Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Heart-to-heart: On working from home.

It's been quite some time I wrote in here. 

There have been so many social networking platforms to write on (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) and it's just so much easier to post on the go with my phone that sadly, I've neglected my oldest networking site, here. By the way, I post DAILY on my Dayre (it's a new microblogging app, please go download and follow me there! I update constantly about what's going on in my life and AiClay work there) 

Currently, I'm waiting for my lunch to cook (a vegetable patty in the oven and eggs waiting to boil). So let me talk about something that I've been thinking about these few days. 

When I first quit my full time job (a 9-6 desk bound job) and started working on AiClay, I faced a constant turmoil of emotions. When I was working, I hated the daily shuttling from home to work, squeezing in the train filled with mobs of robotic and depressing faces, waking up to my annoying alarm and never having enough sleep. The list goes on. Constantly, I craved for the comfort of my warm bed, dreaming of snacking while watching telly dramas, or just being home. 

But this changed very quickly when I brought my office home. Or called my home, my office. Whichever way you want to see it. 

Admittedly, I had more than my fair share of slacking at home when I first quit my job. I didn't know how to schedule my work, or what I could work on if there were no commissions. I bathed in my newfound freedom to wake up anytime I wanted to, and to take breaks without seeking anybody's permission. There were even days I just slept till noon, went for mahjong dates, or lazed in bed playing Candy Crush (yup, that was the craze then) for hours. I probably squeezed in a bit of working in my tight schedule of being lazy. -dry laughter. 

You know how they say, too much of something is bad enough? (okay the Spice Girls said this) That was definitely true for me. I had too much freedom, and freedom means nothing when there was nothing to be free from. Taking breaks was meaningless because I wasn't working prior to that, going on holidays made me feel guilty, and weekends just meant that I was resting (again) with the rest of the working world. 

I felt a growing sense of unachievement (is there such a word?) as the days went by. 

Also, I was so occupied with having fun, that it bugged me when I couldn't find dates. I felt so trapped at home, ironic as home was where I so desperately hoped to be when I was working. 

I tried to fill up my schedule with meeting friends, anything that could allow me to leave home. But friends had colleagues to hang out with after work, or meetings to attend. My boyfriend suffered the brunt of my incessant need to leave the house. I was asking him out everyday, and unreasonably I was expecting him to accompany me constantly. Our relationship was strained as I grew clingy. 

And then, one day it hit me. Even though I was supposedly working from home, I hadn't actually been doing so. 90% of my time at home was NOT doing work, so how could I say I was working from home. 

The process of getting into a schedule, and gaining self-discipline is long and not easy. But 4 years into a home-based business, I can now say I REALLY spend at least 75% of my time at home working. Even if I'm shuttling between appointments (with friends or business), I'm replying emails and marketing on my social networks as well. There were a lot of factors that contributed to this as well. For example, I converted my room into a home studio where it's a lot more conducive to work from. My bed is now a makeshift one, so I no longer have the luxury to just laze on bed in between tasks. Or the fact that I've been blessed with having kind strangers and friends share their ideas and opportunities with me, and opening up my mind about the potential AiClay can blossom into. 

The most awesome change I see in myself, is that I no longer feel bored or unhappening even if I spend the entire week just working from home. How can I, when I'm busy working on exciting new projects for AiClay and discovering new potential challenges. Of course, I still love meeting my friends and family, and would fit in dates with them every once in a while. It's just healthy for my system. 

So that's my story. Sorry if I don't make sense some parts, or if this hasn't really been helpful for you. But if you work from home, please share your experience thus far with me. I'm always happy to hear your stories. :) 

Now let me go peel some eggs. :) 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Of young business owners.

So AiClay got another mention in the Straits Times Life today! As a business owner, I'm always grateful to have a (positive) mention in media, so thank you Cheryl for recommending me, and Bryna for the interview. :)

After reading through the article, I realize almost everyone cited the same reason for being an entrepreneur - which is to be empowered. It could be in big parts in your life, like deciding to take a one year break to look after your newly born, or even tiny aspects like choosing the colour of your work chair.

No matter how arduous the journey, it's totally worth it knowing that each and every decision is yours for the making. 

Let's work hard together, all business owners, young or old. :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

I love you, I really do. { cupcakes & biscuits }

I sent out an AiMail with the same title last night. (Yes! Subscribers check your mailbox! There's a secret Valentine coupon code in there too. :))

And I want to say it again to all of you blog readers. Because some of you, have been with me for a long long time. This blog was started since the day I decided to show my miniature works to the world, which was in 2009. That's around 4+ years! 

Sometimes I wish I had more comments on my blog entries, but then it dawned on me that I should treasure the few I receive from time to time. And that even for myself, a lot of times I just skip commenting on the blogs I read. So as long as I know that people are still reading AiClay, and coming back for more, then it's enough for me. :)

I made some miniature cupcakes that day, decorated with dreamy pastel sprinkles. (If you're on my Instagram, you would see the working process of how I made the sprinkles)

Here they are, in their naked cute butts lol, before they got frosted.

Then, I sculpted some animal biscuits and gingerbread cookies to complete the teatime set. 

Tadah. :) 

That snow globe is from New York, I really adore it! 

Happy Valentine's Day to you, whoever's reading. 

I'll love to know about your day, if you spent it with someone special or even just doing things you love doing. :) So just write in the comments if you would like to share it with me. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

One of my dreams.. { Sift desserts }

.. is to have my miniature food showcased in actual bakeries and patisseries, and even other F&B outlets next time as I definitely hope to venture beyond western desserts.

Currently, I'm in the talks with some cafes in Singapore to introduce AiClay's works to them, as unique branding points. Imagine having your staff wear pins with your signature cake, or having an entire collection of miniature fruit tart charms which your customers could purchase on top of buying the real fruit tart. That way, they'll get to eat and have their cake (or insert with food of choice) as well! 

So while doing some research, I came across the commission which I made for Sift Desserts in 2012. It was commissioned by the lady boss's friend as a gift for the owner of Sift, and I learnt and had so much fun making all the little cakes and tarts, all modelled after the real thing. As Sift was located in Hong Kong, I could only rely on photos which she had provided. 

And I realise I've never shown the photos to you guys, so here is the real thing VS the miniature dessert. :)

Right: The real desserts
Left: AiClay's miniature replicas



P.S I'll definitely be heading to Sift Desserts if and whenever I go Hong Kong. The desserts are so delicious looking! 

All photos of the real desserts are property of Sift Desserts.

And here's the photo of the desserts on my hand, for size reference. They were all so tiny and delicate it broke my heart a little bit when I had to send them off in their customised brown box. 

Wish me loads of luck in this project with the cafes/bakeries, it's one very close to my heart (and stomach). :)

P.S If you're a F&B owner or know someone who owns one and am interested in collaborating with AiClay, please drop me a mail at! :)