Archive | July, 2021

Proud Parents Again

30 Jul

Amid this pandemic and trying lockdown, there is good news to share. M1, our firstborn, passed her Masters Thesis Defense yesterday (our time), which is equivalent to the day before for her in the US. It is indeed a blessing to be proud parents again, and we are most thankful this arduous journey is now complete.

This time around, the achievement is more meaningful because she had to endure the lockdowns and work around the disruptions because of the pandemic. And she prevailed. Words pale to describe the relief and joy for all of us. Well done, for lack of a better word; we couldn’t be more proud of your accomplishment.

A Micro Project

27 Jul

As if having a stash of nine DIY projects is not enough, I succumbed to another online purchase of yet another set last week! Unbelievable considering that I am currently alternating between DIY project number 16 and the Gnome Trio. This latest purchase is a micro-set and even smaller than project number 16.

There seems to be a fear of running low on my DIY stash as I keep buying more and more. However, this latest purchase is different, whereby the miniature set has to fit inside a box. And the box measures a mere five and a half inches wide by three inches tall by an inch in depth. Micro is an apt word to describe this!

There’s always a first to try something new!

Exciting as it is, I should focus on DIY project number 16, which is at the tail-end of its build already, before even thinking of working on this micro project.

Practical Recycling

26 Jul

During the various lockdowns since the pandemic started, we discovered daily to-be-discarded things that we can recycle. It is good to give the unwanted one last purposeful usage before throwing them away in the trash.

Last year, we started recycling eggshells from baking endeavors for the garden as a deterrent for snails. They double up as a calcium nutrient for the plants as well. We have continued this practice until today.

This year, I found that the garden squirrels don’t mind rancid walnuts and apple cores. Something better than nothing to feed the hungry. I remove the apple seeds, of course. The recycling list can go on.

Recently hubby discovered (from YouTube, of course) that milk cartons make a great container to grow bean sprouts. All you need is some mung beans and an empty milk carton. A one-third cup of beans to the size of the carton is enough to yield a carton bursting with crunchy bean sprouts after five days!

He has been timing the bean sprouts growing process. So whenever he bakes and finishes the milk, the cartons are saved for future use. And when we want to have bean sprouts on the menu, a five-day notice is given.

One should consider doing this because it’s pesticide-free food and practical recycling!

A basket of homegrown bean sprouts!

Alternating Between Projects

23 Jul

Alternating between projects this time around is good. There is much progress for the Gnome Trio and DIY project number 16. I stopped project number 16 for the time being because I’m at the part where I have to make the plants, and this step looks very tedious. So I’m stalling.

It’s coming along!

I decided to work on Gnome Two, and it is looking great. Gnomes One and Two have just the varnishing process to be finally complete. Gnome Three, however, still has the work cut out for me. There is one section that needs carving, then the sanding, patching, and painting. It’s okay as the processes are enjoyable.

The Gnome Trio

Upon completing all three Gnomes, I need to find the focus to jump back into making those tiny plants for project number 16. Slowly but surely, my projects occupying my time to weather through this lockdown which is never-ending. Sigh.

The Big Gnome Trio

20 Jul

Alternating between DIY project number 16 is the big Gnome Trio. I stopped working on them earlier to focus on DIY project number 15. And when number 15 was complete, I jumped back into carving for a bit before starting on number 16.

These days, I find myself alternating between projects again, even though I decided not to do so earlier. But I can’t help myself because I think all three gnomes can complete at the same time with DIY project number 16. We shall see how it goes.

Gnome One of three is complete and ready; Gnome Two has some fine-tuning before the gesso stage. Gnome Three needs a little bit more woodwork before the subsequent few processes to complete. Generally, I am pleased with the progress of all the Gnomes.

Coming along with the carvings!

DIY Project # 16

19 Jul

DIY project number 16 is a tiny kit, micro to be specified. I dived into it after working on the big Gnome Trio for a bit. I thought it would be easy, but I was wrong. Thankfully, the instruction manual is in English and relatively easy to understand.

The lighting plan

The wiring work was so complicated. This miniature is the first one where the lights had a trail plan to set up. It is thoughtful of the manufacturer to include a battery in the battery pack to make things easier. After following the instructions thoroughly, I must say, it turned out well.

Inch tall room and micro furniture pieces!

The biggest challenge here is that the pieces are far smaller than what I have handled before. They are not just tiny but micro tiny! So I find myself using the tweezer more to pick up parts to glue; quite a change from all the previous work, and I find myself sighing a fair bit whenever things don’t go as planned. There were times when there is more glue on my fingers than on the pieces themselves.

Two floors completed!

Micro as it is, I foresee completing this set within a short time frame.

Look at My Stash!

16 Jul

I went on a shopping spree with the two recent online shopping promotion. I figured with the current lockdown, we’re not going anywhere, so the purchases are justified to keep busy.

But I did not realize the 6.6 and 7.7 Sales had me buying so many DIY miniature sets on top of other household knick-knacks. I ended up with eight purchases! Yes, eight new projects to add to my stash.

Now, I have ten sets altogether and so spoilt for choice. After completing DIY project number 15, I took a break but will start on project number 16 soon. Hmm. In the end, I chose the smallest box. It should be fun.

Battle of the Weeds, Part 2

13 Jul

There’s one section of the garden grass that does not grow well. We think it’s because there isn’t enough sunlight for the grass to thrive. The Creeping Charlie, however, seems to thrive well in this section. We debated whether to remove or let them continue growing in that section.

Being in a shaded spot and without grass, the section looks bald, unkept, and unsightly. Although we prefer to remove weed throughout the garden, we have decided to allow the Creeping Charlie to grow in this particular section to camouflage the unsightly bald patches. As a result, the area now looks green and pretty from a distance.

I guess, for once, the weeds have won this round of the battle with our compromise on this.

Patchy without grass but green with the Creeping Charlie!

DIY Project #15, Part 2

12 Jul

Working on two craft hobbies in tandem is not a good idea, I have to admit. Alternating between the DIY miniature project number 15 and the Gnome Trio carvings is more time-wasting and derailed my progress for both.

In the end, I chose to focus on the miniature to complete it because firstly, it is almost at the tail-end, and secondly, it is one piece as opposed to the three pieces of carving.

And over the weekend, I completed DIY project number 15, one day shy of three weeks’ duration. I modified things a little on the set to my preference instead of following the suggested layout as I felt the modification is more practical for the bedroom setting kit. I’m pleased with the result.

A very sweet bedroom setting
A bird’s eye view

Now that the miniature is complete, I will channel my energy towards the gnome carvings again. And when gnomes are ready, I will start with DIY miniature project number 16! Woo hoo, on a roll here to get out of that Groundhog Day feeling.

Groundhog Day

9 Jul

Lately, the will to do things is not quite there. I feel as if we are experiencing Groundhog Day. Sometimes even with a busy routine, there is a sense of repetition getting to the mind. Mental fatigue?

Day in, day out, we wake up, eat breakfast and go about the daily routine. Then before we know it, it’s lunchtime. Then we eat again and go about the daily routine again. Then it’s dinnertime. The next day, same old, same old. My goodness.

It has become predictable, repetitive, and so taxing on the mind. Sometimes I wake up unsure what day it is. Is it the weekend already or still a weekday? Then again, does it make any difference?

The worst part, we are under EMCO after the MCO was revised to this status and did not end on 7 June as initially planned. And with Covid cases on the uptrend even more dangerous now than ever, Groundhog Day will go on and on. Sigh.