Birthday Vacation

We are headed for the city – New York City!

Remember last year, when we went to New York City to visit family? We were celebrating my birthday. Yes, it was a big one. What a great place to celebrate a milestone! This year, it’s just another day, but we’re still going to celebrate. (On the birthday card envelope I got yesterday from my closest friend Tami, she wrote happy 4? birthday. Classic, don’t you think?!)

(envelope & card from Tami)

We usually make the same rounds: Purl, the public library, the Met, the Rose Center, Times Square, and plenty of Irish pubs in between! I do have a shopping list for M&J Trimming and Mood Fabrics so I am going to drag my husband there again. He’s such a good sport to go to those girly shops!

inside of M&J Trimming

This time around, I think we are going to skip a couple of those places, and try a few new things. We are planning to go hiking at Harriman State Park and sightseeing through Central Park, which we haven’t done in a couple years. I have always wanted to check out Tavern on the Green, so I hope we can get in, maybe just for afternoon tea or a cocktail. We will be trying out Cesca for the birthday dinner.

(funny office magnet from Tami!)

We are hoping to try out the Morgan library and the Frick Collection, which is showing stunning drawings right now.  I love stopping in to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is such a gorgeous old church. I love the gothic architecture, the stained glass windows, the candles burning everywhere. My sister-in-law works in the Rockefeller Center complex, so we will have to look for The Tree too.

What grand plans we have! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. See you back here around Thanksgiving.

Recap of My Trip to China – Part 2

This is part 2 of my recap of my trip to China…

My sister lives in Guangzhou a city of 10 million people, a two-hour train ride from Hong Kong, bustling with high rise apartments, shopping plazas, chaotic traffic congestion, trees and flowers planted on roadsides, streets full of garage shops and food stalls, located on the Pearl River which is a major southern port for commerce, making the city a major foreign trading community for world markets and export fairs. It’s home to the famous Canton Fair, a twice-a-year expo where foreign corporations go to export merchandise.

my sister's lush neighborhood(the lush neighborhood at my sister’s complex)

the lake at Castle Hill(the lake at my sister’s complex)

housing at my sister's complex(the housing in my sister’s complex)

The Smiths at Castle Hill(my sister and her family – aren’t they fabulous?!)

my sister shopping at the fruit market(my sister shopping at the fruit market)

On our first full day in Guangzhou, we toured these beautiful botanical gardens, which are right in the middle of a busy business and residential district. Palm trees, hibiscus flowers, azalea bushes, waterfalls, and more. It was surprisingly lush and peaceful.

lush botanical gardens

(reflection pond)

beautiful scene!

(beautiful scene!)

Mom's stoney path(check out this cool path – the stones looked hand laid)

azalea bush(we saw these azalea bushes everywhere)

double hibiscus flower(double hibiscus flower)

The next day, my sister took us to an Indian cooking class at a new Indian restaurant recently opened by friends of hers. That was neat because we got to try the dishes as we were making them and we also learned a little about Indian customs.

The next day we went to Guangzhou Baiyun Leather Market – a wholesale market full of (replica) bags.  I bought two LeSportsac bags, which I will show in another post.

The Guangzhou Baiyun Leather Market

(the leather/purse market)

MK and Terri at Starbucks(notice the Chinese characters for Starbucks above the doorway)

The end of that first week was my sister’s turn to host her International Craft Group, which was fun to meet her friends from all over the world who are expats living in Guangzhou. There was knitting, crochet, sashiko, hand quilting, and a lot of chatting. In the afternoon, we went to the wholesale Highsun Fabric Market, which I loved, of course.

For our second weekend in China, we took a road trip to Foshan – old pottery town where ceramics, pottery and tile are produced.

my mom and I at the Foshan pottery market(my mom and I at the pottery market in Foshan)

We took a walking tour of Guangzhou with my sister’s International group, where we saw busy streets, alleyways, garage shops, laundry hanging everywhere, and tried traditional dim sum, which is like a Chinese version of appetizers.

side streets of Guangzhou(typical side street)

another side street(here’s another example)

typical bike load(typical load on a bike)

typical laundry scene(typical scene of laundry hanging out to dry)

octopus tentacles on a stick!(octopus tentacles on a stick, anyone?!)

busy streets

(busy shoppers)

restaurant for dim sum(restaurant where we had dim sum)

My sister taught me how to play mahjong. We only had time for one game, so I still have a lot more to learn.

mahjong players

Another day we toured the Pearl Market, the Jade Market, the Antique Market, a pedestrian mall, and Shamian Island, a pristine and peaceful neighborhood where many of the embassies used to be located and where many families adopting babies stay during their transition period.

inside the wholesale pearl market(inside the wholesale pearl market)

vendor at pearl market(just one vendor at the pearl market)

another pearl vendor(and another pearl vendor)

jade market pillar(pillar at the Jade Market)

One day we went on a cultural tour of Guangzhou, which included Yuexiu Park, the Guangzhou Art Museum, lunch at the China Hotel, and a tour of a mausoleum.

Five Rams Statue

(Guangzhou’s famous Five Rams statue)

my mom in the city park(my mom in the park)

GZ Art Center

(GZ Art Center, which had a beautiful display of Cantonese embroidery)

the flower of Guangzhou(the flower of Guangzhou – we saw these trees all over the city)

busy pedestrian street(busy pedestrian mall)

Chinese lanterns framing pedestrian mall(Chinese lanterns framing the pedestrian mall)

For our final day in Guangzhou, we toured Qing Ping Market, which is an outdoor market selling bizarre foods (from dried sea horses to star fish, dried frogs to flies, a lot more I didn’t want to know about). We also went back to the Pearl Market, and shopped at IKEA for kitchen goodies for my sister.

My mom and I took the train to Hong Kong to catch our flight home. Speaking of the flight, OMG!  Fourteen hours on a plane!  We watched four movies, ate three meals, took at least two naps, read a book, played cards, did crossword puzzles, and walked up and down the aisles.

It was worth the pain to see another part of the world and to reunite with my sister and her family!  Stay tuned… I have one more post of my favorites from the trip!

Never Enough Time

We are off to New York City tomorrow for a vacation, family visit and a celebration.  You know how it is before you’re going out of town.  You’re working nine to ten hours a day at your day job, and you still have to go to the post office to mail your giveaway prizes, make sure the cat sitter has your schedule and enough food for the kitties, make sure all the Thanksgiving dinner ingredients are ready for your return the night before turkey day when you’re hosting a dinner party, clean the house as much as possible so it’s not a total mess when you return, run to the Apple store to find out why your iPod is flaking out (thanks techy guy for fixing me up!), go to the camera store to pick up a new battery for your old camera, go to the pharmacy to pick up your prescriptions, pick up that cute scarf to wear in the city, go to the bank, stop at a couple stores for hostess gifts to give your in-laws.

Whew, now I need a day off.  Err, maybe an hour to whip up a quick project would be nice.

I have one blank sheet left in my 2008 notebook so I need to start a new one.  I have been trying to brainstorm and record more ideas this year so I carry a notebook everywhere.  I could hardly go on vacation to New York City with just a plain notebook.  It needed some kind of pretty, homemade cover, don’t you think?

Set of Notebook Covers

I earned a free half yard of Kaffe Fassett’s GP27 Paisely fabric after making a big purchase for an exchange this summer.  I love this fabric, but I haven’t found the right project to use it on, until now.  In my “spare” time, I managed to squeeze in making a simple notebook cover with a solid pink fabric on the inside and pink rick rack around the edges.

Inside of Notebook Cover

I don’t have time to add any embellishments before we leave, but that’s okay.  The fabric and the rick rack look so pretty together.

Notebook Cover in Kaffe's Paisley Fabric

Oh my, I almost forgot that I still have to pack tonight!  Gotta have some cool clothes, hip-looking boots and a stylish purse for our adventures.  I’m so excited for our first stop – Purl in Soho.  I’m also excited about one of the places we’re going to celebrate.

I plan to take lots of pictures, and will try to do a post while we’re gone, as long as all my old technology works properly.

Have a great weekend!