Favorites from China

Here are some of my favorite pictures from my trip to China:

Amanda, MaryKay and Abby at The Peak

My sister and nieces at the top of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong.

pink high rise buildings in Hong Kong

I love these pink high rise buildings in Hong Kong.

laundry hanging out to dry Laundry hanging out to dry – everywhere!

my sister at the fruit marketMy sister at the fruit market. This girl knew my sister and was always so helpful and friendly.

typical bike load!We saw this a lot – typical load on a bicycle!

laundry hanging from electrical wiringThere’s something about laundry  hanging from electrical wiring that I can’t get enough of!

look - patchwork!Look – a patchwork door!

pretty detailed gateI love the colors and details of this entry way.

bike row!Lots and lots and lots of bikes, mostly rough looking.

more laundry hanging from wires!More laundry hanging from wiring!

pearls pearls pearlsPearl, pearls, pearls!!!

patchwork buildingLook – a patchwork building!

seems typicalCab, anyone?

we saw lots and lots of scootersWe saw a lot of scooters too.

sewing business on the streetsThis lady set up her sewing business right on the street.

another sewing entrepreneurHere’s another sewing entrepreneur.

pearl and beading entrepreneursMore entrepreneurs at the pearl market. They were making pearl jewelry while my sister watched.

So many memorable moments from this vacation! Now I’m off to finish my homework for design class. One of these days, I am hoping to find some time to sew again.

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!

Recap of My Trip to China – Part 1

When I look back at my album of photos from my vacation to south China, it’s amazing how much I saw! I took about 500 photos!  I am excited to show them to you, but I don’t want this post to be overwhelming, so I will just share the highlights.

We met my sister and her family in Hong Kong where we spent several days, exploring, shopping, eating and being tourists.  We rode a tramway to the top of Victoria Peak, where you can see amazing views of Hong Kong skyline, Victoria Harbor, and the ocean.  

Me at the top of The Peak in Hong Kong

(that’s me at the top of  The Peak)
Views of Hong Kong from The Peak(views of Hong Kong from The Peak)

We also rode the famous escalators in Central Hong Kong. They are the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, and were completed in1993. 

The Escalators in Central, Hong Kong

(the escalators)

view from The Escalators(view of a side street from The Escalators)

We went on a ferry tour of Victoria Harbor.

Me on the ferry tour of Victoria Harbor

(that’s me again on the ferry boat tour)

views of Hong Kong from the ferry boat(views of the skyline from the ferry boat)

We did a lot of shopping, and then enjoyed afternoon tea at The Peninsula Hotel.

afternoon tea at The Peninsula-Hong Kong

We visited Stanley Market, a touristy area on the other side of the island from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong’s dense skyline.

Hong Kong skyline from the water

A couple observations about Hong Kong: you can still see the British influence because traffic drives on the left side of the road and the drivers’ seat is on the right side of the cars. There were double-decker busses all over the city. People were always friendly. Many of the signs were in Chinese and English – yay for us!  The city seemed very modern, hip, urban and cosmopolitan, which I absolutely love!  It reminded me of New York City on steroids! The skyline was gorgeous, especially at night with all the buildings lit up like Las Vegas. The rolling mountains, lush vegetation and tropical ocean made the city feel even more unique. I loved all the diversity and culture and 24-hour access to anything you want. One day we had Chinese cuisine, the next day we had pizza and beer. I could have spent so much more time exploring Hong Kong. Maybe on the next trip.

At the end of the weekend, we took the two-hour train ride from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, where my sister and her family live, and where we spent the rest of our trip.  Stay tuned for more recap and more photos…

A Trip to Hong Kong!

Some of you may know that my sister and her family are expats living in Guangzhou, China for three years for a job assignment.


(my sister and family in Xian)

girls-in-chinese-ny-outfits(My nieces Amanda and Abby in their Chinese New Year outfits)

I’m going to visit them!!!

I will be gone from March 12 until the end of the month. My mom and I are meeting my sister and her family in Hong Kong, where we’ll spend a few days sightseeing, and then we’ll take the train to Guanzhou (formerly known as Canton) where they live. I probably won’t be able to do any new posts on this blog until I get back because all the blog servers are blocked in China. You would think sewing blogs were harmless, but who knows.

airplane reading

(my reading for the 15-hour plane ride!)

I hope you all keep busy sewing and creating for the rest of March. Don’t forget to start watching for your bulbs to come up and hopefully enjoy some longer, warmer days!

Off to China We Go

It’s official after several months of waiting for the news… my sister and her family are moving to China… for three years! Yes, I know, OMG! It’s a great opportunity for them, and I know it will be a great adventure, but I miss her already.

My first instinct was to grab the atlas and the globe. China is such a huge country, and so far away. I know nothing about Asia and have so much to learn. They will be living in Guangzhou, which is about 75 miles northwest of Hong Kong (near the bottom right corner of this map). That is about twelve hours from my time zone.

Map of China

(map from Lonely Planet)

My second instinct was to find out how much airfare will cost for me to visit. About $1,500 – not too bad.

And then sadness settled in to my heart. We’re not twins or anything. In fact, she is a few, well, maybe, several years older than me. But we have always been close. I have looked up to her my whole life. We never fought when we were kids, even shared a room until she was eighteen, and we’ve always remained the closest friends.

On the bright side, this will be a great opportunity for me to do some international travel, something I have always wanted to do. I imagined traveling to Paris or Rome, but this will do for now. Then, in just three years, they will move back to Cincinnati, just a half day’s drive for me. I shouldn’t wish away the next three years though because we are facing a wonderful adventure. I’m sure we will be able to find some cool yarn and fabric stores in her new neighborhood!