Sunday, November 30, 2008

What was I thinking?

Eer…ok, I have not yet actually completed the soccer quilt for my son, but, already I am starting on a new project? What was I thinking? LOL!

I attended the last class at Quilt Gallery for the Soccer Quilt project last Saturday, 22nd November 2008. I told myself that I was going to take a short break from doing any more large size quilts until the end of the year when I hope to take an extended leave after the Christmas holidays.

I also did not want to start on any new large projects as yet too as I need to mentally prepare myself for the promotions/assessment exams (PTK - Penilaian Tahap Kecekapan ) which I hope to sit for between March to May next year.

Even with that intention in mind however, I was already going through some patchwork & quilting magazines looking for a design I might like for a queen size quilt that I might want to make for my bed. *grin* Gill, the owner of Quilt Gallery, didn’t help to make things easy for me (not to start on a new project) when she was ever so encouraging of my intentions! LOL! But, of course, she also wants to make money out of me! LOL! *wink*

I have long been eyeing this quilt design which was on the cover QUILT SAMPLER Fall/Winter 2008 Issue from the day my eyes caught it online when I was going through the All People Quilt website a couple of months back, and have been looking for the magazine at local bookshops here to see if they carried the magazine. Of course I grabbed it the minute I saw the magazine at BORDERS when I was there about a month ago! LOL!

I have been carrying this magazine everywhere I went since then! LOL! But, ssshhhhh….. don’t tell my boss and mum that I carry a quilt magazine in my ‘oh so very serious’ briefcase! LOL!

Recently, Quilt Gallery restocked its fabric collection, and she brought in quite a lot of very romantic theme cottons, and plenty of PINKS! I felt like buying all the new stock, especially those in PINKS! LOL!

Oopps! Digressing again, am I? LOL!

Anyway, after my class last weekend, with some homework to do to finish off the Soccer Quilt, I seriously took a look at some of the romantic theme cottons that Gill had brought in and could almost picture the queen size quilt on my bed using those cottons at Quilt Gallery. I bet you can guess what happened next, right? LOL!

I came home loaded with seven, yes, SEVEN new fabrics in various lengths as in accordance to the requirements needed to make a queen size quilt in the design on the cover of the QUILT SAMPLER! LOL! What was I thinking! Am I being too overly ambitious here? LOL!

Well, I just hope that I will be able to complete this massive project (by my standard) before my exams, or, I will definitely have to take a long break from it come February. Opps! Gill’s passing the business to her daughter in February and her daughter is not even into quilts! She’s turning the shop into a boutique and tailoring shop of sorts. So sad that my favourite shop is soon closing down……..*sigh*

Anyway, I started my first class for the project yesterday, 29th November 2008. This time, I learnt a new method of cutting the pieces using templates by Marty Michell.

Yeah, I could have cut up the pieces by the conventional method of measuring and drawing up like I did some years ago when I first started out doing patchwork, but, I thought, why not try what’s new in the market. I do, after all, still have dreams of one day opening up my own craft shop, so, I need to know all these latest gadgets in the market, right? *wink* Hmmmmmmm………I shall go on dreaming………… *grin*

The templates were quite easy to use once you get the hang of things, as it came with built-in ¼” seams already. I think I could make work faster once I know how to master the use of the templates.

So, here is the result of my class yesterday……my first block! Doesn’t it make you feel romantic, looking at it? LOL! *wink* Hmmm….I think I shall call this quilt project “In the Mood for LOVE” quilt project. *smile*

I have ten of this block to make. I have 2 other block designs I have to make (look at my notebook in the photo showing my sketch of the quilt design) in 10 and 12 pieces respectively to make up the whole quilt.

That’s a lot of work, right? Yup, definitely, what was I thinking! LOL! Wish me luck!

BTW, here are the other projects that I have been busy doing…..

The fireworks bag which is the November project at Epal, but I am far from completing it as I have not been going to this class at Epal much as I have not been in town much on Sundays (I could only find time to go to the class at Epal on Sundays) while my son is attending a robotics class and my hubby is at the gym).

Here is a photo of me, which is rare, as I hardly like to post photos of myself, taken by Paul, at the recent Stitching Bee showing off my uncompleted Sailboat Quilt. I still have the quilting and the binding to do for this project. This is the October project for my class at Epal. Yup, I am behind in my claases at Epal!

Finally, here is part of the Soccer Quilt project in the process of the binding being sewn, which I might have to hand stitch some parts of it as the machine stitching did not catch the bottom part of the binding.

So many projects that I want to do, but, so little time……

Nothing like mum’s cooking!

My hubby and I were in Kota Bharu last week (from 23rd November - 25th November 2008)to attend a 2 day workshop. We brought along our son and left him with my mum at her house while we attended the workshop at a hotel nearby as our workshop runs from 8.30am to 11.00pm each day.

As we arrived in Kota Bharu early on Sunday (it’s a working day in Kota Bharu), and had some time to spare before the first day of the workshop started in the late evening, I made plans earlier on to have lunch at my mum’s place so that we can savour mum’s home cooking.

It was a simple meal by anybody’s standard, but it was a meal heaven sent to me as I look at all the yummy home cooked food laid out on the table. My mum made ikan masak asam pedas, masak lemak sayur petola, fried chicken, grilled fish, and, of course, my favorite, BUDU with all its accompanimentsterung bakar (grilled eggplant), celur belimbing besi and bendi (boiled starfruit and lady’s fingers), and durian, ! I am even licking my lips as I write this! LOL!

Here’s my sister posing with the tray of budu and its accompaniments.

The rest of the photos show my mum, my youngest brother, my sister, my brother-in-law, my niece and nephew, my son and hubby all enjoying and savouring all the delicious food laid down on the table.

I just simply could not have enough of my mum’s cooking, but had to stop when I started feeling a little bloated like I just added another 10 kg! LOL!

Thanks, Ma, for the delicious spread!

........Lots of photos for the sake of my brother who is in the United States of America, and missing mum's cooking! *wink*

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The longest journey in an uncaring society

I took a flight from Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur recently with my hubby and son, and I felt that it was the longest journey ever, despite the journey being only 55 minutes.

We were a little late in checking in at the airport and was given separate seats in different rows, with my hubby in front, myself in the middle, and my son at the back, all in the middle seat between the aisle seat and the window seat.

When we boarded the airplane, there was already a gentleman (not so gentlemanly after all, actually) seated on the aisle seat next to me. I told a friend who was seated in the next row that my son and I could not get a seat next to each other as the flight was fully booked, and we checked in late despite checking in ONE HOUR before the flight. I was hoping that with that statement the ‘gentlemen’ seated in the aisle seat next to me would kindly offer his seat up for Aiman so that we can be seated together. I was wrong at assuming so. This `gentleman’ instead decided to open up his newspaper, refusing to meet my eyes.

In fact, he kept his eyes on the newspaper throughout the journey, even though several times during the journey, I looked in his direction, hoping to meet his eyes, with the hope of him offering up his seat for my son. He never once lifted his head from the paper that he was reading.

My son was close to tears when I told him, before boarding the airplane, that we will not be able to seat together, but I assured him that I am sure that there will be a kind soul who would kindly offer up his or her seat for a mother and a young child to seat together. I was never more wrong. Unfortunately, we are living in an uncaring society. *sigh*

My hubby said that, to be fair, I should have asked the `gentleman’ if we could have exchanged seats. For all I know, he would have willingly given in. But, I argued that, one, he knew of our situation as I said it quite clearly and loud enough as I was seating my son that we could not get a seat together, and two, I was feeling uneasy and restless throughout the journey, as I kept standing up and looking back after the take off to see if my son is OK, if he had buckled his seat belt, if he wanted a drink and so on as any mother would when her child is not within view of her.

If it was me who was in that aisle seat and noticed the predicament of a mother and child being seated separately, I wouldn’t hesitate and given a second thought of giving up my seat for them to be together. How hard could it be? After all, it was only a 55 minute journey. I have given up my seats even on long haul flights before so that a family can be seated together.

Had I asked, would he have actually given up his seat for me? I am not too sure either actually, as I remember two years ago, when my siblings and I and our families had to buy tickets at the eleventh hour to take a flight back to Kota Bharu when our mum had a heart attack.

There were 9 of us traveling together – 5 adults, and 4 children. We checked in late as we only bought the tickets just hours before our journey. While I managed to get a seat next to my then 6 year old son, my brothers and their children (aged between 8 and 11) were all seated separately.

I managed to get an aisle seat with my son next to me in the middle seat. My nephew, who was 8 years old then, was seated across the aisle from me in the middle seat. There was a lady (not so lady after all *sigh*) seated in the window seat next to my son.

I politely asked her if she would exchange seats with my nephew so that we can all seat together as my nephew was already close to tears when he could not be seated next to his dad who was seated at the very end of the plane.

Her reply? “NO! I had booked this seat!”, and turned away to look out the window. In fact, she kept her eyes out of the window throughout the journey, refusing to meet my eyes in case I might ask her again. I wouldn’t stoop that low and get embarrassed again to someone so uncaring and ‘cruel’. It is just unbelievable and sad that such a person exist in this world and how one can be so uncaring ! *sigh*

I felt sorry for my nephew, and kept assuring him throughout the journey that I am just here from across the aisle from him. After a while, he finally calmed down and took a short nap, just like what my son did on this journey from Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur.

The next time I travel with my son, I am definitely going to pre-book my seats!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thai-panyaki, anyone?

I was in Puchong on Thursday, 20th November, to attend a class at Epal, and decided to have lunch somewhere around the area, for a change, instead of coming back to Subang Jaya, to have lunch at the usual places.

There was this place called Bibi-wok, a thai restaurant that offers All You Can Eat Thai Steamboat, another favourite food of mine. No, I did not have steamboat, unfortunately, as it was no fun eating steamboat just the two of us (my son and I), because I think steamboats are meant to be eaten in a group of at least 3 people.

Anyway, we decided to go for the Thai-panyaki set lunch of Chicken and Squid (for me) and Chicken and Prawns (for my son).

It was served with a rice, thai salad, a bowl of vegetable soup, crackers, and fruits for dessert. It was delicious, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves Thai food with a mix of Japanese.

My son tremendously enjoyed the food, but he was more excited about the place, as it was set up like a Japanese restaurant with Siamese d├ęcor.

He was intrigued with the low table on a platform with a recessed opening underneath the table. So, you are actually sitting on the floor, so to speak, with your legs under the table.

My son actually sat cross legged as he finds it odd to stretch his legs under the table when the table to low. LOL! It was a different experience for him that day, and he just could not sit still in his excitement. Ok, my son never sits still for long anywhere, actually! LOL!

As the food was good, and the ambience nice, I hope to drop by there again someday, this time with my hubby, to try out the All You Can Eat Thai Steamboat. They do have other ala-carte menu for those not into steamboat and teppanyaki.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Breakfast in Kota Bharu, dinner in Kuala Lumpur!

Heheh….nope! It’s not breakfast in Paris, and dinner in London, but, breakfast in Kota Bharu, and dinner in Kuala Lumpur! LOL! But, it sure sounds like I am jet-setting, which, I must say, in a way, I am, but, only in the country! *grin*

One day…one day…..I will be having breakfast in Paris, and dinner in London….you never know! *wink*

Anyway, I was in Kota Bharu on Monday, 17th November, for work, and dropped by my mum’s place for breakfast. She had prepared my favourite dish, Nasi Kerabu Hitam, literally translated to mean Black Herb or Salad Rice. It is actually rice cooked with some sort of herb leaves to make it the colour black. Maybe my mum will tell you the name of the herb leaves used to cook the rice with.

The rice is then mixed with all sorts of fresh herbs, sambal tumis, and budu (anchovy paste). It might not look nor sound that appetizing, but, it actually is really nice! Ask my hubby! Whenever I mention to him that I am going back to Kota Bharu for work, he can already imagine me bringing home nasi kerabu for dinner! Such is the attraction of the Nasi Kerabu! LOL!

My mum did not forget that Nasi Kerabu is also my hubby’s favourite food, and so, after my meeting, when I dropped by my mum’s place to freshen up, she had gotten Nasi Kerabu all packed up for me to bring home for dinner!

Needles to say, dinner was delicious! Thanks, Ma!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Declaring war!

heheh! Did I just catch my hubby's attention with that heading, since he is into everything military? LOL!

Oopps! Before anyone thinks that I am declaring war on my hubby, well, I am not. *grin* I love my hubby to bits, though I am sometimes not good at showing my affection lately, what with work way above my head. I am drowning in work, actually, and so is he.

Oopps! I am digressing again......LOL!

I am declaring war on the lizards that are invading my house. It is getting from bad to worse. They are leaving their `trails' everywhere, despite not having any food exposed anywhere in the house.

My hubby has set up several lizard traps given by our pest control company, but, still, I wake up every morning to find their `trails' and finding them `walking' all over my kitchen counter. Uurrgghhhh! I spend my mornings cleaning things up before I can get breakfast ready. As it is, it's a mad rush to get ready for work. I am getting very impatient already! MAD, in fact!

Today, I am on leave to give my mother-in-law a break from baby-sitting Aiman. I woke up this morning to find a lizard on my dining table. Urrghhh! The table was wiped cleaned the night before and clear of any food except for my hubby's bowl of medicine, which are all wrapped up in plastics.

So, this morning, after breakfast, I set about to declare war on the lizards!

I started spraying this lizard repellant from RIDSECT (a local brand) everywhere on the surface of the walls in the kitchen, and legs of the dining table and opened up the house and switched on all the fans so that there is enough air circulating as the smell of the repellant is so strong.

I just saw a lizard coming out `walking' like a drunken person, trying to breath air! I just hope that is the last I have seen of this pest. I have had enough!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A birthday bag for Eli

It was my sister-in-law’s birthday on 30th October 2008, and I made her a tote bag in her favorite colour, purple about two months ago, with every intention to mail it out in the first week of October. But, as fate would have it, October turned out to be a very hectic month for me. I did not managed to mail out the package until the week of her birthday and it took 10 days before it finally arrived to her on Friday, 7th November 2008, a week late. *sigh* Sorry, Eli!

Anyway, shown above is the front and back of the bag. And as usual, as with all my tote bags, it is reversible.

I simply love the design of the cottons for this bag. For some reason, a combination of purple, green and orange somehow gives me the feeling of Halloween. Could it be because my SIL’s birthday is just before Halloween, and I got attracted to these cottons?

I bought these lovely cottons at SAKURA at SS19, Subang Jaya awhile back and even then I already knew it’s going to be used as a bag for my SIL. *smile*

Eli, I hope you will make full use of the bag and bring it along each time you go shopping, especially shopping at Joann’s! *wink*

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, Eli! Hugs, and take care!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Stashing and recycling

Recently, no, make that two months ago, I made an order at Joann for some craft things. Since Joann does not mail overseas, I had it mailed to my brother in the United States, and my sister-in-law (my brother’s wife) resent everything to me. Thanks, Eli!

Among the things that I bought was the ladybug backing fabric which I had already put together for my son’s Soccer Quilt. The rest of the items were this circular cutter template and blade which cost a bomb here in Malaysia. Even after adding the cost of shipping, it was still cheaper to order them from Joann.

Heheh..I ordered this when I was very much in a scrapbooking mood, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it to start making circular cutouts for my scrapbook. But, by the time these arrived, my interest had already shifted to quilting! LOL! But, I am sure I will get back my scrapbooking mood again very soon should we be doing some traveling during the upcoming school holidays.

No, we are not going overseas, but just maybe holidaying locally, though we have yet to decide where to go. My schedule and my hubby’s schedule at work are already packed to the brim right up until the 1st week of December! So, looks like my son will have to wait a while before we can make any plans to go for a holiday. If you ask him where he wants to go, his answer would be, “To the US to visit Abang Han!” *grin* Abang Han is the son of my brother who’s doing his Masters in Michigan.

Opps! I am digressing again! *grin*

Anyway, back to my stashing, besides the circular template and cutter, I also bought this lovely fabric which I have yet to decide what I want to do with it. Maybe make a bag?

I shared making orders at Joann with Paul, a friend at NNC, to save up on shipping costs, and he is very much into crochet and recently, into tatting. So, when he asked that I help him order some yarns, I could not resist ordering some too as the colours that he chose were all so yummy! LOL!

So, here are my selections. Heheh…don’t ask me yet what I intend to make with them. I just like to have them in my stash for now. *grin*

On another note, while organizing the shelves in my dining room, I found this lovely basket given to us some time back. It was originally filled with some cookies, but was now empty. It was just perfect for my quilting project in progress!

I could put in all the fabric required for the current project I am doing, pins, templates, a small ruler, scissors, roller cutter and any other bits and bobs. Best of all, it has a handle which makes it very easy for me to bring it around to my quilting class!

By the way, thank you, Paul, for these box of buttons! Such lovely colours! I love them!

Whimsy Jar Exchange

My whimsy jar from Lillie for the Whimsy Jar Exchange organized by Tini arrived on Wednesday, 22nd October 2008, but, I was so tied up with work that I did not have time to open it that day. I came home too late and tired that I forgot all about it. On Thursday, I took a very early morning flight to Penang and came home later that day mentally and physically exhausted , and so again, the package was left intact.

On Friday, there was a lot of crisis at work that I couldn’t even steal a peak into the jar, except to take out the jar from the box, and the first thing I exclaimed when I saw it was, “Wow! Oh my gosh! So lovely!”

Lillie had taken the trouble to actually crochet a `dress’ for the jar in colours of pink and dark brown. Really lovely! There was a handmade tag attached to it, and the cover was embellished with a pink flower motif ribbon.

Inside the jar was packed full with lots and lots of goodies packed to the brim! There were ribbons, laces, buttons, beads, felt hearts, flowers, pins, even a tape measure; it was like a treasure trove!

Thank you so much, Lillie! Hugs!

…..and here is my humble jar sent to Ying, my partner in Johor Bharu for this exchange.

It’s a glass jar which was once filled up with yummy strawberry jam. I had to rummage through my kitchen cabinets several time before I finally found this jar which I felt was just the right size for the exchange and satisfied the required size as stated in the exchange guidelines. No, I did not throw away the yummy jam. LOL! It was already emptied of its original content but was used to be filled up with some things. So, I just transferred that into another container.

The fabric I used to cover the cap was a fabric swatch given to me by Emily sometime ago from her furniture shop. See! I recycled! *grin*

Thanks, Emily, for the swatches. They come in really handy when I need to do small things like these!

I sent the jar packed in a little red box to make up for the simplicity of the jar itself. I then bubble wrapped the jar many many times to make sure that it does not break during its journey to Johor Bharu, before I finally packed it up in a thick cardboard box.

Despite all the wrapping, I was still worried that the jar might break as I am unsure if Pos Malaysia will actually take care of the box even after I had written all over the box “FRAGILE. HANDLE WITH CARE”. I am glad that it arrived safely and in one piece.

I hope Ying will enjoy the contents of her whimsy jar.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Soccer Quilt project – the quilting begins…..

With the top done, it is now time to quilt it – hand quilt it!

I asked Gill if I could hand-quilt around the soccer balls, and machine quilt the blocks in the ditch, so that I can learn to hand quilt and machine quilt in one project. She advised me against it, saying that it might not turn out nice, especially since this will be the first time that I am going to quilt a project of this size.

She also said that she has a feeling that I am going to make another quilt in the near future or sooner and can learn machine quilting then. *grin* Somehow, I feel the same way too! LOL! Oopps! Am I being too ambitious again? LOL! *grin*

Anyway, I started to hand quilt the quilt yesterday, and worked a little bit on it today, but had to stop when my finger is starting to feel sore from being poked again and again on the same finger. I did not make that much progress on it today. *sigh*

I wonder how long this hand quilting is going to take me, going by the rate that I am taking to quilt each soccer ball, and whether my fingers can actually withstand all the needle poking! LOL!

Time to look for that thimble I bought some time back!

Here’s a rare shot of me (noticed that I hardly put up photos of myself? *grin* I am camera shy! *wink*) hand quilting the quilt. The photo was taken by Gill herself.

BTW, I thought I should inform you people who frequents Quilt Gallery that Gill’s daughter, Lauren, will be starting out her own tailoring business in February, taking up half the shop lot. Over the next two years, Gill is planning to hand over the rest of the business to Lauren so that she can concentrate on the more spiritual side of things.

Gill mentioned that since Lauren is more keen on tailoring rather than specializing in quilting, the shop (Quilt Gallery) may eventually close down, and be turned totally into Lauren's tailoring business in two year’s time.

I am sad by this news since it is so easy for me to get my stash there whenever I send Aiman to his classes on Saturdays. Also, I love taking sewing classes there during the fasting month, and any other month that I feel like taking any classes there. *sigh* I am going to miss it in 2 years time.

Gill has just made her orders for new fabrics last month, and she said that this will be her last orders of fabric for Quilt Gallery. *sigh*

Dreaming again, am I?

No, not really. This time we had our feet firmly set on the ground when we made a visit to the Show House and sales office of Cahaya SPK, a development in Shah Alam, Selangor.

We, well, rather, I, went there with a more open mind that we would not be able to afford anything just yet, but still we wanted to see what SPK has to offer and how much are their houses are being sold for with the designs that they have to offer.

They were offering two design types – a super link and a semi-detached. The super-link, as they call it, in my opinion, can mislead people to think that they are getting a big house, when in actual fact, they are just getting the standard size house lot of 24’ x 80’, which is even smaller than our present house which is 24’ x 85’.

Why asked why call it a superlink when it isn’t any different than the standard lot, they justify it by saying that you get 5 bedrooms instead of the standard 4 bedrooms in a link house. But, in actual fact, the 5th bedroom is quite small. It is more like a store or utility room, though it can actually fit in a single size bed.

Anyway, we visited the Show Village just to satisfy our curiousity, and yes, dear brother, show houses are sometimes scams, and can mislead you, but, have you forgotten that I have an architectural degree and can read floor plans? LOL! *wink*
I bought my present house without looking at any show houses either, but rather, by reading the plans and imagining the sizes of each room to gauge how big the house will eventually be. I am happy to say that I am very satisfied with our present house, not just for the areas, but for the spaces and the design and layout of the overall plan.

I have always said that most of the houses in USJ are designer doll houses as they are very pretty, though the spaces might be small.

Opps! I have digressed again……sorry!

Back to the visit to the Show Village, I find the superlink house a little small compared to the house we saw at Setia Alam. Well, to be fair, the price of the house at SPK is a lot cheaper, and much closer to what we might be able to afford should we decide we want to buy the house. Oopps! Before my mum gets worried again, no, Ma, don’t worry, we didn’t buy the house. *grin*

However, despite the house being small, my hubby saw some potential in the house, saying that it can be renovated to add more spaces that we need should it be a cornet lot unit. Unfortunately, all the houses have been taken up, except one corner lot, but it is next to a TNB substation.

We have heard from quite a number of people that intruders tend to use substations as a means to trespass into the house next to it. So, I guess that is the reason why that was the only lot not yet taken up.

Next, we visited the show house for the semi-detached, despite knowing that they are all sold out. I just wanted to feel the spaces and get some interior design ideas.

I like the spaces in this house as it has lots of nooks and corners. I especially like the patio with timber flooring. I can almost imagine sitting there drinking afternoon tea there, but my hubby was not too impressed with the back room which was identified in the plan as the maid’s room as it has no natural ventilation. It is more like a store room.

Oh! Oh! Aiman loves this room! Why? Because it has got a huge poster of Transformers! LOL! I can imagine him spending a lot of time in a room decorated like this! *smile*

But, all the houses of this design were all taken up, so, that pretty much decided things for us. *grin*

Noticed that I don’t sound as excited in this posting as I was in my previous posting when I wrote about my dream house in Setia Alam? *grin* Well, to begin with, the house in Cahaya SPK is smaller, and not any better than our present house. Two, how can I be excited about another house when I am still dreaming about the Setia Alam house, especially the huge master bedroom! LOL! I can already imagine sitting in the room by the study table with enough closet spaces around me! LOL!

Oh well…it’s time to dream again……..