MAAD market September 2016 September 13, 2016 20:19

MAAD market September hanakrafts

This post is a little bit overdue, but I thought it would still be useful to keep a record of some of the reflections I had after the event. This was the 2nd time I had taken part in the MAAD market at the Red Dot Design Museum, but it was quite a different experience from the first time. For one, we were in a completely different space quite deep in the gallery, as compared to the first time when we were located pretty near the entrance, just next to the souvenir shop. Also, the crowd swelled at different timings throughout the night--in August, there was quite a constant flow of people all the way from 6-10pm, but this time, the crowd was thin all the way till 9pm, when there was suddenly a HUGE crowd all the way till 11pm. 

MAAD market sept 2016 hanakrafts

There were a few new items that I had during this market: the Japanese yuzen origami journals, and the premium origami money envelopes in a jumbo size. Some of my customers from the previous market had asked whether I had the premium origami money envelopes in a larger size, and I thought that that was a great idea, so I trialled it at this market. It's not easy to find the paper being sold in larger dimensions, though, so I think it will always be an item with highly limited stock if I do eventually list it on my online store. 

MAAD market Sept hanakrafts customers

This customer was particularly memorable for me =) she really adored my hand-bound journals and was so torn between getting the Lokta journal or the Japanese yuzen origami journal! It was so cute how she was oohing and aahing over how well-made they were and how the covers were so pretty.. I was so touched by that! And it's people like her who really drive me and my work making handmade paper goods =) Paper lovers 4EVA heehee!

MAAD market Sept 2016 hanakrafts customers

There were some other conversations that I had which were memorable as well. There was one customer who did a once-over of all my items, and then asked me how long I had been in business for. I told her just over a year, and she was pretty impressed because she said I had made so many items in such a short time! Another customer commented that all the items were so colourful and diverse, and that no two patterns were the same. It's these kinds of comments that really put a smile on my face and inspire me to keep going. Of course there are also other , less positive comments, but I refuse to dwell on them because they aren't my ideal customers. I will just keep looking out for other paper lovers just like me!

hanakrafts @ MAAD Pyjamas market on 5 August 2016 August 10, 2016 13:30

Hubby and I have been back in Singapore for a couple of weeks now, and we've been enjoying lots of quality time with dearly-missed family and friends. I was also thinking that I should do some hanakrafts-related work while I'm back too, like teaching courses or selling at markets, so I signed up for the MAAD Pyjamas market, which happened last Friday! It's a monthly market for locally-made goods held at the Red Dot Design Museum. It was the first time that I'd ever sold in person in Singapore, so I was pretty excited! As usual I told myself not to have too many expectations--as long as I sold enough to cover the participation fee, I should be happy with myself. (Trust me, this really helps to quell the nervousness.) My aim was just to put myself out there and to introduce hanakrafts to a wider audience back home.

hanakrafts MAAD market

This was my booth! This time round I used more baskets to display my items, and I also plucked up the courage to use my banner. Haha! When I was selling in Gore, I already had the banner, but it was such a small event I felt hesitant to use it. Also, because money envelopes are more commonly used in SG, they were the highlight of my display.

The crowd at the market was huge. The event was from 5pm till midnight, and from 6 till 1030pm, there was a constant stream of people passing through, which was great! My booth was indoors and sort of en route to the exit, so we had a good catchment of people. What did people gravitate towards? The hand-bound notebooks and, as expected, the premium origami envelopes! I also received some custom orders for cards and notebooks, as well as some possible wholesale offers (!!!) which I would need to mull over.

hanakrafts booth family

The best part about selling while back home is having family to help! Heheheh. I recruited my mum and younger bro, and big bro also dropped by after work. Dad fetched us after the event as well. Because of all their help hubby and I could take breaks, have our meals properly and take a look at the other stalls too! 

hanakrafts booth family

hanakrafts booth family

I was also really touched by the support of other family members and friends who came all the way to say hi and to buy my items! I am always reminded of how blessed I am to have people in my life who really love the things that I make and who are constantly showing their support for my work. It really means so much to me and I hope they know that =)

Another thing that really amazed me was the close-knit community of SG makers. Everyone who had a stall there was friendly and supportive, and we were all visiting each other and sharing about our work. I met jewellery makers, pottery artists, and even fellow book-binders who were all so passionate about their handmade businesses. It's amazing being a part of this homegrown handmade community and I think we should all be really proud of what we do. If you like our work, do show your support for us! It really means so much =) 

Our first market in Singapore: The MAAD Pyjamas market! August 1, 2016 23:36

MAAD Pyjamas Market August 2016

July has been a busy month--we've packed our things and flown back to Singapore for a while to spend valuable time with beloved family and friends. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to open a hanakrafts booth for the very first time in Singapore! So this Friday, hanakrafts will be at the MAAD Pyjamas market at the Red Dot Design Museum together with other talented artists and makers. Hope to see you there!

My first sales event--Gore 4 Sale July 1, 2016 19:57 2 Comments

A week ago there was a garage sale/ car boot sale event in Gore. Since they also offered stall tables and they allowed vendors to sell anything they liked, I jumped at the opportunity to do my first in-person sales event! It cost $10 per table which was pretty affordable, and the event was from 10am to 3pm at the James Cumming Wing, which is just a stone's throw away from home. I really had no excuse to chicken out of this one!

Gore 4 Sale at James Cumming Wing

This was how the hanakrafts stall looked like after setting up. We thought it might take us some time to set up but it actually took us less than half an hour. I suppose that's also because I had spent some time conceptualizing the whole set up at home, which I would highly recommend for any small biz owners running their first sales event. You will have less of a headache thinking of what to put where on the day itself!

hanakrafts hand bound notebooks and long money envelopes

Almost all the props and displays that I used were sourced from home, amazingly enough. The journals, notebook sets and long money envelopes were placed in these drawers, which were actually from our bedside tables! They were the perfect size and gave a nice homely feel to the display.

hanakrafts handmade cards

I also used woven baskets that were already in our home.This plastic card display was the only thing I bought, and I did so because I needed a neat way to display the cards. The cards were a hit on that day! I think people here still send handwritten greeting cards for special events, and haven't really gone down the whole e-card route, which is pretty sweet. I had some cute requests that will tell you some things about the demographics in Gore. "Do you have cards for a golden wedding anniversary/ a get well soon card/ a card for an old lady who just moved house?" =) Luckily I had some general cards for all occasions that did the trick!

hanakrafts Japanese stab binding notebooks

Our customers really loved these Japanese stab-binding notebooks too! They were cooing over how 'clever' it was to stitch designs into the spines of the books. 

(By the way, you might notice that I offered discounted prices on almost all items that day! That was done on purpose so please don't be shocked that the prices indicated are cheaper than what you can find on my websites.)

Gore 4 Sale at James Cumming Wing

Hubby took this photo of me while I was taking note of my inventory. I forgot to do that one essential thing at home! Luckily I remembered to do so before the event started.

Gore 4 Sale at James Cumming Wing

You might be surprised to learn that even though hanakrafts has been running for a year now, this is only my first sales event. All this while hanakrafts has only been operating online, and that's partly because I hadn't yet mustered up the courage to sell in person. It makes me nervous! Upon reflection, though, I guess I have no reason to be anxious. Sales events give me the perfect opportunity to see how people respond to my products, which ones they gravitate towards and why, and whether my price points work. On that day, I was pleased to see that the customers were reacting very positively to all the products, and they were pretty impressed by the fact that everything was handmade. Also, even though they weren't quite sure what money envelopes were, they were very receptive when I started to explain their uses. They also loved the feel of the yuzen chiyogami origami paper, which was great! It feels good spreading the love of beautiful paper around =)

Etsy Craft Party 2016 in Auckland! June 21, 2016 12:31

So the Etsy Craft Party has come and gone so quickly! It was a really successful event--it was great meeting like-minded people with a passion for handmade goods, and it was fun learning new skills and watching everyone's creative juices flowing. 

The night before was spent at the hotel finalizing my display baskets and card-making kits. I made 16 kits and thankfully so because the first workshop was over-subscribed!


This was the calm before the storm. See the queue of people forming outside waiting to get into the first few workshops!


My display of items for sale.


The other items on display as well! Everything was really gorgeous, and made even more so because you knew they were all carefully handmade.


The first session of my card-making workshop! It was great fun being a teacher again, haha. I think I made the small mistake of putting out too many materials though, which made it messy and a little confusing, so for the second workshop I reminded myself that sometimes, less is better! It was good to see the participants having fun and thinking about the designs that they would like for their own gatefold cards.


There were also many kids attending the workshops with their parents, which was heartwarming to see. 


It was a little bit quieter in the afternoon so for my second workshop, I only had 2 ladies with me. But it was good because they were crafters too, so we got to know each other a lot more closely, and by the end of the workshop, they had taught me something too--how to set up an Instagram account! (Yes, I know, I feel ancient.) Aren't their cards beautiful? 


A group shot at the end of the event! Here I am with some of the other artists, event organizers and little helpers =) Really hope to be able to work with them again someday!


Australian Wandarrah feature on the alphabet game! May 31, 2016 16:13

I love playing the alphabet game on the Australian Wandarrah blog! It makes me think about my items in a more creative way. Here are some items for letters A to G, including my money envelopes in dark blue and cream:

Mediterranean money envelopes in dark blue and cream

Australian Wandarrah Blog feature on Pantone Winter colours 2016 May 28, 2016 14:44

Hello again! Wow, I've never blogged so frequently before. I think it's simply because I've never had so many things to blog about in such a short period of time! Which I guess is only a good thing =)

We've been blessed to have achieved so many milestones recently, and today I'm happy to announce yet another one! Our Pastel Nordic design money envelopes have been featured on the Australian Wandarrah blog, in an article about the Pantone Winter colours range for 2016. Do have a read here and take a look at the other gorgeous items featured as well!

Pastel Nordic design money envelopes in blue and coral shades

hanakrafts is one! May 26, 2016 20:15

hanakrafts anniversary promotion

We are so happy to be launching our 2016 Eid money envelopes collection while also celebrating our one year anniversary here at hanakrafts! Celebrate with us with this discount code, our show of appreciation to you, our beloved customers! Thanks for your never-ending support =)

Update 13 June 2016: This offer has ended, thank you for your support!

Etsy Craft Party Auckland 2016 May 18, 2016 16:20

etsy craft party auckland

It's a month to go before the Etsy Craft Party in Auckland! I'm so excited to be presenting my first craft workshop, which will be on card-making =) I'm still planning out the details and thinking about what card styles I would like to teach, because I think the standard rectangular card style would be too ordinary. Perhaps the gatefold card or the easel card styles would make for more interesting material. Once I've decided, I can get started making the card kits. There will also be a sales table so it would also be the first time I'm selling my crafts in person! So many firsts in one day, haha! Wish me luck ;)

Calligraphy practice with a bamboo pen! April 15, 2016 19:31

Calligraphy set

I found this calligraphy writing set in a quaint little art store in Melbourne and I immediately fell in love with it! I had been thinking of buying more coloured inks, so this was a good deal--the set was pretty complete with 4 inks in different colours, a brush, a bamboo pen, an embroidered cleaning cloth and a writing pad. I was particularly excited about the bamboo pen because the last time I encountered it being used was for an Arabic calligraphy course. Plus you can't really buy that off the shelf in any stationery store!

Calligraphy set with inks, brush and bamboo pen

I finally found some time this week to try out the bamboo pen and the inks and I loved the results! The bamboo pen writes pretty differently from your normal calligraphy nib and holder... somehow I couldn't really create the swells and hairlines in the lettering, but the pen glided really smoothly on paper and was such a pleasure to write with. Will definitely try to use it more regularly now in my work!

Calligraphy writing


Lokta paper from Nepal March 7, 2016 09:36 1 Comment

It's been a pretty cold March so far--Facebook reminded me that 1 March was the start of autumn in NZ, and on that day the temperature was a high of 12 degrees and a low of 4 degrees! What a freezing start to a brand new season.

Anyway, I'm really excited to share about a new find that I made while on a short (birthday!) trip to Melbourne recently. Everywhere I go I'm always on a quest to find new materials and supplies that I can use to make more handmade items, and I was so stoked to find this one! It's Lokta paper, which is handmade paper originating from Nepal. 

Lokta paper--red, blue and gold

How pretty is that! The paper has a fibrous texture which is delicate to the touch, but it is actually really durable. In Nepal, Lokta paper is used for the printing of everything from government documents to religious scriptures, which just goes to show how long-lasting and resistant to wear-and-tear it is. Lokta paper is also eco-friendly because it is 'tree-free'--it is made from the fibres of the Lokta bush.

Lokta paper notebook red on cream

I used them to make A6 versions of my hardcover, coptic stitch journals. I was afraid the glue might seep through the paper, as it might with other types of thin, porous paper, but it didn't, so it really is a lot more durable than it looks! 

Lokta paper notebook in blue

The blue version!

And my personal favourite, the one in gold and black! The gold really pops so beautifully on the black background. 

Do check out these Lokta notebooks and more on my website! =)

Handmade coptic stitch hard-cover journals January 26, 2016 11:43

It's been awhile since I last blogged! It's been a great 2016 so far--I've set up a new workstation, moving from the dining area to the living room, which means I've lost the garden view that I used to have, but it's a lot more spacious now. I've also started making sturdier hardcover journals, something which I'm so proud of and which I'd love to share with you!

There's a lot involved in the process of making each journal. I used these same steps to make my own 2016 organizer and it turned out beautifully. You will need to make the text block first. You start off printing out all the pages you need in the journal, and for this, you can have practically any design you like--lined pages, dot pages, or even pages with specific patterns or templates. I used a template provided by Sea Lemon on Youtube, which has a weekly organizer format, but it has been left blank so you can personalize it by filling in the dates yourself.

After the pages have been printed out, you would need to group them into signatures of 3 or 4 (making sure you have arranged the pages in the right order), and then pierce holes through each signature. After that, the sewing begins!  I use the coptic stitch for these journals and they hold up amazingly well. 

Once you've bound the text block, you then spread two layers of glue on the spine, and then glue on a ribbon if you'd like to use it as a page marker. When it's all dry, glue on folded cardstock to each end, followed by an additional strip of cardstock for reinforcement. Let it dry between weights and you've got your text block, as seen below!

After that comes the more difficult part of making and attaching the cover. You will need to use cardboard (I used recycled pieces) and cut it into 3 pieces for the front cover, the back and the spine. Glue them onto the pretty paper that you have chosen for the cover--for mine, I used designer Italian paper that I purchased from another Etsy seller. Beautiful, isn't it? =) 

The difficult part is ensuring that the pretty paper doesn't warp due to the glue. You will need to glue on the pieces very carefully and ensure you run a bone folder across the surfaces immediately to remove any air bubbles. After you let it dry between weights, the final step would be to attach the cover to the end pages ie the black cardstock on the front and back of the text block. That's also a little bit tricky because you have to ensure that the text block is positioned just right so that the journal opens smoothly. For the last time, let it dry between weights, and then voila! You have your own handmade hardcover journal! 

I was so delighted with the end product I couldn't wait to fill it up! I love to personalize my yearly organizer with stickers and stamps and pens of different colours--I can spend a whole day working on it! 

Ever since I put up these photos of my organizer on Facebook, I've gotten lots of customised orders for them, which is amazing. Do browse through my catalogue if you would like one too!

Congratulations card and customised notebook for a newborn November 16, 2015 14:52

This card and notebook was a custom order to celebrate the birth of a newborn. The card was in hues of pink and had 'Congratulations' handwritten on it using a traditional calligraphy pen and ink! 

I had to practise a few times before I could get the consistency that I wanted. Calligraphy looks deceptively easy but it really isn't! It requires a lot of patience, practise and control. Also, that's not coffee in the little cup; it's ink from the nib! Haha!

For the notebook, I used black embroidery floss on red cardstock for a nice contrast, and the binding design was 'Kissing Fish'.

To personalize the notebook, I wrote the baby's name on a die-cut embellishment with a gold calligraphy marker and decorated it with flowers. The notebook would make the perfect keepsake for the little one, as it could be used to keep mementoes of her growing up journey =)

Lego birthday invites! October 27, 2015 10:37

This is another recently completed custom order that I was busy working on--Lego styled birthday invites for a little boy who loves his Lego! 

Punched out circles using my trusty Martha Stewart paper punch. I had to make 240 circles!

The invites were postcard-style and came in 4 different colours with a black backing.

I downloaded a free Lego-style font online and designed the invitation, preprinted on the back.

The final products ready to be couriered out! It was an enjoyable project--filled my days with pops of colour and nostalgia!

Customised cards order September 21, 2015 18:48

I've started to accept custom orders! It's not as daunting as I thought it would be and I think it helps in the design process when I have the customer's preferences to guide me =) here are some of the designs that I made for a recent custom order! 3 mum of the year cards and a floral card set, all with matching lined envelopes! 

Experimenting with handmade boxes! July 28, 2015 10:20

I've been trying to diversify the range of products on hanakrafts... And I've fallen in love with boxes! So easy to make and so pretty, too. Makes the whole process of gifting even more complete! I've been experimenting with origami boxes, boxes with lids and self-closing boxes. 


New scenery! July 13, 2015 12:45

So this is the scene that I work to nowadays ;) New Zealand has been absolutely gorgeous so far!

My mornings... June 26, 2015 12:38

This is what my mornings look like!

Armed with pencil, ruler and scissors, I trace and cut my way through reams and reams of paper with beautiful motifs... After that, I switch to a bone folder and glue tape, which magically transforms the cutouts into gorgeous money envelopes, perfect for gifting!

Calligraphy work June 10, 2015 16:09

Here's some calligraphy work that I did for a friend's order. I know I said I don't do customisation but friends are special! =)

Wedding card for a good friend June 10, 2015 14:22

Here's a wedding card I did for a good friend! I used grey cardstock and complemented it with blue lace origami paper, a turquoise chipboard flower, grey thickers and a handstamped 'Celebrate' greeting with pearl accents. Nicely fringed with light blue ribbon. The inside is simple, with blue cardstock on both sides for me and friends' messages, and flower punches on the corners. The punches have also been backed with blue paper for an eye-catching contrast. There is also a small die-cut piece for us to write down our memories of our glorious school days.

Really hope she will like it! =)



where it all began... May 5, 2015 11:59

When I was young, my mum used to love making her own money envelopes for the festive seasons. She would buy rolls of wrapping paper in a pretty design, trace out the shape of the money envelope using a cardboard sample multiple times, then very carefully cut the shapes out. She would then fold in the creases, paste the edges and voila! Money envelopes ready for filling for Hari Raya! I remember being really intrigued by this and eagerly offering my assistance to her, promising that I would take just as much care as she did in making the envelopes. On hindsight, I think she was more than happy at my willingness to lend a hand, whiling away my weekday afternoons crafting while listening to Perfect 10 on the radio.

I really do have my mum to thank, then, for my passion for crafting. She didn't just make money envelopes, too--she made a whole range of items, from recycled pencil holders out of old 8 Days magazines, to patchwork quilts that kept us warm at night. I think watching her quietly savouring the handiwork process inspired me to give it a go and to realize for myself just how fulfilling it is to create something beautiful right from scratch. And so, here I am, many years later, taking a great leap of faith in starting up hanakrafts, but fully comforted by the knowledge that Mak definitely approves.