Sunday, 29 June 2008

niko niko creations ga tanjoo shimashita yo!!

excitement, excitement, excitement from my point of view peeps!!
Prehistoric fish
after a few very "$!#&%&(& technical hitches which require telephone calls to australia (loooooong story and i'm not going to bore you nickerless over it either), i finally got the shop up today. we are listed here and the name of my little piece of etsy is niko niko creations. five items listed (a little often is what i am aiming for) and will probably update with 3-5 items each time (because nature comes in odd numbers usually).
twinkle twinkle little fish
you are probably wondering why i called myself niko niko creations (gotta love the hyperlink). niko niko means to smile or to beam (in my thinking it is a wide smile but can mean a grin too). one hopes that one's handmades do that. one of ct's japanese nicknames is niko niko (because that's what she does a lot) and seeing that she is the quality control officer.....
Cheep Cheep Baa Baa
have lots of other stuff to post about peeps. need to find more hours in the day!! let's just say during the day when someone is awake it is action, action, batton down the hatches (sheesh she has become so bold with the whole sticky beak routine) and sew, sew, sew when said home destroyer (forget the wrecking, mayhem and distruction are now the order of business) is asleep.
Nellie and friend
now all i need to do is to work out how to put an etsy and flickr badge up on my page.... all pictures are current etsy stock. :D

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


That is how I would describe life at the moment but the funny thing is I like it like that.
Hyo Hyo
S' insanity streak is his current work hours. Big projects close to completion = 8am to 12am work days. Plus how thoughtful he was today (but I will write a little more about that ron peeps).
try again
CT's insanity streak, which has made her much happier and I think frustrates S is she is walking. Insane because she has been on the brink of walking for months. Insane because she went from almost zip to confidently toddling around in the space of an hour and a half last Friday afternoon. Insane because you should see the pleasure that this achievement gives her. There will be lots more of the above picture shot (standing that is).
Where's my boat??
Mine?? The number of hours I am sleeping, the swaps to be completed, the store opening today (need to retake some photos, photography getting better but...), store sewing I still want to do (taking the little often approach, thanks for the suggestion Jen), I have taken on a playgroup coordinator's role (doing the craft/songs/art organising. Go to this group for the craft and would hate to see it fold. But what was I thinking??), joined a third playgroup (one is contemplating ditching the second one joined too expat-ish for long time stayer me), have developed a sinus infection and I got a year older today (I was going to let that one slip through to the keeper but I got a birthday greeting in the last post). What I am I doing today so far I have answered several phone calls from Australia, been spoilt by my special peeps, been to playgroup (CT is checking out the wall paper behind the peepers, ie napping) and this afternoon we are going to Singapore's biggest water theme park at about 3pm.
Do you think this looks like a dog?
The ron about S and being thoughtful. Oh ron stands for 'lateR ON'. One does not know if that is Elkspeak (family dialect) or common but I use it a lot. Okay this morning S blew me away because I asked for a bike service and a little person seat for the Ninjastar to go to East Coast Park (ECP). This park is insanely close but the half hour walk to get there makes us both hot and bothered. Riding on the bike won't take as long (ha to riding on the roads, foot path all the way peeps) and one will not venture all the way to the park until the weekend. We have been riding around the residents and visitors car park until I get the balance right. So there was no need for anything other than a card and cake. This morning there was an extremely thoughtful card from both S and the Ninjastar. It was so cute that he put a pen in each hand and encouraged her to 'write a message'. The third Pirates of the Caribbean DVD I have been lusting over since it was released (but have done nothing about the acquisition of) and instead of cake (because I have moaned about the extra girth I have), flowers. People I love flowers and couldn't have asked for better cake. Will post the flowers later tonight, that is if Johnny and his swash buckling doesn't win out first.
Fish mania
Going to go get more stuff done!! Hope you have enjoyed all the irrelevant pics for this post, but you will see what they are all about soonish (hate posting without some eyecandy).

Saturday, 21 June 2008

On Being Spoilt

This post has been awhile coming but I definitely have to post about swaps that I have received as well as a gift from painted fish studio. One was hoping to include the Functional Felt Swap but it still hasn't arrived at my end.
much better
Starting chronologically, I ordered this fab album from jen back in May (sheepish shrug) for special little girl pictures. In this little girl's short life she has had three photo shoots and I wanted to put my favourite studio portraits in there. The shoots? After her birth (suckers), 100 day photos (Japanese tradition) and for Christmas Cards (looooooooooong story that one).
i am touched
I was floored when I read comments on another blog (which I rarely do people if I am not making a comment) and read she had added extra in the package to make up for the Mother's Day that wasn't. Look at the fab bracelet that was in it. I love it but it is difficult for me to wear because the other half of the dubious duo is in love with it too... Nothing worse than having someone trying to pry a bracelet off your arm. This strictly a time in lieu item. But I love it.
but this was easier.
Seeing that jen is a very thoughtful person (as well as such a creative person), she included a felted bead bracelet for ct. CT loves this too. You know when something is special, because it moves from room to room. She was demanding us to put it on her wrist earlier today. There are two short term goals she seems to have putting her shoes on (this is hilarious to watch) and putting her bracelet on. Oh Jackie, I am happy to report there are no buttocks here so we will not need to start another support group like this one.
'... & Green' in its new abode
Next in the post was this fab mobile from My Purple Crayon. My very own version of her original swap mobile. Yeah!! When the mess is too much to bear, one looks up and over the shoulder and serenity. I admired this mobile very much when I first saw it and when she announced that she wouldn't mind swapping a few more....
stab stab stab
Melinda is another thoughtful person and included cutlery, which has been washed several times already. The cutlery is another item that moves from room to room (and if you are not watching the imp, in vegemite sandwiches, yoghurt, sultanas, glasses of water...). Now I have to make a softie set to go with the cutlery so we can have tea parties here. A big thank you from both grinning loons.
I am not finished yet. There is more good mail goodness. :D Next to arrive at Casa Di Caldera was this fab little ATC. Donnie needed a project to keep her from going around the twist after her recent operation (on a side note recovery is going really well), so she decided to make ct a fairy quilt (and matching accessories). Jackie, kindly pointed me in the direction of the fairytale ATC and one thought a wee picture on the wall was in order. This came from Melissa of the.shampoo.people fame. Check out the better photo here. Actually you should check out most of the photography it is serious wow! I have placed a nail in the wall for the frame (I am still to buy) for this beauty. I couldn't hope for a more beautiful ATC. What I really loves about this piece is the 3D detail. I am really into 3D stitching. Miss M how did you know???
In my new home
Last but not least, my 'shroom (okay toadstool) arrived from another very talented lady Kirsten from Kleas fame. I love the colours. Look at the 'shrooms stalk! Knitted!! Sighs of appreciation look at how even the tension and stitches are. So over the knittery jealousy, will admire beautiful pieces that come my way and appreciate the skill and talent ('cause it ain't one I have....). Look at the top. Ms Kleas, how did you know that I was fancying a pointy rather than a flattish 'shroom?? Then there is the little gnome or is he an elf that belongs to the 'shroom. Home or one that he tends because it holds the source of his mischievous magic?? Oh this is another item for the to be transformed bedroom. I know it will fit in well. I would love to say that I have my ATC and toadstool completed Kirsten. They are nearly, and will be in the post on Monday. :D Ditto about reposting on Monday Melinda, won't have time tomorrow, we are picking up the birthday present for moi tomorrow. What? Little person seat for my bike (and a much needed service). Expect more pickies of East Coast Park people (and probably freakily dressed dogs).

Hark is that the doorbell?? Take away, DVD and bottle of wine have our names on it. Thanks Three Sneaky Bugs for the mini date idea. :D

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

While I remember, can anyone help me?

While I was a primary (elementary) school student, I had a very brave music teacher. Why? He had this song that we would sing and I am amazed he got away with it. Thing is I can't remember all the lyrics. Has anyone else in Australia heard of this seminal tune about a jumbo, a Gemini, a bottle of whiskey and a granny?? If you do and know all the lyrics (what I can remember are below), could you please contact me.

This is what I can remember of the lyrics (and you will understand why I am amazed we actually sang it at school)

One chilly morning without any warning I found myself in the local jail,
Dad came and got me I thought he would clock me he had to pay five hundred bail.
(Can't remember what comes next)

Grandma's partial to a drop of whiskey,
She says it gives her heart a stir,
Bought her a bottle to celebrate your birthday,
And borrowed Dad's car to call on her,

Because my Gran is ninety and a jumbo sat on my Gemini

Donnie, Happy, do you remember this tune?? I loved to belt it out ala Jimmy Barnes (I was a yeller not a singer) at choir. Only members of the choir got to sing this fab song. But I didn't join the choir just to sing this song, I also joined because the music teacher was cool about toliet breaks. The grade 6 teacher was not. If you want to know why I still cannot forgive the grade 6 teacher to this day for his toliet break policy, email me.

I'm setting records

...for how long it takes me to post. Sheesh. As always the break was unintended and I have a myriad of excuses a non sleeping CT and an insomnia plagued me being the big 2. Making stuff for swaps and an Etsy store are in the top 5 excuses as well.
Still to come
So the three big things coming up in the next week for me. Friday is the one year anniversary of me getting a lovely scar on my left knee. It matches the other one the right that I got 4 years prior to that when I had an ACL reconstruction. Love to brag about the scars but don't want to scare you with the ghost white knees. Next Wednesday is the grand unveiling of Niko Niko Creations (we have a name, finally). I am nervous about opening the Etsy store. Will people like what I make enough to buy and I am hoping in the long run that I will give me a little financial independence (hate not contributing to the household income peeps). Oh, if you are wondering what Niko Niko means; it's the Japanese onomatopoeic word for grinning. It is one of CT's nicknames (she is a big grinner). The third is a 33rd birthday somewhere in the next week. It could be tomorrow, Monday next.... But I am not going to tell you all. I have very low expectations on the birthday front, I have my reasons but there is no need to be dark side of sunny today.
S this is a public apology of sorts. If you visit my flickr account often (I am a regular poster there because there are 2 CT fans who complain in volumes if I am slack), you will notice that I make humour of S and the way he is cautious with money. Sweetie, you have it on public record that I am sorry that my lame attempts at humour have upset you and will not refer to this endearing (yet frustrating at the same time) trait. I am not trying to make you look like the an idjit. You can sue me if I don't keep up my end of the bargain.
This is where
Do you like the views of the studio?? This is my world at the moment. Very lucky that CT is willing to happily destroy the room as I sew. Not for long stretch but I can on and off now.
This is

Monday, 2 June 2008

rice colouring tutorial (edited version)

afternoon all,

seeing i have had a request for rice colouring ayama-style, s and i have been busy in the kitchen. it took a few attempts and the results are so so. i don't feel like writing long winded explanations so i went with small videos. i hope you enjoy it.


yes i talk with my hands. my students often aped me by doing huge arm flapping guestures.

step one

this cupboard is emptied two or three times a day, so this is as about as tidy as it gets.

step two

i am not particular about the rice i use. i use what ever type we are eating. that said, we tend to eat basamti rice. it does not have a lot of starch in it so it does not absorb as much moisture. i have found that short grain and japanese grains tend to absorb the colouring a lot more so you need to dry the rice out slowly in the oven. when i do this i put the oven on the lowest heat (mine is 50 degress CELCIUS) for an hour or two. i just check to see if the rice is clumping together. i haven't coloured jasmine rice like i did for the tutorial before nor had i used that brand of colouring (colouring brands make a difference as to how much mositure is absorbed).

step three

a glimpse into my small pantry. in australia i always used the queen brand 'rainbow food colours 4 drop control vials' product. i don't have any left so i used a singaporean brand. this is a road test. i used the last of the queen brand on my first filming attempt.

step four

like is said above i use a drop control vial product in australia. next time i use the sinaporean food colouring, i am using an eyedropper so i do not have way tooo much colouring. you might be thinking how much do i need to use. you need to think of the effect. do you want the rice to be completely saturated? (this can lead to problems as it is difficult to get the rice grains to dry out completely. so there can be mold issues and if you choose to use it the rice on collages with little people you end up dyeing their hands (seen it happen at a K-12 school i taught at) and if you are really cursed, their clothes. some brands are impossible to get out of your clothes.) i quite like the mottle effect for rice like in the photos above. so i only use 2 drops. that is all it takes. my nerves got the better of me this morning.
yummy yummy
the above and below pictures are coloured basamati rice. i also wouldn't eat this the colour just isn't me and i am allergic to colour 122 found in the red and yellow. if i was colouring rice to eat it is saffron or tummeric all the way. another tutorial perhaps??
playing with food

step five

and that folks is what i usually do when i colour rice. shake it until the rice stops taking up the colour.


i added too much food colouring so the rice was wet. if this happens, put your oven on it's lowest setting and slowly dry it out. i tend to do this for an hour or so depending on how long i neglect it. i do not recommend your oven heat to be over 150 degrees celcius, though as you have to watch it and you can burn said rice. oh weevil kenevil was also found in my very orange rice, so i decided that i might be the lesser of two weevils to dry the rice out. we don't want to get it all mouldy now seeing that the price of rice is skyrocketing at the moment.

okay so now you have coloured the rice what are you going to do with it??
lookie loos are fabulous. mine is below. i filled it with buttons because they are the latest craze around here but they are a major chocking hazzard as well.
Lookie Loo
a good tutorial is here. after seeing this on the crafty crow, i became a ten ten fan, even though i had made a few before this. a lot of my early efforts went to my mother's group.

they also make great shakers (photo below and it is on the left. if you want a bigger size to look at it. just click the photo). i used a left over urine pot last year and this music maker is still a hit. i have another small plastic container now so i will make another one with different colours.
bodgelina, spice shaker and...

for the child who is not into licking the glue (like ct is at the moment. we only use the edible stuff). coloured rice and pasta is often used in Kindy/Preschool crafts. i also involved a whole class in a stroke order chart for one of the japanese alphabets using colours (though it wasn't just rice. i also used pipe cleaners, playdough and celephane paper for different small groups). one colour for first stroke etc to stress how you write the letter. i mean we write our english letters in a certain order. but this is getting off track.

i never took a photo of it but i made ct a texture box for her to feel the texture of different items. i glued rice on that. but it didn't last long because she kept sucking the blister pack piece.

at the moment i am slowly colouring rice to make this cool activity up for ct.

for other great ideas of how you could use your colour rice, go flick through the crafty crow. in the mean time, they i have put the rice in a larger container that ct, can't open for the moment and i have given her a wooden spoon to hit the container with. it makes a pretty interesting drum. there are lots of things you could adapt your rice for. i also think i might use coloured rice for my octopus's garden. shame that i can't get psychodelic food colouring though isn't it??

please forgive typos and spelling errors as blogger's spell check has decided to take a break. it is a bit difficult to edit with all this html coding....

Sunday, 1 June 2008

the food group one-a-day photoshare june

three posts in one day. actually, i started typing a few of these a few days ago...

a practical solution for one of my mole hills. i am bored of cooking and my lunches at the moment (too much of a good thing, curries and vegemite sandwiches). my motivator? chickpea studio's the food group. this is my motivator. can't be posting the same old dishes now can i?? pulled out some cookbooks today (have lots of noodle dishes ear marked as well as one pot japanese wonders) to get the bowl rolling.
japanese curry
today i am sharing ct's favourite dish, japanese curry. can't remember what it should have in it but i add lots of vegetables not included in a typical recipe. donnie, taught me a few tricks about hiding veggies. actually ct is a good veggie eater if they are cooked. raw, or no garlic, forget it. the spoons?? someone wants to feed herself (2 spoonfuls yesterday, which i missed while i was taking photos at the table. weekends = family meals together.). and well we need one too. there are usually three at any given meal.

an added bonus might be my photography and editing skills might improve. oh, can anyone tell me how do i post badges on the blog?? is anyone interested in a rice colouring tutorial with short video clips?

playing games

i have become a fan of chickpea studio since the elsie marley mobile swap. so when i saw this game on her blog, i decided to have a go while i was procrastinating over cleaning the kitchen last night.

this is the final result.

the concept:

a. type your answer to each of the questions below into flickr search.
b. using only the first page, pick an image.
c. copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

the questions:

1. what is your first name? (how could i resist a dish licker who lounges in couches like me?)
2. what is your favorite food? (no biggie there if you know of me)
3. what high school did you go to? (saint monica's college cairns. the stance in the statue was like the school symbol)
4. what is your favorite color? (green like this or australian sub tropical)
5. who is your celebrity crush? (these girls think like me)
6. favorite drink? (g&t every time. happy don't forget to bring me a bottle when you visit.)
7. dream vacation? (kyoto. i was real pregnant and organised a school trip there even. never been. so just dreaming on...)
8. favorite dessert? (macha cake at the moment. it changes all the time.)
9. what you want to be when you grow up? (young at heart like this woman and her lead foot mobile. hmmm i am missing driving....)
10. what do you love most in life? (my family who are all over the place, and this picture gives a sense of it. some people i consider family are not necessarily blood relations.)
11. one Word to describe you. (eclectic, though eccentric and dreamer did come to mind.)
12. your flickr name (ayama-chan, thanks for the photo jen :D)