Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Christmas, New Year and Travel.

After a hectic four days at work celebrating  Christmas with my NETS family, it is now time for holidays and quality time with my family. Retrievals were constant over Christmas, but at least we had time to have our baked dinner and enjoy the festive season with our colleagues in between doing retrievals. Christmas is always busy with babies or children requiring some medical attention. In the evening after working I spent time with my family, enjoying Christmas dinner and some of the festivities. I worked until Saturday after Christmas then on Sunday myself, DH, sons and daughter- inlaw flew to Bangkok then onto Chaing Mai to spend 7 days including New Years Eve. 
We arrived in Bangkok after 9 hrs flying, 3 movies later and a heap of hexagons covered, we had a 3 hour wait to board Thai Smiles and fly to Chaing Mai, this flight was only 1 1/2 hrs, we were picked up by our arranged transport and taken to our Hotel. On Sunday's in Chaing Mai, the famous walking markets are held from 4 pm to MN, our hotel is in one of the streets that these markets are held. We arrived in Chaing Mai at 8.30 pm local time ( Sydney time 1230 am, 4 hrs difference). DH sick with flu, opted for bed, Myself, youngest son and daughter- Inlaw went to brave the crowds in the market. I must say I was impressed with the handicrafts! a lot of appliqué and hand sewn goods. We spent  3 hrs at the markets and as it got later the crowds grew and we were all shuffling, to move through the streets, so at this time, as we were exhausted, it was  03.30 am in Sydney we headed back to the hotel to retire for the night.
The hotel itself is called U hotel, so whatever your heart desires, you can get, very happy with the de'core and our own private swimming pool, just outside our room.

Our private swimming pool !

Note the bedside lights, love this de'core, which appeals to my rustic nature.

Monday saw us exploring the streets of Chaing Mai, we walked for hours down to the local markets and viewed some temples on the way and stopped at the Taipei gates to see where we will celebrate New Years Eve.
One of the many temples in Chaing Mai.

In the local markets, lots of pork crackling being cooked and sold.

Local delicacy, Chiang Mai sausage.
Bamboo worms anyone!

Later in the evening we visited a tailor for suits to be made and the kids enjoyed a ride in the local taxi's.
After the tailor off to the Anusam Markets and a seafood dinner.

Where we will celebrate New Year's Eve at the Taipei gates.

Tuesday New Years Eve, booked in for a Thai cooking class, got picked up at 9 am to go to Siam Rice cooking school where we will be taught to cook 3 meals of our choice and and then eat them. A very enjoyable day with some new talents learnt by all. DH did a great job of his meals and our son who is also a chef, took to the task with great relish and perfected each dish.
Shopping at the local markets for our ingredients.

Nam our cooking instructor was very informative.

All geared up and ready to cook, enjoyed the day with some new made friends, Cara was quite the expert with her choice of Penang curry with eggplant.

After the cooking class we went back to the hotel to off load our shopping and the quest was on, to search for the quilt shop that I had seen on our way from the airport to the hotel on Sunday night, this was to be the only free time that we would have to search for the shop on Moonmang Rd, after a lengthy distance of walking the wrong way, decision made, we caught the local transport to get to the shop which turned out to be a lot further than we thought and finally found it, was it worth the search, no but still good to see what the Thai quilters are up to, mainly into small projects, knitting and cross stitch.
The sign that I spotted on the way to our hotel.
Lots of clover products for sale, although prices are dearer here than in Sydney.
Cute pussy cat model with a ball of yarn out the front.

Let New Years Eve celebrations begin, Alex and Cara releasing their lantern and wish for the New year! the sky looked amazing with all the lanterns that had been released.

Our wish and lantern released, let the festivities begin, very blessed to be together with my family, on this great occasion.

A very happy new year to all, from heathton Creations.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

2013 nearly over and Christmas approaching.

Where has the year gone!!!, my goodness Christmas came upon me fast, no sooner had we returned from holidays and before you know it, the festivities have commenced. No Christmas shopping done, nothing made to give away, so a rapid haste to the deli's to buy some gourmet food items to make up some hampers. Christmas this year will be spent at work, as I will be off new Year. Gourmet Wednesday ( Christmas Day) will be spent at my son and daughter- in law's place, they have just moved into their new home and wish to have everyone over for dinner. I will be mum at work and organise the Christmas lunch for all the doctor's, nurses and drivers who are working on Christmas Day. Christmas  day also does not mean that we will not be busy at work, this is usually one of the busiest days of the year, let's hope that we get everyone fed, before going on a retrieval.I am in charge of the roasts, so will cook a leg of lamb and turkey, as well as the gravy. I will be working from Christmas day to Saturday, then on Sunday, all the family and I fly out to Bangkok, then onto Chaing Mai for the new year and after 7 days of R & R we fly to Hong Kong for 5 days then after doing the Disneyland adventure! Macau and Lama Island for chilli crab we fly home.

I have been busy over the  last few weeks with work and my hubby's mother, she has been diagnosed with mild dementia and can no longer live in her home and was admitted to hospital. My DH and I have been travelling backwards and forward to NewCastle to visit her, and try to a find a suitable aged care facility for her, tragic circumstances, as his mother is resistant to leaving her home and it has now been taken out of her hands.  Old age is difficult, when you can no longer be independent and care for yourself, a prospect that we all will have to face at some times in our lives.

What have I been up to In between Christmas festivities! hand sewn on the yellow hexagons to frame my picture prints, made one big lozenge. Now for a number of multicoloured hexagons to make a rectangle.

Hung my stick chandelier and added some glass blown baubles and tea lights 

Finished the batik quilt started at the beginning of the year and now given to the quilter to be quilted with an all over butterfly design. Maybe a gift for a Neice ! 

My "Texas Wheel" quilt all completed with quilting and binding, this is quite a large quilt, measuring 2.7 mtrs by 3 mtrs, very pleased with the end result.

I have been busy making baby quilts over the last few months as a number of babies have been born at my work, mostly girls and a set of twin girls, so a great time to get creative and make quilts, below are Emily and Lauren on their little quilts that I made for them.

Gorgeous babies, 
Time to have a relax and enjoy the Christmas festivities, I would like to wish everyone a great Christmas and a fabulous new year, with lots of creativity, keep safe and take care.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Play, fun and limited time.

It has been  2 weeks since my return from Japan, worked 8 days, 4 day shifts and 4 night shifts and I am now on days off so time to get cracking with some creations. I have completed my 56 Lucy Boston blocks so onto sewing in the 1 inch squares, not a project that I am liking so I am taking some time out to do other things. I will place the blocks on my design wall soon. Below I will share a few things that I have on the go at the moment.

This is  " ME", a small fun quilt that was fun to put together, the idea came from a miniature quilt that Chris Jurd had on the back of her sewing room door. The design idea came from Chris's Art Deco lamp pattern.  Pattern available from Patchwork Fundamentals.

This is the start of another quilt, it is a combination of two quilts in one, Margaret Sampson has published this quilt in a recent copy of Quiltmania. Margaret has called the quilt  "Anna Levens" and in the centre of the quilt advertised, she has seven centres fussy cut and the picture is surrounded by hexagons.

Off course, I do big quilts, so my centre will have sixteen fussy cut centres. This was the easy part, now onto multiple, 100's,  of hexagons to form a rectangle, did I say easy, never !.

On the countdown to Christmas, seeing I am working and we are going on holidays overseas late December, I will not be getting out all the Christmas decorations, but I could not resist making this Christmas tree, with the help of my son, I am very pleased with the result, now for some decorations, and "whola" a rustic Christmas tree.

Before I went to Japan! my interest was piked in Japanese fabrics and to make a Japanese quilt, but I held off until my trip to japan, hoping that I would find some great fabrics to fussy cut for the centres. This proved difficult, lots of Japanese fabrics but none suitable for centres, I did manage to  buy 6 metres of backing fabric and a silk design from the textile museum in Kyoto. Below is a photo of the first of nine blocks, and this is where I used the silk design. Another Chris Jurd design from Patchwork Fundmentals. The quilt is called "Noodle Box"

That's all for this week folks!.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Farewell Japan

Oh well last night in Japan, what a fun packed 8 days, had by me, not sure about DH, although he did enjoy the sightseeing, food and Japan in general, not my shopping though. The comment made was, if he see's another Yuzawaya store, he will slit his wrists, LOL. All in all our experience of Japan was a very pleasant one, food was great, freshly cooked and efficient service, the Japanese do try to  accomadate the English  and have menu's written in english, but we did eat at some out of the way places, pointing to a picture on the menu also worked well. The pointing method seem to work and we have not been disappointed so far with our choices. In Japan they still have smoking areas in restaurants. Fashion is interesting, the Japanese are very well dressed, the young girls wear shorts with stockings and boots, temperature is dropping and will soon be winter, not sure if the shorts will be worn in winter or not. Hubby was hard pressed to find TV channels with English subtitles, so he spent the time watching samurai movies in Japanese. The trains are amazing and are always on time and they come every few minutes, so we have not had to wait long for a train, a little different with the buses, where you may wait anything up to a hour. Taxi's are also plentiful, the cab drivers have white gloves on, seats are covered in white lace and the doors are automatic, so no need to open the door. do not put your luggage on the seat!!!  The toilets are automatic, music, shower, bidet and an automatic flush, a person could get used to this. Japan is a shoppers delight, anything and everything is for sale. Fabric, craft items, needles and scissors are half of what we would pay in Australia, this was an added bonus for this trip, my mission was to buy as much fabric and accessories that took my eye. next trip to Japan is hopefully with family and mainly sightseeing? Jan 2015 is booked in for the Tokyo quilt show.

Some highlights of our trip, Golden pavilion in Kyoto.

Japanese dress, kimono,s/ culture.

Japanese woman sweeping leaves at the Golden Pavillion.

Autumn, colourful leaves.

The Yokohama  quilt show.

Well maintained gardens, with flat rocks so people can sit and mediate.

Window displays decorated for Xmas, love how they use unusual critters, heaps of Xmas trees and displays all over Japan to celebrate Xmas.

Fabric town, chose to visit on a Sunday, will journey back to Nippori today as we need to fill in a few hours.

The Japanese are so organised! see the yellow line! these are everywhere, footpaths! escalators and train stations! you walk to the left of these.
Mac delivery bikes, yes that is right, mcdonalds delivers in Japan.
Typical Japanese street, lots of restaurants and good photos to point to!
We sampled the local speciality "ramen" in kamata Tokyo 
Prepackaged food for sale in beautifully decorated box's, we did not sample any of these but have been told they are fresh and flavoursome.
Last but not least, my little patient Japanese man who cut me, 20 pieces of fabric in the kamata Yuzawaya store! farewell Japan it has been an experience! one that I will repeat at a later date.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Yokohama and onto Shinjuku and Nippori, fabric Town.

We departed this am for Shinjku after spending two days in Yokohama, six hours at the quilt show on Friday and then Saturday we ventured into the Bay Alexander area to visit another Yuzawaya store and the shops in this area. I am just loving the exploration of these stores and what they have to offer. The fabric selection is different in each store. Japan in itself is a shoppers paradise, anything you want or need is there for the asking. I joined the Yuzawaya store club and you get 20% of the next purchase. What is interesting is that when the fabric is discounted, it is cheaper to buy the metre than 1/2 metre, because you have to pay the full price not the sale price, subsequently I have bought metre lots. The fabric averages about $10 metre, when on sale it can be from $3.80 to $7.80, hard to resist. A lot of the fabric on sale is also Yuwa.
On arrival to Shinjuku, we walked to our hotel, this time being familiar with the area, was not difficult. We could not book into the hotel until 3 pm, so we left our bags and walked back to the station to catch the train to the Nippori district. This is where fabric town is located, being a Sunday was not a good day to visit as most shops were closed, I did manage to buy some very soft leather and patchwork fabric, so all in all was not a wasted trip. We then located a restaurant, had a great meal and then caught the train back to Shinjuku, a nice Sunday outing in Tokyo. I will share with you some of my purchases, I do feel that I have helped the Japanese economy.
The view from our room in Yokohama, 36 floors up.
Believe it or not, you can see Mt Fuji in the distance.
The trains that we have been travelling on, for long distances, very fast, 2 1/2 hrs to go 480 KM's.
Lots of bargains in fabric.
Isn't this fabric devine, a bit pricey but well worth the money.
 These are the liberty fabrics that I purchased.

The little swatch of fabrics is actually a collection of Lynette Anderson's fabric, which the Yuzawaya stores stock. Some sashiko design and cotton. Clover scissors.
Just loved the selection of  linen, cotton and satin bias as well, paper apple cores and some buttons to cover with the liberty fabric that I bought. Great fun has been had by me, maybe not hubby, but he has been a great sport with my shopping, hugs and kisses DH.