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One thing I really wanted to do in Thailand was take an online cooking class. I had found Sammy’s Organic Thai Cooking School via a blog review before we arrived in Thailand and after looking at some brochures, and reading more reviews I decided that this was the one I would book into. The school takes place on Sammy’s farm which is a short drive out of Chiang Mai. Sammy picks up the students from their hotels and stops at a traditional market on the way to his farm.

We arrived to find the large under-cover cooking area set up ready for us to start cooking.

cooking 2

We had a brief lesson about local ingredients.


Everyone got their own station. There were two students from Belgium and one from South Africa in addition to Gorgeous Girl and I from Australia/South Africa/Papua New Guinea (answering the question “Where are you from?” is kind of hard for us).

Gorgeous Girl had her own station. First we made a curry paste from scratch. I opted for a red curry while Gorgeous Girl made a yellow curry paste.


The two dishes.

cooking 6

I made my red curry a little too spicy for my taste, but Gorgeous Girl’s yellow curry was fabulous. She did it all by herself too.

Next we made dishes using the wok. Gorgeous Girl opted for her favourite dish, cashew chicken.


While I made the best pad thai I’ve ever eaten (good recipe, not my exceptional skills).


All up we made 5 dishes each including one dessert. We got a recipe book to take home. I’ve tried one of the recipes so far – it wasn’t a huge success because I didn’t have all of the ingredients. But I will be working on incorporating more of our day out into the regular home menu.


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Belated holiday review

Did I mention that in addition to working full-time I began my PhD this year? Life is kind of hectic at the moment, but I am going to make a concerted effort to blog more regularly. I missed it last year.

I’m getting projects done slowly. A few minutes here and there. I try to spend at least half an hour doing something crafty before going to bed at night. Today I dyed some fibre for spinning (pictures of that when it’s dry).

Anyway, let me tell you about our holiday. At the end of last year we travelled to Thailand. We started in Bangkok. We booked all our Thai accommodation through Airbnb which was much, much cheaper than booking a hotel room. The added advantage was that we got to live like locals and Gorgeous Girl got her own room rather than sharing with us.

The downside was finding the first house. We arrived in Bangkok late at night and took two trains to get to the station nearest the house (we had to change lines – we didn’t get lost). Then we decided to follow our host’s instructions and walk. Unfortunately, through no fault of the instructions, we missed the turn off. When it became apparent that we had overshot our destination we flagged down a taxi and got dropped at the point where we could pick up the key. Then we walked (with our suitcases) to the house. Unfortunately, we overshot the lane we were meant to turn down.

This image may show you why.


It was a very small narrow road, now imagine that in the dark… I was so proud of how Gorgeous Girl travelled. She pulled her suitcase along, and carried her back pack without complaint. She rolled with the punches when we had to back track and didn’t really start to complain or get anxious until the second time that we missed our turn and had to ask for directions.

We stayed in a typical Thai apartment for the area.


The front door. Downstairs was kitchen and living area.


Second floor was the bedroom that Gorgeous Man and I stayed in and the bathroom and Gorgeous Girl had a bedroom at the very top. I suspect that one would develop excellent leg muscles if one lived in Thailand for any length of time. The steps in the house were very steep!

This was a good base, we could order breakfast from the house directly opposite. It was walking distance to the MRT station, there was a small 7-11 nearby as well as some restaurants and a park where Gorgeous Man did some bird watching while Gorgeous Girl and I checked out the playground equipment.

One of the highlights of Bangkok was being able to spend some time with one of her former classmates from Papua New Guinea who had relocated to Thailand a few years ago. It was so nice to see the two of them pick back up where they left off and Gorgeous Girl was able to attend A’s birthday party and meet all of his new friends which was really lovely.

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Last year as we were travelling on the New South Wales north coast we took a detour off the highway though a little town and we discovered a treasure trove. A second-hand book store and a craft cooperative shop selling spinning fibre, finished knitting and other beautifully made objects. We now make it a point of stopping in Ulmarra and visiting the bookstore and Fibre Delights whenever we are passing by. On our January visit I picked up two complimentary braids of merino fibre (very reasonably priced). With the idea of plying them together. This was so soft and spun like butter, and I seem to have neglected a picture of the braids in my eagerness to start spinning…

I spun for a traditional three-ply and split each braid into three and spun one bobbin light to dark and two bobbins dark to light. I then wound them off into a cake ready for plying.

ready to ply

Several plying sessions later I had 472 metres from 179 grams.


I wasn’t convinced.


But then I wound it into a cake.

fibre delights caked 2

I upcycled an envelope to use as a tag with the yarn details on it…

fibre delights caked1

And found myself very happy with the yarn. I think it’s going to make a great pair of socks.

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Another pincushion

While Gorgeous Girl was busy stuffing the pincushion she claimed for herself I returned to the machine to work on a pincushion that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. This year I’m trying to spend some time sewing up some of the smaller items that I’ve pinned rather than just storing them in Pinterest. The pattern is from Crazy Mom Quilts.

It’s a bit wonky, but I like it.

pincushion 1

It’s teeny tiny.

pincushion 2

I’ve forgotten how nice the instant gratification of quick sewing projects is.

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So, I didn’t mean to disappear for an age. I got overwhelmed by the end of the school year and all the marking that went along with that. Since my last post there have been quite a few finishes on the craft front as well as a trip or two.

We spent Christmas in Thailand this year which was wonderful and I’ll do some posts about that as soon as I’m reunited with the computer that likes to talk to my camera…

Right now I’m in the USA. I was privileged to be given research funding to visit some archives and so am half-way through my visit.

I did get the baby blanket finished and gifted. I’m happy with how it turned out and the baby’s mother seemed to like it very much.


More makes to follow over the next few days and travel photos when I return to Papua New Guinea in a week or so.

I wonder if anyone is still reading after all this time.

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I have finally spun up the last of they fibre I dyed myself when I first started spinning in 2008. I split the braid in half and then split one half in half again to get a blend of mixed and plain colours.

Here it is before its bath.

stuff I dyed 1

It bloomed nicely.

my dye1

All caked and ready to knit. my dye

It’s going to marinate in the stash for a while though. Hopefully not as long (8 years) as the fibre did…

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A present

Gorgeous Girl has been invited to a birthday party. We decided to make a handmade gift. I made a little pink cat. Gorgeous Girl chose the yarn because her friend likes pink.

crochet cat

It’s ears are even, my photo is wonky.

I hope Gorgeous Girl’s friend likes it.


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