Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Card Holder Cover (Blue)

Also managed to did this beautiful card holder cover in blue. It was meant as a gift for a guy, hence the blue colour and the robot in front. I'm making this one for my brother and it took me about 2 hours to make. Most of the time was spend designing more than sewing. The sewing part is really quite straight forward.

This is the youtube clip I used as reference as the original one I use for the red card holder cover was no longer available.

The above is the in progress picture. As you can see, lots of patterned cloth are used to make the design, and each square is sewed individually in. The light blue square cloth are actually given to me by my mother-in-law. She got it from someone via a fabric sample collection. I have them in dark blue, light blue and pink. The above material is of the dark blue series, and they are shiny, which gives it an expensive look to it which is kinda cool. The label I pick was also male oriented. I guess this is the first male oriented sewing piece I've ever done. 
The end result is as per above. I personally think it looks kinda stylist. Like a cool fashionable guy might carry around. I like the end result, but I'm not sure if my brother would like it or not. Still, a gift is a gift, you gotta give it away  no matter. But it's nice that I have a picture of it to keep as a memento. Might even make a few for sale one of these days :)

Monday, December 29, 2014

My First Proper Zip Bag

By following the above youtube clip, I managed to complete my first proper zip bag today, starting from 11:10pm, and completing it the next day at 12:20am or so. It was kinda late to be sewing, but I just couldn't go to sleep without making it as it was kinda on my to-do list. But I'm really glad I did, cause I really love the result!
Here's a work in progress photo. Interestingly, the sewing project for the past few days have not been using any of the cloth I got from Japan recently. Instead, I'm using all existing materials that have been sitting around in my home. The cloth from Japan just provides the necessary inspiration to get me going.

And above is the end result. Love the green color and the rich green interior with floral design. Planning to make more of these things in future as I find them extremely useful as a bag organizer. And they look so cheerful too!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day Coaster

Just came back from Japan and bought like SGD50+ worth of cloth. I wanted to make coaster for my new kitchen, not to mention that the cat coasters that I made last time seems to be missing here and there and I was running out of coasters to use. So Christmas Day was a good break for me to catch up on my sewing.

From around 11am till 2pm, I made 4 coasters.

Two was middle size, big enough to hold larger plates or so. The above is a picture of the coaster-making in progress. The cloth was actually bought in Singapore, but it's made in Japan. I love the colour and the pictures in it as it was very homely. The colour also suits my kitchen table theme which is minty green and white. I love adding those "homemade" label in everything I do lately, and adding those cheap fork and spoon to indicate the usage of the coaster always cheers me up as I have lots and lots of those cute things that I keep buying but seems to have lack of time to create craft with.

Anyway, the above is the end product. The wonderful thing about homemade thing is, they are always unique. And although not perfect (I used the wrong stitch to close up the coaster which kinda show when you zoom in on the photos), it is the acceptance of imperfection that makes one at peace with one self.

I also made these two adorable yet simple owl coasters to place mugs and cups with. These cloth are bought in Japan recently at Nippori Fabric Town. Using the correct stitch to close it up, they look much more elegant than the previous two coaster. And the best things about these coasters are, they are 100% cotton, so they feel wonderful to the touch. And whenever they get dirty, you just throw them in the washing machine and give them a wash and they come out brand new. And when you make your own things, you tend to treasure them more and they stay with you almost forever.

I realise that buying things and consuming things don't really make me happy. Maybe that's why I don't really like shopping. However, I love craft material shopping, and making things recharges my life. I think being about to create thing is a very important for one's well being. We shouldn't just be consuming things. We should also create and give back to the world.

Here's to more craft making for the year 2015! Merry Christmas!


Friday, October 10, 2014

Riomaggiore Town

5-Nov-2013, Riomaggiore

It is probably one of the bigger town of the 5 in Cinque Terra, and that left it with lots of space to be charming. This post is dedicated to how charming it can be. Let's start with the train station. It's quite some distance from the town and it has it's own center. Near the station is actually a path where you can walk out to the coast. But due to bad weather, the path was closed while we're there.
This is roughly what the path looks like. It's call the Lover's Path. And it was suppose to be beautiful in terms of view. Sad, but still.... there was enough good things there to be sad over one little misfortune :)

Anyway, back to the charming town. While walking around, I just love the small narrow alley found at every crook and corner.

The shops have their own character as well.
 Even the post-office is cute. Yes this is their post office, but it was close while we were there (or maybe it was too early).
And so I leave you with the above picture as we end our post on the 5 charming town of Cinque Terre.

Next destination - Venice. Stay tune!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Riomaggiore Hill

5-Nov-2013, Riomaggiore

After having enough of the marina, we walked up hill towards the town church. There was suppose to be a castle in the town as well. The walk up alone was pleasant enough as the view and just lovely going though all the small charming alley of the town. I'll show you more of the charming town in the next post.

The walk up shows the town from a different angle. It was almost as if we were transported instantly to a hillside resort.
And here is the town church I was talking about. You can go inside as well. It's not as grand as the one at Vernazza, but it was charming nevertheless.
 Climbing up further will bring you to a small castle that isn't really that grand. But it does look really old.
But what is near the castle was what took my breath away. There was a resting place there, with a cross over looking the sea and the coastal view. And that place just connects with me. I think I could have sat there for eternity and not get bored. Something about that very spot touches me deep inside. If I was a religious person, I would say that I had a spiritual experience there. But I to be frank, it was more of a dark and ancient feel to it as compared to a churchy holy kind of feel. I simple adore that one single spot.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Riomaggiore Marina

4 and 5 Nov 2013, Riomaggiore

We actually reach Riomaggiore on 4-Nov-2013, and it was a rainy day. We were early and couldn't check in. So we had lunch before calling the hostel to let us in. The whole town again, has only one main road and leads to the sea. It was a miserable day as the rain just won't stop. Even when we took the train to visit Manarola, it was pouring. We had our dinner there and head back to our dwelling place. But luckily the next morning, the weather cleared, and we had one full morning to explore Riomaggiore. Of course when I say morning, I meant we woke at 5am and went walking around town :)
It was still dark when we headed to the marina. The street lights were still on, and there were hardly anyone in sight. We met a road cleaner who admired the wave with us and shared a good morning, but that was it. It was peaceful and quiet all over except for the sound of the waves.
Soon the day begins to break, and a dim ray of sunlight starts to bring some colour to the town of  Riomaggiore.

Here are some of the unique sights of the town that is still deep in slumber as we softly explore it at our own leisure.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


5-Nov-2013, Monterosso

Fast forward a bit to Monterosso as I wanted to share that not every single day at Cinque Terra was a raining day. In fact, on the last day, we had to catch our train back to Milan from Monterosso, and Mother Nature was extremely kind to us on our last day.
We arrived early at the station, and since it was such a pretty day, we took a short walk out of the train station to take a look around. This is the town we saw. It was totally beautiful. Like some resort time that it must have been every beautiful spring and summer.
I also wanted to share that I have one of the best focaccia in Italy here at a place call Focacceria La Marina. It cost only Euro 2.70 each piece, and it was so good we went back to buy more before the train arrived. We tried making them when we're back home as well. It's just basically bread, ricotta cheese, wild rockets, and tomatoes. Probably some virgin olive oil helps too. Its so easy, and so freakingly delicious and addictive that I could have just eaten that one single thing for the whole of my italian trip and it would have been the best meal I had! Do try it if you're ever there!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Joe Hisaishi Concert by SSO

Friends got us some great tickets to watch a Joe Hisaishi concert. This was way back in February 2014, one day after Valentine. It cost us only like SGD19 per ticket, and we got front row seats! Amazing! Held at the Star Vista, which itself is an amazing place to hang out if you're even in the West side of Singapore!

Anyway, I'm a fan of Joe Hisaishi simply because I'm a fan of Hayao Miyazaki's movie's soundtrack. I would like to take a moment to clarify here that I'm not a fan of Hayao Miyazaki's movies although I do like some of them, and I do think Totoro is cute and all, but it is the soundtrack of his movies which I truly love. And the person behind those beautiful music is none other than Mr Hisaishi.
Here are the songs that were played during the concert. And a montage of the event done by one of my friend.
One of the highlight of the concert was the story telling of the Totoro movie thru narration and music, and also this piece from the movie Departure. If you have never seen this movie before, you should. I cried buckets watching it. The music is call おくりびと (Okuribito, "one who sends off")

Joe Hisaishi
Star Vista
Hayao Miyazaki

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Finally visited The Line buffet at Shangri-la Singapore after hearing so much about it. It was a treat from my brother for his birthday as me and my husband got him a xiao-mi phone for his birthday. The highlight for me was actually the macaroons as I was suffering from a critical craving for quite some time now and heard they serve it at the buffet. And so they did! Look at the pix above, aren't they pretty? I was all happy and glowing and was trying to eat a proper lunch before going after these babies! The usual sashimi and other meat dishes were served, notable Mediterranean, Indian, and the gyoza was super nice! But when I eventually tried the macaroons, only 50% were nice, and the crust was really disappointing! No further comments.

I absolutely love the cheese platter and went there almost every round, and only discovered the tea selection at the very end of it. I had a French Rose Vanilla tea which was just heavenly!
After lunch, we visited The Rose Veranda as my brother say it was a very nice place for high-tea. Love the ambiance there although I would prefer it was on the ground floor in or near a garden. Still, the spread was rather reasonable, and I look forward to visiting it next January during my birthday!

Note that if you make an online booking for the buffet, you get a 15% discount. 

Shangri-la Singapore

Monday, June 30, 2014

Badass Ugly Macaroons

I love macaroons, even before I know what they were. They were French, and that was good enough for me. But they were expensive little buggers. And when I eventually cough out enough money to buy some to try, I didn't immediately take to them. They were too sweet for me. But then one Chinese New Year, my brother got me half a dozen of Canele's macaroons, and I absolutely love those! And they remain, my fave in Singapore. But they were expensive. And there were no Canele in the East side. So eventually, I got it into my head to make my own. Craving can make one do crazy things.

First I borrowed like 8 books on macaroons alone from the library, and I watched a lot of youtubes and read a lot of websites to mentally prepare myself for it. It took me a week or two to gather all the equipments and ingredient.
Many of the websites talked about the macaroon Gods. So I thought I would rather be safe than sorry. So before starting, a peace offering to the macaroon Gods as seen above :P
Here are all the stuff you need to make those little buggers. I ripped them off a website I found. You can find the recipe in the 2nd link below. I was going to make chocolate macaroons cause I figure if it s going to turn out into a disaster, I can always lick the fillings and be happy about that.
I hand whipped my meringue. I took me just a few minutes. But when I mixed in the dry stuff, it was kinda lumpy as I didn't have any shiever. Doesn't matter to me since everything is going to end up in my tummy eventually. I drew the mold on my baking paper, and the first 4 batch were quite disastrous.  I didn't know they would grow so big when baked! I got some letter "8", some "Anpan-man" looking macaroons, some almond biscuits and almond bread thingy, and some burnt one as well. Every batch was quite hilarious to me. I can only say I laugh a lot at what came out of my oven! They were ugly as hell! But they taste so good! So full of body then those I had in a famous hotel just a week or so ago.

Here's the nicer looking end product. I made about 2 to 3 dozen mean looking chocolate macaroons, and 3 strawberry and cream macaroons (same almond crust with a dollop of thick cream with freshly slice strawberry.  I had some for breakfast, some for supper, some for tea. I gave some away to house guest, and packed 8 into a house box to give to my brother. Ugly as they are, they were all gone in 3 days!

Would I make them again? YES! They were delicious! I think I'll make more this weekend! They make me happy, and sugar high, and I just love chewing on them! Yes, the one I make is kinda chewy which I kinda like. And I got some consultation from friends that to make the legs, I need to let them dry completely before baking them. One friend also told me not to stir the dry stuff with the meringue, but to fold it in with just a few swipe. Hmmm.....I shall try it again! がんばって愛ちゃん!



Monday, February 24, 2014

Owl Patch

My friendship was put to a test last weekend, over these adorable patch craft that I sew. It started when my colleague wanted to buy some coaster from Daiso and I casually told her not to waste her money when I could sew her some. And since another ex-colleague have given me some adorable owl fabric which my colleague has requested me to make something out of it for her, I thought it was a great time to finally make use of the fabric. So last Thursday night, I set out to make two coaster for her. Here are the picture of it.
I decided to use hand stitch instead of machine sew cause somehow, it end product seems more personal and perfect in a wabi-sabi kind of way.  Initially I wanted to add blue laces over it, but looked kinda too much, and owl just doesn't go well with laces. Maybe it's an eastern thing? But the color and tone of it to me was rather Japanese. When I finished it, I was having a personal conflict of whether to give it away. It looked so adorable! The label that said "Made only for you, Priceless" sits perfectly under an owl at the back of the coaster. I got those as a bobbin of ribbons that cost me only SGD1 or SGD2, and it comes with a row of labels you can cut and stitch on your craft to make it look personal. Love them! Anyway, I did eventually gave them away, reasoning that I have more fabric left and could always make more for myself :) The two coaster took me around 2 hours to make both, but 30 minutes of that was spend matching fabric and planning.
I was meeting another friend on Saturday, and she has offered to gave me some of her old French Language books. So I though it would be nice to give her something as a thank you gesture. Above is a book mark I made for her. She likes lavender color, so I tried to gear it towards a more purple look as oppose to the coaster that was more blue green in theme. For the bookmark I used purple thread and purple ribbons. The three fat owls in front of it are so adorable! I just love them! And at the back, again, another label that says "Thank You" for her gift. When I'm free I need to make some of these stuff for myself! Interestingly, she gave me two more fabric from Japan, and I'm excited about and wonder what to make next. I have a few project in mind, but finding the time to make them is the challenge.
Lastly, here's a last picture of those fat owls! Thank you Ms Loo for the beautiful fabric from Taiwan! Hopefully I have time to make you something soon!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Penang Nyonya Nasi Lemak

I was back in Penang for the Chinese New Year 2014, and as usual, I ask my mum to buy me a tub of Sambal Belacan for me to bring back to Singapore with me.Well last week I cooked Kiam Chye Boey to eat it with the sambal, and I was hooked and planned out the next few week's meal plan to go with the sambal. So this week, I made Nasi Lemak Penang Nyonya style. It's amazing what a little sambal can inspire you to cook! Basically you could say that this meal was powered by Sambal Belacan :)
I headed to the market at 8:45am to get my materials. It was a lazy Sunday morning, so I didn't bother to hurry myself, making it back only by 930am. Above are the key ingredient required for the dish. I prepared and cook everything from 9:30am till 1215pm. So it's kinda labor intensive I guess. But I didn't care, cause cooking it's kinda therapeutic for me. And in the kitchen, I play classical music to accompany me. So this morning Andrea Bocelli sang while I cook away :)

Cooking Instructions:
Nasi Lemak: 2 cup rice, a few pandan leave tie into a knot and slightly shredded. Throw everything into the rice cooker, add santan (coconut milk) and water up to the level you would normally cook rice with. On the rice cooker. 10 minutes before it finish cooking, stir the rice up to ensure all the coconut milk is mixed in well with the rice. Cook time around 20 to 30 minutes. It actually smell much better when we heat it up again for dinner.

Assam Prawns: Half kg of prawns (SGD8), cleaned and marinate for an hour with assam paste (tamarind paste). Stir fry with a little oil. When the prawn is about done, add some sprinkle of sugar so that it will turn black as the sugar caramelized. The tricky part to this is to get the prawn and the assam to fuse and burn together until it's thick and black. Cook time 20 minutes.

Fried Fish: 8 Ikan Kunign (SGD3), cleaned and marinated with kunyit(tumeric) and salt for an hour. Fry it up with oil. Cook time 20 minutes. Again, getting it charred enhances the taste! But I'm lazy, so I just fry it so so. I read somewhere that double frying it will make it crunchy as well.

Sambal Ikan Bilis: I cheated on this. Interestingly this is the most labor intensive and unhealthy dish of all. First toast the ikan bilis till it's brown and fragrant. That took me almost 30 minutes on low heat. Next, caramelized 2 onions and some garlic (another 20 minutes of so). Add in like 8 packets of chilli sauce to make a paste. Add in the ikan bilis and you have your short cut to sambal ikan bilis that has no sambal :P

Serve rice with some slice cucumber, and half a hard boil egg.

This is the table setting of the meal. The sambal belacan is that tiny dish in the middle of the two plates of rice. Yup, that's how small things inspire a whole table of food! I totally love the taste of the nasi lemak as it's fragrant and heavy with the taste of santa, so to me that's really has the essence of home cook to it. Nostalgic. 
Sambal Belacan
Andrea Bocelli

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Church of Santa Margherita d'Antiochia a Vernazza

3-Nov-2013, Vernazza

Here's just a post on the Church of Santa Margherita d'Antiochia a Vernazza. I have become a pro in wondering into temples and churches and cemetery after getting used to backpacking. Admissions to all these places are usually free, but sometimes you can't really tell until you open the door or just walk in yourself.
Church of Santa Margherita d'Antiochia a Vernazza was a pleasant church at the edge of the town, just right next to the sea. The photo on your left shows the church location, and where you see a small orange man in the picture is where the entrance to the church is (if my memory did not fail me). The picture on your right is the mosaic floor right outside the church. And the benches you see is where we have our breakfast the next day before leaving this charming town.

Going inside the church, perhaps it was the timing that we visit, that has the afternoon sun shinning into from the window, and with some unknown luck, my DSLR seems to cooperate with me. So here are some inside shots of the church, focusing mainly on the play of light and darkness. Hope you like it. It's a lovely church to visit, so don't miss it when you're there!
And here are some religious item. I hope I managed to capture some of it's essence in the picture.  Armature at work here, please be merciful.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dusk at Vernazza

4-Nov-2013 (Monday) - Vernazza
The best time to take great pictures is during dusk, and dawn. So taking advantage of my mild jet lag, we woke early and left the homestay by 6:30am to shoot the town. The town has yet to awaken, and the streets were empty. We practically have the whole place to ourselves. We took some nice shot of the town area.
The ocean was still rough, and we spend some time just gazing out into the fury. There was a red flag out as a warning not to go near the sea. We climb up some cliff to take a better look. When the wave crash into the rocks, and combine with the strong wind, you can literally taste the sea as it splashes droplets all around you! The above picture shows the before and after a wave hits the bay of Vernazza. Do note this is after it crashing into some barrier of rocks further out in the sea!
Around 7pm, it started to get brighter, so we wondered into town to get some breakfast before eating them sitting by the sea. Here are some random pix around town in the early morning.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hiking from Vernazza to Monterroso

3-Nov-2013 (Sunday) - Vernazza to Monterroso, Cinque Terre

Next on our list of business was to hike backwards towards Monterroso . We had some daylight left, so we thought we'll attempt the journey in the late afternoon. It was going to be just a 1.5 hour walk, or so I thought. It took us a while to figure out where the start point was. I mean, look at the sign there! It's so freaking small! We went up a wrong path before even seeing this sign!
Hiking away from Vernazza was easy. And the view was amazing! You get to see the whole town from an aerial view. Stunning.

Then came the hard part, vertical climb for a full 40 minutes or so. Breathless! And to think initially I wanted to hike with my backpack on! Missing those train station and ending up in Vernazza first was a blessing in disguise! If not we will be hiking with a full pack (cause the hotel in Milan refuses to let us deposit our bags for two nights even though I've emailed them in advance). Downhill was worst cause I hate going downhill and slipping. Luckily, no incident to report here :) We made it safely to Monterroso, even stopping at a half way hut to drink some wine and lemonade liquor from a drink stall in the middle of nowhere. Lots of hiker stopped to chat with the owner. 
Downhill brings forth the view of the next town - Monterroso. It was almost subset when we reach, so the view and stunning as well. The path towards the town were concrete path along the cliff of the sea. After wondering around for half an hour at the sea side watching the waves, we headed to the Monterroso train station and got on the next train back to Vernazza. 
 On the whole I was pretty happy with the hike, and thank whatever luck I have that I didn't hike with a full backpack! Do be warned that the vertical climb was really really tough, and this is coming from a season hiker! Don't attempt if you are not used to hiking uphill.

Walks of Italy - Hiking trails of Cinque Terre
Italian lemonade liquor