Japanese "Style" Thank You Card

Dense Clouds hanging low in the sky, surrounding the Koolau Mountains

The gods must be angry, heaving upon the islands heavy dark clouds, thick sheets of rain, thunder and lightening.  I'm not complaining tho' with the mainland and other countries bearing far worse weather.

I delight in how folks go on their 'daily' routine regardless of the weather, carrying on in the likes of the postal worker's creed: "..neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night.."  I chuckled, spotting a fellow "walking his dog" in the wind and rain, dog in one arm and umbrella in the other, admired another jogging in the rain...oh what fun!

As for me, I stayed close to home, working on a couple of thank you cards for unexpected Christmas gifts.


I chose my favorite paper with these LOVELY SWEET BIRDS.  A band, styled with a Japanese style knot made from paper, holds the card closed.  When you slip the band off, the card opens to a thank you note inside.


To tell you the truth, I'm happy happy that Christmas is over, having more time for crafting!  I'm working on a tea pot cozy design.  Wish me luck!

Mele Kalikamaka

Kids Having Fun Catching Fake Snow
Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day
That's the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way
To say "Merry Christmas to you.

Gingerbread Cookies and Awesome Japanese Sewing Site

I had so many wishes for new projects to share with you this Christmas…cross stitched ornaments, mini fabric Christmas trees, little crochet ornaments, ….  But with each passing hour, the day slipped from one  into another.  And now it’s too late with Christmas just 3 days away.  Excuses? Oh yeah, I got a few.  Christmas shopping, party planning, going to see the Harry Potter movie, spending way too much time surfing the web, watching old episodes of Bones, recovering from driving to Waikiki in bumper to bumper traffic for a holiday party, & being upset with my hubby (hah).  But no sense to slap myself.  I’ll just have to do better next year.  Either that or come up with better excuses!

To get myself on the right track, I decided on this mantra : JUST DO IT!  I spend way too much time thinking about doing instead of just doing.  What did I accomplish since my new awakening? I finally baked a batch of gingerbread cookies that was on my ($#@*!!) to do list.  Okay I admit, baking cookies is not quite the epic accomplishment in life, but have you had a home baked gingerbread cookie??…soft and chewy, gently spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and my fav spice : the lovely NUTMEG.  Yummy-mmy

Take a look-see at my fabulously decorated cookies...Martha will be sooo jealous when she sees these!  I half expect that she'll be asking me to be on her tv show to share my secrets...but I don't know..should I? If you want my autograph now, just shoot me a note and I'll be happy to oblige. Oh and of course this is a limited offer. So hurry..I could be famous any day now![recipe is from the Joy of Baking site]


Mama, Papa, and Baby

MaMa loves Polka Dots!

My hubby asked me if Baby was Hello Kitty...he's a 'sad' man

Although I have no projects to post, I found this wonderful Japanese sewing site with several sort of 'ezines' with projects for kawaii aprons, bags, pouches, pin cushions, doo dads for your hair, booties, embroidery, and more. The colors in every project are wonderfully happy in tones of reds, blues, pinks, turquoise, greens, yellows....so much to drool over!

I'll be spending a lot of time on this site deciphering the patterns.  Oh no....another excuse! sigh.

A Zakka Inspired Christmas Wreath

Hubby : What are you making?
Me : An acorn
Hubby : glances at me with a smile that says it all : 'crazy lady' : Acorn???
Me : Yeah, it's for the wreath I'm making. You know the one with the mushrooms.
Hubby : no response...except for another smile

This is just the kind of reaction that stops me from telling other family members and friends about what I do..in my craft room and on the web. Yup, I live a secret life. Oh, folks know that I craft but they don't know that I dabble in Japanese style crafting to share on the web. They wouldn't understand. They would take one look at what I make and remark..."what's that for?"

I once told someone that crafting makes me happy. And ... I got one of those 'looks'. This is why I love the internet. It's like I finally found a place for my style of crafting..where it's appreciated..where I can share...and connect...and to simply be happy with who I am and what I do.

This is the zakka inspired wreath I made for Christmas...using my nylon stocking snowman, a few nuts transformed into acorns, and felt mushrooms.  I love it. 




Thank you for being a part of my secret life....

OMG Paper Glitter Cuteness

Oh my, you are going to love LOVE this blog...paperglitter: print cut and play!  Be forewarned you will be overwhelmed with cuteness.  Linnette is not only a very talented artist but also so generous with sharing some of her creations for FREE... sigh.  Look See these darling Christmas holiday printables in her shop.


and here's a  sample of a free download ... so kawaii neh?


I was so stoked when I tripped into her blog...that I had to ask her for permission to link to Paper Glitter and post some of her images to share with you all.  THANKS Linnette!   I love this blog world...

Nylon Stocking Snowman Ornament Tutorial & Nonsense

I’ve been seriously thinking…thinking how silly it is to celebrate Christmas with to-do lists.  I dusted off my planner just to get myself organize for the holidays…gift shopping, planning the family’s annual Christmas party, holiday lunches, shopping for Santa gifts, sending boxes to the mainland, and amongst all the holiday fanfare; are birthdays, new babies, and planning for a trip early next year.

It’s not a surprise that I inevitably get sick during the holidays.  I was sick last year, but dragged my poor body to luncheons and to help out friends at a craft fair.  And a couple of years before that I ended up in the ER room the day before Christmas Eve for high blood pressure.  So this year I decided to listen to the universe…to take it easy…to just say ‘no’ (thank you).  I tried to be true to myself, postponing one lunch invitation until next year and opting out on craft fair duty.  

Guess what? I feel sick today.  Why?  Oh, just look at the pics below on what I’ve been crazily spending time on.  My New Year’s resolution for next year is to take up Yoga again…hopefully it will help me to breathe … slowly….to relax my eyes…my face…my arms…my legs…my thoughts….  Oh, and another resolution is to take a trip on Christmas and forget all the holiday nonsense! ( I wish..like that’s ever going to happen)

Hey All...Don’t miss the Nylon Stocking Snowman Ornament tutorial at the end.

 Looking for A Place


... to cater food from. Is it only in Hawaii that you see a dish for Pork with Blood on the catering menu??!?? I tried a blood dish once and as the saying goes, “once is enough!”

A Swinging Monkey Birthday Card



…. for my sweetie nephew, George Allen

A Welcome Baby Card



… for my niece, Kira, who is expecting her first baby any day now

Kawaii Christmas Party Favors


…. for a luncheon with old friends


Nylon Stocking Snowman Ornament



I found this old craft book on how to make little dolls out of nylon stockings.  I wasted an entire stocking following the instructions.  Oh but I did not want to give up so easily, so I decided on a simple snowman using a simple method.


I’m delighted with my snowman!  He is such a darling who keeps me company in my craft room.

Nylon Stocking Snowman Ornament Tutorial

Materials
  • Any light colored sheer nylons (except for support nylons); used nylons works too.  I bought a pair from Walmart for about $4 and another pair from Macy’s for about $6.  I found the cheaper nylon to have more elasticity and was easier to work with and had no problems with runs.  I easily ruined the nylons from Macy’s which seemed to easily run so I suggest using less expensive nylons which is a good thing to do for the first time anyway.   Note: Make sure your hands are smooth and no hang nails please!  Go gently as you work with the nylons to avoid runs.
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Red Felt and White Felt
  • Ribbon
  • Beads for eyes and nose
  • Felt for Scarf

Steps for Head and Body 


I wanted to make a small snowman, about 2-2.5 inches.  I cut the nylon piece about 5” just to have some leeway.

Tie a knot on one end as close as possible to the bottom edge.  Turn inside out and fill with stuffing.  Push the stuffing down firmly.  While holding the top, use your hand to section off the snowman’s head and body to see if that’s the size you want.  Either add or remove stuffing to achieve the size that you want.




Tie the open end as if knotting a balloon. This will the top of the snowman’s head that will be covered with a hat.  Cut off any excess nylon.  You should have a slightly firm ball at this point.


Using a thread, tie into a ‘lasso’ and place around the snowman to section off the head and body.



If you want, use pins for eye placements.  With a threaded needle, secure the thread at the top of the head with a double stitch, then pass needle through the end and out to the first eye, string bead then secure with a stitch.  Reinsert the needle in the head and pass through for the next eye placement, string bead, and secure.




Reinsert the needle and pass through for the nose.  After securing the nose, reinsert the needle and pass through the top of the head to secure thread.  Add a mouth with embroidery thread if you’d like.
 
Steps for Hat

Measure around head and MINUS 1 inch.  I used a piece of string and measured that.   For my snowman, the head measured 6” so I used 5” as the base.  You don't have to make the hat smaller in width...if you want the hat to fit around the snowman's head then go ahead and don't subtract the 1".  If you want to, you can also make a circle, cut it into quarters and use one quarter to make a cone shaped hat. 

Draw the base line on a piece of paper.  Decide how tall you want your hat.  I wanted a tall hat so I used 5".  Draw a straight line from the midpoint of the base (in my case at the 2.5” midpoint).  Then draw side lines, connecting the end points of the base line to the point for the hat's height, making a triangle shaped pattern. Cut hat out of red felt using this pattern.

Cut a hat band out of white felt:  the same length of the hat base x ½” height.  Glue to hat.

Fold hat in half, right sides together.  Sew along the edge.  Turn right side out. 

Sew the hat onto the snowman’s head. You can also opt to glue the hat on.


Sew on a ribbon loop at the top of the hat for hanging.

Embellishments

Cut a scarf out of felt or knit/crochet/sew a scarf.  Tie on

Add bells, pompoms, more beads, etc. to personalize your man

 Breathe.

Paper Crafting Japanese Style

Are you a craft kit collector like me? ...  taking home a kit that you simply could not resist only to throw it into the donation bin years later.  Oh yes, I 'had' a very bad habit.  So naturally, I swore off kits.

ow-weeee#@%!..stop twisting my arm...arrgghhh...I confess...I confess to having 2 Christmas stocking kits, a humpty dumpty kit (that will be so cute if ever made), a cherry bead ornament kit, and a strawberry pincushion kit.  I'm hopeless.

So it's no surprise that I bought yet another kit from a local Japanese store.  But THIS one is so kawaii.  It's a Japanese paper craft kit that uses paper patterned with fabric designs like gingham.

...and LOOK SEE I actually finished it!!!

Kawaii neh?

This kit is a simple cut and 'paste' project so it wasn't that hard..heh. The biggest challenge is cutting out those little birds.  I ended up with shoulder pains. Ugh. 


The tools for this project : a stylus, a foam cushion, and double stick dimensional tape.  This is how the stylus is used to add dimension to the leaves and hearts :



I like learning different craft techniques.  But if I'm ever to do one of these from scratch, I will definitely find paper punches for the small pieces.


I found the maker of these kits online...sankakuya.net.

Here's one of their other kits. So So So So CUTE.
kit picture from sankakuya.net
The sad news is that the store where I bought my kit from; no longer has a craft section.  The good news is that I won't be tempted to buy another kit!!

...hmmm...I think I also have a couple of beaded cell phone charm kits hiding somewhere...lord help me.