Sunday, 13 March 2011

Aiyayaii workspace...

When something wrong but is not too serious happened to me, I would instinctively say, "Aiyayaii..." Most of the time it gets uttered out loud (some profanities might trail afterwards, depending on the severity of the event), and sometimes the word just materialized in my mind only. I do not know how I picked it up, but somehow I must have exchange it for "Sh*t!" for I used to utter that all the time until I was told off by my mum; the elders at bookshops, groceries marts and shopping malls also would give me 'The Look' if they happen to be near me when I utter that word. But since I exchange it with "Aiyayai...", I never get 'The Look' anymore, so I settled for it.

Anyway, last Friday I took a step back and had the privilege of observing my workspace as the computer system that I was working with was running at an incredibly tortoise rate, and I was taken aback. I had worked for the present organization for a year, yet my workspace looked as if I had only been there for less than a month! 

What a shame...tsk tsk tsk... I may have put something here and there, but all in all, the place still looked quite bare and messy...and male like, mind you. Even Mr. J whose workspace is next to mine has got better decorations and seemed more lady-like than mine.

Very well...I've pledge that I will get the place spruced up in a month's time. Perhaps even crochet a few things to hang and make everyone jealous of me...hehehe. That's not a good thought, isn't it, Mr. Angel Boo Boo?

"Yes master, that's not a very nice thought."

The day he says that or says anything at all, I will demand that my workspace be changed and Mr. Angel Boo Boo will find himself flung out of the window as far away as possible from the office building...bbrrr!!

Gifts for baby Eryna Iman

Three weeks ago, my dear friend Didi gave birth to her second child, a little girl she named Eryna Iman. As she was born about two weeks shy of her projected due date, I find myself frantically searching for an easy booties and a baby beanie pattern. Luckily I managed to find easy patterns for both and though I have never done any booties before, I was fairly confident that I could finish at least the booties that night itself. 

So I opened up the pattern on my laptop and got all of the material ready and started to crochet; I had used US size 4 crochet hooks and Sirdar Snuggly's 4-ply yarn in pink for the gifts I intended to set as present for baby Iman. 

I should have learned from my first project (the Bucket Hat) that crochet is NOT THAT EASY, but me being me, I always don't even listen to myself. I soon found out that working with fingering material such as baby yarns is much different than working with a medium weight yarn. I kept on opening up the stitches as it became too tight and curly. After a few hours' attempt, then only did I get the sole of the first booties right. However, I got so tired emotionally and in mind that I decided to continue the next day.

The next day was the same with the front part of the booties; I finished that part after a few hours and I go to sleep right after to recharge my soul. And the day after it was also the same routine when I did the back part and the top. All in all it took me three days to finish one tiny booties. THREE DAYS. Phew! 

Luckily it took me two days to finish the other half and after five days 'meditating' in my room (that's what my mum call it when I'm quietly crocheting in my locked up room), I finally have a pair of booties in my hands. I felt very proud of it as booties were the source of my inspiration to crochet at the first place, and now having being able to whip up a pair, I felt like there's nothing else I couldn't do!

So I went down to show them to my mum and as expected, she squealed and gushed over the tiny pair of booties. But once she inspected them, she frowned.

"Don't you think it's way too small for a newborn baby?" She said.

It never occurred to me before; I may have paled a little at the possibility but I went on to look at her incredulously. "Ma, newborn babies are small." I answered, as if I had known better than a lady who had given birth to five children and had cared for many more when she was working as a nurse.

"It might not fit her."

Me being me, I pushed that thought away into the farthest back of my mind, but when I started to crochet the beanie, the thought might has slipped through as I was careful enough not to make it too small. The beanie was done in a day and I boxed up the gifts nicely.

Finally, a week after she was born, I paid baby Iman and her mama a visit. I was happy when mama Didi said that she loved my gifts, but as she put on the booties on baby Iman's tiny feet, I looked on with baited breath, worrying that my mum might be right. But fitted her perfectly!!

I was so relieved but noted that it might not fit her until she is two months even, so I made a mental note to use a bigger hook next time and try to find out other ways on how to make it bigger. As for the hat, it is a bit too big for baby Iman and I foresee that she could only wear it when she is four months and above. However, big brother Ameer thought that it would fit him nicely and here he is demonstrating it...

Poor Ameer! It's too wittle wittle for him :( Aunty Jaja has made a mental note to herself that she would have to crochet one that would fit him too :)

Busy week and Raptors Watch Week 2011

It's been a busy week that will end today with a sweet note and a sigh...yes sigh, because tomorrow it's back to work! Sigh...

Sweet it will be because I will be attending an old school friend's wedding reception and I'm looking forward to see him on the dais with his new bride :) Congratulation, Harith!

After a week long of monotonous office, home and the next day office routine, on Saturday I rewarded myself with a trip to Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse, Melaka to see the raptors. No, I'm not talking about raptors as in the extinct creatures of old like the Velociraptors that you can find in Jurassic Park the movie kind, but it's the flying, cute and feathery kind. Raptors here refers to the predatory migratory birds like eagles and hawks that came down here to escape the winter back home. After a few months of basking in the hemisphere's sun, it is time for the birds to go home. At Tanjung Tuan from around noon to late afternoon, these birds will make use of the hot air that rises from the land (thermals) to be elevated higher into the sky. After they have reached the right altitude, the birds will fly home towards the north. This usually happens from the month of February to April.

Having seen this event for the first time, I must admit that it was breathtaking to watch huge flock of birds circling in the air and finally glide away in the blue sky. I was told by a professional photographer there that the birds had come from Japan, China and Siberia. Though they are travelling home in flocks, once they have reached a certain area, some of them will split from the main flock and head home to where they originally came from. It is astonishing to know that unlike us humans who relied on road signs and GPS to find our directions, these birds were born with the sense of direction imprinted in their genes, and it will be passed on to the next generation, hence the migration pattern will go on and on. SubahanAllah... :)

All in all, I had a great time being with nature and witnessing this fantastic event amongst a great and fun company. I'm already looking forward to next year's event :) Please visit for more information. For your viewing pleasure, please find some photos attached taken from a non-DSLR camera, so please excuse the quality:

 One stick-like insect that we found along the way...running away from the birds maybe??

Up the stairs we climb to Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse, Melaka (actually it's in Port Dickson but the small peninsular in which the lighthouse is situated falls under the jurisdiction of Melaka).
View from atop the edge of the lighthouse (no go into the compound of the lighthouse; it's a restricted area).

Flock of raptors in the sky looks like ants in the water. They swirl the sky before gliding away from our view.   This is what I could snap with 18x zoom (max); the birds are like 100-200m up in the sky and this is only part of it.
A close up of one of the raptors...sort of a close up :)

Something crafty I managed to do at one of the event's booth before I head home; colouring my own sun catcher (I never knew it was called that way; I had always call it stained glass).

Anyway, I hope that everyone has had a good week as mine had turned out to be, and may next week be a great one to us all as well!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The crochet that stole my heart!

"Aren't they adorable?"

"Look at the colour! Aren't they just the cutest thing?"

"And those pom poms!"

I looked at the subject being discussed and agreed that they are just the cutest thang...but I'm not about to join in and squeal in high pitched voices ; I merely smiled and gushed inwardly. Had they been my mum & close friends, we would just be acting the same way.

The subject in discussion was a pair of baby booties in white with baby blue trimmings and pom poms. They had been presented to a friend who had just delivered a baby boy and everyone who saw it were admiring it. I'm sure everyone has got this thang about baby booties and what it could reduced us to (squealing, cooing and gushing adults). I remembered, when I was small, that my mum used to knit those for my little sister so I thought to myself, "It couldn't be so hard to make one of those."

I was about to find out that I was so wrong.

At home, I had a chit chat with my mum and ask her about her knitting days. She agreed that it is a very rewarding hobby and encouraged me to pursue it. My sense of interest in it increased and I thought she might be able to teach me how to knit, but alas, she had stashed away her knitting needles for so long that she probably would have to learn how to knit together with me. 

The problem with me is that once I am spurred to start something, I want to start right away and off to a local craft store me and my mum went that very afternoon to purchase some basic knitting supplies. I took a double take at the price of yarns sold at the shop but bought some anyway. Let's face it, how can I knit without a yarn, right?

So at home that night, on the bed with the laptop pulled right up to my tummy (it is on a 'breakfast in bed' small table), I slowly began to follow some online tutorial on I managed to follow some of the basic steps but I usually end up with a very tight 1st row that continuing the 2nd row was always too difficult. After a few days at it, coupled with the stress of trying to understand the pattern's reading, I gave up. Then it occurred to me that knitting is NOT that easy. Feeling exasperated, I stashed away all of the stuff in a box and try not to think about it.

A few months later my mum asked me, "Don't you want to give crochet a try? Pity all those unused yarns."

I gave my mum the kind of look that says 'Are you out of your mind suggesting me this?' I knew what crochet was (it was knitting with only a stick/needle...bah!) but to me, crochet was so old-fashioned and associated only with those 60s and above, whipping up dull white doilies on a daily basis, which I am soooo not! That was crochet to me, at that time.

Still, that night I found myself wandering into the WWW in hope of understanding crochet better. I was surprised to know that other than dull white doilies, you could whip up colourful hats, beautiful stylish sweaters, blankets and *gasp* booties?! I have got to learn how to crochet then. 

I was determined that I would start with a beanie cap project because it's the easiest, so off again I went to the local craft store (I went past the yarn section pretending that I didn't see colourful and plushy, how could you resist them?) and purchased a hook, some needles and fabric glue.

The work on the beanie project began soon after. Of course you could not expect a truly beginner like me to come up with a perfect beanie just on the first attempt. I would term my first project as a moderate success but alas, I ran out of yarn midway through! As is customary of me, I stashed the beanie cap away in the depth of my drawer...

I was keen to start on another project and this time around I told myself that I would stick by it until the end. I befriended this kind soul whose name is Ery from (a fabulous online yarn store; it deserves a post on its own!) and she guided me through with my second project, a bucket hat in which the pattern was also provided by her.

On and off, it took me 2 weeks to finish what I started and here it is for your viewing pleasure... :)

 The final product that made me feel good all over, despite it not being that very neat...

And this is my little sister, modelling it for me... :)