Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Look Up Tuesday & Wednesday

On Tuesday, it was about looking up the buildings around my university.  How often do we tilt our head upwards in a week, right?  A pretty good way to stretch those neck muscle.

And today, for Wednesday, I captured some bits of the sky from the tram when the sun was about to set.  It's reddish because of the Bloody Mary camera filter.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Look-Up Monday: This Week Photo Theme - "Look Up"

Last week I gave myself a photo task which was to post photos in black and white.  It's just for the fun of it and if you want to join, do so! It'll be great to see same themes of photos across different blogs.  So this week, it's about "looking up".  So here's Look-Up Monday.

 Photo | Flinders St Station, Cnr Swanston St & Flinders St
Camera | iPhone3GS on LomoLomo

I rarely look up above the buildings when I’m walking on the street. There’s just so much life on the street that things above are often left to be seen from far. That, with the exception of clouds, of course. How we all love clouds… So this week, I’ll be looking up. It’s fun to see that when you look up to take photos of mundane places, some people get curious to look up too :)

Photo | (I don't know this one, so I'll need to find out), Cnr of Swanston St and Collins St
Camera | iPhone3GS on LomoLomo

*the last time I looked up to take photos sometimes a year back I saw a red shirt on a tree! You never know what you might find in places that you rarely look...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Macarons by Colour Confections

As words spread among friends that my husband makes Macarons, we started to receive two orders end of last week.  Alhamdulillah! We never seriously thought about selling them... until now.  My husband enjoys making them and he's getting better by the batch of macarons he makes!  I, on the other hand, joined in by designing the label, helped to brainstorm some ideas on packaging, and putting up a page for Colour Confections.

So here goes.  Say "Hello!" to Macarons by Colour Confections :) Now open for orders in Melbourne.

If you're in Melbourne, hop on to Colour Confections for further information.
If you're in Malaysia, you'll have to wait until we come back for good... :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

B&W (very early) Thursday: Sunflower Seeds

I received a forwarded email from my friend with images of sunflower seeds in a place that looks like a warehouse.  As it turns out, that warehouse is actually a hall at Tate Modern in London, a gallery for International Modern and Contemporary Art.  The millions of sunflower seeds that you will see in these links are not real sunflower seeds.  They are hand-made porcelain sunflower seeds that make up the art installation of artist Ai Weiwei.  Take a look at the images here at designboom, then watch this video at Tate Modern to see the process that goes behind the making of this installation.  I find it pretty amazing how an art installation in a gallery actually has a process that involved a whole town and created job opportunities for the community.

These, however, are NOT porcelain sunflower seeds.
(my husband likes them!)

Photo | Olympus PEN, shot in colour then edited to B&W

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

B&W Wednesday: Bikes at Fed Square

Photo | iPhone 3GS, B&W in Photoshop Express Apps

I haven’t sat around Fed Square watching the city move for a long time now. I remember when we visited Melbourne as tourists for the first time back in 2007, sitting at the terraces seemed to be ‘the’ thing to do (when you’re on a low budget and can’t really afford to hang out at cafes much). Then we came back here in 2008 for me to study, and in that first year, we often find time to walk along Yarra River and stop by Fed Square once in a while. But after that, when routine has started to become a part of the everyday, we tend to forget to go to those places. I guess that’s where pretending to be a tourist in our own cities once in a while would surely make us want to see and discover more…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

B&W Tuesday: Riding a Bicycle

I shot this one earlier this morning from the tram overlooking outside to St Kilda Road.  I should get a bicycle like that one day too, something like a townie...

Photo | iPhone 3GS, edited B&W using Photoshop Express Apps

Monday, March 21, 2011

B&W Monday: Tiny Wondergrams

In the spirit of posting black & white photos this week, here's a collection of my tiny wondergram prints with the tiny coat hanger paper clips.

As in the tips given in DPS, I took the photo in colour and then turned it into black & white using a simple photo editor.

For these small prints, I was inspired by Typo's Message in a Box.  They hung these little prints using tiny clothing pegs on a string at the shop for the display.  How cute right?

 From TYPO

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Learning Origami: Lilies in a Verdi Vase

Having done a lot of work on the computer and in digital format nowadays, I still yearn to do something manual with things of different materials.  I suppose that's where baking, buying a film camera, cutting/tying/taping things, and constantly brainstorming and jotting down stuff in a notebook with a pen come into the everyday routine.  The experience of doing something tangible like stirring, folding, holding, doodling, jotting, etc can never ever be replaced by anything digital.

I've never learned Origami before, other than the basic boats, boxes and little stars that I made during my primary school years.  I started folding and cutting some stuff again since I began experimenting with my mapping projects last two years; and I was reminded of the feel that you get when you do something crafty with your hands - the feeling of "actual making".  I don't think I'm near 'crafty' by any means, but doing things like these is like a relaxing therapy of some sort - where I get to achieve a small goal within minutes or hours in the midst of my bigger goals or tasks.

I finally found a book on Origami yesterday at the bargain book stall at the mall.  Presenting... Origami Lilies in a Verdi Vase.

Origami | Lilies and Verdi Vase
Book | "Everything Origami"
Publisher | Hinkler Books, Australia

Origami: Black Swan

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Diana Mini

The last time I put film inside a camera must have been in 2003, before I graduated from uni and right before we (the family) purchased an Olympus Mju 300 digital camera which we share.  I had learned photojournalism for one semester back when I was in the 9th grade in high school.  Now that was such a great experience on learning how to take photographs and process the films manually in the dark room.  Yes, we processed our own photos.  Visually in my mind, I can still recall some of the steps that we had to do, but frankly, I don't even remember the names of the chemicals and even that small machine that we use to put the negatives, paper and light - for it to then become a photograph.

From my visit to the Diana Lomo exhibition last week, I decided to give film and lomo a try.  Introducing... Diana Mini.

My younger sister has explored lomography long before I even knew what it was (we siblings even 'questioned' the Colour Splash lomo camera that she first bought five or six years back because we really didn't know what lomography was).  But thanks to her, right after I purchased Diana Mini, I got an express tutorial of Lomo101 from her, having her explained to me about what films to use and about cross-processing.  She says that those effect which I like to use from my iPhone apps are effects similar to films which have been cross-processed.  I was thrilled.  It's never to late to try something new, right? Now one thing about shooting with film that's different from using digital camera - is patience.  Not being able to see the results instantly on the screen feels like waiting to open up a present!

As for cross-processing films, I came to know that the effect happens when slide films are processed as regular films.  In another way, it's processing the film in the wrong chemical.  That's why the processed photos would have really wacky, vibrant and highly contrasting colours.  Interesting, right?  But as it turns out, slide films are expensive! Fortunately, I went to the camera shop and was recommended an expired Fuji Sensia 100 film for AUD5.50, which is still a slide film.  Cheap enough for my first ever lomo roll.  And luckily, cross-processed images from Fuji Sensia using lomo cameras do turn out amazing!  Now I just hope that my Diana Mini will give me nice surprises... but that we'll only be able to see that in another month or so when the 36 exposures are finished.

 If you want to know more about what lomography is about, click here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tiny Pink Luxuries

I wanted to try make Red Velvet Cupcakes last night, but didn’t have any of the main ingredients like buttermilk, vinegar and red food colouring.  For the record, I’ve never even tasted Red Velvet before - will do, though.  I did, however, have all the other things to make cupcakes, plus pink food colouring, some thick cream and chocolate chips.  So here’s my improvised version of what I call, “Tiny Pink Luxuries”.  They’re made like vanilla cupcakes, but with thick cream, and chocolate chips hidden inside, and topped with butter-cream and chocolate rice.  They turned out to be pretty rich, that one tiny cupcake is already luxurious.

80g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted (or 1 cup plain flour + 2 teaspoons baking powder)
1/3 cup thick cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 tablespoon pink food colouring
A handful of chocolate chips

80 g butter, softenend
1 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Some chocolate rice

1. Mix butter and sugar using electric mixer, until light and fluffy.
2. Add in egg and mix well.
3. Add in flour, thick cream, vanilla, cocoa powder and pink colouring.  Beat with mixer until well combined.
4. Add in chocolate chips and stir.
5. Fill a small spoonful of batter into mini cupcake papers.
6. Bake at 160 C for 10-15 minutes until cooked.  Then cool on rack before topping.
7. For topping: Beat butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in icing sugar until well combined for 1 minute.  Decorate topping on top of cupcakes as you wish and sprinkle with chocolate rice.

Oh, Macarons!

Mad about macarons? You can get the step-by-step recipe with photos from my tumblr here (courtesy of my husband). Happy trying :)

Jamie Oliver's Lasagne Recipe: Halal Version

The Simplest and Best Lasagne Recipe I’ve Ever Tried!

In the spirit of trying out new recipes from cooking books that I’ve bought, here we have Jamie Oliver’s Simple Baked Lasagne from his “Jamie’s Dinners: The Essential Family Cookbook”.  I love lasagne, but haven’t cooked any since… hmmm 2006?  That’s like 4 years ago.  The last time I made lasagne, the white sauce recipe was from San Remo’s Dried Lasagne Box (there’s a really good recipe at the back of the box).  The sauce recipe I got from my mom, which is kind of like a thicker version of a bolognaise sauce.

But this time, I wanted to follow JO’s recipe.  I had to leave out some of the ingredients that he used such as panchetta/bacon/pork belly/red wine as I don’t eat any of that.  In a way, I modified his recipe to be suitable for Muslims like me.

You can get the full recipe here.

Mine is the Halal-version. So here goes…


Fresh Mushrooms, sliced (tin mushrooms would also do if you don’t have fresh ones)
A pinch of cinnamon
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
Herbs (sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme) - OR Mix Dried Spaghetti Bolognaise Herbs
Olive oil (or vegetable oil)
Minced Beef or Chicken
2 x 400g tins of Diced Tomatoes
Some dried chilli flakes or chilli powder
Salt & Pepper
400g Fresh Lasagne Sheets
400 g Mozarella


1x500ml tub of Thick Cream / creme fraiche
3 anchovies finely chopped OR Anchovies Powder / Serbuk Perasa
2 handful of Parmesan Cheese


1. Fry mushroom & cinnamon powder with oil.
2. Add onions, carrots, garlics, herbs and 4 tablespoons of olive oil
3. Mix together, then add in minced beef/chicken
4. Cook for 5 minutes
5. Add in tinned Tomatoes and bring to boil
6. Get greaseproof paper/baking paper, wet it and place it on top of the plan while it simmers and cooked
7. Season sauce with salt, pepper and chilli flakes
8. FOR WHITE SAUCE: in a bowl, mix thick cream, anchovy powder, parmesan, salt & pepper (if mixture is too thick, add some milk)
9. ASSEMBLE: Rub base with olive oil - lasagne sheets - meat sauce - white sauce & sprinkle parmesan - lasagne sheets - meat sauce - white sauce & parmesan - lasagne sheet - white sauce - the very top should be mozarella & parmesan.
10. Bake at 200C oven for 30-35 minutes.

I used minced chicken, instead of beef (coz that’s what I had in the fridge); used mixed spaghetti bolognaise herbs, instead of fresh ones though (sorry JO!); used diced peeled tomatoes in cans instead of plum tomatoes; didn’t use red wine nor add water because there’s liquid from the tomato cans already; didn’t manage to find bay leaves at the supermarket; opted out the butternut squash and coriander seeds; and for the sauce, used light thickened cream and “serbuk perisa ikan bilis” (dried Asian anchovies seasoning) instead of anchovies.  And instead of frying panchetta with cinnamon at the beginning, I used mushrooms instead, because I love mushrooms and I know they give out great flavours in food.

So after everything was seasoned to taste and assembled, I popped in the baking dish in the microwave to cook for 30 minutes.  And then here it is.  I added some poached vegetables with a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper on the side.

The result: what a delicious lasagne! His recipe of not using bechamel sauce and used cream instead makes the lasagne less heavy, and I love the salty-cheesy crispy top.  I think the combination of parmesan and anchovies seasoning in the cream blend in really well with the sauce mixture.  My husband and I both loved it very much and we can’t help to just appreciate how great the lasagne tasted, although with some bits of adjustments.  Thanks JO for such great and truly simple and easy recipe!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another Fun iPhone App: LomoLomo

What could be more fun than those awesome photo app that makes regular snapshots turn into great ones? ANOTHER FREE photo app!  Over the weekend, I stumbled upon an iPhone app called LomoLomo.  It's a lomography-like app that comes with one FREE Diana camera, 4 lenses and 4 films (something like the Hipstamatic, but this one is F R E E).

I love the colours that they produce, especially when you have enough natural lighting.  Here are some of my wondergrams from LomoLomo.

All 3 images shot from LomoLomo

All 3 in this collage are also shot using LomoLomo,
then arranged in Diptic.

There was an exhibition on Diana (the name of that particular type of lomo camera), and ironically (or not) I shot these snapshots using the Diana camera in the LomoLomo app.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Wondergrams

Friday lunch time started with walking by Carlton Gardens…

 After lunch, we stumbled upon a small gallery 
connected to a little cafe on Lygon St…

 I opted for a cup of hot mocha,
something warm and sweet for the cold afternoon…

 And managed to browse through some pics
in this magazine they had at the cafe…
enough for some daily dose of inspirations :)

All images by iPhone via Instagram's Early Bird Filter

Fruitful Friday #1: Sending Peace & Blessings to the Prophet

A sister from my Uni starts forwarding 'Friday text message' to me today.  Here's a copy of her text, what I now call "Fruitful Friday".
Did you know that:
Sending peace and blessings to the prophet (PBUH) on Fridays has been especially emphasized.  Abu Dardar narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "Invoke blessings on me abudantly on the day of Jum'ah for it is witnessed.  The angels attend it, and none invokes blessings on me but his supplication is presented to me till he stops."  I asked whether that applied also after his death, and he replied: "Allah has prohibited the Earth from consuming the bodies of the prophets; so Allah's prophets are alive and given provision..." [Ibn Majah]

It's Friday: Read Surah Al-Kahf, make Du'a especially the last hour before Maghrib... and smile... it's Sunnah :)
 Share the Friday vibe :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Finding Beauty

Kiwi is such a beautiful fruit.

Camera | iPhone, on Instagram

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

La Dolce Italia Festival

Coincidentally, we stumbled upon an Italian Festival at Lygon St last Sunday while going out for a Nasi Lemak lunch in the city.  Lygon St is synonymous to its Italian communities here in Melbourne.  There are many street cafes, trees lined up in the middle, coffee shops, pizza and dining, and even some Asian cafes tucked in between them.  It's a nice sight to walk-by or even drive-by because it is just vibrant and active, and most importantly, full with people especially at night.  Unfortunately, it rained that morning and by the time the second day of the festival was supposed to start at 1 pm, things weren't as active as festival ought to be.  Nonetheless, we took the opportunity to stroll through the festival and have coffee while we were there.  (Italy again, it's a sign, don't you think?)

and what could be sweeter than seeing kids holding their balloons so dearly :)