31 October 2016

Happy Halloween 2016!

Trick or treat!

However, I never went treat or tricking my whole life. In Indonesia, the country where I grew up in, we don't usually acknowledge Halloween as a special day like any other countries that celebrate it. But I think it's fun to be a kid during Halloween; dressing up, going around scaring people and collecting candy the whole night. If I ever go trick-or-treating, I will probably try my best to be creative in my costume. I always wanted to be a ghost, a black cat, a witch, or a mummy. Unfortunately, I don't have that great opportunity when I was a kid.

This Halloween though, I really wanted to go Universal Studio Singapore (USS) for its Halloween Horror Nights 6 event. But I heard the queues are crazy and I already visited USS two times in the last 6 month, so I think I will save up for next year.

Anyway, I hope you guys have an awesome Halloween this year!

27 October 2016

Cycling around Coney Island

Nowadays my ideal kind of weekend is simple: exploring new places because I believe Singapore will never fail to surprise me with something good that I can find in its every corner. To be able to spend a sunny day jumping and cycling around in a beautiful outdoor is a great bonus. This lion city (or country) is not solely just a concrete jungle, after all.

I mean, look at this gorgeous natural green space I spotted deep down the Coney Island Park. This national park houses a wide variety of flora and fauna, and is surely a must explore place to nature enthusiasts. Some plants at Coney Island are even presumed nationally extinct in the wild. Now, that is a WOW.

To get here, you need to take the one and only bus 84 from Punggol MRT. Once you alight, you can rent a bike from this bicycle rental for SGD 8 per hour. You can get free 1 hour for every 1 hour rental on the weekdays or for every 2 hours rental on the weekend. I came to this place on Sunday and I took the 2 hours rental so I get 1 hour for free. In my experience, 3 hours is more than enough to explore the whole park.

The location of this park is a little isolated and there is no electricity or piped water that I can find on the island. The government is really trying their best to maintain the untouched character of the park as the efforts to preserve the park’s natural habitat. However, many people still visit Coney Island to spend their spare time jogging and cycling around the park.

Cycling here is easier than in Pulau Ubin as it has fewer ramps and slopes. The rustic terrain of this park makes cycling a bit bumpy, but it was still an enjoyable experience. The easy-to-follow signs here navigated my way to explore the area easily while enjoying the breezy cycling routes this park offers.

The coastal area was also a scenic view. It looked like your own beach because not so many people were roaming around there unless for some few people catching fish. From the beaches area, you can also see Pulau Ubin just lying across the horizon.

My tips if you're visiting this park is to bring your own water because you don't expect the vending machine to tell you this. Also, don't forget to apply sunblock and insect repellent for protection from fierce sunshine or naughty insects that can ruin your trip.

Coney Island Park

alternatively known as Pulau Serangoon

Operating hours: 7am - 7pm

Visit the website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/

20 October 2016

Vlog #4 - The Ten Courts Of Hell at Haw Par Villa

As a curious newcomer, the weekend is always the right time to explore new places in Singapore. And just in time in October, which is famous as the Halloween month, I spent a day in one of this October's weekend visiting Hell in Singapore. Yes, literally. Hell.

It is called Haw Par Villa, the 1937 theme park that is famous for its ghastly depictions of Chinese folklore’s 10 Courts of Hell. This place has slowly forgotten by Singaporeans. People may know this place exist, but just don't visit. I placed myself as a tourist here, because I didn't share any memory with this place. KL, however, felt more connected to this place more than me as he has visited this place before and said that Haw Par Villa was one of the famous theme parks that Singaporeans would like to spend a weekend or holiday in, back in the 90s before the popular Universal Studio arrived upon their shores. He visited this park with his parents and it was a long time ago.

Haw Par Villa is more a theme park of cautionary tales than a tourist attraction spot. Besides the 10 Courts of Hell, this theme park also contains thousands of statues and hundreds giant dioramas, illustrating various aspects of Confucianism and depicting scenes from Chinese history, mythology, folklore, or legends, such as Madame White Snake and Journey to the West.

Now let's take a look at the most interesting part of this park: 10 Courts of Hell
NOTE: Please be forewarned! The following images may not be suitable for the faint-hearted.

This place basically describes each stage of hell for each sin one commits in their lifetime. However, I think youngsters might find this place a little bit too scary because of its explicit depiction of torture and punishment. Beyond the grotesque collection of statues and sculpture, I found the 10 Courts of Hell very fascinating because it's always interesting to find out what's there in the afterlife. I mean, where else can I get to see such detailed explanations about what happens in hell, according to Chinese's belief.

Haw Par Villa is surely one of the bizarre kind of park I have ever visited. While walking through the park, I felt like I have visited another realm, not just a normal theme park. The quietness and the standstill emotion of the park gave me a strange feeling. As a tourist, I surely find this park interesting, but also creepy at the same time.

Watch my vlog below to get a closer look of Haw Par Villa:

Haw Par Villa

262 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 118628

Operating hours:
Daily: 9am – 6pm

Admission fee:

15 October 2016

October 2016 Favorites - Halloween Animation Movies

This month, instead of listing my current favorites item or product, I want to list down my favorite top 5 horror/scary/spooky-theme animation movies during this Halloween month. I know it's not the end of the month yet, but it only makes sense to share Halloween movies before Halloween is over, right? All of these movies are animations and they are obviously "not real scary" movie as it is great for the whole family. I actually enjoy watching real horror movies with a bloody knife or awful dead body sometimes, but those kind of movies are just not in my coward personal taste. This list is perfect for young kids as well because it includes cute characters and interesting plot that is enjoyable and appropriate for the whole family. Here they are:

1. Frankenweenie (2012) ★★★★☆

My no #1 favorite Halloween movie of all time. Outside of the black and white presentation that gives a lack of interest from today's kids, this movie is great and fascinating. The story is wonderfully imaginative and the character designs are adorably creepy yet quirkily magnificent. It is a pretty darn good "mad scientist" movie that has an interesting heartwarming story and surely makes an excellent entertainment for both adults and children alike.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) ★★★☆☆

This is a classic Halloween animation that I like, mostly because of its unique character designs and Tim Burton seems like the only being on the planet who could come with characters such as the ones found in this movie. I think this movie is one of a must-watch movie for Tim Burton's fans. This movie is not necessarily a children's movie because it might be too fanatical but it is certainly a memorable one, containing passion and emotion.

3. Monster House (2006) ★★★★☆

If you are looking for a spooky but fun, clean movie with good laughs and chuckles, this is definitely one you don't want to miss for Halloween. This movie is very good, mostly on the strength of the story and you'll probably find the movie excellent as well. But please note that even if this movie is great, it might not be suitable for very young viewers because of some fat-shaming scenes inside. *SPOILER ALERT*

4. Hotel Transylvania (2012) ★★★★☆

This is a movie that turns the image of scary monsters into adorable characters. It conveys great humor, imagination, and life-related lesson. Overall, I think this is a movie that is enjoyable for the whole family in all age groups. Kids will most likely love the cute characters while adults will likely enjoy the jokes and plot about a father-daughter relationship that can be appreciated.

5. Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) ★★★☆☆

This one is not as good as the original Hotel Transylvania (2012), but it is still wildly amusing. It is a very sweet and funny movie, still with their adorably cute and silly characters. This is one of those movies that after you watched it, you just can't help but come out smiling afterward about.

*Stars are my personal rating that I give for each movie :)

☆☆☆☆☆ Don't even bother to watch
★☆☆☆☆ Very poor
★★☆☆☆ Poor
★★★☆☆ Good
★★★★☆ Very good
★★★★★ Perfect!

06 October 2016

10 DIY Halloween Projects using Hama/Perler/Pyssla Beads + Free Pattern

October is here... Halloween is coming!

And I'm back with another easy DIY projects to celebrate this spooky month of the year. I'm pretty addicted to hama beads lately as I've mentioned in my previous favorites, so these DIY will be making use hama beads! Oh ya, I noticed some people also called it perler beads or pyssla beads, though they have differences, but you can use any of them. It doesn't matter. If you're detail-freak and crave for the best result, you may choose perler beads. If you want more budget-friendly, you can choose hama beads. For these projects, I mixed pyssla beads from Ikea, perler beads I bought from local craft store, and also hama beads I bought from Aliexpress. It worked well for me.

If you're not familiar with hama/perler/pyssla beads and don't know how to get started, you basically will just need pegboard, wax paper or tracing paper, and iron beside the beads itself. The process is also very simple:
  1. Arrange the beads on the pegboard according to your design
  2. Put a piece of wax or tracing paper on top of it
  3. Carefully iron it
  4. Take the beads out of the pegboard and then turn to the other side of the beads
  5. Put another piece of wax or tracing paper on top of it
  6. Carefully iron it again and let it cool down
  7. Peel the beads from the wax or tracing paper carefully, and you're done!

What I really like the most from this DIY is that I can turn my hama beads creations into almost anything I want, to name a few: keychain, necklace, ring, earring, coaster, etc.

I made a total of 10 DIY Halloween projects. And be honest, some of the designs were copied from random Google and Pinterest results, while some came up from my own creative instinct. If you wish to copy the pattern that I use in these creations, feel free to download the .pdf from the link on the end of this post. It will be way easier if you have the pattern printed so you can just put the pegboard on top of the pattern and follow the design directly on top of it. My pdf is also right to size if you're using 29x29 clear pegboard and print it on A4 paper. I also give free blank pattern for if you want to make your own design.

See the full tutorial on this video:

Click the download link below to download my 10 Halloween hama/perler/pyssla beads patterns. You'll find the file in .pdf.

For personal use only. Please do not use them commercially. Feel free to share it but make sure to credit or link back to this blog. If you use any of my freebies, you can tag me on Twitter or Instagram, use hashtag #CarolynnStuffs so that I can see it! Remember to play nice :)

05 October 2016

DIY Dog Toys Storage // Recycling Old Bookshelf

Last year I turned an old small bookshelf into a practical storage for all my dogs' toys. Not only it helps to keep all those squeaky stuff into one place, but also makes it easier for my dogs to access their favorite toys as well.

This is an old DIY project that I somehow always forgot to share and write a post about on my blog, though it was one of the coolest repurpose invention that I'm proud of.

See the full tutorial on this video:

03 October 2016

A Travel Back In Time at Chinatown Heritage Centre

Chinatown Heritage Centre is a heritage museum to retrace back in time for the footsteps of Singapore's early pioneers. This place recreated the entire scenes of Chinatown's early residences from the late 19th to early 20th century. Visiting Chinatown Heritage Centre was one of a surprisingly interesting unexpected trip I made because when we went to this place, KL and I were bringing two friends from South Korea to initially only sightsee Chinatown shopping area and unplannedly ended up to this site.

Chinatown Heritage Centre was officially reopened in last January after having a major renovation since 2014. The new exhibits feature a multi-sensory experience of the old Chinatown. They equipped each visitor with a multimedia guide to provide a detailed explanation for each exhibit. Like in the photo above, I explored the kitchen area while listening to the audio guide. For visitors who prefer to be guided by human, they also provide human guides with additional admission fee.

They also included brief audio clips to remake conversations of the personal stories of people who made Chinatown their home in each chapter. In the photo above you can see the replica of tailor shop from the olden day and visitors can learn about what being a tailor was like as well as discover what the tailor interactions with his apprentices and family were like in that period of time.

This is a remake of a physician room. A physician was known as one of a respected profession because he helped to cure people with sickness, just like a doctor in the present time. In his room on the second floor, he purposely had a hole on the floor to take a peek of the guest on the first floor. He also used an abacus (counting frame) as his calculator.

I also get to step into these small rooms by rooms of Chinatown's early residents, depicting the memories of those who had lived and grown up in such cubicles. These cubicles were filled with many historical items that tell a story and giving the visitors an insight into the past folks' lives.

I was amazed by the details of the vintage Chinese feels that they have been successfully rebuilt into each room since I experienced some of the antique items they display here during my childhood. The two pictures above, for example, looked similar to how my grandma's room looked like back then in the 90s. Even the cracked on the collage of black and white pictures frame glass.

And this is how their toilet area looked like. If you're wondering how did that toilet work, it was actually just a hole with a bucket underneath to collect the waste. Yep, they didn't have proper sewer like the modern toilet nowadays, or let's say they just didn't have sewer at all! They manually cleared out the bucket every now and then, or after the bucket is full.

During my exploration, sometimes I wonder where did all of those vintage knick knacks go. Like the metal stackable food box and the kerosene lamp above, my house in Indonesia used to have one too before. And that Chinese vintage fortune telling book, I still remember my grandparents used to read one as well.

These pictures may be disturbing for some people, however, I really appreciate how they faithfully rebuilt the engaging environment of Chinatown's homes of yore. Like the pictures of a cockroach and a mouse trying to steal food above, which looked so unpleasantly realistic!

This museum not only gives a glimpse of nostalgia for me as I can relate some objects to what I saw in my grandparents' house, but also a whole new experience of the rich culture and heritage charm of Singapore’s Chinatown.

Chinatown Heritage Centre

48 Pagoda St Singapore 059207

Operating hours:
Daily: 9am – 8pm

Admission fee:
With multimedia guide (MMG): SGD 15 for adult, SGD 11 for child (7-12 years old)
With guided tour: SGD 20 for adult, SGD 16 for child (7-12 years old)

Visit the website: www.nparks.gov.sg

02 October 2016

Happy National Batik Day 2016!

National Batik Day in Indonesia is celebrated every October 2nd. As my little contribution to this special day, I decided to share something I made designed while ago when I was still living in Indonesia, i.e. Batik dress for me and for both of my lovely dogs, Suri and Lammy.

Years ago, my Mum gave me a sheet of pink Batik fabric she got from a trip. I had no idea what should I do with it so I just kept it in the bottom of my closet for years and it's almost forgotten until earlier this year, when I was randomly looking for ideas on Pinterest, I saw some pictures of dogs and their owner wearing matching costumes which I found interesting. From there I decided to take that neglected Batik fabric and turned it into something wearable that's matching for me and my dogs since I've been looking for a matching costume online and got no happy result (both in design and price :P).

I started by sketching the design. At first, I was thinking about combining the Batik with other plain fabric to make a unique accent, but then I was too lazy busy to hunt for another fabric so I just sketched for another option which I didn't need to add more fabric. Peplum top is something that is both casual yet stylist for me, so I went for it. Plus, this design helped me save more fabric for my furry babies as I don't need to make a full dress for me.

For the pooches, I made them something identical, just different in size since Suri is slightly fatter than Lammy. I designed it as simple as possible because I don't want to confuse the tailor cause I had a huge hunch that she had never made dog clothes before. It just needs two pairs of velcro to wear and the result is surprisingly cute and fashionable.

I have to say I enjoy designing my own clothes and also my dogs' clothes. Frankly, this is my favorite top I've ever owned my whole life! No kidding. The satisfaction of finally wearing something I designed for the first time was unsurpassable. I think it will be fun if I can design more clothes later and also learn how to sew in the future. Fingers crossed.