Thursday, February 28, 2013

Japan Haul: Oriental Bazaar

 OK, now for some not so cute stuff..  I dragged Akemi to Oriental Bazaar while in Harajuku.  I love this store for the more traditional Japanese items. They have great gifts for those who don't like the cutsie stuff as much as I do.

Here's some of the stuff I picked up..

This is an address book.  Gorgeous right?  Love the cranes.

Here's a close up of the cranes.

Also picked up a couple sets of coasters....  Love these too!

Here's a close up of my favorite one...

Darn, should've picked up more sets of these!

And finally, got this smaller sized address book.  Love the sakura on the cover.

I know.. not much non-cute stuff yah?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Japan Haul: Random Hakuhinkan Toy Park, Character Street, and Kiddie Land Goodies

Ok, didn't know how to organize this stuff, but still wanted to share them with you cause they are so darn cute!

First up, I found these cuties at the Hakuhinkan Toy Park in Ginza.  We got more stuff from there that I will show you later.  Not sure why I like this frog so much, but he was too cute to pass up! 

 I've seen the Mimi Pochi coin purses before, but not with faces!  I instantly fell in love and decided to get one.. but took awhile before I decided on the polar bear.  The panda was cute too, but this polar bear was calling me.

This dog was Akemi's pick.  It's one of those that bark and walk around and drive you nuts.. but we did tell her she could pick out a toy, so we let her choose this one.

Earlier at Character Street in Tokyo Station, I found the CUTEST doggies EVER!  They were at the NHK store, so I'm thinking they have their own TV show?  His tag said Little Charo.  I think this is the link to his show...

As you can see, he has a big head...  Love it!

And here's the baby version...

OK I'm not sure what this Polar Bear is from, but I'm guessing its a San-X character?  I think I found him in Kiddie Land in the Rilakkuma Store, but I could be wrong.  I thought he was so cute.

Hope you are enjoying my haul posts!?  If not, you might want to skip my blog for awhile until I can get some crafty stuff back on.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Japan Haul- Snoopy Town

So you are probably wondering about all the stuff I got from Japan?  Welcome to my first of many Japan Haul posts...  Some of the items are for me and my family and some were purchased as gifts.  I'll try to remember where I got each item, but forgive me if I'm wrong.. we went to so many stores that I might get confused!  We started with three half full suitcases and came back with three very full suitcases, a duffle bag, a box of Taiko stuff for Paul and my carry on full of snacks.  Thank goodness Hawaiian gives 2 free bags each on international legs!

First stop on our trip was Harajuku.  I was excited to go since the last time we went, Kiddie Land was in a temporary location, so I was hoping this time their renovations would be done.  I was happy to see that they were in their regular site- although this was all new to me!

The first place we headed for was the basement where we found Snoopy Town!  Akemi is a big Snoopy fan, so we knew we had to go there first.  Here's some of the loot we bought.  I know we bought more, but I can't find it!  Yikes, hope we didn't leave it behind.

We both picked up some Snoopy washi tape for our Smash books.  Yay!

I also got this cute Peanuts cosmetic bag for myself.  I love brown w/pastels.

Akemi liked this solar powered Snoopy & Woodstock figure.  Snoopy's head moves when activated by the sun.

Also popular are Nanoblocks.  They are very tiny Legos.  Haven't put it together yet, but will advise once it's done.  Looks like a difficult project to me!

And Akemi desperately needed a new lunch bag, so we picked one up for her too.

I'm pretty sure we also got her a new Snoopy umbrella (which came in handy in Sapporo) and a microfiber cloth to wipe her glasses.  Be back soon with more Japan Haulin!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mick and Mattie

This is the year that me and my friends turn the big 4-0!  I thought I should do something special for them, so I've been busy looking for project ideas that they would like.  My friend Les is a photography enthusiast and even travels just for photo opportunities.  She has taken our family photos several times over now and has even done some family shots for some of my family.  Her birthday was this week, but I wasn't able to deliver the present like I had hoped.  I hope she picks up the gift and opens it before she sees this!

Here's what I came up with....

When I saw this project... I knew I had to figure out how to make one for her!!  It was a bit intimidating, especially since there were no set dimensions in inches, etc. I had to figure some of it out myself, but after I started going, it wasn't too bad.

I wanted to make a matching layout for her and decided to ask her for a photo of her doggies.  Mick and Mattie are her babies, so I knew she would like a layout featuring them.

I started by distressing the edges and then using my distress ink, distressed it in pink.  I like the look since the pink shows through but the rest of the paper remains white polka dots.

Next, I added a die cut of Tim Holtz's vintage camera.  I've been wanting to use this die, but didn't have any use for it.  This was the perfect project for it.. dont'cha think?  I made the flash by adhering some crystals.  I know you can't tell, but I popped up the camera several times to add dimension and finally added pink to the back of it and some acetate where the lens would be.

I added in a strip of rhinestone bling to balance against the horizontal photo.  Of course, I had to add some flowers right?  Right below the flowers, I made my own rhinestone bow by hot gluing the rhinestone trim together and then adding a pearl in a buckle for the middle.

And finally, I needed a title.. decided to go with the doggie's names.. Mick and Mattie...

 And here's the two cutie pies sharing a couch.  I really don't know how they fit on that couch as they are huge!

And now for the camera!  Stared by making a box and attached the flash and part on the right.  Then I attempted the lens. This was kinda tricky, but i somehow figured it out using my circle punches, acetate and strip.

Inside the lens I added a rose, crystal gem, pearl and Hello Kitty.  The Hello Kitty was part of a cell phone charm and I just took off the strap.

Used some bling mesh to make the flash and a buckle/flat pearl as part of the viewfinder.

I stacked two buttons and added another buckle/pearl for the zoom feature and the flower below for the shutter button.

On the back of the camera, I added a rectangle of mirrored cardstock and a rhinestone border around it.  The buttons on the side are clear with a flower glued to it.  Oh, can't forget the strap... used a single rhinestone bling and inserted them into an eyelet secured hole on each side.

When you open up the box, it looks like this....

I added in a smaller version of Mick and Mattie inside and decorated it using some roses and a small hearty clay butterfly.  I guess I didn't notice the stick pin fell off the rose.  It's supposed to be sticking up.

Here's a closer shot.

Just wanted to wish my friend a Happy Birthday!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy Belated Birthday Liane!

Yup!  It's the big 4-0 for me and my friends this year, so I thought I should make them something special for their big day.  My friend Liane and I go waaaaayyy back.. 7th grade to be precise.  Through everything, we have maintained our friendship and manage to keep in touch despite our hectic lives.  

I'm really late with her gift this year... I guess going to Japan got the best of me, and before I knew it... I was leaving, so I had to delay delivery of her gift until I could visit her in February.  This gave me some time to put the final touches on her gift.

I was desperately in search of something new and stumbled on this you tube video...  Which led me to this one...  Thank you to MSLiberty25 and EverBloomingCrafts for posting your videos on this cool project! It was just the kind of project I was looking for for a special birthday!

Here's my version of the hot air balloon...

Do you see Mariko!?  She's ready to give my friend her present...  I didn't have the chipboard balloon that was mentioned in the videos, so I ended up searching for a template and downloaded it and hand cut them out myself.  Then I distressed all edges of the balloon.  Here's a closer look.  Decorated around the balloon using my SU pennant punch and some IAR daisies.

On the other side of the balloon, you will see Miyoko!  Miyoko is actually named after my friend, so I included the rubber stamp of her.

Here's a close up of Mariko...

And a better look at Miyoko!

I think the most difficult part was getting all the chains the same length.  Yes, I was too lazy to count each link, so I just "eyeballed" it.  Had to make several adjustments, but it came out OK.  Hope she liked it!  Happy Belated B-day!  Hope you had a great one!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

2/10/13: Last Day in Tokyo

Our trip had finally come to an end. Boooo.  Akemi on the other hand was ready to go back home.  I don't blame her.. she probably has a ton of school work waiting for her.. poor kid.  I will likely have a ton of emails waiting for me.

On our last day in Tokyo, we decided to finish up Asakusa and get any last minute omiyage.  Paul wanted to go back to Miyamoto's one more time and I wanted to try to go to the Maneki Neko Shrine that was nearby.

After an omiyage checklist was completed, we decided we needed to grab some arare (senbei) from that awesome store in Nakamise.  OMG they are all so ono!  

After picking up several bags for gifts and several for us, we walked past a shop that Paul was actually interested in... I on the other hand wanted to rest my feet, when I saw a very long line outside of a shop.  I had to go investigate.  Long lines usually mean one thing.... something good enough to wait in a long line for!!!  As I got closer to the front of the line, I noticed it was an udon shop. But why were people standing in line for lunch so early?  It wasn't even 10:30 yet.  Then I smelled it... Sweet smelling something.  I know!  Heaven!

I still didn't quite know what they were buying, but when I returned to Paul, I told him that I wanted to buy whatever they were buying.  He wanted to shop some more, so I took that opportunity to go get whatever it was that smelled so good.  Akemi came with me and we tried to guess what it was that we were going to buy.  

As we got to the front of the line... I saw a sign above the window that said "Meron-pan".  Ooohhh!  I heard of that before.  It looks like a melon on the outside, but it is really bread.  I don't think I've ever tried it before though, but I thought it must be good.  So we bought one and decided to share....  OMG it was sooooooooooo good!  It was like heaven!  Crunchy and sweet on the outside and sooooo soft on the inside.  Plus it was still warm!  I think Akemi ate a lot of it and we were sad we only bought one.  This is a shot of us with the meron-pan after we got back later that afternoon!  We decided we should get our own this time!!!  

After walking a few blocks, Akemi decided she had to use the bathroom.  So Paul took us on a detour to Sumida Park.  While Akemi used the bathroom, I spotted some ume trees!

To think... they were close by this whole time?!

So pretty!

I know this sounds weird, but I asked Akemi to take a picture of the squats for me.  She was really scared from trying them and refused to use one again... but I needed a photo for educational purposes... Kimmie- this one's for you!  Of course, this one is dirty because it was at a park, but most of them are clean.  I still won't use it.

Then we headed towards the Imado Shrine.  Apparently there are several shrines that claim to have originated the now famous Maneki Neko.

While Paul and Akemi went to look for a cache, I took some photos....

Unreal how many blessings people buy and leave at the shrine!

I didn't realize there was a ritual you should follow when you go to the shrine. I studied them so I'd know what to do... First you throw your offering (coins) into a box... Then pull on the rope to ring the bell..

It's a giant cat bell!

Then you bow twice, then pray, then bow again... Then it's picture time!  See the huge Maneki Nekos in the back?

Then you gotta go rub the Maneki Neko's heads for good luck..

We all had to do it... you never know when you can use good luck right?
They had a lot of little cat watering cans and pots around the premises.  Cute!

And then it was time to say goodbye to the beckoning cat and make our way back to Nakamise.  But first, Paul wanted to find one more cache..

It was actually in Sumida Park but had a great view of the Skytree!  
Then Akemi spotted this...

So we let her be a kid and play on the equipment..

She said this was the hardest part..

This little girl was doing it all by herself!  Her Daddy was nearby, but she did a lot on her own!

Paul still had to go to Miyamoto, so we headed back to Nakamise.  That's when we got another meron-pan and Paul got an age manju.  Our last ones until next time!

We decided we needed some real food, so we ventured through the side streets to find something.. anything!  That took awhile.  We finally settled on a tempura place that served good tempura and rahmen (yes Akemi had more rahmen).

Then we split off... Paul and Akemi went to Miyamoto's and I went to go find some fans and hit the washi store before we leave.  The stores close earlier, so even if we go back for dinner, they will probably not be open. I managed to get everything I needed and then met up with Paul again.

We headed back to the hotel to rest and shower.  Then decided to find some food before our flight home.  We all weren't very hungry, so we settled for a 7-11 snack and one last Mister Donut!

These special edition ones were good.  I think its the 10th anniversary of the pon de ring.

Then it was time to say bye to the statues..  Akemi hugged each and every one of them!

By the time we got back to the room, it was time to head to the airport.  I can't believe it, but we managed to get the three of us, 5 bags and three backpacks onto the subway and then to the airport! Thank goodness it was off hours.  We seem to just make it in time for our flight.  By then we were exhausted and ready to sleep on the plane.  It was a very fast but eventful trip.  Much different traveling with a child, but also very fun!  Thanks for sticking through this Japan Adventure with me.. If you are interested, I'm going to be posting my Japan Haul in the next couple of weeks.  I didn't do this last time, but I like to see all the cool stuff people get from Japan, so I thought other's might be interested too.

Hopefully I'll get my mojo back soon!