Thursday, December 30, 2010

sayonara 2010

new years in japan is a big deal. it's a family holiday, where traditionally everyone returns to their hometown, and gathers with their extended family for 3 days to eat, relax, visit the shrine. there are many customs and traditions, including especially food, but also new years cards, a big house cleaning, and these days bargain sales after new years. it's also 3 days of quiet, although also 3 days where every shrine is crowded! japanese new years is not a part of my own culture, although i am drawn to the idea of starting the new year fresh, which i feel is the basis for much of the japanese traditions. for example, you should clean your entire house from top to bottom to welcome the new year. i started a big cleaning, but am realizing that it's unlikely that i will be able to finish it.

so i am cutting myself some slack. i am not going to feel guilty about things that i can't quite finish when i wanted to. and, i am going to think about the month of january as a whole month of beginnings, for getting organized, accomplishing projects. for example my new years cards, which are also not ready in time for new years day! ahhh, honesty.

in 2010, i made some resolutions that i followed through on: joining a yoga class, a pottery class, and a hiking circle. these are all great, and i want to keep up with them somehow in 2011. and there are lots and lots of other things i want to do! about a million, perhaps. and i want to focus on being positive, and compassionate, and remembering to breath deeply. but as far as resolutions go, i want to start with getting a good night's rest every night. i think that, plus a little yoga, will make a huge impact on 2011.

both the photos in this post are from an amazing little cafe/bar that is part of a new design in a traditional sake brewery on shodoshima island, unfortunatly i can't remember the name!

what about you? any resolutions? or anti-resolutions?

happy new year's eve from snowy kyoto!

magical dutch windmill on shodoshima

ok, the magical part was how we found it finally, after wandering through olive trees on a mountain overlooking the sea, and it snowed fat snowflakes, and we were pretty sure it would be closed or at least pancake service would be over...and there it was! the handmade windmill of dutch pancake camping on shodoshima. and we had pancakes inside, in a restaurant a hobbit (and me!) would love.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

louise bourgeios fabric exhibit

this month there was an exhibit of louise bourgeios at hauser and wirth in london, called 'the fabric works.' i heard about it on CRAFT, via the wonderful magazine about textiles, selvedge.
from the show's description:

Fabric played an important role in Bourgeois’s life. She grew up surrounded by the textiles of her parents’ tapestry restoration workshop, and from the age of twelve helped the business by drawing in the sections of the missing parts that were to be repaired. A life-long hoarder of clothes and household items such as tablecloths, napkins and bed linen, from the mid-nineties Bourgeois cut up and re-stitched these, transforming her lived materials into art. Through sewing she attempted to effect psychological repair: ‘I always had the fear of being separated and abandoned. The sewing is my attempt to keep things together and make things whole’.

love it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry (portable) christmas

here's our little portable christmas set-up. it was a lovely day on a beautiful island, seeing new art in old houses, eating yummy healthy food. peaceful and slow. I hope your christmas day was lovely as well!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

handmade socks

my mom knit me these socks! love them. thanks mom!

amigurumi santas and snowmen

from mochimochi land, the pattern for these are free with purchase until jan 2!

moomin gingerbread house

by axis of aevil, including a construction guide, via whip up.

happy christmas eve eve!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

make your own cornstarch ornaments

make cornstarch ornaments, originally uploaded by jek in the box.

when i saw these in the flickr stream of jek in the box, they jumped out at me for their clear design and simple message.
after a few days looking at the pretty intense aftermath of a volcano (part of my research at the university), i was feeling ready for something just simple and sweet.
and the bonus is that these are actually made of cornstarch, and you can make your own with the recipe in the link!

Monday, December 20, 2010

satay ayam

well, it seems like my plan to post everyday has fallen apart. my excuse is that i have been in indonesia for a few days, and especially at first didn't have an internet connection. also have been sleeping not very much and getting up very early for the last few days. i'm actually here on a research trip, but it's aways great to be in jogja. and the food is fantastic. this is grilled chicken on skewers with peanut sauce, and rice steamed (?) in a banana leaf. super yummy.

Friday, December 17, 2010


oh, i am quite behind on posting photos from so many different things...if my life had a little more free time in it, i would so much like to properly post photos right after each event! but for now i have given up on anything like a timely chronicle...and i will just share here somewhat randomly. these are a few pictures from last month's trip to seoul, korea, with my seminar at the university. the colors of the textiles are all so lovely, bright and distinctively korean in the color combinations, gorgeous silks, including these worn ones.
and the food, super yummy! this is actually just all the little side dishes that accompany the main course, in this case yakiniku in japanese, (grilled meat) not sure what the korean name for it is. but i love the way the table is just covered with white dishes--and this was just one section of a long table.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

3D snowflakes

there's a tutorial for how to make these great 3D paper snowflakes here, on the blog of weaver girl guz. it's actually the same process as the felt ogee ornaments from betz white that i posted yesterday-just make 6 of them and glue them together!
i made these during my english chatting class tonight, i didn't have time to properly prepare english instructions, but i had a great time making them, and i want to make more!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

felt ornaments

felt mistletoe cluster from ohdedoe,
and a few felt ornaments from the whip up roundup: stars from the purl bee,
and the felt ogee from betz white.

and i'm so flattered that my felt candy cane tutorial was also included! thanks, whip up.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

creative wrapping

here's a handmade and reusable cloth wrapping project from arounna of bookhou on poppyalk (including a printing how-to).
and hello sandwich has a new zine all about wrapping!

Monday, December 13, 2010

a little shrine and a green roof

no matter how many I've seen, I still love it whenever I find plants growing on a roof! this is a little shrine in kibune, outside of kyoto. yesterday I went on a hike, the last part which was between kibune and kurama, ending at the rotenburo (outdoor onsen) in kurama. it's one of my favorite onsens because of the outdoor bath and the wonderful natural setting. and a loooong soak made every step up and down the mountain worth it! (although my legs are a little tired today...)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

winter tea towel by claudia pearson

i'm a huge fan of the work of claudia pearson--maybe in part because it all looks so darn good on tea towels, which i also happen to love.

this one is in honor of winter and its vegetables.

lately i've been too busy to cook properly as much as i'd like, but i am scheming about how to cook more veggies for bento lunches i'd like to make for myself. we'll see.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

pick your own jewelry

these pieces are from the clever line pick a jewel, by fift. you can choose any found object from nature (or anywhere, really) and put it in the little clamps attached to earrings or necklace, and have a really one of a kind wearable piece. so simple and so lovely. via spoon and tamago.

Friday, December 10, 2010

stocking-coffee vines

stocking-coffee vines, originally uploaded by mayalu.

this perfect christmas stocking was made by mayamade from a coffee sack. and there are also instructions for how to make your own!

Thursday, December 09, 2010


this is the project ginko leaf card, from architette on etsy.
just yesterday i was saying how it's not really that cold yet, although it's december. suddenly that has changed, and it feels like winter has arrived. i spent a bit of today under the heated kotatsu table, and that helped. for the last few weeks, the yellow ginko leaves have been blowing off the trees, and piling up on the sidewalks here and there. i love the shape and color of them so much.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

max and moop bag giveaway on oh joy

i like birds flying, although i don't think at the moment i own a single thing with birds on it. not one. anyway, there's a giveaway for this bag, from max waxger and moop going over at oh joy.
maybe i like the birds because they seem so light and free.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

new lego and paper sets from muji

new lego sets from muji are here! the 3 brand new designs are: animals, sea, and circus, plus the christmas set returns!

which use lego and paper punch technology to make pivoting kangaroo and pelicans parts.

the sea set, complete with diver, submarine, giant squid, and an anchor on a string.

the circus set has a whole handful of characters.

and the christmas set is back!

joining the original set

and the bright colors set

the special lego punch

and even special color cardstock that's perfect with the lego projects.
they are all in my shop, felt cafe japan on etsy.