Words of Wisdom

In life, we have to choose between the jeans and the cookie jar. Liz Hurley chose the jeans and I chose the cookie jar

~ Nigella Lawson....(on women's body image and her own voluptuous body)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I'm officially the newly "tiara-d" Spinster Princess today!

The oldest singleton from our office got married finally! I attended her wedding at late afternoon. I had always felt a special connection to her because she's a woman who put her personal life on the sideline so her family could stabilize their economy first.

white & blue

She celebrated in whites and blues.

Queen Mary tiara

With this "tiara", I now pronounce thee the Spinster Princess cum the oldest maid in the office.

Not that I'm ashamed of it. Being older somehow has its advantages because it's easier to make people listen to me.

cupcake wedding cake

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?

Mwah! Mwah! Mwah!

Agar-agar Fruit Cocktail Milk Pudding

This is a simple recipe I love to make as it is fairly easy even for a novice.

Agar~agar Fruit Cocktail

I used Nata de Coco and colourful sugar sprinkles on mine with a few little drops of Sunquick on top for that "zing tangy" taste.

20g agar-agar (soak for 10 minutes)
1250ml milk
250ml fruit cocktail syrup (the syrup after the fruits pieces are taken out)
200g sugar
2tbsp cornflour mixed with 5tbsp water
1 can of fruits cocktail
2 kiwi fruits or anything you like eg sliced peaches

1. Heat the agar-agar till dissolves
2. Add in the fruit cocktail syrup, sugar and milk and leave to boil. Continue stirring.
3. Add in the cornflour
4. Place the fruit cokctail pieces and your chosen other fruits in a container/your chosen dish
5. Pour in some of the pudding mixture just enough to cover the fruits
6. Wait a little till the agar-agar pudding hardens a little and continue pouring the rest of the mixture.
7. Leave to set. Best served chilled.

Agar~agar Fruit Cocktail 2

The look of this recipe with the kiwi fruits and cherry pieces. Taken from Wanita magazine years ago.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I wonder why some people can hold the post of Managers and still can't think of simple solutions

Today, the QA Manager from our sister company down south in the Republic of Singapore asked from an Asst Manager in our Mecha Division to arrange for "his Incoming QC (by that, he meant my particular group)" to go to his plant for a Screw Torque Measurement Method verification or else his members would not do it.

How appalling! He simply said it like my group isn't even our own entity by implying we are "owned" by another Division. Another is, he simply asked for things to be arranged by his time totally disregarding that WE also have our own schedule to follow. We already requested them to come for a Quality meeting and a demo with another sister company in the south before.

That Manager's simple excuse was he had another agenda on that day and his staff can't leave the plant because they are having a shortage of manpower. Then, in a tone bordering on blackmail, he said something alone this line "ask your Incoming QC to check it because we don't know how to do it!".

Honestly, we are sick of bowing to this kind demand for a long time. Now the whole thing brought me to the following. It's really quite simple:

1. Who says HIS staff are the ones who need to come over to watch the demo? Why can't HE as their MANAGER be the representative to come and see us or the other sister company to see the checking demo and teach it back to his staff? *The annoying part about this is I actually had made a proper Inspection Instruction standard for them to refer to

2. If the "live" demo is so important to that Manager, then why can't he simply ask from the other sister company to make a "video" of the checking method and have it burned to a CD and couriered over?

3. How about making a movie and have it uploaded to video-sharing site like You Tube? All the Converter softwares can be downloaded free from the Internet. Also, if there is an issue of confidential process and design violation, it's not like we can't set the video to a "private" account accessible by authorised users only.

4. If the video takes a long time, hey, he might argue it that way, what about the use of "video conference"? All these Managers have the utmost facilities eg laptop, Internet connection, WiFi, webcam and what-nots. Hey, why don't you freaking use them people?

You know what? You won't believe how many of these characters I have to encounter everyday at work. I wonder why these people are getting paid in multiples of what me and my colleagues (the Insignificants) get.

Or is it because they are men and they can't use their brains to move in different directions like left, right, backward, over and under? Do they only know one way which is forward?

I'm glad I'm a woman. There's no room for ego for me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Adding Multiple Language Translator to my Blog

When surfing around other people's blogs, I had always been fascinated by this particular feature.

I LOVE languages even though there ARE some languages I'm particularly hopeless at. Let's see, in my lifetime, I've tried to learn Arabic, Japanese, German and French. Note the word "tried".

I learned Arabic in school because it was compulsory. 6 years of it and I still can't speak it. Then I tried learning Japanese from my former Japanese General Manager (I'm working in a Japanese company). Result? I can only read ONE simple Japanese character "no". Before graduating from University, I bought 3 books by Charles Berlitz to learn simple German, French and Spanish hoping I'd be using them when I travelled across Europe one day. I still haven't crossed Europe but my hope is still there.

I got my language translator from here - Blogger-Toolkit. Code is by Todd Cullen and Harihara Kumar. Love it, love it, love it. Thanks guys.

I find it particularly useful in learning foreign languages. Ok, maybe the translation can be out of place or context. It's far from perfect but still useful. Oh, how wonderful to see my Blog in German as if I wrote it that way :-)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rice, Price, Rise

Maybe it's not a coincidence that these words actually rhyme.

Going with my parents shopping for household monthly grocery, I was appalled at the price of Rice in every shops and supermarkets.

Help end world hunger

In Malaysia, just a few weeks ago, it was still between MYR18 to MYR19 for regular 5%-type per 10kg. Now it has shot up to MYR28.90 per kg and THAT's the cheapest. Others were priced from MYR29.90 to MYR35.

I was shocked. There had been rumours that the price of rice would increase and my mother asked me to buy extra for stock. I didn't believe her as I thought it was jst her being misinformed. I regret ignoring her words now.

Who are the culprits behind this? Are we all victims of consumer-driven capitalist controlled society? The crisis is all over the world and I do not believe that it has been caused by sudden reduction of rice supply due to natural disasters at rice-producing countries. Thailand is the biggest producer of rice and she wasn't the one hit by the Cyclone Nargis. That's her neighbour Burma. The earthquake in China happened after the rice already got into price crisis. No major natural disasters happened in Malaysia or Indonesia in recent news. If the raw supply is in crisis, then why aren't the poor rice farmers making any money from this? Has the answer been staring at us in the face all along?

Rice is the the lifeline to millions of people and may those who have the deadened heart to manipulate us all for their own greed eat from their fat-blocked arteries.

Help end world hunger
Give free rice! Empower your English vocabulary along too.

Why do Men see everything as a competition?

The title of the post itself says it all.

I have encountered this kind of male bahaviour for the umpteenth time. Something happened on my way home from work last Thursday which annoys me to bits till today.

I was driving with the Stereo blasting as usual. At that particular moment, the song Ready Steady Go from L'arc En Ciel was playing. Then I had to approach a traffic light and I stopped by a red Ford car with a male driver. He turned to look at me with a cigarette in his hand. I turned my face the other way as I found the way he loked at me disturbing. A few seconds later, I heard loud beats from HIS car speakers blasting over my music.

Oh! Pleeeeaaase. Why did he have to turn HIS volume up loud JUST BECAUSE someone else was listening to hers loud? How superficial is that? I mean, he was fine driving without the loud beats, then I wheezed next to him and he started to Bam! Bam! Bam!

Did he think I was challenging him? Hey, I play my music loud all the time because I love my music. What's HIS reason? If he liked his music loud, then why didn't he play it to the max even before I was there?

It's the same thing with men who drive slow and then start to rev and speed up when I take over his car. It's so superficial.

The only good thing about the situation was I had this song as the soundtrack of that moment.

Ready, Steady, Go!

Me and My Avatar

A friend whom I invited to see this blog asked "Is that your picture?" referring to the girl standing serenely in the wind at the top of the page.

Oh, how I wish that was me. As I'm not that advanced in website and blog tools design stuff, I have to rely on free things I can get of the Net. I fell in love with this layout the first time I saw it at Final Sense. The "Girl In The Wind" visuals convey everything I want about this online diary of mine. She looks so at peace with herself and her surroundings.

Maybe one day I will have enough courage to say goodbye to her and replace this layout with something original on my own. That'll be hard because I've seen her as part of me. I'm that sentimental, aren't I?

This is an exagerrated version of the real me. Brown eyes but not this big. Hairstyle here actually borrows from JLo and Beyonce (I don't have this in real life). Some tinting for the grey hair with red henna (yes, I've had greys sprouting out since age 18). Arched eyebrows. Curly lashes. Big lips. Flat-bridged round-tipped nose. Beauty marks at, fortunately, strategic places.

I tried to come up with an avatar for me. Yes, you've met this version of me in a previous post. I can't afford any high-end professional illustration softwares. Thus I created this using the Drawing Tools in Microsoft Excel. Man! I wish Bill Gates would pay me for putting in good words about his product.

Cookies Weekend!

Had a "cookies weekend" a week ago.

Felt like trying out a few recipes I collected and see if they turned out the way the recipe writers had theirs.

First up was the Marble Cookies.

Marble cookies 1

So the shapes aren't uniformed. So what? This is home cooking.

Marble cookies closeup

The taste is GOOD.

Marble Cookies Recipe:

The plain side:
180g butter
65g caster sugar
135g plain flour
70g corn starch
50g custard powder

The coco side:
180g butter
100g caster sugar
135g plain flour
70g corn starch
50g cocoa powder

1. Separately, beat the ingredients together for each dough.
2. Somehow I started with the dry ingredients and added in the margarine last like bread dough. I'm not sure if the result is different if the fats are beaten first.
3. Roll each dough into a long shape and stick them together.
4. Put it in the fridge for about 10min or till the dough is strong enough to hold its shape when you slice it.
5. Bake till golden brown. If it's too brown, the cocoa side will be bitter.

I did not bother to put mine in the fridge, thus the "variety" of shapes.....haha.

Second is the Choc Chip Cookies.

Boobie Choc Chip cookies 1

I made them tiny so they fit nicely to my nephews' hands. Thus, the single choc chip. However.........

Boobie Choc Chip cookies closeup

.......up close, the cookies look like little fake boobies with very brown chocolatey nipples.

Choc Chip Cookies Recipe:

250g plain flour (sifted)
100g butter
100g sugar
50g walnut (optional)
50g choc chips
30g Crisco (any vegetable shortening)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence

1. Beat the butter and shortening together till fluffy. Actually I used margarine for mine.
2. Beat the sugar in, then the egg and vanilla essence.
3. Add in the choc chips and walnut. I didn't have nuts when I made mine though.
4. Add in the flour little by little till thoroughly mixed.
5. Bake until golden brown.

Third is the Samperit Cookies or the Custard Cookies which I never successfully made before.

Samperit hani 1

I'm no expert at piping out cookies. I'm proud of this though. These are the products from my hands not some factory assembly line. Each has its own "character".

Samperit hani closeup

The taste is DIVINE. Finally, I succeeded with Samperit Cookies.

Samperit Cookies Recipe:

225g butter
110g icing sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
70g corn starch
120g custard powder
170g plain flour

1. Beat butter and and sugar till soft and fluffy. Yes, I used margarine. It's cheap!
2. Beat in the egg and vanilla essence.
3. Sift the corn starch, custard powder and plain flour together first before adding to the wet mixture.
4. Your batter should be soft and "pipeable".
5. Use any type of cookie pipe you like. I chose this one for the classic look of Samperit.
6. Bake till they start to brown just a little.

Reason for celebration!

As un-chef-like my cookies look, they disappeared from the cookie jars within 3 days. The little nephews love them.

I use my left and right brains equally?

My sister gave a very interesting piece of information recently about the connection of brain use and eyesight.

We were talking about our shortsightedness problem, glasses and contact lenses cost when she said I was lucky to have the same conditions for both eyes thus not having to buy 2 different sets of contacts each time.

Then, she said "That's because you use your brains equally."


"You use your left and right side equally."

I didn't know that.

"That's primary school basic lesson!."


"You test your eyes by closing one and see if an object moves or stay still. My teacher carried it out to all of us. The eye that sees and object as still is the primary focus eye. If a person's right eye sees the object as still, it means that she uses more of her left brain and vice versa. This eye tend to be the one with the vision problem because it's used more intensely."

A-ha! It kinda makes sense. I have always been aware of my equal ability in both Arts and Technical stuff. I can do both but I'm not great at any. I went through school in a science stream doing maths, chemistry, physics and biology (averaging C) while taking Art classes (not as great as my brother but pretty good).

Now that explains everything about me.

I'm working in Quality Control at the Engineering Section. Never in my life I ever imagined myself in this job but here I am. I entered this as a "zero" having graduated with Architectural background. All I had was my English language skill and basic Technical drawings knowledge. Yes, some interaction with Engineers (always thought they were so uptight).

I'm surviving okay and use my Artistic side when preparing technical instructions and training manuals.

Oh....I still see Engineers as uptight squares though :-)

Note on Images used here:
  • The Face and Layout are from me created using the Drawing Tools in Excel
  • The Cliparts are Excel and School Clip Art. They have a great collection for Educational use.
  • The glitter graphic is of course from Graphics Factory Glitter Graphics. Visit them for more.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Auf Wiedersehen my friend!

It was my colleague's last day yesterday. She was all tearful saying goodbye to all of us.

I made the above sign for her. The vibrant colours are to symbolize the celebration of her being part of our team since 2006. She has been a great subordinate to me.

This morning, I read the "farewell email" she sent us yesterday where she said that WE had been the BEST team she had ever been a part of.

Well, I won't ask for any greater "thank you" gift than that!

Yes, her leaving is a major loss to us but we wish her well.

Auf wiedersehen!

Blue Baby Boy Comforter

It was only natural for a pregnant colleague to ask for a blue-themed Baby Comforter for the boy she was carrying.

Yeah, I learned my lesson from the Pink Baby Comforter. I made the pattern too small and the choice of colours was too soft that the pieces were hard to distinguish from each other.

Therefore, I tried to pick bolder colours to be matched to plain backgrounds. It worked!

Blue Baby Set 1

With the pillow and bolsters.

Blue Baby Set 2Blue Baby Set 5

The flip-side view was better compared to the Pink Baby Girl one.

Blue Baby Set 3

The pattern inspired by the "windmill". Yes, I designed it using Microsoft Excel.

Overall, I'm much happier with this one.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pink Baby Girl Patchwork Comforter

A friend of mine who was longing for a baby girl so much during her 3rd pregnancy asked for a baby comforter set in girly pink. I wasn't sure what pattern I would go for. At the time, the only practice I had was making the patchwork bags which I learned in class. I opened up Microsoft Excel and started filling up the cells with colours which inspired this.

I wish I had found a darker pink fabric. You can't see the pattern I came up with in these photos. I also wasn't much of an expert at taking digital photos at that time. The importance of good lighting was totally ignored at the time these pictures were taken.

Pink Baby Set 5

With the little pillow and bolsters.

Pink Baby Set 2

Is that clearer? I think not.

Pink Baby Set 7

The backside had no patchwork so either side can be used.

Pink Baby Set 6Pink Baby Set 4

Oh....made a bag to go with it. Totally an impromptu idea executed while I was putting finishing touches to this baby comforter. Had a piece of clear plastic dining table cover which was thick enough to be made into a decent durable cover bag.

As fate would have it, it rained on the day I handed it over to her.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Plushies in the Morning Dew

I didn't go to work today. My car wouldn't start because the battery somehow lost power this morning. Added more battery fluid and had to jumper-start the car using my brother's battery.

It was about 8am and the morning dew was still on the greens under the morning Sun. I took this chance to bring my newest plushie out. Got her last week at a promotional sale in a shopping mall. She felt good in my arms and I couldn't resist buying her. I think she's a mouse although they made her to look like a bunny.

Here are the ones I have on my bed so far.

The Hippo was a bargain at a night market. She's a second hand plushie yeah but I liked her as soon as my eyes saw her and she has this little pocket on her tummy which can be handy when you want to hide little things.

The Purple Cow is from a supermarket. Bought her because I thought she really stood out. I mean, how many purple cows can you find in your lifetime? Amazingly, by having her, I found out that there is a thing called the Purple Cow philosophy in this world which was about standing out. Wow! That's how she got into my standing out!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Grasshopper Green Duvet

Another friend asked for a comforter in green and yellow. Her brief to me was "cheerful".

I went for this grasshopper green colour as its main theme and match it with this bright yellow in "sun, star and moon" pattern. I never made a project at this large scale before and I wasn't sure how much of the fabric I would need.

After searching for awhile, I settled for this classic pattern called "Northern Star" and based my design on this.

Ceria Grasshopper Duvet 1Ceria Grasshopper Pillowcases 2Ceria Grasshopper Duvet 3Ceria Grasshopper Duvet 4Ceria Grasshopper Duvet 5
Ceria Grasshopper Duvet 2

I ended up using a myriad of fabric combination on the bottom side of the duvet because I was running out of the grasshopper green fabric.

I stayed awake till 3am to finish this on time. Man! The thing was heavy as I was finishing it.

I was quite bummed when she used it as a bedsheet instead of a duvet though.

I don't think I'll ever make a duvet ever again except maybe for myself.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pink Flower Garden Theme Patchwork Bag

I made this bag for a friend who wanted something girly and what could be more girly than flowery pink?

Intan Bag 1Intan Bag 2Intan Bag 9Intan Bag 3Intan Bag 8Intan Bag 7Intan Bag 6Intan Bag 4Intan Bag 5

I originally wanted to put ivory coloured buttons in the middle of these flowers but she preferred the Pink YoYo Flowers which she felt give more accent to the flowers.

I machine-embroidered her name on a piece of cloth and hand-sewed it on the bag. Quite labour-intensive but the result makes me happy.

Since the bag had been handsewn at the piping, I was able to make this a reversible bag. You can turn it inside out just fine.

Must admit that the embroidery is very amateurishly home-made.....haha.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

An Old Man and His Plastic Money

My brother came home with a new MYR50 note today. He was all excited that my father got curious.

"Is that made of plastic?" the old man asked.

We weren't sure, we said.

Then started to laugh and told us his "adventure" of trying to dry a wet MYR5 note. It is normal practice for us to use a hot clothes iron to dry a wet paper note.

One not-so-fine day, the cash in his pocket got wet from the rain. The usual paper notes would get all easily torn up if we didn't dry it quick. Totally oblivious to the fact that the MYR5 was made of plastic, my father took to ironing it and this is what happened.........

Even the face of the Sultan didn't look happy.... x-))