Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My First Harvests!

I am so excited as I harvest my first cooking need from my herbal garden today. Sweet basil and balsam leaves. Well, maybe not exactly my first harvest since I've cut a few pandan leaves for my desserts and my cabinet fragrancer. But still, I'm very excited about it.

A few stalks of Laksa leaves and Sweet Basil ready and waiting for my Laksa Johor

Laksa Leaves (Daun Kesum)

Sweet Basil Leaves (Daun Selasih)

And I've got company....my fellow herbal lover appreciating the onion leaves.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Minty Had a HairCut!

I had to do it last week. Eversince he came back from his six-days adventure a few months ago, travelling through forest, rivers, roads, fields and residences, he also adopted and invited some fleas home and had his hair ruffled probably from rolling out in the fields. Well, the flea part was quickly treated by the vet, but the matted hair remains and gets worse, especially after applying the vet's oil treatment. S I took him to the vet again for grooming, in the hope of bringing home a handsome and shiny coated cat. Instaed, shortly after dropping him off, the vet called and explained why they need to shave his hair.

I asked how long will the hair grow back? In two months he will start to look good, and fully grown hair in three months! Wow, that's a long time, isn't it? And Raya is just around the corner!I wasn't too sure. "It'll grow back beautiful..." the vet assured. I finally gave the greenlight.

It was a heart wrenching experience when I took him from the vet. He was still half-asleep from the drug to make him sleep. When we got home, he tried to walk limply, probably feeling funny at the same time. I don't have the heart to take his picture and humiliate him by posting it here. But if you want to imagine how he looked like, imagine a sphinx cat, with a rounded hairy head. Or just have a look at the picture I googled online.
Well, I guess I will need to get used to his scrawny looking for a while, unitl he grows new shiny hair. Just like the shaved cat in the pix, Minty is white underneath.

And by the way, say hello to our new friends!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flowers Again!

The other day when I had my first flower arrangement done, I was yet to get the other set arranged because I missed out and short of a vase. And last week, made a point to buy the vase, and started arranging. Somehow it looked uncomplete to me, maybe because I see some empty gaps, so I decided to buy some filler flowers, like the tiny white little bunches. So, head out to the florist again during the weekend, and ended up buying a few more petals.

Naturally I have to buy a couple more vases to house the flowers.

Once I got the fillers, I continued to finish-up the arrangement. Somehow I still feel unsatisfied with the result. Maybe I should just take out the fillers and leave it as it is? Or maybe I need to rearrange it further and this time cut the stalks, instead of just bending it (shortcut..!!) to fit the vase and use the foam as professional florists do..hahaha.

Lillies, and Cala Lillies

Ok, the third arrangement. Going by the book this time, I have to use the foam. Cut the foam to size, and stuck the flowers in. Actually this is another shortcut job, as I did not buy loose petals, but two ready-made hand bouquets to stick in a vase. But....it doesn't work and it looked weird. So, no choice but arranged it accordingly. Still doesn't looked right.

The attempt to 'copy' the hand bouquet.

So, out of desperation, I have to loose it out and try to arrange it using the book I bought. It doesn't have the selection that I wanted, but enough for me to follow some 'rules' and principles.

Pink Roses...sweet colour!

Haa.... Now the last one. Phew..!! This time like a pro, used the foam and cut the stalks. And again, using the same principles. You need to arrange the main flower first, then the secondary ones, and lastly the fillers and the leaves. In fact, (tell you a secret..!). The flowers I bought were an attempt to replicate the ready made bouquet at the shop which costs about Rm220. I chose the same or closest flowers available there and try remember the arrangements.

Initial result, it still looked weird. And I also cannot remember how the bouquet from the shop looked like. I had to gaze.....d it for about half an hour. It was nice, but lots of gaps, doesn't look full or complete. Doesn't make sense to buy more flowers for a medium small vase. Flipped through the book again. What was wrong? (Somehow I didn't read the book, just look at pictures and visuals..couldn't be that, right?) Aaahhh...then it struck me right in the nose. The stalks I cut were still too long. Haaah!

Patiently and obligingly I started to cut all the stalks one by one..again. My hands hurts as they're quite thick wires covered with plastic. In fact, I cut them all apart this time, and not leave them in bunches, which was another shortcut attempt. And finally, its done!

Well, I suppose all of them look decent enough, if not gorgeous! Once I'm up to it, I'll go back to the green vase and rearrange the lillies the way it should be...and no shortcuts!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cactus in a Bowl

Cactus as an ornamental plants is rather new to me. I haven't been paying much attention to it until a time when I saw this beautiful cactus display in a glass container which looked like a miniature green house at either a gift shop or a garden exhibition. They were beautiful! And that's about the interest level that I have in these cactuses.

Ok, so I got this glass bowl from the florist during the weekend, and the small cactus plant from Cameron Highlands in June. If I'm not mistaken, all the eight cactus costs about Rm10 and the stand is Rm5. Its a trial buy, to see if this cactus plants from a cold climate could survive here. And they turn out to be okay.

Now I'm ready for the next step. So I'm going to transfer all the small cactus plants into the glas fish bowl.

I start by filling up the bottom of the bowl with small white stones. I see some ready made ones even make it colourful with green or orange, but in this case I prefer whites.

Then I plan on the layout of the plants in the bowl, and rearranging it to the most suitable positions pleasing to the eyes.

Empty the pots and arrange the plants according to plan. At this stage, we can still change the positions.

Fill the bowl up with the soil to cover the neck of the plants.

Add some decorative pebble stones to make it look 'natural' and artisitic.

There! Now it looks like a miniature desert. The one I saw at the shops have all the black soil covered with another layer of white stones, but I kind of like this look. I may or may not buy more stones to do this. :)

Next step would be maintenance. Here are some tips online.

Cactus plant care

Cactus should be placed under adequate sunlight.
They should be sowed in pots having a good drainage system.
Remove one inch of soil form the top. Replace it with gravel.
The soil should be a mixture of sand, peat and perlite.
Cactus growing vertically should be sowed in container whose diameter is half the height of the plant.
Cacti that are growing breadth wise should be grown on containers, which are having 2 inches of diameter extra than the plant.
Recently sowed or repotted plants have more chances of getting rot.
The soil should be dry enough while the sowing or repotting is been done. Watering should be done after a week so that the roots are healed within the time.

And lastly, a word of advice from a non-expert.

Hello...! Happy cactussing! Meow, meow!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Flowers! Flowers! Flowers!

My first successful (I think) attempt at flower arrangement!

I am so proud of myself...hahaha. This is the case of 'get into the basket in a lift and press the button yourself'! Just like gardening, I used to limit my own capability, that I'll never be good at flower arrangements. I always envy those who can effortlessly create a beautiful masterpiece out of the floral pieces. Not that I want to be a professional florist, although that is not a bad idea, but I'd like to create one or two I can call my own.

Actually the one I did was fairly easy. Nothing to shout about. You just get some combinations of stalks of sticks, and flowers on sticks, and just stuck them into the flower pot. That's all!

And in view of the coming Raya festival, I decided that my house needs more floral touch, as the only decent bouquet that I have is over 7 years old! And that was from a hand bouquet I received as a welcome gift. Then I just got the old white vase and stuck it in without any foam inside. If there's a strong wind, the whole bouguet will fall off...hahaha.. no kidding!

Then I got this 2 pastel pale rustic looking flowers from a wedding door gift, I just don't have the heart to throw it away, so I stuck it in a small decorative basket and it became another floral piece until now. 5 years old!

Another simple arrangement was an idea from my friend when we went to a floral shop, bought 3 stalks of red tulips, a simple glass reactangular vase and glass pebbles, and walah..! 3 years old!

Another is a 12 years old basket arrangement, still beautiful but I put it in my powder room, I'm not even gonna show the picture here.

And last June when we went to Cameron Highlands, I was persuaded to buy some dried flowers, which I just stuck in the vase. It looked funny and unkempt. Only this morning I rearrange it nicely, and cut some stem off so it fits in the vase nicely. Not a professional result, but I think...OK la...

Yesterday when I bought the stalks, I also bought some ready made flower arrangements in case the one I intended to arrange doesn't look presentable.

There's another set of flowers that I need to arrange, but I haven't got a suitable vase yet. And there's a fish bowl that I am yet to arrange the small cactus plants from Cameron Highlands later. And I got this book on floral arrangement and hopefully in future I will be making my own bouquets instead of buying ready made ones.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Brillante Award

So one day during a long weekend, I read a comment from a good cyber friend, Shah Cakapaje that he's giving me an award! Wow! This is my first online virtual award. I am touched!

If I have it my way, I would renominate him again, because I do feel that he does has a brilliant blog. He's also kind, funny, supportive...you can count on him for encouragements, and among the few regular patrons to always say 'Hi' or rather, 'Salam' in the comments section of my entries. His postings are also very interesting and about life and like Cikgu KataTakNak said, very 'soul searching'. Anyway, this award is called BRILLANTE WEBLOG, and the rules are as below.

Brilliant Weblog is a prize given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design.The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogspere. Here are the rules to follow:

1.Put the logo on your blog

2.Add link to the person who awarded you

3.Nominate at least 7 other blogs

4.Add links to those blogs on yours

5.Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

Well, the instruction is simple enough. My only qualm is, am I qualified enough to award this to anyone else? Like Shah mentioned, would my nominees take kindly to this? I suppose I wouldn't know until later. But to me, as long as I give it in full sincerity, it doesn't matter what the outcome is. I am awarding to these listed seven friends below because I love going to their blogs and read their minds and learn a thing or two at the same time. They are not in any particular order and so, here ......(drumroll please)....are the receipients!

1. U.Lee MoonlightNightStarySkies
My very very experienced cyber friend who has seen the world. He pens all his life experiences and romances and now whilst most of his friends spend time at coffee shops or 'vegetate', Lee spend his time in front of his powerful Apple iMac 24", somewhere in Torornto, Canada, relating back all the stories for us to enjoy. He also opted not to have any handphone, because he got no girlfriend to call now and I think he is out of this world! Lee is also very charming with words and really knows how to sweep a woman off her feet. His stories are very funny, yet wisdomful. Now, how can you beat that?

2. Cikgu Kata Tak Nak
I don't know how Cikgu is going to react to his award, but as long as he doesn't get his cane out, I'm alright. To me, he is a Big Shot blogger, and I am this tiny meeny newbie who loves his sense of humour, creativity, out spokenness and direct as well as indirect postings. He is so creative, he can make you laugh over matters that you are angry about. My humble award goes to you, Cikgu.

3. Me...Only Better
This fiery lady is really something else. She writes faster than I read! That is, when she is in the burning fiery mood, I would say. She is full of passion, very, very out spoken, and her big red letter words can sometimes really 'wake me up'. I love her writings because it is true and honest describing how she really feels and I can relate to her and her concerns most of the time.

4. Eskapisminda
Although very new to blogging world, this lady is very creative with words, and like her blog's name, it really describes her entries. Very mind boggling, mind escaping, hehe or mind escapades, rather. I think if she ever decide to become a writer, which she did mentioned she would love to, she can be a very good one. Excelante!

5. Jaffpoint
Ah... Dato Jaflam who very humbly asks us to call him by name. I'd rather call him DJ. DJ has travelled the world, being a mariner. And for someone who has seen the world, he has potrayed great views on life experiences, be it in life, corporate, politics, or simply his lovely garden.

6. Snowflake
A very myterious lady, who weaves a cloak around her web. She loves sharing her views on religious knowledge and hates politics. Must be the current Malaysian politics, I figured. I learn a thing or two from her blog and she is also an ardent cat lover. Love to ciplaq her cat photos, too.

7. Shirzad Lifeboat
Hey, I don't know when this guy will be online again. For all you know, he might only read this next year! Still, I feel he deserve this award because he is a Brilliant Writer, very creative. One needs to really ponder his writings to understand, very mind boggling. I really need to put a thinking cap when reading his blog.

There, I managed to find 7 online friends to give the award to, and this also goes to Shah Cakapaje, I thank you for this and your kind thoughts of my blogs. The other great thing about this, I feel, is like extending your appreciation to your friends and how they have impacted your Cyber Life.......! Let's have a great blogging days and years ahead!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Garden Adventures (?)

Its a beautiful Wednesday morning and as usual I would do my rounds of morning gardening. Today I made a point to really do something about my front compound, especially on the weeds. They are getting beyond control, so before it really reach that 'horror' stage, like it or not, I had to do the weeding off from that area.

And I discovered another 'horror'. There are insects eating my plants! I don't know whether it was a caterpillar or such, I haven't seen one yet. But I just have to do something about it. Right now I am still at unease as I am yet to find out which pesticide to use. Maybe later I will go to the hardware store and ask if they have any suggestion. Or maybe I will google after completing this entry.

Who's eating my Bunga Kantan Plant?

Then the third 'horror' decided to appear! I was weeding out at one area and I saw some small white pebbles in the soil. I thought it was my white stone decor pebbles and wonder why it was so small and who put it there? Then when I touched it, it was soft. They were eggs! God knows what eggs. Its about the size of a 10 cents coin. I got scared and immediately stop whatever I was doing. Don't want to bump with the 'eggs' mother', whatever it is, if you know what I mean?

Bad cameraman at work! There seven of these unknown eggs in the plastic container.

I asked my maid to scoop them up and put them in a plastic container. What to do next, God knows. Whaetever it is, I am not about to let any wild things breeds in front of my house!

On a happier note, in spite of all these, my pineapple plant is growing well! I have another pineapple crown soaked in a glass and already sprouting roots. Haven't decided whether to ground it or keep in as indoor plant.

And I just can't resist Honeybun's picture who just woke up from mommy's call!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

10 Years Younger, Anyone?

I normally put a link like this to my Healthbiznbuzz blog or Beautiful Skin blog, but today, I intentionally put it here because I have an interesting story to share.

The weekend before last, someone remarked that I have a reason to smile for a whole week. In fact, I have been smiling until now, but not for that 'reason'. Just the fact that I am basically a happy person, or some people described me as 'happy-go-lucky' person. Of course I do have my share of bad days and sorrow, but most of the time I choose to forget it and get on with life. Life is too short to mourn for too long.

My brother in law just bought himself a new weighing machine because he is now into golf. Well, excercise,... you know... Well,what's the big deal? This weighing machine has a BMI indicator, and an additional feature that tells you your 'real age' based on your age, height, weight and BMI. Real age here, in layman terms, means where your whole body system is, in terms of health.

Well, guess what! I scored ........ not gonna announce my age here. Hahaha..... But my score is well below 13 years of my real 'real age'.

Well, it wasn't a suprise for me, compared to everyone there! The result caused a small racket amongst them, but I just smiled knowingly. Not to brag here, but if any of them notice, which I doubt, that I have been into healthcare, positive thinking and exercise for quite sometime now. I have, once in a while, gave tips and information about the subject, but I suppose its not important enough for them to take them seriously.

For example, all of us (most, if not all) love to indulge in food, and most of the time, its not a healthy solution for our waist line and more importantly, heart. We can, once in a while, do, but also when we do it a bit too often, like Raya time, then we need to take supplements to ease off the heavy stuff like fats ansd cholestrol. I normally take a Carbohydrate Blocker, then Lecithin E and Beta Carotene to address this. Daily multivitamins is a must. I do miss taking them sometimes, but will make a point to really do it after that.

Exercise, most of us are guilty of not doing it, including moi. But lately I have seriously look into it. Still not enough, but getting there...!

And heres a link I got from an e-mail subscription on Health issues and I post it here for your reading plesure and knowledge. You can even subscribe to them yourself, if you'd like to get health updates. Real Age.

How to Be 10 Years Younger

Nope, it's not a time machine you need if you want to be a decade younger. It's a treadmill. Or a bike. Or just a good pair of sneakers.

That's right. The most physically active folks in a recent study showed signs of being as much as 10 years younger on a cellular level.

Go Long on Protection

How does exercise do that? By keeping your telomeres long and healthy. What on earth are those, you ask? Simple. They're like the plastic tips on shoelaces. But in your body, they cap the ends of the DNA strands (chromosomes) in all your cells. Over time, your telomeres can shorten to the point where cells stop regenerating, and even die (think accelerated aging). Shortened telomeres also leave your chromosomes vulnerable to the kind of damage that may trigger diseases such as cancer.

YOU Tip: Protect Your Shoelace Tips . . . Uh, Your Telomeres

Your chromosomes, those little rascals, have small substances on the ends called telomeres -- like those plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces. Every time a cell reproduces, the telomere gets a little shorter. Over time, once the protective covering on the tip wears away, your DNA shoelace begins to fray. The cell stops dividing and can no longer replenish your body. Each time a telomere retires, you age a little. So, get this: The telomeres of people who feel more stressed are almost 50% shorter than people who say they’re less stressed. Since scientists have a rough idea of what the average telomere length is for a specific age, they can estimate how much older the higher stress group is biologically: a whopping 9 to 17 years! You get the picture. Stress ages you. So cut your tiny telomeres some slack by cutting some for yourself. Practice daily
deep breathing and meditation, make stress management techniques part of your everyday life, and when you’re about to blow your lid, do this instead.

Here’s a list of a few more things you can do to keep your telomeres lovely and long:
Don’t smoke.
Keep your blood pressure under control.
Watch your waist.

Walk every day, and do our
YOU2 Workout, this chi-gong routine, or the 20-Minute Workout