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.