Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I just can’t wait to show off this little piece that I nearly finish constructing. There is only one embellishment that I have yet to apply. Can anybody guess what it is? LOL. Since I am not willing to use what I have, it looks like I will have to buy one just for this skirt.
The little skirt is made using a pattern I bought back in April. In case if anyone is interested, the pattern is Burda #9613. Since I relied on a pattern, I obviously didn’t design this piece from scratch; neither did I follow the instructions religiously. A few things were altered for easier construction and aesthetic reasons.
-In the instructions, I was supposed to apply zigzag stitch along the folded lower edge of the ruffle and then trim it. Instead of doing that, I finished that edge with a Rolled Edge Stitch on my overlocker to give it a more professional look.
-I knew very early on that I would be struggling with the way the patch pockets were supposed to be constructed. The fiddly bits would be a definite struggle but my high expectations on how the things I make turn out would certainly do my head in. So to make sure that the shape of each pocket is not compromised, I decided to make lined ones to make doubly sure that the turning of the seam allowances to the other side is as accurate as possible. The end result is not perfect but I am happy with the outcome. Little ‘annoying’ things like this are very important to me. LOL.
-This is meant to be a pull-up skirt with a ¾ elasticated waist but I turned it into one with an adjustable waist just like many commercial children’s garments available these days. Some people like this feature while others totally dislike it because the buttons and elastic rub against the child’s skin causing discomfort.
It can be hard to find some of the things required to make a garment from a store bought pattern. I was unable to find metal rivets again. They are needed to secure the top corners of each pocket but I will have to go without. There is a place in Melbourne where I could have gone to buy the rivets but I think they would only sell to me if I bought in bulk. I only need 6 for this skirt.
This skirt is likely to go to a little girl from M’s side of the family soon. It has been my wish to give home-made items as gifts since I read about other bloggers doing the same thing. I am not very sure how it will be accepted. I will look for a pretty belt, one that has a popular character, to make the skirt more appealing to the recipient. I am not willing to apply an iron-on patch of a popular character on the skirt. If it falls off, it is likely to leave an ugly mark and unlike an iron-on patch, a belt is at least removable. It is also less visible. We had always refrained from buying clothes for any children (over the age of 2) from his side of the family because of the Free Speech policy. I wonder how I would react if the skirt was openly rejected.
I have packed away my sewing machine for now but my overlocker remains on my desk. I am going to take a little break from sewing to spend a few days on Montessori. I also wish to test drive the crafting gadgets I bought in April. After that, I will either make some simple bags or a little double breasted jacket.
The little denim skirt with petticoat attached.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It looks like it is timely that I change our fortnightly menu again. I haven’t changed it since mid-January! Before that there were three changes in the period between December (08) and mid-January. From the mouth of the ‘fussy-pot’, I heard that he is yearning for comfort food. The nasty devil inside me felt like to tease by saying, “You should have married an Aussie wife like what everyone has been telling you if you want to eat wholesome Western food all the time.” Of course I didn’t say it to his face. Why would I? The truth is that M is not very fussy at all. While I can live with the same food over and over, M needs variety more than me. For example, when we used to go to Pancake Parlour, I used to order the same meal but M would try something different in each visit. At home he had been eating the same dishes repeatedly over a two week cycle since January. So, I do agree that we need a new menu.
M had been asking for his favourite soup and something with lamb. So perhaps my Chicken Minestrone and Irish Stew will be back on the new menu. The soup will replace the Chicken Hotpot but I will try to cook enough to only serve it over two dinners per fortnight. Oh, another dish that we both love in Winter is Chicken with Tarragon and Mushrooms. Now that we know that chicken is cheaper at ALDI, we can’t seem to have enough of it. LOL. I am still not sure what Asian dishes I would like to include this time. I will have to consult my cookbooks in the next few days.
Our menu always consists of dishes from both the West as well as the East. This inter-racial couple is always seeking to achieve balance in every decision we make. I admit that I am a pretty dodgy cook and I am glad that M has been putting up with my dodgy food for so long. I have seen Asian men complaining about their wives’ cooking in public. That is just awful. I have also seen one Aussie personality (some people reckon that he was quite a celebrity) who used to sell his wares on TV complaining about his second wife’s cooking after he ditched her to return to his first wife. The second wife is a youngish Asian (Thai/Filipino). When they first got together, he gave her heaps of thumbs up for everything. Anyway, as an outsider, I do not know the full story behind the fallout and I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead too. All I can say is that I am super glad that M does not put me down in public. But I still don’t understand why he doesn’t like Gomashio. So, would I be banning those three ingredients from our kitchen? The answer to that is NO. Regarding the Dashi, I will dilute it before I use it in some of my cooking. Not all dishes require Dashi. M never said anything when I used it diluted. As for the Gomashio and Nori, I will sprinkle them on my food and not his. He will just have to peg his nose while I am eating. LOL.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
When I finally emerged from the bedroom, M was already in the middle of his breakfast and watching the news. As always, I asked if something disastrous happened while we slept. I really shouldn’t have asked. M turned on the Sky News Active for me to read the headlines. As always, I started by reading the last headline listed on the first page because the top story was too hot to handle but M was too eager to make sure that I got it. Aside from highlighting the first headline, he announced that Bud Tingwell was dead. I read the headline a few times before accepting the fact that one of my favourite older actors had gone to heaven. It was beginning to feel like M was trying to sabotage my day.
We had to pay some bills on Elizabeth Street so I suggested that we get into the CBD via Southgate. I normally do not like going via this way but it just made more sense to do it this way today. As we crossed the busy intersection (corner of Elizabeth and Flinders) right after we emerged from the Flinders Street Station Underpass, something lying flat on the road caught my eye. It was black and white. When I glanced at it again, I saw white fur moving in the breeze. I knew immediately that it was a small mammal and told Moosh not to look. Every time I asked him not to look at something (e.g. puke), he would look and then complain about it. We were both very angry with what we saw. We think the animal was someone’s pet. It was probably a Guinea Pig, a small rabbit or even a puppy. When I reached Flinders Lane, I felt like going back to pick it up but M didn’t think that was a good idea. As I ate my lunch, I wondered how many cars went over it. Since I do not know what exactly happened, I have no right to judge the human/s involved in this but I am certainly not happy with irresponsible pet owners.
After lunch, we went looking for a new headphone for the iPod. I like the ones with silicone cushions that go into the ears so I do not disrupt anyone who happens to be close to me when I listen to the iPod. Frugal me is only willing to spend around $50 but most of them are priced around $70. My favourite (BOSE) is $149! So, this mission failed.
Once we finished paying the bills, we were ready to go somewhere I picked especially for my birthday. You won’t believe what a stupid destination I had picked. No, it’s not the museum. No, it’s not another shopping centre and no, it’s not the state library. LOL. I told M yesterday that I wanted to go to Baillieu Library (Melbourne Uni) to check out a phonics kit. How unromantic? LOL. It’s been a while since we visited the Uni and we got quite lost. When we eventually found the library, we searched the catalogue to find the kit and manual that I had wanted to take a peek at were gone! Had they been in, they were usually kept at the Education Resource Centre. We did go to the ERC. It has been renamed the Eastern Resource Centre. It wasn’t a good idea to visit the Uni at all. I came away feeling really old.
We are home now. The dinner lady is not working tonight. M volunteered to cook dinner – Spaghetti Bolognaise. I am more than a little nervous about that. He has already cleaned one load of dishes. The man is trying to be nice after buying those DVDs behind my back. I am just going to put my feet up and watch an episode of Law and Order but it won’t be easy.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Here is what I look out for in a proper Duffle Coat
• It has to be made of wool.
• It has to be Navy (so dark that it is almost black), Black or Red (Radio Flyer Red to be exact but red is only applicable if I am buying for myself for when I was 6!).
• Ideally, I would like one with a detachable Chin Flap but not all models/versions have this feature.
• It has a collar as well as a hood.
• Ideally, it has a detachable 3-piece hood with or without a little peak/visor.
• It should have at least two pockets externally and two more side entry, hand warming pockets around the middle of the coat.
• Internally, the colour of the lining must complement the colour of the coat.
• Plastic Toggles are quite acceptable. (Can’t be too fussy now can I?)
• On top of the toggles, there should also be a zipper or some other way of doing the coat up to keep me warm and toasty.
I had a Duffle Coat when I was at University. It didn’t have all the features outlined above but it was one of my favourites. I even wore it when I went to China on an extended study trip. Eventually, it had to be put away because ‘shallow’ me didn’t want to be seen wearing the same thing too often.
This last Sunday, M and I (Dumb and Dumber) went shopping at Highpoint. It was the first Mother’s Day we spent together. It was surreal that he wasn’t required to go home. I do not know the full story but I was super happy to have him to myself. Our intention was to shop for presents and a pair of Winter boots for me. The pressies were easy enough but I had little luck with the boots. Coats were on sale and I found one that looked somewhat like a Duffle Coat. It was meant to be $99.99. With a 25% discount on all coats, this coat would be reduced to around $75. That’s pretty good I thought. M was just happy that I finally found something I liked. When we got to the counter, we received further good news when we learned that the coat had been further reduced to just over $50. I was over the moon of course and was in a hurry to pay for it in case if there was a mistake. LOL. Later, my Mum too was delighted to hear that I found something nice for myself. It looks like the fun loving Priscilla is slowly re-emerging or did I make this purchase because I wanted to spend like M to match what he had spent?
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
ARTPLAY is another reason why I can’t wait to be a mum. There are so many activities for children and it is only a short walk from our pigeon hole. The place was closed when I was there this afternoon but even if it was open, I don’t think I would be welcomed for now. It is clearly stated at the back of their program guide that children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by an adult and all adults must be accompanied by a child. Since I haven’t participated in any of the activities they offer, I can’t vouch for the quality but I like checking out their program guide every now and then to read about the activities on offer. They all seem pretty interesting. In the Winter 2009 guide, there is even an activity called Shadowplay for Adults! If we had a child, I can see M taking him or her to the Playmation workshop. There weren’t things like this where I grew up. How I wish to be able to observe these activities and perhaps implement something similar in our project.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
My Guinea Pig died on the 7th of May 2008. It was a Wednesday. This year, the 7th of May falls on a Thursday. It was great that M was home yesterday. Having him around was truly appreciated.
I don’t really want to blog about my Guinea Pig’s final hours. It cuts to the quick just remembering how he struggled and how stupid I was not knowing what to do other than promising him that we would take him to the Vet in the morning. I just want to remember him as a dear friend.
Someone like me does not make friends easily. It’s a wonder why M hung around. Most humans would find knowing someone like me requires too much effort on their part. Friendship with a pet is much easier, more predictable. There is no need to have to constantly figure out if I missed something. It’s just less complex because most humans are super good at beating around the bush. My Guinea Pig accepted me pretty much from day one. He never judged me. He was his friendly self most of the time. Sure he had his moody moments but this only happened if he was annoyed by loud neighbours monkeying around outside our apartment or if he heard the clanging of keys. Despite being a small mammal, he was capable of growling and it sounded like those little growlers inside traditional Teddy Bears. (Brrr…) My Guinea Pig also trusted me. In the Summer, we keep him clean and cool by giving him baths. After he had been given a ‘blow-wave’, he would come snuggling up to my foot or M’s foot before wandering off to re-discover the bathroom. I would react by squealing while wondering why he would want to snuggle up to someone like me at the same time. I really missed how he used to greet us with much fanfare when we came home from work or outing. He would squeak loudly long before we even reached our front door and as soon as we got in, we could hear him running around excitedly inside his cage. If I approached his cage first, he would climb up the sides to greet me up close but if M approached him first, he might play peek-a-boo by running in and out of his igloo or cave. Even if one of us was home, he would greet the other one with the same fanfare like he had missed him or I so much. On particularly happy days, he also added his version of the ‘Popcorn Dance’.
My Guinea Pig had two amazing abilities. Other Guinea Pigs might behave the same but I am not sure. 5:00 pm was Din-Din time. He was very punctual and only ever got confused whenever the clock was changed but he would soon be back to being punctual again after a few days of readjustment! He would start calling out for his food from 5:00pm but sometimes he didn’t get fed till later because no one was home or if someone was hiding from him because of pure laziness. If someone was home, he would squeak until he got his needs met. LOL. The other ability had something to do with what might have been his dream to be a guard dog. From the comfort of his cage, he was able to predict that the person or people outside the front door was/were neither of us. If it was us, he would greet as mentioned before. If it was someone else, he was more than likely to growl at them. Neighbours from a specific apartment got growled at a lot. LOL.
I sobbed for a good half an hour or so in the bedroom on Tuesday. I had a shower before returning to the bed to wallow some more. Sensing that I was about to start crying again, I dragged myself to the living room and turned on the TV to find that I had missed the first half of a documentary about the lion named Christian. Of course I cried some more as I watched the scenes of the guys’ reunion with the gorgeous lion. I am not very religious but if there is such a thing as a heaven, do you think my Guinea Pig would recognise me when I go look for him someday?
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Most of the things I collect are for work or for testing them out at work and for our dream classroom. I have a bookcase full of picture books that I use for work that can also be used in our dream classroom one day. I also have a small pile of other classroom resource books and another bookcase of Montessori books and manuals. There is also half a bookcase of games, puzzles and other classroom materials that I had tested out at work and they are kept for the dream classroom. A few of these materials are not store bought; they are handmade by me. Why, one may ask that I buy these now? Well, here in Australia, there is an abundance of good quality classroom materials I can invest in that are simply not available where the dream classroom will be located in the not so distant future. A lot of things will cost me just as much to order them over there and had them shipped out from here as if there are bought here and then shipped over there when we move. At least I can physically test these materials before deciding if they are worth keeping and have them shipped out by buying them over here now. What if the dream project falls through? Well, if the dream project falls through and we are still together, then they can all be very useful in our wish to homeschool. Oh dear, I think I just let the cat out of the bag about our (mostly my but increasingly his as well) wish to homeschool! There are multiple reasons as to why we have chosen this path even before the birth of any children but I think I will go into that in the future. Let’s just say that some (our biological children are likely to fit into the category) children really do benefit from and therefore need homeschooling.
M collects things for pure entertainment. To some people, this statement may be a little unfair since cultivating my dream classroom/project happens to be one of my ultimate forms of entertainment. LOL. But the reason I said it is because along with my education, the things I mentioned above are collected as an investment in a project that is likely to generate a nice enough steady income in the not so distant future. On the other hand, M may feel entertained every time he procures an item; the truth is that most of his collectibles depreciate in value as soon as he paid for them at the counter. In years to come, M may have a few pieces in his collection that may fetch a handsome price tag but I doubt that will be enough to give us a tidy nest egg, to pay boarding school fees or university fees. I hate to sound like a fun police but I was brought up by parents without receiving any form of funding from the government. Where I came from, ‘milk money’ was virtually non-existent. For my parents, every cent counted to give my brother and I the opportunity to gain tertiary education. That doesn’t mean that I was completely deprived of fun and toys. We just had less than the average child in the Western World.
I have to confess that I do collect for pure entertainment like M. I collect sewing patterns. There is a box of them under my desk. About 40% are used. The rest just sit there because I haven’t gotten around to them yet. To avoid overspending, I usually buy them when there is a deal similar to the other day when each pattern is reduced to just $5 or when there is a “Buy 1 and get 2 Free” deal. I also periodically trim the number of unused patterns in the box by off-loading them on Ebay. Because the patterns were mostly bought when they were heavily reduced, I usually recoup the money I spent on them when I do sell them on Ebay. Unlike M, I moderate my hobby so it doesn’t get out of hand. Hopefully he has genuinely come around to better moderate his hobbies. It is not fun to live with someone who needs to squander hard earn cash to feel ‘good’.
After ranting about M in the previous post, I feel a little bad for doing it. It’s not something I wish to talk to my mum about because she is already under a lot of stress caring for my Dad who was readmitted to the hospital last week. M is mostly a wonderful person. No one is perfect. It’s just that there are a few things about him that I do not like and they are likely to be the result of flawed parent-child and sibling interactions that have remained unresolved all these years. His issues (minor to some) not only don’t sit well with me, they are just not ‘sustainable’ in the kind of life we wish to live on the long run. I think he is slowly coming around to tackling these minor issues. It’s important for me that he has them sorted out before the arrival of any children. I too need to sort out my own issues. LOL.
Monday, May 4, 2009
I am very angry at the moment. I just found out on Friday that M had gone around to ordering online and purchasing from JB Hi-Fi a big stash of DVDs behind my back. He had decided foolishly that he needed to splash out on more rubbish to celebrate his birthday. There are times when I feel sick just looking at the stuff he had collected over the years. Depending on the price tag, I usually turn a blind eye these days but if the item is pricey, he does get yelled at. This time though, M had exceeded my highest level of tolerance. He didn’t buy just one or two DVDs; he actually bought more than 10! The Get Smart ones were $40 each when he paid for them a few days ago. When I found out about the secret shopping spree, I told him that he should have waited because I am absolutely sure that the price for them will come down. Guess what? The same Get Smart DVDs are now priced $27.99 each in the latest Target (Mother’s Day) catalogue! M can be such an idiot.
During one of my many phone calls home last month, I told my mum how M is spending less on his hobbies these days. I was full of praise. He overheard it and felt really good about that. Little did I know that he was about to embark on a senseless spending spree. He probably thought that I was too blindly in love to realise his secret purchases. I wonder what else he is hiding from me. He had better cough up everything before my birthday.
From die-cast cars to comics to DVDs, M buys all sorts of collectibles. It’s like an addiction. M does not take drugs or smoke and rarely drinks (alcohol) but when it comes to buying all this stuff he thinks that he virtually has unlimited funds like Lindsay Fox. I totally believe that he was encouraged to collect these things since childhood because I now witness the next generation (nephews and nieces) getting encouraged into such hobbies. (It is scary just visualizing that.) This supposedly gold-digger had tried to take control but as you can see, I was not very successful. One should also see the looks I get from a certain someone if I dare say anything negative (however minute) about M.
We had a big talk on Friday. M was defensive at first and when he is like that he tends to exaggerate things. He suggested selling what he bought to recoup what he had paid. I had to laugh but that must have been the dumbest idea. Now that the DVDs have been viewed, they would have to be sold as ‘Used’ and would therefore fetch literally nothing on EBay. LOL. He looked utterly miserable all day but I am still not sure if that was all one big act. I refused to offer any suggestions but I will give all the support if he needed help moderating his hobbies. To some people, telling M what to do is like controlling him excessively. I don’t want to be that nasty gold-digger. Eventually it was he who concluded that he needed to practice moderation. Interestingly, he also decided to work on some (self-esteem) issues after I ‘painted’ him what his life and childhood were like before we were together. Apparently I was spot on. I have ‘painted’ similar pictures for him in the past but he mostly rejected them probably because they brought back too many painful memories that he simply didn’t want to face up to. He is probably ready to do something about those issues now. As said before, I will support or help if requested. He will have to do the bulk of the work because he has to be the agent of change, not me.
Friday, May 1, 2009
With my Dad’s original surgery scheduled for the 21st of March, we went to Victoria Market on the 19th. Because we were late, one pet shop was already closed. The remaining one has mostly tropical fish. I actually didn’t go into the fish department in the basement because I know the shop also sells snakes. By Friday (the 20th), we were desperate. So, while I browsed at Spotlight, M checked out the pet shop inside the South Melbourne Market. I was still at the scrapbooking section of the shop when M turned up with a plastic bag in one hand and a cheesy smile. He declared, “They had heaps and they were cheap too.” Mission accomplished.
The two friends were a little reluctant to leave the plastic bag at first. Known for their bad eye sight, the two Black Moors probably didn’t see their escape route initially. When they eventually settled into their new home, I noticed that one was dominant over the other one. They also liked to ‘wrestle’ and didn’t play ‘nice’. One fish is less dark. Depending on the lighting, its colour is more like a dark bronze at times. We named it Pepsi. The other one has a fantail and is very black. We named it Fanta because of its pretty tail. I have tried to take photos of them but found it difficult because they don’t pose for long.
I will blog more about them as time goes by. Although they are now our new pets, they do not take the place of our beloved Guinea Pig. The fish tank sits next to our little Guinea Pig’s ‘shrine’ to kind of accompany him at all times.