I’m still around!

WIP: Spring Shawl

I must admit that I’ve been neglecting this blog as well as my parenting one. The shop’s recent V-Day promo has been a hit and I am still thankful even after the craziness has died down. Busy is tiring but it’s a good kind of busy as the hubs says. Very recent inquiries into wholesale stock has also lead me to consider increase my mold size or mold quantity per soaping session (I am tempted to make my own wooden molds so wood craft supplies, anyone?). This year has started off with many blessings and I’m thankful to God for that.

My knitting has taken a backseat the last few days and I only managed to pick it up again yesterday night for two rows before I got “kidnapped” by the kids, especially Noah who loves asking me to look at things, look at his blocks, or play with him. This shawl – made with 100% silk from Germany – is progressing quite well and I hope to have it done before we hit March…I HOPE!

On another front, we are up for our second overseas family vacation! Excitement!

My father-in-law and his wife are coming over tomorrow and then in March, we’ll be meeting up with my sister-in-law and her entire brood in Cambodia!!!! The kids will be flying along with us and it’ll be an exciting time for both Noah and Eva because the kids had such a blast when we were in SG, on the plane and all. Am keeping my fingers crossed for a smooth and happy trip for everyone.

All this vacationing also means that the shop will be busy and this blog will be quiet again!!! EEPS!

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Slow down…

…my blog, that is.

I just realized that it has been nearly a month since I last updated this blog and my parenting one. Apart from being busy with the store, I suddenly realized that it isn’t all that important anymore to get my voice out there. Am unsure as to who exactly checks here in these days and the project updates, recipes are more for posterity sake than anything else.

O’well…I just completed a knitting project and tomorrow will be a busy day – the kids and I will be whipping up some Chinese New Year goodies! Perhaps I’ll have a chance to update this blog then. ^.^

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Nothing much going on here…

I’m still alive…in case anyone is wondering.

It’s just that things have been going crazy since this month started.

Suddenly, my inventory is flying off the shelves and into the “reserved” pool. So that meant that my small 4-7 full-sample bars per batch wasn’t enough to cater for the demand. I would either have to upgrade my mold sizes to bigger ones or churn out another batch right after the first. Either way, I feel blessed – busy is good. Never mind that I have a ton of fabric to cut up, pin, sew and assemble. Never mind that I have labels to print and put together. Never mind that I need to find some space in my curing rack and soon, I’ll have to find a place for storing cured soaps.

Then the car went into the hospital. My very old car had been giving my some problems and when we took it in for a check-up, we were dealt with a RM3K answer. It was not even an option. Then there was the possibility of an engine leak. If that were true, that meant a complete overhaul which, of course, meant more money. Aiyayaya!

I’ve also been busy with my Dirt-To-Dish project and am still waiting for some sign that my vegetables are growing… The seeds have germinated three days after sowing; I read that you can harvest these leafy greens about 45 days after sowing. It’s been about two weeks, I think, and the seedlings look pretty small. I’m hoping to see more growth after putting some vermicompost on them. In the meantime, my blue pea seedling is doing well but my angled petolas seemed to have slowed down. I’m not too sure if it’s the heat or the lack of compost but we’ll see since they too have seen a dose of vermicompost yesterday.

We have also been holding onto our 1-meat, 1-vegetable a day plan and that meant cooking less…which also meant experimenting with less. My blender, my pressure cooker, all my usual trusty gadgets are not around so I am less inclined to bake or cook up anything fancy over the week. Last week’s awfully bad food poisoning spell left me rather lethargic and plain old lazy when it come to cooking so I just made very simple dishes for the kids and sat out. I am tempted to go back to baking but I miss having my stand mixer (Mum is kind enough to pass me her hand mixer next month) so I’m holding out till then. Haiz.

In the mean time, I shall leave you with a picture of my lunch today – a simple homemade nasi lemak.

Today's lunch

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Busy, busy.

If I haven’t been updating both blogs, it is only because I have been busy.

Our things arrived from France on Monday and since then, all I have been doing is unpacking and organising them. On top of that, the kids also started playschool on the same day so I have been playing the chauffeur and driving them to & fro school. What has been more knacked out is the unpacking.

One thing is clear.

It was a good idea to have that destash year(s) up and running. We have too many things and I have resorted to closing both eyes and just donating a whole boatload of stuff (clothes, toys, etc) as well as parting with a number of my favourite yarns & fibres. Why part with my favourites? While, I have too many to go through and rather than let it sit as part of my stash, I might as well find them a good home.

Apart from the whole “destash” thing – this rule applies to hobbies, clothes and household items…even food – I’ve been making some time to use up my yarn. I managed to finish a shawl (will block it over the weekend) and started another one using the leftover yarn from my previous pair of socks. I also have a few sewing projects in mind – namely the English Garden quilt for the kids and some cloth pads (just so I can use up the Zorb fabric I have). Hopefully I’ll be able to make some headway and clear off some of my stash.

Still, what the heck was I thinking when I added these things to my stash in the first place?

Gack!

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Driving in Penang…

…can be a very tiring affair. So much so that at the end of the day, all you want to do is just curl up to a nice comfy anti fatigue mat.

Now why do I say this?

First of all, there is nothing wrong with Penang roads. Sure it has some quirks like how some lanes are just for turning left or right, how it can start off with two lanes and suddenly end up as one or how two-way traffic ends up becoming one way (in other words, no entry signs are plentiful and so are u-turns). Of course there are potholes too but for the most part, it’s normal to have less-than-perfect roads. I attribute this to how the island has been developing – over already existing roads (long story there about how the state government has to find ways to develop the place because it’s opposition-led).

The problem lies with Penang drivers. Here is a list of some things I experienced and noticed so far…

…Penang drivers can’t seem to stick to their own lanes. More often than not, a typical Penangite driver will hog two lanes and stay in the middle. They don’t know how to control their steering wheel and will often end up in another lane when making a turn. The issue with drivers hogging two lanes on a straight road is due to two things – lousy driving skills or other people’s laziness (for an explanation on the latter, please see the next item).

…People here love to just park their cars anywhere and everywhere. Never mind that there is perfectly decent, legal AND empty parking space about 100-200 meters away from their destination. If the roads are wide, this wouldn’t pose to be a problem but trouble is that the roads are often narrow so when you have cars parked on both sides of the road shoulder, it turns traffic from a two-way one to one-way. And if you add a lorry into the equation or a car that is double-parked…well, you get the picture, don’t you?

…They love danger…or just that they are not very patient. People here will overtake uphill on a winding road with a double line just because the guy in front isn’t pressing down on his accelerator hard enough. They will create lanes just because they think that it’ll get them to their destination faster (never mind that it actually has the opposite effect). Breaking the red light, speeding when you should be slowing down (like going downhill), etc.

…I feel sorry for those on motorbikes but sometimes they can be a darn nuisance too. Some motorbike drivers LOVE to hog the road and by this, I mean they love to ride their bike in the middle of a one-lane road or stay in between two lanes. So the only way you can pass them is by heading into the lane meant for oncoming traffic. Haiz.

One thing nice though is this – Penangite drivers are pretty tolerant of their peers. No honking and lots of giving allowances. In KL, there would be plenty of honking, finger showing, lights flashing and who knows what else but here, no such thing. Road rage, it would seem, isn’t part of the driving “lifestyle” here.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m in an alternate universe after having driven in a large city like Lyon and then a small town like Dole and then back in a large city like PJ/KL and now in Penang. Surreal, I tell you…

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Lots to do, lots to do.

If I have been silent for a while, it is because we are still in the midst of settling down here in Penang.

I’m typing this from our hotel room in Penang – there was no electricity in the apartment until the day of the handover so many things such as the dishwasher, washing machine, fridge, and even cupboards, wardrobe and bed were still uninstalled (no electricity means no power tools, etc). Then we got hit by another “news”. Our mattresses won’t arrive until Saturday at the earliest! The only person with a mattress would be Noah in his crib. Gah.

Nil started work on Monday so I had to play chauffeur on top of entertaining the kids in the hotel room, scouting around for things for the house – little things like cleaning tools and solutions, safety gate & latches for the windows AND sliding door (we’re on the 18th floor so I’m taking no chances!), rubbish bins, bags, clothes, sponges… I barely even have enough time to clean my pc – it’s awfully slow!

On top of that, the Internet isn’t set up yet so that means no cable or online time for me until next week. But no matter, I reckon I’ll have quite a bit of things to do – cleaning is the first thing on my list. Laundry is another (we need a laundry stand for the balcony). I need to fix up some way to make the roller blinds in the kids’ room darker but that’s not on the top of my list…at least not for now. Hopefully we’ll be all settled in by next week!

*keeps fingers crossed*

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Spindle: Pink Sea Jasper

Spindle: 1.0 oz Pink Sea Sediment Jasper Stone Top Whorl Drop Spindle

Pink Sea Jasper
Whorl | Pink sea sediment jasper stone; 50mm diameter
Shaft | Carved hardwood
Total weight | 1 oz
Total length (including hook) | 9 3/4 inches
From | Tina’s Angoras

Ain’t this gorgeous? 🙂

When I first saw this on sale, I fell in love with it instantly. It reminded me of Eva and how much she loves pink. When it arrived, I couldn’t help but marvel at the flow of the colour, the intertwining veins…a flawless beauty!

Spindle: 1.0 oz Pink Sea Sediment Jasper Stone Top Whorl Drop Spindle

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Sugar Pie

Sugar Pie

Ply | Single
Yardage | 952 m
WPI | Laceweight
Fibre | 50/30/20 Alpaca Merino Silk from Squoosh in Sugar Pie
Tool | Serenity Wheel [5.5:1]

I bought this fiber sometime in 2008 and had spun up some of it using a spindle. After a while, with all the moving, packing and unpacking, it was forgotten and stayed hidden away in my stash. While clearing out my yarn & fiber armoire a few weeks back, I came across it and decided to spin it up again. I tried with a spindle but after years of spinning with a wheel, I didn’t really seem to have the patience for spindle spinning. I should still get back to it since it’s a really lovely art and I don’t want my spindles to sit around gathering dust.

I wanted to keep this as a single ply yarn so I went back to spinning with a low ratio but with still zero to little tension. I tried putting in some band tension but that result into a too low spin which then lead to my singles breaking. Due to this practice, I had to discard a good amount of singles AND fiber. Once everything was spun up, I finished it with a hot water bath to felt it a little and lots of twacking in my bath tub to distribute the spin so that the resulting yarn is smoother but still strong enough to be used for lacework.

There is a certain halo to the yarn thanks to the alpaca fiber and the shine is just amazing. I must say that this is a gorgeous blend to work with. Sadly, I don’t have a lot of this blend in my stash – I have a lot of superwash and superwash blends (for sock purpose) – but I am going to consider stocking up on this blend in the future!

Sugar Pie

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