Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tribute to Old Library Cards

Being at the library for me was a sanctuary, a place not only to get your books and explore other
worlds but also a quiet place to escape.  It's the place where many creative ideas were incubated.
Only now in its absence I miss so much the card catalogs-beautifully typed, organized and displayed.  Much work and thought went into this filing system. I feel somehow a whole world having disappeared. If one could only imagine the excitement- as if I won the lottery- when I was volunteering for a school art auction project with my friend and the teacher asked if I would like to have a box of old library cards in the basement about to be tossed out. (THANK YOU Mr. Galvin! ) It was a treasure box for me.  It was meant to be in my hands to be restored, redistributed or otherwise just appreciated.  I gave them out to friends, donated a boxful to my favorite reuse center in San Francisco. Over the holidays I made little artpieces out of the old cards to put on gift boxes with high hopes they would be saved and generate the kind of emotion and nostalgia they did for me.
Here's to memories of the good old days...

Sharing my nostalgic "winning" of old library cards  with friends and
Scrap (reuse center for artists) in San Francisco 

My 2012 Holiday Tribute to the Library Card Catalog 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Japanese New Year Tradition (2013)

Happy New Year 2013!  New Years morning is something I look forward to every year. As far back as I can remember, it's been a tradition growing up celebrating the New Year (Oshogatsu in Japanese) with symbolic foods- ozoni soup (rice cake in fish broth with vegetables); kuri kinton (mashed sweet potatoes with chestnut) symbolizing gold, wealth, prosperity;  kuromame- sweet black soybeans for hard, industrious work and good health; and namasu- seasoned carrot and daikon signifying a strong foundation for family.  My mother passed away years ago but this tradition lives on through my mother in law Kyoko who is a wonderful cook.  While I've made some of the dishes in the past,  this year we cooked everything together and I am officially certified to take this on hereafter and pass it on to my children. I learned all of the dishes from the very best teacher. It's incredible to learn just how much work and hours goes into every detail.   Like gift wrapping, thought behind presentation is of value as the feelings behind the meal is expressed visually.  One of the many traditional influences passed down through the generations...

My family's  Japanese New Year Table

Memories of my Mother who brought lacquerware from Japan
that we use every New Year

My children receive "otoshidama" money envelope from their grandparents -
a Japanese New Years custom 

Making Mochi (Japanese rice cake) with my daughter
Melanie and Grandmother Kyoko 

The Gift of Handmade Inspiration

Celebrating the last days of 2012 December with a cold.  Wrapped in a blanket with some tea, I'm going through the trailers of the creative artist instructors on CreativeBug.  Their stories reveal the soul behind the craft works of the "makers" and so beautifully shot that it's not only a visual treat but like a good book, it brings you into another world, a new way way of seeing things, inviting you to take a journey into the magical world of handmade creativity.  I invite everyone to treat themselves and explore taking up a new craft in 2013-- learn to knit, sew, embroider or book bind as I plan to do.
Start with the free classes being offered for a limited time on to get started.  Just a sampling.... I have a free class going on as well.

Paste Paper with Courtney Cerruti
Luminaria Candle Shades with Kelly Wilkinson

Repurposed Bow with Megumi Inouye
Embroidery Sampler with Rebecca Ringquist