Whimsical city

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A date with Derek T

Okay, I may be a jewellery lover but I'd never thought of making a jewellery on my own. So, this was my 1st attempt.

For RM99.00, Jasmine and I signed up for this Groupon promo on one session of silversmithing workshop with Derek T. Our project was to make a pendant or a ring to bring home! Yayy~ We decided to make a ring.

Frankly, we had no idea at all what we were going to do when we made our way to Derek T Creative Studio at Plaza Damas. Before the start of our project, Derek gave us a brief intro on the process of silversmithing and the tools that we were going to use. After the introduction, well, still no idea. LOL! I guess we needed the practical touch.

Reading the notes that were distributed to us before the start of the class. Yeah, we knew what we were reading. AS IF
The project room with all the tools and equipment
the samples for us to follow
1st, cut 2 rods of silver and bend them slightly to create a curve
Derek, teaching us what to do
place the 2 rods with their ends touching each other and burn baby, burn!
the ends of the rods were nicely connected after that
Then, create the design that you desire. okay, I tried to be innovative. I decided to do a ring with my initials - LW
twist o' twist; bend o' bend
okay, that's the best I can come out with (of cos' with a li'l help from Derek :P)
LOL! Look at Jaz trying to place the bubbles in her ring
that's Jaz's half-way work with the sample that she's following
after another session of burning, sand away the dust and unwanted bumps
hammering time! Hammered the ring to come out with the round shape
and after a nice 5 minutes polish in the polishing machine, ta-dah! Our creations!
 Cool huh? ^0^
Derek T provides not only silversmithing classes but also other interesting classes including bead jewellery making, beaded lamp making and Italian lampworking. 

Well, don't put your creative hands to waste y'all! Do check out his website at www.derektgallery.com

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hello Perth

A much anticipated trip with The Family. I thought our yearly family trip would come to a halt after my elder sis, Beni got married 2 years ago.

A much much anticipated trip to one of the countries that I've been yearning to land my feet on - Australia. And the first stop, Perth it is.

My baby sister, Vivian is continuing her 3rd year studies in Murdoch University and just like the nickname she's been carrying since birth, she's a "baby" to The Family. Hence, The Family very much felt obliged to fly to Perth and get her settled down together. This time, the new addition to The Family, my brother-in-law, Luther was not excluded =)

It was summer in Perth so there's a lot of sun. For the record, I don't mind the sun as long as it's not Malaysia's sun. Talking about double standards XD
We rented a 7 seater van at Perth airport for Aus$65 a day. Dad was the driver from the airport to Murdoch University with the help of the GPS in Luther's smartphone but he was later banned from driving. We were lucky that we didn't knock over a kangaroo :P Luther took over the driving and Bernie was the coordinator/map reader. Both of them are indeed a team. Credits must be given to them.

(Day 1) 
Ok, so it's a 10 days trip (minus the time in mid-air), technically it's just a 9 days trip so we must make full use of our time there. That's the spirit. 

Murdoch University
1st thing to do - of course to check Vivian into her dorm. Murdoch campus is vaaaaast! It's some sort like our Malaysia's UM; only it has more trees and the air felt so much cleaner and fresher. One faculty is situated pretty far from the other so if you do not own a car, owning a bicycle is a pretty good idea. Gosh, I missed uni times. I'd wish to travel back in time and re-live them all over again!

Perth City
Such a pleasant city with not too many cars on the road (if you live in KL long enough, you would understand what I mean by that) so driving for the first time in Perth city (with GPS of course) would definitely not intimidate you. I haven't come across a rude or reckless driver in Perth just yet. A clean and lovey city with friendly people, what more can we ask?
The Bell Tower
The goofy family
For 1st timers in Perth, DO NOT (notice the caps) eat at Old Shanghai - a food court in the heart of the city. We were hungry and we saw a food court selling Asian food. Alrighty yeah! Turned out, it was a huge disappointment and the price for the meal was toaadally outrageous (plus, we were still in the "converting-to-RM-mode" so it's a double ouch for us).
We checked in Good Earth Hotel at 3 p.m. A room for 5 people costs around Aus$200/night. Surprisingly, the rates for weekdays differ from weekends. They're cheaper during weekends...hmmm  *scratch head*
China town is a must to visit. I believe we (Malaysians) will definitely look for China Town in every country that we visited. LOL. Loads of Chinese restaurants here. A walk to the Northbridge Piazza is also a must. There's a giant outdoor LED screen with countless beanie chairs awaiting us to lie down while enjoying the show. Woot!
outdoor movie? hell yeah!

(Day 2)
A market lover like me will definitely love Fremantle or what the locals called as "Freo" (That's what Vivian learnt including how to speak in Aussie slang during her orientation at Murdoch Uni. LOL!). Know what's a wife-beater? No? Okay, google it please before you embarrass yourself :P A variety of fresh food, confectionaries, clothings, collectible items, etc etc can be found here.
fresh fruits at freo!
street performance
We had lunch at Cicerello's, the famous must eat Fish & Chips eatery. I'm not really a fan of fried stuff but the fish was really fresh. Thumbs up!

Fremantle prison
Alright, a visit to the really touristy place - the Fremantle Prison. We didn't buy the tickets to tour the inside of the prison, just snapping a few pictures outside and that's it.

Luther testing the tripod
Us trying to be goofy
And us trying to be funny

Swan Valley
A drive up to Swan Valley, a vineyards-filled region. Well, we were spoilt for choices! We had no idea which vineyard to visit so we just swerve into one, the name which we thought interestingly cute - Ugly Duckling. I bought one of its "Vintage Summer Duck" white wine. *grin*
a lovely vineyard
drinking at broad daylight? Bad example! :P
(Day 3) 
Caversham Wildlife Park
Ooh kangaroos and koalas are my must see animals! (Hey, it's my 1st time to Australia ookay!) Well, I did a pretty good up close and personal time with the kangas and koalas. I still don't get the koalas though. They sleep most of the time and when they are not sleeping, they are only eating. 

There were so many restrictions in meeting the koalas. "You can only gently stroke their fur with the back of your hand." "Do not touch the eucalyptus leaves as you will contaminate the leaves and the koalas will die from eating them." "The koalas can only be stroked for "n" times and they have to rest for "n" minutes/hours before they can be stroked again." At one point of time I felt like blurting out "Geeeezzzz!" But oklah, despite that, I still find them cute =)
We are trying to blend in with the Park..
Beni and I
okay, I'm stroking you with the back of my hands. I follow the rules!
We thought we had to buy the kanga feed but it's FOC =)
one itchy kanga
The Family
quite an interestingly scary owl isn't it?
and another interesting species which stand with 1 leg
and that's us trying to imitate the one-leg standing owl
squeeze squeeze, care for some fresh milk?
fur off, you handsomely furry sheep!
kinda pity looking, no? apparently, after a sheep's fur is removed, its body will release some type of oil called lanolin to protect its delicate skin

Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Awww..I love Kings Park! There's a lookout point to have a good view of Perth. Such a lovely park to do the lying-on-the-grass-and-chill thing. One luxury that we definitely can't enjoy in Malaysia. 
Dont'cha wish to lie down on the grass and watch the sky?

a view of Perth city
yup, The Family has chosen to feel Aussie's grass
and neither am I excluded. With my best buddy, Jenni who drove out from her home to meet me. Of course lah, I'm the VIP!

(Day 4) 
Capel town, Busselton Jetty, Margaret River
It's time to check out and leave the city for some outskirt adventures. Throughout the journey down south to Margaret River, we saw rows of cosy cutsy one storey high homes. Dad kept saying the homes seemed so low and he wondered if he could touch the ceiling if he stayed in one of those homes! LOL. And he also kept saying it should be nice to stay in one of those homes. I bet he doesn't mind retiring to Perth :D

Busselton Jetty
yippie yippie yeah!
Pa and Ma decided to do a "Titanic pose" Haha!
these 2 monkeys decided to do a wrestling pose. Don't ask me why +_+"
Beni and Luther decided to do a jumping pose. Nice jump!
and me.. err.. posing with my butt?
such a lovely beach
We made our way to Ellensbrook Cottages (our stay for 2 nights). At 1st glance of the kinda isolated, overly-quiet area (dried grasses and isolated cottages hidden behind trees), I bet all of us did wonder to ourselves "Are we really staying here?" but of course no one said anything because the itinerary was planned with love and heart by our Vivian and it was her 1st time doing it so.... 
But to our surprise, that feeling was totally thrown out of the window when we entered the cottage. [I should constantly remind myself to never judge a book by its cover ;P] It was clean, comfortable and cosy. A home fully equipped for a comfortable stay.
That's our cottage!
Ellens is the name
one of the cosy bedrooms
our welcome treat - still warm!
warm bread with butter and jam, delishh
There's also a barbeque pit outside the cottage. Well, we thought at least there's something to do during the night. We drove to Margarat River town and bought loads of food to barbeque the night away. 
It was great, hanging out with The Family, preparing food, chitchatting, eating, chilling.. The night passed by real fast. I realised that it's perfectly normal to sleep early in Perth. My brother climbed onto his bed around 10-ish. LOL! Must be due to the fatigue. It's a chilly night so I had a good good sleep. We settled our dad with some TVB series to watch over the laptop. Hahaha.. Well, he's an old man so he can't sleep that early.

BBQ time!
planning the roadtrip
Jacuzzi away? Can.. but 1 session of Jacuzzi will leave you without hot water for at least half an hour

(Day 5) 
Margarat River, Mammoth Cave, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Augusta, Ferguson Valley
The next day of course continued with a visit to one of the wineries. Again, this Leeuwin Estate Winery that we visited, we just happened to choose it. A tour to the winery cost around Aus$20+/person. The tour included a brief walk to the factory (where you see huge steel tanks) and an explanation of the wine-making process. I think the tour could be better..

We bought a few bottles of the Shiraz and Chardonnay. Remember this: Always insist for your receipts after your purchase!! I didn't and we were charged for an extra bottle. And we couldn't return to the winery due to constraint of time. Argh! Remember this too: Don't drink before you make any purchases. It makes you lose guard.
A visit to the winery
Okay, that's the poser beside me
Some physical activity - hiked into Mammoth cave
and out of the cave
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
breathtaking view from the lighthouse
Vivian and Skunky are afraid of heights hence they were sticking to the wall instead of facing the lovely scenery
blue blue horizon
(Day 6) 
Canal Rocks, Wellington National Park, Honeymoon Pool

Canal Rocks
Some climbing to do!
Freestyle pic yo!
a stop made at Wellington National Park. The water was awesomely cool and refreshing!!

A stop made at Hamelin Bay
The remains of the jetty at Hamelin Bay due to a fire :(
Gnomesville at Ferguson Valley - feel free to drop your gnomes here!
(Day 7) 
Cottlesloe Beach, AQWA (The Aquarium of Western Australia), Mandurah

Cottlesloe Beach.. One of the beaches that I fell in love to!
wind surfing, parachuting, sailing, you name it
check 'em out!
Just couldn't get enough of the view
a visit to the Aquarium of Western Australia
some intimate time with the starfishes!
Hey there, Mr Shark!
GIGANTIC stingray!
I don't think Beni finds anything funny..
Another lovely park near Millpoint Road, South Perth
Clear blue sky
a view of Perth City
It's time to get back to Perth and it's time to say goodbye. Sigh.. we have to leave with a heavy heart. Mainly because we will be going back without Vivian. Gosh, we are all suckers with goodbye. Control your tears people (and that includes me)!

But I'm sure Vivian will have a great time in Perth. Study hard and play hard, my Bi!!! I'll be back to visit you soon!