Thursday, 26 March 2015

Lotus Leaf Painting

I can't tell you how excited I was to be painting lotus leaves in Bangkok!

Yes, moi who looks enviously at all my arty friends 
with a 'I wish I could paint!' longing, 
has found my inner creative!

With a little help from my new found friends at Himapan Gallery
here I am about to 'show and tell' with you my latest artwork, 
and anyone can do this!

Let's backtrack just a little.
I'm in Bangkok, my husband is busy with work 
morning, noon and night. 
So having visited Bangkok many times,
I was looking for something different to fill my days.
A quick internet search and I found the Himapan Gallery.
Who are doing a roaring trade to mostly expats
 with lotus leaf painting workshops.

The lotus leaves were an almost perfect match for what I needed at home.
I'd had had an interior decorator suggest that 
I bring the garden indoors by throwing open the bi-fold doors 
and adding some garden style artwork to the interior,
 even suggesting a palm tree, or the like on the wall

Which is a lovely idea 
except that I don't live in tropical north Queensland,
 I live in Melbourne, Australia. 

A palm tree is about as common here as a banana plant!

But, as frequent visitors to this blog will know,
 I do have a pond with a water lily that blooms,
and although a water lotus and water lily are different 

it's same, same but different! 

When I arrive at the gallery instructions are in full swing.
I join a group of lovely Japanese women to learn the techniques.
We are given the choice of using oil or acrylic paints.

Our class is taught by the wonderful owner Catherine
who shows us what to do.
It all looks pretty straightforward
paint or sponge on the colour, 
highlight with bronze, gold, silver as you like,
and after a few days your painting is ready to take home.

I choose to work with acrylic paint because it's quick drying 
and I only have five days in Bangkok.

I did think about oils 
especially after my ears prick up as Catherine tells us
"and if you make a little mistake, 
I give you a little alcohol"
her perfect English has just a hint of her French accent.

They have truly thought of everything here
I love the way they will correct any errors...

I'm brought back to earth with a 
'Can I get you a tea or coffee?'
Her husband Teck asks?

I was thinking of ordering a Mojito
to get my Mojo going...
but then realise the alcohol is only for mistakes 
and not to be consumed...
Silly me.

I am then given a choice of two designs
I choose the one from the muddy pond
which has some interesting staining
and could have so come from my pond life back home
although thankfully not, these leaves are humungous.

My three boards cost me 8,000 Baht ($250 USD, $310AUD)
which includes all the paint, tuition, varnish, and boxing for transport.

I have also brought with me one of my outdoor cushions
for colour inspiration but I am pretty much going for 
green, green and more green...

And so I get started.
It's pretty simple really. 
You paint the colour on with either a sponge 
or a paint brush, one leaf at a time following the veins.
The hardest part is working out what colours you want to use,
or in my case trying to mix the right green to match the cushion.
Luckily Catherine is always on hand when help is needed.

The painting is pretty easy and relaxing and the
conversations are free flowing around the room.
Teck is offering more coffee or tea.
Everyone admires each others work.
This is my sort of painting morning.

I get as far as I can 
and decide to come back the following day to finish off.

This is what the painting looked like at the end of day one:

The next day I add some bronze highlights to my veins 
which are lightly brushed on with the corner of a sponge 
and I add a touch of definition around the edges of my leaf edges.

It is starting to rain outside, when Bangkok rains it pours.
If you want to see what happened after this class see here!
but all attention is on our artwork.
The second day there are a new and equally lovely 
group of ladies and one gent.

Here is my finished version with one coating of varnish
and Voila it's done!

I leave the second coat of varnish to Catherine 
who will let it dry and package it for the airport 
and deliver it to my hotel on Friday
I can't wait to see 
what it looks like up on my wall!

Linking with: 
Mosaic Monday
Thank you Judith
Paint Party Friday 
with thanks to Eva and Kristen

Here are the details of Himapan Gallery
I have no connections with the owners 
or received no compensation for this post:

Facebook : www.facebook/HimapanGallery
35/14 ซอยสุขุมวิท31 (ซ.สวัสดี) ถนนสุขุมวิท แขวงคลองเตยเหนือ เขตวัฒนา กรุงเทพฯ 10110
35/14 Sukhumvit 31 - Silom Village - Wattana -  BANGKOK 10110 - THAILAND.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A rainy day in Bangkok!

DH: "So how was your day?"
Me: "Eventful"
DH: "Why, what happened?"
Me to Mr I've been in a meeting all day: "I nearly drowned"
DH:"Don't exaggerate..."

So it appears that not only did the Bangkok rain today
go largely unnoticed by those in meetings...
but it was totally unexpected!

Within minutes the roads turned into rivers...

Apparently the rainy season doesn't start until May!

The flash floods came out of nowhere
ruining shoes and lunch plans...

Dare I mention Global Warming?

It didn't take long for cars and lorries to grind to a halt.
 I did admire both the Thai inability to let a little bit of rain
stop their travel plans 
and secondly the way they willingly helped each other out 
thigh deep in grotty water!

After an extended lunch break
it seemed I either made a dash for it
ie run no-where very fast
or bunker down to stay for breakfast...

I decided to go for a swim...
We got half way to the Mass Rapid Transit Network MRT Underground
when two lovely ladies in this green tuk tuk stopped to pick us up.
After a quick mop down in the dry, we ask 'how much?'
"No charge" 
Apparently this was a private Tuk Tuk.
How lovely.
Very nice and thank you!

Looking out it was more like being on a boat!

I am fairly used to monsoon weather in Hong Kong and Singapore
but this was something else.

Linking with With thanks to our wonderful hosts at the following:

Budget Travelers Sandbox

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

My Bangkok cushions made in China!

Outside my front door is a rather ugly bench 
covering the electricity meter.
It had a cushion on it made in Shenzhen, China.
However, even on a Melbourne porch, away from direct sunlight,
things don't last long in Australia, especially when the fabric was 
Made in China!

So it was time to pimp my cushion
This is the Tale of Two Cities; 
of my Jim Thompson Thai cushions 
made in China! 

Oops sorry, should have turned the cushions round so the zipper is hidden!
I am writing this from Bangkok where on my last visit 
I found the fabric at 
the Jim Thompson factory outlet.

Jim Thompson was an American businessman 
who made Thai silk famous to the west. 
His mysterious disappearance in 1967
remains unsolved...

Jim Thompson Factory Outlet is a Soi 93, Bangkok
The JT outlet store is floor upon floor, 
and roll upon roll, of stunningly gorgeous Thai silks.
Choosing which colour was the hard part.
I start by picking out a couple of really cheap cushions,
matching the fabric as best I can, to what I think will go with my 
Bushland Colorbond paint at home!

Silks at Jim Thompson's home Soi Kasem San 2, Bangkok
I had the original large cushion cover with me as
it was my intention to get the replacement cushion cover made
 whilst in Bangkok.
We are, after all, surrounded by on every street corner by
"Do you want a suit?" tailors!

However they took one look at the piping round the edges on my
tatty, frayed cover and all to a man replied "cannot"
Suits can, cushion covers 'bog off!'

Altered with Picmonkey for Mandarin Orange Monday!
No I don't want a suit, I want to tart up my front porch!
This was starting to look like a bad idea...
I take a 'what, no way how much?!' tuk tuk ride, 
to Jim Thompson's former home
and immediately cheer up seeing the cost of things in the shop.
I might have been ripped off with the ride, but
my fabric and cushions are a complete bargain...

Blue Tuk Tuk for Blue Monday
Back in Australia I need to call upon friends with benefits!
The benefits I need, are to be living in Hong Kong, with a valid China visa
and a shopping plan which includes frequent shopping days across the border!
Luckily I know just the person, 
indeed Izzy had the first cushion made for me...
That was six years ago so luckily she forgotten the hassle of it then,
She is a really good friend!

Shenzhen, is across the border in China from Hong Kong
and the Lo Wu shopping plaza is where we used to go shopping,
you can find most things there
one way or another, but that's probably another post!

Jim Thompson's home Soi Kasem San 2, Bangkok
Only things in China are unpredictable and the cushion
becomes a complete epic adventure, 
the border car park was closed,
the ATM machines had no money in them...
and without cash in Shenny you might as well forget it...

Luckily she is Woman used to doing important cushion business in China.
Perseverance is her middle name!

My instructions were 
take it to your favourite tailor, haggle a bit, haggle a bit more
say my friend won't be very happy 
"Tai Gui Le" too expensive...
but don't spend long at all on the bargaining
"I don't want it to be a hassle you know"
and then go and enjoy a good day out!

I can't remember the final cost but they threw in the cushions for free
and I'm very happy with the results.
They are indeed my favourite cushions
Even if this involved a flight to Bangkok, a flight to Hong Kong, 
a day trip to China and another flight back to Melbourne...

These cushions are almost better travelled than I am!

Linking with the following

With thanks to all the wonderful hosts.
Thank you in advance for your comments 
which I love to read.
 I will always try to return the visit!
If you are not on Google+ you can always contact me
via my e-mail link on the sidebar 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

My Sunday Photo

I saw this on a car in Melbourne this week and loved the reflections in the bonnet...
and seeing the first of the autumn leaves trapped in the grill
around the word 

....writing this from Bangkok!

Linking with thanks to the following:

Friday, 20 March 2015

Neighbours, Everybody needs good neighbours....

This week we're celebrating thirty years 
of our local Melbourne TV show,

But how true to Aussie life is Neighbours?!

"Neighbours is set in Ramsay Street, a residential cul-de-sac in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough. Exploring the trials and tribulations of families and friends, Neighbours brings the perfect blend of soap and sunshine to audiences in Australia and beyond". For more See Here

"Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend Neighbours, should be there for one another That's when good neighbours become good friends..."

If you're from one of the 50 countries that broadcasts the show
 then chances are you'll be familiar with the 
Neighbours theme tune music (shown here in blue)
and can sing-a-long!

'Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours Just a friendly wave each morning, helps to make a better day Neighbours, need to get to know each other Next door is only a footstep away..."

Today I thought I'd take you along with the Crazy Poodle, on a little local walkabout.
Now the first striking difference between my neighbours and 
those in Erinsborough is we don't live in a cul-de-sac
and we like Good Fences.

Indeed, rather big fences round our properties!

"Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend Neighbours, should be there for one another That's when good neighbours become good friends..."

Secondly, if I was the script writer for Neighbours
They'd be way more animals on set.
Every second house around here 
has a dog's nose peering at you from somewhere!

The real Erinsborough, Vermont South
Is about 20 mins drive from us
Although our claim to fame is that the Kylie's parents (of Charlene fame)
live about three streets away in the posh houses up the hill.

Our neighbourhood is a real mixture of housing,
 old and new, the posh and waiting to be rebuilt...

Although we live next door to each other,
unlike the real Neighbours,
we don't especially know the 'ins and outs' of each others lives,
births, deaths and marriages aside...

Indeed in our street
We have to make a real effort to see each other.
We have the street Christmas party 
to see people we haven't seen all year,
and generally every few months, us ladies do lunch to 'catch up.'

However, having said that, 
we're a pretty effective Neighbourhood Watch team.
Word travels superfast if there's any funny business about town!
Plus the dogs tell us.

Thirdly we don't need a script writer
Truth can be weirder than fiction...

It's not to say that we're not without drama in our street,
but most is played out behind closed doors,
 without a TV crew.

However there was the night, many moons ago
 I'm in my Qantas PJ's, in the front garden 
investigating a small fracas in the street.
Woken by shouting and six police cars, sirens off but lights flashing
causing a riotous disco at 2am.

We didn't know our local Constabulary owned six police cars!

I shall spare the blushes of my fellow neighbours, now long gone... 

"Everything all right Officer?" I say to the Policeman
wishing I'd put my dressing gown on! 
"Everything's fine,
Just go back inside"
He replies as he handcuffs my neighbour to my fence
I wanted to say 'wrong fence,' but think better of it and 
shuffle off back up the drive in my slippers...

When I hear a loud "Psssst, what's going on?
another neighbour asks, 
crouching low amongst her shrubbery?"

'Goodness Gracious me! 
You scared the living daylights out of me. 
What on earth are you doing in the flower beds?'

'I only came out to water the roses...She replies in a low whisper
and now look what's happened!!!'

'You're Ok, 
I don't think you're going to get done 
for breaching the water restrictions tonight..."
I whisper back

'Sleep tight!'
"You too, just as soon as the disco's gone!' 

I think that was the moment we became good friends.

Neighbours, should be there for one another
That's when good neighbours become good friends That's when good neighbours become good friends"

NEIGHBOURS From the Australian TV show "Neighbours" (Tony Hatch / Jackie Trent)


Linking with the following:
Good Fences
Saturday's Critters

With thanks to all the wonderful hosts.

Thank you in advance for your comments 
which I love to read.
 I will always try to return the visit!
If you are not on Google+ you can always contact me
via my e-mail link on the sidebar 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Just another hard day at the office....

Just sharing a few of my favourites...

Shhhh, let's get wordless...

Linking with the following
Wordless Wednesday
Thursday Favorite Things
Fabulous Friday

Thank you Maria for inviting me to link with Fabulous Friday
I did not make the Office it is my favourite place on the Mornington Penninsula, Vic
but it would be very easy to recreate your own "office" somewhere special to you.
I hope this inspires you.

With thanks to all the wonderful hosts.
Thank you in advance for your comments 
which I love to read.
 I will always try to return the visit!
If you are not on Google+ you can always contact me
via my e-mail link on the sidebar 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Roadtrip Melbourne to Sydney...

'She drives me crazy...'

It's a flippin' long way to Sydney! 

871 km's to be precise.

It feels even longer when your eighteen year old son
is behind the wheel, learning to drive!

In Victoria, Australia all learner drivers under 21 years old must complete
120 hours accompanied driving before they can take their driving test.
Each State is different on all sorts of things, 
 driving rules and regulations are no different.

So whilst we in Melbourne
can whizz along at the frightening 120 kms per hour speed limit, 
the moment Fangio crosses the border into New South Wales 
he must reduce his speed to 90kms per hour.

(For more on Learning to Drive in Victoria, Australia
click here)

Thus making a long way, 
even longer, 
and perhaps, 
making it faster to go by snail?

Don't get me wrong,
I am fully supportive of the Learner driver program in Australia.
It appears to be one of the most rigorous in the world.
I'm all for road safety.

I was just questioning my judgement in saying 
'let's do a roadtrip to Sydney.'
I didn't really think that ten hours + could be that long...

It was an even more questionable decision, as when we left (in January)
there were 340 bushfires burning across the State
and we only had three days to get there and back.

This wildly impromptu decision came about
as Daughter Number two was trying to decide whether to accept an offer 
to do a Masters of International Business
at the University of Sydney.

And it wasn't that far out of Melbourne when the radio signal disappeared 
accompanied by some serious crackling,
and then nothing.

Except we did find Mr Wren's  CD collection in the glove box.
We had time to relive the 1980's and the 90's...
and we're soon singing along to the perfectly named
Fine Young Cannibals "S he drives me crazy."

Just us three,
and an ever increasing smattering of bugs on the windscreen.
Not any hope of a nice homeless man leaping out at an intersection 
with a bottle of diluted Fairy liquid and a window squeegee
(such is the life of city lux I lead.)

Just us, some amazing skywatch
and several hundred kilometres of bitumen ahead to Sydney.

We were very pleased when we eventually saw those signs for Sydney!

We are driving back when a voice pipes up from the back seat
'I'll think I'll accept the University of Melbourne offer'

Before and after a little PicMonkey for Mandarin Orange Monday
'Thank goodness for that' I reply
'The thought of doing this trip each semester, would 
'drive me crazy...'

Linking with the following

With thanks to all the wonderful hosts.
Thank you in advance for your comments 
which I love to read.
 I will always try to return the visit!
If you are not on Google+ you can always contact me
via my e-mail link on the sidebar