Blue Monday: Cheap clothings

Ahem. I am back.
I wasn’t planning on a long leave from blogging. In fact, I didn’t have any plans to have a blog leave at all. However, since it is already summer – notorious for the scorching heat and persistent daily power cuts – I just stopped blogging. No pre-written posts, no photos in the drafts. Nada. Then the Khmer New Year came (we went on a holiday) and gone (and I didn’t really made an effort to go back, le sigh). I just sat back and allowed this blog to go stagnant. Meh.

Glad that I’ve woken up from that funk! So now I’m slowly inching to go back into the blogging groove again. Let me start again with this photo for our Blue Monday meme:

Clothes everywhere. Cheap, too.
Clothes everywhere. Cheap, too.

There’s so much cheap RTW (ready-to-wear) goods in Cambodia. Most of them are factory overruns, from hundreds of factories operating in the country. So you can imagine the quantity and the variety. In the above photo,  the goods are displayed in stalls in and around Psah Thmey (or Central Market). They are of good quality, and cheap, too. If you don’t mind the heat and sweat from digging through the pile, you are guaranteed to go home with the best buys. If this is not your preference, there are also air-conditioned shops nearby selling similar goods but more expensive.

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Blue Monday: Me, Max and the blue swing

Hello, friends.

We have a fantastic weather here in Phnom Penh and we are all loving it. We are approaching summer and hoping that it won’t be as hot as the previous years.

So what to do with a lovely weather? Outdoors, of course, and play with the doggies.

The blue swing was made by my landlord for his grandchildren. And while they're in school, I love sitting here and basking in the sun.
The blue swing was made by my landlord for his grandchildren. And while they’re in school, I love sitting here and basking in the sun.

This photo was actually taken two years ago and I remember we had the same fine weather then. It reminded me of that old place where we used to live – across Chhba Ampov bridge. In the compound is my landlord’s charming wooden house and one of his married children next door to us. I love it there because there were lots of plants, we get a lot of fresh breeze, and most of all, we have a big yard for our dogs (we had two then) to run around.

Speaking of dogs, I was surprised that Max didn’t mind the camera when my husband took this photo. Normally, she would just walk away as she is not comfortable with the camera pointing at her, and hasn’t warmed up to it up to now.

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Blue Monday: Tools of the trade

Hah, last week, I posted about my current “obsession”. Today I’m posting some of the tools that I use because they are – wait for it – in blue 🙂

A. Paint brushes

Cheap watercolour brushes.
Cheap watercolour brushes.

First of all, I’m not a painter but I use a fair bit of watercolours in my drawings and calligraphy. Also, I use brushes not only for colouring purposes but also for loading my nibs with ink. Before starting calligraphy, I read blogs of expert calligraphers and they have really helpful tips for newbies like me. Dunking the nib to the ink-well or bottle can be done but it makes a mess and, more often in my case, loading copious amount of ink to the nib causing the dreaded blobs and blots.

Also, I wanted to buy brushes of different sizes. The smaller it is, the better since I like to be able to do small details. These are cheap brushes that I bought from a Chinese shop close to where I live and so far, I’m happy with the results.

2. Pens, pencils, and erasers

Pens, pencils and erasers.
Pens, pencils and erasers.

There is nothing more important to an artist than a pencil. It is the very foundation of many great masterpieces. I use a pencil to sketch my idea. Again, any pencil will do. An eraser is equally important to me, too.

Gel pens are very useful when I do faux calligraphy on black (or any other coloured) papers. I love them – especially metallic colours. They’re so pretty in black paper and/or card stock.  I’m also looking for the white gel pen but, as most art stuff, it is hard to find them here in Cambodia. The black pen (Pilot G2) is also a must-have for me and I use it for usual writing (postcards, letters, etc.) and also some special hand-lettering projects, too.

So there you have it, these are but some of the tools in my long list.
Have a great week ahead, my friends. Thank you for dropping by.

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Blue Monday: Gouache and water ink

In case anyone noticed, I was away from blogging for a good two weeks.
Nothing really happening from my side of the planet. Been busy with home-life and some creative hobbies on the side.

Marie's Gouache Paint Set
Getting ready to make some mess.

I love my blue and white dipping bowl. It’s small and hand-painted and costs me next-to-nothing. As mentioned previously, I’ve picked up calligraphy again and been experimenting on inks. Since calligraphy inks here are rare, much more coloured inks, I tried mixing gouache and water and voila! Problem solved. Here’s a scanned result – I mixed vermillion red and viridian green:

Love the henna-ish effect!
Love the henna-ish effect!

I am excited about the thousand and one possibilities of mixing colours!
Do you have any creative hobbies, too? Do tell 🙂

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Blue Monday: Balloon

My husband and I drove to the Post Office to pick up mails and then we were off to the vet’s clinic on the other side of the city to get my dogs’ vitamins. If only we have something like a local EntirelyPets Pharmacy nearby, then we wouldn’t have to be driving that far.

Anyways, we were glad to be out once in a while. It’s nice to be driving around the city on weekends when traffic is not bad and the weather is just right. By the way, we are still having a cool weather and we are loving it!

It was just one of those weekend drives we take across the town when we chanced upon this random scene… a giant while balloon.

Huge balloon in Phnom Penh
A weather balloon? Not sure.

They are being followed by two guys wearing blue shirts, on separate motorbikes. The guy immediately behind the balloon is a security guard, that explains the blue top. The other one must be the owner as I saw it following the balloon before turning right.

Now, how many of you have seen something like this? No, not the giant balloon but having it transported across town on the back of a moto-dop (moto-taxi)? I guess you wouldn’t have/get this in your part of the world 🙂

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Blue Monday: Fancy

Some months ago, out of boredom, my husband and I set out to see what goes inside a local market. That day we went to Psah Olympic, or the Olympic Market. To my blogger-friends who haven’t been to Asia yet, shopping is quite an adventure in Asian markets. Cambodia is no exception. It is quite a treat to the senses!

I just might write some more about this market tours in my future blog posts, including photos. For the meantime, let me share you one of the sights I managed to capture inside the Olympic Market.

On the third floor of the market is where you will find fabrics of all kinds and, of course, Cambodian silk. Aside from the many shops selling fabrics and ready-to-wear dresses, there are also shops where seamstresses make these custom-made fancy clothes.

Cambodian wedding dress
Fancy dresses for Cambodian women on display at Psah Olympic. These are actually the traditional ones women wear during weddings. The more glitters there are, the more fabulous the wearer thinks it is.

The colours are splendid and the glitters even more fabulous.

These are the recent styles and are becoming more popular and preferred by the modern Cambodian woman.  It lis still
These are the recent styles and are becoming more popular and preferred by the modern Cambodian woman. The dresses are still bedecked in glittery sequins and the colour vibrant but, compared to the above photo, look more “subdued”.

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Blue Monday: Sky

Good morning, friends!

We woke up to another chilly morning in Phnom Penh.
Looks like we’ll be seeing a lot of locals in thick jackets again. It’s a beautiful day today so we went out for a drive and get some stuff for the food pantry. It was nice to be up and about early in the morning – the sky was a clear, gorgeous blue shade.

blue monday traffic in PP

But I think we stayed too long because, on the way back, a moderate build-up of traffic greeted us.

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Blue Monday: Thankful

Today is the feast day of the Immaculate Conception in my hometown in the Philippines. However, the week-long celebration supposedly culminating today was cancelled due to the arrival of typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) in the province.

Thankfully, our province is not in the direct path of typhoon Ruby, and the destruction was not as massive as during last year’s Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). Still, it was strong in other provinces, wreaking havoc in most-affected towns. We were lucky that my hometown was spared this year, and for the other provinces that were not, my heart goes out to them. Hopefully, they’ll be able to bounce back from this natural disaster in no time.

I have been worrying since yesterday but my sister assured me that they are all okay. According to her, the weather today is good – no more rains and winds. What they’re busy now with is picking up the pieces left by the typhoon. Cleaning up and drying out things under the sun. But only after they’ve come back from hearing mass today. And yes, there are so many things to be thankful for today. Typhoons and other disasters come ago but the faith of my countrymen is very much alive and unwavering.

A statue of the Immaculate Conception at the Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral, in my hometown. Photo by my sister-in-law, Minmin.

This is the altar of the Immaculate Conception church, photo taken by my sister-in-law. This is where I was baptised, as my father and other siblings were. Although the church is newly-renovated, it still is the same altar that I remember, and the same statue of the Virgin Mary cloaked in a blue robe and golden trimmings.

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Blue Monday: Toy logging truck

As per usual, I was blog-hopping and came across another photo meme called Blue Monday. I followed the link and I arrived in the mother-ship of Blue Monday meme. There I read the mechanics, which is very easy, and decided that it is doable. So here I am, on my first Blue Monday meme. Hope to find new friends as well 🙂

My first photo is a toy truck I found in a toy store in Phnom Penh. To most of you, it’s just an ordinary toy truck carrying logs.

This toy truck carrying logs is actually thought-provoking.
This toy truck carrying logs is actually thought-provoking.

Illegal logging is a major problem in Cambodia. Not only does this activity degrades the forest and other natural resources, it also promotes corruption and human rights abuses. So, to see this toy truck sold in a toy store really struck me considering I live here and for years have worked with many local farmers depending on the forest and land for their livelihood.

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