Posted by Lakshmi

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A brief update of my students' work

 This is the work of my student, still in progress....   He is 65 ..........

This is also his work..........

This is his daughter, Mahes, who is simply a ' rose, rose, rose' person.  According to her story,  she saw one of my paintings in  an outlet and was surprised to learn that it was done by a local artist. Then  insisted the owner to give the artist name and contact no and called me immediately to arrange for classes.......... now that's a great story for me.... did a lot to my ego

The pic below is Mahes's  passion for rose .... what else.....

and this......................( had forgotten to take pics of her earlier works...)

I am in a bit of a hurry .... having friends for tea, so will sign off for now...

Happy painting


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Sunday 3 February 2013

I finally decided to stop procrastinating ( the real word is ' lazy' of course but it sounds too harsh describing myself like that !)  and start somewhere from when I left off.

So many events and happenings have taken place  and it would be a shame if I did not put in a word or two of my 2 cents worth... oh.....that's too cheap......even if it is a figure of speech.  Let's say my 10 cents

I had for sometime now stopped giving decorative painting classes and was more into baking , specifically wedding cakes.... one of my other passions..... (   I have many, as you  would know  by now if you  had been following me ......  ) Weddings cakes are not your usual  home-baked cakes with a slap of icing.  They are time-consuming and painstaking to do, especially the cake tiers, symmetry and  the floral  decorations .  I don't use ready made flower decorations but mould them myself and  paint them with food colors  right through the wee hours of the morning. Then, there is the  colour combination and customers' personalised instructions, themes, etc.

  Let me share with you, one  of my many  interesting episodes on this -  One time, one of my customers  insisted on looking at my  collection of decorative painting pieces  which I kept and  told me the exact shade of colour  she wanted.  She  added  so many details with this flower and that motif and that netting   and this icing . Worse still, she rang me up frequently and changed her colours and flowers.  The  icing on the cake, pun intended, of course , was after all the countless discussions and  incessant calls, she started to haggle over the pricing. Now, wasn't that too much ?  Ha !  I finally lost my cool and told her to do the cake herself !  Served her right, don't you agree ?

Well, that was one of my many encounters in my baking ' department '.  Looking back, it sounds hilarious but at that time, it was pure torture !   Ha..ha...ha... part of my learning curve lah !

Anyway,  I have started to teach painting again and hopefully will continue to keep my blog updated with pictures in due time.

That's all for now and thank you , readers, for staying with me.....

Happy reading and painting and doing whatever you are doing


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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Well, I have finally found my way again to my blog.

Time has passed... not too long but long enough for me to come out of my hibernation.  A mixture of  feeling in a rut, stuck, whatever you may call it came upon me and I just let go. Not receiving constructive feedbacks on my postings  was one of them, I guess. The one-way traffic did nothing for me to continue either.  Couple that with maintaining a home, cooking ,  teaching, baking , chauffeuring and painting really got me so bogged that I just gave up after some time.

Anyway a lot has happened since then.  My thoughts have changed, my view of life has changed,  my spirit has changed, my outlook to life has changed , I am more spiritual than religious in faith and now I know and feel nothing happens by chance, not to me nor to anyone.  There's a reason for everything that's  happening in our lives..........  Geez !  Sounds like a load of crap, doesn't it ?  Well, I have felt like that and gone through that too !!!  (lol)  

Next, I went to India.  A 3 week trip.  Very exhausting and exhausted.  The heat was unbearable - it was considered ' summer time temperature ' in June and the weather was changing to cooler climes just a day or two before I left.  Talk about  perfect timing!  Things in India are certainly cheap, especially foodstuff.  Got carried away and  gorged on gorgeous Malkova and luscious  Alphonso mangoes almost daily until I was quite quite sick.  Same experience with pomegranates - fat,  round and red ones with fuschia pink and ruby red pearly seeds inside.  Everytime I  cut open them, the sweet juices would cover my grubby  hands and I couldn't wait to prize open all the seeds and pop them into my greedy mouth at one go ! 

I was on a vegetarian diet all throughout.  Would you believe it if I say that Indian food in India is really spicy , even for a Malaysian Indian Hindu like me ?.  My food orders were limited to Chinese  fried rice ( can't excape this dish anywhere in the world, I think !)  and  idlis / naan  bread with lentil dhall and chutney . And I thought that I could have a jolly good time eating everything I fancied, being cheap and all.............................sigh

 My main intent and itinerary was to visit the 5 main temples dedicated to the 5 elements of the Universe - Air, Water, Earth, Fire and Akash ( Space).  It so happened that I had the luck to visit only two of them. The Temple of the Fire Element  in Thiruvanamalai  and the Temple of the Space/Sky/Akash  element in Chidambaram, both of which is located in Tamil Nadu, South India. I guess I have to go again to India for another    

Uuurrrgghhh !!!!!  God!  I just found out that all my pictures taken in India  via my I Pad have all disappeared.  How awful ........urrrgghhh what rotten luck..................... well, well, well..... looks like the God Almighty really wants me to go to India again, for sure.  All rightey.... I  got the message.  

 That's about it for now. 

Happy reading, friends


Ooh! I got a Diploma in Cake Decorating

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Sunday ,  11 March  2012

My almost one month hiatus from my last blogpost   was because I had a number of things to do, one of which was I had enrolled for a  UK based Professional Intensive Diploma Course by  Squires Kitchen  International School of Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft . 

Intensive it was !  Classes were from 9am till 5pm but it was anything but that!  The sheer amount of work that had to be done and  accomplished  saw me getting up at 6am and leave my home by 6.30am ( to beat the mad traffic jam ) to be at the centre by 8am.  Continue that with the heavy  and tight  workload/practicals  with hardly any  time to grab a bite - we took a 10 minutes break for lunch and a 5 mins break for tea  and some of us  just ploughed on without even a break, except to the washroom  !  We would usually finish for the day at 8 or 9pm, only to come early at 8am the next day to continue where we left off !

To top it up, since I was on unfamiliar territory and driving through the jam was a nightmare,  during my trip back home after the first day,  as was usual, I took the wrong road and ended up in Kepong.., then  Selayang and then  Cheras. and this was at 9pm.  After driving round in circles and breaking no-u turn signs and paying toll amounting  to RM10 , I finally found the way and reached home at almost 11pm

 Gosh, it certainly isn't for the faint-hearted !

 There were about 14 of us,  some of whom had flown in from Hongkong, Taiwan, Bangkok, Australia and  Sarawak .  Why ?  Because Ms Rosalind Chan, the  Canada based Malaysian was the only authorised tutor to conduct the course in  South East Asia , otherwise I would have had  to travel to UK to do it.  Don't get me wrong, it was certaintly nerve-wrecking but it was fun too.  Learning new techniques and getting the latest updates on the  cakes scene    in UK and US was an eye-opener for all of us.  The mistakes and  the cries of  " Oh my God !"  when our painstaking  stringwork and sugar bridges  broke off or our exquisite but so so fragile lace work just collapsing on us was part of the terror trials we endured but in a fun kind of way, if you know what I mean .  We helped each other to fix things up and then admired each others'  handiwork .... warts and all...

It was pain-staking, tedious and nerve-wrecking, especially if you don't make extras of the sugar collar and it breaks at the wrong time while assembling the cake (!)   but if you have a passion for it, you certainly wouldn't mind.  I didn't.

Below are some pictures taken from my class....

A fondant covered cake with brigdework.
The  board was covered in fondant  and the edges crimped . I had to pipe fine  pink sugar strings  to form a curved bridge all round the cake -  lots of breakages.  Then very fine  vertical sugar strings of royal icing was painstakingly piped from the sides to the  edges of the bridge -- even more breakages when you go slightly out of line and the fresh lines collapse on the dried one like in a domino .  After it had dried, scallop strings were piped at the base of  bridge.  Then tiny tiny dots of pink was piped onto the stringwork -- called raindrops -   more breakages and have to do all over again.  Finally a bead design was done on both  edges of the  bridgework with another beadwork done on the base of the cake.  Really  nerve - wrecking !

And this was just the starters !

The second tier was smocking with herringbone stitches done in fondant and royal icing ... I went off line and and had  to re-do it for the 3rd time.

The flooded sugar collar - a real tedious and heart-breaking work ..  some almost cried when the fragile thing broke when piping the edges and  when assembling the cake.  Notice the triangular lace edges on the bridgework.  Each triangle lace was piped , left to dry and inserted one at a time --- lots and lots of breakages lah and sometimes the vertical bridgework will fall  and break --- re do it again !

The wedding cake -  the base cake  with frills and ribbon insertions - all made of gum paste and sugar.  The bride and groom atop the cake was handmade individually by me.  The faces were painted using food grade oil colours ..  This picture was taken at home when I had brought it back,. It was almost 10pm and I was too tired  and forgot to put the sugar collar  on top of the smocking design .

The poppies made from sugar paste

The sweet peas and hypericum berries  made from sugar paste and dusted with food grade colour

The fully assembled rose - sugar paste

The royal icing sugar collar piped separately and left to dry.  Some were too shocked when it broke during removal and  transferring it to the cake

A fondant and gumpaste 'photo' album/card     ...... a bit of a hurried work

This buttercake was covered in marzipan and fondant and iced with 3 coats of  royal icing.  The flowers and butterfly was piped separately  in royal icing and assembled 3D style.  The board was flooded with royal icing .... tiring.. tiring... tiring

Ahah !  I finally had it in my hands -  The Professional Intenstive Diploma Course by Squires Kitchen International School of Sugarcraft and Cake Decorating, UK.  Sure feels good after all the hard hard work .

The worst nightmare was when  I  had to put all the  many cakes with such intricate and delicate designs into the car and bring it home.  Uurgh.....

Happy reading and painting and baking !


You must hear this !

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Tuesday 7 February 2011

She's better than Susan Boyle !  Magnifique !

Such purity, clarity and emotion for a 12 year old.... simply amazing




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Monday, 30 January 2012

It's been on the air and you-tube for some time now and CNN news reported that there were 28million hits on this song and was the song of the year 2011

The original version is :.....

The little boy's cute version 

Happy listening


My Art Ladies

Posted by Lakshmi

Tuesday 24 January 2012

I just realised that the pictures I  had posted in my previous article under " designs/thinking out of the box" does not appear for my readers.  Don't know why but it does when I open my site!  will do something ........

Anyway,  I've started my community class at the 3C Complex at Subang Jaya for the year and below are some of the students who had painted their pieces all by themselves with nil or minimum assistance from me.  My next class will be on 28 January 2012  at 9.00am

Marie Pusphpam with her garden pots

Muraliswari with her garden pots done on a biscuit tin....... unfinished as yet......

Another of my students' work

This young lady always follows her dear Grandma and both of them  can be seen quietly painting away during class, even during the December holidays ! 

Oh dear ! they have just put away their work and getting ready to go home ....hmmm  missed their painting when taking the pics....    well,  next time I'll be more  prepared.

Happy reading and painting


Design Ideas - Thinking out of the Box

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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Received this from my good friend Gouri and thought it worth sharing .....

Btw, my shoutbox widget is out and I can't seem to get my kids to do something about it, so please post on my comment box ( sigh!  .... not that Malaysians are that pro-active ! )

People who think outside the box are special!



 Happy reading


Christmas Has Gone & New Year Is On & A Remedy for Dengue Fever

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Wednesday ,  11 January 2012

I know, I know, I'm behind times but that's because I have had a very very long and tiring year end and  2012 didn't exactly start with a bang !

First, on my Christmas..................

Well, for starters, my first 'hands on ' Christmas 2011  was a tiring affair.  I was not in the best of health and my son was  down with fever for several days after which, on the 4th day, he was diagnosed with dengue positive upon having his blood test at the Subang Jaya Medical Centre  ( SJMC). We had to trudge to SJMC every day to check his blood platelet count and although it was going down, we were advised to keep him at home.   Numerous home remedies were given to us by family members, relatives and friends, one  of which was to eat raw young papaya. Another remedy was to boil papaya leaves in water and drink it.  Quite desperate by now and at wits end , for I didn't want to have my son admitted in SJMC, I gave him ( more like forced him ) both the young papaya to eat and also the boiled papaya leaf water, which was quite bitter, by the way -  sort of a double dosage in the hope that it would speed up his blood count.  Miracle of all miracles !  The next day, when  he was told by the resident doctor at SJMC to be admitted after his fever showed no signs of lowering,   we  insisted for a blood test to be done and asked  for a second opinion from one the the specialist doctors . Would you believe it ? His blood platelet count was slightly up and the specialist told us that it was not necessary for my son to be admitted. Holy Mother of God ! I hugged my son unashamedly and almost cried.  And this happened on Boxing Day, one day after Christmas.   So, now you know when I said it was a real trying and tiring time.

Remember, if anyone of you or your family/friends have  the dreaded dengue fever, make them eat  raw papaya and drink the water of boiled papaya leaves pronto ... very effective and save expensive medical costs .

As for Christmas lunch itself, since we were bogged down by my  son's health , I  was not in my roaring self exactly but since it was  already decided  earlier that Christmas celebrations  was to be in our home,  we placed an order for the roast turkey with its trimmings from the Dorset Regency Hotel in Subang Jaya and also picked up the pre-ordered food from several well known restaurants and food outlets.          The turkey came with the trimmings but without the filling   !            I had only time to  make a  Waldorf Salad and  oven basted chicken wings. The extra fruit cake that  I had baked for Deepavali  and stashed away in the ice-box came in handy and became the  Christmas cake !  Of course, one desert is  not enough, so I also baked bread pudding and served it with ice-cream instead of the customary custard sauce. 

Two days before my son fell sick ( which was 4 days before Christmas), I had told my children that each should bake whatever cookie/ biscuit  they liked - me included .  My gangly son made  chocolate chip cookies ( which  recipe he found in the net and which he made the size of  saucers, my daughter made ground peanut cookies which only she liked and I baked my yearly gingerbread man cookies, complete with eyes, nose,mouth and sugar beads for buttons.   

It was a real hodgy podgy Christmas and to cap it all, Christmas lunch  was served on paper plates and wine in paper cups !   

Urrggghhhh,  the irony of it all  !

Now for the New Year celebrations ......

New Year had and is always celebrated in my eldest sister-in-law's house.  Since she ( Professor Dr Helen Nair )  had taken up the post as Dean of Biotechnology at the  private Quest  International University in Ipoh,  Perak , we  drove to Ipoh a day ahead, stayed at the Ipoh  Royal Club and celebrated new year's eve at the Club's new year eve's  party .  The party was one of the most boring and dullest one ever organised , I think. Imagine having only 10 tables for a party  bash and only  8  tables were taken up  for a new year's eve party ! Imagine having to eat tuna with mayonnaise, followed by a tasteless chicken with boiled potatoes and half cooked cauliflower and ending with a half frozen shop bought fruitcake slice with a dripping of icing camouflaging as sauce !  It was simply terrible and awful and to think that  this was our first  ever  family outing for a new year's party   !   The band performers looked  half dead and their  zombie like singing sent my son's temperature up the roof.  My son looked at me and rolled his eyes, my daughter looked at me and rolled her eyes and I looked at my husband and well, rolled my eyes too ...................

So we officially started the year 2012  with all our eyes rolling round with each other !  Great start to 2012.... here we come !

Happy reading and painting