Sunday, 25 May 2014

Tsumami Kanzashi Tutorial

I've been meaning to post a tutorial on how to make tsumami kanzashi or tsumami zaiku, but I never got around to it. Or I just simple need to do something for my time management. Hubby says that I'm awful at managing the time :D

Well, the thing was that I couldn't make kanzashi and take pictures at the same time. That's just impossible. So a few weeks ago, I had my husband take some pictures while I was making. And he was happily taking some ^_^

At that time I was making a small kanzashi hair comb consisting of 3 flowers with a sagari dangle.

I'm sorry that this tutorial only covers how to make one flower and not the overall arrangement. However, I hope this will give you an idea to try this by yourself.

First of all, the supplies:
You need some rice glue paste or denpun nori in Japanese. It's easy to find in stationary shops or craft supply shops in Japan. However, if you live in a country where denpun nori is not available, you can try making your own rice glue paste. This is the link to how to make it: How to make rice glue. Then you'll need a wooden board to spread the glue on. Be resourceful. You don't need a special kanzashi wooden board. Just a wooden board with smooth surface. In my case, I bought my wooden board at a 100 yen shop. It cost me 200 yen or about $2. It's actually a cutting board :) but it works just as well. Also to spread the glue, I just use an unsplit pair of chopsticks. Dip the pair chopsticks (or spatula or anything that works the same) into the water before using it to spread the glue.

Now that you have spread the glue on the board, you can prepare the squares.

You'll need a piece of fabric. Usually and traditionally, kanzashi crafters use habotai silk or China silk and hand dye it. But I choose to use scraps. The reason is simple: to reduce waste. I'm trying to be as eco-friendly as possible and besides I have tons of batik scraps and vintage kimonos that my mother in-law happily donates to me from time to time. So, this time I choose a lining from a vintage kimono. Before I cut it into squares, I starched it using spray starch and ironed it.

Then I cut 15 squares out of it. Each square is about 2.3 cm (a bit less than 1 inch I think).

Next, start to fold the squares. For the flowers I make round petals. Fold the square in half diagonally. Then  fold the right hand corner to meet the bottom corner and do the same with the left hand corner. And then fold the whole piece in half. Most kanzashi crafters hold along the bottom side, but I prefer to hold the corner where all corners meet. Which one is better depends on how comfortable you hold the piece. Finally, put the petal on the glue. Use tweezers to hold the petals.

To make the leaves, I make pointed petals. The first step is similar to the round petal. Fold the square in half and fold again in half. Again you may grip the petal alongside the bottom or just like I do, only the corner where all corners meet. Finally, place the petal on the glue.

Now, you make the bases. To make a base, cut a round cardboard. Since the square is 2.3 cm, I cut a round cardboard which is 1.5 cm in diameter. Cut also a piece of fabric in circle, slightly larger than the round cardboard, maybe 2 cm or 2.2 in diameter.

Next, pierce a hole in the center of the round cardboard and the round fabric. Take a floral wire and make a small hook on one end. Slide the wire into the hole of the cardboard and the fabric. With a dab of glue, cover the cardboard with the fabric. Prepare also some cut floral stamens for decoration.

Now, you're ready to assemble the petals. Again, most kanzashi crafters grip the bottom of the petal, while I prefer to hold just the corner. When you've finished placing 5 petals on the base, tidy them and remove the excess of glue gently with tweezers.  Note: prepare a wet towel to clean the tweezers off the glue. Sticky tweezers make it difficult for your to arrange the petals. So, wipe them frequently while you're assembling the petals.

When you're done assembling the petals. Leave the flowers for a couple of hours to let the glue dry before you add other decorations or attach them to a hair clip / hair comb / hair stick. It's hard to determine exactly how many hours, since it depends on the climate and weather in your place. In my case, in winter it takes me 2 or 3 days. In summer it takes only 3 - 6 hours.

When the glue has dried, now you're ready to attach them. Tie the flowers into one bundle with a string. Then attach the bundle on a hair comb or a hair stick with string. You can add other decorations if you like.

There you have your kanzashi flower.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Fostering A Baby Elephant on Mother's Day!

Today on Mother's Day, I'm a very happy foster mom of a cute baby elephant orphan named Kamok!! I got the certificate by email. You can see my certificate here.

I've been watching videos of elephants rescue by THE DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST recently. And I was thinking to foster one of those baby orphan elephants. I checked the list over and over again and watched the videos on youtube over and over. And finally I made up my mind to foster Kamok. A baby elephant orphan who was (probably) left by her herd because she had weak joints so she couldn't catch up with her herd. Poor thing...

I've always had a soft spot for animals especially elephants and cats. And I'm concerned about the issues regarding the declining number of the endangered species and extinction, and the well-being of animals. I've learned that the number of elephants is declining for the past recent years due to the poaching for their ivory or human-wildlife conflicts. It makes me really sad whenever I hear some news about dead elephants in Africa, Asia including my home country, Indonesia.. I don't understand how they could bare to kill such majestic and awesome animals.. 

Some of the videos on elephant orphan rescue bring tears to my eyes. I feel sad when a baby elephant orphan died despite DSWT's best efforts to save him or her.. For example this baby Empaash. What a lovely baby elephant, but Empaash seemed to have lost the will to live, having lost his/her mother...

But there are also heart-warming, happy end stories where the baby struggles to survive, like Kamok, the baby elephant I've just fostered at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Watch her rescue here.

Isn't she lovely? What a precious baby elephant!! 

Another happy-ending rescue is the rescue of Quanza. Her mother and two sisters were killed by poachers (aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrghhhh.. I feel like killing those poachers when I see the video of her rescue). I couldn't help crying as I'm watching it.... 

How terrible are the human beings who insist on buying ivory and have caused the killings of thousands of elephants...

I hope Kamok grows stronger and healthier by day and has a long happy life. And may she have lots of baby elephants so that the number of elephants increases..

Saturday, 3 May 2014

New Banner: Jagatara Art Eclectic Tsumami Zaiku

Initially I planned to sell tsumami zaiku and sewn products. The purpose was so that I could maximize the use of fabric. My shop name at time was Jagatara Art: handmade batik clothes and ornaments.

This chrysanthemum was the first chrysanthemum kanzashi I'd managed to make after several failures. And the tjantings were mine. I brought them from Indonesia. I arranged them on a small wooden bench belonging to my husband. I thought the picture would be nice to represent what I was doing.

Again, I always go with the flow. It seemed I did more on making tsumami zaiku or kanzashi flower than on sewing. I did sew and sold some blouses that I made at my mother in-law's shop, but somehow I was drawn to tsumami zaiku a bit more. And when I sold some on Etsy, I made some sales. Not many but not as bad as when I was selling batik. And this kept me going.

In early February, I received a custom order to make a kanzashi hair comb. This one was very special, because I was asked to make a kanzashi of vintage kimono fabrics. Since then I've begun creating tsumami zaiku of a variety of textiles. Not just batik. I have been using vintage kimono and Indian saree silk. So, I decided to change my shop banner again to Jagatara Art: Eclectic Tsumami Zaiku. I call it eclectic since I use different types of fabrics. I hope my works will be widely accepted in the market.

This is the new banner. From left to right: batik silk, vintage kimono and Indian saree silk.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Yellow Daffodils and Lavender Mauve Burgundy Plum Blossoms Bridal Headpiece

I have completed more bridal headpieces. My inspirations were cute daffodils and plum blossoms. As for colors, I picked yellow for daffodils and lavender, mauve and burgundy for the other headpieces. And oh, peach! I love peach color!

I'd been living in Japan for almost 5 years but I just saw daffodils in person this summer. That's quite embarrassing, yes I know. What can I say? I'm a not that observant I guess. Anyway, I used vintage kimono that I'd bought from an online shop selling kimono cuts. Tangerine toned plum blossoms seem to go well with the soft yellow daffodils. The leaves are off chirimen. Then I attached the bouquet on a metal hair comb.

This is how the headpiece looks like on hair.

Yellow Daffodil and Tangerine toned Plum Blossoms
My next headpiece is slightly bigger that the previous one. Combining lavender, mauve, burgundy and a bit of gold. But I thought these colors were a bit too cold, so I decided to add one flower made of saree silk of warmer colors. For the leaves, I chose batik. So you can say that this headpiece is an eclectic kanzashi!
Stalks for the bases of the flowers
Petals ready to be assembled
And this is the completed headpiece.

Colorful Spring Flower Bouquet Lavender Mauve Gold Tsumami Kanzashi Hair Comb Headpiece

I took 2 pictures on how the headpiece could be worn. I don't know which one is better. I liked both. But I decided to pick the first to be one of the pictures I uploaded on Etsy.

Last but not least, burgundy and peach floral headpiece. I like the combination of elegant burgundy and cheerful peach. All of the kanzashi flowers here are made of vintage kimono, except for the leaves. They're of batik.

Colorful Flowers Peach Burgundy Tsumami Kanzashi Hair Comb

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Fun Quizzes That Make You Laugh Or Frown

Recently when I'm logged in on facebook, I notice on news feed of what my friends are doing or have done and one interesting thing is that many seem to enjoy taking quizzes. This is not quizzes like examinations at school or something, but more like self-examining ones.

I guess living a society, any society, generally an individual often does not recognize themselves; what they really like; what they are really like; what they're supposed to be, and so on and so forth. The reason is that there are a lot of compromises that one must make in order to live in harmony in a society that he or she forgets about what they really are. Anyway, I'm not going to ramble on and on about this since I'm not a specialist in this domain. What I'm going to talk about is how these quizzes reveal some interesting discoveries about ourselves that we have never realized before. These quizzes are meant for fun, I think. So nothing serious about it, but still it will make you laugh or frown (because sometimes they come up with silly answers that are you at all) or make you know more about yourself :)

I've taken some too and I gladly say that I agree with most of the answers. Phewww.. I found out about most of these quizzes from my facebook's news feed. Here some:

This quiz is (from quizony) about which city we should live. I in most cases people are so crazy about the cities where they live in, including me ha..ha.. ha.. You may say that I'm not crazy about Kurayoshi city, the place where I live now. Anyway, so I took this quiz, and after having answered 9 questions, the result says that I should live in Amsterdam!! It's a funny coincidence that hubby and I sometimes talk about living in Amsterdam. Not seriously though ha..ha..ha..

The other one is from survley. This one is particularly interesting since I love spices and herbs. This quiz finds out which herb or spice we are. And after having answered 5 questions, I got BASIL! And coincidentally I LOOOOVE basil! I put basil in my pasta sauce whenever I cook pasta. It says here:

You are 

You value deep, authentic relationships. You're not big on small talk. You are deeply spiritual, even if you don't talk about it much. Deep down you are good with yourself and the world. You are unpretentious and natural. You couldn't be another way even if you tried. You have a beautiful soul, and it shines through in the way you treat others.

Thanks for finishing the test! Did you like it? Share your result with friends to see what spice they are.

I don't know whether it describes my personality precisely, but I'm very happy with the answer! :)

Next one I took from playbuzz. This site offers loads of fun and amusing quizzes. I'm a great fan of The Lord of The Rings, so of course I'd take this quiz on which member of the fellowship you are. And I am Gandalf The Grey!! yaaay!! And yes, Gandalf is my most favorite character in The Lord of The Rings. I wouldn't have watched the trilogy hundred times if Gandalf weren't there.

But not all the quizzez I took came up with a satisfying coincidental answer. Sometimes, I got an answer that made me frown. For example, Which Movie Magician Are You. And according to this quiz I am Dumbledore! What?? I chose Loch Ness as my magical companion and not phoenix but that made me Dumbledore? If there's one character I sympathize with the most, that would be Professor Snape. I mean the poor guy had such a huge love for Lily, Harry's mom. That is so sweet!!

Anyway, I couldn't say whether these quizzes really told the truth about me or whether they were legit or not. I didn't take them seriously but it's just fun. It's as if someone told me what I'm like. I seldom hear what other people think about me. So it's nice to know that.

Have you taken these quizzes? If not, I recommend taking one or two or as many as you like. They are really fun and trust me you'll learn more about yourself. Or just they'll make you frown in disagreement ;)