Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Small, medium and large projects

I started on Cheryl's Bouquet on 5th August 2007, and on Sunday morning, 28 October 2007, close to 3 months later, I finally completed the piece, after taking so many breaks to do other projects.

I am happy with the colourway that I chose. I think it is very vibrant, and further more, it has my favorite colour, pink, in it! LOL! Combined with green and a brownish yellw makes this piece very vibrant, yet, very sweet.

I am glad to finally put a close to this project, so that I can get on with the other projects I have lined up. Now to claim my threads from BJ! *wink*

It is back to the Drawn Thread Game Board Sampler piece. Not much stitching done on it, but, I am happy with whatever progress I made on this piece since it is a big piece and will definitely take me sometime to complete it.

Another progress to report, I am proud to present to you my second bag I made during my 3rd class and completed it during my 4th class. Guess you know which bag i sgoing to be my favourite bag from now on, huh? *wink*.

I am now onto my 3rd bag.
This next one is a little on formal side in terms of the design. Something I think might come in handy should I one day decide that I want to match my clothes to my bag to the T! LOL! *wink*

Not bad, huh? Now my sis wants a bag too! *grin* It's gonna have to wait awhile, sis, while I try to improve on my method. *grin*

Sunday, October 21, 2007

CrossStitcher reviewed

I must admit that I bought this issue solely for the 2008 calendar that comes with it. There is nothing much in terms of the charts that I like. There are mostly christmas related designs. However, besides the calendar which makes this issue worth buying, it comes with Aida Fabric Buyer's Guide that listed all the colours of 14ct aida which I use a lot for most of my stitching. It makes very easy reference for me since I always wondered if aidas come in this certain orange or brown colour or any other colour to suit the chart that I would like to do.

As usual, the CrossSticher, even though I might not like the designs featured in this particular issue, is always a good read, especially during my travels. I love reading the Letters page, and I like it when they feature the designers. It's nice to know a little bit about the designers, because it can sometimes inspire you.

For those considering whether they should buy this issue or not, here's some of the designs featured:

1. Tatty Teddy by Anchor - a cute wintery design
2. Christmas Card motifs - if you haven't started on your xmas cards yet, its got 3 xmasy motifs to offer
3. Tropical Ponds by Karen Hendry - consist mostly of pastel colours
4. Out of Africa by Dianne Machin - an african women carrying a basket on her head
5. Christmas Angel by Joan Elliot - a really nice design, if only I stitch human figures and angels. Love the rich colours which is typical of Joan Elliot's designs
6. Candy Cane Alphabets by Sam Grover
7. Room with a View by Maria Diaz - I like the way this pieced was finished off with real mini curtain pieces and rods.
8. Partridge in A Pear Tree by Lesley Teare
9. Trick or Treat by DMC
10. Style Diva by Joanne Sanderson - very cutesy and funky. Nice to stitch for little nieces
11. Blast from the past by Diane Machin - retro designs for cards
12. Stitch a Star (Jonny Wilkinson) - sorry, I don't know who he is, so can't comment, but the design in done in sephia

So, are you buying it? *wink*

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mum and Miki

Isn't this photo of my mum with my nephew, Tengku Mikhail (KuMiki) so cute and adorable? *smile*

Miki is one cute boy with his curly hair, and he's smart too despite turning only 4 just 3 days before Hari Raya on the of 10th October, which coincidentally is also my mum's birthday. This year, the date is made even more memorable because it also happens to be the day that Malaysia sent her first man to space. Auspicious, huh?

Miki is my mum's 11th and currently the youngest grandchild. God willing, my mum will be blessed with her 12th grandchild when my sister-in-law delivers either in March or April next year. That makes a dozen grandchildren, huh? Wow!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Missing my brother, sister-in-law, and kids.....

I miss my brother who is doing his Masters in the United States of America this festive season. I miss my niece, Sarah, and nephew, Farhan, and I especially miss my sister-in-law, Eli, as this is usually the best time we meet up and catch up on lost times as we don't always have the luxury of time to chit chat as we are always busy with work. Although we do keep in touch through phonecalls, nothing beats sitting down together to a good chat, and sometimes, a good gossip too! LOL! *wink*

My sister-in-law was working for about 14 odd years (am I correct, Eli?) before she decided to quit her job which she was no longer happy with. The fact that my brother was planning to further his studies overseas just gave her the perfect excuse to quit her job just 2 months prior to my brother leaving for the States.

She had utilised the time to learn how to cook most of my brother's and the kids' favorite malay dishes, so that the kids wouldn't miss malaysian food so much. Looks like all her efforts to learn cooking really paid off well this festive season as she managed to cook up quite a storm looking at the photos she posted at her photoblog. Kudos to her, as she wasn't much of a cook before this. *wink* She deserves a big pat on the back. Hugs, Eli!

Eli Wrote:
Wahh... thanks for the post! We miss you too, we miss Ma's cooking and the family get-together during raya especially catching up with latest gossips. We would change topics from family to relatives to celebrities and its endless. We would eat and eat in between gossip sessions :). Abg Man would crack jokes in between, Nik Ai would be sleeping on Ma's couch after many rounds of satay.. heheh. Chik would make appearances and joined the sessons. Kak Lin would be busy with her laptop and shared online jokes with us. Ayis would be snapping lots and lots of photos. At that time, we just could not be bothered where our kids were... we knew they were safe somewhere... they were also busy 'catching up' with their cousins. Ma would feel blessed and contented to see her children and grandchildren around the house. We miss all of you!

My reply:
Spot on, Eli, especially the part where "Nik Ai would be sleeping on Ma's couch after many rounds of satay.. *grin*

A big happy family......

Well, actually, this photo is missing my youngest sister and younger brother who have left to visit other relatives, while another brother is absent because he is away in the United States of America, doing his Masters, while my youngest brother is in Ireland studying medicine.

This photo shows my girl cousins with their spouses and children, a boy cousin, still single, my eldest sister and her kids, my mum, my hubby and son. No guessing which one is me, but I was not in my finest clothing since it was late, and I was tired from eating too much *grin* and it was already late evening when this photo was taken.

This photo of my son is one I really love. Adorable, isn't he? *wink* Yup, only a mum will say that! LOL! *wink* This photo was taken very much early in the morning before we flew back to Kota Bharu.

Nothing like mum's cooking........

...........to get you all excited about food! LOL! *wink*

I didn’t realize how much I had missed my mum’s cooking until I went home for raya. I wanted to eat everything that she had prepared that I ended up with diarrhea when I came back to Kuala Lumpur after spending 3 ½ days in Kota Bharu.

My mum had prepared satay with peanut sauce which I kept on eating all throughout the day since arriving at 4.30pm on the first day of raya. Yeah, we couldn’t get an earlier flight back as we decided only last minute that we were going to fly back instead of driving. My hubby did not feel like driving back after our last trip from KB to KL for the last raya took us 14 hours to arrive. We started out at 10.00am, but did not arrive till past 1.00am the next day! Can you imagine how restless my son had been throughout the journey, and I had to keep him entertained as my hubby concentrated on driving?

Anyway, back to the food. Besides the satay and `kuah kacang’, My mum also served roti jala and rendang. She also prepared kuzi, another one of my very favorite dish. I practically grew up on kuzi kambing as my late grandmother makes the best kuzi kambing and even though she cooks it often, I never tire of it., and now my mum’s preparing it! Yum! Must get the recipe from her!

On the second day, we made a visit to my uncle’s place in Telung, about 45 minutes journey from Kota Bharu. His place is really lovely because it has its own beach! Great, isn’t it? You can practically go to the beach everyday! My son, niece and nephew had a great time playing in the sand, and I brought my stitching along to stitch as I keep an eye on them. However, I only managed about 15 minutes of stitching as the wind was blowing wildly that my chart almost got blown away!

Again, at my uncle’s place, we had more satay, kuah kacang, and bread dipped in rich kuzi. Yum! Forget about dieting during this festive season! LOL!

For dinner, we had a simple meal by other people’s standard, but it was the best dinner for me in a long time since it was home cooked by my mum. We had plain rice, kuzi, rendang, and the best of all, jeruk mame’, a pickled dish which I don’t know how to explain in English! *grin* Sorry, but, I must tell you, if you haven’t tried it, you don’t know what you are missing! *wink*

On the 3rd day of raya, my mum cooked one of my hubby’s favourite dish, which is Nasi Dagang, complete with Gulai Ikan and sambal cili. More yum! I simply can’t get enough of my mum’s cooking. To top off our visit home, my mum cooked another favourite dish of mine for breakfast which is nasi berlauk, consisting of plain rice, gulai ikan tongkol, and sambal cili. Sounds simple, but it is simply delicious! I am salivating now just writing and thinking about it! Ooohhhhh! Wish I had brought back home some when I came back yesterday. *sigh* I guess I will just have to wait till my mum comes over to KL again then….

Thanks, mum, for preparing all the lovely dishes. Sorry that we got you all exhausted from getting all those dishes ready, but, I must tell you that it was well worth it, because we simply still can’t get enough of it!

BTW, I thought I’d also put up photos of my mum’s garden which is my mum’s pride. She tends to the garden as a means of therapy whenever she’s worried or misses my youngest brother, who is currently studying medicine in Ireland. Isn’t her garden lovely?

a little stitching......

While in Kota Bharu, I managed to put in quite a lot of work into the Cheryl’s Bouquet. Take a look!

I hope to get this done by mid November, so that I can start finishing up the rest of the smalls which I had started and also I miss working on the DT Sampler Game Board which I had to put down in order to concentrate on the LHN SHS.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Selamat Hari Raya

I would like to wish all my muslim friends, family and relatives "Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Maaf zahir batin".

I would also like to congratulate Dr. Sheik Muszaphar Shukor on being given the honour to be the first Malaysian to orbit into space when he was blasted off into outer space from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on Wednesday evening at 7.21pm local time (21.21 Malaysian time).

*note: the raya image was taken from http://www.myspace.com/,
while the image of the Sheikh Muszaphar Shukur (Malaysia), Yuri Malanchenko (Russia) and Peggy Whitson (U.S.) were taken from http://www.astronomynotes.net/2007/10/09/t-minus-22-malaysia-first-astronaut-blasts-off/

A race against time.......

I received the LHN SHS (Little House Needlework Sisterhood Stitching) chart on September 19th 2007, from Lene in Kuching. I have 3 weeks to complete it, after which I would have to pass it on to the next player/stitcher on the list, which, in this case, is Emily (originally it was supposed to be Margeret, but she's currently got her hands full with other commitments).

Since the chart arrived in the middle of the week, I couldn't get started on it until the weekend, September 22nd, thus, losing 3 days already from the time alotted. But, rules are rules, even in stitching.

It was a race against time for me as I was only able to stitch on weekends mostly. On weekdays, after the breaking of fast, I am usually too tired and sleepy to put in even a few stitches. Add to that, on two occasions during the 3 weeks, I had to travel to Terengganu for work. Even though I brought it along with me to Terengganu on my second trip, with the hope to put in a few stitches, but, I ended up not doing much. Lighting in the hotel room was really bad. I ended up with strained eyes trying to stitch in the dim light on the first nite I was there.

I totally gave up on the 2nd nite I was there as I came back to the hotel room very tired after walking around the project site the whole day. I did not want to strain my eyes further. But, I did managed to put in a few stitches the morning before I flew back to Kuala Lumpur as then I stitched right in front of the window! I had to rearrange the furniture in the room though! LOL! *grin*

Yeah, I didn't think it was going to get me all stressed out, considering it is quite a simple, straight forward design. Just my luck that it came just in time for the fasting month, my travelling, and I seem to be making so many mistakes on this one. I have had to frog quite a few times already, the biggest being the alphabets. *sigh*

Yeap, as soon as I had put up photos and progress report on my blog a week ago, I realised that I had made a BIG mistake! I had miscounted the alphabets! All of them! The two whole rows! I miscounted by 6 squares, and my alphabets are almost done! *sob*sniff*

I spent a whole evening after breaking of fast that nite frogging it! But, in order to lessen my frustrations, instead of unpicking stitch by stitch, I decided to just snip off the threads. It's a lot faster though it's wasting thread. But, at least my frustrations are not being prolonged. *grin*

I put in my last sttch at 2.45pm on Sunday, 7th October 2007, 16 days after starting on the chart. I made a few changes to the design, one being the line where my name is. In the original chart, there is a bird in between the name and year. Since I had a long name, even then my name is not complete, I decided to replace the bird with a smaller version of the heart. Instead of stitching in the word 'Year' as in the original, I replaced it with the month I completed the piece, which is October. This way I know when exactly I actualy completed this piece.

Another change I made is to use overdyeds for the alphabets instaed of DMC called for in the chart. I had originally stitched the capital letters using Caron Thread Wildflowers (see previous entry) and the lower case alphabets using Dip & Twist. But, after I had to frog it, and since I was running out of time, I decided to stitch both the upper and lower case alphabets using D&T instead.

I am glad I made that decision, because it really helped me to quicken my stitching pace as I did not need to keep changing my thread colour for every few alphabets as is in the original design. It really helped me get this piece done much sooner, though not fast enough. I was already starting to get stressed out *LOL!*, not only because I was running out of time, but also because Hari Raya is just around the corner, and Malaysia's postal service is known to go haywire during the festive seasons. I was afraid of the chart getting entangled with the greeting cards being mailed out.

I finally sent out the chart to Emily via DROPZONE on Monday, 8th October. She received it safely on 9th October. It was a great relief to finally complete the piece. It was like a big load was lifted off my shoulders ! LOL! Never again......*grin*

I must thank Jean for providing the chart for this Sisterhood Stitching. It's a lovely design despite all the 'stress' that I had to go through! LOL! I have always wanted to stitch a Little House Needlework piece, and I just did! This definitely won't be my last LHN piece, for sure!