The Perfect Quilter

If you’re perfect you will have re-arranged your sewing studio into the optimum ‘mission control for quilting’ by now. You will know where all your tools are and how to access them easily. All your fabric will not only be colour-coded but will also be systematically sorted into sizes and shapes based on an algorithm that you would have worked out in your scheduled downtime. Your embellishments will also be categorised according to colour and shape and items will never be found migrating throughout the house due to lack of space. Naturally there will be a place for everything and everything in it place will ensure that there is never any visual distraction from the project at hand. Dust will not be game to enter your space let alone settle. Spider webs will be unknown.
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Instinctively you will have considered your strategic goals for 2017 in terms of quilting-project-completion-outcomes and will have already have established a template to record the status of these projects. Your inspiration board will be the inspirational embodiment of your workflow for this year and will communicate your ideas to your visitors.

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Children, partners and work have no impact on your sewing time because you are so organised. Time in your personal studio space is scheduled regularly and often and there are never any obstacles to the full enjoyment of this time.

It is unlikely that you will actually have what the rest of us call ‘scraps’ because you are so efficient all materials will have been used to their optimum. At the end of each project you religiously cut and cross-cut any leftovers and file them accordingly in the ‘diminutive-resources-for-utilisation-in-future-manufacturing ‘ drawer.

It is also unlikely that you will have any UFO’s apart from the current project on which you work diligently during the allotted time for ‘Sewing – Domestic’. Should any have been located in the aforementioned studio re-arrangement they would have been allocated, catalogued or jettisoned. Similarly all your previous projects will have been perfectly quilted either on your state-of-the-art, turbo-charged sewing machine or else quilted by hand while you cooked a gourmet dinner for twelve guests.

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Your quilts will all have personalised labels that elicit gasps when your perfect quilts are turned around to check on them. These labels may well be eligible for Judges’ Choice awards themselves.

All your family will own at least one of your masterpieces and of course your perfect house will be decorated with them in a “that’s filled with vintage charm” or else “it’s just like walking through an art gallery” kind of way. All new babies in the family will snuggle into one of those perfect quilts and close friends and family who have any kind of special occasion will know that there will be a perfect quilt for them just in time for the event (and never late).

That’s if you’re a perfect quilter.
If you’re like the rest of us everything above is probably the opposite. Which is perfectly fine . As Jane Kelly from Make Modern magazine says “Sometimes I worry that we’re all complicating our quilting processes by trying to be amazing and prolific and incredible all the time. It’s great to want to better yourself and do amazing work…but if that consumes you then the stress, pressure and deadlines begin to suck the joy out of the process.”

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If that’s the case you will be pleased to hear that Apatchy classes start again next week on 31st January and here you will meet quilters who actually do enjoy the process and have a lot of fun getting to the end result.

As fabric accumulation will also be a joyous thing for you, you will also be delighted to hear that we are starting the year off with a super sale (that’s a normal sale but with exceptional qualities).

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This week only, from Monday, you can enjoy 20% off all stock (apart from classes and other sale stock*) and, if you’ve been clever enough to be a Geronimo Club member you will receive an additional 10% – so that’s a great big 30% off – one week only – here’s your chance to grab that fabric that’s been calling to you over the past few weeks! *Oh and by other stock we mean the huge 50% off table that is groaning with fabrics, books, patterns and other goodies. If you can’t make it to the store don’t despair – just mention SALE in your comments when you order online and you’ll receive the discount too.

I wanted to show you a couple of photos from our recent trip to Tokyo – where we decided to spend Christmas – away from the heat! It is a remarkable city and I would definitely like to return – maybe around this time of year when the quilt show is on. I thought you might like to see a few photos. We were only away for a week but we managed to see and do a lot. What we did see were beautiful costumes –

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strange food –

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beautiful Christmas lights –

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the sun setting on Mt Fuji viewed from the Tokyo Skytree –

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the very old and the very new….and maybe some fabric too –

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So there’s another project for this year on my list.

And finally I wanted to show you a couple of photos of the teenager-in-residence who was commandeered in Guangzhou to help with a fashion shoot

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and who has the first gig with his band (Vesper Green) coming up

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And this week I’m off to Sydney to help the family celebrate Mum and Dad’s 65th wedding anniversary – now that’s an achievement!

Looks like it’s going to be a busy year.

Until next week – happy quilting

Kaye

Double Gold!

All classes and some remote Apatcheez have been very busy making and finishing lots of projects but this post I wanted to show you the ‘Nature’ challenge entries. We had a record 17 entries and, since a picture paints a thousand words here are the photos of these wonderful entries. In no particular order:

Lynette’s butterflies –

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Pat’s asymmetrical depiction of the four seasons –

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Suzanne’s very amusing testament to the unfinished –

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Robyne’s very sweet little Tilda birds –

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Faith’s chair cover adorned with Dresden plates and native birds –

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Bev’s French-braided rainbow fish –

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Chris’ whimsical beaded garden –

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Julia’s perfectly paper-pieced blue wren cushion –

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Sharyn’s upper class chook cushion –

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Joananne’s rhapsody of lilac and lavender –

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Robyn’s attic-window-view of a garden –

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Elaine’s thirsty magpie –

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Jan’s quilted teabags –

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Debbie’s vintage upcycling – sunshiny explosion – apologies that this quilt was draped over the piano so you can’t see the whole here –

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Margaret’s beautiful tree of butterflies –

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Teresa’s scene of Cradle Mountain – a wonderful souvenir of a recent holiday –

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and finally June’s reminiscence of a holiday to New Zealand –

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Oh and I made one too, which was only for display. I called it ‘middle Age’ –

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It was great fun trying to guess who had made each piece and it was extremely difficult to vote for just one – which is why we have Viewer’s Choice and I don’t have to choose one! As it happened there was a tie and the winners were………..Elaine and Margaret with their very creative artworks –

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Aren’t they amazing! these girls have certainly set the bar high for next year and it was mentioned that they are both Wednesday Apatcheez but we won’t go there now.

We had a great day with presents –

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and lucky door prizes (thanks to XLN Fabrics for the bundles shown here) –

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as well as the visual feast of the challenge quilts and some Christmas food – what else is there?

Until next time (when I’ll update you with some more finished projects) happy quilting

Kaye

 

 

 

 

The Evening Class Strikes Back

Not so long ago in the Apatchy galaxy which is really quite close……………..

After the rebel evening class have been brutally overpowered by the sheer number of finished projects by the Wednesday-morning-class, a new threat arises. Sharyn has a new sewing table and is keen to create more quilts and Margaret is close to finishing several projects. As they and the rest of the Wednesdays attempt to rule the quilting galaxy, only a few can stop them.

Jan takes advanced finishing techniques training and manages to finish quite a large project. She strikes from a hidden base to reveal this beauty…

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It is the rebels first victory for a long time over the Empire and with this project the rebels attempt to overcome the Wednesdays and bring Apatchy back from the dark side of the Force. But the Grand Army fight the fledgling resistance and Sharyn  comes armed with not one but three cushions.

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The insurgents battle, but struggle to make headway as another Wednesday lady – Robyn – delivers a crushing blow with this beautiful quilt.

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Meanwhile the Grand Army of the Republic battles with the dark side as the judges rule on the best hat at the Melbourne Cup morning. Master Maxie is almost swayed by the long dormant Sith overlord posing as the teenager-in-residence.

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The rebels gather for a frontal attack

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and Julia wins the day

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Rebel spies have managed to steal the secret plans to the Death Star and pass them on to Master Maxie. He hands over the code that could bring the end of the Empire’s ultimate weapon to Julia but since Julia is from the Tuesday-morning-class this may well be another blow for the evening class.

The remnants of the Galactic Empire gather strength and attempt to destroy all hope of the evening class being recognised for finishing any project. Jan has made a valiant attempt but the resistance is in pieces and must now re-group if they are to defend their position.

After the bloodbath of the Melbourne Cup Master Maxie has gone into hiding. He was last seen at Christmas in the Country at Gatton.

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Maxie’s fellow rebel Joan put in a sterling effort to complete a dozen projects but was not eligible as an evening-class-attendee since she attended all the sessions and the Wednesdays argued that she should count for their tally too.

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His wookie sidekick Poz-E-Dog is overcome with exhaustion and has retired.

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Can the evening class recover from this defeat to rescue their UFO’s and triumph at the next show-and-tell?

Until next time, happy quilting and may the (quilting) force be with you……………………

Kaye

The Best Way to Sort Your Stash

The second time it happened I knew I had to do something. I’d been looking for a particular fabric in my sewing room and couldn’t find it. Earlier a pattern had gone astray. I can’t understand how this could happen. Hadn’t I spent much of the Christmas holidays sorting out this room so it could become my personal creative space?  How had the ‘summer of the great de-cluttering’ possibly resulted in lost supplies? Clearly something was not right. I can’t find things easily, sometimes not at all and I don’t really use the space (that’s what architects call rooms now). New year new look? Not so much. So something has to change.

The arrival of ‘Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter: An Illustrated Guide to the Space of Your Dreams’ was promising. Although the author Carolyn Woods was not minimalist when it came to the title, her book guaranteed a system that could actually be maintained. It is just a matter of working through the chapters in an orderly fashion.

And so it was decided. But things are usually more fun in a group (or should that be ‘misery loves company’) and I was thinking that maybe you have the same problems. Maybe you can’t find things easily either. Or maybe you’re room/studio/cupboard isn’t working for you. Perhaps you have too much stuff(as unlikely as that sounds).

How would you like to get organised and back on track with new projects? It is a perfect time for a ‘spring clean’ after all. We could meet once a week/fortnight/month (or maybe base this whole thing online or via emails or Facebook) and work through the mess. Firstly we need a name. Let’s call our group ‘Focus’ (Finally Organising Chaos Using Support).  To join Focus you will have to buy Carolyn’s book from us and this will serve as our textbook. Together with the book though, there will be extra notes, tips and ideas and special deals. We can share our experiences and suggestions. Photos would be nice (we promise we won’t judge you). Before and afters will be mandatory! Let me know if you would like to participate and how you would like to receive your information.

Some things at Apatchy are already organised. Here’s a few:-

The Christmas party will be held at Scot’s Presbyterian Church Hall on Saturday 3rd December from 10am to 2pm. This will be the event to celebrate our achievements this year, see old friends and view the entries for this year’s challenge. (I told you about it here – the theme is ‘Nature’. No I haven’t worked out what I’m doing yet either – I can’t find the damn fabric. It’s lost in my sewing room somewhere!. All entries must be in to me by 2nd December so we can display them correctly.

As well as the challenge we will also be having a ‘Secret Santa’ again this year. This time the ‘rules’ are a little different. The gift should be a handmade Christmas decoration. You are welcome to buy one if you don’t think you have the time/talent/inclination to make one. Just keep the spending under $20. As well as providing the gift we want to know who’s who so this year would you note on a card that it is from you i.e. “To my Secret Santa from xxx (xxx being your name. I mean actually write your real name not just x’s) . Many people wanted to thank those who have been their secret Santa’s in the past but there was never any evidence as to who that was. This time there will be.

Some Apatcheez have been getting ready for Christmas already. Here’s two sets of tableware that Margaret finished –

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Now that’s great use of the Christmas postcard fabric.

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Sorry about the background green in that photo – I should have used something a bit more muted.

Estelle finished another large quilt – yes that was her with two finishes last blog post.

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This one looks much better in person when it’s not dragging on the ground. I think we need taller photographer’s assistants!

Now Faith was never going to let Estelle win the ‘UFO’s finished’ race without a fight and she brought two beauties to show us:-

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That last one is her version of the farmer’s wife quilt. It really needs to be seen to be appreciated. If you came to the classes you would see these beautiful projects. just saying…

Speaking of farmers, last blog post I also told you about our impending visit to Laidley for the Spring Festival. As always we had great fun at this event and we managed to sneak away for a few moments to photograph some of the beautiful quilts in the church. Here is just a taste:-

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That green quilt on the wall would be our Jan’s creation!

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This lady had multiple entries in the show – and they were all spectacular.

The Royal Australian Navy band played for us –

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And anyone who is anyone was there –

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Next time make sure you come along too.

To finish off I thought I’d leave you with a picture of spring at Apatchy. These birds were made by our own bird lady Chris. Aren’t they so sweet!

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Until next time happy quilting

Kaye

 

 

 

Welcome Spring

It has been a warm start to the season for those of us in Brisbane – perfect weather for a quilt show in fact and as it happens there is an excellent event on this Thursday, Friday and Saturday – the Laidley Spring Festival. The good people of Laidley will be out in force because the whole town gets behind this festival and there is lots to see – from the flower show to the street parade to the quilt show. Which is where we’ll be of course so pop in if you’d like to see the prize-winning quilts from the area.

And speaking of prize winners here are two of our own. As I mentioned in the last post, Robyne took out the third prize in her section and Lesa won Viewer’s choice at the recent EKKA  ‘Quilts Across Queensland’.

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I hope these women inspire you to enter competitions yourself. Doing so will help you see your work in a new light, will add to the show (more is more) and who knows, you might be lucky enough to win a rosette as beautiful as Robyne’s and Lesa’s!

I was pleased to find out that my Bowie quilt has been accepted into the Queensland Quilters’ Show in October so you see I’m taking my own advice. It will be great to see it hanging in the convention centre at the exhibition.

Speaking of exhibitions I hope you took the opportunity to visit the exhibition of costumes from the ABC television show ‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’. It was delightful to see the couture garments as well as the inside information regarding fabrics and designs. Made you want to be a flapper ….

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There’s something very artistic about a collection of thread don’t you think?

And on the subject of art – don’t forget the Apatchy challenge this year is to make a quilted item with the theme ‘Nature’. Better get designing….

Estelle was our designer this week. She managed to finish two major works.

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The latter is an example of what you can do with a jelly roll and a little extra fabric. Great work Estelle.

And if you missed Robyne’s and Lesa’s quilts the first time round here they are again…..

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Congratulations to you both.

Until next time happy quilting (and see you in Laidley)

Kaye

 

Quilting on the Road

So you’ve decided to pack it all in and take off. Maybe for a year, maybe longer. The house is sold, the kids are settled, the dog’s going to be looked after and the van is packed. Now what are you going to take with you for quilting supplies? This was the question faced by one of the Apatcheez recently when Robyn did just that.  She and Brucie have said farewell to the ordinary life and are off travelling around Australia. And because she’s a caring, sharing kind of gal we know exactly what she took with her. I’ll leave it in her own words –

“Tried to be conscious of space. The plastic box I bought from a hardware store and it fits almost everything including my cutter.

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My handy cotton reel holder fits in my cotton box.

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Travel iron is great for the odd wrinkle on my clothes when requiring not to look like a camper (the occasional  dinner out)and my hexies and of course the LED light for embroidery.

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Yes you do need electricity for the iron but Brucie has an inverter that creates 240 v from the battery.”

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Robyn’s been thrilling those of us who have Facebook with regular photographs of her and Brucie’s travels. This is the sort of thing we see –

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Jealous? So what would you take with you?

Those of us left behind have been consoling ourselves with finishing some UFO’s. Here’s what the Apatcheez have been up to –

Julia finished her bag –

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And Joananne hers’ –

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And Estelle brought some beautiful vintage pieces of embroidery in for us to admire –

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I have been wandering the land, not quite as dramatically as Robyn, but nevertheless I have been away from my sewing for some time now. I’m hoping that will all change from next week. You do pine for the fiords as-it-were when you’re away and you see quilting everywhere – like in the teacher’s chair at the kindy open day last week –

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Luvvy and I had a taste of winter when we travelled to Coffs Harbour for my brother’s wedding. The wedding was at the very beautiful Orara Valley Estate and was a very intimate affair. It had a country theme – the groom wore his RM Williams and bride cowboy boots with roses. We worked together to decorate the wedding space and for those who’ve asked here are some pictures from that day –

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Maybe things will get back to normal now after all the weddings and travelling. Then again, define normal? Until next time happy quilting

Kaye

Four cities and a wedding in China

Strange place China. One minute you’re revolted by some of the customs – like  the excess of phlegm its inhabitants seem to be able to produce (and the public spitting IS quite gross) or the inclination to eat….anything!. The next minute you’re absolutely charmed by the abundance of roses cultivated on the median strips and along the highways into town. And then you’re overwhelmed by the extent of the development of the cities.

A couple of weeks ago we flew into Guangzhou – the city that used to be called Canton – third largest of the Chinese cities with a population of around 13 million (yes that’s right 13 million!). As the plane descended to land, the sun set over the Pearl river illuminating, not a frontier town but the metropolis that is the portal to mainland China.

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Reminiscent of Hong Kong with humidity and perpetual activity, this port city is sprawling and very busy.

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Naturally we found a quieter area to walk through and found ourselves on Shamian Island, a sandbank island across a canal from the city.

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Shamian Island is little different from its time as a foreign concession in the 19th century and that legacy reveals a charming leafy area, mostly pedestrian, filled with grand houses where European merchants once facilitated the trade for silk, porcelain and lacquerware. When the British and French took over they planted trees that now overhang the streets and the whole place is like an ornate garden. Throughout the area the streets are sprinkled with  the bronze statues depicting life in the area past and present. This one reminded me of Apatchy –

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And this one depicts the development of the Chinese woman – from the woman of the past wearing the cheongsam to the modern woman in shorts with a phone to her ear.

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We shared the area with bridal photographers and other tourists as well as some locals including this lady practising tai chi in the park – complete with sword! I might take this up in my later years – I wonder what Brisbane City Council would have to say about that?

We could see the dragon boats on the Pearl River from our hotel room window and the strong rhythm of the drums and gongs as the crews practised for the Dragon Boat Festival added to the exotic atmosphere of this city.

Two days later we were in Wuhan, further north than Guangzhou, and a not inconsiderable city that nine or so million people call home. It was here that we attended a family wedding. Luvvy’s son married a local girl, both of them now living in Sydney, but who travelled back to her parents’ country for the nuptials. And what a wedding it was – imagine a talent show crossed with a game show and you get a bit of an idea. The MC, whose banter was not translated into English, kept the crowd enthused and cheering throughout the event. The vows were made in English (him) and Chinese (her) and the food served could only be described as a feast. A wonderful day – I won’t impose too many photos on you but here are a couple –

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After the wedding the bride’s family took us sightseeing around Wuhan – what a beautiful city it is.

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We farewelled our new Chinese family with promises to catch up again soon and flew to Beijing. After relaxed Wuhan the capital seemed somewhat tense with soldiers and police everywhere, although, as one local said “It’s the capital so it has to be safe”. Strangely it seemed less so with the abundance of security and we fancied everyone we met were spies or secret service agents.

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We had only a short time in Beijing – enough to visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City –

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and then an hour’s drive to the Great Wall – which we did climb. What a monster this is – a monument to the sheer ingenuity, accomplishment and bastardry of man in equal measure. Taking hundreds of years to build, the bodies of those unfortunate enough to be conscripted to work on the wall and perish in the undertaking were buried within it – making it the longest wall in the world and also the longest cemetery.

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Back in the city we walked through the lanes to the Old town and through the silk shops – laden with their bolts of colourful fabric that, alas, was very expensive. We came across a night market with some local delicacies –

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Seahorse anyone? What about a scorpion kebab for supper?

The reputation of the Chinese gardener is well-established and we were not disappointed at the skill of the locals in this regards

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The last stop on our short journey was Shanghai – apparently the most populous city in the world. A walk along the Bund highlights the difference between the old China and the modern with the historical buildings on on side facing the modern skyscrapers on the other side of the river.

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Again we found quieter areas to walk and marvel at the local architecture, open spaces and scenes we found interesting. Fu Xing park and the French concession area is in stark contrast to the noise and busy streets. Again we saw older residents practise tai chi while younger ones practised ballroom dancing to Chinese melodies.

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Apart from the small oases of tranquility we found, the development in these cities was overwhelming. I have never seen so many skyscrapers and all the while cranes everywhere building more. Alas we live in a homogenised world and many of the central areas of the cities looked the same as every other city. The shops in the main thoroughfare resembled those elsewhere – Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Salvatore Ferragama – you get the idea.

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This means that much that is valued is also very expensive so there were only minimal purchases of silk and other ‘souvenirs’. We did find masses of some items – from teapots to jade bangles –

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And we did find beautiful handcrafts at the Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum and at the Old Town –

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And we saw the incongruities of modern life – like the devout praying at a temple while a priest checks his text messages –

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Away from the main streets just around the corner though you can glimpse the real China – and from what we saw it is boundless.

Speaking of impressive the Apatcheez have not been idle while I’ve been wandering through the back lanes of Shanghai. Congratulations to those who took out prizes at the recent Brookfield Show – Chris for her winning tea cosies – a Best Use of Colour and Most Unusual Tea Cosy award –

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and Lesa – a highly commended for one quilt and 2nd prize for another –

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And there were other finishes too –

Joan’s peg bag –

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Suzanne’s kanzashi flower wedding cake that I should have shown you in a earlier post –

Suzannes Kanzashi cake

Robyne’s hexagonal beauties –

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June’s bag – one for herself this time – and another – the first project made with the new fabric Tokaido –

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Pat’s eye-spy quilt for a lucky grand-daughter –

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Now Margaret didn’t disappoint either. Here’s a great Valentino Rossi-inspired quilt for a very lucky man –

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And then this very interesting coldie/picnic bag that starts out like a quilt with two zips –

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and ends up like a very useful coldie bag –

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So it’s certainly been a busy month – and more to come!

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Until then happy quilting

Kaye