Friday, July 31, 2009

heather benning's dollhouse

it's a real house, with plexiglass installed for traditional dollhouse-style viewing.

mocoloco via the stork.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


kanzashi is the traditional japanese craft of making intricate flowers or petal arrangements from fabric. the image above is one of the amazying pieces created by atelier kanawa who is one of the few tsumami kanzashi artisans today. it's a hairpin called 'rain drops world,' which is quite appropriate for these days in japan, as we are waiting for rainy season to finish up this week maybe.
kanzashi in bloom, by diane gilleland of craftypod, just came out, and can be seen around the internet on a blog book tour. whip up has an feature about kuniko kanawa of atelier kanawa, and also a giveaway for the book. betz white also has a copy to give away (you have until wednesday to enter, u.s. addresses only).

Monday, July 27, 2009

little by little

i've been slowing recovering from a broken foot, and today the rehabilitation specialist at the hospital gave me my custom made insole, which means i can wear sneakers! and put a little weight on it (along with my crutches). since it's still a bit swollen, i couldn't fit my injured foot into the sneakers i already owned, so i was pretty justified in buying these new ones from muji, where else! i'm looking forward to this week being easier and easier than last.
and, at the shopping mall, there was this display of photovoltaic panels. yes, i realize it's a bit of a jump, but it is design related....apparently now that the japanese law allows people to sell energy back to the grid, solar panels are becoming popular. pretty cool that they are so commonplace that you can see them in the mall on sunday.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

ribbit from from spud and chlöe

free pattern for this cute froggy, 'ribbit' is available from the spud and chlöe blog, where they are also having a giveaway right now!

via craft gossip

Saturday, July 25, 2009

recycle LACMA

recycle LACMA is a very cool project by robert fontenot, reinventing new uses for textiles that were decommissions by LACMA. this pink garment bag is made from the dress below:

here's the description of the project from the recycle LACMA site:
On January 14th, 2009 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced that it was deaccessioning more than 100 items from its costumes and textiles collection. Once carefully collected, catalogued, and cared for, these items have now been cast back out in to the world. What will happen to them? Like any other useless item, they will need to be recycled or disposed of.

Recycle LACMA is a project of Los Angeles-based artist Robert Fontenot. At three separate auctions he purchased over 50 items deaccessioned by LACMA and is now trying to find new uses for these otherwise unwanted items.
where there are more projects, like this sailboat made from guatemalen pants (below).via design sponge

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

back to school?

this cute pencil case is by alliebeans, whose etsy shop is full of even more goodies, lots made with sweet japanese fabric.

today i finally am finishing my application for kobe university, which i will turn in tomorrow. whew. in honor of kobe u, whose unofficial mascot is the wild boar, and thinking about going back to school, this pencil case with its wee inoshishi was just the thing!

Monday, July 20, 2009

pho at muji

pho at muji, originally uploaded by feltcafe.

today, for the first time since i broke my foot (june 27th), i went somewhere just for fun. yikes, no wonder i was feeling so cooped in!

of course, it included a trip to muji. where i had this tasty meal of chicken pho and annin tofu. maybe tomorrow i'll take some photos of some muji goodness. nothing special, but just the simplest of functional unbranded stationery and snacks makes me ever so happy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

sushi sunday

these gocco printed sushi cards are by lisa of gotamago, and available in her etsy shop!

today my fairy godparents took me out for sushi. at a kaiten (conveyer-belt) place that had really really good salmon. i feel so fortunate.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


beginnings, originally uploaded by astulabee.

astulabee makes the cutest things. i just love these creatures. she sells them on etsy, and you can see more (including this sneak peek of some upcoming collaborative projects) on her flickr stream.

Friday, July 17, 2009

tree pose

this is a tree of wishes by portuguese artist ana of fricdementol.

this week was my first week to go back to my part time job teaching english and to the university after i broke my foot. my students were great; when i am away for awhile, i always forget how inspiring it can be to teach them. the visit to the U was also productive and energizing and reaffirming.

i had some help getting around from the kindest people on earth, my neighbors who i think of as my fairy godparents. and i spent a lot of time on trains, and changing trains. being on crutches often means balancing on one foot, kind of like tree pose in yoga.

while short, my week was exhausting, but i am looking forward to more crafty posting soon!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

my new favorite treat

last month i was introduced to the wonderfulness that is the japanese soda flavored ice cream popsicle. 'soda' is quintessentially blue, by the way. the popsicle version reminded me of creamsicles, one of my all time favorites. there was one summer when i was living in portland when creamsicles were on sale for 3 for a dollar at the plaid pantry...that was a great summer! but i digress.

this box holds the yumminess that is soda float ice cream.
light and refreshing sherberty blue goodness swirled with ice cream. so good!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


check out this lovely chalkboard calendar by the ever-inspiring something's hiding in here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

wearable art by nicole dextras

nicole dextras works in a variety of media, including some that is ephemeral, like these cabbage shoes.
more photos of her amazing wearable pieces made of plants can been seen on inhabitat, including more information about her current show.

when i was little, a very cool family friend visiting from switzerland made complete outfits out of giant rhubarb leaves for her daughters and i. it was an amazing experience that i still remember, and probably my first exposure to wearable art! (well, not counting playing dress-up). the cabbage shoes especially remind me of that time...

Monday, July 13, 2009

city stimulus event in seattle

the talented folks at piano nobile are hosting a studio sale next weekend (july 17th and 18th), and i wish i was in seattle and could go! they've invited a wonderful group of local artists and designers to participate; you can see all the details and information about the guest artists here.

and, it's part of seattle's city stimulus event:
this week and this coming weekend in seattle, you can save money and support local businesses by taking part in city stimulus. all you have to do is go to the city stimulus website, sign up (it's free), they will email you a membership card (also free) and then you show the card to get discounts at local independent stores and businesses in seattle. see, it's easy!
another fabulous local shop that is participating (20% off in store purchases) is bluebottle art gallery, which is already dedicated to supporting local artists and designers.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

selvedge shop open in london

i first discovered selvedge magazine earlier this spring, when i was shopping for magazines to read on the long flight to japan. it's a beautiful magazine, and i am absolutely sure that their new shop in london will be filled with equally lovely things.

Friday, July 10, 2009

no turning back

is a new song by sarah blasko
art by celeste potter.

sometimes we all need a reminder to keep going. and what a lilting one this is.

summer felt by elenamakesthings

i was just thinking about felt today, when i stumbled upon the work of elenamakesthings.
i especially love this piece, where she used a shibori technique while felting to make the cascading petals.
her creations are available for purchase from elenamakesthings on etsy.

and you can see more of her works on her flickr.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


this adorable sloth bag was made by etsy seller mairuru. she lives in yokohama japan, and her shop is full of sweet handsewn goodies. she has a lovely blog too.

today i am feeling slow, like this little sloth. 4 more days until i can go see the doctor, and hopefully get my cast taken off.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

royal eggs by asherjasper

vicky of asherjasper makes adorable felt creations, like these fairy tale royalty. her etsy shop is on mini vacation right now, but hopefully these and other goodies will be available there soon. in the meantime you can see more of her fabulous work on flickr.


tanabata is a summer holiday in japan, celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month (traditionally of the lunar calendar). the story of tanabata is of 2 lovers, orihime a weaving princess (the star vega) and hikoboshi a cowherd (the star altair), who are separated by the milky way, and only allowed to meet once a year on this day. complete wikipedia info here.

bamboo trees are hung with paper strips with wishes written on them, the image above is from this site which shows how to make some of the tanabata paper crafts (sorry it's japanese only).

Monday, July 06, 2009

jewelry by tigerlily

i just found these wonderful pieces by tigerlilly on etsy. she makes lovely jewelry using natural materials, like this feather ring, in copper...
or silver.
and, she has some hydrangea jewelry too! you can see all her work in her shop.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

happy 4th

Frustrated Firecracker, originally uploaded by wildolive.

for everyone in the u.s., i hope you are having a nice 4th of july weekend.

you can print out and make your own version of this firecracker decoration by using the instructions at (it's under the july 2008 printables).

i don't really mind missing the 4th of july, but i do miss grilling out (as those of us from my part of the midwest call it), and backyard barbeques, potato salad, and deviled eggs.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

hand/eye magazine

i just found out about hand/eye magazine from whip up.

hand/eye looks like it will be a very interesting magazine about craft and textiles, including a focus on design as a tool for development and income generation. from their mission statement:
HAND/EYE is an independent, international publication which explores the nexus between design and development, culture and commerce, art and craft, and environment and ethics.
their complete mission statement is here.

so far they have several great articles about indigo dying, here and here, written by dye expert michele wipplinger of earthhues.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

what happened

first of all, thanks for everyone's kind messages. my foot is in a cast, and i am getting around on crutches. my plans to post more regularly were a little interrupted, but i still have them! and i will get back to posting about crafty things after this post, but i feel like after posting x rays i should tell you more. back to crafty stuff tomorrow.

so here's the story of what happened, and my experience with the japanese medical system (which is great, at least in my case) which was pretty interesting.

on saturday, i stepped backward into a water ditch that i didn't realized that was there. i took one, very hard step directly down about 24 inches. and hit hard. nothing was twisted, so i thought perhaps it wasn't serious. i had my first experience with shippu, which is an amazing japanese product, like a stick-on cold compress that is cooling and also has anti-inflammatory medication that is absorbed into the skin. seriously, this stuff is great. but by evening, even with shippu, i realized that i needed to go to the hospital, since i couldn't put any weight on my right foot, the pain was worse, and i definitely needed crutches which you can only get at the hospital.

the emergency room was really quiet, in fact it's just the regular hospital front desk and waiting area, but some of the lights were off, and just one registration area was open. i was a little worried, since my health insurance wasn't quite in order. in japan, everyone is required to have health insurance, and the national health insurance plan is quite comprehensive and affordable. but i hadn't enrolled yet. in fact, i was planning to enroll on monday, but i had carelessly injured myself 2 days before. oops.

anyway, i saw a doctor, and had some xrays, which showed the 2 hairline fractures in my heel. since this doctor wasn't an orthopedic specialist she told me to come back on monday to see another doctor, at which point i would find out more details, and how serious it was. although she scared my by suggesting that i may need surgery and hospitalization. they gave me a splint and crutches, which took a little bit of time to size correctly, since apparently my western proportions require different crutch adjustments than for japanese arms and torsos.

even without insurance, an ER visit, xrays, doctor consultation, getting my foot in a splint and some pain medication came to $120.

so on monday i came back to the hospital, and realized the normal daytime hospital environment is lots of people in the big waiting room, waiting and waiting. for hours, sometimes. institutional buildings in japan are usually a little old, as many were built in the 60s or 70s when the population was growing, and so now they look a little dated and tatty.

when i saw the dr, he said my fractures were not so serious, and the with a cast my foot will heal quickly. (i learned the work gippusu, which is the japanese word for cast, i assume from the word gypsum for plaster).

so for now, i have this cast for 2 weeks, after which they may replace it with another cast, or i may be healed. and i joined the health insurance program properly, whereby the hospital readjusted my bill to $50 for both the ER visit and the follow up visit, and gave me the rest of my money back. i love japan.

i've been getting around on crutches, and can usually do ok, especially when it's not raining. although anyone who knows me in real life knows that i am neither an athlete nor in possession of exceptional upper body strength. people are very kind, and when it's raining i am often offered umbrella coverage by complete strangers. i've also been taking more taxis than usual (usually, i take 0 taxis), which often leads to conversations with kindly taxi drivers. one of these gentlemanly fellows told me last week that perhaps my injury was the gods telling me to take a break, that i've been being too busy and need a rest. which perhaps is right.

both the photos from this post are from ohara, a lovely little village north of kyoto, with some amazing temples (and natural dye works).

my etsy shop is still open for business, although for now limited to current inventory i have on hand, as special orders will have to wait a few weeks.