Monday, March 26, 2012

Crafting: Spring inspiration

panoramic dandelions

It can only be spring.

How else would I explain how all my recent crafts are in decked out in happy splashes of rainbow colors?

My newest quilt

spring tote
Play tote for little girls

Geometric appliques

I love the warmer weather already!
What does spring inspire in you?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

News from the garden: Spring 2012


A new season, a new garden.

We have VERY grand plans for our garden this year. Already it's three times the size of our last plot, so it's going to be GOOOD!

Some of the plants this year are... are you ready?

Snow peas, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce (like Romaine and Argula), chinese vegetables such as Bak Choy and Gai Lan. We also have okra, radishes, eggplants, squash, zucchini, garlic, sweet Georgia onions. We have bush beans and Asian long red beans, cantaloupe and watermelons, our usual tomatoes (Roma and Brandywine) and herbs like basil, thyme rosemary sage cilantro dill, fennel and MINT!

MINT!!! Now think Mojitos in the summer!!!

And get this. SEVEN types of peppers : red and orange bell peppers, pepperocino peppers, chili padi (seed specially flown in from Thailand, cayenne pepper, jalapeno peppers and maraconi peppers.

Too bad it's just the start, and they're all tiny sprouts growing out of their planters. Eventually when they bear fruit, I'll be posting pictures of our harvests. The J-man got cool seeds this time, like Burmese okra and an eggplant variety from Iraq. We also bought 50 bamboo poles and erected the structures, in the picture below, for the beans to climb.


We bought our seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and they claim that all their seeds are non-GMO, non-hybrid, non-treated and non-patented. We wish to support companies like this one, so if you are looking into gardening, do read up about the companies before you buy the seeds.


When I came home from work one day, I had four strong muscular men working in the backyard. The J-man and his friends were constructing our very own chicken coop!!! They wired a fence all around a little shed we have in the yard. And we'll purchase the chickens once we clean out the shed and clear the area within the fence. Fresh eggs every morning! Just imagine that!


Lastly, don't laugh, but we're also trying to grow our own oyster mushrooms. Since we're not going to have his parent's neighbor's tree stump to rely on for our supply, and it really isn't morel hunting season yet, we're hoping these babies grow a little bigger before we harvest them! They're growing in ziplock bags!!

I will be posting with more updates on our garden / farm, so stay tuned and I hope you share our excitement!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

To-do or not to-do : What's your Motivation


Dear friends,

I received an email from a few days back, in relation to the previous post. Melanie is a contributor to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance blog, and was inspired to write an article after reading my bucket list entry below. While I do not profess to know much about mesothelioma cancer, I agree with what she has written.

I am an extreme list-maker. I make lists about lists. But it is my way of organizing my life, and to help me make sense of it. I certainly see how a list can be a source of motivation; you cannot know the amount of satisfaction I derive just by crossing out things on my daily to-do lists. And I'm pretty sure all of you out there are list-makers in your own little way, regardless of reasons.

But I digress.

One of Melanie's aims, is no doubt, to spread the word about Mesothelioma cancer. There are links at the end of this post for you to read up more about it if you are interested. Although it is uncommon (the cause of it is from exposure to asbestos), I always believe knowledge and awareness is the key. There is definitely no harm in more knowledge, because you never know when it might come in handy. Also, personal motivation applies to just about anyone. I believe everyone can take a little something out of this. So, with that in mind, I am sharing this with you, my friends.


Journal Writing as Personal Inspiration

For many people, writing a personal journal is a way to explore their thoughts and feelings about their daily activities or simply a way to keep track of past memorable events that have occurred within their life. However, a journal can also be a place to write about your dreams, ambitions or goals for your future as well. If you watched the move, “The Bucket List,” you have an idea of what can be accomplished if you allow yourself to dream into the future.

Your Personal Bucket List

Your personal journal is a great place to come up with your own personal bucket list. This does not need to be a list you share with anyone else, so it can be as silly, elaborate or simple as you like. A personal bucket list is a list of things that you want to accomplish. You can make your list of things you want to achieve within in the next year, the next five years or over the entire course of your life. It does not really matter what those things are, as long as you write them down and they have meaning to you.

Writing down your personal bucket list is important because somehow psychologically, writing something down gives weight and importance to your aspirations. As humans, we value what we write down; writing down your bucket list also gives you the ability to go back and look at it from time to time for inspiration. You may decide that you want to add things to your list as your life changes. You may also have a profound sense of satisfaction as you cross things off your list because you have accomplished them. In fact, accomplishing one thing on your bucket list may inspire you to add related things to accomplish in the future.

The Need to Look Forward

Writing down your personal bucket list can serve many purposes. For many people, it is a place they can turn to when they get frustrated with life. It gives them something to look forward to and think about for the future. If one of the things on your bucket list is to see Venice and ride in a gondola, when you get frustrated or depressed, you can mentally visit Venice in your mind and think of the things you need to do to make your dream trip a reality.

Having a list of things to accomplish can also be a wonderful motivator to actually accomplish those things. This can be especially true if you are looking for things to keep you motivated to keep moving forward. There are times in life when it is simply hard to keep going. For instance, if you are facing a challenging illness like mesothelioma or you have lost a spouse or someone you love, it can be tempting to just sit down and give up. But if you have a list of things you want to accomplish, then it gives you a reason to keep going and moving forward. Even if your prognosis seems grim, you can write down hopes for the future to give you drive to keep moving on to defeat your illness and live a happy life.


Melanie has provided a link to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog and if you wish to learn more about it, please leave a comment or contact me so I may put you through to her. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Music Concerts / Festivals Bucket List


Do you have a bucket list?

Well I do. I have a list of music festivals and concerts to go to in my life time. And I'm about to cross one off my list.

Dave Matthews Band is coming to Charlotte for ONE DAY in May, and I just bought tickets for them!!!! <3<3<3

Now I've listened to some of their "Live in Concert" CDs and man! These guys play a song FUR-EH-VER!!! See, they like to improvise and jam according to their mood, so sometimes you get an ultra long solo or an ending that never really wants to end. But I'm so thrilled to get tickets to see them. When I lived in Singapore, I always hoped that they would do an Asia tour. Who would have thought I'd move here and be closer to fulfilling some of my concert-going dreams!!!

Some others on the bucket list:

:: Kings of Leon ::

My very first concert in the US of A. Kings of Leon. They must have heard me scream my requests because they sang all my favorite songs! Then again, almost every one of their songs is my favorite. Especially "Use Somebody".

:: Bjork ::

When she was in China, she infamously ended her concert by chanting "Free Tibet" in her song "Declare Independence". Well, pretty apt for the song, but girl, you not going anywhere near the Great Wall in the next few life times.

:: Jason Mraz ::

Now this is one sexy man that can keep his beard and fedora. Watched him in Fuji Rock Festival 2008, where he whipped out a polaroid, took pictures of himself "with" the audience (while on stage), and threw the polaroids into the audience. Oh and his fedora too. Awesome showmanship, but the Japanese crowd was a tad too mild. I would love to go to one of HIS concerts.

::She & Him ::

Love Zooey Deschanel and her voice. She's got such classic charm, who can refuse. Sorry M. Ward, you know she steals the show.

:: Regina Spektor ::

I love her voice, love her tunes and catchy lyrics. The album that stole my heart was Songs. Fun songs in that album especially Aching to Pupate and Consequences of Sounds!!!

:: Jack Johnson ::

Picture this - Surfer dude who plays a guitar under the palm tree sitting on the beach in the warm sea breeze. What is there not to love?? This guy has the best job EH-VAH!

And the bucket list continues to list just about any other music festivals i can get my hands on!!!! Someday I will hit Glastonbury. Coachella and Lollapalooza seem much more attainable now!!

Who'd you like to see?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Crafting: Now THIS is a PROPER quilt!


My ex-boss had a baby girl on Leap Year Day! So she deserves something special!!

This is my third baby blanket, but the first with quilting as well as binding. And can you believe I made my own binding??? I couldn't believe it either, but I was surprised to find it wasn't rocket science.


I know it's not the traditional baby girl pink, but who can resist those cute Matryoshka dolls??

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring Blossoms!


Temperatures soared to a high of 80 deg F today!

Now isn't that a great way to start the month of March!

The weather has been so perfect that it's a shame i have to be at work all day. But the minute I get home, I grab my binoculars, jump outside and quietly bird watch.

Our cute little house (picture above) is flanked by two trees which are now beautifully dotted with pink flowers!

Does anyone know what tree this is? Here's a picture of its bloom.


And we might have started out too late with the gardening, what with the warmer weather now. What a gigantic plot of land! I can't wait to start! But first, we need to start tilling!!!


It's spring time loves!

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