Friday, August 29, 2008

One bag, two looks

I wanted to make Margaret a tote bag for her birthday which falls on 22nd August, and when I was going through my fabric stash and found this Christmas fabric of Santa on his sledge, I knew it would be just perfect for her, since it’s maroon, Margaret’s favourite colour. I also found a matching maroon paisley fabric which would go very well with the Christmas fabric.

I completed this bag more than a month ago, and thought that I would mail it out just in time for her birthday, but, as fate would have it, I was simply too busy to drop by the post office until the day after her birthday. Sorry that you received it late, MW, but I hope that you will have a great time shopping for lots of stash with the bag. *wink*

As you can see from the photos, they are reversible, and Margaret can use the christmasy fabric when she’s going Christmas shopping, and turn it over when she’s just going out for her normal stash shopping. I think she’s going to have the paisley fabric side for most part of the year, if not all year through, as Margaret goes stash shopping all year round. *wink*

I am flattered that Margaret’s sister said that she could not believe that I had made the bag. I take that as a compliment that she thinks that my bag is as good as one made commercially. *wink*

It was also Anna’s birthday on 21st August, and I was her Birthday Exchange partner for the Birthday Exchange at NNC organized by BJ. I completed this bag much earlier than the bag I made for Margaret. I had planned on mailing this out a week before her birthday, but, again, a trip to the post office kept being put off when I simply could not find time out from work. When I eventually did find the time, I realized that I did not have Anna’s address, LOL! so, it was a desperate late night sms to Margaret to get her address, but Margaret was already on her way to dream land! LOL! Sorry to have smsed you so late and disturbing your beauty sleep, Margaret!

I eventually got Anna’s address from Usha’s earlier email to me as I was also Anna’s partner for the Tea Coaster Exchange organized by Usha awhile back.

Very sorry for the delay, Anna, but, I hope that it was worth the wait. *wink*

At the very same time that I made a bag for Anna, I also made a tote bag for my sister in Kota Bharu who celebrated her birthday on 26th July. Her favourite colour is maroon, and she loves cats, so, I thought that this fabric is just perfect for her. Some of you might remember that this fabric I had also used to make the quilt cover for Aiman. *wink*

Yeah, she received her birthday a month late since I procrastinated to go to the post office! LOL!

My sister actually asked for a crocheted shawl for her birthday when she saw the crocheted pouch I made for my older sister. But, had I made that for her, she would have had to wait for next year before she would be able to get any handmade birthday presents from me! LOL!

I received another compliment when my niece (my sister’s daughter) refused to believe that I had actually made the bag myself. She insisted that it was store bought!

*smile* Does this mean that I can now introduce my own line of “AZNIQUE” bags? *wink* Anyone interested? *wink*

Friday's here, at last!

This week feels like it is so long. I felt like as if Friday is never coming! LOL!

It had been a very stressful week for me, what with the heavy work load, problems on site, arrogant security guards, and terrible traffic jams.

I was late FIVE times this month! I have never been late this many times before. In fact, I am hardly late for work. If ever I am late, it could because of emergency at home, my car gave me problems or my son decided to throw a tantrum in the morning. LOL! But, it’s hardly that this happens, so, being late 5 times is really bad for my record! LOL!

First, I was late TWICE this month because one of the staff forgot to return the office keys to the security desk on both occasions when he was the last one to leave the office. Despite having the spare keys, the security guards refused to open the door until after 8.30am because he said that we should be punished for not returning the keys. Can you believe this? In the mean time, he went to the canteen and had his breakfast! Doesn’t that get you mad? Uurrghhh! I made a complaint to the relevant parties. Who does he think he is?

Secondly, I was late three days in a row when the rehearsals for the Merdeka celebration caused a huge traffic congestion along all major roads leading to the Dataran Merdeka. I have no other way of going to my office but the way that leads to the Dataran. *sigh*

What gets me mad was on the 2nd day of the rehearsal, an accident occurred along one of the roads, causing an even bigger traffic problem because people stopped by the road side to watch. Uurrgh! Don’t these people want to go to work, and I had a 9.00am meeting that day!

On Tuesday, 26th August, I had a meeting in Putrajaya which ended passed 6.00pm. Getting from Putrajaya back to my office, which usually takes about 45 minutes ended up being 1 hour and 30 minutes when the driver decided to take another route, thinking that it would be faster, but we ended up being caught in a massive jam along Jalan Loke Yew!

I arrived home that day at 8.30pm.

On Wednesday, 27th August, I drove with a colleague to Johor for a meeting in Kempas. The journey in the morning took us about 3 hours and 15 minutes, just in time for our 10.30am site meeting. But, going home took us 5 hours when it rained for most part of our journey.

I was supposed to pick up my mum at my sister’s house to send her to the airport to catch a 9.30pm flight to Kota Bharu. I thought that I would be back in Kuala Lumpur by 5.30pm, or 6.00 o’clock at the latest. But, when it rained cats and dogs that day, my mum decided to ask my sister to send her to my brother’s house, since it was still early, and my brother would in turn, send her to the airport.

It turned out that my sister eventually sent my mum straight to the airport when she saw how bad the traffic was due to the heavy downpour.

I am glad that my mum made that kind of arrangement, because had she waited for me, she might just not make the flight back. I arrived in Kuala Lumpur at 7.00pm, and if I were to pick her up, I would have had to go via Jalan Duta to her condo, which was jam packed with cars inching along. Then, I would have to take the North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) to the airport, which was also badly congested that day due to the rain. Sorry, Ma, that you had to spend a long time at the airport. Timing and the weather was kind of bad that day, but, I am glad you arrived safely in KB, despite the flight being delayed.

I arrived home that night close to 9.00pm.

I woke up this morning thinking that it was already Saturday morning. In fact, I woke up on Tuesday morning thinking that it was already Thursday morning! LOL! I must be really looking forward to the weekend! LOL!

I AM really looking forward to the weekend when I can finally do my own thing. The last few weekends since late July, have been kind of hectic what with 2 weekends we were busy with a relative’s wedding and I had to work on one of the Sundays. Last Sunday, it was training day again when the maid agency sent yet another new maid when the regular maid went on leave.

I usually get very flustered when the agent sends a new maid, because it means I would have to do a standing supervision of the maid’s work, and I would usually end up not getting much rest. This means that I will go to work the following week still not yet fully de-stressed from last week’s stress, and more stress usually gets added up over the new week. My stress level will then start to build up, after which, I will usually end up being sick, down with a flu or something.

My doctor’s advice when this happens? He will give me the normal medicine, but he will say that the best medicine is rest, and will write me an MC so that I will go home to sleep and rest for a day or two. It usual works. So, I already know that what I need when work in the office gets too stressful, and that is to take leave for a day or two to de-stress, and I would be fully revitalized when I am back at work the next day.

So, I really am looking forward to a weekend when I can do my own thing and also spend some quality time with my hubby and son.

I have a project lined up. I hope nothing unexpected turns up. If not, my cycle of stress will never break. The fasting month is just around the corner, and so, I can’t afford to fall sick.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mandala Garden update

I was starting to feel a little bit intimidated with the slow progress on the Mandala Gardens today. So, today, I decided to work on a part of the piece which I initially wanted to do after all the cross stitches using the DMC threads are done with as recommended in the chart.

I started on the golden gate using Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid's metallic thread PB01 Gold. I got into a tangle when I first started with it, but, after a while, when I got the hang of using this particular brand of metallic thread, it was quite easy to work with.

I took a close up of the golden gate, but, since I took this photo only after 10.00pm today, the photo does not do juctice to the lovely mettalic threads. Maybe I will take another photo during the day when more parts of the gate is done.

I also decided to start on the specialty stitches today, starting using the rhode stitches using Thread Gatherer Silk N' Colours' 038 Rusty Amber. This was quite easy to do, and the silk thread just glides through the evenweave.

The last time I used silk threads, I was using it on 14ct aida, and I remember complaining about it that I felt like I was having a toothache each time the silk thread passes through the aida as it creates a friction with the stiff aida. LOL!

Well, I had fun doing the rhode stitches and seeing the Mandala Garden progressing faster as I am stitching faster now that I am not so bored doing the stitches as they are different from the normal cross stitches. LOL!

BTW, I took another photo of the Mandala Garden piece with a measuring tape placed next to it as many thought that the piece is small, when in actual fact, it is 17" x 17" when completed, or, 237 x 237 stitches.

A BBQ dinner

My hubby has been wanting to have a BBQ for quite some time, but, like I said earlier, with our ever so busy lifestyle, we could not find time to prepare for it. Well, rather, I could not find the time to prepare the meat, the salad, and everything else that goes with having a BBQ. *grin*

But, last Tuesday, 19th August, when my mum was staying with us, we decided to do just that, despite it not being a weekend, but, my hubby and I had taken leave that day to take Aiman out as it was the school holidays. We had earlier gone to the movies to watch “Journey to the center of the earth”, and it was awesome! I enjoyed it tremendously, and I think so did Aiman, my hubby and my youngest brother.

We drop by the supermarket to get all the things to make up the BBQ before heading home. As soon as I got home, I got the chicken marinated, made the potato salad, garlic bread, the basting sauce and prepared the salads and dressing, while my hubby started getting the grill ready for the BBQ.

Immediately after our maghrib prayers, my hubby started on the BBQ. It wasn’t long before we were enjoying our BBQ chicken, burger and sausage, accompanied by fresh garlic bread, potato salad, salad, and my very own home made salad dressing. Yum!

Seen here, my hubby hard at work, grilling the chicken, with the young chef looking on and learning from the BBQ sifu, as my SIL calls my hubby. *grin*

It was real good, if I may say so myself, LOL! though some parts of the chicken were not fully cooked. My hubby said that it was because he did not grill the chicken long enough, and maybe because the fire was too small.

I think Aiman enjoyed them too as is obvious from the expression on his face! *grin* That's my youngest brother seated next to Aiman.

Despite us enjoying the BBQ, at least I did, my hubby was not totally satisfied with the way he had grilled the chicken, and he just might want to have another one again soon. Yippeee! But, errr…..that means that’s more work for me! He just grills the chicken and later wash the grill, but it is me that has to prepare the chicken, the potato salad, the garlic bread, the basting sauce, the salads and the dressing. Men! LOL! *wink*

Besides, the fasting month is just around the corner…

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A double birthday celebration

Almost more than 3 weeks ago, on 9th August 2008, my hubby’s cousin from Germany (she married a German and decided to settle down in Berlin) decided to have a party to celebrate her daughter’s 2nd birthday. She was back here in Malaysia with her hubby and daughter for the niece’s wedding on 08.08.08 (entry Friday, August 15, 2008 - A 08.08.08 wedding!)

It became a double celebration for two nieces when another niece, whose 3rd birthday party was supposed to be on 2nd August, had to have it canceled when the child’s grandfather had a heart attack just two days prior to the birthday party, was celebrated on the same day.

It was a small do actually, but many cousins, aunties, and uncles turned up as many came from afar for the wedding.

Just look at the spread of food!

Both birthday cakes were lovely, but I forgot to taste either one of them as there was so much food served at the table that I hardly missed the cake. LOL!

The two cousins opened the presents together, and it was cute seeing the two cuties sort of `fought’ for each others presents. LOL!

A wet ride on the Eye on Malaysia

Aiman had wanted to take a ride on the Eye on Malaysia for the longest time, but, with our hectic lifestyle, it kept being put off until today.

After Aiman’s usual Saturday classes, we made our way to Tasik Titiwangsa. On our drive there, it started raining. But, as we got closer to Tasik Titiwangsa, the sky cleared up and there was hope that we could make the ride before the rain came a calling. But, it was not meant to be.

Just as my hubby dropped us off while he looks for a parking place, it started raining. It got even heavier as we made our way to the ticket booth. Finally, it rained cats and dogs. I asked the keeper if the ride will still go on in the rain. He said that it does, but it will immediately stop should there be thunder and lightning. Just as he said that, it thundered and there was lightning! LOL!

Did the ride stop? Nope! In fact, more people were braving the rain to get the big wheel. As I stood there thinking if we should brave the rain and just take the ride, my hubby came and bought the tickets. *grin*

We got in queue, and silently hope that the rain would subside. It did not, but the lightning and thunder stopped, so that was good.

It was still raining heavily when it was our turn to take the ride. We had to practically dash into the car as there was no cover from the queue line to the car. And, the roof of the car was leaking…..well, slightly! LOL!

I took pictures while in the car, but, as you can see from the photos, there was hardly anything that we could see as the rain failed to subside throughout our ride. Only the Istana Budaya was slightly visible. LOL!

I wouldn’t say that it was a total waste of money as Aiman enjoyed the ride despite the rain, and there wasn’t much that we could see. We had an extra round as the usual ride is only 4 rounds but, I am guessing, since it rained, they compensated and gave us an extra round, not that we could see anything more with the extra round, but, it gave Aiman more joy to stay longer in the car. LOL!

By the way, the Eye on Malaysia isn't as big as I thought it was or was made out to be when it was first launched.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A dream house!

We attended a birthday party for two of our nieces (cousins' daughter) last weekend (more on that later). It was held at my hubby's cousin's new house which she had just moved in slightly more than a month ago.

We were taken on a tour of the lovely house, and I took lots of photos of the house. When I came back to download the photos, I realised that the house really looks like the ones you see the HOME magazines.

It's a 2-storey bungalow, and fron the outside, it looks small, and not the least grand like the bungalows you often see in the older days, but I realy like the design. Looks very homely, and not so intimidating like those rich and famous' people's house.

It is located in a gated community, like most new houses nowadays are. But, the front yard of the house is not fenced up, giving you the impression that the house has no fence, when actually it does, but more towards the back portion of the house.

The house has got one large guest bedroom downstairs that opens out into a lovely terrace facing a water feature. I wouldn't mind being a guest here too! *grin*

It has got a huge living room and a huge dining room, which is separated by cascading water into a shallow pond and a small seating area. Above this seating area are fibre optic lightings which looks like stars when at night. Really lovely!

The kitchen is rather small though, considering that the dining room is huge! The wet kitchen is even smaller, which is attached to the servants quarters - the maid has got her own wing with her own bathroom! She's even got a TV placed on the cabinet so that she can watch TV while she cooks! This cousin is rich! *grin*

Their is also a music/audio room that is off the main hall as you enter the house. I think they spend most of their time in the house there, since it looks most lived in.

The upstairs has got 4 bedrooms, where one is converted into an office for the couple. They only have one child, a son, so the other room is reserved for a second guest. All the bedrooms have attached bathrooms. All the bedrooms opens into a huge, but cosy TV room.

The master bedroom is as big as half the upstairs of my house! LOL! It's got a big walk-in closet next to the bathroom which has both the shower and tub. Heheh..both husband and wife can take their baths at the same time, and together! *wink*

This is a house I can only dream of. *sigh* Someday......someday.....

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Messenger Bag, finally......

After much contemplation, scrutinizing of photos online and reading tutorials at several blogs, I finally took the plunge to make my hubby the messenger bag that he had asked for a few months back.

I think I must have asked Tini a thousand questions on how she made her laptop sleeve, because when I looked at her sleeve, I knew that the method for making a messenger bag would be almost similar. Thanks, Tini, for all your help.

I also knew that it would also be similar to the shopping bag I made for my bag class I took at Quilt Gallery last year. Now it is a matter of putting the two ideas together.

I worked out the ideas on paper first before I finally sat down to cut the pieces. Even as I was cutting the pieces, I was still making some changes to the design, as I adjusted a couple of things which I felt wouldn't work. Then, when I started putting the inside of the bag together, I realised that I had forgoten to sew the pocket first, so, I made another change to the design by putting the pocket in front instead.

My hubby chose which fabric he wanted to be the main fabric. As much as I like the checkered fabric, he prefered the batik cotton, so, the outside of the bag consist of mainly the batik fabric, while the inside is made of the checkered fabric.

The bag does not look too bad, right, at least, for a first timer? *wink* I hope to improve on it should I decide to do another one, maybe for myself, someday....... *wink*

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chocolate anyone?

Yippeeee! I finally completed the LHN Chocolate Shoppe!

Phew! I am feeling so relief! This piece has been hanging over my head for some time already, because I have so many works in progress (WIP) pieces in hand, (so, what else is new? LOL! *wink*) and there are so many more pieces that I want to do. So, completing this piece means that I can start on another new project! LOL!

I have, in fact, started on another LHN piece - The Counting House, about two weeks ago when I thought that I was about to complete the Chocolatte Shop and needed another mobile project to carry with me for my travels and to the Stitching Bees.

Yeah, we had another one (Stitching Bee) on 2nd August, and it was so much fun, with so many people turning up! But, I think we did more talking than stitching! LOL!

Janet came all the way from Ipoh, and Wendy came all the way from Johor Baru! Now to wait for Radha from Alor Setar to make a trip down to KL one of these days. *wink*

Thanks, everyone, for coming to the Stitching Bee! Shall we have another one after Hari Raya, and before christmas? *wink*

Opps! Sorry! I am digressing again! LOL! *blush*

Anyway, back to my completed LHN Chocolate Shoppe piece, I don't know if you can actually see the details of this piece, but it uses DMC's Precious Metal Effects thread. The chart calls for E667, but since I could not get any, and Quilt Gallery only carries E3852, which is quite similar in colour, I decided to use that instead, and I think I like the effects.

Now that that is done, back to my new mobile project, The Counting House, I have just started a little bit, but the first sheep is starting to take shape. The chart calls for Crescent Colours (CC) and Weeks Dye Works (WDW), but, the stock of CC and WDW that I have does not include the colours required. So, instead of going online to buy them, I decided to just use DMCs, doing my own conversion by scrutinizing the photo. *grin*

I am using another 14ct opalescent aida for this piece which I bought from Dyeing4U under the Fabric of the Month Club some time ago.

I hope I won't be taking too long a time to complete this piece, as the fasting month is coming up soon in September. I tend to have more time on weekends as I don't need to take time off to prepare lunch. But, I could get lazy ang tired from fasting though! LOL!

Friday, August 15, 2008

A 08.08.08 wedding!

Last weekend, we attended my hubby’s cousin’s daughter’s (Noreen) akad nikah ceremony. It took place on the 08.08.08, considered to be an auspicious date according to the Chinese calendar, and the number 8 is always said to be an auspicious number according to the Chinese beliefs. To me, I just like the date because it is easy to remember and has a nice ring to it.

The Tok Kadi (the person who solemnizes the wedding) had requested that the groom come punctually at 8.00pm, so that he can perform the akad nikah quickly as he has another akad nikad to perform at 8.45pm for another couple, and it seems that he has been busy solemnizing many other couples all day that day. Business must be good for him that day *grin*. A very auspicious day for him *wink*.

The akad nikah ceremony went well with the groom reciting the akad nikah only once, and Noreen legally became his wife. It was a very simple ceremony by my standard as I have seen many akad nikah ceremonies steeped in traditions. Even the majlis merenjis, where the elders would give their blessings, were played down to almost too modern as the bride smiled at everyone around her and to a certain extent, even giggled on the dais.

In the older days, the bride is supposed to be very shy and demure, and at times would not even lift her head to see her new husband, less she be said to be too eager and `gatal’ (could this be translated to mean cheap?). LOL! *wink*

Noreen was our flower girl during our wedding 16 years ago, and last week, she herself got married. It was hard to belief that this cute girl 16 years ago is all grown up and married, when many cousins still consider her still very much a baby, and she’s already 25 years old! LOL!

The wedding reception was held at Istana Hotel on Sunday, 10th August. Though simple, it was a grand reception with many VIPs attending. Noreen look really radiant and pretty that night, and I think the cameraman could not take his eyes off her as he kept on focusing on her, but not on her new husband. LOL!

I wish Noreen and Riduwan much happiness, and may they be blessed with many children, good health and prosperity.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A hectic week.....

With the exception of my latest entry posted just minutes ago, the last time I updated my blog was, 2 weeks ago!

Yup! I have been terribly busy at work and a cousin's daughter's wedding the last two weeks. I hope to update my blog with photos of the wedding, but, it might have to wait as I have to work in Kota Bharu this Sunday. *sigh* There goes my weekend.

Anyway, keep a lookout for updates. I have lots to tell, but simply could not find the time to sit down and tell my stories. Maybe I can try and squeeze in some time on Saturday night before I fly up to Kota Bharu.

Catch you later!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

An early birthday present

My nieces, Kuyana and Kuyasmin, together with their 3 other siblings and mum had just left for Mecca this afternoon to perform their umrah. I pray for their safe journey to and from Mecca.

I have been working on Kuyasmin's purple bag for the past two months, putting it down several times, and not working on it for weeks, when I got distracted by so many other crafts that I wanted to do. *grin* So, what is new, huh? LOL! *wink*

When my mum told me two weeks ago that they will all be leaving for Mecca during the school holidays, I just had to force myself to pick it up to complete it, even though Kuyasmin's birthday isn't until the 28th of August. I had been procrastinating for far too long. Now, I have no other excuse not to complete it, and I do need to complete it because for as long as the bag is not completed, it will be hanging over my head.

So, last weekend, despite being busy with my cousin's daughter's wedding, I sat down for two hours to put the bag together. I completed it on Saturday night, but I could not find where I had placed the button that I had bought earlier. I thought that I would drop by EVERGREEN at SS14 Subang Jaya on Monday evening after work to get a new set of buttons, but other more important matters arised, and I had to abandon my plan to drop by EVERGREEN as I left the office too late to get there before it closed at 7.00pm.

So, I went home and rummaged through my button collection and came up with this huge button which was just perfect for the bag. Sometimes it is good to have accumulated a lot of stash. You never know when you might need it! LOL! *wink*

Anyway, I put in the last touch to the bag at 11.00pm on Monday night, and presented Kuyasmin the bag after dinner at my house on Tuesday night.

It's actually a simple bag, but I hope that Kuyasmin will still like it and be able to use it for a long time to come. I am more confident of it lasting long as I had double crocheted the sides of the bag. I wanted to sew in a lining, but ran out of time, but, for as long as she does not put in any sharp objects, the bag should be able to carry all her other knicks and knacks that any 10 year old girl would.

As for Kuyana's bag, she being in her preteen years, instead of crocheting her a bag in pink, I decided to sew her a bag instead. I found this lovely flowery cotton among my stash which I had bought during my early years of doing patchwork. I added ruffles at the bottom half of the bag which I think gave the bag the pre-teen look. If I may say so myself, I think the bag is sweet! *wink*

This being a reversible bag, I had chosen a very childish motif (teddy bears, bunnies and cats) cotton for the reversible side of the bag. I thought that whenever Kuyana decides that she is in a childish mood (she can be very adult most times despite her young age), she can always reverse the bag. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the reverse side. *sigh*

The photos show the front and back of the bag, but no photos of the reverse side of the bag.

I hope both my nieces will enjoy using their bags for as long as the bag can last, which I hope will be for a very long time.