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yay may.

Apparently, May is all about celebrating creative space anniversaries! This month I celebrated back-to-back weekends with Mischief (they turned 2!) and Craft + Work (they turned 1!). Happy creative space anniversaries to you both! Here’s a recap!

Mischief owners Laura and Julien are big on creating a space for their community – they live and work and raise their kid (and puppy!) in the neighborhood. I love being part of this space! At their two-year anniversary celebration there was cake, a free finger puppet craft for the family, a drank bar, and a few Mischief Makers (get it?).

For my set-up I brought my felt-lettered decor, flower crown bar, and surprise packs. And I met two fellow Mischief Makers – Tiffany of Paper and Scissor and Chelsey of Facet Handmade. It was a sunny day – perfect for outdoor hangs, and a styled, collaborative photoshoot. 🙂

Craft + Work owners Roberta and Abby opened their doors to creative workshops last year, and they invited some of their workshop instructors (that’s me, too!) to set up shop for their first anniversary. We also celebrated with all the cheese and crackers and baked goods and mimosas.

I spent the day with wonderful crew of ladies. Some were familiar faces – Cara of Cara Corey Designs (I took her blanket class a couple of years ago) and Jessica of J. Hannah co (we met at a pop-up in SF) – and new maker friends – Dana of Lovey Bug Designs, Preeti of Element and Mineral, and Christina of Coast Side Succulents.

Cheers to many more years, Mischief and Craft+Work! Thank you for fostering spaces for bringing creative communities together and for inviting me to be a part of it all!

sakura.

I went to Japan! Kicking off Japan posts today. 🙂 My number one reason to go to Japan in the Springtime: to see the sakura (cherry blossoms)!

I followed the 2019 Sakura forecast on the interwebs and picked Nagano as my prefecture of choice for spotting the blooms (it worked out with the dates we were able to travel). I monitored the forecast up until we left for Japan, just in case we had to change any trips. The timing was perfect!

We spotted so many different types of sakura. Here’s where we went:

Garyu Park, Suzaka, Nagano, Japan

The trees weren’t fully bloomed yet, but it was still worth the trip because the park was so peaceful. The reflection on the water made for some postcard-worthy shots. We enjoyed food on sticks from a local vendor and strolled around the pond.

Ueda Castle, Ueda, Nagano, Japan

Here, the trees were in full bloom. So impressive! We arrived in the afternoon so it was a bit crowded with both tourists and locals, but it was festive – food vendors lined the pathways, photographers had their super zoom lenses, and people were picnicking under the trees. We even chatted and snacked with a local Nagano-ian.

Joyama Park, Nagano, Japan

One last spot for sakura viewing. This one has to be my favorite in Nagano because the trees were in full bloom and it wasn’t crowded. There were just a handful of people; one girl was drawing sakura up close. What a lovely way to spend the morning. I swoon over this sakura-lined walking path! I didn’t want to leave.

Kenrokuen Park, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan

Just when I thought my cherry blossom chasing was over, they were still in bloom (falling from the trees at this point) at Kenrokuen Park in Kanazawa, Japan. We stopped here en route to Kyoto. The fallen petals were like pink snowfall. We enjoyed a meal under one tree, hung out under another tree, and I totes fangirled under this massive pink ‘weeping’ sakura tree (above). Meep, I want one!

I enjoyed seeing cherry blossoms in all stages – just before full bloom, full bloom, and after full bloom. There were sprinkles of cherry blossom trees all around Tokyo and Kyoto, too, as well mini sakura forests along the Shinkansen (bullet train) lines. My tip if you want to get up close without a car: visit the “popular” parks and gardens, and go early if you want the trees (mostly) to yourself.

PS I made a sakura-inspired crown (and matching boutonniere for Hubby) and got sakura nails for all of my sakura frolicking in Japan. Can you tell I’m a fan? 🙂

Do you love cherry blossoms, too? Share your favorite cherry blossom viewing spots.

what’s good in the ‘hood.

For our third wedding anniversary we made sure we kept our weekend free to celebrate, but then we were so busy with Craftcation (me), tennisings (Hubby), and Japan travels (more on this soon!) that we didn’t actually plan anything until the last minute. Whoops! But lucky for us, we live in the Bay Area where everyday can feel like a vacation and we thought up some last minute plans.

On Saturday, our anniversary eve, we picnicked at our wedding park (Live Oak). I prepped some snacks: roasted cauliflower and potatoes, dill cream cheese to go with the cutest heart-shaped lavash crackers, a cucumber dill yogurt salad (we had a lot of dill…), and leftover dumplings from breakfast. Plus beverages.

It was beautiful out and there were many people enjoying the warm weather. We admired the trees, Hubby rested in the sunshine, and I painted a little. Afterwards, we went to a favorite Japanese market (Tokyo Fish Market) because it’s fun there and I love markets.

On Sunday, our anniversary day, we hung out at one of our favorite cafes (East Bay Coffee Company) for breakfast, games, and watercoloring. We painted images from our Japan trip photo collection.

We swung by our favorite Japanese take out spot (Kyoto) for an afternoon snack and shopped for an anniversary plant at one of our favorite nurseries (Flowerland). We took home a Pilea peperomioides plant and named it Pepperoni.

Then we had dinner at a new-to-us Korean restaurant (Berkeley Social Club) which happens to be owned by the same guy who owns one of our favorite Korean restaurants (Surisan). Add this spot to the list!

Japchae over rice, gooey (cheese) corn topped with crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and served with shrimp puffs, KFC, and tofu salad. Plus, an Incheon Mule. I took many photos…

Cheers to favorites and cheers to another year of exploring together!

avfkw.

OMG, OMG. I finally visited A Verb for Keeping Warm. I stumbled in on a whim while I was on my way to grab some snacks next door. Such a good stumble – look at this place!

A wall of yarn, a wall of fabric, and everything in between.

They carry in-house dyed yarn – that’s like super local. There’s also yarn and fabric from all over the nation and world.

They produce their own line of DIY kits and sewing patterns. I want them all. Plus, there was inspiration everywhere. I liked that they had clothing samples for all their sewing patterns. You can even try the clothes on to see which fit is best before you commit to making it.

Ooh, there was dried indigo hanging all around, too. I’ve never seen a real indigo plant before! There is space for workshops, and I had little peeks into one of the dye studios (there are two studios!) and their natural dye garden. Dreamy…

My bounty! I bought my first sewing pattern, fabric for said sewing project, and assorted yarn and fabric swatches. The staff was super helpful answering all of my fabric/sewing questions when I was making my selections.

I will need to take another month-long vacation to work on my new projects list. Who wants to join me?

marbled leather.

My last class (😭) at Craftcation was leather marbled keychains, and it just so happened to be taught by Sadye Harvey of Temerity who teaches at Makers Mess. I attended her marbling night craft happy hour earlier this year and loved it, so I was excited attend another one of her classes.  

We used a lot of tools and materials for this project.

  • Vegetable-tanned leather
  • Trays
  • Water
  • Carageenan (a thickener)
  • Acrylic dye (for leather)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Alum (a mordant)
  • Resolene (a dye sealant)
  • Foam brushes
  • Precision knife or scissors
  • Ruler
  • Leather punch
  • Rivet and rivet press anvil
  • Mallet
  • Key rings

First, we cut out leather shapes. For shapes with a straight edge, I used a precision knife and ruler. For other shapes, I made a soft outline with a skewer stick and then cut with a precision knife. For anything that would become a keychain, we made sure to include a 2-inch tail at the top of our designs so they could be attached onto the key rings. We punched holes using a leather punch.

To prep the leather, we sprayed each piece with an alum solution. The alum draws the paint to the leather surface.

Then, it was time to prep the marbling baths. The trays were filled with water and carageenan, a thickener. Sadye provided a demonstration on how to obtain various marbling patterns. She taught us how to dilute the paint to the right consistency – the paint should dissipate on the water surface, not stay in one place or sink. She recommended to use between 3 and 6 colors for marbling projects. Any more and the paint may get muddy. Samples!

We each mixed paints and got to marbling! It was so fun to see everyone’s color palettes.

When placing the leather on the paint bath, we had to be careful not to introduce air bubbles or else it would leave a blank spot on the leather. After dipping, we rinsed off the slimy carageenan coat and painted on a thin later of Resolene, a dye sealant.

Once dry, we attached the leather pieces on key rings using rivets. Above left: Sadye’s work! Above right: my work! 🙂 With my extra leather pieces I plan to make gift tags. These are perfect for sharing…

I could make these all day! What a fun way to end my Craftcation experience. I cannot wait for next year! Who’s coming with me?

the tissue issue.

I recently refreshed my memory on how to make tissue paper flowers. It’s so easy and the results are so pretty I had to share! These would pair nicely with some piñata crafts, too. Here are a few: burro, piña, hearts.

Materials: tissue paper, string or staples, scissors

Layer 6-8 pieces of tissue paper. If starting with a large piece of tissue paper, fold into sixths or eighths. Cut all the folds. For larger-in-diameter flowers, use more layers of tissue paper.

Accordion fold the stacked tissue paper.

Snip two small triangles out from the middle. Secure with cord or staple.

Cut the ends with your desired flower petal shape (e.g., curved, pointed).

Gently separate the tissue layers and fluff. If you rip the tissue, no worries; just fluff a little more to hide the tears.

Attach to a piñata with cord or hot glue, or secure to walls for a fun backdrop. Oh! These would make cute Christmas tree decorations, too.

Try it out with different colors or sizes of tissue paper, or attach two or more flowers together to create mega flowers.

Want to make tissue paper flowers with me? Craft along tomorrow, Sunday, May 5, 10-10:15AM PDT on Instagram (check my live stories!).

screen printing.

You thought I was done posting about Craftcation classes? MUHAHAHA, nevarrr! Seriously though, I learned so many things! Screen printing was one of the craft workshops Hubby picked out for me. He thought it would be a useful skill for business gear or for making tennis team shirts!

The screen printing workshop was taught by Jenny Kraten. She taught us how to DIY a screen and gave us some insider tips on how to create a more sturdy set up later on. I’m really into it, but I’ll need an expanded craft budget. I would go crazy picking out paint colors alone!

We made small screens in class using simple materials: cardboard, precision knife, ruler, pencil, mesh, and spray adhesive. The screen has a 1″ border and the mesh was pulled taut across the frame in all directions, making sure there were no wavy bits.

For a stencil, I created a triangle pattern (easy to cut!). We used paper that was waxy on one side and dull on the other, cutting out patterns on the dull side. The waxy side goes face up / touches the ink.

We used plastic paint spatulas to pull the ink from the top of the stencil to the bottom. Pressure and angle (45 degrees) is key to getting a clean print. One pull is pro; two pulls may be needed if the design is bigger than the spatula. I printed first on paper for practice and then on a bandana for keeps. My neighbor tried my stencil, too, and printed a scarf.

Bonus activity: We got to use Jenny’s screen and stencil to print Craft Ninja on tote bags. I was all over this! After printing, we used hair dryers to set the ink.

I am definitely winning on all levels. I can see myself using the DIY method for smaller projects, like for gift making, and perhaps one day getting a bigger screen made for larger, special projects. Thank you to Jenny for sharing all her screen printing know-how and for making it fun and easy to recreate the process at home.

Have you tried screen printing? Tell me all your secrets!