Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Little House On The Prairie!

I made this out of a cereal box of relatively high quality. The roof is a piece of cardboard from the back of the Prima paper set. Enjoy!

And oh, it has an opening at the top for my mini paper bag album!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Malaysia Legoland

As promised, I'm gonna post my Legoland trip with information on how to go, when to go and what to do when you go!
It's gonna be a picture laden post so be prepared!

Right, we decided pretty last minute to go on a school day Monday, on 29th October 2012. It was technically still exam period so I'm hoping the crowds will be less. Brandon was having a short holiday as many of his school mates are away at Suzhou on a school trip.

Try to wake up a little earlier and start off earlier. We live in the Eastern part of Singapore and it took a longer time for us to get to the Tuas Immigration checkpoint than it was to get to Legoland once at the Malaysian Immigration!! We took nearly 40 minutes to get to Tuas and only around 20 minutes to get to Legoland from Malaysian Immigration.

Once you've cleared Malaysian Immigration, just drive straight along the highway. The place is still new and there are flags and signboards all along the highway to guide us there! It is almost impossible to get lost!! Just drive straight for around 10 minutes and you'll see the signboard in BROWN showing Legoland. It's at Exit 312 and the directions are super clear! Turn and then follow the curve of the road. Then remember to keep to the right split as the left one just goes right back to Tuas. (Again, read the signboard, it says TUAS) Just go straight along the highway and again, there's  super clear and BROWN signboards all along the route which guides you straight there.

Once there, it does get slightly confusing as there are so many ZONES, CARPARKS, DROP OFFs, etc, it drives you slightly crazy! Just do this : Drive till you see Zon 1, 2, 3. Go look for Zon 3 as the carpark there is the Medini Mall carpark. There are covered walkways leading from the carpark to the mall. It is a fairly long walk there but this way goes through the mall and you get to check out or buy food/drinks if you want. The other carparks are slightly nearer Legoland's entrance but there is nothing to see at all. And after the whole thing is over, you will definately want to eat, drink and rest at a restaurant there. And if your car is parked along the way, you will feel so much better knowing that after dinner, you will not need to detour OUT of the mall and begin the long trek back to the car!

Ok, now we're in! Yipeee! The thing about Legoland is that it seems to cater more for the age group of 3.5years to about 12years. Even my 11.5year old feels that some of the rides are rather kiddish and that Disneyland and Universal Studios in Singapore are much more thrilling. Today, I had a 4.5year old, a 9year old and a 11.5year old. Of the 3, I think the 9year old enjoyed the most. The rides were not too childish nor too oldish for her. She was a rather petite 9year old and even the rides for the smaller kids were ok for her. She was about 130m in height and that was the "ideal" height for all the rides.

The number of people there seemed like alot for a Monday school day. As it was, there were school groups there that day and I wanted to groan at the huge number of kids around! There was a large group of really young kindergarten age kids, another of primary age kids and ANOTHER of the 16 year old variety! So many!!

For me, I took made use of some of the trip advisors advice. It was better to go towards the LEGO CITY first if you have younger kids and towards the LEGO TECHNIC if you have older kids. However, at the end of the day, I realized going counter clockwise this way actually saved us a lot of time on the rides! This was because many, and I mean MANY, people who go the route of the LEGO TECHNIC first. So at LEGO CITY, there were less people. As we made our way through the rides at LEGO CITY, I found that the LEGOLAND EXPRESS was a waste of time! Unless there's hardly any queue and you can be sure of getting up the next train, don't bother! We waited 3 rounds and wasted so much time! I regretted that ride and wished I had spent the time queueing for the Boating School instead. And because of my frustration at the long wait, I totally forgot about the Boating School! We missed that! Arghhhh! Actually, other that the LEGOLAND EXPRESS, the rest of the rides had practically no queue or just a short queue! (I believe it's because we took the counter clockwise route instead of the clockwise route) The rest of the attractions were fun and all of us enjoyed it throughly. Here's some pics!

This is the Driving School for both the older ones and the junior ones. They are seperate as the older ones get to drive slightly faster, longer and more sophisticated cars. And they get a license too! (RM$25 extra for the license)

Love this pic of the three Do-Re-Mi!

 This is the Rescue Accademy and it's a family fun kind of thing! Pump the truck to make it move and then hope down and pump the water to make it spray water and put out the fire! Haha! Kinky fun!

Here's the LEGO City Airport ride. Thrilling for a 4 year old. But the older ones still climbed in for some fun!

We then went onto the LEGOLAND EXPRESS which I already advised not to take if there is a long queue. Wasted my Boating School time. Sigh... Oh well!

Next is Adventure Land!! Yipee! My next piece of advice for this is not to go for the Dino Island (log ride) first. It is a "splash until you wet wet" type of ride. Leave that for the last, like we did, and all the crowds were thinning. Can you believe the two bigger ones went on that ride like SEVEN TIMES????!!! At 6pm, closing time, I had to pry them off the ride and get out and change. I paid like RM$5 for the body dryer (like hair dryer except bigger) and they were still not fully dry. Try the Lost Kingdom Adventure first as that ride moves super fast and no matter how long the queue is, it still takes a fairly short wait. We had no queue the first round and decided to hop on for the 2nd round. There was a queue the 2nd round but still very fast. Then it was off to the Beetle Bounce. Nothing fantastic for the older kids, quite thrilling for the young ones though. Then there was Pharaoh's Revenge which was really just a bouncing, shooting ball type of play area. One thing I like about Legoland is that they have a huge playarea at every theme. Very good for the parents to rest and for the kids to run safe and wild at the area. It is sheltered and there are many seats (off peak periods).

 Lost Kingdom adventure queue the second time around. However, I suspect on peak times, this will be considered a SHORT queue. That day, we considered this long. Haha!

 The very silly Beetle Bounce! Look at the bored expression of the oldest one!!

This is the Pharaoh's Revenge. Another cooling place for the poor parents! It's very near the food area, so the males went to stuff themselves (all like dying of hunger like that!) and the females wanted to play and food was secondary (the oldest female decided it was a good chance to go on a diet and did not eat either!)

The Dino Island ride that they did at the end of the day. Which they managed to go on for SEVEN TIMES because there was practically nobody there!!

The littlest one was wilting by this time. The temperature shot up to the high 30s and seemed to keep going up that day. Please please please remember to use sunblock ya and bring along a sunblock spray. I put sunblock on everyone in the car and brought along a small bottle of sunblock spray. Umbrella is an absolute must as the sun can literally kill you! Plus, since we're in the tropical climate, it can rain at any old time! If it's a long thunderstorm, everything will cool down once the rain stops. However, if you get those types of rain that comes for 10-15 minutes, then the humidity that follows will simply suck your breath away! I guess we were lucky in that the first half of the day was hot like h**l and the second half, when we were all fainting, was cooled down in a quick thunderstorm that did alot to cool the whole place down.

Imagination was touted to be the best of all for learning and creativity. My experience did not quite bear that out. The Build and Test area was boring and the staff would rather talk to each other than to you. Plus, the place was messy and there did not seem to be any logic to how to "Build and Test" anything. We walked in and tried to play with the bricks but didn't get anywhere. All were bored and we left after 3 minutes.

The Observation Tower was amazing though. Again no queue and we went up very quickly. All round 360deg view of the surrounding areas and the park itself. The air conditioning was amazing and the ride was so fun! It's somewhat similar to the Tiger Tower in Sentosa. Then there was the DUPLO Playtown which again is a huge play area for the kids and a rest area for the parents. Lots of seating areas and lots of playing fun for the younger ones. Very very safe area. I let my 4 year old run free and I just sat at a bench panting away! Haha! She went up and down the DUPLO Express and up and down the little houses and farms and zoos. Really cool place! The Kid Power Tower was rather ridiculous and we skipped that intentionally. What we didn't skip intentionally (but still skipped) was the LEGO Studios, the 4D show. I feel like slapping myself for not insisting we queue for the show. In the end, when we did the park the second round, the show had already closed for the day. The last show was at 5pm. Please remember to queue for the show no matter how long!

The very pretty entrance to the next theme, Imagination.

I thought it kinda dorky to stand under the giraffe's **** and point. Hahahaha!!

The Observation Tower ride that had all of us ooooing and ahhhing!

I have to admit that the Lego Kingdom had my vote for best rides, best Lego designed buildings and attractions. Somehow, I love the Lego Kingdom. That may be a throwback to my days of all things princess and castles and dreamy, handsome knights! LOL! This place has the really gorgeous castle housing The Dragon ride. It was one of 3 thrilling rides. Even though I could not work up the nerves to go in with the older 2 kids, I still love this place. And the screams coming from the rides didn't detract from the quaintness of the place! I just need to stress that those of you who have been to Disneyland, Universal Studios, Disneysea, etc, please leave all your pre-conceived ideas of what a theme park should be like and just enjoy the beauty of all things Lego. It is really amazing that the builders and designers of Lego can build so many unique and fun and sturdy stuff with just Lego bricks. Mind boggling really.

The Dragon and The Dragon's Apprentice are roller coaster rides and as the name suggests, The Apprentice is a miniature version of The Dragon and pretty suitable for 4 year olds who are tall. The two older fellows rode like 4 times on The Dragon and poohed poohed The Apprentice. So the little one went on The Apprentice and was happy!

Merlin's Challenge seemed like a rather tame ride at first until it started spinning like mad! Not only does it spin really fast, it even goes up and down and up and down and.... You get the picture huh! After FIVE consecutive crazy spinning, (the 4 year old insisted she wanted more!) I waved the white flag and put my foot down. Said I will vomit all over her if she made me do the ride one more time. So I guess she did have enough when she gave in willingly!

Faintly nauseous (me only la!), we walked over to the Joust area. This was purely a little kid's ride. Rocking horsey going round a track. And they get to do it alone! I think that was what she liked best. The alone part made her feel more grown up and she insisted on doing it 2 more times. Luckily Daddy came along and I told him that I needed to sit down and calm my spinning head and heaving tummy!

Lego technic as its name suggest, is all things technical and futuristic. The very deceptively named TECHNIC Twister is just a spinning cup. Lego's version of Alice in Wonderland's cup spinners. Spinning again?! I just had to groan out loud! We went on that 4 times. 3 times with the two older ones and once with just me and little girl. I cannot understand why kids do not get dizzy. Is it a side effect of growing old?? Urghhh!! After stumbling out the 4th time, I had to go sit down and drink something. Preferably something alcoholic. Unfortuately, this wasn't Club 21 so I had to settle for coke without the bourbon. Duh.........
And the best thing about doing the counter clockwise route? There was hardly anyone at the Project X! The older two went once before it started to drizzle. I stopped them going again. Instead, we went on the AQUAZONE Wave Racers. Since it was drizzling, might as well get wetter right?! Right?! Queued for 3 rounds of the ride before it was our turn. I wonder how they manage to clear the crowds on weekends?! So slooooooow!! It was super fun! Wet and cool, it made us feel so much better after the ride. Even though it was another spinning thingy!!

Then the rains started in earnest. By then, they also "pungchet" (tyre no air) already and we rested at The Robot Kitchen. Got drinks and some snacks. Surprisingly, it was not too expensive for a theme park. Of course it wasn't cheap, but I was not put off by the price. We brought our own drinks and some snacks and nobody checked our bags. Wasted my time trying to hide everything!!

The rain was pretty heavy for all of 15 minutes. Since it was already heading towards evening and the sky was slightly overcast, it was neither hot nor humid. Lucky us. After the 30minute break, they seemed to have found reserves of energy and sped off to do Project X again! Let the small one play on the playground till they came back.

This is one cool Octopus manz!!

After all the Lego overload, Miniland didn't seem quite as amazing as it would have been if we did this first. But all the trip advisors said that this should be done later when it was not as hot. Around 4 plus 5pm. I actually agree with that except that it made us jaded. Too much rides and too many amazing Lego constructions around to make the Miniland stand out.

Still, you MUST go look. The following pictures say it all!
 This one here is my favourite, hence the enlarged size! Haha!

Okie, I'm done here. Exhausted and in pain (unused muscles), we nevertheless had a great day out! The kids had a memorable day and we spent only about SGD$100 per kid. That includes entrance fee, food, drinks, photos and dinner.

Oh ya, do have dinner at the restaurants at the Mall of Medini. There are many restaurants and they serve really cheap and good food. We ate at the Manhatten Fish Market and for 2 hungry adults, 3 starving kids, we spent only RM$115. We had some sweet drinks after dinner for the bottomless kids and I got a huge bottle of mineral water to wash out the sticky sweetness. RM$3.10 (1L) when you get it outside Legoland.

If you have any questions or queries, just feel free to leave a comment and I will get back ASAP!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Paper Bag Album

Hello again! Here's another edition from my album crazed period! Hee hee!
This is an album made entirely from paper bags. Yup, paper bags! Interesting huh?! I first saw this lady on YouTube doing this. I think its luvleescrappin. Anyway, if you cannot find it, just type in paper bag albums and there will be a whole lot of videos! (However, there are a few crappy ones you have to sift through first before you can find the nice ones!)
Ok, here's the cover. Nothing to it really. Especially to those of you experienced scrappers. The interesting parts come when you see the binding and the way the paper bag can fold in and out to reveal hidden parts!

When the album opens up, there will be pockets to hold extra photo mats or tags or whatever you wish to put in.
Ok, let's see if I can put it into words!

Step 1 : Get paper bags that have a "base". Don't get the flat ones that cannot open up at the base.
Step 2 : Open the bags up fully. The sides are all pushed out and pressed out. That way you get the flap that you see right below here! This page flips DOWN.

Step 3 : Since the bag will open up to have both right and left flaps, the other flap is folded to the BACK of the page, shown below here (Left side of album). This page here will flip UP.
Therefore, the right page shown here will be the one that flips DOWN.
Step 4 : Repeat this with every page and you can have as many pages as you have paper bags!

Step 5 : What you see here are 6 paper bags worth.
Step 7 : Remember that the paper bags have a base? Well that base is also pushed out backwards and that will be your binding.
Step 7 : Join all the back flaps together and you will get your completed album!

You don't even need to decorate every page before you glue. Just get your paper bags together and you can take your time to decorate the pages!

Here's the binding. I didn't quite like the paper back showing so I used packing tape to tape the ends so the paper bags cannot be seen. If you are neat and can get the pages well lined up, then you can afford to let the bindings be seen. I kinda misaligned a few pages and I gave up trying to make it look nice!


PS : I used carton boxes for the cover to make it look sturdier. You can try cardboard, chipboard or even canvas cover! Get your canvas covers from Daiso!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mixed typed album

There was a time when I was so fascinated with albums that had different types of pages, different size for each page and different materials for each page. And then I was also crazy about hand sewn albums. So here I have a pretty basic sewn album with all the yummlicious pages! The papers are mostly from  K&Company's old line of flowery (can't remember the name!) papers.

Notice all the washi tape around the album? Yup, me love 'em too!! Not only does it "beautify" the book, it serves as a fantastic cover up for those raw edges and join lines!

I've also got plenty of tags, kraft paper bags, white paper bags, cardstock, vellum in the album to create the feeling of variety and texture. I love the various layers, sizes and feel of the different types of materials. It's still empty. Waiting for me to fill it with love! That's it for today! Enjoy!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Zutter Travel Album

And I thought mine was a lonely blog! Thanks, Shu Ying, for the support!
Here's a cool "Zuttered" Travel Album that has all the different sizes, different types of materials (paper, envelopes, vellum, hambly plastic, chipboards,etc), different ways of doing up the pages (like making pockets, tags, etc)
Have fun viewing!

If you have lots of papers and embellishments and what have you (like me!!), then making albums after albums is the best way to use up those papers and accumulated "treasures"!
Can you see the vellum envelope that has designs peeking out? Well, that envelope was bought at PRINTS a gazillion years ago! Finally used it. And coloured envelopes make the best hiding places for keepsakes, tickets, maps, etc. Cool huh!
And you can even make your own pockets from the patterned papers so that everything co-ordinates just right!


PS : Will update with even more album pics and simple instructions on how to do it. It's really simple!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It' been a REALLLLLLY long time!

I don't think my blog gets read anymore! Hahaha! It's ok, I think. I'll just ramble on and post my art work here more often then!
My recent craze has been researching Taiwan. We're going from end November to December. Just a short 8D7N trip. But the research kinda got outta hand and I've read and reread everything about the northern part of Taiwan until my eyes and ears are bleeding from it! Hahaha!
I've just gotta figure out how to use this new blogger feature to post pics. Coz I've definately got plenty of pics to post!
Ciao and I'll be back with more pics and then hopefully more readers!