Sunday, October 27, 2013

NNC Pincushion Exchange 2013

This is another over due posting. I am about 6 months overdue, if not more.

I have so many things I want to write about, but so little time. So, what else is new, right? LOL!

I missed posting on this year's NNC Anniversary Meet. I hope to still blog on it some day as I have some exciting news to share...well, exciting to me!! heheh.....

Anyway, back to the exchanges organised at NNC, I have not joined that many exchanges this year due to heavy work schedule, but I did join these 3 exchanges - the Pincushion Exchange, and 2 Hexagon Exchanges.

For the Pincushion Exchange, I am to send out to Maria, and I am to receive from Shanny. It was actually a secret exchange where your partner does not know who her partner is.

I didn't know my partner was Shanny until she returned home for the holidays recently (Shanny is a Malaysian staying in Switzerland) and hinted to me that she's got something to pass to me and had hoped that I would be able to make it for the Bee held during the fasting month of July.

Initially I thought that she had brought back some Swiss chocolates to give to me. She did, actually, but she did not just have chocolates to give to me but also box of tea and, the most exciting item of all, was the Pincushion Exchange!!

I received a lovely pink (yes, Shanny knows my favourite colour!) pincushion.

Just look at the details. Shanny even provided for a tab on the cover to make it easy for me to open the tub. 

I think Shanny had recycled an old tub. I can use the tub to put in all my smalls.

Shanny even included 2 small containers. She said it's for my pins and what nots for me to bring on my travels since I travel so much for work. 

She also included some lovely pins.

Shanny was also very innovative when she made the top of the pincushion cover to be able to detach from the cover and put on the wrist as a wrist pincushion. I just love it!

Thanks, Shanny!

On my part, I made this cathedral pincushion as a tryout, and when it turned out nice, I decided to make 2 more - one to keep and two to giveaway.

I gave away the one on the one at the bottom right hand corner to Maria, my exchange partner who is in Portugal.

I have to apologize to Maria for sending it out late, even though I had actually finished making the pincushions more than 2 months before the mailing out date was due.

But, when I started travelling almost non-stop for work, I could not find time to get to the post office to mail it out on time. When I finally did find time to squeeze in a trip to the post office, I was late in sending out. :(

Anyway, I am glad that it arrived safely, and I hope that Maria likes it and hopefully it will be her constant companion when she works on her sewing work.

Thanks to Diane for organising the exchange.  

As for the two Hexagon Exchanges, wait for my next posting.....

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Missing Little Robin

I miss Robin, a kitten who made our house his home a month ago. 

He came one day when I was outstation and hubby decided to feed him. 

The next day he came again and I gave him milk which he drank like he hasn't eaten in over a week

I took him to the vet to have him vaccinated and give him flea medicine last week. I also gave him a good shampooing as he wanted to come into the house to play. 

I have come to love him and miss him when I am away. 

Today, like any day, we would let him out to play. 

He usually does not go far. He would just play around our back yard. But now it is already 6.00pm, and he is still not yet back, whereas Jack and Jane, our other 2 cats have come home about an hour ago. 

I feel so sad. I hope he comes home before we retire for the day.....

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Trip of a Lifetime - to the US and the UK (Part 10) – Stranded in New York

Gosh! The last time I wrote on the trip was on 22nd May 2013!

There is still plenty to tell about the trip and there’s also the craft stash I acquired during the trip which my Stitching Friends are waiting for me to show off!

I have been so busy with work and life that it is getting harder and harder to find time to spend on another one of my passion and that is writing and blogging. 

I hope it is still not too late (stale) to continue where I left off, if not for anything else, but for my son to read in years to come.

In my last posting on the trip, on the 6th day of my stay in the US, I mentioned that all flights out of New York, including my flight, had been cancelled due to unexpected severe weather condition within the next 24 hours.

I hardly slept that night. I had the Weather Channel on all night, so that even as I sleep (I am a light sleeper), I could hear the weather condition being reported continuously.

I prayed that the weather condition would improve in the next few hours or so, so that we may fly out of New York the next day as per our schedule.

However, as I stayed up for most part of the night, I could hear the snow storm coming in and could see the heavy snow fall through my hotel window.

By morning, it was almost certain that we were going to be spending another day in New York when the airport was closed for all incoming and outbound flights.

A colleague joked that we have been snowed in because someone had made a wish to visit Central Park but because he never got to make that wish to become a reality yet, he had wished for another day in New York to make that wish become true! LOL!

Anyway, back to the current situation and the crisis at hand, once it was determined that we won’t be able to make it for our scheduled 6.00pm flight out of New York, the next thing was trying to get the next available flight to London.

We spent the whole morning in the hotel lobby as frantic calls were made to our respective travel agents in Malaysia.

Mind you that we have a 12 hour time difference where it is night time in Malaysia as we struggled to get whatever possible flights out of New York.

Some of us were lucky when their travel agents stayed up late till 10pm to try to get us flights to London.  Some were not that lucky when their travel agents could not be contacted and they ended up having to make their own flight arrangements.

It was also quite a task trying to coordinate among the travel agents, us being so far away on the other side of the globe, as we tried to get all of us on the same flight to London to make it easy to make transport arrangements in London.

When that was not really possible as thousands of other passengers who were also snowed in like us scrambled to get whatever flights available out of New York, we decided that whatever flights we could get, we will just grab it.

As if struggling to get the next available flight to London was not bad enough, we also had a crisis with our lodging arrangements when the hotel where we had already stayed for 2 days wanted us to vacate our rooms to make way for new customers coming in.

It took a frantic long distance call to the Malaysian Embassy in Washington D.C. to assist us that finally managed to get our lodging issues resolved.

When it was all finally settled – the flights and the lodging, it was already close to 1.oopm! Only then did we all suddenly feel hungry! LOL!

Everyone went back to their rooms to change out of their travelling clothes and into something more comfortable for another day in New York.

At that point, it suddenly dawned on me – WE GET ANOTHER DAY IN NEW YORK? Wow! Does this mean that I will get an opportunity to visit a craft shop which I found out through Google is actually just within walking distance from the hotel?

Ok, ok, don’t get excited! We are not actually out of the crisis yet as the snow storm had not actually subsided. Even though we had our tickets booked for the flight out of New York for 6.00pm tomorrow evening, everything depended on the weather tomorrow and whether the airport will be opened for operations.

But for now, we just had to make the best of the situation, and first things first, we had to get something for lunch.

I followed my colleagues to lunch at a nearby halal restaurant.

After lunch, many wanted to take the opportunity to do more sightseeing despite the snow still falling heavily. Others wanted to do more shopping.

Me? I wanted to try to make way to the craft shop nearby, but, I thought that I’d follow my colleagues for a while to Macy to see what’s there as I did not get an opportunity to visit Macy before this.

I managed to get myself an extra blouse to wear for the extra day in New York.

After that, with the snow still falling heavily, and it even started to rain a bit, I made my way in search of the City Quilter, 5 blocks from the hotel.

Oooh! What I’d do without a GPS! I have always been bad with directions, but ever since I could get Google map on my hand phone, back home, I have been able to go to places on foot and by car where I would have never tried venturing before, for fear that I might get lost.

With the help of the GPS and Google Map, I have become more adventurous, and what more, when it comes to going in search of a craft shop! LOL!

It did not feel like it was a long walk as I took in the sights around me, still not believing that I am actually in New York!

After walking for about 30 minutes or so, I finally arrived at the City Quilter!

Gosh! Pinch me! I am here! I am here! I am in front of the shop that I could only see in the pages of my quilt magazines before this!

I excitedly entered the shop and was in awe of all the quilting and sewing stuff I see before me! I feel like grabbing and buying everything! LOL!

But alas, reality sank in, and I had to be practical. I have limited bag space and there was the weight of the luggage that I am limited to that I had to take into consideration.

It took a lot of will power to control myself not to go overboard when choosing out what I wanted to buy. I had to keep reminding myself to only get those things which are not easily available in Malaysia, too expensive to order and ship it to Malaysia, and uniquely New York.

Despite all the limitations and constraints I set myself, I actually managed to get quite a good haul. I think my Stitching Friends are going to be so envious of me! LOL!

After paying for my purchases, I managed to get the Sales Assistant to allow me to snap a photo in the shop. 

I told her that this photo will be a part of my blog journey in search of craft shops that will get my craft friends jealous! LOL! *wink* 
Sorry for the almost identical photo, but some reason, photos taken in vertical comes out in horizontal when I upload it to blogspot. 

I can't figure out how to resolve it. So, I decided to put 2 vertical photos together to force the photos to stay vertical.

Happy with my purchase, I made my way back to the hotel, with the snow still falling heavily, and rain coming out in full force too. 

I made a stop at a souvenir shop to buy some souvenirs to take home for friends and families.  

After a short rest to regain energy that was drained from all the excitement of the morning of trying to get tickets for the flight to London, reaffirming our extended stay at the hotel and finding my way to a craft shop, I started organising my things to pack up.

It was an art of packing to get everything compacted inside the bags and still be within the weight limit allowed, without having to pay excessively for excess luggage. 

I already knew that I’d be paying for excess luggage when I bought an extra luggage, but I wanted to be sure that I won’t be paying an exorbitant amount.

When that was done, it was already late evening and the snow was still falling heavily.  

I did my payers and prayed that the weather would improve over the next 24 hours so that we may make our next leg of our trip.

All night long, I had only the weather channel on. My brother messaged me suggesting that I go out and buy some food in preparation for maybe another long day in New York should the weather not improve.

I went out to the nearest convenience shop and bought myself these.....

I went to bed after having dinner of leftovers from the meal I had with my brother and his family.

It wasn’t such a restful night, as all night long, I kept listening up to the weather report to see if things would improve....  

End of Day 7 – 8th February 2013 – an unintended extra day in New York.....  

Friday, October 11, 2013

NNC Stitching Bee October 2013

NNC recently had its October Stitching Bee on 5th October 2013.

This time we decided to try a new place – Starbucks Paradigm Mall, as suggested by Rose.

We agreed because then it would be convenient for members who stay around the PJ area to join us and it is closer to where Rose is staying as we wanted to see her before she goes off for her pilgrimage the next day.

I am glad we agreed to try out this new place because the Starbucks at Paradigm Mall is just perfect for our Bee as it has a long sofa with 4 tables and 4 chairs. It can easily fit 10 of us comfortably. 

I arrived at exactly 10.00 am at Starbucks Paradigm Mall and got us a very nice place at the center of the restaurant. 

I made my order for coffee and banana cake and set about to open up my hexies to work on as I wait for the others to come.

Alas, I realized that I had brought my hexies but without the thread to stitch them as I had left the roll of thread at home. But luckily I had two needles which was already threaded, so that was good.

As I was about to start stitching, Rose arrived.

She said that she had actually arrived 10-15 minutes ago but when around to see the shops.

We sat awhile to chit chat when June arrived and immediately showed me this wonderful magazine filled with lovely stitcheries! The magazine was meant for Margaret, but I wish it was meant for me! *wink*

Soon after that, Faizon arrived and immediately started to show us a new tatting book that she had just acquired. As usual, it was full of lovely tatted pieces.

Margaret and Jackie arrived soon after that, followed closely by Bee Ee and Veronica, and a little bit later, Jo arrived. Zarina was the last to arrive.

The group started getting excited when Bee Ee started showing us her variety of hexies.

I think the main topic of discussion of Saturday’s Bee was about hexagons done in so many different methods.

Bee Ee’s hexies were done in a method different from what I am used to where she did not use the English Paper Piecing Method nor did she use the Inklingo method. I think Bee Ee just invented her own method. *wink*

They were so many lovely pieces, 16 in all, and still counting, and I saw Faizon trying to arrange the hexies together, and having fun doing it! *wink*

I think Bee Ee will have a fun time putting them together to see what comes out.

When Jo arrived, she showed us her lovely hexies to be given to Zarina in a lovely handmade pouch which Zarina could reuse.

Jo explained that she’d rather make a pouch to put in the hexies than put them in an envelope because then her partner can reuse the pouch for other things.

Great idea, Jo. Can I be your partner next? *wink*

I showed the hexie ball I got from Radha, and June asked me if it had bells in it. Guess what? I didn’t know until June shook it and there was the sound of bells! LOL!

I also showed the hexy flowers I got from Sally, and when I showed the hexies Sally gave which was printed on Nasi Lemak Wrapper, it started a discussion on the Inklingo method of doing the hexies, and as to whether the nasi lemak wrapper or the freezer paper would be best suited for the method.

That’s when Margaret took out a whole roll of Freezer Paper, courtesy of Janet from a long time ago, and June started cutting them up to distribute them to those who wanted them.

Thanks, Janet, for the paper. Thanks, Margaret, for bringing them, and thanks, June, for helping to cut up the freezer paper to be distributed.

Next Jo showed us the hexies she received from Diane, including the fabrics and templates.

We also discussed on using ladder stitch and whip stitch to put the hexies together, and how to cut the hexagon fabrics, sizes of hexagons etc.

Margaret then brought out the HE2 Exchange she got from Sally which I agree with Margaret, that it was much admired by everyone

The hexagon butterflies were lovely, and the hand quilting around the hexagons were awesome. It inspired Jo to use the idea of doing a butterfly too for her next hexagon project. 

I think many of us gained a lot of knowledge on the different ways of doing hexies that day. It was good to learn from one another. 

Veronica then brought out her lovely Mirabilia cross stitch piece which had beads and pearls, and was done on an opalescent fabric.

Agree, Margaret, that it is a stunning piece!! 

You can see the finished piece on her Blog

June took the opportunity to personally hand over a private Birthday Exchange she did with Margaret and another member, and the minute Margaret unwrapped it, everyone was going oooh and ahhh over the lovely piece.

June had sewn a teacup pouch complete with quilted flowers, and it was so beautifully done!

I was really impressed and saluted her on the lovely quilted flowers she did, even though she claimed that it was her first attempt at doing quilting.

Imagine if she becomes an expert, the amount of awesome quilting that will come out from her!

June, can I become your partner for next year’s Birthday Exchange? *wink*

Together included with the pouch were 2 bases for pincushions and charms imported from overseas. June also gave Margaret a metal box with many types of Chinese tea and a piece of linen fabric and a sewing magazine.

Just to add to Margaret’s excitement, she also received 3 FQs of some cheerful fabrics form Zarina which she won at a Give-Away that Zarina had at her FB Shop. come I missed it?

Anyway, more excitement erupted when Jo took out a book/iPad/Tab stand in the shape of a pyramid which she had made herself.

June promptly put Jackie’s iPad on the stand as she refers to the instructions on the iPad in an attempt to try to correct a blouse Jackie made which she (Jackie) could not figure out some parts of the blouse.

I think June succeeded in correcting the problem. So, if anyone of you is in need of help with some tailoring problems, you know who you can go to for assistance. *wink*

For a while, the topic of discussion shifted to going shopping overseas when Veronica announced that she will be leaving for Japan soon for a holiday.

Margaret got us all excited when she told us that she had read a Blog where it mentioned there was a building that had 15 stories of crafts!!!

15 stories? Really? That must be some Craft Haven and heaven! I must look it up!

We actually talked about someday making a trip to Melbourne or Sydney for a craft shop hopping, and for it to coincide with the time when the Annual Craft Fair is on.

All a dream, but who knows...... time to save some money!!.....

For this Stitching Bee, I kept reminding those members who were joining us not to forget to bring something to stitch.

I managed to get Bee Ee to work on her hexies and, as usual, Faizon worked on her tatting.

I, myself, brought along my hexies to work on too.

What about the rest? Hmm...must bring a whip or something to the Bee next time! LOL!

Hopefully, the next time we have a Bee, more members would bring something to stitch on or work on. That way, we can kill 3 birds with one stone – we get to meet up, chat to catch up on the latest craft news or learn some crafts or new methods of doing something, and at the same time, work a bit more on our crafts.

But, most importantly, each time we meet up, we always tend to get inspired and motivated to go home and work on something new or to try to finish that piece of UFO which have not seen the light of day since God knows when! LOL!

They say that all good things must come to an end. We were having such a good time, but soon, it was time to part ways when Jo’s hubby came to pick her up, and I had a wedding to attend.

I made my way to do my Zohor prayers while Margaret, Jackie and June made their way to Daiso. Bee Ee and Veronica went to do some grocery shopping and Rose went to meet her son for lunch. I think Faizon went straight home. I can’t recall where Zarina went.

It was great catching with everyone. We hope to have the next one in November. Hopefully more members will be able to join us, as it will be the last Bee for the year 2013.

After that, we will start planning for more exciting activities come 2014!

Thanks, Margaret, Jackie, June, Rose, Faizon, Jo, Veronica, Bee Ee, and Zarina, for coming.