of Yaps and Cheng

loving living


DIY: Homemade Playdough/ Playdoh (Non-cook Version)

I promised to share Eve’s playdough recipe, and it’s long overdue due to procrastination from moi. Here is it from the awesome mama herself:

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My recipe is:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup hot water (this replaces the stovetop cooking)
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp cream of tartar
food colouring
The process is the same: mix and then add food colouring to desired intensity. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour. The ‘control’ specimen in my fridge is still going strong after almost 3 weeks but that’s because it hasn’t been played with and thus the bacterial contamination is minimal. Otherwise, the playdough keeps for about a week – when it feels slimy, I throw it away. I think the non-cooking version is a lot less messy than the stovetop version – just wash one big mixing bowl and that’s it! It took me less than 10 minutes to complete my batch of playdough.
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I’m gonna try it. Qiyun, let me know if you try it too ok?
My cooked play dough is 1-month-old and still going strong. No mould yet!

Snow snow where are you? Bring me my snowman friends.


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DIY Refashion: Toddler Towel Bathrobe

Nothing throws ALL your worldly possessions in your face as much as house moving does. After Freecycle-ing, recycling, packing, storing and throwing away mountains of  papers, books, clothes, soft toys, souveniers, what-nots… I’m exhausted. How can I have so many things?!

Time for some artsy stuff to relieve the tension.

I’ve been searching high and low for a bathrobe for Jingheng to use for swimming. The ones you find in Singapore are too thin for the winter weather here; the ones here in the Tianjin stores or Taobao are either too ugly or too expensive.

SO! I decided to make one. From an old towel. Tada!

Jingheng's new "Hogwarts" bathrobe - refashioned from an old blue towel. Yellow trimming cut up from the kitchen apron Jingheng refused to let me wear

I have been reading too much refashion tutorials and blogs to actually dare to feel confident I can make it. The source of inspiration for the robe is from (1 hour) Summer Beach Robe Tutorial by Brandy.

It sure took more than an hour. Took me good half a day in fact, but I think I’m wonderful that it is actually completed *Pat on back*! The last time I seriously maneuvered a sewing machine was when I was 14 and sewing the absolutely-I-will-never-ever-wear-it-it’s-hideous culotte (gosh, this must be an extinct fashion word) for Home Econs.

Thankfully, my tiny sewing machine didn’t break down from punching the needle through the thick towel fabric.

My bro-in-law Aloysius said it looked like “Harry Potter robes”. I think it’s more like a priest robe. You can decide for yourself. Here’s the little boy trying it on:

Little one prancing in the both the unfinished and polished versions of the robe. The belt is too low for him now, but lazy mummy is NOT going to unsew and resew the straps. He will just have to grow into the robe.

He wasn’t really keen about it. Holding it up I asked:
你喜欢吗? 不喜欢。
可是,是mummy做给Jingheng的。*After 5 seconds of thinking* 我喜欢。

I’m not hurt. I’m still in yaya-papaya land 🙂

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Be flat-out impressed with Flatout Frankie cardboard toys – Babyology

Totally agree with the writer that flat-out toys are music to ears. (see here)

You would when you are constantly on the move – flying from city to city, changing homes even within one city – with a young child in tow. Flat and compact, flat-out toys are blessings to your home organization and house moving.

Flat-out oven

I like Flatout Frankie’s cardboard creations. Sturdy, stylish, realistic and very playable! Quite environmentally friendly too. My fav is the Little Cook above, but I guess Jingheng’s fav would be Little Aeroplane.

I used to feel bad and guilty when i was still a freshie mum and little boy was still little, because, as he moved from place to place with us, we didn’t dare acquire too many toys. It’s either a packing hazard for the adults or he would already own one at place A but not in Place B, C or D. while big flat-out toys won’t solve my problem, smaller handheld-sized versions would be very portable. My wish list.

Of coz, you might say I could simply craft them from cupboard boxes myself. Sure I can, but ugly lah. Sore to my own eyes.

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Jigsaw Puzzles – I’m an Ace and she’s sane (for a while)

When I put on my personal mantra “妈妈抱抱靖恒” on repeat +1 track mode, mummy tends to get a headache and go crazy. Which, by the way, sounds really intimate to me, but I guess it’s more like noise to her.

This is when she breaks out her tricks from the bag:

  • Munchies: which I sometimes make a mess with, and mummy has to clean up. Plus the adults say it spoils my appetite. Sian
  • TV: which mummy tries very hard (but fails) to not cave in to. She scared I turn TV addict. But but… she also TV addict herself
  • Cars: useful once upon a time but fast losing appeal. Also require adult companion because I get bored playing them alone
  • Animal farm: I love my animal figures, especially when Ah Gong and Ah Mah keep adding to my collection. But I get bored playing on my own again
  • Balls: Give me a ball to kick anytime! But lately, the adults don’t seem to like my sweat drenching me from the exercise. Mummy will also have to change my shirt and have a hard time calming me down. Spoilsports.

Nothing seems to be right. Is that all to the bag?

Don’t underestimate mummy, she has more tricks up her sleeve (even when she wears a tank top). Ta da! Out comes the jigsaw puzzles.

They are perfect – There’s no food mess, I sit down quietly to complete them, I can play on my own (even though I do want her beside me when I do the 20pc puzzles, I am OK if it’s just physical presence, you know, show me some moral support). And I am getting very very deft with it.

(Note: I just woke up from my nap…)

Solved my brand new puzzles in 5 minutes! Not bad huh.

Mummy, I want some more!

What, no more? 妈妈抱抱靖恒, 妈妈抱抱靖恒, 妈妈抱抱靖恒, 妈妈抱抱靖恒妈妈抱抱靖恒妈妈抱抱靖恒妈妈抱抱靖恒妈妈抱抱靖恒…!

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DIY: Homemade Playdough/ Playdoh (cooked version)

Dim Sum and The Mangosteen. By Eve & Yanni.

When Eve and I were arranging a playdate for Jingheng and Lucas, she text to say to bring my cookie cutters because she was planning to try and make playdough. Then went a jolt of “so fun!” through my mind, and then “I should contribute too!”. I’ve been meaning to try my playdough recipes a few months ago but my lazybones body refused to move. So thanks to Eve, I finally sprung into action.

I tried the 2 recipes from Instructables, both require cooking:

  • one by canida – she adds colouring after the dough is done
  • another by Lorddrake – colouring added while cooking dough

I preferred canida’s after trying both, because I could just cook once, divide the dough, add various colourings to get different coloured playdough. I’ll just share her recipe and basic steps here, you can click on their links above for more information.

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Cooking in process photos by pregnant sis Mengting; Playdate photos by Eve.

Canida’s ingredient ratios:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsbp cream of tartar (for improved elasticity)
  • food coloring

Steps (My own simplified version):

  1. Mix all ingredients and stir fast over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes. Keep stirring and cooking until the dough is dry and starts to pull away from the sides and clumps in the center. Remove pan from heat. NOTE: If dough is still sticky, you simply need to cook it longer!
  2. Allow the dough to cool enough to handle.
  3. Knead the dough on a counter/mat vigorously until it becomes silky-smooth.
  4. Divide the dough into balls for coloring.
  5. Make a hole in the center of the ball and add in food coloring. Fold the dough over, working the food color through the entire ball evenly. Add more colour as necessary to achieve your preferred color.
  6. Voila! Your playdough is ready for the boys and girls.
  7. When you’re done playing, you store the playdough in an air-tight container, or zip-lock bags like me. I stick it in the fridge when not playing to make it last longer

I like Eve’s uncooked version, has no small flour lumps like mine, will post hers when I get it. She’s doing a control experiment to see how long these homemade dough will last, will share the results once out.

If you are interested in using Playdough for art, here’s one on doing Playdough Painting. Qiyun, this should be relevant for you, especially page 6 where the guy shares his experience on drying the artwork.