Saturday, January 30, 2010

woven felt valentines hearts

wow, how did it get to be the end of january so fast? i'm leaving tomorrow (which is in a few hours) for a week long research trip to indonesia. but i wanted to leave you with another little valentine's day craft-woven felt hearts.

i used the lovely craft felt we have here in japan, and i recommend this link for the weaving instructions. these hearts were all made from 1 small sheet of red and white felt, with a little left over.

if you've never tried making these woven hearts before, i would recommend trying it with paper first, because i think you will have a better idea of how it works. but, actually, the felt is easier to handle then paper, because it's more stretchy and flexible.

Monday, January 25, 2010

needle felted valentine's conversation hearts

here's my valentine's day needle felted conversation hearts project from last year. using a heart shaped silicone ice cube tray, these are so easy-a perfect first needle-felting project!
the full tutorial is here, and also in the list of tutorials on the top right of this page!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Crafting 152/365..., originally uploaded by Lilley1.

for the last 6 days i've been busy with a conference that my office organized. the last event was last night, and my computer is up and running again with a replacement power adapter, and i am trying to catch up on everything that piled up in the meantime.

the earthquake in haiti happened right before these days. my words can't do justice to that tragedy, at least not words from my tired brain. tonight, my heart goes out to the people suffering.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Friend or Foe?

Friend or Foe?, originally uploaded by ittybittiesforyou.

i think i may have jinxed myself by wishing for a new computer while i still have a my power source isn't working and i think i may have an idea about what made that electrical pop noise earlier this evening that at the time was quite mysterious.

hopefully this can be resolved soon, and i can share the (very different!) post i had in mind.

cozy winter

january is passing quickly (at least it feels that way to me!), but it does not feel like winter is going to be over anytime soon. i've been noticing some lovely cozy wintery things online recently. above is the beautiful mast humidifier made of japanese cypress via spoon and tamago.
in the pacific northwest, humidity is not really an issue, but in japan, when the heater is on, it gets dry. i love that this humidifier doesn't use any electricity, as the water is wicked up and evaporates from the thin layers of cypress, which i imagine could also smell lovely.
a traditional japanese way of staying warm (with no central heating, most warming strategies are very very localized) is the hot water bottle, or yutanpo. in the olden days, yutampo were made of metal, could be warmed on the heater, and then you can use the water in the morning for washing up. these days, they are popular again, especially the plastic or rubber kind also used in europe. these super soft looking yutampo covers are from this sweet zakka shop.

this one was handstiched by the talented melissa at tiny happy.
and this one was knit by a stealer of hearts. i think i want to knit a hot water bottle cover of my own, i like how the stretchy collar is perfect for the neck of the bottle.

i actually haven't used my own hot water bottle yet this winter, maybe partly because of my excellent thermal treatment of my windows (involving quilts and layers). but maybe i will soon!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

taking a breath

there's a lovely post over on decor8 filled with great ideas for refreshing your home for the new year.

while the new year is a lovely time to think about all sorts of new projects, i'm also feeling the need to just take some time to relax after a busy first week back at work and school, and before a few more busy weeks to come in january.

for me, spending some peaceful time at home is the best way for me to catch my breath, and i can really feel how even a few small changes in my apartment can make me more calm, productive, and happy.

there's also a beautiful post on design sponge all about poppies, which are one of my favorite flowers.

i hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

goal: money matters

in 2010 i am going to be more organized with my accounting. it's time for a new system; i'll let you know if i find one i love. in the meantime, if you are a small business owner thinking about such things, a good place to start is this recent article on the bakery blog by holly of the accounting spot, which is another great resource!

the wallet about is a print i love by lisa congdon, available in wallet from from poketo.

and this one is from tinymeat on etsy.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

goal: a clean and organized home

another new year's tradition in japan: osouji- a big and thorough housecleaning. literally the word means 'big cleaning'. and...this year i actually did it! it felt great to organize everything in my apartment, and clean up some messes that had been hiding behind closed doors.

anyone who knows me in real life knows that i am messy, and although i love having a clean and organized space, it's hard for me to keep it that way. i start pulling out craft projects...and the next thing i know...anyway, this year i have a nice baseline of organization to start with. and that called for a trip to ikea! where i bought the fabric above, which i plan to make into curtains.

and while we are on the subject of fabric, here's the tiny elephant cotton print, in even more colors! these are in the shop, along with more colors of elephant cotton canvas back in stock too.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

goal: healthy eating

these lovely cards are made by drenculture on etsy.

part of my healthy eating goals for 2010 are more vegetables (obviously!) especially now that i know how to make spinach with sesame dressing (yum). and japanese pumpkin is also easy to cook and delicious. along with eating more veggies is my goal of packing a lunch for work, which so far is going great.

in japan, there is a lot of importance placed on the first (of almost anything) of the new year, including the first dream of the new year. in order, it's lucky if you dream about the following: #1 mount fuji; #2 an eagle; #3 eggplant! i don't think i've ever had a dream about any of those things, but maybe one year i will have a lucky eggplant dream on jan 1. hee. hee.

this wonderful eggplant family with hats is by yara on flickr

and one more cutie: a handmade upcycled eggplant from nataliemae.

Monday, January 04, 2010

more goals for a new year: balance

balance is a big goal. balance in play and work and study, time, sleep, healthy food. these felted rocks are by reya, by the way, and aren't they beautiful?
one specific balancing goal is to start doing yoga again, i need to! and i know myself: i need to join a class to keep motivated. the vintage post card above is from 47th street supply company.

hmm. i think i might keep sharing a goal a day for a while, i don't feel like i'm running out yet!

what about you? any goals for 2010?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

first hike of 2010

today i went for a hike on mount konpira, near ohara, north of kyoto. another one of my goals for 2010 is to go hiking, and i thought it would be perfect to spend the 3rd day of the new year (japanese new year's includes jan. 1, 2nd, and 3rd), outside in a peaceful natural place.
ohara is one of my favorite places, near kyoto, but with beautiful fields and farmhouses. it has a few lovely temples, and some natural dye workshops. and pickles and shiso, which i love!
the approach to the summit.
along the ridge.
on the top of kompira mountain, there is a small very old mountain shrine, this is the shrine gate,
and the shrine itself.
one of the stone lanterns

and another small shrine in the rock on the way down. i definitely think i will be able to keep hiking in 2010!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

happy 2010

new year's is one of the most important holidays in japan, with many associated customs, including sending new year's cards, or nankajo. the one above is my design that i've been working on, while enjoying a few cozy days at home.
2010 is the year of the tiger, and this amazing tiger stamp is the work of sachi on etsy.
another new year's tradition is the 1st shine visit of the new year. this is the imamiya shrine in kyoto, which has a unique display of a gigantic version of arrows on either side of the door. these arrows, or hamaya, are a traditional amulet bought at temples at new years to ward off bad luck.
they also had a huge ema, which is usually a much smaller wooded plaque where you can write your prayer and hang it at the shrine. in this case, it has a new years tiger too.

i love the idea of starting off a new year with a clean slate, and taking the time to reflect on goals and plans for the upcoming year. i have high hopes for 2010, and many of my resolutions are simply things i want to try or experience. one of these goals is to visit more temples, shrines or historical architecture here in kyoto, like this shrine.

Friday, January 01, 2010

goodbye 2009

this is the special fire from yasuka shrine; people light straw rope from this fire, and carry it home with them to cook the first meal of the new year.
lanterns at the shrine on new years eve.
view from kiyomizudera.

my 2009 saw a lot of big changes, including moving back to japan, starting a new program at the university here, and opening up felt cafe japan! last year had its share of ups and downs, but in the end i feel so grateful and lucky. and now that i've settled into my life here a little bit, there are lots of things that i'm excited about for 2010.