Tag Archives: Indonesia

Rewards Chart and Auckland Museum Visit


Dearest Sultana,

May made herself a Rewards Chart:


She even made the stickers to go on it. One side for June and the other for herself… Obviously her side is the one with the long haired girl and the most rewards.

She rewards herself, for tidying up, for creativity and for sleeping in her bed for the whole night. She rewarded June for finishing her dinner and helping tidy up.

And you know what, this chart has been working wonders! And she came up with it all on her own! It’s been up since yesterday, I hope she will stay with it for a little while longer.


On Saturday the three of us went to visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum. It’s got a lovely children’s section which the girls enjoyed. They also had an engaging exhibit on the marine life surrounding Auckland, “Moana, my Ocean” which has become a hot topic in our house since the government proposal to reduce the recreational fishermen’s fishing quota. What we found of most interest in that exhibit was the life cycle of the snapper, the fish that daddy usually brings home from his fishing trips, and the biodiversity at the Leigh Marine Reserve. We plan to take the girls there in summer, it really is a fascinating place to snorkle, to see snappers and lots of other fish, completely unafraid and swimming right up to the shallow waters. This time round, we’ll also be doing some kayaking.


After the museum we went to the Wintergardens. This is one of my favourite spots, I love the burst of colours in the wintergarden.

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The greens in the humid heat in the tropical garden, such a contrast from the wintergarden and never fails to remind me of Indonesia. This time round they even had bananas and jackfruit growing. Jackfruit growing! What a sight.



The Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Wintergardens are both located at the Auckland Domain, Park Road, Grafton.

Father Day Update, Applique Pieces and Tissue Holder

Dearest Sultana,
We had a beautiful day this Father’s day. Although it was a little chilly, the sun was out, the skies were blue, it was fantastic especially after the week we just had (rain almost everyday). The girls woke their daddy up with lots of kisses and cuddles and home made cards. Then we took out his other presents. I think he was very pleased with his presents. In fact he put up the framed up collage of his fishing photos straight away. With nails into the wall! It usually takes us much deliberation before we put nails into the wall.
For breakfast we had fried bananas (pisang goreng) fried up with the new deep fryer. Believe it or not, it was the first time the girls had fried bananas. Fried bananas are a common street food in Indonesia, and they are very very delicious! They are just fried up bananas in batter, but there are many variations to the kind of banana and batter. My mother in law makes the best fried bananas, better than any bought ones. Unfortunately the kind of bananas that are used for this are quite uncommon in NZ, so we rarely have them here. For this occasion I just used regular bananas  and they turned soft very quickly, they were still very delicious but not nearly as good as my mother in law’s original version.
Later on, we went out to visit some friends and in the evening had dinner at a local chinese restaurant with my parents and sister. The girls wished their Grandpa a “Happy Father’s Day” and June insisted on sitting next to him (and kept pinching his rice!). All in all, a great Father’s Day! Only thing marring it, I think, was the lack of kayak fishing, even though it was a beautiful day on shore, the sea forecast was less favourable, but not to worry, Tuesday’s forecast is very positive and I’m looking forward to some fish for the new deep fryer. I’ll post up some pictures if his catch is good.
I thought I’d share some of my applique pieces for my Christmas gifts project.

ice cream cones

Ice cream cones




I really wanted to try to incorporate some of these into a simple project. A tissue holder seemed small and simple enough. And if it was up to snuff, I could include it as a Christmas present.

My tissue holder was inspired by this new Kleenex product. I like that it opens up.


This was my first attempt:


I like the colours but I didn’t insert the lining correctly.

I had to think it through a little more and made a little practice one and then attempted it again.




Finished product which I’m pretty happy with.


Daster – an Indonesian Daydress


Dearest Sultana,

In Indonesia it is  common for ladies to wear an all purpose house dress called a “daster”.

It is quite dusty in Indonesia so when we get home after spending some time outside the house it is normal to remove our shoes, usually give our feet a quick wash which has the dual effect of cleaning and cooling the feet. Changing out of our dusty clothes into some clean house clothes is the next step. These can be anything comfortable but for ladies and young girls it is common to change into a daster which can also double as nightwear. We often also take a shower after spending some time outside the house. Most people take two showers a day and they are also both cleansing and cooling. It does get awfully hot in that part of the world and the heat is relentless. It is hot all day and all night every night of the year, really in Indonesia there are only two seasons, hot season and very hot season.

When I was young and still living in Indonesia, we rarely used an air conditioner. When I think back now I wonder how we managed it. Although I’ve only been back one since we moved to NZ, I think that it has definitely gotten hotter since my days there.

When my mother in law (I call her mum) came to visit a month ago, it was the middle of winter in NZ. This didn’t stop her from getting inspired to sew some lovely dasters for my two munchkins. My MIL was a seamstress back in the day, she used to be very busy and highly sought after because she was one of the few who sewed in her village (by NZ standards, her village was a proper little city).

So when she asked me if I had any special requests for her to make, I told her that I can buy most things at the shops, but they don’t sell dasters in NZ. She sat down to make some paper patterns and told me how much fabric she needed. I went out to get some, mostly fabrics on sale, soft and light cottons that will be cooling in summer. I also bought some flannel for winter dasters.

Here are the results:

Horses on pink back ground

Horses on pink back ground

She used every last scrap of the horse fabric and managed to get out another little one for June.

Bold red flowers on fresh white background

Bold red flowers on fresh white background

This bold flowery fabric was a real steal, $3/m at 180cm width. I bought 1.5m and mum managed to get out two beautiful dasters for the girls. They look like proper summer dresses! And the fabric is lovely and cool to the touch.

This one was made from left over fabric from other projects.

This one was made from left over fabric from other projects. I love the pockets.

Daster usually has the zip or opening on the front of the dress, so it’s easy to get in and out of. It is only meant to be worn at home, but I think these are so lovely I can get away with June wearing them while she accompanies me when I run short errands near our home.

I think we are all set and ready for summer now.

She also made some winter dasters out of cost flannel and worn pretty much everyday. They get worn again right after they come out of the wash. I think it would have been good if we had another set but winter is almost over… I feel it’s too late for me to attempt another pair.

Mum did leave me basic paper patterns for both girls, maybe I’ll attempt a summer dress. She made it look so easy and gave me some good tips.

I am very grateful to have such a lovely and talented mother in law. She has had a very colourful life with plenty of ups and downs. But she’s an optimist, a survivor and she has such a generous heart. I really admire her spirit.