Tuesday, September 28, 2010

OOF!!



It's been a rough couple of weeks! With my son starting Pre-K, I expected a little chaos, but a particularly long-lasting cold/flu that we all passed around to each other really threw me in for a loop!

I'm still feeling it a little bit, but my son is starting to get excited about school now. (I still have to give him a little pep talk some mornings, but not everyday!) Our dog has also stopped panicking now that she knows she gets to go for a long walk after I drop her brother off at school. After the walk, I have about an hour and a half before it's time to pick him up again, but I feel blessed to have that little bit of time to myself!

With things settling down a bit, I finally managed to list a brand new item yesterday! It's yet another project that I'd been turning over in my head for a long time and finally managed to create. (I have A LOT of those!) I feel really encouraged by the number of views it got within the first 5 minutes of listing, so I'm definitely going to try doing a wedding necklace in a similar style!

Hopefully, I'll be able to list more things on a regular basis now, all the way through the holidays!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Please Remember...


One year ago, an 8-year-old boy named Yuto departed this Earth quite suddenly and joined the angels up above. It happened in the early morning hours on the day he was supposed to go back to school. He left behind a school bag all packed and ready to go, and a countless number of families, friends, and community members devastated by the news.

During the past year, I've spent many hours questioning and challenging my understanding of life and death. One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn was that this happens to children much more often than we prefer to acknowledge. Hardly a day goes by without hearing about earthquakes, floods, fires, accidents, and medical complications that take young lives.

So, on this one-year-anniversary, rather than just memorializing Yuto, I want to ask you to remember all of the children whose lives were cut too short. And please pray for their parents, who are enduring the worst pain any parent could ever face. And please remember, too, that many of these children had siblings whose lives were turned upside down and who have had to learn such a serious lesson at an early age.

Also, please remember in your prayers, their grandparents who not only lost their precious grandchild, but must be a rock for their own children as they grieve. And please send your loving thoughts to their classmates and other friends who have suddenly lost their friend and must now come to terms with the concept of death.

I write this on behalf of the aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members who are mourning the loss of a special member of their family, and are also worried about how their loved ones are coping. I feel the loss every single day, and it's almost astounding how such a small being had taken up such a large part of my heart.

Finally, if you are lucky enough to have children in your lives, please hug them often and tell them you love them. When it comes to death, there are no age limits. These children who left us too early could easily have been yours.

I know at first, this sounds morbid and hard to accept, but once you face it head on, life is actually more beautiful than you ever thought before. You realize that each moment is precious, and each living being has a glowing light within. And there's nothing, NOTHING, more amazing than the mere fact that we are alive here on this Earth.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jewelry for Your Home


It's finally here! After years of just thinking about it, and months of procrastinating (whoops!) I'm finally introducing my new line of Jewelry for Your Home! For now, I have a Necklace for your Lamp listed, but you can expect to see more new and innovative items coming soon!

I plan on introducing 2 more different styles for your lamp, and then moving on to different parts of your home. Yup, you can expect to have a little bit of sparkling goodness all over your house! I never really thought of myself as a girly girl, but for some reason, most things I create end up being that way. Go figure!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Freezing Time

Study in Blue II

Wouldn't it be great if you could freeze time?

If you could stop everything, but were still able to think, so that you could observe every drop of water, every ripple. Then, once you've marveled at every little detail and taken note of all the beauty in that moment, you can go back to your life in normal speed.

Or, if you were able to see the things that usually happen in a blink of an eye. To actually watch it take form and then disappear, and then to be able say, "I saw you, I watched you come into existence, and you were precious."

Of course, if you could do that, if you could actually stop or slow down time, maybe it'll be so ordinary that you would fail to recognize the extra-ordinariness of the moment. If that's the case, I'd rather not have a special power at all. I'd rather keep my ability to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us each and every day of our lives.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Save the Date


A special announcement for those of you living in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. My Everything Is Coming Up Roses Bracelet will be part of the 5th Annual HOT Latin Nights Auction on July 17th!

This is an event that benefits VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads, a nonprofit organization that promotes volunteerism in the Hampton Roads area by training members of other nonprofits and helping them connect with volunteers.

As an added bonus, there's a raffle for an Apple iPad!! You don't need to be present to win, so you can contribute to this worthy organization even if you are not in Virginia.

For more information about VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads and the HOT Latin Nights, please visit http://www.volunteerhr.org/

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hydrangeas!

It's hydrangea season! These are my absolute favorite flowers. One reason being that they start blooming around my birthday, but I also love the unique variations of colors, sometimes even within just one bush. They also makes me think of Japan, even though they're pretty common everywhere. They're the one beautiful thing to look forward to during the gloomy rainy season in Japan.


I definitely plan on having them in my backyard if we ever tear out the old wooden deck that's there, but for now, I have to admire the ones in other people's yards. The thing is, they tend to be hidden in corners or right next to a house, so I was having a hard time finding one to photograph. I finally found some in the garden of a local museum, so here they are...

Before I go, I have to thank my husband, without whom, I wouldn't have been able to post these pictures! I shouldn't be surprised at all that it happened, but my son tried to jam a memory card into the camera last week and bent several of the pins in the slot. I honestly thought that I would have to shell out $100+ to replace the part, but my hubby worked his magic fingers and fixed it for me!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Week in Japan

Little Boy, Big City
As I mentioned earlier, we recently went to Japan for a little over a week to see my family. We had a lot of fun, especially at Tokyo Disneyland! Here are just some of the 450+ pictures I took over the week...

Disney Resort Cruiser
If you ask my son what was the best part about going to Japan, he'll probably tell you, "I rode the Mickey Bus!" And I will have to agree with him. This was just a bus that took you from the hotel to the monorail station, which, in turn took you to Disneyland, but it was the coolest, cutest bus I've ever been on. Even the interior was filled with hidden Mickeys, including red seats with 2 yellow buttons as well as hand rings (I don't know the proper way to call them, but the rings that hang overhead) with Mickey ears!


Of course, once you go inside the park, there are subtle (and not so subtle) Mickey references EVERYWHERE! We had this chicken sandwich on glove-shaped buns for lunch one day. My son also enjoyed some Mickey shaped chicken nuggets, but when my brother got a bright green "Mike Wazowski" (from Monster's Inc.) dessert, my son exclaimed, "Ewww...Yuck!" I guess somethings just should NOT be made into food :)

5:00AM Breakfast
While Disneyland was a lot of fun, it also wore my son out. He fell asleep one night without even eating dinner, and woke up the next morning at 5AM with his stomach growling. He found it quite entertaining to watch himself eat and kept making "eyes" at himself!

Need an Umbrella?
After Disneyland, we went to Odaiba, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay where you can find the coolest and the newest technologies. Our hotel, which was geared towards business travelers, had Umbrella Vending Machines at the entrances.

Tokyo Big Sight
Our hotel was across the street from Tokyo Big Sight, a huge building that's made up of 4 upside down pyramids. I went for a walk early in the morning and got a good use of my camera.

Yurikamome
You can get around Odaiba in an elevated train called "Yurikamome." Each station was decorated with its particular classic Japanese pattern. This station had a Sakura or cherry blossom pattern on the windows. Yurikamome offers you great views of the strange and unique architectures rising up all over the island.

Ready for Take-off
After Odaiba, we got on a bullet train and went to my parents' home near Nagoya. Unfortunately, at this point, my son developed a fever and we pretty much stayed put until it was time to head home. Ah, the ups and downs of traveling with a child! You always have to be ready to adapt your plans to his own schedule. But when I look back at all the pictures and see the smiles on my parents' and my son's faces, I know it was all worth it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

One Year


I'm sorry I haven't been here in a while, but I've been out of the country. We went back to Japan and visited Tokyo Disneyland! I have lots to tell you about that later, but first, I have to celebrate the one-year-anniversary of this blog!

Yup, today is my birthday, which means my blog is celebrating its birthday, too. I started this blog a year ago with the hope that it will help me "figure out who I really am instead of what other people want me to be." ... So, did it?

Well, I can't really answer that directly because my definition of "figuring out who I am" has changed during the past year. A year ago, I thought that finding out who I am meant knowing my strengths as well as my faults and being comfortable with it. For example, being able to say, "I'm not a good cook, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it."

I've stopped calling myself a bad cook in the past year, though, because I've come to realize that labels are just that. Labels. Whether I'm a good cook or a bad cook depends on who's tasting the food. I mean, think about it - even the best sushi chefs would've been looked upon as complete lunatics by the majority of the world just a few decades ago!

Now, when I try to define who I am, I think of the little baby who came into this world 31 years ago today. The human being in its purest form, with no artificial labels and all the potential to be absolutely anything. Deep down, I am still that person, and in that sense, who I am is no different than any other person living today. And every single one of us still have all the potential to be most anything we want to be.

All the rest is just what we like or dislike at the moment. I currently don't cook well because I don't enjoy cooking now. But if I ever decide that I want to be a better cook, I can always learn how. Same can be said about my photography. I enjoy taking photos right now, but I don't have to like it tomorrow. And just because I stop liking photography doesn't mean that I become any less "me".

Now that I think back, it's strange that I chose to call my business "SonoSono Studio". As I mentioned in my profile, I chose it because it helps remind me that "I am who I am." But in actuality, I didn't know the true meaning of that particular phrase at the time that I chose it. I like the name more than ever though, and I'm also glad that my given name Sono means "I am" in Italian.

So where does my blog come into all of this? Not in an obvious way. After all, I didn't mention any of these ideas on the blog during the past year. Yet, figuring out who I truly am was (is) a long and slow process, and tossing around and editing potential blog posts inside my head definitely made me test my idea of who I was.

So, even though I found most of my thought process too personal to reveal publicly on this blog, I guess I can still say that this blog was an essential part of figuring out who I am.

Thank you all for reading these ramblings during the past year, and I hope you'll continue to come back for more!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I ♥ B&W too!



Many of my 52 week challenge photos so far have been full of color, so this one might look like I'm doing something out of character. But the truth is, I'm a fan of black and white photography too. I just find them hard to do because color is such an important part of my life.

I do think black and white photography brings out a different level of beauty though, and had always wished that I could do it well. As I mentioned earlier, I was also having a hard time taking good photos of flowers, so I somehow managed to overcome 2 of my challenges in this one shot!

I don't know if this was just a fluke or me getting over the initial hump, but I know for certain that I'll keep trying to do more of these :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You Know What They Say About Apples Falling...

I ♥ Color A couple of years ago, I got this set of craft scissors because I'm a sucker for crafty things, and I'm a TOTAL sucker for crafty things that come in a rainbow of colors!

I don't scrap book, so I haven't used them for much - other than just cutting paper for the sake of cutting and marveling at the neat squiggly cuts that they create! I'll admit it, these scissors are in my possession for the sole purpose of making me happy. Just being able to look at them and play with them makes me happy!

Well, recently, I decided my son was old enough to handle scissors, so I handed him a pair and some paper destined for recycling.

Let me tell you, he is just as enamored with these scissors as I am! He has to play with them at least once a day, and he'll arrange and rearrange the scissors until he likes the color combo. Then he'll cut, and cut, and cut until the room looks like a parade went through and dumped a boatload of confetti.

Sure, clean-up time is a bit overwhelming, but he's pretty good about helping me pick up. Plus, I'll take confetti over endless hours of cars and trucks and trains any day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Children's Day

Kabuto
Today, May 5th, is "Tango no Sekku" in Japan. It's the boy's equivalent of "Hina Matsuri" that I mentioned back in March.

Instead of dolls, we display a small battle helmet called Kabuto as well as Koi Nobori, which are wind socks shaped like Koi fish. I remember being petrified of them both when I was little! Kabuto, by its nature is meant to intimidate, and Koi Noboris can be quite large. They often have golden eyes with red streaks, and I always thought they looked angry.

Now that I look at them as an adult, though, I think they are quite elegant. My son's Kabuto has intricate floral details while maintaining to appear masculine. And Koi Noboris are quite majestic swimming in the blue sky.

Although it's not meant to be, fighting with my brother was also a May 5th "tradition" in our house! After WWII, the government decided to make May 5th a national holiday, and quite unfortunately, named it Children's Day. I always felt it was unfair that boys got the spotlight on "Children's" Day, while my brother always argued that girls already had their own day in March. I'm sure that same "tradition" played out throughout Japan again this year!

Monday, May 3, 2010

52 Week Challenge: Week 17

Gateway to Heaven
This week, I was determined not to scramble on Sunday to shoot a photo for my 52 week project. I pulled out my camera on Wednesday with an image in mind. The condition was perfect. It was a sunny day, so there were plenty of natural light, which I prefer to use. My son was taking a nap, so there were no distractions. Yet, in the end, I didn't like any of the photos that I took.

The one above, on the other hand, was taken on a whim. I had brought the camera upstairs to recharge the batteries and had forgotten all about it. I only saw it when I went back up to help my son go to bed. I picked it up and took a few pictures in very dim lighting (only 2 nightlights), and I didn't think much of it while I was taking it.

It was only when I started changing the orientation of the photo in Photoshop that I finally saw the archway. The gateway to heaven.

And I don't mean that in just the literal sense. When things suddenly click like that, I do feel like I got a chance to glimpse heaven. Because the joy you feel then is not tainted by any expectations. It is just a pure delight.

Monday, April 26, 2010

52 Week Challenge: Week 16

In a Whirl
This is a perfect representation of what last week felt like. It just flew by in a blur!

The weird thing is that when I look at the individual things that I did last week, it's not that much different from any other week. But it feels like all those things happened 2-3 weeks ago, rather than within the past week. Strange!

Don't get me wrong, quite a few good things happened last week and I wouldn't change any of it, but I do feel a little off kilter... like I time traveled and skipped a few weeks without ever knowing it!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everyone! Today marks the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day celebrated.

I'm a firm believer that every little effort counts, so I do little things everyday to reduce the amount of resources I use. If my son makes a huge mess and his clothes need pre-washing, I bring them into the shower with me. Once the laundry is done, I hang them dry. When I boil pasta or broccoli for dinner, I let the water cool down and then give it to my plants.

One of my favorite "green" items I have right now are the shopping bags shown in the photo! They fold up to about the size of a wallet, so I carry them everywhere and whip them out whenever I shop. I got them at Christmas Tree Shops, but I'm sure you can make one easily if you are handy with a sewing machine. (Unfortunately, I am NOT! LOL)

The best part is, these small gestures take very little effort AND save you money!

What kind of things do you do to help the Earth? I'd love to find out!

Also, if you don't know about them already, please visit sites such as care2.com, The Rainforest Site, and Red Jellyfish to make a small difference everyday!

P.S. If you add salt to the water when you boil vegetables and/or pasta, please don't give it to your plants! My mother insisted that I mention this :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

52 Week Challenge: Week 15

Blushing PetalThere's one thing I've learned in the last couple of weeks - It's hard to take good photos of flowers! Seriously, I keep taking picture after picture of flowers in the neighborhood, but once I come home and look at them on my computer, my first reaction is, "Eh..." They all end up looking ordinary at best, down right boring at their worst.

It's like they emit this charming energy that can't be captured in a photograph. You have to be there in person to experience it. Though I have managed to take a flower-related photo that I liked this week, it's still not the actual flower. Just the petals.

The pear tree in front of our house is shedding its flowers now, and there are literally pools of white petals where we normally see puddles of rain water. As I crouched down low to inspect them, I noticed that a lone petal from a cherry tree on the far end of the street had somehow found its way and settled on top.

I just found that to be such a soft, lovely sight even though many of the petals were getting old and shriveled. It's a sure sign that Spring is not going to last too much longer, but it was gorgeous while it was here!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

52 Week Challenge: Week 14

Birthday Cake

I'm getting later and later in posting these 52 Week challenge photos, but I do take the pictures during the allotted week ;)

This week was a bit of a struggle though, and I had to make do with a photo I took Sunday night. As late as it could be! It's a left over slice from my hubby's ice cream birthday cake. Thus the water droplets on the sprinkles...

Since I wasn't too happy with the original shot, I played around with it in Photoshop and turned everything sepia except for the sprinkles. In the end, I don't think you could really tell that I did all that work. Oh well! You can't hit the ball out of the park every week.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sneak Peek: New Project



A little while ago, I mentioned that I was sorting through lots of beads and getting ready to work on a new line of products. Well, I got side tracked after that, but I'm back at it again and have a photo to show you. I wonder if you can tell what it is!

I don't want to reveal exactly what it is yet, but I'm tentatively calling this new line "Jewelry for Your Home". I haven't seen anything like it before personally, so I don't even know if there is a proper name for them.

Anyway, I'm working on more colors and more different styles, so stay tuned!

Monday, April 5, 2010

52 Week Challenge: Week 13

Old Bike WheelWhee! Yesterday, I actually got a chance to walk around and take photos, without my son OR my dog tagging along! I definitely enjoyed the fresh air, the warm spring sun, and most of all, freedom. I know, I know, the photo doesn't show any sign of spring at all, but it's what caught my eye...

About 3 weeks ago, we had a massive storm that took down numerous trees and did all kinds of damage. Ever since then, I've been noticing many strange sights. Clean up have been very slow, so there are still trees down everywhere, and random objects sitting around on sidewalks. The shoreline, especially, have a treasure trove of old rusty things and other astonishing collections of human pollution.


In spite of that, though, Mother Nature is showing her tenacity and spring colors are everywhere. Check out these daffodils! The tree right next to them was uprooted in the storm, lifting them up in the air. But they're still blooming as if nothing happened. Aren't they amazing?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Monochromatic Raibow Treasury



Treasury time again! I had so much fun doing the celery treasury that I had to do it again :) I had this one ready to go, and finally managed to get one. I just love colors! Especially the entire color spectrum!

Also, don't forget, I'm doing a Etsyversary Sale this weekend in my Etsy store!! I'm offering woldwide free shipping, plus 20% off my Spiral Chain Maille bracelets.

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Etsy Store is A Year Old!



Holy Molly, how time flies! Exactly one year ago today, I signed up for an Etsy account and started listing items. To celebrate, I created this fun and colorful bracelet! It was inspired by the colors of confetti.

And of course, you can't have an Etsyversary without a sale! I'm offering free shipping on all items for the month of April, even for international customers, so please stop by my store and browse around!

But wait! There's more!! (I've always wanted to say that. LOL) For this weekend only, I've marked down ALL of my spiral chainmaille bracelets! So you can get the Confetti bracelet above for 20% off. Or my Everything Is Coming Up Roses bracelet shown in the banner, or my Something Blue bracelet, or any other spiral chain bracelets. If you don't like the color combinations you see, get the Custom bracelet and choose your favorite colors! But only through April 4th, so hurry!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

52 Week Challenge: Week 12

Glittering BaubleI found this shiny bauble in the most unlikely place - on a car! It's the tail lamp, to be exact.

I never thought I would take pictures of cars but here it is. I saw it glittering and shimmering in the sun and was attracted like a crow who loves collecting shiny objects!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ode to My Grandfather

If you've been reading this blog, you know that I'm kinda sorta addicted to Flickr! I feel like photos express myself more purely, without all the over-thinking and editing that goes on when I'm trying to express myself in words. It's the best way to convey the sense of awe and wonder that I feel about the extraordinary details in ordinary objects. And I hope that when he grows up, my son will look at the photos I took of him and realize just how much I love him.

But photography isn't just a way to express myself for me. It's a way for me to reconnect with my maternal grandfather. He loved photography, and he's the one that introduced me to the world beyond snapshots. I can still picture this one photo he took of fall leaves in a stream. It took my breath away and awakened something within, even though I didn't know it at the time.

Now, you might think, from what I've written so far, that we had a great relationship. We didn't. I was petrified of him and I might say that the fear bordered on hate. There are many pictures that he took of me in which I'm frowning or giving him the same cold, icy look I have in the picture shown.

I didn't even know why or care to find out why I felt that way. I was still very young, and I just instinctively knew that I did. And I continued to feel that way until his death, when I was about 10.

Then, something happened. I looked at my grandmother, whom I liked very much, and felt the same fear and disgust I felt when I used to look at my grandfather. And it hit me... I was afraid of her because she was now the oldest person I knew, and oldest meant that she was the closest to death. And the fear that I had felt around my grandfather had actually been fear of death!

The sense of guilt I felt then was immense. I never got to know my grandfather, the person, because I had unfairly allowed my misconception about death to judge his character.

I lived with that guilt for over 15 years. What saved me was the photo I showed above. I was looking at it and was thinking about how I openly admitted that I did not like him, and yet, he still treated me like a princess. Whenever we were visiting, he would often come home from work with a little package from Sanrio. I remember he even brought home a flowery dress once, which was totally out of character and surprised everyone. I mean, imagine, a 70-year-old man in a suit and a tie, walking around the children's department looking for something pink!

And as I was remembering this, it occurred to me, "If that's not unconditional love, I don't know what it is." That elusive unconditional love that everyone seeks - I had it, and I didn't even know it.

This revelation actually made me feel worse, and I started bawling like a little child. But something within told me that it was OK. He loved me unconditionally, and he forgives me for that too. I like to think it was the part of the DNA that we both share. After 15+ years, I was finally free of the lingering guilt and felt closer to my grandfather than I ever had.

And now, every time I pick up my camera, I tap into that shared DNA and our shared love for photography. Although it's impossible to reconnect with him in the physical world, I feel more connected with him at a much deeper level when I'm taking photos. It's almost a spiritual experience rather than just a way to document what I see.

Well, this turned out to be more of a book than an ode, but I wanted to share with you why photography is such an important part of my life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's finally spring!

Pure Luck

Looks like the long snowy winter is finally coming to an end. Don't get me wrong, I actually love snow. But this winter, it snowed a little bit too much. Even for me. And I used to live in Rochester, NY. Of course, back then, I never had to shovel the snow...

Anyway, back to the point! The weather has been just about perfect for the last couple of days, and I'm starting to notice little buds on branches. Everyone seems to be out and about, from kids running around in playgrounds to just people in general coming out of hibernation.

Yesterday, my son and I were playing outside when this lady bug graced us with its presence. I don't know where they go during the winter, but I'm definitely happy that this one came out to enjoy the spring sun. I can't help but feel lucky that it allowed me to take a picture like this!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Glass Half Full?

Is the glass half full or half empty? You hear that question a lot when someone's talking about optimists and pessimists. I've never bought that as an accurate way to judge someone. Maybe it's because the first time I was ever asked that question, I answered "half empty," and was made to feel horrible for being a "pessimist."

But really, people are so much more complex than that, and just because you lean towards "half empty" doesn't mean you are an Eeyore. Take, for example, a person who says "That glass is only half full," and a person who says "That glass is only half empty." Which one is an optimist now?

Personally, I think I'm still a "half empty" person. But after I look at the glass a little while, I'm likely to say "But just look at the light dancing on the water! It's really beautiful." Or "Wow, it's amazing how the water distorts the items behind the glass. If the glass was completely full or completely empty, I probably would've never noticed it."

Yup, I may be a bit of a pessimist at first, but I always find a silver lining in the end. And I'd rather be the that way than be an "optimist" who always says, "That glass is half full, but I wish it was completely full," or "I'd rather it was filled with soda than water."

Anyway, what triggered this little rant? My 52 Weeks Challenge photo. I think it's a perfect example that sometimes, you'll run into a silver lining if you just stick it out. This week, I was having trouble finding something that inspired me. Finally, I just stacked two of my son's toy cups on the floor, just like the picture on the left. I wasn't expecting much, but when I got close to it and played around with the camera setting, the result was breathtaking!

So please, don't judge me on the first impression! I'm really an optimist at heart, but sometimes, I need a little more time to find that optimism within! :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sorting...Sorting...Sorting...



If you've noticed that I haven't been posting much on this blog, or over at Etsy for that matter, you are right. I've been busy sorting.

I got a giant box full of new beads for a brand new line of items that I've been planning to make. They are actually acrylic beads, and they all came strung in an assortment of colors. Well, I don't know about you, but I HAVE to have them all sorted by color before I can start working on anything new.

So, I've been sorting through thousands, if not tens of thousands of beads! I can see the end of the tunnel now, and I'm excited that I'll soon get to actually create something with these! I'll keep you updated on the progress, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hina Matsuri

Hina Matsuri

Today, March 3rd, is Hina Matsuri in Japan. It lietrally translates to "Doll Festival", but it's a day to celebrate and wish for the health of girls in the family.

We display a set of dolls called Hina-Ningyo. Although some lucky girls have a full 7-tier set with lots of accessories and servant dolls, mine were just a pair. One of the emperor and one of the empress. Still, I loved my Ohinasama, and it was one of those days that you felt really special.

While I don't have my dolls to display, I still couldn't resist getting some sweets at Mitsuwa, the Japanese Supermarket. Hina Matsuri sweets are just so pretty! The kanten jellies pictured has always been one of my favorites. They are somewhere between jello and gummies, something that I haven't encountered anywhere else.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

52 Week Challenge: Week 8

In His Eyes

This photo was nearly impossible to take! Even though my son was sitting down, when you get that close, any minor movement completely throws the focus. And for the same reason, I couldn't use a tripod, so I had to hold the camera as steadily as possible. As if that's not frustrating enough, my camera has been acting up lately, and it doesn't always take a picture when I ask it to!

I've always loved my son's eyes, though, so I was pretty determined to get a good picture before he grew up and his eyes matured. In fact, I've been working on the concept for months. I'm pretty happy with this one, but I may try it again later with a different lens.

Flickr is definitely bringing out the camera geek in me! :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Celery Green Treasury



I guess I was in a rather snarky mood when I wrote the last post, but I'm spreading a more positive energy today! I managed to grab an Etsy treasury, so I thought I'd share it with you. Hope you enjoy my celery-colored finds, and do give some love to the shops featured :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

You Know There's Too Much Snow....


...when even snow plows get stuck in the snow! Well, it probably wouldn't have gotten stuck if the driver had obeyed the traffic sign. But apparently, this one read my previous post about snow plows always pushing snow to the same side of the street, so he decided he's going to go the wrong way on a one way street.

Bad decision! He couldn't make it up the incline at the end, and the wheels started spinning around. He probably would've made it through just fine if he had just come down the other way and allowed gravity to do the work.

So now, all the men in the neighborhood are trying to shovel him out. There was even another plow that came and tried to push him up the hill, but that didn't seem to work either. I just hope he's not going to back into that pole right behind him. Because if he does, it's coming straight down on our house!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quilted Goodies




Whee! I won a blog contest! Well, I was actually one of the 3 winners because Michelle of While the Cat's Away was too generous to choose just 1 winner.

You might remember Michelle from one of my Newbie Monday posts. She has an Etsy shop called The Quilted House, where she carries some unique quilted gifts. I won a set of lovely trivets, and she even included a bonus bookmark! I also bought something else from her, but I can't show it to you because it's going to my mother and I know she reads this blog :) I assure you, though, that it's very lovely and innovative!

If you like what you see, please do visit her store and her blog! You won't find a nicer blogger/seller!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow!

Melt My Heart

Although we definitely didn't get as much as Washington D.C., we did get about a foot of snow here in Staten Island yesterday. My son wanted to shovel the snow from the moment he woke up, so after a quick breakfast, we headed out.

At that point, the snow still wasn't that bad. We had maybe 2 inches or so, and we shoveled our sidewalk as well as our neighbors' on either side. (Mainly because I couldn't get my son to go back into the house.) Then, it started snowing more, and more, and it never really stopped until almost midnight. Thankfully, my husband came home early, so I didn't have to go back out there again, but he had to shovel 3 times during the evening hours!

But we're actually lucky compared to our neighbors across the street. We live on a narrow one way street, so when the plow comes through, they always push the snow to the opposite side of the street. I swear, their snow piles are always twice as tall as ours! You don't really think about things like that when you are buying a house, but it does make a HUGE difference!

By the way, the footprints in the photo are mine, not my son's. That's right, I have hearts on the bottom of my boots! I'm only 4'10", so I wear size 2 shoes. I try to find as "adult-looking" shoes as possible, but sometimes, my footprints give away my secret :)

Oh well. At least I got to take an appropriate picture for Valentine's week!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

E x h a u s t e d !



So, vacations are supposed to be nice and relaxing, right? Well, not when you travel with a 3-year-old boy!

My husband recently won a free trip to Las Vegas, so we thought maybe it'll be a nice break from the snow. We flew back from Las Vegas on Tuesday morning at 7:30 AM (Great idea Hubby!), and let me tell you, I'm STILL exhausted!

Las Vegas is tiring enough when you are by yourself. There's a lot of walking from one place to another, and all that noise, smoke, and flashing lights can sap the energy right out of you.

But I also had to share my bed with my son, which meant getting kicked in the head, back, and chest all night long. Then, on top of that, he never adjusted to the time difference, so we were up at the crack of dawn.

Have You Ever Seen...

I could go on about having to carry around a mountain of extra stuff, but let's just move on to the good. I'm not a gambler, so the highlight of the trip for me was going to Red Rock Canyon. It was just Gorgeous! There's a 13 mile loop that you can drive through, and the scenery changed every minute! One minute the mountains were red, then yellow the next, and then striped after that. There was even a little snow on the ground, which is very rare in Nevada.

My son enjoyed going to the Children's Museum, and he also loved the dolphins at the Mirage. By the way, have you ever seen a dolphin from the front? They look pretty funny don't they? Like a funky starfish! :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Toddler's Understanding of Existence


This morning, as we were eating breakfast, my son and I were playing footsie. Or more accurately, he was kicking my thigh. I asked him if he could see his feet, and he replied "No" because he was sitting on his high chair with a tray. He tried pointing his toes, but still, his legs weren't long enough to see his feet beyond the large tray.

Suddenly, he got a very concerned look on his face and said, "Mommy, something's wrong! My feet. I can't see!" Apparently, this was the first time he thought really hard about what happens to the parts of the body that he cannot look at directly.

I assured him that I could see his feet and that everything was OK, but he still seemed worried. So I asked him if he can wiggle his toes, and told him that even when he can't see his feet, he can feel them. Reassured that his feet are still attached to him, my son went back to eating.

But this got me, in turn, thinking about what a strange world we live in, and also about other things that my son cannot see. Like angels. And God. If you can't see God, how do you know if He exists or not?

I hope that by the time my son is old enough to ask that question, I'll know how to answer him. In the mean time, I'm thankful that he exists. Every inch of him.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spoon Monument


Spoon Monument
Originally uploaded by SonoSono Studio
My photo for week 3 of the 52 week challenge.

I took a picture of a spoon in a coffee mug. It kind of reminded me of the Washington Monument in DC, so I'm calling it Spoon Monument.

The spoon is actually from my paternal grandparents' house, both of whom passed away when I was still very young. That means the spoon is at least 30 years old, probably much older.

I guess it's kind of appropriate that I made a "monument" out of it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tunnel Vision


This past weekend, we ended up making an impromptu trip to Ikea. We found a lovely duvet cover for $15, plus a set of bed sheets for $6! So now, it feels like I got a brand new bed for just $21 total. :) Pretty good deal, huh?

We also bought a cloth tunnel for my son, since he loves crawling through them like all other children. Initially, I pictured my son and my dog racing through it, but once we brought it home, I found it was so much more than just a tunnel!

First of all, it's a great exercise machine. My son often requests that I crawl through with him, but since it's made for a child, I have to slither rather than crawl. This works out muscles in places you didn't know existed.

Once you go in there though, you kind of understand why kids love tunnels. It shuts out all the clutter in the room, so it feels calming and relaxing. I think it'll be a great place to meditate when you are feeling a bit overwhelmed. In fact, the first time I put my dog in the tunnel, she curled up in there rather than walk through it.

Of course, as you can see in the above photo, it also turned into a black hole that sucked in all the toys my son can get his hands on! Thankfully, he helped me clean up afterward, and he hasn't done it since. The funny thing is, the room looked much cleaner when all the toys were stuffed in there because, once again, you couldn't see the clutter! So now, I'm thinking that this might be a great trick to use when I need to "clean up" in a hurry!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Blueberries


Blueberries
Originally uploaded by SonoSono Studio
Now that I've joined Flickr, I'm hooked! :) I even decided to give myself a bit of a challenge, and joined a group called 52.2010. We're supposed to share 1 photo a week, which is much more do-able than 365!

So here's my entry for Week 2. My son is in love with blueberries right now, and will eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I let him.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Flickr


Paper Whites
Originally uploaded by SonoSono Studio
I've been thinking about it for a long time, but I finally opened up a Flickr account! Now, I'll get to share not only my newest jewelry, but also some pieces that I made a long time ago, and not available for sale.

Plus you'll be seeing some photographs of Japan and Tucson that I've taken over the years! They've been sleeping in my super old computer, so it's about time they saw the (virtual) light of the day!

First up, though, is the newest photo of my Paper Whites. I planted them just before Christmas, and they are starting to bloom already!

You can view my Flickr account here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sonosonostudio/