Here is a great little craft we did at last years Japanese Arts & Crafts Summer Camp. I found this great tutorial on Japanese fan making on ehow that gives a step by step look at how to make one. The process itself was relatively easy, we just had to be sure to follow directions exactly to make sure they turned out right. I think the girls did a great job on their fans! There is still room to sign up for this years camp happening July 24-26 from 9-2pm. You can sign up here.
The Japanese string gardens, called kokedama are a unique and beautiful way to display and enjoy your plants in a natural setting.
The kokedama literally means “moss ball” and is a ball of soil, covered with moss, on which an ornamental plant grows. The idea has its origins in Japan, where it is a combination of both Nearai and Kusamono Bonsai styles. Today, Kokedama is very popular in Japanese gardens.
Kokedama is also called poor man’s bonsai. It’s made of wet soil and peat moss and formed into a ball. The plant is set into the ball and the moss is wrapped around. Aluminium wire or nylon wire fixes the whole bundle, and is sometimes used to suspend the kokedama in the air.
Care of: Kokedama must be watered regularly. When the ball feels light, it can be submerged in water. The best plants for kokedama making are ones that require medium to full shade, since direct sunlight will likely burn and ultimately turning your kokedama a shade of brown.
How kawaii are Blythe Dolls?! With the dolls’ over-sized heads and large eyes, hobbyists customize them- from skin tone, hair, clothing and accessories. I just love their expressions and poses. The hobbyist spares no small detail on these dolls- no wonder they cost $200+
Obsession around these fun dolls has reached a cult like following.
After leaving Seattle, we made our way to Portland, Oregon where I rented us a fun little place from Air bnb. It was our final destination before heading back home to California.
We visited the beautiful Portland Japanese Garden our second day in Oregon. It was a beautiful day, a little light rain, but we didn’t need to break out our umbrella. It is known to be the nicest Japanese garden outside of Japan. It did not disappoint! I took about a million pictures, everything was so inspiring and lovely. After our visit to the garden we headed to a shopping area where we purchased art supplies at Blick and Natalie was so stoked to buy herself her first pair of Dr. Martens. We ate so much good food- the highlights were donuts at Blue Star Donuts, Salt & Straw ice cream, Ramen at Noraneko, pretzels and root beer at Henry’s and German schnitzel at Swiss Hibiscus.
The next couple of days we headed 45 minutes outside of Portland to visit Multnomah falls. It was so crowded but well worth it. Wow, this is a huge waterfall, just breathtaking! After exploring here we decided to hop back in the car and keep driving. We stopped for two more waterfalls. Oneonta and Horsetail Falls. Both just really cool! It was so fun to see all the falls and make those lasting memories with my girls.
After our three days in Portland, we headed to the Oregon coast, passing through Tillamook and traveling down south to our destination in Yachats, Oregon. What I loved about our drive were the fresh fruit stands and coffee huts. We stopped to buy fresh cherries at a fruit stand and kept ourselves warm with coffee and tea. The Oregon coast was rainy and freezing for most of our trip along the coast!
We finally arrived in Yachats at the Fireside Motel (highly recommend!). I reserved a room right on the ocean for the night. We watched otters play in the surf and enjoyed a lovely meal at Ona before retiring for the night. We were pretty tired! We had been traveling for the last 15 days!
We left the next morning to drive back to Yreka, California for one last night with our friends who live there. I think the girls were pretty anxious to get back home, get back to routine, get back to their daddy. We left Yreka early in the morning and drove 9 hours to get back home. What a trip!
I had the best time with Olivia and Natalie. I am so lucky to be able to go on road trips and see new places with them. We had plenty of Beatles music, snacks and adventure, and really, that’s all one needs, right? I can’t wait until our next adventure in Japan!
My latest obsession. I decided to give hand embroidery a try after seeing a tutorial from Sublime Stitching online. I decided that I would purchase a few simple supplies and a pattern from Sublime Stitching and give it a go. I was instantly hooked! After my first go at it I discovered that I wanted to challenge myself with something more difficult. I found a picture of what I wanted to make online, printed it out and using tracing paper, taped it to a window and traced over the design. Once I had the design on tracing paper, I took my fabric (linen), layed it over the top of the traced design and traced over that onto my fabric using a tracing pen. Tracing pens are easy to use and wash off the fabric with water. Everything after is easy. Just pick a stitch and work slowly. I find that intricate designs can take several hours, over several days. I find those to be the most rewarding.
Tools to get started: Embroidery floss, embroidery needles, hoops and fabric. It’s that simple!
When my girls were little we loved making fairy houses. After visiting the local nursery for all of our supplies, we would find a pot big enough for all the pebbles, small rocks, plants, and ornaments. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of our fairy houses from those days (hello old school camera) but I can vividly remember Olivia setting out a small bowl of milk and honey to entice the fairies to visit. It was a magical time! Here are some very fun, Japanese inspired fairy houses.
Kawai Kanjiro, (1890-1966), was known as a major contributor to the Mingei (traditional folk arts and crafts movement). More than just a potter and wood craftsman, he was the noblest of all kinds of person.
Kanjiro was an artist who wanted to remain a maker empowered by his craft, rather than as artist qualified by his fame or notoriety. He never signed a single piece of pottery. He said “my work itself is my signature.”
During his lifetime, Kanjiro turned down all official honors and rewards, including Japan’s Living National Treasure. He was a man unmotivated by material possessions and simply wanted to create for the sake of creating.
He continued to explore who he was through the things he touched and brought to life. This seemed to be a life long passion that became part of who he was. He said “to see my new self, I work.” This was a very important part of his craft. Constant improvement- “kaizen”. He believed “lifestyle is work, work is lifestyle.” They were one and the same.
Humble, unpretentious, real- He never lost touch with common folk and greatly respected the farmers in the countryside. “They are the kind of people we can never do without,” he wrote.