Grow your own alternative home decor

inspiration, moodboard, photography, styling
_MG_6674Recently I have been looking at crystals intently, mostly for the home. I started getting crystals bracelets after learning their aid in spiritual growth. I am intrigued and wanted to find out more though I haven’t been taking good care of my existing wearable crystals. Certain crystals need more attention than others. Of late I read that clear quartz is considered neutral and do not pick up any negative force around them so you need not rinse with running mineral water or let it out in soft sunlight. And Quartz with different formations have different purposes for the owner. I do believe the utmost important thing is to look after them well and they will do the same for you.
Today, I am sharing with you Tyler Thrasher’s works. Thanks to my dear friend, a crystal enthusiast who sent me his website few days ago. And I thought it was mind blowing. Never did it occur to me that you can grow crystals at home, definitely not before our recent crystal shopping trip together! Growing natural minerals, how cool is that. Then it got me thinking, would the crystals harvester’s aura be collected and bind to these “lab-grown” crystals. Some of these works are available for purchase. Click here for more information. Images, via www.tylerthrasher.com.

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Tanglin Halt SG50 // Nikon Df Part 3

photography
Here’s my third and last post on my experience with the 16.2 megapixel retro-style DSLR, Nikon Df, it has been a great joy having this companion with me the past few weeks. Deeply appreciate this opportunity given by Nikon. To further explore with the Df, I decided to document my lovely neighbourhood where I have been staying for the last six years as a personal project. Reason being, I am moving out this place to somewhere northeast and also URA’s recent announcement in July that the old public housing estates of Tanglin Halt (more than 50 years old) will be moving to Dawson estate under the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) initiative. You can read more about it, here.
DSC_3053 croppedMy view from master bedroom.
The image above illustrates my daily night view, from afar Skyville & Skyterrace @ Dawson under construction. Setting the Df on a tripod to ensure the sharp images with the light tail of the moving traffic from below. And the pictures turned out exactly how I wanted them to be without much fuss. I was able to grasp the right settings pretty quick with the help of the dedicated dials.So this night, I brought the Df to the hawker centres where I usually take away my late night suppers, just a stone’s throw away from my block. Under the low light from afar, the camera is still able to include dark details in the back and not losing the brightly-lit areas, producing images very close to my human eyes under such circumstances.

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The following morning, I brought the Df with AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G out and weather was in my favour with good sun, no haze. Pumped up with my growing excitement to explore my neighbourhood with this serious camera, I thought to better have a good breakfast in case, I faint during my little hike. I chose to have one of my favourite breakfast foods, roti prata with cheese!
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DSC_3239The Nikon Df’s colours seem very close to my human eye. With the red cast from the canvas canopy shadowing the tables, the outside’s colour tone seemed to be well balanced.
DSC_3351My other favourite breakfast and supper food centre, Blk 48A Tanglin Halt Market and Food Centre.
There’s two stalls which I always go to.
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Wei Yi Laksa (Stall No. 20) which I have been patronising more than 10 years ago (same as the duck noodles stall featured below) before I move into this neighbourhood, friendly and dedicated Uncle Jin used to open for business in the wee hours of morning and now he start selling at dawn for breakfast and lunch crowd. Wei Yi Laksa has been featured in many different media coverages, one of the memorable ones has to be the Japanese publication in Singapore, Mangosteen Club. Uncle Jin was also invited by a Japanese chef to Japan, Tokyo for culinary cultural exchange. And through this short interview, I found out Uncle Jin is actually little brother of the lady boss from duck noodle stall (pictured below).
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After a three month hiatus, Tanglin Halt Delicious Duck Noodle (Stall No. 23) reopen in late October. Picturing Boss Chua recuperating from his recent knee surgery and lady boss whom took over this braised duck noodles business from her father since 1969.
To sum up my experience with the Nikon Df, I must say it is a travel friendly lightweight DSLR camera with beautiful retro styling and powerful performances in low light handling. Personally, I feel it is a good camera to strengthen your manual photography, building good foundation. A good way to train your eye for composition and the technical side of crafting inspiring visuals. So far there’s been quite a few enquiries from my friends on what camera do I use, after seeing those photographs that are taken by the Df, on my personal Facebook account plus the comments were all very positive. It is really a great companion for my blog shoots and I will miss it terribly for sure.
 // This post is sponsored by Nikon //
Also, check out other posts on my Nikon Df experience Part 1 and Part 2.
Do keep a lookout on my blog for a full post of my personal project on Tanglin Halt. Stay tune!

At home with Laura // Nikon Df Part 2

interiors, photography
During this period, Nikon Df has been a great companion for my blog shoots. Today, I am thrilled to share with you Laura Phay’s apartment interiors. Laura runs her own interior design studio She Designs He Builds. She is also the creative brain and co-owner of lauded cafes Ronin and The Plain (both run by her husband). I test-drive the Df while exploring her simple yet unique home interiors – a collage of inherited furniture, treasured gifts and travel mementos.
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Laura shared with me what makes a good looking home. I love her stories about how this living space has come together as a home for her and her husband. I will outline my experience with the Df and its capabilities in capturing all the accents, colours and textures in this lovely home.
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I started the shoot with ambient lighting, then I moved on to shoot in only natural daylight which is what I love for most home interiors shoots. I am loving how Df is able to give me the crisp colours in each picture that I took, after getting more familiar with it, I was able to get desired pictures with greater ease and precision. I’ve always love light flare, picture this: warm light streaming in from the windows for a few seconds blurring your vision. That kind of mood is truly beautiful, and this was what I feel I achieve better with Df. As I mentioned in my previous post, you should determine what your photography style is, and this is important for an aspiring photographer.
DSC_1875Play with different textures to keep your colour scheme to minimal, knitted pouf against the smooth cold concrete both in grey tone. Book and magazine recommended by Laura to me. I tried to borrow from the new library@orchard but both copies were on loan. I guess it is a waiting game as the book cannot be reserved.
DSC_1895Detail shots in home interiors are equally important. So I’ve got the AF-area mode in single focus point or 39-point dynamic-area auto focus to assist me in getting the right texture or subject in focus.
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Getting the perspective lines straight is crucial in interior shots, so with the virtual horizon tilt indication from viewfinder, it allows me to better “straighten” the lines before hitting the shutter button.
And here’s the other angles I took at Laura’s…
DSC_1904Monochrome tones are further enhanced by playing with different patterns in scale, for instance, the cushions and throw.
DSC_1862Ceramic vessel in the foreground was made by her good friend, a ceramic artist whom she speaks fondly of.
DSC_1865Laura is no hoarder, she only keeps things which hold great important sentimental value to her.
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DSC_1916Lovely stitching detail from her dining chair which you can also find the same ones at Laura’s Ronin Cafe.
DSC_1857Beautiful glow from this vintage globe which Laura got in London’s flea market.
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DSC_1897Fashion-boutique-like display of her tile samples.
DSC_1900Propagating succulents.
DSC_1867She inherited this yellow lounge chair with foot rest and coffee table from her late granduncle.
DSC_1892A strategic place for her plants right above her kitchen sink where the plants will thrive in the humidity.
DSC_1920Her very well-kept (styled) bombshelter store.
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Special thanks to Laura who shared my enthusiasm for this photo shoot and she too, is impressed by what this retro-style full frame digital SLR camera can do.
// This post is sponsored by Nikon //

Drom Store & Dutch Colony Coffee // Nikon Df Part 1

local creatives, photography
When the opportunity to try out the Nikon Df for my blog surfaced, I was lucky enough to be selected and learn more about photography with the Df. With a 16.2 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor with impressive low-light capabilities, retro appearance, digital effects, and even retouch options available, the Nikon Df is simply a joy to work with. Here’s where I went with it.
The day started with an impromptu visit to The Little Drom Store (recently moved to SOTA), followed by the Dutch Colony Coffee Co. I love how the pictures turned out without any editing. Initially the handling of the camera came rather hard for me as I had always been using compact cameras.
*Click on images to get full view resolution*

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With the press-and-rotate dials, I wasn’t confident that I would be able to get a good shot at the given moment. But to my own surprise, I was pretty accustomed to the dials after some shots and the good weight of the camera allowed me to stabilise my grip when clicking the shutter (just that you know, I do have fat fingers). Once you get the hang of it, the dials and buttons are a great help giving you full view of the settings at one glance.
Apart from my big love of interiors, I also love good coffee. So I thought it was best to try out this beautiful camera at a cafe. I decided to pay a visit with the Df to Dutch Colony Coffee Co’s new branch at Frankel Avenue. I ordered my usual twos: flat white and chai latte. From the many cafes I’ve been to, Dutch Colony is one of the few places that serves good chai latte (with right proportions of spice and milk to my liking). I wanted to create images with warm ambient in daylight so I chose outdoor seats with the warm glowing incandescent lights.
DSC_1601 warmWent for a dark moody ambient in daylight. It was really fun creating images manually
so you can achieve the photographs that eventually determines your style. ISO 1600, 50mm, 1 EV, f/4, 1/125s
The Df excels greatly in this low light, moody ambient I wanted to create in daylight. Details for highlights and shadows are well achieved even at ISO 1600 and it’s low in noise. The results are delightful. With a few adjustments, I was able to get different moods with the same given light source, allowing me to better determine what kind of style/exposure I would love to have.
I usually find people portraits harder to manipulate, especially in low light situations. In this scene, I was able to get the desired results after a few quick adjustments on the dials. With Df’s lightweight body compared to other digital SLRs of same class, I must say I could move easily for shots involving people.
DSC_1666 BWISO 800, 35mm, 1 EV, f/2.8, 1/125s
DSC_1642Played with higher ISO and longer aperture here. ISO 1600, 24mm, 1 EV, f/2.8, 1/30s

DSC_1646I applied the black & white filter available from the camera retouch menu for this image.
ISO 800, 24mm, 1 EV, f/2.8, 1/30s
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I love how my barista portrait turned out, with the right highlights, but not losing details on the shadows – this mood is the photography style I sought after. I love to work with the manual mode, the light and colour results just surprise me in different situations. And that is the beauty of handcrafted images.
In an upcoming post, I get invited to the cozy apartment of Laura Phay – of interior design studio She Designs He Builds. She is also the creative brain and co-owner of lauded cafes Ronin and The Plain (both run by her husband).
// This post is sponsored by Nikon //