Thursday, September 2, 2010

Toy Story

What I'm about to write may sound like the story of Toy Story 3. Except that it's a true story. And I really don't have the perspective of the toys in my situation. When I went away to University, I spent five years away from home. My little rocking chair, my doll furniture, my 8th grade sewing material, all my markers and crayons (though I wasn't good at drawing ever) were all left behind. Every year when I visited home, I'd decide to sort things out. Throw out or give away many. But some toys, I held onto for a long time. Until I met a family with four kids. I decided it would be reasonable to give away my toys here because there are two boys and two girls in the family. Well obviously most of my toys are meant for girls. I was sick of the toys taking up space in our apartment and so I thought it's best for them to be played with rather than just tucked away safely here. I bet they missed being played with. I first checked to see what toys were actually give-able.
In the end, I decided to give away toy duck, a baby doll, a play house and a set of Barbie sized furniture. When we went over, the kids' mom told us that they seem to like to break toys a lot. This worried me a little but then I thought, far better than being kept on my cupboard and being thrown one day without ever played with again. The kids were first unsure of how the toys were to be assembled. So I sat down with them and put everything together. Their eyes widened as they saw what the toys are supposed to look like. And how were they supposed to know, I hadn't given them any boxes or anything with the picture.

The youngest daughter had already adopted the baby doll and when batteries were thrown in, she was delighted by the sounds of "mama, papa" and the crying and laughter when the doll's hands and feet were pressed.
The playhouse came with the box and instructions on it, so the little boy started to assemble the plastic rods and though I could see he wasn't managing very well at the start, I left him to it. And eventually, he had set it all up!
Their mom called us a few days later saying the kids love all the toys and since they have summer vacations, they've got now something to do even being cooped up indoors all day. When we visited next, I was pleased to see everything was still intact and the kids were having so much fun. And it feels awesome to know that something useless to me is a source of joy to someone else. ^-^

Monday, August 23, 2010

Marble Cupcakes Adventure

I am still in the process in learning how to bake and cook and I consider myself as a beginner. I, therefore, find it simpler to bake from ready made cake mixes. But once in a while, I like to try out making something from scratch. On my good friend Mehwish's blog, I found a recipe of marbled cupcakes. Cupcakes are just my favorite things to bake and I vowed I would give these a try. When I read the recipe aloud to my sister, my first question was, what kind of measurement is "oz". She found it very funny for some reason. Anyway, I learnt it's actually an ounce. (You see why I call myself a beginner now?)
I was just waiting to buy some butter and get started. The impatient person I am, as soon as I got butter, I wanted to make them. My friend was asleep at the time. I looked up her recipe and I started converting ounces to cups/tablespoons. I knew that sugar, flour and butter weigh differently. So I did the math and wrote on a paper what I'd be needing. Didn't have self rising flour so googled that too. And then I began. As I got the flour out and mixed it with baking powder, I somehow felt that the quantity of flour looked way too much. I asked Ammi and she told me to google it again. So after discussion with Ammi I realized just in time that I had over 4 cups of flour when I needed actually just one and a bit more. =D
I messed up the kitchen and I wasn't sure how the cupcakes would turn out because of my clumsiness in measuring BUT thanks to Mehwish's accurate instructions, they turned out just perfect. \(^.^)/

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cup Cakes!

Cupcakes I discovered are just cake batter poured into little paper cups! But somehow they're cuter than a cake. People design such wonderful things with cupcakes. So I got hold of a Betty Crocker French Vanilla Cake mix and tried them out!
The french vanilla smell was so awesome while they baked.

Made some icing with fresh cream.....

 and sprinkled the colored bits!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back to the Books

I haven't had the chance to read many books during my university days. But now, I've begun again. Away from the distracted life and without the worry of assignments and projects, I think this isolation for is ideal for book reading. Recently I finished listening to an audiobook of the old classic "The Secret Garden". I had read it as a kid, in a simplified form.
The last audiobook I heard was "The Time Traveler's Wife". The best thing about an audiobook is that it's like someone reads for you. Though you have to concentrate on the reading. I have drifted many times away if I were not paying attention. I suppose it's  because of the way my mind has been trained to shut out classroom lectures. ;)
A great place to find free audiobooks is
Ebooks in the form of pdfs are also good. You'll find them if you look hard enough :i
An audiobook or a pdf, I think, still cannot replace the pleasure of reading a book in hand.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Fifth Mountain : Answers A Lot of Whys

Finished reading Paulo Coelho's The Fifth Mountain today and it had a lot of lessons in it. The book tries to explain why when everything seems perfect, things fall apart. And one has to believe that eventually life has a good plan in store and get on with rebuilding. Some memorable quotes from the book are: 
  • All life's battles teach us something, even those we lose.... you'll discover that you have defended lies, deceived yourself, or suffered for foolishness. If you're a good warrior, you will not blame yourself for this, but neither will you allow your mistakes to repeat themselves
  • There is no tragedy, only the unavoidable. Everything has its reason for being: you only need to distinguish what is temporary from what is lasting. What is temporary?... The unavoidable... and what is lasting?... The lessons of the unavoidable.
  • A child can teach an adult three things:  to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sewing and Cooking!

I sewed my first felt toy yesterday. :i It's a doll. I stuffed the body with cotton and used blanket stitch all around.

Deciding the hair for Betty was tricky since I didn't have any yarn. The first hairstyle I had for her made her look like a nun. =P So finally I came up with this:

Sewing the little dress for her was delightful! :d

I came across my barbie's furniture and Betty cooked herself a meal.....

.....and then she took a nap! ;)

Doll pattern used is from here.

I also tried a little cooking today and made spicy deep fried chicken. It turned out to be awesome. :e All thanks to Tehniat's recipe here. :)

This is my first attempt at cooking probably and I'm going to try more things soon! Keep checking back! :) :r

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Had To Try This

Dad says it's not a durable purse since the stitches might be weak. But I had to try making one :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Felt Rose ^_^

My mum likes flower hair clips so I've tried making one today. The clip I used for the bottom was a white one lying around the house that no one really ever used. I mean who needs a white clip. So here it is a red rose clip for mummy :)

This wonderful tutorial made things so simple.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Keep Calm And Sew On

I did go to the doctor last week and got a bunch of medicines. Not just for backache, turned out that my wisdom tooth was getting infected as well. This has caused me to spend a slow week of illness. One week. Huh. It really felt like a century! Anyway, I am pleased to say that I have regained most of my health now. Still cautious about what I eat but I feel better. I think when medicines don't suit you, you should go and ask the doctor to change them instead of putting up with the terribleness. We went to the mall yesterday and shopping therapy did me well.
Dad has been with me mostly when I was in search of felt and so, he spotted a shop in the mall. This is such a relief since I was running out of felt and this mall is nearby so felt is now within easy reach. I've been obsessed with clutch bags for over an year now. I saw some pretty decent ones yesterday at the mall but didn't think any of them was worth the price. I therefore, decided to try sewing a clutch myself. Pink and orange go so well together. My stitches are still a bit untidy at places but I'm happy with the result. I didn't want my clutch to slouch so I taped two floppy disks and inserted them for back support. Wasn't sure I'd be able to make this in one day but I did. :)
The tutorial I used to make the pretty flower can be found here. What's next? I can't say but I'm sure to try something else. Keep checking back! :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What To Do With Floppy Disks

I have more than a dozen floppy disks in the house from the time they were really in use. I would have probably thrown them away but I'm glad I didn't because here I found a way to make felt boxes using these useless floppies. It was just a matter of sewing pouches for each disk and then stitching them all together. I used the daisy flower pattern for the design. And its turned out to be nice enough, if I do say so myself.

With the bad bad backache I've come down with, I'm glad I have sewing to keep me distracted during the day. Ammi has a backache as well. When I finished my box she was sitting on the sofa in front of me and she said,"Dikhao." And I tried to get up and hand it to her then I went, "Err you could just look at it from here for now." It was actually kind of funny. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Felt iPOD Cozy

Since I started work with felt, my family has been requesting things. The first two things that I sewed were simple enough. Then I decided to make an ipod cozy for my sister's ipod. I didn't want to go for the plain rectangle design so I chose star shape. I wanted to make it like a pouch as well as something she can use for viewing her ipod screen without having to take it out. It took me more time and effort than I had imagined. I also learnt and practiced the blanket stitch. Cutting out the portion of the screen and the wheel was the most difficult part. It's not perfect but my sister likes it. So here you go, here is the ipod cozy that I made with felt:

If you'd like to give it a try yourself, here's the tutorial that I followed for the most part.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day One Working with Felt

The word 'felt' often conjures up images of mass-produced multicolored squares, or perhaps the green stuff found under piano keys or on pool tables. - Gillian Harris (Complete Feltmaking) 

My friend Shumaila suggested I look for felt material to hand-sew cute little things. I was excited when I finally found felt after much searching. It's kind of woolly and easy to work with. My first day working with my six colors of felt was wonderful. Since I'm a beginner, I look for easy tutorials around the internet. The first thing I tried was making Alice Merlino's tutorial of a simple felt daisy. I didn't have yellow felt so I replaced the center yellow with blue. Once I was done with it, Ammi suggested attaching a magnet to it's back. The flower is now on our fridge. :)

Let's make Twart! 

The next thing I made was this twitter bird using Melissa Crowe's tutorial for valentine's from here. Since I don't have hard felt I added a little cotton so that it's not as flat. I replaced the word, 'be mine' with 'tweet' making it a form of Twitter+Art= Twart!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Expensive Cell Phone in Karachi? No way!

Karachi is a wonderful city. It has taught me so much. The value of a cell phone for one thing. For two years I went around fearlessly on the streets of Karachi telling myself, girls don't get robbed here! And then one fine morning during Ramazan, I was hurrying to my stop when these men came on a bike and said, "Madam, phone do!" And just like that, it was gone. I never kept any expensive phone during my university days. Still, I bought one from my internship money which wasn't so bad. And someone stole it out of my bag in a public bus!
Reading Shaheryar's blog post reminded me of the times I've been lucky. They're actually quite funny, the times I've "almost" lost my cell phone. See, when university ended, I asked my parents for a more expensive phone. I was cautious about carrying it outdoors. But when you're out with friends without a care of the world, you tend to lose focus. Especially if it's an amusement park.
I was with my sister and friends and we were at this ride which is all darkness except a screen. In the midst of being thrown around and laughing at my friend who was scared to death, I got this feeling that my phone plopped out of my purse and fell on the floor. My heart stopped. It was so dark and we had strangers sitting behind us. What if someone else got hold of it before me when the light came back?
So I told my sister, call my phone! And she was like, whaaaat? It took a while to explain to her what I wanted her to do. When she got her phone out and dialed my number, I saw a light on the floor. Ta-da! Phone found. *phew* That was a really close call. Of course, I ruined the whole ride for myself and my sister because of it. =D
This other time, we were going to our university Annual Dinner and I was hell excited since this was probably the last thing we'd be invited to formally. As I got off the taxi and moved towards the gate happy and proud of being the honorable graduate, I thought I heard someone calling me. My sister had my phone in her hand. The taxi driver had noticed something on the back seat and called her for it. Whoops! That was embarrassing.   I have a feeling the driver didn't know it was a phone, with it being in a case and the colorful dangling. Or maybe he was just an honest person. But that's very unlikely on the streets of Karachi. It's sad really. There have been other times I've lost my phone but usually I tend to look out for it as if it's my child I'm taking around. Sure hope I don't drop my kid in an amusement park ride ever O.o

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Shrek Forever After - Review

After all those Shrek movies, I didn't know what to expect in this installment. Yet, it has a great new story. This movie brought back the memory of some old fairy tales that I had long forgotten. Like, Rumpelstiltskin who plays the main villain in the movie. Ah, how he tricks people still! And the piped piper! Here is one character I totally forgot about. I loved that story.
You'd think after meeting his dream girl, marrying her and having three kids, Shrek couldn't mess up anything. Yet he does. He kinda gets tired of life on his kids' first birthday. He does something stupid that causes his world turn upside down by of course, magic. Out of all the things that get changed, the pampered, over weight Puss (no more in boots) seemed the funniest to me.
Overall, this part of Shrek is a good watch with the lesson of being thankful for what we have. Also as Shrek realized, love is putting the happiness of our loved one before ours.

The Shrek website has the Do-The-Roar right here :
Haha! =D
Oh yeah, I loved all those Happy Meal toys and the Green Apple Sundae at Mc Donald's. That was nice going. ;)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our Umrah Trip - In Photos

We started our journey by going from Dammam airport to Jeddah airport. Dammam airport, I like!

We took the Sama airline plane and landed at Jeddah airport. Before landing, the plane flew below the clouds and we had an air-tour of Jeddah from above. It was magical.

We went on a rented car till Makkah where we found a room on the 11th floor but thankfully quite near to Haram. What a view!

So we stayed here for about a day and a half. Going back and forth to Haram was simple and quick. Although the weather was really hot, as soon as you step on the white marble of Haram, it's unbelievably cool.

On the way we'd meet lots of pigeons. They've made homes in those windows up there.

The following buildings are right outside of Haram. Making it easy to find spots for lunch-ing.

and dessert-ing ;)
Then, we left for Madina.

And we found a nice hotel with good rooms, very near to Haram.

Look what we found at the back of the hotel.

We went to see Masjid-e-Quba also. Which is the first masjid of Islam.

And we flew from Madina to Dammam by Saudi Airlines. No one told me that it's a shorter flight. Which is why I got scared as the plane got lower and lower. =P

And here we are, back to dusty Jubail.

Time for doughnuts before we leave for home. :)