Friday, 26 April 2013

Giveaway!




* Congratulations to Kay, the winner of this giveaway!! * 
Please check your email :)
Hello everyone!! Here is the giveaway I've been talking about! Yes, they are two collage pins made by my Mom! She made some for her shop, and I asked her if I could have a couple of smaller ones for my giveaway. She said ok! So here they are.

They are cute collage pins made of recycled materials! Collage is a form of art in which various materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric are arranged and stuck to a backing. These pins are made of heavyweight cut paper and shiny foil elements, mounted on thick illustration board, and protected by several layers of glossy varnish. If you win this giveaway, you'll get not one, but TWO, sweet little pins! You can wear them on your shirt, or pin them on your bag, or just put them somewhere as decoration to make you happy. Isn't it great how fun and cute recycling can be!

This is what you have to do to take part in this giveaway!

Mandatory entries
(You must do these to be included in this contest)
1. Be a follower of my blog through Google Friend Connect (just click "Join this site" on the right there) or follow through Bloglovin (button also on the right there :).
2. Leave a comment for this post!

Extra entries
(Not mandatory, but you really up your chances! If it says 2 entries, please leave 2 comments)

1. Grab my button for your homepage (email me and I'll send you the image, and please leave me the URL so I can check). Doing this is worth 3 entries :)
2. Refer to this blog and this giveaway in a post on your own website (please leave me the URL so I can check). Doing this is worth 2 entries :)

This giveaway will end on Sunday, the 5th of May, at 12pm EST.
The winner will be chosen by Random.org. The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond, or a new winner will be selected. Please be sure your email is in your comment!
Have fun!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

My Birthday Party!

Hello again! I'm so happy to share with you the wonderful birthday party I had with my friends! Guess where we had it? The Build-a-Bear Workshop! I invited all my friends (well, as many as my Mom said I could) and they were all so excited! It was such a lovely day -- let me show you!

This was me on my birthday morning. I'm hugging Monkey and about to have my yummy breakfast -- cheese toast and scrambled eggs. I already knew it was going to be an awesome day!

This is the birthday card I received from the Sylvanian Families. They send me one every year! Inside it reads, "Have a lovely time on your special day", written in big, bold letters. Oh, and look! There is one of the Guppies looking at my card. He was made by my Mom.

These were the first three guests to arrive. There's Harmony, then Jodie and Chloe (there were actually TWO Chloes coming to my party!). Unfortunately, one of my guests had a fever and could not attend at the last minute.

Here we are waiting for the last girl, Chloe, to come. Another guest arrived before Chloe -- Cheryl. Can you spot her? Here, we are having fun playing Duck, Duck, Goose (the Build-a-Bear version of it).

Here we are doing a "Choo Choo Train" to the first part of building a bear. Our party leader would say "Chugga Chugga" and we'd have to answer "Choo Choo". We felt kinda shy doing it, but had no choice -- we wanted to build our bears! The other Chloe still hadn't come yet, so we started first.

Aww! Look at those cute bears! Which one should we choose? Eventually, we all chose the Lil' Almond Cub, an adorable white bear with the softest, glossiest fur ever.

Now we are doing the "Choo Choo Train" to the Stuffing Station. Chloe had arrived while we were choosing our bears. There she is at the back of the line, holding Jodie's shoulders. 

 We each take two cute little red hearts...

... then we say special things for our bears...

... and put the hearts into our bears...

and make special wishes!
 
After making our wishes, our party leader took out a bright yellow bear and put him on the floor. She told my guests that they were all supposed to write birthday wishes on him, then I could bring him home as a souvenir.

Here's Cheryl writing her birthday wishes on the bear.

 Here are the two Chloes looking at each other's wishes.

This is the big Build-A-Bear stuffing machine. You step on a pedal and all the fluffy stuffing goes into your bear to make it huggable and cozy.

Here I am stepping on the pedal while our party leader stuffs my bear.

Looks kinda painful.

When my bear was just the right softness for me, she stitched him up.

 Look! It's a Chloe hiding behind a bear!

Next, we scrub our bears with little pawprint-shaped brushes. It helps to clean and fluff up our bears' fur.

Then we browse through all the beautiful clothing for our bears. It was hard to choose!

And here are our bears all dressed up in their pretty costumes. Don't they look cute? We love our bears!

Our party leader put everyone's bears into their take-home boxes, which are called Cub Condos. She also put in a little Build-a-Bear notepad and a birth certificate for our bears.

 Ooh! Look at the yummy chocolate cake! I chose to have a picture of Stitch on it.

 What a great time we had at my party! Thank you everyone for coming and celebrating with me! Stay tuned for my GIVEAWAY!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Wiggle!

Hello everybody! How have you been? I actually have lots of things to post -- including a GIVEAWAY -- so stay tuned! But first I wanted to share with you some wonderful news!

Remember Wiggle? That's him up there, as a sweet baby mealworm. I took this picture after his friends Scriggle and Shake had left :(

But I was determined not to give up and Wiggle was determined too! And look what happened -- Wiggle became a pupa! My Mom was home when it happened; she says it happened really fast. When she came home, he was still in his mealworm state; then when she looked at him about half an hour later, he was like this! See that browny-black thing on the side there? That's his old casing from his final moulting. In the days before he metamorphosed, he acted all uncomfortable; he kept scrunching up and looking like he was dying. I was a little worried, but something told me not to give up hope!

So, thank goodness I kept waiting and feeding him. Although in his pupa stage, he did not do much at all. He just lay about like that. For awhile I kept giving him stuff to eat, but when I saw he was really not interested, I stopped. Day by day, he changed colour, turning just a little darker and browner each time.

At first, he was just this pale thing with no features. But after awhile, he started showing little dark bits. I was glad he was changing more obviously, because many days would pass and he would be so still, I wasn't sure if he was still alive!

So here he is looking a bit darker.

And here he is from the top. My Mom kept saying he looked like an alien.

Here he is looking even darker. During this time, he started moving a tiny bit, which was rather nasty. But I was glad because I felt it meant that he would be transforming again really soon. He had already been in his alien state for quite awhile, maybe a couple of weeks.

Then one day, after a couple of days of twitching, I found him like this! Isn't that amazing? He really changed! I wish I could have gotten a video of him taking of his pupa "jacket", but it was tiring just sitting there looking at him and waiting.

And today he is like this -- a real, proper beetle! Isn't he nice and dark? Here he is enjoying some apples and lettuce. At first, I was all set to release him into the wild, but my Mom pointed out all the birds that were out there. I decided he would be safer and happier in his own little home. It's like a beetle hotel really, with good food! I'll keep taking pictures of him now and then, though I guess he won't be changing anymore now. I'm so happy he is all grown up now! 

See you again real soon! Don't forget -- I have a fun GIVEAWAY coming up!!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Zoo Excursion!

Hello again! I'm so excited to share with you some pictures from my recent class field trip! We got to go to the Zoo -- yippee-doodle!

Welcome to the Singapore Zoo! We were so excited when we saw it come into view. Our teacher gave out excursion booklets for us to fill in while we were there.

There were dozens of people queuing up to pay for their admission, or buy tickets for animal shows, and tram and ferry rides.

Here I am standing near the ticket booth, waiting to go in with my class. It was pretty sunny that day (like every day here in Singapore!!!), so I decided to put on my hat.

We saw the parrots first. The parrot is also known as a psittacine. There are more than 370 parrot species living in tropical and subtropical areas, including Macaws, Amazons, lorikeets and cockatoos. All parrots have strong, curved bills, and clawed zygodactyl feet (that means two toes facing forward and two facing back).

Parrots mainly eat seeds, nuts, fruit, nectar and other plant material. Sometimes they eat animals as well. Did you know that parrots are one of the most intelligent birds in the world? They can also see many unusual colours that the human eye cannot see -- they can see parts of the ultraviolet end of the spectrum! Unfortunately, some parrot species are highly endangered :(

After the parrots, we went to look at the otters, but they were swimming so fast that I couldn't take a decent picture of them. I did manage to take this one of a proboscis monkey though! Proboscis monkeys are one of the largest monkey species. The male has a pretty large nose! Proboscis monkeys are found exclusively in the rainforests of Borneo (well, in zoos too), and eat fruits, leaves, flowers, seeds and sometimes insects. They usually live in groups, and communicate by honking, snarling and even roaring! Did you know that the proboscis monkey has webbed feet and is a very good swimmer? Sadly, it is extremely threatened in its natural environment because of deforestation.

Here is cute little sea turtle. I'm not sure, but I think he (she?) might be an Atlantic ridley sea turtle. He is diving down to pick at something on the floor, maybe some algae or seaweed.

Here is an adorable little squirrel we saw sitting on a little log. He was actually nibbling on a cute little acorn. Before I could snap another picture, he scampered away to a nearby tree, out of sight.

Here are two crocodiles. As you can see, one is dead and one is alive. Obviously, this one is quite alive. Crocodiles usually live in freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes and wetlands; they mostly eat fish, reptiles, and mammals, which sounds like almost everything really! Did you know that the word "crocodile" comes from the ancient Greek word for "lizard"? The pressure of a crocodile's bite is more than 5,000 pounds per square inch, compared to just 335 pounds per square inch for a Rottweiler dog, or 400 pounds per square inch for a large great white shark. Crocodiles can swim swiftly and are very fast over short distances, even out of water -- very, very scary!

This picture of the stuffed crocodile was taken outside the auditorium, where we were waiting for a talk by one of the zookeepers. He looks awfully fat, doesn't he. Perhaps he died from that.

Here I am posing at a notice board near the auditorium. Some kids draw stuff and they tack it up here. My friends and I walked around a path near the auditorium and found a creepy, yet cute, surprise hanging from the ceiling. Guess what we saw? Yes, fruit bats!

Isn't it kinda weird that there were bats up there? This is only one of the bats; there were a whole bunch on the ceiling up ahead. My friend started yelling at the bats to come down, which woke some of them up. Some of them flew off but eventually flew back; some just went back to sleep.

Did you know that another name for the fruit bat is megabat? Fruit bats eat, well, fruits, or lick nectar from flowers. They have sharp teeth to bite through hard fruit skins and very long tongues that unroll when they are feeding. Some bats actually help pollinate flowers! Did you know that they have to run into something such as a tree or bush in order stop themselves when flying?

Soon, we were heading to the zoo auditorium to listen to a talk by one of the zookeepers. We were learning about the outer coverings of animals.

Do you see Mr Bones up there? He was used to represent humans, and to tell us that we are mammals, like dolphins and whales.

This is a quote from a wildlife aid group. They try to help animals that are being killed for their skin, fur or feathers. I'm not sure if it's WildAid, but this is their mission, which I think is great: "To end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection.

"The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth over $10 billion (USD) per year and has drastically reduced many wildlife populations around the world. Just like the drug trade, law and enforcement efforts have not been able to resolve the problem. Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent protecting animals in the wild, yet virtually nothing is spent on stemming the demand for wildlife parts and products. WildAid is the only organization focused on reducing the demand for these products, with the strong and simple message: when the buying stops, the killing can too".

The crocodile, tiger cub, pangolin and porcupine had all died a long time ago and been stuffed. The zookeeper had them displayed on a table in front of her and kept stroking them.

The polar bear's paw was from the zoo's polar bear, Inaku, who had recently died of old age. I hope there was a very good reason why they did not just stuff the whole bear and leave him his paws.

The snake's skin had been shed by a python from the zoo's Reptile House.

These are white tigers. Aren't they beautiful? See how their fur gleams in the sun. They always look so proud and majestic, but I think they look happy and cheerful sometimes too.

Unlike domestic cats, tigers have eyes with round, not slitted, pupils. That's because domestic cats are nocturnal, while tigers are crepuscular, meaning they hunt mainly in the morning and evening. Most tigers have yellow eyes, but white tigers usually have blue eyes. This has to do with the the gene for blue eyes which is linked to the gene for white fur (see my cat Ming?). A tiger's night vision is six times better than that of humans!

Tiger claws are retractable, just like with house cats, and they scratch trees to mark their territory. Tigers don't normally roar at other animals, but to communicate with other tigers. A tiger's stripes are unique, like human fingerprints -- the markings can also be found on their skin, so even a shaved tiger would still show its stripes. Tigers are very good swimmers.

Many people hunt down tigers for their beautiful skin, which endangers the poor animals. They also face territory loss as more and more humans crowd them out. In just a hundred years, the world has lost 97% of wild tigers -- don't let them become extinct! Visit groups like the WWF to see how you can help!

We had lots of fun at the zoo, but we learned some sad things about the animals as well. I hope you will help to save these poor endangered and homeless animals. Many animals are endangered because of human activities -- not just poaching and killing, but also other things like deforestation, pollution and using poisons in gardens and on farms. Read this for a start and remember to reduce, reuse and recycle! See you again real soon!