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notjustnat creative blog

Updated: 2018-04-24T16:57:58.554+10:00


Kyoto - 2018


We visited Kyoto 7 years ago. It was actually our first trip to Japan trip. This time the trip was more tailored to specific things I wanted to do and see. We stayed in this beautiful hotel Misui Garden. The room was almost big enough for the two of us! But in saying that, the hotel was beautiful and the Japanese style breakfast was plentiful and delicious. Apart from planning to hit the Toji Temple flea market on the 22nd of each month we also went back to the places we visited 7 years earlier. The flea market was a success. I was glad I decided to go there. There were so many cool stores and lots and lots of boro/indigo vintage fabrics to die for! The market was so big and busy that I feel I need to go back for another visit to see the rest of it. Our son and his family joined us on this trip so we got to spend time with them as well. I suggested that we should visit Nara while we were there. So we did. I knew the grand kids would enjoy the deer park in Nara. After Kyoto, we went to Tokyo in time for the Tokyo International Quilt Festival. I will blog about that on the next post. Japanese GardenView from the hotel lobby into the gardenKyoto Manhole coverKimono ladies in KyotoFushima Inari ShrineNanzen-ji Garden, KyotoWarning sign at Nara deer parkDeer feedingToji Temple flea-market storeToji Temple flea-market, more storeBORO/Indigo/ Vintage fabricat the flea-marketIkebana arrangementat Kyoky StationI got a lot more of photos, but I don't want to overwhelm you in one post. The next post I will blog about Tokyo and the Tokyo International Quilt Festival.Until next timeNat[...]

Hong Kong 2018


I have recently been on holiday in Japan. On our way we got a free stopover in Hong Kong. The last time we were in Hong Kong was before it was returned to China. We didn't see much change except the usual development of the crowded city.  Hong Kong was the first overseas city I went to, so it was interesting and sentimental for me. We stayed on Kowloon side which was vibrant and lively, specially in the evening. We had street food where the locals hang-out. We did the usual sight seeing, museum and a few galleries. We love trecking into the back street areas, soaking the atmosphere of the city. We went to where we used to visit years ago - Stanley Village. We had to travel over an hour by local bus to the other side of Hong Kong island. Stanley Village wasn't how we remembered it. The old fishing village is now as touristy as you can imagine. It was so disappointing, but the bus ride was fun. A friend who used to lived in Hong Kong told me to visit Mountain Folkcraft shop in the heart of Hong Kong. We tracked it down with the help of Google map. It's a shop you can easily spend a whole day in.Then I found the Sham Shui Po market. It's full of fabric and sewing supplies where local tailors and dressmakers shop! It's mostly an outdoor and pavement market. You can buy beads and sequins by weight and sewing pins by the thousand. It was such fun strolling along and just looking. Mostly just looking!  Hong Kong Victoria HarborPrayer shrine found in HK back streetWo On Lane, HKMountain Folk craftBack Street, HKStanley Village - what's leftOriginal cottage at Stanley VillageSham Shui Po MarketChinese New YeardecorationsMore Chinese New YeardecorationsHeart beads I bought from the marketMore goodies from the marketAs usual I always take some stitching projects to work on during my holiday. It's the best way to pass the time while waiting. I even stitched on the 9-hour plane ride. In Hong Kong I stitched a roll using eco-dyed and scrap vintage Japanese fabric. In Japan I did boro stitching using vintage indigo fabric. I will share all of them once I tidy them up a bit. When I returned I got the flu and wasn't feeling well for a couple of weeks. Even though I was back at work, mentally I didn't feel that good. I was tired and didn't have energy. I was feeling low in general. I'm glad to report that I'm back to my old self again. I picked up sewing and started creating again. I've also gone back to the gym. Keeping myself fit is the key.On my next post I will write about our time in Kyoto and the Kyoto Toji outdoor market. I won't leave it too long in between posts this time.Until next timeNat[...]

First Post in 2018


Happy New Year all. I know that Holidays are done and dusted, but my holiday is finally about to start! Hope everyone had a relaxing and safe Holiday. Last year was the busiest year for me. Work, family and home life took most of my time. I did quite a bit on the creative front too. I only made few handmade gifts this year. I made up a few heart ornaments and one for myself to use as a brooch (see photos). Late in November I signed up for a textile art course online workshop with Sue Stone. I'm slowly working away on each module and loving it.Then I finished Indigo Moon quilt and sent it away to get it machine quilted. I am looking forward to getting it back. I also finished another quilt top using blocks I made for a border of Indigo Moon quilt. I have enough blocks to make a throw sized quilt. I'm thrilled that I can use leftovers from one quilt to make another quilt. Does anyone do that? Then to wrap up 2017 leftover project, I finished piecing the heart blocks I did throughout the year, but it needed something to finish it off with. I used whatever fabric I had to piece the border for it. So, is this what they cal improv quilting? I am very pleased with myself and how it turned out.Below are the photos of what I've mentioned above. Hand stitching Christmas tree as partof my online workshopHearts using vintage quilt and blanketI kelp this to use as broochStitch samplers from module #1 online workshopSample from module #2.1Sample for module 2.2Playing with blocks from Indigo Moon quilt. I've also made up a few bunnies to applique around Indigo Moon quilt. I only made 4 bunnies. I don't want to waste them so I just randomly placed them in the quilt. I think I'm happy with that!Leftover blocksQuilt top with bunniesBasting ready for hand quiltingHand quilting has begunThe Love and Kisses quilt topThe most exciting project is my journal cover that I started sometime during the year. It's for our trip this January to Hong Kong and Japan. In Japan I will visit Toji Flea Market in Kyoto and the Tokyo International Quilt Festival. I have managed to combine the trip to visit both events. We will have a few extra days in Hiroshima as well. The travel journal front coverTravel journal black coverI will be posting on Instagram and Facebook. If you are my friends on Facebook please come along for a ride virtually! Some of my regular blog readers are not happy that I've been neglecting my blog lately. Living life in the fast lane can only fit so much in a day. IG and FB are must easier and faster to update than a blog format. Blogging is a journal for what I'm making. I like to print them out each year, but this year will be a very thin book!Until next timeNat[...]

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 luckyfind for quilt backing!Sashiko stitches on denim jacketCutting up old rug to re-purpose into coastersSome coasters ready to goThe complete commissioned scarfI 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 wereonsite at the launch.Kitiya started the lunchwith the bank/bottle!Lots of friends came to give supportFun night were have by all and Pinatas!Lovely dudes came to give helping handsOne 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 timeNat[...]

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 intoa cool Shibori table runnerIndigo in the Water seminar/workshopWorkshop samplesA happy participantBlue hands rinsing indigoMy indigo piece while it was still wetEmbroidery on the old linen napkinTerry 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 workshopTerry showing a class participantthe printing techniqueBORO pieces displayed at Kazari-ZiguzaguWall of Kimonos and Houri jacketJapanese Kokeshi collection in the shopA 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/ShawlStitches over the seamsMore stitchingStitched Eucalyptus leaves patternI 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 posterThat'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 timeNat[...]

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 1887Paris oil on canvasThere was no The Sunflowers painting in theexhibition! But this clever dude sitting onthe curve painting in plain viewfor everyone to appreciate!A Wheatfield with Cypresses, Van Gogh. The Great Wave - Hokusai's most famous print.Fine Wind, Clear Morning, Red Fuji Hokusai printI'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 cakeJars of preservesDyeing 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 potVintage silk with eucalyptus leavesand privet berriesEucalyptus Cinerea leaves on vintage silkEucalyptus Nicholii leaves on silkIn Sydney with Georgina and MyraThe quilt Myra and I made for each of usUnion Jack quilt Georgina madefor 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 timeNat[...]

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 booksThis one for vintage indigoEnd paper and title pageThe 1880 antique sample book from ParisAnother 1880 antique sample book from ParisCHR's gift journal made fromrecycled bookclothsEnd paper and title pageCHR's farewell bookEnd paper and title pageOne 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!MotifA 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 pasteGreen curry pastePreserved green olivesBefore and after photos  of 12 WKC teamI 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 timeNat [...]

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 bunnyLake Tyrrell at sunsetLake 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 bundleBelow are some photos I took from the trip and some artworks from Broken Hill Regional Gallery. Eucalyptus trees look wonderful againstblue sky.The old railway station at Silverton. River in Hay, NSW.Hay river, NSW.Hay, NSW.Old mining tour, Broken HillThe giant bench, Broken HillModern mine tourCottage featured in the movie 'The Last Taxito Darwin'. Artwork from Bronken Hill GalleryPainting by John OsenSilverton townTotem Poles at Broken Hill GalleryMy 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 timeNat[...]

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 gardenSympathy flowers into bundle Eucalyptus leave dyed. More Eucalyptus dyedFirst piece from the bouquet Second piece of the bouquetI 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 YukatasSilk for dyeing and indigo fabricThe stash I brought homeThe 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 QuiltOriginal setting, but it will need more blocks!Yellow Crumb QuiltSome blocks from the Cultural Fusion Quilts bookLucky 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[...]

How was your Christmas?


I know Christmas is done and dusted, but sorry I haven't got around to sharing my Christmas post with you. It was my turn to host Christmas at our house this year so as you can imagine with me working full time and trying to organise Christmas soon after I finished work. It was a very hectic time! We offered DS and DIL to look after the grandchildren so they could spend time away by themselves. They took off to New Zealand for a two-week well earned holiday. They had a lovely holiday while we enjoyed having the grandchildren by ourselves. We kept them and us busy with trips to the parks, swimming pool, ferry ride, library and visiting with friends. Kitiya kindly took them off our hands for a few days after I returned to work. I think we were out of practice with young kids, but we tried our best and all went well.Hope you all had a nice Christmas whatever you were doing. 2017 is well on its way. I started back to work soon after the New Year. I have no big travel plans this year. I'm saving up for the 2018 Tokyo International Quilt Festival. We will take small trips within Australia this year. Below are my Christmas photos to share with you. The captions will explain what they all are. Enjoy!New acquired Christmas decorationfrom Hokkaido  My Christmas tree for the last 16 years.I've bought a new tree for next Christmas!Stick tree decorated with wooden bells.The bell quilt I made when I wasn't a quilter!Redwork tree in the Treehouse studioSweet Candy quilt was used for the first timeVarious decorations on the treeClose-up of the treeSanta Quilt and Santa figurinesA few of Jim Shaw's Santa figurines I ownTreehouse Studio got decorated tooA few small Christmas quiltsSoft AngelsI made a couple of new baubles this yearSanta redwork UFO. Got to get it finishedPillow cover I made for little Anna 15 years agoChristmas tree at my desk with recycledcoffee capsulesCards and decorations at my deskChristmas table in red and whiteChristmas bakingChristmas preserving - Apricot JamVisiting Nordic friends on the holiday New Christmas tree for 2017 - Boxing Day saleWent cruising on the Yarra river.Happy New Year everyoneI was so glad that I managed to squeeze Christmas post in. Every year in January I like to print out my blog. I know I haven't blogged regularly in recent years. Blogging is my life journal. I post things that I make, and share the places I visit. It's great to look back and remember what I did and where I have been. I'm looking forward to receiving my 2016 blog book. Until next timeNat[...]

Colourful Japan - Hokkaido Part 2


Do I want to go back to Hokkaido? I definitely will. I recently saw a documentary on Hokkaido in winter with the ice festival and yes, I would like to go there at that time.Sorry for taking so long to blog Hokkaido Part 2. I had been very busy at Christmas time with family. Afterwards we had to babysit our grandchildren to give their parents a break. I also hosted a birthday party for them at the end of their stay. They have left now, and life is getting back to normal. The house is quiet again.Getting back to Hokkaido Part 2. Hokkaido is the second largest, northernmost and least developed of Japan's four main islands. I've only been to Honshu island and Hokkaido and I would say I like them both in a different ways.In this post I will share with you the photos I remember Hokkaido by. Blue colour is one thing that reminds me of Hokkaido. Perhaps because Hokkaido is surrounded by vivid blue sea. Please read the captions on each photo for what they are. Enjoy!Young bamboo shoots dyed blue with natural colour.Kanariya Fabric Store in Sapporo - a highlight!Closing down restaurant selling out theirstock. I bought a couple of the bluebowls  and chopstick resters.BORO cloth I stitched up on the trip.Gorgeous gift from a kind man at the vintage fabricstore in Asahikawa.Beautiful blue gate leading onto the Otaru Canal.Delicious and colourful pickledplums served at breakfast.More pickled plums in turquoise blue.Blue and white tea set in our hotel'sroom at AbashiriRice bowls at one of our hotels in Obihiro.Hand blown Otaru glass wreath.Japanese figurine found in ourhotel's lobby, Abashiri.Kimono costume in Tokyo Hands window.Sakiori loom from the weaving center in Otaru.Weaving Museum in Asahikawa.Ainu textile found in Sapporo'sunderground exhibition space.Beautifully appliqued Norens (door hangings) at aseafood restaurant, Nemuro. View from our hotel's window, Nemuro.Onsen inside and outside.  Ainu village at Lake Akan.Winter leaves gathered in Hokkaido.Using tea dye solution. The result isnothing to write home about!I have to admit that I haven't done much creatively lately. I have taken myself back to the gym and started a few classes. There is the tennis season here. The Australian Open is on at the moment. I do love tennis! My Christmas post will follow later this month. I did make a few Christmas decorations, and I started new quilting projects. I will show you on my next post. I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best for 2017. Let's hope it's a good one for all.Until next timeNat[...]

Hokkaido Driving Holiday Part 1


Hokkaido driving holiday is done and dusted! In theory, the trip is over, but my vivid memories of the trip are as clear as day! We did a lot in two weeks so I won't be able to fit our experiences in one post. I will divide them into categories for example, food, people, weather, art, craft and shopping. In this post, Part 1, I will share the unexpected experience we encountered when we arrived at New Chitose Airport in Sapporo - it was covered in snow. The snow arrived a month earlier than normal in Hokkaido. It was lucky for us because I can't remember the last time I was in the snow! It was a most beautiful sight for me! We took so many photos of snow you might be sick seeing them! We took a short train ride from the airport to Asahikawa where we picked up the car. We stayed in Asahikawa for 2 nights from the recommendation of DS when he took the family (Bike Babies) there a few years ago. On the full day we spent in Asahikawa, we visited the Weaving and Dyeing Museum and right across the lawn that was covered in the snow was a Snow Museum (surprise, surprise!). You can imagine I was in heaven there for a couple of hours. First landing at the airport - clearing the runwayso our plane could taxi to the gate.They remind me of snow conesSounkyo Ropeway snow fieldOur rented car for the tripThe food in Japan is to die for. I will go back there time and time again just for the food! I love smaller portions of all the sweets in Japan. Food is beautifully presented and delicious! I have many favourites. Too many to write about here. Below are some cool photos of the food I really enjoyed!Fresh ramen at NemuroJapanese breakfast at the hotel in FuranoWe found great coffee at Furano CafeNemuro is famous for crabs! Japanese people are kind, helpful, generous, polite and beautiful people! We only know basic Japanese, but positive body language goes a long way in Japan. Sumo wrestling is still popular in Japan. I love the tradition of the sport and the costumesrather than the sport itself!Met this cho kawaii (super cute)child in a supermarket. A lady at a small kiosk at Sapporo JR Station.The lovely couple at thevintage fabric store in Asahikawa.On part 2 of our Hokkaido driving holiday, I will share with you more photos and stories from the trip. I could easily book the next trip back to Japan right now, but the world is a big place and there are so many places I would love to visit as well.Hope you are gearing up for Christmas. It still amazes me how fast it comes! One good thing about working is that my calendar is filled with Christmas activities whether I like it or not! I hope to put up my Christmas decorations this weekend. How about you?Until next timeNat[...]

Quilts and Driving Holiday


I think I mentioned earlier that Mr Notjustnat and I are heading to Hokkaido for a driving holiday in November. November is almost here already! So we are off in less than two weeks. Can hardly wait!But before we leave I will share with you what I did in the last couple of weeks. I have continued work on the yellow crumbs quilt. I've finished piecing all 230 blocks and started putting 4 blocks unit together. It looks quite amazing actually. I have also made a lil boro pincushion using the threads keeper filled with off-cut threads. It took me a couple years before I filled the keeper. Thanks to Deanna for a great idea to made it into a pincushion! Having stayed at home for two weeks after the surgery I've unearthed many long forgotten projects, one of which is the little 2" x 2" fan blocks I started long ago! To my surprise I actually made nearly enough for a nice small quilt. I only need about 50 more blocks. I'm really enjoying hand applique and hand piecing these fan blocks. I so love the vintage Japanese fabric I'm using too!Please scroll down to the end of this post to read about our Hokkaido driving holiday...Boro pincushion made from threads keeperA tin full of little fan blocks ready for attentionPutting 4 little blocks into a unitStack of 230 blocks of yellow crumbs quiltbegin putting units of 4 blocks togetherA driving holiday in Hokkaido! After a few trips to Japan Honshu island I thought we will visit Hokkaido the norther island in Japan. We decided to take a driving holiday by hire car. We won't be able to do the whole island, but I think we will see the most picturesque of the place.  Hokkaido old mapOtaru Canal in HokkaidoThere will be plenty of photos to share on Instagram, FB and Twitter. For both of us this is also a photography holiday. I'm really excited to discover wonderful scenery in towns and villages. Another highlight for me is visiting onsens (Japanese baths). Hokkaido is famous for its natural hot spring onsens.Will bring back lots of photos to share with you when I return,Until thenNat  [...]

Yellow Crumb Quilt


September and October has been busy, fun and nervous time. It started when my friend Myra Dunn from Myfluffybag visited the end of September. I had a fun packed activities awaiting her. First was Quilts in the Barn's annual exhibition. The next day was Geelong Fibre Forum, a yearly event. The last day of Myra's visited I took her to ours favourite Niko Kafe in Oakleigh. What the little time we had left. We managed to play in the Treehouse Studio creating two quilts that we got inspired from Quilts in the Barn's exhibition the vintage crumb quilt. The evening before all these activities Myra mentioned the word "crumb quilting" which we looked up in Youtube, but it wasn't until we saw a vintage crumb quilt that we were in-loved with it!You might also want to know about my nervous time? I had a small surgery on my back to removed infected cysts. I had that done a couple of days after Myra's left. I was a nervous lack for couple of weeks prior to the operation. I'm not a fan of hospital, doctor or pain! It was over in a couple of hours while I was knocked out, phew! I'm now home on sick-leave for 2 weeks. The pain had gone with the help of strong pain killers and a course of antibiotic. I'm up and about because sitting is not the most comfortable position when you have surgery on your back! I can walks and stand though! Now back to the Yellow Crumb Quilt. After returned from Quilts in the Barn exhibition both Myra and I were all inspired by 100 or so vintage quilts. One quilt in particular was a yellow Crumb quilt. With tone of scraps I've accumulated from quilts such as Rags to Riches and Handkerchief Corner quilt. We started to tackled our crumb quilts. I choose yellow base and Myra chooses red for hers.The block to be 5" finished so I cut the 'F' fabric (feature fabric), which is yellow 3" wide strip, but instead of crumb piecing the whole length of strip as per YouTube's instruction I pre-cute my 3" strip into 3.5" pieces. I chain pieced all my blocks until I finished. If you are quilters you would be able to make this quilt by looking at my photos. I will try to explain under each photo what I'm doing. Enjoy!I will need 230 block for a single size quilt.I will not put them together untilI finished piecing all blocks.Myra's Red Crumb QuiltCrumb units. Very simple and not toomany pieces.Attach 3.5" 'F' fabric onto crumb pieces.Crumb blocks ready to trim.Crumb units trimmed and ready to assemble. Block complete, now make 229 more blocks!Imagine using Japanese fabric!I'm using my beloved Singer Featherweight topieced this quilt. I love using it formemorable quilt.Here are the leftover crumbs. It's time todiscarded them.Vintage crumb quilt.Closed up of the vintage quilt.Even closer look!I can't see why you can't make larger blocks or make a modern looking quilt with it. I imagine using those bright and modern fabric in a quilt like this, but I love using vintage and recycled fabric so this version is perfect for me.I hope to piece all the blocks by the time I return to work. It's a lot of fun piecing the blocks. There are so many variations of piecing I can do. With all the scraps I pre-cut for the previous quilts. It makes the process going faster than I have to cut everything from scratch.Until next timeNat[...]

Basic Crazy Quilt - An Online Workshop


This post is dedicated to the basic crazy quilt; a free online workshop I took early in August with Kathy Shaw. Please Google her if you are interested in doing her workshop. I don't know if any of you noticed or read that Blogger now limits third party URLs on your post. It will affect all sorts of add-ons on your blog. I lost many of my sidebar links because I was trying to do the right thing by linking people and places I visit. Anyway back to my CQ. I love CQ and have been making bits and pieces for years. I've even taught classes back when I lived in the Emirates. I thought I would take a workshop to get me back to it again. Not knowing what I got myself into when I signed up, it was more involved and not as crazy as I thought it would be, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned heaps more than I already knew about CQ. Kathy Shaw is an excellent teacher. She points you in the right direction and you learn by the end of it.Our first task was to choose fabric and supplies. You know I didn't need to buy anything new for this course. We were supposed to use light colour fabrics for our blocks, but I already had lots of hand-dyed fabric in yellow that I wanted to use, so I did. Please read the captions on each photo for more details. Fabric, embroidery threads and hoop. Pieces cut from provided patterns.Beads, sequence and charms for embellishment.The block base  is sewn together ready forthe embellishment.Layers of embroideries started in on the seams.Some beads and French knots are going on next.Most of seams are now covered with embroidery.Close up of the French knot flowers.I did them in multi colours.All seams are now covered. The stem is forsilk ribbon embroidery.Silk ribbon embroidery Irises.Silk ribbon spider roses.And here is the finished block. I was toldto put a couple more motifs on the top leftand bottom left corners. I thinkI will before taking it off the hoop.There is also a private workshop blog that we post our step-by-step tasks as we were doing them. Kathy gave us her feedback each step of the way. We also received workshop instructions by email on all different embellishment as the class progressed. I get totally inspired by the workshop. I think I'm ready to embark on a CQ of my dreams, the Victorian CQ in black and jewels colour using fabric I have been collecting for years. So watch this space everyone! Hope you enjoy and get inspired to start your own CQ. Until next timeNat[...]

Spring Down Under


Spring is here. We have two beautiful fruit trees in our back yard. One is apricot and the other one is plum. They are both producing gorgeous blossoms in Spring and fruit in Summer. Many little projects are always on the go here in my Treehouse Studio. Also the dyeing pot is steaming away on the back deck. I often gather some dye-able leaves on my walks during the week and in the weekend I quickly prepare dye bundles and steam. I love the feeling of participation when I reveal the dye bundles. I'm also working on some gentle stitch projects using old doilies, lace, embroideries and beads. I have been collecting old doilies and old lace over the years. It's time to put them into good use. Another project is crazy quilt block I'm doing online. I'm really enjoying it, but a bit slow with precise stitches. It's coming along very well.  Below are various photos of life happenings at Notjustnat's residence!Spring blossomA birthday present for Treehouse StudioLots of doiliesBook cover in the makingThe Book of Tea is wrapped!Tiny little boxFirst book cover using doiliesTin-CushionsDyed and dryingMore dyeingOld leaves to dye forCQ basic blockSpring time wouldn't be the same without some spring seedlings. I potted some Petunia and Lobelia for the Treehouse Studio's landing. Can't wait for them to flower! The apricot is also full of blossoms. I hope they will give us lots of fruit this summer. I know some of you are heading into Fall/Autumn. Changing seasons is always welcome. Enjoy!Until next time.Nat    [...]

Show and Tell in August


A bit of show and tell for August which is almost over! How are you all? Hope you have time to stop and smell the roses this year. 2016 seems to be unwinding quickly for me. In August I have been dabbling with a few things as usual! Finishing little projects is always rewarding! I finished a Christmas brooch in the shape of bauble. I did one years ago in a heart shape and wore it for many Christmases. I also finished a Furoshiki, wrapping cloth I started on my round the world in 80 days trip last year. I did more dyeing as well of course!The Blue sea and Stars quilt on my first photo below was finished a couple of years ago. I use it on the bed in the guest bedroom. I get so many compliments every time someone comes to stay. I still can't believe I finished such a big quilt, and I am loving it! I have signed up for a basic crazy quilt online workshop with Kathy Shaw. CQ would have been my first love for quilting because it's crazy! Kathy Shaw has taken me back to basics with rules that I'm not very good at, but I can do it! Enjoy the pics...Sea and Stars QuiltFuroshiki in preparationFuroshiki finishedFuroshiki wrappedWool dyed greenSome moons dyedBCQ suppliesBeads and stuff for CQCQ blockChristmas bauble broochChristmas heart broochAlso boro block, new beginningGood reading!I have been reading some great books lately. I just finished reading 'The Miniaturist' by Jessie Burton. I just started 'Girl With A Pearl Earring'. Both of these books are set in the city of Delft (Amsterdam) in the 1700's.Until next timeNat[...]

July Activities


If you haven't noticed, July is almost over. I bet some of you are thinking of Christmas decorations and shopping for gifts or making those special handmade gifts.It has been a busy July for me.  I had family over for the first week of July. It was really fun to have DIL and GS over to play with. It went far too fast. Before you know it, it was over! So they left and we are back to a quiet house again. Later on in July I visited Ziguzagu for their winter sale. I came away with scrumptious goodies including my first boro cloth I've ever bought. I should have bought one when they were cheaper. To think that I introduced boro cloths to them more than 5 years ago! Anyway, it is what it is! The boro cloth I bought is really meant for me. Even though it was tattered, torn and for some it's just a rag. Firstly, I love the colour of indigo blue. I could see beyond what it is. All the patches are covered in lovingly stitches. With some loving care I can bring it back to live. What amazed me is that it smells clean and was well cared for before I got it. You will see photos below.Apart from shopping for a bargain I went to an antique quilt exhibition called 'Making the Australian Quilt 1800-1950'. There were some awesome quilts on display. I only took some photos of the quilts I like to share with you here. Also photos for some dyeing I did in the last couple of weeks.The Westbury Quilt (Sampler quilt).A striking white embroideries on red background.Wagga quilt from suiting samplesWagga Quilt, Salesman's Samples 1920Hexagon quilt c.1830, work ing progress.Early Tasmanian crib quilt c. 1850My very own quilt using natural dyed samplesand natural/eco dyed silk border.Backing of the above quilt showinghand quilting stitches.A new cover for my journal for Hokkaido trip.Some scrumptious batches of dyeing.The results from the above bundlesThis one is also from the above bundle.Photos below are from my shopping at Ziguzagu's winter sale. Ziguzagu has got everything from vintage textiles, ceramics, furniture and ornaments from Japan. Ziguzagu warehouseMy day bargainsBORO cloth spreading in the Treehouse BORO cloth hanging out to air. Close up of lovingly made stitches on BORO clothAnother vintage tin (middle top shelf)The cold and wet weather is still hanging around. It's good for taking daily walks, but definitely not good for 6:00 am exercise classes! Yes I have signed up for 3 months of boot-camp classes twice a week. The benefit from getting up early is I have free time after work. I'm also feeling good and have more energy! As I'm getting older, I feel I'm not as active as I used to be. Putting myself into the routine of going to the gym is working for me. It certainly makes me healthier. Until next timeNat[...]

Mostly Dyeing and Stitching


It's been awhile since I updated my blog, but the dyeing and stitching is still going on. I got into the  habit of photographing so my photos are handy whenever I have time to blog. At the end of June I was away to look after my GS for a week. It was a nice change from my normal work routine. While I was away I did quite a bit of eco-dyeing and a bit of stitching as well. I started working on a journal cover for my trip to Hokkaido later this year. I completed the journal cover and I was told I should keep it as a decorative cloth instead of making it into journal cover!  Should I use it for a journal coveror a decorative cloth?Quickly whipped up 2 more needle rolls forgifts while I was away.Rolled-up lots and lots of bundles whileI was away. Sharing my newly acquired vintage tin andother favourite things.Some great results from the dyed bundles. Half and half opened bundleBright and clear printing on wool.I remembered to photograph it before rolling it upLovely gift from DIL. She made this for aclass sample.On my return I hung some of the new pieces inthe Treehouse Studio.I don't think I've shown you my new floor cushionsI brought back from Metsovo, GreeceChocolate fountain cookies as GS calls them. I have a few more stitching projects in the works. I've finished quilting one and I am just waiting for binding. Hopefully I can show it to you in my next blog update. I must say I'm enjoying my dyeing and stitching right now. We are just about more than halfway into our winter. Apart from being cold, it has been raining a lot too. When I was away in Canberra I felt that our Melbourne winter is very mild in comparison to Canberra. I actually felt hot the night after my return. I do like cooler weather more than warmer weather!Until next timeNat[...]

Commissioned Work - Sun and Earth


My commissioned work project is completed, sent and received. I can now blog about it and include the feedback from Debra Sposa.  Here is what she said: Hello Nat!!!OMG, what a beautiful piece of art this is.  Stunning in so many ways.  Wow!  Just love it.  Your stitching is perfection, the design so alive but in a very tranquil way.  Just thrilled with the piece.Thank you so much for taking on my challenge. Your biggest fan,Deb Deb told me she really likes my work and would I create her something. I agreed without a deadline. I have been thinking about it for a while now. When I started one I couldn't stop, so I ended up making 4 little blocks together and combining them on a piece of vintage Japanese hem. I'm happy that Deb is happy with it too.I met Deb through my blog many years ago. Deb is high school art teacher. She told me she often inspires her students with what I do and posted on my blog. I'm so thrilled to hear that my humble creations have a positive influence on younger generations. Deb regularly posts her students' work on her blog as well. Four little blocks togetherBlock #1Block #2Block #3Block #4I called my commissioned work Sun and Earth. The name came to me when I worked on the final block, block #4. It's actually gave itself a name when I accidentally stitched the Sun on it. I had a lot of fun creating these little blocks. I sometimes had stitching block. I'd walk away for a bit. When I took it up again I moved forward with stitching. It would tell me when it is done as well. Does that happen to you too?Thanks Deb, for challenging me to create it for you. I have made a few little blocks for exhibition, and in future I might have to make more, but this is the biggest project I've ever made.Until next timeNat [...]

Re Purpose and Dyeing Stuff!


I have been busy! What news right? Real winter is settling-in here in Melbourne. Winter is late this year. I felt that it might never come. Cold weather is good to snuggle in and work on something soft and woolly. I have done a lot of things lately, but today I'm only going to show you my latest project made from a woollen baby blanket. I have been busy dyeing weird and wonderful stuff. When I spotted a brand new woollen baby blanket at my local op-shop for only $8.25 I had to have it! I know that wool dyes like a dream!For dyeing I cut the blanket into sections small enough to roll in bundles. I stuffed eucalyptus leaves inside each piece. Rolled and steamed. I love and treasure this blanket, and now I can share what I made from it with my stitching friends to love and use for years to come. Cut and ready to dye.Wonderful result with rust objectsto add extra dimension.Trimmed to size and added blanket stitches.Very simple!Added wool felt dyed previously on the inside.I've left a small opening to keep thread.Feeling very pleased with myself after the fourth roll. I made the cords using dyed threads. The buttons are vintage ones from my button tins. I posted them up today on my Instagram feed and I was asked if they are for sale! I will continue making them until I use up all of the blanket. I love the mass production process with whatever I'm making. It's the quilter in me coming out! Until next timeNat[...]

Post 2016 Textile Trip


It has been a busy couple of weeks since I returned from the SE Asia textile trip. I had arranged a few activities prior to my travel. The activities were of fun things to do, one of which was to visit Australian Quilt Convention, AQC. The Australian quilt show is not as big as the one in Europe or the US, but to me it's big enough! I don't go to many of these shows now, but at this one I wanted to go and say hi to Victoria Findlay Wolfe. When I met her in Seattle last year I told her I would meet her in Melbourne and I've kelp my word. Victoria was teaching, but she spared the time to have a chat with me when I got there. Her workshop was so colourful and lively. I loved what her students were doing with Victoria's modern twist of double wedding ring blocks. While I was at AQC I had a good look at the quilt exhibition as well. The ones that caught my eyes were Wartime quilts made mainly by men during the wars. Also the red and white quilts. On Sunday my colleagues and I visited the National Gallery of Victoria to see 200 Years of Australian Fashion and I did squeezed in dyeing on Sunday afternoon. Below are photos from many activities in the last two weeks.The view of AQC from the balconyRepost this from Victoria's InstagramWool quilt, all hand pieced.Quilt made by menImage from a magazine articleSimple red and white quiltAnother gorgeous red and white quiltVictoria Findlay Wolfe's MOD wedding quiltSome images from 200 Years of Australian Fashion showing at the National Gallery of Victoria. Results of the colourful dyed fabric from the dye batch. I've received a lot of inquiries from my Instagram feeds how I get such vivid colours from my dyes? My answer is always the same, time and patience! Hanging them out to dryI also attended a two-day workshop on Seedpods Art with Sophie Munns. Like all workshops, once you get there you always learn something new and become engrossed in whatever comes your way. I can't say I learned how to draw anything complicated. It was a fun workshop and I highly recommend it. Sophie's drawing and some seedpodsMy attempt at drawingsMy colourful paintingThe group paintingsReturning from the workshop with leftover seedpods. I had an urge to make ink out of them. I had some Eucalyptus base leftover from dyeing so I added the seedpods and started boiling it for hours.  Here they are, seedpods ink and walnut ink. Well, I'm keeping myself busy with what life throws at me. I don't have long enough time to just sit and finish any project in a hurry. I've come to accept that what make me most happy is when I create! I have many quilts and textile pieces I made, but they stayed hidden in the closet and rarely get used. I'm happy to inspire people to create. So if you read my post and have any questions regarding what I do please do not hesitate to leave me comment with your reply-able comment and I will be happy to get back to you with the answer if I can.Until next timeNat[...]

SE Asia Textile Trip 2016


I returned from the SE Asia textile trip last weekend. I didn't have much time to idle before I had to go straight back to work. It's a nice feeling though that I have a job to come back to.Even though my SE Asia textile trip was only 2 weeks, what I have fitted in to those two weeks feels like a lifetime of learning. If you remember I visited this part of the world two years ago. Returning for a second time has given me more depth and appreciation into the vast range of textiles and cultures of SE Asia. I originally came from that part of the world, but apart from learning how to sew at a young age I didn't learn about SE Asia's textiles until long after I left. On this trip I spent more time exploring the designs, colour, natural and indigo dyes and vintage textile pieces. I also attended a couple of natural and indigo dye workshops as well as a weaving workshop. I have also noticed a change in textile collections. Instead of the traditional items I saw two years ago I now found semi traditional cheaply made gifts! I was lucky to come across a few shops that sell collectible textile pieces, but they were hard to find. I enjoyed walking in small lanes and back streets. In doing so I found little shops with treasures tucked away from the main thoroughfares. I love to visit as many markets as possible. I hit lucky in some places where there were markets only once a week. I will add short captions for each photo. I don't want you to think that I bought everything on the photos in this post! Just a warning that it's going to be a photo heavy post. Scrumptious dyed silk at  Talad Sao, VientianeSome vintage silk carves at a shop in Vientiane  Piles and piles of vintage textiles, VientianeI came away with a wedding piece fromthe shop above. Woven silk.These remnants were thrown in when I boughtthe piece in the above photo! Decorative tapes found in Talad Sao, Vientiane I attended a natural/indigo dye workshop at theHouey Hong Vocational Center in VientianeNatural dyes daily at Oct Pop Tok, Luang PrabangSamples of work you can choose tomake in workshops at Ock Pop TokLovely original woven pieces at Ock Pop Tokgallery in town, Luang PrabangI was lucky to get a chance to visit aHmong village in Chiang MaiSome of the Hmong works both new and oldA lovely old woven silk scarf in my hotelMore lovely old woven silkscarves in my hotelOld Sinh (tube skirt) I bought from a backstreet shop in Luang PrabangIndigo vat at Ock Pop TokSilk scarf I dyed with indigo andstitch lack insectsIndigo beadsHmong textiles from a market in Chiang MaiWoven old cotton blanketWoven old cotton blanket I bought from Talad Soa, VientianeIndigo cotton scarves from Bansoa gallery,VientianeIndigo Sinh (tube skirt) from localmarket in Luang PrabangA simple woven linen cloth fromIndigo House, BangkokLast minute finds in Bangkok.They are from Afghanistan A few simple purses bought at Chiang Mai AirportWholesale market, WarorosNight market, Chiang MaiSunset on Mekong River with Cloth House's toteNeedless to say I came home with a big stash of stuff. Some are for gifts and others I will use to make home decorations and gifts.Not all of what I brought home, but close to it!I need a gift this weekend so I quickly made oneusing a Hmong's embroidery piece I broughtback. It's a Coptic binding book.Four cities in 15 days. It was a busy, but enjoyable and exciting trip. My trip was semi organized by Audley Trave[...]

Dyeing and Quilting


As usual March is creeping up on us without any warning! Even though February has 29 days it didn't help much. Life is getting back to normality again for me. Apart from a slight dizziness when I get up in the morning and lie down in the evening, I feel much much better. I've returned to the gym after work, but I'm particularly careful not to fall. To my surprise I'm feeling okay, thanks goodness!Even though I haven't spent much time in the Treehouse studio lately, I did get back into dyeing a bit. The Eucalyptus trees are now in full swing with the flower buds. I feel that the Eucalyptus is its best during the flowering season. The flower buds give beautiful impressions on fabric when dyeing. I love that intricate clutter of buds on silk fabric! I have some great images below to share with you. Don't forget to read the captions of each image.   Beautiful Pink Flowering GumBundles resting before unwrappingMy dyeing station is always invitingDye bundles after steamingImprint of flower seed budsSomething is going right here! Lino-cutting from a fun Sunday!Apart from dyeing and lino-cutting I did fit in a bit of traditional quilting in the last couple of weeks. I started heart stitching since Valentines Day in Feb. I love the simplicity of the heart shape! I always added a heart shape in all my stitching projects. I continue to work on Indigo moons as part of Quilt 365 challenge I started earlier this year. I'm happy to say that I've caught up with the block to date! 2016 Valentines HeartsIndigo Moons up to date!I'm looking forward to another textile trip at Easter. This time I'm going with my friend Mary Burgess who is a weaver. We are going to Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Chiang Mai, and while I'm in that part of the world I will stop to visit my family in Bangkok for the last few days. I'm looking forward to returning to Chiang Mai as well. The last time I was there I must have been in my 20s. So I will be off blogging until I return in the middle of April. Then you can read all about my textile trip adventures. You can always check out my daily photos on Instagram. Until next timeNat[...]

Vertigo - Ménière's disease


A few years ago I had never heard of the word Vertigo or Ménière's disease! Suddenly last week I came down with this Vertigo disease. Now the word Vertigo sounds like my best friend to me! Vertigo knocked me literally flat on my back for a week. Every time I opened my eyes the room would take me for a spin for a long moment! The only way to stop the ceiling from spinning was to keep both eyes shut tight. Imagine having to do that for a week. Not fun, not at all! As doctor ordered I was off work for the whole week. I really needed that too. I felt a little better on the fifth day. I was able to have a shower while holding on to something. I found a cold shower helped to knock out Vertigo. It's definitely a warm weather disease! No question about attempting to do something fine so during my visit up at the treehouse I found some old doilies I has collected to make pincushions. I decided I would make a couple of them. They were long overdue on the must make list. The next day I felt even better so I put on a batch of dye. Dyeing doesn't need any fine tuning skills or concentration. I could do that even when I was light headed!Pincushions turned out lovely.I should make a few more!Dye bundles resting the following dayGathering odds and ends for dyeingLittle beauty from a friend goes splendidlywith my dyed fabric. I'm now well again so returning to work is a must. I only spent half a day for the first day back. Half a day was spent explaining to all my caring colleagues what was wrong with me that made me take a whole week away from work. It was touched to get all that attention and care from friends and colleagues. I'm so lucky to be part of such a wonderful working environment!Until next timeNat[...]