Double Layer Pillowcase Dress

Double layer pillowcase dress

Double Layer Pillowcase Dress
Size | To fit Eva (108 cm in height; 14.3 kg in weight)
Pattern details | Double Layer Pillowcase Dress from Aesthetic Nest
Fabric details | 2 x one meter fabric from Kamdar

Recently, during one of my shopping trips at Kamdar (Mum wanted to buy some fabric so I took her there), I saw the prettiest fabric ever. I reckon the texture is similar to chiffon but what attracted me was the print – little princesses in pencil-like drawing! Of course the fact that it was in a soft shade of pink mattered as my gal LOVES pink. (Her pink and princess craze even extends to underwear, toys and books!) It was just too cute to NOT purchase.

Because the material was sheer, I decided to look around for a really soft shade of pink. I didn’t want to make a bubblegum pink dress…something sweet but not sickly sweet. After several rather long minutes, I was about to give up at the lining/cotton section when suddenly I saw this roll of pale pink hiding under all the blues and greys! What luck! The shade was just perfect – it wasn’t exactly Eva’s idea of pink but I reckon she would focus more on the whole “princess” fabric and ignore this little detail.

Double layer pillowcase dress

The basic idea is to have the princess fabric as the topmost layer with the pale pink on the bottom followed by a pale pink tie. It didn’t cross my mind to make bindings for the armholes until this morning when I was putting everything together so oops, I decided to whip up some pale pink binding instead. I figured that the fabric would be a better option compared to the sheer chiffon-like material.

Now, sewing this up didn’t take me long – just a night and about an hour the next day. It was the other stuff like figuring out the pattern (how long and how wide). I based my measurements on a dress we got as a gift from my in-laws and on hindsight, I should have realized that the armholes were a little tad too big (just like with the dress I used as my template).

Also, I must admit that I LOVE French seams. They really make an outfit look so much more “cleaner”. What I did not appreciate was having to seam bind the armholes. I hate sewing curves…especially when it came to topstitching the binding. Still, it makes for a pretty dress. It’s a little wide for her but that’s good because she can grow into it. I’m actually thinking of making a tiered version but I’ll see how that goes first – need to find the right combination of colours!

Double layer pillowcase dress

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Knit: Fraise

FO: Fraise

Pattern | Liliiflora Shawlette by Lily Go
Yarn | Wollmeise “Pure” 100% Merino Superwash in WD Babe
Needles | 4.5mm and 6.0mm circulars

Yay, another completed shawl!

The pattern is another gem by Lily Go and a joy to knit with. It is – as usual – well written and easy to follow. The starting was a bit of a bother as I had to cast on 300 over stitches and I had a false start with my choice of yarn.

The original choice was the same yarn I used for my Narnia shawl – an alpaca yarn I bought from France in a gorgeous shade of raspberry pink. But the yarn gave me a horrible itch and I decided to take a look at my precious Wollmeise stash to see if I could find a suitable colour for this pattern. I wanted something girly yet nothing too “froo-froo” and thus, ended up with this lovely crescent shawl.

I’m enjoying the idea of knitting shawls with fingering weight yarn. The resulting texture makes the pattern really pop, especially things like nupps and cables. And the size is just nice – 19 repeats in order to make full use of the yarn. I finished the shawl with only 10% of the original 150gm skein left to spare which isn’t all that bad. (I’m rather tired of keeping odds and ends, scraps of yarn here and there.)

And yes, while this was on the block, I started another knitting project…which probably explains why it’s been forever since I last updated this blog (or any of my other blogs)!

Ravelry Project Page Ravelry info available here.

FO: Fraise

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Mother’s Day Packs!

I’ve been busy churning out gift packs for the store for Mother’s Day and am glad to say that they are now available!!!!

Gift Packs! Gift Packs! Gift Packs! Gift Packs!

Some of the new things included are salt polish made using Dead Sea salt and aloe butter as well as, yes, perfume sticks. As usual, all limited edition items in the packs won’t be available for regular sale for at least six months…some may not even make its appearance on our shelves at all!

For more details on the items and prices, please refer to the Facebook album here.

**cross-posted on the store blog**

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Knit: Spring Things Shawl

Spring Things Shawl on the block!

Spring Things Shawl
Pattern | Spring Things by Susan Lawrence
Yarn | Zauberwiese silk lace 600m in Nessie
Needles | 3.75mm circulars

With all the distractions and the shop keeping me occupied, it took me longer than usual to finish this project – but I still manage to finish it! I didn’t have time to take some really decent pictures – maybe I should – so it’s hard to imagine the sheen from the yarn.

I increased the number of repeats in the first part (Chart A) to get as much as I could out of my yarn and luckily too. The shawl didn’t seem all that big after blocking and if I am making this again, I’ll probably add another increase. The nupps were not all that difficult, or maybe I’m getting used to it again. I was actually tempted to replace the nupps with beads but after thinking, beads with kids don’t get along so well…especially SMALL beads. Maybe another time?

The colour is slightly variegated so the pattern didn’t really pop but it still makes for a nice knit. If you can, go for long repeat colourways or semi-solid colours – the pattern would really come through. All in all, a nice knit and nothing to hard on the memory either.

I seem to have caught the lace shawl bug again and after finishing this, I’ve started a new one. More on that another time!

Ravelry Project Page Ravelry info available here.

Spring Things Shawl on the block!

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Orange Jasmine in bloom!

Orange Jasmine in bloom - March 2014

This isn’t exactly a typical dirt-to-dish post since you can’t really eat flowers but who’s keeping tabs?

After a really heavy-hand of pruning (I stripped the entire tree of all its leaves), our orange jasmine is finally blooming and wonderfully at that! For nearly two to three full days, the entire apartment was lightly scented with the perfume from these gorgeous flowers. Also, it now has branches coming out from the base of the main stem. All this thanks to regular watering and fertilising with organic manure, vermicompost as well as epsom salt.

To make the tree look a little neater, I’ve actually trimmed all leaves & stems from the bottom 5 inches of the tree. Hopefully, this will allow the tree to focus on giving out more leaves and flowers from the top instead of the bottom. Another reason for this pruning is because there isn’t much space on the balcony; I had to move my other jasmine tree to the landing area to make room for this one since it’s doing oh-so-well (it is now taller than my soon-to-be 5 year old!).

I was tempted to harvest this round of buds for an oil infusion but seeing that the tree had just gone through a rather dry spell last month (and especially more so when I was away for a week), I decided to leave the buds intact and on the tree. I might harvest the upcoming round of buds but it all depends on if the tree will give me a huge amount to begin with.

Orange Jasmine in bloom - March 2014

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Pulau Payar Marine Park

Pulau Payar Marine Park

Located about two hours boat ride from Penang is the Pulau Payar Marine Park which is basically a tiny island surrounded by coral reefs and well, all the things that come with coral reefs. We decided to pay this island a little visit since my father-in-law and his wife was in town and wanted something to do during the weekends. If you’re on a budget, this marine park may be a little heavy on the wallet. Locals fork out at least RM200 while those on work permits and passes (like my husband and two children) pay RM250 and RM200. Infants (children below 4 years old – I think) pay RM50. Foreigners fork out a whooping RM300. The package does not include Marine Park entrance fee as well as handling charges for the Penang Port authorities. This totals up to about an additional RM18-20 for the adults and RM14-15 for children.

But before you balk at the price, know that it includes almost all the activities possible save diving (that’s another package), lunch and access to fresh water shower, toilet, and changing room facilities. We discovered that there are tour operators running a cheaper package which only gives you access to a very short stretch of the beach (about 100-150m long), mediocre food and no fresh water shower at all. More on the cons of the cheaper package later.

Our journey starts early in the morning as check-in is at 730am at Swettenham Port, Penang. You can catch a cab and ask them to drop you off at the main entrance (where the Star Cruise ships dock) or if you’re driving, you can park your car at the carpark next to the old Fort. Note that parking charges there are RM0.80 per hour. If you leave your car there for the whole day like what I did, parking will total up to RM8.

Check-in was quite fast – we just approached the counter (the people queueing were heading to Langkawi) and were given different tickets and a waterproof band of some sorts. The band is important as the return boat will be using that as an indication that you’re a valid passenger for the ride back to Penang. If you have children and are afraid of losing it, you can remove and keep it some safe. The ride will take about two hours so try to keep the kids entertained with either books, games or a tablet with movies in store. Noah fell asleep on the way there so entertaining him wasn’t a problem at all.

Pulau Payar Marine Park Pulau Payar Marine Park

We docked at the Langkawi Coral Platform – a floating, well, platform that has toilets, changing rooms, fresh water shower facilities as well as an underwater observatory – about 200 to 300m away from the shore. After getting settled in, we were briefed on the dos and don’t as well as schedule for the day. This is an important bit because there are no hotels or any form of accommodation on the island and if you miss the boat, well, you miss the boat. So it was important to stick to the schedule and obey the rules. The package includes snorkelling and swimming as well as a short trip to shore via boat. Luggage, bags and slippers are stored in baskets under the tables – safety was definitely not an issue in our case as nothing went missing but if you’re paranoid, you can ask them to keep your belongings under lock and key.

The platform has a nice little take-off area where you can sit and watch the fish swim up close to you or take off for snorkelling. There are also little floating bays nearby for people who want to sunbath and all and areas for swimming and snorkelling are marked clearly. There are lifeguards at the platform to keep an eye on people (but I feel that it’s more to prevent them for getting up to their mischief (I’ll explain this later). While the adults and Eva went swimming, I sat at the take-off area with Noah – he was more into splashing and the seating area (see the picture below) was suitable for just that. We had a few tourists feed fish with the bread although personally, I wouldn’t recommend that.

Lunch is part of the package and we got a lovely buffet spread that included fresh fruit, some seafood, cake and jellies. After that, a trip to shore was in order. The beach was packed as there was other tour operators that had similar packages. Between the platform and the beach, the hubs and I preferred the former as the beach was crowded and the water murky (due to the waves). You could swim a little further to see more things but it still doesn’t beat the view we got when you snorkel around the platform.

The overall experience was really nice save for some of the tourists that were present. The same group of people were stepping on the coral or coral beds and catching fish despite being told not to do that by two separate people (one of which was leading that particular group). A lady who did just that had to be rescued because she swam too close to the shallows, stood on the coral and got a banged up knee as a result of her actions. The marine park operators had to warn the same few people several times and because they were all parked where Noah and I were, I was privy to a lot of their misadventures. I too got quite annoyed, especially when they started bragging and telling others to go around stepping on the coral and catching the fish. They got a very polite shelling from me which of course resulted in them giving me the no-so-happy face. I’m more concerned about what you’re doing to the environment than whether you like me or not. Pfft.

People should understand that if everyone were to step on the coral, catch the fish, a few months down the road, you can forget about visiting the Marine Park at all because you’d have killed the coral and stressed out the marine life. When you visit any place, be it a musuem, forest, beach have some due consideration and respect for the life around you – not just people but the animals and the environment. One tourist who was a diver was kind enough to fish out a plastic bottle he saw lying on the bottom of the diving area. The tour operators in charge of the beach packages were going around picking up trash that tourists were leaving behind. Is it really all that hard to keep your trash to yourself?

All in all, a still-enjoyable experience.

Note: Don’t go to this place during public holidays as per recommendation by the Langkawi Coral folks. It can get pretty packed and you won’t have a nice time. Go during offpeak seasons or over the weekend like what we did.

Pulau Payar Marine Park

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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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