Sunday, October 15, 2017

New Commission

This update has been dreadfully overdue....
My health held me back from work once again and nothing has been updated in months.  I am behind on all my projects, and I still haven't taken photos of my last pieces, I could go on and on.  Right now I have been very busy getting my house back in order.

So, once again, I am starting anew with the Emporium.

I have been doing some important things.  Such as, updating the business name and mailing address for the company.  I also toyed around with a new website interface.  I have been able to add a few new pieces to my kitsuke collection, a new bright red kimono and enough pieces to do a double set of kimono.  (Mainly for the photo shoot I hope to do in the future with actual models, but I don't expect that to happen since I haven't been able to find anyone to model for me, much less someone to photograph me as the model)

But the good news is that I have landed a really nice commission!! A standard flower set, three medium sized kiku with rounded petals with purple white and red coloring, and a deluxe shidare and bira.  But the main thing I am really excited about is that it is made to be fitted to a headband, which I have never done before.  Normally this would hold me back but I think I am experienced enough by now that it shoudn't be a real adventure outside my comfort zone.  It would involve a great deal of thread wrapping, but its really nothing I couldn't handle.  

At this point I have so many projects and a very extensive "want to try" list, that if I worked every day for the rest of my life, I would still never get it all finished.  I have learned a great deal along the way, and each new silk craft I try brings me closer and closer to being able to repair and resell good kimono.  But it is becoming apparent that with my health needs, I will probably never really get to that point.  I just don't have as much time as I would hope to get everything done with my sanity intact.

The gofundme for my friend Shanna Conde and her son Demitri, has gone completely dead.  I haven't sold a decent piece in forever, and no help has come to Demitri, in situation, health, or circumstance.  His chemo shots are incredibly expensive, and their insurance has a very high deductible.  Not to mention the sewage system in their house backed up and they had raw sewage flood the house.  This is not only an expensive cleanup, but forced them out of their new home once more. 


In the back log of projects I have completed are:

6-7 ornaments
2 kanzashi peices
3 chirimen necklaces with kits to make more

I have also been racking in supplies, like sheets of yuzen dyed chiyrogami washi paper.  I am going to get around to my fan making project as well, eventually.  I have a good 8-9 sheets now.  

Anyway, I hope sometime after Christmas I can go back to my Silk Embroidery teacher in Oklahoma and get some real work done on my piece.  I know it needs some work with re-framing, but I can live with that.  I hope to get back on it as soon as this commission is done.  I did manage to get a membership to the JEC (Japanese Embroidery Center), and have started receiving my first quarterly Nuido Journal.  It is very exciting to see the full listing of pieces available.  I really am in love with a few of the realy high end teacher level master pieces, but they are so involved, it turns into another one of those "I don't know if I will ever get there" things.

So there, I said it.  I am coming back soon, and working a lot more than I was.  Just not quite back to 100% yet.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Getting Back to Work!

It's four days into August, and I am finally getting unpacked and the store back up. I spent quite a bit of time working to update old listings tonight, with new shipping updates and corrected descriptions.  I hope to have the shop reopen on Monday, August 7.

I have also been able to take some time to cut some of the new fabric I had purchased before I moved.  I found some fantastic multicolor chirimen, named bell flower.  It has lovely shades of purple, indigo, blue, and grey.  The white is always a good offset to use less of the super expensive print fabric and still give a positive dramatic effect.  I still have plans for a bira bira but I can not seem to locate my metal shears for cutting the aluminum dangles.

Also in the works, I have plans for more ornaments.  The holiday ornament section is back, but very bare. I am hoping to sell quite a few and use the money as donation to the Demiti Conde GoFundMe.  He is in remission but his lowered immune system keeps landing him back in the hospital.

However I have my own plans.  I am still going to sell kanzashi for myself, and use those funds to get a new kimono from Ohio Kimono. I am planning a photo shoot with real models, and I need a few more pieces for variety: a couple of obiage and an obi to match my autumn themed komon.  I also want a new juban and a couple more korin clips, and obi clips, and white collars.  Lots of little things.  All so I can have multiple usable sets of kimono for this photo shoot.

My Japanese silk embroidery has taken a back seat unfortunately.  My fabric began to pucker under a place I had recently stitched, which means my frame is set incorrectly. I need to tighten the fabric again, but have been hesitant to do so without instruction.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Ohio Kimono USA!

Found on

So you guys know I love kitsuke, the art of dressing in kimono.  There aren't a ton of kimono shops in the United States, and those that I have found are expensive.  Usually I get my products from Japan off Ebay, but even those are generally in poor condition.

Then I found this shop through my instagram account, Ohio Kimono  and they have some great kimono pieces.   They apparently travel to Kyoto every year or so to purchase more pieces for the shop, so each piece is hand picked.

Not only that, but they are organized and labeled correctly. Strange as it may sound that is a pretty big tell between a professional supplier and someone selling knockoff Chinese polyester bathrobes.

I already have my eye on a green obiage that would be a close match for my deep orange and black furisode.  And the fantastic fukuro obi with waves that I have nothing to wear with, but I would love to own all the same. Not to mention the green kimono in the picture.  They even carry a variety of accessories, like fans, kanzashi, and tea ceremony pieces.  Plus the best part, fabric scraps!

Ok now that I am done with my review, time for the notes.

First, my house move has been delayed.  Not much I can do about it, and it is nothing I did.  Just paperwork taking too long.  Which means the shop will be closed for most of August as well.  Really, it breaks my heart, because I miss my kanzashi supplies so much.  I find that other things are fun distractions, but at my heart I am a kanzashi artisan.  I've been closed for almost a month now, and I am really having chirimen withdrawals, lol.

I am finally over my cold, and plan to go back to stitching my silk embroidery piece soon.  I do like it, but I find I don't particularly love it yet.  It requires a lot of focus, especially since I am still learning the movement.  But I find that since I cant lay in bed and be comfortable (you guys know I was sick for so long that I am accustomed to working while reclined), I just don't enjoy it as much.

I have gone back to crewel again, trying to finish the pillowcase set I started earlier in the year.  I like it more, because it is faster and I can make as many mistakes as I want.  I dont feel paranoid about how it is going to look, since I am actually going to use it.

I have also had a lot of silk dying on my mind, but only in the kanzashi aspect of things.  My friend, Elizabeth Comer of Imlothmelui on Etsy  has essentially switched from making kanzashi to hand made watercolor paints.  They look fantastic!   I really like the pearlescent ones.   She used to be the queen of dyed fabric kanzashi, and I feel that learning from her is the next big thing to my path as a kanzashi artisan.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Working Right Along

So as you can see I have finished the first layer of the pines, the bottom one being twisted silk and the upper one being flat silk.  The twisted one came out pretty well, the flat not so much, but that doesn't surprise me.  It's my first piece.

Another self critique, the ume blossom has too large a gap between the petals.

Right now I am going to work on the sakura blossoms, which are actually slightly more difficult because of the nature of the thread and the way the stitches lay.

Other than that I am working on picking up my Japanese again. It would be exceedingly helpful to at least read certain Kanji, but I am starting over with hirigana.  I pulled out my copy of hirigana warriors off the Steam game engine and I am about halfway through.  I also own their newest Katakana warriors, so I have lots to work on before I get to Kanji.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Shop is CLOSED TILL AUGUST and Japanese Silk Embroidery Lessons!


I am currently moving and working on different projects, like Japanese Silk Embroidery!

After 4 years I have finally found a teacher! She knows her stuff, and since she formerly taught the children's class at the JEC (Japanese Embroidery Center, Atlanta, Georgia).  We went through a lot, and I have enough to finish the first half of the piece, with only the kiku and momiji left to have instruction.  I am almost finished with the first pine tree, the one in twisted silk.  The one in the background (to the left) is done in flat silk.  The cherry blossoms are twisted, and the ume are flat silk.  Each flower requires a different technique.  I can see why students take 5 years of intense study.  I don't know if I will ever be a master, but we shall see.

In the meantime I am learning to go slowly, keep my hands in place, and keep my stitches straight!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Half off Mega Moving Sale!!! (And Fundraiser)


I have decided to have a clearance sale, and it's working.  I have raised almost $300 this sales quarter for Dimitri!! SO excited!

Donate Directly to Dimitri Conde's Leukemia ALL Medical Fund HERE!!!

Also, I have sold off or will send off the rest of the home decor ornaments.  This has greatly cleared up space in my inventory! I am sending the last 5 to Ariel Loh of TZARTISAN for the shop to raise funds for our tutorial book project!

Meanwhile I am packing up my house to be repaired and sold, live in temporary housing for a while, and then move into a new home.  Obviously I will be closing up shop for several months, and focusing strictly on family and other crafts, such as Japanese Silk Embroidery!

My class is coming up June 9th/10th.  I will be traveling to Oklahoma to learn under a certified Japanese Silk Embroidery instructor, Kathy Johnson.  This is actually just a short drive away from me, and I am extremely excited for this opportunity. 

That's all the notes for now.  No new pieces, no new projects.  Just a new job, cleaning house constantly, and trying to not spend money.  Yeah, I know, ha ha.

Friday, May 12, 2017

New GoFundMe Campaign and Store Notes

New Set

So first to business.

Donate Directly Here

All new sales are going to Dimitri Conde's Leukemia ALL Medical Fund.
Dimitri is a child who is also on spectrum, and shared a class with my own son.  His mom and I are good friends, and I immediately jumped on the opportunity to run their donation campaign.

Now for store notes:

I haven't had as much time as I'd like to work, but I have been working.  With the new fundraising campaign, and the new job, and trying to sell my house, my work has gone to the back burner.
But I did manage to list all those pumpkin/goldenrod pieces, and I have made those two new kikus, of which i decided to scrap the one of them because I just didn't really like it.
I have continued the color scheme, with this two piece set, one of which will have a bira bira and one will have a shidare, kind of like the sister kanzashi set, though slightly bigger.

New Kiku
I have enjoyed doing sets like this, though I will probably be doing an orange promo set, since orange is the color of Leukemia.

I have also got my new silk embroidery set in the mail!!!  It's larger than I visualized, but that is not a complaint.  I now have all the supplies for my piece, and tools- everything!!!!  I am probably going to push classes back till June because I already have to work memorial day weekend on 6 hr shift.  At a retail store, that is 6 hrs of intense work.
Not only that but I am currently working on selling my house, which will be a 3-4 month process.
And now I'm doing this fundraiser as well.

But as you can see in the top picture I am stocking up on certain supplies.  I am expecting a mini-vacation soon where I hope to be able to work intensely on this set and a few other pieces, as to be completed by the end of May.   Then I can focus on the personal end until the Japanese Silk Embroidery lesson in mid to late June.