Thursday, 31 March 2016

Between housework and my computer

This is my first website using Wix and I must say I am liking it.  Wix is one of the easiest and most featured packed website builder around and it doesn't take long for someone to create a decent and professional looking site.  It is very user friendly and if you like me, don't want to learn how to code or have a huge amount of time and money, then this is definitely a good choice.  The other web building site I might have a look at is Weebly.  Both allow you to create a website for free, which is handy and lets you decide later if you wish to upgrade to a paid version or not.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Web building

I love being a full time mum and wouldn't swap it for the world.  However, to keep the old brain ticking, I started building a few websites as a hobby.  I have been using the SiteMaker software, which I find extremely easy to use and doesn't require programming skills.  It uses a point-and-click interface which makes building and editing so much easier.  It also has the ability to quickly preview your web page during editing.  The tech-savvy designer might find it a bit limited but on the whole, for the novice web builder, it still offers some powerful tools and features to make a professional looking website.  

I am also looking to use either Wix or, apparently two of the best website builders out there. They both look easy to use; however I will need to try them out.  

Building a professional looking website nowadays isn't difficult, but the maintenance of it can be time consuming. The websites that appeal to me most, are the ones that look clean and fresh, easy to navigate and up-to-date. There is nothing more off-putting than visiting a site and the latest information on it is a couple of years old.  

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Chinese New Year

For the past few years I have been going into the local nurseries and primary schools to talk about Chinese New Year and doing some crafts with them.  Being one of only a handful of Chinese here, there isn’t much choice!  It has been fun though and brought back many memories from yesteryear.

I do have some vivid memories of my childhood in Hong Kong, even though I only spent the first 7 years of my life there, forty odd years on, I still remember walking in the dark with my lantern, feeling excited and at the same terrified that the candle might get blown out or even worse the lantern would catch fire.   Neither of those ever happened to me though.

New Year was always an exciting time.  The house would have been all tidied and cleaned to welcome the New Year.  On the table, a round glass dish with 6 or 8 segments filled with sweets, dried fruits and nuts.  Posters with good luck messages pasted onto our wooden front doors and a miniature orange/mandarin tree was a must have.  I remember one year getting a new red winter jacket, it was beautifully embroidered and so silky to touch.  But most of all, I looked forward to receiving the red envelopes (利是)!  Friends and family would give children money in red envelopes and I couldn’t wait to get home and see how much money I got in each one, as it was considered very rude to open it in front of the person.  

On New Year’s Day you could hear firecrackers going off everywhere.  A whole bunch would be found hanging outside our front door and the noise they make was deafening.  Then there was the lion dance.  To a young child, they looked huge, ferocious and very very real – even though you could see underneath the lion, the legs of the two blokes dancing away, it was still frightening.  The lions were accompanied by loud drums and cymbals. The pounding of those drums would make my heart beat that little bit faster and you could feel the vibration going through you, but it was always a highlight and one not to be missed.    

When we came to London, we still kept some of these traditions and we would head to China Town and see the lion dance.  My parents would give us the red envelopes and my mum would make the traditional nian gao ( ) and yau gok (油角)Nowadays, you’re more likely to find us having a haggis on Burns Night than a nian gao on Chinese New Year!  Nevertheless, I’m glad to have these memories and experiences that I can share with the kids.  To me, Chinese New Year was also about spending time with family and friends, being together and enjoying each other’s company over a meal…these are the traditions worth keeping.

Friday, 13 December 2013

More trees

Using anything that is the list goes on...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

I'm on a roll!

My Christmas card list seems to be getting longer every year!  

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

It's Christmas!

Wow, it’s Christmas again!  It has been nearly a year since I made an entry to my blog – how time flies.  Card making has taken a back seat as I have been busy with my other hobby – building websites.  I have recently designed a whole new website for a local primary school and anyone who knows anything about building a is never finished!  It’s like the house, it requires on-going maintenance and upkeep and just when you think it is finished…the wife (well, usually it is the wife) says she wants a change and you find yourself redecorating, again! 

Including my own, I now have 6 websites that I have built and am maintaining. I do not have any qualifications or work experience pertaining to web designing.  It all started purely out of interest and I am really just learning as I go along.  

With Christmas just round the corner, it was time to make some cards and to make them quickly, hence this rather simple design.  I could have gone to Tesco and bought a box of 24 cards for just 99p or even better: send an e-card and save money!  However I still believe in the value of sending cards and I still enjoy making them.  Surely, it is never a disappointment to receive a card through the post.  On the contrary, it brings a smile - every time! 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Merry Christmas

If you are a card maker like me, then there is no better time to be making cards than Christmas. The custom of sending Christmas cards started in the UK in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole and to this day people around the world are still sending cards, despite the onslaught of technology. I still love the sentimentality of hearing the sound of mail landing on my door and to have an envelope in my hand - it is still a joy and shall, in my opinion, always be irreplaceable. I have in my loft box after box of cards that friends and family have given to me over the years.  I just cannot find myself to throw them away.  I think the oldest card I have dates back to 1979?  Having said all that, until a couple of days ago, I hadn’t made a single card!  Only when it finally dawned on me – the time for sending cards is drawing nye and I need to make something simple and quick, well quickish. It took a while to try to find the right fonts, the right sizes and the right words to fit all neatly together and resembling something like a Christmas tree. To make matter worse...the first 20 or so cards were all discarded, thanks to a bad typo! Even with word processing, mistakes still occur.  I can probably type between 70-90 words per minute, may be more when I was working...thanks to learning to touch type all those years ago and not a "hunt and peck" typist (two-fingered typing), which to me looks really funny.

I learnt to type when I was in my third/fourth year of secondary school on a typewriter. Yes, a typewriter! Not an electric one but a manual one. Remember those?  Big chunky metal things, where you have to strike the keys briskly and firmly, and pushing the "carriage return" lever when you hear that unmistakable sound: "ding"?  It was so noisy, even an electric one that I had on one or two occasions, typed under a blanket just to dampen the noise while trying to finish off a report in the early hours of the morning. Sweet. Nowadays, there is no more "ding", no more correction tape, no more wasting of paper and certainly no more typing under a blanket...not that it made any difference to the 20 odd cards I had to throw away - arrgh!   

BTW I am still knitting squares! :)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

These aren't the cookies you're looking for...

When I say I like making things, unfortunately it doesn't extend to baking. My baking repertoire is, shall we say, rather limited.  In fact, the only thing I can bake successfully is shortbread.  I can make them in my sleep, but anything else is a hit or a miss and more likely to be the latter.

The experience of watching Episode IV in the cinema back in 1977 never left me. I still remember queuing for ages, waiting in anticipation and not knowing what to expect.  Considering I had only arrived in London from Hong Kong 3 years earlier, not able to speak a word of English, I wasn’t sure how I would take it.  But from the moment the Imperial Star Destroyer scrolled onto the screen, it was enough.  I was completely blown away by the ground-breaking special effects and kept wondering, how do they do that?  So needless to say, I was thrilled when I came across these fabulous cookie cutters by Williams-Sonoma

My normal shortbread...but not for long!
I am going to treat myself this Christmas and buy these cutters.  Shortbread has just become a whole lot better.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Less is more

I was deliberating whether to colour this in or not.  At the end I opted for the plain and simple look. Then again, I may just make another one and colour it in to compare.

I used a little bit of beeswax on the frame to darken it slightly - seems to work quite well with this design.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

A little bit of OCD...perhaps

Another fact those around me would know is that I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I like things to be neat and orderly. Not in an obsessive kind of way (hem hm), but I do take great satisfaction in having and seeing things in order. Whether it is this pile of wood or my son's boxes of Lego (don't ask!), nothing irritates me more than to see something not quite right.

We had to get the wood quickly into the shed last night, just in case it rains. To my husband, it was a job done - end off. To me, while still piling, I was already thinking...I need to get in here tomorrow and rearrange them!  My brain doesn't register the fact that it was fine in the first place and the firewood is going to be used anyway.  I just see something that needs rectifying.  One good thing though - apart from having a neat pile of wood - I approach my designs the same way. Not that everything has to be symmetrical but there is a clean line, a neatness to them that is pleasing to the eye...I hope.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Peanut butter and condensed milk

Taking a break

Those who know me well will tell you that I am a little bit addicted to condensed milk. Not condensed milk per se but condensed milk with peanut butter, either on toast or as a sandwich. After forty odd years of it, not every day of course, you would think I would be sick of it by now. Sure, I may go without it for years but somewhere down the line, on an unassuming day, I’ll buy a tin, a jar of peanut butter and I will literally eat it continuously until they are finished and will not touch it again, well, until another unassuming day.

I think this weird and wonderful combination will always remind me of my childhood. Growing up in Hong Kong, this was and still is a very popular treat. I can still picture it: sitting in the local cafe, the smell of peanut butter with condensed milk melting on a warm piece of thick toast...heavenly.

Over the years I have tried various combinations: jam and condensed milk, toasted cheese and condensed milk, even toasted cheese, jam and condensed milk! But for me, the ultimate and the perfect marriage, is with peanut butter. Tesco here I come!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

What's in the name?

Making your work of art is half the battle, the other, is tackling the world of marketing, packaging and tissue paper! Not only have I got cards and frames coming out of my ears, but envelopes of every conceivable size, cellophane pockets, jiffy envelopes, presentation boxes, labels... the list goes on - just to make the product that little bit more presentable and the sad thing is...I love it all.

What's in the name? Ten years after the World Wide Web was opened to the public, I registered my first domain name "wepo" in 2001, for no other reason than because it was the thing to do. Amazing how technology has advanced in just over 20 years and it is now almost unrecognisable. I had my very first PC probably around 1995/6, it was second hand, and still had Windows NT operating system installed on it and came with a bulkiest monitor ever. However, with the launch of Windows 95, there was no turning back - a new kid was on the block.

It was in December 1997 that I got myself a 56k modem and I was online! Current and future generations may never encounter that iconic sound of the dial-up modem or waiting for ages for that green light to come on...and they'll be thankful for it. However, it was during this time that I met my husband on the internet. We had both signed onto AOL at the end of 1997. His username was "webroter" - it should have been "wee brother" but his typing wasn't very accurate. Mine was "Po Yee". Hence the name "wepo". AOL had these New Members Lobbies, similar to today's chat rooms, which allowed members to hold conversations or ask questions about the internet in real time. One day we both ended up in the same lobby and my husband sent me an instant message: "Hi there"...the rest, as they say, is history.

Friday, 28 September 2012

The love birds

To say I'm a little obsessed with wood isn't far off. My house is littered with wooden things, from ornaments to furniture, to my crafts - I love wood.  Even my children know what to buy me for a gift..."anything wooden will do for mummy!"

I made a frame similar to this one for a bride & groom but with their names printed on it. It's simple and personal, which I like.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Mr Owl

It's been a while since I made something, probably because I've been busy knitting. Working on some new designs and trying to get my so call "business" back into some kind of shape.  The owl is hand cut, using my one and only scalpel and finished off with a dark backing. Old age is definitely catching up on me that I now have to remove my glasses to see what I am cutting.