January 31, 2014

Superbowl dinner

My husband is a HUGE football fan.  He used to have a day off on Superbowl Day ( it's Monday morning here in Japan), but as increasing responsibility at work set in, it became a kind of luxury to have a whole day for just one sports event.  After we came back again to japan from USA (oh, happy 5 years of watching the game on Sunday evening), he decided to have a "time-shift" strategy.

We record the live broadcast on HDD, and have a Superbowl evening on MONDAY after he comes home.  He never enjoys a game if he already knew the result - so he has to be very careful, very, very careful to shut out all the news on every media.  Thanks to a rather minor popularity of the sports in Japan, it's not impossible to keep it away but difficult enough because of the size of the event.  It's a no-no to visit Yahoo! or any news page on the internet, accidentally flip the channel on TV to evening news.

And I, as a BIG football and a cooking fan, prepare a meal honoring the teams and the city where the game is hosted.  It's great to look up history and recipes, spending hours in front of my computer.  Love internet.

This year, though, it is a challenge to decide what to have.  If it were the Patriots, Cream-type clam chowder is a no-doubt choice, or if it were the Cowboys, I would have ordered chili meat online and bought the biggest bag of tortilla chips I can find.  Ravens? Crab cakes.  49ers?  Great excuse to try making a sour bread starter.  Saints?  Mufellettas and Po-Boys.  Gumbo, Jambalaya… I can celebrate a whole week.  But, oh, Seattle vs. Denver?  In New Jersey?

My plan after some research is ..
1. Campbell Tomato Soup (which I always have on hand for our "earthquake / typhoon care bag") representing the State of New Jersey
2. Salmon vs Rainbow Trout (both grilled) representing the teams, salmon for Seattle and trout for Denver
3. Coors Beer for my husband
4. Welch grape juice for me and my daughter
Veggies, bread and desert is not decided yet.  Corn hush, plain dinner roll and apple sauce, perhaps?

Yeah, I don't deny.  A bit depressed.

Go, please, Texans, next season.  Give me a chance to bake Kolaches.

January 17, 2014

hibernation, and waking up

Last year came and went like a fizz.  I feel I didn't do anything new, but hope that it's an underrating to myself.  As long as a person is living and doing everyday OK, he/she never stops finding something newer and better, whether or not he/she notices.

When I look back, I have to admit I had a not-so-creative year, knitting-wise.  Almost all my knitting project was for my aunt, who was diagnosed with a breast cancer and started chemotherapy immediately.  Thank goodness it was found in the very early stage and was treated well. As of today, she is very well recovered from the surgery. After 2 month, prognosis is very good.
I knit her chemo caps, a preyer shawl, and toeless socks (all her nail fell off as a side-effect of chemotherapy. Toe nails are slower to grow back). She is the best recipient of my knittings - she always gives me appreciations (and good motivations to knit MORE for her), and treats my gifts in the most respectful way.  You know, she WEARs them and hand-washes them properly.  Every single pieces I knit for her is in use.  My husband and daughter do wear what I knit for them, too, but all the washings are on my hand and they don't express the admiration my aunt gives me by words.  

Words.  Yes, words have power.

Last year was the record low blogging year for me.  Not that I gave up on it, but…. I think I needed a little vacation from it.  
I didn't Twitter much, neither.  I didn't visit Ravely so often, neither.  I did take pictures but didn't upload them on Flickr! so much, neither.
One reason that I don't use Twitter or Pinterest neither recently, is the "recommended" or "related" pieces they slip in on my board.  I want to choose what I see, that was the concept of "following", right?  Until when I can opt out from "related pins" and such, I'd look away from Twitter-verse and Pinterest boards.

Which, I look more often on blog-sphere these days.  It has a slower traffic, and I have more control on what shows up.

Keeping a blog becomes a task, a burden, when you stop updating it often.  What you feel in everyday life, the tone of your speech, they changes like the river flow.  Looks the same everyday, but what's right in front of you is not the same as the water of yesterday flown away from you and gone forever.  Do you want to record all of your everyday life?  Or do you want to let them go, just let them go unmentioned, "just like yesterday, nothing new"?
And suddenly, the river shows us a completely different face.  A rainstorm.  Those brown, fierce gush of water breaks peaceful routines and bring them away.  After the event, the river looks just like before, but it's not the same anymore. Do you want to write about the stuff you are not seeing anymore in your life? 

I have been keeping this blog for over six years.  I moved back from Texas, USA to Kyoto, Japan. My daughter is growing up, my grown-up families are growing older in that six years.  Japan has experienced a major disaster, which gave me no harm in my material life but crashed some of what I believed in.  I got a part-time but responsible job that eats off my precious time with fiber.
Blog has to change, too, when the writer's life experiences changes.  There are blogs closed when the writer "outgrows" of them or "finds different ways of expressing him/herself".   A closed blog makes itself eternal, in a way.  It may an act of respect to the blog to keep/freeze it as it is.

I was thinking about this blog while I was away from it.
Do I want to close it?  Just like a completed photo album, and stash away in the attic? Scrap, frame and keep the six-plus years of my life (not everything, but the essence of it)?

… No, I don't.

Life is a continuous act.  And writing about it gives me the power to face it.  Not may be the perfect control of it, but to cut out pieces from it and think over it, is a way to keep it rolling on.  I have not done, and will not try, recording everything in my life, hoarding murmuring "I got have this, too!*  I'll just keep on scrapbooking my life here, keeping only pretty/kawaii and important/moving stuffs.  As my life continues, without quitting and restarting, my blog, too, will continue on, if changes its face in a long-run.

I'll just visit here a little bit more often this year. At least more (three times, ha!) than last year.  And that's my new year's resolution.

March 11, 2013

New persona

First, I wanted to make it to St. Valentine's Day.
Next, I set the due day to March the 1st.
I missed both, but now, at last.  On my 44th birthday.

I made myself a knitting (and hopefully, crochet) designer.
I can't say "professional" because I'm not paid.  I just set up a website and a blog.  When I said "my new office is still under construction", the construction was being made by none else by myself, and only on the cyber space.

Atelier PawPrint

and its blog, PawPrint on the floor

It's my place as an artist-kind-of-persona.
And, I'll go bilingual, writing every post, every pattern both in English and Japanese.
I'm not going to teach anything.  So, no "basics" or "101s".  There are so many wonderful books and teachers in the fiber world that I guess I don't need to set a classroom myself.

Until now, I have been posting occasional "not by a pattern" projects here, but I'll make them into words and post them on PawPrint website from now on.  I will not abandon this blog, nor am thinking of making a fortune as a designer. I am not a "creative" person in my honest opinion, but a "make-doer".  I am not a person of originality, but of small ideas. I think original designs should be traded at proper prices, but my ideas are none like that.  At least for now.  That's why I'm not selling anything on PawPrint website but asking donations if any of the visitors want to pay for my works.  Not asking for money is an excuse, too, of not making them in a perfect package for downloading and all.  (It's a terrible pdf now, but this is the best I could make for now.)   I'll learn more to make them better, of course, as soon as possible.

Here, I'm a knitter who has too much stash and too much "other stuff".
There, I'll be an artist who can't stop expressing herself through fiber-ish materials.
I hope having these two places does me good.

PS. I noticed I have written many "not"s above.  What do I want to deny?


On last post, I wrote about my daughter's grown-out-in-length jeans.  We were glad my friend gave me a clear view to my somewhat vague idea about adding a fancy tape on the post-hem line (Thanks, Janet!) and talked a bit about designs, and...
Here.  Little crochet ribbons and a heart.  From the books I bought for exactly a project like this.

Edging & Braid Variation 106 (エジングとブレード かぎ針で編む、とびきりかわいいデザイン106

Crochet Heart Pattern はじめてのかぎ針あみ ハートパターン100 
(Link to Ravelry pages.)
Heart pattern is #64 Heart Doily by Atsuko Takeda (link also to Ravelry page).

The air here is warming up these days.  One more stretch for these plain jeans.

I am finding more and more comfortable myself doing these "fancy mending" kind of work.  I knew I have an old-time set of mind, but these days, more and more so.  My age?

February 18, 2013

Change, and Forward

OK.  No excuse for my neglect for this blog.  It was not so bad as I was afraid, a little less than three months hiatus, but nonetheless.  Just I deeply regret about it.
(See my choice of words is probably being influenced by the book I'm listening on Audible right now? It's New Spring, the prequel of the Wheel of Time novels by Robert Jordan.  And you see what I have finished listening before that?  Yes, Mistborn trilogy and the sequel, by Brandon Sanderson.  My life is simple enough.)

It occurred to me this time of last year, too.  There, I find a problem, small but recognizable situation which requires some attention.

I need to change, re-organize rather, the way I spend my time on the internet.  Not only on the internet, I know.  The way I spend my time, period.

These 4 week or so, I've been busy taking care of the end-of-the-term paperworks at my teaching job and long ignored houseworks, like choosing and installing a sofa to our living room.  And at the same time, been working on starting my new project as, kind of, a designer.  It's not that I'm hoping to make money as an artist or a designer anytime soon, but I think it's about time to give  my inner artist a place to express herself.

It's time, to start.
To go forward.

But this blog is my home.  I'm not closing it nor abandoning it.
Mom just need to go out for a work some time, you know.

And the workplace is still under construction. I hope I can invite you all to my new office (blush) soon.

At home now? I'm working on my daughter's jeans.

She outgrew the hems I made. Today, I found out that I just can't roll those out and let her wear. It's just too obvious. "If it just can't be hidden, show it." is the basic strategy for a flaw. Decorative patches are the way to go. How?

November 30, 2012

A quick one before the Holiday season

I haven't forgotten this blog.  Just.... doing this and that other than writing here.
cotton, handspun with a tahkli
Like spinning cotton with a tahkli.  These days, though, I do almost all the cotton spinning on my handmade ahka-style spindle.  Handmade with a bamboo barbecue skewer and a plastic dish for flower pots (you know, the one you put under a flower pot to catch excess water).

My cotton spinning has become a part of my daughter's going-to-bed routine.  When she gets ready to sleep (done snack and brushing her teeth and all), I go with her to her bedside, start Stephenie Gausted's "Spinning Cotton" video on my iPad.  She watches the video for a while, from wherever the point that starts, enjoys it and wants to do (one day) all the "fancy jobs" - ginning, willowing, carding, making the fiber into puni, and spinning with a charkha.  Then, she just listens Miss Stephenie's voice.  Like listening to a bedtime story read by her favorite great-aunt.  And I spin, rather slowly, talking (or not talking) this and that, until she goes to sleep.

It's a bit sad that my daughter has lost her English language skills almost completely.  No wonder.  More than four years in complete Japanese-only environment, going to school and everything.
But, she says she loves listening to Miss Stephenie (Stephenie-san).  Norman Kennedy's singing-and-spinning video doesn't work for her, nor Maggie Casey's calming voice.
I believe she still remembers fondly of the teachers she met at KinderCare Learning Center more than half of her whole life (four years) ago.  Hearing Stephenie-san's Southwestern US English gives home-coming feeling to her.  Happily, and warmly, she goes to a good night's sleep.

My cotton-spinning evening may or may not continue because December is coming.  Last year's advent project was so fun and satisfying that I've decided to do that this year, too.
This year, it's Angels project.  I'll knit or crochet one angel a day.  I am going to use the same pattern many times, because finding 24 different angel patterns which finishes in one day is not likely to possible.  I may use lots of different yarns, and also the same yarn many times.  My point is, making Angels.

Like, this one.
angel, handspun cotton

Pattern; Tiny Christmas Angel by Elizabeth Ann White
Yarn; my handspun, the first batch I tried with my tahkli.

Now, I gotta go to 100-yen store to get a display wall-pocket.  I can't find the one I bought last year.

Happy before-Holiday weeks, my friends!

August 07, 2012


Inspired by my friend's recent endeavor for an "old but new for me" world, I decided that I'd follow my inner voice.

Spin some cotton.

With a spindle.

I am not a spindle enthusiast.  It's just a storage and work space limitation.  And I'm not a perfectionist nor an "all by myself" kind of person. I mean, I don't aim having a shirt-worth of yarn. Spindle spinning will give me a good-enough experience and a whole new sight to store-bought cotton yarns.

I just want to try.  Try to find out what my ancestors' ancestors did.  While trying, I'd be able to connect to my ancestors.. not to the housewives, but to the girls who learned the skill from their mothers so that they could keep their own family dressed comfortably.  Beginners' lucks and mistakes shouldn't be so different even after a few thousand years.

For the first step, I made this today.
small coin spindle, DIY

It's made with a chopstick (leftover from the New Year dinner), and a couple of coins.  I'm not sure which came first to my country, spinning wheels or coins.

small coin spindle, DIY

5 yen coin has a hole which fits to a 5mm knitting needle, too.  I used a chopstick rather than a knitting needle because I don't want any dent on my needles.  I just pushed the coins from the tapered tip (sharpened beforehand with a pencil sharpener) hard enough to go as far as possible.  Friction, I love you.

My teacher is Stephenie Gaustad.  The video is on my iPad (named Iris, because she has Retina display). Check.

Now, I need some cotton fiber.  That part would not be so hard.  Oh, I feel IT.
If I don't come back, tell all the sheep in the world that I loved them.