Friday, November 21, 2014

Making Animal Finger Puppets

When I was doing my work yesterday, nearing the end of COB, my laptop which is not so 'healthy' now decided to die on me twice. As such, I thought of calling it a day. I let my laptop take its much needed break and did something fun with felt crafts for the rest of my evening especially since I had not been utilizing my felts for DIY crafts for a while.

Inspired by a Mommy I follow on Instagram, this time around, I was determined to create cute animal finger puppets using colourful felts for Naomi. They are easy to make but do require some sewing work.

Cute animal finger puppets for kids.

Some imagination and creative juice are demanded to make the kind of animal finger puppets you have in mind. You can create any animals you want for the finger puppets, depending on your material availability. I can only make five finger puppets so far because I don't have that many coloured felts for certain animal shapes.

So here are the steps to make the simple animal felt finger puppets. 

Animal Felt Finger Puppets

Materials needed:
  • Colourful felts
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • UHU Glue
  • Needle and threads
  • Puncher, optional

The cut outs to make the animal finger puppets.

  1. Draw the animal main body part pattern in the coloured felt and cut it out. Use this as a base model of the other side of the main body part pattern as we need 2 felt patters to make the animal body part. Sew them together but leave the bottom part opened. The size of the animal finger puppets I made was 5.5cm x 4cm - just nice for Naomi's little fingers but a tad short for mine.
  2. Cut out the shapes the other parts of the animal body such as eyes, mouth, legs, paws, wings, etc. using the colourful felts. I use a puncher to create the animal eyes so they look somewhat uniformed and round.
  3. Use glue to stick the animal's eyes, ears, legs etc. to the main body part that is already sewn. 
  4. Pop a puppet on each finger and let the fun begin.

5 Animal finger puppets I made for my little girl.

Naomi was so excited when I presented her the first animal finger puppet I just made. She kept it on her finger for a long time and could not wait for me to finish the second one.

Let's play.

These little finger puppets are so fun to make and they don't take too much time to produce. They are fantastic to make animal characters in story book come alive or to sing along with favourite songs.

P/S: The purple finger puppet is meant to be a hippo. It's so difficult for me to make a really nice hippo look-alike here, hence mine ended up looking like a hybrid of hippo, horse, donkey and cow.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The 15th

I have been very busy this month, hence the blogging hiatus.

Although days seem to pass more quickly when I am busy, I don't forget the 15th.

Today's the 15th marks the exact 3 months since I gave birth to sleeping Dylan. Earlier this afternoon, my husband and I dropped by the Christian cemetery where our son is laid rest. It's been a while since the last time we went there but sadly, I didn't manage to buy any flowers for my boy today. I promise the next time I pay him a visit again, I won't come empty handed.

On our way to the cemetery, my husband talked about replacing Dylan's current wooden headstone and planting some pretty flowers surround it. He intends to build a nice headstone or plaque for Dylan using black marbles and engrave the wordings with golden paint. While I agreed to renovating Dylan's grave site, I also expressed to my husband that it still felt rather surreal for both of us to discuss on revamping our baby's burial ground instead of decorating his nursery. He replied, "Well, life has its ups and downs.".

My heart still aches and feels very heavy every time I see the black wooden cross with Dylan's name in the cemetery. It is hard to admit that a small baby is sleeping below that cross, buried six feet under a cold ground. And that baby was mine.

Dylan's burial site is now even and fully covered with green grass. Someone had planted a plastic pink rose there. We don't know who did it but of course, I don't mind.

My eyes burst into tears when my husband suddenly rubbed Dylan's wooden headstone and called him by his Chinese name, 子敬. I once asked him why he never addressed his son with his Chinese name every time we bring him into discussion. He said he is used to call his son Dylan because he never got the chance to call Dylan's Chinese name with family members as we hardly ever talk about Dylan with our parents or other core family members.

Anyhow, I wanted to stay a bit longer at the cemetery today but it was drizzling and the sky was pretty dark too. November is a rainy month and today is not an exception. As such, my husband and I decided to end our visit.

This very day, I arrived to the cemetery as a strong mother but was weeping and emotional when I left it.

I miss my son.

Nonetheless, I am at peace, completely knowing that he is now safe in the arms of his Father.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Day in Tanjung Sepat

My parents are in town again since last Thursday and to make their visit to Malaysia more colourful than their last visit here a couple months ago (re: Dylan's incident), I thought of bringing them out for sightseeing over the weekend.

As my parents had been to Malacca twice and gone shopping in KL's malls many times, I had to scratch my head to think of a new place for them to check out that is not too far from Seremban for a day trip. After some considerations, my final pick fell to Tanjung Sepat. Tanjung Sepat is a fishing town in Kuala Langat, Selangor and located about 1 hour away from where we live.

The following is a quick itinerary of our recent visit to Tanjung Sepat.

Qingren Qiao (Lover's Bridge)

The first place we visited once we reached Tanjung Sepat was the Lover's Bridge area, one of the main icons of Tanjung Sepat.

Hello from Tanjung Sepat!

On our way to Lover's Bridge, a notably very famous local products shop called Qingren Qiao Local Products Shop greeted us. I deemed this shop as a very famous one because I saw the photos of the shop owner together with Simon Yam, a prominent Hong Kong actor, and several other local celebrities when they visited the shop were proudly hung on the shop's main entrance. Hmm.. I wonder what Simon Yam brought back to Hong Kong after he visited this shop? Prawn crackers, dried sotong (squid) and several huge salted fish perhaps?

Not your typical old-looking local products shop. 
Many celebrities had apparently been shopping here.

Seriously, with these colourful old-school lollipops lurking in front of the shop, how are visitors, especially kids, not to be tempted to check the inside of the shop? Glad Naomi was napping when we reached Tanjung Sepat, otherwise I am pretty confident I'd have to deal with her 15 mins unscripted drama titled "Lollipops Hysteria" when she saw the lollipops.

Anybody needs some sugar rush?

This shop was pretty interesting to visit but admittedly, the smell of the salted fish, dried sotong and other fishy products sold in front of the shop was considerably strong. For a moment, it crossed my mind if I'd smell like salted fish or dried sotong once I left Tanjung Sepat because I hung out for almost 20 mins around the shop's entrance whilst waiting for my parents shopping some local goodies.

Anyway, another interesting part of this shop is the stuff from older generations it showcases surrounding the building. It's really fun to take picture with these old gems.

Plastic chickens and eggs inside those bamboo coops.

Even before we checked out the Lover's Bridge itself and the wet market nearby, my Mom and I took many pictures in this shop area alone.

 I feel like shooting old kung-fu series now.

Further down from this shop lies the famous Lover's Bridge, a very long concrete bridge that stretches to the sea. It was blazing hot when we arrived to Tanjung Sepat on Saturday so my parents and I only snapped some pictures in the bridge then continued our journey to check out the wet market.

Oops sorry, the Lover's Bridge was not fully shown here 
but we were standing in the famous bridge.

Here are some pictures of items sold at the wet market. Lots of snacks, fish products and fruits were sold there.

 Fish balls and its by-products.

Tried a salted fish pan-fried bao sold in the wet market but I found the salted fish filling tasted rather weird. I ate a bite then passed the rest of the bao to my husband.

Salted fish bao for RM 3 per piece.

After we're done shopping at the wet market, we hopped back on to the car and decided to find a place for quick lunch. Since my husband was not familiar with Tanjung Sepat area nor its famous restaurants, we spent quite some time circling the fishing village trying to find the right place for lunch. Have you heard of an old saying that goes something like this: If you are too picky over something, instead of getting the best choice, you'd usually end up getting a not so good one? I think that happened to us because after being too selective with 'what's for lunch?' options in Tanjung Sepat, we ended up settling ourselves with tasteless economic noodle and chicken curry we randomly found somewhere in town.

Not as good as it looks.

Even the ABC Ice that my husband ordered from that eatery was another thumbs down. Given the taste, it got me thinking if we'd be able to finish the ABC Ice. Unexpectedly, Naomi solved our problem. She pushed the ABC Ice glass too forcefully when she wanted to pass it to me. As a result, the ABC Ice was accidentally poured all over our table. And there went our drink/dessert.

Before Naomi poured the ABC Ice.

After lunch, my husband wanted to buy some famous Mei Cai Bao (steamed buns) for my parents to try but the bao seller told us to come back after another hour because they had not steamed the next batch of the baos. With this, we decided to explore the rests of Tanjung Sepat area first and come back for the baos again later on.

By the way, I was quite surprised to see the numbers of small temples in Tanjung Sepat town. If I counted correctly, there was at least one temple in every 10-20 houses!

Morib Beach

The next place we stopped by after the fishing town was Morib Beach. I think the only access to this beach was through Gold Coast Morib Resort.

At Gold Coast Morib Resort.

My husband parked his car in the resort's parking lot and from there; we walked ourselves to the beach.

Told you the it was scorching hot that day.

Again, the harsh sun was not ideal for playing at the beach so we only spent less than half an hour at Morib Beach. My husband considered taking Naomi to play at the Resort's Water Park but I objected his idea because I was not really in the mood to play in the water and preferred to do more sightseeing around Tanjung Sepat. Playing at the water park would easily takes 2 hours and by then probably it's too late for us to discover some other parts of Tanjung Sepat.

Kuan Wellness Ecopark

Located between Sepang Gold Coast and Morib Gold Coast, initially my husband was quite reluctant to check out Kuan Wellness Ecopark. He thought this eco-tourism destination would be a plain vanilla tourist spot, not worthy a visit. After I told him that the entrance fee to Kuan Wellness Ecopark is very modest and taking into accounts that we were already so close to this ecopark, my husband finally changed his mind and agreed to check this eco-park as part of our tour to Tanjung Sepat.

Checking out Kuan Wellness Ecopark for the first time.

Kuan Wellness Ecopark is essentially a place where people observe swiftlets in its natural habitat but we were there for its mini zoo. Kuan Wellness Ecopark hosts a small zoo where children can feed some gentle animals and pat them. It costs us RM 2 to enter this mini zoo and animal food such as carrot sticks or a pack of fish food was also priced at RM 2 each.

Feels like in Holland again for 1 minute.

Naomi literally had a blast in this mini zoo especially when she saw the rabbits in the cage and some of them roaming around freely in the zoo.

Mom, which one is cuter? The rabbit or me?

Naomi loved interacting with the rabbits in real life, talking to them and feed them but was scared when the rabbits approached her.

 Happy girl feeding the rabbit for the first time.

We also took Naomi to feed the fish and she was very excited with this experience even though it's not her first time feeding fish in a pond.

Fish, fish!

Moving on, my husband brought Naomi to see the deer as well and feed it with carrot sticks. Naomi was not so familiar with deer so my husband used the word "Rudolph" to refer to the deer.

Naomi feeding the deer.

After we managed to get Naomi out of this zoo as she still wanted to play with the rabbits, my husband offered my parents to have some coffee at the eco-cafe opposite the zoo. Strangely, this cafe doesn't sell any coffee. Instead, it sells bird-nest drinks that cost around RM 16 - RM 20 per glass. We preferred to drink coffee instead of bird-nest drinks, thus we scrapped our plan to chill at the eco-cafe and went back to Tanjung Sepat town again for coffee.

 Just before we left the ecopark.

Overall, I think we all had pretty good fun at the ecopark's zoo. I didn't regret my decision to visit this place especially since we brought Naomi with us. On another note, not sure why Kuan Wellness Ecopark features so many wooden cows decorations in its compound where we could not find any cow farms nearby.

Kuan Wellness Ecopark
Address: Lot 408 Jalan Tanjung Layang, 42800, Tanjung Sepat, Selangor, Mukim Batu, 42800
Phone: 60 33148 1126

Local Food Hunting

Once we're back to Tanjung Sepat village again, we went straight to the shop which sells the famous baos. To the contrary of what I heard about the long queues that buyers have to expect when they want to enjoy the famous Tanjung Sepat's steamed buns, there was no queue at all when we were there in late afternoon.

Here again just for the baos.

Here's presenting to you the very popular Mei Cai Bao that seemingly only available in Tanjung Sepat.

Mei Cai Bao at RM 2.20 per piece.

Soft buns with fragrant and delicious thinly chopped mei cai and pork filling. I can see why people from all over the place hunt the Mei Cai Baos.

Perniagaan Pau Hai Yew Heng
Address: 405, Jalan Pasar 42800 Tanjung Sepat, Selangor

Not long after we bought our baos, we dropped by a shop just next to Hai Yew Heng which sells the local coffee. After my parents sampled the coffee, they purchased a pack of the coffee to bring back to Indonesia.

Kwo Zha B Coffee, RM 7 per pack.

This shop only sells the packaged coffee powder and the seller advised us to go to a kopitiam opposite their shop for drinking coffee or afternoon teatime. Below picture is Naomi and me standing in front of the suggested kopitiam. Judging from the building, this kopitiam looks like kinda run down but mind you, this place was full house.

 The old kopitiam in Tanjung Sepat.

Actually this kopitiam just sells normal coffee, teas and fried snacks that are widely available in other parts of Malaysia. It is mind boggling to see that this particular kopitiam was very crowded compared to the rests in town.

Very oily afternoon snacks.

While my husband and Dad had the usual Black Coffee and Teh-C, my Mom and I shared a glass of cold Kedondong juice - just nice to combat the hot day.

Kedondong Juice at RM 3/glass.

This kopitiam stopover pretty much concluded our visit to Tanjung Sepat. Before heading back to Seremban, my husband briefly showed us the Bagan Lalang Beach as well but we didn't get off the car and play at the beach.

All in all, I guess my parents were quite pleased with their visit to Tanjung Sepat because they found this fishing town very unique, definitely a new experience and place to sightsee for the non-locals .