The One About Taiwan

Before the year came to an end, Vee and I were packed up to squeeze in one last travel experience. We had been booked up til Hong Kong for a while but couldn’t quite agree on the end destination. The cost of travel and the weather always play a big role in our shortlisting criteria. Having just been back from India, I was looking for low humidity and cooler temperatures. Taiwan made the cut.

I have to be honest though, I wasn’t overly excited about Taiwan at the beginning. But the more I read on it, the more adventurous it seemed to be. And so, it was decided – we would be spending our Christmas in Taiwan [an added benefit of this was, Taiwan doesn’t have public holidays for Christmas and Boxing Day, which meant that all things would be operating as normal].

We had only 5 days in Taiwan so we based ourselves in Taipei and planned to do day trips from the capital. Taiwan was actually our first trip without a somewhat detailed itinerary of what we wanted to do and see. Perhaps it the enormous number of things to do in Taipei itself, or the short duration of our trip, or maybe [definitely] the food scene in Taipei, but our unplanned days went frighteningly well.

During the day time, we did the normal touristy stuff but when the night came, we found ourselves in the Shilin Night Market on the first night – and we were hooked. If you are headed to Taipei, you CANNOT give the night markets a miss. These places are a treasure – you get to feast to your hearts content on fresh and delicious food. Vee and I had actually thought to go and check out the pubs and clubs on a couple of nights but every night, we end up stuffing our faces at different night markets. No kidding.

A lot of what one would want to do in Taiwan is pretty easy to manage, so I won’t go over those things. However, if you decide to go to Jiufen, which you should – its gets a bit complicated [especially if you cant read/speak Mandarin]. So I am writing this blog post to talk about another blog post which we used and it saved us lots of time and frustration.

While researching for our trip, we came across this post by Chris on Eat Travel Greet and we followed the instructions to the letter. It made what would otherwise have been a stressful trip a breeze. Seriously. It was raining cats and dogs, the wind was blowing from all directions and, we were sharing one umbrella. The last thing I wanted to do was get on the wrong train.

Another good day trip to take is to Yehliu Geopark which as these amazing landscape and geo formations. We used Go! Taipei Metro app to figure out which bus to catch to Yehliu; and around Taipei. The bus ride costs around 100TWD and takes less than 2 hours.

All in all, even though the weather was crappy most days we were there, we greatly enjoyed our trip to Taipei and wished we had more time. Taiwanese cuisine is to die for, and the cost of travel within the country is relatively cheap.

The One About the Birthday Prints

So we have just entered my birthday month and I have been reminiscing the grand time I had last year. My dearest threw me a birthday party and invited the 30 most nearest and dearest to me.

A number of gifts I received were beautiful fabric in Pacific Islands, Indonesian, and African prints. Most of these I had stitched right away, but never got around to posting about them.

Of the Pacific Island prints, I made straight dresses dressed up in belts or bows. The African/Ankara print was made into a fit and flare dress with off-shoulders.

The black batik print is what I haven’t dared to stitch yet. Hopefully I get the time to work on it before the next time I turn 30!

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The One About Golden Planters

A couple of years back I bought a little succulent plant from the ROC market in Suva. I am not much of a gardener nor am I a lover of all plants. My love is limited to palms, ferns, succulents, and cacti. And it seems my skills in keeping plants alive is even more limited. However for some reason, succulents thrive in my little urban garden. So much so that I have to keep on giving them away every few months so that I have at least one cups worth of space on my coffee table.

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To keep the plants in check, I trim them every now and then. The trims and leaves form new plants. And new plants require new planters. So I took to reusing old cups, and chipped dishes as planters, and soon I ran out of them. I also used peanut cans as planters, but that wasn’t enough. So then I had the bright idea of using food cans [especially tuna cans].

I collected the cans over a few months to have enough to transplant a bunch of succulents. Its important to peel off the label before cutting the can open otherwise the paper gets stuck in the upper bit of the can. Once the cans were clean and dry, I sprayed them with my golden spray paint. Let them dry and wallah!…I had myself some pretty looking planters for my tiny succulents.

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Succulents make great party favours. I have previously used store bought plastic planters, and gave them a rustic look with brown paper and strings. But these golden onces really up the game.

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The One About the Overlap Dresses

It was a beautiful Saturday morning when I found myself [yet again] in Atlas somehow. To tell you the truth, it isn’t at all coincidental that we park in MHCC for our Saturday trips to the Suva market; it makes for an easy detour to Atlas 🙂

What caught my eye on this particular Saturday were these rolls of jersey fabric going for $4 a metre. Now, if you have read about my previous projects you would know that I LOVE stretchy fabric. It has the advantage of a fitted piece without worrying too much about zippers. Anyways, I bought a grey and maroon piece to be transformed into overlap dresses.

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The end results were slightly different from what I had set out to do. Firstly, I wasn’t sure the hanging overlap would look as good as it does in the sketch and secondly, I decided I wanted to wear the maroon piece to work, so I added shoulders.

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The One About One Meter Dresses

It has been a while since my last project. Keeping a work-life balance is difficult sometimes. And sometimes, I am lazy.

Eventhough lazy, create I must. So I have been working on simple shift dresses. Over the last few months of 2016, I had been hoarding fabric. I had bought multiple prints in only one meter pieces. Initally I had though I would make blouses out of these (I am becoming a pant person) but assessing the amount of fabric that would be leftover and potentially unuseable, I decided against it. Went with shift dresses instead.

These dresses are simple to cut and stitch. I have previously made a few without sleeves, but the fabric width allowed sleeves so I went for it. Of the seven prints, 3 were of similar fabric, soft and flowy; and these are the ones which I transformed into summer shifts.

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The One About the Handblock Fabric Planters

For sometime now I have been trying to find a monochrome fabric to cover up the old and ugly planter for my yellow palm. I considered just changing the pot, but decided against it as I am afraid I might damage the roots while re-potting. So I thought of placing it in a fabric plant holder. I especially liked this idea as I could easy change the planter if I wanted to shift the plant to a room with a different colour scheme.

While looking for and failing to find the right print/feel for the fabric, I came across this canvas type white fabric at Atlas [Suva City branch]. It had the right feel, but no prints. No problem I thought to myself, you can do your own designs. And so here I was this weekend, cutting out stencils from used plastic binder covers and getting fabric paint under my nails.

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I made one big planter and had fabric left over, so made a few smaller ones as well. I am absolutely pleased with the outcome!

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Just for reference, here is a picture of what I am hiding under that gorgeous planter.

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The One About the Black Long Coat

While planning for our trip to Europe in August, I desperately searched for a long coat. One that wasn’t too thick but would still provide some cover on a chilly evening. Needless to say, I didn’t find anything to my liking anywhere in Suva.

Since I had already set my mind on a long coat, I couldn’t shake off the idea. So, I created one 🙂

Its a simple make, but took me a good 3 hours  to cut and stitch as I had never made a coat before. I have since then taken every opportunity to sport the SJmade piece around the world!

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