Chicago bag


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Tonight I finished making a friend’s birthday present.  It’ll be her birthday next month, but I’ll be seeing her at the weekend, which gave me the impetus to finish.

She is heavily pregnant, so I hope the bag below will come in handy for carting around baby paraphernalia in the coming months.

I bought the fabric in the ‘Tomato’ shop in Tokyo’s fabric town earlier this year.  I found directions from this site incredibly helpful, when I made a quick dash before catching a shinkansen/ bullet train up north. (ありがとうif Rin the author of that site reads this!)  My friend had asked me for some Japanese fabric- I think – and the lining came from fabric I’d bought in Bristol (Bedminster, a lovely fabric shop I stumbled across once when I was there for work), which I saw and bought with the same friend in mind.  (Apologies for the slightly wonky photos below.)

The bag gets the name in the title from the Whole Foods bag I saw in Chicago, referenced this previous blog post.  I liked the idea of the double handle option to carry or sling over your shoulder.

As you can see, I’ve put a little pocket inside.   This is the first time I’ve made a lined bag using the ‘French seam’ method.  Surprisingly easy!  Bye for now.


Bday band


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I’ve made another kanzashi flower hairband.  This time, using these nifty hairbands from Wilkos, it’s a birthday present for someone.  Idea is it goes over the whole head, rather than a ponytail.  I used the same tutorial as before.  Using smaller squares, 2 and a half inch square to be exact, I added the centre from a self-cover button with contrasting fabric.  You may recognise the fabric from previous projects I’ve written about.  I’ll likely have to adjust the length of the band (by measuring and sewing a new ‘join’) so it will fit the head of its recipient.  It’s a birthday present for the same little girl who I made this for previously.  I quite like using matching fabric for gifts when I can.  It gives some continuity.   Next time, I think I’d a) sew 8 petals rather than 6, so there is more even coverage of the flower; b) if I use the same sized button, I’d try using slightly bigger squares (maybe 3 inch) for better proportions.  I got these self-cover buttons from Dunelm (22mm, sold in a pack of 5).

Hair again…



Another Friday evening sewing.  Tonight’s project was much quicker than making a handmade flower out of fabric.  But using the same fabric as last week, I made this 80s* throwback:

A scrunchie!

I used to love these as a kid.  I remember my Mum used to make them quite frequently and I’d sometimes help her.  I can still remember some of the scrunchies I enjoyed wearing as a little girl.  My favourite was a slim one made out of purple silk which we picked up in some kind of industrial fabric shop in London.  It was very soft!  I also had one (that Mum) made out of some rather scratchy material which looked great due to its wacky and unusual colours and sparkle, but wasn’t the most comfortable to wear, which my Mum picked up in Hong Kong after a sad family funeral she went out there for.  These scrunchies bring back memories!

I’m not sure how often I’ll wear this one, but I was inspired after reading this article on the Guardian online.  All linked to a new film out- I Tonya.  Well, if scrunchies do defy the odds and make a big comeback, I know where to turn for mine.  Or how to make some more.  You can too, I followed these easy to follow tutorials: here and here.  The first one is quite simple.  At first I liked the little videos that play automatically in the second, but then I must admit they made me feel a bit seasick.  More likely that I’m still recovering from a virus that has wiped me out all week.  Bye for now!

* Late 80s, early 90s

PS Next time, I’m going to have to do a better job of learning how to ladder stitch/ do an invisible stitch to sew up the opening.  I’ve never quite got the hang of it!

At it again


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After my Japanese inspired hairband I made last night, I’m on a little roll.  At the same time as buying my kanzashi hairband in Sapporo, I also bought a present for a little friend. Which I later thought could be replicated by self cover buttons.  A few years ago, when I first got into sewing, I bought a packed of self-cover buttons, and promptly enjoyed covering them with some fabric I’d been using.  Since then, they have been left in my sewing box, abandoned and unused.  So, although I fully intended to get some more and cover with Japanese fabric, I thought I might as well use up the supplies I have initially!  So here goes…

First hairband and the original pack of self-cover buttons.

Then I got out the little present I’d bought in Japan and realised they used two embellishments rather than one.  So I got sewing again and came up with this! Wait for it…Here’s my dual one!  And a collection with my kanzashi hairbands.

I’d better go and get on with my day.  Have a good weekend!




Tonight, I made a kanzashi flower hairband!  The inspiration behind it is a bit of a long story which I won’t go into just yet.  But please see my finished article here:

The blue fabric was some that I picked up from a lovely young family from Church who moved away to prepare for missions work overseas.  It goes well with a big button from an old jacket, in my button box.  Here’s what my collection of items looked like when I started out tonight:You may notice on the table a completed hairband.  This is one I picked up on a long lost trip to Japan a few weeks ago.  I bought it in a lovely little shop in Sapporo Station, before I ventured out up into the cold for the amazing Yuki Matsuri (Snow festival).  Tell you what, the weather here in the UK this week is giving Hokkaido a run for its money!

During my trip to Japan, it was great to see many familiar faces, food stuffs and fashions.  But I also found other things which, though were there before, were new to me.  Such as white sesame tantan men (a kind of white sesame ramen – delicious) and these flower hairbands.  Which I later learnt are called ‘kanzashi’ flowers – and typically adorn ladies’ hair when they wear kimono.  Thanks to these two blogs, I made my own one tonight.  I look forward to wearing it!

Jya ne (bye for now) xx

Pjs done- sort of


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I enjoy sewing, haven’t done all that much recently.  But at various points in my life, I realise it has an excellent virtue. As well as being enjoyable and creative, it requires a fair amount of attention.  Tonight was one of those nights when I found it helpful to finish off a sewing project… Sometimes it helps to focus on sewing rather than thinking about boys!

I finished off a pair of pajama bottoms.  As in years ago, I used this tutorial.  Though I soon found I was kicking myself because, as I was making the pattern and cutting out, I remembered it wasn’t the best tutorial at all!!  I had bought 1metre of lovely fabric from a shop in Bristol.  

But given the width and the size of my pattern, I didn’t quite have enough fabric and so had to skimp around the crotch area.  As I only had 1metre, I didn’t have any extra length.  In fact, in order to try and make the most of the fabric to hand, I ended up with one leg with the pattern ‘upside down’.  I only remembered this as I’m typing it up.

So it wasn’t ideal.  I have made a pair successfully before, but sadly can’t quite remember how I did it!  (If only I’d noted down here how I’d tweaked it, as the pair for my friend turned out really well.)  I should probably try a different method to blindly following the above mentioned tutorial.  Currently the dimensions for the trousers are the same front and back, so no space for my bum.  They do fit but are a bit tight.  In fact, though I love the print and they are 100% cotton, I noticed that my current PJ bottoms are more of a jersey fabric – looser knit.  So I may have to start again.  – A trip to a fabric shop beckons perhaps.  Or potentially turn these into a daytime pair of trousers, given funky patterned cotton trousers being quite fashionable.  For example, I could do something to the bottom of the trouser leg- either gather or add in some elastic.  Hmm.  But it was good to somewhat ‘finish’ a project (as I had found myself half way through the tutorial steps for a few weeks), even though a fair bit of tweaking is involved so I can get to a point where I’ll end up wearing them!

Presto chango


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Yesterday afternoon, I fashioned a skirt out an old pair of jeans.

It went from this,

to this:

I was able to complete it within three hours.  With thanks to some of these tutorials.  I’m pleased with it, and enjoyed wearing it out last night.

As I was ripping the stitches along the inside seam, I thought… Sometimes in life it feels like we’re being torn apart.  But actually in the hard times and through and despite difficulties, it could be that the Lord is bringing about change and transformation.  From the old pair of jeans I no longer wore, to a much more beautiful and wearable skirt.  Hang in there if things are tough – a transformation may be happening and on the way, bringing about something glorious!


A change for a short season


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Between Easter and Pentecost, I plan to do something a little different.  Here’s a hint:


If you can’t spot it, I plan to eat a Vegan diet for the next fifty days.  You may ask or wonder why.  & In a sense, I’m not entirely sure myself.  But that I have read a few articles, such as this one, over the past few months about athletes who have adopted a vegan diet, and note quicker recovery times and feeling less sluggish and thus that they have more energy.

So I’m going to give it a go.  I did my usual supermarket shop earlier today and for the first time ever, I intentionally didn’t put any meat; fish; milk; eggs or any other animal products in my trolley.  Instead, in went almond milk, almonds (with which I promptly made a batch of almond butter); extra veg (which I may use to make a bacon substitute – see here!), as well as the usual porridge oats, bread, fruit and veg, and some healthy ish snacks.

Over the next few weeks, I may well post a little bit about how I get on and what I end up eating as well as reflections on it.
For the menu this week, I plan to rustle up a batch of Leon Gobi (aka cauliflower curry) which should last me a few nights, and Portobello mushroom burgers, adopted from my first foray into the UK based ‘Boston Tea Party‘ eatery (sadly no longer on the menu).

In the meantime, may you reflect on a Happy Easter!


Summer Time Cushion


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I ended up making a cushion cover tonight.  An impromptu act, but something I’d been hoping to learn to make for some time.

It was approaching 7:30pm and, being the first day of British Summer Time this year, was still light outside.  So I felt more awake than I would usually at this time on a Sunday evening, and got out my latest crafty project.  Whilst I was cutting out some material, I realised the amount I had left over could be perfect for a cushion cover.  & That it would go well with the other item I was making (more on that later, I’m sure).

Armed with the knowledge from friends that, ‘it’s easy’.  & ‘Just fold it over’, I embarked on making my cushion cover.  I consulted some online tutorials, as per usual.  But rather than cut out various pieces of fabric, as suggested here, I did it all in one piece, referring to this one (envelope pillow cover is another name for it apparently), but making it up as I went along mostly.

It could be even quicker next time, but we’ll see.  Without further ado, here’s what my latest creation looks like:

Bonus find


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As a bonus, as I was putting away my pink embroidery thread from the sunset scene below, I spotted this in my tin filled with threads:







The threads at the top of the pile were given to me by my aunt over Christmas… They’re embroidery threads that belonged to my Grandma.  (Who died when I was about five years old.)  So I have these family treasures to look forward to using in coming weeks/ months/ years!


Does anyone know the correct way of unravelling embroidery thread?  Is there a way you can do it whilst keeping the shape/ tapes in tact?  Please comment below if so!  Thanks.  Otherwise I may have to Google… My threads tend to get very tangled and messy as soon as I start using them!  Which isn’t the best.