Sunday, September 15, 2019

Kudzu Creations 葛の花

One of the most powerful and effective Japanese medicinal plants is perhaps the most prodigious and fast growing plants found in the mountains of Amakusa- Kudzu. The vines grow all over our paragliding takeoff and I am forever losing the battle trying to exterminate them.
The root of the plant is often used to make an immune stimulant called Kakkonto. I often take this in a drink form if I feel like I might be catching a cold- similar to Echinacea. Apparently it is effective for treating hangovers as well. 
In the fall the plant has pretty purple blossoms that have a sweet and fruity aroma. 
The other day as I was waiting for the wind to improve to paraglide, an older Japanese woman came and started collecting these flowers. Heh, this is cool, what is she doing?! I tried to engage her in a conversation and pick her brain about what she was doing, but after a quick rather short explanation she moved on looking for more purple flowers.
No big deal, nowadays with the internet, it’s simple to look things up and try and make something delicious. Of course, it wasn’t so simple. In the end I found various different ideas, but ended up improvising a bit (for better or worse, we shall see).

First, I picked blossoms off the plentiful vines. The blossoms came off easily with my fingers. When picking it’s important to watch your feet because this is the most dangerous season for the mamushi- Amakusa’s only poisonous snake and the suzumebachi- a giant hornet that is potentially lethal (especially since I have already been stung twice).
Once I collected a bag full of blossoms, I spread them out in a colander and inspected for insects, leaves, rotten blossoms etc.

I didn’t wash the blossoms before processing them because I read that this decreases their medical potency. I suppose if you collect the blossoms near a busy road, you might want to wash them well before you more on.

Next I filled 2 plastic bottles with the blossoms.

And then, filled the bottles with 500 cc of water and 500 cc of sugar. In one of the bottles I also added a bit of honey.
Tadaaa! There you have it. Now I just have to put the bottles in a relatively cool place, release the lid a little every day to release the carbonation, then wait and see what happens!
Apparently the flowers have a natural yeast which when mixed with sugar and left to gradually ferment will first become a refreshing drink, then a tasty alcoholic drink and finally a fragrant vinegar.
So, now we have to wait and see! Apparently the color is supposed to be quite change and be quite lovely once the fermentation starts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Introducing the lovely Payton with her new handmade bag

the back side of the bag was made with upcycled jeans previously owned and loved by my boss, the sides were made using antique kimono material and some denim was thrown in there for some extra strength on the bottom. The leather handle was attached using those cute little leather flower snaps.

a crazy quilt inspired design using all kinds of cute leftover goodies from various projects with lots of beads, trimmings, embroidery added for extra pizzazz. my favorite part is the pretty girl wearing a kimono!

on the banks of the lake where we stayed this summer, Payton poses for a picture with her new handbag. work it for the camera girl!

A bag for Morgan

A playful Asian inspired cotton print by Junko Onishi paired with a baby pink antique shibori japanese kimono material and some solid blue kimono material make for a cute handbag for a beautiful girl.

The bag is lined with a solid light purple cotton material with a pocket for the all important cellphone.

The otherwise boring handles were given some life by sewing around them with coral silk thread.
teeny weeny details were embroidered and beads and sparkles were added at every chance


Monday, March 22, 2010

Interesting video about Boro textiles

Wada on Boro: Japanese Rag Textiles Go from Shabby to Chic from Andrew Galli on Vimeo.
"In Japan, mended and patched textiles are referred to as 'boro', or rags. For some time within Japan boro was regarded with shame because these utilitarian textiles are strong evidence of rural Japan's impoverished past. Nonetheless, boro has begun to attract considerable interest outside Japan."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Scrap Buster Pencil Case

pencil_case on hay_polaroid

My much loved scraps have now been reborn into a pencil case.
At first my scrap project was going to be yet another book cover, but the finished size turned out to be a little smaller than anticipated (measure twice cut once). In the end I made a pencil case. The zipper was really hard for me to put in, and after wrestling with my sewing machine, in the end I did it all by hand. I had to rip out the zipper no fewer than 4 times, until I finally got it right. How is that for perseverance!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Scrap Buster mini quilt ミニキルト

I have the hardest time throwing away little scraps of beautiful material, especially antique japanese cloth and material from past projects.

Following a great tutorial from , I set out to get rid of all my bits and pieces of leftover material by making a scrap buster mini quilt.

First I trimmed all my beautiful scraps into perfect square, then carefully arranged them into a pleasing design.

With the iron, I bonded the fabric to the interfacing, and now I was committed.

With the final arrangement complete, I now dusted off the sewing machine, and started sewing.
完成しました。 今から縫います。
What a simple method to get perfectly straight rows of squares with perfectly matched corners!
What should I make, a book cover, a pencil case, a bag, a wall hanging?
何でもに合いそうな布を出来上がりました。何を作ろうかな? やってみませんか。


Monday, March 8, 2010

Oilcloth Bookcover オイルクロスのブックカバー


Carry your book everywhere and anywhere with an oilcloth piecework book cover!
This is just one book cover in a series, this one using Anna Maria Horner`s oilcloth material.
For directions and inspiration, I googled "book cover, tutorial" and came up with many helpful suggestions and ideas. Don`t you love that red velvet rickrack. I`m such a sucker for trimmings.
What`s beneath the beautiful exterior?  A gaijin friendly, large print with furigana version of Natsume Soseki`s Botchan.
米デザイナーのアンナ マリア ホーナーのオイルクロスを使って頑丈なブックカバーを作りました。今度読んでみよう本は外国人と子供に読みやすくしている夏目漱石の坊ちゃんです。

Spring is very rainy and windy this year in Amakusa. I love the yellows and light greens you can find dotting the mountainside.

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