Saturday, March 30, 2013

monogram Tabby!

I was so happy with how this Tabby satchel turned out. It's for a little girl all the way in Zambia, and it has something extra special -- a monogram!

The lady who requested it asked that it be all in lower case letters, and I chose to embroider this sweet, playful font. It was rather a laborious job, and I was petrified that I'd mess it up, which would mean starting all over again -- repainting Tabby and everything. I can't tell you the number of times I kept checking the spelling lol! Thankfully, God blessed my efforts :)

I got to choose the inner lining, and I picked this adorable monkey fabric...

... and vintage school book print for the pocket :) Yay for vibrant colours and happy endings!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

bird thing

My attempt at mid-century modern art. 

Ok, no. In line with recycling and making stuff Kip might actually use, I decided to make what the household now calls Kip's milkstick bird. Milk sticks are those twisted rawhide things you see there; many people give their dogs rawhide to keep the teeth clean and the jaw strong, as well as satisfy the dog's natural instinct to chew. Chewing provides stimulation and can relieve anxiety too.

There are some risks associated with giving dogs rawhide though, in particular digestive problems, and choking and blockage hazards. Some dogs are allergic to rawhide or the other ingredients that go into the treat, and pieces of rawhide can get stuck in the dog's digestive tract. Plus -- and I know this is not very medical-sounding -- rawhide just gets plain gross after a bout of chewing and salivating.

Well, you might recall my post on Kip care; Westies are one of those breeds that are susceptible to food allergies. Thankfully, Kip has not given me any trouble in this area, and to avoid starting anything, I just avoid giving her edible treats in general. However, I do recall how my old Lab used to love chewing those huge rawhide bones, and I know Kip loves chewing things that have a certain smell and texture, so I decided to give her the rawhide twists, but in a form she could neither break down nor swallow. Hence the milkstick bird.

I chose the milk sticks because they have, to me, a stronger scent than plain rawhide, which I felt would be better once they were wrapped up. I chose to make the bird a longish shape so the milk sticks would fit, and Kip would have the satisfaction of carrying it around like those big hunting dogs with the ducks (I chose a black bird because Kip has been having this long-standing feud with the black mynahs living in our neighbourhood).

After sewing the bird shape with canvas and reinforced stitching, I filled a second canvas "envelope" with four milk sticks and aniseed. If you didn't know, aniseed works on some dogs in the same way catnip works on some cats! Then I sewed up the envelope and inserted it into the bird. Easy!

This picture kind of says it all.

Fearsome hunting dog.

Fearsome hunting dog later in the day.

And, toward evening, fearsome hunting dog looking particularly demented. All in all a success I think -- the rawhide is safely chewed, and the canvas dries fast, making it distinctly less gross than exposed rawhide. An unexpected bonus? Chewed aniseed leaves behind a lovely spicy fragrance! Yay for homemade treats!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coppélia reprised

Well, on a happier note, here are some pictures from a recent performance of Coppélia the girls went to see (well, not from the ballet itself, since recording equipment is forbidden in the concert hall, but close enough). They're both taking ballet, and are very keen on it, so we go whenever we can.

B dancing during the intermission.

An art installation made up of circling paper birds.

It's not often they get to wear their silk dresses! Happily, no one spilled anything.

One half of the Esplanade Theatres.

Ballet -- and a serene night under the stars -- can make one feel quite dreamy (see B's post here).

Becky will be having her own ballet performance very soon; her next RAD exam is coming up in less than a week.

It's good to see young kids taking an active interest in the arts -- of their own accord, and not because they were forced into it (remember those piano lessons you had?).

My sweet :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

if thou wilt

Poor Becky was grief-stricken when she found two of her mealworms dead, and asked that I help her memorialise them. While it was indeed a sad event, I am glad that she has a heart even for God's littlest creatures.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

grown-up Tabby!

A custom Tabby satchel for a lovely lady who said she wanted "an elegant, refined Tabby". She chose the simple woody fabric for both the bag exterior and strap.

But I gave her the pop of colour inside haha! She requested a pocket sized to fit her phone, so I gave her a double pocket to fit in her pencils and tissues as well.

I think Tabby is perfectly at home with monochrome too, don't you?

Monday, March 18, 2013

A daring new indie film about young love and life in all its poignant, moving rawness.

(Well, a little educational filmlet I made for Becky about her mealworms. Still, it was moving, no?)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

when you wish upon a star...

So the one-week March holidays are here, and what better way to start them off than with a bit of Disney! Disney on Ice is in town, with their almost-two-hour show Princesses & Heroes. 

I don't know what it is about Disney productions that always make me tear up; the last time we were at Disneyland, I teared up as soon as Sleeping Beauty's castle came into view. I think it has to do with the whole childhood thing; you know, like in that song Toyland: Childhood's joy land / Mystic merry Toyland / Once you pass its borders / You can never return again... When you've grown up my dears / And are as old as I / You'll laugh and ponder on the years / That roll so swiftly by / That roll so swiftly by...

Well anyway... Disney always brings a smile to the faces of children, and that's always a lovely thing. The Disney on Ice show brings all the usual Disney favourites to life, and when you live in 32-degree heat year round, there's always a vicarious pleasure in seeing a bunch of people cavorting about in an ice rink.

Yes, it has to start with the mice. Minnie was one of the show's hosts.

The classic interpretation of Middle Eastern life in the 8th century (though theoretically Aladdin was set in China).

It can't be easy skating in that puffy blue thing.

Yep, the seven gigantic dwarfs.

Belle does the cancan with some cutlery and a giant candelabra.

You gotta love how they just keep on smilin'.

Our favourite, Ariel. Honestly, I think she's the only one of the Disney princesses who does anything strong or brave, and anyway, everyone loves mermaids right?

Yes. Creatures of the deep.

Those little kids won something or got their parents to spend a thousand bucks to give them a couple of minutes in that boat. I love the whole posture of that mermaid with her hand on her hip.

Yes, they are what you think.

Prince Phillip in chains. Later, with his Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue, he fights Maleficent in dragon form (and wins of course, yay).

Sigh, every girl's dream date. Maybe not with the wire cage, but certainly with someone who treats you with all the care, respect and courtesy you deserve.

Tinkerbell at the show's finale. Fireworks came out of that thing, which was pretty cool.

Satisfied customers. 

This was the first time we'd been to this train station. It looks quite Star-Trekky, don't you think?

Random shot taken by Beck. Honestly, I do look a lot more friendly in real life.

Waiting for dinner. Becky explains the ticket's fine print to Ro.

I'm glad the kids always want sushi rather than McDonald's.

Becky does her maki face.

Ro is getting good with chopsticks! 

Thank you Lord for such a lovely day!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

curiouser and curiouser

Well, she looks happy.

For the past few months, either because I just haven't had the time to get a new book, or simply through sheer laziness, I've been reading and re-reading Madame Bovary inside out. It was the book that just happened to be at hand when I was stuck in bed, and it never left. I'd read it several times over in the past, so now I honestly think I must know the thing inside out haha... I cannot help being fascinated by Flaubert's observations of human character and weakness; his study of human relations and domestic life are to me surpassed only by Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

But this is not a post about Madame Bovary -- it is a post about bloodletting. Yes, bloodletting. You see, there's this pivotal part in the novel where Emma meets Rodolphe for the first time; on that occasion, he is bringing his ploughman to Emma's husband to be bled. Well, anyone who's read anything from antiquity till the late 19th century will surely have come across the curious practice; I think we all have some vague notion of what it's about, sometimes even seeing it done in the odd movie or two.

In the English translation, the man insists on being bled because he "felt a tingling all over". I remember reading the original French in school, which said that he "voulait etre saigne parce qu'il eprouvait des fourmis le long du corps" -- something like "he felt ants all along his body". I wasn't quite sure I understood how bloodletting would help; however, considering that all the characters in the novel went ahead with it quite willingly, I think it's obvious that this was a common treatment for general vague things like that.

Well, having read it again and again and again over the past months, I finally decided to look it up. And this was what I discovered: "Bloodletting was based on an ancient system of medicine in which blood and other bodily fluid were regarded as "humors" that had to remain in proper balance to maintain health. It was the most common medical practice performed by physicians...

"It is conceivable that historically, in the absence of other treatments for hypertension, bloodletting could sometimes have had a beneficial effect in temporarily reducing blood pressure by reducing blood volume. However, since hypertension is very often asymptomatic and thus undiagnosable without modern methods, this effect was unintentional. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the historical use of bloodletting was harmful to patients...

"Bloodletting is one of the oldest medical techniques, having been practiced among ancient peoples including the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Mayans, and the Aztecs... "Bleeding" a patient to health was modeled on the process of menstruation. Hippocrates believed that menstruation functioned to "purge women of bad humors"...

"Even after the humoral system fell into disuse, the practice was continued by surgeons and barber-surgeons. Though the bloodletting was often recommended by physicians, it was carried out by barbers... The red-and-white-striped pole of the barbershop, still in use today, is derived from this practice: the red represents the blood being drawn, the white represents the tourniquet used, and the pole itself represents the stick squeezed in the patient's hand to dilate the veins. Bloodletting was used to "treat" a wide range of diseases, becoming a standard treatment for almost every ailment...

"A number of different methods were employed. The most common was phlebotomy, or venesection (often called "breathing a vein"), in which blood was drawn from one or more of the larger external veins, such as those in the forearm or neck... Leeches could also be used. The withdrawal of so much blood as to induce syncope (fainting) was considered beneficial, and many sessions would only end when the patient began to swoon...

"Today it is well established that bloodletting is not effective for most diseases... However, in the case of hemochromatosis, which is now recognized as the most common genetic, or inherited, disorder, frequent bloodletting has become an essential, and life-saving procedure" (sourced from Wikipedia).

I was particularly intrigued by the reference to the barber pole -- who knew?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sailor Tabby!

Mrrrow! It's Tabby Cat in huggable form -- wearing his sailor jumper and a natty red collar! Sailor Tabby is sewn and handpainted on cream linen and cotton, and measures about 11 3/4" from his umber-tipped ears to his feety-paws. A lovely lady in Portland ordered a pair of Tabby dollies and this Tabby was a prototype, so he's specially priced, and OOAK :)

Lookie -- Sailor Tabby's jumper has a neat sailor flap in the back. 

He makes a most unusual, natty accessory on the arm of any chic little person, or on the dresser top or bookshelf of any room. Available here.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...