Friday, 27 August 2010

Another birthday...

I was reading some of my older posts that I wrote last year this time, and realised that I have been a bit of a slacker in terms of updating my blog entries this month (or the last, and the one before that). I have therefore 'forced' myself to write something... actually I have got lots to share of my activities of late but have not found time and motivation to do so...

I recently celebrated another birthday (I know, where did the time go?!) and it was a lovely, lovely birthday with me being spoilt rotten the entire day, and I had a wonderful birthday, despite the fact that I was so full of cold and most of the things I ate tasted of nothing.

The day started with a lovely cake made by Steve -- a Red Velvet Chocolate Cake decorated with Milky Buttons which I lovee.... ignore the 'smudges' on the cake because I had to digitally blank out the pet name that he calls me by, which he had put on the cake ...
My lovely, lovely bf also made me my favourite breakfast, with an added 'kick' to it -- French Toast made with Thick Farm House Bread, sprinkled with icing sugar and garnished with Caramelised Banana on the side... did I hear you go, ummmmmmm..... it was YUMMY indeed.
While I was having breakfast I got to open some presents and this year, Steve made me a very special birthday present that nearly, very nearly brought tears to my eyes...
He had compiled all the various pictures we took during our holidays in the 5 years we've been together (6 according to me and 5 according to him, DON'T ASK !) and made it into an album with funny captions and it was so beautiful.

Apart from that he also got me bits and pieces for my sewing hobby and this I found particularly cute and interesting...
What do you think it is? It's actually a tape measure !! Haha and I had to be shown how to use it. You pull the bee's tail and the tape comes out from there and press the bee's stomach and the tape retracts itself... I had a real good laugh playing with it. What you see in the background also Season 1 and 2 of 'Arrested Development', which I've been telling him about. I used to enjoy watching them when I was back in Miri. So now that he's got me the DVD box sets we can watch them together. There were also other bits and pieces that he'd got me and a nice, warm winter jacket from his dad.

Now what's interesting this year, is that I've also received some lovely presents from my non-blood-related 'sisters' in the UK -- Bea and Fely, which made my birthday this year extra, extra special :)
 A pair of lovely earrings lovingly handmade by Bea...
A musical pendant with a velvety ribbon that makes a lovely necklace..

This is my favourite !! A beautifully made bracelet in my favourite colours and the picture really doesn't do it much justice because it is simply gorgeous. Bea has set up her own online shop on Coriandr and check out her other stuff too !!

From Fely in Eastbourne, I received a beautiful selection of fat-quarters in pastel colours, and I have already thought of so many things I can make out of them !!
Don't you just love the colours? It's great to have a sewing buddy!!
When I got into the work the next day, there were more presents waiting for me !! Some of my lovely colleagues have got me a goodie bag of birthday presents, and there was a lovely  mirror, and a set of body butter and shower gel and a really nice tin for teabags and the best thing of all, there were milky bar chocolates in the tin !! How cool is that?!
This is the mirror that my DSC has got me from the Russell Cotes Musuem in Bournemouth.

And up till last night, I was still opening late presents from friends --  more milky bar chocolate and the millennium trilogy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which I shall enjoy this long weekend when I'm away in Cornwall (another birthday treat from the bf)!!!

All in all, another fabulous birthday to remember ...

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A brave attempt -- Making an oilcloth bag

I was browsing through some Cath Kidston bags online quite some time ago and decided that I quite like to have a bag that looks like this but in red. But I was really quite reluctant to spend £55 on a bag because I just can't justify it to myself. So when I learnt that I could get oilcloth fabric in pretty designs (which was what this bag is made out of), I suddenly had this brilliant (or naive) idea -- 'hey I can make myself one of these bags!'. Hence, began the journey of buying and collecting the various bits and pieces to try and make a Cath Kidston Wannabe.

I started looking online for a suitable pattern that I could use to make a similar looking bag but tried as hard as I may, do you think I could find anything?! NONE. There was nothing on the Internet that really took my fancy and most of the designs were boring and uninspiring. So I decided that I would draw my own pattern, based on how the bag is constructed.

I even constructed a 'mock' bag out of thick glossy papers from old posters just to make sure that my pattern was going to work and that it would turn into a bag eventually.
I got everything cut and ready and was about to start when I realised that I haven't got enough webbing for the handles. So I had to order more webbing before I could do anything. Then when I finally got the webbing, I realised that I haven't got a pair of magnetic clasps for the front pocket, so yet again the project was put onhold. So it was a week later that I could start stitching everything together. Of course, with oilcloth, it was important not to make any mistakes because once the needle penetrates the fabric, there is nothing you can do to change it because it will leave a mark. So I had to be so careful in planning and stitching the pieces, and to work out which part of the bag to make first so that everything can be reached and stitched.
Slowly the bag was constructed bit by bit, starting with lining the inside with interfacing to make it thicker and then the front pocket, the handles, the zip....
I even made sure the handle was properly done and stitched with a leather strip over it.
Half a bag constructed...
Attaching the lining of the bag. By this time I have cursed more than a trooper and have been pricked by pins a million times!! The lining looks quite nice, kan?
Lining done and the bag was turned the right side out.
There you go. A Cath Kidston Wannabe.
Hung from the exercise bike.
I don't even know what the label says but I just like it...

As usual, it was a valuable learning experience making this bag. It wasn't too difficult, just tedious. But I can tell you that I won't be rushing to make another one soon!!

Oh in case you are wondering why I have chosen such a dull colour... the story goes like this... I found some bargain oilcloth and thought I'll use it as practice first, before I make a proper oilcloth bag with this piece of oilcloth that I got online, which was more expensive and nicer.
But, I like I said, I don't think I'll be making another oilcloth bag quite so soon yet. I need to let my skin heal from the pin injuries ....

Sunday, 1 August 2010

On Life and Marriage

Tonight I had a lesson in life.

A few of us from work went out for pizza and it was a good laugh because it was a big group of us and there was a cacophony of laughter and hooting and jeering and clapping and shouting across one end of the table to the other. 

However, amongst all the chaos there were also whispered and hushed outpourings of emotions and feelings about life.  

When you are stuck in a loveless and meaningless marriage, what do you do? How do you find happiness?

When you have two young children to think about and no family support, do you have the courage to walk away and start afresh?

Sometimes, when you learn about other people's problems in life, apart from feeling sorry for them, it also puts your own life into perspective. Suddenly, you appreciate that although sometimes you can't have what you want, at least you have a happy life. 

I think marriage is a tricky thing. I have never been married so I am not qualified to say a lot about it. But what I do learn from talking to people and reading about others' lives is that people who are in a happy marriage, are very lucky people indeed.

When a marriage has failed, does it mean that the two people who originally fell in love and got married, do not love each other anymore?

When a marriage has failed, does it mean that the two people did not try hard enough to make it work?

8 out of 10 ten times, failed marriages always end rather horribly. Why is that?

Like I said, it is a tricky thing and I can bet you nobody will have the right answer to that. 

It is only my random but meaningful pondering for tonight.

If you are in a happy marriage, I am truly happy for you. Love and cherish your other half, always.