Friday, 29 August 2014

More Japanese gifts

A Japanese bag kit somehow found its way into my basket when I was browsing the gorgeous fabrics on offer from Katie at Japan Crafts at the Japanese textiles workshop recently.  I wonder how that happened??

So, when I was looking for a gift bag recently for a birthday present for my niece I thought that it might be the answer to my search.

And it was!

The kit is the Hana Japanese Bag Kit and it couldn't have been more straightforward to put together. Hana apparently means flower in Japanese and the bag is named for the petal like appearance of the top flaps when the drawstring is closed. It was so quick to make and took only two FQ's of fabric plus the cord and two beads that I am sure that I will be making this again. So much more useful than a paper wrapping too :)

With the completed Sashiko cushion for my son, I am surprised to find that I have used everything that I bought or tried at the workshop. I usually have an unfinished piece of something hanging about for ages after classes or workshops, so it definitely makes a pleasant change to actually have some finished objects to show for my time.

Sadly the same cannot be said yet for the recent class on couching, where this is all I have to show for my time so far!

Not even any couching in sight either, however, my order of fancy new threads has now arrived so, hopefully, that will change soon :)

Well, once I work out what to do with them that is!

Linking up to  Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday, 28 August 2014

An early birthday feast

When our boys were younger and we still had to pay attention to things like school holidays, having a birthday in August usually meant that it was spent on holiday (good) or, sometimes, on a ferry travelling back from holiday (not so good!). Now that we no longer have to worry about sorting out and buying new sports kit before the start of September, or more recently furnishing a student flat with enough food to keep an army on the move, it is a joy to be at home in August. A particular joy is getting to visit one of my favourite cities when it is in Festival mode.

Edinburgh Castle

Although it can seem that the world and his wife have also descended upon Edinburgh in August! Still there is plenty of room for everyone.

Our visit to Edinburgh this time though, wasn't to soak up the sights but instead to indulge ourselves in a 7 and a half hour theatre marathon, an early birthday treat from my husband, who it seems does sometimes listen :)

James Plays programme

The James Plays are a trilogy about the first three King James' of Scotland, and for four days in August all three would be performed on the same day. The plays by Rona Munro, were being premiered in Edinburgh during the Festival, so it was too good an opportunity to miss. Sadly my knowledge of 15th Century Scotland is sketchy to say the least, despite being born and bred in Scotland and being an avid reader of historical novels for many years, so I was definitely looking forward to filling in some gaps in my knowledge.

I certainly didn't know that James I met a particularly unsavoury end being killed in the sewers of a monastery whilst trying to escape from his attackers. His son, also James, was the recipient of this large piece of artillery, known as Mons Meg, which graces the walls of Edinburgh Castle.

Mons Meg, Edinburgh Castle

Sadly another cannon was to be the cause of his untimely demise when it exploded during a siege at Roxburgh Castle.

One of the events during James II's reign known as the "Black Dinner" when nobles invited to dine with the young King were accused of treason and executed was apparently the inspiration for the Red Wedding in George Martin's Game of Thrones series.

Just goes to show that life definitely is stranger than fiction!

The plays were all wonderful, if you ever get a chance to see them I can definitely recommend them, although you might prefer to do it over several nights as 7 and a half hours on a theatre seat can be a bit numbing :)

Linking up to

Really Random

Monday, 25 August 2014

New to Me in August

Welcome to this month's link party where we celebrate the successes and failures of trying something new.

This month, I had the excitement of my first-ever project published in a magazine, and not just any magazine but the fabulous Fat Quarterly magazine no less!

Now that was definitely a successful New to Me :)

I have also discovered a great new tool for tracing patterns

and finished my first ever traditional Sashiko embroidery piece and even managed to turn it into something useful at the same time. Now that is a new experience :)

So, now it is your turn to share all the fascinating things that you have been up to this month. As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

Grab button for Celtic Thistle Stitches

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<img src="" alt="Celtic Thistle Stitches" width="125" height="125" />

Check out the other links and leave a comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying of something new, whether it works out exactly as planned or not, so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 

The link will remain open until 23.59GMT on August 31st, so you have plenty of time to try something new and link up and join the party :)

If you have been working on a Christmas project this month don't forget to link up to the

Link Party too, which is hosted by the super creative Erin at Missy Mac Creations, you are going to love her Santa's Belt paper-pieced pattern, it's adorable! There is also this great felt ornaments pattern up for grabs for one lucky linker, so what are you waiting for, get linking!!!

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