Gifts for me and gifts for her

January 28, 2007 at 3:25 pm | Posted in All Finished Crafts, Craft - How-to's, Craft - Misc, Craft - People, Craft - Websites | 2 Comments

When I was still trying to get out of my dream on Friday morning, the DHL-man came, rang my door-bell and handed me a package: a package from Japan! ping sent me WAWA#46, her friend Mr “small” and a nice nice craft book. 😀 I was in such a good mood for the whole weekend even though I still need to fight with grammars and programs.

Being taller than Jo, WAWA appears to be the giant in the kingdom of my toy shelf. She can amazingly stand by herself without any external supports. Except the pink silk ears, most parts of this WAWA are from Kimono fabics. ping had done a great job matching the strips of each pieces so as to make the shapes fancier. I tried to knot her ears together. Unfortunately, her ears are not as long as they look like. 😛

Believe it or not, my favorite among ping’s works is always the series of Mr “Small”, which ping calls “little thing(小东西)”. Seeing this little creature brings me a bunch of joyful imagination.

I didn’t manage to take pictures of the package yesterday because I was working really hard to get the birthday gift done before Katya’s party. It was already dark before I can finish it. I can only take a few pictures after ironing. The pictures are a little ugly. 😦

The gift is made up of two parts: crocheted bookmars and a little pouch to hold the bookmarks. Katya claimed in the Xmas party that she loves books so that she went for the book giftcard in the gift exchange. Since I am not the only one there, I believed she was going to get some books as gifts. Therefore, it should be nice to have some bookmarks at the same time. She did get some books last night. 🙂 Actually, crocheted bookmarks are less time-consuming than the other gift ideas in my mind at the moment.

Katya also told me after the Xmas party she would go for the bear if she knew about the bear before the party. It would be no fun if I make the bear again. In addition, I also want to made something that can be used. Finally, I decided to use the same yarns for a pouch to hold the bookmarks and also to potentially hold something else.

I also tried something new. It’s like using crochet stitches to imitate knitting. It’s only slightly different from double crochets (dc). According to, it’s front post stitch. It seems there are still a lot of crochet techniques for me to explore.


January 26, 2007 at 12:19 pm | Posted in Craft - Misc, Misc. | Leave a comment

The past week was a little tight. Yesterday, I finally gave my another presentation for this semester. After the presentation, I have to immediately devote myself into two urgent projects and a pre-exam coming next week. The whole Feburary will be a hard time for me: no crafting, few blogging and a lot of reading.

There was something stuck in my mind for a while in the past few weeks. It was last week or the week before. When our Japanese collegue was talking about the terribly slow laser-printer for students in the dept., I suggested him to print the course material at the institute where he works as an RA. His response was it was not a good idea to use the printers there for such a purpose and he would rather stick to the slow printer in the student lab. I was a little surprised. Although the reason he chose not to print course materials at his work place should be applicable to anyone, few people can really do things following this “principle”. Most of people, including me, have been used to handle such problems in a probably wrong way.

Another reason that makes me considered so much about the colleague’s words is that something bad happened around the internet word, especially to my craft friends. Flickr sent out a notice to every user about scam links. People around flickr are talking about unauthorized uses of the pictures in flickr. On the other hand, the design of ping‘s WAWAs as well as designs of some other famous softies were found to be copied by a Chinese crafter for her softies selling on taobao, the largest competant of ebay in China. J’s tutorial pictures appeared on some unauthorized websites AGAIN. We also found out one of these websites is almost a huge base of so-called “ebooks”, which are indeed unauthorized pictures scanned from craft books. It seems they try really hard to attract users by allowing uploads of a whole book. Sooner or later, it would become nothing crafty but books. In addition, I found a picture from MSL reedited in Korean.

For those working hard on their OWN crafts/designs, these are really desperate…….

Maywa Denki

January 21, 2007 at 11:56 am | Posted in Craft - People, Craft - Websites | Leave a comment

Am I the last one to hear about this group “Maywa Denki”? Last night, when I was reading a new romance about a toy designer, I found out the author claimed in the postscript that the story, especially the toys, was inspired by the Japanese group called “明和電機“(a. k. a. Maywa Denki). After looking into a few websites, I think they are really special working in such a way to promote their arts and designs. It would be nice to share with you in case I am not the last one to know them. Here is a short introduction from ICC:

Maywa Denki is an art unit formed in 1993 by two brothers, Masamichi and Nobumichi Tosa, who appointed themselves “president” and “vice president,” respectively. Since then they have engaged in activities that go beyond the conventional framework of art, describing their works as “products,” calling their live performances “product demonstrations,” appearing on TV and in the mass media, and producing commercial products. In 2001 the younger brother Nobumichi became president.

Unfortunately, their official website is down, but you can still take a look at the for their toy series of knockman family. There are a few videos that can give you some ideas about how the toys work. My favorite is Colon, which amazingly integrates chimes into such a small unit.

Of course, the instruments they use in their performance are much more complicated than the toys. For instance, the wings-like one makes them look like human from the future. Their “absurd” performance filled the windy Sunday with laughs. I hope it can cheer you up too. 🙂

Knots over walnut

January 12, 2007 at 6:04 pm | Posted in All Finished Crafts, Craft - Books, Craft - Websites | 1 Comment

I am afraid to claim this is something traditional even though the techniques are definitely hundreds years old. Before I can talk about this “thing”, I think it is neccessary to give a brief introduction about “玉”(Yü), which is usually clumsily translated into “Jade”.

The word is actually defined as “the beautiful stones(石之美者)” in ancient China. As “王” means the king, adding a dot to the king leads to the precious stone the king wears. It’s a general term for many kinds of precious stones, including jades, marbles, agates, which are sometimes symbols of wealth. Women wear jewelleries made of these beautiful stones, while men usually use hang them on their belt. There are different ways to hold the stone with threads, for example drilling on the stone. Chinese knotting(a.k.a Chinese macrames), just like what I did, is one of the best ways to handle the ones which are not suitable for drilling.

The differences between my “thing” and the ancient ones are about the materials:

1. I don’t have any beautifuly stones at all. I have no idea why I use walnut. 😛
2. They usually use satin cords, but I use my crochet cotton for knotting.

Totally weird materials result in something too “Kuso“. I would rather use it as a tool for self-massage than as decoration. ^^
The techniques used in this project are quite simple: a few reef knots (flat knots平结 in Chinese), one of the key knots of general macrames, and a cross knot at the end. Here is a nice English website about Chinese knots.In addition, Ondori published a nice book (ISBN4277490263) of knotting accessories using hemp cords a few years ago. You can find detailed step-by-step instructions in this book. 🙂

Have a nice weekend!

*A la cartonnage

January 10, 2007 at 2:03 pm | Posted in Craft - Blogs, Craft - Books, Craft - How-to's, Craft - People, Craft - Websites | 9 Comments

cartonnageFrench is just a languge too hard for me to learn. It seems to be a fashion to name one’s products with French names. Or it is only true in Japan?! Maybe it is much more romantic using a French name than English ones. Or, they tried to imply the techniques are from France? Since le duvet deux, I’ve seen quite a few Japanese crafting websites using French names. I saw another one recently. That’s Yumiko Komizawa(駒澤由美子)’s A la cartonnage.

As shown in the picture on the left, both Yumiko’s works and her website are about cartonnage (dont confused with Egyptian mummies), namely fabric(mostly cotton)-covered cartons. The technique can be traced back to France in 19th centry. There is a basic tutorial of how to make such nice boxes. In the galleries of Yumiko and some other people, you can find various applications of this technique.

Yumiko has published 3 books last year. My favorite is the first one, especially the box for coasters on the cover. I have to admit I like the coasters more than the box. 😛


The second one(ISBN430928065X) applies mainly Hawaii-style fabrics for cartonnages. No ideas about the third one. Thanks to a Chinese crafting blogger zoe(?) who are living in Japan, I’ve got a bunch of nice links related to this topic, including Japanese and French ones. (If you are interested in x-stitches/embroidery, dont miss one of zoe’s archives.)

1.Shops and tutorials

Atelier M
Fabric House Bit
Le Monde Du Cartonnage

2.Personal BLOG

Comfortable Space
@telier A&G

Atelier PetitPoint
Webring of cartonnage lovers

3.Another person that has published 3 books on this topic:La Baguette

4. Related Japanese books






Again, all these lists are from Zoe’s blog.

As for myself, I would rather use fabrics for sewing. It seems too extravagant for people, who do not have a huge collection of fabrics, to cover cartons with cottons. Nevertheless it’s still nice to read and learn some techniques like this. We can still use nice wrap paper for that.

Also from Japan, there is a nice tutorial of making paper-mache lampshade. That’s something I am interested to try.

BTW: via batixa’s blog, “the last knit” is another must-see video clip.

Traditions are tough

January 9, 2007 at 11:26 am | Posted in All Finished Crafts | 2 Comments

flower pig zodiacThe winter break is over, and classes resumed. 😦 I felt a little ashamed that neither my crafting nor study plans were fully carried out. I didn’t make too many plans before the break, however I spent way too much time playing video games. Consequently, I have to work really hard this week on the presentation next week and something else.
I have to finish the papercutting before digging into the 30+-page paper, otherwise it would possible end up in garbage can. This pattern was adapted from a set of traditional Chinese zodiac papercutting. In addition to the pig, there are also a few Prunus mume(a.k.a Mei flower, “梅花” in Chinese, “ウメ”in Japanese), which make the pattern even more Chinese. Actually, the 5-petal frame of this pattern is from the shape of the Mei flower. (Dont be confused this flower with Chimonanthus腊梅). I used to insist every flower has 5 petals in my drawing when I was a kid.

The pattern is really great. Unfortunately, I overestimated myself making it smaller than 8cmX8cm. It’s been one and a half year I have not touch any paper cutting. I am not familiar in any sense with the material, which was just bought last weekend. The cutting became really tough for me. I finally recalled what is the best way to cut the half-moon shapes after I finish it. The details turn out so terrible that I consider this a failure.:-( Hopefully, it could be a nice trial for cutting my favorite pattern.

Updated: my old paper-cutting for comparison:

Wish you good luck!

January 5, 2007 at 1:04 pm | Posted in All Finished Crafts, Craft - How-to's | 4 Comments

fortune cookie 001

fortune cookie,
originally uploaded by ccyytt.

Youtube is one of the popular sites for killing time. My favorites are the “Just for laugh” gag clips from Montreal. I was a little surprised when I found some crafty clips. Ya, there are some. The “crocheted fortune cookies” is one of these interesting clips. It’s so simple that I must try immediately.The paper was from a real fortune cookie I got last week from the Chinese restaurant here. It says “Sie werden in eine hohe Position aufsteigen./You are going to be promoted”. What a good one! 🙂

Fortune cookie did not originate from China. As a matter of fact, I’ve never heard of such things before I left China. The Chinese restaurant I worked for in Montreal only offers fortune cookies to non-Chinese customers. My ex-roommate used to make a fool of himself when he had lunch with his labmates in a Chinese fast-food restaurant. Since he had no idea about the paper inside fortune cookies, he almost ate the paper. He told me his labmates looked at him as if he was a monster at the moment. What a pity…..:-D

Sunshine Bikini

January 4, 2007 at 4:01 pm | Posted in All Finished Crafts, Craft - Inspirations | 2 Comments

This is the project I mentioned in previous entry. It is finished this afternoon. I guess you already know the hat does not longer exist.

This “suite” was inspired by another bikini from here, which made me believe this yarn is more suitable for summer than for winter. However, I didn’t follow that pattern since the pattern seems to be designed for slim people. I tried to make something more flexible.

Although it is flexible enough to fit people in many sizes, including me, I dont think I will wear it in public unless I manage to loss weight in the future. It is more possible to be some gift.

Now, I’m done with crafting and going to refresh with my school work. Good luck to myself! 😛

Happy New Year

January 2, 2007 at 10:16 pm | Posted in Craft - Inspirations, Craft - People, Craft - Websites, Misc. | Leave a comment

Happy New Year~we watched fireworks on new year eve from our kitchen. People from different spots in the town set off quite a lot fireworks continuously. It lasted almost one hour after midnight. It’s very fancy that we didn’t even need to raise our heads to watch every flash burst in the town as our building is on the top of the hill. While watching, Hubby and I shared many firework-related stories from our childhood in the warm kitchen. There are always something money can buy. 🙂

Unexpectedly, I’ve been quite “slow” since new year eve. I am working on a couple of things, including a new craft project, a term paper and a book, at the same time. Besides, I couldn’t get away some other ideas. One is something traditional: zodiac paper-cutting. This year is the year of pig/boar, which can be very easy to cute.

Speaking of paper-cutting, I must mention amaoto, one of my newest founds in flickr. Her paper-cuttings are really beautiful. She can always shape the lines in a smooth way. Her new year piggies are simple but nicely put together.

I would rather cut some patterns more traditional. One of my favorite pig patterns is from a stamp in 1983 (also a year of boar). I am probably going to use it for my cutting.

Did I ever mention my German vocabulary is mainly composed of crafting-related words. I learned one new word today. That is “Scherenschnitt”. Using this word as search key, I found many interesting cutting works, especially in a Fairytale theme. Here are two wonderful website full of nice cuttings.

Heike Müller-Kulski and Karin Dütz

I wish I could speed up a little bit tomorrow. 🙂

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