Spurred by my well-documented obsession with Peter Pan collars, I stumbled on Ching Ng’s lovely store L.A.R.K., and the accompanying DIY blog Ching Makes Things!. It has everything you could possibly love in a blog – personality, humour, pretty pictures and a strong sense of Malaysiana without dipping into stereotypes. If you’re at all arts and crafts-inclined, Ching Makes Things is like catnip to a kitten, with weekly, super easy DIY tutorials on everything from hair accessories to fabric-wrapped clothes hangers. We caught up with Ching, and got to the bottom of this ‘making things’ business.
Ching's painted belt tutorial
Tell us a bit about yourself – and your blog, Ching Makes Things, and your shop L.A.R.K.
I work from home with a creative consultancy job and during my free time I take up freelance sewing and crafting projects. My dream job however would be Dani Stahl’s Factory Girl gig, because I love learning how to make things and I’m just so insanely envious of her, heheh.
I love, love, love DIY tutorials – there’s just something about seeing all the step-by-step pictures that gets me intrigued and excited. I share sewing and crafting tutorials on my blog Ching Makes Things – most of them are simple and fun projects, with some of them being featured on Craft Gossip
and Craftzine’s blog
, which makes my day! (Ed- you can even request tutorials on Ching’s blog!
I used to run an Etsy store where I sold accessories that I made, and I decided to focus on my faux leather creations and expand it to include other items besides necklaces. I just recently opened up my own independent online store at shoplark.com
, where I sell accessories like necklaces, bracelets, clutches and wristlets. Everything on L.A.R.K is made in my home studio, and there’s usually only a few of each design, which keeps it fun for me to create.
L.A.R.K. Kaleidoscope necklace
Does L.A.R.K. stand for anything?
Life’s A Real Kaleidoscope! I always have my own little Avatar discovery moment when I see something that has beautiful colors, and I’ll be lost in that moment, like a child being hypnotised by a giant lollipop. I love kaleidoscopes because the colorful patterns are always evolving and changing, and that’s what L.A.R.K’s collections are going to be like – every collection will differ and evolve from the last.
Ching's floppy disk coaster tutorial
Have you always made things? Can you remember the first ever thing you made?
Yup, I believe I take after my mom because she is an art teacher and makes a million things from sewing to painting to baking. My dad is really good at fixing things, and I think that’s where I learn to put things together too. The first thing I ever made on my own was a green and white pencil case, with fabric from my mom’s stash. I was so happy that I made something I could use!
And what’s the last thing you’ve made?
A custom wristlet for my mother-in-law’s birthday.
Aaand, what’s one thing you’ve never made but would like to?
SHOES!!! I’m pretty crazy about shoes and would love to make my own pair one day.
L.A.R.K. Classic Fantastic clutch, $42
The handmade movement is definitely gathering pace in KL in terms of awareness and outlets, but what would you like to see next?
I would love to see sewing cafes locally like Linkle in Berlin or Sweat Shop in Paris. They’re like cybercafes but offer sewing machines for hourly rentals, which I think is fun especially for a beginners/hobbyists.
Ching's pretty stylin' as well
What percentage of your life is handmade vs. store-bought?
In a very general sense, I think it’s probably a 50:50 ratio, because unfortunately I can’t make furniture or create telephones haha. But for clothes, my wardrobe is small but mainly consists of a mixture of vintage/thrifted garments that I refashioned, and outfits I made on my own, so I’d say probably 70 per cent handmade vs 30 per cent store-bought for clothing.
L.A.R.K. Wild Totem bracelet
Finally, on a completely unrelated note, what’s your idea of the perfect party?
One that is on The Faraway Tree with Jo, Bessie and Fanny!