Small, but not so small zipper pouches. Little happy things that I enjoyed working on.
What may have instigated this was the request for:
something small to put a gift voucher in; or
something flat and light and/or Australian-inspired* to mail overseas; or
something handmade and unique as a Kris Kringle / Secret Santa present for this gift-giving season!
To pick a favourite from the multi-step process is not possible. They were all enjoyable -- from sketching the birds, cutting the stencil, pressing the ink through the silk screen and finally piecing the little bird fabrics on to cardboard.
OK, so my least favourite would be cutting the stencil part :D
The end result of superimposing prints surprises me!
Little postcard-sized pieces of art, I'd proclaim.
Created a handful of bird illustrations in keeping with the 'Put a bird on it' theme... The first stencil I made was of the Crimson Rosella. It is a very colourful bird which I thought would best fit the rainbow patchwork tote.
For now, the other feather friends -- the Laughing Kookaburra, Galah, Magpie and Chook -- are safely stored in my sketchbook for amusement's sake. They have been fun to draw!
Our day in Kyoto! The JR train conveniently connects Osaka to Kyoto and we started our day in Kyoto with a visit to Sanjusangen-do in the morning. The next touristy spot we aimed for was the 'shrine with shopping street', the names I have forgotten. With the streets packed we decided to skip the shrine or temple and got swayed by all the food and snacks available in this street of Kyoto instead. It was just as well a pleasant day for an overfilled cold matcha custard puff.
Well stuffed with all the sweet snacks by the afternoon, we made our way to a tea ceremony lesson. Tourists will be tourists -- the dressing up added authenticity to this cultural experience. Most memorable for me was the lady assisting me in the kimono asking, "Did you have a big breakfast?" as she tried to corset me in :/
With the tea ceremony over it was an unhurried wander to Nishiki market and downtown Kyoto. Our search for an appealing dinner spot proved to be unfruitful due to the odd hour, so we ambled back to the rail and back to the familiar foodie streets of Namba, Osaka.
Staying above Takashimaya meant a widespread offering of decadent desserts just an elevator ride away!
Another fun outing ensued in the morning as we rode the bus to the Alps, Tateyama. We were reminded of the Swiss alps and enjoyed some proper matcha roll and tea after a communal hot pot lunch. (Not so fun for me in the 50 minute stretch of the windy mountain bus ride as the motion sickness pill wore off.)
The tour group we were with was so properly run and organised, giving us a sufficient sample of each unique site. On our way back to Osaka, we once again had proper stops at Service Areas, giving us opportunities to procure immaculately boxed souvenir sweets and nibbles (OMG, grilled cuttlefish) along the way.
By sunset, we were conveniently alighted at our hotel where we returned to our creature comforts. That was an activity-packed 2 days outside of Osaka, don't you think?
The next stop after Takayama is this really charming little historical town. We've had an hour or so to wander. Shirakawago is just lovely with the traditional thatched houses and the snow-capped mountains in the background. Definitely memorable.
We were later brought to a hotel in another town where we spent the night for an early start the next morning.
With an early start on Wednesday, we lugged an overnight pack to join a local coach tour out of Osaka. (Trying to figure out the undisclosed bus meeting point was not without drama.)
Unclear of how much time had elapsed in the moving vehicle aided by the multiple stops at pleasant Service Areas (rest stops along the highway) and the many snacking and souvenir opportunities each provided, the journey to the unknown was totally enjoyable. No busting bladder! Seats were all assigned, too. How civilised! Cup of complimentary green tea while you stretch your legs? Yes please.
The tour included a lunch box which we pre-ordered. Just delightful. In a few hours we were clearly out of the city and in a hilly region. First destination of our coach tour was Takayama, a town dubbed Little Kyoto. We were left to wander the little town for an hour or so. Lovely to have a brief visit to see and smell something out of the city.