Monday, January 31, 2011

Embroidery / My favorite tree flower

I love tree flowers. There are two tree flowers I really love. One is Sakura which is Cherry blossoms in English. Sakura means a lot to me, maybe to many of Japanese people. It will be a long story if I tried to explain why it is so important to Japanese. So I think I will put it off a little bit. Another tree flower I really love is Dogwood. It is called Hanamizuki  in Japanese. When I see Dogwood flowers I know my most favorite season has come. I love the shape of Dogwood  tree, leaves and  flowers, I love the colors of flowers both in pink and white. Sometimes you see pale green on the petals.

I always wanted to make an embroidery pattern of this flower. And I finally did it. Not only making a pattern. This is my Dogwood flowers on cotton canvas.

I am a little afraid that they might look like Cherry blossoms. Well, Cherry blossoms have five petals. So if you knew it you would think they are not Cherry blossoms. What do you think?

Regarding Dogwood and Sakura, there is a story I want you to know. From 1912 to 1917, USA and Japan exchanged trees for wishing amicable relations. About 3,000 Sakura trees were sent from Japan to America . Some of these are the cherry blossoms which people enjoy on the riverside of Potomac river in Washington D.C. every spring. Japan received Dogwood trees from America. There are still some of those dogwood trees in Tokyo as well. This is not the reason why I like these two tree flowers, but those flowers always remind me the importance of peace and that it is very fortunate I can happily live in this country with people who I love.

Thank you for reading. I hope you all have a great Tuesday!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What I made with the wild flowers embroidery piece

You probably saw this in my shop or Flickr already, I made a clutch bag with this piece of embroidered wild flowers. For the body I used a gray cotton duck canvas and add a vintage button on the flap.

The bag has two closures. One is a set of magnetic snaps for the flap and another one is a zipper for the body opening. Picking zipper color is pretty much fun to me. I usually use YKK brand zippers but it is a shame that I cannot get  them at local stores around here. So I always have to order them online. I like this brand because of the quality of their product.

The lining is a cotton duck print. I always love to have something a bit surprising for the lining as well. I like this print and I think it worked out well. There is a pocket inside with another fun colored quality zipper!

 I hope you like what I did with my flower embroidery! I am working on a new embroidery project now. I think I could show it to you soon hopefully in the next post : )

Friday, January 28, 2011


I am having SALE on my Etsy shop! 10% OFF for any order through Jan 30th 10:00pm (ET). Please use the coupon code IHEARTU11  when you check out!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Time for Beading

A day before yesterday, I got a call from my neighbor Indie. She invited us to the dinner next evening (which was yesterday) at the college where she works (as a dance teacher). And I happened to know it is for her birthday. She and her family are so nice and good friends of us. Their daughter often babysit my daughter and they are very good friends too. I wanted to give Indie a handmade birthday gift and I asked my daughter Nina what I should make for her. She said "a necklace" and "Indie will say, Oh, its beautiful!" So I decided to make a necklace following Nina's advice. I kinda whipped it up because I didn't have much time. The materials are almost same as this pendant I made before.

I wrapped it up with pretty sheets of papers which is designed Amy Butler. And as Nina expected, Indie said " Thank you, it is so beautiful!" I was so glad she liked my gift and had a good birthday.

Today, I made another beaded jewelry. It is a brooch. This one has totally different colors but I used the same method. These beads remind me beach glasses and the dazzle of the sunlight playing on the water.

This brooch is listed on my Etsy shop. And there are more pictures of this and that item in my Flickr pool as usual.

Thank you all for reading this and have a great Friday!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sneak peek / Embroidery Wild flowers

I finished this simple stitch work. Wild flowers. I love to draw original embroidery patterns. I just need to find time to work with needles and threads and stitch it on the fabric! I hope I could release my patterns in my shop sometime soon. I'll try anyway.

I miss flowers!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Emboridered Gingham Check Clutch Bag

The clutch bag featuring the technique which I wrote a tutorial in this post is finished! I made a oblong clutch bag with unbleached linen look cotton. I added sweet cotton lace tapes for edging of the gingham piece. I made a little Yo-yo flower with the same gingham and a vintage button and put it on the strap for the final touch.

The strap is attached to the zipper pull tab and it is removable. The flap part can be fastened with a set of magnet snaps and the body part has a zipper closure. There is one zip pocket inside.

There are more pictures of this bag on my Flickr pool and it is listed on my Etsy shop!

It is the coldest night in this winter here in South Bend! It is expectied going down to 0°F (-18℃) ! Thank you for reading and please have a good week end. Stay warm!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My first Treasury on Etsy

I made my first treasury on Etsy. As many of you know, Treasury is a collection which you can edit your favorite items from other seller's as a curator. My theme was colors of early spring. Then I found these beautiful treasures. I think I will make more treasuries because it was pretty much fun!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shabby and Rusty Vintage Look Pendants

I eventually listed what I really wanted to do for long time. It is Jewelry. Now you can see two chic looking pendants in my Etsy shop. These pendants are made of multicolored glass beads and artificial pearls.

I named this one "Nostalgia".

This one is "Relic".

I tried to represent "nostalgia" and "a relic of bygone days" by combining many different kinds of beads in sepia tone. All the beads are fastened to the filigree base with copper wires.

I would love to make more jewelries as many as I can. Surprisingly my eyes are getting old steadily...... That makes me slow down a little bit, though, I  really like to find cool jewelry making materials on Etsy or at local craft stores and play with them. I will put more pictures of them on Flickr soon. Please check them out too.

Embroidery Tutorial / Good Use of Gingham Check

I am working on several different embroideries which use the character of Gingham Check. Today, I would like to share one of those techniques. It is how to make an interesting pattern with some simple stitches on Gingham. It is simple but it is also effective. Do you see a pattern of formal octagons? I'm gonna show you how to attach sequins with seed beads as well.

You will need to prepare #25 cotton embroidery floss in white. #25 embroidery floss is made up of six strands twisted together.  I separated them into groups of three for this project.

1) Let's take a good look at the pattern of gingham check  first. It is made up with squares of white and two tones of another color (which is purple in this tutorial). Stitch along horizontally with Running stitch. These stitches should go over the light purple squares in the middle.

2) Do same thing but vertically this time. There you will see many white squares which have four arms sticking out of each sides.

3) Bring the needle up through the fabric from where one of four arms touches to the side (of a white square) .
Thread under the other three arms around the white square then insert the needle back into where it first came out.

 There is a figure I drew. I hope you will get the idea what I am trying to say from this picture.

4) You will see many purple octagons and little white diamonds in order. Get a fine needle (has to be able to pass through a seed bead) loaded with a hand sewing thread. I doubled the thread for durability. Bring the needle up through the fabric in the center of a octagon. Pass through a sequin and a seed bead. Then go back through the same sequin again and insert the needle back into where it first came out. A sequin is attached. I put them alternately for this design.

5) Done!

It is a very simple and easy work but it makes interesting texture, doesn't it? There are some more techniques for using the character of the Gingham Check like Smocking and Cross stitch. I would love to introduce those techniques sometime in the future.

This Embroidered piece will be used for a new clutch. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and try this technique sometime. I am looking forward to hear your review of this tutorial.

Have a happy weekend (with your embroidery needles perhaps)!

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P.S.....This tutorial is featured on on January 23 2011. Thanks!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mirror Work Hand Bag / Fire Works in the Winter Sky

This embroidery I named "Fire Works in the Winter Sky" is finished! I made a elegant hand bag with it.

The fabric I used for the base of the embroidery is silk dupioni. The shiny objects in the middle of the fire works are mirrors which were made for mirror work embroidery. There are many kinds of stitches to fix the mirrors on fabric. Otherwise I used some seed beads, tube beads, sequins and metallic silver threads for beads work.

I used a metal frame for the structure. The handles are made of the same silk dupioni. The bag looks beautiful and I think it will suit any formal situations.

The lining is a silk from old Kimono which has Roses on the black back ground. There is a simple small pocket inside. 

I would like to show the process of mirror work sometime soon. There are more pictures of this project in my Flickr pool if you are interested. And also this bag is listed on my Etsy shop Harujion Design.

We are having a big snow storm since last night! We already have 20 inches of snow in South Bend. And it is still coming down a lot! I have never had this much snow since I moved in US (It has been five and half years). There is no wind, the snow is falling down more and more peacefully. It is beautiful. I feel cozy in the house and even feel we are protected by snow. That's funny. A couple years ago, I never thought snow like this. Snow was always what I couldn't like......

I hope you are having a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sneak peek / Fire Works in the Winter Sky

This is what I am working on now. Did you see fire works in the dark Winter sky? Maybe, for celebrating New Year?

It is a combination of mirror work and beads embroidery.

I am hoping to be able to show you a process of mirror work soon. Please stay tuned!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What we eat for the New Year Day in Japan

How was your New Year Day?
We invited a couple of friends (they are Americans) over and had a Japanese  traditional New Year Day dinner with them. These on the large plate are mostly preservable food which are cooked with sugar, soy sauce and sake. Ingredients are fish pastes, eggs, beans, seaweeds, sweet potatoes, chestnuts and  so on. And we also have fresh vegetables like Daikon radish and carrots salad, and some salted herring roes.

In my family, we always have this dish which is called "Chikuzen-ni" for New Year. This has many kinds of vegetables and chicken meat simmered with sugar, soy sauce and sake. And also we have a simple soup of Mochi (Rice cake) , chicken and some green vegetables like spinach. All the families have a little different traditions and it is also varied depending on where in Japan they live.

 This is Chikuzen-ni I cooked this year. It is kinda hard to make it tastes same every year. But it turned very well this time so I am going to record how I cooked it for next year. Everything is very healthy.

I am so glad our guests loved the look and taste of my food, and we had great time to celebrate the start of 2011. It is very fortunate that I have my family and friends all healthy and welcome new year with them.

2011 New Year's Greeting from us with Animals