Monday, July 25, 2011


About a year ago, instead of using the used tea leaves to grow mould in the sink trap, I made James dry and save and store them all in tins. It was really the mother-in-law's idea as she had remarked that old tea leaves make good stuffing for pin cushions and the like.

The question was, which stuffed toy should we make. We pondered various options, but suddenly realised that we needed a hippo in order that the one of us being the most hypocritical at the time, could be given the hippo. 
For the first time I made a purchase on a website called Etsy. I bought a pattern called Heather Hippo, by FunkyFriendsFactory. The pattern arrives as a PDF file a few days after the order is placed, and then it can be printed out. Wanting a slightly smaller hippo, I printed out the pattern at 75%. The pattern is very well made and the pieces fit together very well indeed. The instructions were also comprehensive. 

I found enough red fur for about 600¥ in the bits bin at Yuzawaya in Kamata, used fake suede for the contrast and sewed Hippo up my hand. The tea gives her almost a bean-bag feel, and she smells very nice, but I should have made a lining out of a closely woven fabric, as little bits of tea are going to escape through the somewhat loose weave of the slightly stretchy red fur fabric.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Last week we went volunteering in Ishinomaki, one of the the tsunami hit cities of north Japan. See here for the story and here for some videos and photos. Shelter was the campsite at the local university so I took the opportunity of upgrading my leaky thermarest to the fabulously expensive super-light NeoAir Thermarest. This piece of equipment is so expensive that the stuff sack is sold separately (here it is on Amazon). Bugger that, thought I, and swiftly stitched up my own version with some Pertex that I had from when I made cycling tops and bottoms for James. The NeoAir, although a bit noisy, certainly was comfortable, and we had such a good time volunteering that we intend to go again, only this time we hope to take our bike, so James will not be able to bring his air bed. Thus, a longer NeoAir has been duly purchase, and a slightly larger stuff sack knocked up.

The stuff sack consists of a rectangle, sewn with a single seam to make a pipe, stitched onto a circle on one end and with a hem on the other through which a string is threaded. One sentence! 15USD on Amazon!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Marfy trews #4

I made another pair of Marfy 0680, this time in a fairly heavyweight (at least so it seems from here in the middle of the Japanese summer), striped stretch fabric from Gorgeous Things. I made jeans style pockets on this pair, and added patch pockets to the back. With the stretch, they seemed looser, and I took them in a fair amount (making about 2cm extra seam allowance) on the outside seams. They have come out feeling a little long from waist to crotch. In theory I could I suppose take off the waistband and move it down a centimeter or so, but probably I won't get a round tuit.

So, I haven't actually worn these yet, except a little round the house just after they were finished and very quickly just now to take the photo, because, just as I finished them, summer suddenly arrived. Stretch trousers are really comfortable on aeroplanes so I hope these they may be an alternative to these flower trews which are now rather faded.