Tag Archives: whale

DIY Project #14 or 12B, Part 3

11 Jun

I breezed through DIY project number 14 or 12B effortlessly. I guess when I put all my energy and focus into it, the job gets done faster. Despite it being a complicated set, it was challenging yet enjoyable, and I finished it in 13 days. Quite a feat, I’d say.

Welcome to my Bookstore!
Lovely angles of the Bookstore

But soon after the completion, I decided to take a break from building miniatures. And instead, I channeled my creativity back to carving! It felt good.

Not whales because I ran out of the specific wood size, nor Citizens of Gigglesville but Gnomes, albeit a different approach. I found a forgotten piece of wood and decided to carve three Gnomes in one go.

A trio of Gnomes!

It has been very exhilarating to carve again. My progress so far is pretty good, and as I anticipate the MCO will extend for another 14 days until the end of the month, I can get this display piece completed in no time. Awesome.

The Perfect Cuppa

12 Apr

Two years ago, after months of serious searching, I finally found the perfect teacup to use with my Nessie and the Deep Tea Diver tea gadgets. And coincidentally, the glass cup is a whale-themed one, perfect for me who, once upon a time, carved Whales (besides my Gnomes and Citizens of Gigglesville). These days, there is hardly any carving done because I ran out of wood.

Anyway, the teacup comes with a ceramic lid and spoon and just nice to keep my tea hot. However, these days I hardly go into the office because of the pandemic and MCO restrictions. The glass cup and the two tea gadgets are left unused. Pity.

Nessie and the whale glass cup

New Bits

6 Oct

At the beginning of this year, I purchased some mini drill bits from my favorite online shopping site, and they arrived several days later. The last bit to make the whale eyes had broken, and these were the replacement. And I used them a fair bit when I was carving my whales then.

But now that my drill has kaput, it will be some time before the bits see any more action. Sigh. The question to ask should I buy a replacement drill or not?

Seeing that lately, I am more into doing DIY miniature projects and not so much carving and woodworking, a new drill may not be necessary yet. We shall see.

So sadly, the mini bits are just sitting there with the rest of the bits, collecting dust.

The Next Piece

1 Jun

Soon after the ginormous Gnome was completed, a change on subject matter to carve would be good. After all, I ran out of wood for Whales. However I do have an abundant supply of long Meranti wood pieces, why not carve a Monument?

Honestly, it’s been a while since I last carved a Monument. A quick check on the carving log and my… my… the last one I carved was 2 June 2019, a year ago! So carving another Monument now is apt.

It should be good fun and not too difficult, this piece should not take too long to complete.

Odd One Out

26 May

I took quite sometime to finish the latest Gnome because cooking and cleaning comes first over carving. And when I finally painted it up, it is an odd one.

Same same but different

Certainly a breakaway from the troop, it does not have the blue top or white shoes although it has the red cap like the rest. Well, it’s okay. Sometimes variation is good to make things interesting and also helps to improvise for the better.

However, when a piece in hand is not following a systematic way to carve, like carving the Whale pieces for example, the task in hand becomes challenging. And ginormous Gnome, at the height of 17.5cm was certainly a tough challenge.

One tough cookie… err, Gnome to carve

Well it’s almost completed (the varnishing being the final process), I am now contemplating what my next piece should be. Hmm…

A Totally New Gnome

8 May

I have stopped carving Whales for almost a month already for a couple of reasons. Number one reason being no more correct sized Meranti wood. However it’s not that I have zero wood supply anymore, it’s just that there’s a lot of odd-sized pieces. And it would be too tedious to trim to the size required.

Second reason being I wanted a change. With the 60th Whale (in total since the beginning) completed on 12 April, I felt like a factory, having carved a dozen of the same thing during the MCO (Movement Control Order) period.

So a week after Whale #60, I started on a new ginormous Gnome. But this totally new Gnome had a lot of ups and downs.

Plans to carve daily did not work out well as I had to juggle between cooking and design work. Throw in meal times and playing Homescapes, I simply did not have the luxury to sit down for a few uninterrupted hours to carve. And as work picked up too, this was far more important than all other activities. Hence progress on the piece was slow.

By the time I had the chance to sit and carve–and this would be by nightfall–I would be so tired mentally and physically, there’s no more energy left to even lift the carving knife.

Then there were errors and hiccups working on the piece. The initial outline on the big two-piece Meranti block looked okay with a slight tilt of the cap but when I got down to it, not only was I off, I managed to nick my finger without realizing. The Gnome ended up with a very obvious lop-sided cap and a slightly bloodied nose. Oops…

The cap turned out too lop-sided!
Sweat and blood stains

It’s not only a totally new Gnome but a totally new challenge as well. I thought the Little Birdy was tough, this one was equally if not more. But I ploughed on because I don’t have the correct sized wood for Whales.

Days of My MCO Life

7 Apr

We are now a week into Phase Two of the MCO. What this means is that the rules are stricter and anyone caught going beyond 10km from their home will be arrested if they don’t have a valid reason. Well, I don’t have to worry as I have not ventured out even to the front lawn of the house.

Being confined to the house for so long during this MCO, I found myself doing things that I’ve never done so much before within a certain time frame.

Like cooking. And constantly at it, twice each day, trying out all sorts of recipes sourced from the internet. It’s the most logical thing to do and besides, I have all the time in the world for the preparations.

Then there’s the carving. I’ve carved so many Whales in March and these would all make lovely gifts for my friends when I see them.

All these carved during the MCO

There’s also another homely thing that I found myself doing every now and then. Baking! Although it’s the instant out-of-the-box, it’s a good variation from the cooking routine. Twice I baked and once I even baked a loaf of bread! Surprise… surprise…

The second cake – Lemon Cake with poppyseeds of course!

Sorry No Housekeeping

27 Mar

It is Day 5 of our quarantine period but if I include the MCO period, it’s actually ten days being at home. I think both hubby and I are still doing okay but I suspect M2 may be a bit restless, cooped up in her room. All the way home but not quite home, no different from before because we are using the phone to communicate despite being in the same house.

We’ve been sending her food in a Bento box, leaving it outside her room. Almost like a hotel’s room service but this is where the service stops. No housekeeping provided so she has to take care of this chore until the quarantine period ends.

The various Bento box meals
Besides meals, there’s Snack Boxes too

Sometimes I even forget she’s back because she’s been so quiet in her room. Of course being out of sight, she’s out of the mind! But as she has online classes everyday, we leave her alone.

I guess I’m still not used to having her back, sooner than the original plans. Oh well, I’m not complaining. Better to have her here than afar with the ever changing situation of the pandemic.

However once the quarantine period is over, the situation remains except that M2 can leave her room. The government of Malaysia had announced on Wednesday, a further two weeks extension of the MCO! So we still have to stay at home until 14th April. It is with fervent hope that this drastic measure will flatten the curve to fight the Covid-19 spread.

Every other day, a new Whale is carved
and completed

And until then, my cooking skills have been improving, my carving has yielded more Whales than ever and my waistline has been expanding much to my dismay. How can it not when I am constantly thinking of all these delicious food that I am now able to cook—because I have the time—instead of design work? In truth, the 16/8 diet has long since been thrown out the window at the start of this.

Gotta hang in there is all I can say.

MCO, Day 6

23 Mar

It is Day Six of our partial lockdown and I must say, it’s been surreal. Everyday felt like a Saturday until we lost track of the days. But we have not been bored which is good.

This month alone, I completed four, one in progress and more to come!

Everyday I carved and cooked two meals whilst hubby tended to the garden. And every now and then, house chores were thrown in and the days passed by albeit slowly.

For someone who has not cooked for the last 12 years because we had a lived-in maid to do this, I find myself still quite adept in the kitchen. Thank goodness because eating out is not an option. For the record, our maid went back for good this year in mid-January and so we’ve been “help-less” for the past two months. But we’ve managed well.

And so far, the lockdown menu has been impressive and varied because I have more time now to plan than the last two months. And mind you, it’s none of the easy way out of opening a can of whatever and just warming up. I must admit, this cooking task is rather enjoyable. A nice change from carving, keeping me occupied to pass the time quickly.

As for our movement, it’s been controlled. The last five days, we went out only two times each. Briefly on all occasions – once together to the office to copy some work files home, then only hubby to the pharmacy for some supplements and just myself to replenish some groceries.

When I was out to the nearby grocery store, I was early. So I stood in line, far apart, with the rest of the shoppers waiting for the shutters to open. Senior citizens, allowed to go in half an hour earlier before the crowd, certainly took advantage of their allotted shopping time without stress.

The half hour wait outside felt rather long and when it was time to go in, I took merely three minutes to get in and out, picking up only what I needed. I was second in queue, so it was a fast turnaround.

People were more disciplined and I noticed less panic buying. Most just picked up what they needed. I guess by now, most people know what to do compared to the initial days when there was so much confusion and some level of fear.

We have another eight days to go until this Movement Control Order is lifted and this is if the public continues to be disciplined in following orders. However the situation keeps changing and staying put is best and for our own good.

Looking Back at 2019

31 Dec

Well well… it looks like another year has gone by again. Time to file the memories away to recall later fondly and another set of annual resolutions to make. Or break. But the end of 2019 is much more than another year gone by, it’s the end of a decade!

Looking back, I’ve had my fair share of good memories and heartaches with many things happening in the year. After all, there’s 365 days. What stood out most for me can be summed up to these.

Both girls are all grown up, with one having graduated and continuing on with grad school in the US and the other just starting college in Ireland. Proud parent moments. Then there’s me reaching the milestone big five birthday. Happy me occasion.

My carving hobby resulted in a mixed growth in Gigglesville’s population this year. There were only 13 new Citizens to reach 194 (I couldn’t push myself to reach 200), the Whales grew to 48, with 30 new ones while the Gnomes had only two new giant ones to make three dozen as of 2019. It could be better.

But with this carving activity, there was a price to pay: my aggravated injuries. My golf game suffered as a consequence and for the first time, I find myself not giving the sport any priority anymore. I lost the will to excel when injuries persisted. Hopefully this mindset can change to a more positive one come 2020.

Besides the sports injury, my endometriosis pain was well, a pain to deal with this year. More acute than ever, I was at the mercy of a monthly recurrence, it was dreadful. So I started the 16/8 intermittent fasting diet to manage the painful backache and cramp attacks. With a controlled diet and a list of food to avoid, losing a fair bit of weight along the way was a booster and motivation too besides minimizing the agony. It helped.

Not everything was rosy and good though. My iPad Mini has been wonky and unreliable with each passing day, my MacBook Air had to be resuscitated but nothing compared to losing our beloved English bulldog, Rooney aka official pet number one to old age and sickness. It was the saddest day of our lives and suddenly, the house was emptier than ever and our lives changed.

Looking back, if I were to put 2019 into perspective of a phrase, ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ aptly summarizes the year for me. Now as I ponder what to expect for the new year and new decade, I hope it will be one that focuses on ‘the good, the better and the best’. No resolutions needed though.

To everyone, here’s wishing you an awesome 2020 ahead, Happy New Year and Goodbye 2019!