Handmade Hanging Christmas Tree with Table Lamp Inside

We made a Christmas tree with some tinsels and a broken tripod in both 2015 and 2016, with a little change in the trimmings. But the tripod has finally given way to even more wear and tear over time and humidity - all the plastic parts are falling off. It's time to have a renewed theme for our Christmas tree this year!
After a few nights thinking over it and several sketches later, I've decided to make use of an existing hook on the wall and make a tree hanging down from it, and wrapping a table lamp within.
I found a cardboard lid for an A4 paper box that's been tossed in the office (so that it can get one more use before going for its recycle round), and cut holes around it:

Putting it through the table lamp that will be the light source:

Then I tied 2 separate loops using some ribbons (out of my craft box collection) through the tree top star and hang it onto the hook:

What I did next is just to poke each strip of tinsel through 2 holes on the box lid, then pull up to …

DIY Christmas Wreath From Old Christmas Decor

Our old Christmas wreath made from old mince pie boxes has way passed its sell-by date, so it's time to have a new one made.

This new one can't be easier; I found an old wire in the tool box (probably taken out from an old hanger) and bent it into a circle, with both ends twisted into small loop then tied with a bendable twist tie wire. I then twirled a strip of old silver tinsel (found in the box with old Christmas decoration) around the wire, secured by twisting the ends together. Finally slapped on a decorative bell and ribbon - again, from the Christmas decor box.

Not a single penny was spent. Not even an inch of cello tape.

Welcome to the first day of Advent!

DIY Christmassy Purple Beaded Napkin Rings

Since the last bunch of beaded napkin rings, I've gone a little obsessed with napkin rings and have made another set with different coloured beads and design. I managed to make 5 with the leftover beads from making my choker necklace and a beaded belt.

I think they look really good with my mostly white table setting and crockeries.

Unlike the turquoise napkin rings, these ones have a slightly more complicated design so it took me almost 2 evenings to complete. Here is the step-by-step process in illustration:

1. I use a 0.35 nylon fishing thread (that's what I have in my drawer), but you can use a thinner one as the napkin rings are only small. I measure it to about 1.1m for each napkin ring. It's always best to use 1 whole thread for each, to save rejoining work halfway through.

Start with the beads in the middle of the thread and criss-cross to make shapes:
2. Here's to complete the first circle and move on to the next row (then repeat for the row after that):

3. To …

Handmade Purple Beaded Belt

Another accessory I made whilst watching TV over a few evenings, much better than having TV dinners πŸ˜€

This is the base pattern I've used for the purple beads, like what I did for the beaded choker:

It's totally adjustable, just tie around the waist on the white beaded part.

Paper Mache Jack O Lantern Candy Buckets for Halloween

We're going to have a family dinner right before Halloween so we gotta have something special for the kiddies. I've always wanted to let them have a little trick or treat for fun but I'm really skeptic about buying the ready made ones and make some rich business owners even richer by producing more plastic stuff. So a DIY paper machΓ© Jack o Lantern is an obvious choice.

Here are the material used:
2 old unused balloons from last Christmas, blew them up and wrapped each up with a layer of cling film (for easy removal when the glue is dry), and these are the base mould for the pumpkins.Old newspaper and old receipts, torn into tiny strips.Glue made from tapioca flourLeftover white base coat paintAcrylic coloursString from an old wrecked drawstring bag First layer for the shape.

 Few more layers to shape the ridges.

Punched holes for the handle. Base coat done, in and out.

Getting the right colour, bit by bit.

Once the colour's done, smiley Jack-o-lantern faces are drawn …

Growing Basil on a Tropical Balcony

Basil can grow up to quite tall but it needs to be harvested regularly, otherwise it will start to flower and then die. I try to keep mine growing for as long as possible by cutting long stalks and replant them.

It's really pretty easy. All I do is pluck off all the leaves (for cooking or drying purposes) at the bottom, leaving top most 2 or 4 leaves of each stalk, then place them into a glass of fresh water. Over the period of a week or 2, they will start to root. Once the roots are about 2" long, I will transfer them into soil.

I also do the same when the bottom of the basil plant start to turn woody. This would be the time I prune it all down, root the upper part that is fresh and green, and uproot the woody part to refresh the soil to be ready for new plants.

7 days later:

7 weeks later, after several cuttings:

Drying Mint Leaves at home

The mint plants are growing so well I have to keep cutting and drying them, and I now have opted for a bigger container: my dish drainer which I don't use often enough.
And I have to start labelling them so that I don't get mint mixed up with basil, as they will lose their distinctive shapes when dried. 
Here's my little labelling stick: 2 small labelling stickers on a toothpick πŸ˜„

Last update: 15 Sep, 2017
Since replanting the mint, I've trimmed and pruned (and try to root more for planting again) a few times to try making the plant more bushy. Whilst I'm not planning to cook anything with mint at the moment and the amount of mint leaves I cut are not exactly enough to make mint sauce immediately, I'll have to preserve them by drying.

The process may take up to a week or so, depending on the weather, but it's not a complicated one. I'm doing it 100% manually, as we do not have any high-tech equipment specially built for that. All I do is to place a cl…