Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shopping in Shanghai

I shopped a lot in Shanghai. Actually, I don't enjoy shopping very much, and really despise haggling. Dh likes to shop for fake goods, and had a long list from his family. (I prefer having the real thing if I'm going to have it.)

We got a great deal on

pearls. This set, of a necklace, bracelet and earrings (dd was wearing those so they don't appear in the photo) cost about $40 US. I'm not any kind of judge of quality, but they were medium size and of a consistent round shape. They string them for you and let you choose the clasp and the length, etc. This was from the pearl market at the underground market place under the Science and Technology Museum metro station.

We also bought glasses at a vendor in the same market.

I bought 3 pairs, and my friend bought 3. I ended up paying around $70 US per pair for one pair of bifocals and two pairs of trifocals. These are mine, bifocals, but they are not progressive lenses, so I'm not that happy with them. The trifocals were progressive and my ILs were very happy with theirs. (Try picking out glasses frames for two people who are not there -- very difficult!) The negotiation for these about killed me, the first number they gave me was over $300 per pair and we ended up at much less. I had to pick up the prescriptions and walk out, etc.

Here's a cute bag made from a Chinese jacquard fabric, covered with vinyl, so it doesn't get dirty or picked. They had some pretty bags made from that fabric, but it's not very durable with out some protection.

Ed Hardy sunglasses. The teen girls in the family wanted Ed Hardy sunglasses and belts, which were everywhere.

Snacks -- squid, sesame walnuts, and flower tea.

Pocky and Lay's chips in Mexican Tomato Chicken and Italian Red Meat Flavors.


A fashion magazine for dd on left. You gotta love seeing a Chinese National Geographic, there is irony there somewhere. . .

Chuy the Chihuahua in her Chinese coat.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Chinese Craft Goodies

My friend took me to the paper goods market in Shanghai, which has craft and party supplies, plus undies and stockings, and yarn. It was on four floors and the stalls were packed. This is a place for the locals, so it wasn't a place with a wide range of bargaining (unlike the tourist fake goods markets). Regardless, the prices were fabulous. The photo is of a lantern and decoration booth at the entrance of the market.

I bought three sets of these (one for my mom, one for me and one for my friend's mom). I think they cost 20RMB, which is about $3 US for 3 sets of DPNs and 3 circulars. (Oops, the double points are upside down, but I loved the fact that the circulars came with a Chinese needle sizer.)

Just look at all these knitting needles, for a song. I didn't buy the bamboo double points because they were so long. I say if you're knitting something that big, try a circular. . .

I paid 20 RMB, $3 US, for six balls of yarn. It said *wool* on it in English, so I thought it might be worth a try.

I helped my friend pick out some cashmere for her mother. It was a box of 6 or 9 balls and cost about $30US, so I figured for that price it has to be the real thing.

Here's a sweater that's knit from the same cashmere. It was so soft, but the yarn was a much smaller gauge than what we knit with in the U.S. I told my friend to suggest her mom try doubling it, if it's too tiny. There were some small spools of different yarn included in the kit, so I think that's what the ribbing is made out of in the photo.

A Chinese amigurumi book I picked up at the supermarket. I wonder if the Chinese use the word *amigurumi* since it's a Japanese word? I haven't had time to look at it, but I'm hoping it's mostly charts and diagrams so I can use it.

I picked up these cross stitch and softy kits at the paper goods market. I think they were also about 20 RMB each, so $3 US. The little monkey kit contains felt, but I haven't opened it to inspect it yet. The vendor in the booth was making an adorable hamburger out of felt, so I got to see one partially finished. Very cute things.

I think the craft market was my favorite part of the trip (either that or the grocery store). My friend isn't a knitter, so she needed some help getting some gifts for her mother. I can't tell you how many bags of googly eyes, fuzzy puff balls, chenille sticks, etc. there were. The expat ladies come to this market to get goodies for their kids birthday parties and classroom craft projects. Wish I had taken more photos! The sheer quantity was amazing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

More Shanghai

I thought I was finished with food from the last post, but I had a couple of photos from a famous dumpling restaurant, in the Yu Yuan marketplace.

Making the dumplings.

Look at the size of those steamers. The locals line up to eat at this restaurant, but if you're willing to pay more, you can eat in a sit down restaurant upstairs. I didn't get a chance to try it.

This is in the Yu Gardens, attached to the Yu Yuan marketplace. I loved it, we got there when it was very quiet, early in the week. It's exactly how I pictured China in my mind.

Me in a pagoda.

This is a building in the marketplace, hanging with lanterns. The lantern festival was the week before, so there were still some decorations up. As you can see, it was very smoggy.

This teahouse is supposed to be model for the picture on Blue Willow china.

This pic is a little small, but I hope you get the idea.

This is the view from our hotel room window. Skyscrapers as far as you can see. What an amazing place.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Shanghai - Food

So my first post about China will cover food. My Dad will be dying to know what we ate for breakfast and I tried to document a few meals. First is fried rice. Hot dish.

Cucumbers marinated in a chili sauce. A cold dish.

Dumplings, crab and pork. This was a meal at a high-end dumpling restaurant in the Super Brand Mall called Din Tai Fung. They have locations in China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and in the U.S. (Arcadia, CA). We had some decent Chinese wine here too, *The Great Wall* brand.

Next, a few sights at the supermarket.

Squid and mystery seafood.

I think this is called Ugli fruit. It is a fruit that smells really bad but tastes really good. I found the smell to be similar to sniffing a bottle of kids antibiotic medicine (the pink stuff).

Eels, frogs, turtles. To eat. Not pets. Ugh. . .

I should have taken some more produce photos. We were in a large French-owned store, called Carrefour, where my friend normally shops. It was huge, and very similar to a Walmart or Super Target in the items it carried. I found some fun Chinese craft books there too.

Last, a salad.

With Octopus on it. I made myself try one bite, then picked the rest off. The salad was good otherwise, with warm potatoes in it, and some mystery nuts or beans. This was in a Mediterranean restaurant.

We ate breakfast at the hotel since it was included with our room. Every morning there was a chef cooking omelets to order, congee (rice soup that looked like grits) with pickled vegetables, a salad bar, Chinese dumplings or pork buns, fried rice, a pork dish, a chicken dish, bacon, baked beans (for the Brits I suppose), sausage, ham. There was usually a hot American style dish like French toast or pancakes. Cold items were cereals, fruits, yogurts, pastries, breads, juices and milk. They had coffee and tea, the only item I thought missing was water.

We had such a great time. I'll post again with some general tourist photos, craft stuff, and shopping.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bird Seed Tote Bag

I borrowed this idea from a link to someone's blog, but I don't remember where. I think she took one of the bigger sized bird seed bags and made several totes from it. I hate to borrow it without referencing where the idea came from, but I honestly don't remember.

My bag was a good size for a tote. The top and bottom edges had been coverstitched with some paper tape, so first I ripped that stitching out, washed out the bag, and hung it to dry. I decided to sew the bottom of the bag right sides together.
The sides of the bag were already creased into shape and I wanted to keep the shape, so I sewed across the short sides, in addition to long ways across the bottom.  (I used a jeans needle, a longer stitch length, regular thread.)

To sew the T- shape, fold it back against the first long seam, start in the middle and sew outward.  You'll have to flip it in the other direction and sew the other side, again starting from the middle.
For the top of the bag, fold down and press with your fingers (remember, no iron, or you risk meltdown).  Sew hem.
Add straps.  Mine are made from belt webbing I had on hand.
The finished bag.  You could attempt a squared off bottom, so it will sit better, but I decided the sewing would be much easier to sew it straight across because I could turn it inside out.  I took it shopping the other day and got quite a few compliments.  I think this particular bag would like better with red handles.  Mine are short because the bag is longer than a standard tote and would drag the ground otherwise.  


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