Thursday, 27 May 2010

Patchwork Teddy No 2 and a beautiful bag

Recently, a friend of mine asked me to make for her a patchwork teddy. Almost a year ago I made it for my nephew.  This is my second teddy and it was much easier to make after my first practice.  I used lot of fabrics with footballs and cars.  You can guess the teddy will be a present for a boy.

Another a very pleased project has finished too.   This is from Uhandbag site, to which I am addicted too.  Her patterns always work without problem.  

Friday, 21 May 2010

Doll's Hospital in Lisbon

Some time ago a friend excitedly told me about the Doll's Hospital in Praça de Figueira in Lisbon!  When I was there I thought it was fantastic!  It would be a great place for me to work with or without salary.

In March I thought it could be a good place to buy a present for my soon to be 4 years old Darling Daughter.  I wanted (I did not know whether my daughter wanted or not) a big doll that DD1 can dress up with her old baby clothes.

When I saw all the dolls dressed in all different kinds of dresses I was overjoyed.  It would have been ideal for me to buy an Asian doll because I am Mongolian. DD1 already has a few dolls with blue and green eyes.  At that time the shop did not have Asian dolls but the owner said that in September they might have big Asian dolls, which could be 60cm high.  I can return and get another doll for my DD2's second birthday.

In 1830 an old lady called Dona Carlota sat in her small shop sewing dolls clothes, which children and their parents passing by were happy to see.  Since then the Doll's Hospital has been making and restoring children's favourite toys for almost two centuries.

The current owner Manuela Cutileiro, a former teacher and a very pleasant lady, runs the Doll's Hospital with her daughter Catarina.  She has been there for 20 years and knows almost everything about dolls: where and when they were made and how they can be restored.

On my first visit I saw a customer picking up her forty something years old doll from the hospital.  The doll had had treatment and she looked like new.  The lady bought a dress for her doll and took home her beautiful friend of many years.

If you have an old doll waiting to be treated you can take it there and they will give you a quote.  Just doing doll's hair could cost from €25 to €160 depending on the hair quality and style. But be patient because they do not have many "doctors" to treat dolls, so it could take some time.  There was a room full of dolls and teddy bears to be washed, restored and dressed.

Dolls' houses can be bought here with furniture, cutlery, crockery and inhabitants. The shop sells all different dress sizes and silk dresses for antique dolls. If you wish to dress up your doll during the carnival you can buy carnival clothes too.

Upstairs with the hospital they have a little museum of old dolls and toys which occupies an old school, and the belongings from the school were left there.  You can see an old typewriter, a record player and black and white photos of school children.  My family back in Mongolia used to have similar typewriter and record player.  The owner, Manuela, said that former school children visit the museum from time to time and are happy to see dolls and their old school items.

The hospital does not just restore dolls but they will also treat any size of teddy bear.  A big brown bear (almost 2m high) from the Natura shop was waiting for its treatment after many hugs and kisses from shop goers' children.

The Doll's Hospital is another treasure in Lisbon's city centre.  Here is the address:

Praça da Figueira, 7. Lisbon 1100-240
Tel: 21 342 8574

For full slide show click here

Friday, 14 May 2010

A lonely Mongolian guy's travel around the world

Almost four and half years ago, a 26 year old Mongolian named J.Zolbayar, known as Amai, left Mongolia by Trans-Siberian railway to Moscow to start his solo journey to see the world. 

Amai has celebrated his birthdays in four different countries and has visited 69 countries so far, including every single country in the African continent and in Europe.  So far he is the only Mongolian traveling around the world alone.  I guess there are some Mongolians who visited many places in the world - but not like him. 

Right now Amai is in Mongolia.  He is still spending nights in his sleeping bag and still hitchhiking to his destinations.  He thinks that if you have not seen your own country you cannot be proud of saying that you have seen the world.  I agree with him; I could proudly write that I have seen many parts of my country but I did not visit every corner of it.  

At the beginning of May he entered Mongolia from China, and he should arrive in the Mongolian capital Ulaabaatar on 16 May to have his welcoming party at the capital’s main square, Sukhbaatar. 

These days he is busy visiting some sacred places in the country and talking with schoolchildren and young people about his travel.  In the late morning of 16 May he will start his journey to his meeting point using the most significant transport for Mongolians – a horse.

I think this is first time Amai will be traveling by horse.  In the past he used a plane once, as well as trains, boats and mostly cars to get to his destination.  He did not just pass through any countries, to boost his total.  His goal is to learn certain countries' culture, especially music because he is a musician.  He majored in an international public relations at a Mongolian university and this became one of his reasons why he started traveling around the world.  Although he speaks Russian, English and Japanese but still had language problems in some countries where he visited.

During these four and half years he was sick with malaria, met guerrilla warlords, went through fields and land mines, and suffered theft of his belongings but still he managed to continue writing about his travel and his thoughts in his blog.

After Mongolia he will pursue his goal to travel around the world but not alone.  This time he wants to travel in a group of four or five people with a Mongolian tent and an exhibition about Mongolia. The reason is that in many parts of the world, people do not know much about Mongolia, and he has an ambition to spread the word about Mongolian culture. 

In the past, a few countries refused him visa but, hopefully, the officials might realise his peaceful purpose to understand different traditions and cultures and extend knowledge about Mongolia. 

Last January he was in Portugal. Portugal was the 51st country on his list.  In his blog Amai wrote (he writes mostly in Mongolian) that Lisbon is an old city with lots of run down buildings and graffiti, which reminded him of Mozambique and Angola.  This is because these countries were old Portuguese colonies.  

I agree with him but he has not seen some official graffiti walls dedicated for artists.  I had not known he was here; because of my newborn baby, I stopped following his blog for a while.  In his blog he does not really give his future plans anyway.  His travel depends on certain countries' hospitality, visa, transport or just simply where the wind blows him.  

Last summer I called Amai (I cannot remember where he was at that time) and said that I would like to interview him and write about him. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened because my sick baby needed my full attention and finding Amai is pure luck.  

I can only wish him good luck in the future and to enjoy his stay with his parents, friends and relatives in his home country, Mongolia. At last, his mother N.Oyunchimeg will be able to see him in front of her and she can have a good night's sleep.

If you want to read some of his articles in English press here
OR you can follow him on facebook

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

A Mongolian baby is a star of the film with others

Director of the film Thomas Balmes documented four hundred hours of babies activities from birth to their first steps from Namibia, Mongolia, Japan and the Statest.  Here are the BBC footage and the trailer.  You can notice that those babies are cheeky little monkeys.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Fabric flowers

In eight days of May people noticed that there was summer at the beginning than mother-nature switched back to spring.  Today was a typical Portuguese winter with  rain and cold wind. 

However, everything is blooming because this winter we had rain, rain and rain.  I might have been in spring mood and I learned how to make fabric flowers.  I used my old furoshiki (Japanese gift folding scarf) fabrics to make fabric flowers.  I made two flowers with ribbon too.

These plates of full of buttons, Ann, our quilting group lady, brought from Australia.  She offered to use them to finish making flowers. Biscuits and coffees are inseparable in craft making.  Don't you think?

Many of them will be used on my girls hair clips, on their shirts and dresses. 
If you are interested in learning how to make flowers contact me.  My email is threeoldempires[at]

Friday, 7 May 2010

Bulgarian lunch at Asian lunch group

Last five years I have been running at my home the Asian lunch group with my friends help.  We meet almost every month to cook mostly Asian food.  My friends are from Bulgaria, England, Norway, Japan and South Korea.  During these years I learnt many original recipes from first hand.  I had Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Russian and Thai friends who shared with me their food. Now from time to time and I would teach others their recipe.  I have to mention that my English friend Ann, who cooks Indonesian meals. 

Because I have couple of European friends they cook European food too.  Today was Daniela's turn to cook Bulgarian meal.   She cooked cold yogurt soup, stuffed peppers with cheese and eggs, moussaka, banittsa (cheese and eggs wrapped in filo pastry), two different salads, sun dried tomatoes and cheese wrapped with courgette crepes.  I might have forgotten some of the names.  She will send recipes soon.

Japanese friends Ai-chan was saying to Daniela that in Japan there are not many different varieties of cheeses and they are very expensive.  If Daniela lives there she has to pay lot of money to buy cheeses.  She used cheese in her three or four recipes. 


Daniela buys a Bulgarian cheese in a Russian shop in Cascais.  I heard that there is a Bulgarian shop in Lisbon.

The rule of the group is that everybody is get involved in cooking and learning process. The recipe will be shared and cost too.

My Norwegian friend Helene made a Danish dessert. She is our a dessert lady.  We do love her desserts.  Another rule of the group is that someone else brings a dessert.

After delicious meal I am not left alone to do washing up.  Everyone helps with washing up and drying dishes.  Who does not want these kind of friends to come back and cook and share fantastic afternoon!


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