Monthly Archives: April 2013

Hoop hoop hooray!

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One thing that I wanted to get before I left the UK, but forgot, was an embroidery hoop. Imagine my excitement when I found one (yup, just the one) on sale in my local craft store! I bought it with no hesitation and tried it out immediately. The screw is a bit faulty so I can’t close my hoop shut, which makes me a bit sad. Nevertheless, I managed to do a few (wonky) stitches!

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It’s the panda-eating elephant! (see previous ‘Drawing’ posts)

If you’ve seen the drawing I based this embroidery on, you might realise that it’s missing a few things. I had to stop midway as I kind of hurt my fingers from pulling and pushing the needle through the fabric. It was surprisingly tough. This got me thinking: why on Earth do people often associate needlework, knitting and crochet with delicate women and grannies? There have been times when my hands were in pain from crocheting and I had to take a break for days. Fair enough, I tend to have crazy crochet marathons where I will not stop until I finish a project, even if I have to sacrifice some sleep. But still.

Am I the only one who does this?

Ram

My clock broke, so I stuck some crochet motifs on it

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I’m running out of surfaces in my room to display my crochet creations, so I decided for the wall to be my next victim. I have a clock that has stopped working for the longest time and decided to have some crochet fun with it. Another blogger, Matt, has this amazing idea of crocheting a background for your clock.  It didn’t work so well with mine as my clock is much smaller (and broken), but it still makes for a cute decoration.

For my clock, I cut some white felt into clouds and embroidered eyes and mouths for them. I also did a running stitch around the border – just to give them that extra cutesy. You may have also noticed the little bird motif and the sun at the centre.

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Clock turned into wall decoration.

Yup, the crochet motifs sure didn’t fix my clock, but it did make it cuter (no offence, clock).

Ram

What do unicorns eat for them to poop rainbows?

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The magical amigurumi unicorn

It’s been a while since I last crocheted (is that a word, or am I just making it up?) an amigurumi. My sister and I made a bet on whether I will land on a teaching job before July or not. She reckons I will and if she’s right, she wants me to get her a unicorn poster she likes. That, plus the fact that I missed playing with yarn, gave birth to this amigurumi unicorn. I got the pattern from Ana Paula Rimoli’s third book.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this, but it was using her books that I taught myself how to crochet. She designs really cute animal amigurumi, so if you’re into cute crochet things, you should definitely check her out!

Ram

Earth Day animal posters

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I stumbled into an exhibition while window shopping at the mall quite close to Earth Day 2013. It showcased past Earth Day posters and I’d like to share some animal ones that I quite like. 

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Girls should really learn to just take pictures of the object they want to show, eh?

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Much better?

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Eek, sea unicorn! I mean, narwhal *cough*

I took the pictures with my phone, so the quality is a bit compromised. Apologies.

Ram

Pavlova cravings

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On Christmas day, I had the privilege of eating some pavlova my ex-boyfriend’s mom made and it was absolutely divine! None of the pavlova I’ve tried was close to how good hers was – even thinking about it now makes my mouth water. Almost immediately after I got back home, I started to crave for her pavlova. I tried looking for one here but not one cafe or restaurant serves them! Can you believe it? As I have no luck trying to find it, I made an attempt to bake one myself.

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Peachy pavlova!

It’s alright, but it’s still not nearly as good as hers. I had to substitute strawberries for peaches, as it’s really hard to find good strawberries here. This may well be the reason why the taste is a bit off. Regardless, I miss eating good pavlova…

Ram

Nothing wrong with celebrating love

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There’s nothing wrong with celebrating love – thought I should reiterate the title of this post as every Valentine’s day of every year, someone around me never fails to mention how wrong it is to celebrate Valentine’s when you’re not Christian yourself. I’m not going to go deeper into this topic because religious debate is rarely a happy thing for me, and non-happy things have no place in this blog. I’m just going to go ahead and say that I love celebrations, especially when it makes you think of those you love and give you an excuse to do something extra nice for them.

For Valentine’s this year, I made mini chocolate cakes with surprise hearts inside for my sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces and cousins. I got this idea from the cupcakes made by yoyomax12. I piped lots chocolate hearts for decorations and had so much fun with it. Something about making things for others just gives me a nice, warm feeling inside. This is true during the process of thinking and creating, and long after I’ve given it to that special person. It makes me even happier when the receiver enjoys the gifts too!

Anyway, I’ll stop yapping about how wonderful I think baking or everything is, and show you pictures instead.

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Freshly piped chocolates – hot, hot hot!

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You can never have too many chocolate hearts.

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These hearts are going to be hidden inside the mini cakes.

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Surprise!

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Heart with wings.

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‘Heart’ deco.

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…running out of ideas (and chocolate hearts) at this point – lol!

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Leftover surprise hearts.

Some of the cakes didn’t turn out too well so I had no other choice but to eat them myself! I mean, what else can I do? (Yumm…)

Ram

Cupcake Madness!

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What do you do when you feel like your whole life is collapsing and there’s nothing you can do about it? I don’t really know what you would do, but what I did was bake many little cupcakes and pipe pretty icing on them. It didn’t solve my problems, but it sure did make me high (on sugar!) and feel somewhat accomplished. Yes, I am embarrassed to admit to feeling a bit chuffed for what is a very tiny accomplishment, but sometimes when you’re that much down in the dump, the little things can lift your spirits somewhat. And I’m thankful enough that it did.

If you’ve seen my previous food posts, you probably realised that I don’t do a lot of piping for my desserts. This is because I don’t own any piping nozzles to do any elaborate designs with. Piping nozzle sets have been in my wish list for the longest time, which is why I am really excited to finally own one! Who would’ve thought that I would be able to find a decent set for less than £6 in my tiny country! I was anticipating frustration when trying to find ingredients and baking utensils back home, and am pleasantly surprised to see that you can get most things in the local supermarket nowadays. Things have most certainly changed for the last 6 years I was away.

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Piping nozzle set, piping bags and coupler – all bought from local stores!

Of course, I tried them out the second I got them!

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Some lovely piping experiments.

Once I’m comfortable with the few piping techniques I know, I decided to spend Chinese New Year baking cupcakes with my nephews and nieces and teach them how to decorate with icing. Although, they decided to ice their cakes their own creative way 🙂

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By niece, age 15.

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By nephew, age 14.

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By nephew, age 12.

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By niece, age 10.

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By niece, age 7.

It was such a fun project that we all thoroughly enjoyed. I’m possibly being biased right now, but I love how the kids mix different colours and piping techniques – certainly very cute! I’m a proud aunt 🙂

That’s not the end of the cupcake madness though, as I’ve also made cupcakes in celebration of ‘Chap Goh Meh’. For those of you not familiar with this cultural event, it is the 15th day of the lunar year when, according to tradition, single girls will toss oranges into the river and wish to soon meet their future husbands. Nowadays, people just have dinner, eat oranges and watch fireworks with their family though.

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Instead of tossing my oranges, I added them to my cupcakes! Yum…

As much as I enjoyed making these cupcakes, what made the process special was that I get to drive around the village sending cupcakes to my family. Nothing beats sadness like the smiles of little children at the sight of sweeties!

Ram