12 April 2011

Sakura Matsuri 2011 in D.C.

I'm finally ready to blog again.  So much has happened in the last year, good and bad, but I haven't had the time to devote to crafting or blogging.  I've poured a lot of thoughts into my writing though, and it has been both cathartic and therapeutic.  To ease back into things, I'm posting pictures from the 51st Annual Sakura Matsuri in Washington, D.C., from last Saturday.  It was also the 99th anniversary of the gift of the trees, so next year is the centennial!  I hope my mom will come out for that ... (hint, hint)

One of the featured crafts ...

Akiko Greene, a professor at Japanese Doll School Headquarters

Gorgeous craftsmanship

Some games and demos ...
Adorable girls demonstrating tea ceremony

Martial arts including kendo, aikido, kyudo, etc.

The cutest Go group I've ever seen!

Some performers from Japan and New York ...

AUN ... twin brothers with amazing skills!

A youth drumming group

Reni Mimura with a volunteer (Taran was too intimidated to pose with her) ... and an amazing magician

A group from New York who does samurai demos and scenes

Overwhelming feelings of goodwill and charity ...

Japan Society ambassadors collecting Japan Relief donations ... they were so sweet!

A wishing tree with the cutest ice cream wish and ours for world peace

Here we are ...

... standing under a torii.  Try as I might, I can't look tall next to Taran anymore!

He's cute even taking a break to eat his bento from Kushi!

And, of course, the trees ...

It's been so cold, many of them were only starting to flower!

One of the most beautiful trees we saw

I'm so lucky to have a husband and son who enjoy the same things I do.  We spent all day in D.C. despite the cold weather and overcast sky.  It was well worth it, especially for my son, who got so into the spirit of giving that he gave away all my cash to the Japan Relief volunteers!  It's a great cause though, so I didn't mind!

Our love and thoughts are with you, Japan, and also to our friends, the Tamadas, who moved back in December.  We miss you!

20 June 2010

Remember your dads ...

... because they're important too!

The card I made for my husband at 1:30 this morning ...

... the inside with the words blurred out because it's private!

The string art sculpture our son made for his dad's desk at work.

We went green again and upcycled one of the boards Taran broke for tae kwon do. We keep all the boards, and I think we're going to make a lot of these sculptures this summer. I did the hammering, of course, and showed Taran how to do the stringing. It took 10 minutes, but I think it turned out great!

If you like the string art, I'll put up a tutorial later. It's very easy geometry actually, so even math-phobes should like it, I hope.

Happy Father's Day!

15 June 2010

Teachers deserve ...

... a long summer vacation, a huge thanks, and, if at all possible, handmade gifts!

Some coasters made of I-cord.

Nick, Taran, and I all worked together on this project. Sure, we could have bought each teacher something, but what better way to be green and gifty than to use my yarn odds and ends to make coaster sets for my son's teachers? I backed them with cork so that they'd stay put on a flat surface, and I stuck to acrylic yarns so that they'd be a bit more stain-resistant and easier to spot clean. Maybe I'll put up a tutorial later ...

Even as crazy as life gets, it's very important to show our underpaid and often undervalued teachers our gratitude for their hard work and dedication. Most are in the profession for love and not for the money, believe me. Thank a teacher today!

09 June 2010

A missing month

I should know better than to try  to do anything in May when the school year is winding down. Between finals and standardized tests, I may as well think of nothing but school from about May 10th to June 10th. My apologies for having a month-long lapse!

Still, I did try to keep a little creativity going, even if I didn't get to my projects. Armed with colorful permanent marks, some free RECYCLE stickers from the library, my netbook, and the occasional 10 minutes to eat/breathe/nap, I proceeded to customize my laptop.

I think it turned out pretty well!

Detail of upper left corner ...

... now the upper right corner ...

... then the bottom left corner ...

... and finally the bottom right corner.

I put clear packing tape over it to prevent fading and scuffing. This was so much fun that I want to sticker everything and decorate with my markers. Permanent markers are surprisingly versatile! I'll be back to craft posting by this weekend ... I hope!