Friday, 30 May 2014

A trip to London

Well, we've been back in the UK for a few weeks now, and having returned with so many project ideas and great enthusiasm to create, not having our own place is proving to be a little frustrating! While family have been so kind and generous, you still can't help feeling guilty for invading their homes and disrupting routine.

Hopefully we will be moving on soon and getting on with life - having said this, of course, I am still sewing, the hand sewn hexies are coming on a treat, and I've completed another quilt top in a variation on Chanteille. However, both are going to be pressies so I can't share just yet.

To try and find my mojo, (and visit my mum) we took a surprisingly relaxing train journey down to London. It's so good to be back - we had both had enough of the big city a few years back, and sold up, and while I'm sure I would still be sick of the commute into work etc, it's so nice to visit and be a tourist.

We started with a wander down Walthamstow Market, we used to proudly claim it was the longest market in Europe, though I don't know if that's still true. The Stow is undergoing to hell of a makeover at the moment, with new flats going up on every corner, as well as a new leisure/cinema complex - it does promise to look amazing once it's finished.

The market itself seems so much cleaner, and I couldn't believe the amount of fabric shops that have opened nearer the St James end of the market, even if they are sari and dress fabrics rather than cotton, I will always find something to drool over...
Thankfully, some things never change... I will always remember one Christmas looking up at the roof of Manze's pie and mash shop to see Chas & Dave turning on the Christmas lights!
We also had a trip 'up west' where I can never miss an opportunity to visit one of my favourite shops, Liberty's. I love this building so much, given the chance I could spend hours just wandering from department to department looking at all the beautiful items for sale, desperately trying to commit them to memory to inspire future projects. The haberdashery department is so sweet, I love stroking all the lush Tana Lawns.
The next day I decided to take mum and go in search of one of my new favourite shops, The Village Haberdashery in West Hampstead.
Such a sweet shop jammed with gorgeous fabrics, wool, threads and over spilling with inspiration. I planned to add to my collection of Kona Solids, but also couldn't resist these yummy half metres for a new project I have in mind... Most of them are from Cloud 9's Grey Abbey range - Swaying Floral In Egg Blue, Gentile Vines In Dandelion, Folky Daisy In Egg Blue, Deco Floral In Grey, and English Garden In Pearl. The spots are Littlest Cottontails In Sand, the turquoise geometric is from the Squared Elements range from Art Gallery Fabrics, and the last fabric is from Moda's Simply Style Frames On Graphite Grey.
I now just have to get over the fear of cutting into new fabrics, and just get on with it!

Friday, 2 May 2014

A good pummelling!

It's been a long wait, but I've finally had a proper Thai massage, and although it hurt like hell at the time, I do feel incredibly relaxed, how these petite ladies put so much strength into their thumbs is beyond me! A whole hour of being bent in the 'wrong' directions, cost me all of £5.00! Absolute bargain, I wonder where I can get similar at home...

Other than that, we haven't really been up to much, other than trying to get a bit of a tan without burning, not easy... Drinking the local beer, and eating, and eating, and eating! Here are some more picks to get the tastbuds tingling...

We think this tilapia, grilled on an open fire at one of the night markets, it was stunning.

And this is the night market round the corner from our hotel, it's so lovely to see people with their families come out, pick what they want from the numerous stalls, grab a Leo and sit and watch the evening go by. Obviously the warm temperature adds to the joy.

This was another market, where we had grilled pork, ribs and sticky rice...

The stallholders pack them in these sweet little bags, together with a bag of sauce, and you can just nibble away, such an easy way to eat!

When we do go to a restaurant, you have to get used to your dishes just coming out when they're ready, some small places only have the one wok I think, so they serve them when they're done, which does make it difficult when you want to take a photo of your meal!

Here we have Thai noodles, minced duck with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chilli, chicken fried rice, grilled pork and sea bass with celery.

I've also been playing with my new app Quiltography, and now Doughty's have put some new linen look cottons from John Louden online, this is what I've come up with so far, a bit minimalist, with maybe a japanese look?

There are also some gorgeous elephant designs, aren't these sweet!