Goodbye, Georgetown! Langkawi, here I come!

Love in the time of bananas...

Another embroidered postcard: “Love in The Time of Bananas…” of a fruit hawker’s cart and bullion-stitched bananas…and a colored pencil sketch of mangosteens. And a bowl of mee noodles; both from my journal of this trip.


Hindu temple, Tanjong Bungah

One of many, many fabulous, theme-park gaudy Hindu shrines around Pulau Pinang. This one’s right outside my window at Tanjung Bungah.

Just some pictures, no time to write a post…taking the ferry to Pulau Langkawi tomorrow morning, to spend my remaining 5 or 6 days with a close friend who now lives over there.

Setting forth on a pilgrimage…

Penang Sunset

I’m going to Malaysia today!

I have a couple of friends I’m going to visit, but otherwise I’m not planning on visiting a lot of tourist landmarks or geographical attractions. Don’t intend to do any shopping either. I haven’t got any money! I have been making the joke that I will be taking a holiday in homelessness…just to see what that’s like. I bought the tickets very cheaply last July, when I had more dough, but since the kitchen I work at has closed for renovations these past two months, I’ve run out of nearly everything!

But it doesn’t bother me. A little can go a very long way if you aren’t fussy. It’s just for two weeks, anyway. It’s a great way to travel, because you have nothing to lose, you can be in the moment and not constantly watch your wallet, your bags, your gear, your keys, blah, blah, blah…so very little can happen that might spoil your trip.

{ Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator. }

{ Travel light and you can sing in the robber’s face. }
—Juvenal, from Satires no. 10

I’m putting on a pilgrim’s rags, so to speak—taking nothing but a small backpack with few items of clothing and my battered camera, a couple hundred dollars to last me two weeks, no shoes but the cross-trainers I’ll be wearing to board the plane—and I’m off to pay my humble respects to the fabulous Street Food of Penang and Langkawi.

I’m so terrifically excited, I feel ready to burst…I’ll probably wet myself from ecstasy the minute I set foot in Georgetown. 🙂

the love of food

Murtabak, mee goreng, nasi lemak, asam laksa, char kway teow, fish head curry, teh tarik…my heart starts to race when I think of getting these dishes, in a hundred fabulous variations, piping hot and fresh from the vendors in the streets. Everything cooked with chillies, galangal, lime juice, spices, spices, spices…my idea of heaven on earth.

Also on the hunt for a particular ais kacang made at the Kek Seng Café, served with homemade durian ice-cream.

Wanna see my itinerary?


Leaving my laptop at home, along with my dietary restrictions, so you may or may not hear from me…depending on whether I can find an internet cafe that also serves food so that I don’t have to stop eating to write a blog post (heh heh heh)

Back to crafts and regular programming on the 26th of February (see, won’t be too long, but I will be so far behind in TAST that I will probably never catch up…)

Wrapping the week up…

Langkawi sky

Selamat datang!

It has been a busy week. My day job boss (I do one day a week, as a kitchen hand and serving at the counter, for a vegetarian takeaway in the Smith Street mall) asked me to fill in for an absent co-worker.

I grabbed the chance to earn a bit more money because, last Wednesday night, I did a pretty crazy thing: my friend Jenni, who lives in Langkawi, sent me Air Asia’s latest Promo Flights e-mail, and as I was  clicking through the destinations and the prices I thought, “Why not?”

I’ve never been to Malaysia. I have a few friends there. I love the multicultural influences of their Indian, Nyonya, Malaysian, and Chinese cuisine. I’m comfortable and familiar with Southeast Asian culture. And the flights were thrillingly cheap…albeit travel dates were all the way in February 2012.

So I booked a flight to Kuala Lumpur, with plans of heading down to Langkawi, and over to Penang. In a daze, I told Kris that night “Um…I’m going to Langkawi and Penang…” His response was (and this is Kris, all over), “Great idea! When do you go? The food is Penang is fabulous…” Have I said how much I love this man? Well, I say it again. ❤

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Penang MalaysiaThen that same night I received a comment over on my other blog from pc, the warm and enthusiastic craft and family-life blogger of MeiJo’s Joy. She lives in Penang. It seemed like a sign that I had made the right move. I wrote to her, and she replied with a thrilled “Selamat datang!” We’ll be meeting up when I get there. I know it’s half a year away, yet, but I can’t help it, I’m excited!

 The Royal Darwin Show

The Royal Darwin Show

An annual event, The Royal Darwin Show is happening next weekend (from Thursday, the 21st to Saturday, the 23rd). This is its 60th year, and so there’s going to be a bigger celebration this time around. I must confess that I have not yet been to a show…these large agricultural & community shows are a facet of Australian culture that I haven’t been able to relate to, not having such a thing in the Philippines. Should I get a denim shirt and a slouch hat? ;D

Well, that’s all about to change…I’ve been asked to come to The Show as a judge of entries in the newly created Bookbinding section. I had to laugh when they asked me…I haven’t had a chance to enter my own work in the event, and here I’m going to be judging! I fret that I’m not qualified to judge other people’s bookbinding creations…it seems like a big responsibility to carry around. But I said yes, and will try to do the job as gracefully as I can.

I’ll let you know what the Show was like, after I’ve been. In between being all big-gestured and swaggery, seein’ as I’ll be Ms. Judge an’all, and everyone callin’ me “Yer Honor,” (You’re not that kind of Judge, Nat!) I’ll be firing my camera like mad. What should I be on the lookout for at The Royal Darwin Show? Can you give me some tips? I hope I spot cowboys…I really want to shoot some cowboys. *yee-haw!*

Heritage Collection Banjo Patterson lady's hat in fawn

The Homemade Gift Wrap


And a spot of color to end this post: I sold another wooden journal through my Madeit shop the other day, and the lady who bought it said it was a “gift to herself”, so I thought I’d wrap her purchase up…just a bit of ‘pretty’ to surprise her when she gets her parcel.

I know there are fancy cutters and dies that you can do this with, these days…as well as lovely printed papers and matching cutouts, decals, tags to be bought at shops. But I like to do things myself, using what I have, and putting a bit of playfulness and care into the job. Buy yet another machine, just to do this? Why? When my goal—half the time, anyway—is to be creative, see what I’m capable of, and make things intensely personal? (To spend less on ready-mades and mass-produced items being the other half). I don’t want to be dependent on companies, shops, specially-made niche-market products, and spending, just to make something pretty; and I don’t want to have to share my satisfaction, when it’s done, with a brand name.


It isn’t perfect. I made a little tear in the red paper when I was pulling the masking tape off. But I don’t mind, and I don’t think my buyer will, either. After all, it’s just something she’s going to remove when she gets her journal.

I took some pictures when I did this (really, you don’t need pictures, it was that easy, but anyway…) and will put a post up on From Hell to Breakfast soon, if you want to see how it’s done.


Mail art on the first of May

We hadn’t paid a visit to our post office box for a few weeks, so I had a real surprise today upon finding, among the invitations to exhibit openings and the bank statements, three beautiful pieces of mail art in it.

Jenni wrote me a long letter about art, language, and her new home in Langkawi, Malaysia. She filled the margins with, and added cut-outs of, her bright drawings: hot-house lilies in brilliant tropical colours, tendrils and curly swashes on her letters.

Shazz sent me a richly embellished fabric postcard. Layers of color and texture play in Shazz’s work, leading the eye around to marvel at little details of stitch or pattern.I savour the way the postage stamp she used—a large stamp featuring Lake Eyre during The Dry—is echoed by the thread play of the fabric card, itself…shades of silvery sand and blue sky veined with clouds, softened by shimmery iridescent threads that look like the heat rising off a desert.

Shazz also sent me an artist’s trading card called Fire…a layer of sandy fabric, cut away to reveal a vivid, intense welt of red fabric underneath, emphasized by bold black machine-stitching, was inspired by the Victoria Bush Fires.

Thanking you both, Jenni and Shazz! It is so nice having creative, talented friends who take the time to send you lovely handmade letters and works of art from all over the world, through the post! I love all three creations intensely (will send e-mails soon!)

Now I have to get offline and get started making my replies! That reminds me, it’s time for another postcard to Jason Moss…