Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Heart to heart. { nyonya kueh }

Miniature nyonya kueh, hand sculpted by me with polymer clay.

If you've ever been to Southeast Asia (or specifically Singapore/Malaysia), you would have seen these pretty pastries in most traditional bakeries. They are either filled with a salty or sweet paste, with a mochi-like consistency on the outside. I guess these are our local equivalent to the beautiful western petit desserts. 

For ages, I've been wanting to make some local food, and finally I have. YES, one strike off my to-do-list.

So firstly I got started on the miniature angku kueh. It usually comes in the shape and intricate pattern of a tortoise shell (the ku in angku stands for tortoise), which I recreated in the tiny scale. I have this strange passion for making master forms, maybe because I know I just have to create ONE piece and I can while away hours just perfecting it. And then it'll be made into a mould so that I can create many tiny angku kuehs.

By the way, I wrote a tiny 艾 on the angku kueh instead of the usual 寿 (longevity) you'll see. The 艾 is part of my Chinese name, and also the Ai in AiClay. :)

When I posted up these photos on my Facebook page, I wrote about my weird habit of peeling the lapis sagu (the stack of colourful layers) apart and rolling them up before chewing on each piece. And surprise surprise, it turned out that many other people shared this habit too haha. Ah, so I'm not alone.



While I'm planning my schedule for the last 2 months in 2013, 2014 is very quickly creeping up on us! It's a bit scary how time passes so quickly, but then again I'll rather feel that way then wait around idling and wishing for the days to go by faster. You know what I mean? Ever since I've been working for myself, I've been going through various emotional phases.

There was a period when I couldn't settle down to work, and I struggled with self-discipline and often weeks and months went by with nothing happening on the AiClay front. And then there came self-doubt, where I questioned myself everyday about the decisions I had made, the lifestyle I was in. Monetary worries plagued me constantly, and yet I was still avoiding the reality checks by giving myself lame excuses. Procrastination became my middle name. I didn't know what I wanted, I only knew what I didn't want (which was to return to working for someone else). It felt like a faint line between plain laziness and ambition.

In 2013, things started looking up (oh PHEW). I discovered I could teach workshops, and that I actually enjoyed teaching. Starting AiClay's miniature food workshops was undeniably the turning point for AiClay, and it gave me a renewed sense of purpose. Honestly, you know I was very much against teaching my craft at the beginning. It felt like I was giving up my original intention to be a crafter, and that silly selfish voice in me questioned if I should be teaching potential competitors in this tiny market of miniature food crafters. But silly silly me, I was letting myself getting the better of me as it turned out. I've always been brilliant at imposing invisible boundaries for myself, and the only barrier I had was my mindset.

With every workshop I held, I learned from the participants everyday. Somewhere along the many years of working on food miniatures and fulfilling commissions, I had left behind the joy of creating. When I saw the happy faces of the participants at the end of the workshop, I thought to myself, "Ah, how long has it been that I felt that way?" Sometimes, participants would raise ideas which I had never thought of. When you work at something for so long, you just slip into a gradually repetitive process. It gets comfortable, too comfortable after a while that you no longer question how you could be better.

To settle in your comfort zone for far too long, is perhaps the scariest thing to happen to a business owner.

So, teaching has brought me not just a very much needed income stream, but also allowed me many opportunities to rediscover, be it in crafting or business. Thank you, if you have ever been to my workshops.

I forgot what my original intention of the heart-to-heart was for, but I'm going to end here. No matter who you are, never allow yourself to think you are already at your prime. It's easier said than done, but let's just start by asking ourselves a question, "how can it be better?".

Till next time. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Double cheese AND double meat on my burger please. ;)

Last Saturday, 4 ladies trooped down to my home studio for a cozy workshop where we made little burgers into adorable phone accessories and earrings.

I must really say I was utterly impressed with their final works, it was hard to believe it was the first time most of them were working with polymer clay. Awesome job ladies! All that time perfecting the crispy lettuce and juicy meats was worth it.

Check out the double meat and cheese layers on this heck of a burger! I would love to chomp down on one of these in real life heh heh.

We are approaching the end of October all too quickly! With just 7 weeks to go before my much-anticipated Christmas vacation, I've managed to squeeze in one more workshop for November. We'll be making miniature macarons, all details in poster below!

This just might be the last home studio workshop for 2013, so don't miss out!

It will be lovely to receive a handmade macaron bracelet as a Christmas present, with all personalised colours for the macaroons. Come join us?

P.S Macarons has always proved to be a hot favourite workshop, so register early by emailing me at!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Goodbye little minions, and some burgers!

I need to pop in here more often! 

Please click here to view photos of the ice cream workshop and they're all taken by the sweet 刘子绚! ♥ For those who don't live in Singapore, she's an actress and also one of the owners of BFF Zakka. It was such a pleasure meeting her for the first time that day, and I know JY didn't regret helping me out at that event haha. She's really pretty, even without make-up and was totally sweet in offering her help anyway she could during the workshop. :)

Speaking of workshops, I have one more lined up tomorrow! We'll be making minature burgers, into earrings or a phone dust plug accessory. If you want to join us, quick email me at by tonight to register! 

When: 19th Oct 2013, Saturday. 2-6pm
What: Burgers on earrings or on handphone dust plugs (see
Where: My home studio (3min walk from Bukit Batok MRT), full address will be given upon confirmation of slot
Fees (incl. materials, usage of tools and equipment, giftbox, accessories): $65/pax, $60 for those who bring a friend


Ah, the minion project is coming to a close! My mom was helping me arrange the fifty odd minions for the photoshoot before I packaged them, and when I checked on her a while later she had gathered all into a battle-ready line-up haha.

This was how I decided to package them in the end, and into gift-boxes and brown envelopes they went!

And a little behind-the-scenes. Here is the actual size of the entire photoshoot area. LOL, the wonderful thing about photographing miniatures.

Psst. I actually have some miniature minions left for adoption, because due to the crazy logistics involved, there were some that were not made according to the commissioned ones. So I've decided to give them up for adoption as well, but more information will be up later. Wait for it! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

An ice cream cone.

Happy Friday morning everyone! 

Even as we enter the last quarter of the year, we inhabitants of the sunny island of Singapore will not be spared the summer heat. While we can't be treating ourselves to ice cream everyday, an adorable ice cream charm will help cool us off. 

Come make these lovely charms (to be made into necklace or accessory straps) with me, at the charming BFF Zakka Store. Seats are limited, so register quickly! Email to book your slots. Remember that bring-a-friend discount still applies!

Details in poster below. 

Photos taken by AiClay, poster designed by BFF Zakka.


These few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for me as I've packed many workshops and events to exhibit at. Plus, I'm in the 'sculpting and packing' phase of the Minion Project so it's a bit bonkers at the home studio right now. Time is just flying by everyday, one second I'm eating breakfast the next time I check the clock it's already 4pm and I'm still buried in my sculpting. 

But busy is good. :) One day, I'll write another heart-to-heart about the internal struggles I was constantly battling during the first 2 years of starting AiClay, and it had a lot to do with NOT being busy. So yup, I see my packed schedule as a blessing. 

Also, I don't know how many of you are subscribed to AiMail, but in the most recent issue I sent out, I asked for travel tips for New York and Toronto, Canada since I'll be heading there this December! Do you think it'll snow, for the sake of my travel companion I really hope it will. :) It'll be like nature's birthday present for him as his birthday falls on Christmas Eve. 

It'll be super nice if any of you reading this now are from Toronto/New York and could just give me a holler. :)

Random note to self: Do not ever lose my trusty red organiser because I'll be seriously lost without it! Nothing on my schedule is commited to memory, because well I don't trust it. :/

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The good ol' ham, lettuce and cheese sandwich.


Fancy a little sandwich to bring around with you everywhere? Come make a miniature version of the good ol' ham and lettuce sandwich with me, this Saturday! 

Email me at to register your slot/s now as we still have some left!

It will be made into a ring, or as a necklace/bracelet charm, or a strap accessory (or even a display item)! You'll get to decide on what you would like. 

Real sandwiches and drinks will be served as we craft away!

Date: Saturday, 5th October 2013
Time: 2-6pm
Location: My home studio (3min walk from Bukit Batok MRT)
Fees: $65/pax, $60/pax if you bring a friend!

See you!