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Crocheted Dress And Cardigan Ensemble


Friday, February 27, 2009



As every well-heeled fashionista knows, a lady should have at least one LBD - Little Black Dress, hanging in her closet. I'm starting my 19 month old niece young. A little black dress and matching cardigan is on its way to you, Isabelle. All you need now is a matching kid-size 2.55 purse and black patent Mary Janes and you'll be the spiffiest looking kid in nursery!


This crocheted dress and cardi is made up of cotton yarn using a Clover 4/0 (2.5mm) hook. It was straightforward enough but hoover damn! Was it tedious work or what? All them repetitive rows! But it turned out to be such a beauty, so all is forgiven. Even Hubs oohed and ahhed at it, thereafter giving me The Look. I flatly told him the factory was closed.




Instead of the usual pastels, I chose black with off white as an accent colour to give it that stylish edge. And to finish off the Chanel inspiration, I added the Camelia at the neckline.


I didn't want my niece messing about with safety pin brooches so I stitched the Camelia right over the button loop as shown by Bear.




Sis, I hope the fit is good and I want photos of Isabelle in the ensemble!

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 1:33 am

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Vintage '70s Cape


Thursday, February 26, 2009



For as long as I can remember, my mum has always been crafting when we were kids. She had a crochet phase too and as a result, collected a couple of pattern books. On our last trip to Singapore, I borrowed a few of them. Here is a cape I made from from a 1976 issue. It may be 33 years old but because fashion always come a full circle, this design is still fresh as daisies.

Check it out:




This was done in a lightweight 3 ply acrylic yarn using a Clover 6/0 (3.5mm) hook. I updated the cape by adding buttons down the entire front of the opening and shortening the overall length. There is no reason to go around looking like Sherlock Holmes , if you get my drift.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 1:25 am

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At Random




The Little Miss received her little green vest a while back. Here she is in it, and mum too, in her shawl. Oh, and here's The Girlfriend's account of the present a certain crazie sent her.

Putting a smile, even better if it's a giggle or two on someone's face is so satisfying.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 1:15 am

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Lemon Grass And Ginger Tea


Wednesday, February 25, 2009



Consumed hot, this tea is so good on a winter's day. A real pick-me-up. You can even chill it for that extra zing. However, take note it looks alot like apple juice so if you do plan to store it in the refridgerator, let your nearest and dearest know what it is beforehand so you don't go beserk when they spit it out "Mummy, the apple juice has gone bad!" and waste cups of the precious liquid. Lemon grass is expensive and hard to come by in Beijing. I have to make a trip all the way to a special import supermarket just for them.


Lemon Grass and Ginger Tea


You Need:

6 cups of water
4-5 stalks of lemon grass, cut into thin slices
1cm knob of ginger (I used more, I love my ginger!)
rock sugar

You Do:

  1. Fill a heavy bottom pot with water.

  2. Add in lemon grass and ginger, bring to a boil for a couple of minutes.

  3. Lower flame and let simmer for around 15-20 minutes. Add rock sugar to taste. Cover the pot while simmering.

  4. Turn off flame, strain and enjoy. It's that simple!



Thanks to Irene for the recipe.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 2:31 am

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Upcoming Visit




A trip to Singapore was initially planned last month during the Spring Festival. Unfortunately, it got canned but determined to look on the bright side, we thought spending Chinese New Year in Beijing would also be an experience. After all, we are in the motherland where the tradition first originated.

To cut a long story short, Sonny-boy has a Spring Break holiday coming up in the last week of March which coincides with Qing Ming Festival. The Chinese take paying respects to their dead ancestors very seriously to the extent of declaring it a public holiday. We've decided to visit Singapore over that week and will be there from 27 March - 6 April. *happy dance*

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 2:26 am

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What Would You Win An Oscar For?


Tuesday, February 24, 2009





You Would Win Best Costume Design



You are imaginative, artistic, and very unique. You are a natural designer.
You can picture entire movies in your head. You are incredibly visual.
As long as you can remember, you've always had a flare for fashion. You like to experiment with looks.
You like dressing up in costumes and outfits. And not just for Halloween!


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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 1:36 pm

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Hot Pot




Last week we were up to our ankles in snow. I wore my hideously bright sunflower patterned galoshes so I wouldn't ruin my leather boots and kill myself on the slippery snow. Hubs very almost refused to walk next to me. But hey, rather an awfully attired wife than a dead one. It was the first snowfall of the year and any kind of precipitation for the last three months or so. This drought has been bad news for farmers as it's affected their winter crops. There were even news reports on CCTV of residents in the rural areas having not showered in a month.

Oi.

So, yes. Ankles in snow. Temperatures got to as low as -14oC with the North Desert wind a-blowing. I swear on my wok I will never complain about the European winter again. What better way to spend the family evening meal than to huddle together over a hot pot?


A Chongqing specialty, there are hot pot restaurants all over Beijing. Take a walk downtown, you are likely to trip over one. The original Chongqing version is the ma la soup base. Ma la means numbingly spicy and you'd better believe it. A couple spoonfuls of soup and one loses sensation of tongue and lips, only because it feels like you've just swallowed fire. There's also the tamer, non spicy version catering to the lao wai or foreigner who's not used to hot ash peppers. It's also the very same soup base I use when we do the hot pot at home for Sonny-boy, who can't even bear regular pepper. Hubs is used to spicy food, he has to, having lived in Singapore for a good five years and marrying a girl of Peranakan descent.

This is the soup base using a recipe I swiped from one of the hotpot restaurants we dined at here. At the time I didn't have a pen handy so I committed the ingredients to memory and hoped for the best as my brain tends to get fuzzy when attempting to remember mundane things. Funny how it suddenly becomes crystal clear when it comes to shopping.

These are the ingredients of the soup base: chicken stock, spring onions, carrots, dried chinese mushroom, wolf berries, longans and red dates.

The principle of a hot pot meal is simple. It runs along the lines a cheese fondue or Singaporean steamboat. There's a huge pot of boiling soup in the middle of the table and everyone dips his or her morsel of food in the pot to cook it. There is no set list of ingredients, anything goes. At Cookalot, we love thinly sliced beef, meatballs, stuffed fish balls, jiao ji (meat dumplings), liver, tofu, mushrooms, vegetables.... just about anything that strikes our fancy. On this occasion, we decided to go simple and went easy on the selection. This may have something to do with the big Korean barbecue dinner the previous night. Our digestive tracts can only process so much goodness.



On the side were pulled noodles, deep fried bread balls and raw eggs. The eggs are poached in the soup. It's super, having the soft yolk run all over the noodles. Lekker!

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 5:51 am

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