Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Inspiration from Vietnam

I can't believe how slack I am in keeping up with my blog, considering my life is so much more relaxed than this time 18 months ago. I'm sure there must be a wise saying that says something about the more time we have the less productive we become? Or maybe I actually needed to take some 'relax and smell the roses' time?????
Well I certainly am taking in the sights, sounds and not-always-pleasant smells around me, especially in my travels during the school holidays, and thought I would share some of the fab photos I snapped when Vince and I were in Vietnam and  Cambodia over the July break.
I loved the colours and shapes, and thought they would lend themselves to something creative once I am over my 'downtime'.

These oars were in the Kings Palace in Pnomh  Penh and were both wonderful colours and shapes, while being sturdy and intricate in design.

I love the lotus and we sure saw them in all
their glory on our travels throughout both
Vietnam and Cambodia. I would so much
have loved to have been able to have brought
back one of the absolutely gigantic leaves
that I saw - and when I say gigantic I am talking GINORMOUS!!!! Here is my little bit
of lotus love to you :)

I was stoked to find a "chain" of patchwork and quilting shops called Mekong Quilts / Vietnam Quilting and managed to visit almost every one of them throughout the three weeks we were away. The work was really lovely, some stunning colour combinations, and the handquilting was incredible ..... I think if I had measured stitches to the inch it would've been faultless. I was really tempted to buy a quilt but faced reality and left it for someone else to enjoy. Did buy a couple of smaller items as gifts for other peeps though and spent ages just wandering and filling my needs through my eyes :)
First shop - oh happy day in Ho Chi Minh City.
Very very patient he was, was Vince. Lucky they had a seat, though!!!!!!
Everywhere around me I seemed to "see" things that I thought would be so cool made up somehow.....
So maybe now, after another inspiring trip to a land filled with more culture, colour and life (have just come back from a week in Thailand) I might actually start testing my creative spirit again........... 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Jakarta quilting exploration!

Yep - you read right. I went to my first quilty event since moving here in January and it was very exciting!!!!!! Mind you, it was with a little bit of trepidation that we hopped into the taxi, as one never knows if you are actually going to end up where you actually want to be when you give a taxi driver your destination!!!
However, after a couple of stops to ask directions, we got to the display of Agape Quilts & Crafts, a group based in Bandung.
They had the cutest selection of toys, mostly baby related, but so precisely made and finished. I loved the gorgeous Balinese bed these were displayed on.
And hanging behind these lovely softies was an original design which depicted the different regions of Indonesia. All the applique was hand done and absolutely exquisite - not a stitch to be seen! There were several colourways of this same design and one of the ladies I was with was very tempted.
In the room were piles, and I do mean piles, of quilts in single, double and queen size - all machine pieced but ALL hand quilted. OH MY WORD the hand quilting was just out of this world as far as being so precise. No using a busy backing fabric to cover up any mistakes or wonky stitches! This wasn't a quilt exhibition, but more of an opportunity for these ladies to sell their quilts - I think it is an organisation that teaches low income women the skills and then provides them with an outlet for their goods to be sold.
This was a very cool wallhanging made in traditional Javanese batiks and the tall houses were very groovy (as you can see Barbara was very tempted). It was a shame that there weren't as many quilts or other items as I had hoped there would be made in batik. It seems sad that the American patchwork fabrics were the favoured ones rather than their own beautiful cotton batiks. However there were a few quilts made in Bali batiks - you know, the bright ones commercially produced.
A little bit of a closer look - sorry it's a bit blurred, but I don't think the peeps really like me taking photos! Unfortunately you can't see the richness of the traditional batiks....these ones had a lovely goldness to them, and even I could have bought this one which is saying something as I am not really a lover of the browns range.
I did come away with a wee momento.....
...this lovely Bali batik star mat, which I have hung in my bedroom. The folding and sewing is again really precise, and the greens and orange work really well with the green theme of my Jakarta room.
All in all it was a treat to have my first dose of quilting for such a long break and I did get a little longing to hit a machine when I got home but had to be happy to just fondle some fabric instead.
But the good news is that the machine from school is back from being serviced so I am hoping to get that this week and have a bit of a play with it - YAY!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Selamet sore from Jakarta - my new home!!!!

I can't believe it has taken me this long to get to my writing this and I have to say a huge apology to those peeps who have emailed to say where the heck am I ... was I missing in action?

But no - I am very much alive and kicking, just kicking in a different land.

To cut a rather long (but interesting) story short the week of Christmas I applied for, interviewed for, and won, a teaching position at the New Zealand International School here in South Jakarta and flew out on January 3rd. So yes, all very quick but hey, sometimes those sort of spontaneous things are often just what you need after 9 months of dithering!

However it did mean leaving Vince and the boys and Pippa behind in New Zealand... not the easiest of decisions I have to say. 
But I looked on it as if I was doing my own sort of "Eat, Work, Play" experience, not that I look anything like Julia Roberts or that I would have the limitless expense account that she had at her fingertips....damn it all:)

SO into my 4th month and every day reinforces the positivity of my decision.
This is a city of noise, busy-ness, and everchanging-ness ( I know, neither of those last two words are real but I take liberty to create my own words).

I love being back in the class and love my 14 Year 4 mixed bag of treasures. I have a neat bunch of colleagues that I teach and live alongside, I share an apartment with a great young Australian woman half my age who has also left her husband at home. Yes, I miss my man but with modern technology that helps to at least keep in touch.

I have had opportunities already to travel to both Singapore and Hong Kong, and in 8 weeks time both Vince and Mal will be over here for a holiday and then Vince and I will head off to Vietnam.
Hey - is this not an adventure????????

SO - I am back and alive and kicking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right - off to the gym and then the pool but will share some photos in a couple of days and also update you on the little bit of creativity I have managed.