Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Favorite Etsy Treasury April - June 2015

My favorite treasuries from April to June 2015 are as follows.

April Finds by Monica of Grandma's Dowry.

Saturday Night Blues by Ivy Starshine of Starshine Beads 

 Colorful Loveliness by Kitty Karma of Karma Kitty Jewelry 

 Love You Mom by Maiko Sucich of AmiAmiGocco 

Gifts for Mom by Yevheniya Shcherbyna of Woodberry UA

Life by Woolpaw

Captivating Corals by Ivy Starshine of Starshine Beads.

Enjoy these beautiful collections by very talented artists and crafters on Etsy. If you find some items are not in the collections anymore (when you click the links), it means the sellers may have withdrawn their works.

Favorite January - March Etsy Treasury 2015

I'm always honored when a work of mine is included in a treasury by a fellow artist or crafter. Many artists/crafters have included my works in their treasuries. I wish I could post all of them here but again I don't have enough time to do that, so I can only post some. But I DO appreciate all of them.

Here are my favorites:

The Cold Winternoses by Florence Jewel Shop

PINK PINK PINK by Lea Marino of Calico Juno Jewelry 

Handmade Beauties by Katarzyna Blachowicz of Kaila Jewelry 

When you find that the actual treasury has fewer items than the number of items shown here, that means the sellers may have withdrawn or sold their works.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Tsumami Zaiku Statement Ring Floral Jewellery

Some acquaintances had asked me what if I tried to make ring with tsumami zaiku. I thought that was not a bad idea but I never really thought about it seriously. Then about a month ago, after having received the kanzashi hair pins I'd made for her, a customer complimented the hair pins and suggested that I should try making a ring with tsumami zaiku. So, I thought this was the right time to seriously put this idea into production.

Since chrysanthemum is the seasonal flower in October according to tsumami kanzashi calender, I decided to make some Chrysanthemum rings. Some are made of habotai silk, silk crepe de chine and vintage kimono. The size is about 4cm (40mm or 1.6 inch). These flowers are mounted on nickel-free metal rings in various tones such as silver, gold, vintage bronze.

These rings will make beautiful corsage rings at weddings or on special occasions such as prom or other special celebrations. Check out these rings on my Etsy shop.

Yellow Green Chrysanthemum ring is made of habotai silk.

Teal Purple Chrysanthemum Ring is made of habotai silk.

 Orange Chrysanthemum Ring is made of vintage kimono.

 Purple Chrysanthemum Ring is made of vintage kimono.

Mahogany colored Peach Flower Bouquet Ring is made of the lining of vintage kimono and habotai silk.

Maroon and Mauve Flower Bouquet Ring is made of the lining of vintage kimono and habotai silk.

 Pink Chrysanthemum is made of silk crepe de chine.

 Aqua colored Chrysanthemum Ring is made of silk crepe de chine.

And oh, Christmas is coming, so I think why not shopping early for Christmas? So, from 27th September to 27th October there's a special offer: FREE SHIPPING! Yup, if you shop before 27th October, you can get free shipping for any item you buy from my shop. Use this coupon code EXSHP1 when you check out the cart. I will ship your order by Standard Airmail Japan Post. The order will be packed in a box.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Tsumami Zaiku Kusudama Flower Ball Oriental Home Decor

This post seem kind of late since I listed the items months ago. But better late than never they say, right?

The items I mentioned above are tsumami zaiku kusudama flower ball oriental home decor. Sounds like a long phrase. I'll break down the seem-so-strange words.

First of all, the word kusudama. Kusudama is written 薬玉 which means literally medicine ball. Kusu is from kusuri which means medicine and dama is from tama which means ball. Kusudama dates back from ancient Japanese culture where kusudama was used for incense or potpourri. They may have put herbs or dried flowers inside. Kusudama is made of units of folded paper (origami) that are assembled into a ball shape. Therefore, kusudama is actually more familiar with origami art. However, now kusudama can also refer to  flower ball.

Tsumami zaiku itself can be freely translated as fabric flower works. The misunderstanding arises when kanzashi is interpreted as fabric flower by many crafters outside Japan (America, Europe, etc), which is not right. Kanzashi itself means hair stick. And tsumami kanzashi is a hairstick decorated with fabric flower. Now that the fabric flower can be applied to brooches even jewelry, in Japan it is called as Tsumami Zaiku. So the items above can't be called kanzashi flower ball because they are home decors and not hair sticks.

I made these flower balls with styrofoam balls. These styrofoam balls come in many sizes, from 10mm to 80mm. For the flower ball home decors I used size 55mm to 65mm.

These styrofoam balls are so useful depending on what you want to make. I make pip berries with the smallest size, make crochet balls etc.

To make a flower ball, first I wrap a styrofoam ball with a piece of fabric (chirimen, vintage kimono scrap, batik scrap etc) using white craft glue. Then decorated with tsumami zaiku or fabric flowers. Extra decorations include beads, tassels etc.

This is a colorful flower ball - green, peach, purple, maroon - which I made with vintage kimono linings. I added a beautiful tensha bead and a tassel.

This one is also made of vintage kimono but not the lining. It's a combination of plain white and flower patterned vintage kimono. This flower ball comes with a flower-painted flower charm and a silk tassel.

This flower ball with green yellow flowers is made with vintage kimono. Each flower is decorated with olive green faux pearls. This kusudama is also a wind chime. I added a cloisonne bead and a tassel with chinese knot.

This one is very unique. This flower ball is decorated with pink red flower bouquet and covered with white petals. I made the pink and red flowers with batik and the white petals with vintage kimono. I added a pink tassel with chinese knot as additional decoration.

For this blue flower ball, I didn't cover the whole surface with petals like the previous four. I just filled up the plain areas with fabric flowers. I made this with Japanese chirimen. For additional decoration, I added a wooden filigree.

Another one is almost the same as the blue one. This green flower ball with peony flowers is made with Japanese chirimen and a green tassel with chinese knot.

Last but not least the purple flower ball with iris flower. This flower ball comes with a bead and a purple tassle with chinese knot.

For further details about these items, click the banner to visit my shop or click the bold title above each picture.

A Weekend Getaway Part 3: A Visit to Izumo Taisha

Finally our final leg of a one-day trip to Izumo. (Read A Wekend Getaway Part 1 and A Weekend Getaway Part 2)

After Izumo shrine and the museum, I thought we would go back straight to Matsue city but apparently my husband and his friends  had come up with another plan. We were passing a meandering road when I saw a roof of an ancient building portruding among a lush valley. Then I realised that was our next stop.

We arrived at a shrine which is closely related to Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine. This shrine is called Hinomisaki Shrine. Unlike the Izumo shrine, the Hinomisaki shrine is painted in bright vermilion. This shrine is located about 8 km north of Izumo shrine.

Not far from Hinomisaki shrine stands Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse. It is the highest stone lighthouse in Japan. It is also listed in top 100 historic lighthouses in the world. The lighthouse is open to public. You can enter and go up for 200 yen. But I didn't. I was just pretty exhausted.

Next stop was kind of refreshing. After a long ride on a long winding road, we stopped at Shimane Winery. The shop offers abundant sweets made of grapes and other types of local snacks. Also, of course, all kinds of wine produced there. There are over 10 bowls of wine which you can sample. I wasn't driving so I could taste some. I found one that I really like. But I didn't buy it because basically I don't drink.

The visit to the winery ended our trip for that day. I was soooo exhausted.. But, it was a really good trip overall.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Summer Items: Tsumami Kanzashi Hair Sticks/ Bun Holders

This may be too late to post this but when it comes to hair accessories, it's never too late. I may say this as an excuse not to write about this earlier :) Yep, I'm not that good at updating my blog, I have to admit. Summer on this part of the world (Japan) may be over now but the opposite part of the world, summer is approching so these hair sticks/ bun holders should make very pretty hair decoration.

I made a lot of hair sticks before summer came this year. I was so into flower ball or kusudama. So I made a lot of hair sticks with flower ball dangles. Aside from the flower balls, I added some extra decorations such as charms and tassels.

This one was inspired by pink hydrangea in July. This pink hydrangea hair stick is adorned also with bead dangles.

Although this looks like the pink hydrangea hair stick, this one was inspired by another typical flower of the summer called nanohana or mustard flowers. I also added bead dangles to this yellow mustard flower hair stick.

I use wooden hair sticks with both pieces.

I also made several hair sticks using metal ones in silver tone and vintage tone.

This is tsumami kanzashi with flower ball in maroon and pink with a charm and tassel. 

This is tsumami kanzashi with blue flower ball, owl charm and tassel.

This is tsumami kanzashi with green flower ball, owl charm and tassel.

This one has tropical colored flower ball. I made it with Japanese chirimen.

This tsumami kanzashi flower ball is similar with the one above with different colors. I also made it with Japanese chirimen.

For those whose hair is not that long but want to have a small hair bun, I've made two hair sticks which are shorter that the previous ones and these are made with plastic hair sticks.

I made this mint and olive green tsumami kanzashi with vintage kimono and Japanese tensha bead and a tassel.

And last but not least, tsumami kanzashi hair stick in peach and teal. I also made this with vintage kimono and added a polymer clay bead and a tassel.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A Weekend Getaway Part 2: A Visit to Izumo Taisha

So sorry for having taken a looooong time to write the second part of my last month's weekend getaway.

Where was I? Oh I was visiting Izumo shrine with hubby and some friends.

Not far from Izumo shrine, about 10 - 15 minute walk, there's a museum called Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo which displaysa great number of ancient artefacts such as the remains of the early Izumo Taisha's giant stairway pillars including the largest collection of excavated bronze swords and bells in Japan. The museum also houses Japan's only complete version of the Izumo no Kuni Fudoki (Ancient Chronicles of Izumo).

What is interesting about the museum is that - as far as I know you're not allowed to take pictures of the display - you are allowed to take a picture of some of the displays. So here there are some photos taken by hubby.

Archaeologists and historians have been trying to figure out what the early Izumo Taisha may have looked like. They came out with several ideas. These are the miniatures of the probable early Izumo Taisha.

This figure depicts how people of the ancient Izumo were dressed. This could have been the village chief or something. Somehow he reminds me of the Native Indians in America. What do you think?

Izumo boasts itself as the Land of Gods. The Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) is the oldest record of Japanese history. It contains records of ancient Japanese history as well as Japanese mythology. And Izumo Taisha is closely related to the myths in Kojiki since an important deity is believed to be enshrined there. This deity is Okuninushi, who is the son in-law of the storm god, Susanoo, who is also the brother of Amaterasu, the major deity in Shinto religion. Therefore, you will see a variety of symbols related to this fame. But, Japan being Japan, these symbols drawn very cutely if I may say. Look at these cappuccinos we ordered as we were taking a rest at the cafe in the museum. Aren't these just cute? One depicts cloud (where the gods live I guess) and the other Okuninushi's face (perhaps?). And oh, in case you wonder why those cookies have funny shapes. Well, this shape is of the shape of Magatama or comma-shaped beads. These beads date back to prehistoric Japan. It's also considered a talisman in Shintoism, to bring good fortune, etc.


And the cuteness doesn't stop here. The tales of Okuninushi tell about a rabbit who was helped by Okuninushi. As we were walking the paved path leading to the museum, we spotted some rabbit statues. They're so cute! I wish I had taken more pictures of them but this one really caught my attention. Don't you wanna hug this cute rabbit statue?

After this museum, I visited several more places. To be continued.. :)