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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Piec-lique


Here is a basic circle pieced with Sharon Schamber's method from her website. It's a very easy way to piece a perfect circle (any imperfections are mine) with no stitching at all showing. It can then be cut into four equal pieces to make Drunkard's Path blocks. I don't know if I will make anything from this but I wanted to try it just to see how it works. It will probably end up in the parts drawer with a lot of other orphans.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Fabric and Book



On Friday Brenda and Du asked us if we wanted to go to Grand Forks with them for the day on Saturday. I said only if they were willing to stop at Joanne's Fabrics. (What else would a quilter say?) They agreed so we went on Saturday afternoon and here is the result. They only had one rotary blade left or I would have gotten several because they were 40% off as were most of the fabrics. I got blue backing for the latest quilt and some dark brown that is the same as the braid quilt I made before going on holidays. I got the last of the bolt but I doubt that it is enough to back the quilt. I will put a piece of something else in the middle if it isn't because I really like the back of a quilt to match the front. I got a selection of black and whites too because I want to build up my B&W stash.
I also picked up this book about sewing strips and curves with my 40% off coupon that I got in the mail. I actually had to dig to the bottom of my garbage bag to get it because it was finished today and we had absolutely no plans to go to USA in the forseeable future. Luckily, it has been too windy to burn garbage.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Spring Quilt


Here is the quilt with all of the borders on. I really like it, although I'm not usually one to do pastels. I have decided to dye some fabric for the back. Today I bought some pink fabric for the last quilt I made. It's a bit too cold to dye outside and I want to get back to the quilting machine. I hope I can remember how to load it. It's been a long time since I last used it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another Spring Quilt


What do you do if there is a BLIZZARD and you can't get to town to buy backing for a finished top? Well, you start another one, of course. This one is super simple with no corners to match . I used left-overs from the last quilt and I can't believe how fast it has been to put together. I have two more rows to sew together and then I can assemble the rows. The pattern is from an old thrift shop quilt magazine but I think it's a traditional one. The one in the magazine had a wide white border. I am debating whether to do that or to use the blue border like the one in the photo or a narrow blue inner border and then the white one. I might make it a bit bigger, although the borders will add a lot to the size. I can't believe how much it shrinks when you sew all those little pieces together.
Yes, I did say blizzard at the top of this post. We woke up to freezing rain with the threat of snow and wind causing a blizzard. So far it has been freezing rain and we are hoping the power won't go off.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pyjama Quilt


Here is the PJ quilt with the borders on. It's all ready to load onto the quilting machine except I don't have anything big enough for backing except some darkish green. I think I'll wait until I can get some pink fabric or else tomorrow I might see if I can find some large pieces that would work for a pieced backing. I like it much better now that the borders are on.

Google Earth


Elaine from Elaine Adair Pieces suggested we show a Google Earth shot of our home so here is mine. I think it will enlarge if you click on it. There is quite a steep hill between the house and the stone circle that doesn't show in the photo. If you are wondering about the stone circle go to Star Center Art on my sidebar.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring Quilt Again


Today I finally got to spend some quality time in the sewing room. I finished the blocks, arranged them and after I took the photo I sewed half of them together. The comment was made that this quilt looks like pyjamas so I think the new name is the PJ Quilt. It seems appropriate that a quilt should look like pyjamas. Maybe I should make some PJ's to go with it.
I tried to arrange the blocks with the lighter ones in the middle but was only partly successful. Finally I just settled for not having like fabrics touch. Sometimes random is the best.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spring?


It doesn't look much like spring around here but it feels like it. We went for a nice long walk this morning and this is a view from the top of the hills behind our house. It will soon be all green but I think it's beautiful even like this. I guess I just love the wide open spaces.

Friday, April 18, 2008

New Bathroom


Today we did some renovations on the bathroom. The floor needed replacing so we also changed the toilet and vanity. Thanks to son-in-law, Matt, the job went quickly and efficiently. We were ready for a week's work and all it took was two days. On Wednesday we removed the old linoleum and sub-floor. Today we (maybe I should actually be saying "they", but I did cook great meals and run errands) did the new floor and installed the fixtures. Now all we have to do is add the trimming. We decided to keep the old bathtub because we just replaced the tub surround a few years ago and it would have meant re-doing all that again.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tibetan Teapot




This is a teapot that we bought in China. It is apparently made in Tibet. We loved the metal over porcelain look of it. It is quite small too but very well made. I love the little monkey on the top of it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Quilt


I finally got back into the studio. I wanted to start off with something fairly fast and easy so I picked another one from Karla Alexander's newest book, New Cuts for New Quilts. I wanted a spring look so I chose some of the pastels and flower fabrics that I won on a couple of blog draws. I was going to use dark flowered fabrics for the alternate color but I didn't have enough of them that I liked and I also thought it looked just too chaotic. To pull it together a bit I used solids but now I think I would have been better with the dark flowered fabrics. You can never tell until it's done though and if I arrange them a bit more once I have all the blocks done it might please me more. Meanwhile it is bright and spring like so I won't complain too much.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Teapots


Here are three tiny teapots we got in China. I should have put my hand in the picture to give scale. Each one would hold less than a cup. They look to be hand made and are all very cute. We got a few others that I will photograph later.
Yesterday we went to The Manitoba Prairie Quilters show in Winnipeg. It was an amazing show with lots of wonderful quilts. I didn't bring a camera though, so no pictures.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tablecloth


Here is a tie dyed table cloth that I bought in Xing Ping, a town near Yangshuo. There were lots of them for sale in both towns and my biggest regret is in not buying several of them. However, we were nearing our luggage weight limit so I had to limit myself to one. They were in various colors and designs but this was my favorite by far.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Sleeper Bus

Once we crossed the border into China at Shenzhen, we took an overnight train to Guilin. The berths were clean and comfortable and we had a lovely trip. The next morning we took a local bus on to Yangshuo.

Here I am just after we boarded the train and had stowed our luggage.On the way home we decided it would be easier to catch a sleeper bus right in Yangshuo to avoid wrestling our mounds of luggage (all that shopping) onto a bus to Guilin and then onto the train there. Here is an example of a Chinese sleeper bus. Some of them are extremely comfortable but not this one.



The beds are really reclined seats with your feet fitting under the backrest of the seat in front of you. The only problem is that there is not enough room for your feet to be vertical. You have to decide on an angle that is comfortable (there is none) for your feet. There are three rows of beds with two aisles between them. I got the middle bed which turned out to be the worst one,in my opinion. They are very narrow and I felt like I'd fall out all night. Besides that, once the beds were all full, they proceeded to sell aisle space. By the time we left, the entire floor surface was filled with sleeping people. Once in awhile someone would get the urge to consult with the driver and make their way over everyone to the front. I was three seats back and that seemed to be a signal to climb over my feet to the driver's side.
About three hours into our trip, the bus pulled over to the side and waited for over an hour. Suddenly, there was a solid stream of bumper to bumper buses and trucks approaching and passing us, spewing out exhaust fumes, for at least half an hour. Then it was our turn to go. There was a couple of miles of only one lane of highway. The other half was under construction or just gone, I'm not sure which. The rest of the road was all twists, turns and huge potholes that had to be navigated at extremely slow speeds. That seemed bad enough until we hit the better roads and the driver wanted to make up for the time he had lost by the side of the road.
We finally made it to Shenzhen 15 hours later, just 3 hours longer than it took us to fly from Hong Kong to Vancouver to Winnipeg.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Food China Style



Carmel asked me to show some food pictures. I didn't have my own camera so there are not as many as there could be but here's what I could find. This is Sacha buying snacks at the local corner store. We had no idea what a lot of the items were. One that looked like juice turned out to be cooking oil. We didn't buy it but were able to ask the clerk and get an answer by pantomime.

This is dinner "on the hoof" from the market. No, I didn't buy it. Lol.


Here is Sacha enjoying her favorite meal, a fruit plate. Some of them had a watermelon cut into flower shapes but I couldn't find a photo of one like that.

Here I am (we had just come back from our long bike ride but I wasn't really too tired to open my eyes. I'm blaming the flash) enjoying fried rice served in a pineapple. Delicious!

Monday, April 07, 2008

More China




Here we are on our rented bikes with our guide. She was a lady from the area who had learned to speak English on her own. She was amazing and told us stories and legends of the mountains and how they got their names. We were astounded to find that she is 50 years old. She looked about 30 and had the energy of 20.

The path deteriorated as we went because of all the rain they had been experiencing. We kept on even though we had to push the bikes part of the way.This wonderful raft ride was our reward. The scenery was gorgeous and we landed about a half hour ride from Yangshuo.
One of the mountains as seen from the raft.

The view of the main shopping street of Yangshuo from the restaurant balcony where we ate that evening.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

First China Pictures

We are home again but still pretty jet-lagged so if there is any incoherence in this post I'll blame it on that. We stayed in Hong Kong a couple of days, getting our visas for China. Once we had them we took the subway to the border of China, got through customs with no hassles whatsoever and arrived at the border city of Shenzhen as soon as we walked through customs. Shenzhen is famous for its shopping and we did some of that, honing our bargaining skills. The picture below is the train station in Shenzhen where we went to get tickets for the overnight train to Guilin. From Guilin we took a bus to Yangshuo where we spent the rest of our time. We had planned to go on to Shanghai but couldn't tear ourselves away from the beauty of Yangshuo.

This is a picture of XiJe (West Street), the main tourist shopping street in Yangshuo. It was full of shops, restaurants and bars.

Here is Sacha with a group of students who were studying English. Every Wednesday they go out and try to get foreigners who speak English to come and help them practise. It was great fun and they were thrilled to have someone more their own age to talk to.

This is Moon Mountain, one of the most famous mountains in the area. The hills are all made of limestone and riddled with caves. They are called Karst mountains and are all very odd shapes. We rented bikes and went riding with a guide. The amazing thing was that the roads are pretty flat and snake around the bottom of the mountains. I have never seen such amazing scenery in my life.
Here are some more mountains.

When we got back to Hong Kong we had no hotel booked to we went to a tourist service at the railway station and they got us this 5 star hotel that is still not finished, but talk about luxury! It was a great way to end the trip.
The bathroom had a separate tub and shower.
The lobby was gigantic and all made of marble or some sort of granite.
This was the view out the window.
I'll be posting more pictures of our bike rides and boat rides later.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Almost Home

We are on the last leg of our trip but I am on a hotel computer so no pictures. We had a wonderful time in China. We had planned to spend a few days in Yangshuo near Guilin and then go on to Shanghai bu we liked Yangshuo so much that we stayed there the whole time. It's a smaller town set in thje middle of beautiful karst mountains with the Li River running through it. We took a boat ride,Bike tours, a ride on a bamboo raft and saw an amazing light show. The shopping kept Sach busy when we weren't sightseeing. On the last evening we all had a much needed foot massage before catching the sleeper bus back to Shenzhen. This morning we crossed the border to Hong Kong. We had not booked a hotel so we went to a ticketing office at the train station. They set us up in a brand new luxury hotel for under $100 a night. It is still under construction (the pool is not yet built) but when it is all finished it will be very expensive indeed - 5 stars. We have all decided that we could easily get used to luxury living.
Tomorrow afternoon we catch the flight home. It's been fun but we are ready to get back to normal.