WIP: Quilt #4

WIP: Quilt #4 (generated in Photoshop)

Here’s a look at what’s in store for the next quilt…

I’ve decided to try the Log Cabin pattern in co-ordinating patterns with the Asian print (center square) as the colour base. Nothing fancy actually. I plan to doing 5 x 8 blocks for the whole quilt instead of the 3 x 5 as seen here but that would depend on several factors, namely how big each block is going to be. I reckon 2 1/4″ width as the minimum would give me a pretty good sized quilt.

Anyway, I hope to get started on this after I’m done with the previous quilt – after all, I’m still waiting for two more fabrics for this project to arrive so here’s hoping that the postman will bring them to me over the next few days (I hope the shop doesn’t run out of the fabrics as well!)!

Continue Reading

Strawberries in crème pâtissière

Strawberries in crème pâtissière

My latest comfort food in the form of strawberries with a few dollops of crème pâtissière or pastry cream, all served up in small ramekin dishes. Simply, not too sweet yet oh-so-tantalizingly delish! Perfect for the summer or just when you need a little pick-me-up…the prospects of having to pack and move is definitely a downer, if you ask me.

Continue Reading

Patchwork #3 in the making

Quilt #3 in progress

One thing is for sure, this patchwork project is definitely larger than the previous two blankets I did! Just this whole piece of squares is my height (approx over 154 cm) and this excludes the 17 to 18 cm border that we’ll be adding to the sides after Tuesday (it’s a public holiday on Monday so we’ll only be able to go fabric shopping on Tuesday for the border and backing).

Do bear in mind that I didn’t exactly pick the colours – if you hadn’t noticed, I’m more of a “complimentary and mute and pleasant, nothing too bright” sort of person (see my latest fabric stash?) whereas Nil is all about bright, bright, bright colours. He hates browns, pastels and well, he hates anything that looks ‘too similar’ to each other! (It’s the same with my dyeing as well – he loves the bright colours and I just like the ones that blend in well with each other – a good mix for the shop, if you ask me.)

I am wondering though if I would like to add a thin layer of batting – nothing too thick and such but the trouble is, am not too sure how to go about getting one and all. Maybe I’ll ask around and see what comes up. In the meantime, it’s time to start planning the next project! *beams*

Continue Reading

Lovestruck

From start to finish: Lovestruck in Superwash Merino/Seacell from Squoosh

Ply | Three
Yardage | 498.3 m
WPI | NA (Fingering)
Fibre | SW Merino-Seacell (70/30) from Squoosh
Tool | Serenity Wheel [5.5:1 ratio]

This is a milestone spin – the first time I hit over 450 meters of yarn after plying from a 4 oz braid! *bounces*

Now while I’m totally in love with how the colours progress from one to another, chances are this skein will go up for sale once I get to doing the necessaries with all my other handspuns that end up in the shop. I can imagine it being just perfect for a simple toe-up (or cuff-down, whichever way you like) sock. No lace, no cables, no frills…just to show off the colours and such.

Anyway, now that this is over, it’s time to pack up the wheel…or at least find a corner for it so it can hibernate under a cloth or on one of them “sleep number bed” (just kidding…but don’t you just love the simplicity of air beds?) and not gather dust. And yes, it’ll be time to rev up the sewing machine! 8)

Handspun SW Merino-Seacell in Lovestruck

Continue Reading

Tarte a la rhubarbe

Tarte a la rhubarbe

The last time I made anything with rhubarb was last summer, when the sour, tart vegetable is in season here in Europe. You’ll find the red, firm stalks (they look a little like celery but are dark red) on sale in bunches at markets and grocery stores. They are used in a variety of dishes, especially tarts, jams and yes, even ice cream!

While I don’t really fancy anything sour (except oranges and such), Nil loves them to death – well, actually he loves anything sour. Hence his purchase of a big bunch of rhubarb stalks a few days back. I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about baking the tart since the first time I made it was by mixing a few recipes and then the last time I made it was with strawberries (that ended up being too soggy and such).

So this time, I decided to wing it. Nil prepped the stalks by removing the skin on half of them instead of all – I like to keep them looking red instead of a pale green – before slicing them into 2 cm pieces. After the usual wash and drain, I toss them together with about slightly less than 1/2 cups of brown sugar before putting it aside for about 20 to 30 minutes. Then the usual cream-egg-sugar mix plus tart pastry and voila, we have a nicely done rhubarb tart…just in time for tonight’s dessert (which explains the crappy lighting). And remarkably, this went well with some passionfruit & mango ice cream Nil bought – at my insistence. *grin*

Tarte a la rhubarbe

Ingredients

(A) Pastry
All purpose white flour
Butter
Some sugar
Some iced water

(B) Filling
Rhubarb
Approx less than 1/2 cup brown sugar (for the rhubarb)
Cream fraiche
1-2 tbsp milk
4 eggs
Brown sugar

Method

  1. Prepare the rhubarb by slicing them into 2 cm pieces and then tossing them in brown suar. Place aside for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Prepare the pastry by mixing (A). Preheat the oven to 190 C and butter a 9″ pastry pan. Roll out the pastry to the appropriate size and cover the pan. Toss in some baking beans and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until pale golden brown.
  3. Place the cream fraiche, milk, eggs and sugar in a bowl and mix until smooth. Place aside and remove the pastry from the oven.
  4. Strain the rhubarb and squeeze out the excess liquid before covering the pastry with it. Pour the cream mixture over the rhubarb.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm as is or with a dollop of cream or ice cream of any flavour.
Continue Reading

Yummy fabric!

Fabric stash from Cotton & Color

This arrived a couple of days ago from a shop here in Switzerland called Cotton & Color (I have another four meters or more coming in from the US – hopefully, I won’t get taxed for them (I shouldn’t because it costs less than the CHF65 tax-free threshold)). I picked about six different co-ordinating fabrics for my next project which will feature a log cabin pattern but one of the problems about buying fabric from a store via the Net, especially fabric on sale is that the said fabric could run out before the person reaches your order.

So I end up missing out on one of the fabrics – a dark plum red – but these five are still do-able. I placed another order to replace the missing colour and this time, decided to pick two hues from the same group. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the store will have them in stock AND they’ll go well with these.

In the meantime, I’ve started piecing fabrics for Quilt #3 and with any luck, I should be done with the entire 40 blocks by this weekend! Wahou!

Continue Reading

Still around…

Lovestruck in SW Merino-Seacell (70/30)

…just busy, that’s all.

I just finished my last class today at the language school and the shop is on a hiatus even though there are still items listed for sale. I thought I’d finish up my last spinning WIP (or at least I think it’s the last WIP unless I get itchy and start on another fibre), ply and list it for sale before Eva decides to show up. I did break my fibre diet by adding two more braids to my current stash but seriously, I suspect the spinning wheel will be on break for the next couple of months. Baby belly is getting too big for spinning, but not for sewing. HAHA.

In the mean time, I’ve been doing some of my regular cooking – nothing fancy, just the usual quiche lorraine and some salads – and I have a couple of dishes planned on the menu in the form of pizza, and rhubarb tart.

Btw, did you guys know that Black Friday is a term for the Friday after Thanksgiving which is also the beginning of the traditional holiday shopping season? Amazing the kind of things you can find out via Wiki! Yes, I read all sorts of funny things. 8)

Continue Reading

When it’s hot…

…it’s hot.

Don’t disagree, especially when it’s a pregnant woman telling you that it’s hot.

Of lately, day temperatures have been hitting a high of 38°C and before you think it’s all fine and dandy for this girl from the tropics, let me remind you that in Malaysia, most people don’t hang out outdoors all day long and neither do they tan themselves in public and such (things like wearing a bikini at the park is a no-no!) – they work in buildings with air-conditioning, go home to houses with fans and air-conditioning, have lunches in restaurants with fans and/or air-conditioning, use cars and public transportation with air-conditioning…well, do you get my drift so far?

Many people here would kill for 365 days of perpetual summer but most Malaysians I know hate the heat because of one thing – it’s annoying, you feel lethargic all the time not to mention sweaty because of the humidity (which isn’t so good for the office either)…and well, the heat can do some pretty crazy things – people get crankier, tempers flare…etc. Plus when the nights are as hot as the days, it’s not something worth killing for. In fact, most Malaysians love it when it’s cool/cold.

Already back at home, I found it too hot and humid for my liking and back at home, median temperatures are always at 32°C. Thankgawd for the little things in life like a fan or air-conditioning.

Here, I don’t even have a fan, and I certainly don’t have air-conditioning. So I have to make do with whatever means possible to stay cool which is often 1) stay indoors, 2) take lots and lots of cold showers and 3) dress skimpy, at home that is. I coped well last late spring and early summer but this time around, I’m seriously having issues dealing with the heat because of one major factor.

I’m pregnant and what’s worse is that my late trimester is around summer – horrible. Just horrible. Pregnant women already have excess heat issues with the additional blood volume and increased metabolic rate. When I tell people at the hospital that the current heat is unbearable for me, they smile and nod because they know even though it’s just great for them. Why? Because they know.

When people who have never been pregnant or aren’t pregnant go “NOOOOOO, but it’s cool and you come from the tropics, so it shouldn’t be an issue”, that’s when I get pissed. People think it’s amusing and even strange when I complain about the heat during summer here. To fully understand why, here’s some food for thought:

If a person coming from a four-season country like Switzerland were to complain about how cold our air-conditioning in Malaysia is, I’d go “NOOOOOO, but you come from Switzerland so it shouldn’t be an issue – it’s colder there”. You’d be annoyed, if not pissed, because you know that in winter, you don’t walk around outside in T-shirt and shorts plus sandals, and neither do you hang out in places without heating.

…so, moral of the story?

Just smile politely when a pregnant women from the tropics complains about the heat in summer.

Continue Reading