Tuesday, September 27, 2016

EMBROIDERY | Lemmikko, Artisan de la Broderie d'Art in Tokyo

✩ Bonjour ✩

Today I would like to introduce you to a wonderful space dedicated to the haute-couture embroidery that I discovered in Tokyo earlier this year. I had heard about Lemmikko from my students and friends, I knew about their book and I had discovered their delicate embroidery work in various articles so I was extremely keen to meet up with founders/ designers Akiko Ogawa and Shiro Shibata. The re-opening of Lemmikko's Colorbucket shop was the perfect opportunity to come and discover this exquisite space!

1. Colorbucket, the shop

Imagine a delightful place where beads, sequins and other embroidery materials & tools cover every wall. All the furnitures have been tailor-made and built by Shiro Shibata and I am impressed by the  amount of work and attention to details that it represents. 
The sequins & beads come in all shapes and a stunning range of colors, and everything has been organized to be easily accessible and to please the senses of embroiderers. 
How to resist to so much beauty!

Shiro Shibata, one of the founders of Lemmikko
Delicate and shiny beads adorning the walls behind the counter
Loving the creative way to display materials in light bulbs!
Vintage as well as new materials: creativity has no boundaries!
Beads coming in all shapes and materials
An ingenious and pretty way to display & organize all the sequins
One of my favorite colors!
Every tool you can dream of, and more!
Mimosa embroidery sample
You can also try out one of the Lemmikko kits
More beads than you can imagine...

Do you need embroidery materials for your next project? Visit Colorbucket, conveniently located near Yoyogi-Uehara station in the heart of Tokyo. All information here (in Japanese). 

2. Classes at Lemmikko

The space where embroidery classes take place is located on the ground floor, next to Colorbucket. It's very bright and peaceful, showcasing embroidery projects on the walls as well as various tools. That day Akiko Ogawa is teaching a class, I am really happy to meet her and exchange a few words in French. Students quickly set up their embroidery frames and start working on their individual projects in a relaxing atmosphere. I am envious of their skills at the crochet de Lunéville embroidery, which I don't master yet... I still prefer needle embroidery!

You can find all details about the classes at Lemmikko here (in Japanese). 

You can also follow Lemmikko on Facebook {here} as well as discover their blog {here}
to keep up to date with their news, various events & promotions.

Akiko Ogawa in between Higoshi-san and myself :-)

The meet-up with Akiko Ogawa and Shiro Shibata was made possible 
by my student & friend Sachiko Higochi {merci beaucoup!}. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

TRAVEL | So, how is life in Switzerland?

So how is life in Switzerland you all are asking me?

Because yes, last August I relocated from the mega city of Tokyo (Japan) to a small village in the western part of Switzerland. Not far from where I grew up in fact - except that it was on the French side of the border... and that makes a huge difference if you ask me.

Switzerland is neat, clean and pretty. Landscapes in Switzerland really do look like postcards (when the weather is sunny). We've been blessed with a warm sun and long days ever since moving back, which certainly eased a lot the whole process. Because you don't really relocate from Tokyo easily. 

Nope, it's supposed to be hard, but it's been easy so far. Kids are very happy as they regained some freedom and they maybe think they are still summer holidaying... Hubby seems happy as the work pace here is much more relaxed than it was in Tokyo. Husband and kids come home every day for lunch, kids finish school at 15h05 and are back home by 15h30. There is a family life after school & work, which is good. There is time to tend to your vegetable patch, pursue a hobby and eat dinner all together. You go to bed early and go to work early too. 

There is always something going on: an art show, the open air cinema in Summer, a public event, a village fiesta, a seasonal celebration, a wedding and there are definitely a lot of activities for the kids. Children are very active here: they are walking to school and back home (4 times a day), going to the "gym du soir" on Monday, playing outside together, going for walks in the forest with their classes etc... That would tire out anyone, which maybe explains why Mathias needs an afternoon nap 😴whenever is not at school (on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays)!

Below is a selection of my best photos taken over the past few weeks of the places we live in or visit often - including my Grand-Ma's house where there are always flowers and a cake awaiting us. In case you are wondering, he cat is my sister's and its name is Arthur.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

EMBROIDERY | The story behind the cardigan's embroidery


Today I would like to share this embroidery project that I have realized last Spring for my friend and customer Eri Takenaga

Eri-san had inquired earlier on if I could embellish a cardigan that she had bought at Uniqlo. I had not done anything like this before but I was really excited to come up with something pretty. We agreed on a color scheme, and I was given the freedom to create te embroidery I wanted. 

Step 1
I found the pretty leaf lace at the Lace Center in Harajuku, one of my favorite places in Tokyo to source unique lace materials. 

Step 2
I put the lace on top of the cardigan and found the best way to display it. Then I used two different colors of DMC coton perlé (#955 and #991) and a running stitch to embroider the lace.

Step 3
Once the lace was fixed on top of the cardigan, the challenging part was to decide which other materials (bijoux, sequins, beads...) to use. 
I had selected peach triangle-shaped bijoux, rose gold beads, transparent 4 mm mint green sequins, 5mm gold sequins, 6mm light pink sequins and 6mm green sequins. 

I quickly realized that the 6mm sequins were too big and the colors a little bit too strong. I finally opted for the bijoux, the 5mm gold sequins paired with the tiny rose gold beads and the 4mm transparent mint green sequins.

Step 4
I sew the bijoux first then the mint green sequins on top of the leaves.

Step 5
Lastly I randomly added the gold sequins held with 2mm rose gold beads around and in-between the lace, before finally sewing a few beads on top of the leaves.

Voilà, the finished piece ready to be delivered to Eri-san together with a cute embroidered ballerina on a keychain!

Monday, September 19, 2016

TRAVEL TOKYO | Kotori Café - Minami Aoyama

 Kotori Café in Minami Aoyama


I want to share with you the perfect place to end your day after visiting the current exhibition of Noko Noko Felt at Gallery Palette. Kotori Café is located in Minami Aoyama and is a bird café = a place where you can have a sweet and a drink while admiring the birds in their cages and even pet them for a couple of minutes and a few extra yen.

The children and I were lucky to visit it when my friend Irene - the creative designer behind Singapore label Carrot Pepper, and her daughter Sophie came to Tokyo earlier this year. Irene and Sophie were familiar with the place but it was our first time to go to a bird café. I think the children enjoyed it a lot, although they would have liked to spend a lot more time in the room petting the birds in their room reserved to this activity - including an owl!

Pet cafés are very popular in Tokyo for romantic dates or to unwind after a stressful day at work. It can also be quite complicated to keep an animal at home in this huge city where apartments are usually pretty small and space is ultra limited, so I guess someone came up one day with this concept of "animal cafés". Most widely known are the cat cafés, but why not get out of your comfort zone and try out a snake or owl café? Tokyo IS the place to do things you wouldn't do back home ;-)

Please note that certain rules apply when visiting with children - including the age limit, so make sure to check out first to avoid any disappointment to the little ones.

● ● ●

Kotori Café 6-3-7 Minami Aoyama
Minato-Ku ・107 0062 Tokyo
>> I see on their website that there is also one in Kichijoji. 
Check their website for all information.

 Irene and I - January 2016

Kotori Café 6-3-7 Minami Aoyama
Minato-Ku ・107 0062 Tokyo