Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pattern Emerging

It has been some time since my last update on the kasut manek beading project.  Partly because there has not been much progress on the shoes.  I must admit that I have been a little lazy, but the other reason was because I developed a few floaters in my eyes.  Got the eyes checked and they are ok, but I wanted to rest my eyes a bit.  Also, the floaters are a little bit irritating and I had to get used to them.  Anyway, I have started up again, and will take it slow and easy. 

At this stage of the project, I am happy to say that with each individual bead, the pattern of floating, pink clouds is really taking shape, as can be seen from the photo.  I am now so familiar with the pattern that I don't really need the pattern sheet to refer to all the time - I just figure it out from the beads which were sewn on earlier. 

In a sense it is easy to familiarise oneself with a regular, repetitive pattern.  When I was in Malacca earlier this year, we visited a number of beading shops.  What was interesting was that instead of referring to a pattern sheet, the pattern is tacked on to the canvas and the beads sewn on the pattern.  One example, with a beautiful beaded peacock is shown in the photo on the right (alas the tail is not spread out though).  I can see why sewing the beads on the paper makes it easier to finish the design, without mistakes.

The other thing to point out in this picture, is the neat little beaded edging on the shoe.  My friend has taught me the technique, but I have not tried it out yet. Maybe after I've completed another row or two :-)

I'm glad to be back beading again!

p.s.  Because it has been a while, here is the Flickr set which records my progress on the kasut manek project.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

A Peranakan Garden

I brought my mother to the Singapore Garden Festival 2010 a few weeks ago. After exploring the grandeur of the landscape gardens, and the whimsy of the fantasy gardens, we walked two storeys down to look at the orchids and visit the Community in Bloom. This is one of my favourite sections of the show - I love looking at the herbs, and looking at the ingenuity of the wall gardens and vertical gardens, the floral art and so on.  This year, amongst the gardens developed by communities around Singapore, I spotted the "Peranakan Garden".

I thought it charming, with the old style frontage of a Peranakan house, the stools and table in the garden reminescent of the Peranakan tableware.  My mother, however, was looking at the plants.

There were not enough, she felt, of the plants for the Peranakan kitchen.  Nonyas use a fair amount of herbs in their cooking, and most of the time, they source the plants from their very own backyards. She was a little happier when I showed her the chilli plant, and the bunga telang creeper (or the butterfly pea flower - used as a natural food colouring to stain food blue), and some ginger flowers.  But there were others, she felt which were missing.  (I'm sure we must have missed quite a few) But when we went to the "Supermarket Garden" she found some "suitable" plants - for example, the banana tree and sugar cane plant, curry pulai and lemongrass.  I remember munching on sugar cane during the mid-autumn festival, cut from my grandfather's garden, just as I remember the pots of mint at the back.  My mother still maintains a few pots of herbs in the garden, but herbs are fragile things and may die quickly.  Still, our pandan has been going strong for many years. 

So I ask you, gentle reader. What herbs do you grow in your garden?


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