Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Inspired to knit

Lately, I've found myself looking at knitting patterns again.  And I keep seeing images that make me think, I could make that. Like this knitted turban headband on Caylee of If You Seek Style.

It's been quite a while since I've knitted, but I think I've got the bug again.  I've always loved knitting because it's so relaxing. My mum taught me and lately she's been teaching my little ones, too.  I feel like it connects me to a past that is fading.  Handicrafts just aren't as prevalent as they once were.

My favorite dress by Kevin Germanier

Or are they?

Crocheted doilies on Danish finalist's designs.

At the Eco Chic Design Award Grand Final last week, a couple of the finalists used knitting techniques to weave together the most unlikely materials.  The Danish finalist Kristine Marie Hanson, stitched together old doilies.  The winner, Kevin Germanier from the UK, used some knitting techniques to weave together industrial materials.  The results for both were amazing.

So, I decided that over my Chinese New Year break, I'll make my own DIY knitted turban headband.  I found this pattern which looks easy, and it shouldn't take me long.  Now I just need to get through the next three weeks so I can get started.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Stanley: Salt and Pepper

I haven't written a My Stanley post in a while, but the story of changes in the market is not over.  Far from it.  The rate of changes taking place seems almost to have tripled, and is now at a pace I can no longer keep up with.  Nor do I want to because frankly, I find it too heartbreaking.

Still, as much as I despise that all my favorite small store owners are getting tipped out by high rents, Mainland buyout, and times changing, I've learned to accept that it is what it is.  I know that I will always stand by and support these local shops and their businesses as much as I can.  Even if, because I'm only one customer, I don't make much of a difference.

I've learned, as is the case with the shop I'll tell you about in this post, that sometimes, what's old is new again.  What I mean is, sometimes little store owners get tipped out  but then magically reappear in new places in the market.  They join forces with other shops to share the cost of soaring rents. They reinvent themselves. They survive.  And that makes me the happiest of all.

Salt and Pepper is one of our new shiny retail shops in the market selling jewellery, which I was originally skeptical about.  When I discovered that the owner's uncle ran the lamp shop which closed down, I was thrilled.  We'd bought lamps and other treats from him.  He was a dear, and I was sorry to think that he'd perhaps gone into early retirement because of high rent.  To know that his family still has a presence in the market felt good.

Their shop is full of gorgeous pieces that they source both in China and India.  They also design some of their own pieces as well.  I love to pop in and try on their sparkly bling and I'm also happy that when I walk by, I'm waving at familiar faces.  Those who know that I belong in Stanley as a local as much as they do.

Displaying their own designs for home decor. 
Where can you find this store?  As you enter the market, you take a left up the stairs just past the Delifrance.  You'll see their black and white awning and signature mustard yellow exterior with sweet little lounge chairs out front.

Pop in, you'll love it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Feeling the chill

Last week, I spent all of Tuesday outside for a shoot.  In the only cold, wet, rainy day of the week.  While the day itself was a treat (soooo much fun trying my hand at styling with a real professional model and modeling myself), being cold was not so much.  Mel, the model, and I spent every moment we could in front of two little space heaters.

Thankfully, Wednesday was a much sunnier day.  Not a drop of rain (oh, the irony of planning a shoot around the weather).  It was still brisk.  In fact, because I was chilled to the bone the day before, it took most of Wednesday to warm completely back up.

The light of the sunny day made me remember how much I love my pink alley in Stanley Market.  For once, the heating vent from my dry cleaners was a place to huddle up for warmth, rather than race past to avoid sweating.

Last light of day is so perfect in this alley.  Can you see the sunlight changing color behind me? 

I don't know when I'll get the whole looking into the camera thing.  Even after a day with a real professional photographer (who didn't ask me to look into the camera). 

I did discover that I make my mouth look severe and so I've got to try to make it look less so.  Any ideas?  The photographer said to give him 8% of a smile.

If you want to see behind the scenes pictures of the photo shoot, have a peek at my Instagram feed @imanorbyah (www.instagram.com/imanorbyah)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Eco Chic Design Awards: Grand Final week begins

When I checked Timehop on my phone today, I noticed that one year ago on this day I was headed out to last year's Eco Chic Design Award Finals.  Redress has invited me to the event again this year and I cannot wait to go.

This year, I've had the pleasure of actually interviewing some of the designers and learning more about their process before the big event.  I have one more interview that I'm hoping to share before Wednesday, but the busyness of the week leading up to the event may prevent that from happening.  Nevertheless, you can go back and read about Laurensia Salim, the finalist from Singapore in my interview here.

Grand Final week starts tomorrow with an exciting line up of activities, but I'll only be attending the fashion show on Wednesday evening.  Tomorrow, the designers will take part in a Ford Design challenge in which they'll design an outfit out of recycled materials found in Ford automobiles.  I'm hoping to see their designs from this challenge as well.

Also this year, lovely readers, you will be able to see the show as they will be live streaming it via www.notjustalabel.com.  Tune in at 9am (GMT) on January 21st to see their designs come down the runway and watch for me!

To give you a taste of what's in store, Redress sent over some exclusive images from their recent photo shoot with model Bonnie Chen.  I've shared the pieces that I'm particularly looking forward to seeing next week.  They have that vintage flair that always grabs my eye.

Have a look at the behind the scenes video of the photo shoot.  I'm excited!

Sunday, January 11, 2015


So, here it is.  New blog layout.  The goal for me was to make it a little cleaner.  To widen the actual posts to highlight images more.  To give it a slightly more modern appearance.

I'll probably tweak things slightly in the next few weeks as I live with the new design, but overall I'm quite pleased.

One thing I'm wondering about is color.  My blog before used to be a pale blue and the header had a blue theme as well.  I was ready to change, but I have to admit I love color.  Any suggestions about where I might add some in?  I toyed with the idea of making my tabs bar blue.

Here was what my blog looked like yesterday, in case you don't remember...

I've also contacted Clare Cook to see about tweaking a few things, too.

Please, please...feedback in the comments is most welcome.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New year, new look

I have a little secret project I've been working on and I've been waiting for the beginning of the year to reveal it.  Actually, to be honest, I didn't do much of the actual work.  I merely gave feedback to help guide where I wanted it to go.

But let me back up and explain. Months ago, I met the lovely Clare Cook, artist of Without an I at Stanley Plaza.  She had set up a small booth to showcase some of her designs on notecards, thank you cards, and other greeting cards, etc.  I stopped and admired her typography and her artwork, introduced myself and asked her if she every did custom jobs for bloggers, grabbed her card and rushed off to whatever Saturday activity I was rushing off to.

A little while later, after doing some thinking about changing up my blog, I got in touch with Clare to see if she'd be interested in designing a new header for me.  After asking me various questions about what I'd like to keep, what was important to me and what theme I was looking for, she got to work.  I really appreciated how she responded to my feedback and incorporated the possible blog headers into my blog so I would have an idea what it would look like.  I decided to ask her for some other design feedback on what she would suggest for my blog to 'clean it up' a little and she gave me some great pointers which I took to heart and will incorporate in the layout.

It was interesting to see how my own ideas changed as she worked on incorporating them into the design.  I initally thought that I'd like to keep an image in the header, but after seeing it in various ways, I eventually decided to explore the simpler design of the font all across.  I also discovered that I was really attached to the butterfly image, so we worked with various versions of how that would look (filled in, more realistic and less 'drawn', etc).  As before when I changed my blog header, I asked some trusted eyes for feedback and I appreciated the honesty I got with their responses, too.

I'll share some of the pictures of the process as well as a little interview with Clare about what inspires her before revealing the new layout on Sunday.

--where are you from and how did you end up starting this business? 

I am originally from Sydney. But I have lived in Toronto, New York & Hong Kong. I have always had a passion for art and design and I love to create. I found my day to day job wasn't giving me enough room for creative expression so I started doing extra work in my free time. Friends have always asked for help with design work and through peoples broad requests I have started to build a strong identity and direction for my design style. 

--what inspires you?

I am inspired by people and the world around me. I love images and I love working with words. Creativity almost seems endless and every new challenge proves you have more to give. I do spin through instagram & pinterest daily and find myself coming up with ideas when I am immersed in a world of images. Ideas can spark for almost anything.  

--where do you hope this business will go?  what goals do you have for the future?

I aim to continue to push myself and see how far my creativity can go while always learning. I like to always out do each design, repeating isn't really an option. I would love to continue to travel and work on a variety of projects. I'd like to one day be able to create works which impact people enough to make positive changes. I think one image can be so powerful. 

If you'd like to get in touch with Clare to enquire about some design work, please shoot her an email at: clare.l.cook@gmail.com  

You can see more of her work on her website (linked at the beginning of this post) or on her Instagram account @withoutani

Thanks again Clare for creating a new look for I'm a Norbyah.  I can't wait to show my readers what you've created.  Check back tomorrow to see which design I picked and to the view the new blog layout!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Recovered moments

At the end of last week, my iPhone went on the fritz.  I lost everything I had on there.  I've got a loaner phone while mine is being repaired (thankfully free of charge because it's all covered under some Apple programs), but I had to erase everything on there.


That wouldn't be a big deal if I'd backed up my phone, but truth be told, it was over a year since I had.  Because the issue with my phone was that it kept shutting down, I couldn't do another back up before I turned it in.  For  me, the most important thing anyhow were all my pictures and videos.  Losing those has always been my worst nightmare.


I was able to recover some of them, but the thought of what I've lost really kills me.  Luckily, there are so many that I probably don't actually know everything I've lost.  That probably sounds weird.  Let's just say ignorance is bliss on this one.  


The Genius at the Apple store who helped me (yes, the technicians are called geniuses) suggested Image Capture to try and grab as many pictures and videos as possible off my phone.  I think I managed to get just under half of them.   Two nights ago, I was scrolling through what I recovered and where I was once feeling sorry for myself, I quickly began to feel tremendous gratitude for what I still had.  Mums out there you'll understand.  Those little moments we all video are the ones I treasure most.


I thought I'd share some of them here.  Learn a lesson from me and back up your iPhone.  Lots.

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