Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Yarn, glorious yarn!

I came home from work to a very happy find - 2 parcels on my bed!! It came it came, my head screamed! I tore open the packaging and here's what I found:

Firstly, the Plucky yarns arrived (it seemed like ages but it was actually about 11 days) hehe.. Only 4 skeins have come though so I'm thinking that the rest must be in another parcel. Coming soon I hope? I've sent Sarah, the Plucky Knitter an email to check that she sent them in 2 parcels. If not, where are the rest of my yarns? Praying now...

Anyway, below are the Barcalounger (bottom) and Lydia (top). Absolutely gorgeous!

And a close up of Lydia. Love the colours!! Now, I just need to think of what to make with them! hehe... I bought without thinking what to make. Maybe a cowl?

Then come the 2 skeins of Grandpa's Cardigan. Lovely grey and I'm thinking of making something for Rommel... but what? It's not like we live in a country where there's winter so I can't make him a scarf or a hat. And it's not enough for a cardigan/jumper. That's been my dilemma with making stuff for Rommel. We don't have much opportunity to use these things except in the office where it can get freezing cold at times!

Then the Pakucho yarn I ordered from JBW arrived too. I placed the order for this on 6th June and I think it only got shipped on 9th June. So, 8 days... Super!

These yarns were 44% off at US$4.95 per skein so I thought it was a good buy. 100% organic cotton made in Peru. Rommel doesn't like the texture of this... not "squishy" according to him. I had to explain it was cotton. And he said that the cream one looked like the cheaplak string we get at the hardware store (*sob*). But it is pretty soft to me and I cant wait to start knitting with it. I already have something in mind (an all-purpose shawl in a neutral colour for the office) but I wont have time to do it until after my London trip! Isn't it lovely?

Shen, what do you want? Do you think Fatteh would want anything?

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Knit update: Fr Albert's scarf

I was knitting while reading about projects by fellow knitters... Then felt like posting up some pictures after much procrastination over the weekend. (A very relaxing weekend I must say.. Started with a trip to my chiropractor yesterday morning. Next, had a nice facial at Leonard Drake Midvalley yesterday afternoon with mom before running some errands for her. Then had a massage at Bjorn this evening with Rommel. Ahhhhh....)

I also packed for our upcoming trip and cleared my closet and banished all my CFA books for now. Bliss..

Anyway, I have started on a scarf for Father Albert Tan, SJ... who will be leaving for Canada in August. 9-10 months there to complete his thesis. I've not told him about it yet but am trying to finish it as fast as I can so that he receives it before he leaves! (If I dont finish it before my trip, I'm not planning to take it with me, I've already planned and started on another small project to bring on the flight with me!)

I chose to use 3 strands of the Merino yarn I bought from Jet Sun (Sg Wang) on 8mm needles for a quick to knit and warm & chunky scarf. I tried different variations - 2 yarns (1 navy blue and 1 cream), then 3 yarns (1 navy blue, 1 grey and 1 cream) - but I didnt quite like the combinations somehow so I ended up with just the individual colours on their own... so there will be 3 chunks of colours, starting with the navy blue, then the grey in the middle and the cream and the end.

I've already wound up the 3 strands of grey but have yet to do the same for the cream...
P/S: The grey yarn is actually my Debbie Bliss Merino DK which I got in Shrewsbury ages ago...

And now.... a surprise I got today while clearing stuff in my room. I found these 2 very huge balls of yarn in one of the drawers!! To show just how huge they are, I placed my mobile phone on one of the balls to compare!! I bought them in September during a day trip to Shrewsbury (this was when we were back in London for a week). I can't believe I totally forgot about these! Anyway, I think I'll make a shawl with this. It's viscose-wool-acrylic mix so it's not the softest of yarns and I wont want to wear it. I have loads of shawl/afghan patterns in one of my crochet books which I've been meaning to try... Hmmm......

And Shen, you were asking about the i-cord thingamagic... here it is! I'm making and i-cord with the same yarn I used for your shawl so I might make a little chunky purse with it.. I dunno... Have yet to decide. But would it work as an obijime?

Ta... It's midnight. Sleep now...

Oh ya... it's Father's Day today.. But Pa's been busy... he played golf in the morning, rested and prepared for worship in the afternoon and had RCIA then Aunty Amy Kuan's mother's wake in the night.. Shen and Fat... Did you remember to wish Pa?

Friday, 13 June 2008

Super stuffed - Sao Nam and Max in one night

I know. We're gluttons. Don't have to tell us.

Rommel and I were not supposed to go out and have a fancy dinner, especially after we got his blood test results back and of course, the cholesterol readings were not good either. I dare say it's worse than mine because his HDL (the good cholesterol) reading is low, making his total/HDL ratio very high. For me, my HDL reading has always been high and so the cardiologist has always said I'm not "high risk"... yet...

Then Pa needed us to run an errand for him.. which required us to go to Max! at Tengkat Tong Shin. Since we had to go downtown, might as well eat dinner there. We hadn't had Sao Nam in a while so ended up going there to eat.

At Sao Nam, we shared the starter platter, the lemongrass chicken with noodles salad and the pho bo. A good simple meal in my books. But we felt like having dessert. I remembered the dessert at Sao Nam was nothing to shout about so we went back to Max for the chocolate souffle and the white rum with fruits.... and 2 lattes. The dessert and coffe cost almost as much as the main dinner itself. Hehe..

But one thing I like at Max is the ambience. It feels like I've arrived at home for dinner. We've come to know Max and his staff pretty well so it's a very informal and comfortable atmosphere when we walk in.

Yaya, the head server, is really nice and I think he's practically remembered what we've tried and all our favourite things. Like once when my mom was with us and she couldn't decide what to order, he said,"Madam, you had the salmon the last time you were here, why dont you try the cod today?"

Today, when we walked in the second time and said we were back for dessert, he just said," Chocolate souffle?" and smiled. I dont know if it's a good or bad thing but at least it shows we eat there often! Hehe..

In any case, I'm super super stuffed right now.... Diet? What diet?

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Hello from Singapore

As if I've been here for a long time!

Am blogging from the Kris Lounge of Terminal 2. I must say, SIA lounges are way nicer than the MAS ones. I can't remember when was the last time I flew SIA actually... cos we usually fly MAS to SG. And the food was pretty good (maybe I was just really hungry).

Just flew in last night. Checked in at about 8pm. Rushed out after dropping our bags in the room. Headed straight for Takashimaya. Pretty good damage considering we were pressed for time: 1 Burberry bag, 1 Burberry shirt for Ma and loads of lingerie from Une Nana Cool. Shen we bought for you too and we sure hope the size fits!! Dinner was at the Food Republic in Wisma Atria... Fast and simple and quite good.

Today was all about training for me while Ma went to meet clients and of course shop. Even more damage today - 1 more Burberry bag AND a Burberry jacket. Dont ask me why Ma kept buying Burberry... but hey it was all on sale!

Of course we had to stop by Blum at Hitachi Tower. Ma went earlier and apparently while she was there, the current Miss Singapore walked in and tried some stuff and bought. Cool...

A lot of damage done at Blum. After her first round there, Ma came out with 31 pieces of clothing and the young girl there had to help Ma carry the stuff back to the hotel (remember her, Shen? She was asking where you were).  I went after work and bought 5 dresses I think... Maybe 6. I cant remember. Nice!! Pics when we get back perhaps. 

Okay that's it.... Gonna walk ard and I want to check out Prada to see if there's anything interesting to buy.... 

P/S: I'm using an iMac. First time for me, so cool... The screen is HUGE. All the computers here at the lounge are iMacs.... 


Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Patience is a virtue...

What am I waiting for? Yarn..

My latest JBW order was shipped yesterday. If the timing is about the same as last time, I should be getting it early next week. Yippee!! I'm also waiting for my Plucky yarns to arrive. They were shipped last Monday so I assume it should arrive sometime this week... I hope.. Waiting and waiting and waiting....

I've been a bit obssesive about knitting of late, haven't I? Do you think I have forgotten about food reviews and baking? Nope, it's just that I haven't found the time to do them yet! (Hey, it's only 2 days after my exam ended after all!) Am really dying to do more things with the new Kitchen Aid mixer. Maybe I'll bake something later tonight. Banana muffins? Cupcakes? Sounds good to me... I wanna use my new muffin cases too!!

Oh yea, I haven't been getting enough sleep. In fact, I have trouble falling asleep... On Sunday night it was maybe understandable cos my brain was still high on the exam adrenalin rush... But last night again... Ah well, I'm really tired and have a really bad headache today so I came home early and hopefully I get some rest... Baking relaxes me... Hmmm....

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Finally... it's over!

It feels weird. All these weeks have been about studying, not going out, not having a social life, turning knitting and baking into a luxury (or a sin) because I'm supposed to be studying.. Then suddenly, it's over.

CFA Level 2 exam today. The first paper was pretty easy, especially when compared to the nightmare that was the second paper. Now, all I can do is pray that I did much better in the morning paper to make up for the second one. One consolation, most people I spoke to said that the second was much tougher too.

Right after the paper, I went home, ate some pisang goreng (Ma was trying out a new batter and it was not good. The batter didnt stick well on the bananas and everything ended up kinda mushy. We're sticking to the other brand that Aunty Pauline recommended.), and drank some cendol. YUM.

Rommel and I then headed to The Curve to walk around. I really wanted to go to Robinsons to check out the sale but I didn't dare because the last time I was at their shoe section during the Xmas sale, I came away with 5 pairs of shoes. And I'm trying to spend less so that I'll feel less guilty when I spend in London and Barcelona.

(Thoughts of TopShop Oxford St, Selfridges and Covent Garden are keeping me very motivated to not shop. Not to mention checking out the yarn stores Loop and I Knit London too! And of course the haberdashery departments at John Lewis Oxford St and Liberty. Ahhhhhh... I'm going there with an empty luggage but dont count on it being empty when I get back!!)

Dinner was at Restoran Super Tanker in Damansara Kim with the parents, church friends and Fr Simon Yong. Pa brought this parrot fish which the chef deep fried for us. I personally prefer it steamed but some at the table (namely Ma and Aunty Rubyann) prefer fried fish. Also had fried meehoon which was really good (because of all the pork lard in it), fried pork ribs, veg and steamed shellfish (I think it was a type of clam). For dessert, the peanut soup and lotus pancakes.

So much for dieting eh? Ah well, I can say it's to celebrate the end of my exam! :p

Friday, 6 June 2008

Knit update: Carousel poncho completed!

Amidst stressing for my exam, I managed to complete the Carousel poncho I started last week. I realize that I crochet much faster when stressed. In fact, I am even more determined to complete a project when stressed.

In any case, this was a super fast project because the pattern was so easy. I adapted it from the Rowan magazine No 37, pattern name Carousel. This was because as usual, I was not using the recommended yarn or the recommended hook size. I realized that I did not have to make as many increases as was called for in the pattern and also because I did not want the poncho to be too flared out. Now, it fits perfectly and is absolutely soft, warm and snug.

The original pattern had a different border which I didnt quite fancy so I changed it to a border pattern I found in my Japanese 300 Crochet Patterns book we got in Kinokuniya KLCC in December.

I am planning to wear this to London so hopefully there'll be more pictures of myself or Shen in it when we're there (and we can bring it to Barcelona too since the weather can get a bit chilly when we do that day trip to Montserrat!).

Yarns used: 2.5 skeins of Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK in Pink and 4 skeins of Sublime Yarns Cashmere Merino Silk Aran in Blue.
Comments: Really smooth yarns to work with, especially the Sublime one. Both are cashmere mix yarns so it's really warm and soft but the silk content in the Sublime gives the yarn its shine.

Shen, I have some leftover yarns so am planning to make a matching beanie or hat... what say you? I'm going to Singapore next week so it'll be a great mini project to work on while there!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Pinky Prada

I just realized that in my haste to post the Prada Sale!! pics before dinner, I forgot to include this one. Don't you think it's a pink overload?!? Wait til I add in Ma's new hot red Cybershot camera, a recent acquisition last weekend, into the picture.

Shen, our pink department in Ma's cupboard is getting so full that we've divided them into 3 compartments, the deep pinks, the baby pinks and the peachy pinks. This doesn't include the reds (of which we have 2 compartments) or the purples (1 compartment for both the deep purples and lavenders) or the peaches (1 compartment).

And another thing, Ma saw a nice bag in Coach the other day - She said it was blue and a good size for a school bag. Do you want it? On sale too so make up your mind fast...

Oh and Shen, if you can make it out, the blue and pink item on the left with a crochet hook sticking out is the poncho! Still WIP.

RCIA Kids Craft and Baking Day

Ma has been planning a little gathering for the RCIA kids in our house for ages. So now that Easter's over and RCIA 2008 has ended, she alloted one fine Saturday for the kids and moms to come over to do some crafts, to bake cookies and to decorate cupcakes.

Special mentions are Godsis Olivia who helped with the crafts and to Godbro Calvin who taught the baking and decorating sessions.

Here's a pic of Olivia and some of the kids stamping out paper cutouts to be pasted on little individual notebooks. (Sorry we forgot to take pictures of the books themselves)

Here is Ma helping Godsis Sarah with decorating her cupcake while the other girls looked on. (Don't worry, there were loads of cupcakes, cream and toppings for everyone to decorate and bring home)

And here is Calvin teaching the kids how to make sugar cookies..

Calvin's specialty is actually cake decorating. (Check out his website, Black Forest Tavern). He's recently returned from the UK where he was for a few weeks teaching folks there. This a lovely rose he made for one of the little girls.

I chipped in too! Made sausage puffs for their snack, although this was my first time trying this particular brand of puff pastry I bought from the Village Grocer. Not very nice!

Of course, when we have kids over, we just HAVE to set up the chocolate fountain. Served with an assortment of crackers, marshmallow, strawberries and grapes. We also had more filling stuff, namely French fries (that practically disappeared the moment I took it out of the kitchen!), Mom's fried noodles, fried chicken drummets and wings.

And of course, special thanks to Rommel who took most of the pictures. :)

Prada sale!!

I love it when it's the Sales season... Loads of postcards and catalogues get sent to the house, laminated papers telling you of the temptations that await you when you get to the shopping malls. It's almost as fun as the start of a new season's collections, when you get to see everything for the first time!

Ma "so happened" to be at KLCC and "popped by" for the Prada sale. Here's the damage done today... (I say today cos there were other bags she liked but couldn't decide on so she came home to seek my "expert" opinion. In other words, she needed (very little) encouragement to buy more.

First up is a phone and Blackberry holder for me. She already has the same thing in black and finds it really useful to store the 2 most important gadgets in her life. She said if I didn't want it, she'll use it.. Then she can have 2 colours to choose from. There were other nice colours but those were sold out already.

Next is a nice teal clutch which looks greener in this picture. I already have the black and pink clutch in lambskin and I think Ma noticed that I use it a lot. So she got another one for us to use. She said there are a few more colours available at the shop so she might go back and buy them up.

I found this picture below funny... cos the bag almost disappears among my curtains! Absolutely soft lambskin and a very practical sized bag for me!

Since I was taking pictures and this bag was on the table, I decided to snap it. Shen, I can't remember if you've seen this. I bought it from Coach sometime earlier this year (or late last year perhaps). A nice small clutch that matches with a lot of things.

Ma went to KLCC, and I went to the Robinsons sale in the Gardens, Midvalley. For a very specific reason I must add!! (I'm supposed to be studying remember).

We saw in the Robinsons sale catalogue that they were putting the Kitchen Aid mixer I have been eyeing on sale from RM2699 to RM2499 and comes with a Kitchen Aid cook book. Have not taken a picture of the mixer but here's one of the book!

Am dying to try the bread recipes but waiting until after Sunday!!

Lastly, here is an old picture of the poncho to give you an idea of what the colours are like, Shen.
It's now almost done, with just the border to be completed.


Tuesday, 3 June 2008

My new diet... "Lui Cha"

Okay maybe not a totally new diet.. since I had the wagyu saikoro don at Yuzu for Sunday lunch. But hey at least I'm eating more fruits and veg!!

Jen, to answer your comment about my high cholesterol problem, yup I've actually had it for some time now (I think we discovered it 6 years ago!). Am starting the fruit-veg-nuts-oats diet but my dad has warned that we shdn't overdo it on the oats intake - he did that and ended up with very bad gout!!

Pa has been talking about this restaurant in Puchong that serves up a good lui cha so since I'm at home on study leave, he decided to take me there for lunch today. We stopped by his office for a while so I brought a textbook to study while waiting for him.

The restaurant is called Tien Yew and it's somewhere in Bandar Putri Puchong. It faces the Church of Guadalupe, Puchong so I hope that helps. Sorry I cant give better directions but I get absolutely lost in Puchong (and Cheras, as a matter of fact!).

From the picture above, you'll see that lui cha kinda resembles the Korean bibimbab... you know, cooked rice at the bottom, topped with an array of vegetables and peanuts. Comes with the tea soup on the side which tastes very minty but I wasn't quite used to it. According to Uncle Loh who accompanied us for lunch, you have to eat lui cha for at least a few times before you get the hang of it.. and then you're hooked. Sounds like how we get ppl accustomed to durian!

I actually rather liked the rice combo with all its veggies.. Especially since we asked for brown rice instead of white rice. Really healthy, fibre-rich and oil-free.

Uncle Loh brought a hong pan or red grouper fish head for the chef to steam for us. But he said the best fish to go with lui cha is a pan fried pomfret as that really brings out the flavour of the rice.

All accompanied by a nice pot of pu er tea.

Even my baking has gone all healthy. I had to go into the office yesterday morning to do my monthly stuff. By the time I got home, it was almost noon and Evelyn was just starting to cook pasta for lunch. With a bit of time to spare, I baked up a batch of oat bran and nuts cookies. I cheated cos I used an organic premix I bought from the Village Grocer but it's really easy. 1 packet of premix, 2 eggs, water, vanilla essence and sunflower oil (you can use melted butter but remember, I'm trying to be healthy!). Throw everything in a bowl and mix. Roll spoonfuls onto greased trays and bake in a 190'C oven for 10 mins.

I got lazy to roll out the cookies after the first 2 trays so I dropped spoonfuls of the remaining batter into small cupcake cases instead. The cupcakes came out softer but Rommel says he prefers the cookie versions vs the cupcake versions. Pa said he liked it cos it was not sweet but he would have preferred it with more nuts.

Speaking of cupcakes, we drove past the Bake with Yen Puchong outlet just now on the way back so I got all excited. I dashed in and came out with enough cupcake cases to perhaps last me the next 2 years.. Well, that's if I do a lot of baking.. If not, maybe 3 years. I found the pretty white cases that I have been looking for and got them in 2 sizes. Also got the brown muffin cases in a small size and square muffin cases in large. Shen, we're having a baking feast when you get back!

Oh and Shen, I was gonna put comments in your blog but since I'm typing here I might as well say what I have to say here.

1) I'm taking the Kitty from Kiki's delivery service home!! It kinda resembles our black kitty at home actually. What was the name of the cat in the movie? We could name black kitty after it..

2) If I look better in that dress, then okay I'll take it!

3) I dont see an issue with you buying a mannequin. But where can you buy it in KL?

4) I can see a lot of junk and mess in the background of your pictures. It better be cleaned and all clothes folded when we get there! You have less than 3 weeks. Maybe sort out some clothes and junk to give away to Oxfam or something.

5) Go sort out which cookbooks and other things do you wanna bring back etc... Since we're all coming along, we can bring more stuff back.