Monday, March 26, 2012

TOL- Blue Skies

19-Nov(Friday). Why I have a blog entries call TOL - Blue Skies? Cause you must understand, that I pick the worst weather to visit a country, and was expecting a gloomy sky with a hope of snow to thrill my little heart. But I'm also a sucker for blue skies, so seeing blue skies and having my DSLR with me just brightens up my spirit. So it was a fine day to visit the Tower of London! Continuing on our journey, what can you see there? Castles! Lots and lots of it, more than you have on a chess board.
And the support system of a erm, kingdom? Surrounding of the place where normal people stay, to serve the royalties. I was told that the blue doors are where the doctor lives. Imagine living in such surroundings in a particular era.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

TOL - Tower of London

19-Nov(Friday). Not really hype about visiting the Tower of London cause it sounds kinda touristy  to me. Plus you have to pay quite a lot to get in! History is apparently expensive(17 pounds). It sounded more like a historical themed part to me at first. But it was highly recommended, and my Mum say I must go see the crown jewels.Well, ok.....
Nearest Underground London Bridge looks impressive enough to get me on a good mood.
Go early, and follow a Yeomen Warders tour. It's free, and its very educational.  Yeomen Warders are also known as Beefeater.... Sounds like a good paying job! Haha. But seriously, follow the tour, cause the warders are very well versed in the history, and the story telling beats reading a boring history book. Plus, the way they tell the story, it kinda remind me the monarchy in Discworld :P Below is a photo of our guide who was very entertaining and informative.
What to see at the Tower of London? Castles! Courtyard, changing of guards! And raven! Yes, you gotta see those very well fed ravens in the gardens! They are so huge they look like they could rip me apart easily! But fear not, they can't really fly. Read the legend about them here.
Crown Jewels? Checked. Impressive? Yes. But no photo allowed, or I didn't bother to take any. But what was great about the Tower Of London coming up soon in the next two blog entries!
Tower of London
Yeomen Warders
Crown Jewels of England

Friday, March 23, 2012

London Walk - Bunhil Fields

18-Nov-2010 (Thursday). In the middle of our London Walk, is a place call Bunhil Fields, and the burial ground was where I was headed. Lots of famous people were buried there apparently, but I was only interested in one call William Blake. Someone cemetery doesn't freak me out, but the opposite. They gave me a feel of calm and peace. Eternal sleep, eternal peace.
When I reach Bunhil Field, I immediately went in search of my favorite author's grave. And when I found it, I was rather excited and started looking for a place to purchase some flowers! Luckily there was a Tesco Express nearby up the road, so I went in, and got 1 dozen roses. I was thinking whether to get red or white, and finally settled on orange. Red was never his style, and white was too dull for his colorful character and style of poetry. Orange was bright and just right :)
So with trembling hands, I placed my roses on his grave, and felt just amazed and filled with wonders to be standing before his grave. Like I've met my hero, the person who inspired and shaped my life in some way.... it was a powerful moment for me, something that I find hard to express in words. There and then, the whole trip, the 13 hour flight, the cold weather, the bad hostel was worth it, for that one moment, my life felt complete :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Handmade Book Cover

I always love book covers, and I knew it was one of the things that I wanted to make. When I found the right fabric for it at Quilts n Colicoes, I knew exactly the type of book cover I wanted. I wanted to make it right, so I look towards Youtube to show me how. This is the clip I follow.

I followed everything on the clip, although it took me a long time to figure out which part would end up the front of the book cover etc.... (I'm really bad at 3d geometry....). Anyway, the ironic thing is, this is the first sewing project that I actually used a ruler to measure, and the end result was, it didn't fit the book I used for measurement -____-  But thankfully, it did fit the rest of the normal size book! Maybe I should use less measurement in future?  Anyway, below is the end result of the book cover. Not perfect, but still cute :)
I love everything French these days, and have been trying hard to look for French themed fabric. And remember the angel I got last time from here? It really goes with the whole French themed book cover here. Love it. Perhaps its time for me to have another goal at the langauge now that I have such a cool book cover? Inspired!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

London Walk - Historic Buildings

18-Nov-2010 (Thursday). Clearing my travel back log of like, 1.5 years ago? Gawd. Anyway, better get it done with. One of the things I love doing when I travel is to take a walk around the city/town/village just to soak in the history, the people, the atmosphere. So I was really looking forward to the London Walk I planned out. The highlight for me was of course, visiting my favorite poet's grave :)

The walk we took is the The City Walk 1: Diamonds to Dungeons which I found online. I choose this because it has a lot of historical building through out the walk, it was William Blake's grave along the way, and also the place Jack the Ripper used to hunt his victim. Need a girl ask for more???

The walk took about half a day. The moment you step out of the Underground, you are greeted with this majestic old row of black-and-white timbered building.
A little walk down the left side of the road, and you're greeted with a sight of red buildings call the Prudential Building. You can walk in to the square and this is the view. Lovely.
Inside I found one of my childhood favorite author Charles Dickens. That was a pleasant surprise. In the middle of the walk is where I visited William Blake's grave, but I'll dedicate one whole post on it later on, so stay tune. I'll jump to the end part of the walk first.
The last part of the walk was where Jack Ripper hunts, Folgate Street and Elder Street. It's a pretty normal looking street if you don't think about the gore of it all. But once you do, it's kinda too late, and you start feeling the creeps all over :P

Click here to continue to William Blake's grave!

London Walk Suggestion
William Blake
Jack the Ripper
Charles Dickens

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Handmade Pillow Case

Last week I visited a fabric shop called Quilts n Calicoes at Tanglin Mall Orchard. I can't believe that I never knew this store existed until I did a Google search for sewing shops in Singapore.This was one of the many I found, and the first I visited. Verdict? SGD20+ damaged for 4 patterns of very nice cloth! One of my favorite (actually I love all four, but this is the first I made used off) is an adorable pink cloth with 6 cute pictures on it. It cost me SGD10, but considering I can make 6 things out of it, I think it's still pretty reasonable.
Anyway, the first picture is a love tree! Isn't it adorable??? I went to IKEA to get a nice pillow to make this that cost me SGD4.90 but it's oh-so-hug-able!!! Took me only 2 hours to complete this while fueled up with 2 espresso shot on a Friday night. Love it! No zipper required, but might sew in some buttons to keep the opening close nicely. 

Quilts n Calicoes

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Handmade Grocery Bags

Ok ok, so this looks like it's going to turn into a handicraft blog instead of a once-inspired-to-be travel blog. But just bare with me as I struggle through this period of my life as I try to cope with having a new sewing machine to play with :)  Heck, this week alone, I completed 3 projects! I'm on a roll!
But I'd like to take this moment to tell you how all this madness started. It started a few years ago, with a SGD10 donation to the Children Cancer Foundation sponsored by MUJI. This here shows my favorite fabric bag which I got in return for my donation. I love it that its cotton, and it's Christmas themed :)
So I had at the back of my mind, wanted to make a handmade grocery bag similar. My chance came last year when my dad was hospitalized for heart failure. I spend a lot of time in the hospital with him, and as he was sleeping most of the time, I got a lot of sewing done. This here is my first hand sewed fabric bag. It took two admission to the hospital and one aorta replacement surgery to complete!
At first it was used as a library book carrier. But after I got my tablet, I stopped visiting the library, and the bag evolved to a grocery bag as I'm big on not using plastic. But the problem was, I usually end up with two bags of grocery, but only one fabric bag to carry them in. So last week, I made a companion bag for my hand-sewed bag, so now my grocery trip is as perfect as can be :)
Benefit of these bags? They look lovely. They feel wonderful cause I have a fetish for cottons. They can take the weight (my groceries tend to be lots of bread flour and canned baked beans). They are washable and very compact when folded to fit nicely in my handbag. They are made with love, and are one of it's kind in the world!!!

Aorta Replacement Valve

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"Kua Chai Siow Bak" Soup

When my Mum stays with me in Singapore, this dish is one she likes to cook as it's easy and delicious. It's called "Kua Chai Siow Bak" Soup, which translate to Chinese Mustard Cabbage with Roast Pork soup. Yummy. It taste sour (because of the tamarind) and bitter (because of the mustard cabbage). The lemongrass adds a unique fragrance to it as well. Don't you just love peranakan food that is just so variant in taste and smell? Yummy! Ingredient as per above shown.

Cooking Instruction:
1. Add oil to pan, add in garlic and fry till fragrance.
2. Add Chinese mustard cabbage and stir fry till cooked.
3. Transfer the cabbage into a pot. 
4. Smash up a stick of lemongrass and throw it into the pot.
5. Throw in the roast pork to cook till everything is slightly burned (you can skip the burning part if you like, I just like the fragrance of it).
6. Add one bowl of tamarind juice (Asam-ko), and let it boil for an hour.
7. Test taste it, it should taste sour and slightly bitter. If it's not sour, add more tamarind juice.

Ahhhh. nothing beats home cooked food :)