Dear Jane

Far Flung Bee 2012

Hobonichi Techo 2016



At the end of 2015 I finished my one-line-a-day* five year journal. I remember really enjoying being able to look back on what I was doing on that day one, two, or five years ago, and I often think how valuable it is to be able to have five years of memories all in the one journal. At the same time, though, I knew I wanted to try something new for 2016.

I was tossing up between the Midori Traveler’s Notebook* and a Hobonichi Techo* (both links will take you to more information on each journalilng system.) I loved the idea of being able to really customise the inside of a MTN and swap out inserts whenever I needed to, but I worried that I would spend too long getting it set up how I liked and fiddling with it, and not a lot of time using it! It needed to be something already set up and ready to go.

Enter the Hobonichi Techo! There are four different versions, but the one I got was the Techo Cousin Avec. I bought mine online from the Hobonichi store*, which meant that if I wanted the A5 size option I needed to get the Japanese version. It’s not a big drawback – it just means that I can’t read the inspirational quotes down the bottom of each page, and there are a few pages in the back that I can’t comprehend (but they’re great for testing new pens out!)


There’s a couple of things I love about my Hobonichi Techo:

  • It opens flat, which makes journalling a LOT easier!
  • There are so many cute covers if you want to customise (I also got the plastic cover-on-cover as well so that I could change out little bits of ephemera as I felt like it)
  • The pages are made out of a thin but sturdy paper called Tomoe River, which takes ink really well and also stands up admirably to watercolour
  • It’s A5 size so I can stick a lot of things in there AND have room to write
  • You can get them as either one year-long planner, or two 6-month planners – that way your journal doesn’t get too bulging as the months go on (an important factor for someone like me who loves collecting tickets, and feathers ,and business cards, and receipts!)


Jan-June and July-Dec hobonichi journals sitting on a cane chair with reading glasses and a blanket

(January – June vs July – December. So satisfyingly chubby!)

After using my Hobonichi all year, I can safely say I really only have one complaint: because it’s essentially a dated planner, I feel pressured to journal each day. Which I love! But being so time poor, I’ve gotten quite behind (you can see all the sticky notes to remind me to go back and fill in those pages.) When I finally DID get some free time, sometimes I felt that I should be spending it catching up on my Hobonichi whether I was in the mood to or not. Which, you know, kind of defeats one of its primary purposes: to be a relaxing creative outlet.

So will I go Hobonichi again next year? I’m not sure, but probably not. I loved SO much about this year, and I definitely won’t regret having a year full of sketches, journalling, and all those bits of paper memories I like to collect. I’m definitely loving spending time sketching and painting to go with my memory recording, but next year I think I will find an un-dated journal so that I can record when I want. Before I do start looking for a new system, I’ll be back to explain how I use my Hobonichi, and share some more pages.

In the meantime, here are some of my favourite art-journalists!


I hope you get time to create this weekend! (


(* these are not affiliate links, nor have I been sponsored for reviews.)


Still obsessed



Is it possible to love something even before it’s completely finished? Because I am totally smitten with my quilt-as-you-go cross stitch pouch – and so far it’s not even sewn together!

 It’s been over four months since I last sewed and I’m really glad this was my first project to get me back into it. This is the back panel for my pouch, with another Dear Jane block as the feature. I know I’ve said it before, but I really think the D.J. book is a fantastic resource for inspiration and some really ace traditional quilt block styles! This one is M4 – Stepping Stones and as much as I’d love to do a whole quilt of these blocks, there’s 45 pieces… in each individual block! Ouch! But still. Even though it was fiddly and complicated and took forever and came out wonky, I love it.

 I’ve included some of my very best favourite pieces of fabric in this panel. There’s some Japanese printed linen, a liberal sprinkling of Heather Ross favourites, and one of my more treasured scraps ever – little 1” linen bear.



You guys, I’m the hugest “precious precious fabric hoarder no touchy” stasher but I realised recently that life is short and fabric is meant to be seen and touched and loved and used. I have more fabric than one person needs (hands up who’s guilty of that!) so my new sewing goal for 2013 is to sew things that scare me, and sew from my stash!



So I just realised that I never showed my half of the Down Under Doll Quilt Swap (#3) that I sent out to my partner, and this swap was nearly a whole ago! Sheesh guys, talk about slacking!



This quilt was made very much at the last minute – my own fault really, I thought the mail-out date was a month later than what it actually was! Oops! So there was a few long nights work in this one, especially because I decided that of course it needed to be hand-quilted as well!

I’d had the idea of a sewing themed mini in my head for a while and I’m not sure if I’m happy with how it turned out, but I do really love the super crinkly, puffy texture of the hand quilting, and that was without a go in the washer and dryer. It (almost) makes me want to hand-quilt a whole quilt like that. Almost.



My fingers got so sore while hand-quilting that I had to resort to pliers. I’m pretty sure using pliers to pull your needle through the fabric is against some kind of quilting rule but at that point I really felt that pliers were the way to go! I know that ‘Modern’ Quilting is all about breaking the rules and reinventing traditionalism, but I’m really not sure pliers was what they had in mind! It’s a little embarassing, but I hadn’t actually heard of leather thimbles until I was posting these pictures on Instagram so now I know these magic little devices exist I might try one next time, but if I’m honest (again) the pliers actually worked really, really well.



The DUDQS is on again for another year and I’ve signed my name up again. Now that I’ve got my sewing stuff unpacked at my new house I need an excuse to dive back in, and I can do with the excuse to take pictures so I can actually update my IG and blog some more, too!

I can’t wait to find out who my partner is for this round, and do a little sneaky stalk of their Flickr page! I love the excitement of a blind swap!


30 Days of Lists {2012}





Last year I signed up for the 30 Days of Lists journaling prompt group and bombed out pretty quickly. I’m not really a stick-it-outer kind of person, I think. I’m more of an exciteable-best-intentions crafter. I get very excited, and then I get very distracted, and it’s definitely something I want to work on in the future. With that goal in mind, I signed up for this year’s 30 Days of Lists and so far so good!

I want to share my lists (the ones I managed to complete, anyway) from last year because this was a massive leap for me – seriously! I am NOT an improvisational person at all, so for me to just sit down and write and stick and glue without planning each page in advance with individual mock-ups and versions was HUGE. HUUUUGE. It felt kind of good to let go, even if I do get a little anxious looking back over my lists and seeing all the things I could have changed if I’d planned it out beforehand. It’s good to just breathe and let it go.

And – most importantly – I get an excuse to go and look at all the pretty shiny sparkly stickers and scrapbooking supplies at the store! (Priorities, people! Priorities!)


My current obsession.

This is my current obsession.

Do you ever have those projects you just can’t get out of your head? I’ve been day-dreaming about working on this project every day now; whittling away the hours at work until I can rush home and work on it again.


It started as three little stars I made because I wanted to sit down and “just sew something” in an afternoon – sit down and sew something from start to finish, just for the joy of getting it done and having something to show for it at the end of the day. Don’t get me wrong – I do love a good slow-burn project! I’m doing the year-long Woodland Sampler cross stitch, I have not one but TWO Dear Janes I’m hand-piecing, and I’m also hand-piecing two Marcelle Medallion quilts! But sometimes you just want a satisfying ‘quick finish’. (Speaking of Dear Jane – the big star block is part of a block from that quilt. I love the D.J. book – it’s become my go-to resource for traditional block styles so I think even if you’re not going to attempt the whole quilt, it’s a great book to have just as a block resource!)



Each day I’ve been adding little bit by little bit to this quilted panel. Some days more than others, depending on how long I can steal away into my craft room. I’ve been sewing this quilt-as-you-go style following Oh Fransson’s tutorial (find it here) and it’s so addictive! For someone who plans things down to the last detail (I mean plans EVERYthing – I even glued down swatches of actual fabric in block order on a paper miniature quilt layout for both Dear Jane quilts just so I could be sure I liked the fabric choices for each block and how they worked together across the whole quilt…), doing this improv “bit here, bit there, slap it on and sew it down” style is quite freeing!


I think I’m going to turn this into a little zippered pouch to hold my Woodland Sampler cross stitch. I’ll be working on that each month of 2013 and I think it deserves something a little better than being carted around in a plastic bag!


Does anybody else spend longer working on a project pouch than they do on the actual project itself?!



My name is Holly and I live in Australia. This is where I blog about the stuff I make (mostly quilts, stamps & plushies). Sometimes I also write about things that inspire me. Thanks for stopping by!


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I hope your visit here has been inspiring, but please respect my designs and idea as my own. You are welcome to use my patterns & tutorials for personal use (for you, for gifts, etc.), but not commercial use. Please feel free to link to my tutorials, but please do not reproduce them in full on your site. Thank you! © HOLLY McGUIRE 2008-2014

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