"Xing Fu" Begins at Home

Chinese New Year home decorations on full swing this year! I sure am glad I have the house ready to usher in the year of the Goat. No rushing and pushing in Chinatown or thinking day and night about what other ornaments I need as fillers. My hard work was paid off when Ewan came home from school and announced, “Wow! So Nice!”
Do Plum Blossoms and Pussy Willows look good together in one vase? Well, we wouldn’t know until we try! I was going to display the Pussy Willows and Plum Blossoms separately but I could not find a right spot in the house for two vases. Slowly, I put one stalk of Plum Blossom at a time into the Pussy Willow vase and hey! It looks prosperous doesn’t it?

Flowers represent new growth after the long winter and when flowers start to bloom, it signify life and good fortune. Putting together a spray of Plum Blossoms marks courage and hope. Our Pussy Willow is sprouting new shoots and leaves day by day and I am excited to see it in full bloom in a couple of weeks!

Artificial Plum Blossoms from John Little: S$2.90 per stalk

Real Pussy Willows from Ikea: S$8.90 per bunch

Traditions say, “To bring forth good wealth, health and love. Hang symbols of good fortunes on its branches.” I thought about DIY-ing paper cranes, tying red ribbons and hanging mystic knot tassels. Then Metro and Robinson’s collection of hanging ornaments caught my heart. I couldn’t say no to these adorable fabric sewn zodiac signs and bought the animals that symbolised our little family. Each of them comes with a bell that rings the sound of happiness when my children give the branches a tug. 

They are not going to deck the plant up very much so I do need more hanging ornaments! Check these fusion twist of mandarin words out! Aren’t they looking voguish yet carrying the importance of Chinese good fortunes in its characters? They come in green, pink, blue, yellow and red. Daddy chose the yellows for a popping effect.

We got all six characters: 平安 Peace | 吉祥 Prosperity | 健康 Good Health | 感恩 Gratitude | 好运 Good Luck | 幸福 Happiness

Zodiac Signs from Metro & Tangs: S$8.90 per ornament
Chinese Characters from Metro: S$6.00 per ornament


I chewed on the idea of a red door mat that reads: “恭喜发财” but dropped it for a simple paper cutting above the door bell. We are the descendants and are always out visiting our elders. No one really comes over unless we invite our friends for a get-together [and we will this year before we move again!]. Ushering the year of the goat with a tasteful design at such an affordable price.

羊年吉祥 from NTUC and Giant: $2.50 per cutting

Here comes the main design of the house! I thought about this thoroughly back in 2013 when I was preparing the home for the year of the Snake. I want something with longevity and not short-lived. A one-time purchase that can last me through 12 years of Chinese New Year. I walked the atrium of Vivo City where festive stalls were set up for mommies like me! I bought two sets of zodiac paper cuttings in red and black i.e 24 pieces in total with the same animal in two different colours. Every year, I will put the black paper cuttings up and highlight that year’s animal sign in red. It will circle around a large embroidered phoenix and dragon ornament characterised into a 福. That was how I envisioned the wall of my dining room to be and I went ahead to materialise it.

Zodiac Paper Cutting and 福 from Vivo City Chinese New Year Fair
from 27 Jan to 27 Feb, 2015

春联 is used only during the Chinese New Year as part of its celebration. It comprises of a couplet written on vertical strips of red paper in the best calligraphic style one can muster. The first (called upper) line is posted on the right side of the front door. The second (called lower) line is posted on the left side of the front door. In addition, a third horizontal piece may be posted across and on top the door. Typically, the couplet writes a happy, hopeful, uplifting message about a better New Year to come. However, I prefer to place it in a more prominent place for my own visual enjoyment. Otherwise, I’ll only get to see it when I get home!

Our first couplet was written based on Meyer’s, Ewan’s and my names. Together with our Chinese zodiac signs, the master came up with this.

Meyer: 杨瑞祥 | 鸡 |Left Couplet
May: 梁媚 |鸡 |Top Couplet
Ewan: 杨亿文 |龙 |Right Couplet

With Faye joining us for her first Chinese New Year, I decided to have our couplet updated to include her.

Faye: 杨婧霏 | 马

This year, the calligraphy master at Vivo City’s Chinese New Year Fair is a different person. I was a tad disappointed because 2013’s personalised couplet blew me away with beautiful penmanship and meaning. Nevertheless, I got a charming set of poetry with all our names included: 婧霏, 亿文, 瑞祥, 媚. Can you figure it out?

As usual, I took the top line. Faye and Ewan’s zodiac sign, together with Daddy’s name created the first line (right couplet). The second line (left couplet) included every character of my children’s names. I love it but comparing the two penmanship, don’t you agree that 2013’s master writes better? But I cannot deny that this calligraphy master came up with a very graceful couplet.

Calligraphy Master from Vivo City Chinese New Year Fair: S$40 for 2 lines
from 27 Jan to 27 Feb, 2015

Remember how we grew up with the dragon and lion dance troupes dong dong cheng-ing their way into our neighbourhood? It was such a sight and we were always plugging our ears with our tiny fingers to cushion off the deafening cymbals. I loved the vibrancy of Chinese New Year in yesteryears. Today, we still see some of them but the tradition is not as esteemed as before. It is believed to bring forth prosperity and ward off evil if you must know? I couldn’t resist buying this lion head for Ewan to play with. I hope to remind him of some traditional Chinese culture should it get lost in time.

Chinese Lion Toy from Chiantown: $12.00

I must be a SuperMom to own two ever-smiling children while keeping the house looking like a showroom. I must be the envy of many households and daddies will go, “See? Look at May’s home! She is a SAHM, keeps the house clean and children happy!”

AH HA! What you do not know is, while you are feasting your eyes on these awesome pictures, the house was a mess in the background! I’ve got the dining chairs pushed into the kitchen, the play mat chucked to one corner and the toys filling into any empty space that’s out of the camera frame. Meyer came home and went, “Whatever happened here!”

“Erm… I just did a photoshoot for the kids?”

I received some comments from friends over a dinner about how capable a woman I am. They’ve seen my photographs on social medias – my children, my home and even myself are looking extremely good. Until my husband shared his laments over the table that shook the daylights out of them,

You people look at the pictures my wife posts on Facebook and go
“Wow! What a capable mom! Nice pics, great looking kids, beautiful house” 
you don’t know what’s outside the picture frame! 
It’s a whole lot of mess pushed aside for one nice photograph! 

When I leave the Home for work, it is Messy
When I come Home from work, it gets Messier

It sure made many eyes open wide in disbelief but it is true! I am no SuperMom? I am just a mother who puts her priority in keeping her children alive! *hahahha* Whatever mess there is shall wait. I am apologetic towards my husband who is an orderly person. At the same time, I am grateful that he has such humour and totally supportive of my way of “order”. Ya…. I enjoy photography and that comes before cleaning up *Woops*

Oh! Before I end this post, allow me to share something really cute with you. When I Was Four is selling 春莲 pin sets at S$21.80. Comes in 3 different greetings:
1. 春回大地,福满人间
2. 年年如意,岁岁平安
3. 八路进宝,四方来财

I bought us this for the first day of Chinese New Year!

Ewan and Faye are dressed in Elly – Size 3 and 1 respectively. Thank you for designing this year’s amazing collection. #ellyloves will be the top trending hashtag this Chinese New Year!

A stay at home mum, blogging to widen her social life. We want to echo the sound of love through our lives to inspire other mothers alike.