Sunday, January 30, 2011

Brunetti Cafe @ Faraday St

I was going through my Flickr (which has been dormant ever since the pro-account expired and not renewed), and I found some photos from a Lumix compact camera that I used then.  The camera is a very basic compact camera, and since the photos produced were just so-so, I attempted to edit the images to become a bit lomo-like (found a tutorial from the internet).

Image | Brunetti @ Faraday St
Camera | Lumix Compact Camera
Edits | Photoshop - Curves (as I can remember)

not bad for a compact camera, ay?

Scones for Sunday Breakfast

I've always wanted to try to make scones (apparently most people pronounce "scone" to be rhymed with "john" instead of "scone rhyming with bone").  Scone is very simple bread or biscuit, and what I like about it is the floury-milky taste.  Scones are best eaten with jam and cream, but I'm thinking of trying to eat them with some spicy filling like 'sambal tumis ikan bilis' maybe one day!

Image | Scones, raspberry jam and coffee for Sunday breakfast
Camera | iPhone 3GS, diptic and instagram's early bird

The Recipe: (sourced from one of those free catalogs from Woolworths)

4 cups self-raising flour
2 tablespoon butter
pinch of salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 210C
2. Sift flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.  Mix in butter using your fingertips.  Pour in milk and stir lightly to create a stiff dough.
3. Turn onto floured bench top and knead lightly to create a smooth dough.  Roll out to a 2cm thickness and cut into rounds using a 7cm scone cutter. »> (i didn’t have the scone cutter so i just made them into little balls and flattened them a bit to about 2cm thickness)
4. Place onto floured baking tray and brush with milk.  Bake for about 15 minutes until golden on top.
5. Serve scones hot with your favourite jam and cream.

Verdict:  Not bad lah... maybe I could have left it in the oven a bit longer, and should have rolled it and cut them to shape manually so that they'd have a more even top.  Very easy and very quick to make.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Morning Butterfly

Image | That's a real butterfly outside of the cafe's window
Camera | iPhone 3GS, via instagram's lomo filter

Sometimes we have to learn to see the little things that make each day wonderful.
And to also realize that the world is so much more than ourselves.
Alhamdulillah for Allah's countless blessing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

An Overnight Road Trip

Destinations: Bairnsdale & Lakes Entrance at East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia
Duration: 2 days & 1 Night
Distance from Melbourne: ~ 4 hours

Camera | iPhone 3GS - diptic for multiple layout and instagram for art filters

The Trip:

1. We visited our friend's friend's family's farm in Bairnsdale - apple, raspberries, plums, lucerne grass, cows, and rhubarbs.  An experience of the countryside is always a good change from the everyday city.
2. Fresh-picked fruits taste beautiful, Subhanallah!
3. Cows are pretty friendly, but their calves are camera-shy.
4. One of my new year's resolution recently was to jot and sketch about my trip, rather than just taking photographs.  And so I did.
5. Lakes Entrance is a place where the river meets the lakes and then meet the sea - where rivers and lakes sit side by side.
6. Natural landscapes are gorgeous and breathtaking, Subhanallah! I can never get enough of them.
7. I love trees and I thank God for trees.  It was getting hotter as the day passed by and we can feel how the micro-climate changed the moment we drove by the trees.  Let's hug a tree :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

morning has broken

Image | View outside from our living room at 6:04 AM today
Camera | Olympus PEN, Pinhole filter

Love the song Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens :)

Maps & Traveling

I wouldn't say that we are active travelers or tourists just yet, because the number of maps we have is still less than 10.  I still like buying maps when traveling to a new country or state because maps do help you to navigate around the city.  When we did road trip in Malaysia, traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Terengganu, then to Kelantan and to Pengkalan Kubur border to Thailand, we still used a map.  We seem to get a kick out of saying the highway numbers and street names that we're on.

Reading a map is like going for treasure hunting.  We want to know where we want to go, what's nearby, and the different routes that can take us there.  But I tell you, reading a map that has writing in different languages can be challenging, especially when the prints get smaller and smaller.  When we were in Shanghai, we couldn't find any FREE English Tourist Map at the train station.  Luckily there was a bookstore that sell maps, and we just had to buy one to find our ways.

I think of the best tip in buying the right map is to look at it first before purchasing it.  Then look if the places that you want to go are in the map.  Next, make sure the road names and the streets around the places that you want to visit are visible and legible because sometimes you may have to walk from street to street.  Last, a map that doesn't open too big (imagine you opening a HUGE map while you're on the street and a wind come gushing by!).  And we also probably wouldn't buy a map that's too overloaded with information.  Simple and straightforward seem to be in our criteria as we don't want to add anymore clutter (and stress) in those times that we get lost.

Image | Shanghai Tourist Map bought at Shanghai Train Terminal
Photo | Olympus PEN
Place | Donut King Cafe
Edit | Desaturate, sephia and soften effect

Image | Map of Shanghai with lots of Chinese characters and some English ones
Photo | Olympus PEN
Edit | Exposure, desaturate, sephia

I often treat maps and books as precious things that I would very rarely scribble on them.  I had to become more 'adventurous' in that sense, so we thought, let's make our mark!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cook Books

For someone who likes buying books, cookbooks are definitely in the list.  Although books that have amazing photos and styles of food are very much alluring, I find that what closes the deal between browsing and purchasing is actually the recipes themselves.  If I find that the recipes in the book are 'do-able', if the ingredients that are used are easily available, if the food in the book are those that I like or would love to try, and if the price of the book is not ridiculously expensive, then there's definitely a potential purchase.  It is no doubt that you can find almost a recipe for anything on the internet nowadays, but having a cookbook adds a bit more of that seriousness in cooking or baking, or at least for amateurs like me (not that cooking or baking ever have to be serious though).  When following recipes, I like to have them in front of me on the kitchen counter, looking at them step by step, measure by measure.  And I still love the idea of having a physical hard-copy of recipes just like our moms have it.

Cupcake Recipe Book | purchased at one of those bargain stash at the mall
Jamie Oliver | bought at the Sunday Market for more than half of the original price (in new condition)
Turqoise A4 Notebook | My own collection of hand-written/copied recipes
(Not in photo | RASA Magazine I bought from Malaysia)
Photo | Olympus PEN, desaturated edit

Remembering Summer Heat

Image | Last year on new year eve at Williamstown (it was 40 degrees that day!)
Photo | Olympus Pen

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hello Wonderful

Image | Rubber Stamps on Brown Notebook Paper
Stationery | kikki K Alphabets Rubber Stamps
Photo | Olympus Pen

Camera Review: Olympus Pen E-PL1

A couple of people have asked me about using Olympus Pen E-PL1, as that's the camera that I'm using at the moment.

I must say, I LOVE my Olympus E-PL1 :) It's like a mini dSLR (it is a mini dslr) that fits snugly in my bag, and so easy to take it everywhere I go. I love the art filters, especially pinhole and grains, and sometimes I like using the pop art and diorama modes.  And I love the fact that the camera has different lenses too, and shoots HD videos. I currently have the 14-42mm and 17mm pancake lens, which you should definitely include in your E-PL1 starter pack.  At least you can play around with two different lenses.  And another thing to love is the "old-school" camera look. If those things that I mention are things that you also like, then you should definitely get an Olympus Pen :)

Here are two of my shots to share:

[Port Melbourne in grains]

[St Kilda Rd in pinhole]

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Books on Mapping

If you like maps, graphics, arts and just a lot of really amazing ways to "read" places, then you've got to check out these two books by Katharine Harmon.  Both of these books compile different types of maps, and how they are composed.  Usually, we would think of a map as the ones that involve places with reference to geographic locations.  But if we think of "mapping" as a way of "revealing" something, then the definition of maps goes beyond our typical city map, street map or world map.

It took my quite sometimes too to grasp what "mapping" means.  Think of it this way: when we read a map, we can see specific places, buildings, landmarks that are "chosen" to be shown by the mapper, while certain things are left out.  A street map would be different from a subway map, because some things matter to car drivers, while other things only matter to subway riders.

If we look at it that way, we can start to perceive how bias a map can be.  For example, your map of a city will be different from my map of that same city.  Each of us see the world differently through our own eyes and experiences.  It is through sharing some of our "versions" of the world that we can begin to understand places around us differently.


This one is a booklet of collections of 10 Maps.

10 different maps mapping different things

I got all three from Amazon.

knock knock, it's orange.

“knock, knock.”
“who’s there?”
“banana who?”
“knock, knock.”
“who’s there?”
“banana who?”
“knock, knock.”
“who’s there?”
“orange who?”
“orange you glad i didn’t say banana?”

p/s: don't you just love how fresh fruits look after you've washed them?

Monday, January 17, 2011

BYOB When Doing Groceries

Do you BYOB when doing groceries? That reads "Bring Your Own Bag".  Since we've lived in Melbourne for more than 2 years now, we've practiced bringing our own bags when doing groceries (unless when we do want the free plastic bags to be used as trash bags in the kitchen).  Bags like these ones by Envirosax are very handy to carry.  They are light, can be folded and rolled very easy, and very small to snugly fit into my day to day bags.  And they're able to carry a lot of stuff too.  Not only we'd be doing our part as Khalifah of the earth by using less plastic these days, they look nice too :)  Most importantly, they are a lot more durable than the biodegradable plastic bags that tend to tear very easily when you buy food with sharp edges like a bag of chips.  I must admit, sometimes when I forget to bring my bag for groceries, I will use the supermarket's plastic bags.  But they are often used again as trash bags in the kitchen.  It takes time and regular practice to make BYOB part of our daily/weekly routine, and once you get the hang of it and become more conscious of your contribution to the earth, it'll easily become a part of your daily life.

Image | Grocery from Coles and Two Envirosax
Photo | iPhone Diptic and Instagram

Quote: "witty today, humdrum tomorrow"

Witty: showing or characterized by quick and inventive verbal humor
Humdrum: lacking excitement or variety; dull; monotonous

Remember this everyday, and you’ll never go dull.

Rally for Relief @ Rod Laver Arena

Photo | iPhone, Instagram: Toaster

Photo | iPhone, Instagram: X-Pro II

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday Sights

You know how sometimes you've been to the same places many times but there's always things to see? Melbourne is very much that.  There's always something to see, something to hear, and even something to smell at times.

Today is finally sunny and everyone is out walking in the city (well I'm sure there are lots others who would probably be inside a shopping mall, or at the beach, or at the park, or even at home).

Here are some familiar sights of Melbourne, especially on weekends.

The Guy Who Spray Paints

Now this guy have been around doing his artwork off and on since last year, or was it since the year before that.  He paints using spray paints, and uses bowls and bottles as templates for the shapes that he want to make.  He does his painting in layers, spraying different colours, then he'll scrape them off, and scratch or peel each different layer.  Really, it does create such interesting effect.  Always nice to stop just for a bit and have a look at what he's painting.

The Horses in the City

Then, there are horses in the city.  As much as Melbourne is an everyday city, it is very much a tourist city as well.  I haven't ridden in one of those coaches yet, but I'm very sure it would be a different experience riding a horse carriage.  You can see horses walk side by side the cars and trams on a daily basis here in Melbourne.  But since it's a Saturday, the carriages all lined up waiting for passengers.

The Guy with the Mohawk who plays Chess

I'm assuming that he will play against anyone who wishes to play with him. Those guys at the back were street dancing.  This one guy was like doing one of those moves and spinning on the floor, and then while he was turning, or shall I say "churning", he accidently knocked off of the the chess piece.  And his crowd was clapping!  A pretty active space where on one spot the players were thinking of strategic moves, while the other side was actively dancing.

If any readers ever want to visit Melbourne, there's more about this city here at Walk Walk Melbourne.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pink Cheese Cake

My office mate gave me a slice of cheese cake yesterday evening, a pink coloured one.  Nice kan? It’s even topped with some crushed pistachios.  She’s vegetarian and she said the cake’s vegetarian too (suits my halal-diet very well).  Tapi sangat masam la rasanya.  Biasanya I’ll be alright dengan perasa yang masam2 ni, tapi this one terlalu masam pulak.  Anyways, I thought the colour was very cheerful :)

The end to a rainy week

Alhamdulillah. I’m glad the weather is finally clearing up after yesterday.  But I do like rain though.  And I love watching them from the window. Rain… water… they are powerful elements.  They can change from being something serene to something threatening.  This week the whole of Australia was struck by the news about the flood in Queensland.  It is just shocking to watch on the news of how high the flood water had reached.  Cars and houses submerged.  Household items and personal belongings destroyed.  One thing that I learned from watching the news about the aftermath of the flood was how fast the communities got back on their feet to help each other clean the streets and clean their affected houses.  Watching that taught me that when unfortunate things happen to us, we just have to be strong and continue to get moving on what needs to be done.  For everything that happens, there is a lot of lessons to be learned.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Today in the Continent

That is the continent,

and this is today in Melbourne.

Photos | Olympus PEN
Modes | Monotone, Custom
Aspect Ratios | 4:3, 6:6

From Coat Hanger, to a POST Card and the Amazon

From a jar of miniature coat hangers,

one coat hanger hung a POST card...

which then led to a box from Amazon.

Photos | Olympus PEN
Mode | Monochrome, Colours
Aspect Ratios | 4:3, 16:9, 6:6

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Recipe: Apple Crumble with Walnuts

Image | Apple Crumble with Walnuts
Photos | Apples & Finished Crumble: Olympus PEN
Other Ingredients: Compact Camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS3) - Edited Auto-Levels, Contrast
Layout | iPhoto Book Layout

It was my first time making Apple Crumble.  Apple and cinnamon taste really nice together, and I thought adding walnuts would give some crunch to the filling.  The original recipe is from Jamie Oliver, and I added the cinnamon and walnut for personalization.  It's very easy to prepare, and would probably taste fabulous with a dollop of ice cream on top when served.

My version of the recipe can be downloaded here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Personalized Wall Piece

How often do you change your wall piece?  Do you change the photos/contents in your living room picture frame from time to time?

Thinking about replacing the wall piece is truly a fun idea, but sometimes to get to doing it somehow seems to be the last thing in our 'to do' list.  When the truth is, it will only take you about 10 to 15 minutes to get the frame down, replace the photo, clean the frame and hang it back on the wall.

I usually delay changing my wall piece until I get a new idea of what to display next.  But if you at least keep the thought of that wall piece somewhere in the back of your mind, the next time you stumble upon some nice idea, you'll surely get to it.

I've changed the wall piece our the living room 3 times already.  All of these are very simple ideas, and cost very low.  The only investment is a bit of time and maybe a masking tape.

 Image | Autumn Leaves
Method | Collect leaves from outside, lay them flat on the glass, and frame

Image | Fake Grass Carpet
Method | Bought this bargain A4 piece fake grass, and cut into a square

This is our latest wall piece.

Image | My iPhone Photo Prints
Method | Print photos at the photo shop, trim the edges into squares, and arrange in the frame

And here is our favourite wall piece of all, and the first personalized frame we made.  We bought the frame from IKEA at the As-Is Bargain Corner for AUD10.00 (~RM30.00), as it had a loose edge.  That was such a great price since the original price for a frame as large as this is around AUD30-50 maybe, I can't recall.  At first we just filled it with postcards as temporary feature.  And I was still waiting for the 'right' thing to be displayed in it.

In the mean time, I have been collecting our daily tram cards here in Melbourne.  We didn't throw them away as we kind of thought we might have a use for them one day, or at least as some memorabilia of our daily routines here.  (They were even too precious to us to be recycled).  Then on the day that marked our one-year of being here, the idea came - to frame the tram tickets.

Image | Melbourne Tram Ticket Collections: July 2008-July 2009
Method | Collect tickets, arrange them so the colours spread out,
and tape the back to make sure the tickets stay put

A personalized wall piece does not have to cost a lot, but they will surely be worth a lot when we do it ourselves.  It's nice to look at them and remember the memories behind each piece.