Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Xin Chao!

...which means hello in Vietnamese!
(You pronounce it sin jow.)
I came back from South East Asia three weeks ago
(it's taken me a little while to settle back in)
and I'm happy to report that I enjoyed Malaysia,
and would really like to spend more time there,
and that I looooooved Vietnam!!!
Vietnam has beautiful, welcoming people,
a picturesque countryside,
divine food and a fascinating history.
Here are some of my many, many, many photographs:
(...and I'll load more onto Flickr as I edit them.)

Batik, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Mosaic detail, Islamic Arts Museum, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

National Monument, Lake Gardens, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Exquisite needlework, Dalat, Vietnam

There was lovely embroidery for sale throughout the country. I saw a lot of women crocheting in their market stalls too.

Figurine of Quan Yin, Nguyen Nga Centre for Children with Special Needs
, Quy Nhon City, Vietnam
The Nguyen Nga Center is also a sheltered workshop for adults. I met some of the young men and women who live there and they were absolutely charming! They produced really beautiful weaving and jewellery too.

Small boy from the Koho Minority, Chicken Village, Central Highlands, Vietnam
This dear, playful little fellow followed us all through the village, alternately showing us karate moves and growling like a tiger.

Bride and groom, Dalat, Vietnam
They were so happy!

Dog, on the road to Quy Nhon, Vietnam
Did someone say lunch?

Chinese temple, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
(This shot was taken by my fabulous guide Ling)

Mosquito nets and early morning light, Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Early morning, Mekong Delta
I loved the Delta and its soft light, quietness and tranquility...

Mountain waterfall, outside of Dalat, Vietnam

Sunset, Quy Nhon City, Vietnam

Lamp light, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Lunch, Saigon Cooking Class, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
This was first course ~ Mustard Leaf Rolls with Crunchy Vegetables and Shrimps.

I know that I've been really fortunate to have had this experience.
I am really glad that I chose to travel, for part of the way at least, with
Intrepid Travel and I feel so lucky to have met the people who took the tour with me. Caroline, Sonia, Anne, Donald, Sue, Sharon, Hong, Loy...thank you!!!!!!!

Of course,
I took some crafty work with me.
I finished off my
Sweet Lorraine scarf just before I joined the Intrepid tour:

Such a good pattern ~ Sweet Lorraine was easy to memorise, quick to make and had a border that worked up as I crocheted. It kept me lovely and warm too.

In case you're wondering, I've started to watermark my photos to try and stop people from using my pictures (and profiting from them) without my permission. Sadly, I've come across a few sites who've helped themselves to my images and haven't removed them even though I've written to them and asked them to. If anyone would like a tutorial on how to put watermarks into your shots (I have a PC and use Photoshop Elements) just let me know.

And now I am off to catch up on some
long overdue blog reading and commenting.

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope yours is a merry one!

Friday, 23 October 2009


I'm dashing off this post because I am getting ready to leave for a holiday to Malaysia and Vietnam...which makes me very excited and a little scared all at the same time!
I am busy, busy, busy getting organised
but I didn't want to go without saying goodbye to all my dear blog buddies and readers
or without sharing a little something of what I've been doing since I posted last.

I've been crocheting a Sweet Lorraine scarf to keep me warm when I get up to the north of Vietnam:

It's working up really, really quickly.
The pattern calls for Foundation Single Crochet at the start, which you can see at the top of the following photograph:

I've never used the Foundation Single Crochet stitch before and it's a little tricky but it creates a very stable foundation so I'm glad I've worked it out. (I found this Ravelry thread really helpful, if you'd like to have a go too.)

I have taken some not~very~good photographs of the glass beads I made at a workshop at Fremantle Arts Centre.
Here are my favourites:

They were surprisingly simple to make. I'd love to do another workshop.

I've been gardening,
watched over by a gentle mother dove who's made a nest just by my back door:

...and I've finally got around to photoshopping the last of my wildflower shots:

Hibbertia and Leschenaultia, Chittering

Blue Tinsel Lily, Chittering

Veined Yellow Pea, Chittering

Silky Yellow Pea, Chittering

I wonder what my next post will contain?
Adventure awaits!


Monday, 28 September 2009

Reasons to be Cheerful

I'm still loving being on leave.
Simply being able to get enough sleep is fabulous!
So is having time to cook, time to go to art classes, becoming relaxed enough to really enjoy being with family and friends, having small adventures ~ so many joys.
I'm just back from a holiday,
going out into the Western Australian wheatbelt to see a spectacular show of wildflowers,
and what a lovely time I've had...
but, just before I show you any travel photos, I'd like to share some creativeness.

Here's my almost finished Monroe Lacy Stole:

(I've sewn on one panel of the edging lace and I have only one row of the second edging panel to crochet.)

and here are some Burnt Butter Biscuits which I made from this recipe on Little Red Hen's cooking blog:


and, lastly, here's a gorgeous little coin purse that I received from the ever generous 2paw:

Thank you Cindy!

So now on to my little vacation.
I went to find wildflowers with a dear neighbour and fellow flower enthusiast. We stayed at New Norcia, a monastic town (and a little oasis of Spanish culture) that's found in the middle of the wheatbelt. My friend and I also travelled out to a farming community called Dalwallinu. We were rained on a lot (it's been a wonderfully wet Spring) and got very, very muddy but we found wildflowers everywhere ~ blooming along the sides of the road and flowering in carpets out in the bush. Bliss!

Egg and Bacon, blooming just behind New Norcia Hotel.

New Norcia Hotel, where we lunched. Their pizza was delicious!

The view from our room at the Monastery Guesthouse.
Such a tranquil place to stay.
I struck up a conversation, over dinner, with two fellow guests who were translating papers from French and Spanish in the Monastery's archive. They were very European, very devout and fascinating to talk to. I am so grateful that I have the time and the opportunity to meet people who are so different to me and to the people I normally encounter (much as I love the familiar.)

Climbing Fringed Lily, New Norcia

Purple Fan Flower, New Norcia

Milkmaids, New Norcia

White Banjine, Dalwallinu

Acacia, Dalwallinu

Unfurling Everlasting, Dalwallinu

Molly's glad I'm back, although she didn't have to go to the cattery this time ~ Mum and Dad kindly offered to cat sit. She looked very relaxed on my return:

she's given my Monroe Lacy Stole the seal of kitty approval:

I have so much more to share!
I'm looking forward to showing pictures of the glass beads I've made, the pastel drawings I've worked on, further progress on my stole and yet more pictures of wildflowers...

Have a wonderful week.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Wildflowers, Pastels and Lace

I'm sorry it's been such a long time since I've posted here.
I didn't intend to take a big break from blogging but my laptop was hit by a really nasty virus. I had to wipe my computer's hard drive and reinstall all my programs ~ which was very time consuming.
But now I'm back with lots (and I do mean lots) to show.

I have continued to doggedly crochet my Monroe Lacy Stole.
Despite all my mistakes,
I have almost finished the body.

Now I'm working on a beaded edging:

I've done a little travelling since I posted here last, spending a weekend in an historic town called York with my oldest friend. We were so busy catching up and having fun I mostly forgot to take pictures...but I did manage to photograph the pressed tin ceiling in the town hall:

(If you care to look, there are some fabulous photographs of York here.)

I've been attending a pastels course too, which I'm loving. I didn't realise how much I'd missed being in a studio...and I'm learning a lot technically and meeting some gorgeous people.
Here are some of my works in progress:

Still life with Lemons

Still Life with Pears

Nasturtiums at the Front Door

...and I've been out in the bush again.
It's wildflower season here in Western Australia so there are some exquisitely delicate little flowers blooming in the country. (It was only a couple of years ago, when I made an internet friend who happened to be a horticulturalist, that I realised I lived in a botanical wonder.)

These tiny beauties grace my sister's home and the bush block that's close to my parents' house:

Milk Maids

Flame Peas





I do adore wildflower season. I used to love playing in the bush at this time of the year when I was a little girl. I was a great fan of an Australian author called May Gibbs, and I firmly believed that bush babies and fairies lived amongst the flowers...and, you know, I'm still not totally convinced otherwise.

I'm going on a tour of
the wheatbelt soon, in search of more flora. This time, I'm hoping to take lots of pictures so that I can draw from them, as well as post some here. Before I go, though, I'm planning on catching up on my blog reading ~ I've missed the good folk of Blogland!

Have a wonderful week.