Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cherry Blossoms Blooming

It's that time again for our Taiwanese cherry tree to start blooming.....




Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sushi Roll Amigurumi

Pattern: Sushi Roll Amigurumi
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft black and white 
Hook: size H 
Notions: DMC 304, 310, 700, 973 and felt in green, dark pink, red, and yellow and 12mm safety eyes
Start/Finish: 1/1-2/2015

This is the second amigurumi that I have designed myself. The first being a Mt. Fuji-san amigurumi, which I am still working out.

This cute little sushi roll amigurumi is full of yummy cucumbers, red peppers, and egg. When I was studying in England, one of my favorite snacks from Tesco was a small trio of veggie sushi for £1. I really wanted to make a sushi roll amigurumi that reflected my love for it.

My sushi roll measures 6 x 4 inches so it's a bit large, but I like the size of this plushie.

I hope to design some more amigurumis this year when I find the time.

Until next time >___<

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Shop Review - Kimchi Kawaii

I'd been planning on doing a review on this shop on storenvy called Kimchi Kawaii, but I hadn't got around to it until now. I ordered it after Thanksgiving and it arrived a few days later.

You know I love adorable pencil or makeup bags to carry my stitching or crocheting notions around when I am working on projects. It's a great way to keep projects separate especially when you have several going at the same time >__<

While searching for kawaii themed bags on storenvy, I ran across Kimchi Kawaii and immediately fell in love with her designs. Her designs were so kawaii, I was having a hard time picking just one. I came away with the ramen bowl bag as it is one of my favorite dishes.

The bag is slightly smaller than my other bags, but it is still perfect for my crafting supplies!

Included in the envelope was a cute business and two freebie Christmas buttons (the peppermints are adorable ~ I love peppermints). I love that the designer took the time to say thanks. She even drew a little tiger.

I will definitely be ordering from Kimchi Kawaii in the future when I need a kawaii bag fix :)

Until next time > _ <

Marquise - Jardin Prive - Another Happy Dance!

Pattern: Marquise by Jardin Prive
Fabric: 28ct evenweave antique white linen by M.C.G Textiles
Threads: recommended DMC
Start/Finish: on and off since 7/13/2014 - finished on 12/28/2014

I was determined to finish this design in December. So when I wasn't finishing cross stitch designs for gifts, I was stitching on this design. I loved stitching on this design. The color palette was gorgeous.

As of now, this design is destine for my box of unframed/unfinished cross stitch patterns, but I hope to frame it one day. I know that Jardin Prive has other Quaker type patterns, but I really, really wish they would design a companion piece to the Marquise pattern! Oh, well......

Until next time ^___^

Once Upon A Time cross stitch sampler finished! Happy dance time!

Last month I received the final installment in Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's monthly OUAT sampler. I actually guessed the final design, it was Hansel and Gretel. I thought perhaps that would be the design for December since it featured a gingerbread house and lots of candies...perfect for Christmas.

I had a lot of fun stitching on this sampler last year. My favorite motif in December's block was the house.

Here is the sampler in its entirety:

It is a bit hard to pick a favorite month, but I think it's a tie between Snow White and Goldie Locks and the Three Bears because of all the cute motifs in each block.

I'm sure I'll stitch on Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery patterns in the future. They are always cute and a joy to stitch.

Until next time ^___^

A CA Christmas Package

I was so surprised by the Christmas package that my friend Amanda sent me as it contained something I wasn't expecting to get at all. I always love the handmade gifts she sends me and after receiving two handmade gifts in my autumn package, I wasn't expecting anything for Christmas. Imagine me surprise when I unwrapped a gorgeous crocheted handbag.



As soon as I saw this bag, it reminded me of one of my favorite animated movies as a child, Ferngully. Don't the colorful half petals remind you of the mushrooms on trees? It does to me and I could just imagine them in the world of Ferngully.

Amanda told me that she had been working on the bag for a while. I can see why. It is gorgeous and is lined with a tote bag interior. She made it with my frequent library visits in mind. It is definitely sturdy enough to carry quite a few books!


She also sent me three bags/containers of Japanese goodies. The first was a bag of Raspberry Adult Line Kit Kats. The taste of these Kit Kats are amazing! You can smell raspberries as soon as you open the individual packets. One of my coworkers was walking over to our break area and he said he could smell it across the room! The raspberry taste is sweet and tart, just what you would expect from a raspberry. I hope to try more flavors of Kit Kats this year. Maybe I can find an online shop who sells them for a reasonable price :)

The other goodies were a bag of soda flavored candies. Always a yummy treat! And a box of Lottie Chocolate Pies, which are actually small flaky biscuits filled with chocolate. The chocolate isn't too pronounced, it tastes more like cocoa powder you would add to baked goods. I tried these for the first time when I went to CA years ago. They are always a welcome addition in Amanda's packages to me.

I think Amanda can't resist sending me bunny related items much like I can't resist sending her panda related ones. This time she sent me a cute pair of learners' chopsticks with a bunny top, an adorable wooden bunny brooch, and the tiniest pair of carrot earrings I've ever seen! Both the brooch and earrings were made by the proprietor of Unicorn Crafts. I actually wore the brooch to work the day after I got her package......my coworker thought it was a pig?!?!?! LOL Poor little bunny mistaken for a piggy.

I also received a bunny plushie and a panda sticker :) So adorable!

Thank you for a wonderful package! I loved everything!

Until next time ^____^

December and End of Year Recap

Read:

1. Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard
2. Falling for the Teacher by Dorothy Clark
3. A Season of the Heart  by Dorothy Clark
4. The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher
5. Labyrinth by A.C.H. Smith
6. The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
7. River God by Wilber Smith
8. Stepping on Roses vol 1 manga by Rinko Ueda
9. 100 Poems by the Japanese by Kenneth Rexroth

Stitched:
1. OUAT December block
2. Marquise by Jardin Prive

Finished:
1. Dr. Who biscornu
2. Celtic heart biscornu
3. Onigiri pincushion
4. Fox woodland framed piece
5. Give Joy pinkeep
6. French Country Snowglobe pinkeep
7. Kitty Tamagoyaki amigurumi
8. OUAT sampler
9. Marquise by Jardin Prive

I'm surprised I was able to read so much since I was busy with stitching and finishing last month. I had a lot of fun finishing up my cross stitch designs for my friends for Christmas. Hopefully I can do some more finishing this year.

Books:
Last year I only read 80 books, but there were quite a few good series that I was able to either start or finish up in addition to discovering some new authors.

My favorite series this year:

1. The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross -  a story following Finley Jayne, a girl with a Jekyll and Hyde personality, and her adventures with Griffin King and his friends against the Machinist, an enemy intent on taking over Victorian England.

2. Something Deadly and Strange series by Susan Dennard - 1876 Philadelphia has been overcome by The Dead. Eleanor Fitt and a group called the Spirit-Hunters try to stop the source of this new rising of the Dead, a man who has stolen the body of Eleanor's brother.

3. The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa - Meghan Chase and her Robbie live a somewhat normal life until one day her kid brother starts acting strange. Turns out her brother Ethan has been switched with a changeling and Meghan and Robbie (aka Robin Goodfellow/Puck) must travel to the Faery world in order to get her brother back.

Discovered Authors: none of which are new, but I've just picked them up! O_o"

1. N.K. Schlaudecker - author of the Mayhawk Rising series. I actually went to school with Miss Schlaudecker, she was one of my sister's best friends. I ran across her book Mayhawk Rising and fell in love with her retelling of King Arthur's realm before his assent to the throne. My sister and I both went through King Arthur 'phases' as children and read everything we could get our hands on at our local library. This is lovely addition to the genre of Arthurian literature.....I hope to read any new books in this series!

2. George Mann - steampunk author of the Newbury and Hobbes series. This series is set in Victorian England and features the adventures of Sir Maurice Newbury and his assistant Ms. Veronica Hobbes.

3. Steven Harper - steampunk author of the Clockwork Empire series. My friend Amanda introduced me to this author as she had given me the first book in the series, The Doomsday Vault, as a gift. I've never been a fan of anything zombie related, but this is quite a good story. I hope to read more it, but I have a feeling I'll either have to ILL or buy the books as my local library and bookstores do not carry the entire series.


Stitching:

I had been in a stitching funk on and off for a while since I had found a new craft to love, crocheting amigurumi (I blame Amanda entirely! LOL) But there is always a designer that draws me out of stitching funk, Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. Their Once Upon a Time monthly sampler definitely kept me out of any stitching funks last year and I even stitched on other patterns last year.

Many thanks to Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery! You girls always know how to get us stitchers in the mood to run to our stash boxes for fabric and threads and start on a variety of kawaii designs!

2015 Year Thoughts:

I won't make any resolutions this year in terms of crafting or stitching, but I hope to keep it up. The only thing I hope to do this year is to start designing my own amigurumis. In this endeavor, I wish my friend Amanda lived closer as I always have questions about various crochet stitches, etc. Well, I guess that is what online videos are for :)

I hope you ladies and  gents have a wonderful year of crafting, stitching, and reading. Thanks for all your support and for your comments.

Until next time ^____^

December Skoshbox



Good morning, everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful first day of the New Year! I have a few posts that I need to get up so here goes!

I received December's skoshbox at the beginning of the month, but wasn't able to post about it since I was busy stitching various gifts for friends for Christmas.

Favorites:
1) Potato Ring Snack: these little potato rings taste like the potato sticks you can buy in cans in the US. They are quite yummy and have an added plus as they are lightly salted.

2)  Calpis Marshmallows: these marshmallows are filled with calpis jelly filling. For those of you that don't know, Calpis is a drink sold in Japan that comes in a regular flavor along with strawberry, etc. The regular flavor looks like milk, but doesn't taste like it.

3) Vegetable salad umaibo: (salad flavored puffed corn snack) this umaibo was definitely different. As usual, I brought my skoshbox with me to work so my coworkers and I could try its contents. We were baffled by the taste of this umaibo because we weren't sure what was suppose to be the 'vegetable salad'. It seemed more like a salad dressing flavor instead.

4) Bubble Gum Balls: we got the orange flavor in the box this time. I was hoping to get either the cola or yogurt since I've never seen those before in our Asian markets, but to no avail. I will say Japanese gum, especially this brand has a wonderful taste and lasts quite a long time.

5) Super Mario Galaxy Gum: (soda chewing gum) Hmmm......what can I say?! It's gum. LOL

Questionable:
1) Caramel Pie Pretz: ah, the conundrum that is this Pretz flavor. Upon opening the package (which had a handy ziploc closure), I smelled the inside of the bag and it definitely smelled like caramel........but the taste?!?!?! The taste was coconut, which isn't bad. I like coconut, but it was an odd thing for it to smell like caramel, but taste like coconut. Japanese magic, perhaps?!?!?

Dislikes:

1) Nori Wrapped Senbei: So far I've generally liked all the senbei flavors we have tried in the skoshboxes, but this isn't one of them. I didn't mind the nori; t was the senbei itself. Similar in texture to ones you get in the Asian party mixes......yuck!

2) Super Soda Hard Candy: (intense soda coating/filling) Oh, my.....when they say intense, they mean intense x 500 times! I think this hard candy puts some of the American sour candies to shame. I could hardly get through this candy. I will avoid this candy in the future unless I have any friends who like them or want to buy them as a gag gift :)

Until next time ^____^

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kitty Tamagoyaki Amigurumi

This is my small finish this morning before work.

Pattern: Sushi base from Yummi 'Gurumi with the rest stitched without a pattern
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft black, sunshine, and white
Hook: size G
Notions: 6mm safety eyes and DMC 310 
Start/Finish: 12/22-23/2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Black and White Peppermint Brownies


I made these brownies this morning and let them cool before having my sister drizzle the top with melted white chocolate. My sister got a little too enthusiastic about pouring the M&Ms on top of the melted chocolate so it made cutting the brownies a challenge as I had M&Ms popping up everywhere. I was hoping to arrange them nicely on the brownies, but my sister took the bag away from me and said that I just had to have fun with it?!?!?! Hmmm.......crazy baker alert!

The recipe is from a recipe card from Target in their Christmas candy aisle this year. I used Betty Crocker's Supreme brownie mix and sugar cookie mix to make the brownies. White chocolate for the drizzle and Christmas sprinkles and peppermint M&Ms for the topping.

I am the only person in my family who likes peppermint chocolate desserts. My mother only eats them every once in a while and my sister absolutely detests peppermint chocolate in any form.

So luckily for me these brownies are going to work with me tomorrow to share with any of my coworkers who are still in the office and not taking the whole week off for the holidays.

Until next time ^____^