November 21, 2017

October or November?

When I loaded up the photos for this post it was October, but life is getting away from me lately. So by the time I got back to it again it was almost halfway through November. A lot has happening since my last blog post. One thing for sure is that I'm looking forward to the Christmas break! I get 12 days off work starting from Dec. 22nd through 2nd of Jan. 2018 - woo hoo! 

In January we taking our holiday to Japan, stopping in Hong Kong for a few days on our way. I've planed to get to Toji flea market in Kyoto on the 21st and also to the Tokyo International Quilt Festival at long last! I'm really looking forward to this trip. Apart from that, our son and his family will be joining us there too. Extra excitement to have the grandchildren coming on holiday with us!

On the creative front! A lot is happening on the creative side actually. I have finished piecing the Indigo Moon quilt top. I have enough moon blocks for a queen quilt which I'm very happy with. Next thing is to find a backing big enough for it. Guest what? I walked into my local op-shop and found exactly the fabric I need. I always feel because you love fabric, in return fabric loves you right back too. In this instance I found this gorgeous designer label blue fabric, 'R.M. Williams' just right for the backing of my indigo moon quilt. A perfect marriage between Japan and Australia. How can you beat that? 

More on the creative side. I finally finished Sashiko stitching on my denim jacket. I get lots of compliments every time I wear it. I am also working on some bits and pieces as time allows. See the captions for details. 

Indigo Moon Queen Quilt Top, done and dusted!

R.M. Williams fabric is a lucky
find for quilt backing!


Sashiko stitches on denim jacket

Cutting up old rug to re-purpose into coasters

Some coasters ready to go

The complete commissioned scarf
I did for Martha in Austria. 

The big news from me has to be about my daughter Kitiya Palaskas. I'm so proud to say Kitiya's published her first book! Pinata Party is the ultimate DIY craft book for those wanting to create their own version of this party accessory. The book has now launched in Australia. It will be launched in the US in Feb. 2018. Below are some photos of Kitiya's book launch in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago. A great gift for Christmas to those creative hands...

Bruswick Bound bookstore were
onsite at the launch.

Kitiya started the lunch
with the bank/bottle!

Lots of friends came to give support

Fun night were have by all and Pinatas!

Lovely dudes came to give helping hands

One of the pages from the book. 

Lucky find:

I haven't been shopping or looking at anything to buy lately, but last weekend I took my gym buddy to my local op-shop and I just stumbled into these two adorable stools. I sat on each one of them and I fell in love with them so, got to take them home with me!


This post ends with the update on my 12 Weeks Challenge I started almost 12 weeks ago now. This is our last week in the Challenge. Unbelievable how fast the 12 weeks have flown by. Next Friday is the presentation evening. We all get to dress-up and receive our awards or the badges of attendance. I will make sure to get a good photo of us to share with you. 

I think my next post will be a Christmas post. It's going to be a low key Christmas for us. A busy time in my family this year. Will keep you updated once it is all over.

Until next time
Nat






August 30, 2017

Late August 2017

I've managed to put in a second blog post in August, that's a first this year! August has been a busy month for me so far. Sometimes it just happens without pre-planning. It's like a good surprise when it happens! 

Four weeks ago I received a request from a long time follower to create a scarf/shawl using my eco-dyed fabric. I told her that most of my dyed fabric comes in small pieces and if it is okay with her, I would use more than one piece of fabric to make a scarf. She told me to go ahead and create what I think is suitable. I have been thinking of making scarves by joining many pieces of eco-dyed fabric. This was a good opportunity to put my idea into practice. I was excited and got started straightaway. I'm now putting the last few stitches on before I post it off to her in Austria! 

Last weekend I attended an indigo seminar and mini workshop at the Monash Gallery of Art. I haven't done indigo dyeing for ages, so it was a lot of fun and inspired me to get back to it again! Also last weekend I went to a woodblock printing workshop hosted by Kazari-Ziguzagu and taught by Terry McKenna. The woodblock printing process was very interesting. Kazari-Ziguzagu often puts on exhibitions, workshops and talks on all Japanese Art, Crafts and cultural activities.

Scroll down to read and view related photos: 

Turning an old linen napkin into
a cool Shibori table runner

Indigo in the Water seminar/workshop

Workshop samples

A happy participant

Blue hands rinsing indigo

My indigo piece while it was still wet

Embroidery on the old linen napkin

Terry McKenna is a master of woodblock printing. He exhibit and teaches all over Australia. He spend years study the craft of woodblock printing in Japan.

My little print that I did in the workshop

Terry showing a class participant
the printing technique

BORO pieces displayed at Kazari-Ziguzagu

Wall of Kimonos and Houri jacket

Japanese Kokeshi collection in the shop

A sneak peek of the commissioned scarf/shawl that is now completed. I will try and get a photo of the whole piece this weekend. It is all hand pieced using French seams. I've added stitches over in some places. I didn't want to put too many stitches because it will make the scarf stiff. 

Scarf/Shawl

Stitches over the seams

More stitching

Stitched Eucalyptus leaves pattern

I signed up for another 12 Weeks Challenge at my gym Pinnacle Health Clubs. The 12WC will start at the beginning of September. This is my second 12WC that I'm doing. I got a lot out of it the last time. It was a fun way to work-out "Better Together".

12 Week Challenge poster

That's all for me folks. I have packed too much in these last couple of weeks! How is everyone out there? Another thing I've started doing is brewing homemade Kombucha. It's a Probiotic drink that has been around for more than a thousand years! I've started making Kombucha over a month ago. And you know since then I have seen and read so much about Kombucha! I even bought one from a shop just to see what it tastes like. No, it wasn't as good as my homemade Kombucha, that's for sure!

Until next time
Nat


August 6, 2017

Winter Down Under

Winter hibernation! I'm always looking forward to winter at the end of a hot and dry Australian Summer. Though after a couple of months into winter hibernation I'm starting to wish it to goes away again! If you remembered I got vertigo last winter. Thanks goodness I didn't get it again this year, but what I got was a bad flu virus and it knocked me down for a couple of weeks. 

After I got over my flu I made a quick trip to Sydney to visit Myra and Georgina my dear quilter friends. We had planned to visit the famous Sydney harbour and all the touristy spots, but the train schedules had changed on that day and if we went we would have had to take 3 trains and couple of busses before reaching the harbour. In the end, we didn't make it. Instead we spent the afternoon quilting! 

I also saw two major International Exhibitions here in Melbourne. The first one was the Winter Master Exhibition of Vincent Van Gogh and the second one was the Hokusai Exhibition. How lucky am I to get a chance to view both of these exhibitions right here in Melbourne. I also was lucky to have visited Van Gogh's Museum in Amsterdam in 2015. I got to learn of Hokusai early on in my life when we came across his work featured in a beautifully printed calendar. Unfortunately, I do not remember the calendar year, but it was a pretty old calendar when we found it. We got all the prints framed and they hung in our homes for years.  I was thrilled to see Hokusai's original prints up-close and personal. 

Working, preserving and baking has been keeping me busy throughout Winter, but I wouldn't mind seeing Spring soon! I try to fit in eco-dyeing when I can, but only managed to do one batch in the last couple months. Anyway, below are some photos from the various activities I have been doing. Thanks for visiting. 

Van Gogh Self-portrait autumn 1887
Paris oil on canvas

There was no The Sunflowers painting in the
exhibition! But this clever dude sitting on
the curve painting in plain view
for everyone to appreciate!

A Wheatfield with Cypresses, Van Gogh. 

The Great Wave - Hokusai's most famous print.

Fine Wind, Clear Morning, Red Fuji Hokusai print

I'm always into baking and trying new recipes. Of course I love preserving/canning as you call it in North America. I was given some black and green olives recently. They came with instructions on how to preserve them. I also preserved garlic and honey. 

Portuguese tarts 

Gluten free orange cake

Jars of preserves

Dyeing bundles: There are many eucalyptus leaves around my neighbourhood. I wait until the leaves fall on the ground or when the city council prunes the trees. Winter seems to be the pruning time. Winter is also the season for privet berries which I collect and make into bundles. The berries give striking marks on fabric.  

Bundles freshly from the dye pot

Vintage silk with eucalyptus leaves
and privet berries

Eucalyptus Cinerea leaves on vintage silk

Eucalyptus Nicholii leaves on silk

In Sydney with Georgina and Myra

The quilt Myra and I made for each of us

Union Jack quilt Georgina made
for her beach house. 

Good to know that some people are missing my blog update. There is no excuse not updating my blog except I feel I don't make anything worthwhile sharing. Of course you can always look me up on Instagram 

Hope everyone is keeping well, healthy and fit! I'm still doing my daily exercises. I have got into a routine of hitting the gym for 6am sessions. The session lasts 45 minutes. I am home again by 7:00 and leave for work by 8:00. I try to do this 4-5 times a week, and if for some reason I miss a day, I make it up on Saturday.  I think I have become one of those gym junkies! 

Until next time
Nat





June 23, 2017

Treasures of Handmade and Homemade

I was thrilled to be asked by my director to create a farewell book for the university librarian when she left early in June. The university librarian, CHR was my favourite director. CHR appreciated and supported my artistic projects. She had been to all of my exhibitions over the years. Apart from the official farewell book I made from all of us, I also made her a journal as a gift from me. We had her farewell party on her last day and I got to present both books to her myself. 

After making books for CHR I got so inspired and made a few more books to use for textile samples. I have been thinking about making sample books for sometime now. I'm glad I finally got around to making them. 

My stitching project on this post is the jacket I patched with eco-dye silk and adding boro style stitching all over it. Slow stitch is ideal for a winter project. I have way more stitching to do on it yet!
I have been bottling my homegrown olives and make my own red and green curry paste as well. What are you doing this winter/summer? 

Textile sample books

This one for vintage indigo

End paper and title page

The 1880 antique sample book from Paris

Another 1880 antique sample book from Paris

CHR's gift journal made from
recycled bookcloths

End paper and title page

CHR's farewell book

End paper and title page

One of my recent projects is this designer linen jacket sourced from an op-shop and patched all over with eco-dyed silk and slow stitch. I never use any pre-planed designs or patterns to stitch over. I just let the fabric and textures guide my stitch. I've completed one side of the jacket. I have put it away for the moment to take up a crochet rug during the cool winter evenings.

Almost done with the right side. 

Round circles just happened!

Motif

A couple of weeks ago I came across a Kaffir lime tree full of limes. I remembered my mother made her own curry paste. Kaffir lime rind is one of the main ingredients for curry paste. In season my mother used to peel the rind and dry it to use in the off season. I think I will do the same too. There are lot of them at the moment. No one here knows what to do with them and they just go to waste otherwise. With that I made both red and green curry pastes to keep. I'm happy I did that and made enough to give away to DD and her partner who love cooking.

Red curry paste

Green curry paste

Preserved green olives

Before and after photos  of 12 WKC team

I just finished my 12 week challenge training at the end of May. We love it so much that we are still doing exercise just like we did in the 12 wkc. My gym is so caring that they are shutting down for 2 weeks to give us a break. Exercise is like other sports; we need to have a break after the major event. In the next 2 weeks we are supposed to do nothing. I think I'm going to miss it. I am also taking up running so I will keep that up! How is everyone? I hope you put some physical activities into your daily routine as well.

Until next time
Nat 














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