Sewing Lessons on my own

So I have been sewing and learning to sew better!

I'm so happy with my Brother machine, as it has given birth to many more pretties beyond its first born.

I've been conscientiously teaching myself different sewing techniques. I examine my current pouches, bags, toilet-roll holders, clothes etc, to see how they have been sewn. I trawl the internet to read up tutorials, view patterns, get specific tips from experience sewers, and watch video-clips to see for myself how certain techniques are done.

It is almost like I've enrolled myself into a part-time course, with lots of self-study and practicals thrown in. I devour sewing information with rigour and enjoyment, and happily deprive myself of sleep to sew up new things that I've committed to memory.

Just like in any field, there are so many technical terms and descriptions that are unique to it. I've learnt what bobbins are, what interfacing is for, about the zipper foot, sergers etc etc.

I'm learning a new skill and am enjoying every bit of it :)

Only this for my lips

I've written about things I've eaten, places I've been, and things I have bought.

Recently, when I was stocking up on this - Neutrogena's Lip Moisturizer, I realised I've been using this staple in my make-up kit for more than 10 years!

The realisation jolted me, because in this day and age, in our use and throw generation, where trends come and go, 10 years is a long time.

Sure, I've tried a ton of other brands, mostly because I've received all sorts as gifts, and sometimes because get tempted to try something new. But the end result is always the same, nothing beats this product.

Some of you know I've really allergic lips, that's why I hardly ever wear lipstick. This not only moisturises my lips, but it also leaves a lovely sheen. Because my lips are rather dark-coloured, this is all I need for most days. In fact, (dare I say it), sometimes that's all I use even for formal dos. Especially when lipstick wearing days have piled up consecutively and I know that pushing it any further will result in a lip rash (eek).

So yeah, here's a great product I'd recommend. I hope it never goes out of production!

Wonky Phone

My phone has gone wonky. It is one of those Samsung slider ones.

Now when I slide it open to access the keypad, none of the buttons on the slider work. So that means I can't do text messages, because that means I need the keypad AND a button on the slider to click "Send".

I also can't call any number that is not already stored in my phone, as that also requires keypad and slider buttons.

I need a new phone!

Pump it up!

I was taught about tyre pressure.

Apparently keeping the tyres inflated to the recommended pressure ensures better fuel consumption.

There are just so many things to learn in this world we live in...

The Mandarin Barrier

We have 2 counterparts from Shanghai attached to us for a couple of weeks.

Always enjoying the role of a tour guide, a colleague and I volunteered to take them out for dinner. After all, they are youngish (32 and 34), so we figured we would be comfortable enough to play host for one evening.

We've planned dinner and drinks and maybe a drive through to see Orchard Road's Christmas light-up (which unfortunately is awful this year IMO - clashing colours and a weak theme)

Just like with most other visitors, I asked my friends if they wanted to join in. After all, the bunch of them were already meeting up and we never mind new company.

To my amusement, I was met with lots of What? Chinese? Wo Bu Hui Jiang Hua Yu (I can't speak Mandarin).

And so, none of them volunteered their company =D

Today's diet

Feel queasy (but surprisingly hungry) after the doctor's visit - I popped to a nearby hawker centre and was delighted to find that Chicken Macaroni Soup was being sold. I envisaged a delicious bowl with lots of chicken goodness in it - just like how mum used to do it for us when we were kids.

Unfortunately, although I asked to "upsize" it from S$2.50 to S$3, it turned out to be a measly bowl - with a few shredded pieces of chicken, and weirdly, overcooked iceberg lettuce.

It definitely wasn't enough, especially since I was also downing Vit C and orange juice - acidic drinks that made me hungry.

Alas I had nothing much else to eat in the kitchen! (We have not done our weekly grocery shopping) Besides cheese and ice-cream (which I would usually snack on, but the doc said no dairy), I only had instant noodles and chicken nuggets...oh and some eggs.

So I added on to my lunch, 2 chicken nuggets, and a bowl of instant noodles with an egg.

Boy, do I feel "healthy" =P

Down and out again

I was at the doctor's again this morning. Bothersome immune system! It started with feeling tired most of the weekend (and with me wondering why), an onslaught of a sore throat, and then throwing up after dinner yesterday.

The sore throat lingered, chills came on, nose alternated between being stuffed and runny. I couldn't quite get myself up this morning. Unfortunately, I wasn't going to call in sick without an MC, so I trudged to the clinic.

A friend noticed that I have been falling ill rather frequently, and remarked that it could be because I drive everywhere. He recommends that I spend time walking instead. He himself swopped daily taxi rides with regular train and walk routes, and found himself healthier. Looks like I might take his advice, or maybe up my weekly gym sessions from one to two or three. He feels that I'm not going to be able to make time for more gym though, but that it will be quite different if I leave the car at home, then I'll have no choice but to walk!

Child-proofing the home

There's no better way to figure out how to child-proof a home than to have an actual kid roam around in it.

A friend's 1.5 year old kid did just that yesterday. Her mum and I found ourselves following her around, frantically picking away things that could either be damaged if handled wrongly, or could potentially hurt the kid. I had to move away candle holders, glass jars, things with pointy or sharp edges and other breakable items.

And this wasn't even a mischievious one. She was just naturally curious and was as good natured when taught not to pick up certain things.

All her mum had to remind her was: Is that yours? She would do a little think and reply: No, it is Aunty's. And then with a little thrill, she would return the object to its original position.

I was quite amused. She once even returned a few items to a drawer she saw me taking them out from! She's a good kid.

To the airport and back

The sister is finally back from another bout of world galavanting.

We took a leisurely drive through pouring rain to meet her at the airport. I was wearing a nice-looking but too small a pair of shoes (long story), thinking I wouldn't have to walk much. Alas, we got our Terminals wrong - parking our car at T2 rather than T3. My poor feet.

As if to welcome her home, the rain dried up on our way back, and we were greeted with a beautiful setting sun. A variation of orange smudged the sky, providing a pretty backdrop to trees planted by the road.

Skipping Breakfast

On a normal work day, I almost never have breakfast. A coffee is usually grabbed at around 10am and that's about it.

When a holiday or a weekend swings by however, I do enjoy having a leisurely breakfast out.

Very often we choose Western style breakfasts, with sausages, eggs and the like. But we also really like local fare and troop out to enjoy the variety our little island offers.

This morning, Roboman has taken a friend out for an Indian breakfast nearby. As much as I would enjoy the food, I felt I needed time to be alone, and decided to pass.

Sometimes it is being conscious about when we need a little time out, instead of saying yes to all social engagements as I'm prone to do. I know this is going to help me stay refreshed for the weekend (and the week) ahead.

Rudeness

I was waiting for a colleague at the lobby of our office building. A work associate just came out of a meeting, and was at the same lobby waiting for his pick-up.

We said hi and engaged in small talk.

He is a 40-something-year-old and married and kids. I knew he had children so I thought a safe bet was to ask about them. As expected, he happily obliged, obviously proud of the 3 that he has.

Then he turned to ask about me. I replied honestly that I would like to have kids.

He then said: Yah, you women have one organ, use it well!

I STARED at him, I not believing what I just heard. This is someone I hardly even know. Then I calmed myself and graciously said: Well, God will provide.

He didn't let up and said: Yah, but you have to do your part too!

My colleague turned up then and I quickly said a curt goodbye.

What's wrong with this man?!

And by the way, a woman has more than one functioning organ!

Creative Work

Sometimes, when work discussions are geared towards idea generation, we take the meeting outside.

This is where we order our choice of caffeine, kick off our shoes, toy with possibilities, and select our best options.

Productivity always seem to go up a notch when there is consensus to enjoy ourselves while we work.

8 Treasures + 1

I had 8 Treasures Tea as my beverage for lunch today. The colours are so beautifully vibrant and pretty that I had to snap a shot. Doesn't it look delightful?

And oh, I made another flower pin to match a black dress - red belt combi. I currently seem to like them predominantly black, although that's going to change really soon :)

Being Married

Today was a typical one, where Roboman and I met up after work for dinner.

We did a spot of shopping for necessities, and some sewing supplies. He helped me choose fabric, and pick up things that are too high up for me to reach; I followed him to peek in a new audio equipment shop. As we strolled around the mall, we held hands as we usually do.

We ordered our food, and said grace together. Chatting through our Carl's Jr meal, we talked about our day, people in our lives, and how the chips we were eating were real because they had their skins on. We wondered aloud about McDonalds managing to make their reconstituted fries taste so good. We exchanged views about various issues, and I sought comfort in his words.

As we lounged around back at home, I found myself telling him how I really looked forward to seeing him every single day after work. It is the time of the day when I can be completely myself, be loved, cared for, and heard. It is also for me to hear about his day, give him back rubs, and provide gentleness and support.

I love my husband, and I enjoy his companionship very much.

Big round windows...

... like these are hard to come by these days.
So I had to take a picture...

Weekly Grocery Shopping

Our weekly staples!
Milk, Juice, Yoghurt & Bread
It doesn't matter what brands or where we buy them from;
as long as we have these in our kitchen each week!

I got Tagged!

If you had asked me just 3 days ago what Taggies are, I would have absolutely no idea.

A dear friend sent me a picture of a Taggies baby blanket, and asked if I would be able to make one for her six-month-old.

Taggies is an interesting concept borne out of the observation that babies love to fiddle with tags on anything - their clothes, toys etc. So such a blanket is simply one that has many different tags sewed around it for babies to play with.

It looked like a fun project so I immediately started work when Saturday kicked in.

And I made it! Woo hoo! I secured the ribbons down with 2 tight zigzag stitches to ensure that they are pull-proof.

Am rather pleased except that when I rinsed the blankie, the colour of one of the lace ribbons ran onto the cloth :( I was moping about it for quite a while.

Anyway it was interesting to see how my friend's baby immediately grabbed the tags when presented with the blankie. Looks like the folks who thought up this idea got it right!

Another night out

We've driven by the Fire Station Hillside Gastrobar a number of times since it opened at what used to be a colonial styled firestation. Nestled right at the last station block, this eatery at Upper Bukit Timah is another place for quiet ambience and some greenery.

It was a cool night, so dining alfresco was a pleasant experience.


The food was rather pleasing as well. One of our appetisers, Button Mushrooms with Escargots and Garlic Butter, was particularly refreshing. The blend of flavours and textures made the dish memorable. We also had mushroom soup, which I did not photograph properly - just as well, as I thought it pretty average [biased perhaps as I can do a pretty mean mushroom soup myself, if I may say so ;)] .


Mains of Carbonara and Beer Battered Fish


Perhaps my only grouse is that they don't do lunch, as we found out today!

Chilling Out

Cool breezes
Fairy lights
Planes taking off
Fiery hot wings
Chilli con carne
Sausages
Ribs
Roast chicken

Corsage is mine!

I made this last night too :)
I'm so glad I bought a sewing machine!




Brother's 1st born

I really thank God for giving me joy when I create things. It is difficult to explain, but whenever I sit down to make something out of my own hands, I feel soothed and experience an inexplicable delight.


Feeling blue tonight, I decided to set up the sewing machine. And since I have misplaced my tissue holder, I set about to make one - out of denim and a piece of floral material that mum passed to me.


Sure, the seams aren't that straight, and I underestimated the length so it is slightly too short, but I'm happy with this 1st born of my new Brother machine. I can't wait to experiment more!

Disappointment...

Because one of my top 5 strengths is apparently Positivity (as Gallup's StrengthsFinder tool shows), I'm generally observed to always see the bright side of things.

However, as this week has shown, I too can get really down and out.

How shall I put this? Well, the short of it is that I thought I was pregnant! But I'm not. And it became very clearly so today.

And so, without going into the gory details (especially for male readers), I now realise that the stress of the last few weeks has really put my natural cycle totally out of whack. This has never happened before. My cycles usually move like clockwork, with no changes unless due to medication (and that happened only once ever).

I ought not to be too disappointed, because truth to be told, we have not really actively been working at having a baby. I honestly didn't quite think it was necessary, since almost all my friends seem to conceive so easily.

But now I see that I might have allowed myself to be too overwhelmed by the stresses of work. I have not given enough time for prayer and reflections on the more important things in life. As I steamroll, brace myself and crash head-on into work, I have come out battered - emotionally, and even physically worse off for it.

Perhaps it is a good reminder for me now to hit on the brakes, and to make time for the things that matter. After all, in all that I have read, preparing for a baby starts even before the pregnancy.

I just need to learn how to do this better.

Fishy Fun


Great variety - from oysters to shark meat to otak-otak
Everything I've tried so far tastes pretty good.

My must-have appetiser: Otak toast
Snapper in miso and lemongrass infused broth

It is not that easy!

I picked up a couple of friends for drinks.

From the backseat, one of them, whom I have not seen in a while, asked: So, are you going to have a baby yet?

I replied with a negative, and remarked that it is not so easy.

She exclaimed:
You gotta work at it! Every night!

Dessert-ed

I am surrounded by people who love all manner of desserts!

My sister-in-law took one look in our freezer and exclaimed that we can host an ice-cream buffet =)

I for one can vouch that the desire for dessert can certainly be nurtured. I have never been a dessert person for most of my life. I didn't order them at the end of meals, and have been known to order savoury appetisers in place of desserts if the company I'm with wished to have dessert.

But now, being married to a man who appreciates ice-cream, cakes and other sweets, I have become accustomed to ending a meal with something sugary. Friends I hang out with have also played a part in making dessert a part of my lifestyle. Dessert menus at restaurants now interest me, and I actually meet up with girlfriends just for dessert.

How scary is that?!

Itchy Fingers

I set aside time today to sort out mail and clear a pile of papers that have been languishing on our dining table ever since the busy period at work kicked in.

After clearing out the necessary, I sat there and started folding up scrap A4 sized papers that were printed on one side, pulled out an old magazine, and made myself a notebook:

It is a very simple one, and I could have added more papers (I didn't have any more on hand), so I saved nicer magazine papers for future less-makeshift projects. Still, it was fun, and I'm pretty pleased with the results! This one will probably be placed at our home telephone niche for scribbling notes with.

How do you think people will feel about receiving handmade, upcycled Christmas gifts?

The Amazing (G)Race)

We just spent the morning "racing" around Western Singapore, spotting yellow and black flags, finding cryptic clues, and performing challenges at pitstops.

I could tell that a lot of effort went into planning for today's race organised for the various small groups in church. It is not easy to plan a game like that on a large scale, especially when we had such a wide age group involved - from little exciteable kids to older adults.

Our group made up of young adults, and when we got very lost at the very first pitstop, we thought all's over. We laughed at ourselves about how embarrassing our group was, losing out to families with young children. Especially so because we also named ourselves the Fast & the Furious. (erm, my idea) Some of us even quipped that we should just grab breakfast and join up with the rest back at church. Heh.

But of course, we didn't give up, and plowed our way through. At the last stop, we were surprised to hear that we were in running for 2nd place!

That was when we really picked up speed and RAN! It was hilarious seeing the sudden spurt of motivation :)

Thank God for a morning of fun with friends...and beautiful flowers like these growing around our church building:

Cool Socks

Friday has descended and weekend is near!

I feel lighthearted, my nagging cough mysteriously disappeared after my event(!), and I have a wonderfully bustling weekend all planned out.

It feels really great! Even the thought of ploughing through my many "clumps" of dirty laundry (as Roboman puts it), inspires in me a sense of purpose.

AND randomly, isn't this pair of baby socks so adorable? I was so tickled when I saw them on my favourite baby. They even have little non-slip rubber bits on the soles!


I just gave birth!

Well, it was probably what giving birth could feel like anyway. Discomfort and pain and during the pregnancy and birth; sheer relief right after.

After months of preparation, it is FINALLY OVER.

Arriving at the event venue at 5am in the morning to get ready means my eye rings will likely linger on for a while.

I'm so happy! I can finally find time to do my laundry properly! Clear clothes piles! Set up my sewing machine! Plan for Christmas! Not look at the work computer on weekends! (hopefully)

It feels great :)

Mixed-up Weekend

I'm having a sort of a strange, happy weekend.

Roboman is out of town
Sis-in-law is staying with us for the week

A friend visiting from Sydney
A mattress delivery
Visit and lunch delivery by parents
New bed linen chosen and bought
Driving through Halloweenish party goers
Night out with old acquaintances
Afternoon tea with old friend (lots of cake and ice-cream)
Dinner with friends that involved a cat circling us
A teething baby chewing on me
Some matchmaking over coffee where I'm needed as a decoy

And throughout all of this, I'm seriously procrastinating a piece of work that will be seen by 1,000 people at an event this week. And I'm still having a tickly cough.

Isn't it really annoying how procrastination really takes the joy out of living the now? Okay, I don't know if that makes sense. But I do feel that if I had the time/energy/will to do all the work earlier, this weekend would have been a blast. Unfortunately, the thought of unfinished business has been lingering over my head, casting a shadow over me.

But how it is that everytime I decide to whip up the work computer, a headache sets in?

Argh.

I better work through this headache now before the supper appointment tonight.

Cocoa goodness

The friend flew in from Sydney enroute to Jakarta and then Hongkong.

With only a weekend to spare, she had to pack in appointments and family commitments via a series of text messages.

This is the friend whom I have not seen for more than a year. She flew in specially for my wedding in March 07, where she bravely took on emcee duty for the dinner. Since then, the jetsetting career woman has been working long hours, and our communication has been reduced to sporadic text messages, emails, and the once-in-a-blue moon snail mail.

So I just had to squeeze out time last night to catch up, although I was nursing a bad throat and an annoying cough. You know the kind of cough that comes from a tingly, itchy throat.

We met up with a bunch of old friends at Canele, Robertson Quay for a sugar fix, before heading off for wine and cheese.

Someone told me that dark chocolate with very high percentage of cocoa is good for sore, itchy throats.

So I got myself some to see if that is true.

My medicine :)