The thoughts and feelings of Za about every day life - because life is not just about work but everything else that makes the world go round - my work, my family, my hobbies, my friends, and things I want to say that cannot be said anywhere else......
We had just concluded the first ever NNC Craft Retreat held from the 16th to the 17th of October 2015.
Seen here are my cousin-in-laws Zawiyah and Zuraidah at the start of the Retreat with their respective Project kits.
See earlier blog post in 3 parts for more photos.
The Retreat was held in conjunction with NNC’s 9th
Anniversary celebration. It was one of the activities planned under NNC
throughout the year.
However, since the 8th anniversary celebration
was also done this year in April instead of the month of October last year, which
was the actual month NNC was formed, we did not have time to organize a big one
to commemorate this 9th milestone.
But everyone agreed that we wanted to still celebrate it
even in a small way. So, it being a small celebration, there was no exchange of
Anniversary Gifts like in previous years. We didn’t have time to get members to
We also couldn’t have the door gifts like we would every year,
because we didn’t want to trouble the members to contribute twice in a year to
the door gifts.
But food we must have, and Show & Tell, and Lucky Draws!
So Margaret and Paul took up the tasks to organise the
Mini Meet, as we call it.
We agreed that the participants of the Retreat who are not
NNC members will be our guests at the Mini Meet to appreciate their support for
Initially there supposed to be many who could make it to the
Meet, but eventually, as the date grew near, one by one the number of members
able to make it dwindled due to prior engagements and conflict of schedule.
I think having the Meet on a Saturday afternoon instead of a
Saturday morning like we always do also had an impact on the number of
members who could join us.
Traffic would be bad on Saturday lunch hour. Some just didn't want to go through the terrible Saturday jams going onto the highways.
Understandable. I go through the traffic jams daily! LOL!
Some prefer to take afternoon naps on Saturdays! LOL! But mostly, members had family
commitments which they could not get away with to join the Retreat.
Eventually, other than the NNC members who were Retreat
participants, only Mel and Zarina could join us, and of course, our Honorary
We started the Mini Meet with Show & Tell where each
member gets a chance to show off their current projects or projects in
I think the Show & Tell this time around is more
organised as each and every member was given time to speak individually while
others listened instead of the usual oohs and aahs that we would all do at the
same time when everyone starts laying out their works, ending up with no one
actually listening to what is being said because it starts getting too noisy as
everyone tries to speak at the same time! LOL!
I just love all the works showcased by Sally. She has been
very hardworking and productive!
She has a new product in her origami line, but I forgot what
it is called. Hydrangea flowers, I think.
Next was Margaret who brought all her lovely cross stitch
pieces to show us. She has never shown these pieces to us before, so we were in
awe of all the pieces shown. I just love her Mailarts. I use to make them too
many moons ago!
Next, Radha showed us all her lovely cross stitch pieces. I
just love her needle roll! I have not seen one of those in a long time! Radha
even told us the history behind the reasons for the existence of the Needle
Radha, our Biscornu Queen, of course, also brought along her many biscornu to show us!
Zarina showcased her lovely puff baby quilt which she is doing
for a customer. I love the motifs of the fabric, and the orange made the quilt
Initially I think Suseela was shy to show off her lovely
work, but when she saw how proud we were at showing off our work, she decided
to show off her lovely bag and sewing machine cover which she made herself,
complete with a cross stitch piece sewn onto them!
She also showed us her
lovely Bionic bag! I am so going to do the bionic bag! LOL!
I just brought my uncompleted Apple Core Quilt to show off.
I have not done much crafting since focussing on the Retreat took all the spare
time I had.
I also brought along a document bag which I never got around
to completing because I wasn’t sure how to attach the handle to the bag.
to get to Kelvin one of these days to get Kelvin to show me how to do it.
I brought along my Little Missy because some members have
not seen them, or have they? OK, maybe they have, but, like I said, I didn’t
have much craft products to show this time around.
After the Show and Tell was over, we moved over to the next
table showcasing all the completed projects done over the 2 –Day Retreat (see
Finally, before we proceeded to the next agenda, which was
eating and chatting, we had a short Lucky Draw for all those who attended.
I prepared 2 prizes – one for the participants of the
Retreat and another one for NNC members.
Paul was one of the lucky recipient, while Oyah, my
cousin-in-law, bagged the other one of a thread organiser complete with
Congrats, Paul and Oyah! Now you won’t have an excuse of not
having threads to sew your projects! LOL! ;)
Finally it was time to eat and chat. Like Idah mentioned in
one of her FB postings, we love to eat as much as we love to sew! LOL!
There was food enough to cater to at least 20 people!
made Salmon Cheese Tarts and Chocolate Strawberry pies! Yum! Zarina brought
We catered the rest from Paul’s friend of who made
vegetarian pot pies, curry puffs and rice bubble fudge.
But the highlight of the celebration was the awesome
Anniversary cake made by none other than our very own chef Paul!
The cake was so adorable, and it’s PINK!
The cake was so appropriately themed! It had cute little
sewing machine with a length of fabrics underneath the needle with the words
“NNC 9th Anniversary celebration” written on it!
The little buttons scattered all over the cake were all so
I didn’t feel like cutting into it, but eat the cake we
After that, everyone just sat down and chatted away until it
was time to close down the classroom.
It was a simple Mini Meet with only 10 of us, but we enjoyed
the Mini meet just the same.
The usual loads of food was there. So were the
happy chats and oohs and aahhs over each work showcased.
Although it would have
been even more fun with more members joining us, but I guess this time, the
timing was just not right with so many members already having prior engagements, despite making plans to have the Meet was made and announced at the
board much earlier.
I thank everyone who took time to join us for the Mini Meet, including the participants of the Retreat.
Hopefully the 10th Anniversary will be celebrated at a bigger scale
with as many members as possible able to join us!
For the 2nd day of the Retreat, I was a little
concerned that we might not get the 3rd project done as I still had
the pincushion for the Etui to show how to do.
So the night before the 2nd day, I sent everyone
a whatsapp to ask them to try to make it by 8.30am or latest by 8.45am so that
we can have a head start on the 3rd project, giving me some extra
time to show them how to do the pincushion.
Everyone was very cooperative when everyone arrived early or
on time. It being a Saturday, traffic was light and we were also able to park
right in front of the Meeting Center, instead of having to drop off our things
first and then parking our car quite a distance from the place.
As soon as everyone finished setting up their sewing
machines, it was full concentration from the word go.
Our 3rd project was the choice project of either
the Dresden Plate Block Quilt or the Reversible Bag.
I had prepared myself for
a challenging day as I would be teaching 2 projects at the same time.
But I was surprised how things moved on smoothly with no
hiccups at all!
Everyone was being very cooperative, focused and eager to get the 3rd
Only Sally and Margaret opted for the Dresden Plate Quilt
Block, while Paul, Idah, Oyah, Suseela and Radha chose the Reversible Bag as
their 3rd project for the Retreat.
Even though the Dresden Plate Quilt Block looked
complicated, but it was far easier than the Reversible bag. It only required
sewing of only one circle, while the rest were just straight sewing.
The Reversible Bag, on the other hand, had curves at almost
every stage of the sewing!
But that did not deter Radha from completing her
bag! She was determined to complete it!
She could surely win the Determination Award if ever there
She told us that her sister was impressed with her the day
before when she brought home a completed Lotus Bag.
I told Radha that her
sister is going to be even more surprised when she brings home a completed Reversible Bag at the end of the 2nd day!
BTW, Radha, thanks for your compliments and vote of confidence
when you said that you’d join my class again should I run another sewing class!
I’ll be looking forward to have you in my class again!
Twenty minutes before we stopped to break for lunch, I showed everyone
how to make the pincushion for the Etui Sewing Box. That got everyone eager to
finish off their pincushion before lunch so that it can be showcased after
lunch during our Mini NNC 9th Anniversary celebration.
So eager was everyone that we finally only stopped for lunch at 1.30pm! LOL!
I had such great hardworking students! I’ll have this set of
students in my class anytime!
After lunch, we set up the classroom into a Show Gallery of
sorts as we showcased all the completed projects.
In my excitement to see all the completed projects, I forgot
to snap a close-up of each individual projects, but remembered to snap a photo
of everyone with their projects.
These individual close-ups came from the participants
themselves which they sent to me by whatsapp. Thanks, everyone!
Only Suseela’s close-up photo of her project is missing.
A very pleased Suseela
A salute to Radha, who, despite not having a sewing machine of her own, managed to complete 2 bags besides the Etui!
Idah with her Black and white set of finished projects!
Idah was well coordinated with her finished pieces when she also wore black and white on the last day of the Retreat.
Was that planned or a coincidence, Idah?
Margaret made changes to her set of Dresden Plate Quilt Block to suit her choice of colours, and I think it turned out great!
I justlove the combination of blue and red!
Zawiyah or Oyah with her completed projects
I think Oyah's last minute decision to change the threads for the Reversible Bag was a good one as it highlighted the gold threads in the fabric.
Paul with his completed projects.
The reverse side of Paul's Reversible bag is a camouflage fabric which was bought specially from Penang.
Unfortunately I forgot to ask Paul to reverse the bag after taking this photo, but you can see the fabric here in this photo of Paul working on the Reversible bag.
Sally with her completed projects.
If I am doing a set for myself, I think I'll do in this combination! I just love all the shades of PINK in all the projects!
Great work, everyone!
Overall, I think the Retreat was a success.
Having a small group is a huge plus, in my opinion.
Even though, initially I was targeting for 20 participants,
but when I couldn’t get the number I was targeting for, I decided that maybe it
was a blessing in disguise after all.
I think 10 would have been a good number, but I am glad that
we ended up having only 9, even though eventually only 7 turned up.
In fact, I think even if we had we had all 9 turn up, it
would have been just the right number of students to teach a craft class. It
gave me the opportunity to give more focus on each participant.
Another plus point was that we were among people we are
familiar with. We were among families.
Margaret, Sally, Radha, Paul and I are all NNC members who
we are all very close to.
Then there was Suseela, Radha’s SIL – a family
Zuraidah and Zawiyah are my cousin-in-laws who I am also close to.
So having people we all know before and are close to helps a
lot. For one thing, they are more forgiving, like the first day when, despite
my meticulous planning, *blush* I still missed out the poly fiber fill for the
pincushion for the Etui Sewing Box!
I think a total stranger might not be as forgiving, and
would probably go onto FB and start complaining as soon as he or she could get
Despite my relatively strict (was I really strict? *wink*)
way of teaching, every participant was very cooperative and did not give me
In fact, they gave me no problems at all, except for one naughty
participant who we still love her just the same no matter how nakal she is *wink*, and
one star student who just couldn’t wait for the others to get done! LOL! *wink*
But, like Paul said, star students make life very easy for
the teachers because then you can focus on the others, and a naughty student
makes class less boring. LOL! *wink*
But I think I was not actually strict, but more of wanting
to show the correct way of doing things, and not cincai macai, because I wanted
to make sure that everyone learns the correct way first before they start
making their own changes to suit the way they do things.
Suseela took a tailoring class before so she’s had some
basic sewing skills, which also makes teaching her a breeze.
I was initially worried when Radha told me that she was not
so looking forward to making the bags because of the sewing involved. But I
must salute her for her dedication!
Despite not having her own sewing machine (she shared a sewing machine with Suseela and Paul), she did managed to complete both bags and the Etui Sewing Box! Tabik spring gitu!
I am very happy to have cousin-in-laws Zuraidah (Idah)
Zawiyah (Oyah) join the Retreat, both an expert in their fields.
awesome photos with her professional camera, while I have always admired Oyah’s
So to be able to share my knowledge and introduce them to
another type of craft was a great honour. Thanks for your support, Idah and Oyah!
Paul is an exemplary student.
He is a teacher himself and
knows the stress of teaching students who are lazy or would not listen to the
teacher, so he gave me no problems at all! I’ll have him in my class any time!
I think everyone had fun! I had fun teaching. I had a great
class to teach!
This Retreat, hopefully will be the first of many more
Retreats and Craft Classes to come in the future!
It will be more challenging
with different projects to teach over the years as the participants will be
expecting different kinds of projects each year, but I hope I’ll always be up
to the challenge, with support from friends!
Thanks, everyone, for joining the Retreat! It was a great
honour to have you all in my class!
I think everyone went home happy and satisfied.
I hope that
you will use the knowledge learned over the 2 days to make more similar
Should any of you need a refresher course, just let me know.
I am just a whatsapp away!
NNC 9th Anniversary Mini Celebration coming up! (Part 4 of 4)