PERANAKAN PAPERDOLL

Remember paperdolls? I used to play with them a lot when I was young, especially the Japanese fashioned ones. I spent hours changing their clothes, adding accessories like special bags, shoes and hair clips. My cousin recently gave me Peranankan Paperdolls to 'play' with. Compared to the already printed ones last time, this time I had lots of fun designing the clothes myself! I also used my own Japanese pattern paper to make more dresses - fusion style. Can you guess which ones are the Japanese dresses and which one are the Peranankan styled ones :) ? 

peranakan paperdoll

I've 5 extra sets with me and will like to give them away to anyone who will like to 'play' and design these unique paperdolls! Each paper doll set comes with some patterned paper, 2 dresses and 1 doll (you can just leave them like an art piece or cut them out if you're like me who wants to see how it looks like on the doll). I also made more dresses just by tracing the ones I cut out. Kindly leave a comment or email me and I'll mail it to you :) To find out more about these unique paperdolls, check out the blog Nonya Manis

peranakan paperdoll

HE LIGHTS UP MY DARKNESS

During my second miscarriage, my regular gynaecologist was away on holiday and I saw the covering doctor instead. Since it happened just right after the first, I felt a little resigned to the situation but nonetheless still sad.

There were already signs of miscarriage so it was not a sudden discovery. But something hit me hard - the closing words of the covering doctor were,

You already have 2 children; so don’t feel so sad about it okay?

I left the clinic with those words in my head. The next few days, I started telling myself,

I don’t deserve to feel sad.
I already have 2 children.

I felt that by feeling sad, I was being insensitive to the struggles of childless couples. Also, I felt I was doing my children a disservice. There was no time to grieve, I’ve to care for my children, I’ve to be there for them.

 

But choosing not to grieve was the worst. I started watching Korean dramas to distract myself. It was a terrible passive activity that has no healing effect whatsoever. I started to have feelings of bitterness and envy. I decided I had to put a stop to it.

So I started to doodle and paint in the mornings when I was alone at home.  Initially, I felt that I was being lazy. Doodling and painting has no economical or tangible benefits! I should be going out to find more work, to do something constructive, cook more, prepare more activities for the children, so on and so on.

But the ever so encouraging husband told me,

You need to do it to find rest and then gain strength for the day

 

So I started painting. And as I painted, I starting grieving and the process of healing began, 

I don’t have to feel guilty for feeling sad.
I need to grieve to heal.

 

During one morning while I was painting, I came upon this word,

"You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness." Psalms 18:28

No matter what you’re going through, whether you think it’s a big or small issue, take the time to rest in His word, take the time to grieve, and He will light up your darkness and heal your wounds. 

JESUS IS IN MY BEGINNING AND ENDING

A long 6 month hiatus from blogging and I’m back. Most people start the year off with a bang, I started the year off with a break because of a series of events. The second half of 2015 and the first few weeks of 2016 were difficult. I had 2 miscarriages back to back, and then my grandpa passed away, my last grandparent in my family.

It’s interesting how when you suffer from a miscarriage, you immediately want to keep it quiet to yourself and people around you who know want to keep it hush too. I was wondering about that kind of reactive behaviour. Perhaps it’s because it’s a very personal and a private experience. But I realised the deeper reasons for me were guilt and shame.

When the miscarriages happen, the first thing I said to myself was,

It was my entire fault.
I was the one carrying the life.
I was responsible for that life.

And the guilt and condemnation worsens when well meaning friends (whom I appreciate a lot in every way) try to comfort me,

You haven’t been taking care of yourself enough.
You have been over exerting your body.
You haven’t been eating enough vitamins.

I wished that were all true, then I know what can be done to prevent the miscarriages. But unfortunately, the doctor says, they were random occurrences that could not be explained because I have 2 children already. And that made me think,

Perhaps God doesn’t want me to have any more children.

 

During these 6 months, I’ve been resting and pondering, pondering and resting. Meditating over this simple verse we usually learn when we become a new believer,

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

I didn’t cause the miscarriages and certainly God didn’t.

Then one Sunday morning, I heard Pastor Charles Nieman speak about the passing away of his wife and how he had been coping. He shared about a verse that we are all too familiar with,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was, and how is to come, the Almighty.” Revelations 1:8

 

Jesus is in my beginnings and endings. He was there during the conception, he was there during the miscarriage. He was in it with me though it all, therefore there is no condemnation, no guilt and no shame.

He is in my new beginnings and he is in my endings no matter what experiences they are. And therefore I have hope because my hope is in Jesus.

I’ve asked God one more thing, I asked Him what is the purpose of this experience,

To bring hope to others. To bring Jesus to them.

I hope you feel encouraged by my sharing, I pray you will always hope in Him because He is in our every beginning and ending, in every moment, in the same instant.


P.S. I’m giving away the postcard featured in this post and 2 others that I will be sharing in my Instagram. If you will like a set for yourself, or for a friend, do leave me a comment or email me and I’ll get in touch with you. Shalom! 

THE HAVE-IT-ALL WALLET

Let me just say this first: I CAN'T BELIEVE I SEWED THIS. 

What made me take on this DIY project with my amateurish sewing skills was because I could never find a wallet I truly like. I'm very particular about the size, number of pockets, and a coin compartment is a must. So when I saw this Have-It-All Wallet pattern on Oliver and S, I was thinking like, maybe I could sew one myself.

Before I even attempted it, I already hesitated a lot because I had to pay for the pattern. It was the first-ever pattern I paid for. With all the free online tutorials, you would think that it was rather lame to pay for a pattern.

But it was definitely worth paying for because comparing with some free online tutorials, I had absolutely no idea what a lot were saying but this pattern I bought was so detailed, it really helped me, who is at sewing beginner level.

The first few steps were a torturous experience because it was a steep learning curve for me. I had to undo the stitches like countless times, the sewing machine also often gets wonky and I even had to re-do the whole zipper pouch compartment right from the cutting of the cloth.

Now I know why people go for sewing classes. Sometimes it really helps if there's a real person guiding and having classmates encouraging you along. All I could see was the instructions in front of me. Thank God for a very nice hubby who told me like CONSTANTLY not to give up and reminded me like FOREVER to appreciate the whole learning process. He even gave me a few hours off to complete it.

I managed to finish it after 3 days 3 nights. I am really happy about it but because I didn't use a suitable cloth, it turned out rather flimsy. Hence, I can't really stuff a lot of things inside and ended up making a little card pouch on the sides to keep the extra cards (online tutorial at The Crafty Cupboard). So if you ever see me handling my wallet every so gently, you will know why - I'm trying to extend it's lifespan :)

the have-it-all wallet

The post contains no affiliate links and any views and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

LISTENING WITH LOVE

"Active Listening" has been taught countless times in school, used countless times with my clients but almost never used at all at home. No wonder people say, if you're counsellor, you could never counsel your own family, or if you're a piano teacher, you could never teach piano to your children.

Lately, after a very timely reminder by one of my friends, I revisited the 3 very simple, often taken for granted points of "Active Listening", because I was having some challenges communicating with my 2-year old toddler. As parents, we often just want to get things settled in a 'chop chop' (quick) manner. After some experimentation, I realised there are 2 ways to this: either spend some time and effort in practising active listening and avoid a melt down, or trigger a melt down and then spend some time and effort in managing recovery work. In both ways, time and effort are needed, just that the outcomes are very different.

So I try my very best, to look her in the eye, face to face, going down to her level if needed, and then:

1. Start my sentence with "I"

2. Reflect her feeling

3. Paraphrase what she is saying

'Of course it's not a foolproof method but it has saved us some tears and screams along the way. More wins than losses :)