Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas is coming

It is a busy time in the lead up to Christmas and I feel especially pushed this year having just returned from my life in the freezer in Mongolia.
I want to thank all of you, my blog readers for sticking with me as I have travelled here and there. It has been a busy, full year and I am looking forward to that special family time that the Summer holiday brings.
I hope the gifts you receive are what is needed whether it is health or wealth or creativity or just time to sit and marvel. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!I'll be back in 2016 with more travel adventures, textiles from around the world and quilting news, see you then xxx

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Life in the freezer- day 41

It is quite common to see the national costume, the Deel being worn on the streets of Ulaanbaatar by both men and women. It is made in many different fabric weights, silk or wool, with or without a warm lining. A leather belt or coloured scarf is tied around the waistline. The long sleeves with the shaped ends are great for the cold weather but also used to make secret bargaining deals.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Life in the freezer- day 40

The Mongolian Kazakh's are from the western part of Mongolia and this embroidery is part of their tradition, used now on many tourist items. Originally used in the gers as the wall coverings known as Tuuskeys, many old pieces are being cut-up and stitched into bags. We have 2 vintage pieces at home that we hang on our lounge room wall. Not sure if you can read the description above- fine on an i-pad screen I think. 
This is the tambour frame used for the chain stitch and the various steps in the design process are shown.
All these pieces were found at Mary and Martha Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar.
Newer ones are stitched on ultra suede or a similar material.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Life in the freezer- day 39

Cherry Bakery is a good drop-in spot for fresh pastry, cake, biscuits, savoury breads and pizza and is often packed. It is warm and cosy inside with the tables side by side.
The morning I stopped for coffee, a group of students were eating cheesy bread. I thought I had an apple pastry but it turned out to be cheesecake style- should have put my glasses on!


Monday, December 14, 2015

Farewell Istanbul

Magical views from the water of both the Asian and European sides of Istanbul with the Otakoy Baroque Mosque in the background.
This was the view at the dock.
Farewell Istanbul, we hope to be back one day.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Istanbul afternoon tea

We found a super spot to have a bite to eat after morning sightseeing in the older part of Istanbul- Hafiz Mustafa, established in 1864. It was packed but we got one of the small tables and perused the extensive menu.
I chose pomegranate juice and walnut stuffed figs.
What had caught our eye from the outside was the dessert filled window. The entry doorway was small and hard to find and we were greeted with these counters full of edible goodies.

We finished with Turkish coffee and had a bit of fun reading our cup. A bit of Locum- Turkish delight made it's way back to Ulaanbaatar!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

40th wedding anniversary

Happy Anniversary to us! We can't believe it is 40 years since our wedding day, but 3 children, 4 grandchildren, multiple relocations and countless adventures together have made the years fly by in a very interesting way! We have often spent our anniversary apart, separated by great distances, so it is lovely to be spending the day together in Ulaanbaatar, a special place in our hearts.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Turkey- food

There is such a big variety of food in Turkey and from what we tried, we can say it is all delicious! It is easy to drink Turkish tea, served without milk, in such lovely glasses.
Various nut varieties are strung before dipping multiple times in fruit syrups, then cut into small pieces. Locum or Turkish Delight is one of my favourites plus halva.
Sweets on the breakfast buffet are not good for my waistline!
I have no will power to resist.
Seafood and fish are bountiful. This is some of the fresh selection at Sur Balik restaurant on the waterfront.
This ugly, thorny fish is turbot.
All goes well with Raki, mixed with water, making it cloudy.
And for a popular favourite on the edge of the Bosphorus eat fish bread with the locals. Men on small rocking boats cook the small fish, slap it in a fresh bread roll with shredded lettuce and sliced raw onion and pass it over to the shore, to be eaten while sitting on low stools.
The cooking/preparation boat.
Selling drinks in the small vendor area we chose to eat at. There were quite a few stalls, one after the other with the same food and prices and all packed out.
Easy to tell who was selling the drinks as they all had these embroidered polar fleece jackets. A great experience after a Bosphorus cruise!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Istanbul- Topkapi Palace complex

There are so many parts to Topkapi Palace complex once you enter via the grand gate, above. Marble, jewels, religious relics, the armoury, the kitchens, gardens, courtyards, the Sultan's bedroom, views of the Bosphorus  plus special displays make this an attraction you could spend all day visiting.
Photos were not allowed in special areas and on a wet afternoon I just enjoyed being in the palace grounds and wandering into displays of past splendour.
The Divan, the Imperial Council Hall where viziers of the Sultan gathered for meetings. These are also seen in Indian palaces as the Islamic influence spread to the sub-continent. Much of the architectural details I saw here reminded of many things I had seen on our Indian trips.
The kitchen chimneys.
Dressing up in costume for a photo- next time! My tour was over and the Istanbul traffic was very bad, as usual, as the mini-bus delivered me back to the hotel.



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Beautiful tile designs

The Sultan's Tomb was a showcase of Iznik tiles with this panel on the outside near the entry door.

Mother of pearl inlay on the doors.
Inside a visual feast of pattern with repeated colours if blue, red and white.
The tiled panels covered the inside walls with lots of natural light flooding in from large windows or doors. A small space compared to what we had just seen, but beautiful and a fitting resting place for a royal family.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Magical carpets

No day tour in Turkey is complete without the visit to the carpet shop. This silk carpet is tied with a double knot and the carpet maker, although an apprentice is very quick, slowing down a little for this demonstration. The intricate design is printed in colour and sits at eye height.
Colourful silks hang from the back of the frame.
She sits a low stool and after each 30 minutes of tying has a break. The pile is trimmed with special scissors.
Colours, designs and cotton, wool and silk combinations make it a visual feast as one after another they are rolled open before us in the showroom.
An old carpet stitched to a linen support and displayed on the wall.
I resisted the urge to bring another one home!