October 29, 2018

Life after the Big moved

We moved exactly a week after I retired at the end of May. It was a big move at this stage of our lives, but we have moved many times since we married. Most of those moves were in different countries! 

Anyway, it has been over 4 months since we moved to Canberra. We arrived in the middle of Canberra's winter which was very cold and some nights the temperature was below zero and icy in the mornings. Luckily the house is warm and comfortable. 

We bought some new furniture, but most of the furniture we already had. Some of it is our treasured furniture we brought back from the Middle East. It's important to be surrounded with familiar things. Apart from setting up our new home, I joined the gym, the ACT Basketry and the Canberra Quilters.

We have visited some local music events, galleries and drove down to the South Coast a couple of times as well. 

I'm keeping up the online workshops with India Flint. I'm trying to get back to finishing many quilt projects I have started over the years. Already I've started a couple of new projects too!

It is now late Spring in Canberra. We went through lovely Spring blooms right here on our street and throughout Canberra. Yes, we are settled in well here in our new home and city. We get to help with our grandchildren on a daily basis and some weekends too. 

Icy flakes from car window

Family room in the early days

Old bar stools in new kitchen

Music event at the German Club

First basket made at ACT Basketry

Dyeing as part of online workshop

Finishing one of the quilts I started in Melbourne

Twenty-Five squares bag

Playing in my new Treehouse studio

Altered and dyed jacket for online workshop

Nearby walking track 

Our beautiful street in Spring

We have also started building on a block of land we bought 7 years ago on the South Coast of NSW. It could not have happened at a better time. We are now only 2 hours drive from Canberra. We won't get much done before Christmas though. Patience is the name of the game. 

I have many more photos to share with you on the next post. So don't give up on me!

Until next time
Nat




September 30, 2018

Last Working Friday

This post winds back by 3 months. I had drafted this post just before we moved, but as anyone who has been moving knows, moving is crazy. So below is what I was telling you at that time, but didn't get around to posting it....

I have had the urge to blog and to say that today the last Friday of my working life! Three months ago I handed in my retirement notice. Actually, I only needed to give one month's notice, but I gave them  them plenty of time to find my replacement. They have found me a replacement, but not just one. They have found seven others to replace me! It is good to know that I have put in more than a hard yard into the job. It's one of the best jobs I have had in my career. I will miss this place and the people I have been working with for the last 14 years. 

Apart from today being a significant Friday for my working life, I have few things that I made recently to share with you. I spent the Easter holiday with DS and his family. While I was there DDIL asked for my help making up 2 quilts using work from her students from year 7 and year 8. The work consists of Sashiko stitched panels. I set the blocks using thin white sashings with blue and red corners and the opposite colour for the borders of each quilt. 

I knew that I only have less than 3 months before our big move, but still have to work within that 3 months. The idea didn't stop me from signing up for an online workshop "Alchemist's apron" with India Flint. This was India Flint's first online workshop. I'm glad I signed up because I really enjoyed it and learned a lot from India and the class mates in the class Facebook group. 


One of the student's quilts I put together

Some natural dye experiments using plants and flowers from the garden of the rental house. It was part of online workshop with India Flint I was taking in May.

Soaking plants and flowers in jars

Pieces of silk added and steamed for 45 mins.

Purple carrots dyed with household mordants

The results of silk threads after dyeing with
purple carrots and household mordants.

Journal pages made from splashed papers

And here is the apron made from a shirt.

By the time you read this we would have moved. I will be updating you with our news soon. I do hope to keep blogging more regularly now that I am retired.

Until next time
Nat

May 13, 2018

Tokyo 2018

I had been meaning to blog about my Tokyo trip straight after the Kyoto post, but I have been too busy since we returned from visiting our new home in Canberra at Easter. So here it is at long last: Tokyo post! 

We travelled from Kyoto to Tokyo on the Shinkansen bullet train. The train ride was enjoyable. Our son and his family were with us. We were well prepared for our train trip. The grand-kids got books and toys to keep themselves occupied. I had a bag of sewing and some snacks for all of us.

In Tokyo, I planned to visit The Tokyo International Quilt Festival. It is held in the last week of January each year. I also wanted to take DDIL to Amuse Museum to see the BORO exhibition that I had visited 5 years earlier. Our son wanted to take the children to Tokyo Disney, but he was keeping it quiet until the end to surprise them. 

An extra bonus for me was to visit the Saori studio and spent a lovely day weaving using the Saori loom. You can't go to Tokyo without visiting Nippori Fabric Town. I also wanted to babysit the grand-kids so our son and DDIL could go out and see Tokyo's nightlife. 

We were expecting an early snow in Tokyo and we weren't disappointed. The day after we arrived we all went to Yoyogi Park to let the children and adults play in the thick snow. We had a super fun time.

BORO bag DGD made with vintage fabric we
bought at the Kyoto's flea market. 

Uniqlo Ginza, window display
goes up as tall as the eyes can see!

Park benches in the snow

We made snowmen

A peek at cherry blossoms in Tokyo

Tokyo manhole cover, my favourite so far

Tokyo Quilt International Festival day out. I took DDIL and DGD with me to the festival with me. I bought our tickets online. When we got out of the train station at Tokyo Dome and saw a long queue of people waiting to get into the festival I thought, OMG! We would never get in there today! To our surprise, the queue moved so fast and we were able to enter in less than 15 minutes. While we were standing in the queue DGD attracted a lot of attention from the Japanese quilters (they must be quilters!) with the boro bag she carried with her. She proudly told them she made it herself. "Kawaii", they were all saying to her. 

Korakuen Amusement Park at Tokyo Dome

View Tokyo Dome at you enter

Colourful Circles quilt and the maker

One of many beautiful quilts at the show

The happy lady at one of the stands

Both jacket and bag inspired me to
make them when I get home

The show's cover quilt

Blue and white quilts are my all-time favourites

Framed boro quilt
Special moment witnessing a reveal
her woven piece. 


Another special visit was to the Amuse Museum (boro museum). I was there on my last visit to Tokyo. I really wanted to take DIL to see these boro cloths and articles. I was glad that I got a chance to see them the second time around. The exhibition was a real treasure to share for both the Japanese and visitors.

Indigo items for sale in the museum shop

Boro quilt with red colour inspiration

Boro jacket

This boro piece was well preserved and displayed.

You can appreciate a hall full of boro treasures

The back view of a boro cloth

Some well-loved toeshoes

I love going back to Japan, any part of Japan really. I thought this would be the last trip I would make to Japan, but after I returned I thought I will have to go back again. Japan has everything that I love and it's close enough to Australia to get to. Let's see when is my next trip there. 

After we left Tokyo we spent another 5 days in Hiroshima. Hiroshima was on Mr Notjustnat's list of places to visit so we included it in our trip this time.

Until next time
Nat

March 15, 2018

Kyoto - 2018

We visited Kyoto 7 years ago. It was actually our first trip to Japan trip. This time the trip was more tailored to specific things I wanted to do and see. We stayed in this beautiful hotel Misui Garden. The room was almost big enough for the two of us! But in saying that, the hotel was beautiful and the Japanese style breakfast was plentiful and delicious. 

Apart from planning to hit the Toji Temple flea market on the 22nd of each month we also went back to the places we visited 7 years earlier. The flea market was a success. I was glad I decided to go there. There were so many cool stores and lots and lots of boro/indigo vintage fabrics to die for! The market was so big and busy that I feel I need to go back for another visit to see the rest of it. 

Our son and his family joined us on this trip so we got to spend time with them as well. I suggested that we should visit Nara while we were there. So we did. I knew the grand kids would enjoy the deer park in Nara. 

After Kyoto, we went to Tokyo in time for the Tokyo International Quilt Festival. I will blog about that on the next post. 


Japanese Garden

View from the hotel lobby into the garden

Kyoto Manhole cover

Kimono ladies in Kyoto

Fushima Inari Shrine

Nanzen-ji Garden, Kyoto

Warning sign at Nara deer park

Deer feeding

Toji Temple flea-market store

Toji Temple flea-market, more store

BORO/Indigo/ Vintage fabric
at the flea-market

Ikebana arrangement
at Kyoky Station

I got a lot more of photos, but I don't want to overwhelm you in one post. The next post I will blog about Tokyo and the Tokyo International Quilt Festival.

Until next time
Nat
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