December 2, 2016

Hokkaido Driving Holiday Part 1

Hokkaido driving holiday is done and dusted! In theory, the trip is over, but my vivid memories of the trip are as clear as day! We did a lot in two weeks so I won't be able to fit our experiences in one post. I will divide them into categories for example, food, people, weather, art, craft and shopping. 

In this post, Part 1, I will share the unexpected experience we encountered when we arrived at New Chitose Airport in Sapporo - it was covered in snow. The snow arrived a month earlier than normal in Hokkaido. It was lucky for us because I can't remember the last time I was in the snow! It was a most beautiful sight for me! We took so many photos of snow you might be sick seeing them! 

We took a short train ride from the airport to Asahikawa where we picked up the car. We stayed in Asahikawa for 2 nights from the recommendation of DS when he took the family (Bike Babies) there a few years ago. 

On the full day we spent in Asahikawa, we visited the Weaving and Dyeing Museum and right across the lawn that was covered in the snow was a Snow Museum (surprise, surprise!). You can imagine I was in heaven there for a couple of hours. 

First landing at the airport - clearing the runway
so our plane could taxi to the gate.

They remind me of snow cones

Sounkyo Ropeway snow field

Our rented car for the trip

The food in Japan is to die for. I will go back there time and time again just for the food! I love smaller portions of all the sweets in Japan. Food is beautifully presented and delicious! I have many favourites. Too many to write about here. Below are some cool photos of the food I really enjoyed!

Fresh ramen at Nemuro

Japanese breakfast at the hotel in Furano

We found great coffee at Furano Cafe

Nemuro is famous for crabs! 

Japanese people are kind, helpful, generous, polite and beautiful people! We only know basic Japanese, but positive body language goes a long way in Japan. 

Sumo wrestling is still popular in Japan.
I love the tradition of the sport and the costumes
rather than the sport itself!

Met this cho kawaii (super cute)
child in a supermarket. 

A lady at a small kiosk at Sapporo JR Station.

The lovely couple at the
vintage fabric store in Asahikawa.

On part 2 of our Hokkaido driving holiday, I will share with you more photos and stories from the trip. I could easily book the next trip back to Japan right now, but the world is a big place and there are so many places I would love to visit as well.

Hope you are gearing up for Christmas. It still amazes me how fast it comes! One good thing about working is that my calendar is filled with Christmas activities whether I like it or not! I hope to put up my Christmas decorations this weekend. How about you?

Until next time
Nat








October 26, 2016

Quilts and Driving Holiday

I think I mentioned earlier that Mr Notjustnat and I are heading to Hokkaido for a driving holiday in November. November is almost here already! So we are off in less than two weeks. Can hardly wait!

But before we leave I will share with you what I did in the last couple of weeks. I have continued work on the yellow crumbs quilt. I've finished piecing all 230 blocks and started putting 4 blocks unit together. It looks quite amazing actually. I have also made a lil boro pincushion using the threads keeper filled with off-cut threads. It took me a couple years before I filled the keeper. Thanks to Deanna for a great idea to made it into a pincushion! 

Having stayed at home for two weeks after the surgery I've unearthed many long forgotten projects, one of which is the little 2" x 2" fan blocks I started long ago! To my surprise I actually made nearly enough for a nice small quilt. I only need about 50 more blocks. I'm really enjoying hand applique and hand piecing these fan blocks. I so love the vintage Japanese fabric I'm using too!

Please scroll down to the end of this post to read about our Hokkaido driving holiday...

Boro pincushion made from threads keeper

A tin full of little fan blocks ready for attention

Putting 4 little blocks into a unit

Stack of 230 blocks of yellow crumbs quilt

begin putting units of 4 blocks together

A driving holiday in Hokkaido! After a few trips to Japan Honshu island I thought we will visit Hokkaido the norther island in Japan. We decided to take a driving holiday by hire car. We won't be able to do the whole island, but I think we will see the most picturesque of the place.  

Hokkaido old map

Otaru Canal in Hokkaido

There will be plenty of photos to share on Instagram, FB and Twitter. For both of us this is also a photography holiday. I'm really excited to discover wonderful scenery in towns and villages. Another highlight for me is visiting onsens (Japanese baths). Hokkaido is famous for its natural hot spring onsens.

Will bring back lots of photos to share with you when I return,

Until then
Nat  


October 15, 2016

Yellow Crumb Quilt

September and October has been busy, fun and nervous time. It started when my friend Myra Dunn from Myfluffybag visited the end of September. I had a fun packed activities awaiting her. First was Quilts in the Barn's annual exhibition. The next day was Geelong Fibre Forum, a yearly event. The last day of Myra's visited I took her to ours favourite Niko Kafe in Oakleigh. What the little time we had left. We managed to play in the Treehouse Studio creating two quilts that we got inspired from Quilts in the Barn's exhibition the vintage crumb quilt. The evening before all these activities Myra mentioned the word "crumb quilting" which we looked up in Youtube, but it wasn't until we saw a vintage crumb quilt that we were in-loved with it!

You might also want to know about my nervous time? I had a small surgery on my back to removed infected cysts. I had that done a couple of days after Myra's left. I was a nervous lack for couple of weeks prior to the operation. I'm not a fan of hospital, doctor or pain! It was over in a couple of hours while I was knocked out, phew! I'm now home on sick-leave for 2 weeks. The pain had gone with the help of strong pain killers and a course of antibiotic. I'm up and about because sitting is not the most comfortable position when you have surgery on your back! I can walks and stand though! 

Now back to the Yellow Crumb Quilt. After returned from Quilts in the Barn exhibition both Myra and I were all inspired by 100 or so vintage quilts. One quilt in particular was a yellow Crumb quilt. With tone of scraps I've accumulated from quilts such as Rags to Riches and Handkerchief Corner quilt. We started to tackled our crumb quilts. I choose yellow base and Myra chooses red for hers.

The block to be 5" finished so I cut the 'F' fabric (feature fabric), which is yellow 3" wide strip, but instead of crumb piecing the whole length of strip as per YouTube's instruction I pre-cute my 3" strip into 3.5" pieces. I chain pieced all my blocks until I finished. If you are quilters you would be able to make this quilt by looking at my photos. I will try to explain under each photo what I'm doing. Enjoy!

I will need 230 block for a single size quilt.
I will not put them together until
I finished piecing all blocks.

Myra's Red Crumb Quilt

Crumb units. Very simple and not too
many pieces.

Attach 3.5" 'F' fabric onto crumb pieces.

Crumb blocks ready to trim.

Crumb units trimmed and ready to assemble. 

Block complete, now make 229 more blocks!

Imagine using Japanese fabric!

I'm using my beloved Singer Featherweight to
pieced this quilt. I love using it for
memorable quilt.

Here are the leftover crumbs. It's time to
discarded them.

Vintage crumb quilt.

Closed up of the vintage quilt.

Even closer look!

I can't see why you can't make larger blocks or make a modern looking quilt with it. I imagine using those bright and modern fabric in a quilt like this, but I love using vintage and recycled fabric so this version is perfect for me.

I hope to piece all the blocks by the time I return to work. It's a lot of fun piecing the blocks. There are so many variations of piecing I can do. With all the scraps I pre-cut for the previous quilts. It makes the process going faster than I have to cut everything from scratch.

Until next time
Nat

October 4, 2016

Basic Crazy Quilt - An Online Workshop

This post is dedicated to the basic crazy quilt; a free online workshop I took early in August with Kathy Shaw. Please Google her if you are interested in doing her workshop. I don't know if any of you noticed or read that Blogger now limits third party URLs on your post. It will affect all sorts of add-ons on your blog. I lost many of my sidebar links because I was trying to do the right thing by linking people and places I visit. 

Anyway back to my CQ. I love CQ and have been making bits and pieces for years. I've even taught classes back when I lived in the Emirates. I thought I would take a workshop to get me back to it again. Not knowing what I got myself into when I signed up, it was more involved and not as crazy as I thought it would be, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned heaps more than I already knew about CQ. Kathy Shaw is an excellent teacher. She points you in the right direction and you learn by the end of it.

Our first task was to choose fabric and supplies. You know I didn't need to buy anything new for this course. We were supposed to use light colour fabrics for our blocks, but I already had lots of hand-dyed fabric in yellow that I wanted to use, so I did. 

Please read the captions on each photo for more details. 

Fabric, embroidery threads and hoop. 

Pieces cut from provided patterns.

Beads, sequence and charms for embellishment.

The block base  is sewn together ready for
the embellishment.

Layers of embroideries started in on the seams.

Some beads and French knots are going on next.

Most of seams are now covered with embroidery.

Close up of the French knot flowers.
I did them in multi colours.

All seams are now covered. The stem is for
silk ribbon embroidery.

Silk ribbon embroidery Irises.

Silk ribbon spider roses.

And here is the finished block. I was told
to put a couple more motifs on the top left
and bottom left corners. I think
I will before taking it off the hoop.

There is also a private workshop blog that we post our step-by-step tasks as we were doing them. Kathy gave us her feedback each step of the way. We also received workshop instructions by email on all different embellishment as the class progressed. 

I get totally inspired by the workshop. I think I'm ready to embark on a CQ of my dreams, the Victorian CQ in black and jewels colour using fabric I have been collecting for years. So watch this space everyone! Hope you enjoy and get inspired to start your own CQ. 

Until next time
Nat




September 20, 2016

Spring Down Under

Spring is here. We have two beautiful fruit trees in our back yard. One is apricot and the other one is plum. They are both producing gorgeous blossoms in Spring and fruit in Summer. 

Many little projects are always on the go here in my Treehouse Studio. Also the dyeing pot is steaming away on the back deck. I often gather some dye-able leaves on my walks during the week and in the weekend I quickly prepare dye bundles and steam. I love the feeling of participation when I reveal the dye bundles. 

I'm also working on some gentle stitch projects using old doilies, lace, embroideries and beads. I have been collecting old doilies and old lace over the years. It's time to put them into good use. Another project is crazy quilt block I'm doing online. I'm really enjoying it, but a bit slow with precise stitches. It's coming along very well.  

Below are various photos of life happenings at Notjustnat's residence!

Spring blossom

A birthday present for Treehouse Studio

Lots of doilies

Book cover in the making

The Book of Tea is wrapped!

Tiny little box

First book cover using doilies

Tin-Cushions

Dyed and drying

More dyeing

Old leaves to dye for

CQ basic block


Spring time wouldn't be the same without some spring seedlings. I potted some Petunia and Lobelia for the Treehouse Studio's landing. Can't wait for them to flower! The apricot is also full of blossoms. I hope they will give us lots of fruit this summer. I know some of you are heading into Fall/Autumn. Changing seasons is always welcome. Enjoy!

Until next time.
Nat    



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