30 March 2013

You meet the nicest people......

Back to Vietnam again, I'm afraid!  One of my favourite parts about holidays in foreign parts, is the markets.  They are always so lively and colourful, each one different in every country.  We went to as many as we could find, but the best by a long way was a market we went to in the very north of the country, home to the minority people, the Flower Hmong. It was stuck on top of a hill miles from anywhere, and if you believe what we were told, many of the people leave their villages at 4 in the morning to walk to the market.


The girl with the baby is probably on around 13 or 14.  They marry and have babies very young amongst the minority peoples
My 3 new best friends.  We shared a glass of rice wine, and a joke or two!

You can buy anything from a pin to a water buffalo!

Oh, a memorable day!

27 March 2013

Guest Post

Well it's sort of a guest post, except the guest isn't here, and I'm writing it!   Do you remember my SIL Bridget?  She came over for a sewing weekend last year, and I managed to infect her with the quilting bug!  This was her first attempt (although I never did get a photo of the finished quilt)


Her first solo quilt was finished a few weeks ago

Unfortunately you can't see the quilting very well, but she has hand sew around some of those trees.  She's a much better hand sewer than me!

The fabric on the back has little birdies, hence the name of the quilt Watch the Birdie

Her second quilt was also finished recently, in double quick time as the baby had arrived already.

I originally said I thought the monkey didn't fit in, but she liked it so it stayed.  Hence the quilt is called keep the monkey!  I think she was right and I was wrong.

And you can see she already has right idea about making it look pretty!

Last but not least, do you remember the snowball quilt?  I started it at the FQR last year, and we have both been plugging away over the months

Bridget in Peru

Me in Vietnam
I got all the blocks out today, just to see how we were getting along

Not too bad eh?  I think we probably need 6 rows x 5 columns, which means another 11 blocks. Not much really if you say it quick.     All three of Gordon's sisters are visiting in August, so maybe we can get the 11 finished then?  No rush though, it's back in the cupboard already.

26 March 2013

Le Challenge

Le Challenge

Have you all seen "Le Challenge" that Lucy and Nat are running?  The idea is to make a little something based on their monthly theme, which for this month is "Geometrics".  Now, I was getting a bit bored doing this:

and was faced with these

 so decided to start something new, as one does!  I've been threatening to re-new my cushion covers for ages, and had a few ideas in my head which would fit nicely into the geometric theme.  I swift half and hour on t'interweb and I'd found a nice pattern that I though I could reproduce.

The only way I could work out how to make it was to paper piece it.  I guess you can do it with a special ruler, but I don't have one! Here's the little pattern I made

And inspired by this cushion from my friend Di, I pulled out some fabrics and off I went.  Here's the first two blocks

The points don't quite reach all the way to the join on any of the blocks, and I kept to all the lines exactly.  I guess there's a little trick there that I missed.

I've now finished the cushion front , but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to show it as I go along or keep it a secret until the finish date, so I'll save it for later.  When I showed it to Gordon his reaction was totally under-whelming.  Mind you, he hates cushions with a passion, so it's unlikely he'd like any cushion cover, no matter how nice!  He nearly fainted when we were out shopping yesterday and I bought two new cushion pads!!!

By the way, thanks to everyone for their good wishes to the cat - Brynnie Scissorcat as he is now know

Did they really have to shave off quite so much fur?  He's been an excellent patient - he kept his stocking on for almost 5 days, and has not complained too much about not being allowed out.  Actually it's been cold, windy, and now snowy, so you can see him sniggering behind his paw when the others get chucked out, and he can stay in!  He's back to the vets on Friday to have the stitches taken out, then I guess we can let him out again.

Right, off now to do a few chores before sewing some more of those blocks.

22 March 2013

Vietnam - Street Food

Firstly, whilst admitting that I have no real idea why I am doing it, I am claiming my blog on bloglovin.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I don't use any reader, so I'm not mourning the loss of Google reader.  I just read the blogs I follow from the blogger dashboard.  It gives me a nice photo, the header, and a little bit of the text.  This makes me happy!  But as it's taken so long to get to 89 followers, I'm not risking losing any!!

To continue, here's a few more photos from Vietnam.  This time of the street food.  People get very excited about street food, but to be honest if you could see the conditions in which much of it is cooked, and you don't have the time or the inclination to risk a dose of the screaming Dhwli-belly, you would probably give eating it a miss!  But it does look good, and is so far away from a standard western "meal out", that it is truly fascinating to see. 

This is "beer corner" in Hanoi.   You can get local beer here very cheaply, in any one of a dozen bars around this junction and because there is a high turnover, it's very good.  But you'd never get my husband's bum on one of these stools without it exploding underneath him!


Bring on the flies

On the last evening, we threw caution to the wind, and ate here, mainly because it looked cleaner and more professional, and the chairs were much bigger!

The food here was really great, and so much of it.  These prawns were more like lobsters!  The atmosphere whilst sitting out in a busy market cum kitchen was fantastic, and was a really good end t the holiday.

So tell me, would you have eaten street food?

20 March 2013

Thank you International Rugby

Thanks to 3 Rugby matches and cold windy weather over the weekend, no-one, not even the dogs and especially not the cats, showed any inclination to go out.   Which meant I could spend all the time I wanted sewing.

I managed to finish the Siblings Together top

I must admit that the lining up of point and joints is not the best, but I'm very pleased with the overall look.  Gordon did ask if I've finished it, because it clearly needs another strip down one side to even it up! Thanks Dear! Now I need a trip to Ikea or my LQS  now to find some backing for it.

Once I'd put that one together, I needed to get on with making my block for Helen's Stitch Tease quilt and sewing it together with the other 8 blocks that I have received over the past year.  It took a bit of fiddling, as all 9 of the blocks were slightly different sizes, but I got there in the end, and I think Helen is going to be so very pleased with it.  Unfortunately, I can't reveal it just yet, but all the quilts will be posted off to their owners on April 1st, so there will be a big reveal shortly after that.  Here's a heavily disguised shot of it to keep you going.

I also made a sweet little bag for a birthday gift using this pattern from  in color order

It only took a couple of hours to make, so gives instant satisfaction!

And finally yesterday (stuck at home poorly cat sitting) I made progress on my Blue Lagoon quilt.  The piles are mounting up.

I am making this 1 column and 2 rows bigger than the pattern, so had to do a little bit of maths to work out how many more four-blocks I needed.  Not difficult stuff, and  I always thought I was pretty good at maths, but look what I've got left!

I guess they will be going into the back then!

Linking up with Work in Progress Wednesday, as I have indeed made some progress!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

18 March 2013

Hey, what happened

One minute I was asleep in my pen, next thing I know I wake up wearing a body stocking

What happened?

16 March 2013

Vietnam Part 1

I'm not usually one for endless holidays photos on my blog, but Vietnam is so different to any other place we've visited, and probably most of you have visited, I wanted to give you a bit of a feel for it.  I won't bore you with the monuments and temples (oh and there are a lot, but when you've seen one buddist temple, largely speaking, you've  seen them all!)  So I've attempted to pick out some funny/interesting/strange/beautiful/different things for you to see. 

I've started with the streets, as they are the most amazing places.  I must've walked around with my mouth open most of the time!  The one thing that you notice first of all is the traffic.  You don't just notice it - it comes up and smacks you around the head!   If you look at nothing else, have a look at this video


This was our first afternoon, when we were badly jet-lagged!  And still we survived! The trick is to keep going slowly, and not stop, and the traffic magically parts and goes around you.

Vietnam lorry

Waiting for a train to pass at a level crossing
The figure on the right is me, having just cycled across 3 million motor bikes coming in the opposite direction! You can only guess at how much swearing was going on!
Vietnamese telecom

The streets at night

They have a problem with rubbish

New technology meets old
That's all for today folks.  Thanks to those who have made it through to the end.  Tomorrow I'll show you some of the street food.