home again jiggety jig

As in the nursery rhyme, we're "home again, jiggety jig". We had 25 amazing days visiting Japan, fun times with family, making new friends, being immersed in such a different culture, finding our way around the huge city of Yokohama and feeling like little children where we could neither understand the language nor even read most of the signs! We have hundreds of photos and many beautiful memories to remind us of a wonderful holiday.

And now we're home, sweet home. We were greeted with lettuce, tomatoes and silverbeet ready for picking in the vege garden, a pile of mail, projects returned from editors and a phone message asking do I have some more!

The suitcases were a bit heavier on the way home as there were some lovely things in the shops that I couldn't resist. I am picturing some lovely silk ribbon roses on a purse to go in this frame:

How cute are these little hat buttons? I haven't worked out the significance of the rainbow button but I'm sure it will come in handy somewhere!:

I took heaps of stitcheries with me to work on in the evenings, but of course hardly did any. Daughter produced 20 skirts and pants that she wanted remade as she had lost weight. They were far too good a quality to throw out, so mother of course obliged!

We went shopping for some fabric to brighten up the kitchen window in her new apartment:

... just enough to pretty it up, without losing all that wonderful natural light - a rarity in many parts of Japan's high-density living: 

 The obi, Kimono sash, is a perfect width to make into place mats. This beautiful pure silk obi was bought for a song at a second-hand store and a week later it was transformed into seven elegant place mats, ready for dinner guests:

A lovely new friend presented me with my own obi to do the same.

There were a few magazines waiting for me when I arrived home. Patchwork & Stitching Vol 15 No 10 has my bag on the cover:

 It's called Annie's favourite because it uses one of the simple blocks I rather enjoy making, Annie's Choice:

 I like the yellow and black combination and love the touch that the lace and antique button give it:

 One would expect that I would come home after such a wonderful experience with heaps of inspiration ... but I haven't! There's not even one project floating around in my head at the moment! I had three projects in various stages of completion before I left, so I will get back into designing slowly by tackling them one at a time. Edison reckoned that Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration, so we'll start at that end! 

Happy stitching!

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Pattern 9

Hello from Japan!  
It's time to give you the next mini quilt in the free 
block of the month pattern. I prepared this before we left Australia, and just as well, as we've had so many exciting adventures that we haven't had much spare time in the couple of weeks we have been in this amazing country!

The last of our mini-quilts has the simple message “Commit” - a modern word but a very old concept! You can apply it to whatever situation you find yourself in, but you can’t go wrong if you commit your way to God.

You can find the free pattern here. Next month I will give you some instructions for making the actual wall hanging.

One of our sons and his older son have been holidaying with us in Japan and it has been so much fun to do lots of sightseeing together.  We visited the Nogeyama Zoo and were surprised that there is no entry charge.

Yokohama is a very modern city as you can see from  this diorama:

However, here and there you can find some of the "old" Japan and its interesting architecture. This is just down the road from where our daughter lives: 

We spent a magical evening at the Sankeien Gardens which are also within walking distance. Each September they have five evenings where the gardens are open for the Harvest Moon viewing. We sat out in the open to listen to a string trio playing the beautiful music of Bach, then wandered through the gardens which were delightfully illuminated:

We paid a visit to the Sand Art Exhibition and were blown away by the incredible detail that the artists have been able to portray, just with sand.

These are really huge sculptures, much larger than life:

We've made some new friends and caught up with some old Aussie ones, reminisced and laughed, learned how to find our way to and from the city, got lost a few times and have had great family times together, making happy memories. It will be sad to say goodbye to our son and grandson tonight. We hope we can negotiate our way around for the next 10 days without their expert reading of maps and the GPS while our daughter and son-in-law are at work!

I brought lots of stitching with me but I have done a miniscule amount. As is usual when I visit our daughters, I have been given a pile of mending and alterations ... accompanied by a big smile! I've just finished making some kitchen curtains and I'm told there is still more on the "to do" list!

Have a great week.