Hocus pocus no more

Hello, there.

You might probably have noticed that I’ve been silent for quite some time (if you haven’t… whew… really? hahaha).

Sometimes all sorts of things get into my head and I get very overwhelmed that I need time to re-focus. So, last year, I deliberately took time off, for no reason except that I just want to be off the radar and find my balance.

It was a time well-spent, to be honest. I went to Ho Chi Minh city with a dear friend (although what happened there is a different story). During the past months, I’ve finally come to terms with some of my personal issues and internal conflicts. I’ve learned to embraced the challenges of being a stay-at-home-wife and a fur-mum. I’ve worked hard to achieve improvements on the calligraphy and lettering front. My husband and I hosted visiting family members (my in-laws) and part of that was going away on a trip together and re-connect.

So what is it I’m trying to say?

Always. No more hocus pocus. Love yourself first and everything else follows.
Always. No more hocus pocus. Love yourself first and everything else follows.

Not much, really, except that when you feel like you are losing yourself, you are not alone. That you can turn things around, if you want to. Take time off, like what I did. Travel. Go out and go shopping with a friend (how could I say no to a friend who was excited to shop for an evh at guitarcenter.com?), tee-hee. Pick up a new interest or hobby. You can’t be your 100% self when you yourself are lost and need some space to breathe. Take time to take care of yourself because if you don’t, who will?

Shopping for art’s sake

Hah, it’s been awhile again. I wasn’t up to writing (again) because Rafa (Nadal) lost in the QFs of this year’s Roland Garros tournament.  I was beside myself (slight lang, hihihi). Thankfully, my husband knew exactly what to do to get me out of this funk — he took me shopping.  And when I say shopping, I meant shopping for calligraphy supplies 🙂  So I want to share some of my spoils.

But before I went on a splurge, my husband and I went to Home Top first. For quite some time now we have been meaning to get new frying pans but we couldn’t find ones that we’re looking for. While checking out the frying pans, I overheard an elderly expat couple at the aisle opposite us discussing to Buy spandex table cover. Didn’t mean to be eavesdropping, but, really? A spandex table cover? It’s the first time I heard that, pardon my ignorance. Anyways, we found what we’re looking for — a decent non-stick frying pan.

His and hers frying pan, lol.
His and hers frying pan, lol.
Sponges! There can never be enough of them.
Sponges! There can never be enough of them.

We bought two, of course. We also got dish-washing sponges.
We then drove to Aeon Mall for my calligraphy supply – check out the stuff I picked up. My last splurge was in early January this year when I ordered various nibs, pen holders and ink from an online shop in Manila through my sister, DonyaBooding. Aren’t sisters the best? 🙂 This time though, it was my husband who offered after seeing that a) I needed cheering up after Rafa’s loss, and b) I have the knack for hand-lettering and calligraphy. I kid, I kid!

Pencils, erasers and Sakura Gelly Roll pens!
Pencils, erasers and Sakura Gelly Roll pens!

I was surprised to find Sakura Gelly Roll pens at PBC. They’re only $0.85 each.

Dotted notebook, calligraphy ink, white art paper and a wooden block.
Dotted notebook, calligraphy ink, white art paper and a wooden block.
A plastic nib case to house my nibs. The nibs were purchased in Manila.
A plastic nib case to house my nibs. The nibs were purchased in Manila.

And because I’m exploring other tools, I got these brush pens. So now I’m both into dip-pen and brush calligraphy. Bah, yabang!

Pentel colour brush pen in blue and 2 refill cartridges and a Faber-Castell artist pen in orange.
Pentel colour brush pen in blue and 2 refill cartridges and a Faber-Castell artist pen in orange.

Some of you might scratch your heads and wonder … since when have I been artsy-fartsy? It’s kinda, sorta, hidden, just like my talents are, lol. Seriously though, learning calligraphy is #40  in my bucket list. And this year is the year that I get to pursue this creative hobby. So watch out for more artsy-fartsy goodness in the future posts.

Just wishing

Hello there, friends. How have you all been?
Wow, my unplanned AWOL from blogging lasted long enough!

Practice makes perfect.
Practice makes perfect.

One of the reasons for my absence is because I have been spending so much time doing some crafting. Also, I’ve been busy, busy, busy practicing with dip pens and dabbling in watercolours these past few weeks. Learning to write with dip pens is a challenging, tedious process and could get messy, too. Ink stains and paper catching on the nib. Another thing I learned is to be not too hard and forgive myself. Start over, and over until the desired results is achieved. Otherwise, I’d just drop everything down and give up.

And because I was totally occupied with what I consider “other” things (see above) lately, today, I found myself wondering at some chores that are begging for my attention and waiting to be done. Like the mountain of fresh laundry and the full trash bins, pleading to be folded and emptied out, respectively. And not to forget, we have cabinets and shelves that need replacing (which reminds me I need to look for cabinet organizers online). There is also the never-ending task of arranging and re-arranging my my craft tools and materials. Card stocks and washi tapes need sorting out. Nibs and paint brushes need to be cleaned and dried and ink spills waiting to be scrubbed off. Sometimes I wish I have a magic wand so I could just flick it, say the magic words and voila – everything’s in order again.

And by the way, it’s the Chinese New Year and we are in the year of the Goat. Or sheep, depending on who you ask.
I could feel the holiday rush yesterday (en route to meeting a friend) when I got stranded in a traffic along the intersection of Mao Tse Tung and Monireth Boulevards. The traffic lights were working alright but the onslaught of traffic from every direction was just too much. Vehicles were inching slooooowly. Some motos just sat there, blocking other vehicles. No one gave way. And so, I was stranded.

ourworldtuesday chinese new year holiday rush
Photo originally uploaded to Inside Cambodia.

 

ourworldtuesday chinese new year holiday traffic rush
Photo originally uploaded to Inside Cambodia.

 

How nice it would be, I thought, to just close my eyes and wish the traffic congestion is gone.
But, this is how it is in Cambodia.

Anyways, Gong Xi Fa Cai, my friends! Good health, good luck, and much happiness for all of us throughout the New Year of the Sheep (or Goat)! Let’s enjoy the holidays.

FYI, I D-I-Y

Hey there, I’m blogging again! YAY!
I thought I wouldn’t let the holidays go by without posting something. So here it is.

We’re having a really nice, cool temperature in Phnom Penh these past few weeks. A fine weather, really, and our teapot is working round the clock. At the rate we are going, we’re going to exhaust the contents of the gas tank before the month (or shall I say, year?) ends.

Hey, remember a classmate who belong to the other group of kids who waited till it’s the last possible moment before it’s too late to begin a course work or a project? Well, I was one of them. Years have passed and nothing’s exactly changed (I can hear my mum talking here, lol). I still live up to the eleventh-hour and it’s one thing that I hate/love about myself, tee-hee-hee. So, at the last minute, I decided to send handmade Christmas cards to family and a few friends across the seas. My husband just shook his head knowing the fate of mails during the holiday season but it’s something I really wanted to do.

Inspired by a friend, I decided to create greeting cards with my own hand. I’ve seen how elegant my friend’s handwriting was – oh, the playful swirls and flourishes that just scream beautiful calligraphy. The lettering geek in me got envious and prompted me to teach myself how to write like that.

I bought a cheap fountain pen, a bottle of ink and a sketch pad at a Chinese store in Tuol Kork and started writing. To my utter horror, I feared someone would throw rocks at me for having an ugly handwriting! I think the use of computer has changed my handwriting into its current deteriorated state so how can I do calligraphy now? The answer, my friends, is practice. I practiced more and more, albeit delaying further the making of the cards. Imagine my delight when I discovered a lot of tutorials and practice sheets over the Internet! I practiced even more, writing an hour in the morning and another in the afternoon, and one more hour before I go to bed, for a couple of weeks. If that’s not commitment, I don’t know what that is.

After so many wasted paper and spilled ink, I think my hard work is paying off – I am seeing improvements! With this, I found my confidence and, with only a few days before D-day, I started making the cards. I just hope and pray they arrive in their respective destinations…

Two pencils taped together and a felt-tipped marker are great to practice the uncials with.
Practing my As and Bs in copperplate.
Some more scribbles. You can do this over and over and over again.
The Internet is a treasure trove of calligraphy tools and resources. The practice sheet is from The Postman's Knock. Click the photo to go to the site.
Quotes to ponder.
Writing again and again.
The final output.
My early attempt at writing on envelope.
card and lined envelope
My handmade card and DIY lined envelope.

I am still learning though and I find it very therapeutic. I’m going to hone further my handwriting, rather my calligraphy skills, this time with the proper calligraphy tools. You know, nibs, holders, ink, the works! While I do not expect to have any wedding commissions to deal with or make pocket money out of this, I think calligraphy is a lovely, personal touch to handmade cards for any occasion. And boy, oh boy, it feels really good when you create something by hand. What was the last thing you made by hand?

Oh, and before I go… here’s wishing everybody the happiest holidays! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We don’t really have any specials plans for Christmas day but we’ll see which way the wind blows.

Site under renovation

Again.

make theme by theme foundryPlease excuse if some elements are not yet in order. This blog is undergoing a make-over.

I found a great theme from Theme Foundry called “Make”. It’s simple, minimalistic, and very flexible with no codes to alter (unless you really want to do a major facelift!).  Involves a drag and drop feature and customising layouts, colours, and fonts are very easy.

So for the meantime, please excuse the clutter. I’ll be done very soon!

Signs, signs: Hiding

Did you see my dog?

Pet Humour Red Dog
Someone didn’t want to be seen.

This was months ago and my dog, Red, was just over two months old.
I was looking for him as I realised it had been quiet so suddenly in the veranda where I let him play. I called him; no Red. I kept on calling him. Over and over. Till I found him here. Called him again but he just wouldn’t budge. I guess someone didn’t want me to find him. Oh well.

open

Photo Hunt: Rock

Howdy!
In this week’s Photo Hunt I am reminiscing the time I traveled to Sri Lanka back in 2002. It was work-related but I had this good intention of mixing business and pleasure, so to speak. After the conference ended, I met up with my Sri Lankan friend for a week-long road trip!

One of the most memorable stops we had was a popular tourist attraction in Dambulla.
Rising about 200ms up the amazing green plains of central Sri Lanka is the gigantic, flat-topped rock called Sigiriya. Once a stronghold of Sri Lanka’s rogue King, its extraordinary beauty and historical and cultural significance have made it today a World Heritage Site. Very much like Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, it is the source of national pride of Sri Lankans.

Lonely Planet says it is not only one of the most impressive geological formations in the island-country of Sri Lanka, but also one of its greatest archaeological legacies. You can find more info here.

wordless wednesday sigiriya rock sri lanka

Unfortunately, as I have a bad case of vertigo, I did not dare climb up to the top 🙁 Instead, I took pleasure in exploring the royal gardens and lakes at the base of the rock as well as several ancient temple ruins. To this day, I regret not trying. And who wouldn’t be? The thousand-year old (perhaps older!) ceiling frescoes are out of this world and well preserved as if they were just done recently and the view from the top – breath-taking! If given another chance to make another trip – I’d surely re-visit Sigiriya and re-claim what I had missed!

photohunter7iq

Wordless Wednesday: Bouquet

Today, the whole Kingdom marks the second death anniversary of the King Father Norodom Sihanouk and there was a big Buddhist ceremony this morning at the Royal Palace with the Queen Mother and King Sihamoni, and joined by PM Hun Sen and the country’s top officials.  A wreath-laying ceremony was also held at the King Father’s statue near the Independence Monument in Norodom Boulevard. Some more ceremonies are also planned later today.

***

Although the planned outing today with friends was called off, I am having a nice day at home.

My husband and I had a busy morning going about our chores together and, after lunch, we retreated to our own corners busy with our individual interests. He is tinkering with his school project while I, on the other hand, will soon be binge-watching after posting this photo for this week’s (not-so) Wordless Wednesday 🙂

Garlic and chives bouquet.
Garlic and chives bouquet.

I just couldn’t resist playing with my “food”!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

WW300

Geekery

Oh, hei, look!
I haven’t blogged again. Didn’t you notice? Tee-hee-hee. It seems like forever, I know.

Since deciding to quit my job early this year, I’ve never been busier!
Making the decision to stay at home was lightning fast and the changes that came after were remarkable! Staying at home and taking care of the house and those in it is not a breeze, but I am not complaining.

Cartoon from Les tribulations d'une Aspergirl
Cartoon from Les tribulations d’une Aspergirl

And so when I have glorious times off, it’s always steeped in geekery. I’ve been geeking about pretty much everything – books, TV series, movies, crafting, games and other stuff that keep me away from blogging.

But, no one is interested in the past, so, fast forward to… Wait! Season 4 of the American Horror Story has just began and since we just had our Internet service back this week, I missed the season opener. I do not really watch telly and I do not have the patience for episode installments, so I rely on the Internet for marathons (at a breakneck speed, I tell you).

Okay, this is what I’m up to and that’s all for now folks. I have some binge-watching to do.

Sorry I was away…

… and this is what I’ve been doing while I was gone from blogging.

Operation Smile Cambodia. Giving new smiles. Changing lives of Cambodian children. My apologies to the owner of this photo - I just nicked this from the slide presentation shown during the closing dinner. If you know him, or, if it's YOU, let me know so I can give a proper attribution.
Operation Smile Cambodia. Giving new smiles. Changing lives of Cambodian children. My apologies to the owner of this photo – I just nicked this from the slide presentation shown during the closing dinner. If you know him, or, if it’s YOU, let me know so I can give a proper attribution.

Preparing for Operation Smile Cambodia’s international mission and the official opening of the Smile Center. It’s no easy work, I tell you that. However, seeing 109 kids receiving free reconstructive surgery and spending my birthday with them is just another reason to celebrate. I am very proud to be associated with OpSmile Cambodia’s work.  Thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime.