Finished projects · Hand Embroidery

Back to the U.S. and RED-y with a Deer and Doe Melilot Shirt and Farewell Japan Embroidery!

H…. hello? Ahem, hello?

Wh-what’s this?! Who??!

Yes, it’s me! I’m alive and back on the blog! Did you miss me? Because I certainly missed you!

Wow, so how have things been? How have I been? Well, I’m back on my feet after a long, hard fall – but we’ll get into that later, shall we? First, let’s look at some sewing for old time’s sake!

I sewed a Deer and Doe Melilot shirt! You can see previous versions here and here. I also have an unblogged Melilot that gets a LOT of wear. (Update: It’s finally blogged here!) This pattern is my favorite summer work shirt. It’s comfortable, yet business-y enough and it looks great tucked in, too! Oh, and also knotted at the waist, like this!

I sewed a straight size 42 and used the rest of the leftover fabric from my Gertie + Gertie shirt. The side seams are French-seamed so I didn’t have to use my serger for this project!

As you may have noticed I haven’t been sewing much this past year. I ran into some machine problems in Japan (probably due to being banged up in shipping), so it was a struggle. I’m back in the U.S. and took it to the shop, so it was working well enough for me to make this top as well as a couple other things. It’s on the fritz again, but it only acts up after about 30 minutes of sewing. So I can make stuff, just slower than usual!

I mentioned I’m back from living in Japan. It’s customary to give gifts when you begin and end a job, so I made each of my schools an embroidery to show my appreciation.

I love the coral colors and hope it translated into a happy, sincere gesture.

I enjoyed embroidery in Japan since it was not only difficult to sew with my half-broken machine, but my kitchen table (heck, ONLY table) was too small to sew comfortably. I realized quickly how spoiled I was to have my nice, large sewing table and own sewing room back in Tucson!

Anyway, here’s the life update:

DD and I realized near the time it came for me to re-contract that the brewery was a no-go. Many factors blocked us, from tax issues to not-being-Japanese issues. We knew being two foreigners was going to be a hurdle, but we had an organization lined up that would have been our middle-man… well, they fell through after we arrived. So yeah, lots of stuff telling us it was not meant to be.

The decision to leave was extremely difficult for me at first. I felt like I needed more time in Japan. Especially since I only did a year on the JET Program a decade ago, and I didn’t want to be another one-year-wonder. But as winter came into full gear, I realized I truly can’t tolerate the frigid temperatures in such a humid environment. Our apartment would practically rain on the inside from condensation due to lack of insulation. I got chilblains twice. I was so careful to dress warm and use kairo (hot pads) on my feet every day, but I guess I physically am not meant to be in cold weather!

So my mood quickly turned sour for the rest of the year and I was counting down to the days to come back home. Oh, I still had good times in there from karaoke Sundays with my friends, drinking on the banks of the beautiful Oyabe River, and taking a trip to Vietnam in the spring. I was able to make new friends and really connect with more students this time around.

DD and I came back in the summer and stayed with his parents for a few months. We basically had to start from zero. We sold about 90% of our belongings before we moved to Japan. But luckily, DD landed a decent job in New Orleans and are currently renting half a house in the neighborhood I grew up in. It took a while, but I am finally feeling healed and I made my peace with Japan. I’m even ready to go back for vacation! … that is, once we both get some annual leave under our belts…

My blogging suffered not only because I wasn’t sewing anything (I could have easily blogged about Japan and my adventures!) but because of my mood. Depression hit hard when the dream couldn’t be realized. It was a long, hard fight but I’m feeling better and more motivated now. One thing that did keep me afloat when I was at my lowest in Japan was taking up watercolor. I have always loved drawing and I remember enjoying making the one watercolor painting I did in high school. So I bought some supplies last March and I haven’t looked back since. Watercolor has now caught up with sewing as my favorite hobby… or I guess, second favorite. Actually, one of my plans for 2020 is making a website for my art! I’ve taken a few commissions to bring in a little cash while I’m unemployed, so it would be nice to direct people to a site that showcased my work. I am very thankful to have a skill where I can contribute to the household.

That’s about all for now! I have a small sewing queue lined up so I’ll be posting more often this year. I won’t be as active as previous years (2-4x a month) because I’m trying to keep a minimalist lifestyle. Having 50 new pieces of clothing every year was great, but it felt so wasteful! Plus, we are in a small space so I literally have no room for many new clothes! I am being more mindful of what I’m making and hopefully that will force me to slow down and really take my time making each piece perfect.

So what have YOU been up to? I’ve stalked your blogs here and there during the year, so I’m not completely out of the loop. But I’ve missed communicating with y’all, so here I am! Let’s chat in the comments!


p.s. Here’s a dynamic pose for old-time’s sake!

18 thoughts on “Back to the U.S. and RED-y with a Deer and Doe Melilot Shirt and Farewell Japan Embroidery!

  1. Thanks for returning to blog land:) and I’m sorry Japan didn’t work out for you. Looking forward to seeing your makes again even if I don’t comment much because of my oh so terrible internet connection.


  2. First, this shirt is the cutest! And this watercolour lifesaver, did you post some to IG?
    So sorry that your brewery plans in Japan didn’t work out, but definitely happy to hear you both were able to find work after returning to the US. That itself is a blessing in these dreary economic times.


  3. Rachel, you look amazing as always! That shirt is the best! ❤ I hope you’ll come to visit me when you get comfortable again and we can go on adventures you weren’t able to have when you were here 🙂


  4. Another fabulous Melilot! (Can’t believe I haven’t purchased the pattern yet…) I’m looking forward to reading about your new endeavors!
    I recently retired, and my only regret is never having lived/worked abroad. That’s one regret that you won’t have! Good go you!


    1. Thank you! ❤ I highly recommend getting the pattern – definitely one of my faves!

      Living/working abroad is pretty cool, but I gotta say vacationing abroad is a lot more fun since you don't have to deal with the boring "real life" things that can be a little more difficult dealing with abroad. 😉 But yes, no regrets here and I hope you can make some fun trips in the future!


  5. Welcome home! It takes guts to try what you did and it takes guts to call it, too. I had a similar experience moving to England and it turns out I love it there – for a visit. Beautiful Melilot! I can’t believe I haven’t tried knotting it up like that yet.


    1. Thank you! I’m feeling the same with Japan – I love it, it’s technically my “second home,” but I love vacationing there the best. England is on my bucket list, though! Where do you recommend going (besides London?)


      1. I’ve mostly been to London and Oxfordshire, which is lovely. Oxford, lots of cream-tea-ish small towns, and where I lived for a year, then each summer for five years (my boyfriend was living there). And I enjoyed Salisbury/Stonehenge for day trips (your basic cathedrals and henges ^_-). But on my to-do list (all highly recommended), I want to visit New Forest, the Lake District, Cambridge…and Scotland, but now we’re out of England!

        Liked by 1 person

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