Prunus cerasifera / Cherry plum

I now do yoga every morning before I start work, and it helps me refocus. I've started following Yoga with Adriene  on her 30 day yoga programme.  You might not like yoga, so pick a sport that works for you. Gosh, you could even do dancing!

Have a Schedule
I think I'm at the age where I can't do late nights anymore. I feel much better when I stick to an early bedtime (ie no later than 10pm) and waking up earlier too.
A schedule also means planning out my day. Not a "what to do list" but when you are going to do what and between what hours of the day. I find this works for me and I get less stressed.

Personal organizer and pink flowers on desk

While I was writing this post, I realised how important it is to take care of ourselves, not just for the people around you but for yourself.  It makes us feels so much better (no migraines so far!), and it does help to get your creative mojo back if you're going through a rut.  I'll let you know how it goes.

How do you fix yourself to stay better?

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Fabric Origami Embellishments - Workshop

Fabric Origami Embellishments - Workshop
One of the basic techniques of making is folding - folding paper, folding textiles or even folding plastic. I've been experimenting with folds, and my initial inspiration came from two talented ladies from Hong Kong, Phoebe and Kar, who run Stitch Paperie and Knot, respectively.

"Stitch Paperie" is a lifestyle brand focused on using paper as a design element. It is devoted to merging traditional embroidery art into innovative designs and creations. "Knot" is a fashion brand of parentage clothing which is focused on womenswear and kids wear.

Both ladies came together to offer origami embellished clothing, and have shared it as a good way of enhancing garments. 

"I like exploring new games with my son,  especially enjoy old/traditional stuffs/ games. ……I want my sons to be curious on things around, not only focus on digital media things, ....I was brainstorming for new ideas and came up withthe idea of using fabric to replace paper to do the origami animals."  Kar

"We are interested in all the things about paper, especially origami, it simple and fun, which give children as well as adults imaginative; we are happy to found our friend Knot actually did this,  so we invited her to have workshop in our shop, and apply more interesting stitching techniques on it and introduce to our friends" Phoebe

Phoebe and Kar encouraged me try out my own origami embellishments, and it has been very satisfying.  This is what I got. 

origami embellishments

Join me at Earthfest Singapore

I will be sharing how to at Earthfest Singapore. Do drop by on 26 Sept, 11am - 330pm, Marina Barrage. I will be at the Maker  Faire space!

5 Reasons Why You Should Like Handmade Jewelry

5 Reasons Why You Should Like Handmade Jewelry
5 Reasons Why You Should Like Handmade Jewelry

Do You Like Handmade?
A couple of days ago, I was having a conversation with a friend about handmade goods. You see, she sells handmade jewelry, and she was lamenting at the fact why people would bargain with her and not see the value behind her products.

It really hurt her when someone said,
 "Why would I pay this much when I can get something for less from (insert high street fast fashion store)?"

Well. I am a sucker for all things handmade, not just with garments but jewelry as well. I was recently introduced to UncommonGoods , a platform that brings together designers and artisans who are passionate about the products they make.  I found a range of jewelry that was not only handmade but some of which were even made from recycled materials.  You can find more of their gorgeous pieces here and here

Here's why I like handmade.

#1 Attention to Detail
In contrast to mass manufacturing techniques, jewelry makers spend hours with each piece, making sure the design is perfected and ensuring there are no flaws.  Most makers use traditional jewelry skills and fabrication techniques which add to the depth of the pieces.  

#2 Unique Pieces
What you can be assured of is that you won't be caught off-guard wearing the same necklace as another guest at a dinner. Hand-crafted jewelry pieces are made by the hands of the artisan, who will carefully take their designs from concept, to prototype and finally to product.  Remember, an individual maker can only churn out a fraction of the items that a machine can, and because of the nature of the making process, no two pieces will be the same.

#3 Quality
The artisans spend hours and energy on one piece, and take the necessary steps and time to hone their skills to perfection. But because they are dealing with a smaller number of pieces as compared with the mass manufactured market, they have better control over the quality of the pieces.

#4 The Story Behind It
"Who made it?"
"Where did it come from?"

Every handmade item has a beautiful story behind it - perhaps a tale of what inspired the maker to create it, or insights to the intimate relationship between the maker and the making process. 

#5 Sustainable Practices
Most jewelry artisans ensure that their sources are not only reliable but share the same sustainable and ethical practices as them, while others use recycled materials in their designs.  What can be certain is that makers have more control over the material they use and where they are sourced from.

At UncommonGoods, you will find sustainable practices incorporated into their business decisions, from their commitment to offering handmade, recycled, and organic products, to donating a US$1 for good for every order received (and you get to select the non-profit who receives it!)

So, do you like handmade and why? Comment below!

This is a sponsored post. All views are my own.
All items shown are available at UncommonGoods