Friday, June 22, 2012

Fashion Scrapbook: Colours - Patagonian Sunrise

Fashion Scrapbook - Colours - Patagonian SunriseColours - Patagonian Sunrise, Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Patagonian Sunrise, 
Puerto Madryn, Valdes Peninsula.
Apr 2012

As designers, we are inspired by many things. Culture, history, art, architecture, nature.....almost anything could be the source of inspiration. 

The colours of a peacock's feathers, the shape of a building or an architectural detail, the shape of flower, the patterns in nature....leaves, the way the wind makes waves in the desert sand.....a painting, the colours of a landscape; these are all sources of inspiration for us. So we are always collecting pictures and objects for our scrapbooks and scrapboxes. 

I woke up early one morning and saw the sun rising over the ocean in Puerto Madryn on the Valdes Peninsula. The colours of the sunrise were so amazing, I took a photo as inspiration for a colour palette for my scrapbook. 

Using photoshop, I have recreated the colours of the sunrise onto a colour chart which I call "Patagonian Sunrise". 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Inspiration: The Black Sheep

Photo 1: Sheep making their way down the side of a hill
Peru – Lake Titicaca
Apr 2012

While observing this group of sheep trying to make their way down a hill, I realised that sometimes people really ARE like sheep, but are you a leader, a follower or a Black Sheep?

Members of a group like other members to conform to the rules of the group and those who don’t follow the spoken/unspoken rules are called “Black Sheep” usually in a derisive manner.

Of course, there are plenty of Black Sheep who get themselves into trouble, but more often than not, it’s the non-conformist Black Sheep who opens up new paths.

Photo 1 : The group walks down the side of a steep hill. The leader is ahead of the others, followed by the black sheep and by a group of four other sheep keeping close to each other.

That’s just like humans…..there’s a leader and there are the followers. The followers tend to huddle together for comfort. Then, there’s that individualistic member of the group: the Black Sheep.

Photo 2:  The leader decides to turn back
 Peru – Lake Titicaca
Apr 2012

Photo 2: the leader reaches a difficult bit, tests his footing on the next level down and drags himself back up.

“Too steep, guys, it’s too dangerous to continue.” he seems to be saying, “Let’s go back.”

Photo 3: A bit of a disagreement  
Peru –Lake Titicaca
Apr 2012

Photo 3

“You got to be kidding me. We’ve come so far already. Besides, that nice grass down there is worth the risk.” says the Black Sheep.

“No, we are NOT going forward. Turn back!” says the leader, blocking the Black Sheep.

“Hey, get out of my way.” says the Black Sheep, butting the leader in the head.

“I’m in charge, and I say we go BACK.” says the leader, butting the Black Sheep back. 

Photo 4: Just like in a human group......plenty of observers.
Plenty of comments. But no one wants to get involved.
Peru – Lake Titicaca
Apr 2012

Photo 4:

Sheep 1:  “Why are we stopping? What’s going on down there?”

Sheep 2: “Whatever it is, let’s stay right out of it. Don’t look, keep your head down.”

Sheep 3: “Absolutely disgraceful. What will people think?”

Sheep 4, turning back: “I think I’ll just go back like the leader says.”

Photo 5: The black sheep rebels.  
Peru – Lake Titicaca
Apr 2012

Photo 5By now, the little confrontation has drawn a bit of a crowd.

“Oh, if he wants to kill himself, let him.” someone bleats.

After a few more rounds of head-butting, the leader relents and lets the Black Sheep through.

“Oh, GO if you want to. Don’t blame us if you break a leg and have to be turned into lamb stew. Come on guys, let’s go and leave him to his fate.”

But I’m happy to report that the Black Sheep found a new path down and arrived safely. The rest then followed and the last I saw them, they were all happily munching on the grass.

disclaimer: The events and actions are what I saw. Dialogue is what I imagine they must be saying in sheep language. 

: )

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Drawing 17: Horse Grazing

Drawing 17: Horse Grazing
June 2012

This is my second attempt at drawing an animal. I took the photo of this horse grazing in a field on the outskirts of El Calafate, a picturesque little mountain town in Argentina. 

My first attempt at drawing an animal was really a non-starter.....the subject in question refused to co-operate.....drooled on my drawing pad and jumped at my camera when I tried to take a photo. I am, of course, talking about Millie, the super-hyper-jumpy dog who thinks she's boss in my parent's house. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Books Read - Book 23 - Cochineal Red, Travels through Ancient Peru

Cochineal Red, TravelsThrough Ancient Peru by Hugh Thompson
Books Read - Cochineal Red, TravelsThrough Ancient Peru
by Hugh Thompson
June 2012

Anyone can find a ruin in the jungle, but it can take a lifetime to understand what you have found

~ John Hemming, in the book Cochineal Red by Hugh Thompson ~

I wished I had read this book before I went to Peru.  My experience would have been all the richer for the understanding I have gained about Peru’s history and cultures. Now that I see Peru with new eyes, I want to return even more than ever.

expected a memoir by an archeologist to be dry and academic, but Cochineal Red is far from being dull…..on the contrary, it is a very enjoyable and interesting account of Hugh Thomson’s travels in Peru to find Llactapata and his quest to understand the Inca and pre-Columbian cultures, a quest spanning more than a quarter of a century, and which took him on many journeys throughout Peru.

Most tourists have heard of Machu Picchu, the famous landmark in Peru. But directly opposite Machu Picchu, across the valley, stands Llactapata, a lesser known site, but to the Incas it is probably a more important site than Machu Picchu.

The first chapters describes how Hugh Thompson and his team found Llactapata after a failed attempt some years back. Later chapters takes us to Caral, the pyramids of the Moche, the Nasca Lines, the Temple of the Sun on Lake Titicaca and a pilgrimage on foot to the glaciers far above the Sinakara Valley where the Qoyllurit’i festival…..with representatives from tribes all over Peru, from the mountains to the amazon jungle….reaches its climax and the crucifix known as El Senor de Tayankani, or Lord of Qoyllurit’i, is returned to its shrine high across the mountains
The book ends with a return to Llactapata and the realization of the importance of astronomy to the Inca’s, in particular the group of stars known to us as the “Seven Sisters”, by which the Inca’s could foretell four months in advance what the weather was going to be like, and whether it was going to be a good harvest that year.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Inspiration: Dance like No One is Watching

Street Dancers, La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
La Boca, Buenos Aires - Street Dancers
Apr 2012

Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt and dance like no one is watching.

~Randall G Leighton~


Monday, June 11, 2012

101 Things – Completed – #48 Buy an i-phone, android or i-pad

My new Samsung Galaxy SII
 101 Things – Completed – #48 Buy an i-phone, android or i-pad
My new Samsung Galaxy SII
May 2012

After much umm’ing, ha’ing and being a general pest at the Samsung dealers and Apple store, I bought an Android phone…..the Samsung Galaxy SII.

Yes, I know the latest is the Galaxy SIII which is a viable competitor to the i-phone, and I have to say I love the sleekness of the new slim design. But I’m not going to need the improved features like the 4inch 720pixel screen, lightweight casing, quadcore engine and enhanced voice features.  

I use my phone as a, well, phone most of the time and also an alarm clock. The calendar and reminder function is handy; and when I’m on the move, it’s nice to be able to pick up emails and  listen to music. Everything else is a nice to have.

Because of the SIII release, the price of the SII has dropped and being someone who’s always on the lookout for a bargain, I decided the SII already has everything I want, so why pay more?

Besides, I have learnt my lesson with handphones, computers, camera’s and other bits of technology and gadgets…..there will something newer and better next year. So I have stopped chasing the latest thing and just focus on what’s tried and tested and what I need.

After playing around with the phone for a couple of weeks, I have to say I am very happy with the  Galaxy SII and have downloaded some useful utilities…all free….. from the Google Play Store….a calendar, notes and task list, an alarm clock, calculator, music player, mini photo editor, camscan which allows you to convert a photo of a document to a PDF file, and something called Super Swiss which is just like a virtual swiss knife….this turns the phone into a torchlight, magnifying glass, a compass, a bubble level, a plumb line and a compass. Very cool! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

101 Things – Completed - #11 Listen more than talk for 30 days

Speak no Evil, See no Evil, Hear no Evil Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple Ipoh, Perak Malaysia.
Speak no Evil, See no Evil, Hear no Evil
Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple
Ipoh, Perak
Malaysia. 2011

Listen more than talk is #11 on my 101 Things to do in 1001 Days list, and part of the journey to living mindfully.

But it was so tough to do!

Some people are naturally detailed-oriented and must leave no stone unturned in their quest to provide you with ALL of the information they have collated on a subject. Others are just naturally long-winded and ramble on.

Then there are the ones who talk like a runaway train…..leaving no gap for you to respond. And when you do finally manage to squeeze in a few words, when they pause for oxygen, they immediately interrupt and increase speed.

The slow talkers are just the opposite. They are in no hurry……they are on the slow train to Shanghai, and a paragraph takes just as long to get there. The meditators must cogitate on every word before it is spoken, leaving you sitting on the edge of your chair, wondering if the sentence will ever be completed.

And of course, the natural urge is to interrupt.

Conversely when you are the one talking, do you ever get the feeling that sometimes the other person is not really listening? Perhaps they are looking all around instead of looking at you, the speaker; or their eyes roll up to one side and you just know they are already thinking of a reply?

Or their fingers are impatiently tapping  “hurry up!” The knee-shake is a variant of this.

Then there are the interrupters. You can never complete a sentence with these fellows. Before you‘ve got to the point, they’re already replying, and, if you are also an interrupter, inevitably you end up having parallel conversations!

Sad to say, I was guilty of most of the conversational crimes above.

So #11 Listen more than talk was tough… was tough not interrupting until the other person has finished speaking . And it was tough just listening instead of thinking of a reply when someone is talking. There have been a few lapses. But gradually, I’m getting the hang of being a better listener.

It helps me to remember that Zen teaches us to focus on the moment.
No thoughts of the past and no thoughts of the future.

So in listening, we focus 100% on what the other person is saying.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

101 Things in 1001 Days: May update

Tree with berries. Gaiman,  Valdes Peninsula,  Argentina.
Tree with berries. Gaiman, 
Valdes Peninsula,  Argentina. 
Apr 2012

23% completed so far....

Completed in May
#11  Listen more than talk for 30 days (30/30)
#48 Buy an i-phone, android or i-pad

Started/To Start:
# 68. Organize my office area
#8. meditate every day for 30 days (0/30)*

In Progress:
#2c wake up at 7am every day for 30 days (0/30)*….restarted
#3c go to bed by 12 for 30 days (0/30)* …..restarted

#9 walk or exercise every day for 30 days (0/30)*……restarted
#9a Walk 3 times a week.                                                  
#9b Exercise every day

#27 Read 50 books (22/50)                                         
#34. Make early rising a habit and establish morning & evening routines (0/21)*


#25 Draw one thing every week (16/52)*
#38 Learn to sew my own clothes and make 1 item a month for 12 months (1/12)* 
#43. Complete 10 sewing projects (3/10) addition to #38*
#71. Complete one creative writing project each month for a year (1/12) …..blogging Argentina trip in my Travel Journal

#31 Buy a new camera and learn to use bought, learning to use all the functions. 

#41. Set up a system for, and get into the habit of backing up my computer data weekly
# 68. Organize my office area

* resumed after trip to South America

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fashion Scrapbook: The Fashion World of John Paul Gaultier

The Fashion World of John Paul Gaultier: from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
An exhibition at the De Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. 
Souce: Youtube. Uploaded by Delosartes777

The exhibition runs from March 24th - August 2012 and showcases 140 works from haute couture and pret-a-porter collections dating from the mid-70's to 2010.

The main feature of the exhibition  are 30 talking and singing mannequins, dressed in John Paul Gaultier designs, including one of the designer himself  explaining the concepts behind some of his works. There are also video's, photo's and sketches.

Wish I could be there, but watching this video is the next best thing.

Click here for the link to the exhibition

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Zen Thought 6: Death is not the greatest Loss

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Recoleta Cemetery.
Buenos Aires, Argentina. 
Apr 2012

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.

~ Norman Cousins, Journalist, Author, World Peace Advocate ~

Monday, May 28, 2012

Books Read - Book 22: The Motorcycle Diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto "Che" Guevara
Photo taken by SepilokFui

The Motorcycle Diaries is a memoir and travelogue written by Ernesto “Che” Guevara and an easy, enjoyable read about two young men’s experiences travelling through South America. 

The book was originally written in Spanish, but has been translated into English. 

If you are old enough, you will remember Che Guevara as an icon of the 60’s. The wall of every rebellious teenager’s bedroom had that very famous 1968 poster of Che Guevara by Jim Fitzpatrick, stylised from a photo by Alberto Korda, which you can see below. 

But The Motorcycle Diaries is not about Marxism nor revolutions. The diaries were written by the 23 year old Ernesto Guevera, long before he acquired any political leanings and a decade before he became known as “Che” Guevera, the marxist revolutionary and symbol of Castro’s Cuban revolution.

In January 1952 Ernesto decides to take a break from his medical studies and explore South America with his friend Alberto Granado, a biochemist. 

Together, they set off  on Alberto’s temperamental single cylinder 1939 Norton 500cc which they named La Poderosa (The  Mighty), and which gave up the ghost at some point on their travels, forcing them to resort to public transport, walking or hitching rides when they ran out of money, which seemed to be a regular occurence.  

The Motorcycle Diaries talks about their experiences during their journey through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Veneuela and Panama, including a stay of a few weeks at the San Pablo Leper Colony in the  Amazon rainforest in Peru.

As I read the book, I could sense Ernesto’s growing awareness of the plight of the poor, the sick and the disenfranchised, and this no doubt affected his later political ideologies. The last words of the book were:

“I knew that when the great guiding spirit cleaves humanity into two antagonistic halves, I will be with the people”

~ Ernesto “Che” Guevara ~

1968 Stylised image of Che Guevara by Jim Fitzpatrick
Souce: Wikipedia

Thursday, May 24, 2012

101 things in 1001 days – 1st Year milestone!

101 things in 1001 days – my 1 year milestone
Photo El Calafate, Argentine.

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

~ Edmund Hilary, mountaineer and explorer. He and the nepalese climber, Tenzing Norgay, were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest ~

The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach

~Benjamin Mays ~

Where has the past year gone? It seems to have sneaked past when I was not looking!

Since I started the 101 things in 1001 days list, I have completed 21 things……not time for celebration yet as there is still a long way to go.

It’s not as much as I would have liked to achieve in a year, but it’s definitely a lot more than if I hadn’t made the 101 things list!

So far, I have:

Read 22 books
Made 16 drawings
Sewn 4 items
Written 1 story
Made more than 100 blog posts
Donated more than 100,000 grains of rice through
Registered to vote
Bought a new watch
Gone to South America, visited Machu Picchu

I am:

Living more creatively
Living (a little bit) more healthily
Going to bed earlier and waking earlier
Living more mindfully
Listening more and talking less

I need to:

Sew more!
Exercise regularly
Meditate every day
Organise my paperwork!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fashion Scrapbook: Andean Chullo Hats

Traditional Andean Chullo Hat (1)
Cuzco, Peru.
Apr 2012

The Chullo hat is a traditional Andean hat worn by men. When I was in the higher altitudes in Peru, I saw them being worn by local Quechua men, quite frequently under a more conventional-looking  broad-brimmed hat.

The Chullo hats were popular with the tourists too; I saw both men and women wearing them. With ear flaps, some with tasselled ties that could be secured under the chin, they keep the ears warm in the colder climes.

The Chullo’s in the photos were on display at the CasaSan Blas Boutique Hotel where we stayed in Cuzco. They seemed quite old and look like they could have been woven rather than knitted.  

Read on for more photo's.....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Books Read - Book 21: The History of Love

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Books I have read

 “The History of Love” was a present from a friend. I read the first few pages then  put it on my shelf. I was in action-thriller mode at the time, and “The History of Love” got pushed into a corner of the shelf and there it stayed for quite a while, and almost forgotten.

It caught my eye on a last minute scan of my bookshelves for something to read on the 29 hour plane trip to Argentina I'm glad I picked it up. It kept me engrossed for the whole journey and more, so much so that my travel buddies asked me to tell them the story.

It’s a tough thing to describe the story in just a few sentences.  

In the beginning and for quite a while the story meanders through the lives of two people…one an old man and the other a young girl, but as you read on, you begin to glimpse a connection between them. This is infuriatingly  intriguing but I am glad I resisted the urge to peek into the last chapter.

Leo Gursky is an old man who once wrote a book about a love he lost, and has a fear of dying without anyone knowing, so he makes a point to go out every day and get someone to notice him.  He does things like go into a shoe shop and try numerous pairs of shoes without making a purchase, or dropping his change in the middle of the floor in a public area.

Alma is a teenager who was named for every girl in “The History of Love”, a book her father gave her mother when they first met. Alma has two pre-occupations:

1.      She wants to be a paleontologist, and
2.     She is on a mission to get her widowed mother remarried.

When her mother receives a letter from a mysterious man asking her to translate “The History of Love” from Spanish to English, Alma decides to take matters into her own hands and find out more about “The History of Love”, and in doing so uncovers a secret that has laid dormant for over half a century.

Reading “The History of Love” felt like a leisurely and enjoyable stroll through the woods….it’s beautiful, yet so much is hidden from view. At every turn of the path, you find something unexpected. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This Journey called "Life"

Estacion del fin del Mundo (the end of the World Station)
Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. 
Apr 2012

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This is meant to be a "free and easy" adventure trip. Participants should be relatively fit, with a good sense of humor, and above all, have the right attitude for close travel with others through possibly some trying times. Most definitely, this is not a trip for prudes, whiners, fuss-pots, and other similarly assorted types! We had a couple of those before and it wasn't pleasant for us or them. Although every effort will be made to stick to the given itinerary, ground conditions may change and cause some disruption and/or deviation from the norm. Otherwise, have fun. 

~ Yongo Travel ~

The above "important notice" was posted on every itinerary page on the Yongo Travel website (yes, in red capital letters too!). I love it! 

And it's great advice for all of us travelling through the greatest of all adventures: Life.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To Do Someday .....Backpack Travel in South America #538

Image from

This will be item #538 on my Someday List (!)

Yongo Travel specializes in alternative travel for Malaysians. They do off-the-beaten track budget and backpack travel in small groups of 10 to 16 with a tour leader. Started by two brothers with a love for travel and many years of experience backpacking to exotic destinations, they now organise trips to the China Silk Road, India, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and......... South America!

My recent trip South America was not with travel companions were not the backpacking sort.....but I heard great things from friends who've been on their trips, so I checked out their website and they do a trip that covers Peru, Bolivia and Chile....the places I want to go to for my next South American adventure! 

Yes, I know I've just returned from Peru.....but I loved it there and there are just so many things I did not see, so I want to go back! 

Being a budget/backpack trip, the costs are much, much, much less than what I paid for my recent trip, so hopefully I won't have to count my pennies for that long to make the next trip with Yongo Travel : )

See the photos of my last trip on my travel journal here

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Merino Wool Knitwear Designs

Merino Wool Knitwear Designs in a Shop Window
El Calafate, Argentina
Apr 2012

Most visitors to El Calafate come for the Los Glaciares National Park and the Perito Moreno Glacier. But El Calafate has a long history, dating back to the early 20th Century, of being a wool trading centre. 

With a temperature range from 4 degrees in winter to 18 degrees Celsius in high summer, it's no surprise to find local shops stock a good variety of winter wear and knitwear.

This shop window display caught my eye with its innovative knitwear designs. They looked like a combination of weaving and knitting techniques and I really wanted to go inside to take a closer look, but the shop was not open.

And no matter how long I pressed my nose against their window, they remained closed. *sigh* 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sewing project for May: The Luncheon Dress

Printed Linen Mix Fabric
May 2012

I had a lunch with a group of my old classmates on Friday, and everyone was looking good and dressing well, with the exception of moi who was in her usual jeans and T-shirt.

I DID make an effort, was a dressier T-shirt than usual. 
But still......

While I still feel that twinge of shame for not making more of an effort, I am going to make a loose sheath dress in a printed fabric which shall, from henceforth,  be known as *drum roll*..... the luncheon dress. 

I thought this printed Linen Mix would be great in a simple sheath dress that wouldn't look out of place in a chic restaurant. I draped the fabric on Mandy (see pic, above right) and it does look rather good on her, don't you agree? 

Now to draft the pattern.......

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Someday - See a Sunset over an Ocean #426 - Completed!

Sunset on the Pacific Ocean, Lima, Peru. Apr 2012

I will be posting more photo's of Peru on my travel journal here

I live on the equator and our sunsets are vibrant splashes of reds, oranges and violets on a deep blue canvas while our sunrises are more mellow.

In Peru and Argentina, I found the opposite......the sky is streaked with brilliant shades at sunrise, while the sunsets are more sedate with subtle shimmering colours gradually fading to dark.

Someday - See the Sun Rise from the Beach #417 - Completed!

Puerto Madryn at dawn. Valdes Peninsula, Argentina.
Mar 2012

see more photo's of the Valdes Peninsula, Argentina here 

Someday - Travel to Argentina #479 - Completed!

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina. 
Apr 2012

I will be posting more photos on my travel blog here

Even though "Explore South America" was on my 101 things to do in 1001 days, travelling to Argentina was on my "Someday" list.

Machu Picchu was my big item in South America, and so I had always thought I would go to Peru first and then hop over its borders to visit its neighbours......Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil; and see the other countries on another trip. 

But as things turned out, I ended up travelling to Argentina first, then Peru. 

The natural wonders in Argentina were amazing........the arid landscape and salt lakes of Patagonia with its unique flora and fauna, the beautiful Atlantic coast, the Punta Tombo penguin colony, Tierra del Fuego with its seal colony and islands, the scenic town of Ushiaia, the Perito Moreno ice fields and glacier, Iguazu Falls which is 20 times the size of Niagara Falls in North America, and of course, vibrant bustling Buenos Aires. There are still so many places in Argentina I haven't been to, and I hope  to return again one day. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Someday - Visit a museum (#274) - Completed!

Museo Inka. Cusco, Peru.
Apr 2012

I will be posting more photos of the Inca Museum on my travel blog
My "Someday" list is here

Tucked away in a corner of Cusco, at the junction of Tucuman and Ataud Streetit's easy to miss the Museo Inka. But it's worth making a visit there as it is the finest museum in Cusco on Inca history. 

The building itself is interesting and a fine example of a spanish colonial mansion. Like many buildings in Cusco, it was built on the foundations of an Inca palace in the 17th century. It's also called the Palacio del Admirante (Admiral's Palace);  Admiral Francisco Aldrete Maldonado being the first owner. 

As is typical of spanish colonial architecture, the building is 2-storey with rooms set around a central courtyard with a fountain.  In the courtyard, Inca women demonstrated traditional weaving using looms; and you can buy woven bags, hats and rugs. 

Walking through the series of rooms, we saw artifacts from the pre-Inca and Inca periods of Peru's history, and the spanish colonisation period.......ceramics, woodwork, jewellery, textiles, carvings.....and a collection of Inca mummies. 

The museum reputedly has the world's largest collection of qero's, Inca drinking vessels carved of wood.