Thursday, 14 February 2013

Happy St Valentine's Day to all.

Many years ago I made a Valentine quilt while trying out Elly Sienkiewicz's Appliqué 12 Easy Ways. Every year in February I display this little wall hanging in my home.

                             I made two hearts of each type and found out which appliqué methods I like and which I dislike. It was a good learning curve and that makes this quilt very dear to me.

In Japan Valentine = a gift of chocolate. 
Julie Fukuda over at My Quilt Diary has written an excellent blog post about how this tradition of giving chocolate came about in Japan. I warmly recommend you to read it.

Here are a few examples of this year's chocolate haul:

Wrapping is important.
The red box in the next picture came in its own tiny carrier bag.
How should one react when one's husband is given a pretty box of exquisite chocolates in a red box with a heart dangling from the ribbon?

Well, one should be most pleased and put that little heart on a crazy quilt!

Information is important.
In this box there was a note about the NPO (Non Profit Organisation) that sells these chocolates to raise funds for their activities.
Clic here to read more.

In the bottom corner the six circles explain what flavours there are:
Raspberry, Maple, Black Tea,
Green Tea (Macha), Passion Fruit and Mango.
All have white chocolate as a base.
Individual wrapping is important.
Now what's in this box? Those who read French will know it contains something fit for a king's palate.

Actually this is a box of rusks! Rusks!? Well, not the Swedish wholesome whole-wheat rusks you need all your teeth to bite into.

Instead there are eight chocolate covered rusks decorated with gold dust! They are made from roasted French baguette.

Each is wrapped in its own little golden plastic bag with a sturdy cardboard disc to prevent the rusk from damage.

Individual wrapping is the norm in Japan and there are several reasons why sweets, biscuits and crackers come in their own little bags. They keep fresh longer, they are protected from moisture in summer, they can be served to guests in pristine condition, they can be given to take home to guests who were too modest to eat at your table, they can be served to other guests at another time, they might have a Best Before date printed on the bag...

Now I will treat my Royal palate to a gold dusted chocolate covered rusk before settling down to some quilting.


  1. a lovely quilt Queenie and so nice to have something for those special days. No chocolate for me I do not eat it during lent, have 2 bars in the fridge but I will not touch it, hopefully!

    1. Good for you! It is the chocolate manufacturers who introduced this tradition in Japan, and they are not following the Christian calendar. Cards are not sent, nor are flowers given, so it had to be (?) chocolates.

  2. So do tell, did you have a favourite appliqué method?
    It's dark chocolate I cannot resist.

    1. Well, I vary my methods. Usually I do needle turn with tack stitches catching the fold. If I want a decorative patch I will do blanket stitch or cover the patch's edge with bias tape.

  3. That is a lovely quilt with joyful colors, Queenie :)

    I also wish you a very happy Valentine's day ,

    Blessings from France,

  4. I never knew there was black tea and green tea chocolate. I wonder how it tastes.
    Pretty quilt!

    1. Black tea = English tea or Royal Milk Tea (English tea with milk and sugar or even caramel syrup). This flavouring is VERY popular in Japan. You often find sponge cakes with tea dust (from a tea bag) as the flavouring, there are small black specks in the cake, and it is really very nice. Ice cream also is popular with tea added to give flavour. Macha (powdered green tea used for tea ceremony) blended with cream and eggs makes a delicious ice cream, especially after a Japanese meal. It is quite bitter and refreshing.

  5. All those delicious Valentine sweets, each with it's own story. My score was zero this year but I did get a rose.
    Your little quilt jogged my memory of a similar quilt I stitched years ago. It has been hanging on my tool board behind embroidery hoops for years. I have now got it down and will wash it . I'd forgotten how pretty it was and how much I enjoyed stitching it. So you see, unintentionally , you gave me a lovely Valentine gift.

  6. My chocolate score was zero as well, as only men receive gifts on Feb 14 in Japan. However, all male members of my family happily share their gifts with us women. We'll get celebrated on March 14 instead, hopefully, that is!

    Today when I read your comment I got the best Valentine gift ever - how lovely to know I reminded you of that forgotten quilt behind the embroidery hoops!
    All the best!

  7. I love all that exquisite individual wrapping and bags within bags etc that is usual in Japan, it makes everything so special. It completely goes against the trend here in UK where we are encouraged not to wrap, for shops to keep packaging to a minimum to save the planet. A dilemma indeed. Al took me out for a meal pre-Valentine's Day and we don't do cards. I like the idea of a hearts wallhanging for February, another for the to do list!!
    PS Metropole booked for FoQ now the discount code has been arranged, see you there :-)

  8. your appliqué is is lovely. it's almost a shame to take it out only once a year. th chcolat wrapping is so delicate, like a lot of think in Japan ...


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