Happy New Year!

2014

I hope this greeting hasn’t gone out of fashion yet. We’re still holding on to January, so it still counts! Happiest of New Years to you all!

Maybe you noticed I haven’t been ’round these parts lately. Or maybe you didn’t, that’s fine too. In either case — whew, Life! She gets away from me sometimes. It is crazy to think how the new friends/jobs/hobbies/routines that fill my days weren’t there a year ago. Thank Taco Tuesdays that they are all here now.

Sometimes I really miss Tokyo and the quiet-within-the-chaos life I had there, the creativity and adventure and amusing misunderstandings. But now it’s New York, and I feel good about the way Life has adjusted her settings. I work more and sew a little less, but I’ve also found a whole array of other things to try, like sports and books and cereal for dinner. Sometimes it just happens.

Do you ever binge watch Twin Peaks or eat hummus and bagels every day for a week and then realize you need a break? I think that happened to me and sewing. But slowly I feel myself coming back, finding a new balance. And, I really want a Rigel Bomber. 2015, let’s go!

Cheers for New Years! A happy and healthy 2015 to you all! 

Happy New Year!

The last weeks of 2013Happy 2014, dear friends!

2013 was a crazy whirlwind. I traveled, friends traveled to see me, I lost friends and grieved and traveled to be with people who were grieving too. And at the end of it all I threw everything we owned into boxes and moved back Stateside, with only a few weeks’ notice. I am tired just thinking about it again, though it was all worthwhile when we arrived in the US for a holiday season filled with family and fresh snow. We found an apartment in Brooklyn and were semi-settled before the Times Square ball drop. Thank you to everyone who carried a box, unpacked a box, or listened to me talk about boxes. I couldn’t have done it without you!

The new year holds many changes, no doubt. So cheers to us! To you and me and all of us on our journey through 2014. Here we go!

2014!

Giveaway winners

Thank you everyone for your kind notes regarding my move. It makes me a bit emotional to know you are all out there, cheering me on. Right now my suitcases are piled in the genkan for delivery to the airport, and it feels good to have them all packed.

But on to other important things: the giveaway winners! I added everyone’s name to a big list, numbered the list, then used a random number generator to choose 4. The winners are Tasha, Monique, Donna, and anneolinick from Instagram. Please send me your mailing addresses so I can send you my your stuff. Thanks so much!

Now that packing is done, on to the cleaning … anyone want to help me with that, too?

I want to give you my stuff. (A craft kit giveaway!)

– – This giveaway is now closed. – –

Things are getting crazy here my friends. In less than one week I’ll be leaving Tokyo. We are sleeping on the tatami floor and our apartment is filled with half-filled boxes and suitcases. I’m trying to balance my days packing with adventures around town, but struggling. I still have many karaoke songs to sing. It is happening way too fast.packing sucks.Most of my time this past week has been dedicated to making our belongings disappear. Between the two of us we are allowed 106 kilos in luggage, which may seem like plenty but I assure it you it is not. I have been begging everyone I know to please take my hangers/toasters/fabric bits I can’t bear to throw out.  

And now it is your turn. Of the six boxes I am shipping overseas, three are filled with craft supplies. *gulp*

These didn’t make the cut simply because I already have a set. (O_O) It is best not to ask why I ended up with duplicates (craft happens, people!). But my craft closet tragedy is your gain … let’s do a giveaway!

Win these kits!Kits #1 and #2 are cell phone charms. They have bells and pretty Japanese fabric. Each kit comes with supplies to make 3 clown or owl charms. They could also double as cute holiday ornaments.Win these kits too!Kits #3 and #4 are “cute key holders!” made from beads. I have no idea how they come together, so you’ll have to tell me how it goes.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment here, on Facebook, or on Instagram. Each comment is an entry, I’ll compile the comments, do a random selection, and ship four lucky winners each a kit. Comments close in 36 hours! (At midnight Nov 19th.) I’ll mail prizes on Wednesday Nov. 20th so winners, after you hear from me, please send me an address ASAP.

Thanks everyone! Now please, take my stuff.

Sweet Sayonaras

One of the things that transpired while I was on holiday was the final step in our plan to leave Japan.

It was a difficult decision and I struggle to explain why it suddenly feels like the right time. But, our jaunt in Tokyo was always meant to be temporary. I can’t express enough how grateful I am for the opportunity to live in and explore Japan, to have met so wonderful people, and to have spent my time doing things that I love: I started my own business and this blog, I learned how to sew my own clothing and how to speak Japanese, I now eat fish guts, play roller derby, and sing karaoke in public. I remember when I was on the plane flying to Tokyo — for the first time, to remain indefinitely — and I was served green tea. It tasted like dirt, and I panicked as I realized I couldn’t say more than arigatou. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Living outside of my element these few years has helped me to become more myself.

Shimokita side streets

And though I love my life here, the future awaits.

So I head westward! Toward the great city of New York to seek my fame and fortune resume my career in museum work. I’ll continue to embroider and sew and craft, so though the nature of this blog may change slightly, I’ll continue to share things that interest me, like sashiko, Japanese craft books, and the occasional bowl of ramen. Looking ahead, I’m excited to tap into all of the amazing resources New York offers, like the garment district and tacos.

There we have it. In 3 short weeks I’ll be on to my next thing. I hope you’ll come along!

To Tokyo, お世話になりました。本当にありがとうございました。

* * *

ps, I’m having a moving sale in my shop – use the coupon code SALE35 for 35% off your purchase ($10 min). Thanks!

Orange Dress

arijit in orange

On March 22nd I lost my dear friend Arijit. He battled colon cancer for two years in a very public, very honorable fight.

He was 32 and a PhD candidate at the School of Sustainability at ASU. He was feisty and passionate about the environment, food, and music. He liked to challenge me to think about why I do the things I do. I taught him about hotdish and we talked about our feelings and swore like sailors during rowdy impromptu dinner parties. The world is definitely lonelier without him.

Ari’s favorite color was orange and when we gathered with friends to celebrate his life, I wanted to be blazing in it. I made another Elisalex in linen, and dedicated the time I spent sewing my orange dress to reflecting on Ari, our friendship, and his life’s journey. Spending a few days alone with my sewing machine was the best way for me to honor him and to grieve the way I needed to. My heart was full and my hands were busy.

orange dressSo the blog takes a somber tone today to match the somber mood I have been feeling these past few months. I wanted to share about Ari because he constantly reminded us of how beautiful and interesting the world is and I am working to focus on those things rather than the sadness. But also because Ari loved thoughtful handmade things and making a dress or a cake or a hat, or whatever it is we make, are all ways to show our love for one another. It is a testament to how close you can feel to someone so far away. So I’ll keep making his tomato chickpea recipe, hand-stitched neckties for my husband, embroidered wedding gifts, and strive to show people how much I care about them.

Ari’s photo courtesy poopstrong.org.