Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sewing is my therapy.

Deb gift 1

Last week I posted a little parcel of handmade goodies to Deb.   You could call it a random act of kindness.  I wanted to make her something, to say thank you for being herself.  To me, she is so inspiring.  I love reading her blog and following her on Instagram.  She makes beautiful quilts.  She works hard at studying at University and raising her kids.  I really love her honesty on her blog and on Instagram.  She is not afraid to talk about difficult things like her feelings. I wish I could be so honest.

Deb gift 3

I included a letter with the handmade goodies.  I only meant to say a few words, to thank her for being so inspiring and honest. In the end, it was a few pages long, confessing how 2014 had been the worst year of my life and the reasons why.  I talked here about my grief at losing both my Nana and then my Grandma last year.  There were other things that made 2014 an awful year.  I am not ready to talk about them here.  Maybe one day I will be ready.

Deb gift 4

Once I had posted the parcel to Deb, I worried that I'd dumped all my pain on her. She has experienced her own share of pain and grief, she is open and honest about it on her blog and on Instagram. I felt relief to have shared all this in my letter but part of me felt guilty for burdening Deb.

I did not and could not know how she would receive my letter. It was a complete surprise to me that my letter did not burden her but uplifted her.  (She wrote about it here on her blog). I could then see clearly, by sharing my pain and grief with her, I was acknowledging her own pain and grief.  We all feel better when we talk about these things, it is part of the healing process.  It is not healthy to anyone to bottle up their emotions.

Deb has helped to heal me. I feel stronger. I feel supported.  Deb is my friend (even if we have never met).  I loved making all these goodies for her.

Sewing is my therapy. What is yours?

Deb gift 2

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The beautiful simplicity of natural jute rope bowls

Rope bowl 8 


Earlier this year on one of my trips to Sham Shu Po, I chanced upon a new-to-me shop selling ropes and natural trims.  I bought some gorgeous jute/cotton blend rope and proceeded to become obsessed with it.  Within days, I needed more as I'd sewn it all into bowls.
Rope bowl 1

The colour and texture of it are so beautiful, so simple.

rope bowl 6
Rope bowl 4
I have now been sewing the jute into nesting bowls.
Rope bowl 11

They are now in my etsy shop with a blue bowl feature. You can find them here.

Rope bowl 7 

Have a lovely week.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Do you want to wear a rainbow?


Would you like to wear a rainbow? Well, now you can.  I have been wearing a rainbow for a few years now with my handmade rainbow wooden beaded necklaces.

Rainbow necklaces.

Now in my etsy shop you can choose which rainbow style you would like to wear.  Choose one of the nine different styles I have designed or choose your own rainbow necklace.  You choose your own rainbow adventure (just like the "Choose your own Adventure" books I read as a child).

  Rainbow necklaces.

All beads are wooden and hand painted by me.  They are finished with a gloss varnish (all non-toxic, of course).

You can find them here in my etsy shop.

Have a great day, may it be filled with rainbows (and raspberries).

Cat xox

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A purple quilt for my big girl.

Hello peeps,

Way back in August of 2013, I began planning (on paper) a quilt for my big girl.  At the time she was 7 years old.  I had been collecting different red fabrics for her, as she loved red back then, but she decided her new favourite colour was purple.

She chose the snowball (octagon) quilt block and I was very lucky to find a few metres of the turquoise dotty fabric in my stash, it matched the purples I began collecting beautifully.

The purple quilt.

Over many months I cut fabrics and slowly sewed the blocks.

The purple quilt.

I finally sewed the blocks together in May of this year (2015).  My big girl was thrilled.  I was relieved it was finally (almost) finished.  There are no long arm quilters here in Hong Kong, I arranged for this to be quilted in Melbourne on our next trip (in July/August of 2015).  It was quilted by Anita of Hillside Quilting.  My big girl chose the quilting pattern and the binding too.

Binding time.

I wish I could say why it took so long to finish.  I will admit I get easily distracted and start other projects.

The purple quilt

It is finally finished.  That is all that matters to my big girl.

The backing.

The backing fabric my big girl chose, it is called Unicorn Fable in Balsamtree.  It is from Art Gallery Fabric, designed by Sara Lawson.  The range is called Fantasia.


Her new quilt is on her bed, she can snuggle up to her very own quilt, made with love, just for her.

Have a lovely week.

Cat xox.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What to see and visit in Hong Kong (my favourites)

Hello peeps,

Four years ago today we took a (crazy?) leap of faith, and moved to Hong Kong.  I do not regret it.  I love this city, it has stolen my heart.

I am asked quite often what to see and do when in Hong Kong. Here are my favourites (all opinions expressed are my own).

Star Ferry
We love riding the Star Ferry.  I can't explain it, we just love it. The Star Ferry is quintessentially Hong Kong. The harbour is a great place to view Hong Kong's impressive skyline, both the HK Island side and Kowloon side.  How can you not love this skyline?

HK night time skyline.

The Tian Tan Buddha (big Buddha)

Big buddha. 

On Lantau island, there is the Tian Tan Buddha. Most people call it the big Buddha. It is rather large, being 34 metres tall.  From Tung Chung you can catch a cable car (or take a bus if you are scared of heights). I recommend you book tickets online to avoid the very long queue.  
The cable car ride is amazing, offering views of HK airport, Tung Chung, the South China Sea and North Lantau Country Park.  There are 268 steps leading up to the big Buddha so wear comfortable shoes.  
Other things I love to see when here are the Po Lin Monastery and take the walk to the Wisdom Path.

The Wisdom Path

LockCha Tea House
I love visiting the LockCha Tea House.  There is such a beautiful serene atmosphere, they have a huge tea selection to choose from (over 100 different teas) and the dim sum menu is very yummy (vegetarian food only).
If you are planning to go there around lunch or dinner time, I recommend you phone (+852 2805-1360) and make a booking, website here.  It is closed the second Tuesday of each month.
MTR: Admiralty, Exit C1. Follow the signs for Hong Kong Park.

Hong Kong Park
Hong Kong Park is worth a look, especially if you have children. There are a few children's playgrounds, a waterfall, a large pond with fish and terrapins (turtles, fun to watch), an aviary and a greenhouse.
I love how this park is almost surrounded by tall buildings but it still feels like a park.
MTR: Admiralty, Exit C1. Follow the signs for Hong Kong Park.

Victoria Peak
I've never heard anyone call it Victoria Peak.  Everyone refers to it as "The Peak".  I love going for the crazy steep tram ride and the amazing views over HK (if you are lucky to get a clear day).  There is often long queues for the tram, get there early or be prepared to wait.  There is usually pushing and shoving when you finally can board a tram, be careful if you are with children or the elderly.  It is every person for themselves, the tram is filled right up,  I found standing during the ride quite awkward (so join the crowd and rush and push for a seat).

The Peak 

In true HK style, there are two shopping centres/malls at the top, in case you have shopping to do. There are lots of places to eat.  You will need to buy a ticket to get to the highest viewing level.  It is well worth it.  I love the view.  I could stay for hours, there is so much to see when you stop and really look.
Try and pick a clear day when you visit, check the weather and pollution levels (but to be honest, most days are high pollution)
MTR: Central, Exit J2.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
The Ten thousand Buddhas Monastery is not a real monastery.  There are well over 10,000 statues of Buddha on the site and 5 temples, the main temple is stunning. There are no resident monks.  I must warn you about the fake monks that wait for tourists near the entrance to the site.  They were very pushy and demanding on the day we visited, they blocked our way and made it difficult to pass.  It was not until we were in the actual site that we saw these signs warning us about the fake monks.

Beware of the fake monks.

The walk up is reasonably steep, there are steps and a ramp.  Stop and find your favourite gold Buddha, I loved so many of them, I couldn't choose just one.

On the first level you will find the main hall (that displays over 10,000 Buddha statues), a pagoda, many more Buddha's, some pavilions and a basic restaurant (the vegetarian spring rolls were yummy)

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

You can walk up to another higher level and find more temples, decorative gardens and of course, many more Buddha statues.
MTR: Sha Tin, Exit B. Follow signs to the Sha Tin Government Offices, the entrance is behind this building, at the end of Sheung Wo Che Road.

Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden
The Chi Lin Nunnery is a Buddhist temple complex that includes a nunnery, temple halls and gardens.  There are many buildings to explore, I found all very beautiful and so serene.

Chi Lin Nunnery

The Nan Lian Garden is next to the Chi Lin Nunnery.  It is designed in the Classical style of the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD).  It is a beautiful oasis in the middle of urban Hong Kong.  I love that it feels so peaceful yet you can see the tall buildings that surround it.
MTR: Diamond Hill, exit C2 and follow the signs (or the crowds of tourists on a busy day)

Other places you may like:
Man Mo Temple, Sheung Wan.
Tin Hau Temple, Yau Ma Tei.
Sky 100 Observation Deck, Hong Kong's tallest building.
Hong Kong Observation Wheel (ferris wheel)

What are your favourite places to visit in Hong Kong?  Do tell me.

Have a great day.

Cat xox

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Grief, Loss and Love

Memory bowls.

Hello lovelies,

Our experiences shape us, mould us into who we are.  Last November, I was such a different person to who I am now, today.  Everything changed at the end of November last year when my beloved Nana died.  Very unexpectedly she had a stroke.  She had been healthy all her life, in her 60's she was teaching water aerobics (she taught water aerobics for 12 years).  She loved being active and the only time she slowed down was when she needed knee replacements.

I was still working through my grief at losing my Nana, when only 26 days later, by beloved Grandmother had a stroke too.  It was only a few days before Christmas, we were visiting Australia at the time, so I got to say goodbye and sit with her for hours before she left us later the same day. 26 days.  How do you process so much grief and loss?  To be honest, I was a mess for a few months.  I've only started to feel like myself again recently.  Of course I miss them both, I think of them often.   That early gut wrenching pain of their loss, it is now a dull ache.

Life goes on.  Life is so precious.  Every day is a gift.  Love is life.  They sound like cliches, but they are my truth.  I feel like a new person, that is not a bad thing - I have lived through this, I have loved and lost and I have come out the other side stronger yet more fragile at the same time.

Memory bowls.

Six months have now passed from when I lost my Nana.  Last week I travelled to Sydney to help my Auntie sort through my Nana's belongings.  I'm so glad I could help, to feel useful.  It was a very emotional few days, I cried so many tears.  We also shared many happy memories.  We talked about Nana, I asked my Pa again how they had met (to refresh my memory).  I packed a big pile of her clothes to bring back to HK.  I will cut them up and make some memory pieces to give to family members, to help remember her.

I have already cut up a pile of my Grandmothers clothes and made the first two memory bowls.  I have not been able to share them on Instagram or Facebook before now, they felt too private, to precious, they exposed me and my grief.  We humans are funny creatures.

So here are the first two "Memory Bowls" made from my Grandmother's cut up clothes. I will make more.  Soon I will cut up my Nana's clothes and make more memory bowls, to honour her memory.  But only when I am ready, grief takes time.  Grief can not be rushed.

Cat xox

Memory bowls.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Everyday beauty.

Hello peeps,

I was clipping and trimming some curves today, and noticed how beautiful the off cuts were.

  Beautiful tiny fabric scraps.

They are tiny fabric scraps.  I used the macro lens on my DSLR to take these photos.

Beautiful tiny fabric scraps.

I had forgotten how much I love macro photography.

Beautiful tiny fabric scraps.

There is beauty everywhere, if you are open to see it.

Cat xox