design, craft and daily creativity

2020 journal

17 December 2020

Special season’s greetings

However you spend your end of year, please enjoy some time to rest, relax and acknowledge all that has happened this year. Be safe, look after those around you whether friends, family or your community. Keep strong and let’s keep positive for a better start to the new year. If I get the chance I will be back here before then, but if not I raise a glass to the start of 2021. Thank you friends for your support and kindness, always...


16 December 2020

DJG Regensburg photo gallery

If you have moment, take a look at DJG Regenburg’s photo gallery  showcasing memories and experiences from Japan. I submitted a few photos myself and have enjoyed scrolling through other people’s special shots from time spent living, working or visiting. The Deutsch-Japanische Gesellschaft Regensburg have been marking their 15th anniversary this year and despite the obvious restrictions, have created some clever ways to celebrate and get people involved.

25 November 2020

🕯🎄 Virtual Advent Calendar using MyAdvent 🎄🕯

In about September, I decided it would be a good idea to create an online countdown calendar or Advent calendar, to round up the good things from this year. Ofcourse there are so many negatives and challenges from the last months, but if you look hard it is easy to find many great moments. They may be small and understated, but this year they are what has kept me going and I am so grateful for them! Thank you to everyone mentioned indirectly on this Advent calendar and the many others who are equally as important to me. This is the first time I have come across MyAdvent and I hope it works as I expect! If you want to open a door each day of December, up until the 24th, just click on the image below.  I hope it inspires you to think back to your special moments this last year ❤️

20 November 2020

Paper stars. Papiersterne

Every year when winter comes around and Christmas starts to creep into the shops and the streets of Regensburg, I notice the many beautiful folded stars. They can be tiny and displayed on the Christmas tree. They can be made from paper and hung in display windows or from more substantial materials and strung between buildings in the town. This year is the year I want to craft my own! The initial inspiration came from a book of paper flowers, folded from ready-made paper bags. Blütenzauber, Einfach aus Papiertüten. Elisabeth Rath.  Depending on the colour and style of the paper bag used, these flowers can easily become wintry and ultimately stars. With my kind friends in and around Regensburg, I held a casual Thursday evening video workshop, via WhatsApp. There were five of us on the Virtuel Stammtisch and we all enjoyed seeing each other and making our own paper star. We are still messaging with photos of our latest stars! Since that very successful evening, I have found many great YouTube creators with their own videos (including:  Pink Cloud DIY - How to Make a Paper Bag Star - Amazing Home Decoration - Easy Recycle Tutorial  and priyanka knowledge bank priyanka knowledge bank -  How to make paper bag at home | paper shopping bag craft ideas Handmade at home) and plan to share this simple but very effective craft with friends around the globe. My sister in the UK has just sent me a photo of her first beautiful paper star… next week I will video call a friend in Kobe, Japan… once you start, it becomes quite addictive!


6 November 2020

Adobe MAX online 2020

From the start of October,  I had a few notifications and reminders (through Instagram and also my Adobe Creative Cloud) to sign up for Adobe MAX  This year its format was a purely online 'creativity conference’ and that really benefitted me! For three days starting on 20th October, Adobe brought together over 350 sessions and hundreds of speakers. I watched the keynote opening speech on the first day and from then on, made myself a little schedule of the events I wanted to see. The entire timetable was huge and spanned all hours of the day, as the speakers and sessions covered all continents. After watching a few presentations I really began to feel a part of the community of people all round the world, that were either watching or providing content. It was a really good feeling. Now that the event is over, it is great to see that links to most sessions are still available. I am sharing with friends and family, those that inspired me! Here are a couple that have got me thinking:
Brush Lettering with Debi Sementelli and Laura Worthington
How Sanrio improves its Hospitality content with Adobe Tools
A Type Safari Through East London with Sarah Hyndman

5 October 2020

New autumn quilted jacket 

For many years, I have wanted a quilted jacket with stretchy cuffs and collar. There is something about the shape and look of them, that takes me back to school days and happy times. New autumn school term always meant a new jacket for the colder months and a trip to the shops with my mum and sister. With a little more time at the moment,  this is the year! When the autumn Stoff & Stil paper catalogue arrived in my letterbox a couple of months back, I decided to order their quilted jacket pattern and the corresponding fabric… before it was all snapped up. I am so glad I did. I think this project took me about 2 weekends of sewing plus a few evenings finishing and tidying. There is no lining required as the quilted fabric is double sided. The front edges are finished with bias binding and the zip is added after that. The pattern itself is cut from a woven fabric and comes ready to use (in the single size you choose.) The instructions are very minimal but with a bit of sewing experience it is ok to follow. Once I had completed the jacket, I decided to add a satin tape to all the exposed seams on the inside. This makes them stronger and also looks really lovely. The suggestion on the instructions is to overlock all these seams - I used the zigzag stitch on my machine, but still wanted something more. Today was the first trip out in the jacket and I already love it. The chunky gold zip and the black but not plain black make me smile!


14 September 2020

Ukiyo-e generator… create your own!

While messaging with my good friend Akari, in Japan, I learnt about the following website: When I got home and opened the link on my iMac, I was amazed! Using the very clever software presented jointly by the Ōta Memorial Museum of Art, Japan Ukiyo-e Museum and Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation, it is possible to create and download your own mini Ukiyo-e artwork. Ukiyo-e directly translates as ‘pictures of the floating world’ and became a popular Japanese style of art from the 17th to 19th centuries. Usually created as woodblock prints but also sometimes as paintings, scenes from Japanese nature, folktales, travel, theatre and lanscapes featured heavily. The most famous artists that helped to develop the western world’s understanding of Ukiyo-e include Hokusai and Hiroshige. Until 22 September, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum is holding the Ukiyo-e 2020 exhibition. The Ukiyo-e generator is part of the online celebrations. Take a look and see what you can create!

ukiyo e_generator

21 August 2020

Kreative Hausaufgaben auf Deutsch

While the regular routine of German language lessons is on hold, I decided to begin creating a new set of postcards in German. During a trip to France last year, I did the same as a way of journalling something memorable from each day, using language skills and drawing and painting. I find it very rewarding and also a way of releasing some feelings that can otherwise become trapped and grow out of control. A tiny dose of therapy. These ones are from the first few months of this year. Even now, it is interesting to look back and see how my thoughts and feelings have changed, improved or stayed the same.


7 August 2020

Nepal Himalaya Pavillion

It was a hot and sunny day and we decided to visit the Nepal Himalaya Pavillion  Wiesent,  Bavaria. Many friends have mentioned this place to me and it finally came round to a good time to visit. I didn't really know what to expect, but on arrival it quickly became clear that many people know about this great place! It is not a yet-to-be-discovered quiet place - the car park was full and there was a long line to purchase tickets, exactly on the opening time! It was ok, we were all outside, distanced from each other and in the shade of beautiful old trees. We passed under an ornate wooden gate and soon entered the gardens. The stroll through the landscaped ponds, flower beds, raked gravel and rolling lawns was very relaxing and therapeutic. Statues and carvings made of wood, metal and stone are dotted amoungst the scenery and add lovely points of interest. As I hadn’t read about the pavillion before we arrived, it was a great surprise to see it’s coloured flags and beautiful white domed roof. The water that forms a large feature of the building was tranquil and calming. All in all, the afternoon was a really pleasant surprise. Certainly something I would love to repeat in different seasons and with friends or family when they can visit. The pictures below describe it better than my words can. The deep blue sky definitely added to my happy feeling on the day.


24 July 2020

Dip pen and calligraphy inks

I am terrible (or very good!) when it comes to collecting more and more craft and art goodies. Recently I picked up a calligraphy pen and five different thickness nibs. Since school and the blue ink fountain pen, I have not used ink pens like these. But I know I adore the metallic inks especially… I used lots of these with brushes, when at college. Now is a great time to teach myself another technique. Mixing the calligraphy dip pen, inks and other pens and paints I have is good fun. Even if I’m not following the traditional rules of the art. That’s what creativity is all about, right? As ever, inspiration comes from things around me, friends, situations, colour palettes I see in other pieces plus quote ideas from pinterest… it makes me happy to create and share as a postcard, with friends all round the world.


10 July 2020

Appreciating the small things

In these times of constant change, worry and adaptation, noticing and appreciating the small things is becoming even more important to me. Travel, meeting friends and family and relaxing over a meal out are not happening as we are accustomed to… it is tough. But it is important to make sensible decisions, keep ourselves, our loved ones, and the community we live in well. While we all wait for better times, seeing beauty in what is close by can help the days seem more positive. One such simple thing that I have just reaquianted myself with, is flower pressing. As a child I had a small flower press and remember gathering petals, flowers and leaves to add to my collection. It was always fun to wait and finally be able to open up the layers of paper held tight by the butterfly nuts and long bolts. I am yet to retrieve my childhood press or buy a new one, so this first rehearsal used a large book. Blooms from a special bouquet of flowers in shades of peach, pink and muted yellow, have sat between the pages for about three weeks and this morning emerged; super flat, delicate veins visible, rice paper thin. As always, the colours become softer and almost antique in appearance. I have arranged them on a sheet of handmade paper from a wonderful local paper mill in my home region and framed in a modern frame from . It is very special to me and I love it! Now I just need to collect more flowers to start the process again...


2 June 2020

shodo class via Skype

My shodo sensei in Kobe, Japan has always reminded me that she can take shodo (Japanese calligraphy) classes via video call. At this time, it seemed a great offer to take up. The last time I saw her was in November and we had a good catch up over coffee, with most of our chat related to creativity and the potential it holds. Last week, after setting a time that suited us both and worked with the seven hour time difference, we did it! It was so fun to see each other on the screen and despite so many video calls with friends and family recently,  this seemed different again. It was lovely to have the time to be creative and for me to do the learning. Together we worked through the Japanese kanji for rainbow (niji, にじ、虹)and she described the feeling and sweeping motion needed to finish the tail of the kanji, which represents the bow shape of a rainbow. For me, shodo is a chance to take precious quiet time, preparing the ink, the papers and breathing and thinking as you create the deep black strokes. The repetition required to produce the ‘good one’ begins to form a kind of muscle memory. After some time, I am not just copying the sample or video that sensei has prepared for me, but marking the paper with the brush in a much more sensitive way. After class I added to my black shodo with a rainbow painted with waterbased brushpens. I really like the way the colour works against the strong black and also the way that the Japanese symbol for rainbow sits alongside the colourful pictorial rainbow. I am so pleased we made the class happen, we already talk about the next one! Thank you so much Noriko.  のりこ ありがとう ございました。


4 May 2020

Out of season, but makes me happy

While scrolling through my camera roll the other day, I came across my photos from November/December 2019 and my latest trip to Japan. Along with seeing wonderful sites, eating fantastic food and shopping far too much in all the great craft shops, I spent precious time with friends that are all very special to me. One such evening was with my great friend Machiko and her two work colleagues, Yamagami san and Mayumi. I feel very lucky to now call these two ladies great friends,  too. In the time between me saying that I had booked flights to visit, and me arriving, a wonderful welcome party had been created for me. I felt very honoured. We all met at a Japanese style restaurant and settled into the comfy table that was reserved for us. Our time slot for the reservation on the table was 2 hours, but in that time we chatted, practised our English and Japanese language, laughed, ate and drank. Along with this, I was also treated to a fantastic rendition of a Mariah Carey Christmas song, by my friends. I felt touched and also very festive. Whenever I hear that song now, and especially during the run-up to Christmas just gone, it takes me back to our meal together in Japan. Before our food came to the table, we also shared craft skills. Yamagami san had prepared paper cut snowflake templates and designs. She demonstrated some of these clever cutting techniques and patiently observed as the rest of us enjoyed making our own. To this day, the instructions and colourful snowflakes sit next to me, at my desk in Germany. Memories from a fun evening with great friends. Thank you. いつも ありがとう ございました やまがみ さん、まゆみ、まちこ。🥰 じゃ また ね。きおつけて ください。


17 April 2020

Origami video calls

What would we do without the technology to video call family and friends? I have been really enjoying calls with friends and their young  children - together we have been creating all sorts of creatures and creations using  origami techniques. You can’t help but smile when you work through a  set of instructions together, and form a seahorse with a great tail, nose, fins. All from one 15cm square piece of paper!


30 March 2020

Colouring-in for you 💖

Do you need something creative, to help turn your mind off for a few moments? Colouring in between the lines has always been something that calms me. I am currently creating individual prints and pictures for friends and family but I also wanted to create something that I could share further. Keep an eye on the tab at the top of my website called for you. I will add line drawings from photos in my camera roll, that you can download, print out and colour in. Pen, pencil, paint… whatever you fancy. Let me see your finished pieces by posting them with #handmadebycaroline and tagging me @handmadebycaroline_  on Instagram. Enjoy.

colour incolour in2

11 March 2020

Easter eggs embroidery a success!

They are not fancy and were much quicker to make than my genuine temari balls, but I am very happy with the pretty colours and Easter feeling these eggs bring! See my Easter crafting project journal entry below, for the full story.


Take a look

My latest workshop...


6 March 2020

Easter crafting project

I have been rearranging a few home decoration things and at the weekend I will get out some more spring and Easter bits, including my spring/Easter door wreath and family of German wooden rabbits! Small things like this make me feel happy. I always have two baskets of my Japanese temari balls (decorative hand embroidered balls,) no matter the season. This spring, I really want to create an Easter egg shaped temari ball. This morning I popped to a local art shop and bought five polystyrene ‘eggs’ - now I am looking at my pretty coloured threads and my temari books, along with a few pinterest photos  and as soon as I have time I want to start this next exciting project! Watch this space and wish me luck! I want to make my Japanese temari sensei proud :-)


21 February 2020

Document Neupfarrplatz

On a cold Sunday morning, we visited the underground area at Neupfarrplatz, Regensburg, known as Document  It is one of many areas in the old town with great historical relevance, and in the mid-1990s was excavated and preserved to be a reminder of the past. From above ground all that is visible is a small glass paving slab and the modern metal staircase leading to the underground section. As we descended the metal stairs and stepped into the first chamber, we could already see the layers of stone and concrete that each represented a period in the past. Neupfarrplatz itself was the site of the thriving Jewish quarter in medieval times. Now stands a large Protestant-Lutheran church, built in the 16th century. Our tour guide was very sensitive in describing the difficult history of the area, including the destruction of the Jewish quarter and its inhabitants. We also learnt how Neupfarrplatz (translated into English as New Parish Place) had also been the site of Roman officers’ quarters and laterly an air raid shelter during World War 2. Having walked across this area hundreds of times, it was good to hear more about what happened here. Now when I walk across to Edeka supermarket, I always think about what I learnt.


31 January 2020

Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum, Kobe

On my latest trip to Kobe, Japan, I discovered a museum that is new to me. Nestled in a beautiful green area very close to the busy station of Shin-Kobe  it was a great find for a relaxing Sunday afternoon. I have visited friends and other places in this area, at the foot of Mount Rokko, but I never knew about this fascinating museum. The building itself is beautiful and housed inside is a wonderful collection of carpentry tools and examples of techniques, mostly from Japan but also from Europe too.  Alongside the breaktaking building, views from the windows and permanent exhibitions, we saw the special exhibition KIGUMI  :revealing the carpentry behind the wood joint. It is amazing to see all these examples of intricate joints, created from wood. How some of them were even imagined is just incredible. The intricacy and accuracy of the final joint is wonderful - and often completely invisible! This beautiful and educational building preserves, educates and holds a great role in the history and future of Japanese carpentry.


UPDATED 19 January 2020
8 January 2020 

Happy New Year!

As I update my website and think ahead to the exciting things that are already filling the calendar… I wonder how another year has passed so quickly. We all say it, but it is so true. I had a great couple of weeks of good company, good food and laziness and now it is back to normal and time to be productive, creative and positive! 

Take a look at my workshops page to see one of the projects I am currently creating…

19 January 2020
Thank you to all who joined my kinchaku craft class last week. What a fun few hours of crafting, chatting, eating and pure creativity. Not only did I spend time with great people, but like always, was inspired by how each individual approaches the same project in a unique way. It is something I will never tire of. Danke meine Handwerkkurs Freundinnen! Bis zum nächsten Mal!

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