Friday, May 23, 2008


MT doesn't usually show much affection for Templeton. In fact, he often hisses at him for no apparent reason. But I found the two of them sitting together in the window when I got home today. There was even a prolonged grooming session. I hope they've reconciled.

stop and think

I'm usually one who raves about HK public transportation. It's efficient and convenient, and then of course, it makes environmental sense. But then there are times like this past Monday for instance, when all of these attributes are but a distant memory. On Monday I waited for 45 minutes for my bus. Forty-five minutes! I didn't get in line at the bus stop expecting to wait that long. It's usually just a five to ten minute wait. I made no I-will-wait-for-45-minutes-and-no-longer decisions, but somehow managed to put in that much time. At the 15 minute mark, I found myself slightly irritated. We approached 30 minutes, and slowly but surely, my annoyance tuned into fascination. How long could this bus possibly take? And then with each extra minute that I waited, the more certain I became that 1. the bus was just around the corner, and 2. if I left and attempted to take some other conveyance, I would look up just in time to see the bus speed by.

But the longer-than-usual wait did allow me some time for some bus stop photography. I snapped the photo above just minutes before the bus actually came. I like the way everything but the bus stop sign is blurry. And no, that effect was not intentional.

And here's a picture I'd been wanting to take for a long time. It's from the "stop and think" campaign (i.e. stop and think before you get a pet because they're a big responsibility, and they shouldn't be abandoned just because their cuteness has worn off). Whoever had the idea for the time-out-signaling cats and dogs was a genius.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

book character day

Last Friday was Book Character Day at school. What fun! Here are some photo highlights:

Salome as Olivia (great ears! ;) -- next year I'll crochet you a coffee-cozy snout!), with three of her girls. I really think she should have won a prize for this -- what a great costume!
One of two first-graders who claimed to be George Washington.

Me as Ella Sarah, with a fellow pajama-wearer. I happened to already own sheep pajamas (though, as quite a few kids pointed out to me, "they're not exactly the same as Ella's"), and my mom and I made the stuffed cat the night before.

Encyclopedia Brown solving a mystery. What a nerd!

Encyclopedia Brown, a musketeer (with wig and beard!), Olivia, The Paper Bag Princess, Ella Sarah, and Miss Frizzle (complete with orange hair and specially-made dress!)

Woohoo! I'm already thinking about what I want to be next year...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

my old friend, sham shui po

I made a long-anticipated trip to Sham Shui Po today... first time in months, which must be a record for me. I decided to hold out on going until I'd used up more of my sizable fabric stash. But then things became desperate when I realized I was almost out of coffee cup cozy insulation... so I had no choice but to head to my favorite crafting destination. I limited my purchases to non-floral fabric, and of course, the insulation batting. I'm digging stars at the moment, so was thrilled to find two cool star prints. And then I came close to squealing when I found robots... not sure what they'll end up on, but I couldn't resist their cute little robot faces and all the zeros and ones.

And of course I managed to squeeze in lunch at my favorite 24-hour chain, Eat Together. (Check out this older post for a more detailed account of the Eat Together dining experience.) This time I thought one photo would suffice. It's a shot of the billboard outside the restaurant. I think the very serious-looking gentleman with the crew-cut must be the owner, because his picture is a fixture at every restaurant. Pretty inviting, huh? Makes you just want to run in and place your order, doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

more helpful signs featuring doraemon

I noticed this collection of escalator etiquette signs today (on an escalator I use almost daily -- how did I miss this?!). They happen to feature everyone's favorite robo-cat from the future, Doraemon (or Xiao Ding-dong, if you know him by his Chinese name). I might have to go back and take some better shots of this, because it's hard to make out his facial expressions in some of these. However, I'm pretty sure he's doing a winky-smile in the top-left sign. And I'm almost certain I see a winky-frown (just like this one) on his face on the top-right sign.

more fun with appliqué

Here are my latest appliquéd cozies. I'm learning a lot (mainly through mistakes -- of which I've made plenty!), and am having way too much fun.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Sal has been kind enough to share her snaps with me so that I can add them to some new coffee cozies I'm working on. I like the snaps a lot. And for how "finished" they look, they're actually very quick and easy to put on. All you really need is a hammer!

another tee

I keep finding more fun t-shirts. This Tony the Tiger caught my eye... then I noticed the misspelling and couldn't resist. I think this one will go to my brother too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

happy mother's day... to me

I was wished a happy mother's day at church today.

The older man who did the wishing then asked me if I was a mother. I said no (I didn't feel like explaining my adopted cat-child, Templeton...), and then he proceeded with, "Well, a soon-to-be mother, then?" I smiled and gave another, more vehement "no."

I know, I know. He might not have meant that I looked pregnant. He might have meant that one day eventually I would be a mother, which I do hope is true.

But this conversation came at a bad time. Just this week at school, I had a student ask me if I was "having a baby," and she wasn't the first who's asked me that. It's usually a cheeky kid trying to get a laugh out of his friends, or a child too young to understand either the biological requirements or the social implications of Miss Pardini being pregnant. And it usually happens on days when I'm wearing especially loose-fitting clothes. I'm a big fan of the empire waist, so quite a few of my shirts could easily double as maternity clothes.

Anyway, to celebrate looking pregnant, I decided to take some photos with two truly-expecting friends. This is me looking more pregnant than the two who are with child(ren). (I promise that I did not buy this shirt in the maternity section... though it does look like I could have!)
Ok, they probably would beat me out for the "looking pregnant" prize in the end. Congrats again Christy & Tom and Helen & Mike!

crossroads saturday

I had the opportunity to go back to Crossroads yesterday, and convinced Morganne to join in the fun. We spent the morning working in the kitchen with two amazing women -- Enala and Cecilia. The four of us prepared lunch for all the Crossroads volunteers.

Here's Mo "doing what she does best" -- dishes -- after the vegetable lasagna rush was over.
Cecilia, Enala and Morganne.

Minus Mo, plus me.

cat skull cap

Time to do some catching up...

here are some photos I took a while ago. I spent ages trying to get Templeton to sit still long enough for a photo...

... and then realized there were other, more willing models just lying around waiting to be photographed. Thanks MT.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

appliquéd coffee cozy conclusion

Salome posted some photos of the finished cozy here... I'm stealing one for this post though, and hoping that she won't mind. I love the snaps, Sal. Very cool.
I'm eager to do more appliqué, so if you're in need of a cozy or some other appliqué-able item, drop me a line... yes, I'm really offering to make you something. Yes, you.

Monday, May 05, 2008

other musical commercials

Jon Allen is not the first artist I've found out about via a commercial. After writing about today's discovery, I recalled two more commercials that led me to great musical talent, and they just happen to be two of my all time favorite artists/songs/commercials -- all of the above.

The first time I heard Nick Drake was back in college, courtesy of this very cool Volkswagon commercial...which I'm sure sold many Cabrios.

And then there's this Lacoste commercial featuring Feist.


I'd been in the Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo a few times, but until today, didn't really understand what all the fuss was about. But I stopped in today after work, took a look at their T-shirts, and was completely blown away. They have some really really cool, creative stuff. There were quite a few that I had my eye on, but in the end I only left with this one for my brother (Steve, if you're reading, I hope you like). I think I'll be back again soon...

jon allen

Sometimes I wonder what I did before the internet... really. How did I find anything out, or answer any of the silly little questions that seem to plague me? I'm pondering this because I just had one of those internet zen moments. Here's what happened: I saw (or heard, rather) an intriguing song playing on a Land Rover commercial. And after just a minute or two of googling, I knew that the song was "Going Home" by the up-and-coming British singer, Jon Allen (click his name to get to his site, where you can download "Going Home" for free). And here's the song compliments of Youtube... for some reason I'm not able to embed the video.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

days like these

On days as beautiful as today, a HK$1.70 ride on the Star Ferry is a must. (This is my very tentative do-you-know-how-to-use-my-camera smile.) (In case you're wondering, yes, I got a hair-cut. It was originally supposed to be a trim, but the top layers kept getting shorter and shorter... and then, in the blink of an eye, they were practically bang length. Then came the horrifying realization that I had a bona fide mullet. Seriously. I'm not exaggerating. I insisted on a few more inches being taken off the back, and this is what I was left with. It wasn't really what I was wanting or expecting, but there was no fighting back tears, so that's good. I know from experience that it could've been much worse.)

Beautiful skyline and charming reclamation. Oh, and on a side note, you can barely make out the very enormous, very controversial Calvin Klein ad that has apparently been covered up in green mesh... for modesty's sake...? I can still see those tighty whities though...

We grabbed some cold Starbucks beverages and headed up to what I think must be one of the best-kept secrets in HK -- the sitting-out area off of the International Finance Center.
In case you were wondering...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

crafting day part 2: appliqué rocks!

The results of an afternoon (and part of an evening) of sewing: a tote bag and a coffee cozy (the original, quilted variety). Looking at this, I'm wishing I'd made those straps just a tad shorter...

And now we get to the cool part. Appliqué. I'd never tried it until this evening. Salome and I wanted to make something special for a friend of ours, and decided that the mystery gift for unnamed friend needed an appliquéd electric guitar. Note the zig-zag stitching around the perimeter of the guitar, the strings (this is a 3-stringed guitar), and my favorite: the French-knot tuning pegs. I can't wait to appliqué something else... I think I've found my new addiction...

crafting day part 1: prints!

I love long weekends. Especially when I manage to use the time well. This one has been great so far. I went to Crossroads on Friday (which we had off because of the May 1st Chinese Labor Day), and got to spend the day with the good people at "incoming," packing and moving boxes of donated goods. It was a good work-out, and as always -- good fun!

Today -- day 2 of aforementioned long weekend -- has been set aside by Salome and myself for crafting. I got up bright and early (I'm finding it hard to sleep in lately -- what's wrong with me?!) and started with some printing.

I just got some new water-based block-printing ink the other day, and wow, I love it! I was using an oil-based one before, and that was a pain. Everything had to be washed in turpentine... yuck.

Here are just some of the prints I did (I got carried away when squeezing out the ink, and couldn't stop until I'd used it all up). Once I'd finished up my special white paper, I printed on any and all blank cards I could find, and then finally moved on to newspaper. I think the newspaper is actually my favorite... and I'm planning to use it more in the future. I got the inspiration from some cool stationery that I bought at Ikea some time back, so can't take the credit for the idea.

And then I experimented with some fabric paint that I bought recently... this direction excites me greatly.

Templeton displayed some very undesirable behavior while all of this was going on. He decided to walk across all items put on the floor for photographing. And when I'd push him off, he'd just come right back. I'm beginning to regret spoiling him rotten...
Now I'm off to Sal's house for some sewing.