Monday, November 29, 2010

Plus And Minus

We finally got our act together and bought wooden blinds from Ikea for the home office cum master bedroom. The ugly cardboard which we had used as an interim solution, taped up against the window grilles, as an experiment to test what sort of noise buffer we needed, against the traffic noises, were finally removed. Anything would have been an improvement.

On the positive side, the dark wooden blinds go well with the rest of the furniture, wooden floorboards, under window carpentry. On the even more positive side, the blinds guys took down the window grilles for free, opening up the view from the windows, making it easier for us to open the windows, letting the wind in.

On the negative side, the blinds for the home office were not hung in a centralised manner, leaving a horrendous gap of about 15 cm on the left side. If they had hung them properly, the gap would have been in the middle where the metal frames of the windows meet, where there is no glass and where it would have been perfectly fine to have a gap. Now we have 15 cm of exposed glass on the left side.

A small part of me wants to shut my eyes to this defect. But a bigger part of me, just wants to get it fixed, quickly before we get to the "can't-be-bothered" stage.


Monday, November 15, 2010

The World Is A Smaller Place

Here is Snowy trying on the headset in order to make a Skype call. What did we do before Skype? Long-distance phone calls used to cost a bomb. We used to try to save some money by buying phone cards, and these were not the budget phone cards which cost 5 cents a minute or something ridiculous like that. This were the $2 per minute type of phone cards. Thank God for the internet and for Skype. Now we can keep in touch with friends and loved ones half across the world. Globalisation has touched all aspects of our life but the internet has made the world a much smaller place.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cute Bento Lunch

My creative bento-making friend, K came to my place today with 2 cute little bentos for my lunch. After looking at the cute photos she has up on her blog, I finally get to taste some of it. They were tasty in addition to being oh-so-cute. I saved the 2 buns with the cute faces because although the bento seems like a small box, it was rather filling. G and I made a quick snack of the buns on our way to meet a friend for coffee later in the afternoon. K and I had a good time discussing how to make a business out of her creativity in this area. I am really hoping that she can make a business out of it.

K also left me gifts of the bento box, food picks, a bento bag and a cute bento box strap since I was lacking a strap when I bought my own box from Daiso in Tokyo being the bento novice I was, I didn't realise they ALL need a strap to hold them in place.

In addition to all the edible goodies and bento accessories, she also gave me this lovely plant for the kitchen. It goes so well in the laundry area, adding some colour to my white, beige and steel kitchen. Now all I hope is that I don't kill the plant with my anti-green fingers.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Our Retro Armchairs - Second Lease Of Life

Some months ago, we got inspired by an exact same armchair we saw in one of my fave rehabbed furniture shops. Mum has offered me her two 1960's teak armchairs with the sad and tired lumpy cushions. I never thought much about those "ugly chairs" until recently. Wow, there is a lot of life in these chairs once you give them a wipe down, a light sanding and a polish. Then get some new cushions made with snazzy fabric.

I checked out people who could do the sand and polish job and found a man who would do them for $50 a chair. Next we checked out cushion makers and cushion cover makes. These cost an awful lot for really boring fabric. We then decided we would outsource the job across the border, actually quite far up north up the border, to Penang actually. It helped that we have got relatives who were resourceful and knew where to get everything and anything. They found us a cushion maker and a seamstress and with the exchange rate so favourable, we saved about 50% by getting these done in Penang. We bought the fabric we like from Ikea, had them brought over by a cousin who was in Singapore on holidays, with the exact measurements and hand-drawn instructions. Then voila! They were made in a few weeks' time.

Collecting them took a bit longer. We had to wait for our next trip to Penang because the 4 cushions were heavy and no relatives were driving out to Singapore. In any case, as we haven't got the chairs transported over to our new place, we didn't really need the cushions yet. We finally collected them last month while on holiday. Today we finally completed the second part of our move and the movers brought the rest of our stuff over from mum's place. It wasn't as much as we feared.

The cushions finally met the armchairs. All was well. We are happy.

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Random Japanese Inspiration

The first time I bought flowers or rather, a flower in the new house. A big, round chrysanthemum, plump and yellow sitting in a Japanese-inspired vase I got on my last trip in Sydney.

The flower, the vase, the Nouguchi table.

Origami crane - how more Japanese can one get? These little cranes were folded from washi paper that is 1.7 cm by 1.7 cm and then varnished with several layers of varnish to hold their shape. Little flower ornaments and earring hooks are then attached. Amazing work made by a artisan in Singapore.

A kokeshi doll inspired bento box which is made in Japan and sold by a French online seller living in Kyoto. This is a cutie little Maiko, an apprentice Geisha. It makes me want to start packing my lunch to work.

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Friday, November 05, 2010

A 3-Michelin-Star Macaron

For someone who got hit by the macaron bug while reading online blogs, it has been a long search for a really good macaron since I've not been to France or Japan in the last 5 years or so since I started fervently reading food blogs. So on this trip to Tokyo, there was a 3 Michelin star chef (Pierre Gagnaire) who has a restaurant and a bakery in the ANA Intercontinental hotel I was at, and the bakery sold tiny, little macarons.

I bought 4 and boy were they good. The crust was crispy and had the taste of almonds, which is more than I can say for the other macarons I've had in Australia, Hong Kong (before this, was the best I've bad) and Singapore. Actually, now as I am writing this, I recall having some mini macarons brought back from France by a colleague, but I cannot recall being blown away. The fillings were flavoursome and not overly sweet, the way the Singapore ones tend to be. You can really taste the lemon, mango and orange flavours.

Now I finally know how a really good macaron tastes like.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

Vintage Book Shelf

I heart this vintage book shelf even though it seems quite short for most of the books I own. The cookbooks would never fit. But there is the possibility of removing a shelf and hence having a double height for tall books. Give me enough time and I can talk myself into buying it!

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