Amsterdam Window Reflections

Last year I found myself on a gruelling 5 day academic travel trip to Sweden which included only 3 nights in Sweden and two nights spent on aeroplanes. It takes about 22 hours to fly from Penang to Scandinavia. Aaaaack. I also had a couple of hours to kill at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and decided to make a mad dash out of the airport and into the city. I simply love Europe and want to throw a hissy fit every time we explore working opportunities further East, further away from Europe but as a friend mentioned, we are merely working our way right around the world and the time will come where further East will bring me closer to Europe albeit approaching it from a different side as intended.

To all the great Dutch hookers, knitters, crafters and bloggers out there, you are lucky, very lucky to be living in such a nice country. Jullie zijn gelukkige mensen!

My family left the Netherlands about 110 years ago and it was great to finally explore my roots, I felt so at ease in Amsterdam, understanding Dutch provided a lovely experience, recognising so many of our family's facial expressions and body language among the Dutch actually gave me an immense sense of belonging. Exploring the city early morning when the shops were still closed meant I enjoyed a great breakfast, checked out the windows and cruised the canals - which was probably a good thing for the wallet or else I would have been tempted to empty out the shops, stocking up on all sorts of nice to haves . . . Mind you, I took the opportunity in Sweden to fill the suitcase with new pieces for my wardrobe. Penang offers a poor selection of clothes, shoes, bags and accessories for the fashion forward. Cutting edge, on trend, vintage, modern classic or even refreshing cottony wearables suited to tropical island living - none of those are available here. Penang fashion is downright 'meh'. 




Recently I gave my roly polys one look and started toying with the idea of hooking a whole lot of crochet objects for an art installation/exhibition, errr to sell and make some $'s. Of course it will mean re-looking patterns and colours and stripes and time and . . . and so forth. Here in Penang there are tonnes of little mini-markets and stalls selling a selection of inflatable objects to enjoy in the ocean and swimming pool.  I had already tried out the idea with the naff roly poly and found it to be a great idea except that I didn't plan on stuffing it with a plastic ball so the inflatable ball was just a tad too small for the crochet ball. I would need to plan better, but can you image the hooky possibilities by giving the below a stripey or knobbly or granny jacket of some hooky sort?  Meanwhile the roly poly pillow seats hooked for the kids are stuffed with the cheapest available pillows from Tesco's.


The Tween's Roly Poly

Oh noooooo I hooked 5 pentagons following the exact stripes as generated by the Tween and I for a Liquorice All-Sorts Roly Poly as posted here, and fell out of love with each and every pentagon almost straight away. The yarn was an identical match to the stripes, the outcome not-so. Smooth stripes don't always translate well into hooky crochet stitches, the pentagons were downright ugly. butt ugly.

Neither did the Tween enjoy the results and I then gave her a free hand in choosing new colour combinations for her Roly Poly Pillow Seat. She loves a sense of the absurd and also collects pictures painted on scrap wood and second hand tables. The below cat is painted on a side table, the other pictures on a wooden cube.

I will once again set out in my quest to refine the Roly Poly Pillow Seat idea. I have tonnes of ideas for many projects and also need to learn a great number of new stitches and patterns, but since I mostly hook in the car whilst waiting for the traffic lights to turn green, I am bound to the simple and mindless in the land of hooky.          


Chinese New Year

Gong Xi Fa Cai. We had a blast in Penang celebrating Chinese New Year. Literally. Thundering drums, clashing cymbals, crazy crackers - celebrations is a boisterous affair here. We were blasted to smithereens by all the fireworks and crackers every night which carried on for hours and hours, in our street, down the road, everywhere. Penang came alive with several parades and events. T'is time to sleep now. Until next year. 

see no evil, hear no evilspeak no evil . . .

Photos my own. 


Faces of Bangkok

I am completely and utterly fascinated by Mannequins. Faces. Windows. I had a blast capturing windows, mannequins and window reflections in Amsterdam last year. This year Bangkok offered a few opportunities. These pics are nothing but snapshots shooting from the hip whilst walking in the malls and Chatuchak Market. It is nearly impossible to describe the Chatuchak market, a weekend flea market that according to their own website has 15000 booths, other websites mention figures of 5000 and anything between these two figures.  It is HUGE and I was stunned by the variety of great vintage and also all the teeny shops selling eclectic clothing and accessories designed by Thailand's young and upcoming designers. 

China House


The explosion of flavours when the first bite of salty caramel chocolate cake hits the palate is luxurious, sensual and complex. The menage-a-trois of sweet, smokey, salty flavours is simply compelling. China House serves salty caramel chocolate cake and to be cruel also a salty caramel ice-cream. I love China House. Just as flavour pairing and molecular gastronomy beckons the brain to take another bite, China House beckons the visitor to experience each of the 14 spaces located within a cluster of 3 heritage buildings linked by a central courtyard. Here you will find art galleries, a fine dining restaurant, a private dining restaurant, a cafes and breakfast room, various bars, a theater and a reading room.