December 28, 2008

Happy Holidays

It's the holiday season of the year again. I've been on leave for a good part of the month, but haven't really rested cos I've been busy helping out at some events. I'll let the pictures do the talking. As usual, full pics over at Flickr.





And some cookies I baked as Christmas gifts this year...


December 10, 2008

Draft One


How's this?

December 2, 2008

Testing

From my new toy!

Posted by ShoZu

November 22, 2008

Picture Time

Here's a peek into what I've been up to - flowers, macarons and more flowers....

My most recent flower foray, sparked off by a bouquet I was helping a friend do. With lots of excess flowers, I thought I might as well use 'em all up...



The recent italian meringue-style macaron adventure that led to my burns. Kaya and bandung (rose lah) flavour. Way too soft and sticky, I really need to perfect these little almond cookies. Will try again.

The trifle looking thing in the glass bowl was my attempt at finishing up the rose whipped cream I had. I was too lazy to bake some cupcakes to frost, and so turned to the only food (that could be used) I had - Danish biscuits. I piled a bunch of butter cookies and slopped on rose whipped cream on top of it, sprinkled some cereal, and added some more whipped cream and topped off with some strawberry choc flakes. Stuck it into the fridge overnight. Next day I bought some strawberries and garnished it. It was quite yummy, the whipped cream had set and the butter cookies had softened. Yum.


Collection of my work in floral design class. The flower quality isn't the best as I didn't opt for the "take-home" materials as it's much costlier, so we use flowers that have been recycled.

November 19, 2008

Inspiration of the Moment

This picture kinda sums up the colours and feel I have in mind for Ever After...
 blog it

November 17, 2008

Macaron Adventures and the Like

I really need to get a food processor if I'm intending to continue making macarons. Spending 20 minutes pushing and pounding ground almonds through a fine sieve is NOT fun and really quite finger and back breaking. I've definitely invested way too much into all these pieces of equipment. I bought a candy thermometer the other day so I could try making the Italian meringue macaron recipe as it involves boiling sugar syrup to a certain temperature to be poured over whipped egg whites. Which incidentally, has resulted in a kitchen mishap which has led to Rorschach inkblot blisters on my hands. Clumsy me.

Since I'm going to get a food processor, I might as well go and get a second baking tray to insulate my first one (apparently it gives you more even temperature), as well as a small saucepan to cook my sugar syrup so that I won't get into a similar incident with the sugar syrup & thermometer again. While I'm at it, let's just throw in a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker (the industrial self-freezing type, not the have-to-put-bowl-in-freezer-overnight type) that's on sale at Tangs for $688 which is really a steal considering the high-end Musso one is over $1000. Bah, dreaming only, since I don't even really eat ice-cream that much. But maybe I will if I get the machine (self-rationalisation in process)...

In line with the asset accumulation (yes that's what I like to view it as), I've bought several candle holders, artificial flowers & plants, decorating knick-knacks and some gift boxes/bags over the weekend. I really really need to start restraining myself from buying all these pretty but useless things.

November 11, 2008

What Should I Do With My Life?

That's the title of the book I'm reading. It's a collection of stories of how people are in various stages of deciding what to do with their lives, finding meaning and purpose. Each story is a few pages, and the author tries to weave in themes that he sees coming out from all these people he meets.

I must say that the stories do unlock one's mind, and it gave me perspectives that I did not consider before. I always end up putting myself into the shoes of the person in question, and trying to identify with the situation. The last story I just read was about how a woman gave up a job offer which would have doubled her salary, to pursue her childhood dream of being a landscape gardener. The job offer forced her to relook what she was doing in life. She knew if she took the job, it'd just be for money and not anything else. It made her realise that she was not after money in life, and she just wanted to do something that made her happy. Oftentimes we see money as the means to that end - to be able to afford to pursue something that makes us happy be it to bum, open a business or study. But once we get caught up in the pursuit of money, often that overshadows whatever original goal we had.

I thought about my childhood ambitions. Did I have any? I know that I was never the sort who grew up with a conviction to be something (there are stories about that too in the book), but I do remember wanting to be a fashion designer at some point, fashion merchandiser and also make-up artist at another. In my late teens, I think I also wanted to be an interior designer and a chef. While these never really lasted or developed into strong ambition, the stories have made me dig up these memories and realise that there is a common thread among them - that they are all jobs in the creative field, vocational in nature requiring some sort of a skill. They are not money-spinning, highly intellectual jobs in the corporate world.

My fear though, is that my talent does not match up to my passion. That whilst I may wish to pursue these things, I will inevitably fall short. Fear of failure, in our success and qualification driven society. Maybe I belong to the category of people who are good at what they do not like, but like what they are not good at.

I tell myself that these questions and fears would be best answered and confronted if I actually act and take a step in that direction that I have always felt tugged in. No more sitting around and just agonising over what could be.

Now I just need someone to bankroll me.

November 7, 2008

Names Names Names

After a few days of brainstorming, though most of them were thought of at Klee earlier tonight with JW, I've shortlisted some names that could be used for a wedding planning & design service. Which one's better?? Pls take the poll!

November 3, 2008

Pretty Productive

So today I didn't work. The end of the year marks the start of all the leave-taking. I had intended to make some more macarons using the italian meringue method (since I rushed to buy a candy thermometer last Sat) but got a little sian. Been baking quite a bit in the past week so thought I need to venture into other things. Evidence of my recent baking adventures below - Chocolate Mint Cupcakes for baby Victoria's one-month & P's bday, and Salted Caramel & Peanut + Chocolate Halloween Macarons (no it's not yellow but supposed to be orange the picture is lying).


I settled my insurance, renewed my road tax and got my teeth cleaned. In between, I also plonked a whole bunch of money into my flower course. Yeah, I've decided to restart my flower classes and this time, I went the whole hog and decided to sign up for a Professional Certificate in Floristry Development. Yeah, pompous sounding name I know but it sounds more cheem than it really is. I do hope I can get some mileage out of it, more like an investment for the long term. Well, at least that's how I convinced and reasoned it to myself.

Spent the past few hours surfing online d-i-y craft/wedding/flowers stuff. There are quite a lot of craft studios coming up in Singapore. I know of the usual scrapbooking places, but didn't know there were places where you could go to sew, bead, paint, make pots and what-have-you. Think I'll check some of them out one of these days. If anyone's interested, do check out the links below.

Workshops/Studios
Other Resources
  • Craftholic - really good online/print mag on all things crafty, which is where I got the above links from.
  • Our Craft Place - online shop selling scrapbooking stuff
I should really sleep in case I've forgotten I still have to work tomorrow.

October 25, 2008

I Need Detox from Retail Therapy

I've done great damage to my wallet. I think I was a mad woman on the loose this week. I bought 10 dresses. Yes, ten. T.E.N. 10. In like 4 days. Plus a whole bunch of other things. I'm like SUPER BROKE. This is not good. Sigh. I can't keep just buying stuff, I probably already doubled my wardrobe in the last few months. Clothes are spilling out everywhere. I don't even dare to take stock of my stuff.

Someone save me. I need to detox from shopping. NO MORE SHOPPING FOR THE NEXT MONTH. Well, at least until Christmas shopping starts.

Oh, and yay, detox is finally over! Good job to all my fellow detoxers, we did well. I errrr feel more energetic and healthier, I think? Oh definitely am not so dependent on caffeine anymore.

October 23, 2008

Random Thoughts and Wants

I should drive more often with the top down, except that it's raining all the time these days. The stupid insurance is also getting so expensive that I'm thinking of selling the car. Bah.

Went shopping for a digital kitchen weighing scale yesterday after I was overcome by a sudden urge to replace my current lousy one that I blame for the weird mooncake proportions. I wonder when I'm actually even going to use it. I picked up a baking tray, frying slice along the way and decided that I need to get (someday) in no particular order:

- metal measuring spoons
- Le Creuset pots
- handheld torch for scorching sugar
- oven thermometer
- candy thermometer
- food processor & spice grinder, preferably together
- coffee machine
- ramekins and other nice flatware

I blame these retail impulses on the detox. Since I can't eat, I shop. Free smells at home right now, parents bought duck noodle soup. They bought prata 2 days ago (since when did they start buying food home??). You only start noticing all these food surrounding you when you can't have it. The crackers that are lying on the table you pass by everyday in front of a colleague, the donuts someone bought that you wouldn't have eaten normally cos they're too sweet, every vegetable and fruit screaming your name as you walk into a supermarket.

Actually today was much better than yesterday. I was only tempted by the muruku that my colleagues kept offering to me to tempt me, even proceeding to shower my feet with them (ok I exaggerate but a mountain of muruku did end up on my feet).

The UBS Verbier Chamber Orchestra was not bad, better than I expected since 1) the people I was supposed to host didn't turn up so I didn't have to talk to anyone, 2) I didn't fall asleep despite being super hungry and low energy! Similar to after watching ballet last week, I once again felt sad that I did not have an artistic talent, or just a talent that I can build upon to become one of the best in class. It was amazing to see people who dance or make music as their career. Following their passion, being the best that they could be for the world. And making the world a better and more beautiful place through music and dance.

My thoughts drifted to whether I could develop something I enjoy doing into a talent and make a living out of it. Flowers? Cupcakes? Cooking? Somehow they just don't seem to be substantial enough, both in terms of my interest and ability in it, as well as impact to people.

Oh well. Let's just finish this detox first.

September 23, 2008

Loveliness

I forgot why I loved weddings and beautiful things. I had stopped visiting those lovely blogs over on the right in the past few months as my mood got worse and work got crazier. But tonight I took some time out and was looking through some of the wedding blogs on my google reader and realised how much I missed beautiful pictures, lovely things and all that emotion and happiness that are captured at a wedding.

I hear of people planning weddings (their own), and venturing into wedding planning (others) and I still ask myself the same question as I did before - will I ever? Guess I still don't have the answers to either but maybe if I start surrounding myself with love and pretty things and inspiration, maybe one day I will.

September 14, 2008

Zhong Qiu

It's been a while. Happy Mid Autumn everyone. Did some fun activities over the weekends. Been in a mooncake making frenzy. The first attempt didn't turn out too good, but the subsequent ones were much better.

Went prawning last night as well, caught zero prawns, bah. But it's addictive - cos I can't get any. So I feel like I need to buy more time in order to get something. Definitely a gambling addict in the making.

Today had a cookout at JW's place, together with another friend. I must say I'm quite impressed with ourselves. We made a starter of pumpkin soup, an entree of miso-glazed cod on a bed of sugar snap peas and honmeiji mushrooms and grilled garlic butter prawns and an apple pie with vanilla ice cream! After our yummy dinner, we acted like kids and went to carry lanterns around her estate, we even had sparklers.

Pics are over at Flickr since I've been actively taking pics with my new G7. Paris, Valencia pics are there too.

August 10, 2008

Paris Je T'aime!

I can't wait for my four days in Paris. It has been far too long... 6 years since I was last there... How to revisit all the places that I used to go to in 4 days?? Nostalgia... Must go dig up my journal and brush up my francais...

Looking for hotels is such a chore. I'm a cheapie and refuse to pay more than SG 200 a night, which is pretty hard since Paris hotels are so expensive. I also refuse to rough it out and stay in hostels haha, which pretty much leaves me nothing much. Trying to look for smallish 'boutique' hotels in slightly further off locations, though I keep getting drawn back to the area I stayed in during my time there.

Should I just splurge?? Hmm... 

July 27, 2008

White Chocolate & Candied Plum Cupcakes

Finally psyched myself up to bake today. And played with my new camera as well taking pics of the pretty cupcakes. Experimented with the different white balances a little, still can't get it super correct. The cupcakes themselves are quite yummy - tho a little sweet. Tweaked it from a recipe from the Cupcake Blog, it's a White Chocolate & Cranberry recipe but I couldn't find Craisins in NTUC, so substituted with some dried plums. I think they're dried plums anyway cos the lady told me they were called Rosemary, and they tasted like suan mei except not sour and were quite sweet with a hint of rose. I thought they'd go well as substitute for the cranberries. The frosting's a White Chocolate & Sour Cream Ganache. I had expected it to be a lot fluffier, I guess it's because I didn't follow the recipe and add the full amount of sugar (it was already so sweet!!). Think I'll start modifying on my own - I think a white chocolate ganache with whipped cream would have been nice... kinda like a mousse, lighter and not so sweet. Next time. In the mean time enjoy the photos...




June 3, 2008

Post-wedding Posting Frenzy

Anyway I'm quite sad that no one took a picture of the candy buffet. Luckily our cupcake baker took some pics of the gorgeous cupcake tier she made. If anyone wants to order yummy and pretty cupcakes, pls contact Cotton Candy Bakeshop!

Finally...

Yes a new look. Cos if you've noticed, the images from my previous template hasn't been coming up. Long story but well I decided to change it once and for all. Have upgraded to the new xml templates which allow me to play with widgets on the sidebar (it's about time!!). So this will suffice for now...

What's Up There?


Here's the full photo... to put it in context, they were being made to sing to Jess, who's on the 16th floor, from the void deck. Hence all looking up.

Jess's Wedding Pics

The Big Day is finally over! The happy couple has gone off on their honeymoon in romantic Paris and London. I've uploaded the first batch of photos on Flickr that the photographer Kelvin (from Lighted Pixels) has put together for the morning highlights that was shown during the dinner. Kelvin's really talented as the pictures will show.

Here are just some of my favourite shots - I really like the one of the guys looking up in the top left corner, though it looks much better in Portrait, these have been somewhat cut off due to the mosaic.


May 29, 2008

3.. 2.. 1...

So yesterday was a crazy day. Went to collect my flowers and met with all sorts of mishaps. Like how the flowers I ordered weren't available, colours all wrong, drenched in rain etc etc. Cos of the rain and my rush, some of my flowers died on me. Don't really care if a few cheap roses die, but my expensive hydrangeas completely wilted. I went into panic mode and went online to search for how to revive these delicate flowers. Basically the advice was to re-cut them and stick them in boiling water for 30 sec and put them back in regular water. That solution worked somewhat, except that they look like they're dying on me again tonight. How are they suppose so survive till Sat? Here are the before and after pictures.

Dead Hydrangeas Somewhat alive Hydrangeas

My plan was to order the flowers early enough so that I'd get the exact flowers I want and for them to have time to bloom. However it's turning to be pretty troublesome. Spent a few hours last night dethorning the roses, cutting the flowers to make sure they absorb water, sticking them into many many red pails and hope they come back alive and bloom. Luckily for me, most of them bloomed, I just hope that it's not the peak yet and they survive for 2 more days. you can see the peonies (2nd picture, pink flowers in the foreground) really in full bloom already.
Before conditioning After conditioning
I also spent some time working on my candy corner last night - doing up the jars and filling them with the jelly beans. The colours are very pretty if I may say so. I made some tags today to stick on the candy favour bags, and made some samples so people will know what to do. Now, if only I can find my candy scoop.


Some of the bridal party also came down to help decorate the church reception venue tonight. It was quite a bit of work, but we managed to get it done. It started looking out very much nicer with ceiling swags that joined (as seen in the picture below), but we soon discovered this was a hazard as they could get caught in the ceiling fans. We tested with the fans on and indeed one of the swags got caught and torn. So we had to take out all those that were close to the fan and just hang them kinda randomly while avoiding the fans.


Tomorrow morning I've gotta do up all the flowers. I really really hope they don't die on me.. and that I can finish it all up in time. The house is a huge mess still, I've no idea how it's going to magically clean itself before the wedding. Need a miracle!!

Goodnight world.

May 27, 2008

4 Days...

Tonight's work mostly consisted of doing mock-ups. For the arch... for the ceiling swags... and also doing up the wish tree. I'm quite pleased overall with the results.

Obviously won't be using those ugly plastic clips to clip the well-wishes. But Taka Art Friend has ran out of the wooden pegs. Not sure where to get so much of them at short notice.

On a side note, I think my camera is going kaput. The colour comes out quite bad.. and there's always lines on the pictures. Sigh. Think it's time to get a new one... no money no money. I've been bankrupted by all the home changes.

May 26, 2008

5 Days..

The wedding is 5 days away! So many things not done! Gah!

I think I've gone slightly overboard on the DIY stuff. Case in point - I went to the Upper Paya Lebar nursuries (Greenhub, Sing See Soon, GG Flowers) on Saturday and chanced upon these cool Curly Willow branches (at least that's what the florist told me they were, tho they really dun look like the normal ones). They weren't the normal kind you can get at the wholesale florists, with thicker stems and really curly smaller branches. The lady told me they were imported from Holland (read expensive). When I saw them, the neurons in my brain started firing away contemplating the stuff I could do with it. So of course I got suckered into buy two of these babies since I didn't want to leave there empty handed after coming all the way. I had actually hoped for Manzanita branches which I suppose you can't find in Singapore unless you import it yourself.

These are the regular curly willows and Manzanita branches..

blog it
And mine looks like this...


They had come as 2 separate branches but I set them in plaster to make them into a tree, following the instructions here. The pot's from Ikea btw. But they're not as strong as the Manzanita branch. Hopefully I can still hang some sort of stuff on it... tho I don't think it'll be too many things.

I also went on a ribbon buying spree on Saturday after I got the branches. I'm planning to hang them from the tree, from the ceiling swags, and wherever they can help prettify the place. Here's my stash of ribbons in the wedding colours.

This tea set is apparently way back from my parents' wedding. Was pretty rusty when they were first taken out. Family heirloom see the light of day again.. Way to go WD40.


This is just the beginning of all the other stuff I need to get done... Tomorrow shall be cut cloth and cut ribbon day.

May 17, 2008

First Batch of Cupcakes!

After spending an entire afternoon with JY going to all the different bakery shops to suss them out - Phoon Huat, Sun Lik & Sia Huat (with a side trip to Raffles City along the way), I added a muffin tray, 24-pc nozzle set, palette knife and some measuring spoons to my baking assets. We then came back to my house and started our first attempt to bake something using my new tools, mixer and oven.

I chose to make the Chocolate Spiced Cupcakes from the recipe pack that I got from a demo class at Shermay's the last time as it seemed like it had the easiest and least complicated list of ingredients. Decided to pair that with Vanilla Cream Cheese & Sour Cream frosting - yum.

After mucking around a bit and creating a bit of a mess in the kitchen, our cupcakes were finally baking away in the oven :) Unfortunately, we only had enough batter for 7 cupcakes despite my large oven cos the cases I bought were bigger than the recipe's (it's supposed to make 12 cupcakes). Never mind, next time I know.

Started on the cream cheese frosting, and had a mini crisis and almost went into state of panic when I couldn't get the mixer to work. Luckily it was only cos I didn't slide some safety lock into place. Stupid me. Decided to use the star nozzle and experiment on frosting patterns haha.

So... drumroll.....



Tada, this is how the cupcakes turned out. Quite ok lah... JY and I decided to sprinkle some of the metallic sugar balls o them. Looks pretty but they were damn hard to eat. As my brother puts it - very old people-unfriendly.

Alright, that concludes the first (hopefully of many) baking adventures. Since this batch could only make 7, I'll make another bigger batch so that I can have more to give away!

May 16, 2008

Cutest cutest flower girls


I just couldn't resist stealing this photo off my sister's wedding blog. We had taken some pics of her flower girls that day while my mum was measuring them for their dresses. Aren't Charmyne and Celest the cutsiest prettiest sweetest girls every? They love to pose for the camera too haha!
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