Wednesday, December 27, 2006

In the mood for motifs

I know I should be spring cleaning the house over the long weekend, taking advantage of the long christmas break, and yes, I managed to get a couple of days off too. *grin*

Instead, I suddenly got smitten (how many times this last week did I get smitten? LOL! *wink*) by the crochet bug again, when I went over to Lily's Handicraft at Subang Parade on Tuesday to see what type of yarns do they carry. I have been wanting to buy some variegated threads and yarns, but have yet to find them in the colours that I like at the local needlecraft shops which I had visited in the last week or so.

As I entered Lily's Handicraft, on the counter was a motif crochet book. The cover alone was tempting enough for me to pick it up and browse through it. It contained more than 200 small motifs, and all the charts are drawn, not written! That was not all that I like about the book. Ever since I saw some beautiful tatted laces at Faizon's blog, I have been wanting to try combining colours in my crochet pieces.

Before this, I have always done my pieces in monochrome, not daring to mix colours because I wasn't sure how it will turn out. This book had quite a number of the motifs where a combination of colours were used. I got excited and could not stop flipping through the pages!

Yeap, you guessed it! I bought the book! LOL! *blush* I just had to try some, if not all the motifs in the book. Most of them are so beautiful!

So, today, instead of continuing cleaning up and organising the house (heck, I have been cleaning up the house since christmas day! I need a break! LOL! *wink*), I tried out some of the patterns!

As you can see here, I have tried six motifs! I like the green and the purple laces the most. They are so tiny (the smallest being only 1.5" x 1.5" - the pink & cream lace, the biggest measuring only 2.25" x 2.25" - the blue and cream lace) and some are so intricate to do, that I almost gave up on two of them, but, perseveared because I wanted to see the outcome.

Now that I have done 6, I want to do more, only I don't know what should I do with all these small little motifs. Maybe someone can give me some suggestions? Should I do many pieces of the same motifs and put them together, making them into doilies? I actually prefer making doilies that containes one big piece of motif, instead of several small motifs. Maybe if I see some examples of small motifs combined together, I can picture it better, and gives me more confidence to proceed making more motifs. Until then, I am just going to keep on trying out some more small motifs.

Maybe I should take upon Faizon's 25 Motif Challenge? *wink*

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Pink and Blue

Last night, I made a bracelet for my niece who turned 12 on 19th December, 2006. Yup, kind of a belated birthday gift, but, the usual excuse is that, I have been busy. *grin*

Anyway, back to the bracelet, it is really nothing great, other than the fact that this is my first attempt at making a bracelet, and I really like the end result of this bracelet. I made her a handhone bracelet too in matching colour and design to be placed in a cute Strawberry Shortcake box that I bought at a gift shop. I don't know if she will be able to appreciate the handmade gift made by her Che' Za, as I am known to my nieces and nephews, but, I had enjoyed making them.

So happy was I with the way it the bracelet I made for my niece turned out that I decided to make one for myself too, but, of course in a different design. I even made a matching earrings to go with it. I can't wait to wear them with my blue attire for work! *wink*

BTW, I went out to buy myself a beading measuring board/tray or whatever you may call it. The packing did not state the name of the tray. I bought my mom one too since she has joined me in this craze. It has made measuring the length of bracelets a lot easier, and soon, I hope to make myself some necklaces too! I will definitely put up some photos when I do!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

my grannies....

Well, not my grandmother (I do miss her, though), but, rather, the square one - crocheted granny squares. *wink*

I have been wanting to crochet granny squares for quite some time, but could not find a drawn instructions anywhere, online nor in books. I am rather intimidated with written crochet instructions, but, because I wanted so much to try out doing granny squares after seeing some very lovely granny squares at PATTY'S GRANNY SQUARE COLLECTION , I decided to give the one I found at JPF Club a go.

I must say that initially trying to understand the abbreviations used was quite a task, not to mention, frustrating. I actually started out trying to do a coaster (another item I have been wanting to crochet) I found at Handcrafting with Love. But I could not make out most parts of the instructions, and after a couple of attempts, I abandoned the coaster project and tried out the granny squares. I must say that the instructions were far easier to understand, and I managed to complete my 1st ever granny squares (top piece) in less than 30 minutes! Yup, I know that's way too long a time, but, you have to remember that this is also my first time reading a wriiten instructions. So, I'll give myself a pat on the back for this 1st attempt. LOL! *wink*

Yeah, I know this is pretty much the very basic granny squares. Nothing really great in terms of design about this granny, but, I am happy none the less, and want to share my excitement with my crafting friends. *wink*

The piece at the bottom is my 2nd attempt at making colour changes after I have gained more confidence in doing up the grannies. I hope to learn the variation ones like the one at PATTY'S GRANNY SQUARE COLLECTION if only I know where to find the instruction for them, or shall I get creative and try out my own designs? *wink* Maybe........

Look out for more progress at this page! *wink*

Sunday, December 17, 2006

5 Mini Challenge update & others

It's been so long since I last put up any progress on my 5 Mini Challenge because I have been so busy. I come back home too tired to do any stitching. Anyway, I managed to get my "BLESS OUR HOME" piece finally framed up, and had just taken it from the framers last week. I like my choice of frame. Looks very woody and matches the writing on the stitching piece almost to a T.

Don't ask me yet where am I going to put up this piece. *grin* I still have a few other framed pieces which are just leaning against the wall on my work table in the stitching room, while I try to decided where to put them up. Doesn't that tell you that I am running out of wall spaces? LOL! *wink*

I also finally had my frog piece framed too. I wish I could have sent this piece to Penang for framing, then Mr Lim could have done some punched motifs on the mount to make the piece even nicer.

However, I still like the framing, though the mount turned out darker than the one I thought I had chosen. Oh well.....

While waiting for my son to finish his art class on Saturday, I managed to get in some one hour of stitching time on my EMS Needlebook. I am quite pleased with the progress, considering that I have not worked on it for more than a week already.

This is it for now. I hope to report on all the finished product for the 5 Mini Challenge by next week. I am hoping to be able to get a couple of days off after christmas to do some spring cleaning, which is way overdue, and hopefully try to fit in some stitching time too. I am praying hard that my boss is not going to have me cancel that leave. Wish me luck! *wink*

The bead bug is back!

....and I have my mom to `blame' for that! *wink* LOL!

My mom got me into beading again while she stayed at my house for a few days last week. She either got bored, or was just simply looking for something to do while I was at work. *grin* She was amazed at the collection of beads that I have, and asked what do I do with all those beads. When I showed her the handphone/scissor bracelets that I did, she immediately asked that I teach her how to do them. She immediately caught the bead bug, and that got her addicted! LOL! While I was at work, she 'ransacked' my bead box and made quite a few for herself, and they were quite nice ones too! She has now adorned a few of her handbags with the bracelets, putting them at the zipper of the bags. Now, why didn't I think of that? LOL!

She also browsed my bead book, and wanted to do some earrings, something I, myself had never even tried. I took her to Brenda's (Mayfair, Taipan) to buy the things she needed, and Brenda gave her some tips.

The next day she made me a very nice pair of earrings. Thanks, mom! Eventhough they were simple, I still got quite a number of compliments from friends at work when I wore it the next day. That kind of got me interested to try making some myself, so, on Friday, lunch time, I made a quick dash to Yee's (my morning meeting ended so late, that I had to rush, because I had another meeting in the afternoon) to buy some beads and earring findings. Not that I actually needed anymore beads! LOL! My mum says that my bead stash is like as if I am opening up a craft shop! *wink* That's actually an exaggeration on my mum's part, really! *grin*

Actually I tried making an earring out of the stash bead that I already have, but they were the light ones (read: cheap! LOL!) meant more for making scissor fob/ handphone bracelets. For earrings, bracelets and necklaces, I wud need the heavier type ones (read: expensive ones! *grin*) so that they fall nicely when you wear them, like the ones my mum bought at Brenda's.

Did I actually made any earrings upon coming home that day? Nope, I ended up making more scissor fobs/ handphone bracelets! LOL! Why? I could not decide the design for the earrings, and since I bought very few earring findings which was only enough to make only 2 pairs of earrings, I became very indecisive. So typical of geminians! Very fickle minded! LOL! *grin* So, it's scissor fobs/handphone bracelets for now. I am planning to give them away to some very close friends, thus, I decided to snap some photos to keep record of some of the designs that I have made, not that I will be doing the same design twice, but, it will inspire me to try out other designs when I look at what I have already made.

By the way, the beading tray that you see in the photo? That's an original in the sense that I made it up myself using a plain beading tray which I had bought some time back online. For the beading surface to pin the ends of the scissor fob or any other items I am making, for ease of working, I had used a recycled styrofoam board I got when I bought a water boiler a few months back, and wrapped it up in felt material which I had bought at QG last week.

The plastic box to put in my beads are also recycled containers, which was previously used to put in raya cookies, which was given to me by some friends. Looks nice, huh? *wink* I just made it last night, and since then, it has made my beading work a lot easier. I don't loose as many beads and findings as I used to when they start rolling off the table! LOL!

Monday, December 11, 2006

I am mad with........... boss today. I have never been this mad with my boss in my entire 21 years of working. I have had good bosses before this, or rather; I have been able to tolerate or accept most of my previous boss’ demands about work. I am a hardworking person, and have never said no to work. I am capable of doing a lot of things and, even if I am not, I take the trouble to learn to get whatever job assigned to me, done correctly and well. I am a perfectionist. I would rather not do something if I can’t do it perfectly. But, then again, I never say no to work, so I thrive to do everything perfect, or at least 99% of the time, it is almost perfect. Well, perfect in my book, and perfect to most people, and I am not boasting, for I have a reputation that says, “If you want a job well done, gave it to Nik. She will deliver”.

I am serious about my work, and nothing satisfies me more than to deliver the job assigned to me with the best of my abilities, and to have my boss tell me that I should put work first ahead of my career advancement and family matters infuriates me.

How many times have I had to cancel my leave to spend time with my family and to settle family matters only to be called by her asking me to come back to work because there is a meeting that I HAVE TO ATTEND because she does not want to attend it because, she knows nothing about the project! Hello! Who is the boss here? Shouldn’t bosses know about the projects they are handling/managing?

Even when it comes to high level meetings where most of the members of the meetings are very senior managers, and the meetings are chaired by the Director General, Secretary General or the Ministers, she would conveniently be outstation, and I have no choice but to attend the meeting on her behalf. Urrgghh! That irks me! It is great that all these senior people in the government knows me by name because I have attended quite a few meetings in place of my boss, but, that is beside the point. My boss might as well promote me quickly, and I will be more than happy to attend all those meetings that she has been avoiding all this while.

I am supposed to attend a two day seminar, starting today, on Integrity in Management which I consider a step towards my career advancement. I have always felt that I need to attend these kinds of seminars and courses to better myself, in preparation for a better future, and hopefully, make me a good manager and leader. Certainly I hope I will be a far better manager than my current boss is, or, is she really a manager to begin with? She has so far pushed everything to me. Or, is that what managers do? Push everything to their middle managers to handle the big things while they handle things which are irrelevant?

I have an important meeting this afternoon with the Federal Secretary General of Sarawak at the Prime Minister’s Department (JPM). He is coming all the way from Kuching to discuss project details with us. Even though I will be attending the management seminar, I informed my boss that I will be in the office in the afternoon to attend the all important meeting with the Secretary General of JPM. Looking at the seminar itinery, I will be missing an important topic on Business Integrity Management System, but, for the sake of the project, I have to make the choice and sacrifies. There will be a second part on the second day, so, I hope that I will still be able to catch up on what I will miss on the first day of the seminar.

On Friday last week, she directed me to attend a project meeting in Melaka to be held on Tuesday, 12 December 2006, to be chaired by the Chief Minister of Melaka. The letter stated that the meeting is to be attended by the principal architect of the project team, meaning my Director, or, in his absence, my boss. My Director is away performing his Haj. Automatically, that makes my boss the principal architect during his absence. As you can guess, she refuses to go, saying that I am in a better position to go since I know more about the project. READ: She knows nothing about the project because she never took the trouble to know about the project.

When I told her that I will be attending the seminar for two days which included the day of the meeting itself, she told me that I should place priority on work first, than my career advancement. Hello! Am I the principal architect here? How many times have I had to cancel my leave or miss out on good and important courses because of work? Work never ends. It just keeps on coming. I just have to prioritize.

Whenever I have to take leave to attend to family matters or go for a course, I always make sure that I settle everything first that needs to be settled, or, at least prepare my Architects in the event that important matters crops up during my absence. I consider myself a responsible manager, and wouldn’t put any of my Architects in a difficult situation where they would have to be called by senior managers to answer important questions or queries. My Architects are free to call me on my handphone anytime should they need to consult me on anything with regards to work eventhough I am on leave or attending a course.

For my boss to say that I am putting my family and career advancement ahead of my work, after all the sacrifieses that I have done, really infuriates me. Hasn’t she realised till today how much I have sacrified in the name of work? Even when my son is sick and on that day there is an important meeting, I would come to the office just to attend the meeting, leaving my sick son in the care of my sick MIL, praying hard that my son and MIL will be OK as I attend to this so called meeting that is more important than my family.

Every time my son is sick, and I have to leave him in the care of my MIL, all in the name of work, I feel sick in the heart. My son is only 6 years old. He needs his mummy to take care of him. Even though my MIL is more than happy to care for him, she is not well herself to be taking care of a sick child, and my son is prone to high fevers which can be nerve wrecking at times when the temperature shoots up to 40 degrees within split seconds when just before that it was just 37 degrees.

My boss could have attended this meeting in Melaka if she is responsible enough. If she does not know much about the project, my Architect could accompany her to help her in answering questions posted by the Chief Minister. Instead, she prefers that I not attend the seminar but attend this meeting in place of her.

When I requested that she nominates someone else to attend the seminar in my place since everything has been paid for, can you guess what her answer was?

I never told you not to attend the seminar, I just told you to attend the meeting in Melaka”. Hello! As it is, I am already not attending the afternoon session of the seminar on Monday, since I have a meeting with the Secretary General of JPM, which by the way, she should be chairing, but, she is leaving it to me to take the chair. I have to leave for Melaka on Tuesday at 10.00 am since the meeting is going to be in the afternoon, leaving me with no time to attend the second day of the seminar. And she said that she never told me not to attend the seminar? Hello! Anybody home in that head of hers? Doesn’t she get it that eventually I will ONLY be attending the morning session on Monday of the seminar? I might as well not attend the seminar at all, thus my request that she nominate someone else in my place. *sigh* I give up! But, I am still MAD with her!

If it was I that did not want to attend the seminar because something had cropped up, it would be my responsibility to get someone to replace me. But, in this case, since she was the one who instructed me to attend this and that meeting, then she should be responsible to nominate someone else to take over my place since her intructions to me to attend the Melaka meeting came in so late on Friday.

If it was my Architect that I had asked to attend a meeting and he or she is to attend a course or seminar at the same time, I would have been responsible enough to get someone to replace her or him. But, that is me, and by the way, had the course been one that is important to my Architect’s career advancement, I would not stop my Architect from attending, and I would attend the meeting myself, but ask that my Architect brief me first on issues arising before he or she leaves for the course. *sigh*

I guess I just have to live with a difficult and demanding boss for now. I am not the only one who has been constantly complaining about her. There are many others, even those who are not even her subordinates are complaining about her.

I hope my promotion will come soon so that I no longer have to be under her `rule’. *grin*

For now, I’ll just have to be more patient………………

Ohh….did I tell you that she intends to freeze all our leaves till the end of the year? Yes, we have projects that needs to be tendered out by the 1st week of January 2007, but, as far as my projects are concerned, we are on track, and taking leave for a few days at the end of the year has all been taken into account and will not jeopardize our schedule.

Most of us agree that the only reason why she intends to freeze our leave is because she is afraid that there will be meetings she has to attend during our leave which she knows nothing of the project. Hello! Isn’t that is what bosses are supposed to do? Attend project meetings they are managing and aren’t bosses supposed to know about the projects they are managing? I give up! *sigh*

Friday, December 08, 2006

An outing with a stitching friend

I took leave to day to settle my son's school matters, and run some other errands as well. I was done earlier than I expected and decided to give Cheeze, a stitching friend from the MYS a call to see if she is free for lunch. I needed to pass on to her the mini furniture I bought at Nilai 3.

I am bad at driving to places I am unfamiliar with, and her apartment in the area of Desa Pandan is like foreign country to me! LOL! She offered to meet me at Great Eastern Mall, but with 3 small kids, ranging in age from 1 years to 5 years, it wud have been inconvenient for her, so, I told her that I will attempt a drive to her area, guided by her directions. Heheh.......what was I thinking! LOL!

I was in Kota Damansara in the morning, and my familar route wud have to be to go thru KL town, take Jln Sultan Ismail and onto Jln Ampang to get to Desa Pandan. But, I thought I would be a little bit more adventurous today as I drove out of Mutiara Damasara and saw a signboard that reads "AMPANG".

Hmmm..ok, maybe I'll give this a try. In my mind, I thot that if I were to go to Ampang via the town, it would be further and longer with the jam, considering it was close to lunch time. Little did I know tht by going to Ampang via Kepong and MRR2 wud take me half way round KL! LOL!

I kept looking out for the signage that read AMPANG, and my confidence was boosted that I am going to get there in no time! Duh!

I panicked when I drew closer to Batu Caves and cud no longer find the signage that says AMPANG! LOL! This area is definitely alien to me! Opps! I suddenly realised that I cud be lost! LOL! But, I plodded on, hoping at every kilometer that there will be a signage that says AMPANG. I never found one until I had almost come to Zoo Negara. Phew! I heaved a sigh of relieve! LOL! I am hopeless, huh, when it come to driving at unfamilair places? LOL!

Well, I eventually found the place after calling Cheeze like 6 times? LOL! She must have been shaking her head in amusement. *grin*

After picking up Cheeze and her kids, we headed 4 Great Eastern Mall for lunch and a chat up. I brought along some of my finished and WIP pieces to show off to her. *grin* Understandably, with small kids and the short notice given to her (sorry, Cheeze, for the short notice), she cud not pack anything to show me except for a cute dress for her cute teddy bear.

I think we would probably have stayed longer had our kids not started getting restless, and started running around the whole restaurant, screaming in excitement at the top of their voices! LOL! Well, I too had to make my way back before the traffic jam starts as office people started leaving 4 home.

When I dropped off Cheeze and her kids, I stayed awhile at her house to see some of her finished pieces. I must say that she has quite a number of lovely pieces, especailly a piece by JCS.

I got a peak at Cheeze's 4-patch pincushion exchang she is doing at MYS, and also a personal tutorial on how to do the pincushion. I now have a better idea on how to do it. I learnt a few other things too and got some good tips from Cheeze on how to do a pincushion.

She showed me some japanese and chinese books on finishing and all are so inspiring! What I like most is the french mag June bought for her when June went to Paris recently. All the charts in there are so lovely! I wish I had asked June to buy me one too! *wink* Hint! Hint! LOL!

I had a great time, and would have wanted to stay longer, but, it was getting late. My son got so comfortable playing with Hanie & Shasha, Cheeze's daughters, that he did not want to go home and wanted to spend the nite at Cheeze's! LOL! *blush* I am embarassed! My son wants to stay on at a girl's house! LOL! *wink* Opps! I'd better keep a close eye on him! *grin*

Cheeze gave me a lovely fat quarter blue cotton. I am going to have to find an excuse to use that piece! *grin*

Thanks, Cheeze, for a lovely afternoon.
Hope we can do it again soon.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ouch! That hurts!

It was a testing week for me last week. I had a mouth full of ulcers. I think I had like about five or six of them, but the worst is the one on the tongue. I had it since last Monday, and I think they are due to stress at work. It was a week of running from meetings to meetings.

Can you imagine that I was chairing meetings all week last week with my mouth full of ulcers? *grin* There were times when it got so frustrating because I cud not be understood due to the ulcer on the tongue and had to repeat my question, which makes it even more painful, I kept hitting the sides of my cheeks which also had ulcers! LOL! *grin*

I had taken dosages of antibiotic and pain killers since Friday, but to no effect. It got so painful at times, that it became annoying. On Sunday, my hubby went out to get some chinese herbal medicine. Took a dose that nite and went to bed hoping to see some good results by the next day.

I woke up the next morning, still feeling frustrated because the pain was still there. But, as the day passed by, came lunch time, I realised that I didn't need to wet my mouth so much, and I could eat better. It must also be because of the amount of ice cream I had late the night before! LOL! Very bad for the waistline this ulcers, but, oooh, the ice cream was so good (the taste, ofcourse) and so cooling to the mouth! LOL!

Actually I think I cud hv lost a few milligrams, NOTE*: not kilograms (LOL!) of weight, because, due to the pain, I did not have much of an appetite, and have been eating Roti Kaya lunch time all week last week! LOL!

I went to get another dose of the chinese herbal medicine today. I am feeling so much better. Thanks to all my friends who have wished me a speedy recovery.

While I was feeling down and in pain, I managed to surfed the net looking for some information about mouth ulcers. I was beginning to get worried when, after a week of cringing in pain, the ulcers still did not subside even after a week's dose of antibiotics and painkillers. My doctor had said that it could lead to further complications if they do not subside by Monday and would refer me to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Troat) Specialist. That got me scared.

While surfing, I came across this board:

Going through the featured articles eased my worries to some extend, and made me realised that mouth ulcers are quite common, and I am not alone. I just needed to be patient, and have faith in God that these are one of those trying times.

By the way, while I was down with mouth ulcers, the house was kind of quiet because I could not talk much. When I mentioned that to a friend, she corrected me and said that the house was quiet not because I could not talk, but because I could not scold my son whenever he misbehaves! LOL!

Well, it must have been my son's week to be free from being me, at least....but....the father is still, I would sign language my hubby whenever he misbehaves and hubby wud takeover from there! LOL! *wink*

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It's huge!

I made up EMS' pincushion yesterday into a biscornus, and it is huge! The pattern calls for it to be stitched on either a 16ct aida or 32 ct evenweave/linen. I stitched mine on 16ct aida. Even as I stitched it, I thot it was going to be kind of big for a pincushion, but I went ahead to finish it. In fact, I did it in two alternate colours like what I had put up in my blog some time back.

I had hoped that by turning it into a biscornus, with the corners turned down, it wud be smaller, but, no, it is still huge! Too huge for a pincushion/biscornus, in fact! Like a giant pincushion measuring 4"x4"! LOL! I think I cud stick more than 20 needles on it at the same time!

Note: Thanks, everyone, for your comments and compliments! I sure appreciate them all. *smile*

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Got the crochet bug!

I suddenly got bitten by the crochet bug after looking at so many lovely works by members of NNC. Oopps! My mum is going to say, "Oh no! Not another hobby!" LOL!

Since I could no longer find my old crochet hook and thread, I dropped by Brenda's Mayfair shop in Taipan USJ on Friday to check out what she has. Unfortunately, Brenda wasn't around because I wanted to ask her some questions about the size of the crochet hook that would go with the crochet thread that she stocks. Her sales assistant was not of much help. I think they are just sales girls not the least bit interested in the needlecraft, because every question I asked was replied with a shrug. Bad for the business, actually, I think.

I left with only buying a DMC815 which I was running out after using a whole skein for my EMS pincushion to be. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I made my way to Evergreen at SS14, Subang Jaya and, yippee! I bought my DMC Senso Rainbow Cotton thread! The downside of this thread? It's thick, a size 3, and probably wouldn't be good for doing delicate lacework, but I bought it anyway, coz I wanted to give it a try. I also bought an MINLON brand thread, though I don't know the size of the thread, but, I think it looks like a size 10.

Tried I did! Hehehe....I haven't lost the skill to crochet even though the last time I did any crochetting was probably in my teens! LOL! Anyway, I think I am not liking the effect of using this DMC Senso, because my doily does not look as if it is going to look like a delicate piece of work. Lacework is supposed to look delicate. I think I might abandon this piece and start over with the size 10 thread I bought together with the DMC Senso.

I can't very well throw away the DMC Senso because it was kind of expensive compared to the MINLON brand, and I simply love the colour. I might use it to do a coaster perhaps. I haven't actually decided yet.

BTW, here is a doily piece which Usha gave to me more than a year ago, but, only now I remembered to take a photo of it to put it up in my blog. Thanks, Usha, for the lovely piece!