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08 April 2015

Malmsbury Botanic Gardens

How is April going for you so far? I hope you all had a great Easter. I'm currently on a much needed two week break from school. Spent the first week back in Malaysia. As the weather here in Melbourne is getting pretty cold, boy, was it a huge change in temperature for me. After a week of hectic shopping an packing, I'm now back in Melbourne.
On Monday, Sean and I decided to head to the Macedon Ranges for some R&R. I had read about the picturesque Malmsbury Viaduct at the Malmsbury Botanic Gardens and was dying to have some photography fun there. The drive took slightly more than an hour before we reached Malmsbury, a charming little town on the Old Calder Highway.
Malmsbury 
We had some lovely jam and cream scones at the local cafe before heading into the Malmsbury Botanic Garden. The central focal point of the gardens is the ornamental lake. There were Dutch Elms planted at the front of the lake as a memorial to soldiers of World War I. 
Malmsbury Botanic Gardens 
Ducks swimming in the lake lend a serene touch to the entire scene. 
Pair 
The quaint wooden bridge led to the formed island at the lake's centre.
  Malmsbury Botanic Gardens 
Walking further on was the highlight of the entire trip... The Malmsbury Viaduct that we specifically came here for. 
Malmsbury Viaduct 
Constructed in 1859, the bridge is over 100 metres (330 feet) long and about 25 metres (82 feet) high. It is one of the largest nineteenth century engineering structures erected in Victoria.
Before long, the sky had darkened. Daylight savings has ended and night was fast approaching. We had dinner at one of the local restaurants, The Stables where the food was absolutely beautiful. I had the rabbit stifado while Sean had the moussaka. Everything, from the salad down to the last drop of stew was delicious.
We ended up buying the homemade balsamic glaze and salad dressing. Showcased in pretty bottles, these would be great as gifts.
 
If nothing else, I'm coming back here for the food alone! And then, it was home time. One last glance back at the tree-lined Calder Highway with Malmsbury Botanic Gardens on the left. 
Calder Highway 
Yup, definitely coming back here again ^.^

27 January 2015

Australia Day

Australia Day is celebrated on 26 January every year.
   
Sean and I decided to head to the city to join in the celebrations. We were just in time to watch the Royal Australian Air force's elite aerobatic team, the Roulettes delivering their aerial flyover and display over King's Domain Gardens.
  RAAF Roulettes 
The show, lasting about fifteen minutes, was stunning. They flew so low that I was able to capture a couple lovely shots of them. Needless to say, I was in complete awe. 
RAAF Roulettes 
After that, we made our way to the Government House
 
Unfortunately, because the queue was too long, we didn't manage to tour the main House which consists of the Governor's Private Apartments :( Ah well!
   
We did, however, manage to visit the gardens, stables, tennis court and the state ballroom :) This is what the ballroom exterior looks like. Majestic, isn't it? 
 
The interior is no slouch either. Here I am, courtesy of Sean, trying to capture the magnificence and failing miserably.
   
On the way back, we passed by the Shrine of Remembrance
 
As we were running out of time (parking was due), we did a cursory walkabout and paid our respects at the Stone of Remembrance before leaving. 
 
We'll be back as there is so much more to see here than our hasty visit allowed.
Have a wonderful week ahead!

28 December 2014

Christmas

Christmas has come and gone. I hope you all had a wonderful time. For me, it was a quiet day in with Sean as all our families were overseas. We did celebrate, however, by making a special lunch... Christmas turkey ^.^
Christmas Turkey
On Boxing Day, we decided to head to the city in the evening, not to shop, but to take piccies of the Christmas decorations before they were taken down. Since this is Melbourne, our first stop is the hourly fire show outside Crown along Yarra River.
 Hourly Fire Show
I remember the wonder I felt when I first saw the display a decade ago. Ten years later, it still leaves me in awe.
After that, we made our way inside Crown. This was the very first Christmas Tree we came across. 
O Christmas Tree
I have to admit the filigree hanging from the ceiling caught my attention more than the tree itself :P
Heading into the Atrium at Crown Towers, we were just in time for the musical display. This year, the theme is Fabergé-egg-like baubles that pop open to reveal Santa's friends. 
Christmas 2014 at Crown Melbourne, Australia 
A relevant tune plays as they open up one by one. 'Frosty the Snowman' for the snowman, 'Jingle Bells' for the one-horse sleigh, 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' for the reindeer... You get the idea. My favourite was the snowflakes opening up to 'Let It Snow'. 
Snowflakes Fabergé Ornament
Last but never least was Santa himself. Obviously, the song playing is 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' :) 
Santa Claus Fabergé Ornament 
Finally, we walked to Bourke Street to view Myer's Christmas Windows which tell the story of 'Santa Claus and the Three Bears' this year. 
Santa Claus and the Three Bears
I'm sure you can guess which story it's based on ;) All in all, it has been a lovely night out.
Looking forward to what 2015 might bring.

24 December 2014

Lavender in Summer

Summer has arrived in Australia and it's getting pretty hot out. Last Sunday was a beautiful day. Sean and I decided to visit Warratina Lavender Farm.
 
It's a lovely place featuring a tea room serving lavender-flavoured ice cream among other delicacies. Lavender-scented sachets, lavender-flavoured honey and other goodies can be purchased there as well. 
 
We spent a fair amount of time goofing around amidst the shrubbery. Here I am, surrounded by sweet-smelling lavenders. 
 
Lavender is one of my favourite flowers. We bought a lavender sapling and planted it in our garden. It's doing pretty well thus far.
  Lavender 
On the stitching front, there's been plenty of progress on Moment of Reading. 
 
Merry Christmas, everyone!

12 December 2014

Change

It's been so long since I've last posted that I'm unsure where to start. I hope everyone has been well. There has been a lot of changes in my life. I quit my long time job as a receptionist/assistant administrator back in September. I had decided that I wanted to go back to school. So I signed up for a design course, packed my bags and here I am now in Melbourne, Australia.
So far, I'm having the time of my life settling in again, looking up old friends and meeting new ones. I'm no stranger to Melbourne as not only did I visit here last year but I had lived here for a about a year a decade ago. Everything was just as I remembered, yet new and different somehow. Having Sean, my current boyfriend, here with me really helped too.
Monday was my birthday. Sean took me on a Horseback Winery Tour. I hadn't been on a horse since I was a kid of eight plus being led around a ring doesn't really count. It was an exhilarating experience. Besides, you can't top any activity that's involves wine, right? ;P
Sean, on the other hand, had other ideas up his sleeve. During our first winery stop at Mantons Creek Esate, he had the guide led our horses away to a secluded area among the vines and proposed!
Of course I said yes.
Isn't my engagement ring gorgeous?
Tanzanite & Palladium Engagement Ring 
It's a tanzanite (my birthstone) and palladium ring custom made by Eckart. The craftmanship is exquisite so if you need to have any jewelry custom made, I highly recommend him.
And here's my adorable puffer fish birthday cake courtesy of Alice and Kenny whose wedding I attended only just last month ^.^ Thanks, guys! 
 
Anyway, on to stitching... (Finally! I hear you say? :P) My stitching mojo has returned tenfold but since all my stash are still back in Malaysia, I had no choice but to pick up a kit. 
 
I chose Lanarte's Moment of Reading. I think it's a lovely adaptation of Vladimir Volegov's artwork. 
 
I started on 5 December and this is my progress thus far. 
 
I'm really enjoying stitching this. The colours are soft and romantic, almost like a watercolour piece which is a particular trademark of Lanarte. The only complaint I have is that everything is stitched with a single thread. I'd have vastly preferred to stitch with two to better cover the fabric. I didn't as I'm afraid I'd run out of floss. That said, perhaps that's the reason the entire Lanarte range possess that fine, delicate look.
Lastly, you might have noticed that I've changed the name of my blog. Since I've been showing more than just stitching and with me learning design next year, I believe the new name is more suitable :)
Here's to a Very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

28 August 2014

Coaster Exchange

Back in June, NNC had another exchange. This time, it was a coaster exchange. I received this gorgeous set of coasters from Bee Ee. 
 
Her handiwork is so fine. Absolutely exquisite!
She also included some lovely items in the package. 
To my chagrin, I had completely forgotten about the exchange. Hence, it wasn't until July that I sent my exchange to Usha.
I made her these coasters. The tutorial can be found here.
   
As you can see, these coasters can be either used the traditional way or put on the base of wine glasses. 
 
I made each of them slightly different to enable the owner to identify their glasses. No more wine glass mix-up :)
Included in my package are also some random craft goodies.
 
I hope Usha likes them.
Until next time, Happy Stitching!

15 July 2014

Plethora of Bookmarks

23 April aka World Book Day... Yup, another long overdue post.
To commemorate this occasion, NNC had a bookmark exchange. I had previously picked up these two kits from Japan and I took this opportunity to put them to good use. 
 
I bought a selection of Japanese origami paper from Daiso in case I messed up with the materials provided. I shouldn't have worried. 
 
The instructions given in both English and Japanese were surprisingly easy to follow. I ended up making five shiori ningyo (Japanese Dolls). 
 
Here they are with front and back details. 
 
So happy I learned to create a collage in Lightroom :) 
 
I think they're so delicate and pretty. 
 
As usual, they differ a little from the samples in the kit. A flaw of mine - I can't help changing things up. 
 
Two were given to Zarina, my bookmark exchange partner. 
 
I presented them in printed origami envelopes. 
 
I think they turned out pretty well. 
 
It's my strongest belief that presentation counts. 
 
The other three were given as lucky draw gifts during NNC 7th Anniversary Meet.
The NNC 7th Anniversary Meet was held on 12 April 2014. I wanted to contribute to the door gifts. I experimented to make a butterfly bookmark as shown here and ended up with this prototype. 
 
Encouraged, I folded more using double sided origami paper. 
 
Packed them into sealable plastic bags. 
 
Tada!
   
We had tons of fun that day. Here's a group shot of all who attended. 
 
And the haul everyone brought home with them. 
 
I was also given my bookmark exchange by Sally
 
Which comes with a book to boot! Close up of the pretty tatted bookmark. 
 
And the book-matching peony bookmark. 
 
It had been a really great day!