Monday, December 21, 2009

Amigurumi Kingdom Birthday Cake

Happy Holidays! With Christmas approaching very soon, I'm sure many of you are staying quite busy. I've been overwhelmed with things to do, too, especially since my son had his 3rd birthday yesterday.

With the big snow storm the night before, I was worried that the guests won't be able to make it. But luckily, the storm was gone by morning, and my son even enjoyed helping his Daddy shovel the sidewalk.

All in all, we had a great day, thanks in part to a fellow Etsian! Amigurumi Kingdom made a birthday cupcake bear for him, and I made a matching birthday cake (with her permission, of course) that turned out better than I expected!

At the end of the day, I asked my son, "Did you have a good day?" and he answered back with a resounding "YES!!" And THAT was all I needed to hear! :)

To take a better look at the amigurumi itself, please click on the picture, or visit her store at!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving and a Black Friday Find

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend! Thanksgiving day was a little crazy for us, with 15 adults, 3 kids, and 2 dogs crammed into my sister-in-law's house! But it was nice to spend time with family, and with everybody pitching in, we had massive amount of yummy food! The next morning, we were too tired to get up early for the Black Friday doorbusters, but we did go shopping later in the day.

And now, we get to the reason why I wanted to post! We didn't shop too much this year, but I got this ADORABLE turtle from a small toystore we happened to find. I've actually wanted it for years, but I thought it was a little too expensive. So, when I found this at the store and realized that they were doing a store-wide 20% off sale, I jumped on it!

It's made by a company named Cloud B and is called Twilight Turtle. It lights up and projects real constalations on your ceiling! And you can change the color of the light from green to blue and amber at the push of a button, too. Now, after bath, my son will just sit there quietly as I dress him in pajamas. He loves switching the colors and thinks it's really funny when stars are projected on his belly.

It truly is magical! I highly recommend it for anyone with small kids!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's THAT Time of the Year Again!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and for the last 3 years in my house, that has meant Christmas Card Photoshoot Time!

And this year, it was much harder than years past. My son is old enough to know what's going on now, so it's hard to get a natural smile out of him. He will either pose too much and give me a smile that's closer to "I'm in pain!" than "I'm happy", or he'll just completely avoid eye-contact because he's bored and wants the whole thing to be over. As you can see, he completely covered up his face in the end.

I did manage to get a couple of good shots though. So hopefully, I can finally mail the cards out to Japan in time this year!

On a different note, I will be participating in the Etsy Cyber Monday Free Shipping deal this weekend. So be sure to browse through my store and find a nice gift for your friends and loved ones!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brand New Set

Since the reopening, I've listed 13 brand new items in my store, with one more on the way very soon. But my favorite of them all has to be this Silver Stardust and Aqua Blue Crystal Necklace! It's part of a set, actually, although I'm selling the earrings separately in case someone wants just one or the other.

I've been sitting on these silver stardust beads for years, saving them for just the right inspiration. They are just soooo pretty, I can literally sit and stare at them all day long. And now I finally got a chance to do them justice!

The combination of stardust beads and the swarovski crystals is simply spellbinding! It's too bad you can't see the actual item because they glitter and shimmer constantly, and so much prettier in person.

It's the perfect set of accessories for the holiday season and special occasions!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Swarovski Colors Available for Custom Jewelry!

When I was little, I used to LOVE staring at my colored pencils. I would arrange and rearrange them in the box, and would just drink in each and every color. It had this amazing calming quality, and I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of happiness when they were in perfect order.

Now that I'm a jewelry maker, I don't deal with colored pencils much. But I still need my colored-pencil-substitute to keep me sane, so I get my color fix with Swarovski crystals. They come in so many colors and finishes, not to mention shapes, that I can't possibly afford to order them all. But every missing color feels like a gaping hole, and last month, I finally caved and ordered a couple more new colors.

So, now, I've got 50!! colors of crystals for you to choose from when you order one of my custom jewelry! And yes, if you are a color addict like me, you certainly can order a bracelet with every color of the rainbow!

The custom bracelets and earrings are available in my store, and a necklace is also available upon request!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm Back on Etsy...Finally!

At last! I finally reopened my Etsy store!

It took a full month longer than I had originally planned, but I'm glad that I took those 2 months off. I got the most important thing done, which is get my business license, and most of all, I'm really glad for the time and attention I was able to give my son during those 2 months. It was a nice change to be able to go out for a walk whenever he wanted, or read him books after books on command. I think I may have to reevaluate the way I spend my day, so that I can set aside more time for my baby.

Still, I'm very excited to be opening my store again. It's nice to have an identity other than "Mommy" once in a while!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I need your Vote!

WHEEEEE! I entered a photo of my son in a local photo contest, and it was chosen as one of the 5 finalists! Now I need your vote to win! Please go to and vote for Autumn Walk!!! Poll will be open until noon on Friday, Nov 6th!

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's official!

When I announced that I'll be closing my shop for a month to make improvements, some of you might have wondered why I would even need to close it. Why not just keep the store open and make improvements little by little, right?

Well, THIS is the main reason why I shut it down completely... I applied for my business license!! With all the things that happened in September and my bad habit of making mountains out of molehills, it took a little longer than expected. But it's here!

I'm officially a business owner!! Whoo Hoo!

For those of you in New York state like me, it's a 2-step process. You have to first file a form at the county clerks office to register your business name, and then you can apply for the Certificate of Authority to Collect Sales Tax (That's the official name) with the state. If you don't want to display your Social Security Number for all the world to see, you'll also want to apply for a EIN with the federal goverment, but you can do that along with the state application if you do it online.

Now, I just need to wait until November 2nd to reopen the store, since that's the date that I gave them. That's just one more week!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Leaves

It's here! My favorite time of the year!! I love it when leaves start changing colors. I think it's because I get to use all the colors of the palette when painting fall scenes.

There's this one tree on my street that always graces us with the most beautiful red leaves. It's actually still quite small: The lowest branches are still around my son's shoulders. But that little tree is the most vibrant, gorgeous tree you'll see in the entire neighborhood!

Lately, I've been getting quite frustrated with the whole potty training and the constant "NOOOOOOoooo!!"s that emit from my son's mouth, but everytime we go out for a walk and see that tree, all that tension seem to drain away. It really is amazing how something so little can posess such power!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trip Down to Philly

As I mentioned earlier, my parents came to visit in September, and we took a trip down to Philadelphia with them. I loved that the city seemed to take much pride in its history and culture. Buildings were covered in murals, and there were numerous hints of history interspersed among the new.

Although my son was still too young to comprehend the history of the city, he seemed at home hanging out with George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. And if you have a young one, I highly recommend the Please Touch Museum! He literally ran around all day, until he (and everyone else!) was completely exhausted.

In fact, he played so much that we didn't even get to look around the museum shop, but he got the best souvenir of all at a highway rest area. The Truck Paper! He's mesmerized by all the different trucks, and asks me to "read" it to him every night. At this rate, I'll soon be an expert in spotting different Macks and Peterbuilts, but I can't complain since it's as good as a free baby sitter!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Quick Update

Oh my, how time flies by! I know that I promised to come back in October, but with all the things that happened last month, I am literally a month behind on my plans!

I’ve only made 2 (yes, only 2!) new items so far, and have only managed to do a few things off my To Do list. I’m waiting for an order of beads right now, so hopefully, once that arrives, I’ll be inspired to create again.

I mentioned that one of my major projects for the month was potty training my son. I’m happy to report that he took a big step in the right direction just a few days ago. Although I can’t say that he is potty trained yet, I’m hopeful that he’ll have it down before he turns 3.

We also took a quick trip down to Philadelphia in September with my parents, who were visiting from Japan. I’ll talk more about the trip in another post, but I can honestly say that my son thoroughly enjoyed having someone’s attention every second of the day, and my parents thoroughly enjoyed spoiling their grandson every second of the day!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This post is not going to be easy to write... I keep erasing what I've written, but I know it's part of a process that I have to go through... So let me explain why I've been missing for almost 2 weeks.

A little over a week ago, I was ready to tell you all about a new project. But then, my family suffered a very sudden and shocking loss. He was still very young - the sweetest 8-year-old I've ever met. And I've been trying to process this devastating loss ever since.

It's been the longest week of my life. I've gone through so many emotions and states of mind, that it really is surprising to me that it happened only a week ago. There's still a part of me that wants to deal with this privately, but there's also a part of me that wants everyone to know how special he was.

He was the type of boy that everyone couldn't help but love. He had the brightest smile, and looked just like his daddy, my cousin. He was easy-going and kind, and he was very deeply loved. He never showed the world the burden he was carrying and went to Heaven with a smile on his face.

We will miss him dearly, and my heart aches for my cousin and his wife...

Obviously, I haven't been able to do any projects because of this. I did crochet a scarf for myself, as I needed an outlet for my sadness. But I didn't want to make any jewelry to sell while I was grieving, and I wouldn't want to sell something that personal anyway.

So that's why you haven't heard from me. It may take a little longer for me to come back. But please bear with me. I will be back...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Announcement About My Etsy Shop

Hello everyone,

After much thought, I've decided to close my Etsy shop for a month starting September 1st. Don't worry, it's not a bad thing at all! I need the time off to make lots of improvements to the store!!

I'm thinking about reworking some of my pieces, as well as making lots of new designs. I also have a couple of other projects that I've been wanting to get to! I will keep you posted on my progress right here in my blog.

My biggest project of the month will actually be potty training my son! But with Grandma and Grandpa visiting in the middle of September, I wouldn't be surprised if I'm not successful with that one! :)

Hopefully, without the obligation to go check on my Etsy store once every couple of hours, I would get a lot more work done. Because in all honesty, I spend way too much time doing absolutely nothing on the computer!

Friday, August 21, 2009

金曜日は日本語で - Japanese Friday 野生動物版

我が家の息子は窓の外を眺めるのが大好き。 トラックが家の前を通り過ぎていくと顔をガラスにピッタリとくっつけて見えなくなるまで動きません。 またリスや鳥が来ると目を輝かせて教えてくれます。 そんな我が子をを見ているとアメリカに来てすぐの頃の私を思い出します。 My son loves looking at things out of the window. If a truck passes by in front of our house, he'll plaster his face to the glass and won't move until it is well out of sight. And when there's a squirrel or a bird outside, he'll inform me with his eyes twinkling. When I see him like that, he makes me think of myself just after I had arrived in the U.S.

日本でごく普通に見る野生の動物といったらカラスにすずめ、それから鳩とツバメぐらいでしょうか。 ブルージェイのような青い鳥やカーディナルのような赤い鳥はおとぎ話の中でしか知りませんでした。 ですから、アメリカでよく見られる野生動物の豊富さには目を見張りました。 我が家の庭に動物が現れる度に母に嬉々として報告に行ったものです。 ガーデニングが好きな方達の話を聞くと庭を荒らされたりしてちょっと害虫的な存在みたいですが、我が家ではリスは大歓迎! よく窓のすぐそばに種をまいてリスが来るのを待っていました。 In most areas, all the wildlife you'll ever get to see in Japan are crows and sparrows, along with pigeons and swallows. I had only heard of blue and red birds, such as blue jays and cardinals, in fairy tales. So, I simply couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the variety of wildlife commonly found in America. Every time an animal appeared in our yard, I would report what I saw to my mother with absolute delight. Although some gardeners seem to view them as pests, squirrels were definitely welcome at our house! We used to leave some seeds right by the window and wait for them to come stuff their cheeks.

他にも蛇はもちろん、オポッサムなんかを見つけたこともありました。 ちょっと木が多いところに行くと鹿までいて、高速を走りながら家族皆で「あ!鹿だ!今の鹿だ!」とよく大騒ぎをしていました。 さすがに今住んでいるスタッテンアイランドで鹿を見たことはありませんがリスは本当にどこでもいます。 グランドキャニオンからニューヨークのど真ん中にあるセントラルパークにまでもいて、反対になぜ日本にはもっとリスがいないのか不思議になるぐらいです。In additon, we found snakes at our house as well as an opossum once. You can even see a couple of deer if you go somewhere with a little more trees. I remember my entire family often screaming "Oh, a deer! That was a deer!" as we drove down the highway. I can't say I've seen a deer in Staten Island, where I live now, but squirrels literally seem to be EVERYWHERE. I've seen them at Grand Canyon as well as in Central Park, right in the middle of New York City. It actually makes me wonder why we don't see squirrels more often in Japan!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Newbie Monday - Forum Finds

A little over a week ago, I came across a forum thread in which newbies were helping and encouraging each other. It helped me find some great sellers, so I thought I would share a few of them with you all.


PicksAndPosies is the OP of the forum thread, and she gets a feature for being the one who started it all. Seriously, from what I can see, quite a few of the newbies has gotten a sale from this thread (and I think I might be able to count myself in), so a heartfelt “Thanks” to you!

She has some lovely wreaths and bird houses in her store, many of them perfect for the upcoming fall season. I love this vibrant Color Me Glad wreath made out of Crayola crayons! It’s just the thing for back-to-school, but I can also see it hanging year-round in a playroom for a little one.

I also like The Lavender Lovenest, an adorable little birdhouse to make your home feel all cozy and romantic.


TheQuiltedHouse has some truly unique items in her store! I really love this Tic Tac Toe Anyone, which folds up and has pockets for you to store the Xs and Os, so that you can take it anywhere. A perfect item to bring along on long car trips with kids, and as she points out, an eco-friendly option to paper!

I also have never seen a quilted greeting card, whether it says, Thank You, I love you, or Happy Birthday! If you want to make a statement, then these cards are definitely going to stand out from the rest.


My final newbie for this week has the cutest T-shirts for little boys and girls! Being a mother of a little boy, I very much appreciate the great selection of boy's shirts, which tend to get completely outnumbered by girl's in most cases!

I had a hard time deciding which item to feature, but finally settled on the Mr Roboto Tee. It has a bit of a retro feel, like many of her other products. Some of the T-shirts even come with a matching toy, like the Retro Rocket Set.

Her softies, which she calls Lovies and Friends, are also very cute and can't be missed. The Rotkappchen is my favorite out of the 5 currently for sale.

If you are a newbie, be sure to check out the critique thread. It's a great way to get some constructive criticisms as well as a fantastic place to connect with other newbies!

Friday, August 14, 2009

金曜日は日本語で - Japanese Friday ヤクルト版

数週間前ニュージャージーにあるミツワに行った時の事をお話ししましたが、そこで毎回買う物の中にヤクルトがあります。 飲むヨーグルトともまたちょっと違うヤクルトの味はアメリカの商品ではまだ出会った事がありません。 私も小さい時たまに買ってもらって飲んでいたので、懐かしくてつい手が出てしまう品物です。 Whenever I go to Mitsuwa, the Japanese grocery store I mentioned a few weeks a go, Yakult is always among my "must buy" items. Slightly different from other yogurt drinks, I have yet to encounter an American product that equals the flavor of Yakult. My mother used to buy it for me when I was little, so it's something I grab out of nostalgia more than anything else.

もう数十年はずっと変わっていないパッケージにつられて買ってしまうヤクルトですが、実際息子に手渡す段階で必ず、なぜもっと飲みやすくしないのだろうかと不思議になります。 あの銀紙のふたを破らずに、そして中身をこぼさずに剥くのは親でも結構大変ですが、 チビチャンにはなみなみと注いであるヤクルトを口に運ぶだけでも至難の技です。 ヤクルトが無事に口元まで届いても一気飲みは厳禁。 慌てて飲むと上唇がどんどん吸い込まれていって、赤い丸ができちゃいます。 Although I get lured into buying Yakult by the familiar packaging (it hasn't changed in decades), I always wonder why it's not easier to handle when I'm about to give it to my son. It's pretty hard, even for a parent, to peel off the foil lid without tearing it or spilling the contents, but for the little one, just moving the bottle to his mouth is an impossible task because they are always filled to the brim. You also have to drink it slowly, or your upper lip will get sucked into the bottle and you'll end up with a red circle on there.

それならコップに注いであげちゃえばいいのでしょうが、やっぱりラッパのみできるのが魅力の一つのようで息子はコップいらないと言いますし、私もなんとなく味気なくなってしまうような気がします。 With all that, you might think I should just pour it into a cup, but part of the appeal is being able to drink straight out of the bottle! My son always refuses the cup, and I, too, think it somehow diminishes the whole experience if it's poured out.

ちなみに写真に写っているのは本物の(アメリカ専用)ヤクルトと1/6 サイズのミニチュアヤクルト! ヤクルト一本だけだとちょっとさびしかったので一緒に写真を撮ってしまいました...。 カバヤこぐまキッチンのお子様ランチセットの一部です。 By the way, take a look at that 1/6 size miniature Yakult right next to the real Yakult in the picture above! I had to include it in the photo since the real Yakult was looking a little lonely when it was by itself... FYI, it was part of the Koguma Kitchen Children's Lunch Set by Kabaya.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Simple Pleasures

When I was younger, I used to think that the parent-child relationship was a one-way street. They were the givers and I was the taker. Whether it was an advice, an order, or an assurance, I took whatever they offered me.

Now that I AM the parent, I know better. I take away just as much from my son as I try to offer him.

Just the other day, I made Tidmouth Sheds out of wooden blocks for my son's Thomas and Friends collection. You have no idea how happy that made him! He gave me the brightest smile ever and jumped up and down with delight. I, in turn, was filled with joy to see him get so excited over something so simple.

And it was also a great reminder that instead of getting all caught up in the pursuit of happiness, we should be taking delight in the simple pleasures that life has to offer.

In a way, he is the greatest teacher I've ever had.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Newbie Monday - All Dressed Up

This week’s Newbie Monday is all about getting dressed up! Whether you are just attending a party or hosting one, here are some great items from etsy newbies!


Once you’ve responded to a party invite, the next big question usually is “what should I wear?” But instead of heading straight to your closet, why not pick out an eye-catching accessory first? Like DesignduJour’s Yellow Silk and Black Velvet Purse - The Georgia.

Sometimes, approaching a problem from a different starting point can help you put together an outfit that you’ve never thought of before.

My other favorites from her store are the classy Mikado and the gorgeous Maxine. Both designs are available in different colors, so be sure to browse around her store!


If you are the one hosting the party, it’s important that you dress up your pad as well as yourself. And likedeco’s gorgeous lanterns are just the thing!

Just take a look at these Magical Night lanterns available in red, white, and black. They’ll create an amazing atmosphere, perfect for an evening party! She also has some free-standing stainless steel lamp shades that are absolutely gorgeous. I really love the one she calls efflorescence. It's sooo beautiful!


If you are attending a pet-friendly event, do make sure your best friend is dressed to impress too! This Playtime Frock in green and brown will guarantee that your cutie pie will melt everyone's heart.

Lots of fun and colorful collars, adorable toys, and some ingenious “Doody Bags” are also available from PuppyWillow. The store is definitely worth the time to browse around if you’ve got a pampered prince or a princess at home!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Newbie Monday - Pounce

Pounce, Pounce, Pounce! How I love to Pounce! For those of you who are not familiar with it, Pounce is a neat little etsy tool that lets you find fresh shops with no sales so far. I find it quite addicting, clicking the “Pounce again!” button over and over. And yes, I do 10 rows at a time! To tell you the truth, Pounce is the reason I started doing these Newbie Monday posts. I kept finding amazingly talented artists and was always left thinking, “How are they not getting any sales?”

So, I decided to go back to my original love this week, and share some fabulous shops that I found on Pounce. And boy, am I excited about this week’s newbies!!!


Now let’s start things off with a bang, shall we? Or with The Big Bang (Music of the Spheres), rather. Ghitta, a photographer from London, has these bold, colorful, and whimsical photographs that you can’t help but love.

But they are sooo much more than that! These works are visual representations of scientific theories, based on NASA recordings and other scientific data!! The series she currently has in her shop is based on “the notion that each cosmic body is singing its own unique song as it spins in the vastness of space.” How cool!!

She only sells prints in her store right now, but I would love to see those images used in other items like greeting cards, magnets, and notebooks. I think they will do really well in the Geekery category. Don’t you agree?


My next newbie also hails from the UK, and she also has bold, colorful, and whimsical items. True to her name, her felt creations are cheerful and oh, so dear.

I’m usually drawn to blues and greens, but I can’t take my eyes off of this Orange Leafy Bird Brooch. In her short-but-sweet description, she eloquently emphasizes that “A ridiculously orange bird nestles in a star of leaves and a zingy flower.” What a perfect choice of words to portray this colorful adornment!

CheeryDeary also makes flower and owl brooches, and is branching out to greeting cards now. If you are having a cloudy, gloomy day or simply need a little pep to start off Monday on a positive note, check out CheeryDearyDesigns! She will certainly add some color to your day!


My last seller for this week is from Portland, Oregon, but as far as being bold, colorful, and whimsical; I say check, check, and check!

Ok, so you’ll probably notice after browsing around that this is her second shop, and therefore, she’s technically not a newbie. But I just couldn’t pass up the chance to highlight a fabulous artist like Hilary!

The sculpture in the photo is titled Pablo, after Pablo Picasso. It’s from a series called Heroes, which is a collection of these abstract sculptures that are named after artists she admires. I had fun browsing through the sculptures trying to guess which artists they were named after! And be sure to look at the 5th picture in the listing, because I don’t think you can fully appreciate the beauty of these sculptures unless you see them clustered together in a group!

Also, don’t forget to visit her other etsy shop, Bunny with a Tool Belt!

Friday, July 31, 2009

金曜日は日本語で - Japanese Friday ミツワ版

アメリカに来てからバージニア、アリゾナ、ペンシルバニアと、色々な所に住みましたがどこでも日本の食料品は簡単には手に入りませんでした。アジアンマーケットはあることはあるのですが、品数が少なかったり賞味期限がきれていたりなんて事がよくありました。 I've lived in Virginia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania since I came to America, but it was always hard to find Japanese groceries at those places. There were some Asian Markets, but they often had very little choices or were already expired.

ニューヨークに住むようになって一番嬉しいのがやっと日本の食料品をを気軽に買えるようになった事です。 特にニュージャージーにある「ミツワ」というスーパーには毎月一回ぐらい行っています。先週また行ってきたのでその時の写真を少しお披露目したいと思います。 The best thing about living in New York is that I can finally buy Japanese food on a regular basis. I especially frequent a supermarket called Mitsuwa in New Jersey about once a month. I went again last week, so I'd like to share some photos from the visit here.

ミツワはハドソン川沿いのエッジウォーターと言う所ににあります。週末に行くとたいていは駐車場が満杯なので私は近くのターゲットの駐車場に直行します。そこからだと川沿いの歩道をお散歩気分で歩いてたったの2分なので、ミツワの駐車場で空いている所はないか、帰る人はいないかとぐるぐる回っているよりよほど手っ取り早いです。 Mitsuwa is located in Edgewater, NJ along the Hudson River. If you go there on the weekend, the parking lot is usually full, so I go straight to the Target down the road instead. There's a walkway by the river that connects them and it only takes 2 minutes to walk over. Much faster than driving around in circles looking for an empty spot or someone who is about to go home!

ミツワに着いたらまずスーパーに入る前に外側のプラザのお店を覗きます。冷凍食品が溶けちゃう、なんて心配をせずにゆっくり見られるからです。本やおもちゃの他、普段はなかなか手に入らない日常品がたくさん買えます。今回は息子に日本語の絵本を買ってやろうとはりきって行ったのですが機関車トーマスの本ばかり欲しがるので結局手ぶらで出てきました。 When you get there, check out the store in the little plaza before you go into the supermarket. That way, you can browse as much as you want without worrying about melting frozen foods. There is a book store, a toy store, and others where you can buy Japanese supplies that you don't often see. I was planning to get a Japanese picture book for my son this time, but all he wanted was Thomas the Tank Engine ones, so we left the store empty handed.

次はフードコートで食事です。これは主人のトンカツ定食。私は今回は和風スパゲッティーにしましたが普段はラーメンとイクラご飯のセットをよく頼みます。他にもうどん、そば、中華など色々選択ができます。でもお昼ごろは座る席がなかなか見つからないので少し早目かちょっと遅れたお昼にするのがおすすめです。 Next up is a meal at the food court. This is the Tonkatsu Lunch that my husband ordered. I had Japanese style spaghetti this time, but I usually like to have the Ramen and Ikura rice set. You can also have Udons, Sobas, and (Japanese style) Chinese food. I recommend getting there early or eating a little later than usual since the food court is always packed around lunch time.

食事の後はとうとう買い物の時間です。毎週はないですがよく特別セールやイベントがあるので必ずチラシをチェックしてから行きます。先週末は九州と沖縄の物産展をやっていました。今回は博多の辛子明太子と写真に写っているプリンシューを買いました。 ものすごーくおいしかったです!!! Once you are done with your lunch, it's finally time to go shop! They often have special sales and events, so be sure to check their ad before shopping. Last weekend, they were doing a Kyushu and Okinawa Food Fest. We bought spicy cod roe from Hakata and the flan cream puff shown in the photo. They were extremely yummy!!

気がすむまでお買い物をした後、家に帰る前におやつを買って一息つくのも一つの楽しみです。 今回はハドソン川とマンハッタンのスカイラインを眺めながら緑茶ソフトを味わいました。 When you've shopped your hearts out, don't forget to have a little snack before you leave for home. We enjoyed a cone of green tea soft serve while taking in the view of the Hudson and the Manhattan skyline.

ミツワはニュージャージー店他、カリフォルニアとシカゴにもお店があります。 詳しくはミツワのウェブサイトをご覧になってください。 Mitsuwa also has stores in California and Chicago besides the New Jersey store. Check out their website for more informtion.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I got a Treasury!

Yesterday, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, I got the urge to play around with the poster sketch tool on etsy. But I guess it was fate because at lunch time, I noticed that the treasury was about to open!

So I sat and waited, and managed to snag one!

I always love taking patterned photos of multiple, repetitive items, so I looked for photos like that which were taken in Japan. I think it turned out pretty well!

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sneak Peek - Eruopean 4-in-1

I've been working on a new bracelet design based on the European 4-in-1 chain. It's a pretty straight forward 4-in-1, but with just enough beads to make it a little more feminine and still won't interfere with how the links overlap. I think it's much prettier in person than how it appears in the phots. I'll have to work on taking better pictures!

I've been doing the "wearability test" for a day now, and it seems pretty strong. I also like how it lays on your arm. It's very flexible and slinky! So please keep an eye out for it at my etsy store! I will probably be making some to list there soon!

Quick Update! This bracelet is now available at

Monday, July 27, 2009

Newbie Monday - Potpourri

I’ve been trying to introduce newbies according to themes for the last few weeks, but there are some sellers who just stand apart from the rest. There was no way I was going to leave them out, though, because they are so fabulous and talented. Hence, potpourri.


I’m sure it’s not easy trying to sell knitted items when a good majority of etsy buyers are hanging out at the beach or having a barbeque, but this New Jersey seller has such beautiful items, I’m sure that elusive first sale will come her way soon.

I am personally drooling over this stormy blue Ruffled Scarf with cascading ruffles that keep you nice and cozy on a blustery day. If you like your winter clothing to have warmer tones, it’s offered in maroon as well.

Besides scarves and muffs, MegnificentCo makes summer wraps and purses. Think ahead and get a scarf from her store now so that you won’t be caught without one when you actually need it.


Looking through TDNCreations’ store makes me want to go back to school and study metal working. I share her enthusiasm about what can be created out of a strand of wire, and there are so much more possibilities when you can solder!

The simplicity of her pieces also speaks to me too, as evidenced in the Silver Moon Ring shown. There’s a certain aura of serenity around her works, and the beautiful crescent moon just begs to be gazed and meditated upon.

I also love the Starfish and 3 Chains Anklet with delicate chains clasped together by a little starfish. What a perfect item for summer.


My final seller of the week has one of the more unique stores in etsy. She makes little puppies out of felt, and she can even make one modeled after your little pet!

The one shown is a Bichon Frise, and I couldn’t resist choosing him as the featured pup because he has such a friendly smile!

Due to her choice of materials, she seems to handle short-haired and long-haired breeds equally well, which is actually rare to see! I know because I have a Yorkie, and I’m often frustrated by how they are represented in many of the breed-specific knick knacks.

I wish her best of luck, and of course, good luck to MegnificentCo and TDNCreations as well!


I hope you adore these newbie finds as much as I do. If you are a newbie with 5 or less sales, and would like to be featured too, please leave a comment or convo me through my etsy account!

Friday, July 24, 2009

金曜日は日本語で - Japanese Friday 学校版

***Please scroll down for the English translation***






I mentioned this a few weeks ago too, but when I first came to the U.S. I could barely understand English. No one at my school could speak Japanese, so I had to communicate with my teachers and friends by pointing out words in my Japanese-English dictionary. I couldn’t even do my homework without my parents’ help, or should I say, without my parents doing it for me.

Tests were the hardest. My teachers usually allowed me to use my dictionary and gave me extra time to finish, but I still ended up receiving plenty of F’s, reducing me to tears. The only time I could relax a little at school was during my favorite subject, art; and during math, which actually was my least favorite back in Japan.

Even with those seemingly endless English-filled days, it still took a whole year before I began to understand what others were saying. It wasn’t until the end of 8th grade, 3 full years after I came to America, that I was able to chat with my friends without feeling conscious about my English.

So if you are trying to learn English, Japanese, or some other foreign language, please don’t give up and keep at it! It’s pretty clear looking at my 2-and-a-half-year-old, that learning to understand and to speak any language is a very time consuming endeavor!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Newbie Monday - Out in the Garden

You may not notice it when you first take a glance at my etsy store, but I actually get a lot of inspiration from mother nature. I'm especially influenced by the color combinations and the patterns I see. Many other sellers seem to find inspiration in nature, too, as evidenced by this week's Newbie picks.


The store kidfluenced is run by two interior designers from Calgary, Canada. They have some beautiful shadowbox art for kids in their store, which are great for kids at heart too.

The one shown is called Imagine Butterfly Shadowbox Art, and it's all aflutter with bunch of butterflies and flowers. I can definitly see it hanging in a tween girl's room! At the Farm one would be a great addtion in a room for a slightly younger child.

Life's a Beach shadowbox is fantastic for a beach house or a beach-themed room, not just kid's rooms!


Stilltimephotography is a seller from Riverton, Utah and a stay-at-home mom like me. She sells photo prints, photo greeting cards, as well as magnets in her store.

The photo shown on the left is from her greeting card series called Outdoors Set 2. I gravitate towards images that are so close up that they almost become abstract, so I love that composition.

I'm also partial to the Piano Keys because I used to play too, and looking at those keys make my fingers start moving on their own.


When I look through HarmonArt2's store, the word that comes to my mind is "harmony."

There are 2 artists represented in this store - Emily, who creates the fine art gourds like the Small Fall Leaf Gourd with Black Background shown here, and Brian, who creates the earthenware pottery and jewelry. Their items have similar themes and colors, however, and complements each other perfectly.

A husband and wife team that is in perfect harmony with each other as well as with mother nature! What could be more beautiful than that?


If you are a newbie etsian and would like to be featured in this blog too, please leave a comment or convo me through my etsy account!

Quick update! HarmonArt2 has been chosen as one of the Fresh Shops in Etsy's Voter! Please go to and vote for them! Voting ends July 27th!

Friday, July 17, 2009

金曜日は日本語で - Japanese Friday スクールバス版

***Please scroll down for the English translation***

日本の小学校に行っていた頃、私は放課後が楽しみでした。 いつも校庭で皆とおしゃべりした後、近所に住んでいる友達と誰の家で遊ぼうかと相談したり、道端の花をつんだりしながらゆっくりゆっくり帰っていったものです。 家は徒歩5分ちょっとで帰れる距離でしたが、最低15分、たまには30分もかけて家に帰ったこともありました。

アメリカでも町中に住んでいる子は歩いて学校に行き来しているようですが、郊外では皆スクールバスに乗って帰ります。 バスに乗り遅れると親にわざわざ迎えに来てもらわなければならないので、おしゃべりなんかしている暇はありません。 皆大急ぎで宿題に必要な教科書を集めバスに向かいます。 私はトランペットを吹いていたのでバスに乗る前に音楽室まで楽器を取りに行かなくてはならず、いつも大慌てをしなくてはなりませんでした。 

でも、バスに間に合ったからと言って安心できるわけではありません。 トランペットのせいで いつも皆より遅れてバスに着くので、座る席を見つけるのも結構大変だったのです。 たいていは仲の良い友達が席を取っておいてくれましたが、その子がお休みだったりクラブ活動があったりして乗っていない時は一緒に座らせてくれそうな子を探さなければならないのです。 バスの席にぎりぎり納まるサイズのトランペットケースを持っているのでいい顔をして座らせてくれる子はそうはいませんでした。



Back when I was in Japan, I couldn't wait for the end of the school day. After chatting with everyone in the school yard, I would slowly head home with neighborhood friends while discussing whose house we should play at or picking flowers on the side of the road. Even though I lived 5 minutes away, I used to take at least 15 minutes, sometimes even 30 minutes to get home.

In the U.S., inner-city kids often walk to and from school too, but most kids take the school bus in the suburbs. If you miss the bus, you'll have to wait for your parents to pick you up, so no one has time for chit-chats. Everyone collects the textbooks needed for homework, and then heads for the bus. Since I used to play the trumpet, I also had to run to the band room to grab my instrument before running to the bus in a big hurry.

Just because you managed to catch the bus in time didn't mean you could relax then. I always got to the bus later than everyone else, thanks to the trumpet, so finding a seat wasn't easy either. Most of the times, I had a friend who saved a seat for me. But if she was absent or had a club meeting after school, I had to find someone else who will let me sit with him/her. With a trumpet case that barely fit into the bus seat, I was rarely welcomed with a smile.

The memories from the days in Japan when I could drop off my school bag at the door and run off again to play with my friends seemed very far away on that school bus.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Newbie Monday - Photographers

There are so many talented photographers on etsy, I think they may be having almost as hard a time being found as jewelry makers like me! So, this week, let me introduce to you 3 new sellers with lovely photographs in their store.


I love photsbyrosie, not just because our etsy stores have the same birthday, but because her photos make me happy just looking at them. I just don't understand why this UK seller does not have more sales!

The photos are often vibrant and uplifting like Bunting, shown here. Many have an air of innocence too, as if these images were captured by her inner-child. My favorite is Magic Shoes, which reminds me of Wizard of Oz.

Her nature photos are a little more subdued, but never somber. They're soothing, and quietly reveres the handiwork of mother nature.

And while you're looking around the store, keep in mind that many of the listings are for a set of 2 or more photos!


InventingLiz from Roslindale, MA is clearly a nature lover! Her store is filled with photos of flowers, trees, and berries. And she has little stories to tell with each too.

The one titled Spring Joy shown is one of my favorites. It has such warmth and optimism; and shows exactly how I feel when spring finally comes around.

I also like the one titled Silver Linings, an image of a gorgeous sunrise (or is it a sunset?) with the clouds glowing beautifully.


I think DanaLaymon from Wilmington, NC has a very similar feel as photosbyrosie. Both of them have photos that are romantic and have a hint of nostalgia.

I'm very fond of this photo titled You've Got Mail, with its amazing textures and splendid colors. The one titled Airlie Gardens is lovely too. She is still waiting for her very first sale and is offering free shipping for her first buyer, so go to her store now and check out her photos!

For those of you living in NC, she also offers Wedding Photography package, so keep her in mind if you or people you know are getting married soon.


Good luck to all of you, and please come back next week for more talented newbies!

Friday, July 10, 2009

金曜日は日本語で- Japanese Fridays 教科書版

***Please scroll down for the English translation***

アメリカと日本の学校の一番違うところは、なんと言っても教科書の大きさです。 日本の教科書は紙表紙で薄く、生徒が持ち帰りやすいようにしてあります。 厚くてもせいぜい1cm、それより厚くなると上と下に分けてあります。 ところがアメリカの教科書はその正反対、数年は持つように分厚くて丈夫にできています。 2、3cm あるのはごく普通、それより分厚いのもよくあります。 で、おまけに表面積も日本の物の倍ぐらいあって、まるで辞書みたいなのです。


どちらの国でも新学年、皆がうきうきしている中で新しい教科書が配られますが、日本の教科書はその時点で個人の物になります。 逆にアメリカの教科書は借り物、学年末には全部返さなければいけません。 音楽の教科書など場合によってはそのクラスの時にだけ配られ、一時間後にはまた回収されるような事もあります。 

日本の子はその日教科書を全部持ち帰り、勉強机の棚に並べます。 そして時間割をチェックして毎日必要な教科書だけを学校に持って行きます。 アメリカの学校に初めて行った日、私はもちろんアメリカでもそうするものだと思っていたので、鞄に入るだけの教科書をギューギュー押し込み、ひっくり返りそうになりながら家へ帰りました。 翌日、アメリカの子は教科書を学校の机にしまって置き、宿題が出た科目のものだけ持って帰るのだ、と気付いた時は本当にびっくりしました。 でもその代わり、時間割を見間違えて別の教科書持って来ちゃった、なんて事はありません。

アメリカの教科書は分厚い分内容も多く、一年で全部勉強するのにはちょっと無理なほどです。 そのため先生方は教科書にとらわれず生徒達の力に合わせて勉強を進めて行きます。 どの生徒も全く同じように扱う日本のように、一学年の間に教科書に載っている事を全て丸のみせよ、という勉強の仕方はしません。

...なんていろいろ書いてみましたが、実際一番の違いは言語にあると思います。 この記事を見れば一目で分かりますが、全く同じ事を書いているのに英語の翻訳は必ず日本語の1.5倍ぐらいの場所を取ってしまいます。 もしかしたら、教科書の違いは教育方針の違いの象徴なんかじゃないのかも知れません。 もしかしたら、 教科書の違いが二国の教育方針を変えていったのかもしれません。


The biggest difference between the American and Japanese schools is the size of the textbooks. Japanese textbooks are paperback and thin to make it easy for the students to carry around. Even at the thickest, they are about 1cm (1/2 inch) and if they get any thicker, they're divided into 2 separate books. The American textbooks are the exact opposite, thick and durable enough to last a few years.  They are normally 2, 3cm (about 1 inch) thick and it's quite common to see even thicker ones. Plus, the surface area is double the size of the Japanese ones, making the American ones look like a dictionary in comparison.

There are good and bad points to each, but I think this difference is a symbolic representation of the different approach to education in the two countries.

In both countries, textbooks are distributed while everyone is abuzz with new-year-jitters. But in Japan, the textbooks become your personal possession at this point. On the other hand, American textbooks are loaned to students and must be returned at the end of the year. Some textbooks, such as music books, may even be distributed during class, only to be collected again at the end of the hour.

On that first day of school, Japanese children take all of their textbooks home and put them away in their study desks. And everyday, they check the lesson plan and only bring the textbooks necessary for that day. On my first day of school in America, I of course believed that that would be the case here too, so I stuffed as many textbooks as I can into my bag and staggered home, about to keel over with each step! When I found out the next day that Americans store their textbooks at school and only bring home the ones needed for homework, I was completely taken aback. One good thing about that is, you can't accidentally bring the wrong books to school because you misread the lesson plan.

With the American textbooks being so much thicker, there are definitely more content included in each book; maybe even too much to cover in just one year. Because of this, American teachers tend to teach at a pace appropriate for that particular class, without being dictated by the textbook. While in Japan, where every student is treated exactly the same, you are expected to learn everything included in the book without question.

...After all that I've said, however, I think the true difference lies in the language itself. You can clearly see just by looking at this post that, although I'm writing exactly the same thing, the English translation takes up about 1.5 times more space than the Japanese version. Maybe the difference in the textbooks aren't symbolic. Maybe that difference in the textbooks ended up altering the approach to education in each country!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Milky Way Bracelet for Tanabata

Have you ever heard of a Japanese festival celebrated on July 7th called Tanabata? According to the legends, (although there are several versions) it's a a day in which Orihime (the star Vega) is allowed to see her lover, Kengyu (Altair) just once a year over the Milky Way.

I love it because it's the most romantic and beautiful festival in Japan. We usually celebrate by decorating bamboo trees with colorful paper ornaments, and hang strips of paper with our wishes and prayers written on them. And then we hope for clear skies in the evening because otherwise, they would have to wait another year to see eachother!

When I thought about the story, this bracelet popped into my head, so I worked like crazy and finished it just in time for Tanabata! You can see the listing at

Monday, July 6, 2009

Newbie Monday - Green Shops

I grew up in an eco-friendly family (or should I say, Don't Waste Anything!! family), so I try to be green whenever I can. This week, I'd like to introduce to you newbies with upcycled items in their store.


Marmalime, a seller from Toronto, creates cool clutches, wallets, and more from upcylcled plastic. They are modern, graphic, and oh so green!

I love this blue scribble clutch, which remind me of a rose in a way. And I love that it's so easy to care for too.

She also has some collages made of post consumer paper in her store, like asian tea collage. What's so unique about it is that she starts out with pages from an old book, and then creates silhouettes of teapots out of tea packaging that relates to the theme of the story. What a great idea, marmalime!


Casacasa from Santa Fe has really unique upcycled items with a focus on bicycle parts. If you never thought you could make a beautiful piece of jewelry with bicycle parts, take a look at these steam punk pearly earrings with chain links!

I also like the bicycle flower earrings, which are made out of inner tubes!

Not everything in her store is jewelry or made with bicycle parts, however. There are clothing, vintage beads and more, so check out her store now and go treasure hunting!


Ok, my last seller for this week has had a bunch of sales since the time that I found her, but I still wanted to show you her Leaf Pouches.

ButterflyEffect from Eugene, Oregon creates these pouches out of table cloths and other recycled fabrics. You can just slip it through your belt and get going, hands free! Yes, they're fanny packs when you get right down to it, but they're so much more attractive, don't you think?


Good luck to all of you, and please come back next week for more talented newbies!

Friday, July 3, 2009

金曜日は日本語で - Japanese Fridays オレンジジュース版

***Please scroll down for the English translation***

私が日本からアメリカに越してきたのは1991年、12歳になる目前の春でした。もう18年以上前、随分昔の話です。 でも、やはりそれなりに大変だったからでしょう、その頃の事は結構いろいろ覚えています。


一応日本で英会話教室に通ったとはいうものの、その時点の私は 英語を全く喋れないと言ってもいい状態でした。 成田からワシントンD.C. に飛び、それからバージニア州のノーフォーク飛行場に飛ぶ、という旅でしたがもちろんノーフォーク行きの飛行機には日本人のスチュワーデスも日本語の放送もありません。 時差ぼけでもうろうとしながらも、ものすごく緊張したのを覚えています。

何がそんなに恐かったかというと、飲み物を配りに来るスチュワーデスさんです。 「お飲み物はいかがですか?」と聞いている、というのは状況で大体は分かるのですがどうしても「もし違う事を聞かれていたらどうしよう!」と心配してしまいます。でも他の質問をされていたとしても、どう答えていいか分からないのでとにかく父に教えてもらったように「オーレンジジュース、プリーズ。」と言ってみました。

...ところがです、スチュワーデスさんがまた何か質問してきました! 「???」 

もう隣の席に座っている父に頼るしか他に手はありません。 結局は私の声が小さすぎて聞こえなかったという事で、もう一度大きな声で頼みました。

で、必死になって手に入れたこのオレンジジュース、実は私、欲しくなかったんです。 ただ「何もいらない」とはどう言ったらいいのか知らなかったのです。 もったいないので全部飲みましたが、その後ちゃんと父に「No,thank you」と言えばいいのだと教えてもらいました。

I first arrived in the U.S. from Japan during the Spring of 1991, shortly before I turned 12-years old. That's already over 18 years ago, an ancient history, really. But I find that I still remember quite a bit from that era, probably because it was such a challenging time in my life.

Starting this week, I'd like to take this opportunity to look back at my early experiences in the U.S. It would be my honor if Americans with an interest in Japan or the Japanese with an interest in the U.S. find this helpful.

Although I had taken some English classes in Japan, I basically couldn't speak a lick of English when I arrived. Our trip took us from Narita to Washington D.C. and then to Norfolk Airport in Virginia, and obviously, there were no Japanese stewardesses or Japanese announcements on the flight to Norfolk. I remember being extremely nervous on this flight, despite the exhaustion from jet lag.

What was I so afraid of? The stewardess offering refreshments. Just from the situation in general, I could tell that she was asking if I wanted something to drink. But I couldn't stop my mind from wondering, "What if she was asking a totally different question?" Realizing that I didn't know how to answer even if she had, I just replied, "Orange juice, please" just like my father had taught me.

...But then, she asked me yet another question! "???"

At this point, I had no other option but to look at my father, who was sitting next to me, for assistance. It turns out, she just could not hear what I had said, so I repeated it once again in a louder voice.

I finally had my hard-won orange juice, but the truth is, I didn't even want it in the first place. I simply was not fluent enough to explain to her that I didn't want anything. I drank the juice since I didn't want to be wasteful, but I got my father to teach me the phrase "No, thank you" after that.

Monday, June 29, 2009

How to wear my new necklace

Ok, so I finally listed my 2-in-1 Powder Blue Chalcedony Asymmetrical Lariat Necklace in my shop, and I wanted to show you the different ways to wear this necklace since I can't list more than 5 photos in etsy.

1. Here's the "Lariat" necklace. I have 2 strands of chain hanging beside the flower focal, so you just loop one over the other (just like the first step in tying bows).

2. In this one, I clipped the 2 chains to one side of the flower focal using the detachable drop.

3. This is the same setup as the second necklace. The focal has been moved to the left of the mannequin.

4. Now, I've clipped the chains to the other side of the flower.

5. And this is the same setup as #4, it's just clipped at a different point so one chain is longer than the other.

6. Here's how the necklace looks when I clip the 2 chains across the front.

I'm sure as you play around with it, you'll find more intersting ways to wear this necklace!