Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy 10th Birthday, Precious!

My baby turned 10 on 22nd April 2010. We have been so busy with work lately that we haven’t had any time to plan a big birthday celebration for him. So, to make up for it, both my hubby and I decided to take leave on that day as a birthday gift to him.

We didn’t have anything concrete planned, but we told him that he can choose where he wants to go that day within the Klang Valley limits and he can chose the restaurant to have lunch.

I did however planned a little surprise for him when the night before, on my way home, I stopped by the bakery and bought a small cake. It was so impromptu that the only cake available was a German Chocolate Black Forest cake and it did not have any kiddie designs on it. So I had to get creative and asked the girl at the bakery if she could put some cartoon character just to give it that birthday feel to it.

The results? Not too bad really. *grin* She put on 2 pieces of Ben-10 sugar stickers and I bought this two ultraman figures which I placed on the cake. Pathetic, huh? LOL!

We surprised this cake to Aiman at breakfast time on his birthday, but he got a little embarrassed by it! LOL! But, he went ahead and blew the candles anyway.

I remember a time when he was between 2 – 5 years old when each year we have a birthday celebration for him, and it was time to sing him a birthday song and blow the candles, he would always end up bursting into tears! LOL!

We take it that he must have been overwhelmed with emotion by all the attention! LOL! I wonder if we were to tell him or ask him about it come 5 more years, what would his answer be to this reaction of his of bursting into tears each time we sing him a birthday song. *grin*

By the way, the cake was delicious! Not too sweet. Just the way we like it!

We had Nasi Lemak for breakfast, but, no, I did not cook it. I bought it the night before and kept it inside the fridge. It still looked and tasted good after it was heated up although the rice was a little on the dry side. The accompaniments, especially the `sambal’was delicious!

For lunch, we went to check out this new building, Empire Shopping Gallery, in Subang Jaya, which just opened that day in conjunction with Earth Day.

It was quite a big shopping mall, and I was surprised that almost all the shop lots were already occupied, this being the very first day of opening.

We even checked out this self rated Boutique Hotel called Empire Tower Hotel located on the 2nd floor of the shopping gallery. I just simply love this awesome ballroom!

The lighting changes every few minutes to give it such a romantic and mysterious ambience. I could sit in the ballroom all day just to see the colours change! LOL!

The ballroom can seat about 350 people. A very intimate crowd, certainly not meant for malay weddings where the invitation can sometimes run into the 1000s. Next we were brought to see the Coffee House which looks onto the Federal Highway.

It has the same decor as the ballroom. It was not yet quite finished but I bet the ambience they are trying to create will probably be almost the same as the ambience in the ballroom.

The hotel will only be opened in the middle of May.

After checking out Popular Book Shop, we made our way to Kenny Rogers as Aiman chose to have Kenny Rogers for lunch.

There was nothing unusual about what we ordered – just the usual ¼ chicken with the side dishes.

However I did notice that the decor and ambience of this particular Kenny Rogers is a little different from the other Kenny Rogers that I have been to before this. I would have taken photos of the restaurant, only I did not want to end up being embarrassed in case I might get sounded off like this restaurant in Kelana Jaya where the manager came up to us and told us off not to take any photographs.

I think he is either very stupid or very ignorant of the power of blogs and the IT where he could have easily gotten himself free advertising through blogs and Facebook. He had just lost his chance. I will write on that in a later posting.

Anyway, back to our birthday treat for Aiman, after lunch was over with, Aiman wanted to make a trip across the street to Subang Parade as he wanted to look for some books at MPH. He also wanted to go to Toy R Us as his grandfather had given the mandate to my hubby to get our son a birthday present. Aiman wanted to chose his own birthday present from his Atok.

Unfortunately the Toys R Us at Subang Parade has closed down as they have moved to the Empire Shopping Gallery but they have yet to start operating from the new location. With that, we made our way home as my hubby was starting to feel tired and I wanted to get back home to work on a bag and to get dinner ready. I had also brought home work, so that needed taking care of before I go back to work the next day.

It wasn’t much of a celebration day per say, but I hope that Aiman had enjoyed his outing. I am glad that I took the day off to spend time with him. It is getting more and more rare lately my time spent with him, so I appreciate whatever little time I have with him. I hope that someday he will also learn to appreciate that.

HAPPPY BIRTHDAY my precious one! I hope you will have a great year ahead. Hugs, love and kisses from Mummy and Abah.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A set in black

They are finally completed – the bags for Idah!

I had actually completed the two bags that my hubby’s cousin, Idah, wanted me to make for her almost more than a month ago. But, while in Mecca doing her umrah, Idah smsed me asking me if I could make her a matching sejadah (praying mat).

I had set out to do it about midway while doing the bags for Diane but I had to stop when I ran out of the black cottons. I had to wait for a Friday when I could go out during my long lunch hour break to buy the cottons, and I was only able to do it two Fridays ago.

So, two Saturdays ago, after coming back from Aiman’s usual Saturday classes, I set out to work on the sejadah, and worked on it through Sunday, 11th April 2010. I thought I could finish it by that weekend, but, as I had brought back work home, I spent Sunday evening going through my piles of letters. On Monday and Tuesday, 12th and 13th April, I slept very early after a very stressful day at work. On Wednesady, I had to bring back work home again.

I was in Penang on Thursday and Friday.

It was only on Saturday, 17th April, while watching the AF concert, that I could finally find time to pick up the sejadah again to work on it, and I finally completed it on Sunday morning.

So, here is the full set – a big bag for putting in the praying garments (telekung), a matching pouch and the sejadah.

The big bag is smaller than the sample bag I had made earlier as Idah preferred it to be 2”smaller than the one I showed her.

As for the pouch, I got the idea from Idah’s very own pouch that she had bought at one of the departmental stores. She had wanted a similar one but in matching fabrics to the big bag.

I am afraid the photo did not do justice to the time and effort put into making all the little pockets, but there are pockets to put in 4 pens/pencils, a plce to put in a small a foldable shopping bag, a small note book and other little gadgets which we ladies tend to carry in our handbags! LOL

It was quite a challenge doing up this little pouch as it had many pockets.

It might be small, but I had to spend many more hours making it compared to the time I had spent making the big bag. It had a lot more details and quite a lot of time was spent making sure that everything matched up and looked the way it should.

It took a lot of planning before the actual work of sewing it could be done, but I have learnt some new things on making this kind of pouch. I’ll probably be making a similar one for Zai who had asked that I make a pouch for her and a craft bag. That’s my next project! *wink*

As for the sejadah, it was quite easy to make as it was like making a baby quilt. I had fun doing the embroidery to indicate the top of the sejadah.

I like the effects of the embroidery as it gave the sejadah a sweet touch to it. I just hope that Idah’s likes it as I think that even with the sweet touch of embroidery, the sejadah still matched the bag which Idah wanted them to have a corporate look. The embroidery wasn’t too overpowering.

Here's the whole set with the sejadah all nicely folded to show off the Aznique label. *wink*

I hope to hand deliver the set to Idah this weekend. I just hope that Idah will like what she sees.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

18 years already, and still counting!

My hubby and I celebrated our 18th Wedding Anniversary on 17th April 2010, alhamdullillah. Like any other husband and wife, we have had our share of ups and downs, but none too terrible to erode the love we have for each other.

We didn’t have any big celebration last Saturady to mark the special occassion. We were so tied up with work that we did not have much time to plan, especially since I had just came back from Penang just the day before.

It was like any other Saturday where we would take Aiman to his usual Saturday classes, but, we did have lunch at a fancy restaurant - we tried out the Outback Steak House at Bangsar Village I.

Here’s my son covering up his face when my hubby and wanted to get all mushy and romantic. He got embarrassed! LOL!

I had ordered the Spring Chicken which came with this really nice sauce for dipping.

My hubby ordered the Teriyaki Skewer which was served with rice.

My son settled for the full portion of Buffalo wings.

Before I ordered the Buffalo wings, I had asked the waiter how many pieces is half a portion, and how many would I get if I ordered the full portion. I was told that there will be 5 pieces for the half portion and 10 for the full portion. We decided to go for the full portion as it was the only thing that my son wanted to eat for lunch.

When the order arrived, there were only 9 pieces. When we queried about the order, the waitress gave this unacceptable reply that the servings could sometimes be 9, could sometimes be 10, depending on the size of the drummets.

They didn’t tell us this before we ordered the food. Had this explaination been told to us when we first inquired about it, probably we could have accepted the reply, but since the earlier answer given before we ordered was that we would be getting 10 pieces, we insisted that the restaurant send us the missing piece.

The waitress refused! And then came this guy whom I presume could be the Manager for the day to also tell us the same thing, and that is that they cannot give us the extra piece as the drummets served were bigger size pieces than usual.

I don’t believe this in a fancy restaurant, a manager arguing with a customer!

It wasn’t that we were so hard up for that extra piece, but it was a matter of principle. We asked and you gave us an answer and we expect you to comply to your words, and not make excuses later on. I think these people need to learn some people and communication skills especially this being a fancy restaurant and in Bangsar!

Anyway, when we finished our lunch, we headed on to the Village Grocer. My hubby wanted to buy some groceries to cook a special dinner in honour of our 18 years together.

He kept saying that he is anxious in case what he intends to cook won’t turn out the way he planned it to be. He needn’t have worried. The diner was delicious albeit a little on the dry side. I especially love the garnishing that he had cooked to pour on top of the fish. I love the vegetables too!

In fact, I love everything about it, especially of the fact that it was cooked by my dearest hubby! It was so sweet and romantic, even though it wasn’t a candle light dinner and we had sat for dinner in our pyjamas! LOL!

I love you, Dia! I hope we will have 18 years and more great years together. I hope to grow old with you, and together we get to see Aiman grow up and be successful. May we have health, wealth and long life together. Amin.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Living out of a suitcase

I have been doing that quite frequently lately. Since I travel so much lately, I don’t bother taking out the basic things that I need for my trips like the telekung (prayer outfit), robe, pyjamas, and toiletry and make-up bags. I just take out the working clothes that I wear and replace them with fresh ones.

Since February, I have been to Kota Kinabalu and Kuching twice, and to Labuan once, with each trip being an overnight stay. With each trip, I get to stay at various hotels of various star ratings. I wished that I had taken photos of all the other hotel rooms that I had stayed so that I can post them here for friends and readers of my blog can use as reference/guide to choose hotels should they be travelling and need suggestionson where to stay. Maybe I’ll start doing that after this. I did however managed to snap photos of my two most recent trips.

On my most recent trip to Kota Kinabalu, we were put up at Le Meridien. I have mostly stayed at The Promenade during most of my trips to KK, but, this time, since the travel arrangements were being made by our client department, we just went along, and WOW! This hotel is sheer 5-star luxury! LOL! The room was really big and nice! At the price we had to pay for the hotel, the room better be nice! LOL!

The hotel is very close to the Philipino Market , but, unfortunately we did not have the luxury of time to drop by the market. My friends and I however did manage to make a quick visit to the Night Market which is just next to the hotel after we had checked into the hotel room and took a quick shower.

I got myself a set of pearl necklace and bracelet while my friends got themselves buttons for their baju melayu.

I am currently in Penang (wrote this at 8.30am on Friday, 16 April, 2010, while I wait for my transport to go for my meeting) and I am staying at The Gurney situated along Gurney Drive. I love this hotel! I have stayed at this hotel on most of my Penang trips as they offer FREE internet service in the rooms!

The room is huge with a small kitchenette.

The bathroom has a Jacuzzi! Heheh..not that I have the time to dip into the Jacuzzi as I prefer to take a quick shower and spend time on the computer. *grin*

I had dinner of Fried Rice which was served with plenty of side orders but I did not like the ├ácar’which was served with the rice as it made the rice sour. But I love the satay, chicken wings and the fried prawns! Delicious! Went to bed feeling full and satisfied! LOL! *grin*

Here are views from the hotel room taken at night

and again taken in the morning after a hearty breakfast at the Coffee House! *grin*

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Diane’s bags completed!

Yipppeeee! I completed both bags on Saturday morning! I put in the buttons at about 9.00am! I am so happy and relief! Now I can pack them up together with Diane’s goodie bag from the NNC 3rd Anniversary celebration and wait until I could find a time to go to the post office!

However, Diane, you might have to wait for at least another week before I could get to the post office as I will be travelling again this week. Patience, my dear, patience! *wink*

So, do you want to see how both bags look like? Here they are......

I think they are both lovely, don’t you agree? I did not design it, and so I can praise it. LOL! *wink*

Here's a close-up of the small clutch.

I had followed the pattern that Diane sent me almost to a T! I did make some very slight modification, but it was just because I thought it would look better.

Like I said in my earlier posting, the fabrics that Diane sent for the bags aren’t colours that I usually work with and so, it was quite a challenge to put them together to make sure that they turn out okay. I must say that I am quite pleased with the results. I think the colour combination is really nice! Diane made all the right choices in choosing her fabrics! I just made them work better together! *wink*

The big bag was fun to make! I learnt quite a few new techniques, and I was also introduced to this awesome Pellon Fusible Fleece which I find so amazing and a breeze to use! I must get more! If only they are made available here in Malaysia...*sigh*

I also love using the Sewline pink pencil lead that Diane sent me, and the square rulers Diane sent as part of the payment for the bag is really awesome! I love it! Thanks again, Diane!

Although the two bags are not part of a set but the fact that they were made using the same colour combination fabrics, they look like they were designed to be together, and they look great together!

The small bag or pouch was supposed to have some decorative stitches, but I decided to quilt it the same way that I had quilted the big bag so that they look like a part of each other and a set.

I think I had made the right decision. *wink*

The pattern calls for the three sides to be machine sewn together like an envelope, but I had hand sewn them together instead, both on the outside and on the inside as I thought that had I machine sewn the sides together, at least a 1/4in would have to be sewn in as allowance from each side. That would have made the bag smaller and bulkier, thus the reaon why I decided to hand sewn them together.

As I had hand sewn the sides on the inside and the outside, I think the bag should be able to handle the normal wear and tear. It also looks neater.

I love the pockets on the front of the big bag, and Diane had asked that I put another pocket on the other side even though the pattern only calls for a pocket on only one side. This method of doing the pocket is something new to me, and I might use it for future bags that I make.

I also like the way that the pattern calls for the inside pocket to also be made from 4 pieces of 5”x5” charm squares. I decided to quilt the pockets the same way as I did the front of the bag so that they complement each other. And, of course, you can’t miss my Aznique product tag. LOL! *wink*

I had used an overdyed threads for the quilting in two colours. The front is an over dye in browns, while the inside is an over dye in blue. Though the colours are different, but they do look good together as I had picked up the colours from all the fabrics used for both bags. I don’t know if you can actually see the subtle change in colours of the over dyed threads in the photo, but, I am quite pleased with the results.

Diane had sent me 3 pairs of buttons of different designs and had asked that I pick a pair that best suits the bags. You can see from the photos that the buttons don’t match in terms of designs, although they almost do match in colour. That is because, instead of 2 pockets as called for in the original pattern, Diane had asked that I make a pocket on each side of the bag, and so, I suddenly realised that I am going to be short of a button.

I wasn’t sure if Diane would want me to go out and buy a totally different button in matching sets to make the 3 buttons, but, as I did not have time to ask Diane when I sat down to finish off thge bag, I hope that Diane doesn’t mind that the buttons don’t match in design.

Luckily Diane had sent 2 pairs of buttons in almost similar colour though different designs. I think had Diane not sent 2 pairs of almost similar colour, I would have gone out to buy 2 new pairs.

What do you think, Diane? Shall I go out and buy 2 pairs that match or, is what you see acceptable to you already? Let me know, okay, as I can still unpick and repack everything up before I make my trip to the post office next week.

(I eventually got an email from Diane telling me that she does not mind having the buttons different on both bags. Thanks, Diane!)

I had fun doing both the bags and I must thank Diane for giving me the opportunity to learn something new from making the bags. I hope that Diane likes what she sees here.

Would you like to send me more patterns and fabrics to make more bags for you, Diane? LOL! *wink*

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Went restaurant hopping with a trip to Indonesia

Yeah! Right! Like I have the time to fly to Indonesia! LOL!

It’s actually a restaurant in Sunway Mentari called Baso Sapi Asli. My brother, Azan, joined us for dinner and my hubby had wanted to try out this restaurant, Jaring, which he had watched on the program A.M. Max over at TV3.

Unfortunately the restaurant was closed. So, we went around looking for an alternative and thought that this restaurant, Baso, looks interesting and worth a try.

I was initially disappointed when what I wanted to order was not available. So, I ordered an alternative and it turned out to be a good choice after all. I ordered Nasi Udang Butter which I thought was really tasty. The food came served in this very interesting bowl made from crackers.

My brother ordered Nasi Kebo Ireng which was black pepper meat with rice served in a cracker bowl. It was tasty too.

My son ordered Nasi Udang Sambal which was also served in a cracker bowl.

My son seems to like it although it was on the hot and spicy side. He commented that it was “sedap sedap!” (good! good!). *grin*

My hubby ordered the Baso Urat which was a soupy noodle with meat balls.

It tasted quite plain and bland at first, but after my hubby added all the sauces that came served with the noodle, it tasted so much better.

After dinner was done with, my hubby was still feeling hungry. My brother had earlier recommended that my hubby and I go watch a movie called Date Night as he felt that we should do something out of the ordinary once in a while. Taking cue from that, my hubby suggested that we go for dessert at another restaurant.

This time we made our way back to Subang Jaya and my hubby chose to have dessert at Benta Kaya, Kuala Lipis, Pahang. No, we did not go to Pahang, but the restaurant was named as such! LOL!

We ordered our hot drinks of Teh Tarik Ginger for my hubby, hot milo for my son and I, and Teh Shake for my brother.

The shake tasted funny. I guess I am not used to having tea made into a shake, and it looks more like Teh Tarik than a shake! LOL!

For dessert, we ordered Char Kuey with kaya and Roti Kok.

The Char Kuey was nothing to shout about, but the Roti Kok was really nice! We ordered two helpings of it! LOL!

Seen here is my hubby making a funny face as I tried to snap a photo of him with my brother.

Here's me with my precious!

We were done at 11.00pm. By then I was yawning and so was my son. We made our way back home, and after settling my son into bed, I sat to watch a movie on Astro with my brother which turned out to be an alien movie starring Nicole Kidman. I can’t recall the name of the movie though.

The movie was quite interesting although I find some scenes to be quiet disgusting when the aliens tried to inject the humans with virus via slimy saliva through the mouth. I almost wanted to puke and had to close my eyes each time scenes like that appeared! LOL!

I had asked my brother to spend the night, but he said that he has some assignments to hand in in the morning and wanted to get back to college to finish them up. He left soon after the movie.

Thanks, Zan, for coming over. I realised that my brother didn’t come over to my house solely to pay me a visit. He wanted me to mend his pants! I think that was the actual reason of his visit. LOL! *grin*

But, thanks for coming anyway, Zan. At least I still get to see you if even if you had ├╣dang di sebalik batu’ (other intentions) behind your visits. LOL! You pants will be mended this weekend.

Hugs and take care.