Japan and Korea

Time to dust off the passports once again for another trip to Japan.  We enjoyed visiting there so much earlier in the year that we have decided to do a short vacation and fly out on 14 August to Yokohama, where we will board the Diamond Princess for a 10 day cruise to several Japanese and Korean ports and then fly home on 25 August.

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This is our itinerary.   Highlights include an excursion to Mt Fuji (no, not climbing it ourselves, we will take the easy way!) and a Korean Festival with a fireworks display.  Also looking forward to boarding a ship that we haven’t been on before, which will be the biggest so far.  Getting excited!

Quick Stitches

Cross stich Owl

Owl’s Teacup

Cross stitch flower (2)Cross stitch flower

 

Here are some little cross stitches that I have finished recently.  They were free kits with a couple of craft orders.

You would think that, being small, they would be great little projects for beginners to try.  But the owl had quarter stitches, half stitches and French knots while the flowers were stitched with one strand over 18-count!

Cross stitch Owl card

I made up the owl into a quick little card so that I could write a note to a friend.  As for the flowers, they are small enough to fray the edges and mount as patches on the front of greeting cards.  Or maybe use them on a scrapbook page.  Any other ideas?

 

WIP No 2

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My favourite lap stand hoop

I am so happy!  Now I can finish this WIP.  It’s been packed away for ages;  I lost the graph and just found it yesterday.  So now I can make a start on all the back stitching.

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Looking a little bit creased and rumpled from being packed away for so long, but it’ll all come out in the wash – literally!  When it’s finished I’ll swish it through some warm water and gentle shampoo, rinse, roll it in a towel to squeeze out the water and then iron dry face down on a fluffy towel.

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Cross stitching accessories

These are my necessities for cross stitching bar the needle.  Scissors, floss, needle threader and two items which may be unfamiliar.  The little dark blue plastic box contains a sponge.  I run the thread through the damp sponge to keep it flat so it doesn’t twist as I embroider.  Does anyone else do this?  Also my pink floss card winder.  Each card can hold one full skein of floss.

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Plastic boxes for holding embroidery floss cards

I have been reading some cross stitching blogs and it is interesting to see how different people store their supplies.  This is pretty much my whole collection of DMC thread, which doesn’t take up much room at all.    In addition, I have a box of unused skeins of DMC floss plus two containers of other brands, so it all easily fits into one drawer.

When I’m done stitching, I roll my cross stitch in a towel and store in a clear plastic tote; everything else fits into my little case in the top photo.

WIP No 1

Half Square Triangles

WIP – what is that?  Work in progress, to the uninitiated!

Crafters knows that term well as a way to justify all those half finished projects that tend to accumulate.

This is one of mine and what you see are half square triangles in random colours that I am sewing into strips.  Eventually, they will turn into a quilt.  Just not sure what it will look like yet!

Brownies


Do you like your brownies dense and chewy or tender and cake like?  I like the latter, especially when they rise like these ones and here is my recipe.

  • 180g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1-1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 3/4 cup self raising flour

Preheat oven to 180degC and line a 20cm square cake pan with baking paper.  Combine butter, water and cocoa in a pan over a medium heat until butter is melted.  Remove from heat and cool. Beat sugar, eggs and vanilla in electric mixer until light in colour and thick.  Stir in cocoa mixture and sifted flours and pour into pan.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool in the pan.  Remove and cut into 16 pieces.

I think they are delicious as they are and only need a sprinkling of icing sugar on top.  Can be frozen (if they last that long!)