Bitten by the Art Bug from HeART Studio

After acquiring some finer tips on skin-care and make-up and then learning to bake hokkaido cupcakes. The next SMB is 1 activity brought us to a place where the SMBs can cultivate their creativity with an art workshop at HeART Studio.

Two separate sessions were held at the studio. The weekday session provided the opportunity to create our own versions of Van Gogh ‘Sunflowers’ with acrylic paints on canvas. While the weekend session took Claude Pissarro’s ‘Harbour Scene’ or ‘Le chateau des seigneurs d’estaing a bort-les-orgues’ as an inspiration to create our own art pieces with pastels on canvas.

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If you were to compare the Van Gogh vs Claude Pissarro pictures visually, the latter looks relatively simple compared to the former, isn’t it? At a glance, it may look simpler to create, but it isn’t. Acrylics and Pastels are very different mediums, and from a freshie’s perspective, I can tell you both mediums are tough to manage.

I was rather nervous to have to deal with acrylic paints for the second-time round, despite being given much better quality acrylic paints from HeART studio. The previous experience I had with acrylics (which dried up too quickly on the paint palette) was with a separate group of ladies from SMB at an ‘art jamming’ session at Arteastique. The only ‘jam’ that I experienced was with my art piece, which turned out to be a mash of colors and lines on canvas.

So it helped that the teacher Gaz, from HeART Studio provided clear guidance as we slowly worked our way in creating our art pieces in 2 hours. What was really uncharacteristic during that 2 hours, was that in a room of chatty ladies, we were so silent and focused while we worked on our individual pieces.

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HeartST1 23Spot the one who is the ‘expert’ amongst the amateurs…can you see graduated colors on her artwork, while the rest of us were only good with creating 2D vases

While, in the other room, all hard at work…after being a little distracted at the beginning of the session.

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Then on Sunday. Everyone in the room quickly got to work on their ‘oil pastel on canvas Claude Pissaro’ pieces as we only had 1.5 hours for the class.

HeartSt2 3All looking like they were on their test papers with their serious and focused expressions

So the educators have said, that in art, the process matters more than the product. All I can remember during the process are tired hands and stiff shoulders, it didn’t feel very therapeutic at both times. And for any, almost every adult, the product still matters at the end, no matter what they say about the process. So what is the product after both sessions at HeART Studio?

1. Mutant Sunflowers with no stems, over-fed on Fertilizers

HeartST1 25My overgrown sunflowers and Teacher Gaz

2. Collapsing Sails in Harbour with Strange Reflection (not Jen’s! Referring to my art piece.)

HeartSt2 6Jen’s beautiful piece next to my haphazard harbor piece

After both sessions this week at HeART Studio, I walk away with renewed respect for my little boy who is way better at managing both mediums with his art pieces.

HeartSt 1Weekday Acrylic Paint on Canvas session : Evelyn, Lyndis, Justina, Irene, Dominique, Adeline, Regina, Me, Alicia, Pamela and Donna

HeartSt2 7Sunday Pastels on Canvas session : Delphine, Serene, Jolin, Wai Wai, Angeline Ng, Madeline, Me, Jennifer, Cherie, Ling Siew and Angeline Sim

HeART Studio offers Adult Canvas classes, over 6 lessons to complete a large canvas piece. All u need is to find a friend to join you at an Adult Canvas class and HeART will start a new class. Or you could sign up your kids for HeART if they are between 3-12 years of age, especially if they show some interest in Art. I can assure your child will not be getting ‘I-cannot-figure-what-this-is’ type of open-ended outcomes from the classes, rather, fine art pieces that will impress you + extremely apt to be gifted to relatives. Do visit HeART Studio’s website for more information on the classes available for kids.

So what other outcome have resulted after my 2 sessions the past week?

HeartSt2 8Top – My art piece, Bottom – K’s art piece. I think my kid’s art is way better than mine

I think I badly need art lessons.

So I will be signing up for an adult canvas class with HeART Studio and work towards creating my first more decent-looking piece of art. So while K has his art lesson, this sucker-for-punishment will plan to have her art class in the other room.

I think art can only be therapeutic for me when I have a certain level of mastery with the basic techniques. So art lessons here I come!


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A SMB Bake Date!

It has been a crazy couple of weeks and I have been craving for cake.

Not the rich decadent sort, but something that could fulfill my cake craving and not have to feel guilty about eating it. I finally got to eat cake (that I made myself!) after spending Saturday morning with Pauline and Louisa of Munch Ministry, and 13 ladies from SMB, where we learnt how to make Hokkaido Chiffon Cakes.


Part of the process in making a chiffon cake is beat the egg whites into a meringue. Unlike the traditional Pandan Chiffon Cakes that my mom used to bake often when I was a child, there isn’t a need for the egg whites to be beaten into stiff peaks for Hokkaido Chiffon Cakes. It isn’t that difficult to make the chiffon cake, however you will need to take note some of the small details in the process to achieve the light and airy texture of the cake.

The separation of the egg white from the egg yolk has to be done quite gingerly, to ensure that no egg yolk will find its way into the bowl of whites which will affect the fullness of the meringue.


As you can see, the activity of separating egg yolks from the whites, can be easy for some like Estella. While for others, like Jennifer, some of the egg yolk did manage to find their way into her bowl of egg whites and she had to try to remove the runny yolks from the mixing bowl. As for my own experience separating yolks from the white? I wasted one egg after being too heavy handed, breaking the yolk when hitting the egg swiftly against the edge of a bowl.

Still need some help in learning how to separate the egg yolk from the egg white? Here’s 6 different ways how to separate egg yolk from the whites.

When it came to beating the egg whites, cream of tartar was added to stabilize the egg whites. Do make sure that the mixer and mixing bowls are clean and dry, Any specks of oil, water or yolk can affect the volume of the meringue. Here are more useful tips I learnt to ensure that the meringue stiffens;

1. Wait for the egg white mixture to turn bubbly and foamy during mixing before adding the sugar. The sugar needs to be added gradually in 3 parts, instead of all at once

2. Cold eggs separate more easily, so do leave the eggs out at room temperature before beating, for maximum volume in the meringue

3. Use copper, glass or stainless steel mixing bowl, and not plastic as it might keep some grease stains which will affect the meringue

4. A small amount of cream of tartar stabilizes the ‘foam’ and makes it less likely to collapse

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Digress. I think mom bloggers are experts when it comes to knowing when to stop what they are doing / pass the job to someone else, flash their pearlies and strike that perfect pose for 5 seconds, when a roving camera comes along for a photo opportunity.

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Now back to baking.

Mabel (my baking partner) and I shared the duties, she worked on the egg yolk mixture, while I focused on getting the meringue ready. We were concerned initially that the meringue mix was done too early and that it might curdle and collapse before folding in the egg yolk mixture. However, Pauline mentioned that the recipe will work fine even when the meringue is kept aside for a while before being added in (Phew!). Would have been a different story though, if it was Pandan Chiffon that we were attempting to make.

We gently folded in the egg yolk + vegetable oil batter into the egg white meringue and took note not to stir or beat the batter in, so as to ensure a light and fluffy chiffon cupcake. Then it was time to pour the mixture into cupcakes holders and pop in to the oven for about 15-25 minutes.


The cupcakes were removed from the oven when it was lightly browned, and Mabel and I waited for the cupcakes to cool before piping in the custard filling.


We were likely the most efficient team that morning, who got our cupcakes rather quickly into the oven then piped in custard fillings and we couldn’t resist picking up one each for ourselves to try. Probably on a good day with cake cravings, I could devour 5 of these at one sitting.


Ta-daa! Team Efficient with our Hokkaido Chiffon Cakes!

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Munchministry 22Front (L to R) Mabel, Ai, Cherie, Estella, Louisa, Pauline, Nicole and Jiahui, Me, Regina and Caden. Adeline, Klessis, Connie, Liza, Jennifer, PC and Delphine.

Thanks to Pauline and Louisa for hosting this scrumptious bake date to add to the celebrations for our 1st birthday for SMB. Do check out Munch Ministry website for the recipe for Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes.

Do also read Mabel’s post on our baking session with plenty of candid photos.

What’s next for SMB is One? Stay tuned, details to be shared soon!


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Mommy Makeover at Style Essence

When I have a mom who dresses other ladies up for a living and a younger sister who will never wear the same outfit twice to different events, it’s hard not to care about how I look.

I ‘allowed’ myself 6 months of looking like a frumpy mom. Those 6 months included my last trimester of pregnancy, and 3 months post pregnancy. I made the effort to dress and look presentable whenever I had to leave the house, not only to avoid comments from my mom, but it was something I deemed important to my self-esteem.

Most of us tend to use motherhood as a valid excuse not to have the time to dress up or to apply make-up. So when Flo shared with me about her business, Style Essence, I thought “Why not have this as an activity for SMB’s 1st birthday bash?”  It will be an enriching and fun session for us to learn some finer points on style and make-up.


We had two separate sessions at Style Essence, one in the day for the SAHMs and WAHMs, and one more in the evening for the FTWMs.

Styleessence17L to R – Trainer Florinda, Samantha, Natasha, Adora and Calla, James and Irene (still looking gorgeous sans makeup)

Flo who was our trainer for both sessions, started with a quick color analysis of our skin tone, to determine if we had ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ undertones.

Styleessence18Evelyn’s a ‘warm’ and I think Dominique likely is a ‘warm’ color as well

She shared this tip on how to determine if you are a ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ color; look at the veins on the underside of your wrist. If the veins are more blue / purple, you have cool undertones. If you see green tones, then you are a ‘warm’ undertone. Turned out have both warm and cool undertones, so I will rock any shade 😛


We learned about how to dress for our body shape before we dived straight into hands-on for our skin.

This is the way we washed our faces with a 3-in-1 cleanser,

Styleessence20L to R – PC, Wacky Liza, Pamela, Adeline and Gila Regina

and applied exfoliating mask on the half of our faces.

Styleessence5L to R; Evelyn, Jenn, Me, Dominique, Rachel, Irene

Styleessence9L to R; Estella, Madeline, Jiahui, Adora, Pamela, Adeline, Regina

After deep cleansing and exfoliating one half of our faces with Marykay’s Botanical Effects Mask, it was time to ‘paint’ our faces!

Styleessence11L to R; Pauline, Pamela, Adeline and Sandra

It’s hard not to feel like the centre of attention when you are in a room full of bloggers pointing their cameras at you, when you are being made-up by the pro.

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And the outcome of the workshop? Glamour Mamas!

Styleessence21L to R; PC, Liza, me and Pauline

You know a make-over workshop is successful, when you have Sarah, who hardly ever uses makeup on her face, doing her own makeup and looking this good post make-over.


With an informative session from an engaging trainer, great company from the ladies from SMB, looking fabulous was a great way to celebrate SMB’s 1st Birthday Bash!

Styleessence 40From bottom L to R; Natasha, Sarah, Calla, Me, Pauline, Dominique, Trainer Florinda, Rachel, Edlyn, James, Irene, Evelyn, Samantha and Trainer Bernadette

Styleessence 36Bottom L to R; Jiahui, Estella, Liza, Pamela, Adora, Trainer Florinda, PC, Madeline, Adeline, Regina, Sandra, Susan and Trainer Bernadette.


Thanks to sponsors Style Essence and dinner by The Shepherd’s pie, in collaboration with SMB’s 1st Birthday Bash 2013.



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