Making a Photobook for my craft market booth

One of thing that got me interested when I visit the Flea market was to flip through the portfolio or 'Lookbook' of other crafters. It gives me a quick idea of what the brand is about and what are the available products other than those on display. However, I quickly realise that the usual practise of compiling the portfolio in a A4 clear folder could be presented in a more professional way, simply by creating your own Lookbook through a professional photobook printer! Believe me, it's totally affordable because I'm a poor crafter too. I source through the internet and read all reviews, compare prices and finally settled on Photobook ( Mine was printed through their Singapore branch website) By the way, my first vacation photobook was printed through Apple using iPhoto, so it's not my first try to print photobook so I know how expensive it could be.

There are basically a few reasons that I decided to recommend and write about this Photobook website:

• For other crafter, I think this is a good way to promote your brand on site, especially if you're the quiet type like me. It is also a great memento to keep for life.

• It's affordable with the highest discount available for a 40 pages, soft cover booklet. At that point of time about 1 year ago, I spent S$16 or about USD$12 (inc. shipping fee) on my 40 pages, 11"x8.5" Medium Landscape Softcover book.

• This company have the best website design among the other online photo printing company. I'm a webpage designer and I take that into consideration whether the page is user-friendly and provide the necessary information for consumer. I also use their 'Photobook Designer' software to compile and layout the photos. My added advantage as a graphic designer was to add my own logo and background patterns to my layout even though the App did provide options for clipart to decorate your page.

• You can buy the promotional voucher first and decide when to use the promo code later (within a period of time, about 2 months) while you get your photobook layout ready using their App. The quality of the paper and print is acceptable, even though the color contrast is a bit darker than I expected, but my computer screen wasn't calibrated for print so it's okay for me. Next time I'll remember to make my photo brighter.

All the best to your business and making your first Lookbook!

Wall art for your living space

My most recent wall art was a black cat with the quote "Home is where my cat is". I've always imagine myself living with a pet (rabbit, cat or dog) but due to some personal reason I have to hold back my desire. The present of a animal in the house makes the home a more welcoming living space when you come home from work or oversea holiday as I imagine. I used to own a rabbit when I was living with my parents, she was the first thing that I want to see when I arrive home actually (sorry mum/dad). So when I was conceptualising for this cat poster, I don't want it to look like a clip art for the wall only, she has to look as thought she is already living in the same space as me.

Here's the Link to the printable poster where you can purchase the digital file and print it yourself or bring it to your local print shop for a professional print.

PippiRabbit's Illustrated Models

A series of illustrated models for PippiRabbit’s handmade bag. In the beginning of business, we were searching for ways to demonstrate the bag’s proportion to body figure. With a lack of resources for good photography and budget, we decided to use our trained skill; drawing to create our own digital model and photoshop them with the real bag in proportion. Looking back at it now after a few years, I was still a bit touched by the pure innocent that it shown, even though it was not a mature and commercialise outcome compare to everybody else.

How to prevent canvas fabric from yellowing after washing

Recently I was doing an experiment on washing my acrylic painted pouch to see if the color will come off or stain the fabric. The paint colors stayed fine after washing but the white canvas were tainted with some uneven yellowing color.

I searched the internet for solutions and realize  this is actually a common problem for canvas products e.g. Canvas sneakers especially. And luckily I found the answer here Thanks to them for sharing the tip.

So here's the simple instructions for my painted pouch:
- Wash the pouch in mild soapy water.
- Rinse the pouch until water runs clear.
- Extract excess water.
- Wrap toilet paper all around the pouch tightly while it's still wet.
- Air dry the pouch under shade.
- Wait for at least 24hrs to unwrap the toilet paper and let it dry completely.
- Iron the pouch with a ironing cloth on top with medium temperature.
- Continue using the nice and clean pouch! :) 

Participating at MAAD on 1st April 2016

I'm not a avid flea market seller, so when I choose to go to MAAD (Market of Artists And Designers), I tried to do my research online about other seller's feedback. But apparently there wasn't enough accurate information online base on my own experience from yesterday night.

After registering on MAAD's Facebook page form 3 weeks before the event, I received a reply to confirm my place about 1 week later,  which left slightly less than 2 weeks to prepare my stock.

A reminding email from the organizer was received 1 day before the event, stated that participants were to report at 4.15pm. So I 'naively' arrived at 4pm, only to realize later from another vendor that there're many experience vendors who arrived as early as 2pm (or even earlier which I do not know…) to register their prime booth spot base on a first-come-first-serve system. So you can imagine that I feel like a 'cuckoo bird', choosing from the remaining 'unseen and unwanted' table at the 'back lane'. (This reminds me of our country's housing system many years ago when people camp 2 or 3 days  to queue for a number in order to choose a housing flat unit base on a first-come-first-serve system. Now it has become a fair and square draw lots system. ***Applause)

Again, the email also mentioned that the event is at 'full capacity' this month, but from my 'back lane' photo there're about 6 to 8 empty tables… so I wonder now if the email is a template file which they forgot to update. The empty tables at the 'back lane' is a eye sore in my opinion because it's discouraging people to make the effort to walk inside and explore more. Some people who came to look for my booth actually couldn't find my table as they totally miss that 'back lane'….. :( (I paid the same fee ley..) I think they should just remove the 'back lane' tables.. I know I'm being naive again, it's money-making-tables for the organizer.

At the end of my stay (5pm - 11.20pm), my 2 sales record did not even cover my rental fee.

In conclusion, I don't think I'll join MAAD again unless it's a 'Draw Lots System to Choose Your Booth' and without 'Back Lane' tables for vendor.

*I know perfectly well that people generally dislike those who write negative remarks or feedback on social media about another party, but let this be my little sacrifice in the hope for something better to arise.

Why do we say "Creativity is not a hobby, it's a way of life."

Today while browsing the net, I chance upon some quotes by this famous spiritual teacher ( of which I only heard of his name until now :P) Osho. His thinking about the meanings of creativity totally hits the spot of why I chosed that quote for my blog, Here's an excerpt from the full article which you can read here -

"Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach – how you look at things."
"So the first thing to be remembered: don't confine creativity to anything in particular. A man is creative – and if he is creative, whatsoever he does, even if he walks, you can see in his walking there is creativity. Even if he sits silently and does nothing, even non-doing will be a creative act. Buddha sitting under the Bodhi Tree doing nothing is the greatest creator the world has ever known. Once you understand it – that it is you, the person, who is creative or uncreative – then this problem disappears."
"Not everybody can be a painter – and there is no need also. If everybody is a painter the world will be very ugly; it will be difficult to live. And not everybody can be a dancer, and there is no need. But everybody can be creative."
"Whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing it is not purely economical, then it is creative. If you have something growing out of it within you, if it gives you growth, it is spiritual, it is creative, it is divine."

Many concerns for making and selling handmade bags

 PippiRabbit Shop

Making and designing my own bag started off as a hobby to fill up my spare time and fulfill my need to get away from the computer as I worked as a web designer for my day job.

As the skill matured, my own set of judgement and standard kicks in for what I consider a good handmade bag fit for 'sale'. Why do I stress the word sale? How is it different from making bag for yourself and for others? 

Making bags for yourself means you can customize the design to your unique preferences, design specific sizes for your belonging, decide on the color to match your usual outfits. These are all unique factors to each and everyone of us. But when I apply that to my sales item, I'm only targeting a niche group who share the sentiments with me, but how do I expect them to find me in this corner of the world? So what about if I start making generic design, colors, materials? It doesn't work either, because my unit cost are many times higher than mass produced goods from factory. People would compare the prices. I was a confused and unhappy crafter for a while, crying over the poor sale in my shop.

There is no best solution, but I did try my best to come up with my own standard that could satisfy my creative need and the market's demand for a 'buyable' handmade bag.

Here are my guideline for making and designing PippiRabbit's bag:
• The design and material used cannot be easily reproduced.
• The material must last for a period of time. ( no more fake leather or plastic material that cracks after a while and no to leather that get moldy in our hot and humid weather)
• The bag must have a structure that let it stand on it's own proudly and not slouch into a pile of fabrics.
• There is a theme/uniqueness for each design
• It is a bag that I would want and buy for myself.

The self-encouragement that I told myself is to keep doing what I like and enjoy the process, find other means to support this love and interest even if it means doing brainless job to support my financial needs.