Saturday, December 29, 2007

one human's garbage...

The futon in my room was starting to fall apart. Every time I sat on it, I could feel the wooden frame inching closer to the ground. The floor under the futon happened to be Templeton's favorite hiding place too, and I could imagine a horrific accident involving me unintentionally crushing my beloved feline. So with that nightmarish possibility in mind, I stopped sitting on the futon altogether, and started thinking about purchasing a new piece of furniture.

Thankfully I didn't. Because my mom noticed this chaise lounge, in perfect condition, left at the dump down the hill from our house. It required a little TLC (thankfully it has a cover that can be easily removed and washed), but cleaned up really nicely.

I had a few pillows already, but decided I wanted a cylindrical pillow to make it a little more sofa-ish functional, so took a quick trip to my neighborhood Ikea. I had some stripy fabric on hand that just happened to match the chaise, so decided to make my own cover for said pillow. I'd never sewn anything circular before (though technically, I think I learned how to make a smaller pencil-case version of this as an 11-year-old home economics student), so wasn't sure how it would turn out. But I've got to say that I'm quite pleased with the result. The circles turned out to be the least of my worries. The zipper that had to go in was another story. No pictures of that. I'm going to be sure it's well hidden at all times.

Friday, December 28, 2007

this is what disappointment looks like

Our local milk/ice-cream producer, Dairy Farm, must've decided that there wasn't a big enough market for eggnog in Hong Kong, and subsequently didn't produce any this year. Though always hard to come by, this year it was almost impossible to find the stuff... trust me, I looked. But our fortunes took a turn for the better when my mom located a lone carton of Paul's eggnog... or so we thought. The die-hard eggnog drinkers among us (namely my mom, my brother-in-law and myself) were ecstatic. But with only one carton in our possession, we decided to save the creamy beverage for Christmas day.

When the time was right, I took three glasses, opened the carton, and poured. With two other pairs of eyes watching me closely, I made sure the amounts in each glass were as even as possible. I would have been playing with fire had I tried to pour myself even a little extra. Finally the moment that we'd been waiting for -- we all raised our glasses and took a drink. And that's when our eyes met in bewilderment. This eggnog wasn't the thick, sweet, full-cream deliciousness that we were accustomed to drinking. The flavor was reminiscent of eggnog, but drinking it just made us long for the good stuff even more.

After getting over my initial shock and disappointment, I looked at the ingredients. Who in their right mind would use reduced fat milk to make eggnog? Seriously. What were they thinking?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

angry chicken gift tags

I recently started reading the Angry Chicken craft blog by Amy Karol and she just posted these "inner monologue" holiday gift tags that I think are hilarious. You will most certainly want to click on the image below for a closer look...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

crafty christmas

I'm experiencing some sewing-machine-induced frustration at the moment. So in an effort to prevent myself from throwing said spiteful machine out the window, I'm taking a break and blogging.

Before the difficulties started, I was very eagerly putting together materials for two bags. Here are some of the pieces on the ironing board. I usually avoid ironing like I avoid cockroaches and broken glass, but I've found that it really does help to iron folded edges before sewing. The end product turns out looking much tidier and finished than if ironing is skipped.
I had grand plans to make most of my Christmas gifts this year, but that's now seeming less than likely... unless people don't mind getting Christmas gifts in March... that might be feasible. I realized a couple nights ago that with friends and family coming back and visiting, I am not going to have a lot of time left for crafting. Which is fine. I definitely don't want to miss out on time with loved ones just because I'm occupied with making them something. That would be ridiculous... So tonight was going to be the last night when I could really put some quality time into sewing. And now the machine doesn't work. I'm hoping that my mom will know how to coax it back into working order. She's out meeting my brother at the airport right now(OK, so maybe I have already sacrificed some family time to sew... oops), and I'm hoping that when she gets back she'll be enthusiastic about taking a look at it...

Besides the sewing machine, I've had another minor disappointment this evening. I decided to put on a Christmas CD (Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir) that I bought a few months ago on the Doulos (see Sal's post), and quickly found out that it wasn't what I was expecting. Most of the songs are Christmas medleys, and as best as I can describe, sound like a cross between a church cantata and dinner theater music(if you've never experienced the wonder that is dinner theater, this might be a difficult comparison to comprehend).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

cushioning those pins

I've been doing a lot of sewing lately, and have been in need of a good pin cushion. So today I went a little crazy and made two. Here they are:

I followed this instructables pattern. They are super fast and easy to make (made from just a square of fabric!), and are well, just plain cute. I'm tempted to make hundreds of them, but don't have that many sewing friends (or that many non-sewing friends for that matter...), and am aware that Michelle really only needs one. I think they'd be fun as human-sized pillows too, and might make a couple of those next. Or maybe a new bed for Templeton.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

k is for knitting and kcr

As soon as there's even the slightest chill in the air, something within me needs to knit. I say "slightest chill" because, though the past few days have been cold by HK standards, today was actually quite warm. But none-the-less, I found myself wrapped up with jeans, a jacket, and even a scarf. These are the moments that I feel like a true HK person. It might be summer weather, but hey, it's December -- I need a scarf!
But I digress. I started knitting a scarf the other day (scarves are pretty much all I ever knit... excepting two hats that I made years ago), and am almost done with it, thanks to my recent unprecedented desire to knit. Today, for example, I brought my knitting to a CH.A.T. (CHurch Awareness Time... should really be C.A.T., but don't get me started), to coffee with a friend, and even had to take it out while sitting on the train going home. It's funny, knitting on the train. I found quite a few women in various places in the train staring intently at me. I doubt they were admiring my scarf (I don't aim for perfection in knitting -- I actually like a few flaws), so I assume that they were probably knitters too, and probably critiquing my speed and/or tension. Or else they were just mesmerized by the regular clink clink of my needles. Or else they were shocked by the gargantuan size of my needles. They bear a resemblance to super-sized crayons.

Well, I think I'm done with gushing over my love for knitting. But if you'll let me go back to the topic of trains for a minute, here's a sight that won't be around for long:

The KCR (Kowloon-Canton Railway) has been bought out by the MTR (Mass Transit Railway), and the switch took place today. All indoor KCR signs have been covered up with the MTR symbol, so I was surprised to see that the KCR logos on the large outdoor signs were still in tact. I don't think they'll be around for much longer though.

The KCR has been in operation for almost a century (as opposed to the MTR which opened in the late 70's and early 80's), so it's quite a nostalgic time for those, like myself, who have taken the train for most of their lives. The merger will mean cheaper fairs though.

I'm not sure if I'll ever quite get used to the name change. I can see myself, years from now, saying "KCR" and hearing some youngster ask in response, "KCR?! What's that?"

Saturday, December 01, 2007

computer cat bed

I've got a few more Hanoi posts in the works (read: in my head), but am taking a break to share this recent discovery: the recycled computer monitor cat bed!

They're being sold on this Etsy site, but as with most handmade items that I see for sale, I'd like to try making one of my own. It would be a sweet Christmas present for Templeton...