Sunday, 14 February 2010

Day 118-119-Spring Cleaning The Emporium

Lunar or Chinese New Year has to be the most important festive holiday for us Chinese. In preparation for this big day, one of the task we undertake is the annual spring cleaning. We have up till 12 midnight on the eve to finish because the Chinese believes that on the 1st day of the Lunar New Year, you do not sweep the floor or clean your home lest you should also sweep all your luck and money away.

I cleaned my house weeks ago and so, as our local Chinese would say in very bad English, "my backside itchy" (meaning having nothing better to do), I decided to "spring clean" the Emperor's Emporium and change all the things I didn't like about it.

First thing I did was to choose a very auspiciously coloured (reds!) top which I bought from Little India last month.

I tested it and thought it rather gaudy and befittingly festive except for the metal pipe which had been cut. I took out my paints and converted it into a bamboo pole.

For contrast, I have placed a piece of real wooden pole beneath my "bamboo pole". I thought I did a pretty good job. Alas, this pole will eventually be hidden.

I also repainted ( I really disliked the original resin paint) the elephant bases to make them into wood carved pillars. These too will be hidden in the final set up.

Since it's the new year, I thought my Maharajah and his soul mate will need new clothes and so they shall have. It was a fiddly job especially for the "friend". The one on the Rajah's turban was easy.

But now they are truly birds of a feather. I also gave the Maharajah a new pillow at his head.

Thanks to a comment made by my sis, I had to change the tent body too as she thought the old one with the carpet was too heavy for this gaudy top. I could have killed her because I was rather content with leaving the old body (actually I thought it was perfect!). True enough, making the body and top took the most time. And worse, I was mostly unhappy with the result.

The fun part was adding presents from friends to the little room. Spanning the room from the right, there were the 2 paper bags that Katie made me. I have always thought my emporium a little unrealistic (understatement) because it did not have bags or wrappings for the customers. So I rolled some coloured papers and strings into the bags. Now the emporium is nicely equipped to serve even the most fussy of customers. I also added my favourite miniature painting given to me by Helene above the seat.

Just last month, I received some lovely presents from Dale (again!) She is a real sweetie, that Dale. She wrote to say that she thought of me when she saw this little snake (can you see her peeping through the basket?) made by her team mate at etsy, Anita. I placed her inside Katie's basket and made a matching lid from paper strings.

More impulse buying from Dale who also gave me the Hindu deity which I hanged on the extreme left wall of the tent.

I then made a "mango wood" altar out of metal, cardboard and lace. I also placed some usual ritual offerings like an oil pot, small oil lamp, flower and candles.

The candle holders were made from metal parts shaped like a "mehndi-ed" palms.

Finally, a sign for the shop. This, I placed just outside the tent, in front of a tree by Treewizard, Chris.

It's 3.17 am here on the 1st day of Chinese New Year. I have made it by the deadline but now I am dead tired. Good night, and to my Chinese friends around the world, Gong Xi, Gong Xi!

32 comments:

julie campbell said...

It all looks amazing Sans, I especially love the elephants and the sign :0)
A very happy chinese new year to you !
julie xxx

Meli said...

Happy Chinese New Year to you Sans.
I always learn something new everytime I visit your blog!!!
You also made an excellent work!!!
Warm regards,
Meli

rosanna said...

Really festive looking. You have celebrate in grand style. I hope al your family members have celebrate as nicely as you've done. Best wishes Rosanna

Pubdoll said...

Happy New year Sans! I like the bright and festive makeover! So funny you used those feathers as almost my ladies tonight have bright and festive gowns and just the same type of feathers :-) I love the wood treatment you gave the elephants and pole! You have become a master of decorative paint!

And I'm honoured that my "painting" is part of the Emperor's Emporium!

Gong Xi my dear!

dale said...

Happy New Year, Sans! Wishing you many blessings in the new year. :)

The finished product is fabulous!!! Absolutely incredible, I love it!

Thank you for the honorable mention. ;) I told you that snake needed a basket! lol :)

(((Sans))) warm hugs for the new year. :)

Lize said...

Happy New year dear Sans! I have fond memories of the festivities in Singapore for New Year.

May your 'slate' be white as snow, and all you 'write' on it be carefully thought through! And may prosperity follow you where ever you go.

We have the same thing on our minds... bamboo! And I was thinking about snake charmers. How weird is that!

All my best wishes.

Snowfern said...

Happy New Year Sans!!!

according to grandma, Chu Yi (first day) of CNY is also known as the broom's birthday, which is why we are not allowed to put it to work lest bad luck befall us for abusing it on its special day XD funny huh! i wonder if she's pulling my leg hrm....

i really like the new pictures! i can see you're such a stickler for details too, and the results are wonderful ^ ^

Sans said...

Thank you Julie! The signboard is something my sis found online.It apparently is a real signboard of a carpet shop in Iran :). I love the painting so much because it depicts a true Persian bazaar. What a dream come true is I can recreate that in miniature:).

Sans said...

Meli, it has been a pretty hectic New Year for me :). It starts with the eve when we have a reunion dinner. This is the one time everyone makes an effort to come home for a meal. If you are married, this means 2 meals in a day. For my family, the eve is the most important because Shir's husband is a Malaysian so they will have to go back to their "village" for their reunion dinner :). Its the only day we see them till after the holidays. The other thing we do on the eve is to stay up the whole night. We Chinese believe that if we stay through the night, we will increase the longevity of our parents :). So in dong the tent and then the post and sleeping only in the wee hours :),my parents will live longer by one more year :).

The Chinese celebrates the Spring Festival for 15 days! But official holidays is only 2. On the 15th day, we go home again for another meal. So Chinese New Year is always the time everyone balloons and gain weight, thanks to the days of feasting!

Sans said...

Rosanna, it was fun when we had everyone at home for the reunion meal (lunch for us so that Shir and family can drive back to Malaysia in time for their dinner).

My family has a tradition of the younger generation doing a little skit before we pay respects to our parents (say some auspicious greetings and in return they give us red packets of money:) ). WE have been doing this for 20+ years. Its nice cos you start the year with a lot of laughter. This year, we decided that my nieces & nephew are old enough to take over and they did a lion (cos it's year of the tiger!?) dance all dressed up in Chinese costumes. It was very funny! :). I love these moments best.

Sans said...

My dear Helene, Xin Nien Kuai Le! (Happy New Year). I can't believe you just did a post on a celebration as well. I have just been to your blog and it is too funny! Firstly the story and then, i was as if we went shopping at the same place and bought the same things. I bought the yellow and black & white feathers and was thinking of going back for the purple, pink & red ones. Would you believe I nearly bough the masks too ? Do you have a Spotlight in your town as well? :)

I never knew I could paint. I told FaiZ that morning he was watching me paint the elephants that I still think I could not draw an elephant and he looked at me and said "didn't you once said you could not paint?" Guess I have come a long way, baby :) and all it takes is practice practice practice!

Sans said...

Hey Dale, I just want happiness for the new year :). Thank you for your good wishes .

I am very happy I put your gifts to good use. I quite like the little altar I made for the deity. I can't believe I could find a matching basket for that snake. I had to blink a few times before I could spot her :). Please tell Anita she has found a good home! :)

Sans said...

Lize, do you believe in geomancy? I was born in the year of the snake :).
It is said that this year, I will have a "snakecharmer", a male benefactor who will help me. I am warned though against having lustful thoughts about my charmer. I nearly fell off the chair reading this! You think the bamboo is a metaphor for his er..flute? :) How's that for weird? :)

Sans said...

Cindy, you wouldn't believe the number of times I thought of you when I was writing this post. Like , maybe i could have her confirmed this superstition or that myth. And whether it is "backside itcy" or "itchy backside"? Haha!

So how was your reunion dinner? I have a friend who bought 6 bottles of pineapple tarts (from the famous Le Cafe) which I think he had finished even before the 1st Day. LOL!

About Broom Day, that's the 1st time I heard this version :).

Peach Blossom Hill said...

I have just found your blog and think this is exotically beautiful! I can't even imagine how you have done it all! I will enjoy following your further progressions!

Jody

Lize said...

It gets weirder Sans! I am a snake tooo! I that why I have bamboo on my brain? Behold the charmer you say!

I just came back to say your Emporium is not only super clean, but super grand! Love the new roof and ...hmm, your sister was right...

It IS a beautiful and wonderful world Sans. (Such a pity Izzy died so early.... His ukulele though plays on.) I always thought that song was too short when Louis Armstrong sang it. It is still too short. Good stuff always stops too early. WHY???

Gemma said...

Beautiful scene Sans, with more colours, wonderful. Best wishes

Papillon Bleu said...

Sans you are just fabulous! I looked at everything and just felt all relaxed as if I was there with the Maharaja!
I also love the beautiful rug you've made. I don't know how to make rugs, I've had to ask someone to make one for me...

contar said...

You had a brilliant idea, all the details are incredible, and I like the figure of the maharaja muchisimo.

usted tuvo una idea genial, todos los detalles son increibles, y la figura de el maharaja me gusta muchisimo.

Sumaiya Mehreen said...

Happy New Year and Happy Valentine's Day!

The more I see your creativity, the more I am convinced that you should make the palace yourself. You can do it!

By the way, I love "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"...thanks for putting it on your playlist :D

Sans said...

Hi Jody, I am so happy to have you drop by and say hi :). Thank you for your kind words. It has taken me a long time, longer than most :). My project is really to build an Indian palace set in British India :). I have done everything else but ..haha :). I hope to see you here often!

Sans said...

Et tu, Lize??? You know what they say about snakes? We are the real charmers ..haha! Yea , and about my sis, she is almost always right :). I value her views a lot which sometimes can be the death of me. Now that you agree with her, it is even worse.;p

About dying young, isn't it always a struggle? The question of whether you choose to die young and therefore immortalized as a legend or die at a ripe old age, forgotten after a while. Look at the legendary great loves. It's always where a lover dies too soon (Korean drama serial formula).;p

I must tell you something funny about this song. I told my friend about how I think Israel did the best version of this, even better than Kermit the Frog! LOL. I got this mixed up with "The Rainbow Connection"!!!

Sans said...

Gemma, I wish you can see it live . My pics are usually quite good depictions of what I have done but I have to say, it is really tough taking the pictures of the tent. I think it is slightly better live. Although you can see the rusty parts since it is last May that I did the 1st version :). Thank you for your compliments, you are always so generous with them :).

Sans said...

Patricia, those are just the sweetest words :)!

About stitching, you are talking to a novice as well. I mean until last February , I just cannot imagine myself ever making a miniature Persian rug. But like my housemate MarG says, it is just poking a needle with thread through one hole and then out the other and then you change colours. If you wish, drop me an email and I will gladly send you some patterns for a rug. For someone who hates to sew,stitching has become one of my favourite past time because it is portable and kills time real quickly. Except for the possibility of going blind ;), I will highly recommend it!

Sans said...

Contar, can I tell you that this "evil Maharajah" and his best friend, is one of my favourite dolls? lol

So I am thrilled that you like him too :). But I will have to warn you, he is super bad. With zero empathy. He's the kind of guy you want dead at the end of the movie.:)

Contar, este "mal Maharajá" y su mejor amigo, es una de mis muñecas favoritas.Me alegro de que te gustaría que él también.

Pero tengo que advertirte, esta muñeca es muy malo.Él es el tipo de persona que desea muerto al final de la película.

Sans said...

Thank you, Sumaiya :). I still dislike doing the architectural parts :). Truth is I am still not happy with the tent..lol! But everyday, I am asking myself if I want to build the palace myself. AS at now, I will still like to have an artisan from India to carve the exterior for me, of course price is a factor. I will keep trying to build the smaller houses and who knows, one day I may change my mind :). Thank you for your vote of confidence! You are truly the one who saw my progress from Day 1.

Roberta said...

I'm very happy you become to Italy and I will be glad to see you in Genova.
I recomande Rosanna to phone me....
See you soon!!!
Roberta

Sans said...

We have a date , Roberta :):). In less than 24 hours (I think), I will be there, dishevelled, a little stinky but very excited :)

Liberty Biberty said...

Oh, how I would love to shop there! It looks fabulous!
Mercedes

Sans said...

Mercedes, you have a trading account with this shop. This means you have a VVIP membership here and can take anything you want for nothing :).

Ara said...

Sans, it truly amazes me the amount of work you can do and the amount of imagination you put into each project!!! I think your tent is fantastic! And the addition of the bags and the wrappings make a fantastic touch! As always you're inspiring me to get my butt back to my projects so I can get as much enjoyment out of finishing them as you have! hugs, ara

Sans said...

Ara, I am just back and busy beyond my little head can manage because I have gone away from work for 1 week. I am sitting here in my office dreaming of working on my minis but feeling so tired! Your words really mean something! You are the one who always inspire me :) I can't imagine it to be the other way around :). And yes, with those words, I shall find the energy to at least continue my stitching! Arghhh, I have yet to unpack ..lol!

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