Tuesday, 24 August 2010

So, what's next?

There are now only 3 full days left before we leave Taiwan and you should see our living room! It's absolutely covered in things waiting to be packed into the 2 big, strong packing boxes I got from the Post Office. Looks like we're going to need a third really, but we'll take that as it comes tomorrow, when I/we plan to try and get the stuff into them.

We've had a number of invitations to farewell dinners for this week etc, so I've not had to worry much about cooking, but the friends who came to our little 'open house' do on Sunday brought so many goodies, that we sent the last few away with a good number of slices of cake etc and are still giving stuff away now after off-loading all the pop (soda) etc onto Sir's old teacher who hosted a lunch for her students yesterday!

I've saved the goldwork viola, the narrowboat cross-stitch and this new project on the right for the journey home. I don't expect to get a great amount of any of them done, but at least I have some variety in there. Hmm, looks like including my hardanger scissors might be a good move too. Best not put those in a box! Anyway, this is one of the Cross'n'Patch designs that I'm planning to stitch up for my mum - the green version of what you can see in the photo here.

Below are the paper things I got in Japan - a few origami papers in delightful designs and a set of bookmarks, which I daresay will provide inspiration for some future projects. I really like Japanese art much better than Chinese and am looking forward to seeing what Korea has to offer next weekend whilst we're there.=)

More soon, but I can't say whether it will be from here (should be as I need to get the fieldmice cushion finished up - planned for tomorrow, if poss), from Seoul or from Germany...

Friday, 20 August 2010

Japanese Kimono

I'm rather badly behind with blogging at the mo, especially here and on Brauns on Tour, but I'm just so wound up with the conclusion of our Chinese classes here (finished this lunchtime) and now the preparations to leave. Be that is it may (and it is!!), I thought most readers would enjoy some photos from Japan in the form of my being dressed up in a traditional kimono! It starts with these amazing socks that make your feet look so odd (I saw a local chap here in Taipei wearing leather boots like this recently too!):

Then you move on to the underwear stage. There's a special, cotton undergarment that forms a base layer to the whole thing. This photo also shows that you don't need to speak the same language well in order to share a laugh! My 'dresser' here only speaks her native Japanese of which I know only a little.

Next comes the white layer you can see here with the red belt, which seemed almost an outfit in it's own right to me. I rather like the colour scheme too.=) Here you can see the patterned top layer going on as well.

Here's a shot of the trickiest part, tying the big 'obi', the belt. I think that took almost as long as the rest of the dressing process put together!

After having a fancy hairdo done - plaited across the back and then formed into a side ponytail, which is a very trendy style in Japan (mostly without the plait though as you need someone else for that), this was the finished look, complete with the correct sandals.

And here from the back out of the local street. Our, mercifully, Chinese speaking Japanese friends wanted me to go out onto the Shiji Dori, Kyoto's main shopping street and walk down there, but anyone who knows me well would know how little I would enjoy that! As a rule, unlike the Chinese, the Japanese don't stare at white people, but they do when one appears in a kimono!!

Hope you've all enjoyed our little excursion into traditional Japanese culture!

I've no stitching to show at the mo, although the field mice are further on in terms of being finished up. However, we took a trip to Tokyo on our last full day in Japan and visited the Okadaya textile crafts emporium. I was really inspired by all the lovely embroidery threads available on the 5th floor (there were also trays full of Japanese embroidery silks, which I've always wanted to drool over) and that fired my enthusiasm again.=) I didn't buy anything, but it was fun and here's a photo of a class that was being held during my visit. I think they're doing crochet or something like that.

Hope to post soon with the completed cushion cover and progress on the goldowork which, ideally, I'd like to have done before we head back on 28th.

© Elizabeth Braun 2010