Book Review: Embroidered Kitchen Garden by Kazuko Aoki

Embroidery artist and avid gardener Kazuko Aoki shares her newest collection of exquisite designs inspired by her very own kitchen garden. This bountiful assortment of embroidery motifs includes everyone’s favorite garden treats. From humble tomatoes and radishes to show-stopping figs and Brussels sprouts, this collection features over 30 edible plant designs. Stitch up a sampler to decorate your kitchen, create a one-of-a-kind farmers market tote, or just pore over the pages forendless inspiration. Each design features artfully illustrative details yet are made with just a handful of simple embroidery stitches. Embroidery enthusiasts will delight in this cornucopia of lush and sweet designs to stitch and savor. Instructions and templates for all designs are included, along with personal embroidery tips and expert advice from the author.


I got a copy of the ebook version of this from Netgalley, and quite honestly, even the ebook version is delicious.  The first half of the book has both images and text about certain food stuffs.

The second half has descriptions of how to stitch the images from the first half.  To be fair, this is the point where I would want the physical book in front of me. Not only to be able to switch easily between the instructions and the image, but the instructions do rely on you having a  certain level of stitching knowledge (this is not for the beginner!).

I will be on the lookout for the physical version of this book, to add to my collection!


Sewing events this year

So, I’ve made a decision. The Festival of Quilts is happening in early August as usual and I’ve decided to not go this year.   I really should be making a dent in the fabric I already have (I keep meaning to take some photos). Plus the fact that for several years I’ve found that several shows are not making best use of the space – the space between stands is very tight, whilst there is a load of dead space on the outside. I end up feeling very panicked, and I get frustrated at the “I’m going to randomly stop at this stall with no warning and no consideration for anyone behind me” attitude of a lot of people at these shows.  I did consider going to one of their social events but once again it’s at the Metropole beside the NEC, a hotel with shocking prices over their drinks – I’ve previously been charged £8 for a glass of average wine!

Charlotte over at EnglishGirlAtHome is having her 5th SewBrum late October and her sign up sheet has just gone up. I’ve decided to go to that instead. I did this last year, and I feel slightly more in control of my buying when I’m in a group.  I am forced to slow down to the pace of the group. We will be in the centre of Birmingham rather than at the NEC, and I found several sellers last year that I would have never even looked at, simply because other people stopped and looked.

It also allows for some semi-undercover stock photos to be taken – always a challenge to find suitable photos online, so always simpler to take your own!  Here are some of the fabrics that I picked up last year



And here are some of the images i took

Crafty works in progress

Despite the lack of reading, I have been doing other stuff, believe it or not.

Back in the early 1990s, Laura Ashley issued some of their fabrics in precut squares, and I picked up a whole load of these packets, but never got laura-ashley-quilt-topsaround to doing anything with them. 20 something years later and I’m overflowing with fabric, so I decided I had better do something about the situation.   I’ve therefore been doing some paper piecing, and have got to the point of making some headway into a quilt/patchwork top. I have *no* idea what I’m going to do with it, or what happens next after I’ve completed the top – I’ve never got as far as backing and binding, but that’ll happen sooner or later!

Large Cross Stitch SamplerThe large sampler has been sitting out and about for over a year now, and I should get around to finishing it off. A couple of more weeks should do it once I get my act together – of course the nights are now getting darker earlier, so it means that I’ll have to get the clip on light to put on the frame – I once brought a specialty clip on light, only to realise I already had a book light that I never used and that would do just the job!



Having done The Festival Of Quilts a few weeks ago, and despite saying I’d not add to the stash, of course I did. That did prompt a tidy up of the stash – here’s an indication of what the stash looks like (excluding the crates worth of fabric!). I dare not look at the fabrics or the amount of wool that’s hiding around the place – there’s only so much a girl can take in one go!

So there’s plenty to be getting on with – I now just have to do some of it!



Friday Salon: Craft Room wishlist versus reality



Any copyright belongs to infarrantycreative

Especially when I see how other people do it (normally the Americans, it has to be said), there are times that I would really like a separate room that I could label my “craft room”. Somewhere where I could have all my stash out, available to see and access quickly. Somewhere where my sewing machine and ironing board could be out at all times. A room with enough space and light for me to stitch or sew, draw or paint to my heart’s content. Somewhere to place my computer with access to the internet to allow me to get inspiration where I needed it, and post my thoughts to the world, perhaps designing my own corner of the world. A couple of shelves on which to store my crafting books and magazines.

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Friday Salon: Top 8 Must have “Crafting” supplies

Excluding Photography for some reason, here are the tools that I believe are essential in the crafting world!

1) SCISSORS! At least one pair, if not two. One pair for paper, one not. All the crafting stuff I do involves the cutting of “stuff” and you simply can’t do it with a Stanley knife.

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Sunday Salon: Reading on Sunny days and Rainy Days

The Sunday Salon badge
I have a certain level of guilt about being inside. I grew up in 1970s England to Irish parents. As soon as the weather was “decent” (i.e. “not dark, not raining”) it was certainly a case of “get outside and play”. There was certainly no problem with reading – in fact, I was able to read and write before I went to school and I can never remember not being able to read – but being outside was certainly encouraged, for the rarity in decent weather if nothing else.

Therefore as an adult, choosing to be inside when the sun is shining is certainly a great source of Catholic Guilt. If it’s sunny, you’re outside, it’s that simple. You may go outside to read, that’s ok. It might be sunny and bloody freezing when you stop for more than 2 seconds but that’s not the point

If it’s a rainy day, I generally stay inside and do stuff – most but not all of it reading. I might be doing the dreaded housework, or the ironing etc. Again the guilt factor will prevent me from spending ALL of the day reading (or sewing or watching TV…). I can hear the internal voice going “how can you sit there and read when you know the place needs a dust?!”. Most of the time I can ignore the voice, but sometimes I can’t!


So what about you, constant reader? Do you read more on a rainy day or abandon everything else on a gorgeous day so you can be outside?

Friday Salon: Abandon hope all who….

Do you have any projects that you have scrapped and started over? What made you start over from scratch?

I’ve restarted a couple over the years, but couldn’t name them off the top of the head. Generally it’s when I’ve found a mistake and there’s too much work in frogging it, meaning it’s quicker to start over.

The most memorable one I started again was the Lavender and Lace “The Wedding”, which I originally started on Linen for my older brother’s wedding. I decided part way through that I hate working on Linen, in this case because I had so much trouble working “over 2” that the result would never work.


I ditched that attempt for several years, until my younger brother announced his engagement. I then attempted the same image, this time on Aida. The finished result is above.

I have also attempted a number of other Lavender and Lace pictures – including the Celtic Christmas Angel, but because they were scrapped, I don’t have photos!

How many wips have you started and never finished?