Bespoke Creations: Dead Mouse Faux Leather Nexus 10 Case

Posted on March 25, 2013 by Ee-Leng Chang | 0 Comments

When I was commissioned to create a Nexus 10 case for my customer, his brief included a pre-designed logo which was a Dead Mouse avatar that he had designed for himself. He also requested a design that would be suitable for a professional work environment. Quite a different aesthetic to my usual work! I was very touched that my customer believed in me enough for this, seeing that my usual work doesn't quite fit the corporate bill. A final request was for the case to be somewhat solid to offer as much protection as possible for his tablet. 

My customer had a pretty good idea of the design he wanted, which meant my main worries were material and construction. I had spied a soft leather-looking fabric at my local fabric shop and thought that this would be a good fit. I tried finding a similar fabric for the yellow/off-white logo but was unsuccessful. Luckily my customer was happy to let me use felt for the logo and I think it adds a nice touch in terms of the different texture anyway. 

So onto construction and that's where the problems started. I had backed the faux leather with a very thick interfacing to give the case a hard structure. The lining was a 2mm pale yellow felt. The faux leather was quite thin and quite malleable, so I was hesitant to use just that one layer for a back pocket as it would get stretched out easily over time as the pocket gets used. So it was lined with the yellow felt too. 

It was all going fine from cutting it all out, putting the interfacing and lining on, sewing the logo, etc all up til I had all the final pieces and needed to sew all of it together to form the case. I pinned it together, loaded it into my machine and tried to sew it. 

Well, let's just say my machine wasn't too happy with me. Neither were the 5 needles that got bent trying to go through the big thick wall I had created. 

I tried a different machine, that machine didn't like me either. I tried to hand sew it. My fingers started hating me too. 

By the end of that day of much hatred directed at me, I had only managed to sew about 3 cm of stitches. What a dark day that was and much shower brain-storm time needed. 

Drowning my brain had the desired effect and I went back to work the next day with renewed energy. This time around, I remade the pocket, lining it with a thinner felt so that it would still be strong but without all that additional thickness. I also went shopping and got myself some leather needles and I also tried various presser feet on my machine. And then very, very slowly I set my machine to work. And my machine had obviously forgiven me, because stitch by stitch I managed to coax it to work with me and sew up the case. Success!

I definitely learnt a huge deal from this bespoke creation! And happily, my customer was really happy with his new Dead Mouse case. He even took the time to write up a review of it on his blog, check it out! :)

Posted in Bespoke, Creations, Design, Photos, Reviews

Bespoke Creations: Kaonashi aka No-Face iPhone 4 Case, With Video Review

Posted on March 12, 2013 by Ee-Leng Chang | 4 Comments

I can never quite decide which is my favourite Ghibli movie of all time but Spirited Away is definitely one of the very strongest contenders for the spot. There's just something about the aura and feel of the movie that somehow greatly resonates with me and part of that has to do with the characters. And one of the best, and most interesting characters in the movie is definitely Kaonashi, the mysterious lonely spirit that the the main character Chihiro first meets when crossing the bridge leading to the bath-house. 

[via Spirited Away Wikia]

I was asked to create a Kaonashi iPhone 4 Case for Polagram, an awesomely talented and amazing person that I've had the good fortune to meet while on my Hooby Groovy journey. I first 'met' Polagram via Instagram when she created an iPhone case for herself inspired by my Panda iPhone case and tagged me in the photo. I was really touched and more than a little proud that my little panda creation inspired someone else to create something for themselves. Well from then on, I've been an avid follower of Polagram and she's been such a great support to my Hooby Groovy label too. 

So when she asked if it was possible to create a Kaonashi iPhone case for her, I was really excited to do it. One of the favourite characters from one of my favourite movies? Heck yes!! 

Several design considerations came in this. One side was always going to be Kaonashi's mask but I wondered what to do for the back. One idea was another mask, this time with a different expression, happy on the front, sad on the back. I even toyed with the back being the corrupted version of Kaonashi when he had swallowed the frog spirit in the bath house and had a big massive mouth but when I drafted it up, it scared me too much lol! In the end I went with a simple back with a soot ball and a few star-shaped lollies that they're seen eating in the movie. I sent Polagram my design proposal and she agreed to it and so I began work. Here's what it looks like:

Construction was fairly simple and straight forward, the main challenges being the small size of the case. This meant that the little cut out parts of Kaonashi's mask, like his eyes and mouth, were really different to cut and sew. But I really wanted that 3D-esque effect and I think the end result definitely looks better than if I had just gone with the easier route of embroidering everything. 

Polagram recently created a video review of the case, you can check it out here:


It's the first video review of any of my Hooby Groovy creations, I'm so excited about it! :D

I really did enjoy this whole process, from pulling out my Spirited Away artbooks for reference, to listening to the Spirited Away soundtrack while drawing up the designs and all through getting Polagram's feedback and constructing the case and finally getting to watch my creation in someone else's hands and hearing what they think about it. It's an amazing feeling being able to see my creation half way across the world in a whole other continent and knowing that its new owner is happy. Big huge thanks to Polagram for this chance and I hope that one day I'll get another chance to work with Polagram on another creation. :)

Posted in Bespoke, Creations, Reviews

Matchmaker Millie: Now Available on the App Store!

Posted on January 31, 2013 by Ee-Leng Chang | 0 Comments


Matchmaker Millie is now officially out on the App Store, grab your copy for iPhone or iPad now if you haven't already! :)

Since the launch, I've been enjoying the game and trying hard to get to number 1 on Game Centre, but alas, I'm only at number 3 or so. :'(  It's a simple game to pick up but it does get pretty challenging especially when you're trying to get a Gold ranking for each level!

We've also received a few great reviews for Matchmaker Millie from various websites. It's always a joy to hear what other players think about our game and the feeling increases a billion times over when we hear that they are enjoying the game!

The iPhone App Review gave us a 5-star rating with this summary: "Matchmaker Millie is a phenomenal new arcade game for the iPad and iPhone"

No Brainer App Reviews gave us this great comment: "The graphics are vibrant and cute and the gameplay is not only fun but also addictive." 

iPhone Gamer UK says:  "It’s a super simple concept, but it works beautifully."

In addition, we were also asked to do an interview for Gizmodo Australia's Developers Cubed (also republished on Lifehacker Australia) with a focus on our experiences as a married couple working together to develop Matchmaker Millie. 

It's been an exciting ride so far playing Matchmaker Millie, seeing how it's doing in the world and hearing what other people have to say about it! It's been a lot of hard word creating this but I'm really proud of our little game. I've learnt so much from creating Matchmaker Millie and am ready to jump back into creating another Games for Gummie title!

In fact, it hasn't just been all sitting back and relaxing, we're already hard at work on an update that will be coming very soon. It's going to include a new Timeless game mode! Number 1 High Score on Game Center, here I come!! :D To stay up to date on when that'll be out, follow us at the Games for Gummie Facebook Page

I hope you'll enjoy Matchmaker Millie, it would be greatly appreciated if you give us a positive rating and review on the App Store if you're enjoying the game! :) 

Posted in Creations, Games, Reviews

A Case of the Spooks: Shop Young Republic's 2012 Halloween Collection

Posted on October 13, 2012 by Ee-Leng Chang | 0 Comments


There's heaps of awesome Halloween-inspired products out there in time for Halloween and Young Republic has just released their 2012 Halloween curated collection: A Case of the Spooks. It's a brilliant collection full of quirky, pretty and fun wares and I can definitely see myself enjoying these products all year round.

Here's a few of my favourites:

Dripping Brooch  - $9.00

by FABcessories


Stamped Skull Bowl - $27.50

by Lauren & The Lost Boys


Poison Ivy Black Leather Lace Mask - $59.00

by Skadi Jewellery Design

And forgive me for being a teensy weensy bit biased, I'm particularly partial to the Zombies from Hooby Groovy Land iPad Case Collection. ;)

Featuring Eyeballz, Shinobi, Mumblez and Brainz

Check out the rest of the Young Republic 2012 Halloween Collection and get your spook on!

Posted in Reviews, Updates

My Little Hooby Groovy Pony by CasseminaPie

Posted on June 19, 2012 by eelengchang | 0 Comments

In a recent post, I mentioned CasseminaPie's awesome My Little Pony plushes and now I'm super stoked to be able to introduce you to my very own My Little Hooby Groovy Pony. Actually I gave her a super long-winded name which I'd actually forgotten but luckily it was saved on a chat history. So please say Hullo to....:

Princess Hooby Groovity Rainbow Sparkle Pie!


On one side, she's got Swell Stitch Monster as her 'cutie mark'. And on the other she's got Hooby Groovy:

When I saw CasseminaPie's creations, I wanted a pony immediately despite not actually being a My Little Pony fan. I just thought the plushes were so amazingly cute and well-made! So when I was asked what pony I would like, besides saying "Umm, I want my Hooby Groovy logo as its tramp stamp" (Yes, yes, I know now that its not called a tramp stamp, its called a 'cutie mark'), I was stumped.

So I did my research and immediately was drawn to a purple maned pony called Rarity. I read up her description and thought that she would be a perfect pony to stamp my Hooby Groovy logo on! I learnt that Rarity is a fashion designer with her own boutique. I would love to be a fashion designer with  my own boutique too. ;) And she has a natural talent for martial arts. I too would love a natural talent for martial arts :D. So basically Rarity is everything I want to be too! Though to be honest, I only really picked up on the words fashion designer and martial arts while skimming, so I'm not entirely sure she's really everything I want to be...but I know she does magic, so I'd love that too!

If you are a My Little Pony fan, I highly recommend you check out CasseminaPie's deviantart page. Her creations are just beautiful! The fabrics used are lovely and the workmanship is superb and so much variety and techniques employed in the making of the ponies. My pony has a posable tail and mane!!  :D CasseminaPie accepts commissions so do contact her if you would like your very own awesome pony. 

In the meantime, I now have a Pony! A very stereotypical but very real life goal fulfilled! :)

Posted in Reviews

Productivity Apps

Posted on May 07, 2012 by eelengchang | 0 Comments

When I moved to my new workshop, I made a conscious decision to leave my computer behind. Sure, my business is run online and all communications between me, suppliers, customers are all done via email. But computers to me also mean hours of reading blogs, facebooking, MSN chats with friends. Basically all my usual distractions rolled into one. I decided the only pieces of technology I would take with me would be my iPad and iPhone. Actually, its working very well. As portable and convenient as it could ever be, an iPad can't actually yet replace a computer in terms of ease of use. Tiny messages throughout the day is easily done but whole chat conversations is a different matter without a proper keyboard. In a way, the iPad/iPhone combo is that very fine balance of being sufficient enough to do anything online that I would need to address right away like important emails or researching gadget dimensions for example, but inconvenient enough that I can still think "Oooh, I'd like to do such and such online...ah its easier to do on a computer, I'll just do it when I get home."

I'm still in the process of streamlining my work processes and that includes having the proper technological tools to aid my productivity. So I wanted to give a run down of the few apps that are my daily go-to apps for helping me work more efficiently. 


Paperless: Lists + Checklists by Crush Apps

I've been hunting around for to-do lists for ages and got this one just before setting off on our holiday last year to use as a packing checklist. I've nothing to pack nowadays but always have a list of things that I need to do or remember to do. So I've been using Paperless as my daily to-do list. I've tried out various task management apps but found them all to have too many features. Which is a good thing when say trying to run a multi-people project with complex tasks and much communications needed going back and forth. But when its just me trying to organise all the bits in my brain, all I really need is something simple and quick.

Paperless is both of that. It's easy to add checklists and to add items to the checklists and there's even notes to add to each item. And that's about as in-depth as it gets but its perfect for what I need. The interface is clean and simple and you can see right away the different checklists you have going and how many items you have left to do on each. And of course tick boxes next to each item, which I love because there's nothing more satisfactory about finishing a piece of work than being able to tick a box that says its done! :) Best of all, Paperless is available for both iPad and iPhone and syncs between both devices via Dropbox, which sure is handy for me!



Etsy for iPhone by Etsy, Inc

Since my business is run on Etsy, makes sense to have this app! :) I do like that it gives me notifications when I get new orders or conversations. However, the app itself is not that easy to use and if I want to actually do anything to my shop, I'd rather just load up the website on a web browser. There is also only an iPhone version of this app. An iPad version would be nice and I think I'd be more willing to use it for answering conversations and browsing if it was on iPad. For the moment, I've put it on both iPad and iPhone but using it only for its notifications, after which I'll load up my email or the website to check up what the new order or conversation is. 



Clock Pro HD Free by The Alarm Clock Company

While I'm working, my iPad becomes a big analog clock with the help of Clock Pro HD. Before I moved to my new workshop, I've been depending on squinting my eyes at my computer screen while sitting at my sewing machine to tell what time it is. Since I no longer have a computer to squint at, and I'm far too lazy to reach over and turn my phone screen on, I've just been having my iPad sitting in its stand with Clock Pro HD open so I have a handy clock to look at all day long. I'm sure there's a billion clock apps and they are all equally good but this happened to be the one I got off App Store and it functions well enough that I'm not tempted to go searching for another one. I like that the analog clock is an old-school looking clock and that every hour, it will chime like a grandfather clock! The first time I heard it chime took me completely by surprise and I burst out laughing but I sure do like it a lot! There are a bunch of other kinds of clocks, like a project clock, alarm clock and so on, even a metronome. 

Though unrelated with the actual functionality of the app, having an easily visible clock is actually a huge help on my productivity and mental state. I plan little chunks of work in relation to what time it is, like "I have to finish sewing these pair of ears by this time" or "I have to finish this part by the time the clock chimes or I can't go for a coffee break." And when I find myself finishing by my set deadlines, it's really does boost my mental state a lot and helps with any stress I'm feeling over my time pressures.


And of course, other staples include the Mail, Safari and Calculator app that are already on the iPhone/iPad.

So, it really is possible to get through a work day without a computer. Sure there's a lot that I can't do as well that I normally do on a computer. But there's sure a lot of other work that I can get done because I don't have my computer with me. :) 

Posted in Reviews

Auction Rooms and Lux Bites

Posted on February 18, 2012 by eelengchang | 0 Comments

I had an absolutely sinful, over-indulgent day today, filled with wonderful, wonderful food. A friend was visiting from overseas and we had a girls day out. When I say "out" I mean "in", we basically spent the day sitting and chatting at two cafes. 

The first was lunch at Auction Rooms, located in North Melbourne. I'm kicking myself for not taking any photos of the interior. It has a wonderful warehouse feel that's really bright and airy. Recycled industrial materials make up for much of its decor (such as recycled pipes as long, hanging lamps, and exposed ducting throughout) but its made up in such a way that the whole atmosphere is cosy and cheerful. I've got a thing for old warehouses and would kill to have a space like that to set up home/office in. 

I had a latte and a roasted pork belly with fried poached eggs. The pork belly was really yummy, especially the crispy skin!


Then it was onto Toorak Road and Lux Bites. This time I did take the time to photograph the interior, another really lovely shop; white, bright and cute: my current favourite interior theme. 


Prettiest of them all were the desserts! With Valentine's Day just passed, Lux Bites were still stocking Love-themed desserts. We tried 3 big macaron style desserts: Endless Love, Summer Love and Supersize Love, as well as a few of the traditional-sized macarons. There were some really interesting flavours that we couldn't resist trying: Kaya Toast, Ribena Lemonade, PB & J and Bamboo Oolong Tea. My favourite was the PB & J, which was lightly salted and also the Kaya Toast which had a lovely sliver of butter to really bring back memories of eating Kaya Toast for brekkie in Malaysia. 


Its not enough that their shop and dessert looks pretty, even their teas looked pretty:



I definitely recommend both Auction Rooms and Lux Bites if you're in Melbourne City. Both were fairly reasonably priced, the foods were delicious and each had a different but equally beautiful space.

Posted in Photos, Reviews

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