design, craft and daily creativity

2017 journal

20 December 2017

Best wishes for a great Christmas and New Year

Time is ticking by and it is now just a few days until Christmas. However you spend your days at the end of December and the start of January,  please enjoy time to relax, eat, drink and spend time with family and friends. I am certainly planning on doing all of those! I will be back online in the second week of January.  If you would like to place any orders, please note that all online orders will not be packed and shipped before Monday 8th January, thank you for your patience. See you then! Bis dann, またね!

14 December 2017

A little word on typography

I recently received a little book from the ISTD named ‘Detail in typography’ written by Jost Hochuli. It will be my next read, most likely during the Christmas break. The publications chosen by ISTD and circulated to its members are always of great interest to me and I love to receive them in the post. This title is described as ‘A concise yet rich discussion of all the small things that enhance the legibitlity of texts’. My book shelves are full of wonderful papers, magazines and books on the subject of type, but sometimes it is lovely to have a little reminder of the essence of what is important, from a valued and internationally renowned typographer. I look forward to delving inside these warm white pages, each studded with red details.

11 December 2017

Feeling festive

It can’t be ignored any longer… Christmas is just around the corner! If you have a chance, check out my Instagram page for more of my daily snapshots of inspiration. Mostly with a festive theme at the moment. Today in my journal, a few more images that bring the warm festive feeling closer to home. Enjoy!

3 December 2017

Saori weaving in Japan

On my latest trip to Kobe, Japan, I joined a fantastic loom weaving class with two of my good friends. I had found the class on a brilliant website called asoview  A listing site that gives access and sign up options for thousands of craft workshops (and many other activities) across Japan. The choice is huge! I knew I wanted to do something I hadn’t done before and something that was local to my area in Japan. I settled on this class at a shop called Saori. Take a look at the Saori website, it will explain the fascinating story behind the craft, first started by a lady from Osaka, Japan. Two of my friends signed up too and after much waiting the day came round; we met at the train station and wandered across to the shop. The welcome was warm, the atmosphere casual and relaxed and the staff so kind and helpful. Our class was two hours long and each of us sat at our own weaving loom. We had numerous wools, cottons or silks on spools to choose from in a rainbow of colours. It was fun to learn a new skill and once we were in the rhythym of the process, it was good to chat and catch up with our latest news and stories. The staff at the shop joined our chat and it became a very memorable evening. The final piece I created is a long and unique scarf or even a table runner. I love it and I love the memories that are associated with it. I can’t wait to visit again and join another class!

22 November 2017

A little Christmas shopping… be quick!

Do you need any seasonal greetings cards, notelets to give as gifts or wrapping furoshiki to give your gifts a smart finish? Take a look at my for sale page and place your order… remember that if your order needs to be posted, you will need to check posting times for your country.


20 November 2017

A very successful Sunday afternoon

Check out the cultural exchange workshops page of my website! I had a great afternoon with wonderful people. We all enjoyed wrapping gifts with Japanese furoshiki and papers, ready for Christmas. It was the perfect day to be inside and warm as it has already started to snow here!

16 November 2017

Wedding stationery set complete

I have just received a thank you card in the post. In fact, it is the thank you card that I designed for a very special wedding earlier this year. I love the set of stationery that the happy couple and I created together. We use for all the printing and love the results. I would thoroughly recommend them as an accessible, modern, helpful and concientious printing company. If you want to see more of the stationery set, see my portfolio page or contact me for more details.

30 October 2017

A little break from the journal...


28 October 2017

>>>> Latest workshop - places limited, sign up now! <<<<


20 October 2017

Burda Vintage Rosa Jacket

I have never made a jacket for myself. After creating this beautiful Burda Rosa Jacket, I am motivated to improve my skills furher and try another of the many jacket and coat patterns I have in my craft room. It wasn’t easy to make it look as stunning as in the promo picture, but for a first attempt with a very springy man-made polyester, I am not put off! I used a large scarf that I wasn’t wearing enough, so my hems had to be completed with bias binding to leave the sleeves and body as long as possible. The most challenging part was the pleat/dart at the back of the shoulders. I made this pattern my own with various modifications, including a zip rather than three large poppers. Time has passed and it is a little too cold on most days to wear this, but I am looking forward to trying it out with my black skinny jeans and brown leather brogues.

10 October 2017

Autumn, Herbst, 秋

Whatever the name given to it, the changing of the season from summer to autumn is a pretty time. Yes, the temperatures are dropping, but we also get to see the amazing colours in the leaves, the fresh blue skies with puffs of clouds and the berries, nuts and seed pods developing. Autumn in this part of Germany is defined by the conkers falling from the horse chestnut trees. On the first few days, the children are all out collecting bags full. Soon, so many are falling that even the most energetic collectors cannot keep up with the supply!

5 October 2017

>>>> New season greetings cards ready and on sale now! <<<<

Take a look at the for sale page of my website! I’m happy to announce my new items for sale. Greetings cards with seasonal juicy fruits and delicate dragonflies - designed using my hand carved rubber stamps. Buy securely using Paypal, receive your order at home and enjoy sending a handmade card to friends and family.

26 September 2017

Königssee and mountains

Fresh air, blue skies and stunning scenery. Not many words are needed to describe the beautiful sights that greeted us when we visited this area of Bavaria, Germany. Below are a few photos so that you can see for yourself. A basic but very welcoming place to stay close to Königssee was the Explorer Hotel. Good breakfast, good room and excellent location. Also check out the large number of stunning, character guesthouse properties tucked up in the hills - for a more personal place to stay. All with pretty window boxes and geraniums!

18 September 2017

Regensburg Stempel

As you will know if you follow my instagram and journal, I love stamps. Making them, buying them, using them. A while ago I spotted this stamp in the Regensburg Tourist Information Centre and ever since I wanted to go back and buy it. So I did! The keys in the centre are the symbol of the city and the heart surrounding them is probably what made me pick it up finally. I love it and I can imagine using it on many letters I will post to friends around the world. You can’t beat a hand written letter and when the envelope is decorated too, even better. Thank you to 3kant for creating the design and Pfuhl for crafting it. Both local Regensburg businesses.

4 September 2017

A little break from the journal...

Just a note to say that I am working on some other projects for a few days and will be away from my journal. If you would like to order any greetings cards, please note that all online orders will not be packed and shipped before Tuesday 12th September, thank you for your patience.

28 August 2017

Gathered waist, free fitting shape, cool cotton

Another of my favourite and comfortable dresses from one of my Japanese sewing books. (Unfortunately I think this actual book is now out of stock, but there are so many great ones.) This time I’m making the bodice from some medium weight cotton with a very cute 'Panda under umbrella' pattern and the skirt from a softer textured cream cotton. The only change I am making is to add a zip in the side seam - I cannot get my broad shoulders into this dress! Looking forward to some late summer days wearing this, maybe with leggins and a cardi if needed.

23 August 2017

Plans for next two workshops

Plans are well under way for my next two workshops in the next few months… watch this space!

22 August 2017

…leads to evening storms

It is inevitable that long periods of hot weather will lead to summer thunderstorms. As long as you are safely in the house when the rain comes, it is quite a spectacle. The hot air is quickly cooled and refreshed by the thunder, lightning and subsequent rain storm. Happily watching from the window.

15 August 2017

Hot summer sunshine...

Summer in Regensburg is a lively and vibrant time. Bright blue skies, strong and hot sunshine, people enjoying holiday treats including icecreams, festivals and river cruises. This picture shows the historical Wurstküche - sausage kitchen. The smell of grilled Bavarian sausages calls you from across town. You can sit and enjoy them with rolls and sauerkraut under the sun umbrellas, in the cool restaurant or on the go as you walk along the Danube river. Brilliant place to take friends or family when they are visiting town. Be prepared to wait though, it is a very popular place to eat lunch!

29 July 2017

>>>> New season greetings cards ready and on sale now! <<<<

Take a look at the for sale page of my website! I’m happy to announce my new items for sale. Greetings cards with beautiful wisteria, sakura and ume blossoms and delicious watermelon - designed using my hand carved rubber stamps. Buy securely using Paypal, receive your order at home and enjoy sending a handmade card to friends and family.


20 July 2017

Latest sewing pattern books and magazines

I have a couple of new sewing publications to look through and dream about… firstly two Japanese sewing books brought back as a gift from Japan. Clear instructions and pictorial tutorials are at the back, along with the patterns to be traced. The front has full colour photos of each item, usually worn in a way that mixes and matches what is in the book. I am particularly excited by the wrap around apron (a very typical design seen in many Japanese pattern books and online on all the social media sites) and one or two of the shorter coats/jackets. I’m not even going to go to the shops for new fabric, I have plenty to choose from at home! Secondly the first English version of La Maison Victor magazine, that I picked up at Stansted airport. Another magazine that uses pattern pieces that you trace in your chosen size, I have seen reviews of this magazine praising it’s modern styling and easy to follow instructions. I am looking forward to making my first piece and comparing it with other books and magazines I use. Let’s see what I make first!

12 July 2017

Summer in full swing

A couple of  pictures for you… summer is here and has been for a lovely long time now. Lush green forests, delicate wild flowers and beautiful country walks.

3 July 2017

A little break...

Just a note to say that I am working on some other projects for a few days and will be away from my journal. If you would like to order any greetings cards, please note that all online orders will not be packed and shipped before Thursday 13th July, thank you for your patience.

30 June 2017

Mollie Makes summer door wreath

If you have read my journal for a while, you will know that I love a wreath on our front door. I think it is welcoming, homely and gives a little insight into who lives inside. It is especially pleasing when the front door is as beautiful as ours in our current home - it makes a very pretty first impression! We are  very lucky. Last week I wanted something quick and that didn’t need my planning to create. I picked up my latest copy of Mollie Makes magazine (UK) and started working on the felt flower wreath that was included as the  free gift. I probably spent 1.5 hours working on it, in front of the tv and am very happy with the result! I needed a new wreath for the summer and this is just lovely.

27 June 2017

Japanese House exhibition at The Barbican

Before the end of its run, I am very pleased to say that it got to visit this exhibiton. Having spent time with a knowledgable architect while in Japan, I was aware of some of the exhibitors. One individual, Tadao Ando, is famous for properties and public buildings in the area we lived in in Japan - Kobe. Taking the form of a deconstructed modern Japanese house, the space was divided in half horizontally with the top floor exploring the development of  Japanese architecture following World War 2. Downstairs were the individual rooms of the modern house, all with white walls, great attention to detail in decor and styling and a real feeling that the owner may return at any moment. As well as exploring the country’s architectural heritage, this exhibition had a very intimate atmosphere. Probably my favourite space was the desk set up - chopsticks and plates left from a meal, anglepoise light on and numerous bottle of Asahi beer sitting empty… as though an evening of work had been completed in the small but perfectly formed workspace. all pictures taken at the exhibition, copyright The Barbican #thejapanesehouse 

11 June 2017

A little break...

Just a note to say that I am working on some other projects for a few days and will be away from my journal. If you would like to order any greetings cards, please note that all online orders will not be packed and shipped before Monday 26th June, thank you for your patience.

8 June 2017

BurdaStyle magazine pinafore dress finished!

I am happily wearing my finished BurdaStyle pinafore dress that I instantly liked the look of in the April 2017 magazine (see my entry below dated 8 April 2017.) I chose to use a fine cotton corduroy (pincord) that I bought in Japan, which has a wide white line grid on a mid-grey background. As I have always found so far, the Burda pattern was easy to follow if you concentrate and read every word - the instructions are so concise and detailed that you will find everything you need to know, but maybe only after two or three reads! I wanted this pinafore dress to be easy to wear, with no fastenings (apart from the zip at the back) and also to be useful in summer with a vest top or no top underneath as well as in winter with long sleeves and thick tights or leggings. I am very pleased with my reading of the German instructions and also my choice of fabric. Comfy, good shape and fit and not too difficult to complete to a neat standard. I would like to use this pattern again, maybe with a floral cotton or even a plain fine wool.

5 June 2017

Fabric stash...

Just working out the next items of clothing to be made from my precious collection of fabric - watch this space!

4 June 2017

Schloßpark Nymphenburg, Munich

On a very warm afternoon, we visited the Nymphenburg Palace in Munich. Originally designed by an Italian architect and constructed between 1664 and 1675, the main building was expanded by the different generations of the rulers of Bavaria who called it home. We enjoyed walking through parts of the 200 hectare park at the back of the property,  which included open meadows, winding streams, large fountains and canals. There are a number of  beautifully preserved pavilions, originally built in the grounds for a place of retreat, or as a hunting lodge or summer house. Our stroll brought us back to the main entrance via the amazing palm houses, where we sat and ate an icecream under the shade of the vines. A lovely place to visit. 

29 May 2017

Montreal, Kingston, Niagara and Toronto

A recent trip to the East side of Canada provided some great photo opportunities and gallery visits. It was really interesting to see the differences and similarities between these cities and towns and also how the weather quickly changed from snowy and cold to hot and sunny, as we travelled west! Canada is a place of kind people, delicious food (not too huge portions) and wonderful scenery. Enjoy a few snaps below.

5 May 2017

A little break from the journal

Just a note to say that I am working on some other projects for a few days and will be away from my journal. If you would like to order any greetings cards, please note that all online orders will not be packed and shipped before Monday 22nd May, thank you for your patience.

2 May 2017

Knitting my first sock

My kind and patient friend offered to help me with my first sock! It is something I have always wanted to do but every time I look at a pattern I am overwhelmed by the technique required and the fact that you use 5 needles! SO far, so good… only the first round completed but I do hope it will continue this well. The wool is from Japan and my pattern book is from Germany. This pair of socks will certainly be very international once completed ;-)

25 April 2017

Wood block printing

At the weekend with two friends, I visited the Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg  I had seen posters for the latest exhibition on wood block printing from German-Bohemian artists from the start of the 1900s. It was a cold day outside so the gallery followed by coffee,  cake and chat was perfect! I have always enjoyed lino and rubber stamp carving and I have done a couple of small wood carvings to print from… if only I had seen the list of workshops on wood block printing before now! Alongside the exhibition, the gallery is holding workshops on wood block printing and I’d love to join - maybe next time. Together we enjoyed a tour of the exhibition and learnt how Japanese wood block carving (from masters like Hokusai) was a strong  influence for this group of artists, including Walther Klemm and Carl Thiemann. The exhibion is named Stadt Land Tier (Town Country Animal) and shows the strong, earthy colours that the artists used in their work. Talking later with another friend, we both agreed that the colours used are stunning and blend with modern living - we could easily imagine some of these works in our own homes - if we were lucky enough to own one ofcourse.

18 April 2017

Textile industry in Bavaria

With four free days over the long Easter weekend, we decided to use one of them visiting a new town in Bavaria. A couple of hours by car is Augsburg, the third largest city in Bavaria. I had been sent the link by a friend to the tim - Textil- und Industriemuseum - and this seemed a good chance to visit the museum and the city. tim is housed in one of the old warehouses of the textile industry in this area and takes you on a tour through time of the local history, important members of society and methods of textile weaving and printing production. They even have running looms and machines to watch at certain points in the day, creating items for sale in the gift shop. It was a reminder of some of the production methods I already knew about  and also a very interesting social and historical insight into our wider  region. We didn’t eat in the restaurant nunó, but the cakes looked delicious!

8 April 2017

Spring sewing

Last week I found the latest Burda Style magazine for sale in a shop very close to my house. It was too good to leave and so I bought the April 2017 issue (despite being the German-language version!) I have always loved flicking through this magazine and still think it is such great value (€5.90 in Germany) for the number of patterns, variations and ideas it gives you. I never finish the issue and always come back to it years later when looking for clothes patterns. In this issue I really like the look of the sleeveless summer top (116B) the pinafore dress (115) and the bomber jacket (114A.) Along with my Japanese pattern books and some wonderful free online patterns there really is too much to make in one lifetime!

3 April 2017

Thoughts for my next greetings cards

The seasons help to shape all of our days… while in Japan I learnt that this was particularly important. I’m thinking what can follow sakura to inspire my next greetings card designs. Summer in Japan… shaved ice, watermelons, fans and umbrellas… plenty to consider.

30 March 2017

Floral embroidery upcycling

I’ve always loved and admired the strong colours and tactile effect of the beautiful embroidery on so many clothes in the shops. After a little while looking online at some other people’s wonderful creations, I decided I could give it a go and use one of my own denim shirts. I still love the shirt in question and wanted to give it a new look for this spring season. These flowers are from my own imagination, maybe a combination of Camellia, Sakura and Periwinkle. The threads are a mixture of the 6 strand DMC embroidery cottons and some Cosmo thicker cottons I bought in Japan to create my Temari balls. I love the strong coral pink and am especially pleased with the little trailing stems leading to the buds!

22 March 2017

Second craft class in Germany

Take a look! Craft class no.2 was great fun last week, I am very lucky to have so many great people around me to enjoy craft and chat with. Thank you, Dankeschön x (And this time we enjoyed some homemade Lemon Drizzle Cake - thank you to Mary Berry’s fabulous recipe. A recipe that works in any country with any flour!)

14 March 2017

Sakura さくら Forecast 

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first sakura (cherry blossom) in Japan and specifically Kobe area. Friends are keeping me updated on the likely time of hanami  (花見 -  celebration of blooming cherry blossom and the welcoming of spring.) It may only be about 3 weeks before picnics and parties under the blossom can begin. I wish I could be there this year!

13 March 2017

My latest Regensburg sketch

As a gift for a special friend in Kobe, I chose to create another of my small ink and pastel sketches. This time a street in town that has pretty colourful bunting in the summer. A look forward to what will come in the next few months. I bought the black frame from a local photography shop and when this was complete, I wrapped it carefully and posted it to Japan.

7 March 2017

Spring wreath

Some days are grey and a little rainy and then some are blue skies and mild… but despite the variable weather, it was definitely time for  a new door wreath. Crocheted from some of my Japanese cottons and then decorated with some mini pom-poms and felt bunting triangles, it certainly makes me smile when I get home.

5 March 2017

Willow weaving

I was very happy to be asked to join a willow weaving class recently, by my close friend in Regensburg. The class was held in the Obstundgartenbauvereine building in Bad Abbach  - a very cozy and neat environment for meetings, learning, crafting, cake-eating and general chatting with kind people! The class was held by a lady called Matilde and there were about 10 ladies present for this workshop. We could choose from five or six different projects and my friend and I both chose the basket. This was my first attempt so it seemed sensible to do the same! Along with the new processes involved in this art, I was happy to chalenge myself and use my German language skills to introduce myself and chat as much as possible. Class lasted about four hours and by the end of the time I was incredibly pleased with the outcome! We used different thicknesses and colours  of willow harvested locally, only at a certain  time of year when it is ok to do so. The moisture content and flexibility of each piece of willow is important to keep structure and allow for the weaving of strands. I also learnt that the art of willow weaving is looking to become a UNESCO protected craft which seems a very good idea to me. A very good afternoon, dankeschön.

22 February 2017

Sketches from past and present

So the sketch on the right is mine - a rooftop view across Regensburg. I sketched it using black fineliner and then added a little subtle colour with my chalk pastels. The colours are just right for the grey, ochre and terracotta that is prominent here. The blue and pink of the sunrise adds life. Framed, wrapped and packed, I presented it to my father as a gift. Within a few moments he had gone off to the back room and returned with the framed sketch you see on the left of this photo. To my surprise and delight, it turns out that one of my grandma’s many, many, many artworks included this ink sketch of a very similar German scene - this time on the Rhine rather than near the Danube. What a special find and a wonderful link between the past and the present. We both smiled with pride.

19 February 2017

Spring is in the air

A few days spent in the UK was made even more special by some mild (not warm, quite yet) weather, blue skies and sunshine. It was great to wander in a few less layers of clothes, no snow boots and no hat and gloves. Much easier to settle quickly at the chosen coffee shop, bakery or pub and watch the world go by.

2 February 2017

A little break from the journal

Just a note to say that I am working on some other projects for a few days and will be away from my journal. If you would like to order any greetings cards, please  note that all online orders will not be packed and shipped before Monday 20th February, thank you for your patience. In the meantime, here is a picture of my current seasonal wreath that is decorating my front door. I thought it went well with the snow that we have outside and I certainly need something to fill the gap between Christmas and spring… I know it will be time to change to the next wreath when the view from the window is less white!

2 February 2017

Planning my next craft class

After great experiences at the bookbinding and paper folding classes I attended recently, my motivation for holding another class with friends is high. The date is set and the invites have been distributed. After talking with the ladies from last class, we decided it would be fun to create hand carved stamps from the soft and easily worked rubber blanks I have used many times before (see my for sale page and my range of greetings cards.) I have found a German brand that produces this soft rubber within its huge range of lovely craft items as well as my favourite from Japan I plan to share some of my stories and experiences from spring-time in Japan as we all eagerly await brighter weather and warmer temperatures! Ich freue mich auf den nächsten kurs!

23 January 2017

Keeping warm this winter

I have had the Purl Bee Quilted Vest pattern in my pile of items to sew, for a little while. Last week, with some very cold temperatures outside, I decided it was time to cut into the pre-quilted polka cotton that I bought in Japan last year. At the same time I chose some very finely striped cotton for the lining. As with all the Purl Bee patterns that you can download, I printed the pattern pieces, taped them together and got started! The pattern itself was easy to follow and the majority of the project took 2 or 3 evenings. Making the bias binding was new to me - I used my bias tape making tool (first time) and created bias tape matching my lining. After reading a few other people’s comments online, I chose to stitch this part by hand and I am very pleasd with the result. Although this took much longer than the rest of the sewing, it was definitely worth the effort. I look forward to matching it with a grey long sleeved base layer and feeling snug and smug at the same time!

18 January 2017

Book binding class - new year, new skill

I am always looking for access to new skills and now I am in Regensburg I am able to join the vhs (standing for Volkshochschule, meaning the people’s high school) where many types of classes for adults are held. The vhs is a German national institution which provides the opportunity for further adult education in all subjects.  I have previously joined a lovely group of friends in the Hula Dancing class. Last week I attended a two-day course on book binding techniques. Sign up and the class itself is all in German, which is great for improving my language skills! Along with 7 other students, I enjoyed making my own book samples and learning about the correct thickness of papers and cards, folding along the correct grain, stitching with linen or polyester thread and covering with, among other options, beautiful washi papers (it is everywhere and so beautiful.) The class cost about €50 and I came away feeling very satisfied with my new skills and happy to have met some lovely new contacts. I already know when I will use my book binding techniques, for a very special project coming up at the end of this year.

11 January 2017

Welcome back

Well I don’t know how you are feeling, but I’m just about back up and running at normal speed again. The break over the festive period was a wonderful mix of socialising and relaxing. Time passed in a haze of Sunday-feeling days and it was really indulgent. Now that it is already the second week of January I am in the swing of work and the usual weekly routine. Which is actually quite good too. While in the UK the skies were blue and the mornings frosty and clear. By night the stars were shining brightly. Returning to Germany brought a shock to the system as snow began to fall and coat the rooftops, streets and river banks. Following the soft snow came some very cold temperatures. Today my phone tells me the temperature feels like -12C. I am happy to be here at my desk, maybe I will take a quick trip to the supermarket before dinner, but not much further than that!

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