Sunday, 21 November 2010

Am I back in secondary school?

Throughout my primary and secondary school years, because my name is a rather uncommon name, I received more than my fair share of teasing and taunting about it because you know what kids are like, they tease and make fun of other kids. That gradually disappeared, thank god, and I sailed through the University years without any reminder of what else or how else my name could sound like. 

On my name tag which I wear during work at the supermarket, I have requested only my first name to be put on it, which is 'Peng Peng'. These are some of the comments I get from it, as far as I can remember.

"Is that your real name?"

"What a beautiful name !" -- now that, I don't mind at all.

"What an unusual name !" -- define 'unusual' please...

"Is that your first name and your surname?"

 "Your parents like your name so much they named you twice?" -- do they even think when they say things like that?

"Your sister must be called 'Peng Peng Peng' and your other sister 'Peng Peng Peng Peng'....." -- what?!?!

Anyway, these are only some of the comments I can remember.... bear in mind I have been working at the supermarket for nearly three years now and I'm sure there must have been more than that said to me at the check out by people who cannot resist to say 'witty' and 'funny' things to the check out girl.

Can you imagine what it would be like if I had included my surname in it?! 

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Three Most Useful Things I've Ever Bought.

It is normal to go through life making mistakes and learning from them.You often make the wrong decisions which you will later regret; say the things which you would wish you hadn't; and buy the things that you will find out later to be rather useless and serve no purpose. This might not be strictly true for some of you careful shoppers out there, but for me, it is one of those things which I have come to accept in life. I am impulsive, careless and easily swayed.

I was sitting down with a cuppa one day and started reflecting on things (as you would, with a cuppa)... and I started to look at the things around me and realised that actually, not all my 'impulse buys' were deemed useless and a waste of money. In fact some of these 'impulse buys' turned out to be the 'best buys' ever !! And most of all, they were inexpensive items which I have come to rely upon every day, without realising it. 

So without further ado, let's introduce them.

#Item 1
I bought this in a sale after Christmas, not last Christmas, but two Christmasses ago for 50p. And  ever since then, I have used it every day without fail, to bring  my lunch to work. The best 50p I have ever spent.

#Item 2
Last year, I went on a girlie trip to IKEA, and on impulse bought this laptop table for my Mac. I love having this table next to the bed and I wouldn't know where and how else I would have set my laptop up in the room given the limited space that we have around us. And the price, a mere £14.99 ! 

#Item 3
I was browsing in Sainsbury's one day when I came across this blue dotted bowl and thought to myself that I must have it. So I bought it for £2.50 and I have come to rely on it a lot for my meals at my desk -- my morning porridge, my Monday instant noodle lunch, etc.

So there you have it. The three most unassuming items which I have bought that I have come to rely upon so much every day, and it didn't even cost me an arm and a leg.

Monday, 15 November 2010

A Rainy Sunday...

At 10.15am, I was still lazing in bed.

I have a confession to make. Two months ago, I would have jumped out of bed on a Sunday as early as 7.30am, eager to continue with a sewing project that I have got going.

Not this morning. I mean, I do have a project going at the moment, but 'eagerness' is the last word I would use to describe my feelings about it right now. For the first time, I don't feel excited about a project I'm working on. As usual, I have done all the necessary research before embarking on this project and have got all my materials ready and I know exactly what to do. Until I got started. I started measuring and cutting out the material and so far it has taken more than a day, just to cut out one of the front pieces, with wonky edges and corners. And I'm still trying to get it straight.

This project I'm working on is a pair of Roman blinds which Steve and I have promised his brother as a birthday present... it's very simple :- Steve buys the materials, and I put the blinds together. Only, it's not quite as simple as it sounds. For the first time, I dread going into the sewing room.

The fabric is long and stretchy and difficult to handle. Although I now have a good size measuring table, it's not made it any easier. Measuring out the right size to cut is a disaster; trying to cut it out on a straight line, is beyond catastrophic.
The edge of the fabric kept fraying and bits of fluff kept coming off, making it impossible to work with. Fely has kindly suggested a pair of pinking shears and pinking shears were obtained but that didn't help eiter.
Why am I blogging about this?

Well, I guess what I'm trying to say is behind every beautiful and succesful sewing project, there is a certain degree of frustration, depression, anger and exasperation. This one in particular, is at an exceptionally high level. And I haven't even yet started sewing it. But the past few months of sewing has taught me that resilience, determination and patience are the three main ingredients to completing a beautiful and neat project and as much as I dread it at this stage, I will certainly push myself to get past this stage and start to enjoy the project a bit more when I've made some great progress with it.

I remember a month back I started a project making my mum a blouse for her birthday following a pattern from a Japanese pattern book. That was also a challenge to me clearly because a. I can't read Japanese (whatever possessed me to buy a book with Japanese instructions??!?!) and b. the fabric I was working on for it was silky, smooth and stretchy and it kept falling off the table and 'running' away from me hence the cutting was no fun either. But I ploughed through it and was proud to be able to pack the blouse a few days before Mum's birthday and send it off. Hopefully it is now safely on its way to her.
The only thing I worry slightly about is the size. I didn't have her measurement but I used myself as the model throughout the entire process but the trouble is I am slightly bigger than Mum and the blouse itself is quite baggy. But we'll see :)

Anyway, back to my rainy Sunday...

So when Steve suggested that we go for a movie, I saw it as a means of 'escaping' from the task at hand. It was a movie called 'Unstoppable' featuring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson, based on a true story. Due to the negligence and stupidity of a rail worker, an unmanned train carrying highly toxic and explosive chemicals was heading at full throttle towards densely populated cities and somebody has to stop it. It was an excellent movie based on a few factors :: it wasn't dragged on for too long; the introduction and background to build up the characters was relevant and sufficient and not too soppy; and during the entire movie, I was kept on the edge of my seat. The best thing of all about the movie yesterday -- it was free. Steve had managed to find a voucher off the internet which he printed and which gave us two free tickets to watch the movie. So all in all, a great experience!

To finish off this post, a couple of photos to show you who Sasha always favours in the house.
Those legs belong to Steve and that's where you'd normally find Sasha when Steve's sat at the computer doing his work. And no, it wasn't a Thursday when I took these photos. The man clearly has issues with his days...

Hopefully when I update my post again, I shall have more pictures to show you of the progress I've made with the blinds.

Take care now and thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Looking back at the month of October, I can say that it was rather unproductive in terms of blogging as well as sewing. It was a slow, slow month where day just passed after another day...

So now that we've just hit November, I am determined to change that trend! So let's start with me telling you all about my rather successful trip to IKEA this Sunday just gone. It is a general known fact (don't quote me) that most men hate shopping and 'browsing' through loads and loads of items in a shop unless they have to buy something. I know there are a small proportion of men out there who geniunely enjoy window shop with their other half and will suggest doing that on a beautiful weekend. But I can tell you they are of the rare exception and ladies if you happen to be going out with one, well done!

So it didn't come as a surprise that my man was an unwilling victim in this scheme of mine, to spend half a day in IKEA looking at pretty things, gasping and 'appreciating' the arrays of colourful and wonderful plastic goods that IKEA has to offer at affordable prices. Mind you, I have been browsing through their catalogue online and I did have specific items that I wanted to purchase. But that didn't stop me from wanting other things as well when I saw them there. You can't help it, it happens in all IKEA to most women. 

When I started off my sewing hobby, my beloved sewing corner aka 'my retreat' looked like this.
You might be asking, where's the sewing machine? Well this picture was taken before the sewing machine arrived and the feeling I was experiencing at that time was akin to an expectant mother preparing her nursery for the arrival of the new born baby. I mean, not exactly the same, but you get my idea.
And when the machine's arrived, it was transformed to this. By then I had purchased a few more essential items that I needed. When I started getting interested at patterns and ideas from various sewing books, I started buying them like mad from Amazon and slowly but surely developed a collection on the shelf.
Because I couldn't find a single bookend in the house, I had to stack them up on the shelf like that because I had learnt through the hard way that standing them up wasn't such a good idea especially when the books came tumbling down onto the sewing machine. Let's just say 'thank god for hard covers.'
Anyway, through these past few months, I wasn't just collecting books. Bit by bit, I slowly built up my lovely sewing corner with fabric, and accessories and the latest puchase was a much needed drop leaf table where I could do all my measuring and cutting. After using this table to measure out and to cut fabric for a project I'm currently working on, I did wonder how I had managed to cope with measuring and cutting my fabric pieces on the bed before I had this table. Of course what you couldn't see was that what used to be in that spot was Steve's exercise bike which has been pushed aside. So the best thing about this drop leaf table is that it's perfect for me and that space. When it's not needed, it can be collapsed and hidden away in the corner.Even better, I bought this second-hand so it didn't even cost me too much money.

Anyway, it is with much pleasure for me to show you my sewing corner at its present state.
This is my retreat. This is the corner where I spent many enjoyable hours making fun things while listening to my Ipod dock (which is well-hidden by the way due to lack of space). What I managed to purchase from IKEA made a lot of difference in helping me organise my space better. The two hanging baskets which I got meant that I can now organise my sewing boxes and bits and pieces under the shelf and that freed up more space for books (Oh dear) and I managed to get bookends too which meant that my books won't come tumbling down anymore. And I also managed to get a cute clamp lamp which ideally was going to replace the table lamp but because it was not bright enough, the table lamp had to stay. Let's zoom in closer to look at those tiny creatures on my shelf.
 Honestly I had no use for them at the moment but when I saw them at the charity shop I couldn't help myself.
 These are the wooden pegs that my DSC got me during one of her trips to Cornwall and they are so cute.
Some of my book collection.
For the past few weeks, I've been driving round and noticing how beautiful the autumn leaves are so this morning, armed with my camera, I decided to capture some autumn colours to show you and very much lacking in skills and knowledge on how to fully utilize my camera, I present to you some mediocre shots that I took with the auto mode on my Canon G11.
Autumn on my desk.

I have just bought a book called 'From snapshots to greatshots' from Amazon. So hopefully, very soon I'll be able to share some good quality pictures here with you. In the meantime, I'll just have to settle for the auto mode.

Have a great week ahead.