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!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Day 358- Abandoned Room Converted

I know you won't believe me but I wasn't being a room-tease in my last post. I started writing late and  was almost typing with my eyes closed by the time Cindy and Asuka said yes. I didn't even plan to write about David (whom I am sure is alive and well somewhere) until I titled the post Abandoned Room (which I thought was a clever link to the Abandoned House). That meant of course a long explanation about why it was abandoned and then David and how long it was abandoned and then oh dear, my head nearly touched the keypad, it was almost 2 am and I had to wake up in 4 hours to run! I therefore had no choice but to abandon that post and go to sleep. 

But today, it is


Please allow me to show you the room and tell you everything about everything and hope that this time you are not the one nodding off.  


I live in what we call over here, a Black and White House.  I am sure you can tell how that name originated just by looking at this picture. This is also a photo of the entrance to the room. What you see were the last of the things I did- like hanging up this bathroom curtain that was thrown out by FaiZ because they changed the decor theme for their bathroom which used to be concert-in-the-forest-chic

and finding a perfect home for these mini- house wind chimes that I bought at the 3 for S$10 store a year back.

Then there was moving this heavy wrought iron side table that I found on the roadside one day with Neo's help. Finally, somewhere I can put these egg cartons that I have collected from rubbish bins and hardly used. The cloths over the table is a grey dhurri rug and a piece of green patchwork fabric I bought when I was in India that have outlived their usefulness as rugs for our floors. The bonsai pot was a gift from my mum when her bonsai tree died. 

Come, come, 
come and peep through the window

Yous: "ooooooooh"s and "ahhhhhhhhh"s

Me: "Awww, common, you haven't seen anything yet!"

This is probably your first impression of the room when you stepped in through the door. The Peranakan  cupboard and dresser together with the traditional kopitiam (coffeeshop) table were from my office. Even if they were bought new, they are all at least 16 years old now. 

Tables like this with the wooden carved legs and marble tops used to be a common sight at the neighbourhood coffeeshops when I was a child. Not anymore of course. So the really old ones are considered heritage pieces that must never be thrown away. 

The Neglected No More
There's a silly story behind this clay vase. It must be at least 20 years old and was bought when I was a young adult. I saw it in one of those brochures from a flower shop and liked it so much that I ordered the pot with sunflowers and have them sent it to me at my home with a card saying something like "Surprise!". I paid three times what it was worth, the flowers wilted within a week and I outgrew the vase in no time. But I never threw it away. Perhaps it was to remind me of a time when I was impulsive and silly and how I should always be a little so. This pot with the Gothic Roses were left hidden in some remote corner of my house for a long time. If you try to rearrange the roses, the leaves will fall off. That's how long it was left there. I am glad it now sits in our workroom with a story to tell. 

In front of that vase is a teapot with matching bowls which FaiZ bought for the house when he was in Uzbekistan last year. I love them so much but until today, they too were just kept in the storeroom. 

Happiness is serving the Apple Tea which Asuka bought from Turkey in that teapot and drinking it from the matching bowls, at the workroom of course.

This is a picture I took for Ilona. She was interested in a birdcage at the Mystic Place which I thought was not as pretty as this one. This birdcage and the basket next to it were also junk pickups, not by me but by my parents. As you can see, the trait runs in the family. My mum said she got it from me. 

This is the other side of that side of the room. Have you noticed the door yet? It's the connecting factor between this side and that side. No, not the vertical white one but the horizontal brown one. This is the clever idea that Cindy had - to use the door as our worktable top. Worktable, worktable, I just love how I am able to say that : our worktable, finally, a The 2 pieces of grey worktable bases at each end of our worktable are light plastic bases that FaiZ picked up about a year ago from some workplace that was being renovated.Yes, even my housemate is a junk pick-upper. Can you further see how this trait can be very contagious? 

Our worktable fits 2 chairs but can accommodate up to 6 mini makers, thanks to the size of our projects. This is where I will sit, on the sun-moon chair that my sister gave me. When SuZ had to shift her office for the very 1st time, she didn't want to bring her old stock so I inherited all her 1st generation chairs. For almost 12 years in my current home, none of my 16 dining chairs matched.

One of those chairs was my favourite, this sun-moon chair. There was about 5 years in my life (around the same time I bought the vase) when I was really into anything with a sun face. I even tattooed my foot with a sun face. Imagine my thrill when I got this chair ... but that was a long time ago...

so long that one of the chairs that I inherited can no longer be held together, not even with scotch tape.

Shootalicious it's already 12 am! In all that time, I have only shown 1 side of the room and explained half that side. I am sorry but I will have to shoo you out now. It's that hour when we can't be here...tell you more tomorrow. Shoo, shoo, shiiiiiiiiiiiiiii....


Good Night, People!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Between Days 354-358 Converting An Abandoned Room

We have a room in the extension of our home that has been abandoned by a housemate who left the country and never came back. 

He was going home to the US for an operation in September last year and left some of his belongings behind assuring us that he would be back. After a few months, when we failed to hear from him, we tried to contact him through email and text messages but there was just silence. We did not know what to make of his disappearance so his room was just left vacant with all his things the way they were. 


It was a year later, on 4th October 2012 that a decision was finally made about this room. On one of our Saturdays Mini Meet, rather spur of the moment-ly, while chatting with Cindy and Asuka, I asked them if they would be interested in having a workroom here with me. They were both really enthusiastic and excited and that got us planning almost immediately on what had to be done. 

As I have just shifted to my new office, we had a few furniture items that could not fit into the new space stored away in a warehouse. I told the girls that if I could fit these furniture into the workroom, I could save on the monthly warehouse charges. 

Some of you may remember this cupboard. It was placed just outside the house on a small walkway to the extension. 

It was where I stored some of my supplies, collected, bought and saved since 1999. Those pictures were taken in April 2010. 2 and a half years later today, the door with the mirror has already fallen off completely and even more junk was thrown in there. 

Darling Cindy very kindly volunteered to help me pack those things into a box so I could junk the cupboard together with some of the stuff in David's room. So on 30 October 2012, while I was going crazy with my schedule at the new office, Cindy and Fafa did the unenviable task of emptying this cupboard without my help. 

The next day, the workers came to remove the junk and painted the room. The old and faithful cupboard that I had kept for 16 years was gone but we kept the door because Cindy  had a brilliant idea on what we could do with it. 

My wonderful cousin came and fixed the ceiling fan in the room and on 15th November 2012, Day 358, the furniture that were stored away arrived.

I took that day off  to clean up the room and ended up working for more than 12 hours, thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. When I was done, I messaged both Cindy and Asuka, asking if they would come down today to see the room. They both readily agreed.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Day 357- Abandoned House Revisited

It has been 3 weeks since we found the abandoned house and not a day went by that I didn't think about going back. So despite the fact that we had all just finished running another punishing half marathon race this morning and I could barely moved without eliciting an involuntary ouch, I decided to take a drive down in the late afternoon to see if I could find the house again. It didn't take me long. 

Imagine my utter surprise though to find the verandah totally void of the awful landscaping. Then imagine my amazement at what I could now see. 

There was a pair of matching relief murals that must have been carved and painted onto the wooden walls after the house was built. Needless to say, weather, time and creepers had altered the artwork considerably;

yet, I couldn't help noticing how resounding they now echoed with their environment. 

Nothing significant really was taken away from the art, instead they had been seasoned to harmonise and perfected to blend. I stood in front of the faded vases for a long while, looking at them and then looking out at the wilderness and then back to looking at the painted foliage. 

The artist must have intended this; this nurturing of his art. How clever, I thought, if that was indeed so, to be collaborating with the greatest artist of all, Mother Nature. 

Soon, the shadows grew longer and the evening breeze gathered close and it felt almost like I was in a fairy house as the light of the moving leaves danced around me. 

Perhaps it really is a fairy house.

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