Friday, December 31, 2010

{this moment}

a friday ritual (inspired by soulemama).

a single photo capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment to pause, savor and remember.

if you're inspired to do the same, share a link to your 'moment' in the comments!

wishing you a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sew bad

When the original Wabisabi Mama was visiting me from Japan a few months ago, she helped me make an apron for my little girl. And when I say she helped, I mean she did everything--created and cut the pattern, prepared the edging (I don't know if that's even the right word) and set up (threaded?) the sewing machine--so that all I had to do was press the foot pedal. She even pulled the shoelace (yes, shoelace--isn't that brilliant?) tie through the edges.

Here is the result:

Pretty good, right?

Okay, okay, I'll show you the truth in a close-up shot:

Let's just say the curved lines of an apron were not the easiest thing to do for my very first sewing project. Luckily, my 11-month-old will never notice. Even luckier, I got a sewing machine for Christmas! Looking forward to improving my skills and hope to have more projects to post about soon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

yarn along

Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a single photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us!
Ginny Sheller from Small Things

Project: Vintage Pixie Hat from She's Crafty using Spud and Chloe fine yarn in Cricket
Book: Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin

As usual I am a bit behind getting some gifts completed and out the door.  Hopefully my little niece will understand, right M?  I love the look of the pixie hat and think little Olive will look adorable in it.  I've just about completed it, and along with a matching scarf and mittens, it will be a little warm ensemble for those cold mountain winters.

The book - I've just started and I am intrigued.  Pivoting around the 1970-something twin towers tightrope walk, Let the Great World Spin tells the story of all these lives intersecting in NYC.  It's won the National Book Awards and gleaned accolades from everyone in the literary world, so hopefully it will be a good read.  I'm kind of wishing I had it on CD, though, because I hate choosing between reading and knitting!  I've been alternating during my free time... so nice to have family around to make that possible!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Last year we began the tradition of celebrating the twelve days of Christmas leading up to January 6th, Three Kings Day (or Epiphany or Twelfth Night).  I love the idea of extending Christmas for as long as we can with continuous feasting and merrymaking and celebrating the birth of Christ. The problem is that I haven't really thought out exactly how we are going to do this.  I imagine it will consist of making lots of tasty things to eat and inviting friends and neighbors over (last-minute, of course) to join us.  Wassail, warden pear pie, king's cake, Christ's bread, Japanese noodles, omochi, and other treats are being considered... I'll return and report!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Our Advent: Final Days...

The final days were a bit of a blur - and we spent much of Christmas day in the ER with a sick little girl.  She's okay (ear infection!) but it's been a bumpy road this week with very little sleep had by anyone.  There have, however, been highlights:

Baking apple pie with Baba

 Making a gratitude chain for the tree

 Decorating cookies with Nana

Meeting the jolly old elf himself

Leaving goodies for Santa and his reindeer

Hope you and yours had a wonderful and peaceful Christmas!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of our Wabisabi readers.  
Thanks for letting us share a bit of our world with you.
May your hearts be warmed and enlightened by the spirit of the season!

Friday, December 24, 2010

{this moment}

a friday ritual (inspired by soulemama).
a single photo capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment to pause, savor and remember.
if you're inspired to do the same, share a link to your 'moment' in the comments!

wishing you a joyful weekend!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Japanese Christmas

Though I spent many summers in Japan while I was growing up, it wasn't until I was married and living in Tokushima with Mr. Q that I experienced Christmas in Japan.

Is it okay for me to admit that it was a bit of a letdown?  All the stores were decorated for the holiday, with popular American Christmas songs being played over the speakers, but there were no Christmas events - no concerts, no parties, no ice-skating in the park... and the 25th is not a national holiday, so we still had to work!  Many people still exchange gifts, but it's considered more of a romantic holiday, sort of like Valentine's Day; you spend Christmas Eve on a date with your honey.  And the food traditions? Brace yourself...

Everyone eats Kentucky Fried Chicken and Christmas cake on Christmas Eve.  Seriously. The 24th and 25th are the busiest days of the year for KFC.  I have no idea how this tradition started, but a friend hypothesized that it may have to do with the fact that Colonel Sanders does look a bit like Santa Claus.

And Christmas cake?  It is a simple white or yellow sponge cake with whipped cream frosting and some kind of decoration, usually involving strawberries.  A bit like a glorified strawberry shortcake, actually.

I love my Japanese roots.  I honestly do.  But I cannot support these shenanigans.  Japanese Christmas is SO not wabisabi.  So in this instance, I side with my New England heritage and will eschew fried chicken and cake in favor of a true Christmas dinner with apple pie, cookies, and egg nog.  But I will leave you with a heartfelt Meri Kurisumasu!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our Advent: Week Three

We continue with the exciting build-up to Christmas - we've been enjoying our little activities and excursions, but in full disclosure, things don't always pan out and sometimes, due to illness, weather, or just plain busy-ness we end up needing to modify our plans.  But we roll with it - isn't that what you have to do as a parent? This is what we've managed to do this past week:

Day 15: Revelled in the rarity of snow in our neck of the woods!  Just a dusting, but mini-snowmen were made and general frolicking and gaiety ensued.  Alas, no sledding yet... perhaps while we're in New England?

Day 16: Sewed new stockings for our family.  Though there are only three of us, I remain optimistic that we may add more to our brood, so I made five different colored socks with Asian brocade cuffs.  

Day 17: Stringing popcorn garlands for the tree.  This isn't the easiest or quickest activity for a three year-old - there was plenty of finger stabbing and she lost interest pretty quickly, but we were able to get a few strings up on the tree, and they are so quaint!

Day 18: Attended another Christmas party, but this time at the church I attended while growing up in Massachusetts.  We weren't able to stay for too long because Mayumi wasn't feeling so hot, but she was able to make a few Christmas crafts and check out the various nativities on display.  We also had plans to go on a winter solstice walk that night, but Maya fell asleep in the car on the way home and we just brought her in to bed... plans change!

Day 19: Making gingerbread houses! This was the perfect activity during a quiet afternoon at Grandma's house. I usually prefer to make things from scratch, but I will admit to using a pre-made packaged kit here. You would think that would've made it easier, but I forgot how challenging it is to put these little buildings together! I'm sure more frosting ended up in Mayumi's stomach than on the houses, but we were rather pleased with our architectural endeavors.

Day 20: Well, perhaps it was all that frosting from the night before or maybe it was just a tummy full of postnasal drip, but Mayumi threw up several times during the night and none of us got much sleep.  We had a quiet day and except for one short visit to the library to borrow some books (and play with the trains) we took it easy.  But reading Christmas books and cuddling up with the people you love seems like a perfectly acceptable way to celebrate the season, no?

Homemade: Baby slippers

You haven't heard much from me lately because my mom was in town from Japan for three weeks and I didn't want to miss a moment with her (and also because Q is a blog hog). Then work got crazy, the holidays came crashing down on me and my child was sick for nearly a month. But here I am again to share with you the cutest little booties that my mama dukes made for Olive.

Aren't they adorable?!

I wish I could say I had anything to do with them, but that would be just be laughable. (Mom helped me sew my first thing ever--a mini apron for Olive!--and while I gave it my best shot, it didn't turn out quite as I would have liked, but that's another post...) For those of you who are more experienced seamstresses, you can find the pattern for these cloth shoes here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Homemade: Kid's Belt

This is a fun and super easy little project that makes a great stocking stuffer.  I got the idea when Mayumi was about 12 months old - you know how proud I am that she was out of diapers at an early age (I'm sorry if the bragging is annoying, but EC is wonderful!).  One negative aspect was that her diaperless little bottom wouldn't support her pants - they were always slipping down her hips.  My remedy was to make her a cute little D-ring belt using some leftover ribbon. 

This year she'll find a new belt in her stocking!

Here are the supplies you'll need:
~1 yard of cotton webbing (mine was 28 inches long, 1 inch wide)
~1.5 yards of ribbon of your choice (mine was 32 inches long, 1 inch wide)
Thread that matches your ribbon and/or webbing
Set of d-rings

1. Pin the ribbon to the webbing and stitch around the short edge with a zigzag stitch to prevent fraying.

2. Insert sewn edge through two D rings and fold over to wrong side.  Sew using edge stitch.

3. Fold over the extra ribbon over the webbing and sew both sides along the edge using a zigzag stitch (oh, to have a serger!)

4. Voila!  You have a darling little belt to keep those little pants up!

Friday, December 17, 2010

{this moment}

a friday ritual (inspired by soulemama).
a single photo capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment to pause, savor and remember.
if you're inspired to do the same, share a link to your 'moment' in the comments!

wishing you a magical weekend!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oishii: Granola

I am a big fan of making my own granola. It is such a forgiving recipe with almost endless variations, but it's taken a few tries to come up with one that works for me and my family.  The one below is the one we love the most and I thought it might make a nice gift this Christmas.  A few glass jars from IKEA with some ribbon make it look nice 'n pretty.

Crunchy Granola
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seed
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)

Combine oats, nuts, coconut and seeds in one bowl.  In a separate container, mix honey and coconut oil, then pour over oat mixture and stir to combine.  Spread evenly onto a cookie sheet and bake in 300 degree oven until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven and spread onto waxed paper to cool.  Store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Homemade: Hostess Apron

I have a dear friend who is newly vegan and I thought I'd try to support her by making her the darling hostess apron in Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing.  I used some Joel Dewberry fabrics and whipped this up in a few hours one afternoon.  It's not perfect (I'm still a beginner, sorry!), but I think it is charming and along with a subscription to VegNews, it will be perfect for her!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our Advent: Week Two

Day 8: TubaChristmas at the Kennedy Center. It was packed, but from her perch on daddy's shoulders Mayumi could see the lovely brass.

Day 9: Baking bread and delivering it to the neighbors.  Mmmm, maple oatmeal loaves with homemade peach jam from the summer harvest.

 Day 10: Visiting cousins in West Virginia and exchanging gifts.  We brought home a box of homemade cookies!

Day 11: Attending the Christmas party at church.  No photos - I opted to attend a satsang and Mr. Q was too busy socializing and watching his little three year-old to play photographer as well. 

 Day 12: Christmas Concert at the Stake Center.  More musical merriment and treats to boot.

 Day 13: Decorating cookies.  Taking a page from my sister-in-law, we made an array of cookies to deliver to friends: gingerbread, sugar, fruitcake, candy, chocolate chip, jam, etc.  A complete sugar fest.

Day 14: Oh no -- it was inevitable that Mayumi would catch something.  Since she's not feeling too hot we're taking it easy and watching the Grinch today.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meditation: You are My (He)Art

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you,
But sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.

Friday, December 10, 2010

{this moment}

a friday ritual (inspired by soulemama).
a single photo capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment to pause, savor and remember.
if you're inspired to do the same, share a link to your 'moment' in the comments!

wishing you a lovely weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Furoshiki Giveaway Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered the furoshiki giveaway.  Our two winners, chosen by random, are:

 We'll send your prizes in the mail as soon as we get your postal address.

In the meantime, so many of you expressed interest in the art of furoshiki and we want to encourage you to try it out!  You don't need anything fancy - you can make your own furoshiki using fat quarters or other leftover fabric or you can purchase lovely handkerchiefs or scarves from the thirftstore.  Here are a few more folding ideas - or experiment and create your own!  And if you get the chance, email us your lovely furoshiki creations so we can see your handywork.  Thanks!

Homemade: Sweater Weather

Back in October I finally finished my first adult-size sweater (my last personal project before the big Christmas push!).  I started it in a sweater class at my local yarn store and then found some lovely handmade glass buttons to finish it off.  It was relatively easy to knit, and though I'm actually not a big fan of the yarn (I felt pressure to choose it from a limited selection on the day of the class) and I made a few mistakes (like switching to the wrong side halfway through the sweater) I like my final project, overall.  And better yet, I feel more confident about taking on bigger projects. 

The deets:
Yarn: Karabella Windy 100% cotton
Pattern: Liesl by Ysolda

Kind of like a Christmas gift to myself!