Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Last Survivor: Genelle Guzman-McMillan

Published in Signs of the Times, January-February 2012.

pdf available.

And if you're interested, my (almost) complete writing portfolio can be found here.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

First knitting pattern

I wrote up my very first knitting pattern! It's for the Gnomeo Beanie that I made for D a few months back.

I'm starting to venture into making my own creations territory and hopefully this will signify many more new patterns and designs to come!

If you would like to download the pattern, you can do so at my MelT Creations website or from Ravelry.

And if you spot any mistakes, please let me know!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Onward cowl!

Yippees! This arrived in the mail for me today which means I can finally continue working on my cowl!


This has been one of my longest "easy" project. In theory, it shouldn't have taken me this long (and I'm not finished yet!), but between everything that was going on in my life, this project fell by the wayside, particularly after I ran out of yarn. I just never attempted to purchase a new ball.

However, I'm really looking forward to the finished product (oh when will that be?). Made from WOOLganic Knitter’s Yarn, it is 100% certified organic Australian merino wool, which means it's soft, cosy, non-scratchy, warm and nasty chemicals-free. So it's going to be so nice around my neck, which is a rather sensitive spot.

At the moment, I'm really hoping I'll finish it in time for when I move to where the maximum temperature is a chilly -7 degrees (celcius) today!

And if you would like to get yourself some of this scrumptious yarn, I got mine from Little Sparrow. It seems like a nice little shop (have never been there) that is owned by a real creative lady. Fair prices, low postage (I hate paying postage) and quick service! Very happy.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

RIP Mouse

I suppose I should have given it a better name after being my faithful companion for seven years. It spent at least eight hours a day, four days a week (and four hours every Friday) with me and the best I can come up with is "Mouse" - and that only thought of a few minutes ago.

It followed me when I moved first into a new office building a few hundred metres away and then into two different offices during that time. First it helped me write media releases. Then it helped me write news articles and television scripts. The last thing it did was help me edit articles and write my own.

But today, Mouse gave up the ghost.

Mouse now sits at the bottom of its paper-filled grave called my bin, because it finally realised it deserved a much-needed rest. Maybe it was because I didn't give it a break over the Christmas holidays.

It bears the scars of its long service. The silver varnish on the left mouse button has been rubbed down, revealing its white plastic after all the caressing done by my index finger. The right mouse button fared better, only turning a slightly light grey-green colour, but only because it's not a very well-used button. And where my palm rests . . . let's just say it's kind of gleaming.

No longer does the left mouse button work, unless under much duress. But when using it gives my index finger an incredible sore, I thought it time to move on with my life and acquire a new one.

Bye bye Mouse. You have been a good and faithful servant.

And in case you're wondering what Mouse is resting on, I found this weird picture of a coffin couch here.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Space Invaders (from Slate.com)

As an editor, receiving manuscripts with a double space after a full-stop (period) is a personal pet peeve. So I am so grateful for articles like this from slate.com that explains why we should never do it.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Relax already

I have an extremely bad habit that I've recognised and have been trying to shake for years. I succeeded for a few years, but I'm beginning to discover that it's coming back with a vengeance.

I can't seem to relax.

By that I mean I need to be in a constant state of doing something "productive". I feel like I'm wasting my time if I'm relaxing, doing nothing, watching TV . . . I think it's why I took up knitting so enthusiastically. So that I'm actually doing something I feel is productive, instead of simply sitting on a couch, watching TV.

It's also probably why I decided to take up post-graduate studies. So that when work's over, I don't just have the opportunity to relax and chill out in the evenings/weekends, I actually have something I deem productive to do.

I'm a fiend when it comes to to-do lists. I love writing them and ticking them off. I'm always thinking of something else to add to it and get this immense sense of satisfaction when I am able to cross them out.

I don't believe myself when I look at my day and realise that perhaps, I don't really have anything else to do and I can spend some time reading a book or watching TV. Instead, I potter around the house looking for something to clean, rearrange or pack.

I feel like I need to be in this constant flux of activity, doing something, creating something.

Wanting to be productive is not a bad thing, but when you get to the point where you feel like you need to be doing something all the time, I think it's time to get some kind of help.

The lucky thing is that because of my religious beliefs, Saturday is a special day for me in which I try to connect with God, obeying his directives to take some time out to rest. So instead of buzzing with activity all the time, I manage to find one day a week to disconnect from it all. But come Sunday, I'm panicking again if I've got nothing to do.

What is it with life that we can't feel that we can relax anymore? That we actually feel guilty about simply enjoying being in the moment? We've been pushed too often to succeed, to achieve, to be productive that perhaps sometimes, we're wanting to attain too much, forgetting the need to step away and recharge.

I'm looking forward to the day when I can enjoy my Friday evening pamper sessions without feeling guilty. At the moment, it feels more like a task that I have to do, and not a special treat, which defeats the whole purpose!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Review: The Alchemist

It's no wonder this book is an international bestseller. The little nuggets of wisdom, the amazing insights into life and the simplicity of style makes this book such a joy to read.

I know I've been rather late getting on to the bandwagon and in all honestly, I wouldn't even have read this book if I hadn't found it amongst D's pile of things.

The introduction of the book had my absorbed. This talk of fufilling one's Personal Legend intrigued me and spoke to something in my heart. I wanted to know more, because I could relate.

Too often, we lose our dreams, our deepest passions to a number of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, when at the core of it, we're simply afraid. Afraid of chasing our dreams. Afraid of the difficulties we may face. And sometimes, even afraid of achieving those dreams. We look around us and there are people everywhere who never get to achieve their dreams, so why should we?

Reading The Alchemist was an absolute pleasure. I felt like I needed a highlighter or a notepad and pen to jot down the thought-provoking and insightful quotes I come across. Quotes to inspire us. Quotes to spur us. Quotes to encourage us to go on. To go on searching for what makes us truly come alive.

It has all the elements of what life would be, if only we can overcome our fear and trust in God/fate/Soul of the World, or whoever we believe guides our lives. Because when we do so, "the universe conspires to help us achieve [our dreams]".

The only regret I have? Not picking this book up earlier.

And if you're interested, my (almost) complete writing portfolio can be found here.

Thursday, 5 January 2012


Is there nothing to look forward to in life besides having a baby, once you've reached a certain age?

For the last month or so, I've been counting down the weeks on Facebook to a much anticipated trip coming up in February.

Every week without fail, I would have a different friend assume my "xx weeks" status update has something to do with me being pregnant.

Can't a girl look forward to . . . oh, a new car, a trip to the hairdressers, a holiday, the arrival of new shoes, a visit from a friend or simply practice her ability to count, without being mistaken for being pregnant?

It's funny how life seems to be marked by certain events that "matter" - graduation, finding a partner/spouse, babies, death (ok, I don't think too many people look forward to death . . . ) - and everything else just falls by the wayside. We live our lives hoping to achieve these milestones and fail to recognise or anticipate other events that excite us or bring us joy.

Having a baby is a wonderful thing, but perhaps it may not be the only thing we ought to look forward to with eagerness. We need to live our lives with more fun. Let us enjoy the little things, even if they may not be considered a milestone by society's standards.

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 2 January 2012

Canadian New Year beanies

It's been a while since I last posted about a knitting project. I did start on a new project - a really easy one - but was taking my time, largely because I was doing two subjects at uni this last semester and couldn't seem to find any free time.

The holidays started and I returned to the project, but then I ran out of yarn. I haven't bought any yet and it's funny, but once you get out of the habit of doing something, it's hard to find the motivation to start again.

However, after getting my free spinning wheel for Christmas, I decided I better get back to knitting, in order to use up all the yarn currently sitting under my bed. This makes sense once you realise it's so that I can justify buying roving to spin more yarn.

Little did I realise that once I started, I would finish not one, but two projects in a day! I felt like a knitting machine!

Don't think I'm a super-fast knitter though. The yarn was rather bulky, I was using large needles and the pattern is super-easy. So I started 2012 watching We of the Never Never and Going Postal (both excellent films) and finishing these two projects, pom-poms and all!

I'm really pleased with the super-soft, super-squishy, super-warm merino yarn that I used because it was purchased at a super-cheap price from eBay. There weren't quite enough to make a full beanie in one colour (story of my life. I never seem to have enough yarn to finish a project in one colour), but I think I improvised to make it work because now I have matching beanies for D and myself!

These will hopefully keep our heads warm in the freezing Canadian winter.

Pattern here (from one of my favourite designers).

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year, new kettle

What better way to start a new year than with a "new" kettle? Ok, there are a million other better things you could do than start it with a new kettle, but I'm just really excited about this thing that I just discovered.

You know how your electric cordless kettle gets really black and gross after a few months'/years' worth of use? And no matter how much you scrub, it seems impossible to get rid of the gunk? And you don't really want to use harsh chemicals because you'd be drinking from the same container after?

Have I got a solution for you! And the best part is that it's non-toxic and completely safe for you.

It only requires one ingredient - a lemon. Oh, and water of course.

First you fill your kettle up to its maximum. Then you cut a lemon into about four pieces, squeeze the juice into the kettle and then drop the rest of the squeezed lemon in (yes, rind and all).

Boil the water, then let it cool for about an hour or so (more is fine). Boil again.

And viola! Amazingly clean kettle!

SorryI forgot to take before photos, but trust me, it was black and dark and looked like a cesspit before I gave it the lemon treatment. And the electric element thing at the bottom of the kettle is actually gleaming!
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