Sunday, 15 February 2015

Happy Chinese New Year 2015

Chinese New Year 2015 took place on 19/2/2015. This year is the year of the goat by the Chinese calender. This is one of the most important festivals in Chinese culture. It is not only represents the start of a new year but also referred to as a joyous occasion for family reunions. To me, It is also a festival to relive cultural tradition ...

You can see streets,houses, shops, or shopping malls are permeated with festive atmosphere, feeling the warmth and optimism of a new year. Let's welcome new beginnings!!

Golden Goat and a large number of red lanterns in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur.

What a wonderful lantern tree!!

Spring couplets calligraphy contest as a part of the Chinese New Year celebration. My daughter and I took part in the contest at her school. Haha, quite a long time I didn't write in Chinese calligraphy! Anyway we enjoyed this festival activity.

Red is an auspicious color in Chinese culture, it symbolizes good fortune and joy. Thus, I tried to dress up some of my potted plants with red ribbon yesterday... I also put up a Chinese New Year tree at the corner of the staircase.

One of my decorative potted plants - Water Jasmine.
My Chinese New Year tree.

May the year of the goat bring prosperity, success and joy to you...

Monday, 2 February 2015

lace-trimmed rectangular tablecloth

Sewing your own lace-trimmed tablecloth is an inexpensive way to dress up your table and it is very easy to make. Normally, you shouldn't take more than one hour to complete a piece of lace-trimmed tablecloth if you use the sewing machine.

Today, I will show you how I sew a lace-trimmed tablecloth with a very simple method. I will use my veteran sewing machine to start my work......

1. cotton fabric
2. Matching thread
3. lace


1. To find out the measurement of a rectangular tablecloth, measure the size of your table itself and add 10 inches of additional drop to all the four sides ( included 1/2 inch seam allowance). You can change the additional drop lengths according to your preference.

2. Make sure you have purchased enough lace with a margin for error and pleats before you start your work. This pattern requires three pleats only at the corners of the tablecloth and therefore leave a margin of 16 inches is enough. For example: if the perimeter of your tablecloth is 240 inches, plus a margin of 16 inches, so the length of the lace that you need should not be less than 256 inches.

 3. Now, we are going to start the work. Cut out the fabric piece according to the final measurement.  Fold the raw edge 1/4 inch and press, and then make another fold 1/4 inch so you have a doubled over layer of fabric along the edge. This will keep the edge from fraying.

4. Place/pin the folded edge on the right position of the lace and sew a 1/8 inch (about 2mm) seam down along the folded edge as shown in the photo below - place the fabric and lace right side up under the presser foot of the sewing machine.

Sew a 1/8 inch seam along the folded edge of the fabric.

 5. Pleat the lace near each corner of the folded edges. Pleat and hold the lace in place with a long needle. I didn't pin or baste across the pleats in advance. I lift the presser foot when I reach the part near to the corner, then push and gather the lace which lay under the fabric towards the back of the presser foot  to create pleats - make a pleat before the right angle and make a diagonal pleat right on the right angle to align the corner (don't lift the needle when you lift the presser foot). Then lower the presser foot and continue sewing a 1/8 inch seam down the edge which mean you sew across the pleats at the same time. Now, lift the presser foot (don't lift the needle) and turn the fabric to the other side, make the third pleat after the right corner. Try to pleat the lace evenly. Then continue sewing a 1/8 inch seam down along the folded edge to next corner. Follow the same method to get your work done.

Pleat the lace.

Make three pleats at the corner of the tablecloth.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Garter vertical striped scarf

Add a touch of glamour to my outfit ......
I knitted a vertical striped scarf with different shades of grey recently. Do you think that people wearing grey scarf might look more depressing? To me, I love scarf in pure grey or mixed of different shades of grey because it would be my perfect choice to match almost all my casual shirts and dresses.

I believe any scarf would be fashionable and stunning if we make a right match for our clothes or the shades that we choose tone in well with the whole outfit. Thus, not only the bright and colorful scarf but also the dark shades scarf would enhance our look and draw compliments from our friends.

If you don't want to hunt around looking for a perfect scarf to match your clothes, you can now try to knit one with your perfectly matched colors. This is a garter vertical striped scarf. To get the method of making a garter vertical striped you can refer to my previous posts - cast on two colors and Intarsia colors change on vertical line for garter stitch.

In the middle of the work......
Yarn    : 100%  acrylic, weight 40g 
Needle : single-pointed needle (size 4.5mm) 

Pattern for this scarf :
1. Cast on  39 stitches with  "long-tail cast on" - 13 stitches for each shade of grey.
2. Knit every row ( be careful when you change colors at the right side and wrong side of your work because this is a non-reversible pattern).
3. Knit to a desired length and cast off.
4. Add fringes to the both ends of the scarf. I use one strand of yarn for each stitch and the three shades of grey will be used alternately.
Now, cut a length of yarn according to your need and then fold the strand in half. Insert the crochet hook through the edge of the knitting, catch the loop and draw it out,then grab the both ends of the fringing using your fingers and pull them out through the loop. Continue your work for the other stitches on the edges.

click here to find out the method of making a knotted fridge).

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

We enjoyed our trip to Yogyakarta in December 2014. Apart from the main attractions, we went around the other places to take a look at people's livelihood.

First of all, I would like to talk about a famous shopping area in Yogyakarta - Malioboro street. Maliobora street was a lively shopping street. A wide variety of goods like batiks, bamboo handicrafts, silver, miniature of traditional vehicles, begs, ornaments, T-shirts until sandals and small keychains could be found easily. It could be best described as a "souvenir paradise".

We saw many horse-drawn carriages and traditional trishaws waiting tourists along Malioboro Street. Tourist could take a horse-drawn carriage or trishaw ride to explore Malioboro Street, but we didn't go for it, we preferred to stroll down the street.

View of Malioboro Street

Traditional trishaw

I found that street art in Yogyakarta was very popular. I am not an aficionado of the street art or wall-painting but I felt some kinds of wall-painting infused a vibrancy into the city atmosphere.


We could see the locals selling salak fruit everywhere in Yogyakarta. According to our taxi driver, salak fruit was their everyday snack. Salak fruit also known as snake fruit due to the scaly skin. Its taste was sweet and slightly acidic while its aroma was so unique that I couldn't express to you in words.

We stopped by a salak fruit stall at the roadside when we passed by a village. We bought some salak fruit at the stall and later we visited a small plantation of salak trees which was just next to the stall.   From a distance, salak trees looked like palm trees. In fact,it is a species of palm tree. The salak fruit trees are thorny that I was always careful when I stepped into the plantation.

salak fruit trees

The fruit sold here were very fresh and I especially liked the way they sold the bananas. Most of the bananas in the stalls were still kept in bunches and it was not until the the moment the tourists decided to buy a certain quantity that they would cut it into small combs.

Salak fruits and bananas

I took some pictures of  buildings in Yogyakarta......

Shops nearby the neighborhood of Malioboro Street.

Some of the houses in a village.

Hotel New Saphir Yogyakarta

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Borobudur temple, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Our next destination after Mount Merapi was Borobudur temple, a Buddhist monument. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. This temple was designed in "Hindu-Java Art" style - Javanese Buddhist architecture. Here we could see the influence of India on the region.

As we walked around and to the top of this magnificent temple, we all marveled at the intricate stone carving that displayed on the walls. The complexity of the stone craving had to be seen to be believed. On the way up to the top of the temple, we could see a few hundred Buddha statues around the whole temple.

There was a main dome located at the center of the top platform and it was surrounded by many Buddha statues which each of it was seated inside a perforated stupa.

Borobudur temple - a Buddhist monument

Stone carving on the walls of Borobudur temple.

A Buddha statue inside an open perforated stupa.

The surrounding landscape of Borobudur temple.

It was so wonderful that a lush landscape dotted with an archeological temple!!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

A chance to go to Indonesia came suddenly...... no planning in advance, no expectation and totally unprepared to go abroad for a holiday. Haha!! To cut a long story short, my sister and I went to Indonesia together in such an accidental chance on 16 December 2014.

Our first destination was Yogyakarta which is located at the foot of Mount Merapi in Java, Indonesia. It is one of the famous cultural centers of Java.

The day after we arrived at Yoyakarta, we had a lava tour on a jeep to Mount Merapi. Mount Merapi is an active volcano. I still remember the news about the Merapi volcanic eruption in late 2010. If I remember correctly, the large eruption claimed more than 300 lives and thousands of people were displaced. Therefore, it made me curious about this fierce volcano.

Mount Merapi  in Yogyakarta, Java

We rented a jeep with driver for about 500'000 Rupiah. It was an opportunity for us to experience a bumpy ride on a  rocky road. The jeep driver drove us to the mountain and drove around different sites included the cooled lava bed (lava flow area), the village that was destroyed in 2010 (It was turned to a museum), the "Alien Rock" and the bunker. Unfortunately,we didn't have enough time to take a motorbike ride to the crater top. Anyway, we were so lucky to be able to see the top of Mount Merapi. How majestic the sleeping Merapi volcano is!! I wish it would be a sleeping volcano forever ...... It would become fierce again once it awake.

We had a lava tour on a jeep.

On the way up to the mountain, we passed by a very wide lava flow area.  That area was turned into a stone and sand mining area. We saw a lot of lorries, trucks, excavators and workers there. To me, that was the most impressive site.

Lava flow area

When we arrived at Petung village, we saw a home that was converted into a museum displaying the relics from the destruction caused by the 2010 eruption and some pictures showing the history of Merapi volcano's eruptions. One thing that impressed me in this museum was the wilted clock that hung on the wall. It showed the exact time of eruption on 5 November 2010.

It was especially poignant as I imagined how the villages were ruined and claimed a lot of  lives when a large pyroclastic cloud flowed descending and caused a ruthless destruction. Here, I could felt how large the destructive force of Merapi's eruptions.

Petung village where a home was converted into a mini museum.

The wilted clock showed the exact time of eruption on 5 November 2010.

Later, we visited the "Alien Rock" which the locals said that the rock was ejected by the volcano during the eruption and it had a minor resemblance to human face.

The "Alien Rock"

Wonderful view on Mount Merapi from the site of "Alien Rock".

Our jeep broke down on Yellow River when we were on the way back to the downhill road. Why I said we were on the river?!  Yes, Yellow River was a big river before the eruption but it used to flow of lava when Mount Merapi was exploding, and caused the river bed became flat enough to drive on it . What to do then ......? Haha, while waiting for the other jeep to fetch us, we found that it was a perfect place to capture the most beautiful scene of Mount Merapi!!

View of Mount Merapi from Yellow River.

It was a great lifetime experience. Although it was a short tour, I could feel the pain and panic during the eruption in 2010.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Rabbit Fun Land, Semenyih

A few months ago, I heard that Rabbit Fun Land in Broga, Semenyih is the largest rabbit farm in Malaysia and it has been established for more than 20 years with total numbers of 30'000 rabbits, breed from different countries. I was curious about this place. After searching some information from the internet, I found that it has a rabbit petting zone where we can pet and hug the rabbits. At that moment, Rabbit Fun Land was included in the schedule of our one day trip to Broga on 14 December 2014.

On the way back from Broga Sak Dato Temple, we visited Rabbit Fun Land which located just opposite Broga Hill. When we reached the destination, we found that it was perfect for a family outing. My kids were super-excited when they saw the cute rabbits......

The entrance fee was RM5 per person but it was free for kids aged 2 years old and below. We bought two packets of ready-packed carrot slice at the counter before we stepped into the farm. The price was not cheap, every small packet cost RM10.

The entrance of Rabbit Fun Land.

The rabbit petting zone.

Cute rabbits.

Rabbit and me ......

This farm was quite big, apart from the cute rabbits, there were other farm animals. We strolled around the farm and enjoyed feeding the animals.

other farm animals

He was admiring the goats.

He was enjoyed feeding the horse with carrot slice.

She was petting the donkey.

monkey and geese

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