A little sewing project

Today we came by bus to Melaka, a city about two hours south of Kuala Lumpur. I’ve had to squeeze in drawing and sewing between the bus journey, searching around for hotels (twice – all will be explained in my comic), Chinese meals for lunch and dinner and two walks around the city.

On a hotel hunt in Melaka

Just our luck that we’ve stumbled into a city with hundreds of hotels on a day when they’re practically all full due to a festival we knew nothing about! Anyway, it starts tomorrow and I’m sure it will be a lot of fun!

In other news, today at 4pm EST is the deadline for the Doodler’s Anonymous competition to draw ‘something you would take with you if you could only take one thing in a backpack’. Please pop over to vote for me! Here’s a reminder of my entry 🙂

My entry over at Doodler’s Anonymous
The theme of today’s ‘Every Day in May’ is ‘draw a summer joy’. Now, I have to admit, nothing suddenly sprang to mind, so I googled ‘summer joy’ and came across a photo which I felt completely summed it up – so I drew it!

pen and ink
A summer joy

I’m really pleased with the way it turned out! It reminds me of road trips, camping near to the sea and barbecues with family and friends.

A summer joy

I had a little bit of time spare this afternoon and I was itching to try out my handheld sewing machine again. I wanted a very simple project so I searched online for wallet or purse patterns. I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for so I decided to design my own. It’s not finished, but here are the beginnings.

I chose a grey flowery fabric with pink for the lining.
Sewing the right sides together after having already sewn the lining.


All turned inside out, outside in – nice little pouch for coins.


I added a pocket to the flap for cards.

I started off using the sewing machine, but when I was sewing about 6 layers on the pocket seams it got too much for it so I resorted to sewing by hand.

Hand sewing the seam.

I want the flap to have rounded corners but I’m not sure how neat I’ll be able to get them! Check back soon for the finished product!

Here are some photos from our walk this evening. The river front was beautiful, with lights and boats and lots of people milling around.
Melaka riverfront
A sculpture (?) of a waterwheel
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My new sewing gadget

I’m very excited about this post this evening because I have a new favourite toy to share with you! But…I’ll keep you waiting just a little bit longer to tell you all about it. Here’s my day.

what to do in Kuala Lumpur
Shopping, art and my new gadget

So, now you know what we got up to today, I’ll go ahead and give you some details. There have been several highlights (or lowlights?), starting with the critter I found in my lunch. Here’s a photo of the unfortunate little curry trespasser – RIP little dude.


I was tempted to make the photo extra large, but then thought you probably wouldn’t want that filling your screen. I suppose you’d like to know if I ate the rest of the curry…well, yes I did. I was only half way through and I figured that a) if I’d got that far I’d got the terrible lurgy it was carrying already b) there are probably far worse nasties to worry about than this little dude.

The next highlight/lowlight has no accompanying photo I’m afraid. Partly because I was so shocked in the immediate aftermath that taking a picture didn’t even cross my mind. So, there were Sam and I perusing the stalls at Central Market when we came across some little packs of what looked like mints, rather like a tic tac packet. As they were for sale at a cosmetics shop, I asked the little old Malaysian woman behind the counter what they were, intrigued. I was certainly not expecting her to answer, completely unembarrassed “they’re to put in your ‘vaginia’ to clean it out and make it smell nice“. Well, I didn’t know what to say. For the next minute she went on to describe the exact instructions for use, including other benefits. Hmm. Scarred for life.
To take your mind off that lovely thought, my third highlight (definitely a highlight this time!) is discovering the artist’s studios behind Central Market. The portraits were excellent and there were some very inspiring urban drawings.
annexe Kuala Lumpur
Sam admiring the artwork

annexe Kuala Lumpur
Portrait gallery

After seeing the following drawings I decided that I really need to get myself an ultra fine drawing pen.

Excellent line drawings of urban scenes

Now, the fourth highlight, and the one which I am most excited about, is the purchase of a new gadget. A lady with a street stall was selling handheld sewing machines for a mere £2…yes…£2! I had to buy one!

handheld sewing machine
Handheld sewing machine
I couldn’t wait to test it out, so I fished out some material from my bag, left over from having this dress made in Hoi An, Vietnam.
Ants Silk
My dress made by Kim’s tailors at Ant’s Silk, Hoi An

I decided to made a hair scrunchie because they’re mega easy and just the right thing to practise on. Mine didn’t turn out too great as I used too little material, so I made another one too.

handheld sewing machine
The handheld sewing machine at work.

I did have a little trouble as the cotton is quite thin, so the sewing machine munched it a little, but by gently pulling it through it worked a treat!

hair scrunchie
The finished article

hair scrunchie
Scrunchie number two – made out of Sam’s old t-shirt

hair scrunchie
This one was better as it had more wrinkle

And finally, somewhere in there I managed to complete my Every Day in May challenge – ‘draw a map’.

map drawing
Halfway through

map drawing

And that’s that! Here’re some pretty painted wooden eggs.

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Doodles on a plane

This is really yesterday’s post, but we flew back to Kuala Lumpur last night and didn’t arrive until 1am so I saved it for this morning! It did mean that I had lots of time ‘sitting around’ to be able to do a few sketches.

I am having a ‘YES’ moment right now as Sam helped me to make my picture files smaller so that they upload faster. I was waiting ten minutes or so for each set before, now they’ve just uploaded in the blink of an eye!

Sibu to Kuala Lumpur
Last day in Borneo

I really enjoyed climbing the pagoda! We were disappointed at first as we went up to the first floor and the gate to the rest of the floors was padlocked. When we went back down though, admitting defeat, a lady came up to us and gave us the key! Here’re some pics.

Sibu temple
Dragon at the entrance

 The lanterns hanging everywhere were beautiful.

Sibu temple
 This very ornate display was on the first floor as you walk in.

Sibu Temple
 The view from the top, more lanterns! 

Sibu temple
The Rejang river is huge! This is 8 hours up river from the sea by boat, I wonder when it reaches the size of a stream? 

Rejang river

The challenge yesterday on Every Day in May was to draw ‘the last thing you bought’. We had just walked back from the temple and were very hot (and sweaty), so the last thing I bought was a big bottle of cold water!

every day in may
The last thing I bought

I thought it would be the ideal time to do my 10 minute warm up in the airport while waiting to go through to the departure lounge. These couple of unsuspecting people became my subjects!

This girl did get up and leave, maybe she felt she was being stared at!

I always try not to make it obvious I’m looking at the person I’m drawing (mostly because it would freak me out a bit if someone was staring so intently at me). This results in a lot of glancing around, pretending I’m looking at someone else when they look up! Fortunately this man was too engrossed in his phone to pay me any attention 🙂

Then, on the plane, there was time for even more drawing! Another zentangle – I find them so relaxing to do! This one’s a bit more detailed than the last because the plane ride was a bit smoother than the boat!
I also had chance to catch up on my journal which I’ve been neglecting ever since I started this blog!
Finally, I’d like to share with you some blogs that I perused in one of the many moments of waiting around we had today.
Illustration Friday offers a weekly creative challenge – this week the topic is ‘liquid’. It’s really worth a look if only to see other people’s entries. In fact, this is the second challenge I need to start thinking about. The topic of the first is ‘maritime’ over at Le Challenge. Any ideas for either would be appreciated!
There are some great link up parties to be found at Skip to my Lou, Craft-O-Maniac and Sumo’s Sweet Stuff.

I love Beesy Bee Fiber for all the yummy photos of yarn.

Creative Thursday is full of pretty things.

That’s all for this morning. I’ll leave you with this photo of sunset over the river in Sibu.


A very busy arty day!

Phew! I’ve been a very busy girl today! So busy that it’s already 11pm and I’ve only just started writing this post!

Li Hua, Sibu
Relaxing in a nice hotel – bliss!

I really wanted to try my hand at writing a tutorial on drawing and painting with an ink pen. So I did this drawing and took photos every step of the way. Watch this space for the tutorial!

pen and ink
Painting using the ink on the page
pen and ink
The finished painting.
River View Hotel, Sibu
The room I was drawing.

This also got me thinking that it would be great to make an accompanying video tutorial, so I used the ‘every day in May‘ challenge as my example piece for the video. Today’s subject was ‘draw your favourite drink’. I drew a cup of tea, I didn’t have to think twice! I need to edit the video before I upload it, so again watch this space!

pen and ink
Tea is my favourite drink!

I had a lot of fun recording the video! I had to figure out a way to support the camera above my sketchbook, so wedged it between two tables and lay on the floor to paint, my arms around the table legs! Not the most comfortable position but the video came out great!

The camera balanced between the tables, a rather awkward painting position!


I also got around to finishing my entry for the Doodler’s Anonymous competition. If I could only take one thing with me in a backpack I would take a camera, because if everyone else was only taking one thing with them and they hadn’t thought to bring clothes, I think there would be some very funny photographs to be had of them trying to cover up with their one item!

pencil drawing
Camera drawn with a 2B pencil

We didn’t just spend all day sitting inside (although having moved to a nice hotel we could have done!). We went for a walk around the huge marked in Sibu which is full of vibrant fruits and vegetables, fish, meat and some other ‘foods’ which I certainly wouldn’t want to pass my lips!

Sibu Market
Sibu Market

Would you eat these? I know I couldn’t. They have such squidgy, wriggly bodies! Eww!

witchety grubs

This evening we had a delicious curry from the night market, followed by an equally delicious thick pancake stuffed with chunky peanut butter! Yum!

Sibu night market
Peanut butter pancake.

I hope you like the changes to my blog. I got some tips from my mum (a very rare occurrence, especially where IT is concerned! Sorry Mum!). She’s a seasoned blogger herself, take a look at fiddlyfingers.com.

Now it is easy to follow me! Just click the link on the right, or enter your email address. As always, I’d love to read your comments and will always respond!

Doodles on the boat

This is going to have to be a very quick post today as the hotel we are staying in doesn’t have internet so we’re sitting in a bakery using theirs! (I could think of worse places to blog from!)

We had a bit of a disappointing start to the day today. We visited a longhouse which are traditional communal houses in Malaysia and can accommodate hundreds of residents. Bet you can guess why they’re called longhouses! Anyway, there are some that tourists can visit, usually at a price. We weren’t expecting to pay quite so much though for a visit, which was somewhat hurried due to the fact we felt so unwelcome! We were doing our best to smile at people and be respectful, but nobody smiled back, in fact one woman actually spat at Sam. Needless to say, we didn’t hang around!

Longhouses, Pagodas and Haircuts

Despite the bad experience, I could appreciate the architecture of the longhouse which is made entirely from wood, weathered over the years giving it a soft, rustic appearance.

There is a long, inside communal area, rather like a huge porch. 

Kapit longhouse
Communal area inside.

And there’s a walkway along the whole length outside which is used to dry food such as peppercorns and leaves.

Kapit Longhouse
Sam outside the longhouse

peppercorns drying
Peppercorns drying

The rest of the day was a lot better though, we enjoyed walking around Sibu. There’s not much here, but the pagoda on the waterfront is very striking with its vibrant colours. I can feel a sketch coming on!

Pagoda, Sibu
Pagoda, Sibu

Pagoda, Sibu
Pagoda, Sibu

On the boat I decided to do my ‘10 minute warm up‘. Here’s the result, a Zentangle illuminated letter (which took a touch longer than 10 minutes, I must admit!).


I also wanted to contribute to ‘every day in May’ from Wendy Shortland’s blog, so here’s my ‘something which belongs to someone else‘. I’ve also uploaded it to Flickr.

So, that’s about it today! Bye 🙂

Eight hour boat extravaganza

This evening we arrived in Kapit, Malaysian Borneo after an eight hour, two boat journey up the huge Rejang River. It would probably have been quite a scenic trip if it wasn’t for the fact that the windows of the boat were about a foot above our heads and sitting on deck wasn’t allowed!

We walked down to the river after we’d checked into our hotel. We couldn’t believe that there were some children swimming in it, look how brown it is – and it smelt as bad as it looked!
River in Kapit.

The sky was looking very stormy as the sun was setting but it made the clouds an amazing colour for a few minutes!

Sunset in Kapit.

I had hoped to do some sketches today but the boat was moving around a little too much for that. I did manage to finish ‘High Fidelity’ though, a book I’d picked up from somewhere and started ages ago, so the hours spent on the boat weren’t completely wasted.

I’ve only managed to do a little bit of drawing this evening, adding to my camera sketch for the Doodler’s Anonymous competition. Still a way to go before it’s finished!

camera drawing
Coming along nicely.

As I don’t have any other creative offerings today, I thought I’d show you a pretty bag that I came across last night on ‘so-sew-easy‘. You can find the pattern itself here. Some of the material I bought in Kuching will definitely come in handy for this!

Photo from so-sew-easy

Last, but not least, we came across this artist’s work in Penang, peninsula Malaysia and I just had to share it with you. Georgetown, Penang has to be one of the most inspiring towns for artists in the world. The architecture is beautiful, from old, rustic buildings to clean, stylish apartment blocks.

The artist is called Katsuhiro Sato, he’s a retired engineer and architect from Japan who now lives in Penang. All of the following images were found on his blog Sketching in Penang where there are hundreds more.
I love his style and can’t wait to get my mitts on my own watercolours! What do you think of them? Does anyone else enjoy painting urban scenes?
If you are enjoying my blog, please think about following and posting some comments, I’d love to hear what you think!

An afternoon in the sun

Phew, I’m exhausted! Not that we’ve really done much today. We spent the afternoon at Stampark waterpark again, making the most of the beautiful sunny weather!

Stampark waterpark
Another day at the pool

At the pool I did a very quick sketch on a piece of rough paper. I didn’t want to risk getting my sketch book wet!

Stampark waterpark
Quick sketch at Stampark waterpark
This evening I have been working on a few different projects.

I came across Diana Evans’ blog and really liked the idea of taking ten minutes out of the day to create something, so here’s my contribution! It’s meant to be Angelina Jolie, can you tell? 

Angelina Jolie drawing
Angelina Jolie quick sketch

I also felt like doing something other than drawing so I raided my Pinterest board of ‘things to remember‘ and settled on a folded bow decoration. There are excellent instructions for this here. I took some step by step photos, the only paper I had available was a leaflet, so it had to do.

paper bow
Start with a square

paper bow
Make some folds…

paper bow
Stretch it out a bit…

paper bow
Snip snip snip…

paper bow
Fold a bit more and voila!

I’m really pleased with the result! I think they’d look lovely at Christmas in greens, golds and reds to hang on the Christmas tree, or they’d make great decorations to brighten up a present!

This morning I came across a great doodling blog, Doodlers Anonymous, which is currently running a competition to draw ‘what you would take with you if you could only take one thing’, essentially, your ‘dessert island item’! There is only one rule, it has to be able to fit in a backpack. After puzzling over this all day, I finally decided I’d take a camera, to document the whole experience with pictures! I thought about a sketchbook, but that would be no good if I couldn’t take a pencil too! 
Here’s the first stages of my drawing. It’s still a work in progress as the deadline isn’t until 23rd May and I wanted my first entry to an online art competition to be good!

camera drawing
Quick sketch to place it on the page and get the dimensions right

camera drawing
Next the hard bit – shading

camera drawing
That’s where I’ve got to so far, watch this space!

I’ll leave you with a picture of one of the best parts of my day; jumping into a huge, completely empty swimming pool! 😀

Beaches and monkeys at Bako National Park

Well, we’ve had a fantastic day at Bako National Park! No bus mishaps this time, everything went to plan!


Bako National Park
Hiking in Bako National Park – another very sweaty day!

Bako National Park is one of the main attractions near Kuching, so despite the fact we were feeling very lazy, we decided we really should make the effort to go. We’re definitely glad we did!

The first critter we saw when we arrived was this wild boar (?) which Sam successfully managed to befriend, in fact, it felt so comfortable that it rolled over for its tummy to be tickled. Sam later admitted that he had pushed it quite hard, so it may have fallen over rather than willingly rolled, but the result was the same. Friendly though it may have been to Sam, when I tried to stroke it, it promptly bit my hand! Not such a nice little piggy.

Bako National Park
It may look cute, but it has an evil streak (so does the boar).

There were many trails to choose from; we picked one which led to Kecil Beach. It started off a little tricky with thousands of roots to negotiate – not easy if you’re as clumsy as Sam.

Bako National Park
Believe it or not, this is the ‘path’.

Some parts were a bit easier to walk, if a little hot out in the open. I have never sweated so much! (Too much information?)

Bako National Park
Boardwalk in the park

It was definitely worth the 3km walk to see this beautiful view! The beach looked very inviting, but the climb back up put us off so we just admired it from afar.

Bako National Park
View from the top.


We didn’t see any wildlife while we were walking, but when we got back to the entrance to the park we saw this cheeky little chappy with his friends.
Bako National Park
Cheeky Monkey


This little guy was just chilling on the boardwalk.
Bako National Park


And finally, after searching in the trees for proboscis monkeys which are indigenous to Borneo, we saw a group with a guide taking photos of this one in the tree, so got in on the action too!
Bako Proboscis
Proboscis monkey – what a hooter!

Then it was time to catch the boat and the bus back to Kuching.

I have been wanting to have a look in the many fabric shops in Kuching since we arrived, so today I finally got the chance! I bought lots of pretty materials to start some new sewing projects when I get home. What do you think I could make with these?

fabric from Kuching
Fabric from Kuching

When I got them back to the hotel I realised that a couple of them are a lot stiffer than I thought in the shop, perhaps they’ll make nice bags or purses. I plan on turning a couple into skirts, just in time for summer back in England!

This one is my favourite, it drapes better than the others and is better quality and with the dark pattern at the bottom I thought it would lend itself to being made into a dress. What do you think?

Fabric from Kuching
Fabric from Kuching

Today’s artistic attempt…

On Skype the other day Dad had the good idea (which was possibly a joke at the time) to use tea to paint with. Seeing as I don’t have any watercolours with me I thought I may as well give it a go, but I tried coffee mixed with a little water instead to get a slightly richer colour. I decided to paint a cute proboscis monkey from a photo by Rebecca Yale found here.
First of all I drew a vague outline. There’s the ‘paint’ at the ready.
coffee painting

Then I painted on the first layer of coffee and let it dry while we went out for dinner.

Then I added another spoonful of coffee to the mix to make it slightly darker and filled in the dark areas.
coffee painting
Next an outline in ink mixed with a little water. Not my best painting but it was very quick and smells good too!
coffee painting
I’ll end today’s post with some more links to lovely blogs for you to take a look at 🙂
I really like Gemma Correll’s website, I’m not sure it’s still actively updated but there are still lots of hand drawn diary entries to peruse.
And my Auntie’s lovely website Lime Green Lizzie featuring her quilts.

A lazy day…

Nice cuppa

Ok, so I’m armed with a cup of tea ready to tell you about our day!

Stampark Waterpark
An afternoon at Stampark Waterpark


The drawing process…

comic strip sketch 
We’re not having much luck with the public buses in Kuching! We found the Stampark swimming pool online and decided that, despite it being quite far away, we’d give it a go. So, we turned up at the bus station just after one bus had left and had to wait an hour for the next one. No worries, we thought, we’ll go and have lunch and come back. So there we were again, at the bus station by ten to two, nice and early, or so we thought. But no, apparently buses leave early here, so we missed it, again. Off we went to the taxi rank!

It was definitely worth the effort to get there though! There were two huge pools and a range of diving boards which kept Sam entertained.

Stampark waterpark
Sam attempting a one and a half turn dive

Me being decidedly lazy. That’s what diving boards are for, right?

Stampark waterpark
Sunbathing on the diving board

This is Sam’s expert video footage of the swimming pool and diving boards. (Not quite sure how to embed videos just yet so just follow the link 😀 )

And here he is testing out the equipment.

We were sitting at the bus stop outside the swimming pool when a guy drove up and asked us if we’d like a lift. Now, we know you can’t be too careful in these situations, but we weighed up our options – sit and sweat for ages waiting for a bus which we weren’t sure would come, or take the lift and risk winding up in the jungle somewhere being robbed at gunpoint. We chose the latter and luckily the guy turned out to be a very nice engineering student who drove out of his way to take us to the bus station. He also gave us a strange parting gift…

thank you cup
Thank you…for letting me pick you up and drive out of my way in rush hour traffic. His idea of sarcasm, perhaps?

This morning I spent ages looking at other people’s blogs and, thanks to talking to Mum last night on Skype, discovered the world of ‘linky parties’ which I’m excited to start taking part in from now on!

Here’re a few links to some interesting blogs I’ve started following:

My Mum’s lovely blog, have a look, you know you want to!

The host of the ‘linky party‘ I joined.

A great craft blog.

Some very pretty creations at Tea Rose Home.

And this one, Free Pretty Things.

And some found on Pinterest which have inspired me:

Nina Johansson, beautifully kept sketchbooks.

Andrea Joseph, interesting ballpoint pen drawings.

Some paintings by Pete Scully.

I’d like to get involved in some online art competitions, so if anyone’s got any suggestions, let me know!

Finally, here are some more of my sketches from the last couple of weeks.

This is the view from Transit Point bed & breakfast in Kuala Lumpur. This road stayed busy all night, with hundreds of people eating at little tables on the street. The second picture is Petronas Towers, probably the most famous landmark in Kuala Lumpur.

Transit Point
Kuala Lumpur

Sam took this picture at about 4 in the morning. There were still (or already?!) people selling and buying things on the pavement.

Jalan Sultan
Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur
I drew this 20 ringgit note in the airport in Kuala Lumpur and finished it off when we got to Kuching. They have really interesting designs on them but I liked this one the best. When we were on the island of Perhentian Kecil we went on a snorkelling trip and saw three of these beautiful sea turtles!
20 ringgit note

I drew this from a photo I took when the sky was really dark and stormy looking in Georgetown, Penang. It made the old building appear even more impressive in that light.

Love Lane, Georgetown
Love Lane, Georgetown, Penang

Sam and I had been feeling ill for a couple of days and I had just about got over it so decided to go for a walk to do some drawing. I sketched Georgetown Town Hall from the across the park – such an architecturally pleasing building.

With all these photos, videos and links this post has taken me a VERY long time to write! I’m going to have to get quicker at this!
I’d love to see your comments!

A sweaty day in Kubah National Park

After missing the bus to Kubah National Park yesterday morning, today we made sure that we were at the bus station 20 minutes early! This also gave us the chance to buy some yummy nibbles for our walk from a stall selling all sorts of fried fancies.

The bus took us to within 400 metres of the entrance of the park, then the uphill trek began!

Kubah National Park

Kubah National Park
A very tiring day, my poor feet!

All day I was on the look out for plants and animals to add to my sketch book. I was amazed by the amount of different plants there were in the jungle and decided to draw a page of the most interesting ones we saw along the way. The intricate leaves remind me of the patterns used in Zentangles. I’ll post a few of my own Zentangles up one day.

leaf drawings
Leaf drawings

There was one strange flower (?) right on the path, it felt a lot like foam.

Kubah National Park
It was about two thirds my height!

Kubah National Park
A giant spider plant?
We also saw some very strange creatures! I sketched a couple of them. This big fly with blue wings was about 3 cm. And if any of you know what this bizarre looking worm type thing is, please let me know!

pen and ink
Kubah National Park
This little dude curled tightly up in a ball when it saw us coming.

The waterfall was lovely. Luckily we’d remembered out swimming things so we took a cooling shower underneath it…amazing!

Kubah National Park
Waterfall at Kubah National Park

Some of my sketches from the past few weeks

I bought a sketchbook when we were leaving Hanoi and have enjoyed drawing little scenes from various places we’ve been.
We stayed for a week or so with Sam’s friend in Hanoi, who lives in the most luxurious looking house (compared to Hanoi standards!). I thought the steps leading up to the balcony made for an interesting composition.
Hanoi apartment
Balcony from a house in Hanoi.

Sometimes I just love drawing mess (which is just as well as I make enough of it!).

Hanoi apartment
Hanoi apartment

I saw this old bike in Penang, Malaysia and just knew I had to draw it!

Old bike in Penang and plants at Tropicana Inn, Perhentian Kecil

We spent a wonderful few days on Perhentian Kecil, just off the west coast of peninsula Malaysia. The water was transparent turquoise with coral reef and beautiful fish just off the coast and the beaches were beautiful. Ahhhhh!

Coral beach Perhentian Kecil
Coral Beach, Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
Yesterday we had some Green Tea sweets that lasted about 10 minutes. Sam even described them as ‘the best sweets in the world’ – I’m not convinced!
Green Tea Candy
Green Tea Candy

I’ve just been brought a cup of tea so now I’m off to catch up on some zzzz’s after a tiring day!