Friday, August 29, 2014

Pretty things, and what's on my work table

My life is not always very organized. It sometimes gets chaotic. And I see messes here and there in my house. But I also have some, maybe many pretty things.

Vintage textiles.

Vintage Pyrexes.

And more.

These are things currently on my work table.

I'll tell you about them soon. What pretty things do you have? Thank you for visiting. Please have a good day.

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!