Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Packing up!

It is packing up time again...this is the worst aspect of a holiday, especially when flying. Airlines have got fussier with the weight of the luggage and size of hand luggage etc. and we battle to stick to the rules.(not shown here are two carpets someone bought and fabric someone else bought!)

While I write I can see cranes working, hear the bull dozers at work, drills drilling, while buildings are being pulled down and new ones erected, right before our eyes! Joshua runs through every morning and looks out of the window and gives a daily report on changes taking place. This is all in the name of development. This city, in fact this country is amazing with all the building activity that is taking place. The view from our bedroom window will be quite different in three months time when we return.

Before that happens, I thought I should tell you a little about the "kitchens" in the homes in Malaysia. I can only talk of the places I have visited and stayed in, in the last ten years or so. Most homes have two kitchens as we know them. In the old days in our homes in S.A. we used to have sculleries and pantries...I wonder if our children know those two words, let alone what they are. In Malaysia most homes, including condos and apartment blocks have two kitchens which are referred to as the dry kitchen and the wet kitchen. The dry kitchen is the pleasant area where food and dishes may be stored but the wet kitchen is where the chopping and cooking takes place and the pots and pans are scrubbed. It is very much in the style of the old idea of kitchens and sculleries.


The dry kitchen

The wet kitchen.

A door divides these two areas and the maid's room leads off here. Maids generally live in in Malaysia and the room supplied is small and rather airless. A loo and shower lead off their room and the water the staff use, has no heater! You can hardly swing a cat in the room supplied. Some homes have double bunks for the ladies to sleep in and not much else is supplied!

Another fascinating thing about all the kitchens I have been in is that there is only cold water supplied for washing dishes! Usually dishes are "washed" under running cold water and stacked onto drip trays. Rarely are dishes towel - dried and put away! I know this would drive South African housewives crazy. Most cooking is done in a wok, while a rice cooker is a must. Joshua looked at a couple of rather expensive imported potatoes Warren had bought and asked what they were. He only eats rice and his favourite rice is red rice! Of course rice is no good for any one with weight issues nor is the delicious fried food which is the norm on a menu in Malaysia. Despite swimming regularly, the kilos continue to creep up and I have to make some serious changes to my eating style. With all the dinners out, treats and spoiling it is time to get real and get healthy.

The last six weeks have been wonderful. It was super celebrating Nick's 37 th birthday last night.warren treated us to Duck which is a firm favourite when visiting KL.

We really enjoy being in Malaysia with our family and will be stopping by in December en route to Australia. For now we will just say au revoir ...till we meet again.xxxxx


Perla, Moira and Moi!
Perla with the birthday girl Princess Celine, Ichowie and tiger Boy, Joshua!

Our Malaysian family. We love you guys!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Confessions of a quilter.

It is no secret that I LOVE fabric. I love to touch it, stroke it, smell it, dream about it and most of all OWN it. I also like using it, trying out all sorts of projects. I really don't mind if I don't finish what I start before starting the next project. My head is filled with a long list of things I want to make. I hear many wonderful quilters say that they NEVER start anything new before they finish their task of the moment. I admire them!

Do I want to be like them? No!

Will I ever be like them? NO!

I came across this quote from Greg Anderson and just have to share it.

"Focus on the journey and not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it."

Good thinking! I do not deny that it is a great feeling of achievement once I finish the binding, finish the label and cut the last thread on a quilt. But I like to have several projects on the go.

I don't really like shopping except for Book shops and fabric shops. We have been here in K.L. For almost six weeks and on the second day we were here Moira and I passed a vendor selling Malaysian fabrics and she insisted on buying me these three pieces. These pieces are usually used as wraps for men when wearing their traditional clothing. They are about two meters in length and make terrific backings for quilts or I may cut them up and use them in a new quilt. Any suggestions?

Not having our own transport. we don't get out and about as much as we would like however I have discovered a Japanese shop in the local Mall within walking distance. Everything is five Ringgitt which is about fifteen rands. Everytime I get to the Mall I buy a few of these fat quarters. They are fresh and delightful. Who can resist these?


Eventually, we managed to get to Midvalley Mall which has a huge fabric shop called Khamdar and I bought two fabrics which I am sure I am going to find lots of use for.

In fact they inspired me to use them for my "Stilllife"


Sorry, the vases look a little wobbly in this photie.


On another occasion we managed to get to our original hunting grounds across the city and I found super BenTen fabric which I bought and made up for Ben's birthday. While there, I checked the Japanese cottons and could not resist getting a few pretty pieces at five Ringgit a meter...five Ringitt! Wow.


This week we took Joshua to the aquarium and had to catch our return bus near China Town and I visited an amazing fabric shop called Isetan and just had to buy a few meters of the most beautiful quality Japanese fabrics.....all dotty and spotty ! They cost a little more but well worth it.


In addition to my new stash, Moira has given me a few of her "pieces" from her collection which I will leave here for future use.I am so grateful to her for the use of her sewing machine, cutting board, cutter and ruler!

Between packing two lovely carpets purchased and my bits and pieces, fitting it all into our suitcases is going to be a tad challenging. One of the minor challenges of travel.



Thursday, August 22, 2013


You cannot visit Kuala Lumpur without paying a visit to KLCC or Kuala Lumpur City Centre. This is of course situated right under the magnificent Petronas Twin Towers. We were dropped off at a nearby LRT station and took the train for the last few stops before arriving at our destination. Joshua loves trains and enjoys his weekly adventure with his Grandfather. This time I tagged along as I wanted to visit the ArtGallery in the Mall and Joshua wanted to go to the Aquarium.


The station is situated right under the Towers and it is quite magical arriving "on the spot"! This is a perfect place for 'people watching', as tourists arrive from all over the world plus locals like to pay the centre a visit. The shopping centre is called Suria KLCC. One could spend all day just people watching or window shopping.....which I think a lot of locals do!

Our first stop was to the beautiful gardens as we arrived early and it was cool enough to be outside.

The entire set up is built on a hundred acres of land and is described as a city within a city. in addition to the Mall and the Gardens, there are play areas, a pool, a mosque which seats 12000 people and a joggers track. Everything is kept in pristine condition and is something all Malaysians must be proud of.


Suria KLCC has to be one of the most spectacular Malls ever! It spans six floors and is home to every big name in fashion, dining, Bookshops, furniture etc. My favorite shop is Kinokuniya Book Store. It is massive and is said to house 300,000 titles. It has a Japanese section (being a Japanese shop) a Chinese Section, a Malaysian section and of course an English section. Once before on one of my visits I enquired after a book that i wished to purchas and after checking the computer, I was told to go to Aisle 14, Section 4, the third shelf and the fourth book! And there it was! I was gob smacked! Every book has its place and is recorded on the computer. I spent an hour looking at the Craft magazines in the Japanese section and am sorry to say I might have confused things a bit!


Joshua was eager to visit the "equarium" as he called it, so he and Poppie went off to enjoy viewing some of the 5000 exhibits.

Joshie says the sharks are the best!

I went off to visit the Art Gallery. Oh what a treat. The present exhibition is labeled 'Convergence - Allegories of the Malaysian landscape both past and present.' By far, my favorite artists on show were Ismail Mat Hussein and Chuah Thear Teng. Both of these artists had work on show that showed their batik work. They were brilliant. Unfortunately using a camera in the gallery is not usually allowed so I couldn't take happy snaps but I have found a few pics on Flickr, which I hope no one minds me using to show this wonderful Artby these artists.

It takes Batik art to a whole different level. What a feast for me, a real Artist's Treat and it is all free! I love visiting that Gallery and am so pleased I managed to catch this exhibition. I will be back in December!


The Petronas Towers are at their best at night as they are outlined in silvery lights against the black sky. What a sight! Amazing Malaysia!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

All good things....

Ramadan has come and gone and now we are nearing the end of a week of Hari Raya, when everyone relaxes and enjoys time with family and friends. The atmosphere is indeed rather festive with the Malls bursting with sales and special offers.

To end the month of fasting once again we were invited to a special luncheon in a neighboring state and this time I wasn't half as nervous as the previous time as I knew what to expect. We are very privileged as we are invited to dine in the "inner chambers" of the palace. The wife of the Prince oversees the preparation of the food herself always trying out new and interesting dishes. She has been told that I am a quilter and during the meal requested that we get together to talk quilting as she too is a quilter.

I did not take my camera along as I felt it was inappropriate however no one else worried about that and the Prince and his wife were fine about posing for pics, I would have liked to have captured some of the beautiful outfits the women were wearing. It is traditional that families wear the same colours and his year the Prince and his sons wore deep turquoise a and his wife and daughters wore cerise pink with lots of beading. This is a fun time just people watching or rather fashion watching.

It was a wonderful chance for us all but in particular Joshua, to play on the beach and swim in the sea.

As it is traditional for all Muslim Malaysians to visit their family homes during this period the roads are extremely busy and the cities are emptiesh, with many businesses closed so we returned home a day earlier than expected. Warren and I popped off to our favorite mall expecting to enjoy our favorite meal in our favorite restaurant. Guess what, after much anticipation, driving across the city the restaurant was closed!! That treat may have to wait ...!


As I did not get to sit with our hostess last week and talk Quilting I thought I would have fun making a little something for her. I only had a few day in which to get something made so I could not be too adventurous. Out came the bag of scraps .....and off we go.


I do love Malaysian fabrics and Moira had given me a beautiful turquoise piece to use.


What fun I had doing this little "Malaysian Beauty" as I call it. I did not have time or the inclination to use embroidery to decorate this but had a small box of buttons I had bought at my favorite little Japanese shop.

I also had fun putting together a " Still Life". I will blanket stitch it and do the quilting when I get home.

Having the timsand such excellent access to the net I have loved "surfing" all the quilt sites and marveling at the wonderful work so many quilters do. People are generous with their tutorials and advice. I am aiming for my "Masters in Quilting on the net".


Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Bird's eye view.

I have researched the words "condominium" "apartment" and "flats" and I think the main difference is that apart maybe from a few small legal differences is that it depends on which country you live in. "Condo" seems to be the preferred term in Canada and America and definitely in Malaysia and "flats" is used in the UK and South Africa. 

It is all fine and dandy living in these high rise apartment blocks IF the lift works and each of these enormous blocks have several lifts! How can it happen then that last week all three lifts were not functioning and we had Nick downstairs waiting to take us to a play date!! So, brave Joshua and I decided to walk down the twenty two floors! No problem! Joshua was like a little impala the way he hopped and skipped down all floors, enjoying counting backwards. Being Chinese owned, the number four is deemed to be unlucky so there is no no. 14 or 4th floor but 13a and 3 a instead which leads to a bit of confusion in a five year old' s mind.

No worries, we made it and we were off to the play date. Well......the next day I woke up feeling a little sore and by bedtime I actually couldn't sneeze without aching! It took three days of swimming and rubbing to get rid of the aches and pains! I asked Warren if I should consider running down the stairs every day to build up my fitness and he reminded me of the "burro" story on our honeymoon.

We visited the Greek Island of Santorini. From the Harbour to the top of the island are at least 600 steps. My ever fit husband thought it a great idea for us to walk up these steps and not use the donkey/ burro taxi offered. Being brave I tucked my bottom lip in and started the Great Trek. Half way up I just could not walk another step. No wayHose!! Warren stopped one of the donkey drivers as they were coming down the steps to ask what his rate would be to take me the rest of the way....and of course knowing my desperation, the driver doubled the price!! Did I care way. Later on we read that these same donkeys only had a working life span of four years before they dropped down dead! So I guess I won't be running down 22 floors every day. Swimming a few lengths is far more healthy and just does not hurt at all!

The "playdate" we were off to also has a funny story attached to it. The previous week Joshua had attended a Soccer Camp. Every day when questioned about the friends he had met at the camp he would talk about "Ben 10" . He really liked this little fellow and we had no further details about him. On the last day of the Camp, Moira wrote a note to Ben Ten's Mother asking her to make contact so a play date could be arranged. This Mother Ben Ten did. So here I was taking Joshua to a total stranger's home armed with my basket of treats a bit like Red Riding Hood. I just hoped that there would be no wolf on the way. But he came in a different form. Ben 10 lives in the poshest set of condos imaginable. Nick managed to get through the main set of security gates, dropped us off, and then we got to the front doors leading to the specified apartment block. Mr Wolf or rather the security gaurd arrived and asked whether we had an access card or not. I told him that we were visiting friends and all I knew was the apartment and floor number. His English was non existent but he suggested we sit and wait in the sumptuous waiting area while he called the guard house. The minutes ticked away, one excited little fellow started eating the contents of the basket and forty five minutes later and much pointing and stamping of feet the hostess arrived to escort us to her apartment. The security is so tight in these blocks, it's crazy. But I guess it's necessary when you live in foreign countries and earn the kind of money these condos cost. Susha, Ben Ten or rather Tex's Mum was so lovely and was so pleased Moira had written to her. The family have only been on the country for a few weeks and they too needed friends. Their home is huge and lovely. The boys could chase each other round without bumping into anything. It even has its own movie room. It really is the biggest condo I have ever been into! It is on the thirtieth first floor and has a birds eye view of the whole of Mont Kiara....meaning you can see mile upon mile of condos!


"Birds eye view" is the newest phrase I have introduced Joshua to. He has been ill with a cough and cold so we have been indoor bound and keeping him busy has been at the top of our list. He is amazing how he plays on his own chatting away to himself and every now and then calling "Come and play with me". We are experts on Angry Birds, Thomas the tank engine etc. and in between, we have been doing lots of drawing, painting cutting and creating, which is more my forte. While painting I suggested we paint the view which I described as a "Birds eye view". He loves to chat about the birds eye view and did some lovely paintings too!


Tomorrow Ramadan ends for all the Muslim folk in Malaysia and there will be much celebrating. As it is, the fireworks go off day and night all around us. We are heading off for the coast, which I will tell you more about next week.


In the meantime I really do want to thank you for reading my posts. I had three mails this week from different friends who actually READ what I write and I am ever grateful. PLEASE sign on as a Friend and boost my friends list and leave an occasional comment. I can't tell you how happy it would make me knowing I am not talking to the walls or in this instance "cyberspace".