Some of you might have noticed the recent changes on the appearance (namely logo) of Team EtsyMalaysia. The truth is, Team EtsyMalaysia has been quietly working behind the scene for a whole new appearance.

After a month or so of hard work and collaborations from members, I’m proud to announce that Team EtsyMalaysia is ready to move on to a new site. Welcome Team EtsyMalaysia. This will be the new home for the team, so remember to update your bookmark.

The new editorial board is still fixing things here and there, but please feel free to browse around as we’re at it.

Who doesn’t love a hand-printed t-shirt with quirky graphics that seem to be designed just for you? Put one on and everyone sees you for the unique, creative and fun-loving individual that you are. This thinking kinda fits with the idea behind KaffeeKatz and the tees designed by Peiyiing and Peckling, who are inspired by cats and fueled by coffee.

So who are KaffeeKatz?

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KaffeeKatz, as you might have guessed, means “Coffee Cat”. There are two people in our team, Peiyiing (PY) and Peckling (PL). Peiyiing is, in her own words, “a fashion designer wannabe!” If she could have her wildest dreams fulfilled, she would actually really like to intern under McQueen AND design costumes for Broadway.

We are both pretty inspired and entertained by cats (ref: Maru and Nala). A cat is flexible, resourceful and independent; she can be loving and playful, but just as elegantly mysterious.

Add in a whiff of invigorating coffee, just to perk things up a little. Also, ever realize how coffee can act as a catalyst for creativity? People open up and share ideas and feelings over cups of coffee.

So, KaffeeKatz is about being unique, comfortably versatile and independent. That’s why we design and paint each one-of-a-kind piece with much TLC. Tees are comfortable and fuss-free, perfect for the independent individual who’s all too ready to go out into the world and share the love!

 

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What do you do other than your Etsy craft? 
PY: I’m currently in Supply Chain Management. That’s like a totally different ball-game from arts and craft, but both keep me going. It’s really about viewing both as necessary parts of a whole – one keeps me fed, the other keeps me sane. :)
PL: I have a day job as an Auditor. There are many regulations and standards which have to be complied with in my line of work. Etsy is a nice break from all these.

How did you get started making these printed t-shirts? And what does it mean to you?
PY: I started out drawing manga, branched briefly into cosplay, and then went into costume designing for theatre. From there I got interested in fashion design, and decided to do something practical with it. Given my (our?) level of skills and resources, KaffeeKatz seemed to be the most realistic option. As stated above, my craft keeps me sane. But this journey hasn’t been that easy, so I would say that it’s been a valuable learning experience, both in terms of craft and business sense.

What inspires you when creating any of your products?
PY: High fashion, and encounters of the feline kind. Interestingly, my interaction with my puppy Stockings has inspired me as well.
PL: Art and cats!

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And what are you most excited about regarding future plans for your Etsy shop? What’s your ultimate goal?
PY: To expand our repertoire beyond tees. It would be great if this could be a stepping stone into some real fashion design business.

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Fun Facts on KaffeeKatz
What is your current obsession?
PY: Baking pies.
PL: Political tv series “Scandal”.

Who is the one person, dead or alive, that you would like to meet the most? Why?
PY: Alexander McQueen.
PL: Claude Monet, because I really like his paintings.

The last concert you saw was… 
PL: Jersey Boys musical. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” was great!

The last movie you saw was…..
PY: The Conjuring. I like it because it has the spook factor, but doesn’t haunt me outside of the cinema in lifts, out of TVs or in the bathroom.

If you could do something all over again, what would that be and how would you do it?
PY: My undergraduate days. I would choose to be bolder and more creative.
PL: Me too!

Tell us about the one thing that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the chance yet
PY: Take a full-time degree in Fashion Design.
PL: Road trip.

If you could drop everything right now, where would be the one place you would go to immediately?
PY: Scandinavia.
PL: New York City.

Your fave quote or Words of Wisdom?
PY: “Calm seas never made a good mariner.”
PL: “God helps those who help themselves.”

Hakka luicha, or, impressively translated, thunder tea rice might not be the best known hawker dish in Malaysia, but it is one of my favourites.  It stands out amongst other hawker fare because it is healthy and actually good for you! My favourite luicha stall is in Old Town PJ, at Soon Lee Coffee Shop.

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Luicha is basically a whole lot of stir fried vegetables on top of rice, served with a green tea soup.  Some people pour all the soup into the rice and slurp it up as a soupy rice meal, while others prefer to sip the soup separately while eating the rice.  The key to a great luicha is the soup and the overall balance of flavours with the rice.  It is a complex dish, worthy of being a MasterChef taste test challenge! As far as I can tell, there’s green tea, mint, peanuts, sesame, black eyed beans, four angled beans, long beans, onions, tofu, pickled radish, leeks, dried shrimp, 2 kinds of leafy veg… and rice. Yep.. this is one dish I won’t attempt to recreate at home!

the dish

 

 

Jalan 1/10, 46000 Petaling Jaya.

Lois Loo’s animal drawings are too cute to ignore! Translated into various items on Wonderkitten, her illustrations seem to represent her feelings, with messages of love, life and even environmental and social activism. Here, Lois shares more about herself.

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Tell us something about yourself.
Hi, I am Lois Loo, an independent illustrator based in Kuala Lumpur. I am currently working full-time in my little home studio. I founded “Wonderkitten” in 2006. I love telling stories through my illustrations using animal characters. I have 6 cats at home and the one of the tuxedo fat cat is my logo. He is the funniest cat I have ever seen in my life. I hope my creations inspire people to appreciate every little thing in life. I really love seeing people who like my work ,wearing them and talking to their friends about the little thought behind the drawing. Sometimes I also apply my work into some smaller items like postcards, badges, stickers, etc.

What do you do other than your Etsy craft?
I am a full-time illustrator now but I do freelance graphic design too. Sometimes I work in a small children’s daycare centre during the day. I love kids. They have an innocence about them that is cute and real. They give me inspiration, too!

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So how did you get started in illustration?
I graduated with a Diploma in Multimedia design but I found I didn’t really fit in. I found myself more interested in doing characters and spending hours on a piece of illustration. Illustration is like the easiest way for me to know myself and is a diary of my different stages of life. Sometimes I just sit down and start drawing, it amazes me when I find it was actually what I was feeling without realizing before I started drawing the piece of work.

What inspires you when creating any of your products?
There are many things that inspire me like my cats and people I’ve met, but for the moment I am creating most of my products by a motto – “inspire people to appreciate every little thing in life”.

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Fun Facts about Lois Loo of Wonderkitten:

What is your current obsession?
Planting my own veggies.

Who is the one person, dead or alive, that you would like to meet the most?
Goku from Dragon Ball. I’ve been drawing him since young.<

The last concert you saw was…
Sammi Cheong in Genting. Not impressed….

The last movie you saw was…..
A Hong Kong movie, Cold War. The actors were very handsome.

If you could do something all over again, what would that be and how would you do it?
Be with my father.

Tell us about the one thing that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the chance yet
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Keep a baby owl at home.

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If you could drop everything right now, where would be the one place you would go to immediately?
Japan.

Your fave quote or Words of Wisdom
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” –  Robert Brault

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Lois chilling out

When one thinks of vegetarian food in Malaysia, the cuisine we most often associate it with is Indian or Chinese. So it was really quite a genious idea when The Big Group decided to revamp Bistro 42 into a very stylish and contemporary vegetarian restaurant the likes of which KL has never seen before.

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With an ‘al fresco’ or indoor dining option, Botanical is intimate and stylish with that classic + retro + industrial decor the group is very well known for and I absolutely dig – I could live in their supermarket, for example. Personally, I liked the indoor seating option, with its dark walls, plant-themed plates and chairs I hope to have in my dining room someday.

Lovely decor aside, the food is equally good – if not better. The Big Group’s fairly expansive range of restaurants serves food that range from ‘ok’ to really really good, and to me, the quality and taste of the dishes I’ve had at Botanical falls into the latter category. Everything was tasty, cooked to perfection and served in generous portions that I seriously recommend sharing if you’re planning on doing the full three courses! I’ve been there thrice so far and have not managed to make it to dessert! And since I enjoyed the food so much, I am glad I made the effort to snap pictures of just about everything we ordered the first time around.

Loving the tile-inspired inner covers of the menu.

Loving the tile-inspired inner covers of the menu.

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Not my coffee. But I couldn’t resist taking a pic of that pretty antique-style sugar bowl.

The complimentary bread comes in little brown paper bags. The bread is served warm and as is really quite tasty even without dipping it into the bowl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The complimentary Seaweed Foccacia comes in little brown paper bags. The bread is served warm and is really quite tasty even without dipping it into the bowl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The top hats look like a burst of overgrown grass! Eating it is a little tricky, so I recommend some 'mowing of the lawn' before attempting to eat the 'top hat'. It is quite refreshing and tasty though!

The Top Hats look like a burst of overgrown grass! Eating it is a little tricky, so I recommend some ‘mowing of the lawn’ before attempting to eat the rest of it. It is quite refreshing and tasty though!

These sweet potato cakes are oh so good and goes perfectly with the accompanying mint and yogurt. I also tried their carrot coriander fritters during my second trip and it was superb!

These Sweet Potato Cakes are oh so good and goes perfectly with the accompanying mint and yogurt. I also tried their Carrot Coriander Fritters during my second trip and it was superb!

The oh so yummy portobello mushroom ragout features a poached egg on a bed of creamy polenta. I don't really fancy portobello so I pushed them aside for others, but I could happily eat the egg and polenta all on its own - my new favourite comfort dish. Yum!

The oh so yummy Portobello Mushroom Ragout features a poached egg on a bed of creamy polenta. I don’t really fancy portobello, so I pushed them aside and focused on the egg and polenta. I think I have a new favourite comfort dish. Yum!

The fresh tomato and buffalo mozarella spaghettini is clean, light and comes in massive serving! I've had bites of their other pastas too, and their Sundried Tomato Pesto, Tom Yam Tempeh and Roaster Eggplant & Tomato are all pretty good too.

The fresh tomato and buffalo mozarella spaghettini is clean, light and comes in a massive serving! I’ve had bites of their other pasta dishes too, and their Sundried Tomato Pesto, Tom Yam Tempeh and Roasted Eggplant & Tomato are all pretty good as well.

If you never thought you could deal with a vegetarian lasagne, try their Pesto Lasagne. It is very tasty and comes with a nice thick layer of bechamel sauce. Delicious!

If you never thought you could deal with a vegetarian lasagne, try Botanical’s Pesto Lasagne. It is very tasty and comes with a nice thick layer of bechamel sauce. Delicious!

The Spinach Ricotta & Crepes Gratin looks like one big mess but it is actually pretty good and insanely filling. Unless you're insanely hungry, I absolutely recommend sharing this.

The Spinach Ricotta & Crepes Gratin looks like one big mess but it is actually pretty good and insanely filling. Unless you’re ravenously hungry, I absolutely recommend sharing this.

I’ve also tried their Four Cheese Toastie and Botanical House Salad and have no complaints so far. Their Tropical Comfort drink was also very good, but I was too thirsty to take a pic of it first.

The prices at Botanical are also fairly decent. Even if all you order is a single starter or main meal you’re bound to get pretty full. As I mentioned earlier, sharing is definitely recommended so you get to try more of the dishes they have on offer. The service is good and the wait staff quite friendly and knowledgeable, which are further plus points for me.

But will I go back? Of course. I have yet to try their dessert or any of their local dishes! I just need to convince more people that the vegetarian food here is far from boring – you absolutely won’t miss meat at Botanical!

Note: definitions of vegetarian tends to vary. Botanical serves egg and dairy in a number of their dishes.

PS: I also shared this on my own blog – yes! I actually have my very own blog now.