Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is September really over?

I cannot believe how quickly September has just scooted past me.

I did a craft show this past Saturday - very small event at a local church, but I'm content with how I did for a pretty low turn-out. I also got to see some interesting demonstrations. I met glass-blower Cathy Strokowsky a few years ago at some craft shows we were both doing (it was her mom who invited me to this show), and I now have five pairs of her earrings and 3 pendants since I looooove her lampwork beads. Even if I buy something, JF usually sneaks back to see Cathy (and partner Suzy), asks what else I've been eye-balling, and gets it for me - I told you he was the best (^_^).

I've recently become obsessed with lampwork beads in general (not just Cathy's) and I've been doing some serious glass bead ogling on Etsy. This past summer my sister in Edmonton told me she took a lampworking class, so the idea was planted in my head to try it too, "You'd love it, Sand!", she said. Sigh, that would be yet another thing to spread my energies on... If I am going to take a class I will wait until the new year...

Here's Cathy doing a simple bead. Very neat, I was like a kid, watching with my mouth dangling open.

There were also ikebana demonstrations; Linda has been studying and now teaching ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, for the past 25 years. She actually helps out with the ikebana classes given at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal, which is where I spend a lot of time playing and practicing taiko (Japanese drums). Small world.

Here's Linda with a finished arrangement for autumn.

I met some wonderful customers at this little show on Saturday. One of them was this lovely woman who bought a pendant and earrings, and who then came back a little later on (she lives across the street from the church) to get some earrings for her mom. So sweet!

Don't they look great on her?

Just a shot of my earring display...

This has been a bit of a crazy-busy month for our taiko group, Arashi Daiko. I'll tell you about that tomorrow...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday cat blogging... again with the sushi!

This may look similar to other photos I've posted of Ebi trying to get at the sushi while I'm making it. But this is actually another recent occasion - he tries EVERY time! Gotta give him points for trying!

While Ebi covets the nori (seaweed), Chibi is more of a crab-stick girl...

When I was done rolling all the maki, Chibi came to see what was up, and as usual, she was too fast for me, a wobbly blurry cat next to the slow-moving sushi :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This stuff on my head...

My hair makes me a little crazy. I've dyed it, bleached it, shaved it, even permed it when I was in high school. When I started cutting my own hair and that of friends' at the end of high school, I realized I could change my look just like that; for an impatient person like me who wants immediate gratification this is not always a good thing.

I've hacked off hair when I was sick of it only to lament the fact that I had no more ponytail. I've hastily cut bangs when my hair was at an in-between phase, only to realize I'd have to go through another in-between phase if I wanted to grow it out again. I had a crew cut at two separate times in my twenties, much to the dismay of my mother. I'll have to post a photo of that period some time.

Further aggravating this constant distress with my hair is my cheapness when it comes to what I consider luxuries. I have no problem spending money on concrete things (gifts, clothing, shoes, food ie groceries), but when it comes to things/services I don't consider true necessities like haircuts, massages, pricey restaurants and even osteopath visits, I'm a realy scrimper. I guess it's partially because we don't have the money to spare. My husband is forever telling me to go and get a haircut if I want one, especially since I've been to the hairdresser twice in the last 6 years, and once was for my wedding! I think he's secretly afraid to come home to me with a shaved head.

Anyway, this past week I had reached my limit with what's on my head - again. My hair is very thick and straight which makes it heavy and hot. This was yesterday morning - definitely fed up!

I was feeling ready to hack it off, but I just did that about a month ago in my bathroom; dang hair had grown back! Wanted something layered and light, nothing brushing the sides of my face or heating up the back of my neck.

Enter Mrs. Lee, Korean hairstylist extraordinaire. To make a long story short, here I am this morning after her work with her magic thinning shears.

I want some of those scissors - like a comb with razor blades on the teeth. Hmmm, probably better that I don't have one, I'd probably get carried away and just leave a few wisps hanging off my head.

My hair used to be a lot flatter, but as I've aged for some reason it's more puffy. With age, I am also totally uninterested in styling my hair - woke up after washing it last night, and just wet it a bit to flatten it (looked a bit like a muffin when I first got up) and rubbed a bit of that molding stuff in it. Easy. Here's the back, all thinned out and layered. My head is so much lighter!

So I'm already planning to go back and see her in a couple months so that I'll look presentable when all my craft shows start. My husband is thrilled. Going to let the bottom in back grow longer, but keep it all layered and airy. Did I mention Mrs. Lee is very reasonable, especially for a hair salon smack in the middle of downtown Montreal? I guess that's also why I'm not hesitating to go back again (^_^).

While downtown getting my hair cut, I also found these on sale. They look like Birkenstocks, but are actually Viking Fussforms which fit me perfectly (Birkenstocks size 36 is too small but the 37 is too long). This is my second pair of Vikings, so I know I'll be happy with them for a few years.
Yesterday was a good day!

Now... to work!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Presenting... Artistri boutique atelier!

This past Friday I missed taiko (Japanese drumming) practice. I never miss taiko practice.

The occasion was special - the opening of a new shop, Artistri, in Montreal's Mile-End neighbourhood (home of the best bagels you'll ever taste). I met Artistri's owner, Jennifer Lonergan, at a holiday season craft show last November and she contacted me earlier this year to be a part of her new store. How exciting is that?!

The boutique is in a beautiful, bright space, at 5319 Ave. du Parc, and it looks fabulous! Not a great shot here with all the glare, but the banners and awning are really eye-catching. All the photos are clickable.
Surrounded by some amazing artists' work, here's some of my work in one of the jewellery display towers, and there are even a few pieces in the front window as well, yay!

Shoppers having a peek at some jewellery.

Pottery by my very talented friend, Carmen Abdallah.

Look at this gorgeous quilt by Sandra Jones!

There were lots of visitors, friends and shoppers who stopped by. Just before going to the shop opening on Friday afternoon, I went to Au papier japonais, where I buy some of my paper supplies and also give workshops; there, I met some travellers from England and Wales, who seemed to be looking for interesting spots and shops in the area, so I invited them to the opening and they actually did pop in! You just never know who you'll meet and what a little chat can do :)

Thanks for inadvertently teaching me that, Mom (^_^)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday cat blogging... FEED ME!!!

We feed our cats, Chibi and Ebi, at 10am and 10pm. This way, they don't wake us up early in the morning, and they don't howl while we eat supper, although they do casually hang around in case something falls off the table.

From around 8:30 onward in the morning, while I'm taking care of emails, Etsy stuff and my blog, Chibi, the smaller tortoiseshell cat, jumps up on my computer desk to say "Good Morning, glad you're up, please touch me." She's happy to be carried and sritchy-scratched. Ebi, the larger black cat, loves to be carried too, and gallops away like a horse when he's had enough (he's big).

As it gets closer to feeding time, the two get restless and seem to antagonize each other - a bit of chasing, hissing, slapping at each other - further piquing their hunger.

By then Ebi is pining for kibble, howling what sounds like "Bernaaaard" or "Manooooooon" (if you could hear these names pronouced in the québécois French accent, you'd recognize that's what he's saying!), and Chibi is prancing about on my desk, stepping on the keyboard, shedding in my coffee cup.

I've got their bowls and Ebi has such a loud voice I often wonder if the neighbours can hear him (especially when he spontaneously breaks into howl at night). Here he's at my legs, just before he's about to get his bowl. Tried to get a shot of his mouth, which opens so wide when he's meowing (almost cartoonish), but could never capture the hilarity on camera.

"My bowl is obviously empty, but I will lick it to show you how famished I am, lady."

She's too fast for me...
Can't keep still in the pre-feeding frenzy...


These cats continue to crack me up! Best kitties in the world...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What's with the sushi anyway?

We grew up eating sushi in my family, although mostly on New Year's Day and special occasions. It wasn't the fancy kinds you now find in restaurants either, but our family-style makizushi (rolls in seaweed, or nori) and inarizushi, or ageh-zushi as we always called it (seasoned tofu pouches - may sound odd, but it's yummy). Sushi is, oddly enough, a kind of comfort food for me. If you're interested, you can read all about our New Year's Day celebration from this past January.

Although some people assume I make sushi jewellery because I'm Japanese - or at least I look it! - some people do actually ask why I make it and how I started. It is rather an odd thing to do I guess.

I made my first mini sushi platter as a little gag gift for my mom, back in 1999 (or was it 1998?) out of some polymer clay that I got at an art supplies shop. I experimented making lots of mini-foods - pastries, cakes, sandwiches, fruits, veggies... and then sushi popped into my head which I thought would give my mom a good laugh. The first sushi platter I made was pretty basic looking, but I was pleased with it back then, as was my mom. Here it that original first wonky platter - it's now on my fridge!

Little did I know that this would one day end up being my full-time work! Friends and family started ordering them from me and when I donated a bunch of them to a small craft show fundraiser in 2000 (or was that 2001?) and they all sold out, I thought it might be time to try selling them on my own.

And selling my first sushi platter when I opened my Etsy shop back in late 2005 was such a thrill. Up until then I was selling at local craft shows and I couldn't quite believe that someone who saw photos of my little platters on the internet liked it enough to actually buy one! It still amazes me that people want to buy something I made...

Here's Cassandra, looking smashing in her Sushi Combo necklace & earrings set that she recently got for her birthday from her Aunt Bridgette, who ordered them from me on Etsy - thanks so much for sending me the photo!

These are my newest California roll earrings, now available in my shop, complete with soy wrappers, that are great for a bit of colour on the outside of your maki. The wrappers come in pink, orange and green as well, but I wasn't sure if that would look too far-out and un-sushi-like. I'm pretty happy with the subtle look of these. I also made some saba (mackerel) nigirizushi earrings this summer and photographer Yumi Ang took a photo that you can see here.

From part of our family celebrations, to a major part of my business, sushi is a part of my life for good (^_^)!