Arte, arte!

Hello, blog.

Just an update (especially for those two of you who reads this).

So I have been doing some commission work for friends, nothing massive but enough to keep me busy all this time. Recently, an Indonesian who introduced himself as a font designer asked me if I could make him an exemplar in modern script (meaning, my calligraphic style), for a fee, of course. While I was flattered that I got offered to do this kind of job, I declined as this is not actually what I want to do or make. I found this guy’s online shop and — lo and behold — he is selling these kinds online! Tsk, tsk… these guys!

Anyways, I’m currently experimenting on gouache paint. It’s similar to watercolour paints, but it is more opaque and the texture more powdery or chalky. However, I like the colours though. Here’s one example:

Mixing gouache paints
Mixing colours is fun! These are pastel blue and pink. You can also see the bottles of drawing ink on the upper right hand side of the picture; I use them for calligraphy.

My younger brother requested for pastel colours. Since there is no pink nor any pastel colours on the gouache, I took it upon myself to mix colours. YouTube is a fountain useful of video tutorials, I found out. Choosing one tutorial to use is quite a challenge. Thanks to these generous people who upload their video, they are helping newbies like me! So, what do you think of the result?

Quiet weekends

I like quiet weekends. And so does my husband.
There is nothing better to us than to have a plan-free weekend, with our time free to potter around the house.

Of course, we still do errands and shopping (recently we were scouting for a yamaha hs50m for his class) and other chores but, for most of the time, you would catch us relaxing, pursuing our own hobbies, or napping, and then we’ll have a nice dinner at home or, on rare occasions, dine out in our favourite restaurant. Our lifestyle is definitely changing and I’m pleased about it.

Grilled mackerel laced in mixed spices, mango salsa, and Chinese bok choi with oyster sauce and garlic.
Grilled mackerel laced in mixed spices, mango salsa, and Chinese bok choi with oyster sauce and garlic.

The past weekend, my husband wanted to have some grilled fish. And so we trooped to Psah Thmey and bought nearly a kilo of mackerel (2 pcs for 17,000riels) for grilling and ingredients for the Khmer mango salsa to go with the fish.

Every time we visit Psah Thmey it is crowded than ever, no thanks to the busloads after busloads of tourists that go there and the worsening traffic. It was nice to be in the market last weekend when most of the shoppers and tourists have already gone. Psah Thmey was no longer crowded (it was around 12nn) and so we’ve avoided the traffic jam as well as bumping into fumbling tourists in great numbers who were eager for bargains. Still, despite the crowd, the overpriced goods and sellers more aggressive than ever, Psah Thmey retains its charm that we keep on coming back.

We were home by 1pm and we didn’t get the dinner started till 4pm. We capped our day with a movie after this sumptuous dinner we bought earlier today.

Coming back

Well, hello… September!
Blimey! Where have all the days gone?

I’m okay. My husband is okay. Pets all okay. BUT the days since my last post have really all gone by. SEPTEMBER again, and before we know it, DECEMBER is here! And we relocated! Again.

Although our wooden house in Boeung Tumpun was charming and all, we moved out and moved back to our old apartment in Toul Kork. It was great during the summer. We and the dogs loved it there – the space, the greenery, the laid-back lifestyle. However, things changed when the first monsoon rains have arrived – it flooded the surroundings and there was stench everywhere. And when it rains here in Phnom Penh – and it rains pretty up to December – the whole city becomes a water world. There is a lake, and a polluted one at that -just over a mile that spills over to our location when it rains. I wouldn’t dare imagine what it would’ve been like there had we stayed. Can you?

There was hesitation when we made our decision. Firstly, the house was lovely, so homey, and secondly, the landlord and his family landlords were great that when we first saw the house and met them, we immediately snapped it. Just as one would do to a hot commodity that has a Limited availability.

We had a great and memorable time there. We hosted touring cyclists twice in this house. Our dogs were able to meet and be with other dogs without any worries. The landlord and his family treated as like family, as well. However, some good things must come to an end… maybe someday we will build a similar house.

I was gone for more than a month again ūüôĀ

Outdoor Wednesday 008: Mosque

I’ve been away for far too long, sorry. I blame the weather for my lack of posts. The scorching heat of summer is making me lethargic. All I want is to be in an air-conditioned room and chill. No, I don’t turn my room aircon all the time. So I go to one of those air-conditioned coffee shops and do some stuff. Like exploring this¬† free online graphic design software which I could not finish if I just stay at home. It’s because we have powercuts daily, hahaha. Oh, the dilemma.

When the power cut occurs on weekends, that’s when my husband and I go out for a drive. Just a leisurely drive without a particular destination in mind. It’s nice to be out of the house once in a while and enjoy the sun and the breeze. And the lovely sights, too.

khmer mosque
This is one of the many mosques we saw while driving along National Road number 5.

Towards a year of green living

We’re already 23 days into the new year and I’ve just made my first post here – hurrah for me! Happy new year, friends.

So what have I been doing these days? Ermmm, nothing. I’m actually enjoying the state of idleness.¬†The past year has taught me to give myself some slack so, this year, I’m taking things one at a time and give myself a break from everything. And the important thing is to not feel bad about having a break from time to time.

I found this while blog-hopping earlier today and I giggled at myself for a bit.

tumblr_lisqdpf4G71qzpxq3o1_r1_1280

Photo source: Maxistentialism

I remembered seeing something similar to this long time ago, when I was younger and hated doing the dishes. In a family where the unmarried aunt, grandmother and a few other relatives stayed with us together, the dishes (not to mention the cooking pans and pots, ugh!) ¬†pile up and the younger ones (read: me) assigned to do the dishes bear the brunt of all this chore. In one of my teenage outbursts, I waged a demented war against my eldersr and suggested at every opportunity that we use disposable plates instead. Imagine doing the dishes, more than 10 plates, glasses, bowls, etc? I didn’t want to wash that many dishes! But after seeing the sign like above, my attitude changed. Yes, it’s true. So all my resentful feelings were immediately dumped into my imaginary¬†pull out trash cans,¬†hahaha.

So thanks to a similar poster, it changed me and my attitude. As I face another new year, I am making a conscious effort to do one thing, one single thing, whenever I can to achieve a much simpler, Earth-friendly way of life.

What I’m doing these days

Wow, it’s nearly the end of November and I can already feel December around the corner. So, where have all the days gone to? More importantly, how are you all?

DIY envelope treat bag
One of the gift bags I made. Papemelroti kalesa stamp on a DIY envelope-bag with jute twine and washi tape.

I have been amiss in my blogging duties lately because I was busy working on my little craft project. I also have been hearing about a certain Fairy Hobmother who spreads his fairy dust and grants bloggers wishes. Is the Fairy Hobmother for real? Will he ever come to faraway Cambodia? ¬†I’ve never heard of the Fairy Hobmother before and the news of him visiting my friend Bag of Thoughts momma thrilled me for this shows that he has visited Cambodia! Now I have trouble deciding what I would like ¬†to get myself – a Cricut cutitng machine? A stamp-maker machine kit? Or that new Samsung Galaxy note tab that I’ve been eyeing for as long as I can remeber? I can’t make up my mind, hahhaha, but for sure the gift from the Fairy Hobmother will be used to add to the budget. I guess I’d write my wishlist in a separate post, lol.

Christmas holiday is fast approaching. I have decided that, this year, I’ll make my own Christmas cards to send to family and friends near or far. I also had some labels and gift tags that I myself designed. ¬†My designs are very limited because I don’t have the right tools. I try to make do with what I have at the moment but, for something fancier, ¬†I resorted to using printables that are downloadable. For free. Oh, how I love them! The Internet is so full of them. Many thanks to those generous people who share their talents and works ¬†online. I’ve chosen several designs that I can replicate (especially the stamped holiday cards) and arranged for ¬†printing labels online¬†for intricately-designed patterns.

It will be a busy time for me in the coming days. To work on these cards, I must devote my time {and my heart, of course} 100%. So I might not be able to blog regularly. Or maybe not.

Anyways, have a lovely weekend ahead.

Wedding preparations

Clip Art from GoogleImages.

My brother is getting married in December and he’s very busy fulfilling requirements for getting the marriage documents. ¬†Last year alone, he went home four times just to appear before several government offices personally in order for him to get the papers. ¬†Both he and his bride underwent tests – I tell you, LOTS of tests. So far, so good and we are finally told that the wedding date is set this December.

So being the dutiful older sister that I am, I offered to help in any way I can. As of today, I’m involved with the preparation and printing of their wedding invitation and party favour. I have already given them samples of invitation and the couple has already chosen one. It’s a contemporary style in red, blue and gold motif. My brother wants to incorporate a Khmer element to it, the kbach design. The Cambodian kbach design is one of the most beautiful designs in the world, in my opinion. ¬†It is actually a stylized lotus flower manipulated in many ways. It is very graceful to look at and the curves, swirls and turns are very complex and yet very elegant and exciting. Anyways, the couple are still finalizing their wedding list and details. I can’t wait to start working on the cards, and I’m getting help from a friend ūüôā

Oh wind, where art thou?

Taken two weeks ago. We had no luck with the breeze last Saturday.

Some kind of a downer this weekend.
We were planning to go kite-flying on Saturday to test the kite my husband made for his AP class. It’s sort of a class project, in relation to their mapping/directions lessons. The students had to design their own kites, that’s supposed to be fitted with a digital camera that was intended to take pictures/video footages while up in the air. So, of course, my husband had¬† to make one first, a model if you like,¬† to see if it really works.

So come Friday evening, when the kite was done and we were still fussing about fitting the camera on to the kite. At half past midnight, my husband finally declared all systems go. With our back packs prepared the night before, we excitedly drove to the Hun Sen Park at the city centre where it was virtually empty for the holidays and ideal for the kite’s test flight. Except that there was NO WIND, much to our disappointment. We waited. And waited. For an hour. But there wasn’t just enough breeze to lift the kite off the ground. BUMMER!

Oh well, the excitement turned into a major, major disappointment. We went home and consoled ourselves at the thought that our landlord will take us to the place he knows where we can go fly kites. But will have to wait till he comes back from holidaying in Stung Treng.

 

 

Outdoor Wednesday 003: Road sign

¬† My entry for this week’s Outdoor Wednesday was taken in December of last year. At that time, one lovely Saturday, my husband and I ventured on an impromptu road trip to the Cambodian border town of Bavet, in Svay Rieng province.

Bavet is one of the several international border crossings of Cambodia, in the southeastern part of the country, to Vietnam. It’s counterpart is Moc Bai, in Tay Ninh province of Vietnam. Hundreds and thousands of tourists come through the gates of this border as recorded  by the immigration officials. To me it is more convenient and hassle-free than in Poipet, another Cambodian border town to Thailand. Visas are available there upon arrival.

It took us four hours to reach Bavet – and that’s because of the very long queue at the Neak Loung ferry. However, we enjoyed our trip very much. It was a welcome and pleasant change of view, so to speak.

Are we there yet? Nearly there but don’t hold your breath, dear.

It wasn’t the first time that I’ve been at the Bavet border and, I must say I’m impressed at the huge changes that I saw. The road to Bavet is wider than before and in great condition, thanks to the road-widening project. However, it is still the same border town that I know of,¬† where casinos, massage and karaoke parlours are prevalent.

A BBQ dinner before Christmas

Today, the weather was perfect for a fun BBQ dinner with my brothers at home. Although we live in the same city, my brothers live separately from us and my husband and I ask them to come over for meals or for an afternoon of movies or video games from time to time. Both of my brothers are avid video gamers while us (my¬† husband and I) are moderates but we do compare tips and techniques in video games and even share notes as to where to best get gamestop coupons online. Like today, we were discussing the cheats on the tennis game that I like. Although I’m already a PRO for both my left and right hands (yes, l pit my left hand against my right hand and see which is the best, lol), I want to know more cheats to be able to get a higher score ^_^

My leche pie and my pet, Joe. The plate was thrifted from the Japanese Thrift Shop earlier this week.

So anyway, we had pork and beef, and homemade pickled cucumbers, carrots and radish (achara)  and beer, of course! With males outnumbering me today, a BBQ party is less fun unless beer is present. And I say, there were lots of beer today for the three men in my company.

I also made an egg-custard pie for dessert that tasted like, according to my brother, leche flan. So he named it leche pie. Yeah, right. You brat, lol!¬† It was also nice to see that my dogs now recognise my brothers – and them now at ease with my dogs – so no more annoying barking and growling in the house when they’re around. Both dogs are affectionate and well-behaved but one is so camera-shy. So guess who got most snaps today? ūüėÄ

There was a time that there was a bit of tension¬† between my brother and husband and I’m caught in the middle. To my utter relief and delight, they worked it out amongst themselves and I’m so glad that they’re already past it and getting along better than ever. It’s nice to be able to do things together with my brothers and my husband on occasions and I wish we could all do this regularly.