Design Inspiration: Ainu Attush

The Ainu are an indigenous people of theislands of Hokkaido and Honshu in Japan, and Sakhalin and Kuril in Russia. Originally hunter-gatherers, they made clothing from many materials including animal hide, bird and fish skin. But the fabric perhaps most associated with the Ainu is attush, made from the bark of the elm and other trees which is soaked, made into yarn and woven. Garments could take many months to make, and are amongst the most spectacular designs of ethnic clothing in the world. As contact developed with Edo Japan, cotton and silk were incorporated into the garments, but the intricate designs are unique, and authentic vintage Ainu garments are now highly sought after and very expensive

Ainu robe montage


Photomanipulation Apps

If you read this blog regularly you’ll know I love to take photographs. I haven’t really got into hardcore photo editing but I do like to play around with the images on my iPad. here are some of the apps I’ve recently discovered.

Plastic Bullet. Adds a vintage feel (in a variety of shades) to photos.20140619-083723-31043036.jpg
Waterlogue. Turns a photo into a watercolour.20140619-083739-31059951.jpg

{Original on the left in both cases}

PicFrame. Make photo collages. IMG_0409
What are your favourite photo apps?

Monday Pinspiration: Entertaining Little Guests

As I mentioned, this week we are welcoming Lovely Man’s family to stay. Since BH is more than half child himself, he’s particularly excited about the two grandsons (2 and 3) – small but very active!

They are coming from England and will not have much with them beyond iPads and a couple of essential toys, so I have been trawling Pinterest for ideas on how to keep them entertained. I focused on games they can play outside (this is California after all!)…

Here are some of the ones I thought looked fun:

IMG_0251Penguin races

IMG_0250Colour and shape jump

IMG_0253Toddler tennis

IMG_0262Water sponge fights

IMG_0255Water balloon target practice

IMG_0256Water balloon baseball

I just hope we have the energy to keep up…

Friday I’m in Love: springtime creatures

The arrival of Easter confirms the arrival of spring. And Pinterest is full of lovely ideas on how to celebrate. Here are some of my favourite springtime creatures to create…


Hen-shaped egg cozies


Chick Beanbags


How cute is this pincushion?


Bird on a branch 


Crochet butterfly


April Fish

The origin of April Fool’s Day is mysterious. My favourite version is that until the 18th century the New Year was celebrated in some places on March 25th (the feast of the Annunciation), with a week-long party ending on April 1st. When the church changed the official date to January 1st in 1654, people began to make fun of the “fools” who stuck to the old ways. Whatever the reason, jokes have been played across Europe on April 1st since at least the 17th century.

In France and Italy the tradition is to try to stick a fish (usually made of paper) on a person’s back without them noticing and I think this is much nicer than some of the more slapstick pranks played elsewhere.

One of my favourite craft blogs had this



{click on the image for its link}

a few years back and it inspired me to look for other craft-y fish. Why not let these inspire you to try some gentler and more creative April Fool’s this year?




 {click on the image for its link}

 My version of April Fish? We’re going to have sushi for dinner…