February 6, 2017

How was your Christmas?

I know Christmas is done and dusted, but sorry I haven't got around to sharing my Christmas post with you. It was my turn to host Christmas at our house this year so as you can imagine with me working full time and trying to organise Christmas soon after I finished work. It was a very hectic time! 

We offered DS and DIL to look after the grandchildren so they could spend time away by themselves. They took off to New Zealand for a two-week well earned holiday. They had a lovely holiday while we enjoyed having the grandchildren by ourselves. We kept them and us busy with trips to the parks, swimming pool, ferry ride, library and visiting with friends. Kitiya kindly took them off our hands for a few days after I returned to work. I think we were out of practice with young kids, but we tried our best and all went well.

Hope you all had a nice Christmas whatever you were doing. 2017 is well on its way. I started back to work soon after the New Year. I have no big travel plans this year. I'm saving up for the 2018 Tokyo International Quilt Festival. We will take small trips within Australia this year. 

Below are my Christmas photos to share with you. The captions will explain what they all are. Enjoy!

New acquired Christmas decoration
from Hokkaido 

 My Christmas tree for the last 16 years.
I've bought a new tree for next Christmas!

Stick tree decorated with wooden bells.
The bell quilt I made when I wasn't a quilter!

Redwork tree in the Treehouse studio

Sweet Candy quilt was used for the first time

Various decorations on the tree

Close-up of the tree

Santa Quilt and Santa figurines

A few of Jim Shaw's Santa figurines I own

Treehouse Studio got decorated too

A few small Christmas quilts

Soft Angels

I made a couple of new baubles this year

Santa redwork UFO. Got to get it finished

Pillow cover I made for little Anna 15 years ago

Christmas tree at my desk with recycled
coffee capsules

Cards and decorations at my desk

Christmas table in red and white

Christmas baking

Christmas preserving - Apricot Jam

Visiting Nordic friends on the holiday

 New Christmas tree for 2017 - Boxing Day sale

Went cruising on the Yarra river.

Happy New Year everyone

I was so glad that I managed to squeeze Christmas post in. Every year in January I like to print out my blog. I know I haven't blogged regularly in recent years. Blogging is my life journal. I post things that I make, and share the places I visit. It's great to look back and remember what I did and where I have been. I'm looking forward to receiving my 2016 blog book. 

Until next time

January 19, 2017

Colourful Japan - Hokkaido Part 2

Do I want to go back to Hokkaido? I definitely will. I recently saw a documentary on Hokkaido in winter with the ice festival and yes, I would like to go there at that time.

Sorry for taking so long to blog Hokkaido Part 2. I had been very busy at Christmas time with family. Afterwards we had to babysit our grandchildren to give their parents a break. I also hosted a birthday party for them at the end of their stay. They have left now, and life is getting back to normal. The house is quiet again.

Getting back to Hokkaido Part 2. Hokkaido is the second largest, northernmost and least developed of Japan's four main islands. I've only been to Honshu island and Hokkaido and I would say I like them both in a different ways.

In this post I will share with you the photos I remember Hokkaido by. Blue colour is one thing that reminds me of Hokkaido. Perhaps because Hokkaido is surrounded by vivid blue sea. Please read the captions on each photo for what they are. Enjoy!

Young bamboo shoots dyed blue with natural colour.

Kanariya Fabric Store in Sapporo - a highlight!

Closing down restaurant selling out their
stock. I bought a couple of the blue
bowls  and chopstick resters.

BORO cloth I stitched up on the trip.

Gorgeous gift from a kind man at the vintage fabric
store in Asahikawa.

Beautiful blue gate leading onto the Otaru Canal.

Delicious and colourful pickled
plums served at breakfast.

More pickled plums in turquoise blue.

Blue and white tea set in our hotel's
room at Abashiri

Rice bowls at one of our hotels in Obihiro.

Hand blown Otaru glass wreath.

Japanese figurine found in our
hotel's lobby, Abashiri.

Kimono costume in Tokyo Hands window.

Sakiori loom from the weaving center in Otaru.

Weaving Museum in Asahikawa.

Ainu textile found in Sapporo's
underground exhibition space.

Beautifully appliqued Norens (door hangings) at a
seafood restaurant, Nemuro. 

View from our hotel's window, Nemuro.

Onsen inside and outside.
Ainu village at Lake Akan.

Winter leaves gathered in Hokkaido.

Using tea dye solution. The result is
nothing to write home about!

I have to admit that I haven't done much creatively lately. I have taken myself back to the gym and started a few classes. There is the tennis season here. The Australian Open is on at the moment. I do love tennis! 

My Christmas post will follow later this month. I did make a few Christmas decorations, and I started new quilting projects. I will show you on my next post. 

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best for 2017. Let's hope it's a good one for all.

Until next time

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

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