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December 2018

What do I need to pack?

It is summer and it is hot and sticky.  The beach is there to enjoy and the coffee shops are packed.

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We are swapping houses with our son, who has invited 2 other families to come and share the week with him and his family.  I have cleaned the house, put new sheets on all the beds, put out fresh towels for everyone, even cleaned out the fridge.  But just what do I need to take for a week back in suburbia?  Decisions, decisions.

A Gem

I bought this book as a present for someone else but had to read it first, just to make sure it was suitable.

It is a hard backed book with a sewn in book mark and it is just beautiful.

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(I you want to read a sample first you can find this at Audible.)

I believe that it is also being made into a movie but for me the words on paper and my own imagination make this book one of those precious gems that only come along once in a while.  It is a gentle story with a redeeming ending but be warned you need a box of tissues at your elbow.  I am glad it is hard-backed  because I know it is one of those re-readable books that can be handed down.

Christmas Eve

I always catches me unaware and this year and having been overseas so close to Xmas I find here it is, ready or not!

Yesterday was 'Gingerbread House' day.  Not terribly successful I have to say.  Firstly Monique dropper her ginger bread lady and knocked her head off, disaster. 

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Then Oma dropped part of the roof which Monique thought very funny.  So this year the house only has half of the roof that we will fill with biscuits. The chimney also had to be eaten straight away as it couldn't be put on the roof.

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Getting ready to go out I dropped one ear ring.  I heard it fall but do you think I can find it?  it has to be there somewhere.   I had to find another pair of ear rings.  They are all in the box but trying to find a pair or the ones I would like was driving me mad.  I made a quick decision to make an ear ring holder for the hook type ones.  (The others can stay in the box.)

I used a cheap photo frame, removing the glass, covering the cardboard backing with gold paper and inserting a piece of hook rug mesh.  (The type you latchet the wool onto, a sort of large mesh.

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Then I dug out all those ear rings, put them into pairs and hung them on the mesh.

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Heavens, I had no idea I had so many odd ear rings!

The fifth floor

On the 5th floor of Iconsiam was a section set aside for local crafts people.  They have a series of videos on facebook, with subtitles, that are great for explaining some of the work and the artisan involved.  The one I have linked to here looks at embroidery which to me is very much influenced by Boro stitching from Japan.  Variations on this kind of work was to be seen in other craft markets as well and was not cheap.  I looked at buying a dress that was $260 but I didn't have enough cash with me and they didn't have a credit card machine. 

These are some of the stitched bags I saw.  I am looking at this is as a future class, maybe.

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What I did buy from this floor were two small weaving frames for my grand-daughters.

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The instructions are all in Thai, which isn't helpfull, but as they are simple looms I bought them anyway.  I had seen lots of children working at looms when we visited the hill tribes, so I thought they would make a good craft activity for our Monday afternoons.

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I thought I had better give it a try first and quickly came to the conclusion that I had better put this away until they are a little older. I had forgotten how you have to watch the edges, beat down the thread continually and lots of other little tricks.

(This is a mat for the dolls house.)

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This little frame is only about 5cm x 4cm and I used almost 2 reels of old tapestry wool to do this much.  I hate to think how much yarn I would need for the bigger frame.  The bigger frame would be easier to use but would take a lot longer to finish.  So I will pack them away for another day.

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Some more emboirdery on straw hats and bags.

These hats were very colourful.  I'm not sure if I would wear them but they look good.

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Then there was a lot of outline embroidery on goods, not only woven straw but on fabric bags as well.

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The roof of the ground flower was also decorated with woven lotus,

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and Chinese lanterns.

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and other fanciful things.

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I have to say that I found this shopping centre a magnet and kept returning just to look

A long absence

I can't say that I am fully recovered from all the viruses but my trip away has broken the terrible depression I was suffering.  I find on opening the computer up again that I will need to get onto Mr Apple to get my email working and lots of other small things.  It always amazes me that those 'small things' can take forever to fix.

So where do I start?  I think the shopping mall next to the hotel would be a great place.  I don't think I have ever seen a shopping mall that was so opulent yet still managed to retain a lot of the essence of Bangkok and Thai culture.  (if you are really interested there is a video on You Tube that runs for 25mins, all in Thai, that will show you what it is like.)

I found lots of interesting things in there.  On the ground floor was a floating food market, along with a traditional supermarket, that was very expensive.  

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I also found these embroidered straw bags.

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This is an interesting use of this type of embroidery.

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It was the portraits that really caught my eye.

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And on closer inspection it was definately all hand worked not machined.

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 I hadn't expected to see something like this in Thailand.  But then there was lots of things I saw that I wasn't expecting.