travel

Japan Adventures – the alpine route and Toyama

From Omachi we traveled across the Tatayama Kurobe Alpine Route. We planned our trip to avoid the route on a weekend though it was still busy when we went.

The mountains were shrouded in cloud, which was both good and bad. The clouds at Kurobe Dam and Murodo created a magical quality. Whereas the view from the ropeway was white nothingness. A little disappointing but the entire experience was wonderful.

Most people left the bus at Bijodaira and made a bee-line to the cable car. We chose to spend an hour walking down a forest trail. It was muddy in places and there were a few parts I had difficulty with but it was a lot of fun. The forest itself was stunning. Taking the alpine route was definitely worth it!

We stayed one night in Toyama, where our luggage had been forwarded to. In the morning we visited the Toyama Glass Art Museum. The permanent exhibition contained breathtaking works from Dale Chihuly. There was also a temporary international exhibition which also contained beautiful works (though sadly photography was not allowed). Glass really is a beautiful medium for art.

The afternoon was not what I envisioned. We had been planning our train trips using Google maps and sadly it failed to mention that our train line was closed due to landslides in August. The lady in the ticket counter had a useful diagram that explained the replacement bus service but it did significantly increase our travel time. And for some strange reason there are less replacement services compared to the usual timetable so we had to hang around for an extra hour. This also meant we just missed the last bus to our accommodation. 😦

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nintendo · travel

Japan Adventures – Tokyo National Museum and Maricar

Our third day in Japan was hot and sticky. I’m still accustomed to chilled mornings and evenings so 30C and humid was not nice. A good day for a museum.

Tokyo National Museum is located in Ueno Park along with a variety of other museums as well as Ueno Zoo. But the National Museum is extensive and more of an all day activity. There are three main buildings – one focusing on Japanese art over time, one on archiological findings, and one on art across Asia. I found it really interesting to see how Japan changed over time and was influenced by surrounding regions. Most of the museum was accessible to English speakers.

I did get annoyed at the silly tourists. They were loud and totally ignored the no photo signs on some individual pieces. Show some respect guys.

The next day was lovely weather, which was perfect for our Maricar booking. From culture to geeky! We spent three hours go karting around Tokyo in costume and it was such an incredible existence. Even if you aren’t into Mario, this is definitely worth doing (except on a Friday. Our guide told us Fridays are horrible).

T

he costumes do show their age with rips and stains, which is to be expected. What I was disappointed in was the lack of girly options. I nabbed the only Princess Peach dress so all the other ladies had to make do with a Luigi dress.

Our guide did ignore speed limits. We did go 70km/hr on Rainbow Bridge, which has 40 and 50 limits! But it did feel really date and above all, lots of fun.

travel

Japan Adventures – Shibuya and Mitaka

I am in Japan for three weeks! One been wanting to go for 10 years now so this trip has been a long time in the making. I hope to blog on the go but I’m only using my phone so the photos are not edited. I’ll fix them up once back home.

Our flight was 9 1/2 hours and I spent the time resting on my boyfriend’s shoulder with a headache. I thought I was going to throw up during the descent. It was only when we landed and they switched the air on the plane that I can’t better. I guess it could be worse – we could live in a different time zone to Japan and have to deal with jet lag.

Tokyo is incredible with its masses of people, bright lights and random noises and voices spewing at you. So many people.

Our first few nights were in Shibuya. Of course there was the obligatory crossing and dog statue. There was a lovely old man taking photos of tourists the statue. We wondered around and it didn’t take long for us to leave the hustle and bustle and enter the quiet residential area. It is so different from home and I find the layout of Tokyo really fascinating. Just a single train stop from Shibuya took us to a place with vastly different demographic and clothes – young Japanese (and silly tourists) with the quirky clothes and lolita dresses that the internet has primed me to expect.

We also had our first shrine experience. There will be many more shrines to come in our adventuring.

I absolutely hate the train stations. Entering the station and finding the right train was fine. Getting out of the station was another matter entirely. Those stations are massive monstrosities and we often structured to find a exit, let alone the exit we wanted. Once we tried followinging the crowd but they ended up taking us back to where we started! I ended up putting my foot down for entering stations to get to the other side. It never worked and we always had to backtrack. I don’t understand how these stations work. Better to go around.

The next day we were off to Mitaka for the Ghibli Museum and Inokashira Park. That park was so beautiful! I’d love to have one like that near my home. There was a little zoo there too (work a sculpture museum included) but a lot of the enclosures were not adequate so it was a little saddening.

The Ghibli Museum was a whimsical magical place. If you are into Studio Ghibli then this place is worth visiting. It was fascinating to see the storyboarding and study of things such as the movement of liquids within a bottle. And panels just depicting the bubbles from sizzling meat! Such detail and care goes into creating Ghibli movies, it’s so beautiful to see. A few of the scenes were recreated so that you could walk in and feel what it was like in kitchen of an airship. I loved the experience.

sewing

Butterick B6168

B6168_front

I have fallen in love with Butterick B6168. It is a gorgeous pattern that had minimal issues and was really fun to sew. And it fits really well. I recently purchased a pattern adjusting class on Craftsy and was prepared to use this pattern as my first attempt at properly pattern fitting only to discover that I was already happy with the fit!

I made this dress whilst dog/house sitting (for three weeks. I miss my home). The home owners have a similar sewing machine and all I really needed to do was remember to take my own bits and pieces. We do dog sit for these people fairly regularly so I’m glad that I realised I could take my sewing with me.

Is it weird that I chose a fabric colour that matches the dress on the pattern envelope? I feel like it’s weird. Whatever. I like it and I’m really happy. The colour suits my upcoming autumn holiday in Japan. I found the fabric in a pop-up shop selling left-over fabric from a designer clothing store. I don’t know what it is. Some thick synthetic thing that I was worried about burning.

One benefit to the thicker material is that I didn’t need to use interfacing (which is great since I forgot to pack some). But the downside is that the gathers did not look good at the back of the skirt. They are meant to gather at the center but it made an unsightly bulge so I spread the gathers more evenly across. That in turn led to the side seam being prominent in the front. But I actually don’t mind it. It creates an interesting look so I’m just going to call it a design feature 😛

Let’s talk about zips. I don’t know if it’s me or my zipper foot but I have a hard time sewing invisible zips. It is incredibly frustrating that I can’t get it right. I couldn’t find a matching zip for this dress so I tried extra hard to make it invisible. So I did it again with hand-stitching. There is still a little bit of brown zip showing at the waist but it is pretty much invisible. Hooray! With this dress and my first coat I have gone from hating hand-sewing to loving it. It really does make a difference.

B6168_zip
Before hand-sewing the zip. So ugly!

And hey, check out my instagram account. It is still fairly new so not too much content but I do hope to add photos there I don’t put up on the blog, such as WIPs.

 

 

 

 

sewing

Craftsy class: Vogue V9040

Behold! My first coat!

The pattern is Vogue V9040 and I used the Craftsy class by Steffani Lincecum. I think I would have failed without the class.

I have poured months and months into this cost and it is finally done! It felt like it would never end. I was worried that I wouldn’t finish before winter ended.

To be honest, this isn’t the coat that I wanted to make. I pictured a sweet baby blue wool and even selected the lining first, in anticipation of a light colour. I mean how could I possibly pass up pink geese? But for the main fabric I had enough difficulty finding wool (let alone in my budget) and did not find any light colours. People of Melbourne are known for their love of black so I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising.

v9040_lining.png

I wasn’t willing to spend a fortune on wool when the colour range was not what I wanted so I shifted my search to other materials. Again, there was a lack in colour range. I despaired. I purchased fabric online (something I haven’t done before) then decided it wasn’t right for this coat. I began to lose hope. In the end I went with a gorgeous suiting with blue and brown threads, creating a more interesting look than a solid colour. And I used the wrong side to make the buttons, which I think it’s a nice, subtle detail.

v9040_toile.pngThe toile went smoothly with no alterations needed. (I used calico but quickly ran out do I cut out some old tablecloths my mum use to use for her market stall. Hence the odd look). That was back in April.

The coat itself did not go as well as the toile. I fucked up my seam allowances at the beginning (see this post) so my pockets don’t look as nice as I would like. Things then went smoothly until I got to the buttonholes. Do not talk to me about buttonholes. Urg.

Now my goal is to finish a dress for my overseas holiday in October. Will I finish it on time? Given my track record this year I’m guessing no but let’s find out.

sewing

Butterick B6217

B6217_front

OK wow, it’s been a long time since I last posted. Where has the time gone? Didn’t 2018 just start a moment ago?

I have been making a coat for a very long time and it is driving me crazy. I made this shirt as a distraction. I actually worked on multiple things but between burning material in an obvious place and making something that is too “meh” to bother finishing, this is the only thing worth showing.

The pattern is Butterick B6217 by Gertie. I got it after seeing a blogger show off their creation but now I can’t for the life of me find the original post! Regardless, I love the tulip sleeves. This is also the first time that I’ve sewn buttons. Do not talk to me about buttons. I hate sewing buttons.

B6217_closeup
Don’t mind the goosebumps. It’s winter here

seamguideI made this shirt with a neat little gadget. I got myself a seam guide and I love it! My lines are so much better now. Except I had a brain fart and put it in the wrong spot and didn’t realize that I had added an extra 0.5cm to all seams until I was up to hemming! Thankfully I also chose the wrong size pattern and had to take in the seams anyway…but I’ve also been sewing my coat so…fuck…

I’ve also decided to venture into the world of Instagram so check out my account. I’m still getting a feel of the place but so far I’m loving the sewing scene.

cross stitch

Camellia flower cross stitch

Camellia

2015MayIt started with a flower on my lawn. I was taken by the sunlight falling on the flower so I turned it into pixel art. I love pixel art. From there I decided to turn the pixel art into cross stitch. I haven’t been satisfied with my two previous flower designs and I thought this one just might be good enough.

The pixel art did not translate well into cross. The contrast was simply too low for the light petals and it did not look good. It was fortunate that I picked this up early on so I didn’t have as much unpicking to do. For the light petals I ended up ignoring my design and making it up as I stitched, which was kind of fun. Except when I had to transfer my changes to the pattern for selling – that really wasn’t fun.

For the framing I tried a different shop that was closer to home and I like the work they have done but they have put the hook on the wrong way! I specifically told them what way it should be and they mucked it up. I had to wait over a month for the framing to be done and then they weren’t open when I was available so I had to wait another few weeks to collect it. After all that I really can’t be bothered going back and asking them to fix it so my boyfriend will move the hooks for me over the weekend.

I’m selling the pdf pattern on my mother’s website so if you like it then please purchase it.