Dec 2, 2010

baby Maia Fae is home ... :)

after 52 days at the NICU, we finally mustered up courage to take baby Maia Fae home :) it will be a week tomorrow and man ... i have forgotten how difficult it is to care for a little one after a 5 year break. especially this little one ... who was born a preemie at 29 weeks and had difficulty in breathing for most of her stay at the NICU. usually, they don't do this, but we manage to loan an apnea monitor from the NICU so that mommy (already a nervous wreck) would get some sleep in between feeds.

it's uncanny how baby Maia would be turning 2 months soon, yet, in the order of a normal pregnancy, she is just at 37 weeks gestation and should be still in her mommy's protection until Christmas arrives.

our little bundle of miracle amazes us to no end ... how one so little and fragile can fight so hard and do all the things that she can.

thank you Prof CT Lim and his team of doctors and nurses for taking care of our precious little Maia ... no words can express how much we appreciate you guys!

baby Maia was 1.315 kg at birth ... now, she's just a little over 2kg.

and with a preemie ... one can't be too careful ...

at the moment, she's on house arrest ... and according to the Prof ... it should last a year!! ARGHH!!!

big sister Llara is as curious as curious can be ...

AWWWWW .....

ok guys ... it's not what you think it is ...

now now now ... stop being a drama queen ... mommy did NOT strangle you ...

what? i just burped you and you want milky again?

remember what the Prof said about your distended tummy???

after ...
the milky...

Oct 27, 2010

A story that I only now found the courage to tell ...

*** to all my bloggie frens who already knew about this, thank you so much for your well wishes and your continuous prayers for my baby and my family. no words can express how much this support from all of you mean to me ... from the bottom of my heart, thank you ...

i was contemplating whether to post this story here or not, it's pretty long and i didn't want to bore all of you. but i decided that i should ... for those of you who have been wondering what's been happening to my life and why i've been MIA for a while ***

Date - October 4th 2010

Contractions began at 3.30am on the 4th Oct. I have never experienced contractions, but I reckon that this must be it. The pain came every 5 minutes by the time it was 4.30am. It was intense. I woke Jason up and told him about the pain, I can see that he was very worried. I was just 29 weeks pregnant.

We’ve had bleeding scares since I was 24 weeks. It would happen once a week either on a Sunday or a Monday, except on the 28th week, where nothing happened. Dr F, my baby doctor, had already prepped us on what could conceivably happen. That I would go into early labour. I was given 2 shots of steroids by Dr F at the 24th week when I first started bleeding, to help mature the lungs of the baby. It was an essential precaution. Dr F also furnished us with information on the complications, treatment and costs that came with a preemie (preterm baby).

The first thing we should know about is babies who are born early have not developed the skill to breathe, so they need to be on a ventilator when they arrive, until their lungs and other organs have matured. He also told us truthfully that the cost of a preemie ventilator stay in NICU would costs between 3-5k a night, in a private hospital. Imagine how much it would cost if my baby had to stay for a month in the NICU. As much as we would like Dr F to deliver the baby as he did with Llara, the truth is that we couldn’t afford the bills that came with it. THIS is private health care for you if you have a preemie …

Dr F suggested an alternative. Go to a semi-govt or a governmental hospital if I was having pain before 36 weeks. That is what we did. At 5am on the 4th Oct, Jason drove me to the ER of University Hospital. I was admitted and pushed to the labour ward. Since it was a semi-govt hospital, it was not husband-friendly. Jason was not allowed to see me. All he could do was sit outside the labour ward, anxiously wondering and praying hard. Whilst I was inside, in pain and alone. After much begging, the nurses allowed brief visits from Jason … I don’t think I can tell you in words the relief I felt when I saw his face. During the course of the day, Jason was allowed to visit me 3 times for short periods. I guess it’s becos the nurses were fans of Jason’s … but I was still grateful for their leniency …

The contractions continued throughout the day, albeit sporadically. The doctors had given me something to stop the contractions cos it was just too early for baby to arrive. They had also given me another steroid dose to further mature my baby’s lungs. But they still couldn’t find a ventilator for my baby. That must be the hardest news to accept … that my baby would have no ventilator if she decides to arrive.

Many doctors came and went, medical students watched while the doctors examine you, and the same questions were asked over and over again by every new doctor that came to see you … and believe me, there were loads of them. UH was a place where new doctors came to do their practicals. I really didn’t know which doctor was going to deliver my baby or if there would be a doctor at all. Becos when you’re a patient at a semi-govt hospital, you are not designated to any specific doctor. This came as another shock to me … at this point in time, in my situation, I had to believe that all doctors were created equal, and that they all knew exactly what to do … when the time comes.

Fortunately around 7pm that evening, my contractions eased out.

Date - October 5th 2010

The following day I was pushed to the normal ward and Jason was allowed to visit and he stayed with me the whole day. I was constantly hoping and praying that I could keep the baby in, at least until she was 34 weeks. Besides still having not found a ventilator, there were other complications that came with such a preterm baby. Infections were the other worrying issue. Preterm babies are more susceptible to infections. But mostly, I really didn’t want my baby to arrive without having the most important thing she needed to survive, life support. (Later I found out that they did have a ventilator on the morning I checked in and was actually allocated for me, but due to some miscommunications, they gave the ventilator to another patient … and my baby was left with none)

I thought everything will be ok again cos there were no contractions during the course of the day. Mom and Llara even came over to visit me in the evening. But then at around 6pm, the pain started coming back slowly. I just knew in my heart that this was it. Instinct told me that I was indeed going into early labour. Jason sent mom and Llara home and came straight back. I was already pushed to the labour ward (again), no handphones, no visitors. I had dilated 6cm and there was still no ventilator.

Efforts were made to call all the governmental and semi-govt hospitals in the state for a ventilator. There was none. They told me that the other option was to send my baby out to another state as soon as she arrived. Or manually ventilate her until they can find the machine!! I cannot tell you how horrific I felt. Send my 29 week baby out-of-state in her fragile state??!! Manually ventilate?? I could have died … I was on the verge of hysteria. And the bloody contractions wouldn’t stop. The nurses allowed Jason come in to see me again… if only for a little while, to stop me from freaking out …

Jason was my rock. I don’t think I could have made it through on my own. He must be the strongest, most loyal and steadfast man I have the honor to call my husband. He calmed me down as much as he could. Held my hand and told me not to worry. In all the anxiety, I was questioning my decision to come to a semi-govt hospital. He assured me that we had done the best we could, given our situation. It was a decision that we made together with Dr F in the event that something like this should happen. I know Jason was afraid too, but he stayed strong. Many times I could see tears brimming in his eyes, but he held it back for my sake. He was running in and out to find out if they had found a ventilator. He called everyone who had the faintest idea what to do. He prayed and spoke to his mentor.

Then a miraculous thing happened. Just when there seem to be no hope of getting a ventilator on time, Jason received an sms from his mentor telling him not to worry, that there WILL be a ventilator. As he finished reading the sms, a doctor came to him and told him that they had found a ventilator for my baby. That … was a miracle …

Jason came into the room and told me the good news and told me not to worry. I didn’t believe him in the beginning and kept asking him if he said that just to make me feel better. He told me it was true, they did find a ventilator and now I can concentrate on bringing the baby into the world.

The time came and I was 9cm dilated. There were 5 labours happening in that area that night. And only very few doctors on call. The doctors were running all over the place, anticipating which baby would arrive first. The lady next to my bed was in labour too. Have you ever been in an area with 5 labours going on at the same time? Having never experienced a semi-govt hospital before, this was shocking (yes ... I was shocked many times in this experience, it’s surprising that I haven’t died from a heart attack yet!). Practically no one was there by my side until the very last minute! They put a very young girl (I think was a doctor-in-training) at the door to keep an eye on the 2 of us. I thought I was going to have to deliver the baby myself!

Also, my first child was born via elective caesarian. As such I have never experienced labour pain, never experienced the process of labour itself (altho I’ve seen it many times on TV). But no amount of visuals can prepare you for the real thing. Unending questions kept popping up in my head as I writhe in pain. Would I know how to push? Would I be able to deliver my baby? I am not exactly very young, would I have the stamina to last the labour? So many questions and all frightening. I kept concentrating on the device that they had strapped to my tummy to monitor my baby’s heartbeat. That was the only sound that kept me going … my baby’s heartbeat. And the thought of Jason waiting outside…

Finally, the doctors came in, took a look and said it was time. One of them proceeded to burst my waterbag, I screamed as I felt warm water gushing out. I was thinking, why burst my waterbag? Is my baby going to survive without her amniotic fluid? I concentrated on the heartbeat. And I pushed. I overheard the doctor saying to a nurse to call a higher rank doctor in … O - O … what’s happening? Is something wrong? The higher rank doctor came in and they were discussing about seeing fresh blood. They think that I might have had a placenta abruption, which was the cause of my early labour. I blocked their voices out and concentrated on the push. Each time the pain came, I pushed …

I pushed for about an hour, I was exhausted but still nothing happened. The baby hadn’t moved an inch! The doctors muttered something like “she doesn’t know how to push” … my greatest fear realized. I was desperate, I was thinking, my baby has been in there for an hour without the waterbag … what’s going to happen? Can she breathe? (of course she can, she breathes thru the umbilical cord … my brains were fuzzy then) Thank goodness her heartbeat is still going strong. At the last resort, the doctors had to put me on stirrups … and I continue to concentrate on pushing each time the pain came. I never imagined that I would be praying “more pain! more pain please …”, becos that’s the only motivation my body had to push harder. I was faltering, frighten and in tears, I was about to give up… I was literally tearing apart, physically and mentally.

The pain was excruciating, but it was nothing compared to the thought of the dangers my baby might be facing now and when she arrives into this world so unprepared. I would gladly take 100 times more pain if only someone, someone would assure me that my baby is going to be alright … My baby’s constant and strongly beating heart was what gave me hope and kept me going …

Date - October 6th 2010

Finally, at one minute pass midnight, Maia Fae Chong was born.

They put her briefly on my chest as they cut the umbilical cord, I could only catch a glimpse of her before they whisk her off to the special care unit. She was so tiny. So grey. And so silent. I had secretly hoped to hear her cry, but I guess I always knew that she wouldn’t be able to. She couldn’t even breathe, how could she cry…

I was at once, relieved, grateful, scared, anxious, worried and many more indescribable feelings all bundled into one … Now that the ventilator issue was out of the way, other worries came popping up in my head. How is my baby doing? Is she breathing alright? How are her other organs doing? Please … no infections, please … please …

The doctors continue to fuss around me and I was wondering what’s taking so long. After a couple of minutes, I realized what all the fuss was about. They couldn’t remove the placenta from my cervix. The problem was my baby’s umbilical cord was too fragile. Afterall it’s a 29 week old cord, what did they expect? Finally, one of the doctors took a chance and tugged at the umbilical cord, hoping the placenta would slip out … but the inevitable happened. The umbilical cord snapped. And the placenta was stuck inside of me.

Immediate arrangements were made to push me to the operating theater on the other side of the hospital. I had to get a procedure called manual removal of placenta (MRP) done. The MRP procedure involved putting me on epidural … what a joke I thought! They didn’t give me any epidural during my labour session, but instead I had to have one now. When the epidural succeeded in numb-ing the lower half of my body, they proceeded to remove the placenta from my cervix piece by piece … yes, using hands. In all this time, I was wide awake. In the middle of the procedure, a medical personnel came to me and asked to take my blood sample. I asked her why, she told me my baby needed it. Of course my anxiety meter shot up to the top again! What’s happening? Is my baby alright? My thoughts never left my little baby Maia.

I don’t know how long the procedure took, but I was shaking from cold as soon as they finished. The funniest thing was, as soon as the procedure ended, I was set to lay there with nothing on, whilst everyone else was cleaning up the operating theater! I remember thinking to myself … gosh! These people must want to go home quick! The mops and the buckets of pungent disinfectant came out, the equipment was pushed back to their original places, some nurses were grabbing their handbags and saying their goodbyes … it was like a scene right out of a twisted movie! Finally, when the theater was cleaned, I was transferred to another bed and pushed out to rest in the ICU for about half an hour … I was still shaking uncontrollably from the cold. I remember thinking “get me out of here! I want to see Jason, I want to know what’s happening to my baby Maia!” …

When they finally pushed me out of the ICU, the first voice I heard was Jason’s. Oh gosh … it was like the voice of an angel … my angel … and the first thing I asked my angel was … how is baby Maia? When he said she was alright … my heart sang …

Jason followed me to the post-natal ward where I’ll be resting for the next few days. It was in the wee hours of the morning, and supposedly no visitors were allowed. But the head nurse there allowed Jason to stay. I must say that the all the nurses in the hospital were truly kind and sympathetic towards Jason and me, and I am so grateful for them!

Jason held my hand whilst I cried my heart out. Jason has seen little Maia Fae and told me that everything was alright … there were a lot of pediatrics fussing over her and she’s safely in her ventilator and breathing. She’s 1.3kg and fully formed. They told me that for a 29 weeker, 1.3kg is a good size. But I also knew that the first 72 hours was crucial for my baby. Jason was allowed to stay till 3-ish in the morning and then he had to leave. He told me that he’ll visit little Maia Fae again before he left the hospital.

That night, I never slept. I couldn’t sleep. I was praying silently. I had many instances of chills (they call it ‘vigor’) … which I later learned, was a reaction to the MRP surgery. I prayed for the safety of my baby till dawn arrived … I continue to pray for the next 72 hours …

Oct 21, 2010

wow!! it's been over a month!

wow!! it's been over a month since i wrote anything ... i even missed my 2nd blog anniversary which was supposed to fall on the 5th oct. let's just say that this must be the MOST challenging time of my life. i haven't actually settled down yet, still running around like a headless chicken, but i just wanted to say "hi" to you guys ... :)

i haven't actually created anything in a month, but i realized that i didn't even post my last batch of mixed media jewelry! so i guess this is a good excuse to write something, say "hi" and post some pictures :)

these were made just before my life turned topsy turvy ... they are still in my shop cos i was actually on vacation mode for quite a bit ...

Faded Glory ... inspired by a jean button ...

Literature ... another pair of miniature book earrings

Genesis ... this design came to me in a dream

dunno when i'll be doing my next post ... but for now, take care you guys and thanks for being patient ... especially to those of you who have just added me to your favs, i wish i had more things to write and show you...

Sep 18, 2010

metamorphosis ;)

pimp & paint is now
Altered Alchemy by Luthien Thye
on your blogger dashboard :)


sorry for being cheeky steph ... but i had to do this!!! check out inspiration avenue for this week's challenge "metamorphosis" :)

Sep 15, 2010

anyone interested in a makeup tutorial?

our little 5 year old has been obsessed with 2 ladies on youtube lately ... lady gaga O_O yes ... and from the lady gaga videos she chanced upon a makeup artist named michelle phan who does tutorials on lady gaga's numerous personas and other sorts of character makeup.

yesterday, as always, the little one was surfing youtube in my craft room and suddenly she decides to burst out into this rendition of michelle phan's makeup tutorial ...

the things that these little 5 year olds can do these days!!

Sep 12, 2010

numerology ... three muses challenge

it's been a long time since i played at the three muses challenge. i didn't think i could make something this week either ... and i still don't think i could have made it if i kept thinking about it :)

well ... the theme is "numbers" ... as you all know, i am on my curiosity jewelry roll :) so i just let my mind continue to roam into the realms of the curious and this was one of the creations that i came up with, which i named ... you guessed it!


initially these were just a couple of leathers, aged ... then for some reason, i said to myself, i needed some words there, but then again, i've been using a lot of words already, why not numbers? i looked at my very cheap stamping set and thought ... these worked on metal ... i bet they work on leather too! and wallah!!

i didn't stamp them too hard, cos firstly i didn't want the number to go thru to the back and make a hole, but mainly i wanted some sort of faded effect ... just like it's gone thru quite a bit of wear and tear. i really like the effect ... tho i hope you can see it thru the photograph! LOL!!

and then ... i remembered the numbers challenge at three muses and was totally delighted that i could actually submit this piece!!

well ... since i was making them earrings anyway, of course proceeded to make another pair ... this pair has nothing to do with the challenge, but everything to do with asymmetry :) hmm... doesn't asymmetry sound "math" to you? ;)

this is scholarly ...
a cousin to the scholar choker i made earlier :)

aren't the "eyes" on the black agates amazing looking ... it's like the earrings are staring back at you!! and i'm so proud of the the silver plated curve wire (14 gauge!!) i bent and hammered into shape, and oxidized organically!

well ... i sure hope i haven't bored you with all my curiosities ... but if you are not bored yet ... these are at my etsy shop AlteredAlchemy :)

Sep 11, 2010

more curiosities ...

i've been on a roll this week ... and i'm so totally delighted that my mixed media art journals and jewelry pieces at Altered Alchemy are getting so much love!

it's a holiday over here ... we're celebrating the HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI ... it's the new year for our muslim frens. everyone has left town and gone home, so the city is like a vacation resort! no cars, no traffic jams, no pollution ... HAH!!

some frens came over to our condo to swim today, but it rained ... oops sorry! but i was making chainmaille (well ... a very simple one) for the new necklace so i didn't get wet ;) *snicker*

sorry, i'm just idling away and muttering to myself again, watching adam lambert's year of american idol (a rerun) whilst taking product pictures and listing my new piece on etsy ... oh btw ... it's 4am.

here it is ... the new piece which is called SCHOLAR

over the week i also made and sold these 2 pieces ... WOOHOO!!


i made the tiniest books i've ever made with pages measuring 1x2cm altho they become 2x2.5cm with the covers on :) for some reason, i've been making stuff along the lines of books and the written word ... ancient knowledge and curiosities ... this is FUN :)

Sep 7, 2010

curiously yours ...

curious is as it says … curious. i have been in a curious mood and for some reason, “hair” was at the utmost of my thoughts. i do not always make earrings, i do not always have the inspiration to make them, but today is different. now that is … curious …

i continue to be in a curious mood and i’m still thinking of “hair”. i do not always make earrings, i do not always have the inspiration to make them, but today is different… and I also realized, it’s autumn already … where did all the time go? so i close my eyes and wish i was back in manchester unpacking in my new accommodation getting ready for a new uni year... and i continue to close my eyes and imagine myself in windermere, looking into the lakes that mirror the trees with leaves of amber, red, sienna, green and gold ... falling ...

i continue to be in a curious mood and i’m still thinking of “hair”. i do not always make earrings, i do not always have the inspiration to make them, but today is definitely different … this is my third pair. now that is … very very curious … also, i’ve always wanted to make a pair of asymmetric earrings, and since today is not like other days, i reckon it’s the best time to make a pair.

curiously yours,
luthien ...

Sep 5, 2010

time for change ... would you change your blog's URL?

it seems like ages now that i've been blogging. but in fact i'm less than 2 years old. tho in a month's time i would be. i have been contemplating change for many months now ... it all started when i bought my own domain name now i know that wasn't even the first step ... that was a preliminary.

after going back and forth with the thought of change, today i decided that is was time to change the look of my page to accompany the metamorphosis my art is going through. i started with twitter, and the day ended with changing my blog look too. in the midst of that, i decided also to change the name on my blog banner.

pimp and paint has brought me lots of joy during these two years, and now it's time to grow up a little ... i feel. altered alchemy may not last forever ... but i am hoping that luthien thye would. so my first step is to put my name on the banner.

when i started blogging i was really shy and didn't really feel like telling people that i hardly knew, my name or my family name. but now i feel that it is essential to put my name out there. i feel more confident with the work i do and perhaps it can and should be something that i would do for a long time to come ... (tho i have this funny feeling that when the baby comes, i'll probably have to spend a little less time on my work ... we'll see :) ...thus, perhaps it's a good idea to put my name to my work.

the next step to this change would probably come in the form of changing my blogname officially in blogger. now "pimp and paint" is still showing on your dashboards. one of these days you might find that it's "altered alchemy" or just my name showing on your dashboards instead. i hope i won't scare away too many followers!

of course the last step is actually to purchase a domain name in my name and transfer all of pimp and paint's links and followings to this new domain. just like what i did when i changed from to 5 months ago. this last step would be crucial ... i dunno if it's a normal practice to change one's blog URL ... but if i didn't do it, i know the gnawing feeling would bug me to no end. it had to be done period. i expect a drop in viewing, page ranks and followings ... i only hope that it won't be too drastic. that is why i am making this change slowly.

i'm not too old in this area or have such fantastic page ranks that i cannot afford this change. if i want to do it, it'll better be now than later. but i'ld like to hear what you think ... would you change your blog's URL?

Sep 3, 2010

finders keepers

what a wonderfully fun theme this week from inspiration avenue :) i suspect angie must have been spying on me picking up stuff from the streets ... yea, the habit just kicked in like a couple of months ago and i've found stuff like rusty screws, a rusty buckle and a rusty hinge. but i ain't gonna use these today. instead i'm gonna be featuring my latest find ... something that i found outside of llara's kindie ...

i was contemplating whether to give it back, but i guess not ;) the kids would just chew on it further ...

so ... it ended up here :) 'course i had to embellish it a little, just to make it look more presentable ...

hope you've enjoyed that :) now just before i leave you ... let me just shamelessly show you another piece of mixed media jewelry i made ... eventho it has got nothing to do with this week's theme.

both of these are in my new shop altered alchemy

Aug 29, 2010

introducing ... Altered Alchemy

the time has come for me to announce a project that i've been hatching for a month now. in the midst of difficult times, upheavals, financial instabilities and physical changes that has been happening in my life, i found solace in art. art has not helped me solve my problems, but it served as a sanctuary that i could escape to, a dimension where all worldly matters seem to fade and where only me and my world exist.

and i feel my art has evolved.

i don't know why it feels different, but it does. for one, it feels more matured. my art has "grown up". it feels deeper, a little darker, older ... it feels like i've traveled way back to the beginning, to genesis. but most of all ... it feels not bogged down by principals. i do less conscious thinking and just allow my being to roam (probably with the desire to escape). i feel freedom. i desire freedom perhaps.

having said and felt all of that, i realized that i have outgrown pimp and paint. it's a little sad but it's something that is inevitable. i am thinking of slowly phasing out my pimp and paint etsy shop ... tho part of me still wants to keep that innocence. i dunno, i'm undecided as of now.

phasing out pimp and paint doesn't mean going out of business. no ... on the contrary, i am hatching a new phoenix from the ashes.

and from the ashes ... i introduce to you

if you have the time, i would really appreciate it if you could pay me a visit there :)

i also want to thank you all of you for supporting my work thus far, i don't think i could have ever done this without all your love and encouragement :)

Aug 27, 2010

grunge time ...

ahh ... a new week is coming to an end once again! it's amazing how time flies ... the older you get, the faster it flies ... "time on turbo" i call it! UGH! there's just not enough time in a day to do all the things you want to do, there's not enough time in a lifetime actually ...

with all this limited time ... it's a good thing i managed to make one creation for 2 challenges!

this week's creation is for simon says stamp and show's "tim holtz inspired" and inspiration avenue's "the power of words". two separate challenges, that have somehow combined my life philosophies and my creative style.

a handbound journal in the style of grunge ... i hope ;) the covers are a hodge podge of various papers with words ... newspaper cuttings, pages from an old novel, pages from an old dictionary and a couple of printed words in different type fonts. these are stuck together and then distressed using tim holtz's distressed inks which i love so much!

the clock face is my own illustration and printed on the paper hodge podge. a rusty washer (which i rusted myself *smug* ;) and an antique key all laced together with a rustic leather strap completes the look.

finally, a leather/denim spine to go with the grunge theme, cool black handtorn pages and an antique colored brass chain with a split heart as pagemarker :)

happy pimping! :)

Aug 22, 2010

coffee, tea and erm ... wheels ?

i've been meddling with some jewelry this week. made a couple of mixed media ones, experimenting actually, and they are very unlike the pieces that i've been doing with my polymer clay. since being preggie, i've refrained from cooking polymer clay and playing with resin in case they were toxic to the baby. i've missed rolling my clay in the pasta roller ... but i guess i can still twist and hammer my wires :)

fortunately, the pieces i made this week seem to fit into a couple of challenges amidst on bloggie land. first up, is inspiration avenue's weekly challenge "coffee or tea" ... well, i normally prefer tea to coffee, but this time i'll be indulgent and go for both!

may i present to you, Book of Eli ...

a miniature book i made using tea AND coffee stained papers (top right photo). and see that beautiful slim model? well, it's not me ;( ... that's my niece who's come to stay for a while and her first task is to model for her preggie auntie :)

the next challenge is at the three muses, themed "wheels" .

i give to you, Relic ...

the "wheels" on here are clock cogs which i salvaged from an antique brass clock.

i realize my tastes have changed quite a bit ... perhaps it's the hormones? but i guess these make me happy for now :)

happy pimping! :)

Aug 19, 2010

being preggie ...

i have nearly forgotten what it was like to be pregnant. my older girl is 5 and i am 5 months pregnant once again :) the first trimester hasn't been particularly easy but i think my body feels at home now. all the tests that a "high risk" aka "not-too-young" preggie has to go thru, i went thru them ... even the amnio test where they would insert a giant needle into your bloated belly, and into the placenta to extract the amniotic fluid of the baby. then the fluid would be sent to the lab and the chromosomes grown to check for signs of down syndrome. from the external probe that the dr used during this procedure, i can actually see the needle go in! the procedure takes about 10 minutes and there was one point, my little girl's hands were paddling towards the needle!! woah! talk about scary! and yes ... once the lab grows your baby's chromosomes, they also know if it's an XX or an XY :) and llara kaye is totally thrilled to have a sister :)

there are many taboos for a preggie in a chinese family. of course i had forgotten most of them after a lapse of 5 years. nevertheless, mil is always at hand :) only the other day i was reminded by mil, that i mustn't do any cutting, sewing or gluing on the bed. i remember a story that my paternal grandma told me of a personal experience. when she was preggers with my uncle, there was one time she had forgotten all about not sewing in bed, she embroidered a sunflower on her pillowcase ... the sunflower had 13 petals. and when my uncle was born, he had 13 fingers! was it just a coincidence? well, obviously my grandma didn't think so... but we all know that's just a medical anomaly and can be rectified just as easily.

of course, there are other taboos, like no renovations (especially hammering) in the house, no moving to a new home and no moving the bed. all of which i did when i was 8 months pregnant with llara kaye. naturally, i didn't tell my mom or my mil until everything was done and we were nicely settled in the new home. the dirty looks we got! but i'm truly lucky to have quite a cool mil :) other mils would have blown their tops ... mine just shook her head ;) apparently a cleft lip or similar disfigurements might result from hammering ... hmmm ...

i've never quite understood what the reasons are, for all these taboos. i guess being 'taboos' you dun actually have to understand them, you just have to follow them. but me ... being a rebel, i dun really follow them. well not true ... i sorta 'choose' which ones to follow just to appease the older folks ;) like i would refuse to stop hammering my wires for my jewelry making. and then mil would reluctantly smile and say, "well ... as long as you don't hammer nails into the house walls" ... and for being so lenient on me, i would not dream of hammering nails into the wall ... just for her :)

pineapples are not allowed, apparently it encourages miscarriage. no scary movies, monkey movies and such, for fear the baby might turn out looking like the scary character or the monkeys in the movies. oh dear ... i've been watching plenty of edward cullen and true blood!! yikes!!

interesting isn't it, being a preggie in a chinese family :) well ... that's just half the story. wait till you hear what happens after the baby arrives ;) but i'll keep that for another post ... this is long enough already ...

well, i'm off to fetch llara kaye from kindie.
happy pimping! :)

Aug 10, 2010

"things with wings" challenge

i was nosing around in bloggie land and came across this wonderful new place called simon says stamp and show. the works featured there are totally inspiring! and what's more, they are holding their first weekly challenge this week "things with wings"... the theme brought a huge smile to my face :) i was so tickled! and man! have you seen a more awesome giveaway?! (no? ... go take a peek :)

all you have to do is create something according to the theme above, put it in your blog, link the post to theirs and wait :) closing date is 15th aug :)

so here's my 'thing' with wings :)

yup, it's a journal :)
continuing from my previous experiments with different paints ... the covers are painted in acrylics, spray paint and spattered with alcohol inks ... love watching the reaction of alcohol inks and water :)

the sides are embellished with a vintage poem with burnt edges, courtesy of maggie of the magpie's nest (thank you maggie :) and distressed with tim holtz's distressed inks. i just love his distress inks! if i weren't in poverty, i would buy the whole load of them!

my wing thing ... a vintage escutcheon of some sort with a pair of brass wings. and the broken heart ... air dry clay with a key imprint, then painted over with acrylics.

my little girl doesn't like it tho ... she says "mommy, the heart is broken! i want an unbroken heart!" and runs away sobbing. poor baby! but secretly ... i think she's just a drama queen! ;)

here's the romantic part ... Je t'aime ... but trapped behind rusted mesh wire. hmm... maybe my little girl had a reason to sob afterall ...

aha!! white pages!! finally ...
as always, the spine is leather and the signatures sewn on with nylon threads. the page marker is an antique brass chain with an ocean jasper bead hanging off it.

another "alchemy" journal to my collection ... and in the process of making some more ;)

happy pimping!

Aug 4, 2010

into the world of secrets and sorcery ...

my folk art teacher use to tell us that we should always buy art materials that are compatible to the paints we're working with. so since i've been painting with waterbase acrylics, i've been just buying stuff that are compatible with acrylics, be it base paints, varnishes, sealers, fixatives etc. so i guess what she said really stuck ...

but you know what, i realized that it's not necessarily true. i realized that you don't always have to work in compatible mediums. sometimes incompatibility can create amazing alchemy! last week i was looking through some videos on youtube and came across an australian artist, gary reef, who lives in the forests of norway. i was so mesmerized by the way he mixed and matched painting mediums and the fabulous results that came out of it. for instance, so many wonderful surfaces can result from using acrylics with spray paint! you may want to check out his tutorials on his channel on youtube ... CapricornArtist73

inspired by gary's work, i proceeded to do a couple of experiments myself. of course i ruined many covers in the process but finally, i am utterly delighted with the result of this journal ...

book of secrets ... inspired by the world of ancient magic and sorcery ... and the sorcerer's apprentice ;) and you know what ... i think this is worthy of inspiration avenue's challenge this week "other worlds" :)

(back of the journal)
if you look closely, the blue blotches are created by alcohol ink and methylated spirit on acrylic paint and water. the spreading of the alcohol ink was so fun to watch when in contact with acrylics and water :) gary also reminded me of highlights and shadows in one of his videos ... which i had forgotten to include in my work for so long!

the white part on the top of the cover is spray paint over acrylics and then distressed. the image of the clock is a transfer using transparency film (also from gary's tutorial), but instead of using a gel medium as suggested by gary, i simply used water (as shown by angie of artangel ;) ... yup, i still remember that tutorial)

my focal motif is an assemblage of a large brass gear which i salvaged from an old clock, my self-rust washer and a dragonfly charm.

and for the finishing touches, black paper handtorn pages, sewn on a leather spine and a unique page marker made out of antique brass chain and a rusted key :)

all in all, i think i really love how this journal turned out!

now before i leave, just wanna show you my make-shift photography station :) LOL!

happy pimping! :)

Jul 30, 2010

absolute beauties!!

hey hey :) i've meaning to write this post last week however certain things have happened in the family and i just haven't had the time nor the mood to blog. but as you can see, i'm back which means things have settled and the mood is certainly better :)

last month i visited my sweet fren, sharon's etsy store manamoon studios and bought a couple of keychains from her. i tell you ... her keychains are just divine as are her jewelry! they came last week and OMG!!! what absolute beauties!! they even look better in life! HAH!

and you know what ... there's more :) my jaw literally fell when i opened the package from sharon and saw this ...

i was like ... look sweetie!! (my hubster) ... look what sharon gave me! OMG!! this is just GORGEOUS!! i mean, just look at the amount of work that went into this piece! i dun always wear jewelry, but when i do i like them CHUNKY!! and sharon remembered that :) i was so touched by her generosity and kindness :) thank you so much sharon!

now ... if i wasn't a starving artist ... i would have bought a whole lot more from her!! and you know what ... now i'm thinking of doing just that becos manamoon studios is having a HUGE SALE! when i say HUGE ... i actually mean HUGE!! ... everything is 75% off!!

sadly, due to time constrains, sharon is closing down manamoon ... now, if you're thinking of christmas presents, this is the time to grab some lovelies from her shop. everything is going quick becos her stuff are really really beautifully made ... you must trust me on this one!

happy pimping! :)
and happy shopping!!

Jul 17, 2010

... i promise to love you every moment of forever ...

would you do me the extraordinary honor of marrying me ...

call me whatever you like (however i rather prefer the term "dreamer" ;) but admit it, you would secretly swoon too if someone says that to you ... especially if that someone is edward cullen?! yes yes yes ... 'eclipse' the movie has reignited my delirious obsession for edward cullen :)

so this week i have allowed myself to be silly. i have wanted to do this for some time but was just a wee bit embarrassed :p. however, inspired by the challenges at the inspiration avenue and the three muses ... i allowed my delirium to take over :)

this week at inspiration avenue, we have the challenge theme "books" ... now who could deny that! and since books, well journals have been my constant creations for the past month or so, i couldn't possibly miss this challenge, now could i?

and the three muses had to come up with "flying carpet ride"!! ooo ... any journey your imagination would take you on ... well, need i say that if i had a magic carpet, i would fly straight into edward cullen's arms?

on this mixed media book cover, i have combined denim and leather, a somewhat 'edward' sense of style. the escutcheon encasing those golden eyes is actually air dry clay, stamped and painted. for some reason, i suddenly have a soft spot for keys ... which to me, symbolize a choice ... to close yourself in or to open up your heart.

i have always thought of edward as a classic gentleman from the days of old ... so i needed to include ornate designs, as captured by the motifs in black and white, and the ornate filigree framing the 'cullen crest'.

no cullen book should go without this swoon-worthy line from the movie :)

the final touch comes in the form of the page marker which on one end carries a crystal-like bead symbolizing "ice" and on the other end, carries another favorite quote of mine "be safe" ...

i am so thrilled that i was able to combine 2 wonderful challenges into one indulgent creation!

happy pimping! :)

WOOHOO!!! someone reserved it already :) thank you mellie!! :)