Mister Maker and The Shapes Live on Stage in Singapore {Giveaway}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 25.5.16
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I like to craft with my kids and together, we try to unleash our creativity by doing simple but fun-filled art and craft projects. My inspiration comes from everything around us and I'm happy to say that my Creativity 521 series has been running for almost four years now and will hit the hundredth post very soon! One of my biggest motivations to keep going is the man in the spotty waistcoat. Not sure who he is? Here, take a look!


Yes, it's CBeebies' Mister Maker! My kids and I have been watching his shows for quite some time now and I'm glad that they always choose to watch his shows over any other cartoon. We love how passionate and animated he is, how his craft ideas are so cute and inspiring, and how the tutorials are easy to follow! Can you imagine how thrilled the girls were when I told them that Mister Maker is coming to Singapore and we will be able to see him live in action? Yes, they were over the moon!

Mister Maker goes on his first ever live theatre tour in Singapore from 10 to 12 June 2016! With a fabulous supporting cast and art at its heart, this fantastic live show encourages Mini Makers and grown-ups to sing, dance and make some noise. During this interactive live show, there’s a big ‘make’ to take part in, lots of audience participation and....The Shapes! Yes, the kids will be able to share the fun with Circle, Square, Rectangle and Triangle too! 



Mister Maker is the ultimate arts and craft show for pre-schoolers and early primary years which teaches and entertains in fun and imaginative ways. He is a real life character who gets his inspiration to make art from everything and anything around him. Set in his own fantasy art room, he collects the required things from the Doodle drawers as he creates and makes pictures, objects and other things come to life. Join in with him as he then wakes up the shapes to perform a song and dance together. Mini Makers can catch also Mister Maker on CBeebies (StarHub Channel 303) daily from 10am to 10.40am.

Mister Maker and the Shapes Live on Stage

Date: 10 - 12 June 2016
Venue: D’Marquee Downtown East Paris Ris
Time: 7 Shows Only
Friday 10 June - 6:00pm
Saturday 11 June - 12:00pm, 3:00pm and 8:00pm
Sunday 12 June - 10:30pm, 2:00pm and 5:00pm

Ticket Price: From S$35
*Excludes the booking fee of SGD$4 per ticket

How To Book:
Internet: www.sistic.com.sg and all Sistic outlets
Phone: +65 6348 5555

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I'm humbled to have been able to conduct an interview with Mister Maker! No, I didn't manage to sit down face to face with the man himself, but I did managed to get his replies through email. In fact, my girls helped me to come up with some of the questions and they were elated to hear his answers. Here's what he says!



1) When did you discover your interest for kids' art and craft and how did you eventually land the job of Mister Master? 

I have always enjoyed arts and crafts - from a very early age. It sounds a cliché, but being Mister Maker is my dream job. I always wanted to be a children's television presenter and to be one now on a show that encourages fun and creativity, is a dream come true. Mister Maker was created in 2007 by a company called the "The Foundation" in the UK. After many auditions, I was chosen to be the man in the spotty waistcoat and since our first series, I've been able to get involved behind the camera as well as in front of it. 

2) It looks smooth and easy on screen but we all know how tough filming can be. How long does it roughly take to film a 20-min episode? Can you share some of the biggest challenges during filming? 

The time taken to film an episode really varies – depending on what we are filming and where. Quite often we film everything out of sequence too. In terms of challenges, when I dipped a tennis ball in a painty mixture and then bounced it against a canvas, it created one of the messiest makes we have ever made on the show! As we always say on Mister Maker - remember to put on an apron and ask a grown up before you try that one! 

 3) You have such a cheerful disposition on screen and your passion for making is infectious. How do you manage to keep that passion burning after all these years? 

Simple – I feel very lucky doing what I do…and I love my job. And now, being able to travel the world and bring our live show to children and grown-ups everywhere is an honour and a privilege. I hope everyone enjoys the theatre show and that they are inspired to go home to sing, dance and make things! 

4) Where do you/your crew draw inspiration for all the art and craft projects? Are all the ideas original? 

It is a real team effort – we have a small but very creative team and we love bouncing around ideas and making them the best they can be. We find a great starting point for arty inspiration is the world outside your window. 

5) You've gone to many countries in Mister Maker Around the World. Which are your favourite countries and are there any fun travelling incidents to share? 

I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to travel so much. And now…one of the things that makes me most proud is that wherever we perform our live show around the world, children and grown-ups give us such a warm and excited response. It is heart-warming to hear the reactions of the crowd and we are so thankful for their support. I love Singapore…I have made many trips here to perform Mall shows before – but this is our first dedicated theatre show with The Shapes!!! 

6) How many different items are there in the Doodle Drawer? 

Great question…but impossible to answer! Too many to count! 

 7) Name three of your most favourite/memorable art and craft projects done on the show. 

1 – The Pompom Bug….2 – Fake Beans on Toast…and 3 – A special big make that we do live on stage during the theatre show. The whole audience takes part…I can’t give away too much now, but hopefully you can come and see the show and help me make something! 

8) Lastly, do you have any word of advice/encourage for my kids and all the Mini Makers out there?

 Just have fun! Have a go at making something and I guarantee you will surprise yourself and be really proud of what you create. 

Thank you, Mister Maker, and we will see you around very soon!

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Giveaway on A Happy Mum

So I did a giveaway on Instagram last week and gave away a family package of 4 tickets. Congratulations to @cancerian_celin! If you missed that, here's the good news, I have a second giveaway coming up right here!


To participate, leave a comment in this post with your name, email and tell me what you/your kids love about Mister Maker. Indicate in the Rafflecopter widget that you have done so and to increase your chances of winning, you can carry out the rest of the options. This giveaway is open to all readers residing in Singapore and ends on 31 May at 2359hrs. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: We were invited to Mister Maker and The Shapes Live on Stage and received complimentary tickets in writing this post. All images are provided and all opinions are my own.

Creativity 521 #92 - Animal sock puppets

Posted by ~Summer~ on 23.5.16
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I've been wanting to do these for a long time and was glad I finally managed to get out of the procrastination. I love that the materials are readily available in our house - old socks, felt, googly eyes, pom poms and yarn, and all I had to do was to hunt for them in the drawers or storage boxes. Yup, I find it an achievement that I actually managed to locate all of them.

Anyway, before we even got down to doing the craft, I could already foresee just how much the girls were gonna love these and all the fun and imaginative things they could do. I was just happy that I was right and they were so, so ecstatic with the finished product. What exactly did we do in this week's Creativity 521? Well, we made our own DIY Animal Sock Puppets.

What we used:

1) Old socks
2) Yarn
3) Pom poms
4) Googly eyes
5) Felt fabric in assorted colours
6) Scissors
7) Hot glue

Firstly, choose the animals that you want to make. Angel decided on a cat and pig while Ariel wanted a dog and rabbit. Select the felt colours you need for your animal and start to cut out the nose, ears, mouth and other facial features you wish to include. If your child has difficulty in cutting out the right shapes, use a pencil to outline it on the felt for them and let them cut accordingly.

Arrange the pieces onto the sock and check if you are happy with the final look. It doesn't matter if your socks come in bright or weird colours, that will just make things more interesting! Just ensure that your child's hand can fit nicely into the sock, that's more important.


It can be a little challenging to cut out felt so make sure that the scissors is sharp enough. While I let the big girl try cutting out shapes like circles and ovals, the little girl practised her cutting skills using just straight lines.



Next, we used yarn to make the whiskers! Ariel was thrilled that she could do this entirely on her own - find the end of the yarn, pull it out, cut, and repeat!

We wanted droopy ears for the dog and upright ears for the bunny, so I used a single layer of felt for the former and double layers (the base felt was a thicker kind) for the latter. The girls were given total freedom in choosing the colours of felt, the colour of the yarn and the kind of eyes they wanted for their puppets.

Once you are happy with all the designs, it's time to stick them in place! The best way to do this, we realised after trying a couple, would be to use a glue gun. You will need an adult to help out with this as it can be a little challenging, and dangerous as well, for small kids to handle the hot glue.

You can glue on the features onto an empty sock or if you prefer, let your kid wear the socks so that you know how best to position the features. For us, we did it while they were wearing the socks but we took extra caution not to press down too hard so that they would not feel the heat much. If I needed to press harder to secure a piece of felt, for instance for the bunny's ears and pig's snout , I would open up the sock more and insert my own finger to act as the base and protection.

Hot glue dries up pretty fast so you'll have your puppets ready in no time! Tadah, how do you like our final sock puppets? The girls were really, really happy with how they turned out and couldn't wait to put on their first puppet show!

Yesh, we spent the next hour just coming up with our own story and using the puppets to act it out. I was surprised that the two of them could get quite creative and say things that I wasn't expecting! First the four animal friends were in a farm, then they escaped to a city, next they went to Legoland, then they were at a dance party, they went down a giant slide, they saw a doctor and check this out, they even went to the supermarket to buy groceries. Haha. Oh well, definitely the kids of a stay-at-home mum.

Till the next Creativity 521! It's the last week of school before we break for the June holidays! Woohoo!

A heartfelt letter to my youngest child - Take your time to grow

Posted by ~Summer~ on 18.5.16
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Babies. There's something magical about these tiny beings that makes mums cherish babyhood so much and look forward to having a newborn in the house. The soft hair, delicate skin, sweet scent, tiny toes, funny gurgles, toothless grins, infectious smiles - these are things you can't get enough of and if you don't cherish them now, they'll be gone before you realise it.

Having three babies doesn't make any one less special. In fact, it makes me treasure babyhood so much and be thankful that I get to go through this phase not once, but thrice. Here's a heartfelt letter dedicated to the youngest in my house. My son, please take your time to grow....



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Dear Baby Asher,

Mummy was so happy to discover that you were in my tummy on 26 April 2015, which happened to be Daddy and Mummy's 7th wedding anniversary. I had been wanting a third baby for a long time and it just didn't happen till you came along. Month after month, I would go to the pharmacy to buy a pregnancy test kit and would feel the disappointment and emptiness whenever it came out negative. So, you can imagine my euphoria when I finally saw the '+' sign. I didn't mind if you were going to be a boy or a girl, I just hoped that you could be born safely and join our happy family.

Time flew past and we found out you were going to be our baby boy. Daddy wanted to name you Ace but I preferred the name Asher. We spent the next few months talking about this and getting opinions from friends and family. Well, guess Mummy won eventually. The name 'Asher' means 'happiness' in Hebrew and I can't think of a more apt name (that starts with A like your sisters) for you, my boy.

On 20 December 2015, you made your way into this world and we were so elated to meet you for the first time. You had the pinkest face I had ever seen, you had a cute mob of black hair, you were the perfect size for the crook of my arm and when you opened your eyes to peek at me, you made my heart whole and took my breath, and all my pain, away.

You know how they always wish babies 快高长大 during their full month parties? Well, to be honest, I don't write that as a wish, especially when it comes to my own kids. Wait, it's not that I don't wish for you to grow taller and bigger, I do, of course. My kids' safety and health are of utmost importance to me. It's just that I think babyhood is tooooo precious and I hope we can all take our time to savour and treasure every fleeting moment.

My baby, I hope you will take your time to grow because....

I love to cradle you in my arms, pat your bum bum and rock you gently to sleep. It's such a joy knowing that I'm the No.1 most important person to you right now and even if that means you keep waking up in the middle of night, I'm glad to be the one to soothe and comfort you every time.

I love to wear you against my chest when we go out and feel your heart beating against mine. Since you are not mobile yet, I like that my legs are your legs and together, we can explore the world and stick together as one.

I love to hear your goo-s and ga-s and on occasions when you let out sounds like "Ma-Ma", you make me fly to the moon and back. It's funny that although you can't really talk yet, we are communicating and learning so much about each other every day.

I love that you let me kiss you a thousand times a day, on your cheeks, on your forehead, on your nose, on your arms, on your feet, on your tummy, on your lips and anywhere I want. I don't care what scientists say about passing germs through kissing, I simply can't imagine going through a day without kissing you, my dear.

I love that you open up your arms and reach for me whenever you want me to carry you. You don't shun me, you don't mind getting lovey dovey with me in front of others, you shower me with so much love that makes my heart full every day.

I love that I get to breastfeed you so many times a day and get to cuddle in bed with you. I like to look at you suckling away, I like the way our skins touch, I like how you calm down magically when you are in my arms and I love this special mother-and-baby bond we have.

I love to feel your little fingers and the way you rest your palm on mine, the way you hold tightly onto my finger, the way you tug at my shirt, the way you pull my hair and the way you sometimes pinch me all remind me that I am so blessed to have a tiny one who depends on me.

I love to be greeted by your wide smile every morning and you never fail to chase my blues away. I love hearing your laughter and how you will still be amused after I do the same thing two dozen times. I love your innocence, your curiosity, your cheerful disposition and your pure heart.

All these and more make me treasure your babyhood so, so, so much. Now, you are turning five months old and the next thing I know, you will be turning five years old soon. It's funny how the days are long but the years are short when you have kids, you know that? Just look at your jiejies, they are turning seven and four this year already, how can time pass so quickly? 

If there's one thing I learnt about being a mum, it's to learn from the past, hope for the future and most importantly, cherish the present. For now, I'm definitely making the most of each and every moment I get to be with you, my darling boy. You light up my life and brought me joy in ways that you will never know (perhaps you will when you become a daddy someday) and I hope you will always continue to be positive; to laugh, smile, spread love and make this world a better place.

Love,
Mummy

P.S. You are a huge baby for a 4-month-old and everyone thinks you are at least 8 months old, you know? I love seeing how strong and tall you are growing up to be and I hope I can carry you, hug you, kiss you and call you my "baby boy" for awhile longer. Love ya so much!

You are my dream come true - Asher's 4th month

Posted by ~Summer~ on 12.5.16
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Sometimes, I wish time would stay still. I really do, despite knowing that it will never be possible. In fact, maybe I've even dreamt about it too. Haha.

Anyway, back to reality, all I can do for now is to cherish this absolutely wonderful stage of my life, savour the assorted flavours of motherhood, keep on making memories and be there for my kids while they still need me. For I am now living my dream, my dream come true when I became a mum, and it's more than I can ever ask for.



Dearest Asher,

Happy turning four months! It seems like forever already that you have joined our family, you know? You have learnt to flip, you can now laugh out loud, you make a lot of goo-s and ga-s and you are just a total joy to be with. 

No matter how tired I get looking after the three of you, I take a look at your smiling face and I know it's all so worthwhile. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will make me trade what I have now and I am just thankful that you are in my life.

We have just planned for a family holiday in June and you will be taking your first flight! How cool is that? I can't wait to explore new places with you and jiejies and I'm most looking forward to our first holiday as a family of five. We're gonna have so much fun, you know that?

Few days ago, you fell from the sofa when I was making lunch and tasked your er jie to look after you. I was devastated to see you lying on the floor and it pained my heart to see the bruise on your face. Sorry, baby! We all learn from mistakes and I promise you I will try harder to look after you from now. That said, when you grow up, you also have to learn to pick yourself up after a fall and be strong to take on the world, okay?

Here's a video sharing some fond moments from your fourth month of growing up. I totally need to get my act together and work on your jiejies' long overdue videos. All Mummy hopes is that you will enjoy watching these clips from time to time as we reminisce those sweet, forgotten moments together, yar?

Love ya so much every day.

Hugs,
Mummy

My favourite toy {Review of heART Studio Part III}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 10.5.16
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In wanting to make the lessons more fun and personal for the little ones, for Ariel's next project at heArt Studio, she was tasked by the teachers to bring along her favourite toy. I was happy to know of this because it enable the kids to be more involved and also made everyone's artwork unique and different from everyone else.

For Ariel, she decided to bring along her favourite doll, which she fondly calls Baby Mell.

In the first lesson, the kids were taught to draw their toy. It was an opportunity for them to revise their knowledge of basic shapes as they made use of these to construct their drawings.

I have to say it is not easy to draw facial outlines and features, so I was a little skeptical if Ariel could manage it at all. Obviously, she needed the guidance of the teacher who would instruct her step by step and demonstrate to her on how to go about drawing.



While straight lines were easy for her, wavy and curved ones were a tad more challenging. I was really proud of her for trying her best and achieving this at the end of just one lesson.

For the next three weeks, the students were to work on a a painting of their favourite toy instead. Teacher Syafiq told the kids that they could keep the previous toy or bring along a new one instead. This time, Ariel decided that she wanted to bring her Hello Kitty phone instead and I was just glad she chose a lightweight, small toy which could fit easily into my bag.

To begin, she used an oil pastel to draw an outline of the phone. At times, the teacher would just tell her what shape to draw and roughly how big he needs them to be. If she has much difficulty, he would then help her out by drawing dots at the corners for her to join. It was easy to tell that Ariel has progressed much compared to the first few lessons and that was something to be thankful for.

Next, it was time to start painting! This never fails to delight the kids and make them all excited.



Despite that she is only three years old, I like how the teachers give the kids the freedom and independence in the little tasks. Not only did they get to choose their own colours for the entire painting, they were also taught to mix colours, wash their paintbrushes, discard the used paper after drying their brushes and so on. These help to cultivate a sense of responsibility in them and inculcate good habits too.



Next, it was time to move onto the details. I was secretly pleased that she chose to bring this phone and chose to paint it when it was opened rather than clammed. Why? This was because she got to paint the numbers 0-9 on the phone too and revised these digits in the process.


In the last lesson, it was time to paint the background and complete the final details. Ariel wanted a turquoise background which contrasted her pink phone quite well.

Once, she accidentally painted her eyebrow and right cheek with the turquoise paint. Yeah, don't ask me how she did it. It was a hilarious sight and before I could react, Teacher Syafiq asked her to sit down so that he could help her to wipe it off. It once again reminded me of how patient the teachers are at heART Studio and the truth is they really love and care about these kids, which makes all the difference in their teaching.

There, her final artwork is shown below! I thought it was done amazingly well! The teacher even asked every kid to give a price for their toy as if it was on sale in a toy shop. See the price tag on Ariel's phone? Yeah, $21 for her favourite toy, even though I bet she won't be willing to let go even if you offer her much more. As for me, this painting will be another one of our favourites and I hope to be able to keep it as a memory for a long time to come! Till our next art project at heART Studio!

Disclosure: This is Part III of a series of reviews of heART Studio. Ariel attended complimentary lessons for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

Creativity 521 #91 - Origami Tulips for Mother's Day

Posted by ~Summer~ on 5.5.16
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With Mother's Day coming up, as usual, I wanted to do something simple but handmade with the girls. Before you get it wrong, no, I don't just get them to do something for me, I take the chance to ask them to make something for their grandmothers and even great-grandmother too. Yes, it's the perfect occasion to show our appreciation for these people who brought us into the world, raised us, loved us and gave us so much to be thankful for.

I didn't want to spend too much money so I dug around our house in search of recycled and craft materials. Then, an inspiration hit me when I thought about our recent trip to Tulipmania at Gardens by the Bay. Why not make some origami tulips, put them in a vase and include a personalised card? Here's sharing how we did it in today's Creativity 521.

Materials:

1) Empty toilet rolls
2) Scrapbooking paper
3) Origami paper
4) Photo printout
5) Coloured pens
6) Ribbon
7) Gem stickers
8) Scissors
9) Glue
10) Pipe cleaners
11) Long ruler
12) Pencil
13) Sticky tape

Firstly, we measured the height and width of the toilet roll and cut out a rectangle from the scrapbooking paper which would wrap around it nicely. You can use glue or double sided tape to stick it onto the roll.

It was the perfect chance for the three year old to practise her cutting skills and I must say she is getting better every time! I simply love that focused look on her face.



Next, using the base of the roll, we traced a circle on the scrapbooking paper, cut it out and glued it on.

We left them to dry for a while while we started to work on the tulips!

I printed out a tulip origami instructions so that the kids can do it step by step. You can also watch the video tutorial first so that you can pretend to be an origami expert and be able to help the little ones.

Here's how the tulip should look roughly. I couldn't find our origami paper so I cut squares (about 15cm by 15cm) from construction paper instead.

To make the stem, insert the pipe cleaner all the way till it reaches the tip.

The big girl has been very fascinated with origami recently and so it was easy to see that she enjoyed making these tulips. Can't say the same for the little sister because it's still too complex for her age.

To personalise the flowers, Angel wrote the words "Happy Mother's Day XXX. Love from Angel and Ariel" below a photo of the two of them taken at Tulipmania.

I love how colourful the photo looked and that she wrote every word with a different colour (it was totally her own idea). Even though the hubby was home and wanted to bring them to the playground, she let the meimei go first and didn't stop till she finished all the cards. Kudos to you, dear Angel!

Stick a pipe cleaner to the back of the photo using sticky tape and you can also tape this, and the flower stems, to the inside of the roll so that they do not move about too much. Jazz up the vases by sticking on some 3-D stickers or tie a ribbon and you are all done!

Ta-dah! How do our origami tulips look?

Here's wishing all mums a Happy Mother's Day 2016 and may we treasure each day we get to spend with our beloved kids!

For more DIY ideas and craft tutorials, visit my gallery here.

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