Thursday, November 25, 2010


One of the nicest things about blogging is meeting all kinds of very nice people with similar interests. Often, it begins with a comment they leave - and sometimes, things take off and we get to know each other a little better by email. Sometimes not. And because I'm plonked in a culture that wasn't mine from birth, it is doubly interesting to correspond with people in like circumstances.

A while back, I got to know two lovely people this way. Neither currently lives full-time in the USA like I do, but both have spent some time here. I don't actually remember how our conversations began, but I'm sure it had to do with sewing. We were all at the time mothers of newborns or expecting newborns, so add
that to our having one foot in one culture and the other in a second/third, and we had some interesting things to talk about.

At some point we thought it would be fun to do a swap and send each other a parcelful of things from the different countries we're now living in. We gave ourselves a modest budget, promptly exceeded said budget, and employed extremely flexible deadlines. Mothers of multiple small(ish) children need to cut themselves a LOT of slack, and we did just that.

Last month, those packages made their journey across the world and arrived at our homes! I don't know who was more excited - me or the kids, to see each one arrive. "Is it from your friend in another country, mum?" Emily asked each time. "Let's open it now!" It was such a treat to open each package and see and touch treasures that had come from far away - things that were quite ordinary in the country they left, but so ooh-worthy and novel and exciting to us here.

Here's what came all the way from Japan, from Christine, who writes on her beautiful Origami Mommy blog. Christine is the mother of four children, she's Korean-American, and spends time in both Japan and America. She is a freelance writer and the author of this book and she has a new book coming out in Feb 2011, with a craft kit! She sews lovely, lovely things and makes cardboard stuff. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Winner of a combination.

Most of these have already been hijacked by the kids. I managed to snatch them back for photos.

All the fabric is mine, though, as is this inspiration mag:

I want this dress.

See- even though I don't read Japanese - it already makes more sense than packets of commercial patterns! I am quite, quite in love with this magazine.

The second package came from Ms Muffin in Germany who writes on her beautiful blog Muffins and More. She is the sweetest thing, and I have so enjoyed writing to her about anything and everything under the sun - life, parenting, sewing, food......... Ms Muffin (and I shall call her by this secret code name because it is more exciting this way) is the mother of two, and sews, bakes and makes the charmingest, to-die-for clay pins and buttons in her shop.

Like these handbag and toadstool pins she sent in her package, along with this pincushion. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I am already scheming about this fabric. Dolly beanbags, anyone?

Toy catalogs - so much inspiration. Jenna has already asked for fabric ice cream cones.

And this gem of a book -

full of ideas - and anything in wood can also be made in cardboard. All those toys! Quick, before the girls grow up!

Maisy! In German!

That folds out soooooooooooooooooo loooooooooooooooooong!
Ms Muffin kindly sent along the translation but we attempted to read it in German anyway, much to the husband's (who can speak some German) amusement.

Thank you, ladies for the gifts and friendship that transcend boundary lines and culture! And for the marvelous inspiration - language not required.


  1. This inspires me. Every time I read what you post, makes me realise that motherhood / craftmaking / sewing / teaching, all in one person is possible!!! I am a teacher - dentist and love making things with my hands for my daughter. I think that cultural exchange you've just experienced with your friends is priceless. Plus, your kids must be thrilled. You should come to my country, Peru, some time. It's beautiful here, food is delicious and our crafts are to die for. If you want to know more about my culture, you can email me to I wrote to you once and you kindly replied. Thank you for inspiring me.

  2. Thanks for the sweet and lovely words! It is so strange - yet in a really good way - to see all those things that I packed in your photos! :-)
    And you know what - your post got me thinking ... how we "met" each other. I think it was not sewing after all. Well, at least not "only" sewing. I think I stumbled upon your blog when I made a cardboard letterbox and was looking for tutorials .... And think that was the first time we wrote to each other. I did sew some felt envelopes. But I distinctly remember that I liked your letterboxes so much better ... and you telling me that you did like mine as mine was round and you loved round things ...
    Is it odd that I actually remember those things? I mean this was years ago!!! Sometimes my memory really scares me ...

  3. wow you lucky girl.. you got some lovely things... enjoy them!!!!

  4. Stau is one of the coolest German words ever. I almost wish I lived in a big city, just so I'd have an excuse to use it more often now that I'm back in the US!

  5. What a nice story! It's always nice to recieve a gift but this one is really special!
    (Ulrike; maybe you should give the translation of the word STAU. Not for me, i'm dutch so i speak quite a bit german myself, but for the other people, the might not understand why you have to live in a big city to get a lot of stau :))
    Lier I love following your Blog. It often makes me laugh!

  6. I love this about internet, you get to communicate and share with people all around the world. I want to see what you sent !

  7. How fun, and what talented ladies to swap with!!!

    The pin cushion is super adorable - especially the pins!

  8. What a lovely idea, and such fun to do for each other. Its stuff like this that makes the world a happier place.


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