Sashiko Stitching Project

Do you get obsessed with ideas or skills? Every few weeks or months I focus obsessively on something–a TV show, hobby, or topic–and spend a lot of my free time researching the topic until my curiosity has been satisfied. My hubby and good friends are used to this, and endure nicely until the obsession fades.

Sashiko, a Japanese form of embroidery used to enforce or repair clothing, is the most recent interest of mine. I was introduced to this type of stitching two years ago, when I purchased a Sashiko-stitched quilt. The blanket is made of two sheets of simple cotton, but has lines of cotton-thread embroidery over the entire surface. The thread adds a perfect amount of weight and creates this piece of art that I’m now obsessed with.

Inspired by a friend’s recent honeymoon to Japan (more on that later!), I created a few simple DIY sashiko projects for my table. I’ll be posting more detailed tutorials over the coming weeks, as well as linking to recipes and content from Yolene’s blog, Creme de Citron. All part of our Japanese Fall Feast collaboration!

Raw-Edge Sashiko Embroidered Table Runner

I’m not a fan of tablecloths. It seems old-fashioned and fussy, and I love the look of a well-used dining table. But…I found myself wishing I had something more than a bare table for fall dinner parties. Enter this raw-edge sashiko stitched table runner.

Sashiko Stitch Table Runner
Sashiko Stitching

Sashiko Embroidered Book Page

This embroidered book page is the perfect addition to fancy up your Thanksgiving table. It can be used as a place card (add each guest’s name) or just to add visual interest. After dinner is over, put it on an inspiration board or frame it!

Sashiko Book Embroidery
Sashiko Book

Coffee-Dyed Sashiko Napkin

Last year, I picked up a batch of white napkins for my table. Only to avoid using them because I didn’t want them stained. So, I decided to purposefully stain them with coffee and then add a bit of embroidery in the corner. Viola! Napkins that match my new table runner!

Sashiko Stitch Napkins
Fall Sashiko Stitch

Come back over the next month for the tutorials and details! If you can’t wait for more Sashiko inspiration, check out my Pinterest board for more projects and photos.

Mountains in Hailey Idaho

When anyone in Ireland asks where they should go in the States, I immediately say out west: skip New York City, avoid Los Angeles, go straight to Idaho. It’s unlike anywhere in Europe, with a wide openness that can be unnerving for Europeans not used to long stretches of prairies and layers of mountains for days.

There’s a picture perfect-ness to Idaho that can’t be described in words, from the almost translucent blue sky, the alpine lakes that are beyond crystal clear, the sound of the river rushing through a canyon, and the wind making itself known in the aspen leaves.

Idaho Mountain Range
Ash Leaves
Big Wood River Walk
Big Wood River Canoe
Idaho Wildflowers Hailey River Walk
Heart Stone Collection
Idaho River Idaho WetlandIdaho River Stones

Located exactly in the center of Idaho, Blaine County is made up of several small towns–Ketchum and Hailey are the most notable–with a total population of just over 20,000 in 2,661 square miles. Made famous by Ernest Hemingway, the area is both high-class and down-to-earth, where movie stars and billionaires rub shoulders with everyday people.

Camping in Idaho
Redfish Lake BeachClear Redfish Lake
Redfish Lake Campground
Redfish Lake
Stanley Idaho

North of Ketchum is Stanley, Idaho and the Sawtooth Wilderness, which holds some of the most beautiful and secluded areas in the United States. The recreation area is an outdoor lover’s dream. It has miles of trails, rivers, streams, and lakes. You can hike, bike, fish, raft, canoe, hunt, rock climb, drive, boat, ride horseback, camp, ski, snowmobile, and observe the flora and fauna in all its glory.

Dublin Zoo-1

This summer at the Dublin Zoo, everything was coming up babies! It seemed like every animal enclosure had a baby in it, with monkeys, giraffes, and elephants joining in the fun. It was a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon with my niece and nephew. In fact, it’s one of my favorite zoo visits ever for a variety of reasons, not just being able to watch baby monkeys tumble around and adolescent apes play fight for hours with their siblings.

Dublin Zoo-2
Dublin Zoo-11
Dublin Zoo-9
Dublin Zoo-6

The animal enclosures were unique because they allowed you to get up close to the animals. At one point, an ostrich followed my niece down the fence with her head only a few feet away, close enough to see her wicked beak and curly eyelashes, while zebras laxily ate grass and giraffes scratched their long necks on trees. In the lion enclosure, the roars were so loud my nephew was enthralled. We were also able to catch the end of a lecture on the new elephant by a zoo keeper, who stuck around long after the lecture was over to patiently answer questions from sticky toddlers.

Dublin Zoo-5
Dublin Zoo-4 Dublin Zoo-3

Outside of the enclosures, the landscaping was beautifully done keeping visual interest with a duck-filled moats and layers of bamboo and flowers. It was so clean and well-done it reminded me of Animal Kingdom in Orlando.

Dublin Zoo-10
Dublin Zoo-7
Dublin Zoo-8

The Dublin Zoo, like the rest of Ireland, has confusing signage and the map wasn’t much help as some of the habitats had recently moved. So be prepared to wander a bit! The zoo is located in Phoenix Park and is open daily from 9:30am. Closing times vary by month, so make sure to check ahead for opening hours and daily events.

Summer Flowers -4

Instead of sweltering temperatures, withering gardens, and mosquitos, high summer in Ireland is filled with cool temperatures and gardens where creativity and passion take center stage as flowers tumble over stone fences. Gardening is part of everyday life here and a majority of houses will have some type of garden, some that are generations old with plants tended from previous owners and relatives.

As a beginner gardener, I love visiting the many gardens in County Kilkenny. I often don’t know the name of the flowers I see, and so I spend time after each visit reviewing photos and researching for more information. Recording what I like, and expanding my knowledge of flowers and design.

Summer Flowers -13 Summer Flowers -14
White Hydrangea White Verbascum
Irish River Rocks

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Corfu Beach Dock

There’s a famous Greek island off the coast of Turkey that is known for its centurions, despite what the Western world considers indulging in bad habits; a bottle of wine a day, cigarettes, soft drinks. The residents make up for the bad habits with plenty of better ones, including an active lifestyle, a diet heavy in antioxidants and light on meat, and daily naps.

For our summer vacation, we decided to live the Greek life for one week on the island of Corfu. A popular destination for Brits and Irish, the island is known for its beautiful beaches and relaxed lifestyle. Each day we spent either at the pool or finding a secluded beach, and each night was spent ingesting copious amounts of feta, tomatoes, and grilled meats.

Covered Boat Greece Ski Club Paleokastritsa
Corfu Beach CliffCorfu Beaches Corfu Greece Beach 064

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