Tag Archives: singapore

One Stop #socialmediaclass by Erin Loechner

I’m always eager to learn more about social media. I feel like my knowledge is not yet sufficient and I was so psyched to learn that Bloesem was offering a class by Erin Loechner.

Erin Loechner from Clementine Daily, DesignforMankind and DesignforMiniKind

Erin is a US-based professional blogger, founder of Clementine Daily, and author of two award winning websites: DesignforMankind and DesignforMiniKind. This friendly lady definitely has the right credentials to teach this class.

What I liked about the class was that Erin encouraged us to ask questions and she let us pick her mind. She gave her insight and helped us develop a simple Social Media Plan.

Working on my To Do list this week

To make the most out of this class, it is best to have a basic understanding of the different social media tools available. It’s not every day that you get to talk to a social media expert so prepare your questions in advance.

Delicious Curry Noodle and such a refreshing Mango Lemongrass drink

I had a great time in the class and I got to connect a little with my other classmates. The food was excellent, as usual, and the space was a lovely setting for a class since it was flooded with natural light. I’m sure I’ll be back for another Bloesem class.

From left to right: Maggie (not.a.sponge*), Imelda, Erin (instructor), Sally (Find and Seek Books), Me and Renee (Travel Shopa, not present in the photo)

Interview: Ella from The Curious Wonderer

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Ella Zheng and I am a Singaporean Designer. I currently hold a BA (Hons) in both Fashion Design and Graphic Design.

I am a designer who loves simplicity, clean layouts and type. I have found a new level of confidence and love for experimentation through my latest project, Destination: Play. Aside from that, I also enjoy churning out vector illustrations, zines, personal projects and making fun craft .

In the future, I hope to be able to nurture the Singaporean’s mindset towards design.

2. How did you come up with your shop or brand name?

The products and philosophy behind The Curious Wonderer reflects my personality — constantly curious about things and how stuff works.

3. What got you into crafting/arts/illustration?

I started doing vector illustrations after coming across many awesome works of art. When I finally learned how to make them, I was overjoyed and never stop making since.

My calling for craft came much later in life. To me, crafting and “making things” are two different entities — the difference being that crafting is about refining what you make. I wasn’t good at craft from the start, which sparked me to start the project, Destination: Play, to challenge and improve myself.

4. What do you make and why do you make them?

I make Destination: Play badges, Finder Keepers (my envelope books), paper poms, clay items and a colouring book filled with all my own illustrations that encourage children to create a story on the back page!

I like making and designing fun little objects, it brings a smile to people’s faces. I like how design can make someone happy. I also like hacking an object’s function and making it into something else. I want others to have fun with my products.

5. Do you have a favorite item that you created? Is it sold or still available for purchase?

My favourite product is the Destination: Play Badges! They are very special to me. I did a project, Destination: Play. It is about stepping out of the comfort zone. The badges were originally achievement badges, if you perform a specific task such as “Experiment with different materials in your designs”- you will be awarded the “Visual Scientist” badge. The idea behind the badges was inspired by the “Young Scientist Series” in my younger days, where you complete a certain science task and is awarded with a badge.

The series is still available in store, individually and in a set of 10!

Destination: Play Badges

6. Are you a full time artist, designer or crafter? If not would you like to be?

I am a full time designer who loves to make things.

7. Do you have any favorite blogs or resources that you can share to our readers?

I love Eat Drink Chic! I would like to also like to share my photo blog, Wandering with Ella (http://ellawanders.tumblr.com). I love exploring and there are many interesting places in Singapore, I have yet to discover. Everyone loves saying how boring Singapore is but I am sure they have yet to explore such places. I am showing another side of Singapore to everyone and I am enjoying every bit of it!

The Curious Wonderer

Online Shopping Coupons in Singapore

I love to shop online and get great deals. I usually sign up for the newsletters of my favorite brands to get the scoop on their latest products and promotions. As a smart shopper, I like to compare prices to decide which places give me the best value.

Got my goodies and some freebies to boot

I’ve been looking for a place to buy the Tangle Teezer for a few weeks now and I was on the fence if I should buy from the UK or get the brush from Luxola since I was just getting one item and the shipping would probably even-out the cost.

Strip Brazilian IPL Voucher, Ren Resurfacing AHA Concentrate, Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, Luxola Ribbon Hair Tie, Shaun the Sheep Tangle Teezer Brush

I was glad to find out about flipit.com where they had vouchers for some of the top shopping sites in Singapore. When I searched their site last week, they had a 30% discount voucher for Luxola so I bought the Tangle Teezer and the Ren Resurfacing AHA Concentrate. Here you can find the promo codes for online purchases at Luxola.

The Tangle Teezer is for my crazy-frizzy-fine hair which needs so much TLC. I figured I should get a brush that is supposed to gently untangle knots while minimizing breakage to my locks since I need to brush my wet hair as I’m rushing off to work.

Hype or Hope: Tangle Teezer Edition

I was also excited to find an AHA concentrate product available here in Singapore. I’ve been scouring the malls for the past few months looking such a product. I used to buy an AHA facial serum from my dermatologist overseas.

I’ll be testing these products and posting a review here so stay tuned.

Flexible Fountain Pen for Calligraphy

Fountain Pen for Calligraphy: Not all fountain pens are suitable for use in practicing calligraphy. Some fountain pens work better with certain styles of calligraphy. This post is focused on flexible fountain pens that is typically used in styles like Modern Calligraphy, Copperplate or Spencerian.

Practicing calligraphy with a dip pen and a bottle of ink is ideal but it is not always convenient when you are on the go. A good alternative would be to use a fountain pen with a flexible nib that somehow mimics an old fashioned nib.

Fountain Pen for Calligraphy

Most fountain pen manufacturers these days are cautious in labeling their fountain pen as flexible and even some advertise that the nibs are flexible but they do not cut the mustard. So to help you decide what fountain pen to purchase, I’ve decided to share a review of the flex fountain pens that we own.

Test Parameters:

– Point of comparison for hand writing pressure to flex the nib: soft to medium pressure
– Paper: Muji dotted notebook
– Fountain Pens: Vintage Waterman 92, Pilot FA 742, and Noodler’s Creaper Flex

Fountain Pen for Calligraphy

Vintage Fountain Pen (Waterman 92)

This pen was a present for Lex which I bought from sizer65 on eBay. I got good recommendations on where to buy vintage fountain pens online from the Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers page in Facebook. This group of fountain pen enthusiasts is very friendly and helpful so you may want to check out their page if you’re looking for fountain pen recommendations and reviews.

Guidelines for buying vintage fountain pens online:
– Look for pictures of writing samples that show line variation
– Look for terms like flexible, flex, super flex, or wet noodle
– It must be described as fully functional or restored
– Google and see if the pen really performs as described by the seller based on reviews by other owners
– Check the sellers feedback
– Check with the seller if the fountain pen requires soft pressure to make swells and hairlines
– Ask the seller questions when in doubt

It was reasonably priced however the line variation was not what I expected. I thought that it would produce the same line variation as the Pilot FA 742 or better, but it produced a thinner swell. The pressure required to create swells would be from soft to medium but the tricky part is in creating hairlines since the fountain pen required a light touch to maintain a thin and consistent hairline. I know this sounds contradictory but this pen is just a tad quirky.

Vintage Waterman 92 Summary:
– Flexible: Yes
– Likes: Good line variation
– Dislikes: Takes any ink however a medium pressure is required to make line variations
– Line Variation: Medium Swells and Thin Hairlines
– Pressure Required to create line variation: Medium pressure for swells and light pressure for hairlines
– Ink: Works with most fountain pen inks
– Price: $60-100
– Where to buy: Online or eBay (sizer65)

Pilot FA 742

I bought the Pilot FA 742 after some intensive research online. It is a great flex pen that is comparable to old fashioned nibs. It is pricey compared to other flex pens in the market but I think it is worth it.

The line variation I get from this pen is still the best compared to all other fountain pens that I’ve tried. This is my favorite fountain pen so far.

Pilot FA 742 Summary:
– Flexible: Yes
– Likes: Great line variation
– Dislikes: Picky with ink and railroads if you write in flex mode really fast
– Line Variation: Thick Swells and Thin Hairlines
– Pressure Required to create line variation: Soft
– Ink: Works best with Pilot inks
– Price: USD $190 or SGD $236++
– Where to buy: Online or local fountain pen shops (Fook Hing Trading)

Noodler’s Creaper Flex

 We were so excited to get the Noodler’s Creaper Flex since it was the cheapest flex pen with good online reviews. The pen requires heavy pressure to make it flex. Lex can easily make the pen flex but I struggle to make swells as I need to insert heavy pressure and only get minimal results. I must say that I am a bit disappointed with this pen

There are some folks here in Singapore, like Urner Hoo, who provide nib grinding services to make nibs more flexible. He sells modified Noodler’s Ahab pens at $80.

Noodler’s Creaper Flex – Original

– Flexible: Yes
– Likes: Ok line variation and great value for the price
– Dislikes: Required heavy pressure to write in flex mode. Ladies may have a hard time making this pen flex as opposed to the Gents.
– Line Variation: Small to Medium Swells and Thin Hairlines
– Pressure Required to create line variation: Medium to hard pressure for swells and light pressure for hairlines
– Ink: Works with most fountain pen inks
– Price: $20
– Where to buy: Online (Goulet Pens)

Updated on May 1, 2014
Sponsored Section: Urner’s Modified Noodler’s Creaper Flex Pen

I got a Noodler’s Creaper Flex from Urner. I was excited to try the ground-down nib and see how it compares to the original pen. My original complaint was that the unmodified pen is hard and difficult to flex making it harder to practice calligraphy.

Modified (Orange Ink) vs. Unmodified (Teal Ink) Noodler’s Creaper Flex

Below is a comparison on the performance of the modified and unmodified version of the pens.  You get a slightly thicker line with the modified version as opposed to the original pen but the big difference would be on how easy the modified pen is to flex.

Modified (Orange Ink) vs. Unmodified (Teal Ink)

The modified pen came loaded with Calli Ink which is a calligraphy ink and not a traditional fountain pen ink. It dried quickly as opposed to the other fountain pen inks that I used before. It could have something to do with the modified feed which had a small piece of tissue wedged-in to reduce ink flow but I’m not an expert on ink. I was told that the surface tension of Calli Ink (Orange color only) works well with this fountain pen and I’m glad to report that it does. Since this pen is a modified one, it would be best to get some guidance from Urner on what inks he recommends as it may not work as well with just any off the shelf product.

Noodler’s Creaper Flex – Urner’s Modified Nib
– Flexible: Yes
– Likes: Ok line variation and easy to flex as the nib is soft
– Dislikes: Since the pen is modified, you need to tune it to ensure a smooth flow. This does not faze us as we like to tinker with our fountain pens. You also need to be very conscious on how you hold the pen because if you use the wrong angle you may damage the nib over a period of time. This maybe overwhelming for first time fountain pen users, however Urner provides an instruction sheet and he will give you tips on how to use and maintain the pen when you pick it up. You can also message him if you have any aftercare questions or concerns.
– Line Variation: Small to Medium Swells and Thin Hairlines
– Pressure Required to create line variation: Light to Soft pressure for swells and light pressure for hairlines
– Ink: Works best with Calli Ink
– Price: $80
– Where to buy: Urner Hoo (Facebook Message)

Summary:

Overall, I think that the best pen is the Pilot 742 FA however it is pricey. Vintage pens would be the next best alternative but buying them is a bit troublesome and results do vary. The Noodler’s pen is the most affordable and if you don’t like how it flexes, you can always get it modified.

The original Noodler’s Creaper Flex is difficult to flex as it requires more pressure to make the tines part as opposed to the modified version which is very easy to flex however the modified pen requires more maintenance and care.

Stay tuned for my post on the Noodler’s Ahab and Platinum Cool Fountain Pens in the upcoming weeks. These pens are flex and may be used for calligraphy.

Platypus Gourmet2Go and Lobster Shack

We walked past Platypus Gourmet2Go and Lobster Shack a few weeks ago when we went out for a brisk walk. I’ve never tried a lobster roll before so we had to have it for dinner the next day.

Platypus Lobster Shack

We ordered two lobster rolls and to our surprise we got a complimentary bowl of Lobster Bisque. Our server told us that they were gathering feedback from customers since they wanted to put it on the regular menu. I love crabs and lobster but I’ve never really liked bisques so I was a bit apprehensive when I tried it but I really really really love it.

Best Lobster bisque ever!

The bisque was creamy and well balanced. I loved how the roe did not overpower the soup. I’m not familiar with the taste of sea urchin so I can’t really comment on how well the ingredient tasted but all I can say is if they sold a large portion of the lobster and sea urchin bisque, I’d be a regular at their restaurant.

The Traditional Lobster Roll

The Traditional lobster roll had some butter-poached lobster meat with roasted garlic mayonnaise and chives. The bun was buttery and slightly crunchy since it was toasted. The lobster was delicate and a splash of lemon really brightened the flavors.

Smoke Paprika Lobster Roll

The Smoked Paprika lobster roll had butter poached lobster with Spanish paprika with Hollandaise and chervil. I preferred this one to the Traditional Lobster roll since I like strong flavors, but what I really liked about this roll is that although the flavors were strong they did not overpower the taste of the lobster. The dish was well balanced so you could still taste most of the ingredients.

The sides deserve a special mention since they were excellent as well. The truffle chips had a strong truffle flavor and it had a spicy kick which made it taste like truffle and BBQ. I’ve never really liked the taste of truffle until I had their spicy chips. The salad was fresh and the citrus dressing was light and refreshing. You will really feel stuffed after having such a huge meal.

They serve a different menu during the day and the lobster rolls are only served after 6 pm. We were talking about how it would be great to bring guests here. Unfortunately, they are only open on weekdays and they only accept cash so you need to withdraw some money before coming to this place, but it is worth it.

I like how the restaurant is very intimate and the staff is very friendly. The Platypus Gourmet and Lobster Shack is a must-try in our book. If you’re in the Telok Ayer/ Chinatown area, we would recommend trying this place.

Platypus Gourmet2Go and Lobster Shack

  • Website: www.platypuskitchen.com
  • Address: 3 Pickering Street #01-31 Nankin Row Singapore 048660
  • Telephone: 6438 796
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Lobster rolls are only served after 6 pm

Galanga Living

I was in the Henderson area today and I saw the photographer for Galanga Living taking photos in front of their shop. She was styling a living room set with some Ex Voto sacred heart cases so I made a mental note to come back at the end of the day to browse the items in the shop.

Located at 211 Henderson

I bought an Ex Voto last Christmas and I decided that I want to start a collection. I was suprised to find that they sell them here in Singapore since these are a bit difficult to find online. Antique Ex Votos cost hundreds of dollars and even replicas can get pretty pricey so I was glad to find out that the ones so affordable. The small heart costs $15 while the large one costs $30.

Ex Voto Sacred Heart Collectables

I quickly made my way to the counter and asked if I take photos and the shopkeeper gladly obliged. I just love it when stores are accommodating. I took snapshots of my favorite spaces in the shop so you can see what they have in-store.

What I like about this shop is that they have a lot of unique items and cool accents in bright colors. I can just imagine how these colorful accessories will brighten up a space. I’ll definitely come back here to get those Ex Voto hearts soon.

Galanga Living

  • Website: www.galangaliving.com
  • Address: 211 Henderson Road, #01-02, Henderson Industrial Park, Singapore 159552
  • Telephone: 6475 2633

Savour 2014

We went to Savour 2014 last Sunday as a treat after a very busy weekend of workshops, meet-ups  and running around the city. It was our first time at Savour and we were very excited to try the wonderful dishes we’ve heard so much about.

Savour 2014 at Marina Bay

The first dish we tried was from Chef Emmanuel Stroobant  of Saint Pierre and Blue Lotus. The lamb dish was tender on the inside while the crunchy Five Spice exterior enhanced the natural flavor of the meat.

Slow Roasted Organic Lamb Short Ribs Crusted with Five Spices

We had to try the pork dish from Chef Kentaro Torii of Forlino next. The suckling pig dish was tender however I was expecting a more savory dish. It was not as flavorful as I expected and the meat looked pale underneath the harsh sunlight.

Roasted Suckling Pig Loin Porchetta with Sherry Vinegar and Roasted Vegetables

The aged roast beef from Chef Mark Sargeant of Oxwell & Co and Rocksalt really intrigued us. I’ve never tried Yorkshire pudding before and the puffy pastry complemented the 32 day aged Sirloin quite well.

32 Day Aged Roast Sirloin of Angus Beef in a Yorkshire Pudding with Horseradish & Watercress

The homemade honeycomb was crunchy and the fresh cream combined with the dark Valrhona Pudding was surprisingly refreshing on such a hot day.

Valrhona Chocolate Pot, Fresh Cream & Homemade Honeycomb

Since it was so sweltering, we wanted to try another cooling dish and the crab and potato dish from Chef Daniel Chavez from OLA fit the bill. It was refreshing and delicious. Perfect for such a hot day.

Crab and Potato Salad with Spicy Aoli Sauce

We could not pass up the cheese and bread from Chef Christope Paucod of Lugdunum Bouchon Lyonnais. The fresh cheese with chives, garlic and parsley was a great dip for the fresh baguette.

Cervelle Des Canuts Et Sa Baguette De Campagne

The best dish of the day belongs to Chef Christoper Millar from Stellar@1-ALTITUDE. The short rib was so tender and savory that it blew off all the other dishes we’ve tried.

24 Hour Black Angus Short Rib with Soy Caramel

Some of the other dishes we were eager to try were already sold out by time we got there. We would recommend going to this event on the first day at dinner, if it will still be held at the same spot, so you can enjoy the excellent food in the cool night overlooking the stunning Marina Bay vista.

Workshop Review by Hey Jayel

I was checking my comments and pingbacks at lunch when I saw a ping from Hey Jayel. She attended our workshop last weekend and I was keen to read what she thought about it. Please note that this is not a sponsored review from Elle. This feedback is her own.

Source: Hey Jayel

Elle: “It was also great because the class was held in smaller groups so Katrina could provide us feedback and advice as we practice our strokes. During the first part of the workshop we covered the differences between Modern and Traditional Calligraphy and also the different materials needed. I loved the tips that she gave us about nibs, inks and pen holders. I learned more in that half hour she was talking then when I did my research online!”

I was happy to hear that our 2 hour workshop was able to meet its objectives. We made sure that the class size was small so I could check up on each participant’s progress. It means a lot to me that one of our participants felt she learned a lot.

Read her complete review at her blog Hey Jayel.

Interview: Melissa from Dare to Charm

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi everyone! My name is Melissa and I am a jewelry artist from Dare to Charm. I have an obsession for bunnies and like to collect anything photos of bunnies on it. In fact, I have two very adorable Holland Lop rabbits at home. I had them since they were babies and now they are now two and a half years old. In my spare time, I also like to explore the town to scout for new chocolate or desserts shops. Chocolate is my sinful indulgence.

2. How did you come up with your shop or brand name?

I am been known to be a very daring person when I’m among my friends. The word “Dare” conveys a strong and majestic feel for me. In my opinion, we have to be daring to pursue our passion. I started my business by selling handmade jewelry charms so that’s where “Charm” comes from.

3. What got you into jewelry?

Since I was a little girl, I liked to create and draw stuff. Whether it’s a handmade tissue box or hand-drawn postcard, I was always trying out new art forms. I found myself selling my own creations to friends since I was 10 years old. In college, I decided to take a jewelry design course. Looking back, it was a very unusual choice for me since it was a spur of the moment decision. In the end, it turned out that I really loved it and I really enjoyed the course. I got to know great mentors, meet friends with the same passion and this decision brought me closer to discovering my real craft.

4. What do you make and where do you get your inspiration?

I make gemstones carving out of jewelry featuring mainly animal designs. I have always admired the ethnic art and murals from early civilizations and take my inspiration from Greek and Indonesian influences. In Greek mythology, I’ve always been captivated by the Centaur, Medusa, Chimera, and the like. In Indonesian culture, the stories about Hanuman the monkey has always fascinated me. As time goes by, I would like to explore creating bigger jewelry as statement body adornment inspired by these concepts.

5. Do you have a favorite item that you created? Is it sold or still available for purchase?

My favorite piece was the one I created back in school. My school project was titled “SMOKE” and it was a headgear. I created every single detail in that statement piece by hand, from binding every twig to the sterling silver finishing. It was made with recycled tree branches, light bulbs, candle gel and 925K silver wire.

This piece also had a meaningful message behind it. It was a campaign to encourage people to stop smoking. It is a very sentimental piece for me. I have watched people around me, who are either the passive or active smokers, fall sick from the effects of smoking or even have had to say goodbye to some as they have departed from this world. The piece is now in private collection in Indonesia.

SMOKE 2009 Head Adornment

6. Are you a full time artist?

I am a full time artist working on my jewelry collection. One of the causes I champion is animal conservation regardless if the species is endangered or not. I want my jewelry to become a voice to speak for this issue. In fact, I am a volunteer with Singapore Zoo as a docent and if you are at the Singapore Zoo and spot me at the docent station feel free to come over and say hi.

7. Do you have any favorite blogs or resources that you can share to our readers?

My favorite source of inspiration is the blog, Jewels Du Jour. This site reviews high-end jewellery. I have always fascinated with colored gemstones and this is a great site to indulge in looking at their beautiful creations.

8. Do you have any discount codes or promotions that you can offer our readers?

Sure we do! Enter discount code KAT10 when you checkout for 10% off your purchase from now until 31 March 2014.

Dare to Charm