Monday, December 28, 2009

A Busy Christmas

The last few days have been very busy.....

Last Wednesday we had a Christmas lunch with the elderly from Chinatown.  We had a yummy lunch of turkey and ham and salads.  My kids came along to help serve and hand out presents.  There were games as well...a form of pass the balloon and when the music stopped whoever was holding the balloon had to come and dance for us.  Boy do these ladies know how to boogey and to Rihanna no less!


Everyone had a wonderful time!  Thank you to Terence and his sponsors for hosting this.

Christmas day was spent at home with our friends Jan and Hilly Boer and my mum in law (she arrived that morning from Holland).  We had a lovely lunch where everyone ate far too much.  My hubby and I had made a pavlova (a traditional NZ Dessert) and it was REALLY Yummy!  Sorry we ate it before I got a chance to take a photo of it!  The kids  opened all the presents after arriving back from the airport and were preoccupied for the rest of the day.  Of course DAD had to help (play) with some of them too.

Today it was time for more work in Chinatown and the ladies were busy finishing up some of the baby quilts that they had been working on. Our quilts seem to be getting brighter and more colourful as we go.




Its great to see how proud they are of their work.  We have a couple of art quilts in progress too so watch this space!  One of the aunties has bought her own sewing  machine now and two of them have been busy making their own bags at home.  They are such a wonderful group of ladies to work with!

Happy new year to everyone and Happy quilting!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Blessings to all my friends and family this Christmas. 
I look forward to catching up with you all in the new year
Happy Quilting!
Marianne

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Back home again

Well Im back home again in Singapore after spending 10 days in Wellington, New Zealand for my parents 45th wedding anniversary.  It was lovely being back in Wellington and in familiar surroundings.  What a lot of changes since January!

It was great to catch up with all my family and friends!  The weather was a little chillier than I am now used to, but Wellington did put up 2 really beautiful days for me.  I had bought plenty of warm clothes to wear so it wasnt too bad.

These two photos were taken at Island Bay.  I did take them from the warmth of my sisters car but it was still beautiful....and not a high rise building in sight!


I gave the "tree quilt" to my parents for their anniversary and the "beach" quilt went to my sister, Jolanda.

Today I was straight back into the swing of things! We took  a group of elderly from Chinatown  to "Quilts and Friends" - one of our local quilt shops for morning tea.  They really enjoyed the trip and were even given a small quilting project to take home with them.  One of the uncles even bought some bright colourful fabric for a new shirt....maybe I could teach him how to sew it himself!  A big thank you to "Quilts and Friends" for a lovely morning and putting a smile on the aunties and uncles faces!

Well thats all from me - my eyes are starting to droop. I guess thats what you get when you are wide awake at 4am.  Isn't jetlag great!
Happy Quilting

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ahh much better!

I wasn't completely happy with the Marina Bay Bridge quilt.  I had finished it using the "escape hatch" method and it just didnt quite look right.  Guess that is what you get when you are just pushing to get something finished without thinking it through properly.

Last night was spent unpicking....and lamenting the use of the transparent thread! 

Adding a black border with a red line of stitching was just what this quilt needed.


Note for next time....listen to those people around you that say it needs a black  border with a thin red edging! 

Now to update the photos on my etsy page too.....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Granny Quilts Website



Our Granny Quilts (Silver Co-operative) website is now up and running......

Check it out!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Bridge - It's finished!

Yeah! today I finally finished my Bridge quilt.  I am hoping that you can see that it is a bridge - (Marina Bay Bridge in Singapore).


Here is the original photo

Not sure if I will frame it or not....Hmm need to thing about it

Did I mention how happy I was that it was finished?!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My super dooper day

Today was WONDERFUL!  It was one of those days that were super-productive.  The day started off with going to church followed by home made sausage rolls (YUM!).  Then it was time to pull out the sewing machine and work on the things that have been piling up due to lack of time (or energy!).


First off, the Kitty Bags.  Arent these just Gorgeous!  They are made from recycled Jeans.  The ladies from school have been making these and I got to finish a couple at home.  They have also been making casserole holders...great for keeping those casseroles warm for those pot luck dinners.


If you want to buy these goodies (and lots more) you will need to come to the American Club (Claymore St, Singapore) on Thursday 5 November as our school will be having a stall at the AWA annual fair.  See you there!



After the bags, I got to work on finishing my "Beaches" quilt from my class at the Houston Quilt Festival.  I really enjoyed working with the embellishments and will be keeping a watchful eye for interesting wool, lace, and other fancy things.

"Beaches"
37 x 46 cm (14.5 x 18")

On another note, I had my two woven quilts in the Quilt sale in Wellington, NZ this past week.  Every other sale I have sold all the quilts that were entered.  I have been eagerly awaiting their daily updates in the hope that one or  both of the quilts have found new homes.  Alas, it was not to be.  This is the first year that I have not been able to help at the show, and it was always nice to get a "feel" of the show, what the people were buying, what was popular and what was not. Being so far away made me feel a little helpless...... Did I overprice them? Did no-one like them? Did they mysteriously fall  apart after sending?  who knows! 
I guess its silly to think like that......  I'll just keep making more quilts and try again next time!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Singapore International Foundation Dinner

On Tuesday night  the team from Granny Quilts were invited to go a dinner being held by the Singapore International Foundation.  The "Aunties" from Granny quilts have been busy while I was in Houston making art quilts for SIF that were being presented to partners and supporters of SIF.  The guest of Honour was the President of Singapore - President S R Nathan.  He was also presented with a quilt made by us (left photo)- his second one to date.
We bought along Auntie Rose (2nd from Right, back row) as she has made both this quilt for the president and the one we presented to him at the Mid Autumn Festival in Chinatown.

It was a lovely evening, the food was fantastic and we even got to meet the president and get a photo with Him. (I am the tall one on the right!  LOL)

We got a lot of lovely comments from people who saw the quilts and hopefully we will be able to more corporate gifts in the future.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Temasek Polytechnic - Entrepreneurship Seminar

Last night we were  invited to Temasek Polytechnic to share a little about Granny Quilts.  It was great to see Terence,Yvonne, Mary and three of the "aunties" from Chinatown again after being away in Houston.  Terence spoke about Silver Co-operative and engaging the elderly  as an untapped workforce in Singapore.


 He had also asked me to speak about my experiences  working in Chinatown.  I am not an overly confident speaker but I think it went ok.  Yvonne also shared about the digital imaging solution that they are doing (RxP)  Then one of the aunties came up to speak  and she was fantastic! She is such a natural speaker and her enthusiasm was great!

After the lecture we had a lot of people come up and  to see the baby quilts and the art quilts that the ladies had made.  We even sold one of the quilts on the spot and may get orders for some more! 

It was a great evening to share what we are doing in Chinatown and am looking forward to seeing some of our other art quilts being given away at a presentation tonight.

To be continued......

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggidy jig!

Just a quick post as I am feeling a little jet lagged after returning home from Houston this morning at 5.30am.  It was a long and tiring flight but it is nice to be home again.


Here is a photo of the quilt that I made at the Quilt Festival.  This was in Karen Eckmeiers class called "accidental landscapes".  Its not quite finished yet.  Still needs to be quilted and have more embellishments added.  It was  a really fun class to do! 

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

shop til you drop in Houston!

The International Quilt Festival Houston is officially over.  What an overwhelming week!  It took Hennie and I 4 days to get from one end of the convention centre to the other!  We found the food hall only on the 3rd day...how could we have missed that?!


There was just soo much to see and the fabrics and the notions available was just mind boggling! We both did our best on the shopping front!  Here is just a few of our spoils....

The quilts on display were just fantastic.  It was nice to see so many contempory quilts as well as the more traditional ones.

On Saturday we went to the Applique workshop.  Here we got the chance to spend 15 minutes with 6 different tutors that explained the different methods of doing applique, from fusible to more traditional applique.  I got to meet Charlotte Warr Andersen which was a real thrill as I have been a fan of her work for some time.  The day before I got to meet Esterita Austin  (another favourite artist of mine)

Yesterday Hennie and I did the Accidental landscapes class with Karen Eckmeier.  Karen wasnt there as she has been in hospital recently and was not able to come to festival but she had organised a replacement.  The class was still great and we both made a nice beach landscape.  We really enjoyed working with all the embellishments.  We didnt get it finished so we have been trying to hand sew this in our room....with a beading needle that keeps bending! (bought some proper needles today)

Note for next time...sign up for more classes!

Today we had a day set aside for sightseeing...but there is nothing to see in Houston (so say the taxi drivers, the hotel staff and the information centre)  Well, only the space centre and that doesnt really interest us.  Getting around Houston without a car is pretty difficult and the taxis are not like singapore where you just need to raise your arm and one screeches to a halt next to you.  Not as cheap either!

So what are two girls alone in Houston to do?  Go to the Hobby Lobby of course!  We spent 2.5 hours there just looking at all the goodies there.  Maybe its just as well that there is a weight limit on what we can take back with us!

We have had a great week here.Texas is soo different to singapore in every way.  Everything here is BIG, the cars, the food portions, the shops, everything is soo spread out. I  havent mastered the art of "tipping" yet? That is such a strange concept for us.

I would love to come back next year but we will see...... we are both now looking forward to getting home , seeing the husband/s and family and getting some much needed rest.

Happy quilting everyone!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Howdy from Houston

Howdy from the International Quilt Festival
in Houston, Texas!

What else can I say but WOW , what an amazing show.  They say that everything is bigger and Texas and well...there is no disputing that!  The quilts are spectacular and the market hall seems to go on and on and on and on.  My mind (and my wallet) just hurts thinking about how much is here to see and do.


I wish I could show you just some of the quilts on show here and how fabulous they are and how varied, but Im sure I would get in trouble for breach of copyright or something.
So I'll show you a photo of my friend Hennie instead.



We have both been "blown away" by the sheer size and scale of this show and the things on offer.  Today we went to a lecture about thread painting, tomorrow we take in a class on applique and later in the week we are booked to do a class on landscapes.  We have also "shopped til we dropped" as the price of fabric and notions is so much cheaper than in either Singapore, NZ or Holland.  We are both hoping that the airline wont notice the extra weight!


On Monday the festival is finished and we are hoping to do a bit of sightseeing around Houston.  Maybe we will go take a look at the space centre or check out one of the large art and craft shops.  First we need to find them!


This is our first time at this festival (also Hennie's first time in the states) and there was a lot to learn about where to go and what to do etc.  We ended up having to buy new cutting mats, rotary cutter and ruler for the class as we had nothing with us. Today we found out that we could have hired it.  Why is it that you always hear these things after you have bought new ones! 


We have had our fair share of laughs here as well.  We have had it twice now that the loos here have overflowed when flushed.  Once in the hotel and once at the convention centre.  Well I can tell you when that happens you dont know how fast to get out of the cubicle or get your feet up on higher ground!


Its been fun getting "immersed" in quilting for a week and away from the day to day things of home.  (although I do miss the family). My head is just spinning with new ideas for new quilts and I cant wait to get started on some of them.


Things to remember for next time:


1. Fly business class (can take 40 kgs home instead of 20)


2. Read the programme till I can recite it backwards and book all classes before I go.


3. Bring a ton of money


4. Get a job to pay for it all!


Happy quilting

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Right side of brain day

They say that when we doing "arty" things we are using the right side of the brain.  Hence I had a "right side of the brain" day today and worked on my quilt.  This quilt has been causing me no end of grief so today I picked up some of my fabric paints and tried to "fix"  it.  I will push ahead with the quilt only because giving up on it seems such a waste.  Thank goodness for fabric paints...they hide a multitude of sins.  My new motto...If it doesnt work, paint over it!


It still needs a lot of stitching  but the main pieces are on.  Can you see what it is yet?

Yesterday I discovered something else.....When in "right side of brain" mode, dont try to do "left side of the brain" things like....housework and washing.  Thats when the washing powder ends up in all the wrong places in the machine!  I am guessing that is why good quilters often have messy houses.  Well thats my excuse and Im sticking to it!

Last night my husband and I were invited along with my collegues from Granny Quilts to the Singapore Turf Club for dinner and to see the horse races.  We had a lovely dinner there and it was great to see the races.  I really dont know much at all about horse racing and there is a lot to think about when picking a horse to place a bet on.  Needless to say my guesses on who was going to win the race were pretty bad.  We also got to see the horses up close.  What beautiful animals!  The colours and designs of the jockey's outfits were cool too.  I feel a quilt coming on!  Thanks to the staff of the Turf club for a lovely evening at the races.

My friend Henny and I are counting down the days until we go to the Houston Quilt Festival!  Only 12 more sleeps!

Happy quilting
Marianne

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mid Autumn Festival

On Saturday evening my mother in law and I were invited to go to the Mid-Autumn Festival in Chinatown. The Guest of Honour was the President of Singapore. It was a wonderful evening full of children performing dances, dragon dances and fireworks. The highlight of the evening was when a quilt made by my quilting ladies (Granny Quilts) was presented to the President (below left).
What a great privilege it is for the opportunity to make something special for a head of state. Congratulations to the ladies for a job well done!
The quilt is called "Mid- Autumn Festival through Chinatown Windows" and was designed by my boss Terence.
My mother in law is going home to Holland on Tuesday. It has been a real blessing having her here and the house will be terribly quiet when she is gone. I know Misty will really miss her too...... hmmm, time to put the dog on a diet!
This week I have been working on my black and white quilt....not that I feel like I have made much progress on it. It still is hard to see what it will be. Yesterday I had to cut a whole piece out as I wasnt happy with one of the fabric choices. Still not sure about this one......
The remainder of my quilts are now in NZ waiting for the upcoming Quilt sale in October. My walls were looking a bit bare so I have hung up one of the pictures from the pastels course that I did last year. My son asked me the next morning where the picture came from....and boy was he surprised when I said that I had made it. He didnt know I had made another picture (with orchids) and that has been hanging on the wall in the lounge since the beginning of the year. Maybe I need to sign my name a little larger!
Well thats all from me....till next time

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 2 Quilting

I had another day of working on my quilt today...two days in a row is something that rarely happens. Did make some progress on my quilt today but it still doesn't look like much.

working with a limited palette should have made it easier (or so I thought) but it has really been a lot harder than first thought. I seem to have been pulling more pieces off than on today and the red just seems to jump off the page.

Here's hoping that once the centre pieces are done that it will actually look like something. Hmmm I need to think about this one for a while. No time for quilting tomorrow.....I guess my family will want some food in the cupboards!

Happy quilting

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

big red red blobs?

Today I spent the day working on my new quilt. Ahhh it was lovely quilting again. I havent had much time for that lately. Here is a photo of my progress so far........

Can you guess what it's supposed to be? Hmmm. Maybe it really does look like a bunch of red blobs ( like my daughter thinks)

Watch this space.....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lunch in Chinatown


This last week my mum-in law and I went out for a traditional chinese lunch with the ladies (and Terence) from "Granny Quilts". We were treated to lots of different kinds yummy food and my first time eating Peking Duck. Delicious!! The ladies have been working so hard and it was lovely being able to share this meal with them and try some local food as well.


Today I got a copy of the article about "Granny Quilts" in the "Voices" magazine. This is a local magazine put out by the Central Districts Council Development Board which our co-operative is part of. Its great publicity for these ladies and a real encouragement for them.



I have started a new quilt this week. It is based on a photo that I took of the Marina Bay Bridge in Singapore. I have been playing with this photo in Photoshop and even managed to print it out to a workable size. This quilt will be a bit different to other quilts that I have done so we will see how it works out! Watch this space!

My "tree" quilt will be winging it's way to NZ later in the year as it will be going to my Mum and Dad.

Well thats all for now...Happy quilting!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My yahoo week

Its a yahoo week this week.....whats that you ask? Its a week where there is lots to yahoo about.

Yahoo my tree quilt is finally finished.
"The Tree"
53 x 44 cm (21 x 17 inch)
This quilt is based on a photo taken inside the Hill St Police Station (now MICA Building) in Singapore. This is a beautiful building with lots of colourful shutters on the outside.

Yahoo the kids are back at school


My youngest son went back to school on Monday and the girls yesterday. The kids were excited about going and catching up with all their friends. 10 weeks of school holidays sure is a long time! It was good for me to catch up with friends as well and get excited about all the activities that have been organised for the mums.

Yahoo for a clean bill of health

After a week of forced rest (grrr) I am up and about and feeling good. Been to the doctor today for a checkup and all is well.

Yahoo about seeing my quilting ladies this week

On Friday I am meeting with my quilting ladies again in Chinatown. I am looking forward to catching up with them and seeing the quilts they have finished as well as the new ones they have started.

So there is lots to Yahoo about this week

Yahoo!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bintan - Indonesia

Last week was wonderful. We had a couple of days away with the family in Bintan in Indonesia. The weather was fantastic and the scenery was breathtaking! There is nothing quite like lazing by the pool with a cool drink in hand soaking up the sunshine! It was great that my mother in law was there as well.

Bintan is only a hours boat ride from Singapore. There was plenty for the kids to do as well. They had a kids bungy, horseriding and quad biking. Mum and dad even got to try our hands at some shooting with an air rifle.


Even Misty the dog had a great holiday staying at a friends house in Singapore! It makes a big difference knowing that she was well looked after. Thanks Henny!



On Monday , one of the local papers came to Chinatown to do an interview and photo shoot with the quilting ladies. Very Exciting! I will keep you posted.


Next week things will be starting up in preparation for the new school year. I think the kids are looking forward to starting school again. 10 weeks holiday is a bit long and boredom is starting to set in. It will be great for them to be able to see all their friends again.


On the quilting front - I finally managed to finish another quilt. My own quilting seems to have been on the backburner since the start of the holidays so its nice to be behind the sewing machine again.

Woven Colour 2

My apologies for the terrible photo. The quilt isnt crooked - I just need to find a better way of photographing it.

Tonight I have been working on the tree quilt which seems to have been sitting in my UFO (unfinished objects) pile for some time.

Happy quilting

Marianne

Sunday, July 19, 2009

World famous in Singapore!

Here is a photo of my quilting ladies from Chinatown proudly showing of their baby quilts and our first art quilt with the Prime Minister of Singapore (centre) and the Mayor (right).

How exciting is that!!!! And to top it all off....we sold the fish quilt as well.

Don't the ladies look lovely all dressed up.

Im so proud of them!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

visit to the Great Wall of China

This last week my hubby and I were in Beijing for a couple of days for his work conference. This was my first time to China so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. We arrived late Sunday evening to a very busy but hot Beijing. The next morning was very grey and you could hardly see the buildings two blocks away. After lunch we made our way to "The Commune" which was about an hours drive out of Beijing. We could see the great wall of china and it seemed to be never ending.



The Commune is in a rural area set on quite a steep hillside. They are all achitecturally designed houses in various shapes. At the bottom of the hill was a walkway up to the Great Wall. It was steep and muddy and I wasnt sure if I was going to make it. Well we did, and it was well worth the climb!
This part of the wall has not been restored and was very overgrown which really made the feeling of standing on top of it with no-one else around.... Exhilarating! On Monday night they held a chinese banquet with entertainment.....Chinese opera singers (Not hubby's favourite thing!) guys in tutus (very funny) and lots of speeches in Chinese. During the day, I worked on my digital scrapbook while my hubby was at the conference. On Tuesday afternoon we went back to Beijing.

On Wednesday we spent the day sightseeing. We went to the Forbidden City. It was HOT and VERY BUSY! There was lots to see and it was HUGE!


On Wednesday evening, Wim had arranged some tickets to the Chinese Opera (which I had been researching). Here we got to see the actors putting on their very colourful makeup before the show. Chinese opera is very different to our opera particularly when the ladies are singing! (very high pitched!) It wasn't a full opera but small samples of two operas. I really enjoyed the costumes, makeup and the skill involved in chinese opera. In the second part of the show it included the "Monkey King". This was very acrobatic and the fighting skills of these actors was amazing!

It was an amazing week and it was lovely to spend some quality time with Wim.
Till next time

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quilting in Chinatown

Its been a couple of busy weeks with the kids home for the summer holidays!

Last Friday we finally took the kids to the Night safari which was great. We had a really nice time and there was plenty to see. It was Lukes' birthday on saturday so we tried to go out for dinner at the Hogs Breath cafe at Vivo only to find that it was closed for renovation. But never fear because there is another one at Holland Village. So after a 15 minute wait for a taxi we went to Holland Village but found that it had closed down. By then it was getting late and we were all hungry so we settled for Burger King instead. We finally found a Hogs breath cafe at Chijmes and Luke got his birthday wish on Sunday instead. Luke got the Lego Kings castle that he had so desperately been wanting. The kids were very quietly building for a couple of hours - fabulous!



Yesterday we took them swimming at Jurong Swimming pool. What a great complex that is and not very expensive either... $5.40 for the whole family!


Today I have been quilting again with the ladies from Chinatown. We started doing applique using fusible web for two baby quilts. A pink one with colourful flowers and a blue one with trains. The ladies are quick learners and we got lots done. The two previous quilts were also hung on the wall. (see the pink one in the background) . Tomorrow I think the two quilts will be finished or pretty close to it. These will be our sample quilts.Thank you especially to Mary who translates everything and is a real blessing to have in the class. What a great bunch of ladies!

Tomorrow my mother in law arrives for a two month visit. Yeah! We are all excited about her coming. I know that she is looking forward to it too.
Happy quilting
Marianne

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chinatown quilters

First of all my apologies for not writing on my blog since May. I have been unwell for a couple of weeks and so haven't been able to do much least of all any quilting. But I am now officially on the mend and I can update you on what else has been happening here.



Recently a friend asked if I would be willing to teach quilting at the Chinatown community centre and of course I said yes. I went along and met a couple of the ladies and they happily showed me some of their work. They were using paper templates and everything was done by hand. The idea is to not only teach them some new (rotary cutting) and more efficient techniques (strip piecing) but also to be able to get them set up as a business so that they can sell the quilts. My youngest student was in her late 60's and the oldest late 80's and they also only speak Chinese. It's funny but you get a group of women together with a bunch of fabric and there isn't much that needs translation!


The first day was all excitement as we unpacked the two new electric sewing machines. There was about 25 ladies which was a bit hectic. From that group I could pick out a smaller group. There are even a couple of seamstresses there which is a real blessing.


On Saturday we took them to see a quilt show that was being held at the Singapore Botanical Gardens. It was a great opportunity for them to see a variety of quilts, both traditional and more contemporary art quilts.




Here is a picture of our second baby quilt that we made. The first one is still having the binding added so I will show that one later.

These are lovely ladies and great to work with and Im looking forward to making more quilts with them. Eventually we will try some art quilts as well.

Well thats it from me.

Happy Quilting




Friday, May 8, 2009

Tree quilt update

Just a quick note to give you all an update on the tree quilt. I finally got a few hours of quilting in this week as well as trying out some of my Jacquard fabric paints. Yeah! They are really lovely to work with.

I have added in the windows on the yellow building by painting and thread as well as the tree branches. Im not completely happy with the drainpipe next to the tree trunk. I think I will repaint this once I have bought some black fabric paint (the pipe is supposed to be grey not the blue colour.) I still have to add the shading around the windows on the blue building and add the leaves.
Im not sure how much work I will get done on this in the next week as the kids have two days off school to mark Vesek Day.

Last week the kids had a day off for Labour day and we went to East Coast Park. There we hired a couple of tandem bikes and went biking. It was great fun but really busy and very hot so we ended up in KFC making the most of the air conditioning. We also went mini golfing (also aircon). They had 18 holes which were all landmarks in Singapore. We had an awesome day together!

Sunday is mothers day and Im looking forward to that. My son (7) tells me he has made something "special" for me but I have to wait until Sunday. (No peeking either!)


Happy Mothers day to all the Mums out there and I wish you all a blessed day.