Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A cooler Earth- you can do your part

Someone was distributing this in a shopping mall. I find it interesting. This is one of the muse that sets me to start the Care for the Earth series.

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This post is part of the "Care for the Earth" series

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Library Hop # 4 :- Let's hop to Central Public Library

We have been so caught up with our March holidays and a couple of goodbye posts,  I thought I could complete this post mid April just in time for Earth Day on 22nd April. However, little one had a cut on her middle finger and have to be absent from school for 1 whole week , then I fell sick soon after that, in the end, I only had the time to blog this now.

This month, we are going to hop to the Central Library.

Central Library holds the first green library for children. It is so meaningful to blog about it this month, isn't that so? Meanwhile, I shall be blogging probably for a couple of months on environmental issues. So, to start the ball rolling with Central library. How green exactly is the library?

National Library building evening shot


Located at 100 Victoria Street, the basement of the National Library Building, the Central Library is full of history. It was first started by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1823 as a library to support the educational aim of Singapore Institution (Now known as Raffles Institution)

This library never had its own building till 1950s. It was officially open 12 November 1960 by the President Yusof bin Ishak. Mr Lee Kong Chian had contributed 16% of the total cost of the building then. The building was formerly at Stamford Road but had since closed on 1st April 2004. The building is being demolished to make way for a road tunnel and SMU.

The new building at Victoria Street was opened to public on 22 July 2005 and officially opened on 12 November 2005 by President S. R . Nathan. Central Library occupies the basement of the building, covering a floor area of  6,407 square metre. It shares the building with the Drama Centre managed by National Arts Council. 

Over the years, the library collection builds up. It provides a wide collection of books, it also contains the largest collection of fiction books compared to the rest of the Public libraries. Being close proximity to schools such as SMU and NAFA, it also holds a good collection of Business and Designs and Creativity titles.

The World's first Green Library for children is found here too.

How green is the library?

To begin with, let's start with the library building. Just to list some eco-friendly features
1) Glass panels to let in natural lights , reduce the usage of indoor lighting
2) Light shelves to reflect lights deeper into the building 
3) Incorporating environmentally-friendly technologies such as smart sensors to reduce energy consumption.
  • Rain sensors -> reduce amount of water required to water plants during rainy days.
  • Light sensors -> dim or switch indoor light when there is enough natural lights
  • Motion sensors within escalators and taps-> switch on only when in use.
4) 14 landscaped gardens , besides being pleasing to the eyes, regulate daytime temperature in the building.

The Central Library

Book exchange corner is located just outside the library. The programme is extended to community clubs, schools, Residents' Committee centre as well as corporate offices. If you have any old books which you do not read any more, why not donate them rather than throw away? You can give these books a new lease of life.
What a green idea! You can recycle your used cartridges here

When you enter you would be greeted by recommended books in cardboard book stand (left) and sustainable light display (right)

Ongoing Exhibition, Moments of Motherhood, mixed media showcase by Paulina Constancia
 Below 2 pictures are taken in the Bamboo Garden , just next to Central Library. The red bricks look familiar? They are the very red bricks from the former National Library at Stamford Road. Sculptures of people reading books are the works of local artist Chong Fah Cheong.

I spotted shelves and shelves of books on knitting and crocheting.

A wide range of books on knitting
Children's section

The Tree House 
A closer look at this centrepiece. The leaves are made from recycled plastic bottles. An fantastic recycling project for display.

Children loves to climb up this tree to read books too

30 % of the books located at the Children's section focus on green topics such as animals, plants, nature, water resources, weather, environment, recycling and climate change. A good place to choose books to educate youngsters about nature.

Paper crafts

E reading kiosks. Plants are spotted behind

Mushroom shelf display at the Cosy Reading Corner

A cute craft spotted

Non fiction book recommendations for pre-schoolers.

Reason for choosing the books:
Since we are in a green library, why not read some green books?
I picked the following books from the library to read to little one. Getting her to know plants and animals of which many we have never seen before in real life.

The first 2 books are borrowed from the Central Library. You may get them in other branches as well.
I like the idea of introducing something familiar to little one. We all wear T-shirts. Where do they come from? What happen if they were old? Do you simply discard them? Or should we start to recycle them instead? Hopefully by introducing these 2 books she would treasure her own clothes more. She prefers to wear dresses and would reject pants or shorts. More than often, we realise she outgrows the T-shirts, blouses, shorts and pants after wearing a few times. By introducing how clothes come about, hopefully, she would learn to treasure more and not waste what Mother Earth had provided.

1) From Cotton to T-shirt by Robin Nelson
This is suitable to preschoolers. I have never seen a cotton plant in my life. This is fantastic! It describes in simple sentences how a T-shirt is made from fruits (cotton bolls) of cotton plants. 

2) Old Clothes by Daniel Nunn
A pretty informative book describing what happen to old clothes when we dump them away. The book introduces recycling to children in simple sentences. The book also give you some ideas how to reuse old clothes. They also give instructions on how to make your own sock puppet.

3) Tropical Rain Forest by April Pulley Sayre, published by Scholastic
I love Scholastic books, they are informative and yet simple to read to children. Although my little one may not grasp the concept of rain forest. This is a good brief introduction to what a rain forest is and what deforestation is. Little one loves to flip through the pages and ask about the name of the plants and animals.


100 Victoria Street
Singapore 188064

Bookdrop: 24-hour

How to get there

Nearest MRT: Bugis, City Hall MRT Station
Bus Interchange:
Buses: 145, 197, 32, 51, 63, 7, 80 175 , SMRT 851, 61, 851, 61
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This post is part of the "Care for the Earth" series

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Care for the Earth

We live on Planet Earth and we have only 1 Earth to live on. 

I am sure many are aware Industrial revolution started somewhere between 1870s. Industrial revolution had brought good things to humankind as well as massive pollutions and deforestations. We know the effects of these to our environment. We know the depletion of ozone layer and the rising of sea levels.

Imagine this:-
"Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years."
        - quoted from Wikipedia
The Earth is now 4.54 billions years old and yet since the last 250 years and yet more than half of the forest of gone is already gone. Measures are taken to save Planet Earth but have we done enough?

In conjunction with Earth Day, I am starting a series on Green Issues, nature awareness and appreciation. Also, I would be doing some upcycled crafts in a bid to do my part to help protect Planet Earth.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Scratch art

Little one received this in a goodie bag. Seriously, I do not know what it is except that since a toothpick is provided, we have to scratch it? 

Testing...I scratched those 2 flowers
It reminds me of those scratch and win lucky coupon
Scratch, scratch...

 You can try making your own scratch art step by step in this website.

Report Card:-

Suitable Age Group:- 4 and above.
Difficulty level: 1/5 (Level 1 being no or little help is required, Level 5 being very difficult)
Safety level : 4/5 (Level 1 being very unsafe, Level 5 being very safe, Supervision is required for this craft due to sharp equipment.  )
Messiness: 1/5 (needs to clean off the debris after the scratch)
Fun Level : 4/5
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Frozen Fever

I believe my girl is not the first nor the last to be affected by the FROZEN fever.
She chose this wallpaper for our computer. 

Reinforcing these 2 sight words. She said the first one is ‘do‘. Then i told her she should know the first word coz she have been singing non stop these days. Immediately she remembered and said ‘go, let it go‘ What happened next was even funnier, she picked up the second card n said ‘be. be a good girl, you always have to be‘ !

Her drawing of the 2 Disney Princesses. Don't ask me why Anna look more like Runpuzel.
Hmmm... Frozen is a girl thing? Don't judge. In fact, I think her Papa is being hit by the fever too! No, he does not watch Frozen again and again but he had been listening to "Let it Go" again and again, even in Thai and Japanese.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tutorial: How to make needle felted animals

Early last week, while walking through Daiso IMM, I found wool roving. I was very excited because these are cheap! I have bought rovings at almost double this price at a craft shop! How can I resist buying these then? I bought each of every colour I found and a needle felting kit shown as below.

I am still a noob when it comes to needle felting. I do not know how to differentiate between the different types of wool. I read there are roving, sliver, top etc. I also read they are different types of needles meant for needle felting. Ah... these are for the more experienced and more passionate needle felting lovers. Meanwhile, I think my felting needle and wool roving would serve me well enough.

Today I will be doing a tutorial for needle felting of this animal kit.
I find that the roving in the kit is different from the more expensive one that I have bought from store. This feels courser. For beginner, I think this kit is good because at a cheap price of S$2, felting needle and wool rovings are already provided. You would need to read on that package what is being provided and what you need to prepare. I didn't have an awl, I went ahead to buy any way. Instructions are available in English. Estimated time take is indicated as well. I did mine within 3 hours.  I am quite happy with everything. The only complain I have is that the rovings are stacked on top of each other, instead of being rolled up. Hence I have got bits of black wool in my white roving. 


1. Spread out the rovings, checking for any foreign particles. I found some and take them out. These foreign objects may break your felting needle when you stab them.
2. Pick out the amount you need for felting. In this case, instructions are provided in leaflets. Roll into the shape that you want and start felting on a felting mat or sponge.
3. Harden the wool roving by stabbing in and out. Tips available here
The almost-done core
The Core that looks like cocoon.
4. To add on more volume,.wrap the wool round the core. My suggestion is to felt the new wool along as you  wrap as per below picture. I do not mean to leave your needle like that. I couldn't hold the needle as I am taking the photo. Just put on your imagination cap, imagine my right hand felting the new wool on the core. Felt a few times as you wrap along the core. The purpose of doing this is better manage the shape of the sculpture.
5. After wrapping, secure the ends by stabbing into the core. Continue to poke in and out till the desired shape is obtained.

6. Making the jowls. Start by placing the middle of wool strip to the center of face, working sidewards and downwards, finally, back to the centre. This, I find, is quite a challenge to do.

The jowls is done but looked lopsided
7. Making the ears. Half a strip of wool and stab separately. Compare from time to time to make sure they look similar. Do not stab the joining end (to the head) too much as too much stabbing will harden the felt , making it difficult to felt on the head.

8. Make hole for the eye with an awl. I have tried to do without the awl, seemed like it is not working too well. I had a difficult time trying to dig holes for those eyes. The eyes looked almost like popping out! Whahaha... (refer to my last picture) Should have checked my hubby's toolbox for an awl. The eye parts are glued on after that.
9. Making the nose and mouth by stabbing black wool to the head.

10. Finally, open a jump ring, insert at the top of the head and close it. Pincer is required for the job. Put a ball chain through the jump ring

Ta dah!
The job is done. Hope you have been enjoying reading our posts and liking us on facebook

When I give this to my little girl, she asked me where is the body... LOL...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blooming flowers!

Singapore's weather is pretty predictable. Hot, wet and humid almost all year round. No define four seasons. Flowers bloom all year round. However, since the mid Jan, there was a dry spell going on for 27 days followed by abundant rainfall may have triggered massive flowering as such these spectacular, lovely scenes.

Early April, we have the pink flowers blooming, especially the Trumpet trees. They remind me of the Sakura in Japan.

I have seen trumpet flowers blooming years ago when I was in my school days along AYE expressway. They were beautiful. Usually these flowers bloom in late March to early April but they do not last long. Within a week, they are all gone. It had been quite some time since I last travelled along AYE.

Ghim Moh Link  (photo credit : my brother)
9th April

Trumpet  trees in full bloom

Flower Carpet

SMU (Singapore Management University, after we visited The Basement for one last time.)
10th Apr

The pink bloom was almost gone when we reach. So the Trumpet trees located here look almost like "normal" green trees. Seriously, I have yet to differentiate each tree by simply looking at their crown or leaves. I wonder how possibly to do that without looking at the flowers or fruits. Probably, it was never possible. :P Anyway, I did not try capture any pretty pink blooms with my camera as they look insignificant in my camera screen.
The tree with the white flowers. Believe it is just under the Trumpet tree. Look at the pink trumpet flowers which had already fallen.
I  love this flowering bushes.  Some flowers are with spots
A fruit spotted, by little one, among the bushes.

Heh! I have taken many shots from these plants. :P
I am not sure what flowers are these. Looks like Frangipani but the petals arrangement looks more like a pinwheel to me. Also, the centre of these flowers are less yellowish as compared to Frangipani.

Picking up a trumpet tree flower
Ghim Moh Road
14th April

It's the yellow flowers' turn to bloom. Other yellow flowers, eg Golden Showers, are blooming in other areas of Singapore too. The one I have capture is the more commonly found ones, I think, I spotted them in at least 3 areas. I spot some in my own neighbourhood too!
 These , I think, are Xanthostemon chrysanthus. (Golden Penda)

Red frangipani
15 April 
More Xanthostemon chrysanthus (Golden Penda)

Blooming Golden Penda

For more Singapore Blooms, you may want to refer to NParks' Facebook page.

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