25 Dec 2014


I love Decembers. It's always a time of rest for us. Time to enjoy cool rainy days, evening walks, ice cream and rest.

Rest brings out creativity.....and last December the girls and I made lotsa things. Here are some of the craft we made.

A yarn doll, totally made of yarn from inside out, except
for the beaded hair. To make this you begin by using the yarn to create a squishy centre,  knot around it.  Then you go around the squishy centre with the yarn and keep rolling, head first. Lots of online tutorials.

We looked up online tutorials and knitted our first ever dolls. Pretty good for first try don't you think?

We made bread dough again, and used them to create Christmas figurines.

Since there was extra, Jo decided to experiment with them. She stuck this dough to my hand,
applied make up foundation, and coloured the center with red ink. Looks pretty good eh. )

Can't believe it, but I actually knitted!! First time ever. By the time my hair is fully white and my glasses are falling off my nose, I should be professional at it. :)

I also mustered enough courage to cook this for family and friends.
Heng Hua Meesua, recipe passed down from my mother in law. :)

Even our dear cat Rameses got lotsa good outdoor exercise! 

It's so strange but now whenever we take our dog on a walk, the cat comes bounding after. 

Finally, nothing like a good kite flying day with grandpa at the beach.

Love Decembers.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015

23 Dec 2014

Bali Ubud's Writers Fest Part 4

Hubby, bro and nephews set out on a 40 km cycling trip down a volcanic mountain early morning.
My dear sis in law helped me walk Jo to her A Tale of Mermaid  writing workshop, while I walked the older girls to their workshop in the opposite direction. On our way we stopped to look at temples, shops and children on their way to school. Some shots below from the morning scene.

I sat with the girls through their Stories Without Words workshop and found the lecture quite interesting. My first exposure to silent comics.

Later for lunch we met up with Jo and my sis in law, and had lunch at Ibu Oka. What can I say, it wasn't as good as I had imagined it'd be. it was just ok.

Dinner, we finally tried Bebek Bengil . A little on the pricey side, but food was ok. I liked the gado-gado. If you choose to go there, go right to the end of the restaurant and sit by the padi fields.

After our lovely dinner, we headed to Arma Museum to watch Oceania Under the Stars.

Ontosoroh, powerful depiction of the struggles of a lady/nation for freedom. Lovely, powerful voice.

William Barton on the didgeridoo.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2014

Bali-Ubud Writers Fest part 3

I will never get my entry on Bali done if I procrastinate....
Gonna shorten posts here and just do highlights from several days.....

Kids at another writing workshop Dream Aloud where they collaborated and wrote a story.

Meanwhile, my parents arrived, and so off shopping we went. Mum bought a ukelele and I bought a drum. On top of that we bought little souvenirs and vanilla pods.

In the afternoon, us ladies met up at Ani's villa, where Wayan Rana whom we met on the ridge walk was supposed to come teach us Balinese painting. Well, he didn't turn up, but sent his nephew.
So while the men baby-sat the children and took them to their workshops, us ladies chilled and learnt some Balinese art.

As for the men, after asking for the 100th time where the children's carving workshop would be and what time it would be, they set off in a van, three dads and 7 children. They found Pondok Pekak where the kids had their wood carving workshop, and I heard the men went looking for gelato. :)

 In the evening we regrouped over delicious dinner (sorry not one to take photos of food, coz i"m usually too busy enjoying eating!). After dinner, the kids went back with the dads again, while A and I went to catch Poetry Slam. There were some weird entrees and lotsa good ones, I enjoyed myself! What a day. :)


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15 Dec 2014

Bali Ubud writers Fest Part 2

Awoke early to see more behind the scenes preparation at the temple across our hotel. Ladies dressed in beautiful Kebaya, men in their sarongs and prayer "caps", sound of gamelan droning gently on and on.

We decided to embark on another touristy thing. Why not, since it's not everyday that we're in Bali. Here we are on the Campuhan Ridge Walk. We started out pretty late, so the sun was high and scorching, and there was hardly any shaded path. Thankfully Jo had her pink umbrella, so K and she stuck together most of the way. Some beautiful scenery on the path, actually if not for the heat, it'd be a really love walk,  but because of the heat, our goal was to get to the end for some delicious lime juice at Karsa Café.

Beautiful Padi fields along the way.

Three quarters into the walk we came across some artists galleries. We really liked the works by Wayan Rana, and his works were going for very reasonable prices.

Here's egg painting by Wayan Rana, and he has lovely Balinese paintings too. We asked if he'd teach us how to paint, and surprisingly he said yes. So we made an appointment with him.

Well we made it to Karsa Café, enjoyed our drinks by the padi field and made our journey back to town through the same heat again. We then rushed the children for their first workshop, James Foley's Dragon Workshop.  Children had fun drawing their own dragons, listening to Mr. Foley read a story about dragons, watching him draw a dragon etc.

Kids ended the day with a swim at the pool with their friends, and later we walked up to Naughty Nuri's to have a taste of their delicious ribs and chops! YUmmmmmssss!!!!
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11 Dec 2014


Jo signed up to take part at the MHSN Swim Meet. Nel backed out and good thing too, for she came down with high fever on the day of the meet. Well, Jo got first place for breast stroke! Yay!

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14 Nov 2014

Bali - Day 1

We (especially my mum), have been wanting to visit Bali for years, but never did. This year we decided that by hook or by crook, we'd do it.  So when we found out about Ubud Writer's Fest, we decided to coincide our vacation with the fest.

After scouring the net for a hotel at a reasonable price, we decided on Ani's Villas, because they are located very near Rumah Baca, where most of the children's workshops were held. My parents put up at Sri Ratih Cottages  , which was more expensive, but lovelier and more suitable for the elderly.

Across Ani's Villa is a very large temple. (Photo above.) The sun here rises earlier than in Malaysia, and on the first morning there, I was woken early, (5:30am!) by sounds of gamelan music coming from the temple. I didn't mind it at all, afterall, I was there to experience the culture. While hubby and the children continued sleeping, I sat and watched the preparation and all the early morning bustle happening at the temple.

When the rest of the brood got up, we booked a driver for the day and did a day tour of some touristy spots. Taxi there is cheap, ranging from 200,000 to 450,000 per day. By the way, most drivers/men here will introduce themselves to you as wayan, made, putu or ketut depending on their position in the family. So when you get their name card, it's wise to note their given name. Saying from experience because by the second day, I had a stack of taxi cards mostly with the name Wayan, and I made several phone calls before I found the Wayan I was looking for!

Some pictures from our first day.

1) Tirta Empul Temple (Holy Water Spring). Very huge temple grounds. While we were there, they were preparing for a major festival. The temple was a hive of activity with devotees preparing all sorts of offerings from weaving baskets and decoration to preparing food.

Devotees bathing to purify themselves

Preparing offerings for a major prayer celebration. Lots of weaving going on.

Shaping swans out of dough, which is then deep fried and used as offering.

Offering baskets consisting of fruits, herbs and deep fried dough.

2) Kintamani Batur Lake and Volcano (Stunning scenery!) My husband, brother and nephews did a cycling tour here. They cycled 40km, mostly downhill, with stops in between to look at padi fields and farms.

3) Terraced Rice Fields. To me, this is a must see. Just so beautiful. You can take a walking tour through the rice fields and make friends with locals. Balinese are extremely friendly and hospitable people.

Canang Sari. Offerings of flowers, made daily for their gods.
 4) A Coffee and Cocoa Farm. There are many farms there, we went to two. We learnt lots about herbs, coffee and cocoa.

Smelling dried herbs.

I really loved the Lemon Grass Tea!! Oh so refreshing!

Our local guide showing us the difference between regular coffee beans and Kopi Luwak (coffee from the poop of civets.) They claim that they no longer keep civets in cages to produce coffee, but look for droppings of wild civets. Hmm...

Kids got a go at frying coffee beans, pounding, sieving etc.

 5) Mas Village. Amazing amazing works of art found here. All hand crafted!

This guy learnt the art of wood carving at the age of 10. He's been carving ever since. He said that the art of wood carving is best learnt young, and knowledge is passed down within the family.
6) After a whole day of activity, we booked dinner at Lotus Cafe and while having dinner, we watched a lovely performance of Ramayana ballet, complete with gamelan music.

To be continued...

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2014

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