January 31, 2011

Tokyo Shopping

So most of the loot I brought back has been eaten, given away, or just folded into my life. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in stores, so I don't have any images of our shopping adventures. We did so much shopping that I can't even begin to list the shops! There is so much to look at and buy, that I actually got a little sick of it. (gasp!) I did want to share a few places I'd recommend.

Muji - Went like four times, I think? A must go.
Tokyo Hands - blow your mind craft store, find one!

I also loved Allegory Home Tools near Daikanyama Station. A small home goods shop with great prices and lots of unusual items. I bought lots of gifts here.

I got this awesome slipper rack at a.m.a store in Shimokitazawa. Awesome vintage store with lots to look at, fantastic vintage lighting.

And finally.....FABRIC STREET! Located in the Nippori textile district, Fabric street is, you guessed it, and entire street of fabric shops. Tomato is probably the most well known and is hands down the largest fabric/sewing store I could have ever imagined. Spanning multiple buildings, it's just awesome. I spent 3 hours in one building. Nippori is on the JR Yamanote Line, and the "street" is just out side the train station.

This is a great English map of Fabric Street:

I also found these site helpful when planning shopping trips:
Design*Sponge Tokyo Guide
Cloth and Fodder
Japan Craft Journal

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January 28, 2011

Shelf Swap

this is just a little Friday tidbit, but how often do you change out your little decorative shelf areas? I read a lot of blogs, and I think some folks out there do it almost weekly! I think I remember to do it about 3x a year. This time I wanted a wood/industrial type thing.

Shuttlecock, shoe form, hem marker, folding measuring tape, wood box, vintage arrows and glass flower frog.

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January 27, 2011

Tokyo Six

One of the last things we did was take a ride on the Himiko - a water bus designed by a famous Japanese animator Leiji Matsumoto. It was an awesome ride - the boat sits very low in the water and is covered in glass, so the views were great. It's a very touristy thing to do (and most of the other riders were foreigners) but I love boats and it was a lot of fun!

And lastly, two amazing city views from our room!

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January 26, 2011

Literary Leaves: Paper Branches

I was at West Elm a week or two ago buying a new rug, and I browsed through most of the holiday items on sale. There were some items left from the David Stark Collection, and I particularly liked the stems made from recycled book pages, but I thought it would be a simple enough project to make at home!

I wrapped wire in pages from a cat-chewed book using acrylic varnish for the stems, and ripped out leaf shapes and sandwich a looped wire in between. Looping the wire keeps it from sliding out!

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January 25, 2011

Tokyo Five - Nikko

For our excursion out of the city, we chose Nikko, about a 2 hour train ride from Tokyo. Nikko is home to the Shrines and Temples of Nikko - a world heritage site. It was a wet, rainy day, making everything foggy and lush. The trees were the tallest I've seen and the shrines and temples were phenomenal - so rich in color and detail, and each unique.

( Hear no evil, Speak no evil, See no evil Monkeys!)

On day 2, we rode a bus to see the Kegon Falls near Lake Chūzenji in Nikko National Park. Even with no green foilage in November, the falls were magnificent.

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January 24, 2011

Tokyo Four

Images from our visit to Senso-Ji Temple in Asakusa. After visiting the Temple and grabbing lunch, we headed to the The Tori-no-Ichi (Rake Fair) festival.

Similar to the states, there was tons of fair food lining the streets towards the rake fair. We saw this Ramen Burger vendor and had to try one - Super Delicious. The noodles are fried in a small round pan to make the "buns" and then the pork, fish cake, vegetables, etc are in between, and drizzled with a thickened ramen broth.

The many sizes, shapes and colors of the rakes was overwhelming! Each time someone bought one, the vendors would chant and clap.

"A highly decorated bamboo rake was particular popular as goods to bring happiness and prosperity in business. It is said that to bring happiness for New Year is to change a bigger bamboo rake year by year."

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January 21, 2011

Multiples Multiples Multiples

Saw this fantastic display of art in the Jan/Feb issue of New England Home - what an awesome display of Allan McCollum's "The Shapes Project." Even small multiples can come together to create a huge impact, especially when they are high contrast. awesome.

Read more about artist Allan McCollum here:

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January 12, 2011

Recent Reading List

SO many people are doing SO many awesome things out there and then blogging about it. Here's two of them:

Eighteenth Century Agrarian Business: Run by Elizabeth and Jessica - "The two of us have an interest in making things, as we’re afflicted with decorating ADD, and doing things oneself – refinishing furniture, making a handbag, fixing a good meal, or a bad but ambitious one – is often the fastest and most economical way to change one’s domestic landscape."

Karen Barbe: Karen is a textile designer in Chile, and makes me envious.

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January 11, 2011

Christmas Cards

I really wish Gocco printer supplies were cheaper and easier to find, otherwise I'd use it more than once a year for my xmas cards. Anyway! Here's what I came up with for 2010 - "Merry Fishmas" on the front, and "Happy New Hare" on the inside. Pretty clever if I do say so myself.

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January 4, 2011

Spicy Cilantro Mint Refrigerator Pickles!

I always try to hand make something for Christmas gifts, which usually involves sewing or paper crafts, but this year I wanted to try food. First experiment was mustard, which I did not like. It's very easy to make, but the 2 recipes I made tasted un-eatably strong and weird. I probably should have known better since my favorite mustard is French's Yellow!

Pickles sounded easier and more up my alley. After some internet research, I came up with the following recipe which makes these awesome, tangy/spicy pickles! They came out better than I ever dreamed and have gotten rave reviews!

Spicy Cilantro Mint Pickles

1 cup white wine vinegar (or vinegar of your choice)
3 teas. kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 teas. fresh lime juice
(I have also experimented with reducing the sugar and adding more lime juice with tasty results!)

(Amounts below are for one 17 oz. Quattro Stagioni Jar from the Container Store)

Pinch of mustard seeds
3 whole fresh garlic cloves
3-4 sprigs mint
3-4 sprigs cilantro
1/2 chili pepper seeded and sliced into strips (more if you want!)
1 carrot, sliced into discs and blanched in boiling water for 1-2 minutes (softens them up a bit)
2-4 pickling cucumbers sliced into discs

Begin by sterilizing your jar(s) in boiling water and set aside to dry and cool. Next prep all your veggies and ingredients. Fill the jars with the cukes, carrots, herbs, garlic, chili pepper and seeds - alternating layers and packing everything tight. (I prefer not to chop the herbs, but it's up to you)

Once your jars are packed to the rims, mix the brine in a small saucepan, using the least amount of heat required to dissolve the sugar and salt. (On a hot day, you may not need to heat it at all) Once everything is dissolved, let cool for a few minutes and pour into your jar(s). It's hard to say how much brine you will need, it will depend on your jar size and how tightly everything is packed. Just make more brine batches as you need.

Store in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving, I usually shake them and turn them upside down a few times during the first day. There are differing opinions about how long refrigerator pickles last, but you'll probably eat them up before you need to worry about it.

Recipe Based on:
Homemade Refrigerator Pickles at Allrecipes
Food in Jars: Asian Inspired Refrigerator Pickles

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It's a New Year

I'm not sure if it was the approaching winter or what, but I did NOT have the desire to blog! Not at all really. I just felt like to had nothing to share. boo hoo.

Not anymore! I'm gonna blog, baby. I've got to wrap up the Japan posts, and get some new projects rolling and do some STUFF!

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