Monday, 21 June 2010

A pleasant surprise and my first project.

So two things happened last week. I was co-organising a conference and also I bought myself a sewing machine.

I had to miss the conference dinner on Thursday because I was working in the evening. The next day boss handed me a gift box, saying that it was a token of appreciation from the assocation that I was helping to organise the Conference for.
It was definitely a very pleasant surprise because I hadn't expected it. As curious as I was, I didn't want to rip open the packaging to see what it was because after all, we were still at the Conference. But I sneaked a peek as soon as I got chance and absolutely loved the gift.
You can't really see it clearly but it's a thin silver chain with an apple. It's really lovely and cute. The Conference was held on the 7th Floor of the Executive Business Centre and needless to say, it was equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and I was particularly taken by the 'techno booths' especially designed for group discussions.
Of course back in those student days, we weren't privileged enough to have such hi-tech equipment that would have made group discussions on presentations so much easier. You sit in groups and view your slides together and one of you can make any necessary changes to the slides and you can plug in your own laptop too. I notice these techno booths in the library too. So canggih ah?

So after fiddling with my new sewing machine for a couple of days I decided to make an ironing mat, which would be my first project. I started off trying to make a quilt-like mat but halfway through realised that a quilt is not going to be ideal for ironing on as you can imagine that whatever you iron will have grooves and lines on them. So I did patch work on one side, and plain cotton fabric as the backing, which would be the side that I'll use for ironing. These pictures show you the sequence of the project.
Arranging the squares for patching.
Stitching them together stage by stage.
Preparing to stitch the front, middle and back together.
And adding a binding on the edges. This was the state as of last night before I went to bed. Having a bit of problem doing the binding coz it's a pain in the backside. I hope to be able to finish it tonight as I'll be working nights for the next three days and won't be able to touch my sewing machine again till Friday night.
Oh and totally unrelated, I bought a box of 'Curiously strong mint' from Marks and Spencer just so that I can use the tin for my pins.
I was going round all evening trying to force my colleagues to finish the mints so that I can start using the tin box. Crazy. I had one of the boys stuff his mouth with 7 mints at one time. Bless him.
Oh here's my sewing space. Quite a small area but I'm utilising every inch of available space and still it was a bit tight.
Okay. After I finish this first project, I'll be looking for something else to make. So till then, adios.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Have I left my blog for too long?

Well there wasn't very many exciting things to write about, that's why the long period of silence....

Today however, I have a few pictures to show you of my weekend just gone... what a fantastic foody weekend it was.

Last Saturday, from morning leading to evening, almost everyone was in this hythened state of excitement and was getting more and more psyched up by the minute over the much awaited World Cup match between England and USA. I, on the other hand, was getting extremely excited about a promise Steve made before the weekend to cook up a brilliant seafood paella with fresh seafood, while getting ready for the BIG match. To top it off, when we were shopping for the seafood in the morning, we decided that a meal is not complete without desserts so the plan was to make some chocolate profiteroles for afters.

I'll let these sequence of pictures tell you how it went.

Big fat juicy cockles and they were absolutely delicious too.
Oh I forgot to mention, when we were at the fish mongers, there were lots and lots of live crabs and they weren't expensive so I insisted that we get one and Steve had to kill it. He wasn't happy about that. He said kesian the crab.After the crab's been cleaned, we cooked it in Black Pepper Sauce and it was absolutely yummy. By then, Steve was still feeling sorry for the crab. I wasn't.
The paella rice cooking in pure chicken and seafood stock.
Almost ready now. The side of the pan decorated with mussles and cockles. The paella was absolutely delicious and to die-for. It wasn't cheap at all. That's one thing I don't like about the UK. Not being able to get fresh seafood at affordable and reasonable prices. The cost of the seafood for that paella was probably close to 15pounds. But it was absolutely worth it because we even had enough leftovers for lunch.
What's Sasha waiting for?
That's Steve preparing the choclate for the profiteroles and sadly Sasha wasn't allowed any. I'll show you the profiteroles.
Nice? It was very creamy and nice. This is the before-chocolate shot and I love it.
On Sunday, we decided to sit in the garden for a bit of sunshine. And I took this picture as I was lying down on a rug on the front lawn. The weather forecast wasn't meant to be good for that day but you can see clearly from the picture that they were wrong, again.

And I've got a new hobby.
What could it be?
Yup, I have caught the sewing bug transmitted by Fely. It cost me an absolute fortune because it's computerised and also it's Husqvarna Viking. This whole business of buying a sewing machine has been a bit of a journey for me and in fact as we speak, there's still the tail-end of the palavar which will hopefully be resolved soon. Long story short, first order I placed, the buyer did not state that it was a US machine until before it was despatched and I had to cancel the order. I was very disappointed but at the same time relieved coz I thought that was an opportunity to reassess spending such a large sum on a sewing machine when I barely knew how to sew. So the whole online search and shop began again and I found a different model that I'm happy with and Steve helped me secure a deal with an online company who promised a cash discount instead of free gifts. If you know me well enough you'll see this coming. Instead of ordering a much cheaper model, I have gone one notch higher and ordered something even more expensive than the first! (crazy, I know) The machine arrived and lo and behold, it was the wrong one. So we rang and now we're expecting them to send another one and in the meantime, I am allowed to use this machine until the other one arrives and I'm having tons and tons of fun on it!!
Bare in mind I am a complete beginner when it comes to sewing machine and this is what I managed to do on the machine so far.
 I am most delighted with the ability to create alphabets (Fely, you're laughing).... I must say Husqvarna Viking Emerald 203 is very easy to use, easy to understand and because it is computerised, programming it to do various stitches is very easy. There were a few initial hiccups in terms of loading the bobbin and starting the stitch without it bunching... but after a few more attempts I got better and better and had so much fun creating various patterns on my old clothes.

But as Fely promptly reminded me, sewing is not all about creating fun stitches on your old clothes, it is about making fun and creative projects. Hopefully I'll be able to update my blog really soon with news of those. Meantime, I'm looking forward to going home and making more fun stitches on my old clothes later !!!