De-cluttered

June is officially upon us and so is the rainy season, too.

We managed to do our ‘summer cleaning’ just before the rainy days started. We first tackled the living room area (which also doubles as our workshop area). Lots of dusting and clearing to make way for a fresh and clean, less-cluttered environment ready for the rainy season. I don’t know about you, but, how many of you are like me who looks forward to and dread cleaning at the same time? Am I the only one? Don’t get me wrong. I love the light feeling (ma-gaan!) of a freshly-dusted house but I do not look forward to the time spent on actually tackling it. Weird?

Anywhoo, one of the unexpected benefits of cleaning and tossing out stuff that we could do without this year was that I finally got my own corner! How cool is that? My small corner has a computer table, a writing table and a two cabinets for all — and I mean ALL – of my arts and crafts stuff. Yarns, crochet hooks and knitting needles are in a rattan cabinet (on separate drawers), just below the drawers containing stamping paraphernalia, postcards and other paper ephemera. My writing tools and other materials are organised in a way that I can actually see (and reach when I need) them on the other cabinet with a glass door.

A copy of an exemplar I was working on.
A copy of an exemplar I was working on.

My books and old calligraphy and lettering works, including the exemplars I was working on, are neatly arranged on plastic filing folders. Looking at them reminded me of the email-inquiry I received from a ‘graphic designer’ in Indonesia who wanted me to design an exemplar for him, paid, of course. To make the story short, I rejected the ‘great deal’ he was offering because – to him it was a deal of a lifetime I should accept – I felt I was being ripped off. I know I am not a professional calligrapher (yet!) but I feel that my work deserves a fair price. If they’re looking for one, they can click here for a great deal!

I’ve also organised the files on my desktop computer and, in doing, so freed massive disk space. Which is really great so it could store before I could buy an external drive. I’m so shocked at how much junk I had in my computer and being able to get rid of them is a big relief.

Now, I’m looking at working on to the next room — the bedroom.
I have started to clear my wardrobe thinking about which clothes I should keep. Wish me luck.

What is the best comeback blog post?

I don’t know but I’m starting mine with this –

To be honest, I often have long breaks so this is not the first time I’ve returned to blogging. It’s figuring out what to write for my comeback post that has always been difficult. I have no excuse to offer. It’s just my ‘blogging rhythm’ is different from the others and that I can not maintain that regular rhythm.

So what did I do during this period? There have been a lot of events and milestones that are blog-worthy but didn’t share them because I wanted to keep them private. However, I can share to you that I have devoted my time offline to practicing calligraphy and making artsy-fartsy stuff on the side during this period of absence. Happy to say that my hard work paid off and I have finally developed my own style! I was asked to do a small project addressing envelopes and I had a blast doing them with my new calligraphy style. I even did the project pro bono just because I enjoyed the whole process 🙂

Right now, I’m brushing up on brush calligraphy and, still, I find it very challenging. But I’m not giving up this time. My brush pens just arrived — brought to Cambodia by my sister last week – and I’ve been using them non-stop. The pens are heaven-sent. The pens are from an online art shop in the Philippines. I saw the shop’s ad from a musicians friend catalog and the rest, they say, is history.

Looking at my practice sheets, gee, I have a death grip! I think I need to work on having a lighter touch for my upstrokes. As you can see in the photo, those lines aren’t much different compared to my downstrokes! I want them to be much, much thinner. I definitely still feel like I’m trying to get more control of pen and hand movements, but hopefully these will improve soon.

Signs, signs: Gasoline shop

My husband and I go for Sunday rides outside Phnom Penh with our trusty old Hagrid. Hagrid is a 1992 Honda 400 SuperFour motorbike.

Once in a while, when on road trips, we run low on gasoline. No problem. There are lots of roadside gasoline vendors, even in remote areas.

signs gas seller

For a first-timer in Cambodia, you might mistaken this roadside stall for a drink shop because of the soda bottles. It is actually a makeshift “gas station”.

Gasoline is smuggled across the border, in plain sight, and sold in shops like this in rural villages, quite openly, even in the capital Phnom Penh. Gasoline is sold in re-used soda and plastic water bottles and are displayed out front, as you see in the above photo. You don’t see this in developed countries.

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Signs, signs: In search of “hi”

It really pays to have your camera with you at all times. You never know what or who you’re going to bump into.

Take for example this photo below.

Can you help reunite "ho" with "hi"?
Can you help reunite “ho” with “hi”?

I was on my way to the mall to check out a u22 recommended by a friend for a small recording project I was doing when I decided to stop by the Post Office to check my mailbox. On my way out, I spotted a moving sign from afar and before I knew it, I realised it’s “ho” wandering in the streets, probably looking for “hi” 🙂

 

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Uptown Funk by Epic Arts Cambodia

Look what I found on the Internet today!
Epic Arts in Kampot once again released a music video, this time featuring “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson. This is locally produced with support from UNICEF and the performers are students and staff of Epic Arts organisation in Kampot.

YouTube Preview Image

I think it is well-made and the performers are amazing. Don’t forget to look closely at Sothun, my man! He’s got the moves! Previously, they also produced a video featuring Pharrell Williams’ hit, Happy.

According to Sakon, who delivered a short message at the end of the video, they made this in order to demonstrate that people with disabilities in Cambodia are valuable, can be involved and can be as cool as Bruno Mars 🙂 Sakon tells the viewers to help raise awareness on disability issues and to spread the message that every person counts. Epic Arts is an organisation that assists people with physical and learning disabilities. Find out more about Epic Arts and how you can help through this link.

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.

Photo Hunt: Shelter

One of the fascinating provinces I visited in Cambodia is Ratanakiri. It is home to indigenous hill tribes in Cambodia. One of the hill tribes that I find interesting is the Kroeung tribe. This group has one of the unique traditions that are still practiced up to this day.

One of these is involving teenage boys and girls. When Kroeung teenagers reach a certain age, they build the so-called bachelor or bachelorette houses, such as the ones you see below.

Kroeung hill tribe in Ratanakiri
Bachelor and bachelorette houses in Cambodia’s Ratanakiri province.

These bachelor and bachelorette houses are temporary shelters for teenaged Kroeung boys and girls looking for potential mates. It may seem controversial to some but this is a tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation. Once they’ve found their mates, these houses are then destroyed. More about this here.

photohunter7iq

Going Japanese-a!

A friend of mine, Lui-in-Penh, and I arranged to meet at Aeon Mall last Friday for the much-needed breather from our daily routine. Last Friday, the weather was beautiful and sunny day in Phnom Penh, and thus was a great day for a lunch-date.

Aeon Mall is an upscale *kuning* mall filled with variety of shops and restaurants (to choose from). I haven’t eaten Japanese food in quite a long time and have been craving for it recently. So we went to this restaurant called Watami Japanese Dining. On our way there, I think I spotted a music maschine shop but was too excited about our lunch that I forgot to check it out afterwards.

It was nearly lunchtime when we got there, but it was still quiet with only one or two tables occupied. Good thing was that we didn’t have to wait for a table since this place normally gets busy come rush lunch hour.

There’s so much we wanted to try but opted for the special lunch set for a reasonable price. And we were not disappointed.

Special lunch set at Watami Japanese Dining, drinks excluded. The verdit - definitely coming back!
Special lunch set at Watami Japanese Dining, drinks excluded. The verdict – definitely coming back!

The special set came with a salad, hot potato fries that’s not soggy, breaded/fried chicken cutlets with egg sauce, sukiyaki, and the fantastic spicy salmon roll that just melts in your mouth. To finish our meal, we had mango honey toast and the refreshing fruit tea. Overall I enjoyed the meal. I think Manay Lui and I deserve special lunches like this, from time to time.

Watch out for a more detailed post coming out soon at PhnomPenhEats!

Cooler morning breeze

I miss blogging here. But I have been busy watching TV series and basically just bumming around.
So I was supposed to update seven days ago but, guess what happened.

Spicy salmon roll at Watami Japanese Restaurant. Yum.
Spicy salmon roll at Watami Japanese Restaurant. Yum.

A friend of mine recently discovered a new photo editor and shared it with me. And I’m loving it, too! Here’s a photo that I edited with the help of Pixlr.

This app is not only available in mobiles (Android) but also on desktop (Windows, Mac). Of the thousands of effects, over-lays, and combinations, you can edit your photo in just a few clicks of a button. For free. Imagine how much more exciting features you can avail of when you get a subscription?

Anyways…
We are already mid-November and the weather is starting to be cool and breezy. Getting up and taking a shower is getting a lot more tedious these days because it’s just so nice to stay a little bit more in bed when the weather is this nice.

The other day, my husband and I went to IBC for some office stuff and — lo and behold! IBC is already dressed for the holidays! Shoppers also didn’t mind the blaring Christmas songs (on-loop, for sure). It’s gotten to me. Christmas will soon be upon us and this will be the 14th year that I’m not celebrating it like I used to. On the other hand, there won’t be any pressure to give gifts.
In other news, I just said yes to my nephew who was asking for an electronic drum set. Should I feel guilty now?