Rowan The Cheapskate…

During a Mr.B’s wee patrol this morning, I encountered an odd sight.
A pair of blue jeans in a children’s size was resting on one of the windowsills of our apartment building as someone tossed it up casually but also purposefully.
WTH?
In about 30 yards away, there was a street bin by the bus shelter, and therefore, there was an option for a more civilised way to dispose the unwanted article. However, whoever it was decided to act otherwise for God knows whatever the reason. Is this a new obscure sign between urban gangs /cults in communicating with one another? Or the result of a frustrated parent’s moment of madness as she or he (or both) “lost” it and flung the pair out of the car and it ended up landing on the windowsill? In either way, a poor child somewhere went pants-less for a while and now the sight of an abandoned garment in this peculiar style perplexes passers-by and our cleaning staffs…
Hubbie is in India right now, taking photos of the life in various slums of New Delhi with his client who runs the charity, Water Aid.
A heap of emergency food supplies packed in the suitcase as he is not keen on spicy foods…
He dropped me a short line this morning, saying how depressing to witness the inhabitants who have to endure challenging circumstance on a daily basis. His email makes me feel extremely fortunate to be born and raised in a society where clean running water and decent sanitation are prerequisite. I hope the images he captures will help to highlight the plight of the slum-dwelling people and improve the conditions so far they have to endure.
In Hubbie’s absence, I am mainly at home and keeping my fingers busy with working on samples for A/W 2015 & 2016.
Ever since Rowan decided to discontinue their lovely Big Wool Drift, I was looking for a similar multicolour yarn and when I saw Big Wool Colour, I thought the solution had been found…
However, my expectation evaporated as soon as I started to work with it.
Rowan, how could you name this yarn, which is just a bad imitator of the namesake, as “Big Wool Colour”? My point of contention is the way the yarn is produced. Instead of plying multiple strands of fleece, this yarn has a spine – a black thread – around which fleeces are wrapped around…
They are so loosely wound around the spine and fragile which in return makes a yarn really pain in the a** to handle. It can stuck between stitches because the yarn has weird humps. The strand also doesn’t have any give and bounce like conventionally produced yarns as the thread in the middle has no elasticity. I never encountered any yarn which was this troublesome until I used Big Wool Colour.
I was cursing all the way while I was making a gilet…
The people of Rowan, you are cheapskate. You might have thought that you invented a brilliant way to recycle left over fleece on your factory floor by gathering them and twining them to a strand and selling on the concoction as a new range. True knitters will soon find the yarn unpleasant and time-wasting to work with and swear never to touch it again. And you charge it the same price as Big Wool?
Should be ashamed, Rowan. I am very much indignant…

Bread Making @ Creative Coffee Morning

Mmmmm, it’s divine!
In my mouth, there was a large chunk of focaccia with olive. What was so special about this focaccia? Because…. (an imaginary drum roll please), I baked it myself!! How about that! Last Wednesday morning, Kate, aka “Madam Bentley”, invited me to Creative Coffee Morning in Balham and we learnt how to bake bread together.

We met up at the station at 9:30 and walked to Sophy’s place in which the workshop was to be held. It was a beautiful morning – the weather was behaving impeccably since the previous weekend, birds were chirping cheerfully and the air was sweetened with blossoming shrubs and trees. It would have been just perfect if I weren’t a total wreck, physically though. I joined an ice hockey practice the night before. After two years of staying away from skating and puck-handling resulted in my body aching all over, especially my thighs and arms…

At Sophy’s, we were greeted by Sophy and Aminta’s, our organisers / teachers and two other pupils. Aminta handed us aprons and poured us mugs of coffee which was greatly appreciated…

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While we sipped the cups, they explained that we were to bake focaccia and hot cross bun.
We studied a list of ingredients and carefully adding them up in the glass bowl…

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To the flour mixture, an egg and tepid milk were added. Then, kneading commenced on the well-floured surface…

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At first, the dough was very sticky. It clung to our fingers like glue. Aminta demonstrated how to knead and we emulated it the best we could. Then, the stickiness gradually disappeared as we kept on working on the dough with more flour on the surface. Aminta smeared the surface of the bowl with butter, explaining how important not to forget to spread butter up to the rim of the bowl, ‘The dough can’t rise to full if the dough sticks to the side of the bowl’. While the bowl was covered with a tea towel and put aside, we had another cups of coffee with a slice of cake. I was still knackered from the last night’s strenuous activities, if Sophy didn’t keep on offering me a fresh cup of coffee, I might have been nodding off on the spot…

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By the way, Kate dropped her sunglasses while we were measuring the flour! It proved that we couldn’t be too cool when we were baking bread…

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Another round of kneading started after an hour of resting the dough. I never knew that bread making was so physical! The dough became bouncy and tough to roll out so I had to rest my body weight on my wrist in order to stretch it out over the surface.
Kate was doing likewise, next to me…

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After the dough was expanded, it was folded in to half. This process was repeated for considerable duration until my hands got really tired…

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Then, each dough we were kneading was cut into 6 pieces, rolled out, shaped into balls and arranged on the baking tray. Aminta placed a kitchen towel over them again so they could rest for another half hour…

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Then, we worked on focaccia, the same process minus adding dry fruits…

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The dough was rolled out and indentations were made, using a wooden spoon handle…

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Into the indentations were olives. And then, the surface of the dough was smeared with olive oil and sprinkled with rock salt and rosemary…

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By the time we had finished preparing the focaccia, the hot cross buns were ready to be given the finishing touch. Beaten egg was glossed over the balls…

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In the meantime, Kate was mixing flour, water and sugar…

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The light-brown mixture was placed into a piping bag and each ball was x-marked, gently pressed with a backside of table knife. Then, we decorated our would-be hot cross buns by carefully squeezing out the flour & sugar mixture and tracing over the dents on the dough. Once all of them were decorated, they were placed in the oven. How exciting…

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Voilà, the real piping hot cross buns straight out of the oven!!

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Quickly, they were transferred to a wire rack and glossed over with the syrup made of sugar and water so they would stay glossy and moist…

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Don’t they look divine?

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Then, my focaccias came out of the oven too…

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My lovely plump beauties!!

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As soon as we were out on the street, Kate & I gobbled down a hot cross bun and it tasted so heavenly.
That evening, Hubbie came home much earlier than usual and we devoured all hot cross buns with tea. ‘It’s soooo delicious!’, he exclaimed. Honestly, it tasted miles better than any hot cross bun produced commercially. It was a real eye-opener for both of us. Comes this Easter, we are going to bake our own hot cross buns from scratch. While Hubbie is doing all the kneading, all I have to do will be supervising him. What a winning formula (for me)…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Suits You, Madam!

One of my customers kindly sent to me the photo of her wearing my Greta gilet in denim blue. She is a talented designer herself and I am immensely flattered that she bought my work…

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Thank you very much!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Busy Bees…

Hubbie is flying out to NYC this morning and Mr.B & I will be on our own until Sunday morning.
Well, Mr.B doesn’t know it yet. He will be very listless from 6pm onward, and once we are in bed, stomp all over me, being possessed by anxiety. It take a good few days before the fact filters through to him that Hubbie will be away for a while and he will stop being overly upset about it.
I do hope he won’t be too depressed while I am away for 3 weeks after Christmas. It breaks my heart to see him being sad. If only I could reason with him…

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While Hubbie was mega-busy with his presentation, I was also busy with knitting another Meringue jumper for DiGuardo.
Once a tag and a care instruction are stitched on, the jumper is ready to go…

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The colour is in ever so popular Blue Velvet…

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It should hit the shop floor, together with a Greta gilet in Denim, on Thursday or Friday…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Dazzling Yet Functional…

The rain kept on coming down all day yesterday.
I took Mr.B out on the street to spend a penny but he wasted no time sniffing around. Just finished his business as quickly as he could and bee-lined to the warmth of our flat. Well, are you really sure that you and those hardy sheepdogs share the same DNA?
It sounds so far-fetched when I see his behaviour…

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Hubbie was still in Hong Kong and I needed something to cheer me up.
Then, a DHL courier arrived at my door step with a small box from Net A Porter…

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As always, the sight of their distinctive black packaging made my heart to palpitate even though I knew exactly what was in inside!

Ta-dah!

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Karl Lagerfeld’s bejewelled fingerless gloves.

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For me, gloves must be fingerless  because of my excessive reliance on my iPhone. You don’t know how many normal gloves were lost in the past because I had to take them off in order to touch the screen…

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How does it look?
The gloves were size S/M but still slightly on the large side for me.

While I was knitting another Meringue jumper in blue velvet, Letizia texted me that my gilet in denim blue found a new owner…

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Mmmm…, my stock in DiGuardo is depleting. I must keep on knitting more…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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