Crochet Mini Bags

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These crochet mini bags are the perfect size for daily handheld things, like snacks, lunches,  phones, or cosmetics.  I bought 3 different kinds of yarn; green, orange, and ivory of 100% Peruvian Highland Wool to make bags in each colour.  As I was making the crochet bag, I realized I did not have enough yarn, so I decided to combine the colours.

This is a star shaped crochet stitch, so a star shaped pattern can be seen in the bag.

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The insides of the bags are lined with similarly coloured fabric and Kokobiyori’s logo.

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Besides the crochet mini bags, I made a crochet doughnut shaped pillow for Haru, which she loves!       As I was making the mini bags, she was lying on the pillow keeping me company.

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“Oai dekite ureshii desu” – from the book “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet”

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“Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” is a book about the love story of young Henry and Keiko set in the World War II era, in Seattle.  The setting is actually in my neighborhood and I even occasionally go to the Panama Hotel tea room in which many important scenes take place.  I love this book because the setting is familiar to me and I can see how it was seventy three years ago.  But most of all, I love the innocent love of twelve year old Henry and Keiko, despite their different cultural background and  the war turmoil.

The title of this post “Oai dekite Ureshii desu.” is Japanese and translates to “How are you, beautiful?” in the book.  A more general translation would be “It is nice to meet you.”   I like the way this phrase was incorporated in the book, and how it was used to strengthen the bond between Henry and Keiko.

The tea room is in the Panama Hotel which is located in the International District where there are many Asian restaurants, groceries, and other businesses.  The interior of the tea room; like the brick walls, antique furniture, the tea sets, and subtle background music are the epitome of calmness and serenity.

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On the brick wall, there are pictures of Japanese Americans who used to own businesses in Nihonmachi (Japan town) before they were sent to the internment camps during World War II.  Part of the floor is made of glass so that we can view the preserved bath house.

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In the tea room, we can enjoy a variety of different kinds of tea and sweets.  They also have Japanese style sweets and my favorite is the green tea roll cake with sweet red bean paste.  Unfortunately, they did not have the roll cake when I visited, so I had a sugar cookie and a cup of Darjeeling tea instead.

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For me, drinking tea in the Panama Hotel allows me to submerge myself in both the past and the present of my culture.

Hand Warmers – Part 2

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This is my second post about hand warmers. After knitting my last pair, I decided to try out three new designs. One is grey, another is orange and yellow patterned, and another is an ivory color with eyelet stitches.

I like to knit hand warmers because I don’t need much yarn to make a pair and it only takes a few hours to make.  Once I decide the design, I can knit hand warmers in various colors.

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I especially like the off white colour because it gives the essence the snow.

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Happy New Year! 明けましておめでとうございます。

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Happy New Year!

This is a traditional Japanese new year food called “Osechi” which is set in boxes with a variety of small dishes.  When I was a child, I was not crazy about Osechi but I now miss this traditional food, especially since I am older and away from my parents.  I skipped some of the foods because they are simply too expensive in America, like fish cake (kamaboko).  I enjoyed Osechi and mochi with my family on this new year’s day breakfast.

May this year be a good one for everyone!

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Thank You and Happy New Year!

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It has been almost  2 months since I started my blog, Koko and Haru – Kokobiyori.  I have posted about the crafts I made, the foods I’ve enjoyed and the places I have discovered.  I have also discovered other people’s wonderful blogs and it quite a joy to read them. Thank you for viewing, liking, and commenting on my posts.  It means a lot to me and constantly encourages me and inspires me to keep pursuing my passions through my blog.  I look forward to blogging Koko and Haru – Kokobiyori in 2015.

Thank you very much and Happy New Year!

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Quilted Pot Holders

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Since I craft often, I have many left over fabric scraps. Although they are small, they have patterns that are much too cute to throw away. After a bit of brainstorming, I decided to make quilted pot holders with the leftover fabric. I sorted the fabrics by color and matched them with complementing patterns.  This trial and error process of matching different swatches of colors and designs is one my favorite parts of crafting.

I made two kinds of pot holders; one with pink flowers and polka dots on brown fabrics and another with an herb pattern and blue polka dots on green fabrics.   One side of the pot holder has a pocket so that I can insert my hand to hold a pan.  I included my “Kokobiyori” logo and attached a ribbon in the corner so that I can hang the holder on the side of the refrigerator.

The pot holder was easy to make, and became adorable Christmas presents for my friends.

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The Moomin House and Other Little Paper Crafts

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When I was a child, I loved crafting with little papers.  My grandma made small umbrellas with cigarette packages and my mother taught me how to make the classic paper crane with origami paper.  I made hundreds of adorable little paper cranes and flowers.  I measured and cut construction paper to make paper chains for my birthday party.  I drew princesses and cut them out to make paper dolls.  Nowadays, there are so many beautifully designed papers in craft stores, right at our fingertips, just waiting for me to start crafting things like handmade cards, scrapbooks, and ornaments. Like every Christmas season, I went to a craft store and bought some beautiful Christmas themed papers to get in the holiday spirit.

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I was inspired to make this blue house with a red roof by thinking of Moomin troll’s house.  Moomin troll is the main character in the Moomin books by Tove Jansson.  There was a TV animation of Moomin that I watched when I was a child.  Since I was young, I didn’t fully understand the story or the context, but the animations were beautiful and I remembered exquisite details, like the style of Moomin’s house.  The Moomin house and other little houses are perfect Christmas decorations for the mantle.

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My good friend who loves making cards lent me a die cut machine, with a variety of shaped dies.  I cut out different shapes using this machine from the patterned papers.  I thought that the cut outs were the perfect size to assemble some mobiles, so I made one with butterflies and another with whales.  Not only are they adorable, they intrigued Haru as well!

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Pike Place Market on a Saturday Afternoon

 

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On the weekend, I occasionally go to Pike Place Market by the waterfront in Downtown Seattle.  I sometimes buy flowers, fruits, or vegetables, but I usually just buy a snack and enjoy a stroll around the market to look for something interesting.  I love seeing all the vendors selling seafood, flowers, pastries, and arts & crafts.  I love seeing the street performers.  The market is full of a festive energy that mingles between the sellers, local shoppers, and tourists.

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The trip today began with a visit to see the Christmas trees being sold.

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There are so many wonderful foods sold in the market, but my favorites are the pot stickers and BBQ pork buns from a Chinese bakery, the croissants or lemon bars from a French style bakery, and the tamales from a Mexican deli.

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As we were walking around the market, we noticed a little friend bustling around on his little legs with just as much purpose as everybody else.

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After milling around the market, we headed to café to enjoy a cup of coffee and the croissants accompanied with apricot and raspberry jam.  It was a lovely Saturday afternoon.

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Hand Knit Leg Warmers

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Living in a city, I walk everywhere; to the Sunday Market, the café, the library, the park.  It is fun to simply walk around the city in search of a new shop or to go on a picnic with Cocoa and Haru in spring and summertime.  It is, of course, not as much as fun in the very cold winter.  Although we don’t have much snow, it is very wet and windy.  Therefore, I love wearing boots in the wintertime because they keep me warm and dry.  To dress up a simple pair of boots, I knitted leg warmers (brown with white lace & white with pink lace and white pon-pon) to match my boots.  This is one of my small tricks to make the cold wintertime a little more enjoyable.

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Waking up to a Winter Wonderland

 

written by Sakura, (my daughter)

The winter is one of the coldest, dreariest times of the year, but what makes up for it all is the snow. It doesn’t snow here much, but when it does, the whole neighborhood is transformed into a beautiful, peaceful wonderland. I woke up to see snow falling outside my window, and it instantly felt like I was waking up on Christmas morning.

Pulling on stockings and layer upon layers of clothing, a walk out into my quiet street was the first thing I did.

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The snow was beautiful, as was the breathless quiet of our usually bustling city neighborhood, but returning home and thawing out my freezing hands was arguably the best part. Not only this, but the steaming mug of hot cocoa I made was the perfect start to a lazy winter day.

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