Friday, 29 April 2011

Royal Wedding

All week I've said I would not watch the Royal Wedding of William and Kate... but here I am sitting in front of the telly and it's all about to start. My boys have gone to a soccer match and they will bring home pizza for dinner so I wont miss anything. I watched Diana and Charles' wedding so how could I miss this one?

Red, White and Blue
I'm Australian, of Scottish and English heritage (amongst many other things) and I'm not particularly a Royal watcher but when I was a young girl I adored Lady Diana and I remember when She and Charles visited Australia in 1983 soon after William was born, my Mum took us and the next door neighbour's kids out of school for a day and we went to wave our flags and see them in St Georges Terrace in the center of Perth*. I purchased a small posy which I was lucky enough to give and I got to shake Charles' hand. My brother can always say that, while his wife will always be his Queen, he has been kissed by a princess because Diana held his little face and kissed it ever so sweetly. Our family's only brush with Royalty but there you go I guess not too many people can say they were either kissed by or presented flowers to Diana or shaken the hand of Charles. I always thought she must have been really adored her own boys because she was just so sweet to my little brother. I cried a bucketful (at least) when Diana died, she would be so proud to see her first son married.
I hope this marriage will be a very happy one.

Signing off now, it is all about to start because... here comes the Bride.

* I think I've said it before but my Mum is magical and the most fantastic mother I could ever hope for. I don't think too many other kids were off school that day which is why we were so lucky to meet the Royal couple... and because my little brother was so cute too. What an awesome memory to have.

Luma Amigurumi

I've completed my third amigurumi project a few weeks ago but forgot to post it to the blog. Mr W really was so desperate for me to get it finished he asked his Dad to make dinner last night so I could finish it off... he also stayed up until 10pm so he could see it finished off. Talk about pressure! I couldn't get the little arms exactly the same despite pulling them apart and re-crocheting them several times... in the end I gave up and decided to be happy with their little wabi sabi selves.

Here is Luma next to the Mario Mushroom I made previously. I think that perhaps this crochet bit is good for me (even if I'm not good at it yet) because it seems to use different muscles to the ones used in temari and yubinuki stitching. In other words my wrists and forearms hurt after making this project.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Cosmo threads on sale... last 3 days.

Our 'try me' special on Cosmo threads is just about to end. If you are considering this thread you just have 3 days* to grab some for your stash at the special introduction price of $2.00AUD and saving of 60cAUD!

I can send this thread anywhere but international orders will have an additional invoice sent for the postage as it is impossible to get a correct price for this in the shopping cart. Remember the special price only applies to shades that are currently in stock - these are shaded with blue over the number in the image.

Here's the link to the store... dash over there and take a look now.

I am still trying to source the colour swatches made of real thread for this brand... it is a little like pulling teeth to be honest but I wont give up until I succeed.

*This offer ends Midnight on April 30th, 2011 Australian WST.

Monday, 25 April 2011


Another year has whizzed by and we find ourselves at ANZAC Day again. This year it is a little unusual because it has fallen on Easter Monday.

Perth War Memorial, Kings Park. Image from
This ode is read at the dawn service:

They shall not grow old,
As we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We will remember them.
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.

Night Image of Perth War Memorial, King Park. Image from
Underneath the memorial structure is a large walled area on which the names of fallen soldiers from Western Australia are inscribed. 

Image by Martin Pot

My DH is working today (instead of catching up with his old Navy buddies at the RSL) so Mr W and I will be making our ANZAC biscuits together and seeing as it is also Easter we might spread the underside with chocolate. ANZAC biscuits are available through all grocery stores at this time of year but I believe that the thoughts and love that goes into baking your own makes them taste so much better.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday

Aaaah it's Easter Sunday aka Family day. This afternoon we will have a family get together which is always the most wonderful treat.

Yesterday we went to a wedding, the bride was beautiful, as all brides tend to be, and I shed several little tears because this bride holds a special place in my heart. You see many years ago when she and her brother were young children, I worked as their nanny. I can't count the number of swimming races and bike contests I timed for them or how many sheets of cookies we baked during that time. I introduced them to all thing Japanese after I returned from living in Japan. When Suzie was 8 years old I promised that if I ever got married she would be my brides maid, and lucky for me when we married several years ago she came home from Japan to do just that. Here is a pic of the gorgeous couple... the photo simply doesn't do justice to them, but it was the best I could take through my happy tears.

Our families have always been close, we are in contact all through the year and have spent many Christmases together.

The ceremony was lovely, the reception dinner was stunning - what more could you expect when the groom is a chef. I was surprised that on the reception tables there were kissing lovebird cutouts on top of all the glasses... I knew a little about the colour theme and flowers (I gave Suzie the name of the wonderful florist that did my wedding flowers) in advance but I must have had my psychic hat on when I decided to make the amigurumi lovebirds as part of my gift.

Also in related news: There was a round of betting taken on how long the Best Man's speech would be at the reception... My DH won at 6min 28sec there was a little bit more than $50 in the pot... DH and I have donated it to the Japanese Red Cross relief appeal. If you'd also like to make a donation the link is at the top of this page... my brothers personal fundraising is just short of $5,000.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Amigurumi Wedding Gift

I made these love birds for our friends Suzie and Jono's wedding (which is happening on Easter Saturday). I think they are so cute. I got the pattern here. They came together quite well after a some failed attempts. I chose purple for the embellishments because that is the colour theme for the wedding.

Being very new to crochet I still don't know all the stitch names. This pattern is also written a little differently to other 3 projects I have made so I needed to get my head around that too. Initially I let that negative voice in my head (that tells me all the things I can't do) win so I tried a more simple pattern from Lion. It didn't look as cute as I hoped. So I made the flower and hat embellishments to try them on the other pattern but it still wasn't cute. Then the little encouraging voice in my head (the very quiet, shy one) whispered to just give the pattern I wanted to use a try because I had the yarn, I could pull it all out even if it didn't work and perhaps I should look to the Internet to find out what the terms I didn't know meant.  These are the first Amigurumi that I have added the toy eyes to... they are trickier than the crocheting.

I'm glad I've decided to listen to my positive self talk more often because I'd never have even tried this project otherwise. As I focus on turning my internal dialogue around to be more positive I am finding that I actually can do almost everything I try... I wonder why it took me almost 40 years to realise it.

Other crafting:
My thimble is still underway... I will try to get it finished this weekend and post it early next week. I'm also aiming to make 3 little Amigurumi Easter eggs for the kids in our family.

Also I woke up to homemade waffles this morning. Mr W, 9 years old, made them on his own... and they actually worked out, tasted delicious and the kitchen was still tidy. 11 out of 10 my boy. Here they are.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Day tripping 2

In York we took several trips across the suspension bridge. This brought back memories for me from the period when we lived near the central coast of NSW and we had to cross a suspension bridge to get to school. Mr W was initially wary about crossing and freaked out just a bit when his Dad started bouncing the platform with his big stamps across the platform. Mr W soon go over it because he ran back and forwards over the bridge several time more.

There is also a neat selection of little stores full of books and handicrafts which are made by locals in the surrounding districts. My favourite was the handmade soap store Monet Natural Soaps which is located in a mall that runs off the main street. I can't find a website link to this lovely little store, but it is run by a really lovely lady who hand makes the soaps. The front soap is minty deliciousness, the soap on the left is rose geranium soap which is a scent I just can't resist and the right soap smells divine but I can't recall the name of it. They are made as an olive oil cold process (CP) soap and we had a good chat about soap making and how much we both loved it.

There was a band called Slim and Jim playing outside this store (in the garden of the adjacent pub) which was so loud (and not too nice to listen to in my opinion anyway) we could hear it when we arrived in town and believe it or not we could also hear it droning all the way to the Mt Brown lookout. Can you see the arrow pointing to the area of the pub? It was about a kilometre from where this photo was taken.

The countryside will be green and lush soon (if we EVER get any rain that is) but right now it is suffering the effects of an extended hot, summer... everything is crisped to within an inch of life. Mr W's favourite store was the old-fashioned sweets shop... he made three visits there during the day. He also purchased a book from the Book Lady's store.

I also made a small purchase at the sweet shop. They were on special for about $3.00 as the chocolate inside was out of date. I tossed out the candy inside because I just wanted the boxes. They are the perfect size for small projects on the go.

I was just going to buy the Reece's tin but I was worried it wouldn't be large enough... I was right, it didn't fit my bias tape. I'm glad I picked up the Hershey's box too, I think I'll use the small tin for Kanzashi flower projects in process which are currently being stored in a small Tupperware container.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Yubinuki making again

My last few attempts at making Yubinuki have ended in frustration due to the mold I had been using. Actually there was nothing wrong with the mold, the problem was with the marking paper on top of the mold. You see my ability to divide on the tiny scale required by Yubinuki is not wonderful. I can divide 8 sections onto a 6cm circumference, I can even manage to make a 12 section division ok but now that I have been making beads the circumference has gone down to 3.3cm... this is very small indeed... particularly for someone as measurement challenged as me.

I was fiddling with my publisher program yesterday to try to make some much more evenly divided marking papers to wrap around my mold core and made an interesting and accidental discovery. I was adding lines measuring from the left ruler and pulled across a guide line. What was that? I'd never seen it before so I did the same thing again and out came another guide line. Wow! Now I tried to get them evenly spaced.... grrr... I am so challenged with this.

A little later I right clicked a line sitting near a guide line to try to copy it... guess what a little box came up that allowed me to place the guide line in a definite measurement from the left side of the paper. I had stumbled on the answer to my prayers. Being self taught on most things to do with the computer I occasionally stumble on some marvellous feature I'd never expected to exist. So after several hours of calculating all the divisions I wanted to make and placing guidelines I have a wonderful set of correctly measured division papers to fit around my mold. I started using a 11 division paper and must say it is working beautifully. This proves my long suspected theory that my measuring, not my stitching, was to blame for all those Yubinuki that just didn't turn out right.

I haven't quite finished this Yubinuki so I'm not showing it today but I will get it done and add it to a post soon.

Patricia asked if this set of guides would work for any other size than the 3.3cm they were specifically made for. The quick answer is no not really unless you did a lot of fiddling to ensure that the paper was stretched and printed to your exact size requirements. Too much like hard work I think. But click over here to see how Chloe Patricia from Mamercerie does hers. This is great when your marking paper remains inside the thimble (therefore you need a new one for every project) but mine sits on top of the mould - between the mould and the bias tape- so I can reuse it over and over again. Also I am working on a very small scale length here.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Ambulance Adventures

Yesterday we had two family members take trips to hospital in the back of ambulances. Our gorgeous mother took a slip in greasy patch at a petrol station while going into the store to pay for her fuel. She landed in a painful heap on the floor and but a nice young man was kind enough to call her an ambulance and then take care of her until it arrived to take her off to Joondalup Health Campus. She has been through a series of scans on her leg which we haven't had the results of yet, I hope it isn't too serious (I mean requiring surgery as she has had too much of that over the last few years) we need her fit and healthy because she is the glue which holds our family. We all adore her.

My mum is too funny, while calling me from the emergency room she asked me to have Miho's kiddies tomorrow afternoon (Mum usually has them while Miho goes to school) she also enquired whether or not I'd purchased an outfit to wear to a wedding we are all going to on Saturday. Only a mother can remember to check on such things while laying in the emergency room. I assured her I had found an outfit and for a change it was the absolute truth... people who know me well know how much I really H-A-T-E clothes shopping.

When I got off the phone to Mum I called Miho to organise having the kids and she told me that while all this was going on with our Mum... across town... my brother got stung by a bee. He is allergic to bee stings so he headed around the corner to the medical center where the doctor promptly phoned for an ambulance to cart him off to Royal Perth Hospital where they pumped him full of all sorts of lovely antihistamines. I hope they gave him an epi-pen to carry around this time. Each sting he gets results in a worse reaction. I called back later in the evening to see if I could pick Seth up from the hospital to discover he had already caught a taxi and was just arriving home. I am glad he could come home so quickly, and I hope he is feeling ok soon... I've only got one sibling so I am very happy he stays safe and sound.

Golly gosh what a day!!! Thank goodness we all have Ambulance insurance in our family.

I am crossing my fingers and toes that this is the end of our ambulance adventures... and I am touching wood too!

Wanted: Stolen handbag

Click here for details
 Nicole Mallalieu makes wonderful hat, handbag and purse patterns... some of which I myself have purchased.

The beautiful bag featured in the photo above was stolen from Nicole Mallalieu's stand at ACQ in Melbourne last weekend. This bag is completely unique and can not be remade. The fabric used was from her deceased Grandmother's stash and holds great sentimental value to Nicole.

If you see it please contact Nicole. We would love to see her reunited with this treasure.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Day tripping to York

On Sunday we took a trip out to the Avon Valley. Usually if we are visiting this area we go to Northam and  meet up with a family friend who operates a hot air ballooning business called Windward Balloon Adventures, but on this occasion we travelled about 97 kilometres east of Perth and spent the day in York.

York was the first inland settlement in Western Australia and was settled on September 16th 1831. York is  one of the most popular Avon Valley day trip destinations. The many restored heritage buildings from the Victorian and Federation era which reflect the charm and character of the town. There is an Old Post Office building and the Court House, the York Residency Museum which exhibits include local Noongar* culture, convict history, ceramics and Chinese market gardeners. The York Motor Museum is fun to visit as it houses an international collection of vintage vehicles.

York is the Avon Valley events central and hosts many events throughout the calendar year, many of which utilise the lovely Town Hall. Events at the Town Hall include old time dancing, boot-scooting, weddings, art exhibitions and concerts too. Something I discovered was the fact that the York Town Hall has the largest regional dance floor in Western Australia. The signature event is the ‘York Jazz and Soul Festival’, which attracts international and domestic musicians for a full weekend of live entertainment. Other highlights are the Spring Garden Festival; Gourmet Food and Wine Festival; Antique and Collectors Fair; Healing Fayre and the monthly Peace Park Markets.

There is also a weekend market held at The York Mill. This is the Mill above. This chutney below is what my DH purchased. He sampled it at the market and when we got home he ferreted it away in a cupboard... I wonder if he will share??! We got some nice fresh fruity hot cross buns too which made for a delicious morning tea.

There is also a really lovely gallery next door to the market, it contains some of the most beautiful wooden furniture I've every seen. Of course Mr W needed to make a pit stop so when they got back from the bathroom DH told me about the amazing benches in the bathroom. 'You should have seen it' he tells me...  yes but it was in the little boys room so I sent him back to take a photo seeing as I didn't think I'd be welcome in there.

So here is a pic from his phone. He was right it is awesome, the entire bench was crafted from a single piece of wood. I wonder how long it took to carve out the bowls and how often they have to re-varnish it to keep it from swelling? The bench was really long with several basins carved along its' length. I quite like the look of the miniorb aluminium used to back the bench and as inserts in the doors.

I'll share some more about this day trip soon...

*Noongar is name of the aboriginal tribe and traditional owners of South Western WA.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Cosmo Temari Books and now Cosmo Pearl 5 Threads

I addition to stocking KYO Rayon temari thread I'm glad to announce that I have secured Cosmo Perle No5 threads to sell here in Australia. It is very exciting news and while I have only a small range (about 70 shades) to start with I will be expanding the colour selections going forwards. I want you to try them out so until the end of April 2011 I'm offering these beautiful threads at the awesome "try me" price of just $2.00 each.  This offer only applies to in stock colours. From May 1st the regular selling price will be $2.60.

If you've never heard of this thread here's what you need to know:
Lecien has been marketing COSMO threads since 1950. Today COSMO holds the No.1 position of total thread sales in the Japanese market.
COSMO is the brand of thread used in many Japanese temari pattern books including the Cosmo 1-7 series of temari books. COSMO threads are strong but soft and resistant to tangling, this makes them delightful to stitch with. The superior dyeing techniques used by Leicen have created threads that have an amazing level of color retention.

There are just over 250 colours in this range and they are simply gorgeous. Our price (even our regular price) makes them much better value than DMC or Anchor skeins and the threads are of equal, if not better, quality. The skeins are 25m in length and are a 2 ply single strand made with 100% cotton.

The colours numbers highlighted with blue in the store colour charts are in stock, all other colours may be requested but could take several weeks to arrive.

I have been using this thread for a while now and my most recent completed project was the Stitch for Japan temari.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Kiku (Chrysanthemum) Temari for Japan - Update

Update on my temari project for the TT stitch for Japan effort. I completed and posted it to Ginny this week. Someone... maybe Laura?? asked to see the side view. It is very simple, but here it is.

I hand wrote my message on the card Ginny made for us to use but I did print a Japanese translation on the lower half. I discovered that there isn't actually a translation to Japanese for my hubby's surname... but now as I write this I am wondering if it is because his surname is Dutch.  Not actually 'Dutch' but from The Netherlands. I'm going to google translate after this post and see what comes up as a translation if I select Dutch to Japanese instead of English to Japanese...

Also a quick update on my brother's fundraising efforts... he has inspired people to make $4,700 worth of donations to the Red Cross appeal for Japan.

I've been so busy this week (seeing as I lost a few days last week with my head cold) catching up on a backlog of things. Mr W has been taking swim classes at school so I've been over at the pool 3 times a week watching that on top of all the volunteer stuff I do for his class... it has really been cutting into my day. I've been communicating with several suppliers, counting deliveries - discovering items missing and packing orders like crazy. I think the lady at the post office is tired of seeing me. Today I had to post a few customer orders and parcel to Ginny and my drivers licence to pay - which was already a day overdue... better than months late like last year because I totally forgot about it. I also had a bunch of books to return to two different  libraries today, lucky for me I enquired with the librarian if I could return them all to her even though the belonged to two different branches, her answer was yes, and it shortened my list of chores considerably. When my hubby called me at lunch time to see what I was up to he was surprised to hear I'd just returned to the house after heading out at 8:20 for school.

Tomorrow I am going to make a mold for a thimble and get into stitching one... with any luck I will have a go at this months challenge from MaMercerie. Why don't you join me?! There is plenty of info about making thimbles on the MM website.

After that I am having a go at my next Amigurumi which is a Mario star character called Luma because I found some yellow yarn in my stash which will be perfect and I know I have black and white felt somewhere in that craft room... I have plenty of projects stored in my computer now that I've had a few days of Internet surfing... the silver lining of being sick for a few days!

And at some stage this week I must have a go at the 20 face marking challenge from TC... and re-look at last month's project which I've not had time to begin as yet. I will get there though.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Toad Amigurumi

I've gotten a head cold over the last two days so my brain can't work in the small scale of Yubinuki and I don't want to touch my ball for Japan until I am feeling better... so this was what I did to amuse myself for today.

It would be boastful to say I have the hang of this whole Amigurumi thing so I most definitely will not claim that. I have tried two really basic designs and can happily report that they turned out ok. Mr W is more than pleased with his mouse and when I presented him with my latest project today after school he squealed with delight.

I got the pattern from there are a large number of other free Mario patterns on this site that I am sure Mr W will be requesting when I feel more confident.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Here comes the Easter Bunny... hop... hop... hop...

I had been dreading the arrival of Easter for the last 12 months. My nephew cannot eat any dairy at all so we have been heading up a steep learning curve as he grows bigger trying to find ways to make sure he doesn't miss out on any of those special childhood treats like yummy birthday cakes, ice confections and chocolate at Easter etc...

Because Mr M is the first person in our family with any special dietary requirements we have never given this type of thing any thought before. Last Easter he was so only 4 months old so we didn't need to worry with chocolates at Easter but this year is a whole other story.  He knows about everything and wants a share of whatever his big sister and cousin are getting.

I scoured forums for a while and looked into this and that until I came across Sweet William Chocolates. I could feel my eyes well with tears when I discovered that indeed our Mr M could eat this chocolate because it is 100% dairy free (and it's also nut and gluten free too).

I picked up enough for Miss D and Mr W to have for their Easter baskets which Mr W and I will decorate to give to them. I also got some Sweet William chocolate chips so I can bake some cookies to add to the baskets... I've got some good non dairy margarine to use for cookie making.

If I can think of some cute Easter craft items suitable for all three kids I'll probably make them too... I'm just not sure if I can find anything more cute than the bunny hats I made last year.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The rains are here!

It has been a long hot and dry summer. We've had not a single drop of rain at our house since the beginning of 2011. We have had rain predicted many times this year but it hadn't eventuated so when the weather forecasters predicted 5 days in a row of wet weather we guessed we might get one or two days worth. Last night they revised the forecast to just 2 days so we all looked at each other and thought ok that means no rain, but this morning I heard a few drops falling outside my window. I couldn't believe it!!!

Yay delicious refreshing rain, finally all the leaves outside are dust free... and everything else feels and looks clean again. We haven't had enough rain to break our dryspell but 2.4mm is a nice start.

So cute I couldn't stop clicking

Here is another post about recent shopping I've done on line. This time from Iszle which is also on Madeit (the site that host our temari store).

They had a promotion a short time ago and I think I went a little nuts. But I just couldn't work out how to narrow down my choices.

 I got these 3 scrabble tile pendants.
 These 3 purse mirrors.
 and  these sets of 6 magnets.

I have an idea who will be receiving some of these goodies, but some I may not be able to part with. Click on any of the photo links to visit Iszle's store.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Kiku (Chrysanthemum) Temari for Japan

Here is a picture of the temari I am sending to Japan as part of the Talk Temari Kiku for Japan project. I have the other pole to complete, so I hope to post it in the morning.

I think that this style of Kiku is my favourite, I have trouble adding many rows near the top of the stitch... I always forget to lay the first row down a little loosely so I could only manage four rows on this occasion. I wanted more petals so I added another section of Kiku petals underneath the main design using the same Chidori kagari stitching. I was thinking of the type of flower with a tight center and additional rows of petals surrounding it - see the image below.  The Obi design is very simple on this one, I feel like this is a time to quietly honour tradition instead of show something flashy to take away from the design at the poles. I used 4 shades of Cosmo thread (185, 186, 187 and 188) and Rainbow Gallery ND4 for the markings on a pale cream ball.

As I have been stitching I've meditated on my desire for a prompt recovery for all the damaged cities and towns, I stitched my strength into this temari. I've prayed for everyone who have lost their family or friends, I stitched my love and compassion into this temari. I focused on the symbol of the rising sun, which is featured on the Japanese Flag, and stitched my belief and optimism that the sun will rise again for the nation of Japan.

Image from: Mze Photos

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Mad Maniac Monday

Yesterday was just crazy! I got so much done in such a short period of time.

I took Mr W to school and did reading with his classmates and then tested few of them on their math until 9:30am.

Then I headed back home to collect the parcels to post. One prize pack for Gloria, one schoolbag for Fukushima to Japan and one postcard to a school in Tonga.

By 10am I was standing in the Brother dealership with my sewing machine to see why it was behaving so silly. I also purchased and adjustable guide arm to make it easier to make my own quilted fabric. A few experiments later and we decided it must have been just dodgy sewing thread so I popped the machine back into the car and headed off to swimming.

At 11am Mr W's class started swimming lessons at a nearby aquatic center. I sat with another mum who had her two kids taking lessons at the same time so we spent the hour cheering on all the kids we knew.

12pm arrived when I waved Mr W and the other children goodbye as the school bus left the pool and headed down the road to Spotlight (Aussie version of Joannes). I needed to give my sewing machine a proper test at home so I purchased some new material and 'good' thread to make another schoolbag for Japan. This time the bag was much easier to make.  This one was made with blue, white and yellow zigzag fabric on the outside and coordinating spotty fabric for the inside and the handle. I just need to pop on the name label and it is ready to post after school today. (The picture is just below.)

By 1pm I was gulping down some lunch and then measured and cut out the fabric for the new bag. I began quilting the layers together and then it was time for School pick up at 3pm.

Mr W had been assigned a project to complete about our garden so we took a bunch of photos and he wrote out the text, next it was time for Basketball.

5:30pm .The boys had a cracker of a match (this means they won - Mr W even scored a 3 pointer) Afterwards when we got home he chose and we cropped all the photos for his school project.

From 6pm we made and ate dinner, cleaned up and I went back to crafting after Mr W went to bed at 8:30pm.

Phew what a busy day!

Monday, 4 April 2011

My First Amigurumi project

Let me start this post by telling you all that I cannot crochet. So while I have always thought Amigurumi was so cute I never considered making them because I cannot crochet.

Around New Years I went on a frenzy with the local library's request system. I started out looking for inspiring books to help with my TC 12 month flower sampler project (my temari is wrapped and marked but stalled just now). I started looking at flowers and then embroidery... a bit later I discovered a book about Kanzashi flowers and then Amigurumi. This is what happens when you type 'Japanese craft' into our library computer. I decided to request copies of all the books that struck my fancy.

Over the last few weeks the books have been arriving for collection. I picked this one up on Friday. I have a few of the ".... For Dummies" books but the title of this one struck me as offensively appropriate for me as my Grandmother has tried son several occasions over the years to teach me how to crochet.

Well as it turns out I couldn't quite get it from this book either (no fault of the Author) my brain needs to see what happens between the photos to work out what is going on so a surf through YouTube found me a video to help me with the details.

It isn't quite the most beautiful thing you will ever see (even if you stand back and squint) but considering I started out as being at a lower level than 'Complete Idiot' I did rather well. I know the pattern is a hamster but Mr W wanted a mouse instead so I added a tail. He is quite taken with it and has requested another one.

Sorry about the terrible photo, it is dusk now, the light inside is bad and Mr W is watching Avatar so he can't keep his hands still. You'll note that this posted is labelled (very optimistically) Amigurumi so I intend on making more of these crocheted creatures.

I'm going to try making mushrooms next... after I finish my temari for Japan which we are now going to be sending to the JTA via TT.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Schoolbag inspired by Chloe Patricia.

Yesterday Chloe Patricia (from Mamercerie) posted about making tote bags to send to Fukushima school kids.

What a great idea! Something that I can do to help out. I clicked the link included in the post and found it opened to a page in Japanese so one click of the translate button and I was all set with the information I needed to get going.

I read through the instructions and discovered that I should use quilted fabric, but I had none and the stores were closed today so I couldn't go to buy some. No matter I went to my stash and found some cute frock printed fabric and some pellon and quilted it together myself. It was a bit tricky as I had never attempted this before, but once the fabric was measured out and pinned it was fairly easy to do (I would use prequilted fabric or use a quilting foot next time though). This project was really simple (apart from quilting the fabric which took a few hours) it took me about 40 minutes from start to finish.

So here is the end result.

Mr W included a note inside the bag for the recipient. He wrote it in English and we used Google to make a translation into Japanese. We really hope this small thing can brighten the day of a child we will never meet.

The parcel will go off in the mail tomorrow so it will arrive in time for the 15 April deadline in Japan.

Thank you Chloe Patricia for your post about this. I was so pleased to be able to make this small contribution.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

And the 2011 winner is...

At midnight on March 31st our blogoversary competition closed. This morning I printed out all the avatars from the followers list and tossed them into the hat. After a few good shakes the judge drew out the winner.  Here is our judge Mr W conducting the draw.

Hasn't he grown since last year?

So the winner is....

 Yay Gloria! Congratulations! Please contact me with your address and colour selections.

Please email me at temari.addict(at) so I can post your prize. Last year's winner didn't make contact with me, even though I sent several emails asking for a postal address, so I never got to send the prize. {:o( So this year I am allowing a month for the winner to make contact with me and after that I will have a second chance draw for the prize.

Friday, 1 April 2011


Japanese Studies Association at Edith Cowan University presents:

Buy your tickets at this link: Howls Moving Castle viewing at Mt Lawley ECU

I have seen this movie several (read many) times in English but only once in Japanese. I like the sound track and the story. If you live in Perth I hope you will come along.  The green tea will be delicious for sure as it is provided by Green Tea House from Hay Street, Subiaco... the owner is very passionate about his tea selections and make a delicious cup.

The melon bread sounds intriguing and something I've never tried before. Here is a link to some information about it.