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!


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

May 21, 2017

Late Mini Easter Holiday

Very late Easter wishes to you all. Hope everyone enjoyed a little break at Easter. I know I did. I badly needed a respite since Christmas. I took the opportunity and took some extra days off  returning after ANZAC day. 

We took a trip to Broken Hill, in the Australian Outback for five days. Broken Hill is quite a drive from Melbourne. Both of us love a driving holiday so it was enjoyable. I had prepared some stitching to do on the drive as well as a journal to play with. We are both very keen photographers so any opportunities we had we would stop and take some great photos of the wonderful countryside. 

I packed-in a lot for the mini trip. I took a journal to keep mementos, souvenirs, leaves and later add photos I took. I had prepared some jars and silk for dyeing with leaves I collected along the way. When I got to our son's, my daughter-in-law and I put a big batch of dye together. My grandchildren loved helping us with dyeing. We made a lovely mess! 

Easter hopping bunny

Lake Tyrrell at sunset

Lake Tyrrell at midday.

Photographer in action.

Leaves and barks gathered on the trip.

Bundled and packed into jars.

After a couple of days.

Bundles steamed ready to unwrapped. 

A piece from the bundle.

Lovely little helping hand.

A piece from one of the jar.

Another piece from the bundle

Below are some photos I took from the trip and some artworks from Broken Hill Regional Gallery. 

Eucalyptus trees look wonderful against
blue sky.

The old railway station at Silverton. 

River in Hay, NSW.

Hay river, NSW.

Hay, NSW.

Old mining tour, Broken Hill

The giant bench, Broken Hill

Modern mine tour

Cottage featured in the movie 'The Last Taxi
to Darwin'. 

Artwork from Bronken Hill Gallery

Painting by John Osen

Silverton town

Totem Poles at Broken Hill Gallery

My son wanted to get creative while I was with them. He knows I can sew. Our family joke is "my mom never breaks a needle". He asked me to make him a stick-on pouch to stick on one of his favourite backpacks. He had purchased one on eBay so I had a sample to work on. I insisted that he work with me on this project. After a couple of hours together. We got it done! Below is the finished product!

Stick-On old and new front view.

Stick-On pouch attached on to backpack.

Stick-On back view.

Stick-On back view.

Lucky find: Never stop visiting op-shops! Every so often you might have a lucky find. I found this leather vintage Oraton handbag a couple of weekends ago. It's the sort of bag that is just perfect for my purse, phone and keys. I like the outside pocket for train tickets or receipts. Indeed it was a lucky find!

The winter is setting in here in Australia. We got plenty of rain as well, but rain is always welcome here. In the last 12 weeks I have been taking part in the 12WC (12 weeks challenge) at my gym. the challenge consists of 3 early mornings per week team exercises supervised by a personal trainer. We set goals at the start of 12 weeks. We weigh and take a body scan and do the same again at the end. This morning was the last session of the program. I felt that I achieved a great deal during the challenge. Working in a team is always encouraging. I enjoyed getting up early and getting the exercise out of the way so I did not need to do it after work. I hope you guys are putting in regular exercise as well. As you get older exercise is a lifestyle and not just to keeps thin.

Until next time

March 27, 2017

March 2017!

2017 comes with wings! I can't believe how fast it flew by this year. After I got over Christmas and New Year holidays I went back in my treehouse studio to pick-up and work on some of my UFOs. I got the Yellow Crumb quilt top finished which was a relief. At the same time I was hand stitching the Indigo moons block for the Quilty 365 challenge which I started in 2016. I didn't get to 365 blocks, but with a clever setting, I might get enough to make a queen size quilt. 

We have had a sad event in our family. My beloved Mother-in-law passed away in late Feb. My family and I made a short trip to the funeral in Auckland, NZ. My MIL was a lovely and supporting lady for all of us. I know we will all miss her. 

My colleagues and friends at work gave me a lovely bouquet of flowers on my return, so I decided to use them in the dye bundles in memory of my MIL. I also did more dyeing using my usual eucalyptus leaves. There lot of photos here so please enjoy...

Desert Cactus flower from my garden

Sympathy flowers into bundle 

Eucalyptus leave dyed. 

More Eucalyptus dyed

First piece from the bouquet 

Second piece of the bouquet

I read somewhere in social media about the Asia Gallery Warehouse in Auckland. On my last day there I thought I would look it up and what I found was WOW! It was an amazing hidden gem of a warehouse. I got talking to one of the ladies there and found that her husband worked most of his life in Japan. Although retired, he keeps going back there and brings all the gorgeous textiles and vintage artefacts back to Auckland. It happened that he married a lovely Thai lady so he is now importing vintage textiles from northern Thailand as well. I spent a few good hours there enjoying all the displays. I imagined I was back in Japan and Thailand! Naturally, I bought some gorgeous fabric from there! 

BORO indigo Yukatas

Silk for dyeing and indigo fabric

The stash I brought home

The two lovely ladies I met there.

The Japanese wooden doll (Kokeshi doll)
to add to my collection.

Some quilts I'm working on recently: The Indigo Moon is the Quilty 365 block challenge in 2016. It started off very well. I kept it going for most of 2016.

I completed the Yellow Crumb quilt I started with my friend Myra when she visited in October. I got really motivated and got it done over the Christmas holidays. I have just sent it off to the machine quilter and I can't wait to get it back! Out of the blue I started another quilt in January. It's a quilt from the Cultural Fusion Quilts book by Sujata. My favourite thing about starting all these quilts is, I have all the fabric I need for all of them! I'm a true quilter in the sense that I thrive on reusing and re-purposing what I have. I even go as far as getting new clothes with fabric that can be use for quilting in the future!  

Setting I've chosen for Indigo Moon Quilt

Original setting, but it will need more blocks!

Yellow Crumb Quilt

Some blocks from the Cultural Fusion Quilts book

Lucky Find: I haven't posted lucky find for awhile because everything I find these days is a lucky find! But today I'd like to share with you my lucky, lucky find. A vintage Ralph Lauren, RL Polo bag. I found it at a cool vintage store in Bangkok. It's a perfect little bag to carry a wallet and a phone around. I love love using it!

Hope everyone in North America is coping well with the cold weather you have been getting lately. You are supposed to be getting into Spring aren't you? Please keep safe and warm. 

I don't have any overseas travel planned this year, but I'm planning a big trip to the Tokyo International Quilt Festival in Jan. 2018 so I am saving everything for that. You can't just go to Japan without seeing more of the country so we will fit in Kyoto and maybe the south which we have not ventured into. For 2017 we will make mini trips to the outback or a trip to Sydney later on in the year.

My lovely friend Janet Wright is complaining that I don't update my blog enough! Sorry Janet, but I really haven't done much to blog about! I can assure you that I have been physically active exercising most days. 

Until next time

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