Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A Taste of Thailand

I had so much fun "travelling" to Finland last week that I've decided to do more of that kind of travelling. It's certainly easier on the bank account. It's been cool here the past couple of days, which has put me in the mood for Thai Green Chicken Curry (one of my comfort foods). And that made me curious about quilters in Thailand. See, everything comes back to quilting. So last night, when the munchkins went to bed and Chuck was otherwise occupied with some hockey thing called Game 6 on TV ;), I made myself a big cup of tea and went a-travelling to Thailand. 

Have I mentioned how much I love that the Quilting Gallery has a list of quilting blogs available by country? So fun!  

Quilting Bloggers Logo

So what did I find? Well, first I found Bangkok Mom who professes to be lazy and showed her sewing room to prove it. I don't buy it though, because then I found her Cathedral window project, and her beautiful baby quilt. In my book, anyone who takes on a Cathedral window quilt, can quilt in 40 degree Celsius (~100 degree F) + weather, and writes her blog in English even though she is not a native English speaker cannot possibly be lazy.

Then I found Bangkok Suburban quilter. It doesn't look like the blog is still active, but I loved her private mini quilt swap.

If you are going to Thailand, you've got to check out Jill's Quilt Site. She's your quilting tour guide of the country. She has a wealth of information about where to shop in Bangkok for quilting cottons (Sampeng Lane), and even provides a map and photos of the shops. Awesome! Jill also posts about what events are going on in and around the city that might be of interest to quilters.

It's also clear that there's a special place in Jill's heart for "Our Home," a home for girls and young women in Rayong, Thailand. The girls come from all over Thailand and have no family of their own. The girls learn social skills, as well as quilting skills, and they are rightfully proud of their quilting. Jill keeps the post about Our Home as her first post, but then has her most recent posts just below that. I didn't know you could do that with a blog so I'll have to figure out how she did it.

There weren't any more blogs for Thailand listed on Quilting Bloggers, but I noticed a couple of links on Jill's site to some expats' sites so I decided to do some more exploring. First, I checked out Karen Sengel's site. Wow! Karen was born and raised in the U.S., but has been living abroad for a long time. She's an international teacher living in northern Thai city of Chiang Mai. Her work is really stunning and you can see how inspired she's been by Ruth McDowell. I think my favourite is Pomlamai. And then there's Pausing and Hanoi Colors and 60 Minutes? Okay, I can't pick just one. Definitely worth a look-see!

Jill's site also linked to Marjolein Bastiaans's site. She is also very talented and inspired by her surroundings. I adore the Family Portrait she did - what a cool idea! I'd really like to try that that idea with my family. Her other portraits are beautiful too. I also loved her Heliconia and her Grass is Always Greener group.

Ahh, feeling wonderfully inspired by my trip to Thailand. I'd really love to go shopping on Sampeng Lane and check out all those beautiful quilting cottons. This little visit eased my craving to travel (a little), but not my craving for curry so I think curry will be on the menu tonight. I make a modification of the recipe on the back of Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste bottle. Even my youngest eats this up. Here it is in case you are in the same mood.

Thai Green Chicken Curry

2-3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces and cooked 
1 can of coconut milk
1-2 tbsp green curry paste (if you're not used to curry, use less that 1 tbsp of paste the first time)
1-2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup bamboo shoots (I prefer a can of the julienned ones to the flat ones) or 2 cups boiled, bite-sized potatoes
1 can of corn and/or 1 cup of frozen peas
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 tsp of dried basil (or fresh if you have it on hand)

1. In a large saucepan, simmer coconut milk and curry paste over medium heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients.
3. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve over rice. Makes 4-6 servings.

How easy is that?

Enjoy! เพลิดเพลิน!


  1. I love this "quilt blogs of the world" idea, M-R! Something about quilting seems to lead inevitably to community building or gathering -- is it the art itself (is there a better metaphor for community?) or is it the people attracted to it or both?

  2. I love it that quilting spans the globe!


  3. LaDonna, me too!

    Doug, good question. I think it's a bit of both. It's an interesting activity in that you can do it on your own or with others. Doing it only on your own though can be very isolating. Part of the history and tradition of the art is that women would get together to quilt (bees) to help people finish their own quilts and quilts for others in need. Knowledge about quilting (and no doubt many other things) was shared amongst participants. That tradition has continued with guilds and now online through blogs and online bees. When you know the history of the art, it is quite fascinating to see how it's evolving and see what elements are retained and what are let go. I love my guil

  4. Ran out of space on my iPad comment block. I love my guild because I learn so much from the other quilters and it's fun to get together with other people who are as passionate about quilting as I am. I'm finding that same sense of community on the Internet too, which I think is fantastic. And those people recognize how fortunate they are and try to help others in less fortunate circumstances in the ways that they can -- quilts, food, friendship, support. if anyone else has any thoughts about this, feel free to jump in!

    My two cents,

  5. Thanks so much for the thoughtful response, M-R. I see some of the same things in the running community -- it can be isolating (the famous loneliness of the long-distance runner) or it can build a community (which I have found with "Cliff's Antiques" -- I've even written in my blog about community building in running...). There's also that desire to share, help and give back -- races are often volunteer driven and raise money for good organizations. It can be so much more than simply self-affirmation (or rabid obsession!) Anyway...

    One other thing: when I was teaching at NSCAD, I noticed a deep tension between "crafts" (e.g., ceramics) and "fine arts" (e.g., painting). I never understood why the word "craft" couldn't stand even with "art" -- I notice you prefer to use the word "art"... do you sense the same discomfort with "crafts" and how they've historically played second-fiddle to the so-called "fine arts"? Is it time to recoup "craft" or is it doing okay these days?

  6. Thanks for writing about Thailand. It's very interesting to live here. There is a rich history of textiles in Thailand that we can get inspiration from. Patchwork is just starting here, not yet a billion dollar industry like it is in the U.S. and Japan. When we find fabric and supplies here, it's like "jackpot"! That's why I wrote my blog, to help people find the supplies. Have fun!

  7. Doug, ah, you raise the arts vs. crafts question! Yes, it exists in quilting too. I don't necessarily prefer using one over the other to refer to quilting as a whole; I just used art because you did. I personally value both and am pretty comfortable using them interchangeably with quilting.

    I don't profess to be an art critic or expert, so IMHO, I will say that when I think of 'craft', I think of something that is built with the hands and can be touched, held or used in some fashion. Art, to me anyways, is something that is meant to be looked at and admired rather than have a specific use. Both can be stunning and both can be bad. Quilting can be both art and/or craft (e.g. art quilt wallhangings, bed quilts). I, personally, don't place more value on one than the other because I think they serve different purposes.

    My two cents,


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