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. 


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

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

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

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