Monday, February 27, 2012

flea market finds: checkmate!

dubbed as the "King's Game", chess was part of the noble culture during the Middle Ages and was used to teach war strategy.  in pre-modern times, however, chess was viewed as a means of self-improvement. and today chess is taught in schools all over the world!
i don't know how to play chess  (my dad taught me this game when i was a little girl and just like playing the guitar i promptly forgot about the rudiments of it!)  but the mister is a fan and we have been looking for a good,  reasonably priced set for a long time now.  this old marble chess set was buried under a pile of bric-a-bracs in my favorite shop.  just looking at the stained green box in the picture below can tell you that this set has been stored for a while and has been long forgotten by someone who once owned it.
all the pieces are in pristine order. no chips, no cracks.  and since marble is porous therefore easily stained, this set is clean and clear.  it doesn't have a mark or a name anywhere but there are two handwritten words in the front of the box that says "siyah beyaz", written in blue ink.   after some research, i found out that (1) they are Turkish for "black and white" and that (2) some of the best and most expensive marble chess sets are from Turkey.  if any one can tell me more information about them, it would certainly be appreciated :)
my next find is a wooden blocks game.  i love pieces like this because they can keep me entertained for hours!  (someday though,  i am hoping our children will appreciate and love pieces like these too)  so basically, you arrange the blocks in a way that the colors in their dots match the next blocks'.  it might seem simple at first but boy! did i ever spend one whole afternoon trying to arrange them in the way they should be!  it was hard!
this next find is unexpected and wonderful at the same time because in crafting blogs all over the internet,  i have seen a lot of things that you can do with musical sheets.  so of course, i was constantly on the lookout for one.  but i wasn't expecting for it to be of The Mikado!
i don't know much of The Mikado, except that its a comic opera (with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W.S. Gilbert).  apparently, it opened on March 14, 1885 in London and it was actually a pointed satire to British politics and institutions at that time.  oh well, decoupage anyone?
i can't explain why i bought this last piece. it caught my eye because of its jewel-toned color and damask design and maybe the picture of the pretty lady.  it is a simple picture frame but somehow i am drawn to it. right now, it is sitting in my bedside table and just as i was writing this line, it occured to me that my grandma's picture would be perfect for it!
once again, my finds, my treasures will always find a way into my life for a reason :)  i don't know what they are yet but i got a feeling, they help make me who i am now and who i will be in the future :)

*linking to Thrift Share Monday @ Apron Thrift Girl :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

stairways to heaven

FOUND!  a mysterious stairway in Gunners Lane near the Elliot Hotel... could be a portal into another world? i hope they have thrift shops and flea markets there :)
a rustic one bathed in sunshine and dressed in terracotta and soft-green succulents inside the Convent Gardens (open once a year in the summer for charity). perfect for a table for two! i can almost hear the melodious Spanish guitar in the background :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

shoot that bag!

the POSTMAN came a-visiting!  *happy dance* and he brought along a huge box full of surprises for me :) (well technically, all i got was a notice in our mailbox basically saying i have a package and would i please come pick it up because its too heavy for them to deliver it to my door! :P)
it was a "care package" from my lovely and generous sister!  inside was a lovely, new, plum-colored, slouchy leather bag in a beautiful weave pattern from SD Marvel!  
and then inside this vision of plummy goodness... is a treasure trove of more goodies!
and the most coveted of them all is my new toy, the Fuji Instax Mini 25! YEZ!  its the modern version of the Polaroid camera complete with the cutest, credit-card sized pictures ever and plenty of inexpensive film! 
last January was Chinese New Year and i missed out on not just the hustle and bustle of Singapore's Chinatown but also my favorite New Year munchies.  my thoughtful sister also sent along some prawn rolls, seaweed rolls and pineapple rolls for a belated Kung Hei Fat Choi :)
and since she knows i am a crafting girl, she tucked in some "peg-gy" love too :)  
i have the best sister in the world!  (except that she has one too hehe)

Friday, February 24, 2012


picture blue skies, sun shinin', tiny yellow flowers popping up everywhere, a balmy 17degC outside, dark, gloomy clothes finally fading and am starting to see a pop of lime here and a peek of tangerine there and of course, pink, pink, pink!
what better way to enjoy the "not-your-usual-winter's-day" than having a lovely strawberry shake and a pint of lager (for the mister!) under the Mediterranean sun in Casemate Square!
and what better way to end the day than with a glass of rosé and a bowl of the sweetest strawberries from the Moroccan fruit stall :)  SPRING is just around the corner! yabba-dabba-doo!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

what lies beneath

we put them on the minute we step out the front door. we feel naked without them. we never feel confident without them. in fact, time and time again, they have been our lifesavers... in less than ideal situations. we wear them for different reasons. to protect us from judgement. to feel safe. to gain position. to hide something, anything.

 i collect masks and these are some of my cherished ones.
i bought this Indonesian tribal mask in a thrift shop in Singapore. many areas in Indonesia still believe strongly in the power of the masks. they are used in ceremonies to ward off demons, evil spirits or sickness or to prevent natural disasters such as famine or drought.
these are miniature Balinese bird masks and floral masks used in the Mask Dance, one of world's oldest performing arts known to man. these are made of lightweight wood and embellished with batik (a wax-resist dying technique) patterns.
this is a traditional Chinese opera mask that i bought in a street market in HongKong. Colors are used in Chinese masks to depict a certain expression or trait. For example, this particular mask use the colors red and black which signifies loyalty, faithfulness and courage (red) and firmness, honesty or temerity (black).
this one is an African tribal mask with a beard made from heavy hardwood that i bought in one of the souks in Morocco. masks in Africa are depicted very differently than that of the people in Asia. to Africans, ancestry is very important and the mask is used to honor their ancestors.

they say each person wears a minimum of five masks everyday.

*linking to Thrift Share Tuesday @Apron Thrift Girl :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

featured place in Gib: Fusion Deli

tucked away in a corner of Cooperage Lane just at the beginning of Irish Town is a Malaysian-Chinese take-away joint serving, undoubtedly, the best noodles in Gib!  a friend introduced me to their take-away goodness last year and after that, i got hooked!
they opened last year and was an instant hit with the hungry Asian fusion cuisine aficionados here in Gib. after doing some renovations over the holidays, they opened early February with more food choices added to their menu including Japanese and Chinese!
Darrel, the owner, handles the orders while his wife, Jen, mans the kitchen
the interior is now a vibrant red (a lucky color in a lot of Asian cultures) and the space maximized to accomodate their growing clientele
the mister and i love their giant prawn crackers :)
they have the customary cute Chinese and Japanese cat figurines all over the shop signifying "prosperity and luck" :)
i love how this cute hearts stencil distracts your senses (from the heady-ing curry smell wafting from the small kitchen) while you wait for your order :)
here is my Malaysian beef noodles in sweet chilli sauce served in a paper box :)
there is something about food in a paper box that makes it soooo delicious!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

featured place in Gib: Terry's

there is a quaint little street in Gib that i like to frequent called Irish Town which runs parallel to the popular Main Street
here you can find a quaint little shop with a magical green door named Terry's
it is one of my favorite places here in Gib. do you know why?
because it is a portal to another world (or worlds)! it is crammed full of second hand books! each book a door to a different dimension :)
here i can get happily lost :) i can also find anything my little heart desires :) from current magazines to vintage sewing patterns to the principles of yoga to historical romances to rude bar jokes to how to build a dam to conquering trigonometry to the full collection of Paulo Coelho's best-selling books and so much more! 
they have school books, art books, travel guides to any destination in the world and of course, all kinds of cook books!
this is my current favorite book. it is priced at £7.50 which is less than one-half its original price!
they also sell all kinds of paint, art and paper supplies as well as balloons and party decor
they have framing services and sell all the essentials to cake decorating :)
Terry's has a very friendly, homely vibe. it is manned by 2 sweet ladies who always call me "darling" or "sweetie" or "love". Terry is the sweet gentleman who handles all the framing services and he is always either whistling a happy tune or laughing over some silly joke :) a trip to Terry's is always a must whenever i go to Irish Town :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

♥♥♥ Happy Hearts Day!♥♥♥

i am a morning person and the mister is not♥ so naturally i wake up everyday way before he does♥ i don't know though how he managed to get me these beautiful bunch of red flowers since we were inseparable since saturday! he is a man of few words and this simple gesture of love speaks volumes♥
over our lunch date, he told me he hid the flowers in the boot of the car because he knows i know every nook and cranny in the house♥
i am also loving this award-winning short film that my sister sent me today♥ wishing you all the love your heart and hand can hold coz Lord knows you deserve it♥

Monday, February 13, 2012

flea market finds: D&G

good things come in small packages :)

found this sterling silver Dolce and Gabbana stud earrings today for .50p! woot woot!

*linking to Flea Market Finds @ Her Library Adventures :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

its cool to be "green"

spotted this unusual plant with a long "trunk" sniffing the garbage bin on our way to Ocean Village. this is the only case of carbon dioxide poisoning i know that is actually commendable AND encouraged!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

flea market finds: indoor activities, anyone?

BBBBRRRRRRR! europe is one big freezer these days! in most cities the temperature is in the negatives and still continuing to go down. thank God it has not gone that low here in Gib. although i really hate winter, there is still much to be thankful for since we don't need to buy snowshoes and a toboggan.... YET!

its soooo nice to stay indoors and cosy up against the fire, sip hot chocolate and read (or sew!).

for my latest finds, they all seemingly suggest i do just that :)

an artisanal beige goblet to hold a pretty scented candle when it gets dark outside
this is another goblet but made of crystal this time with a silver base. the base needs a bit of cleaning and polishing. but there are no marks anywhere though
i have long wanted a sewing box crammed full of everything that i would ever need for sewing. i have not come across that in my thrifting yet so at the moment this beautiful hexagonal pin cushion will hopefully give that wish a much needed kick :)
a wonderful book i have had my eye on for the longest time. always dreaming to be a writer, i am always mindful of punctuation and the bits and bobs of what it takes to be one
this is a "pañolito" (handkerchief in Spanish) but seeing as it is crocheted and flimsy, it is used more as a "manton" or shawl. very common in Spanish ladies in the olden times, now it has become more like a souvenir or something to wear on special occassions. they come in a myriad of colors, textures and design
so, there you are. my latest finds in the middle of the coldest month of the year here in Gib. now, will you please excuse me while i make myself some hot chocolate stirred with my new chocolate spoon :)

*linking to Thrift Share Monday @Apron Thrift Girl :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

wannabe foodie

"A gourmet who counts calories is like a whore who looks at her watch."
James Beard

came across this quote and laughed so hard i had to stuff a churro in my mouth just to stop myself. i actually know of some people who are annoyingly fussy with their food that more often than not, they spoil the whole atmosphere at the dinner table!

i am caught in the great divide on this one, though. i am in no way a "food whore" nor am i a "food virgin". i do love food but at the same time if i don't watch what i eat now, it would be not taking good care of myself. another thing that is important for me is the company. if i love the people around me and feel cosy in their company and not at all bothered by the out-of-place lettuce in my salad nor the misaligned fork beside my plate, then i think the food becomes divine, the time spent becomes magical and you never want the meal to end.

i do have a golden rule when it comes to food: moderation. i can eat anything as long as it is not in excessive amounts. seems to work for me. i am happy with that.

a few days ago, a friend of mine gave me a Filipino treat that i have been craving for a long time. it reminds me of my grandma who used to make it whenever we visit her in the farm.
this is "budbud". "budbud" is sticky rice cake wrapped in fragrant banana leaves. it has simple ingredients (glutinous rice, salt, sugar, coconut milk) but it requires an "expert" budbud-maker to make it. it is eaten at breakfast or as a snack through-out the day. usually, it is divine when paired with "sikwate", a home-made hot chocolate made with dried cacao seeds.
it is eaten warm and if you choose, you could dip it in sugar. naturally, i savored mine slowly and sipped my hot chocolate lazily while thinking about my beautiful grandma :)
another breakfast favorite of mine are "papitas", another variation of the Spanish churros. whenever the mister is on his way home from night shift, he picks up a bundle of papitas for me. i prefer the "papitas" more than the churros because they have a bit of crunch in them. when you dip them in chocolate, they are hard to resist.
the mister made some simple meat pies recently and they are sooooo good that in between the two of us, there has to be food policing involved somewhere :)
excuse my pic but because i sooo wanna bite into one that i didn't care if the pic was blurry or not :)

here's to living life to the fullest flavor! here's to eating what you like with people you like!