Monday, January 30, 2012

30th January

Dearest Nada,

Four years ago, you were born at this exact moment. 30th January 2008, 5.02am. Dawn was just about to break, we believe the name Nada in Arabic which means dew suits you well.

The four years learning you have been ups and downs for us, as much as we try to take it in the most graceful manner, there are also times we are shame to admit that we’ve been disgrace, especially Mommy.
Above all, having you and times together has never fails to make us grateful and proud parents.   

Yesterday, we had a small celebration to mark your four year old. It’s just You, Mommy, Daddy and of course Rupert the Celcom Bear.

You were given the privilege to choose your own cake and you were contemplating between a Transformer, Barbie, Princess or Ben 10 decoration. Somehow, the Barbie decorated cake was the ‘lucky’ one.

As we headed to celebrate, you constantly ‘annoyed’ us : “Today, Nada’s birthday, no Daddy’s birthday. Later!”

You asked Mommy if Bukit Nanas is Penang. Mommy knew exactly what you had in mind. Bukit Nanas looks or feels similar to you with Bukit Jambul in Penang. It reminds you of our trip and stayed in Equatorial.

Once we reached Atmosphere360 and you had your quick survey around, you wanted to check the wash room. Wash rooms somehow catch your interest, Mommy wonder why. It became a subject of  your curiosity. Indeed, washroom at Atmosphere 360 prompted many questions from you for Mommy to answer.

You were not afraid to stand close to the perimeter glass panels or even leaned against them which Mommy can’t ever do.
Putting candles on the cake, blowing them off, cutting the cake were pure joy to you, and we were delighted by just looking at you.

Last night we had a chat before your bedtime. You answered perfectly all Mommy’s questions to you.

Where did we go? – KL Tower
Where is KL Tower? – Bukit Nanas
How did we go up? – Press lift button
What did you eat most? – Prawn
How did the water at sink come out? – Wave hand at sensor
Do you like the toilet? – Yes, one button wash poo-poo, one button wash shi-shi *****
What did you see? – KLCC, Mommy’s office.

Happy 4th birthday, Nada Firas. May Allah s.w.t bestow upon you good health and wealth. Be good. We love you.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Birthday Dress

I first learnt smocking when I was still a kid at eleven years old during after school co-curiculum. I thank my primary school teacher Puan Zainab whom was an English teacher for the beautiful craft she introduced to me long ago. She showed us the basics of smocking. Doing the markings, tacking, hand pleating and basics embroidery stitches.

The first smock I did was conceived to a tiny dress for my cousin Shasha. Mami sew. It was yellow in color, I wish I could find the photo of it.

Since then, I have always have the love for smocking. I made few more smock dresses for girls around me and the mega project was smocking bedding set for my own wedding. It took me months! For god sake, why hadn’t I knew about the pleat machine back then. It was ALL done manually.

Though I have made few smock dresses, I actually haven’t really learn the art or science for that matter in turning a completed smock into a dress. All the while, I just hantam-kromo (recklessly), because I didn’t make the effort to find the right source for such knowledge. *Puan Zainab would be disappointed, eh?*

Only until recently, I found this magazine at Cottage Patch – Australian Smocking & Embroidery (ASE).

ASE composed four to six patterns with complete step by step guide four each project in every released issue.
I thought… craft lovers in Australia are lucky to have the magazine. For less than AUD 20, they are spoilt with so much information and fun. What we have here in Malaysia for less than RM 20?... We can have many magazines too.. Jelita, Wanita, Rias, Keluarga. I didn’t say they aren’t good for I do buy for my reads as well but they are of the similar approach. Similar sort of contents.  

We don’t have good craft magazines or I would say, we don’t have craft magazines. May be also we don’t have the market for such magazine so it wouldn’t be profitable to produce. 
Whatever it is.... with conversion and logistics, once A&E reach our shore they cost nothing less than RM 100 per issue.

Having the magazine, for the very first time, I trimmed a dress for Nada using professional pattern, not my own self-figured and it is a smocking dress!
Something sick about me, I just have to choose the complicated project though it’s my first!!!

It is Sandpiper from Issue 88 (above magazine pix)

The smocks seems simple but the dress construction drives me nuts. The front apron with curve edge, back ruffles, elastic casings and securing elastics are just demanding stuffs. Not to mention turning to right sides of sandwiched sachs and shoulder casing from thick linen is rather taxing.

The smocks

Full front dress
Back of the dress

The sachs

Back ruffles

I made three trips to nearby shop for overlock stitch service alone. (One day, I would get myself a serger!)

The pattern suggested natural linen covered button shown in the pix. However, I've changed that to little flower button. For a random person I am, I thought of splashing some red color to the top casing... but I did not! I refrained myself to do so.

Now that the dress is done, I know there are parts that I could have done better. I made mistakes here and there and of course the obvious one, IT'S THE SHOULDER STRAP AND BUTTON!! (I just realized while I'm typing this...haish!)
Wonder if I could get that fixed. umph..umph..umph.. I'll leave that for now.

Last night, we had it tried on Ms Dew. She was delighted when I told her that the dress is for her 4th birthday upcoming tomorrow. I've been making special birthday dresses since she's two.

She acted princess, with all the twirl and turn. And when Daddy asked her : "Nada, what should you tell Mommy for making you the dress?"

She bowed and said "Thank You, Mommy......" ( for that, all Mommy's hard work is paid of )

Friday, January 27, 2012

Talking to about to be a 4 year old and the sequel

Nada : Mommy, open the light.
Mommy : Nada, you must speak correct English, proper English. Say switch on the light.
Nada : Ok. Mommy, switch on the light.

Different occasion.
Nada : Mommy, You like Ultraman?
Mommy : Yeea.
Nada : Mommy, you must speak proper English. Not yeea. Say YES!

Mommy : (tercengang) Let's talk Malay today, ok?

B  E  I  J  I  N  G    I  N    G  R  E  Y    3

We visited the Olympic Village

The Bird Nest, Nada still not so fond of the wind

The Dragon Office, Hotel Building in Business District. Well, you should know where's the head and tail...ya.

The Ice Cube in left corner.

Harris checking out inside of The Bird Nest.

Nada was nervous, scared, terrified that Daddy could had left her and Mommy in the cold. She didn't quite believe Mommy said "It will just minutes, Daddy will come back...."

She's not at all a crying baby once we escaped the cold wind. Happy in the bus.

Mosque in Beijing, I don't remember the name

It's The GREAT WALL!!!!!!!!, my dream came true. I always have it as one of the places I should visit before I die. InsyaAllah.
No wonder it's one of the seven wonders man made. Breathtaking.

Harris only made it 1/3 of the first check point. The little miss not in the walking mode at all.

After climbing up The Great Wall (even though it's only the first check point), feet massage was a bliss!

Like day time was not enough, we embraced for night stroll. 

Had supper at a local Muslim restaurant near the hotel

We had satay. The restaurant operators speak no other language besides Chinese and all of us speak NO Chinese, at all.
Good thing, we are bunch of people whom draw to make a living. 
That means "Satay kambing bukan itik dan mesti pedas"

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Play Room (in memory.. and hoping to have..)

When I was small, my brother and I at times went to our neighbor’s house living across ours to enjoy their abundance of toys. Back then, their house was one of the nice houses which were not even a handful, one can see in Kg Lundang. There was a room designated as a toy room. Pretty sophisticated considering that was back in the early 80’s and top of it, something really rare in Kelantan.

These childhood friends of ours, Azu and Cici were grandsons to a Tok Wakil or so it was.

Our own Pale-green home lawn was always used by the village kids to play Bola Kaki Tiga (three-legged ball), Guruh (Human Fence), Police and Thief or pure running, their fenced lawn however were always keep tidy and neat. I don’t recall village kids entering.

Azu and Cici weren’t like the normal village kids. As one myself, I couldn’t resist the daily outdoor playing till dawn or until my mami shouted “BALIKKKKKKK!!!!!”, from the tiny window where she sew. They were more of the staying home and study type. Hardly got out of the compound. That was why I think they had lots of toys at home and being invited to their toy room was an honor. We love it!

Azu further his studies in the STATES. Sadly, I heard from Mami, Azu lost his life many years ago due to an accident while riding his newly bought super bike upon returning.
I remember him as good looking boy, well mannered and slightly protective over his younger brother Cici.       

Gone the 80’s… Every home now if possible needs a toy room ……
Pink kitchen stove still standing

Punggah Abang Aqil.. Punggah…

Stove gone

Playing alone….. No fun!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beijing in Grey 2

Day 2, we headed to the Summer Palace.

Though named as such, the place resides no palace as it is actually a garden consist of manmade lake and hill. Lake known as Kunming Lake and hill as Longevity Hill. The fact that the lake was manmade hundreds years ago awed me. It is a huge lake ok…. Goodness! China.. China.. China..

Apparently, the English couldn’t find a mean to translate the way Chinese named it, that the vocabulary in describing the lake with peace, good health and the hill with longevity. So, they call it Summer Palace since the garden was always visited by Emperor during summer, something like that.

There is a tale lies beneath The Longevity Hill. It is a hill which was formed from the dirt that was excavated for the lake. Rumor has it that, it was not meant to be when the Emperor wanted the lake. However, during the excavation works, concubine tombs from Ming Dynasty were found. There was a signage shown at the tombs area which read… 
“Do not disturb us.. or we will disturb you till you die” *
hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii hi hi hih....* background sound.

Huaaaaa!!!!!…. So, the project architect cum project manager of the garden development reported to the Emperor of the situation. 

The Emperor was terrified himself ! “Aiyak!.. this cannot be..”, he said.
So, he ordered his Project Architect never to disturb the tombs, instead got the force labor to dump more dirt over the tombs and make it as high as possible.
He also ordered for a temple to be built on top of the hill so was to ensure the concubines souls rest in peace even more.  
…. And they live happily ever after…. The End.

The Longevity Hill in the background

With or without the tale, I like this place. It is so beautiful. We went there during Winter and it is a picture perfect scene. I could imagine how it would be during Spring, Summer and Autumn. It would be just as beautiful in it’s own way.
All in the shades of Grey in Winter
Specks of Red, Pink, Purple .. would be color full Spring
Blue, Green, Yellow and shining in Summer
Golden, Brownish in Autumn

Summer Palace is also secluded with perimeter wall, I guess about 10~15 ft in height. In winter, it obviously act as the wind breaker which came gushing from the open wide lake. We didn’t realize how bad the wind was when we arrived at outside of SP. But the moment we went inside the cordoned area, it was totally out of control.

The 17 Arches Bridge
If it’s not because of my overweight Body Mass Index, I must have been flown off by the wind. Nada was almost in shock, Harris got to pick her up from the stroller and carried her all the way crossing the 17arch bridge.
It was just so cold, like living in a huge freezer and top up with high speed wind from a giant fan.

Hot Buah berangan dry fried in beans were very much of a joy after being punished by the cold strong wind of Summer Palace.

Mek trying to make the layers of quilt with silk balls

We then visited Silk Factory which is operated by the government and I couldn’t resist myself but to buy the silk quilts. First I thought, one set for us would do since the price is rather steep. It’s about RM700 per set. Then again, Nada should also have one for herself right… So, I bought two sets and there goes 2800yuan. Much of the reason I picture the price here is because it almost gave me a mild heart attack.

My beau accidentally left the quilts in the bus body when we were sent to the airport on last day to depart home. I was busy attending to Nada and he was supposed to take care of the luggage and stuffs. As we enter the airport, I didn’t see my quilts on the trolley so I asked him – “Where’re my quilts?”

He asked me back “Where do you put it?” (It was actually him who did the loading and unloading)
I panicked, because I knew then he must have totally forgot about the quilts, which is so unlikely of him.
I kept on saying : “My quilts! My quilts! My quilts!”

Only then it snapped to him and he went running back to the bus. He ran so fast I believe Usain Bolt has finally has a par rival. 
I do not know if he was afraid more to loosing the quilts or afraid of me loosing my temper. J

It was lucky enough that the bus was still there and my quilts were saved! Pheeeeewh.
Those are my quilts.. safe and sound
After the silk market, we went to watch Chinese acrobatic show. It was no difference than of what we watch on TV. Skillful acrobats.

One thing I realized the way Chinese do, they don't treat the performers like a star.... Just after the show ended and they made their last bow, all of the performers gallop off the stage to the hall entrance and start selling the performance DVD! May be they also get their commission from the sales.