I love Japanese clothes but in England they are hard to find, expensive and unless you are extremely petite, usually a little on the small side. Thankfully, I just found these great new books called Feminine Wardrobe: Twenty-One Beautiful Skirts, Dresses and Tops for You to Make, and Stylish Dress Book: Simple Smocks, Dresses and Tops, so that I can now make my own! The books are part of a series of Japanese sewing books, all reprinted in English and published by Laurence King. They feature lots of very wearable clothes in simple shapes that have just the right amount of Japanese quirk to stop them being boring. The instructions come through a series of simple, step-by-step diagrams, as well as actual-size patterns included in the back so they are really easy to follow. I have my eye on several of the designs and hope to make a couple in the coming months.
I mentioned The Painted House here before and I just couldn't resist having a go of their patterned paint rollers. We have wonky cob walls in our house and although they are lovely and characterful, I've always wanted to have at least one room with a bit of pattern on the walls. Cob and wallpaper aren't a great match (plus the papers I like tend to be prohibitively expensive) so I was extra keen to give these rollers a try. I used design no.4 on our pale blue bedroom walls. It is a very simple design with a 1930's-style leaf pattern. I added the design in white, over the existing blue and I am so delighted with the results! It was extremely easy to do; the whole room took just under two hours and now the walls have a subtle vintage pattern that suits the cottage perfectly. I can see that these patterned rollers could become quite addictive. I am already trying to think of other places to paint, and the great thing is that they are reusable so you can use them an unlimited number of times. You could use them to create printed fabrics, wrapping papers and cards. I also think that they would make a great tool for kids craft activities. Patterned cardboard playhouse anyone?