Hello! Sorry for the disappearance, but the past weeks had been sort of a roller coaster ride! Not quite a leisurely boat ride with a barcarolle in the background, but more like a roller coaster ride, “Amazing Race” style, with a baby in tow!

I had been to Singapore and back, just me and little L! 12-hour plane rides are typically tiring enough without a 5-6 month old baby in tow, but I’m proud to say that L was an amazingly easy baby in flight! He slept most of the time and didn’t cry (except when he was hungry). I even managed to knit on the plane (while L slept)!

Here is a look at the little angel:

Before the trip, when TH and HH visited.

Since it had been such a long time since I last posted here, I’ll just show some of the crafty things I’ve done in the meantime rather than try to catch up with all the stuff that had happened in the meantime!

I have made 3 little quilts for some friends/sibling who had a little one recently. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take proper pics before these hastily taken ones in Singapore… Apparently, I have forgotten how to work with the lighting in Singapore, which tends to be more yellowish! So the quality of the pics are not all that good. :(
This is the first of the 3 quilts I made… The patchwork was made out of strips of fabric. The theme I chose for this was ‘safari’ and this went to a little boy.For the quilting, I tried a free-hand doodling. I’m still not quite sure if I like the effect of this, though M and the recipient both seem to think it looks perfectly fine.
Back view… Not very straight stitching but hey, I’m still quite a newbie! ;) The backing and border for the patchwork was 1 big piece so, like my first quilt for L, this is not the traditional way quilts are made. No quilt sandwich or binding. I find that even though this method requires a bit more precision, there is much less waste and actually easier/faster.

The second quilt I made in this round… This went to my sis’ little boy. The fabric was actually from M’s godmother and I was saving it for something for L. But in the end I decided to make a quilt for A instead, since L already has a quilt. I played with optical illusion for this patchwork and it was actually quite a lot of fun making it! Can you tell what the illusion is?

It is supposed to look like cupboards/boxes/window panes!

The quilting for this was very simple, because I don’t want to distract from the lovely backing – teddy bears and strawberries! I did the same for this as the previous quilt – border and backing all in one piece. In fact, I did the same for all 3 quilts.

This 3rd quilt was a little more special. it is for a friend’s little girl so I chose very dainty floral prints for this quilt. This time round, I worked with hexagons! First I cut the fabric into strips, sewed the strips into very long strips according to the design, then cut out half-hexagons out of all of it. Then I paired up the half-hexagons and chain-pieced them to make hexagons as you see in the pic above.

I should note that for all the cutting for these quilts, I used a big cutting board I had borrowed from AP. There are markings for 30, 45 and 60 degrees on the cutting board, which I found immensely useful. Also, I am thinking on getting a cutting board myself too, after trying out AP’s. it is just so much easier to do patchwork with a cutting board and rotary cutter!
Here are my pieces of hexagons, ironed out.

Piecing it together before sewing it up..

Sewed and ironed. It was a little tricking sewing hexagon patchwork, because often there will be up to 6 pieces of fabric meeting at the same point. In any case, this also has an optical illusion! Can you guess what the illusion is?

It is supposed to look like 3D boxes stacked against each other! And I have arranged it so that the red/pink/orange faces are in the direction that looks like hearts.

Set in the border, which is the same fabric as the backing. M helped me choose this fabric and I think this fabric is indeed perfect for this patchwork!
For the quilting, I went the in-the-ditch way again, like I did for L’s quilt.

Quilted… It looks skewed because of the angle the picture is taken… The quilt is a very boring rectangle. ;)

On the back.

For this quilt, I decided to try out one of the pretty embroidery stitch on my Husqvarna sewing machine… The hearts are all different shapes and sizes, but I like to think that looks like doodling and adds to the handmade charm!

On this trip, I managed to pop in the local knitout briefly to catch up with old friends with L. I didn’t stay long because L was in need of action pretty soon after we settled down. But one of my oldest knitting buddy LL gave me a braid of Pigeonroof Studio’s Superwash Merino spinning fibre in the colourway Magical! Such pretty colours, magical indeed! I really must spin up that merino on the wheel so I can spin this up as well! If you’re reading this, thanks again LL!

On this trip, amidst the packed days, we managed to make a trip to the beach. L and I enjoyed the sea breeze and getting sand between our toes.

And that is all for now! More catch up next post, when hopefully I have managed to take (somewhat) decent pictures of the new dress I had made.

Juhannus (Midsummer) is this coming weekend! It is one of the bigger celebrations up here in the north. This year I’m planning the menu and there are some asian favourites in there! I’ll try to keep my camera on standby and take more pics than I did on this trip back to Singapore… It is a lot more possible now because M is around to take care of L when needed. :P

If I do not post again before then, have a great Juhannus!

Oh yes, I didn’t take one month to write a post this time!

It had been getting progressively warmer up here in the north as daylight hours get longer everyday…

It felt like Spring had suddenly sneaked up upon us!

On Vappu (Labour Day) we had munkki and sima, both homemade.

The classic munkki (donuts) is coated with sugar. This was my first time making munkki and I guess it went well enough… I also made some glazed ones using strawberry jam and confectioner’s sugar.

Homemade sima (mead)… 2 out of 3 bottles I made turned out really well… The third one had a loose lid and didn’t get properly carbonated. If this isn’t so unhealthy I will make it more often! But as it is basically (lemon) flavoured sugar water, once a year is probably enough. :D

In craft news, I have been making patchwork quilts… This one is now finished and I have another one waiting for batting and quilting… Have one more patchwork quilt to sew before my upcoming trip! Will do a proper post about the 3 patchwork quilts when I’m done with them.

Something else patchwork… I made this patchwork cushion for HH. I got the idea, of using strips to make up hexagons, from a cushion at a friend’s place. Then I decided maybe it will make an interesting geometric/modern looking rose. The selection of pink velour in the local fabric store is very small (understandably so! I can’t think of many things that will look good in pink velour, even though it seems to work out well enough in this idea.) so this is the closest ombre I could manage.

I have also been soaping with said friend. Well, I can’t say I did much of the soaping because I had to hold on to L most of the time (L is still pretty immobile and we keep him far from the lye!) but anyway, pretty swirls were created! This had a top swirl coloured by mica…

And this has an internal marbling coloured by clay + a bit of mica.

I’m looking forward to doing a bit of swirlwork again soon, hopefully before my trip so they will be ready-ish when I’m back!

I have also started working on the mohair cardigan knitalong. It is progressing well – I have almost both fronts completed already! I shall have a WIP roundup soon, too. Because, well, the WIPs are running amok here!

In kitchen news, I haven’t been terribly inspired. But there were some sweet stuff made…

I saw whole pineapples for sale in the supermarket and decided to get one. Then decided to try baking a pineapple upside down cake. This was an ok recipe… It is one of the rare cakes that tastes better warm! An interesting cake that was a nice change from the usual ones. This is the recipe I used, if anyone is interested to try it out.

I also made tiramisu. I wanted to make a tiramisu without raw eggs so I used whipped cream to replace the meringue. Such a delicious but easy dessert to make!

We spent the weekend in the countryside. As the weather was so good on Sunday, we played some Mölkky in the yard. Also had a dart-throwing competition. I was terrible at both but it was fun. ^_^

Buds aplenty in the sun!

First mushrooms of the season?

L had been growing well… We were at the clinic for his checkup today and apparently he had grown 3.6cm in 3 weeks! The nurse did a double-take and re-measured to make sure it was accurate. His fast growth had M and I scratching our heads in amusement as neither of us were particularly fast growing babies!

That is it for today! Sorry if it seems rather all over the place.

Have a great week ahead!

Outside the Loop

Oh dear, almost a month since I last updated? But believe me, there had been a lot of crafting going on here! As much as L allows me to do, that is! To begin with, there are these project bags I sewed up for some crafty friends:


Closed. Quite a basic shape so I didn’t follow any pattern. The bags are not lined but I did try to make the insides look ‘clean’ as well… French seams, (un)bias tape and stuff.

And then there was a big project that was recently finished. I don’t have pics of it but here is a sneak peek.

I hope to finish the green sweater that is haunting my craft box… As well as a wool diaper cover I’ve started for L… While I’m at it, maybe finish that Kim Hargreaves mohair sweater, summer top, a crochet toy I started for L months ago and a gazillion other projects I started (and didn’t finish)??

But in the meantime, I will be starting (yet another project? Great!) a mohair cardigan as a knitalong with a friend. We will be making the cardigan based on an existing design but with our own measurements and changing out to lace instead of plain St st. I’m psyched to start but hope to clear up 1 or 2 projects concurrently.

That might actually be possible because L had been growing and is becoming a little more independent… Independent meaning I can actually put him down for… 10 mins? without him getting upset. Sometimes.

Speaking of L…

This pic of L was taken almost a month ago. He is typically a smiley baby. (:

In the kitchen…

I tried making spinach pasta. It was really pretty before cooking. But once cooked the colour became something more like… Oil pastel mouldy green?.. Maybe I should’ve let it dry a bit before cooking.

Something else green but prettily so… Pesto pasta with pan-fried-bacon-wrapped-asparagus. This way of eating asparagus is officially our favourite way! Somehow the combination of bacon and asparagus… Is just… Wow! Highly highly recommended.

More recently, fried bee hoon with the bacon/asparagus again. We’ve been having the bacon/asparagus multiple times a week, for weeks. And we’re not bored of it yet!

A post will not really be complete without something sweet! I made these chocolate cupcakes for the birthday celebration, of the 4 ladies, whom I made the bags (above) for.

On Thursday it will be “Vappu“. It is quite a big celebration here. People drink ‘sima‘ and eat things like ‘munkki’ (donut). I already have 3 litres of homemade sima sitting in the fridge and tomorrow I hope to make some munkki! Who knows, I might actually be able to post some pics of it here?

Well, it is getting late here so I should sleep. More craftiness to share next time. Till then, have some sima and craft on!

So here we are, in April already! Daylight is getting longer up here in the North (more than half the day already!) but it had been a rather cloudy and gray week so that didn’t make that much of a difference. I am still working on the big project with AP but I’ve had time to do a small bit of other stuff here and there… Like this:

2 skeins of undyed yarn skein-ed up… I wonder why!

What else, dyeing, of course! Originally wanted to dye something for a (knitting) friend’s birthday present. But after much thought, decided to give another of my handyed yarn that I’m sure isn’t too scratchy for her sensitive skin.

These 2 were dyed with food colouring (left my acid dyes in Singapore) but I’m very happy with the vibrant colours produced. Can you believe they were in the same dyepot? It is interesting how different blend of fibers take up dye differently.

Which colour do you like more? The peaceful heathered one in front or the vibrant spring-green one in the back?

This is a wool/alpaca blend. Thankfully the kinky bits straightened out when I wound the skein into a ball. I guess the dyeing process felted parts of the yarn, causing it to pull up into kinks. But the felting wasn’t too bad because I took care to be really careful not to agitate the yarn. Bits of it took up more dye so the overall effect was a heathered rustic look, which I like very much.

This is a mohair/alpaca blend. It took the dye beautifully. I have quite much of this undyed yarn still and am looking forward to dyeing the rest up in the near future! I tried to achieve a semi-solid look with this one and am very happy with the results. I don’t typically enjoy vibrant coloured yarn (apart from reds) especially for colours like green, yellow and orange. But this spring-green coloured one didn’t feel as offending… Is that the effect of a long and gray Winter?

Someone is obviously in the mood for Spring. I recently ordered some fat quarters because I foresee some quilts for (my friends’) little ones. I ordered a yellow and a green themed set from MoMo’s Little Shop on Amazon(UK) and am very happy with it!
Note: I’m not affiliated in any way. Just a happy customer!

Green set on top and yellow set at the bottom.

What cheerful prints, right? I can’t wait to start on the little quilts but they will have to wait till after I’ve finished the project with AP. I’ve even borrowed some (thankfully English!) books about quilting from the library, which should come in handy.

A small sewing project I did for a present for a little boy. I bought jingle bells to put inside the soft toy but it won’t jingle properly when stuffed alongside the polyester. (First time making these, can you tell?) so I found a little plastic container and stuck the bell in it. Ideally, the bell should be encased in a hard, spherical container with holes, but this seems to work albeit not as well.

Little soft toy ball. The circular pieces at the top and bottom were handsewn, which was surprisingly not as difficult as I thought!

L in his Easter outfit! This was knitted by M’s godmother’s sister, so it is quite old! But it was kept in really good condition by HH.

The kitchen at chez Kessa in Stitches had been very busy, but the camera had not. Nonetheless, here are couple of pics from when I was in the mood for it:

We had curry with homemade naan bread. After tasting really really delicious naan bread at the local Nepalese restaurant, I had been trying to make some. I tried stove-top (in a heavy pan) and oven-baked… As well as tried a few different ingredients. So far our favourite version was the baked one, brushed with melted butter fresh out of the oven.

This is my I-feel-lazy-but-want-a-meal dish – Nasi Lemak! It is so easy to make… The only cooking was to make the rice (just replace some of the water with coconut milk and cook the rice as normal) and the omelette. Assemble with smoked ‘muikku’ bought at the supermarket (According to Wikipedia, ‘muikku’ is “Coregonus albula, known as the vendace or as the European cisco, is a species of freshwater whitefish in the family Salmonidae.”), sliced fresh cucumber, some roasted peanuts and sambal chilli sauce.

I made some buns recently… It was just a simple yeast dough made into buns filled with dulce de leche. I sprinkled some pearl sugar and almond bits on the buns.

It was another simple but yummy number. Best when warm, fresh from the oven!

Will be doing this again!

Another yummy sweet number – biscotti. With whole almonds, cranberries and white chocolate. I’ve taken to baking little cookies/buns for tea, which M and I have at least 3 times a day.

And that is it for now. I’m off to have an Easter chocolate egg! Hope everyone had a nice Easter!

Song of the Lark

It had been nearly a month since I last posted? Really? Time seems to fly by so quickly these days! Spring seems to have finally arrived up here in the North.. We’ve been having so many sunny days in a row I’m feeling quite spoilt!

I even got in the mood to start putting some pretty living plants on the table! (No flowers because of M’s pollen allergy,but a potted Thyme smells good, looks good and goes readily with most dishes!

After the last post, I made more pineapple tarts and almond cookies.They are all gone now (ah, the good times!) but I have this pic to remember them by!

I know, Chinese New Year is so over right now, but about 1 month ago, I received a package my sister sent. In the package was CNY costume for L! How adorable is that?! We went to visit a friend the next day so I got to dress L up and go ‘bai nian’ (house-visit during CNY) but I forgot the mandarins. (-_-) Anyway,the friend don’t celebrate CNY (not Chinese to begin with!) but she was impressed with L’s suit and dubbed it his ’emperor’s suit’!

By the way, Chinese emperors wore yellow, not red. If I remember correctly, yellow was reserved for the emperor/royalty and was not for the common citizens. Not a problem for me though; I think yellow generally look terrible on (oriental) Asian skin tones. :D

In these past weeks,I have completed L’s wool suit. Here is L trying it on before I put the buttons on. He is quite the wriggly baby now so this was the only semi-decent shot I managed.

And here it is,with buttons and ends taken care of, without L in it so you can see it without motion blurring… :D

Back of the suit. I’m a big fan of ‘suit’s for L… Where there isn’t a separate top/bottom or onesie/pants. It is a bonus if there are socks attached as well – no kicking off! The design of this wool suit is the manifestation of our preference. :D

L’s Wool Suit
Yarn: DROPS Delight, 1x100g + unknown grey wool blend in stash
Pattern: Improvised
Afterthoughts: Really like the big collar. Wool suits are nice because they are breathable (less likely to overheat like for suit made in a synthetic material, and it is really stretchy so it was easy to get it on him. It will fit him well longer too because it is stretchy. I went with a squishy Moss stitch for the most part of the suit, with some colourwork on the yoke. Knitted in one piece, top-down.The collar was knitted on afterwards by picking up sts along the front.

Here is L wriggling in it.

Does his ‘hat’ look familiar? It was this… Which I had made before I was properly acquainted with (the size of the typical local) babies (which apparently L is as well, judging by the speed he is growing!)…Only big enough to fit the head of a 2.5 month old baby! I like the “Shrek” look of it, though. :D M isn’t so crazy about the improvised usage and would avoid putting it on L. :D

Other FOs…

Wool Pants for MJK
Yarn: Pirtin Kehräämö Hahtuvalanka (unspun pencil roving)
Pattern: Improvised.
Afterthoughts: Made this in garter stitch sideways in one piece.. Shaping done through short-rows. I made sure to make this big enough for MJK,having knitted several items that he could only wear for a very short period of time before outgrowing them! (Fast growing local babies…) These were a tiny bit big for him, for once!

Socks for MJK
Yarn: Unknown wool blend from stash
Pattern: Improvised – simple 2×2 Rib with short row heel.
Afterthoughts: When I made the last pair of socks for MJK, I noticed they only just fits him. He probably outgrew them already! So I made these bigger. And because he is learning to walk, I put stoppers on the bottom of the socks. (Borrowed the ‘glue’ from AP. It is awesome and convenient to have friends who craft too!)

The sock glue needs multiple application to work well. This is after the first application, where most of the glue had ‘sunk’ into the yarn. It was pretty easy to use, though with a funny fishy smell but it goes away when the glue is dry. It dries quickly – I was able to put 3 layers on within an afternoon.

I think this was after the first/second application had dried. I forgot to take a pic of the finished result… (Doh!)

We recently went on a trip to Ikea and L is clearly enjoying himself!.. At the beginning. He soon got bored. :D We went mainly to get a cot for him… He is quickly growing out of the co-sleeper we made him. We managed to extend the use of the co-sleeper by removing the foam padding at the side (at his foot when he sleeps) but come Summer he will be promoted to a cot (and real sleep training). At the moment he goes to bed between 9.30-10PM, through the night (with an average of 3 feedings) till 7-8 AM, then about 3-4 short naps through the day… Maybe all that sleep helped him grow so fast? Both M and I are always surprised when we saw him next to babies his age or a couple of months older!

I plan to take a short trip back to Singapore alone with L in May/June. It is a long flight and I really hope he still fits in the bassinet on the plane!

In the meantime, I’m still enjoying cooking different meals. Especially now that daylight is back and I can take proper,non-gritty pics!

Tried out a new recipe not long ago and had made this creamy mushroom pastry quite a few times since! Easy, simple and yummy.

And then there was the Spinach Fettucine with Chicken in wine sauce. We have recently discovered fresh pasta being sold here and M likes the taste of the spinach fettucine quite much, especially when I cook Aglio e Olio with it, which is awesomely simple and quick to cook, especially with the help of a garlic press!

And then there was the Char Kway Teow… Not as dark as the ones in Singapore because I use less dark sauce.

Char Kway Teow is another quick dish I like cooking here. Singaporean Char Kway Teow is on my hit-list on this upcoming trip! Along with the Laksa, chicken rice, nasi lemak, samgyeopsal, sashimi, etc…. Oh, I must seem like such a glutton. :P

I recently discovered buckwheat flour in the supermarket here. So I made some buckwheat noodles. First I tried a 1:1 ratio for buckwheat and flour. It worked well (the noodle can get crumbly/ difficult to work with in higher buckwheat proportion) so I tried upping the buckwheat to 80% in this noodle you see here, served along with teriyaki chicken. It worked well enough but I think 80% is probably as far as I would go.

A couple of days ago was Pi-day, which I’m sure almost everyone had heard about by now. I decided to make “Shepherd’s Pie” for dinner. Its not really “Shepherd” because I used pork/beef mince. So maybe this was a Farmer’s Pie instead. :D In anycase, it was well received. M said there is a similar local dish that he promised to make sometime soon!

We also had blueberry pie but I only had a chance to take a pic of a slice (made 2 mini pies)the next day because L began having teething pains. He has teeth coming out in quite a few places, poor thing! It was really bad on Pi-day and he was crying hard for a long time, even after (infant) painkillers. He is too young to hold or chew on a chew toy, which makes it more inconvenient.

We finally managed a trip down to the lake in the countryside 2 weeks ago. As you can see, it was another gloriously cloudless and sunny day.

And that is it for now. I’ve been working solely on the project with AP and I hope it will come to fruition soon!

Hope you’re having a nice weather wherever you are.

Off to make lunch!

Guess what? Its Chinese New Year today!

Its incredible when I think of the fact that last Chinese New Year I was in Singapore/Malaysia with my family and not the least bit with child! So much have happened in the past year.

As I am the only one (within my social circle) who actually celebrate Chinese New Year (CNY), I didn’t bother to do much this year… Hopefully its just this year (when the Bun is still so young) that we don’t do much for CNY. I did, however, just gave myself a foot soak (something simple – hot water with a few drops of jojoba oil, pine essential oil, lavender oil and a splash of lemon juice) and scrub… Setting off the new year with the (fresh and scrubbed) right foot!

Earlier this week I made some pineapple tarts. Because what is CNY without pineapple tarts?!

I made the pineapple jam from canned pineapple. I didn’t bother to glaze the tarts before baking because 1) I think they look fine without; 2) Its an extra step that only serves a visual purpose; 3) the Bun was crying.

I might be making more (jam and tart) today or tomorrow… And maybe some almond cookies? (Its usually peanut cookies for CNY but I have ground almonds in the cupboard but no ground peanuts.)

In the previous post, I promised to show the dress I sewed. And here it is:

A cheongsam styled dress! Very fitting for the occasion eh?

It isn’t exactly perfectly made, but I’m very happy with it!I used a simple woven cotton fabric with little blue flowers printed on, and used a satin bias tape along with 2 frog closures for embellishment.

I did not use any pattern for this.. Instead, I stuffed my wedding cheongsam with cushions and copied the cutting using newspaper, pins, pencil and scissors. Because my wedding cheongsam had been modified to fit my body shape (pre-baby, though) by my mom, who had a lot more experience with sewing than me, I decided I will be way better off using it than a pattern that is unlikely to fit me anyway.

The front detail went the opposite way as the original because… I wasn’t paying attention when sewing and couldn’t be bothered to undo/redo it. :P The frog closures were bought from the local haberdashery. I was pleasantly surprised they have it. In any case, a cheongsam is supposed to have the opening in front (where the front detail is) but most cheongsams these days are made with fake front opening and a zipper either at the back (like I did with this dress) or the side. I’m planning to sew at least one with the real front opening for summer… It is more suitable for breastfeeding!

I’m happy with the fit of the shoulders in this. It accommodates my wider front and smaller back very well.

I had to modify it from the original  pattern copied from my wedding cheongsam to accommodate my slightly bigger bust and generally wider torso. The side dart could be a little lower, but the bust dart was surprisingly spot on.

I used an invisible zipper for this dress, but because I do not have the invisible zipper foot for the machine (either that or I don’t know which is the right zipper foot… Husqvarna sewing machines have slightly different looking feets…) I used (what I think is) the normal zipper foot and sewed as close as I can to the coil… Which is a trick that AP taught me! I only realised that I have no idea how to attach an invisible zipper when I was cutting the fabric. Thankfully, AP happened to be visiting with her little one and I asked her advice.

I decided to sew a cheongsam out of the blue because I wanted a nice dress to wear to the Bun’s christening. My wedding cheongsam is nice but it was a tad too formal, being so long and shiny. Also, my hips are still wider than pre-babyso my wedding cheongsam doesn’t fit so well.. yet?

A pic from the christening.

The Bun in his christening gown. I had (hand)sewn on a lining for the lace skirt a week or so prior to his christening.

He was pretty much well behaved during the christening. Here he is, sleeping in his godmother’s arms during the ceremony.

Thankfully, HH prepared the venue and most of the setup. Because I had absolutely no idea (except planning the menu and making the food) what to expect for a christening, as I had never been to one! That said, I think HH did it beautifully. :)

I made a blackforest cake for the Bun, who finally got named at his christening. No one (except the pastor, M and I) knew the name before the ceremony. I had made a chocolate plaque using chocolate beforehand and kept it wrapped up in the fridge until after the ceremony. I made the base using white chocolate and marbled it with a tiny bit of dark chocolate. Then piped his names on the base using dark chocolate. LM is part of his initials and I will probably start calling the Bun “L” here.

HK made one of her gorgeous and impressive sandwich cakes.

I also made some strawberry cream cheese tartlets. I have since miisplaced the tartlet tins! Must have squirreled it away after the christening and then forgotten where I’ve placed it. :S

There were tortilla pinwheel rolls as well as mini pizzas and cinnamon buns that HH have made.

HK made this sweet little donkey toy for L.

All that going-on-s made L tired, but he had no qualms about sleeping anywhere, anytime. :D We think L inherited that ability from me.

And that was the story for the dresses (my cheongsam and L’s christening gown and party)

Next up, the winter coat!

Tadah~ I don’t remember very clearly, but I believe the fabric is a wool(blend?). The coat has 4 toggles, a belt, side pockets, a bit (fuax) fur collar and fur trim at the bottom. After some use, I’m beginning to think I would prefer it without the fur trim at the bottom. Will have think more about it and maybe ask AP’s advice with regards to this!

The pattern I used is this Burda one. They have so many pretty coat patterns, but I wanted one that is very simple with very few pieces and stitch lines because of the faux fur I used to line the coat. I had quite a bit of modifying to do because (as usual) the smallest size is way too big for me. As a result, I don’t like the fit of the armholes very much (newbie + difficult fabric + modifying armholes = Very risky combination!) but it is very functional and very warm.

Also, did you notice the neckline? The original pattern has a round collar with no lapels. I made up the collar and are you as surprised as me that it actually fitted in? It doesn’t lie completely flat but I guess that is as good as it gets in this fabric and my skill level! Sometimes it feels like one of those neck pillows people bring on the plane with them.. Its really puffy! But when it gets cold and the wind starts blowing, I stand it up and wrap a scarf around it. Then my neck is toasty warm!

Here it is in action when M and I were taking a walk with L in the countryside!

The best part is that this winter coat is reversible! I basically made 2 coats and sewed them back to back. The faux fur is great because it is So. Warm. And I really like the natural looking effect of the really dense pile. However, I feel a little like a Shar Pei* wearing this side so I tend to wear it like the first 2 pics. That also means that the soft and cozy faux fur is next to my skin – awesome!
*Not to say Shar Pei-s are not adorable. They are oh-so-cute but on a human adult like me, the effect feels more like this. (Links to a youtube video clip). ;)

Faux fur version in action.

Side-tracking a little.. When we went on the walk that day, we brought along an old sled and did a bit of sledding. It has a seat and is steered by someone standing behind, like this. When M steered, it was all fine. But when it was my turn, we crashed…Sledding down a very gentle slope without any curves. We were generally unharmed but I scraped my knee and tore my stockings! This girl from the tropics still need more work fitting in with Winter!

Back to the winter coat… I used this padded fabric for the sleeves on the faux fur side, instead of faux fur, which I think is a nice idea because then 1) the sleeves are not so bulky; 2) it won’t be too warm; 3) it keeps the faux fur from taking over the whole coat (helps me look less like that giant hamster and more like a Shar Pei. :P)

Close up of the pocket, which is the same style for both faux fur and grey wool side. I love how deep the pockets are and how they blend into the princess shaping. I’m thinking of a Spring/Fall coat some time in the near future. Maybe I will use the same pattern in a different fabric?

The toggles are handsewn. I saw the (ridiculous) price of the assembled toggles at the local haberdashery and almost gave up sewing for good! So I simply bought these toggle buttons, some black elastic, cut some fabric and slowly sewed it in by hand. They blend in a little too well – I would’ve like all that hard work to be a little more visible but maybe this is for the best. :P

I did consider a reversible zipper instead, but I’m not so good with zippers and it will be really difficult finding a reversible zipper in this length here. I like the look of toggles anyway, and this allows some of the faux fur to peek out on the grey wool side!

And that is my (not so) new winter coat!

Not too long ago, A friend of mine invited L, M and I to her little girl’s first birthday party. I wanted to sew a little bib for her (because I discovered that babies drool so much their clothes keeps getting wet! L is currently teething -yes, exceptionally early. We have a foodie in the making, I’m sure of that! – and so I know all about the drool!)… BUT. I forgot we had taken the sewing machine back to have something fixed. So the night before the party, I decided to crochet the pieces together and add a picot and shell edging to it.

So there I was around midnight with L snoozing away in a baby sling plastered to my chest as I swing him left and right while crocheting with the teeny crochet hook (0.45mm).

L usually sleeps much earlier, but that night he was teething (I didn’t know that yet – my friend told us the next day at the party. It was totally unexpected for his age, but when we found out, it all made sense) and so was really cranky. Yep, when it rains, it pours!

I really like the fabric. It is nice and sweet but not too girly. I would’ve done a thicker edge but as it was, I barely finished this project before leaving for the party! (I did manage to wash it and iron it dry before wrapping it up.)

We’ve been having banana cake quite often here these days. It started with some overly ripe bananas and me recalling the fragrant and yummy banana cakes I used to eat from time to time in Singapore. I found a recipe and discovered how easy it was to make banana cake.

L had been growing very well. He had been learning to grab things, though his actions are still very jerky and uncoordinated. He is kicking literally all the time he is awake… Anxious to start crawling around? Whatever the reason, it is fine except that his leg muscles are not very strong yet so when he kicks, the legs drag on the surface of whatever he is lying on. So his legs are really dry on the side, even though we apply lotion at each nappy change and put long pants/stockings on him.

Speaking of nappy changes, we have switched out to reusable diapers. (Thanks for the flushable wipes idea J!) I had ordered reusable diaper cover and they arrived late last week. They are So. Adorable. Seriously! I’m looking forward to Summer when L can crawl around wearing just those diapers and not have them hidden under layers!

And we’re at the end of yet another really long post. If you’re still with me, wow! I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. I have been working on L’s sweater/onesie – want to finish it so he can wear it before he outgrows it! I have knitted socks onto the legs and they are so adorable I can’t wait to show it here! And after that maybe I get to finish the last 5% of my green sweater. It is mostly done but just need a bit at the sleeves and also toggles (yes, I have a thing about toggles…).

After those projects, I might be doing a knitalong with a friend here for a mohair cardigan. Also, will be starting a very exciting project with AP soon! Plenty to look forward to and work on, so stay tuned!

Those 2 Knits

Sorry for the longer-than-usual silence here. I’ve been pretty busy with the Bun and his Christening party’s preparation. Now that is over, I have plenty to write about! In fact, I have so much to catch up with, I’ll have to split the updates into parts.

We are still in deep freeze up here. Plenty of snow, but rather warm temperatures, typically between 0 and -10C. We had about one week of slightly more normal deep freeze temperature of -20C but that was all. Personally I would prefer the normal deep freeze temperatures because when it is around 0C, the snow melts and freeze into ice, which can be quite difficult to walk on.

In my previous post, I mentioned blocking some lace. They have long been completed and sent off, but I took pics before sending it off!

Pink shrug blocking. I had to get creative with this one because I was blocking the lace of the other beige shrug on the sofa and did not have space for this one. (Bun took the bed.) So I settled for the side of the sofa instead.

Attention-grabbing Lacey Shrug
Yarn: XiaoTianShi in hot pink, 2x50g (or 3?)
Pattern: Something Lacy Shrug by Vera Sanon
Modification: As usual, worked in different gauge (because of yarn choice) and so only used the idea and lace stitch. Made the sleeves slightly longer and added crocheted edging to the sleeves.
Afterthought: Very pretty design. Simple but effective approach. Great thing about this design is that it is very easily modified to fit different sizes and use yarn of different weights for different effects.

The yarn I used is a heavy fingering weight yarn with “60% silk, 35% wool and 5% cashmere”. But to be honest, I think the ‘silk’ isn’t the silk from silkworms. It feels rather plastic/synthethic… Maybe they meant nylon or reconstituted silk. In anycase, it is good for those who have more sensitive skin (its quite a smooth yarn) but not so good for someone like me who prefer a lofty, bouncy, squishy and wooly yarn. (With the exception of shiny silk yarn!)

The name of the yarn, “XiaoTianShi”, means “Little angel” in Chinese. I guess this yarn was intended for baby/children’s knits. I had bought it from eBay many years back. It languished all these years in my stash, unloved because I prefer wooly yarn. But now it is on its way to my mom/sis (I sent them this, and the next, shrugs and left it to them to pick the one they like) who I think will appreciate it more than me. Hopefully the low wool content means it won’t be too warm to wear in the tropics.

I really like the crocheted edging. I think it adds a touch of daintiness that compliments the pretty lace in the main body of the shrug.

The lace stitch is quite simple and very easily memorised. The effect is pretty, too! I think this shrug will look really nice in a wooly yarn that holds the lace better. Maybe I should knit a mohair version for myself?!

After blocking the beige one, I seamed it up and crocheted the same edging on it. Then blocked it again.

Classy Lacey Shrug
Yarn: Unknown yarn with a sparkly gold thread shot through.
Pattern: Something Lacy Shrug by Vera Sanon
Modification: Same as above, worked in different gauge using the idea and lace stitch from the pattern. Made the sleeves even longer and added crocheted edging to the sleeves.
Afterthought: The subtle gold thread and neutral tone gave a classy look to this shrug!

For this shrug, I used 2 strands of the laceweight yarn held together. The gold thread has a very subtle sparkle, which is difficult to catch with my camera. Even with 2 strands held together, it was still a rather fine yarn and the lace had bigger holes than the previous shrug. The lace drapes beautifully in this gauge and yarn combination.

Sorry about the dangling ends. I did weave in the ends after taking pictures!

I find that I prefer the look of the longer sleeves so if I do knit a mohair one for myself, it will have long sleeves. At least to the elbows.

I sent those 2 shrugs along with handmade Chinese New Year cards to my parents/sis. I wanted to make the cards for other friends in Singapore too, but ran out of time (and the Bun was fussing quite a bit in the last couple of weeks)

The Bun likes being held constantly. When he is awake, he also wants to be ‘walked’ constantly! M often walks him (while I’m doing other chores) and when the Bun finally falls asleep, M reads or use his computer with the Bun sleeping in his arm. He is such a lucky little bun!

He had also recently discovered his hand and often sits there staring at his raised right hand. Sometimes he moves it and ‘bumps’ it into his head/eyes. Sometimes he moves it to his mouth and sucks it… He seems to like it way more than any pacifier, which he usually refuses to take even though we’ve tried different ones. Yesterday we got him pacifiers made from natural latex, which is supposed to feel more authentic (like skin). I was ridiculously excited to try it out, but the result was no different from the others we’ve tried. Oh well.

Couple of weeks ago, we went to the countryside and I made the yummy chinese-styled-pulled-pork in freshly baked soft buns for HH and TH.

Served along with baked potatoes and coleslaw.

With chocolate mousse (made from scratch) for dessert. I made the chocolate mousse with 3 layers, with the darkest (most chocolate-y) layer at the bottom. Now that I’ve tried chocolate mousse made from scratch, I have to say that the ones that come out of a packet/storebought mousse is no comparison! It was so delicious I made it again when AP visited us with her little Bean.

I have been pretty productive sewing-wise, too! After finishing the belt for the Winter coat, I made the lining for the Bun’s christening gown (which I knitted a while ago), sewed a dress to wear to the Bun’s christening and also made a new pincushion! I will show the finished coat and dress in the next post, but here is the pincushion:

I used the fabric leftover from sewing my dress, along with some felt scrap in hot pink, from my craft drawer. My previous pincushion was just a small bundle of fleece scraps tied together and stuffed into a small tuna tin. That was fine when I was just using the pins for blocking my knits. But now that I’m sewing more seriously *cough*cough*, I decided to make a simple but proper pincushion. (It was difficult sticking the pins into the previous pincushion.)

A sneak peek at my dress!

And that is all for now. Hopefully the next post won’t take weeks to materialise! I have pics from the Bun’s christening to show, along with pics of the Winter coat and dress, in the next post! Till then, have some Runeberg’s Torte with tea and craft on!


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