Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rope Basket Making Class

The end of July, I taught a class of rope basket making at Junk Evolution. When I saw this "rope coil vessels tutorial" at a very talented artist Lisa's beautiful blog "the red thread" I was absolutely fascinated with it. I couldn't help rushing out to find a cotton clothesline! Before long, when I was asked to teach a class by Char, one of the owners of Junk Evolution, I thought this must be a perfect project for a one day (actually it was about two hours ;D ) craft class for everyone. I made a few basket beforehand and figured out some easier ways for me to make them in the process. So I changed a several things in my instructions for my class.


There were six wonderful participants. They were absolutely nice and brilliant ladies. we worked in the store surrounded with neat vintage furniture and many other cool stuff. (Their theme of August is "Mid-century-modern" which I definitely adore!)


I brought embroidery threads in lots of colors. The container full of beautiful threads was a Christmas gift for me from Char. It made our project much more fun!

Everyone seemed fascinated at their work so much.


It was so interesting to me seeing the colors they chose. I discovered that some new color combinations (which I usually don't pick out) were actually very pretty.

Orange and Gray.

Rainbow and green.

Yellow, orange and navy.

These are not very unique, but I always love blue+green.

And combining similar colors always gets a good result.

These are the samples I made. Yellow+gray is my recent favorite colors. (It's weird that yellow hasn't been my favorite in my life. People's taste changes sometimes.)


No one could finish their work in the class. They took materials home to finish their baskets. They might have made another one at home. I think everyone in the class had a good time and I hope that you enjoyed reading this as well.

School will resume tomorrow. I am glad to get back to my normal schedule and spend more time for myself but in the meantime I feel sad a little bit that the Summer will be gone soon.

I hope you are having a good Summer as we are. Thank you for reading. Happy basket making!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Catching up


Hello Folks! So so so long time no seeing you! How have your Summer (and Winter) been? Some of you maybe are questioning if I have been sick or there was some big drama going on in my life. And I cannot keep my blog anymore? No need to worry! I am still here being fine (except for my chronic migraine) and so are my family members.


Oh my....... a whole month of July is missing on this blog! I've been so busy for so many reasons since the last post. I have to make it up so today's post will be all about catching up. I'll try to go through just briefly but it might be boring for some people who expect only crafty stories. For those readers, please just skip reading this. The next post would be something crafty. I'll try.

I don't know where to start. So I just tell you the story following my July calender. As soon as the new month of July started the big storm hit our region. It came in the night before the first day of the month and we lost the power. And that wasn't only thing we lost that day. So many trees in the town have knocked down. Our favorite big tree as well. Actually the tree didn't fall but had a major damage. Many of you might remember seeing this sugar maple tree in my older posts. The tree had a perfect broccoli-like shape for kids climbing up and hanging ropes and a swing. Thank goodness, it didn't hit the house but now the tree lost that perfect shape. Half of the broccoli is missing. It won't cover my front door with its nice cool shade anymore. I am so sad that the tree looks miserably off balance. It would take decades to grow those big limbs back if it is possible.


We call this "Nina's tree". Nina is much more optimistic about this disaster than I am.

Half of the "broccoli" is missing.

Our backyard got damaged too. A couple of tall trees fell from the neighbor's yard. The little bridge is back in place now.

This is one of our neighbors' house across the street. fortunately the house didn't get any major damage.

We were planning to finish lots of home improvements by middle of July. Because we had my family came to visit us from Japan!! Surprisingly, it was the first time that my family visits us since we moved to the US about nine years ago! So that was very important event for us that we wanted to welcome them in our home nicely finished. But everything got behind of our schedule because of the storm. (there were a several more reasons but I cannot even remember anymore!) Then just in time, we made it and finally had a great week with my family. (I will write about the week with my family sometime later. That post will be a nice little travel guide of South Bend and Michiana area.)

My dad, sister, brother-in-law and niece. In front of the beautiful historical building "Tippecanoe Place" in South Bend.

Nina wanted me to make another doll which just looks like hers for her cousin Momo (she is Nina's best friend) to play together. So I finished another adorable doll a couple days before Momo's arrival. (Hope I could write about that later too.)

Also, I had a deadline for writing an essay for a magazine. I wrote two pages of the article, knitted three pairs of socks and took many many pictures for this work. I was going to finish it before the arrival of my family but like as most of the time, my editor needed something more for the pages so I needed to work for some more hours when I have the guests in my house. (Now, it's over!!! It always makes me feel funtastic when I realize that I don't have any deadlines ahead!)



On the same day when my family left to Japan (it was a sad day!) we had my husband's brother and his wife came to visit the family in Michiana and they stayed in our home for three nights. There was no interval between two groups of the guests. I wish I had more time to tidy up the house before the second guests' arrival. But anyways I am glad we made it at long last and it went pretty well.

Meanwhile, I had to prepare stuff for the workshop which was scheduled right after that. This time I was going to teach basket making. when I have a class, I prepare materials ( I need to have everything divided for each students to make the class as efficient as possible because I usually don't have less time than I need) , tools and the original instruction written and drawn by myself. I had six wonderful participants in the class and we surely had a good time making and chatting. I am going to write about this too. And also this class gave me an idea that I should write tutorials of several different basket making I have ever done.
The samples I made for the class.

Wonderful participants working in the beautiful vintage boutique "Junk Evolution"!

I brought many many colors of threads. Looking at different color combinations was very interesting to me.

Finally this long story gets to the final chapter. Unbelievably it became August. I could have peaceful days from now on, I thought.......

Last Saturday, there was an auction in the neighborhood so we went. Tim got a bunch of tools and I luckily was able to bid off the stuff I wanted.

It was a set of Fiesta dinner ware on the end of the long table in the picture below.

They are in the color called periwinkle. I believe they are vintage but am not sure. If there is someone knows vintage Fiesta very well please let me know about these. I checked the prices of all of these online and I found that I payed only about 20% of the market price in total. "this must be my very lucky day!"....... I thought.


In the afternoon of that day, we had Nina's friends came over to our house. They were going to play in the basement. THE BASEMENT which we just refinished a couple weeks ago to welcome the family. Kids turned on the light switch of the basement. Then they yelled.

"Mr.Tim! You have your basement FLOODED!!!"

Oh man, wasn't it my lucky day? We had about 80% of the basement floor covered with about 1/2" of water. It was from my old washing machine which came with the house. The whole drain water came out the broken hose (or something). If you have had a flood in your home you would know how much that make you down! We had three floods in our basement including this. We are pretty much experienced. (which I don't want to be experienced at all.) But still..... it dragged us down.

Well, now the basement is dry but you can imagine how hard my husband and I had to work on it. It ruined our rest of the weekend, of course. And I am still way behind on my schedule of everything.

That is the story about why I could not update blog so long. I am sorry about that but I think now you understand the situation and even be moved with sympathy. (Because you are so nice! Ha-ha-ha.) I am hoping our rest of the month will go well and I'll feel lucky again. Well, I think I am generally lucky person because my family is healthy and you are here to read my story.

Thank you so much for reading such a long clumsy post. Hope you have a great week!


Friday, June 13, 2014

End of School Year

Hello! Finally, the school year is over. This winter was really long and cold here in Michiana. Our school had six snow days. That's exceptional. We rarely have more than three snow days usually. So we had three make up days through the Spring semester and even in June we had three more. That is why our Summer vacation started late this year. Yesterday was the last day of my daughter's third grade year. It has been pretty busy and messy around here as you may imagine. And you know, today is not just a first day of Summer vacation. It is the first day that Moms get busier and messier. Before my hair gets disheveled too much I would like to share things recently happened around my sweet girl.

She had a small piano recital. She played five songs. It wasn't perfect but she did pretty good. Surprisingly she never gets nervous before the events like this. Piano recitals, ballet performances, school talent shows, and so on. I guess that is a good thing, right? She could be something. Maybe....

She had worked hard on her school project in May. It was "Living History Museum". Every student pick one famous person in American history and research about the person. Then they present the result in front of parents and teachers pretending they are the persona they have in their reports. The picture below is Nina painting her background. I helped painting the green grass.





Her famous person in American history was BILLIE JEAN KING. I whipped up a skort from her old uniform shirt two days before the presentation. I needed to buy big framed glasses and deliver to Nina at school that day. I could not find an appropriate pair of fake glasses so I just grabbed a biggest pair of sunglasses from a store rack then ran to school. The glasses sorta look weird but she did great anyways.



Can you tell who is who? This was really a fun event and kids did very well. I think this was a very good way to learn history. Nina even remembers other students' persons' life histories. That is great.

Nina's 9th birthday was May 15th as I told you in this post . We usually have her birthday party right after school is over. But this year we had it the last weekend of school year due to the snow days make up. We had over twenty guests at St.Patrick's county park. This was the first time for us to have a party at park, and we liked it very much. St.Patrick's park is a beautiful place and very well maintained. We went skiing there many times this Winter and there are nice skiing (trekking) trails in the woods.
The second birthday cake was not home made. (You can see the first home made one here.)

It's cake time!

Mr.Tim challenged to the limbo. The cake wasn't home made but the limbo equipment was!!

The last weekend of May Nina's ballet school and company had the Sleeping Beauty ballet performances at DeBartolo performing arts center at Notre Dame University. I have been watching their productions for five years and this one was my most favorite. We are very fortunate to have such a good ballet school in the region. Nina is pretty much enthusiastic at ballet so far. I am not going to force her to keep going forever, but to be honest, I sometimes dream to see her dancing a main roll on stage someday. (I majored in dance and theater. After graduating college I worked as a dancer for a while. That made me a ballet Mom!)

Nina (and I) made a thank you gift for her teacher. A "stuffed teacher" is the thing we make occasionally. You can see the other stuffed teachers we made in the past here and here.


I attended the assembly to see Nina received some awards and celebrate that our school year was successful. I cannot believe that she is already going to be a forth grader next year. The parents her graders' started worrying and talking about which middle school we should apply for two years later. That is going to be a big decision.


I am glad we had another great year in school. We will enjoy the Summer in Michiana more than usual. Because we are not going to Japan to see my family. They will be coming here!! My Dad and sister's family will stay for about a week ( I know! It's too short! But it is really hard for my sister and brother in law to have a long vacation. ) We are looking forward to it. I always wanted to show them how I live in this country. It has been nine years. It was a long time.

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you started a wonderful Summer (or Winter in the South Hemisphere). Have a beautiful day!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Calling for all the sock knitters!

As I mentioned before in this post, I am writing serial essay in Japanese popular knitting and crocheting magazine Knit Marche. I am now working on the next issue and I need your help!! The theme is sock knitting this time. My editor and I are thinking to have some images of knitted socks by sock knitters in the world on my pages in the next issue. This issue will be coming in September so right now this is the time for us to collect and integrate all the materials we need for the issue in a couple weeks.


Do you want to show off your masterpiece in Japanese knitting magazine? Do you have an adorable pair of socks you've finished recently? It doesn't matter what knitting skill level you are in. We want to share with Japanese readers that how sock knitters in the world enjoy knitting socks. If you are interested in this project, please let me know by sending email to me at {harujiondesign at gmail dot com} with some information about you that I listed below. I will get back to you soon with more detail.

***Please include in your email
a) Your name
b) Where you live in
c) What technique you use for knitting socks (DPN,  One or more circular needle(s), Magic loop, 2-at-a-time, Toe-up, Cuff-down, etc....)

If I got more applicants than we need, I will need to pick one or two applicants from them. What I will ask the selected applicants are a few images of your socks and maybe a picture of you knitting socks in action. That would be much greater! Also there will be a survey with a few questions.

When the magazine is out I will post about that in this blog and send a copy of the issue from Japan to the cooperator(s). I hope many of you are interested in this and look forward to hearing from you!

It is raining pretty hard here now and we have leaks from the ceiling in our kitchen (;_;)....... This is not a very happy day for us but I wish you have a beautiful Wednesday. Thank you so much.

Love,
Hiromi



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nina's Ballet Bag made with Kokka's Retro Animal Print

Nina's ballet school students and company members will perform "the Sleeping Beauty" this weekend. Nina has been performing in the Nutcracker for five years but this is the first time for us to participate the Spring Production. I made a ballet bag for the last Nutcracker performance. She's been using that for going her lessons and rehearsals three days a week since then. The bag seems getting dirty and worn-out a little bit, so I decided to make a new one for this Spring production.

I had this super cute half linen fabric from Kokka. This is one of fabrics I got in Japan last Summer. As you can imagine, I fell in love with this retro animal print at a first sight. The color and the style of these adorable characters feel very nostalgic. I think many women grown in Japan in my age would feel the same. I had a flannel Kimono pajama in the print just like this when I was so little! I am not going to tell you how many,  but its sooooo many years agooooo! \(*o*)/


Starting with a very rough sketch with the dimensions I want.

All the parts prepared. I made bias tapes with my favorite gingham check cotton for trimming.

Assembled all together....... then....... Ta-dah! It's finished!!

I put two outside pockets and one inside pocket for keep a pen and a little note book. There is a inside bottle holder as well. The top opens wide so she can easily see and reach the whole contents in the bag.







Oh, my. She's grown. I really need to get new Summer clothes for her. Things she wore last Summer are all shrunk! Well, of course. She has turned nine on May 15th. On her birthday we talked about the day Nina was born (in Japan). I feel that it was only a few years ago, and sometimes it feels many many years ago (or even that's somebody else's story!). Have you ever felt like that? Here is a snap shot of her and her birthday cake. The tie she is wearing is a gift from me. The tie and the cake were homemade.


Today they had the first run through on the actual stage. She took her brand-new bag to the theater. This week is going to be a busy one!! I hope you had a great holiday and started a good week. Happy sewing!