Thursday, 17 January 2019

Handmade lifestyle

Dear Family & Friends

I enjoy a handmade lifestyle. When days are dark, short and gloomy, I find comfort deep within my thoughts. My hands are busy at the same time, sewing some project - this time another seat cover.

Once seated and engrossed with what I'm doing, it is very hard to get up and think about the hungry tummies in our home. So, I employ the help of one of the girls with request for a crunchy but still runny sunny side up egg, placed on top of a piece of toast. Yum...That's just what we need.

Life couldn't get better than this:) Hope yours is as good too!


Saturday, 12 January 2019

I pickled green apples today

Dear Family & Friends

The autumn apples that was harvested are still as good and crunchy throughout the winter months if stored properly. Although not a fan of apples, yet from time to time, I would appreciate it if it is eaten with  salt or soy sauce. Since we still got a boxful of green apples from our autumn harvest, I thought I would try to pickle it for a change.

Quick pickled apples are like magic in a grilled cheese sandwich.

In a bottle, I sliced in green apples. Then, I poured in my pickling liquid and let it sit for a day or two to infuse and pickle my apples.

For the pickling liquid ingredients, I used: 1 cup cider vinegar, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 cinnamon sticks and 1/2 ground ginger. Mix altogether and pour into the jar of sliced crispy green apples. Refrigerate overnight before eating. It will keep up to a week.

It's as easy as that. Nice to eat as snack and it didn't take long to make and eat it :)

Enjoy your day today.


Monday, 7 January 2019

Finding little things to cheer a cold season

Dear Family & Friends

The comfort of watching a log burning that keeps our home warm is well appreciated at this time. Likewise, having warm cup of tea as well as cuddling a hot water bottle is just as pleasurable too.

it's been a very cold winter so far...

One day, we thought we could get some comfort out in the shopping mall: To enjoy the brightly lit atmosphere specially on cold and gloomy days. We do mostly window shopping, but this time, my little girl thought she wanted to buy a stuff-toy bag, simply because it was on sale and she  wanted to reward herself for all the hard work she dedicated on her ongoing part time job from home.

stuffed toy shoulder bag

I tend to forget that although my girls have now grown with so much responsibility, yet deep within they are still my little girls. In fact this week she also decided to do a teddy bear dessert for everyone. Yeah, it was good. Stuff toy bags and teddy bear pudding are definitely for all ages.

brown bear choco pudding

Not many exciting stories to tell when it is cold and I'm in semi hibernation mode...but it's winter and all I do is to keep waiting for a slightly warmer day.

Hope your new year is keeping you happy and well ... and let it roll on the whole year too.


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Fruit tea in old jars

Dear Family & Friends

Sometime ago, we finally had the opportunity of meeting our German family friends. When they came to visit us, they took with them two very precious gifts all the way from Germany. We were all very relief that these old chinese jars survived the journey. 

It was a very creative and well thought of gifts which we love so much and will cherish forever. The beautiful jars were filled with assorted dried and very fragrant fruit teas.

I love the fact that these old precious jars are put into good use again and in a most practical way.

There's so many beautiful old things that we should recycle and I could say that they are far more beautiful that the usual modern new things sold these days. They are called treasures.

I end this post with good wishes for you and a very good new year too.


Friday, 28 December 2018

Comfort food to cheer us up on cold and gloomy days

Dear Family & Friends,

When its dark and gloomy, it's hard to get going. I just think of comfort food and everyone just wants to eat and snack around. I have been finding myself cooking in the kitchen more and more. Well, no one worries about calories here, I personally think we tend to burn more calories to keep warm these days;P

soft and fluffy steamed buns

So, steamed buns with stew is a good comfort food. The only disadvantage is that it takes a long process to make.
steamed buns with hot stew

A better and quicker alternative is to make dumplings that doesn't need yeast and fermentation process. with extra helping hands, these little parcels can be speed up.

beautifully pleated chinese dumplings
Cute and delicious food always takes time to make...but it's the hand held aspect that qualifies it to be a perfect snack food.

chinese dumpling filled with minced meat and veggies

Another favourite and preferred snack food is a wrap parcel filled with vegetables. Whenever I make this, there is never enough, specially as I have to cook the crepe from scratch, one at a time for everyone.

crepe like wrapper filled with assorted julienne vegetables

When I have more patience, I will make effort for these sort of comfort food that my little family loves. Otherwise, I will always opt for quick cooking. 'Can we just have rolled omelet?'...everyone always agrees with whatever I do.

Life is good with comfort food and an equally contented family.

Have a good year ahead of you.


Sunday, 23 December 2018

The bleak winter garden

Dear Family & Friends

Winter has announced it's arrival with biting cold weather and it's usual frosty mornings. The garden is looking bleak as the gardener refuses to brave the cold. The trees are slowly shedding it's leaves as they refuse to process food into their system and choose to hibernate instead, to cope with the cold.

The few potted plants that I have that can't stand the cold weather has been brought inside the house to sit by the sunniest window ledge that's available. These ones will be protected from the cold.

I wish I could take all vulnerable plants inside for the winter, but as it's not possible, I have collected small cuttings and some seeds that I could replant again once the warm weather comes back.

We all have to be patient because no matter how long the cold winter would be, spring would surely come back afterwards.

Enjoy your day and your holiday season too.


Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Hand sewn white yo yo cushion seat cover

Dear Family & Friends

I hand sew, what's your superpower?

Well, this busy hand can't keep still and happy unless it's working. I picked up all the white old clothes that needs to be recycled instead of throwing them in the bin for a second lease of life.

I cut them into tiny squares and stitched each one to form a circle that really looks like a flower but it's known and called as  'yo-yos'. Sizes doesn't really need to be exactly uniformed since I'm stitching them all together afterwards.

My intention is to make it into a seat cushion cover. This gives the material a nice and interesting texture, simply by recycling our old white clothes. Any one can do this as long as they have the time and patience. Now, that's my superpower...what's yours?

Wishing you a good day.


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Fresh herbs are limited these days

Dear Family & friends

Many of the perennial plants in the garden has now slowed down and others completely abandoned all their leaves to go to hibernation mode. The priveledges of having fresh herbs from the garden straight to the kitchen table comes to some limitation these days.

There's all sorts of herbs grown in just this little area

Although not as abundant as it was in the warmer season, we still manage to harvest a bit of our usual favorites like parsley and coriander, as well as chives to sprinkle into our meals. Our family enjoys lots of herbs in our meals because it smells good and taste good too!

mint makes a good smelling cup of tea

In the garden, I also have several bushes of Rosemary and Sage. These particular herbs can withstand cold winters. We can harvest these herbs for our tea or soup all throughout the winter months.

one of our most favourite herbs that we like sprinkled on our meals

Yesterday our neighbour came knocking at our door to ask if she can have some of our 'garden tea' as she is feeling 'under the weather'. The 'garden tea' she refers to is 'sage'. My daughter of course quickly harvested a handful of sage cuttings for her. She will have lots of sage tea for the cold season and we hope it will heal her sore throat soon too.

herbal tea holds many health benefit for our well being

Every year, I keep on propagating and filling up our garden with more herbs. The more the better. Planting herbal plants aids good ecology for our garden, as well as providing medicinal and healthy food for our family. Of course, we will have plenty to share with everyone around us too:)

As it's our cold season, it's always good to drink lots of herbal tea and nutricious soup to cheer and comfort ourselves.

Hope you are keeping yourselves healthy and happy too.


Saturday, 8 December 2018

My succulents went to the city for the winter

Dear Family & Friends

Winter has arrived earlier this year. It's misty and cold and so its time to bring my potted plants indoor for protection. I don't have the luxury of a greenhouse and there's not enough space in our house to keep potted plants either. So,  we've decided to let all my succulent plants in pots to stay in the city apartment for the winter season.

It feels much warmer and brighter in our city apartment building and the potted plants were looking happy being there.  It adorns the communal passage way and brings cheers to other residents too.

As for my exotic plants like the kangkong and ginger planted in pots, they had to stay in the hallway of our house so I can monitor them. I just hope they will make it through the winter, although I'm not so sure??. 

Winter has just began but I'm already looking forward to spring. I must remind myself that everything is just for a season. That way, days will go by happier. 

Hope you see happier days ahead of you better than me.


Monday, 3 December 2018

The Buzzling Home

Dear Family & Friends

We have a very busy household. Ours is just a small home, but these days, every room in our home is taken for home schooling, daily living routines, as well as business use and respective ongoing business meetings by three family members. Our humble abode serves several purposes and it works efficiently well for us.

our home is similar to the compartmentalized home of the honeybees

I often find myself sitting in my kitchen because everyone and every place in the home is occupied and requires peace and quiet. So, besides doing my cooking in the kitchen, there's also sewing and crocheting going on there these days too.

It's getting colder as winter is now here, but a home is where we all gather together,  keeping our hearts warm as always. Hope yours is too. Enjoy your week.


Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Party in the apartment

Dear Family & Friends

We're probably not the most normal family there is because we are so easy to please and it doesn't have to cost anything because we just enjoy being together, no matter where we are. 

One of the girls had her birthday but she also had some responsibility to take care of that day - so we all went to our city apartment and after she did her paid cleaning job with her sister for two apartment blocks, we had our lunch and a birthday cake in our apartment! What joy! That was already a celebration:)

just a store bought birthday cake to celebrate a birthday:)

While waiting for the two girls to finish their responsibility, the parents did some arranging and rearranging things in the apartment. There's not much to be done there, except for little interior decor wishes like hanging some picture frames, a coat hanger rack on the wall for winter jackets by the entrance way etc...

a small cozy place to go

We also decided to move furniture and fixtures in the bedroom as we want it to be functional not only as a sleeping place, but perhaps a dual office area too. It's always fun to think and come up with new innovative ways from time to time.

planning a new layout for the bedroom

After enjoying the birthday cake, we were ready to spent some leisure shopping time for a family treat, before we go back to our village home.

a yummy piece of that birthday cake

That was the day we had. A relaxing day, just enjoying our time together - even though we are always together everyday of the week - 24/7. I told you... we're probably not the most normal  typical family, but it's how we like it to be:)

It's time to go - as I wait for everyone by the entrance door.

Hope you are enjoying your family on everyday basis, for they're your greatest treasure and blessings in life.


Friday, 23 November 2018

The Paper Piecing Chair Cover Is Done

Dear Family & Friends

For several weeks, I was silently sewing by hand each paper piecing, with the intention of turning it into a chair cover, using only some of the materials we have at home that needs recycled. I like the fact that I don't need to spend money to do this project.  OK, I bought one pool of thread for this: costing 0.50 euro cents!! LOL 

my paper piecing chair cover project is done:)

I like the optic illusion design and the colour of the choosen fabric materials too. Doing the paper piecing, I also ended up with a thicker and heavier material, which is well suited for a seat cover's use.

Do you see the many cubes - facing this way and that way?

It's not the most brilliant sewing as I still got a lot to learn how to sew things, but somehow, as I undertook the project, it all work out 'just right'! My saving factor is that I am sewing by hand, and this gives me much time to figure what and how I am going to do things as I go.

A chair cover that cost mainly a few minutes of my day but I profited lots of joy

It's obvious that I am well pleased with what I have done and I'm calling it an achievement. In life, I find that there's so many things we can learn and most of it is just to go ahead and do it without hesitation. It's one way to learn things quick.

I'm onto another sewing project as I aim to recycle and clear up as much of the old clothes which piles up in the corner of our room. So, it's time to go back and plod on. I wish you a good day ahead:)


Sunday, 18 November 2018

Preference for a Natural Gardening

Dear Family & Friends

It's such a beautiful day today. I spent most of the day clearing - chopping and dropping old plants that have finished flowering and fruiting for this year. I also did transplanting of plants here and there as I find more suitable grounds.

red goji berries along with their green leaves glimmers under the sunshiny day

I used to get frustrated with weeds before, but now I see them as part of my garden resource. I just clear them and compost them which will eventually enrich my soil. Some I leave in piles for little garden creatures to have refuge and form some protection for the coming winter.

morning glory flower on dangling vine along with a silky string of spider web

A German family friends recently came to visit us and was pleased to have the opportunity to see a garden that is not the usual 'norm'. They also love gardening but their garden is very different from ours. He maintains it with much digging and labor intensive way. As our garden is 3 times the size of his, I just can't take his method of constant digging to generate air into the soil.

trailing roses, fruit and flower vines mingles with each other

Natural gardening is best suited for us. It does make more sense too. Since we have a very dry hot summers, keeping my garden watered is a much greater priority than digging our soil constantly. We all have different approach with how we work in our garden depending on our environment, climate and resources.

hundreds and hundreds of chrysanthemum flowers in bloom forming a hedge on my garden beds

Garden can zap a lot of energy but I don't think that's how it should be.  I must also enjoy it and find ways that works best for us. Every year as I assess our gardening year, I can just say that our garden has been very productive for our little family's needs.

Year by year, I see how it improves and gets established as nature dictates. I'm not aiming for an impersonal 'park garden' appeal, rather an oasis for our family with all the happy creatures that's in it too:) A safe place where I can grow good food and be amazed:)

Well, I'm sending you good wishes for the week.


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

In the kitchen

Dear Family & Friends

In our kitchen, there's always some form of food going on as we constantly answer to our never ending hungry tummies' demand for home cooked food. Most days it's quick and easy meal and elegant party fanfare is far and few.

rice with sunny side up egg and green beans - as is: a well accepted meal

We eat what we grow from our garden.

batter coated fish, veggie salad and stir fried daikon radish roots and leaves with eggs: eaten with steamed rice

Everyone loves vegetable meal of all sorts, which is one big blessing.

running out of time again - a quick kielbaza sausage with sweet pepper stir fry

From time to time, my little kitchen assistant comes to the kitchen to do her experimentation meals too. We all partake and enjoy whatever she does. When it's food - we eat without complain.

my kitchen assistant is doing apple crumbles - and that will be our dinner meal!!

It's good to be grateful in life. Having food in our table is something that we should be thankful of. It might be that we always have food everyday, but somewhere I understand, there's people who don't:(

Hmmm, it's meal time again soon, I wonder what I will feed my little family this time? I bet it has to be another quick and easy meal once again.

Enjoy your day too.


Thursday, 8 November 2018

Autumn garden scene

Dear Family & Friends

When the presence of autumn arrived, I somehow felt a bit sad. Then slowly I realized that it's not too bad for in this season of change, it also has it's own special beauty of blessings.

In our garden...

The last of the few zinnia flowers are still attracting butterflies specially on a nice sunny day.

Zinnia flowers basking in the sunshine

The vegetable vines of cucumbers and pumpkins have all dried up but we have enjoyed all their fruits they brought us this year, and now their spent leaves will fall into the ground to nourish our soil too.

dried up cucumber plants

Not all plants are ready to go just yet. The goji berries are still busy ripening their beautiful tiny berries and we continue gathering them to enjoy it when we make nourishing warm soup in the kitchen.

ripened  goji berries needs to be collected

The grape arbour is still hanging on. Slowly, some of their leaves are dropping off but by this time we don't need the shade of it's leaves as we did during the hot summer's day.

grapevine in the arbour with very few grapes in bunches left

We enjoyed so many grapes this year. Some were left and dried up like raisins while still hanging on the vine. Yet, there still a few little bunches left for the last snack treats.

the last few grapes still clinging on vines

Our garden this year have been such a great blessing to us. It brought us food and so much enjoyment. Yet, it's not over, for every season just keeps binging it's own special blessings.

Hope you enjoy your garden too.