20 December 2018
However you spend your end of year, please enjoy some time to rest, relax, eat, drink and be merry. I know I certainly will! If I get the chance I will be back here before the new year, but if not I raise a glass to the start of 2019. Let it be another great one. Thank you friends...
8 December 2018
If you follow my instagram page, you will see many pictures with a festive and seasonal theme. It is lovely to capture them while I’m out and share them so easily with you. This month is so short and with so much to do, so without many words, here are a couple of my favourites. I have a pile of books to tell you about next time I am here in the journal…
16 November 2018
Just a note to say that I am working on some other projects for a couple of weeks 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 3 December, thank you for your patience.
8 November 2018
Have you been to Brussels? A month ago was the first time I’d visited and along with a very close friend, enjoyed two days of blue skies, warm weather, delicious food and fun ‘touristing.’ I think one of the most memorable parts was a museum/art gallery named Bozar Located along the same street as all the big name and traditional galleries, it houses a mix of musical performance, classical art, other crafts, a great shop and even a restaurant. We were only there for a couple of hours but I feel like we could have easily spent a lot longer exploring. Another fun memory was a quick crochet and knit session on a bench, next to a small open space with fountain, part-way down Avenue Louise. The evening was mild and the light was warm and as we sat and stitched we also watched others going about their normal 6pm routines. People getting on and off the tram on their way home from shopping or working, young children letting off steam before bath and bed and friends meeting before dinner and drinks out.
30 October 2018
Check out the cultural exchange workshops page of my website! I had a great afternoon with wonderful people. We all enjoyed carving stamps from rubber with Japanese seasonal motifs as inspiration. After changing the clocks it was the perfect day to be inside and warm as the afternoon turned into the evening… thank you to everyone involved, I’m already looking forward to the next opportunity to work with DJG Regensburg.
19 October 2018
Take a look at the for sale page of my website! I’m happy to announce my latest greetings card for sale. This year’s festive season card is designed with delicious Japanese food in mind. Inspired by what I see around me and 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.
18 September 2018
Take a look at the cutural exchange workshops page of my website! It’s not long to go until my latest workshop, sharing some of my favourite craft ideas. Details and sign up are all on that page. Thank you.
6 September 2018
Take a look at the for sale page of my website! I’m happy to announce my latest items for sale. Greetings cards with a Bavarian seasonal twist…. cherries, Zwetschgen plums and hops. Inspired by what I see around me and 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.
31 August 2018
I have always wanted to make a fun cushion in the shape of a creature (or collection of creatures!) and my first is done. It was a quick make without a pattern or technical difficulty, using an old woollen jumper and scraps of velvet. The colour of these up-cycled fabrics matches perfectly with one very cute creature we saw during our time in Japan. At dusk, while outside our house, we would notice a shadow or movement in the storm drains. After a couple of minutes of standing silently and observing we realised that this movement was a family of tanuki たぬき (Japanese raccoon dogs.) Very quiet and very cunning, they would move effortlessly through the neighbourhood, hidden in the drains and pop up at a different location minutes later. tanuki appear in many Japanese folktales and legends and wooden carvings or stone or pottery statues of them are often seen outside shops, homes, restaurants and shrines. Their illusive character is popular for characters in games and animated films. My tanuki is currently where I left him, on the settee...
27 August 2018
Along with world-class galleries and museums, delicious tapas and varied and intricate architecture, another of my favourite things about Madrid is the botanical garden. After moving from its orignal home, it was established in its current location (Paseo del Plado) in 1774 by King Charles III. Divided into three tiered sections, it houses a huge variety of species from all round the world. I love the way it has formal structure including box hedges and paved paths and walls and within this are mixed beds of flowers, shrubs, trees, edibles and decorative plants. Under the green and lush trees it is cool and tranquil on a hot and sunny summer day in the city. I was particularly taken by the kumquat, biwa and quince trees. Open during our visit was a great photography exhibition maybe I’ll write about that another day. It was wonderful too. Overall a very special morning. As you can imagine, I came away with many colourful photos.
21 August 2018
The view from the window on early mornings in summer, can be really stunning. Not in a dramatic way, but in a new-fresh-start way. Delicate pastel colours don't last long before the heat intensifies and the day begins. I need to make a set of swatches from this photo and use this somehow in my next project….
12 August 2018
I watched this film in a very atmospheric cinema in Regensburg (Garbo cinema) in the spring of this year. As soon as it started I knew I was going to love it. It is a stop-motion animated film written and directed by Wes Anderson The voice cast includes great names such as Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum. The story follows a young boy who loses his dog in a futuristic city in Japan. The animation and models are just stunning and each character is brought to life and given a unique personality. I really apreciated the way that Japanese and English language is mixed throughout. I loved the colours used and the symmetry represented on screen. I am amazed at the detail and work put into the models of the characters. I knew I would like to get the DVD when it was released and this weekend I have done just that! It was great to watch it again and I can’t wait to share it when friends come to visit. The DVD came with some cute postcards of the characters and that’s what made me finally decide to write a little about it here. Postcards ;-)
29 July 2018
At the end of last week I held my shibori-inspired craft class with five very good friends. We enjoyed craft time together, a light lunch and then the unveiling of our shibori creations. It always amazes me how each one is unique, so vivid and so beautiful. We all gasped each time one of us undid the stitches or the folds of the fabric… it was like opening up a treasure chest of jewels with emerald greens, ruby reds and sapphire blues.
17 July 2018
I have seen two issues of this free magazine from Kaufland supermarket and I love them both. Printed on a thick, uncoated paper stock and with a lovely palette of colours and sensitive choice of typefaces, I am enjoying the design and content within. The photography and layout is appropriate to each feature, whether longer of shorter. It has a great balance of emotive features and fun features and I am looking forward to the next issue already. My only question is does it match the Kaufland instore experience? Maybe I need to visit more stores to find out.
9 July 2018
Sundays are made for wandering and cafes and that is just what we did this weekend. As we walked past one of the many beautiful churches in town, we saw the ‘tower open’ sign hanging on the door and decided to take a look. After many wooden steps we were rewarded with a stunning view across Regensburg altstadt (old town.) The vibrant terracotta roof tiles looked especially attractive against the vivid blue sky. I am feeling inspired to create something with all this great pattern, texture and colour...
28 June 2018
I appreciate good design and there are some things that stick in my mind long after I see them. The archive of advertising posters at BMW Welt are a good example of this - I was drawn to the small but welcoming room that houses posters and other promotional material. BMW Welt in Munich comprises of the stunning showroom building promoting new cars for sale, the museum which holds a great collection of cars and motoring/engineering pieces and BMW HQ and associated buildings. I am still thinking about the posters in that little room and particularly the colours and printing methods associated with the era they were produced. The brand message was as clear then as it is now but it is interesting to see the way it has been presented through the generations.
22 June 2018
Just like the literature says, as soon as you step off the boat and onto the island, you feel like you are miles away from anywhere and in a very tranquil place. Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, UK, is owned by the National Trust and is home to a variety of wildlife including red squirrels, sika deer and common tern. Most of the island is open to the public and is made up of heathland, woodland and beach. I visited on a sunny warm day and thoroughly enjoyed walking along the woodland trails, sandy and pebbly beaches and meadows. The island has quite a rich history for such a small place and it was interesting to explore some of this at the visitor centre. Further round the island is the outdoor activity area where Baden Powell first tested the idea that became the Scout movement we know today. After a few hours of wandering, it was lovely to sit and enjoy a sandwich and drink at the cafe, looking out into Poole harbour while I waited for the boat to take me back. With more time, I could have easily got the first boat across and stayed all day.
20 June 2018
I love magazines, I love books, I love anything printed on paper! This is one of the magazines that I pick up when I can find it in the shops. I first discovered it in Japan and was probably drawn to it on one of my trips to the import shop because it was in English. RealSimple magazine has a relaxed yet trustworthy tone and its features range from health and beauty to housekeeping and relationships. I always like to see how they present their information - I find the design of the pages very easy to read, attractive and eye catching and with a lovely palette of colours. The pace of the pages varies from longer reads to one page standalone pieces for a gentle pause. If you can find a copy pick one up and see what you think. If not, visit the website or follow on Instagram. Always something pretty to look at and interesting to read.
8 June 2018
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 19th June, thank you for your patience.
6 June 2018
Take a look at the for sale page of my website! I’m happy to announce my latest item for sale. Greetings cards with a seasonal theme…. asparagus. Mouth watering and fresh from the field - 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.
5 June 2018
I have been following the progress of the publication of this book on Instagram and last weekend, bought a copy in Number 20 Berkhamsted. It is a beautifully researched and designed book, following local walking paths and bike trails around the town of Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. The town has very special memories for me and always will do, so it is easy for me to be instantly fond of this publication. But even without this sentimental attraction, Kevin Exley has included so much interesting history, facts and local knowledge that you may not discover elsewhere. So whether you are a local or a visitor to the area, it is worth a look. I was very happy to read about local businesses and people and even happier when I found one of Mary Casserley’s paintings illustrating one of the chapters. I love it and can’t wait for the next edition ;-)
29 May 2018
At the weekend I took a little trip along the Donau in Regensburg. This time just a 50 minute boat ride taking in the sites including the sausage kitchen, stone bridge and up to the weir and then a little way down river and back up the other stretch of the river past Grieser Spitz. It was a relaxing little trip and I got to see parts of the river that I had previously only seen from the river bank. It was a warm morning and the sky was an amazing blue. Great service on board with plenty icecream and snack options. https://schifffahrtklinger.de/portfolio/die-strudelrundfahrt/
As I walked back into the old town, I passed the steam-paddle museum boat that sits on the river bank. The door was open and I walked on board. From the outside you would not realise how much there is to explore on this boat that used to carry sacks of grains, seeds and many different cargos up and down the Donau. In the lower level of the boat you can wander through the individual rooms from front to back, seeing the engine and all the original parts that powered this machine. Really fascinating. The small entrance fee is well worth it and helps with the upkeep of the boat and other similar projects. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regensburg_Museum_of_Danube_Shipping
…and my favourite photo from the day, taken from inside the boat museum...
22 May 2018
I have a friend’s wedding coming up and after thinking for too long about it, decided that I would like a new handmade dress to wear on the day. I recently found a new fabric shop and bought some very pretty geometric cotton… Tree Farm Lit, Little Town by Amy Sinibaldi already knowing the sewing pattern I would use for it… my Vogue V8723 This pattern is one I have already made a couple of times in summery weight cottons and know what needs to be altered for a good fit on me. I have not had to line it before but because this fabric is white, lining was essential this time. That process takes it from being a very quick and easy sew, to being a somewhat more fiddly sew. I went through stages of regretting my white fabric choice, particularly when inserting the zip between fabric and lining! But now that it is complete and ironed, I know I will be very happy wearing this on the day. Nothing beats the feeling of a dress you made yourself and especially the swishy feeling of a lined, full skirt.
16 May 2018
No need for many words, just some pictures from a lovely evening stroll. Flowers, birds, bees and blue skies. Perfect ;-)
11 May 2018
While I was at the Pinakothek Der Moderne, Munich I came across an exhibition that made me very happy. It was something very different and I felt pleased to have seen it. Set in its own big square room, was a huge white table. Covering the table were tiny pieces of silver paper hand crafted into many many mini sculptures. While I was looking at them, I noticed that some were folded from Lotte chocolate wrappers, a brand I am very familiar with from being in Japan. After inspecting nearly all the pieces, I saw the short description of the artist and the work. It turns out that this installation is by an artist named Roman Ondák, who asked 500 factory workers in Japan to create a small folded item from silver chocolate papers. I think it is fascinating…. and I wonder how it would look if you asked workers from other countries to do the same?
7 May 2018
Take a look at the for sale page of my website! I’m happy to announce my latest item for sale. Greetings cards with a Bavarian bread theme…. mouth watering and fresh from the oven - 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.
3 May 2018
Last week I visited Pinakothek Der Moderne, Munich with a good friend. It was a beautiful sunny day and the entrance foyer of the museum looked really stunning. The light streamed through the round roof and cast geometric shadows across the walls and floors. On the right as we walked in, I spotted the area that housed large format posters by Ikko Tanaka. It was a colourful and diverse display of the faces posters from throughout his career. A mix of colour and type gave this collection the feeling of Japanese expression mixed with the Bauhaus style that influenced his work. The eyes, whether simple coloured circles or elegant brushstroke lines, followed the viewer’s movement as they inspected each piece. It was lovely to see these posters.
25 April 2018
After buying a very comfy denim pinafore dress last month, I felt the need to recreate the simple pattern in another fabric. Now that spring weather is here and toes are on show most days, I have rediscovered my love for coral nail varnish - trying new colours is great, but I know I will always return to the trusty coral! So, the lovely Japanese cotton twill I had in my stash, in CORAL, was the obvious choice! I laid out my denim pinafore dress and traced around the front, back, straps, facing and pocket pieces, remembering to add enough for seam and hem allowance when cutting in fabric. It didn’t take long to finish the piece and with the aid of bias binding around the curved edges, I am very happy with the result! Perfect for sunny days to come.
19 April 2018
I am planning a trip to Munich to visit the Pinakothek Der Moderne museum. I have wanted to go for a while and this season seems a good time. I am particularly looking forward to seeing the work of Ikko Tanaka, one of the most influential Japanese graphic designers. This exhibition displays some of his faces posters and I am intrigued to see his Japanese style mixed with other influences from his working career. https://www.pinakothek.de/en/exhibitions/ikko-tanaka-faces-posters
On a completely different topic, I am also very interested to see the exhibition about Bavarian housing through the last 100 years. https://www.pinakothek.de/en/exhibitions/flats-flats-flats-housing-bavaria-1918-2018 Architecture is always so closely linked to society and changing social needs - I think back to the exhibition about Japanese architecture I visited last summer at The Barbican, London. Lots to learn… and of course a chance to see a bit more of Munich while I am there.
9 April 2018
I have a friend’s wedding coming up and am very much looking forward to being a guest on the special day. The invitation requested hats or fascinators for the ladies… I had something in mind from the moment I read that line. A very special friend in Japan created a delicate hair slide for me and I knew I wanted to use this and add a little something extra. The pretty five-pearl bead flowers on the gold wire are my friend’s work. After a little Pinterest research, I decided to add some small leather leaves to create a larger piece and more movement. I am very pleased with the result and look forward to wearing it soon. I know my friend in Japan will be very happy to learn I am wearing it on the special day.
3 April 2018
Over the long Easter weekend, we took a trip to a part of the Bavarian forest that is home to a Baumwipfelpfad ( treetop walkway.) https://www.baumwipfelpfad.bayern/bayerischer-wald-en/ As we pulled into the car park, I was surprised to see huge mounds of snow still present and slowly melting! Just like the first time we visited, we enjoyed easy walking on wooden pathways up at tree top height, with great views out across the Bavarian and Bohemian forests. At the end of the walkway is the 44 metre tree tower, shaped like an egg. It is a beautiful piece of architecture. On this visit I saw reference to other similar wooden structures that have been built in other woodland areas of the country. Along with an exhibition centre, plenty to keep children interested and at least three cafes, there is also a woodland animal park with creatures such as beavers, wolves and owls. http://www.nationalpark-bayerischer-wald.de/zu_gast/einrichtungen/npz_lusen/tier_freigelaende/ We had a relaxing day and returned home happy and well fed (some huge and delicious pieces of cake in the cafe!) And as always, I couldn’t resist a very cute postcard from the shop - and one of my favourite creatures, the owl x
28 March 2018
Each year when March comes around, my mind is busy waiting for sakura to blossom in and around my favourite places in a previous hometown. Pictures are coming from my friends in Kobe and the blooms are happening now! In town, by the coast, by friends’ apartment blocks and along shopping streets. Although I am not there this year, I feel like I am walking under the trees as their buds burst open. Delicate pink and white petals, vibrant green leaf buds and sweet honey scent when the breeze blows. My favourite sakura-tracking website… take a look https://www.japan-guide.com/sakura/ (And I have just realised that the decison behind my choice of logo colour on my website was strongly influenced by this flower!)
16 March 2018
On a recent visit to an Age UK shop, I picked up this beautiful blue fabric. Not only do I have another lovely piece to add to my stash, but I have helped a worthy cause at the same time. Can’t be easier! The fabric in question is a fine woven cotton with a blue cross pattern. Smooth and silky in texture, I’m thinking it will be lovely for a summery long dress, maybe using this pattern... from my Mum’s collection. I’ve always liked the look of the low back. Maybe this summer is the time for it. Just need to complete my wintry makes first.
13 March 2018
Hopefully a sign of good weather to come! Temperatures are creeping up and the skies are more blue than white ;-) Easter chocolates and decorations are in all the shops and people seem to have more of a smile than a frown!
26 February 2018
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 13th March, thank you for your patience.
25 February 2018
Thank you, vielen Dank my friends. Another lovely morning spent with friends. Nothing beats sharing free time with kind people, tasty food (have you tried this cookie recipe from BBC Good Food It is one of my favourite favourites - always works and easy to change the cranberries and pistachios for anything you fancy) and a shared love for making things! These beautiful felt sakura pictures were taken by my husband with his new camera - I think they look really smart :-)
16 February 2018
I have seen many cute, kawaii, かわいい items, but for me not much can beat an onigiri bag or purse…! My latest Japanese sewing book purchase is called ‘Interesting Pouches’ and includes just that, along with numerous other fun and customisable makes. Perfect for using up small pieces of fabric that are too good to throw away. Oh! So cute! (This book is in the Lady Boutique Series ISBN 4939459645301, printed and publsihed in Japan.)
8 February 2018
A short break to Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic did not disappoint. I have been twice before, the first time as a design research trip with college and the second as a weekend break. Even though I have seen the famous Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, astronomical clock and the Prague Castle on numerous occasions, the spendour is still breathtaking. The clear blue skies, welcoming coffee shops, street stalls selling warming Trdelník (a cake cooked on a spit, served warm with cinnamon and sugar) and vast choice of galleries and museums make it a great place to spend time in winter. My most memorable place was a morning in a gallery on the Old Town Square. The three floors of the building each housed a different artist’s work, currently showing Mucha,Warhol and Dali. I have always admired the floral intricacy and graphic design skill of Alfons Mucha and I was very happy to see such a large collection of his beautiful work. If you are in Prague it is definitely worth a trip to Galerie GOAP Staroměstské náměstí 15, Praha 1.
1 February 2018
Working on some pretty pink sakura blossoms is helping me think ahead to warmer brighter days of spring… watch this space for more details to come.
25 January 2018
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 and warming Japanese dishes - 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.
15 January 2018
Last weekend brought high water to Regensburg on the Danube. This week has snowflakes on the weather forecast. It is certainly winter. Time to wrap up and keep warm. Still beautiful to walk out in the fresh air when there is time…
9 January 2018
On my travels, I recently picked up a copy of frankie magazine. I heard about it from one of my close friends and subscribed to their newsletter a while ago. This was the first paper copy I had seen and I wasn’t disappointed. The cover describes frankie as 'design, art, photography, fashion, travel, music, craft, home, life’ and I love the way it contains more than just craft. This month’s issue celebrates their 80th issue - and having worked in consumer magazine publishing I know how special milestones like that can be. It takes a huge amount of energy and teamwork to keep a magazine interesting, successful and in the shops! I think what caught my eye the most, alongside the delicate colour palette and considered typefaces inside, is the feature about a couple who run a guesthouse near Melbourne, Australia. It is filled with nostalgic pieces of furniture and decorations that help give a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Each piece has been lovingly chosen and collected - not just bought online because it matches the latest fleeting trend. Have a look at the frankie website or if you can find a copy, treat yourself!
8 January 2018
After wonderful days of great food and company, now it is time to get back into the normal routine. Once again, days are either work days or weekends… something which became hazy during the holiday period! Yesterday I made a little flower arrangment for our hallway… I just fancied something fresh to take the place of our Christmas tree that we took down on Sunday. He was such a lovely one! Leaves a big empty space… until next year. These carnations and tulips are just placed in florist foam and sit in a round natural wreath container that a very talented florist in Japan gave me ;-)