genevieve – print and pattern

print and pattern


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sewing and snowing

janome sewing machine - genevieve blog

Well, after agonising for many months, I decided to bite the bullet and get a brand new sewing machine. I’m very pleased with it. It sews like a dream and everything just seems so easy. Shock of shocks, even the product manual was simple to follow.

It was like a snow dome outside last Sunday with big fat flakes falling all day so I when I got back into the warm, it seemed an idyllic moment to crack out the new machine.

snowy view - genevieve blog

I decided to test run it on an easy project: two tea towels with hanging loops.

When I was in Japan, I found some lovely linen (in an enormous craft shop called Okadaya) which had ‘cute kitchen fabric’ written all over it. It was the perfect cloth for the job. It’s quite unusual in that it has a different pattern on each side – spots on one side, stripes on the other – which in my eyes is the best of both worlds. You get the double-sided pattern without having to line it separately. It also means there’s no ‘wrong’ side on a tea towel. In fact I actually prefer the ‘wrong’ side as it has the thin line of contrasting fabric around the edge, in a bias binding effect.

tea towel - genevieve blogpinned tea towels - genevieve blogsewing tea towels - genevieve blogI followed the instructions from Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter but barely needed to, as tea towels are as simple as it gets really. A great quick win for adding some colour or pattern to your kitchen.

hanging tea towel - genevieve blogtwo tea towels - genevieve bloghanging tea towel - genevieve blogI have quite a bit of the fabric left over and, if I’ve interpreted correctly, it seems to be saying  ‘make me into an apron’. I’ll post the results in due course!

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japan: a lot of stickers

stickers section on the stationery floor of loft department store

stickers section on the stationery floor of loft department store

So, it turns out they like stickers in Japan. I found this out fairly quickly when browsing the stationery floors of department stores. Entire sections of the floor were dedicated to stickers, the range was amazing.

I’m not sure I’ve thought of all the possible uses for stickers in my life, but that didn’t stop me purchasing a fair few sheets. Here are some of my favourites.

cat stickers

funny caption cat stickers

(definitely my top favourite – check out the captions!)

camera stickers

cat face stickers

three sheets of stickers


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japan: washi tape

my favourite department store Loft

my favourite department store Loft

I like stationery. A lot. And nearly all the stationery I’ve loved in the last few years has been Japanese. So you can imagine how excited I was about the shopping possibilities in Tokyo. I wasn’t too sure where to find ‘the good stuff’ so I was chuffed to hit the jack-pot in the form of Loft department store in Shibuya on only the second day. There was a WHOLE FLOOR dedicated to stationery and it was high quality.

washi tape

washi tape hanging

I made a beeline for the washi tape section, as this was number 1 on my Japanese stationery wish list. Basically, pattern-porn in tape form. And I bought a LOT (see pics below). Don’t ask me what I’m going to do with all of it, as I’ve got no idea, I just love it.

washi tape and stationery shopping

my stationery haul

two washi tapes

washi tape galore

washi tape tower

mt tape


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japan: plum wine and sake martinis

I discovered my new favourite drink in Japan: plum wine or ‘umeshu’.

It’s about the strength of wine, and tastes massively of plums – perhaps unsurprisingly you may say – but it is worth mentioning how truly plummy it is. The main ingredients are sugar, ‘ume’ fruit (somewhere between a plum and an apricot apparently) and shōchū – but the main thing you need to know is that it’s delicious. They sell it everywhere but I particularly enjoyed an apple variety in home brew form at our friends’ place (don’t get me started on the apples in Japan – simply superior).

apple wine

apricot wine

My enthusiasm for the taste, however, paled in comparison to the excitement on seeing the cool designs on offer on the umeshu and sake bottles in the supermarket. Yet another example of impeccable design in an everyday setting. We took home a whole range of mini bottles and I enjoyed lining them up satisfyingly to show off the designs.

one green bottle

one green bottle

The mini-sake bottles were put to use in creating sake martinis, complete with mini pickled Japanese plum instead of an olive.

sake martinis

Shame to finish and recycle the pretty bottles really, but I guess I’ll manage 🙂

two bottles of plum wine


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japan: return of the scrunchie?

Any child of the 90s growing up in Britain will remember the essential hairpiece of choice – ‘the scrunchie’.

When I was a girl, if you didn’t have a full range of scrunchies in various colours and patterns, you were never going to make the cool gang. But around 15 years ago they went out of fashion, and disappeared, never to be seen again.

two scrunchies

I was amused and intrigued to find that in Japan, the ‘chou chou’, as they’re called, is everywhere and very much on trend with Tokyo’s well-dressed women. I loved the way that, whilst mine were all handmade, whipped up on the sewing machine by my mum in whatever cotton material we had around, a lot of these were a step up in quality, design and style. I’d forgotten how comfy they are too – so much kinder on your hair than bands.

cat scrunchie

yellow scrunchie

Our friend kindly gave me two of hers when I left Tokyo as I’d taken such an interest in them, and what a great souvenir!

Who knows whether they’ll ever make it back into fashion but I’m secretly hoping they will, as I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot.

yellow spotty scrunchie