Making Socks Bunny

Because Easter's this coming weekend,  I noticed a few blogs posting Easter related craft projects, one of which is the Socks Bunny.

I decided to give it a go, and decided to try a really easy version. 

1) Stuff the bottom part of the sock, leaving the "heel" section of the sock unstuffed for the moment. Twist slightly, and using a needle and thread sew the stuffing in. (I sewed a loop around the sock, pulled it tight, and used the thread to go several rounds around it as well.) This creates the bunny's body.

Nel's first attempt at stitching and she did it pretty well!
 2) Squish a little stuffing at the end of the body to create the tail, sew another tight loop.

Notice the "heel" section of the sock is unstuffed? Also you can see how the bunny's going to be already.
   3) Stuff the "heel" section of the sock, sew another loop to form the head. I also used a little stitch to attach the bunny head to the body so it is upright and not drooping forward.

4) here I snipped some cloth away in the center to create the rabbit's ears.

5) then I stitched the open bits together. My girls chose to leave the ears unstitched to create a droopy effect.

Ears stitched
 6) Attach eyes, ribbon or whatever you want. I've seen some people attach whiskers and nose. We just left it this way.

This is Nel's almost done.  She did it completely by herself! and named it Blaster.
Here's Zillary (the pink bunny, name given by Jo) and Pixel (my old white sock bunny.)

This is Junee's cutie rabbit.

And here's them all. Best friends forever. haha...
@Martha, 2011

Gunung Gading National Park, Rafflesia

Seeing a Rafflesia is one of the most exciting part of life. :)  One of the best places to spot a Rafflesia is in Gunung Gading National Park , situated near the town of Lunduk, about 2 hours from Kuching.

This is a park famous for the growth of the very rare Rafflesia flower. However, the Rafflesia is not always in bloom, and if they do, it only lasts for a week. A Rafflesia grows as a bud for 9 months, blooms for about 7 days and then decays. To find them, you have to look for the host vine, or better still get a guide. A guide there costs RM50.

The first time we were there, we went without a guide. The Park Ranger there said there were no Rafflesias in bloom. However, since we had made a trip all the way there, I was desparate/stubborn enough NOT to belief in the park ranger.

There are several lovely falls there, some suitable for swimming in
 We hiked 2 hours in the thick, humid rainforest only to face disappoinment. Not a Rafflesia in sight. :( We even risked crossing a no entry sign to walk the Rafflesia route which was closed for repair of broken boards. I've to say, my kids were WONDERFUL. They walked those hours with us without complaining, Jo was carried every now and then when it got a little too dangerous.

Then I said a little prayer. Lo and behold, 2 burly men with tatoo all over their bodies appeared. They looked at me and asked "enjoying your hike?" I replied "...well, I came to see the Rafflesia, and didn't see any." They replied "We know where there is one! Want to follow us?"

Climbing a vine

I jumped in excitement and said "I'll follow you!" 5 minutes into the walk, I began to wonder if they were robbers or something...even my husband started wondering...... 10 mins passed, then they showed us a narrow trail off the main one. I began worrying a little. Then they man said "here it is!" I followed, looked behind a large tree, and there it was. :) A medium sized one....about 6 days old. I thanked them profusely...and was just so overjoyed at the sight of the Rafflesia. It's amazing how God answers simple prayers. :)
A Rafflesia bud which the men showed us. The rafflesia takes 9 months to bloom! and when it blooms, it starts decaying within 7 days.
The Rafflesia that took my breath away coz I was just so thrilled and overjoyed at finding one

 This year 2011, we found ouselves at G. Gading National Park again. This time we hired a ranger and found the trail more interesting. He provided us with lots of information about the Rafflesia and its host vine. He also showed us many other plants, some parasitic and stinky as well! We saw many buds and finally found a Rafflesia, one day before full bloom. The species we saw this time is different from  the one we saw during our last visit. If I'm not mistaken there are 2-3 different species in that park alone.
Rafflesia Bud (different species from the one we saw the year before)
Rafflesia Bud

Just a day before full bloom

Other interesting finds there include
 dried rotting Rafflesia

 Ive to google this up. But it was smelly!

So, if you're near Kuching, you should make your way to this park!

@Martha, 2011

Kuching- Cultural Village

Sarawak Cultural Village  is a place you must visit if you're in Kuching. It's a place where you and your family can get to experience a bit of the ethnic diversity found in Sarawak.

My children really enjoy this place. We've been there several times, and they get excited everytime we go. They've tried all sorts of ethnic musical instruments displayed there, tasted different types of goodies baked/cooked there, and Nel even went up on stage to dance the native dance and you'll see in one of the pictures, she got dressed up like them too. :)
One of the houses...Bidayuh i think

model of a headhunter's house. you see skulls hanging on the inside.
Man playing the Sape. He actually hand carves sapes and sells them. I was tempted to get one, but he didn't have one readily for sale. He also showed us how he uses wild honey to stick the frets in place.

See all these half made sapes? fully booked. The shop outside only sells souvenir ones. I would like to get a real one. He said to try on my next trip. Fingers crossed, I'll be the proud owner of one next time.

My little girl all dressed up. We paid RM10 to borrow the costumes
Lady showing us how weaving a mat is done
Finally if you're there, don't forget to catch the Cultural Show which goes on twice a day. That's always a fun show to watch.
(more to come on places to visit in Kuching- such as Sematan, GGading Rafflesia, Orang Utan Sanctuary)
@Martha , 2011

Endau Rompin

(bits taken from post March 2010 on previous blog)
 Endau Rompin,  I have wonderful memories of the time we had there. I miss that place. The whole vacation was just absolutely beautiful….Beautiful weather, the sound of the gurgling river right beside our camping ground, the singing of the gibbon early in the morning, the funny “three tone” toad as I call it coz of it’s song…the singing of the insects…the cool weather...all created such a  Magical  place.
Our tents all set up

There are several trails there, each taking you to a different waterfall. Do ask your guide which would be more suitable for your children's age. Also, it is wise to trust your guide more than the information given at the office in Bekok. Your guide will know more! We trusted the office at Bekok and ended up on a very long, tiring and strenuous trek for children. So tiring that our youngest trekker Du (aged 4) fell asleep and his dad had to carry him out, and we arrived back at campsite almost dark!  Thank goodness we had sufficient food and water, plus change of clothes. It is always better to have extra food/water on a long trail then too little.   The waterfalls there are worth the trek! but just remember that waterfalls can be dangerous and take extra caution with your children

A nest of millipedes which we saw while trekking

Our guide cooling down in the middle of the falls (Takah Berangin). Some of us topped up water at this fall too.
What did our children do every night? They visited each other’s tents, had  fun doing shadow shows, playing with  torchlights, building sand castles at night and telling jokes and stories.
Refusing to sleep they played late into the night under the clear moonlit sky... So lovely to hear the giggling and laughter of children playing their hearts out..

We went during Cap Goh Mei and had a FULL moon to brighten the nights

We set this up to attract insects. Later kids used it as platform for shadow skits :)

I’ll definitely be there again…… When I asked the children “do you want to come back here again?” All 11 children shouted with a unifying “YES!!!!”

children feeding fish before jumping in to swim

Finally if you plan to go, you'll need to prebook your campsite. There will be a fee per camper, and guide fees (compulsory.) You'll also need a 4 wheel drive to get in there, or hire the ones provided there. They'll drive you in, but I hear the charges are rather steep.

Finally if you're gonna go on the trails there, you need to be extra prepared in case you take longer then intended. We brought with us:
-Extra Water
-Lots of food (we trekked a total of 6 hours!)
-Enegy bars, chocolates
-First Aid
-Change of clothes
-Mosi Guard
-Trekking poles/sticks..whatever you call em. (this came in useful when my bro sprained both ankles coming down a steep slope)
-torch light (also useful coz we came out later than expected)
-Camera for the amazing things you'll see on  the way.
@Martha, 2011

When did my children start Trekking?

It's rare finds like that this that make
trekking so exciting! (cup fungi)
  I grew up as a city kid, who began loving the great outdoors somewhere in my teen years. When I became a mum, I decided I wanted to bring up my children differently. No endless tuition classes, no TV (well..ok, yes when at grandma's place), limited computer time and no PSP or whatever you call those games. Call me old fashioned, I don't care.

When my first was born, I had her in a sarong (baby carrier) strapped to me whenever I went for long walks. I used to talk to her and point out things that we saw along the way. When she could walk, she never sat in a pram longer then  5 minutes. Strapping her in was tough!! Thus, as a young toddler, she'd walk with me, 200 metres at first and then longer and longer distances. At age 2 plus, she walked 1.5 KM uphill to see a lighthouse with me (I love lighthouses!). I didn't force her too, but she chose to. From then on, she's always told me, "I love walks, I love trekking, I love nature." She's passionate bout animals and wants to be a vet. Her favourite activity? walking, trekking.

Little Jo and daddy crossing a shallow

My second is Different. From the time she could walk, she still chose to remain glued to the pram or me. However, she does love the great outdoors. The difference is that while my oldest loves to trek, this one loves exploring nature, minus the long treks. The outdoors is a great playground for her  which is full of lovely unexpected surprises. She gathers twigs, flowers, sand, mud...anything she can get her hands on, to create her imaginary play world. She's also  the braver one when it comes to creepy crawlies. To date, the list of things she's caught with her bare hands is rather impressive for a 5+ year old. She's caught cicadas, roaches, snails, worms, grasshoppers, RATS!, leaf and stick insects, lightning bugs and a variety of beetles. Impressive right? She will whine on trails! she still whines occasionally, but despite all the whining, she's made it to the end of every trail we've been on.

To date, our longest trek would be in Endau Rompin, three hours of steep climb in, and 3 hours out. If this little person can, so can your children!

I know some parents are hesitant, afraid when it comes to nature walks. I often hear this "wait till my child is a little older." Thing is, once they're older they'll find the great outdoors boring, coz they would've gotten addicted to their TV and playstation. They'll say "it's hot, yucky, boring etc." So, I'd recommend that parents get them interested from young instead.

I remember starting mine early by allowing them to JUMP in puddles of rain water in a wet wet field after the rain,       Walking bare footed over grassy fields and muddy paths.          Catching insects for them to observe or stopping to watch a little bug cross the road,      standing still on trails asking them to listen to the sound of nature,      birdwatching with them etc. children began to love it. Nature has much to's a wonderful learning ground, I believe it helps your child develop confidence in him/herself. It helps a child feel, see, listen, observe and think in a whole new way.

If you're a nervous parent, try to relax and enjoy the trip yourself, or go for a simple trail first like the ones in FRIM or Frasers Hill and remember to enjoy.

Things to bring on a nature trip with children:
-Drinking water/energy drink
- Energy food
- Junk food (for motivation),
- First aid
- Mosquito repellant
- Wet wipes and tissue
-binoculars/magnifying glass/camera
 Once all set, enjoy your adventure.

Nel and cousins having fun hiking :)

@Martha, 2011

Frasers Hill - trekking

My children and I love  Frasers Hill. We love it for many reasons such as its fresh and tranquil air, bird watching, butterflies, paddock and of course Nature trails. There are several trails there, I've marked the ones we've been to in yellow.  We've hiked these trails since my children were as young as 3, and each  time we hike we spot different plants, animals and insects. The trails never fail to amaze and wonder us.

Here is the list of trails on Frasers.
  • Rompin Trail (500 m)
  • Kindersly Trail (750m)
  • Bishop's Trail. (1500m) 
  • Maxwell Trail (1800m)
  • (Hemmant Trail 1000m) (we love this trail because of its pitcher plants)
  • Abu Suradi Trail (500m)
  • Mager Trail (1000m)
  • Pine Tree Trail. (5000m) The most challenging trail on Frasers (  for post on this, please visit my other blogpost -Trekking Pine and Bishop   )
Many people will tell you they got through these trails in less than 20 mins with nothing to see. Well, it's not about speed when you're trekking these trails! If you take your time in trekking, walk slowly and silently, stop, observe and listen, you'll see and hear lots!!

Here are some shots taken around Frasers Hill.
    Stag Beetle
    I know not the species....but it's a spider nevertheless... ;)
Giant millipede. So far we've seen this species in 3 colours, reddish brown, dark brown and black
lots of fungus and colourful mushrooms on Frasers. The most unique I've seen (can't find the photo) was a large yellow mushroom.

We watched this spider spin its web around its prey
I really need a book to help me identify these spiders by name ;P
Tree Frog's eggs!
We called this starwars spider..looks like Darth Vader, don't you think? ;)

another unnamed spider
Leaf Insect

Frasers Hill boasts an amazing variety of moths and butterflies

Spider going for catch of the day

We trekked again, and here's my second post- Pine and Bishop Trail

@all photos copyright of Martha Neverland of

Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut), Taiping

We never thought of visiting Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut), Taiping till a friend invited us. If you're the sort who loves nature, quiet and peace with little to do, except for walks , hiking and photography; I recommend Maxwell Hill. It's a lovely hill with fresh cool air, and I hear that they have tulips there certain parts of the year!

The only way to get up there is by taking a jeep from the bottom of the foothill, or by hiking. They charge 7RM per adult for the jeep ride (fees may have changed), and only three jeeps go up every hour. So to be sure you get a place,  you've got to get there half hour before time to secure your seats.

Let me warn you that the ride up is like a roller coaster ride! the roads are steep and winding. The drivers SPEED like hell and manage the bends at neck breaking speed which can cause the less bold to emit high pitch screams! :) 

bug on a blade of grass
So, what's on Maxwell Hill? Nothing, except narrow tracks, lush beautiful forest, flowers, birds, insects and 7 bungalows all located about 10-20 minute walk apart (ummm...tiring walks sometimes..coz of the slopes). That's all there is. Blissful peace. :) I have to mention that out of the 7 bungalows, 2 are private and in beautiful condition, while the rest are government owned and was not in very good condition when I visited. I hear that they've upgraded them recently. is truly beautiful and peaceful there. The sunset and sunrise is makes you feel so close to God.

The night we were there, several years ago, there was strong wind at night that howled right through the windows! (which can create some excitement or fear..depending on the type of person you are!) The rain around 1am, created strong winds, which in turn created loud booms and bangs as shutters on windows swung open and shut. Some might start to think of the haunted stories of Maxwell hill, but I chose to think not!

 Anyway, I went out to look....and it was just plain heavenly beauty.
Rain trickling down past midnight,  cool cool wind of about 10Celsius, and the night lights flickering in the distance from the town far below the hills made the night on Maxwell breathtaking!

Did my children love the place? Definitely.

Below are some shots taken from Maxwell. Some taken by my children.

Where we have our meals at Cendana Hut

Balcony outside our rooms at Cendana
Rumah Hijau

All Pictures copyright of Martha