Monday, 31 December 2012

Day 364- Heralding The New Year

I want to welcome tomorrow and the 364 days thereafter with excitement. Every change is an adventure which I shall engage enthusiastically.

I want to care more. Be grateful for my loved ones, giving to my friends and generous with all who need  my counsel. 

I want to live the year with renewed energy. Be curious, stay passionate, see the world with a fresh eye and treat each endeavour like it is my first. 

Yet, I must not forsake the good old ways. Like reading a great book, which I have not found the time for in the past years.

Finally, I wish to play more.

Play with no guilt,
Play with pure joy
and fill it with abandoned laughter.

 I hope you will  join me.

To A New Year With More Play!
Cheers, my friends!

P.S. Kisses to Ro for the mini cars when she visited this year. These babies are now in heaven. 

Day 364- Stop And Smell The Roses

I have a habit of picking up tiny wildflowers from the road, usually on walking trails or when I run. These I picked on a mountain in the Kakadu National Park when I visited Darwin in August this year. They look like tiny spider lilies and even though I have kept them in a wine bottle for 4 months now, the colours are still brilliant and have not faded.

There were a couple of occasions when I even found pots of plants, usually not in good health. There was this particular spot just outside the park behind my house that appeared to be a popular dumping ground for these homeless plants.Of course, I carried them home, pot and all.

Sometimes, I find very good use for them.

Often times, I don't.

But at least they are not homeless anymore.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Day 362- A Dream About The House

I had a dream about the house.It was so vivid that I thought it was real. I usually don't dream or if I do, I don't remember much of it. This time however, not only can I remember very specific details about that house, I can recall what I was thinking and feeling in the dream. 

For example, I remember thinking how the windows baffled me. The word window is really a misnomer. They were more like 2 holes in the wall. There were no casing, no shutter, hardly a frame. I have a distinct impression that the bottom window was boarded up but it was not planks doing the boarding. I remember seeing a dirty, painted filigree cross and I remember thinking flowers. I don't really know why because there were no flowers. In fact, there was no sign of life at all. 

Then there was this birdcage hanging on the upper window. It had 2 bars pried open as if the captived bird had used every ounce of its strength to force an exit. That birdcage epitomised the state of the house succinctly. Rundown, sad, abandoned. I remember thinking, even the best things in life, through indifference and neglect, turn to junk. Eventually, they will only disappear or die.

I woke up and was surprised to find that my face was wet. The tears were perplexing as I hardly ever cry. I didn't understand how I could get so emotional over a house. I resolved however to visit the house again soon. 

In fact, I think I will do it tomorrow. Right after my Sunday morning run.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Day 361- I Still Am...

Gift received on 11/12/2012

It's been 4 years but I still feel the same thrill at receiving a gift from afar as the one I experienced the 1st time someone I have never met sent me something just because. 

I am just as overwhelmed by the generosity of such a friend who gave me something as extravagant as a piece of work she had spent many hours making.

And when this precious gift came with words like you can stain it, cut it, make holes in it to make it more authentic-it's yours. I also hope it will encourage you (somehow) not to give up stitching in miniature, I am moved beyond words because in that simple sentence, she is telling me, I may not met you but I know you and I am your friend. 

Thank you Natalia, for this beautiful gesture and your friendship. 

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Day 363- Christmas Afternoon

Birdcage from Margriet- Europe 2012

Christmas afternoons are just like Christmas mornings where I live. December is so cool here that afternoons feel just like early morns with the sun barely peeking through the clouds. 

This is the time I wake up, usually after a night of partying with family or friends. I love being with them but I really welcome the day after when I have it all to myself,

doing what I love.

I therefore wish for you as beautiful a Christmas Day
as I am having right now. 

And Margriet, I hope you are not too shocked at what I am doing to your lovely birdhouse. It's just that it is a prominent feature in my next project!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Day 362-Celebrating The 4th Year

How shall I celebrate my 4th year

A question that has plagued me for days while I laboured over this anniversary post. It came to me when I was lighting up this incense, thinking how my 4th year drifted by so fast, it was like the smoke through my window, dust in the breeze. Then it struck me. Perhaps I shouldn't only be asking the question how, rather, it should also be about what. With that, the answer was clear as day.

With incense and perfume, for friendships and love.

 Rosanna's Gift in 2010 with an incense holder I bought only yesterday. 

Perfume and incense makes the heart glad, but the sweetness of a friend is a fragrant forest- Proverb 27, Bible

In a weird and wonderful way that is blogland, great blog friends can become constant companions who never met, confidants with no need for conversations, chums who know you sometime better than you know you.

There's not a word yet, for old friends who have just met- Jim Henson, favourite Songs From Jim Henson's Muppets 

Like this porcelain trivet that Ro brought me from Provence in 2010. It was  her 1st visit to Singapore and only the 2nd time we met. The trivet has a garden motif and appears now to be the harbinger of things to come. Be it serendipitous or acumen, gardens figure significantly in my creations this year. Was I thinking about this trivet or inspired by it? The answer would have to be no .Ro however could already see back then how much I love plants and gardens. 

What is a friend? A single soul in two bodies- Aristotle

On Saturday, I walked into a 2nd hand bookstore and quite unexpectedly found a pre-loved, Oriental incense holder going for a token S$3, definitely not something you would find in a bookstore.  The French trivet flashed through my mind and I knew immediately that I have found for it a sister from the East. I came home, placed one on top of the other and it was a if they were made to match. Incense and perfume. I brought it to Our Dollhouse and finally knew what I wanted to write.

With suitcases and flowers, travelling to afar.

Can miles truly separate you from friends...if you want to be with someone, aren't you already there?- Richard Bach

This year started with fulfilling a wish I had way back, would you believe, also in 2010, just after a year of blogging. I had dreamt of making a trip to meet 3 blog friends, picturing all 4 of us having a picnic under the stars. So I travelled and I did it in 2 ways. The far and wide one took me the whole of this year. This was me celebrating the friendships in my 3rd year. 

Some of the materials for building the suitcase gardens

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you... I could walk through my garden forever- Alfred Tennyson.

For the time that I was building your garden, my friend, you were in my thoughts, constantly. Your colours, your pets, your projects, your words. Even though I didn't travel with the suitcase garden, it was as if I was there, watching your expressions when you opened them. In this way, my rusty suitcases and I went to Poland, Spain, Germany, America, Israel, Italy and hopefully Mexico. Sometimes I was spot on, sometimes I caused puzzlement, sometimes the reaction came much later after the initial what the hell  should I do with this? I finally only finished the last 2 just this month. It was not easy, building each and every one of these suitcase gardens but it was small recompense for your constant companionship, unfailing support and generosity.

Flowers I picked while trekking with Ro in Liguria- March 2012

You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes - A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh.

Europe 2012 will remain forever and ever for me, one of Life's most beautiful experiences. And if  forever and ever can be measured in any way, then it surely must be the same way they measure the warmth, care and attention showered upon me during that trip. A trip so incredibly amazing and made possible only because of  my extraordinary friends in blogland.

Ewa's candies for the girls in Spain, April 2012

It takes a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye- Anurag Gupta.

With a lump in my throat, I thank you,  Eva, Ro, Birgit, Sylvia and Ewalina, you and your dear sweet family. You had offered me your home, food, even your bed and treated me like one of you. We have travelled together, sometimes across states, sometimes across countries and sometimes just for a drive or in a train but every single one of that journey has left an indelible imprint in my heart. I can never forget and only pray that one day, you will allow me to do for you what you did for me.

I thank you, Roberta, Ascension, MaLu, Maria Luisa, Marta, Gina, and Eva Fernandez for taking the time to meet with me. And you, Teresa and Margriet, for your thoughtful gifts. To the ladies at the Arnhem Fair, thank you for the laughter. And to the others I have yet to meet, thank you for always being interested in me, my life, my work, even my journeys.

The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again- Charles Dickens,Nicholas Nickleby

Have I told you yet that Rosanna and Eva were 2 of the 3 friends I wanted to meet together in 2010? By now, we have visited each other 4 times, Ro and I, twice with Eva but Rosanna and Eva did not meet, That changed in August this year when Rosanna went to Barcelona. I was almost as excited and happy as the both of them. New friendships fostered, closer bonds established.

The link I dreamt of in 2010 is almost complete, pending the big reunion and in 2012, I wish for more links, further links, one after another until we are all real friends, all 429 of you.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Day 357- A Faded Portal

What do you make of a door that can no longer close,
a door that has lost its handle years ago?

Do you accept its subtle but open treat
and through its empty broken hole you peep?
Or do you stand and stare at its faded state
and wonder what scariness lies ahead?

Will you try and pry it open,
barely containing your excitement?
Or will you choose to leave it alone,
why risk the wrath of the unknown?

What do you do with a door that just won't open,
frozen with disuse, a door that's broken?

 Do you accept that it truly is immobile
and that attempts to access'll be futile ?
Or do you stand and stare at its faded state
and scheme and devise a way to invade?

Will you resort to shouting open sesame,
with high hopes, in sweet anticipation?
Or will you sigh and say it's not meant to be,
yield to it, in complete submission?

It may be wise to pause and remember,
closed doors surely can't stay shut forever;

yet neither are we the wiser
 if close by there is another; 

an open portal, we forget or ignore,
for we are too intent on a shut door.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Day 351-Ilona's Portrait

I first saw him in May this year. It was between him and something abstract. For me, the choice was clear. It was him at first sight. I asked Ilona if she could show me photographs of her life size painting of this miniature print so I could get a clearer picture. The artist did precisely that in an email.  In August, she did one better and I got more than just a clearer picture. 

He arrived, unannounced and of course completely unexpected.

Thank you, Ilona for making me very happy that day.
Thank you too, Birgit, for helping.

There is so much I want to know about him, this man whom Ilona referred to as Mr. Silhouette Man. The shaded profile, that black background, even his nickname conjures up for me events and scenes that are sometimes mysterious, often times moving and occasionally tinged with magic. 

I can spin a whole lifetime of stories around this picture.

And I most certainly will. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Day 358-Our Doll House, The Workroom

This has to be my single most loved item in the workroom; this little radio given to me by my dad specifically for use here. The sight of it could bring me back to a time when I was just as little, frolicking with my sisters outside my granny's house; while my dad and uncle sat on an old canvas folding bed with a radio that looked almost like this one, playing night music. 

It's almost a ritual now; once I am at the door, I'll switch on the fan - and yes, blessed are working fans even if they are noisy 

or terribly rusty-

and right after switching on those fans, it will be the radio and then I'll light an incense or a mosquito coil in a clay burner that I bought from Little India as long as 10 over years ago. 

This type of burner has been in use since my mother or maybe even her mother's time and I am glad they are still commonly found in shops near my home today.

Then as if the mosquitoes cannot be more poisoned, I'll also burn some aromatic mosquito-killing oils in My Maharajah's Palace burner.

This is the other side of the room, dominated mainly by the ingenious bench-bed designed and built by my cousin Ko who also fixed my fan. On it lay an antique kilim runner bought when I was in Pakistan in the late 90's. The cushions are covered in tatami. By day, they served as seats on the bench.

By night, the bench can be extended into a bed. This means that the workroom can also double up as a guest room which translates into more blog friends visiting. This piece of furniture has been neglected and left outside in the corridor for a long time but I stubbornly refused to have it thrown away. Never if I can help it and now there'll be no reason to because it finally has a home.

This replica Ban Chiang pot was acquired when SuZ started working at a designer furniture store shortly after her graduation.They were then selling limited numbers of these pots and it was at her insistence that I bought two. Made in the style and tradition of ancient Ban Chiang earthenware, the original of these pots were found to associate directly with human burials. As it was a custom in the ancient times to bury the dead with their prized possessions, these pots, which could have been used for storage or cooking, were commonly treated as part of funereal wares. The earliest pot to have been discovered is believed to date back to 3500 B.C. Ban Chiang, an archaeological site in Thailand where these pots were found and therefore so named after, has been declared a UNESCO heritage site since 1992. 

Currently, this Ban Chiang pot, which came from my old office premises, is serving as a glamorous bin for us to store some materials and day old rubbish. 

Finally too, is a proper place to display some treasured gifts from friends. The little gnome house was a gift from Ascension when I was in Spain this year. It has suffered a little from the long distance travelling but I will make sure it be repaired soon so that I can show off Ascension's wonderful creations to you. The magnificent and very distinctive tree was made specially for me by Eva and she gave it to me when she and her family visited Singapore last year. I just love how they look together in this corner on the planter stand.

Rosanna bought this miniature bonsai at a shop in Marina Bay Sands when she was here this year. She bought it because she knew I loved it and she gave it to me just before she left Singapore. I was at the shop with her when the shopkeeper told us this was a real plant preserved and shrunk to this size using some kind of patented method. I still remember Rosanna and I studying the plant in disbelief and exchanging notes on why we thought this could be handmade. One day, I will break the plastic case holding the bonsai so I can have an even closer look. 

The top of this cupboard holds some of my waiting-to-be-bashed doll and animal collection. As you can see, this side is for elephants and the one I prized above all others is placed right in front. This bejewelled creature was bashed by Birgit for me after she read my post on the elephant parade that was in Singapore.It was a birthday gift moons ago and along with it came loads of marzipan and other gifts. Those gifts that are not already in my stomach, I will show in more appropriate posts.

If you are wondering where I store all that stuff in the old cupboard I threw away,I am pleased to share that quite a fair bit was thrown out with that cupboard.

For the rest, the not so pretty things I kept inside this cupboard. The Mac laptop box underneath as well as the small hemp sack on top hold my tools and the mini oven next to the sack belongs to Cindy.

Here are the pretty ones which I display according to colour and use. I was surprised that they took up so little space once they were neatly arranged. I even have room for a memento like this card which I bought from Krakow when I was with Ewalina

With that, I believe you have seen almost all of this small workroom of ours.

A cacophony of the discarded, much neglected, the very old, the pretend to be old,

if there is indeed a decor style at all for this room, it will have to be reduce-recycle-reuse-chic.  

Asuka has taken to calling this space Our Doll House and I think there are no better term than these three words to describe how I  feel about this precious space.

It's late now. 

So goodnight, Our Doll House!

Till our next meet!

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