Friday, July 26, 2013

Ten days in Japan

Nina and I came to Japan last Wednesday. We already spent ten days in Japan. The first week is usually spent for recovering from jet lag every time. Now we can enjoy our fun time with my family and friends without getting tired in an odd timing. I was hearing that it is unusually hot and humid this Summer in Japan before we left the US. But fortunately the weather has been pretty much like a usual Summer (it is still very hot and humid, though!). So I think that made us easy to adjust ourselves to the climate here.

My father lives in the city by Tokyo Bay where is about 50km away from Tokyo. We mostly stay my dad's house when we are in Japan. The house is built about 35years ago. He has a tiny Japanese garden in front of his house. Those beautiful pine trees were much much smaller when we moved in this house. Now they look so solid and tough.

Well-kept Bonsay trees and flower containers.

Keeping a tiny flower bed became my Dad's hobby these years. It is so nice to see colorful flowers every time we come back here. He is a very good and hard working gardener.

We visited the Onsen (hot spring public bath) in our town with my sister's family. There are many different kinds of hot tabs. Each tab has different active ingredients in its water and also they are in different tab styles like "Ne-yu" which is a very shallow tab you can lie down, "Awa-buro" which is a jacuzzi, "Goemon-buro" which is a deep tab looks like an ancient rice cooker, and so on! Many of Japanese people love taking a bath. And we are not the exceptions. The picture below is our pretty girls got high-spirited before taking a bath!

You gotta have a yummy ice cream after taking a superb bath!

When you see a big dinosaur, you have to climb up to the back of it. How can you resist?

Brand-new thing to Nina. Mastering to ride a RipStik (it is named "Braveboard" in Japan). It took a couple days but now she can ride and turn!! I am afraid we gotta buy one when we get home! (She is borrowing it from her cousin.)

I didn't prepare any projects to do on the trip this time. I just didn't have time to think and prepare before we left. I just grabbed some crochet hooks, Tatting shattles and some lace yarns for killing the time on the plane. So I pulled out some left over yarns sitting in my old room here and started some motif crocheting when Nina went to her cousin's house for sleep-over. There were not enough amount of yarns to make a large thing. I am thinking to use these for embellishing a scarf for this Fall. I just cannot spend days without making stuff. There are more supplies I could not transport to the US. So hopefully I will spend some of them while I am here in Japan.

The rose from my Dad's garden.

I am going to Tokyo tomorrow to see my best friends. It is my favorite event I am looking forward so much for a whole year! We are going to have a delicious lunch and talk and talk and talk for hours! Also I will shop around fabrics, craft supplies and books, too. I will report about my shopping in Tokyo (mainly in Shinjuku area) soon. So please stay tuned if you are interested in Japanese craft trends! Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Happy traveling!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Winners and Blog Lovin'

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Before announcing the winners, this is just for your info. You can follow this blog on bloglovin' from now on.

And....... CONGRATULATIONS! The winners of Zakka Handmades Blog Tour Giveaway are.......

The Book "Zakka Handmades" by Amy Morinaka goes to SewLindaAnn,
The Polka dot pouch goes to Char,
The horse pouch goes to Jolana !

I will send you email soon notification soon! Again, congratulations and thank you all to participate in this event!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Zakka Handmades Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great 4th of July!

Today, I am very happy to be the sixth stop of my dear friend Amy Morinaka's Zakka Handmades Blog Tour!

Amy is a master of her wonderful blog Chick Chick Sewing and she recently published her first book "Zakka Handmades". This blog tour is for sharing her fabulous work in this book with you. There are ten other super talented bloggers participating. Also, each of the stops is holding giveaway. There is the schedule of the tour you can find in Amy's blog here. Enjoy reading the book reviews by all the participants, and get a chance to have your own copy of "Zakka Handmades" (and other goodies!)

Amy and I became friends through our blogs in 2010. We have a lot in common (Japanese women living in the US, have daughter(s), love craft etc.....!) I think that made both of us feel kinship with each other. She is a brilliant hard working woman, a loving Mom, and a very talented creator. I love her work inspired by both cultures of Japanese and American. This book is featuring 24 modern sewing projects in Japanese Kawaii Zakka style. There are very easy to follow instructions with clear illustrations. (Illustrations are also by Amy!) All the items are very cute and practical. So it would be hard for you to pick one project to start with!

I tried one project from the book to share with you today. It was very hard for me to decide which item I should make and share in this post as well. But finally I picked these adorable pouches. The element I love about this project is that it is a combination of two different techniques, sewing and crocheting. Amy is showing some more sewing projects in this book combined with embroidery, crochet, applique, hand-carved eraser stamping, and Sashiko. That is a kind I really like to do. I rarely make things with only one technique. I like to mix a several kinds together.

Anyways, I picked Japanese print fabrics for this project since the book is presenting Japanese Zakka making style. For crochet part, I used the same yarn as Amy used, but I picked two denim colors instead of Ecru.

Crocheted flap and fabric button closure gives the pouch a unique, one-of-a-kind look.

Lining fabric is DSQ quilting cotton.

The basic polka dot pouch has a white vintage look button. I wanted to make this one look neat and clean.

This red/grey Dalahäst print is my favorite. I have been waiting and waiting to find a perfect first project for this fabric. With tiny white flowers on the button, the horse looks happy on the pouch.

Good size for carrying your cards, coins, and something small.

Giving away a copy of Zaaka Handmades is a part of this event. This book giveaway entry is only for the US residents. But do not be disappointed! I will give away those two pouches I made for this post. And this (the pouch giveaway) is open to international readers too. To enter the giveaways, please leave your comment mentioning what item you want to win. One entry per person. If you are a US resident you pick one item from the book, the horse pouch and the polka dot pouch. If you live in other country, you pick one from those two pouches. Please do not forget leave your email address in your comment so I can send a notification when you win! The entry will close on Monday at 8:00pm. If you didn't win the book, you can always purchase it here! Good luck everyone, and Happy Zakka Making!

The entry closed Monday 8:00 pm. Thank you all who left comments. The winners will be announced in a few days! Again, thank you so much!