C’est Finis!

November 18, 2010 § 1 Comment

I finally got the whole package put together last night…or I guess it would be this morning at 1 am. There is always some last minute thing to do. Then at 9 am I was off to the International building with everything on my bike. It was quite the acrobatic performance.

The craft package went for 7500 yen, I think! And all that money will go to Fukui orphanages. Pretty awesome. Not only that, but I also received several craft requests throughout the conference. One from my newest idea to make brooches from origami with some of the beautiful fabric available here in Japan. I wore one to our teacher’s conference yesterday and got so many compliments! And then one teacher asked me to make one for her. Awesome.

Included in the Christmas package was one of these origami brooches. Here are the pics of all the finished items.

5 Christmas cards

4 nani na

3 bling trees

2 paper bags (to put it all in)

and a origa-a-ami brooch!

 

Christmas means carnage!

November 16, 2010 § 3 Comments

It`s only a month until my favourite holiday of the year and crafting is in full swing!

Inspired by a recycled Christmas tree craft sent to me from my friend Martha Stewart, I began crafting multiple trees for a charity auction. The auction is in just a few days and I only finished painting them with glue and dusting them with glitter last night. I committed to auctioning off a Christmas craft grab-bag and because of this my apartment has descended into chaos from my frantic late night crafting to finish everything in time. In Japanese, “giri giri” would describe my situation quite well: looks like I am going to make it by the skin of my teeth.

The auction project is not the only culprit in the disaster zone that is my apartment. I also have various `break from the auction project projects` strewn throughout my small living space. And it`s not like I have a lot of room to go around. As I was doing some finishing touches on Christmas cards I was stenciling I looked up at the chaos and the words of a duck named Ferdinand came to mind: “Christmas means carnage!” Anyone familiar with the movie of talking farm animals called Babe, will remember the scene when Ferdinand has a melt down, because he knows the truth about Christmas dinner. I didn`t have a melt down exactly, but as I looked around at my apartment I thought carnage was an excellent word to describe my current situation.

And so, I took the time to document the carnage on your behalf. My sister says she wishes she could be crafty like me, but Shannon, after you see these photos you may have second thoughts.

This is what used to be my couch and is now the cloth origami brooch project area (anyone got a better name?). You can see that what I require for this small creation is cloth, an iron, lots of fabric starch and origami instructions of course. I am worried that this craft will eventually involve a more literal carnage if I am not careful, but so far no fingers have been ironed.

What used to be my coffee table. This is where the recycled Christmas tree magic happens…well actually the folding happened in numerous other places, but the trees all congregated here afterwards. These are made from monotonous folding of individual pages of old magazines, much like the one in the foreground. Later these will get messier.

On top of my kutatsu blanket just off center is the scarf I am working on. I am striping with a yarn that changes colour and it has proven to be quite addictive to see the colours evolve.

These felted balls are what is going to be my new niece’s mobile. I plan on attaching them via yarn to the top of the mobile after the auction project is finished and just in time for her first Christmas! The balls are loads of fun to make.

I used to eat here. This is my kitchen table all decked out for Christmas card making. Rilakumma is supervising.

It is a set of five. Very simple, but festive I think. The stenciling was done with a doily. And the letters were done with my nifty new box of letter and number stamps!

I got a little carried away and started stamping on the back of the cards too.

In a few days I will post some pics of the finished project for the auction. In the mean time, it’s back to crafting! And my day job.

Head hugger, tree hugger

November 9, 2010 § 2 Comments

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love second-hand shopping. I believe this hobby of mine began at a very young age. Growing up as the youngest of four children, I lived off of hand-me-downs and was always waiting for that day when I would inherit coveted items from my sister`s closets. I also had a young play-mate who`s mother took us garage sale shopping on Saturdays and who first introduced me to the joys of bargain shopping at a place called Mary House. Once a month, Mary House opened it`s doors and with a garbage bag in hand we waited our turn to scavenge the boxes of clothes in the basement while fighting off old ladies with a strong sense of ownership. There was no opportunity to try clothes on, just one turn through the boxes and then a payment of five dollars would get you out the door with a garbage bag full of goodies. Being still quite young and small, I remember hurling myself into the bottom of waist-high boxes to find that one overlooked item and occasionally getting some stranger`s cast offs in the face. It was all part of the chase for a bargain which, being nurtured at such a young age, is still with me today. Of course, now I find myself searching through more organized collections of clothes and in a more civilized manner. But I still feel that little thrill of finding an item for more than half the original price and…admittedly, I still get a little possesive when I see someone eyeing what I am hoping to purchase.

“So what is all this hugging got to do with second-hand shopping?” you ask. Well, one day, while purusing my local thrift store, I came across some pretty neck ties. Normally I would never venture into the men`s section of thrifting, but these ties were hanging right across from the ladies` scarfs and I had an idea; a crafty idea. Why should these ties live such a purposeless life, hanging there on the shelf, surrounded by the smell of unwashed clothing? So, I rescued these neck ties. I brought them home, washed them and made them into headbands of various shapes and sizes.

Let the tree-huggers of the universe rejoice! Another way to put those skills of reducing, reusing and recycling to good use. Elementary school brain washing is finally making fashionable sense.

My friend who helped model these re-purposed items, said of the wrap-around variation, “It`s like a hug for your head!”. This coming from a girl who consistently finds headbands uncomfortable, now that is something. In the projects pages I will be devoting more posts to headbands (some new, some old) and I hope to eventually get a DIY together for the head-huggers themselves. In the meantime, you can admire some new handiwork in the gallery pages of the site. Here`s peek.

Fiona Rose

November 6, 2010 § 3 Comments

One fine day in late October, Fiona Rose was born and I became an auntie for the very first time. My oldest sister did all the hard work, but the whole family gets to be a part of this tiny new life. I know I am excited about it.

When I went home this summer, I gave my sister the baby blanket I had slaved over for a month or two. It is a pinwheel blanket, like the one I made for my other sister’s baby which you can find the knitting projects with more details (lucky clover pinwheel blanket). The reason why I am posting now is today I got two photos from my mother over email. At first I didn’t know why she had sent these particular photos, but on closer look I could see that she was wearing the baby blanket I made.

There’s grandma with her new favourite person.

 

And little Fiona peeking out of her baby blanket. She looks a bit confused by the situation she is in, but she will have to get used to all the pictures with all the baby paparazzi buzzing around. Who can blame them? She’s beautiful.

The Yukon can get quite cold in the winter time. So with the snow starting to grow on the ground, I hope Fiona’s blanket helps keep her warm. With that and all the love she is wrapped in, I am sure she will be well taken care of. Sweet, little Fiona Rose, we will meet soon, I promise.

Cat saga finale!

November 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

I finished the second cat hat just in time for our costume party last weekend! Phew! At the last minute I also realized that we needed tails to be legit and so I took an old pair of nylons, stuffed each leg with cotton batting and voila! We had some very nice cat tails for the party.

Here are some pictures of the complete costumes with face paint and all. If you haven’t been following the previous posts about how these hats were made, feel free to check out any of the giant cat saga episodes. Now for the moment you have all been waiting for…

Lindsay makes a fine feline. Most of the humans were impressed with the costumes, we did make a few children cry. Something about a giant cat just didn’t seem right to them, I guess. We didn’t do anything. We promise.

After all that mischief, it was time for a cat nap.

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