Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Bead shop

Here's one I took earlier - my nearest bead shop moved from a large basement to a nice ground floor shop, I took this on my last trip to the PO - it's nice, but I do miss lots of unusual stuff, oh for a trip to Bruce Frank - I have heard of another shop that I 'must' visit, the location is just too difficult for me - but I will get there of course. The house is 'quiet', family left this morning.

Monday, 29 December 2008


Tonight I made Güllaç for 'pudding'. It's usually Ramadan fare, but I got a packet of the dry leaves a couple of weeks back and could no longer hold out. It's like baklava but made with milk, a scattering of toasted hazelnuts (thought I usually use walnuts) and a pomegranate.... yum.
After a long morning watching school 'new year' shows, we needed some comfort.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

THC Ortakoy

eyuchh - it's been raining for 2 days now and we needed to get out for some air. Out came the wellies, thick jackets, hats, gloves, scarves and umbrellas. We went to Ortakoy to browse the stalls and have coffee and cake. I love The House Cafe,we did a little shopping in the rain, baby slept, littles splashed. Good afternoon.
T1 the mini paparazzi that she is decided to take lots of photos with my camera - fortunately the others in the restaurant were good humoured about this. However she thought it quite curious to have her picture taken whilst taking a picture.... then, she persuaded the camera owner to let her take pictures with his camera - she did a good job too.

Saturday, 27 December 2008


We went to the local big mall today - and spotted these curiously over sized copper items - Why?

Friday, 26 December 2008

I loved that

This shirt from Monsoon is one of my favourites, I have shrunk out of it - I got it not long after the twins were born and it flattered my post twins figure - now it's just huge. The print has faded a lot and it's time for it to retire. I will harvest the good fabric though...
Some is for the 'I loved that' trade, the rest - I have a plan.... but not sure if I will make the item or not.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas and Peace to all Men

We kind of celebrated Christmas today. Though only one of the dinner guests is a practicing christian, we see it as a time for gathering family together, and sharing with friends as well. A way to say Thank-you for all that we have been given over the past year. I have family visiting here and we invited a friend - at the table were a total of 6 adults and 5 children. Full English Christmas dinner (Turkey) followed by Christmas pudding with custard (strawberries and ice-cream for the littles) We eventually retired to 'digest' in-front of the TV and watch 'Top-gear' on BBC prime. A great day.

This morning after opening gifts and a slow breakfast we went to the riding stables and T1 took a white horse, whilst T2 opted for a black one, the promised snow did come last night, alas it didn't settle. It was a lovely crisp sunny day, though muddy under foot - I spied this fantastic mistletoe growing in the trees.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008


The morning before taking the machine to the repair guy I decided to whip this up.....
This shirt was just too big, but a lovely shade of lilac, with the little ruffle along the bottom and sleeves. So.... I decided to turn it into a skirt for T1.

I chopped it 'in half'' just below the bust dart.

Then sewed up the placket - must pin it next time as it was a bit wobbly. 4 year olds don't notice wobbly sewing - I hope!

I took the sleeve and chopped of a suitable pocket size, I ironed the sleeve seam to the center back, then sewed a line of top stitching to close the wrist opening. I folded the cut edge in and then top stitched it on to the side of the skirt. I used some gross grain ribbon to make a casing for the elastic, enclosing the raw top edge to enclose the edge in the casing. I threaded elastic through the casing from the inside where I'd cut a small slit.

Needless to say T1 was thrilled with her new skirt and wore it straight away....

Monday, 22 December 2008


I finally took my Bernina to the service guy. With visitors over Christmas it seemed the ideal time (since Turkey is secular - there are no 'Christmas holidays') It's been over 4 years since the last time I felt I would have no time to sew - when the twins were born. Then I had to nag the service guy that I wanted it back when they were 3 weeks old. I've been to this place once before, and past once. I have never driven there myself, though had an idea where it was in relation to the dolphinarium from a couple of weeks back. Sadly my sense of direction failed me slightly - though I did get there. I know where I went wrong. I saw some fabulous bits of Istanbul, but it was raining icy rain and being very grey didn't lead to any photo opportunities. I got the machine there in 1.5 hours and made it home in 45 minutes.
'Just around the corner' is the Mısır Çarşı I treated my self to a walk through - always interesting to see what language you get addressed in - a few German, some English, some surprised faces with my Turkish replies. Most folks think that the Spice Bazaar is part of the Covered bazaar - it's not, though not so far away. Plus it's small - really you can walk through it in 10 minutes flat - if you're not browsing. I did find a 'new to me' antique textile shop, the prices were outrageous, but the oya delicious. Sadly I left empty handed. I had a wander in the streets around there, didn't buy a thing - lots of looking. Then went and had Ezo gelin soup and peppery potato kol borek (for less than the price of a Starbucks Latte) and came home.
I love that area of the city though I rarely visit. I find it frustrating, the aggressive sales pitch and the lack of certainty over prices - I can get most of the things locally now - the big difference is the buzz - the atmosphere there is quite different - the mosque was calling the faithful - who were outside in the rain performing ablutions.

The Bernina dealer is in the IMÇ which is an ugly monster of a building, built in the 60's or early 70's, a huge testament to the power of poured concrete. It serves it's function as the main textile center for the city and all those from the regions buying for their shops - retail and wholesale together - boy it is ugly - did I say that?

I snapped just a couple of pictures, one inside of the beautiful architecture, and I spied a small Ottoman cemetery sandwiched between the buildings - neat - there are both male and female headstones.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Incoming mail

This is a gem - a mini-quit complete with a full binding from Ildika in KY - on the mantle already. An A2M G54 card

Autumn - above from Sharon in Canada, below is from Barbara A2M G54.

These all arrived Thursday.
Today was a lean textile day - chores, shopping, tidying. Though I did manage to find some Zatar we often have simit - it's obligatory in our household to dip simit into olive oil and with a blob of olive ezme (ground olives with no other additions) in the bottom of the ramekin. We were visiting friend's last week and had this with Zatar instead of the olive ezme - yum - I spied it in a specialist herb and spice supplier here, their own shop blend, will try it out next time I pass one of our favourite simitci's.

Saturday, 20 December 2008


It started raining hard last night - and is still raining..... today the view looked somewhat like this - foggy. These went off to the AITM Landscape group on Thursday - they are the next 4 of a whole bunch of cards in the series (20)
I had to go into town to post some more cards this morning and collect T1 and T2's bikes. They needed 'servicing' they were just beyond my bike repair skills, particularly speed boy, T2 who's bike gets into all sorts of predicaments, it's been 'run over' by a neighbour, stuck in strange places and regularly gets crashed into walls, the chain kept coming off and no matter how much I adjusted it, it wasn't right. T1's just needed an new inner tube. It's a great bike - if you need to buy a first real bike for a little then this is the place to go - expensive - but fabulous quality. It also avoids the whole stabiliser issue. Bikes are home and looking great, clean and ready to go - sadly rain prevented testing them out.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Incoming and outgoing

Whilst the September Mingle card has yet to hit the PO, it's on it's way out of the house! This is the oldest card I owe - back from September. I used a gel transfer medium for the school mascot and although the image is transferred, I don't like the fogginess - it was a bit of a long-winded method too. On a small scale the stiff texture that the gel leaves isn't a problem, but I wouldn't like to try a bigger piece. Good experiment, making small scale work is a great way to try new ideas and techniques out. Thanks for waiting Janet.

I got this landscape card in the mail today - isn't the lake 'reflection' the perfect fabric - Mt Rainier, from Amy.

Thursday, 18 December 2008


These cards are variations on a theme all made from a larger piece, with a section of just stitched denim on some of them. I had planned to use some brown washed silk as the base, but it wasn't playing nicely - so I switched to some 'distressed' black denim. So easy to work with. The cards are variations on a theme, 4 main designs, though the 10 cards I made are all different somehow. These will go to the Artsnthemail Checked trade ladies, plus some to my Art2Mail G54.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Incoming mail

Today has been a day filled with 'nothing' - my Turkish class, a trip to a 'new' butcher, fiddling around with bits and pieces, laundry, chatting to my brother. Once school was out playing with T1 and T2 and their 'treasure box'. The treasure box is a reasonable size box (Ikea Gliss) that has compartments in it filled with crafty things. Variegated wool, coloured paper shapes, things cut from magazines, sticks, feathers - you know the stuff that littles love to make collages from. Usually the treasure box is reserved for one child (while the other twin is out for some reason) or we end up with a lot of glue and not much sticking. They both made more snowmen using the extra circles, pieces from the Christmas party craft table, with some additions from the treasure box.
My 'extremely efficient' temporary card filing system yielded the ginkgo the others arrived Today.

This is from Eva in Tx - the theme being 'I loved that' inviting folks to cull a loved garment and turn it into a card, this once was a vest - which I figure is a waiscoat.....

This Asian card was in my filing system - I can't remember it arriving at all - it's luxurious. I love Gingoko trees (I hunted high and low for my young tree in my garden here) from Sue in Ca.
Below is another Asia card that I did see when it arrived and snuk into the shoebox - this is from Liz in Idaho.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Incoming mail

My 'extremely efficient' temporary card filing system seems to have failed whilst baby was ill and I discovered several cards in the bottom of said shoebox that hadn't been blogged.....

Above from Leah in SC, below from Elizabeth in Australia. This goes nicely with another checked style card I have from her too from an earlier trade.

The black and white check from Chris in the UK - who possibly spent a long time doing the back - which is cool.

The day was spent throwing out debris, tidying up and fettling out a weeks worth of littles at home mess. Next school holidays at the end of January through the beginning of Feb, sadly that one is 2 weeks - and only Turkish schools I think.
I did however make some lemon curd before the school bus arrived with the mess makers. I don't know why I haven't made it before. T2 loves lemons and adores 'lemon jam', sadly he dropped the last jar I acquired from Corona. I've had this recipe for ages, it's the one my mom uses. It's delicious.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Hey trees!

Pear tree thru the leaves to the sky.

This guy is hanging onto the leaves for dear life - they are still semi red/green inside. Last year this tree dropped all the leaves seemingly overnight.

Berbaris - isn't this a great colour.

The grasses are turning but the rest isn't.

The garden can't decide if it's winter or not - last year the leaves got blown from the trees in some very strong winds in the middle of November - well before now - this year they are still turning colour. Weird, hey trees, it's winter. These were taken on Wednesday - over the last 24 hours the high has been 14, the low 5, so I guess it's not wintery enough?

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Christmas Party

Within our community a group of us meet on a regular basis and watch films in English, play or do stuff with the kids. We met many moons ago via a play group and most of us have one or more child within a year of each other. For the last 3 years we've had a Christmas party. This year I helped organise the party with a couple of amigos - and specifically organised a 'craft' table for 26 littles. My able assistant cut out nearly all the shapes (I did the straight line ones with a rotary cutter) and we used plain white sticky circles which the kids coloured in - this took a long time, both the cutting and the colouring. They were decorating the bag for their going home treats. Of course the party was complete with pass the parcel (T1 winning a Barbie - that made her day) - I am not sure if this is a peculiarly English game - musical bumps/chairs, a visit from Santa and lots of food. A good afternoon.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Istanbul Dolphinarium

I heard about the new dolphinarium being opened via the BBC News website - after much asking about I found out where it is - in a purpose built new building on the Golden Horn - taking the water they need for the dolphins and filtering it. We went today (Thursday) I was impressed by the set-up, OK it's brand new, so it should work - but it is finished and tidy, not a construction zone. It's a joint venture between the City Council and 'The Russians' - well done to all. It was a great performance, the 3 dolphins and 2 walruses were perfectly trained. Dolphin freak T2 was dumbstruck with glee - he couldn't believe his eyes, and was grinning so hard his chops must ache. I didn't tell T1 & T2 we were going there, insurance in case my sense of direction failed me and we ended up in Greece or Albania....

Being Turkey and out of the EU regulation machine and lack of nanny state there was a red ribbon separating the public from the animals - no glass, or barriers, nothing. Petting the dolphins was reserved for 8 kids picked at random by catching a ball tossed by the dolphins - swimming with the dolphins 1:1 is also available - for a hefty fee.

It was well worth the effort and I am sure we'll go again - it is warmer than the zoo at this time of year. Just 3 more days until school...

Thursday, 11 December 2008


When ever I put a card in the mail I get a little nervous - I don't know why, as the postal system here is fabulous. It's like waiting to hear that a plane has landed or something. I've been stalking Lisa Jo's blog waiting for my baby to arrive in her home, super nervously - there was a lot more work in this than any card - it's there - yeahh! - and she loves it (phew!) I'm not sure the size of each block - but around 3.5 inches, should have measured it before it went, hand applique, hand 'quilted' with saskiko thread, machine pieced. I enjoyed making it once I figured out that my idea of a pink Japanese mosaic with inset seams wasn't right. I still have it in my head, I need to make a test piece for a larger quilt. Another time. Perhaps I should finish off all my larger quilts in progress first - the again I have lots of other things to finish off.
Anyway - it's there in her log cabin - thanks Kate for all her hard work organising the ALQS trade!
Today (Wednesday) was busy with tree erecting and decorating this morning - with 2 slightly over enthusiastic helpers. Baby was napping - when I brought her downstairs she was mesmerised by the lights. We had a birthday party in the afternoon - one of baby's friends - 10 children, but just 4 that were 'birthday' age - the rest siblings. Quite noisy, but good noisy! With delicious home made cake. We're at the halfway point of the holiday - and thanks to the mutual despair of other friends there has been something for us to do nearly everyday this week - perfect. Just a pity the weather is cold as it makes playing out not so nice.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

BQL Bag Challenge - November bag

The bag snuck in under the wire - it's a great design. The Nancy Crow stripe that I planned to use for the handle is awful to match, I will do it.
Then, replace the solid black handle for the fancy stripe one. I need to do some more quilting on the flap too - it's a bit too flappy....
11 bags down, just one to go to have completed the whole year. I designed one of the bonus patterns, didn't make the 2nd bonus pattern. There is a 3rd bonus pattern, I could end up 15 bags the richer by the end of the year!
There have been some great designs, I have my favourites, my January bags get used so much - nearly each time I go grocery/vegetable shopping, I need to make a couple more. September is my favourite at the moment - perhaps because it's new!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Incoming mail

This cat card was rescued from T1 - cat girl - who decided it was for her. From the 'I loved that ...' trade - taking a loved garment that is past it's sell by date and chopping it up - I have my shirt ready to be chopped...... this came from Leslie in Australia. This Card is from Jeannine in Alaska - A2M 54 - I will have to get all these cards sorted out, when the holiday is over. 3 days down - just another 6 to go.

The weather has suddenly turned here - over the past month we have had autumn followed by spring - and then today winter is here with sharp winds. We braved the park today, and met up with friends - it was cold.
The leaves are still on some of the trees in the garden. It's nearly midwinter - don't these trees realise?

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