Friday, May 30, 2014

June Holidays Programmes 2014

The June Holidays are here soon! I have been busy planning what to do for little one during the long holidays.

Besides her usual homework which I would give almost daily, I would bring her to outing almost every alternate days! Also, I would add in art and crafts which she enjoys so much! Probably, a chance to make bread or cakes with me. I also intend to grow a plant with her!

Hopefully, I will also be able to train her to drink more water during this hot weather. She doesn't like water much and does not drink 6-8 cups per day.

This holiday, I would be bringing her to the following:-

1) Children's Season 
I am quite happy that various museums and heritage institutions had come up with a whole lot of activities to entertain children, bringing them closer to the museums and learning our heritage while having fun. I am even glad that now Little One had come of age to participate quite a number of activities. This year, I have particularly chosen Police Heritage Centre and Land Transport Gallery. These are places which we had not been to. We would recommending a visit to National Museum of Singapore (NMS) as well. Little One had a play-date with her friends and they had a tremendous fun!

PLAY at NMS- a very retro looking TV and kids get to play with puppets and act out as though they are not  TV.

2) Libraries.
Check out "Go Library." Most of the programmes I sign her up are art and craft related. From tomorrow on, you can double up on your readings till 31 July 2014! We would take this opportunity to borrow more books as well as some educational programmes for viewing!
Trying out silk screen painting

3) Nature Trails around the Parks
NPark is offering quite a number of walking trails and workshops. I am quite interested in the Nature Keeper programme but my child is too young! Nevertheless, walking and playing around the parks are some activities I like to do with Little One. We would probably explore parks we have not been to before, eg. Little Guilin or the Telok Blangah Hill Park. Check out National Orchid Garden. It will be free from 24 May to 8 June 2014 for students and accompanying adults.

4) Balik Kampung
We have signed up for Balik Kampung at Ground-Up Initiative (GUI). Remember this group? I have been interested in them since that day we explored Bottle Tree Park. This session will be conducted in Bottle Tree Park. Bottle Tree Park is not the same from my last visit. The Bottle Tree has been removed. I wanted to take this opportunity to see the place again. As no one knows when GUI would be asked to leave the premises, hence, we are taking this opportunity to visit Bottle Tree Park again. You should read the review by Agy from Green Issues. To register yourself, you can sign up by clicking the link below this photo.
Credit : Ground-Up Initiative

5) Haw Par Villa
This is one place that my hubby is interested to visit. It is full of childhood memory for the 2 of us. We remembered how our parents brought us here to look at the 10 courts of Hell.  Hopefully, we can make it during one of the weekends. Read this post by Christy from Kids "R" Simple.

6) Fun at the Beach
I am thinking of bring Little One for a beach walk. Pasir Ris Park is one on my list. It had been quite sometime ago I brought her to a beach.

Most of the activities I have chosen have a good mixture of indoor and outdoor activities. The Outdoor activities are mostly nature related. Singapore has so much to be explored! With these activities, I am sure we would have a fun filled holiday! How about you? What have you plan to do for this holiday?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

DIY Card Holder for Little One

Child concession card
Little One has reached the height of 0.9 metre some time ago. Although she is not 7 years old yet, we applied a child concession card for her. It is not necessary but she loves tapping our cards so much that we think maybe we should get her one for her own use. The application is free and can be done at any of the Transitlink Ticket Office. No topping up of value is required. However, in the event whereby the card is lost, a $10 administration fee is applicable. In order for her to travel around without fearing that she loses her card, I made her a card holder to sling around when she travels.
Completed Card holder
This is one mini recycling project. I used her old dress for the button. In fact, I made a few buttons using the covered button kit from Daiso since this dress is made from different patterned fabric. I tested each one of them against the felt fabric which I bought from (Drum roll, no prize for guessing correctly) Daiso again. You may want to use your old clothes for this project as well.
Materials used
1) Decide where you want the opening to be. Use the card as a guide to help you cut the felt. Wrap the felt around the card, enough to cover the card and some allowance for the button. The sides of the felt has to be slightly bigger than the card so that you can sew. Use a pencil to outline on the wrong side of the fabric the area you want to cut.

2) Sew a button at one end of of the fabric. (see below)
3) Use the same button as a guide to cut a slit at the opposite end. Start with a slit about the size of the button. If the button could go through the slit, you could start sewing blanket stitch around the buttonhole. Otherwise, cut the slit bigger if required till the button is able to go through it. 
4) Cut 2 small slits at the corner of the fabric as shown below. Blanket stitch the slits.
5) Attach a yarn or string to the fabric by inserting into the slits and tying a knot on the wrong side.

6) Fold the fabric into a card holder and apply blanket stitch all around the edges.

Tadah! She is now ready to travel all around Singapore with her card.

Sweet Day's Lifebook

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Fun with Malay musical instruments and Wayang Kulit

Exploring Malay Culture and Instruments

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The Jenny Evolution

Friday, May 16, 2014

Flashback Friday: Natural Fruit Paints

These paintings were done when she was 2 years old. They are painted with natural fruit paints. Could you guess which fruits are they?

Why natural paints? 
 I wanted to do a different kind of painting , rather than finger painting all the time. So, I thought it is good to expose her to spray painting. Not the aerosol paint, but some medium that has the same quality of water colour and yet natural enough that I feel safe to re-use my spray bottle again for cleaning the table.  Since we would be using spray bottle, I anticipate that it would be messy, I wanted something that it easy to clean up. So, I thought it would be better to expose fruit paint medium. It is 100% natural. Then, I didn't have to worry that Little One lick the paint or drink it up. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Dedication to Mom

My mom is a stay-at-home mom since I was at the age of 6. I admire and often wonder how she managed to handle with 3 kids in a tow. I guess, being mom, she just have to make it work.

My siblings and I often quarrelled over minor issues and I guess we must be very irritating and causing a lot of problems for our dear mom then. There was a period we would quarrel over toys and had many meltdowns. Mom always asked us to share with and not fight against one another. Somehow or rather, it just fell on deaf ears. When Little One had a meltdown, I could totally understand the feelings and 'sufferings' she had been through.

Yes, when I was pregnant with Little One, I was just beginning to taste motherhood. There was morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms which I have not known until I had her. Probably I was too young to observe my mom then when she was pregnant with my brother. I had never seen her with morning sickness. All I known was her tummy was growing bigger. No one told me that I would be restless in the last trimester and may have difficulty getting up from the bed. Ahhh... the wonders and the fears of pregnancy... And it was so wrong to think the sleepless nights would end immediately after I give birth. I don't even remember my brother crying for milk in the middle of the night.

We are choosy about food. I don't like seafood but my siblings does. My brother does not like pork but the rest of us does. This is another headache for dear mom. It was difficult to plan meals. I can understand that she does not want us to be choosy about food so that we can grow healthy. She would hide our 'hate food' somewhere together with our favourite ones. Hey, isn't that what I am doing to make Little One eats her 'hate food'?

When we were sick and unwell, be it fever or a sprained ankle, it was always mom who takes care of us. The household chores were all taken care by her until we were old enough to help out. Only then, the chores were shared among all of us.

The journey of motherhood is just the beginning for me whereas it had last for decades for my mom. Regardless where we are, we will always be children who had not grown up in the eyes of our mother.

Today is Mother's Day. My mom had sacrifice and done many things for us. I am writing this post to salute her. Thank you ,Mom ,and Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

She posted her first mail

She had written and posted out a postcard for the first time. She is finally tall enough to mail the card herself!
This red pillar box is the only operational posting box of its kind in Singapore. These were used commonly in Colonial Days till 1971, is made of cast iron and weigh about 400kg each. They are now replaced by rectangular posting box.
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It's Playtime- More than a child's play

Little One was doing up her own playground. What can you do with a pile of mattresses and 2 pool noodles?

She did this (see below picture). What do you think it is?

A pile of mattresses that became Little One's play items. According to her, this is a slide.
She complained the pool noodles would give way whenever she tried to sit on top of the "slide". She wanted me to help her fix the issue.

Hmmm... of course, the pool noodles will give way but how to set her thinking and understand the concept.
To her, parents can solve all problems including the impossible... haha...
Well, parents always try their best but sometimes, there is limitation to what we can do.

I questioned , "Hey, you know Sponge Bob? What happen to him when you try squeezing him?"
She replied, " He would bend."
"This material (pool noodle) is something like Sponge Bob. It will bend when you try sitting on it."
"Ohhh..." *disappointedly*

"Why not change this to something else? You can't sit on it but you can hide under it"
"It's a CAVE!"

There is no limits to creativity. When one thing doesn't work, we should encourage the child to think of another solution. Throw her some questions and guide along. This time round, I am helping her to think of changing the slide to a cave. Hopefully, in future, whenever she face a minor problems, she would stop and think of a solution and not rely on parents to help.

Happily hiding below the mattress. 
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Monday, May 5, 2014

A pinhole adventure - More than just a pinhole

Pinhole Photography

An very inspiring session was conducted in the libraries , known as the Pinhole Photography. The workshop instructor was then Mary-Ann Teo. She is lecturing part time in various tertiary institutions about photography as well as teaching in classes at Objectifs. After participating the workshop, I observed something different in the pictures. This observation I will reveal towards the bottom of the post.

What is Pinhole photography?

It is a lenless photography whereby only a tiny hole is created in an enclosed container to allow light to pass through and forming an image on the photographic paper which is to be attached at the opposite end of the container. Care and cautious is required to create the camera as a slight mistake, the photographic paper which is attach opposite the pinhole could be overexposed and no image would be captured.

Pinhole vs Lens
  • Pinhole camera has indefintely depth of field, regardless whether the objects are near or far, they would be reflected with the same sharpness. 
  • However, due to the small aperture of pin hole, more time is required for enough light to enter through the hole to create a image. Longer time will be needed if the light is dim. Hence, moving objects creates blur image while a stationary building will create a sharper image. 
  • You have totally no control how long you need to expose the pinhole and you can't really see what you are shooting. Sometimes, you are in for a surprise!
  • The overall image captured by pinhole camera is usually softer in appearance than the lens camera.

These are the very reasons why some photographers love pin hole camera. The results of these images are astounding. You may want to google for pinhole images to have a look yourself.

How to make a pinhole camera?
Interestingly, I was told any shoebox can be made into a pinhole camera. I even read online that Pringles can can be made in to a pinhole camera!

If you are interested in photography and developing your own photos, you can try making one yourself using shoe boxes. This is a way to recycle those boxes. Otherwise, just sign up at the library e-kiosks or the "Go library" website.

Materials required
  • 1 shoebox with tight fitting top
  • Black masking tape
  • Black Construction Paper
  • Aluminium Foil
  • Card Stock
  • Cutter
  • Double sided tapes
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle

Pix 1: Sample of pinhole cameras
Pix 2: Materials required

Pix 3: The Developing  Solutions

Pix 4: And trays
1) First, decide where you want the pinhole to be, we usually choose the cover of the shoe box to make the pinhole. But prior to making a pinhole, make a hole as big as a pencil using a cutter.

2) Tape black construction paper all around the inside of the box. Make sure the paper sticks to the corner of the inside of the box. The inside of the box must be entirely black so that lights will not be reflected. Reflected lights ruin pictures.

3) Since now the hole that you have cut in step 1 is covered, use a cutter to trace and cut the hole again.

4) Tape black masking tape on the 4 corners of the shoebox both the covering lid and the shoebox itself. (As per the Pix 1 featuring the sample of the pinhole cameras.) This is to ensure no light could enter from the outside. We went a bit further by taping the sides of the lid so that it will make a tighter fit.

5) Cover the circular hole (mentioned in Step 3) with aluminium foil. Tape it to the black construction paper.

6) Make a pinhole on the aluminium foil using a sewing needle. Our instructor helped us to do this.

7) Make a manual shutter by covering the pinhole with a card stock. The side of the card stock facing the pinhole is entirely black. You may tape as below. This shutter is only open when you are ready to take a photo

8) Stick a masking tape at the side of the box which is just opposite the pinhole. Stick it in such a way that it would act like a double sided tape.

Pix 5: Ta dah! My pin hole camera ready to go!
Getting ready to start
We had a challenge because there is no dark room in the library. Even after switching of the lights in our room and those in the corridors, we can still see silhouettes due to the exit light which was just outside the room. So what we could do was hiding behind tables and passing out the photographic paper. We tried to stick the paper as fast as we can and then cover the lids tight.

Then, we are ready to go out to have a shot.

We are to target objects and lift up the shutter to expose light on to the photographic paper for a certain amount of time which our instructor had told us to. The exposure is dependent on the distance from the pinhole to the photographic paper. Also, it will depend on whether we have a strong light. If the light is dim, we need longer exposure time. We could only take 1 photo at a time.

After that, we closed the shutter and went back to the "not so dark room" to our photos developed using the solutions. The instructor and her assistant helped us with this.

Below are the outcome. Noted some part of the papers are darken... it is due to light exposure since we are not doing in a dark room. Nevertheless, we are all excited to see our products.

A shot of the playground
Plants outside the library. My shutter kept closing, so I have to open it again and again, resulting in motion 
This time, I turn the box the other way round, so that even if the shutter starts to close, it will not obstruct the pinhole.

Science behind the pinhole camera

Now I shall review what I discovered through this workshop.
The images are reversed.

A shot of the playground (Pinhole vs Lens)

Plant (Pinhole vs Lens)

Why? Light travels in a straight line. The top of the image will be reflected on the bottom of the photographic paper. Likewise, images on the left side would be reflected on the right side of the paper. (This is what I see in the image) It is the inverted copy of the actual image. Do you know that our eyes work in the same way? Images are captured upside down on our retina but our brain are smart enough to put it right side up.
However, if we try to put the developed photo the right side up, we noticed it is a mirror image of the actual thing we see. 

View solar eclipse
Further exploration in the internet suggested pin hole camera can be used to view a solar eclipse, it would not damage your eyes. You can view the image by inserting the pinhole between the sun and a piece of white paper.

Future explorations?

This workshop gets me pretty interested in creating my own pinhole images. However, to do that I must have a dark room. The only room I can think of is my storeroom but it is pretty packed now. I doubt I can put the various solutions into that room without creating a mess. Also, to think that I have to use the solutions only for one piece of photo is wasteful unless I run in and out of my dark room several times unloading and loading photographic paper before I develop them. That just puts me off. However, I do think it is an interesting activity to do with children. They would be very proud of their photography skills! Moreover, this project is one of the best to teach patience, in my opinion.

Now here's the chance to do pinhole photography
  • 10 May 2014, Tampines Regional Library , 1.30-4.30pm
  • 25 May 2014, Bukit Merah Public Library, 2.00 -5.00pm

If you are interested, register your interest in participation with library e-kiosk or in "Go Library" Website. Search under "pinhole". It suitable for children 12 year old and above.

PS: Above mentioned library programme is conducted in  Singapore libraries.

Sweet Day's Lifebook

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