Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Handmade Gift Ideas

Christmas is approaching fast! If you are scratching your head about what to buy as a gift, look at these blog posts that gives you lots of ideas on what to buy, all handmade of course!

Hope these gift ideas will help you find the perfect gifts for your teacher, your best friend, a guy, your pets and your wife -

Gift guide for Teachers - Gifts you can get for your kids teachers or your teachers, to show them some appreciation.

Gifts for Your Best Gal Pals - Lovely collection of items for your best gal pal of any age.

Gifts for Guys - The most dreaded! We always find it so easy to get gifts for girls as in general girls like presents! So here are some really 'cool dude' gifts.

Holiday Gift Guide for Pets - Don't leave your cuddly friends out for the holidays, be sure a present awaits them too!

Great Gifts for the Wife - This will give all you husbands out there a head start at where to look.

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Offer You Can't Refuse!

Ever heard that before? The first time I heard that I was being offered a job. 6 interviews and they haven't told me what I was likely to be paid. I got a little frustrated and got straight to the point "So how much are you offering me?" I asked, since I wasn't really looking for a new job. "An offer you can't refuse!" they said. And it was true 15% increase to what I was getting and over 50% more on allowances.

Two days ago I heard it again. In the ArtFire forums! I wanted a Pro account badly and decided to reveal my feelings in the forums. I was told to hold on for one more day as I might be given an offer I cannot refuse. Oh! Stop teasing! But it was true! The next day the announcement regarding ArtFire's Group Deal was announced! Wow yet again an offer I cannot refuse!

Just imagine, I was about to and very ready to pay the full $15.95/ month fees for a Pro account, with all the tools that are available to Pro account users, it is actually quite a bargain. But now with the Group Deal, I get to have it for $5.95! An unbelievable and unbeatable price.

So now I would like to give you and offer you can't refuse. Go to this link and sign up! This might be a once in a lifetime, so take it and run with it!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

52 Weeks of Baking - Week #2 - Anzac Cookies

I found this recipe in Women's Weekly (Australian) Old-Fashioned Favorites. It appealed to me a lot as it was so simple! Here is the recipe and pictures of the results.

Ingredients - 1 cup rolled oats1 cup plain flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon water1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda

Preheat the oven 160/140 fan forced
Combine and mix well oats, shifted flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl.
Combine butter, syrup and water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until smooth. Stir in bicarb soda.
Pour into the large bowl containing the dry ingredients and mix well.
Roll the mixture with your hands to a ball and press down firmly on a baking tray lined with baking paper. The edges might break a little, so you can just form it into a circle. Make them in the size you want.
Bake them for 20 mins and allow to cool on the tray. They keep well in an air tight jar up to a week.

So good with a Cappuccino, lucky we got a home coffee machine the week before!

Blogging Friends - The Sudden Cook.

I found a friend of mine on the blogsphere! We knew each other since we were little in primary school and were in the same school all of our schooling years.

Coming from similar backgrounds I could understand her blog name instantly. We grew up with our parents and do not move out until we were married. However we do pick up some resposibilities in the house as we become adult. Unfortunately for some (me), we do not pick up the cooking.

All grown up, married and moved out, we wait at the dining table for food to appear. But like in an insanely twisted horror movie, nothing. Suddenly we find ourselves in a sink or swim situation with cooking. Battling every fear we have and taking every blind corner as confidently as we can, we head to the kitchen with a cookbook in one hand and a clever in the other.

As wonderful as it seems, most of us end up finding cooking not at all as daunting as it seems! I now enjoy cooking, especially the eating part. Tried dozens of recipes and now have plans to collate them and hand them down to my next generation, so that they would not find themselves in a similar situation as - The Sudden Cook!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

52 Weeks of Baking (Official) Week #1 - Smoked Salmon and Silverbeet Quiche

It is officially Week #1! It feels quite weird to start week on again (in case you are wondering, this is the first week of this challenge's swap on swap-bot). I totally forgot that week one was over Easter, therefore was a little out of a lot of stuff while the shops were closed.

Lucky for my we had an over supply of smoked salmon in the fridge and the shops were opened again on Monday. Managed to get cream and silverbeet, which ended up replacing spinach since we couldn't find any in the shop.

I've made quiches before and they are simple. Maybe it is because I am using frozen pastry. So if I ever make another quiche throughout the next 52 weeks, I would have to make the pastry from scratch, just to challenge myself further!

I've been busy...

with my new toy! Yup! I've wanted a sewing machine since I was in school. We had one but it was a 20 year old sewing machine that needed parts which no longer exist.

Three weeks ago I spent lots of time checking on all the available brands and what is good for a beginner like me. All the machines was a little out of my budget and I thought I was going to settle for a really basic Singer machine, cheapest in the range of basic domestic machines. To my surprise, and later much much joy, a craft store was selling this Brother for $199 when it was $349 usually!

We were thinking of just having a look at it, but ended up buying it anyways! Since buying it last weekend I've practice sewing lines and all, but its time to MAKE something!

So any links or suggestions to beginners projects are most welcomed! Thanks!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

52 Weeks of Baking - Week #4 Not So Blooming Brownies...

After the success with my fish pie, I did not look anywhere else for brownies recipe but headed right back to Jamie Oliver's website and picked out his Bloomin' Brilliant Brownies recipe. Although I did not have all the necessary equipment, by that I meant the square baking pan, I soldiered on.

Firstly I was shocked by the amount of butter the recipe required, the whole block of 250g! Then the amount of dried items was made of a little bit flour, a little bit cocoa powder and a whole lot of 360gm sugar. Oh yes, I know it is suppose to be really chocolaty and sweet. But forgive my ignorance here.... that much?!?

Anyways I stuck to the recipe, even went out to buy a kitchen scale (which turn out not small enough), to get it right. But totally forgot the square pan. So in the oven it went and 20 mins later I took it out, just as the recipe said. But the middle was wobbly and wet. Instinctively I put in the oven and left it there for another 20 mins. Alright, I havent developed and instinct for baking yet.

Well it ended up wet and crumbly like my horrible experience with the pineapple upside down cake! Frustrated, I wrapped it in shrink wrap and chuck it in the fridge. The next day we revisited the brownie to decide if it was a keeper or not. To our amazement it set! It was firm in the middle. Although hard to the touch, once in the mouth the crust around it had a chocolate chip cookie texture and the inside was like a soft chocolate bar.

So it was not that bad after all! Jamie Oliver still rocks!

Come join in the fun with this Swap-bot swap.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekend Wants!!!

This week I found some amazing photo prints on Etsy and some lovely things!

Abstract Hyacinth 2 by Keep the Sugar
This piece would look really nice in my living room as the color scheme is just right. This type of macro photography that is not too subject orientated is very handy when decorating a place!

Mother of pearl ring by Queen G Designs
This is a mysterious little fella! I thought it was an eye, it does look like the all seeing eye. Lovely mother of pearl.

Friendly Flowers by Jessica Torres Photography

Another photograph I came across. This has a lovely and romantic feel to it. Would look absolutely wonderful in a white room!

Black Leather Satchel Bag by TheLeatherStore

I have weakness for all things leather, especially if it has big buckles, or studs. Oh... I know what just flashed in your head. Nope!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

February Custom Banner Giveaway

I am blogging this a little late, only over a month... LOL. However here is my February Custom Banner Giveaway -

February Banner - Dancing Wind Designs
Working with Sue was very delightful! She handed me a picture of her favorite fishing spot and hoped I could use it in someways. I just fell in love with the blue in the picture.

Here are some amazing pieces from her studio -

Monday, March 22, 2010

52 Weeks of Baking - Week# 3 - Fish Pie!

So I thought that from this week on I will include the dish I made in the title, we improve ourselves as we go along... This is my unofficial week 3 as official week begins in April and also when this Swap-Bot swap begins.

Before this weekend I was looking forward to making Jamie Oliver's Bloomin' Brilliant Brownies. Who could resist? But I ended up making a fish pie instead. I started late, felt tired, haven't done the shopping and hubs was asking about dinner.

So I did me some searching for fish pie recipes (since it is my first time) on the internet and found many a little complicating - poach fish with vege in milk, strain, throw out veg, use milk a little in mash.... etc. etc. Too much work for someone who hasn't gone out to get ingredients at 4pm!

Luckily I went back to Jamie Oliver's website and found this fish pie recipe. It is so simple! Literally shred everything in to a baking earthenware dish, cover with mash and bake. And it turned out to be really, really good. I had it again for lunch the day after and still could not believe how tremendously good it is.

I made some alterations to the recipe to suit our taste at home and also because I could not find creme fraiche at the supermarket. I added one medium sized brown onion, about 2 tablespoons of cream and sour cream, and totally forgot to add the fresh chillies. I used about 6-7 slices of smoked salmon, 5 fillets of ocean Perch and 5 large prawns.

I hope you try this AMAZING recipe!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekend Wants!

Some interesting and beatiful pieces here! Ooooh I want! I want! I want!

Harry handbag in brown by Lisaroy

This is a beautifully structured handbag in brown wool, upcycled from a vintage man's suit jacket! I love the clean lines and crispness of the bag giving it a lot of characteristics without going over board with design elements. Wonderful!

Jason Yenter Floragraphix Quilted Placemats byKimbuktu

I love the colours in this placemats. They are bright and sunny and a little etnic as well. I think Kimbuktu did a good job with the photo as well, with the props and the lighting.

Triple Earthtone Embroidered Earrings by ThreadFed

Isn't this a unique pair of earrings? The colours are lovely and the fringe does add a lot of texture to the design. There are many other unique pieces in this shop.

Magical Forrest Potpourri Frame by QueenOfAllTrades

This is so cute! I love square photo frames, and the colour of this is really exquisite. Wonder if it is scented potpourri? It stands on it's own too, lovely!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sunshine Award!!!

Here are the rules of this award...

1. Place the logo within your blog or post.
2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within the post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blogs.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.

Thank you Diana djstoreroom for the award!

My 12 nominees are -
1) Andrea W Design Blog
2) The Sudden Cook
3) Kind Over Matter
4) BEBs Treasures
5) The Art of Zen... Crochet
6) jaC Jewelry
7) Mother's Love
8) Huggermugger
9) My Gypsygoods
10) Jennuine Candles
11) Pickles on Pizza
12) Anastasia Drawing and Dreaming

Monday, March 15, 2010

52 Weeks of Baking - Week #2

For week 2 (unofficial week 2), I decided to bake a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The recipe looked simple, had a beautiful photo and I had a pineapple sitting in the fridge. Little did I realize how wrong I was with it being easy!

My first attempt turned out to be a 'crumbly mess' I can't even cut! The cake was still moist but the pineapples were stuck to the caramel, which was stuck to the spring form and everything came out in bits. Straight to the bin it went. But I tasted it before dumping it, it was good but a little too sweet.

So it was back to the mixing bowl! I had some pineapple left and heaps of the other ingredients, so I decided to try another recipe. This one calling for more flour than the one before and simpler in method. The second one held it's shape for... urm 2 minutes! Then it went crumbly as soon as I turned it upside down. That is also because it formed a large lump hill in the centre. This time it was crumbly dry.

At this point, I think the Pineapple Upside Down Cake is a myth! It is one of those recipes that has never turned out right and no one dares to admit so as in admitting so means you are a lousy cook. Well in this case, I would have to admit - I am a lousy cook. And I hope that after week 52, I can say that I am no longer lousy, but improved!

If you have successfully baked a Pineapple Upside Down Cake that did not turn out like mine, I would like to know how you did it. Better yet, if you can tell me where I might have gone wrong with my two above. I will be forever grateful!

Join me in my 52 Weeks of Baking on Swap-bot, where we will exchange emails with photos and recipes, our experiences - where we might have gone wrong, be friends and help keep each other motivated!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend Wants!

I want to start a new feature format Weekend Wants, which I think will help get more exposure than Thursday features. It will showcase a few things that I've seeked out on Etsy and really want!

I'm starting this week with some of those who has commented on the last Thursday Feature.

Circle in The Sand -Buttons Supplies Needlework Scrapbooking HomeDecor

This Etsy shop has some really nice vintage buttons. Here I found this lot of 12 buttons. I can so imaging a really sassy cuff made with these!

AriDesigns Studios

Aridesign has some real chic stuff! I love this Green Mandala Bangle made with decoupage. Will look real nice with a green or blue summer dress!

KottageKreations by Laurie Salinas

Lovely necklace! Reminds me of the beach... you must see it closer up as the details show better.

Please leave a comment if you like your items to be featured in upcoming posts. All items featured will also be automatically posted on my Facebook and tweeted!

Monday, March 8, 2010

My 52 Weeks of Baking

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating"

Above - Sticky Date Pudding I made this week.

Baking or cooking in general is calming to me. I search recipes out, follow them with some modification and reap the benefits. All in the span of hours - I seek, execute and reward myself. After a good day of baking or 'intentional cooking' - not the every night quick dinner fix - I feel like I have renewed myself.

I am setting out to challenge myself to bake once a week for every week from April onwards. This is in hope I will stick to doing something I set out to do for an entire year. I've always been weak at keeping up with myself! Therefore if you like to motivate me or show some support to my efforts, please join my an email swap I am hosting on - 52 Weeks of Baking.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

It's been a while since the last post...

and I am sorry for this, especially to those who are waiting to be featured. I've not been attending much to my online sites too.

Life has been a little crazy when I got back from my holidays back home. I feel left behind in class and struggling to keep up. While the silence and lack of familiar faces around me has left me in a bit of a depressed state.

I am dealing with it and hope I will bounce back soon. Any help or advice is much appreciated!

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Back to reality...

I just got home from a rather short vacation back home, Malaysia. We were there to celebrate Chinese New Year with the rest of the family. I missed last year celebrations and was eager not to miss this year's.

Chinese New Year is the only time of the year when the whole family gets to see each other. With many of my cousins abroad these days, it was years since I saw some of them. It was a wonderful but tiring vacation. So many people to see, so many dishes to have!

This photo was taken in FRIM - Forrest Research Institute of Malaysia.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Birthday Noodles for the Birthday Boy

Yesterday was my husband's birthday. So I decided to make him Lam Mee - also known as the Hokkien birthday noodles. I have not gotten around to find out why it is called birthday noodles. I think it must be because of the work that is required to make it, so it's made once maybe twice a year.

This is a picture of the noodles I made, taken by me.

Quick run through:
Broth - Pork, chicken and prawn broth (made with the shell of the prawns)
Vegetables - Chives (flat), bean sprouts, Chinese cabbage (choy sum)
Meat - Pork and prawns (used to make the broth)
Noodles - Yellow Hokkien noodles
Garnish - Omelet ribbons/strings (made by shredding thin egg omelet), spring onions (shallots), fried shallots. The garnish is one of the most important part of the dish as it gives flavor
Dip/Side sauce - Made with fresh chilli and prawn paste (belacan)

I would love to share the full recipe with you, but it's long and a little daunting.... so I hope you enjoy this so far!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thursday Feature - Wonderlust Bling

This weeks feature is Wonderlust Bling, jewelry inspired by travel! Yup, shop owner has been an RVer for four years and makes her craft on the road. Custom requests are welcomed!

Next Feature -
If you like to be the next feature, please visit the featured studios and comment below. Please include your studio or shop link in the comment so I can be sure which one you want featured. I will use to choose the next feature from the comments.

Please note:
By commenting on a feature post you are registering for a chance to be featured next.
You are also agreeing to allow me to use images from your studio or shop for the feature post only.
You are also agreeing to allow me to use information about your items and yourself from your studio or shop for the feature post only

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Nothing But The Truth

I watched a movie recently - Nothing But The Truth. I really thought that it would only get 15 mins of my attention before I head off checking on my shop views, but I sat through it all! I hardly ever finish a movie these days, so this is special.

While watching it I am constantly asking myself, what comes first in a woman's life? Career and achievements, being a mother and wife or self integrity and honor? What if you could only choose one?

I really like this movie and recommend it even if you are not into political thrillers, as a woman you will relate!

Cast - Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon, Angela Bassett, David Schwimmer.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Good Customer is Such Joy!

I recently made a banner for an ArtFire studio called Laurascrafts. We started out with not much direction except that shop owner Laura and I found that we have common sense of taste and style. We did agree that we would stay away from something overly cutesy.

She then went on to mention that she has some pictures of her tools and materials that might be useful to me for the design. Immediately a light bulb went on in my head and I remembered having this idea of creating a banner from photos.

Luckily Laura was so wonderful to go along with it and with some direction manage to photographed her tools and materials to exactly what I had in mind! The results satisfied the both of us and I learned so much from this experience. Thank you Laurascraft!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Second Treasury!

I am so excited! What wonderful news this morning, another item of mine is in a treasury thanks to Fabled Charm Designs.

Here is the treasury titled Lovin Lavender , please do drop by the items are lovely!-

Here is my item feature -

Friday, January 29, 2010

Blog Feature Giveaway

I was featured at Nature Manipulated's blog a few weeks ago. In that feature there was a give away of one custom item from my ArtFire studio. A week after the feature a wonderful and familiar studio was chosen to be the deserving giveaway winner, Andrea Designs on ArtFire.

Andrea Designs is an interesting ArtFire studio with wonderful handmade knits and baby cloths. However studio owner Andrea envisions that the variety of items in her studio will increase and has chosen to get a custom business card design that would communicate this, while keeping the studio's identity, as her giveaway prize.

Andrea was such a wonderful person, she printed out the cards and sent me a photo of them. This is the first time I have received photos of designs I've made and it is a wonderful experience. Thank you Andrea!

Here is Andrea's blog - Andrea W Designs Blog

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Feature - Boutique-A-Holic by Nevita

Boutique-A-Holic by Nevita - is where you can find handknit scarves and baby clothing as well has beautiful, intricate Gobelin tapestry. Shop owner Nevita learned her skills from her grandmother when spending time with her grandparents during school holidays. It became a hobby and later her passion.

Next Feature
If you like to be the next feature, please visit the featured studios and comment below. Please include your studio or shop link in the comment so I can be sure which one you want featured.

Please note:
By commenting on a feature post you are registering for a chance to be featured next.
You are also agreeing to allow me to use images from your studio or shop for the feature post only.
You are also agreeing to allow me to use information about your items and yourself from your studio or shop for the feature post only

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Versatile Necklace IN THE MAKING

If you've seen my work in progress pictures, this was what I was making. It is a versatile necklace, worn 5 ways as a necklace and 2 ways as an adjustable bracelet (17/20cm).

It still needs some fine tuning to ensure safety when wearing and needs to be photographed. Here are some photos of the necklace in action.

Standard lenght

Four other ways to wear it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

January Custom Banner Giveaway

Every month I will be giving away one custom banner to one ArtFire studio. The lucky ArtFire studio will be chosen from this Chatterbox Forum Thread.

January - Noveena Artisan Studio
Here's the banner I made fore this studio -

Clicking the image above will take you to Noveena where you can see the banner clearer.

Here are some beautiful pieces from the studio -

Sunday, January 24, 2010

WIP - Work In Progress

I have 2 on going project at the moment. First is a necklace/chocker/bracelet and the other is a Chinese styled lamb shank stew. It is my first time making them both! So pray for me!

Lamb shanks is in the pot for 2hours now and needs another 1 hr.

3 - 4 more links and I am done. After some fine tuning and testing, this little piece is ready for some photos!