Crunch time is cake time

It’s been silent around here. Mainly because I have not gotten down to making anything for weeks. I fractured my knee falling off my bike, and a day later, while I hobbled around on crutches, the husband got wiped out by some nasty flu bug. Then the kids. It was a rough week. I have been recovering from that week for about a fortnight now.

Three days ago I realised I am but a month away from the new semester starting. And that I have prepared absolutely nothing for the undergraduate course on environmental governance and political ecology that I will be teaching. So I started eating cake. For three day now I have had cake for breakfast, lunch, tea, and supper. Whenever I open my laptop to work on that course syllabus all I can think of is cake.

Cake. Whatever the problem is, cake is the solution. Cake, coffee and chocolate. I have no idea why my friends think of me as some organic vegetarian pope. 

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“ART”

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(made with wire and I don’t-know-how-many drinking straws)

“Papa, what’s that?”

“That’s Mama’s art.”

I decided not to respond to my husband’s provocation.

A few days later I threw it away. I was going to use the upcycling tag, but I think this really is no art. And I could have used those straws a little better.

At least I had fun making it.

 

The GIANT dot granny blanket

130 EUROS.

That’s how much this little crochet experiment ended up costing.

I thought that it would be easier to make an adult size blanket if I worked with very chunky yarn (80m/50g) and a huge hook (9mm). But when I stocked up on yarn the third time and realised I had gone over the 100€ mark, I had to call it quits and cut it short. As in 1.2 metres short.

I loved the colours when I started. You might recall the chunky as-we-go-along blanket.

chunkyblanketfailI still loved the colours while working on the individual granny squares.

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But putting it together was difficult. Maybe it didn’t help that I was using a table lamp at 3am. But for every square I moved, another square clashed with two other squares. I was shuffling and rearranging the squares for at least 1 whole hour.

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And so I decided to just sew them together and nip my indecision in the bud. This is the first time I’ve sewn my squares together. Previously I had always used the single crochet join. For some reason I thought sewing was more difficult. WRONG. I love how the whip stitch looks the same on the front and back! And unlike the single-crochet join, there isn’t a ridged seam that sits awkwardly on some rows.

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The blanket only covers about 3/4 of a regular single bed. Sigh. I think I will try a quilt instead if I want to go up to 2 metres in length.

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Haha, sometimes I really have to laugh at how bad my photography is.

 

 

 

Watercolour experiments

Guys, I am ABSOLUTELY untalented. My art teachers gave me C, all eight years along. I don’t blame them. I dreaded submitting each piece.

But man, INSTAGRAM , and this whole brush-lettering fad, got me itching to play with water colours. I’m lame like that. I can’t admire someone else’s creative endeavour without thinking: hey I’m gonna try my hand at that.

So I got some cheap water colours. And then I watched some Skillshare lectures on water colours and decided to get some expensive ones.

But throughout all this research, I basically only brought out the paints thrice.

I have a serious problem with craft supplies hoarding.

My guilt got better of me yesterday. I was actually, originally, looking up quilts with equilateral triangles. Since I finally started work on the 5 baby quilts I had been wanting to do since last fall. And squares are so drab! But not all triangles are born alike. My favourite is definitely the equilateral. I’m being such a geek.

So I decided to try to figure out how to plot equilateral triangles and plan for colours.

FINALLY. A reason to bring out the water colours.

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This is like painting by numbers! I think my art teachers might give me a B instead of the usual C for this. Right? I’m feeling quite proud of it. I’ve come such a long way, never mind if some 6-year-old could also do the same.

p.s.: has anyone ever tried painting by numbers?? How does that actually work?

 

 

Little spots around here

Confession: I was too broke and too cheap to buy that illustration and used a screen grab to print it instantly. But if you are keen, you can find it on http://www.junique.com. The artist is called Bianca Green and the print costs about 12€, I believe.

Today I just wanted to share pictures of my work-desk. Because I love it and I can’t send pictures of it to all my friends via Whatsapp, and I’ve already shared it on Instagram, but I am still so happy about it.

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It’s not easy to translate this one. Because it’s so concise and the shortest way I could express it does remove much of the sentiment. It’s something like “Nothing experienced today. And it’s great too.” I identify so much with this now with the kids. In the past we were always checking out new things or jetting off for a weekend getaway. Since the kids came along, every Sunday looks like every other Sunday. Wake up, breakfast, lego, walk in the park, lunch, nap, snack, walk in the park, play, dinner. It’s repetitive, and that’s great too. I don’t need too much action with these rascals.

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And of course, this little..”collection” of black and white prints in my kitchen. Yes, the print of shoe-polishers on the bridge is mounted on the back of an old baking tray.

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That’s it for today. Ping me if you are sharing pictures of little nooks in your home that you love!

 

Washi washi washi

I have this thing with washi tape. I have an entire box of washi tape in all colours and patterns. But my favourite is still the plain old black one.

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I’m too chicken to paint. I’d love an entire wall in matt black, but since I am almost certain I will regret it, I turned to washi. It’s been almost two years and the tape is still good as new.

I also used washi to play with the angles in the stairwell in my house.

It’s my most hated part of the house. WHY WOULD ANYONE BUILD A HOUSE AND PUT SUCH AN UGLY STAIRRAIL AND TILES ON THE STEPS?? Since we bought the house completely built and ready-to-move-in, it’s been a sore point for me. Now that there are two kids (and hopefully three soon), I don’t think we would ever renovate. So I had to do something about it.

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It doesn’t photo well. Another reason why I hate the stairs: it doesn’t get any light at all! I would have liked to turn it into some mini garden with hanging plants, but I guess a few strips of washi tape is all the love this nasty spot in my house deserves.

Little Zaza asked for a house in the play-corner, and washi tape came to the rescue again. But I scored this tape at some discount store, and already it’s falling apart.

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I think I will probably use some quality washi tape when this thing falls apart completely. I am thinking of little yellow triangles in a random pattern all over the entire wall. If my arm muscles hold up….

Mandala love

I first came upon mandalas around the time Baby T was born, and so I decided to make a whole garland of mandalas for his playpen. He wasn’t too hot about it and many of my mandalas took a real beating. The little man has an iron grip and can really pull! (I lopped off my hair both times when my kids hit around 5 months and started pulling at my hair.)

But I thought I would do a retrospective on this little project of mine that got me into colourful crochet and erm, well, impractical crochet. Some of the mandalas are looking a bit beat up, and somewhere in the midst of this retrospective, you might spot a picture of my son hating his mother’s crochet habit/obsession…

 

Functional crochet: baskets and holders!

If I crochet a mandala, I try to make sure my husband sees nothing of it. Sometimes when he is putting the kids to bed, I try to practise a bit of calligraphy or doodle. The minute I see him coming down the stairs I quickly hide everything and pretend to be working on an article. If I indulge in creative activities, I feel like I am the kid that has been caught not doing her homework.

But crochet baskets, those I don’t have to hide. There’s a purpose, and we need storage, right?

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simple crochet basket made from working double crochet in rounds

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This (and the next) were just projects to use up this very “split-ty” cotton yarn which I had given up working with. But hanging baskets, I don’t mind making more of these.

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*TxT stands for the initials of my son.

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This one turned out a little strange, because I switched to a looser stitch at the top, but forgot to change to a smaller hook. It’s also not as stiff as I had hoped it would be. Total bummer, because working with two strands of yarn and a small hook was very tiring and frustrating (the yarn kept slipping off the hook). It’s been relegated to the kids’ room to hold semi-laundry. You know, those clothing items that aren’t completely nasty yet and can still be reworn, but not so soon that the caregivers in daycare notice the kid is STILL in the same old nasty stuff.

Here’s a more flattering angle:

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And stool covers are good too, right?

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They no longer look this way though. The kids have stuck their little naughty stubby fingers through the stitches and yanked so hard the the centre and the row ends are unravelling.

What about you guys? Any fancy basket designs you don’t mind sharing? I’m getting tired of the hdc in rows…

That time in the Mekong Delta

2011 was a rough year. I packed up my bags, said goodbye to my husband and our beautiful apartment in Vienna, and went off to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. I was to spend a year there doing social empirical research on industrial wastewater management. It was uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable. I was clearly out of my comfort zone. Sure, I grew up in the tropics, but Singapore is one gigantic air-conditioned shopping mall. And in the Delta, I was just sweating. All the time. My German colleagues thrived, they were loving the heat. I wilted.

And the mosquitoes noticed. The cockroaches, the geckos that nibbled through plastic bags to get to food, the random tree snakes, the rats that came by because of the rubbish dump that spontaneously developed in front of the house I was living in, all these things that forced the city girl in me to confront nature in its uncurated format.

Then the constant food poisoning. It was a weekly affair. And the floods that came and flushed through sewage pipes. The wading through floodwaters that came up to the knees. The thousands of times I nearly got swiped by a crazy bus or truck driver while riding my scooter. The bumpy rides through mud and sludge and rain that made me break out in sweat for fear of a wipe-out. Or the “bus rides”, where 20 sat in a minivan, and I could smell everyone’s feet and pits.

It was quite an experience. For all its discomfort, I’m glad I made that experience.

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Love,

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