Friday, February 22, 2008

Making a Clay Steam Train

Pop bought me a packet of Sculpey and some sculpting tools but wasn't free to teach me how to use them. So it was a joint project to make a clay train with Mom. But what do Mom n I know about clay sculpture? Fortunately, there r plenty of instruction videos on Youtube showing how things are made include using Sculpey, a polymer clay.

Here are the stuff we started with:

1 pkt Sculpey Ultralight
Sculpting tools (small plastic knife n toothpicks will do)
1 old bottle (or old rolling pin)
Recycle toilet roll tube
2 ice-cream sticks
Oven (hair dryer also can)

I used a toilet roll tube to reinforce the body of the engine and also to save on Sculpey. The driver's cab frame was done with half a golf ball box with windows cut into it. After kneading the Sculpey, I rolled it with the glass bottle to about 1/4 inch thick and wrapped it round the frame (use ice-cream stick on both sides when rolling to get consistent thickness). One thing I noticed about Sculpey is that the cut off pieces and even the tiny bits become as good as new when I knead them together again unlike ordinary clay.

After putting together the steam engine, cab, funnel, boiler, whistles, light, wheels, cow catchers and coupling, it was time to bake. But alas, silly old Mom got the instructions wrong and baked at 275°C instead of 275°F. So, here's what it looks like:

I'm still thinking whether I should paint it or leave it as it is, like a toasted dough steam train.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lo Sanging!

To all my buddies who came for Swimming and Chinese New Year Yee Sang Get-together, hope u all had a great time 'Lo Sanging' - that's what I call mixing up the kids vegetarian Yee Sang!!

Watch how we do it...

More photos....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I Love Lego!

Thanks to CT Workshop, I know a lot of new parts now and learned to use them for my trains and other engineering stuff.

Monday, January 7, 2008

PJ Hilton Christmas Train Photos

The annual trains display has ended. Since it started 3 years ago, my parents have been taking me to PJ Hilton frequently throughout the display period which is usually from early November till after Christmas. Oddly, this year we went only twice - once during construction and once when the display was up.

This year's theme is a mixture of everything from snow to desert, western countryside to kampung scenes, subways and even pirates of the carribbean. My opinion? Rojak lah but the architectural students of Taylor's College did a commendable job building the landscapes right after their final exams. Previous years were done by a railroad professional but this year, for reasons not known to us, Hilton has decided to open the tender to build the annual trains layout to local colleges. Brave effort for first timers. I'm sure they'll improve by leaps n bound if they get the contract again next year.

Click on slideshow to see larger photos.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Make a Gingerbread House

Erin, my neighbour popped over and we made fake Gingerbread houses out of cardboard.

Mom traced the templates and cut out the cottage walls and roof. Get the templates from here

For the Gingerbread house construction frosting, you will need:

3 egg whites

1 pound icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Mix all the ingredients and beat for 7-10mins at high speed until you get stiff peaks.

Mom didn't have brown cardboard, so we mix some coffee into 1/3 of the frosting to plaster the walls brown.

'Glue' all the walls together by squeezing the icing along the joints. See this page for instructions Step-by-step how to build gingerbread house walls.

TIP: Let the icing harden and the walls are firm before adding the roof.

Decorate with cereals, cookies, candy canes, smarties, etc. rule of thumb is anything edible.

Here's my finished gingerbread house

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Visit to Good Samaritan Children's Home, Klang

Mom gathered my pre-loved toys and we took a trip to Klang to visit the Good Samaritan Children's Home. We were met by Mrs Ong who runs the orphanage together with her husband Pas. Ong. There are a total of 28 kids from age 1 to 17.

9 or them are under 6 years which my toys are suitable for. I saw a group primary age kids rehearsing a tambourine dance. The older teenagers work part time in a legal office for RM60 a month during the school holidays. Mrs Ong says some of them are orphans, some have parents or single mothers who don't care about them or the fathers have run off and the moms can't support them, some are brought in by the police, some are abandoned children. She needs between RM15-20K a month to support the kids and is solely dependant on public donations. Some months she has to call up friends to help and sometimes dig into her own savings.

I spent some time playing with the younger kids and even visited their bedrooms. 9 boys sleep in an average sized bedroom in double decker beds and on the floor while the girls' room are smaller housing 7 of them. In another even smaller room is Mrs Ong with the toddlers. Mom says I'm soooo lucky to have a small room of my own and I don't even use it. (still crashing into my parents' room)

I also saw many baskets of laundry upstairs. All along the wooden stairs rails were decorated with bits of red and green crepe paper giving the place a Christmassy feel. Mrs Ong said it was done by the kids. I distributed the Mandarins oranges we brought to all the kids.

All the kids were very well mannered and one of them, an Indian boy about 7 yrs old even asked me to come again when it was time to leave. He came to sit next to me on the swing.