Trying To Start Again

It’s terrible isn’t it? First I’m back, then I’m not, then I am again, then I’m not again. It’s like a yoyo I’m going through with this blog, and with my life.

This year – 2015, hasn’t been a great year so far – and it’s nearing the end of June already – this year really flew by.

So many tragic events took place this year – the crash of an Air Asia plane in early Jan (actually it was late December 2014), another crash by a german plane – this time it was because the co-pilot wanted to take his own life, and that of everyone on that plane. It’s a case of bad luck for those people onboard, isn’t it? Good grief.

Then there was this sinking of the ferry carrying more than 400 people, mainly elderly people from China – almost all died. And before that was the earthquake in Sabah, that killed a number of people, including 2 teachers and 7 primary 6 students from Tanjong Katong Primary School. That one really pained my heart. I cannot imagine what the parents of these children are going through now, I cannot imagine what the principal of that school is going through, and I cannot imagine what these 7 students were going through seconds before they knew (or didn’t know) that they were going to die. They were only 12 years old – so so painful to think of this.

And in march was Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s passing – that one made me sob every single day during the mourning period of 7 days.


I saw a dead body. Enough said on that.

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I have not been crafting much this year. I made a decision in the latter part of last year, to stop accepting sewing orders from then till maybe the end of this year. This is so that I can concentrate more on Ethan and his studies.

But with that stopped, I have not had much luck in selling my existing sewing projects. Basically people prefer to buy their items custom made, rather than items I have made. I can understand that, though I wish it weren’t the case. There are people who embrace custom orders as these orders challenge us to make things that are not in our comfort zone.

But for me, I am lousy at coping with things not within my comfort zone, therefore all these years, I have not been able to be totally relaxed with custom orders, infact, they stress me out no end. In the end, I find sewing very stressful and not fun at all, something which I didn’t forsee will happen.

I have since not sewn much this year, except for the month of march where I had this sudden urge to sew, after seeing a video on quilts.

But the urge died down soon after, and I have not been sewing since.

I was also in crocheting from last November till april – kept crocheting and crocheting non-stop – I just couldn’t stop. But I did stop – for 2 months already. So fickle I am right? I cannot stand myself sometimes.

What hasn’t really died down is scrapbooking and papercrafting. And it looks like it’s here to stay for a while at least, as I am now interested in projecting life-ing on a weekly basis, scrapbooking my trips – still, making paper related gifts for people, and making cards. I also hope (for the past 8 years actually) that one day I will be noticed by an American scrapbook company who will want me on their design team. With that in mind, I am trying to polish up my scrapping, cardmaking etc.

I started loving scrapbooking in June 2005, and I am STILL doing it today, though not as fervently as before, and my style has evolved over the years, BUT I still love this hobby – amazing right? There was a time when I thought otherwise, but I am very wrong, obviously.

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I am very active on Instagram (@somersetdevon), less on facebook (I mainly post images of my work) now. As for this blog – I am going to try to keep it alive. :)

Thanks for sticking around – am very grateful. Hope I will be back soon. Do I sound hopeful? :)

My Memories of Mr Lee Kuan Yew


(I love this photo above – Mr Lee looked very handsome here. This is how I want to remember him by.)

I have been wanting to write a blog post on Mr Lee Kuan Yew, but I couldn’t get myself to do it without crying.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away on the 23rd of March 2015 at 3;15am or thereabouts. It was a Monday morning. Prior to that he was seriously ill with severe pneumonia for quite sometime and was hospitalised at SGH since feb 3rd or 4th.

He has been ill on and off for a few years now – and these illnesses were always reported in the news, and at the end of the day, he will always be well again and would return to his home.

But this time round, I could sense (from the news coverage) that his pneumonia was a very serious one. And I know when the elderly contract severe pneumonia, it almost always means they are going to die soon.

I was hoping against hope that he will live and survive through this pneumonia. On sunday morning, the day before he died, it was reported that he turned for the worse. My heart dropped. I continued to say a silent prayer, that he will pull through.

Then on Monday morning when I woke up at 530am and checked my facebook page – I saw the news – I closed my eyes – I couldn’t believe it – Mr Lee had really passed away – something that I have been dreading for more than 2 years since I saw photos of his frail frame.

I didn’t cry at first – just woke the kids up, got them ready for school and all…. It was after that, when I settled down, ate my breakfast and watched tv – that was when I saw images of Mr Lee flashed on tv – I started to cry.

Today is Friday – it’s been 5 days, and I have not stopped crying. I am actually shocked at my own reaction. I wrote on my facebook page on Monday, that I felt I had lost my own grandfather. It still feels that way today – and I totally didn’t expect this in me. I feel an immense sense of loss, of emptiness, of sorrow, and I also feel insecure now.

Prior to Mr Lee’s death, I didn’t know much about what he did for Singapore. I was born in 1969 in Malaysia, came to Singapore a couple of years later – my sister was born here in 1972. By the time I came to Singapore, Mr Lee was already the prime minister, but I know he was still trying to build Singapore, one step at a time. How I know? It’s because of my own father.

My dad liked, and still likes I believe – to watch Mr Lee’s national day rally speeches when they were telecast on tv. My dad basically liked to watch all of Mr Lee’s speeches, including those he would tirelessly make during voting campaigns.

During voting campaigns I used to watch a few of his speeches on tv when my dad was watching them – and I used to wonder why it was only Mr Lee who was speaking, while the rest of the cabinet members just sat behind him, crossed-legged and staring at the crowd. And I used to look at the crowd – everyone, and I mean everyone – was listening attentively to Mr Lee. Nobody’s eyes were looking elsewhere, nobody even yawned. Maybe they daren’t. Since young I knew Mr Lee was a very strict man – he reminded me of my mother in many ways. And despite me resenting my mum’s strict ways of disciplining me, I felt Mr Lee’s strict and disciplined ways of governing the country, was the right way to go. To govern a country you need to have strict laws put in place – it cannot be “ok” here and “anything can” there – things will never get done nor get improved in this way. That was how I felt – and I was in my early teens then.

There are a few things that he did which I thought (back then when I was a teen) were good things, good laws – “saviour” kind of laws – you know what I mean?

One of them was the ban of chewing gum. When he implemented that – I was so happy I tell you. I have gotten gum on my shoes, my clothes, even my hair. I had to literally watch where I stepped, where I sat, and not to walk under any buildings as that was how I got gum on my hair. Many people complained about this law, but I was one of the few who applauded it.

Singapore being so clean and green was another initiative by Mr Lee, and I will always be grateful he made Singapore into a garden city – or rather a city in a garden. It’s the first thing visitors will remark when they visit Singapore – “such a beautiful city!” And I always feel proud whenever I hear that.

The cleaning of the Singapore river was another good one, though I thought he won’t be able to do it as the river was really extremely filthy. But he did it. Amazing.

Singapore Airlines, Changi Airport, HDB flats – these were all done by him and his team of ministers.

This is so difficult to write – I just feel so down now – it’s like I lost someone dear to me. I will continue again another day.


21 March 2015

Its saturday, cloudy and hazy. Sean has left to study with friends. I wish i could leave the house too but im still feeling weak.

Today is another one of those oh-so-frequent days where i wonder why i am alive and what am i living for. I am very depressed, frustrated and angry with myself for choosing this path of my life.
I have decided, for now that is, to just live for my kids and make things to give to people who appreciate me, which sadly arent many, but i feel i hve done my best to be a good person to everyone i know.

I pray i dont hve to suffer too long, i wish i knew what god has planned for me coz i am just at a loss now, have been for many years already.

20 March 2015

Its friday, hot and hazy and my 5th day feeling very sick. Hve been sick with cough, flu, sore throat and fever since monday which was the start of the school hols, thank goodness for that. So i did pretty much nothing during these past 5 days, quite a waste of time but i guess i needed to take it slow. Caught it from ethan who was sick the week before.

Today is ethan’s birthday, he turns 12, which means i have been taking care of him full time for 10 years already – 10 years!! He was only 2 when i quit my job to stay at home. He couldnt really walk then, couldnt utter a word and was still drinking milk and wearing pampers.

Now he is 12, cannot stop talking, and will be sitting for his psle exams soon. Oh how i wish to go back to 10 years ago!! :)

Rurouni Kenshin The Movie

Just a very short post saying I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS MOVIE!! It’s a trilogy, and all 3 parts are very good, especially part 3 where there were a lot fighting scenes. I caught all 3 parts while onboard my flight to Osaka in November 2014. Watched them again on my flight back home from Osaka – that’s how good they all were.

And I hope to watch them again. Takeru Seto – the lead actor who played the role of Himura Kenshin, was absolutely awesome in this movie.

2015 – New Year – New Direction

Once again I have been neglecting this blog like nobody’s business. I have half the mind to shut it down, but every time I think of that – I will think of reviving it. So here I am.

Today is the 2nd day into the new year. I still cannot believe 2014 is a done deal – the year passed by so so fast. It just gets faster and faster as I grow older and older. I am very lucky it was an uneventful year for me, although it was actually quite a terrible year as a whole – so many tragedies including 3 major aviation disasters – all occurring so close to home. It’s terrible. It’s not safe to fly anymore, but some of us still have to fly, and for me, if I worry about it each time L flies off, I will die. So all I can do is pray and try not to think about it. I am sure L is just as jittery about flying these days.

As a mother, there are just so many things to worry about when it comes to my children. I wonder if I’m the only mother who is constantly worrying about the kids’ health, safety and studies. I think for me, studies comes after health and safety, at least for studies, I can control that, but for health and safety, I cannot.

Crafting wise – I have taken some big steps this year, actually I have already started taking them since last November – and one of the big steps is to stop taking in customised orders for the next year or so. The main reason is that custom orders take up a lot of my time, and at times I cannot deal with the stress it comes with. It’s not just the sewing bit, it’s also the pricing and the choosing of fabrics. I go through great lengths to satisfy the customers’ needs, and usually the price tag I put on the handsewn item, does not justify the amount of time I put into it.

In the middle of last year, I had a customer who wanted to be charged a lower price – the item cost $13 – she wanted to pay $12 – and her reason was that she preferred even numbers. I was dumbfounded to say the least, and being the soft hearted person that I am – I said ok. I have had other experiences where I was blatantly taken advantage of, them knowing my character – so ladies and gentlemen – it’s not easy selling things, especially handmade items.

But I haven’t given up yet – mainly due to all the encouragement and support I have been getting from friends, relatives and even strangers – very heartwarming ones I get too, so these people keep me going. And my love for creating things for people keeps me going too.

2014 was also the year where I learnt some lessons the hard way – one of which literally broke my heart, and I started to question whether I was really in the wrong and have been a bad person. Till this day, I still don’t know, but I’ve decided to move on – no point crying over spilt milk, but this has opened my eyes WIDE as to what and who are important to me, and what/who I should concentrate my time on.

As to the direction I want to take with this blog – sigh – I’m really wishy washy about it. In my previous post, I wrote that I will concentrate on just posting my work on this blog – but lately I still want to write about other things here on this blog – so I don’t know….. Maybe I shouldn’t plan and just go with the flow.

I want to do so many things this year – things that I’ve not had the time to do coz I was busy crafting, so I will be crafting less this year. I am ever so lousy at prioritising my time, so this year, I hope to prioritise better. It’s also going to be a stressful year for me – have been dreading this year for a long time, but now that I have arrived at it, I will try to take things easy – one at a time – no point panicking or getting upset over things that have not happened yet.

And that’s it for this post. :)

It has been a long time…..

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(pic above – my current load of handmade cards. Taken using my phone.)

I am back after another long absence, and I have since put into thought exactly which direction I want to take where writing on this blog is concerned, so I am going to try this new approach where I dedicate this blog to mainly posting about my crafting and bits about my life – but mainly about my crafting.

So now that I have made up my mind on that, I will now happily post pictures of some of my recent work – mainly papercrafting work. :)

The following photos show one of the mini albums or mini books as I call them, which I made recently. I made a few of them as they are so fun to make, and I have to thank my good friend April for giving me the idea and the inspiration to make them. :)

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I used 12″ patterned papers – cut them into half, then folded them into half again – collected about 4 to 5 sheets and sewed them using the sewing machine right down at the middle – and that was how I binded these books. Then comes the fun part – embellishing the pages. I used a variety of things like project life cards, stickers and stamps to embellish them. And that was it! I will be making more for sure as these are useful as mini albums or mini journals. All very unique and one of a kind. :)

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These are a whole bunch of tags I made for the holiday season and for gift wrapping, and they are all listed onto my etsy shop called Somerset Devon.

I used a lot of stamps to make these tags – and I love them!! Go check them out at my shop if you can, ok? :)

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I use my phone a lot to take pictures of my work, then I’ll post it onto my instagram account. If you would like to follow me on instagram, I am @teoelain. :)

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I am still scrapbooking and am loving it a lot more these days, especially after I have adopted the “project life” way of scrapbooking. Currently I’m using that format to scrapbook my photos taken during my trip to Central Japan which I visited in June 2014. Having so much fun with the album that I wish this “project life” method came about earlier so that all my albums will have this format. :)

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I am also having a lot of fun making tags and cards – I still love cardmaking after all these years – and have revived all my stamps once again – at one point they were all collecting dust – so I’m really glad to use them again – stamps don’t come cheap so I really have to put them into good use. :)

I am actually under a lot of stress at the moment – don’t even want to write down here what exactly is stressing me out – just know that I’m under stress, and a lot of it. So I am glad papercrafting makes me happy, takes the worries off me for a moment, and these things that I make, make me feel important – can’t really explain what I mean by that, but it’s important to me that I feel useful and important. :)

That’s it for this post. Hope to post again soon. :)