Yarn Shopping in Tokyo, Japan

Currently, my husband and I are in Japan. We are really loving it. The people are lovely and the food is fantastic. Before we arrived I did a little research about yarn shopping. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few sources to locate yarn stores. I used a list from Travel Knitter as well as Knitmap. Just my luck there was a craft store about 1 km from our hotel! The description sounded like this place was a crafter’s heaven.

Okadaya is located off the Shinjuku metro stop across from “Godzilla Road.” Okadaya stocks fabric, yarn, buttons, sewing notions…etc. I headed right for the yarn floor (Floor 5). The area was spacious and there was quite a selection to choose from. I also appreciated that the staff didn’t hover, but when I had a question they were friendly and helpful.

Most of the brands stocked were new to me. There were European brands as well as Japanese. I loved that they had all of the yarn out for petting! Okadaya’s stock was mainly wool, but I did manage to find some cotton yarn. I have two more knit tops that I want to make for summer. I purchased NaturaXL (aran weight) and Natura (fingering weight yarn).

My husband was with me and asked for some more hand knitted socks. Funny how whenever I go to the yarn store with him we walk away with a skein for him too. He found a pretty cool sock yarn by Opal. They took famous paintings and applied the colors to the yarn. My husband chose the colorway inspired by Le Café, le soir as he is partial to blue.

I also remembered that my Blaster sweater still needed some buttons. I went down one floor down to the button section. With so many choices I really had to stay focused. I ended up choosing buttons with a green and blue mosaic. I am not sure if they are the best fit. If they don’t work with my Blaster sweater I am sure I can find something else to knit up to go with them. 😉

Okadaya was a great experience. The shop had good prices (as compared to yarn prices in the US) and a variety of items that appeal to all crafters. Despite not specializing in yarn, I left feeling excited with my new purchases.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

If you are interested in learning more my about our travels in Japan please visit Smithberrys Abroad.

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Green’s Day

Every year my husband’s aunt hosts Green’s Day at her ranch. Basically, it is a bunch of crafty people getting together to eat, drink, and create holiday wreaths.The barn is over a 100 years old and is one of the largest barns in county. The rustic ambiance, twinkle lights, and smell of pine was the perfect way for me to start the holiday season.

It was requested that I make a gold and red colored wreath to honor my husband’s other love…the San Francisco 49ers football team 🙄. For my wreath, I used glittered and traditional poinsettias and some wired ribbon to dress up the pine branches.  It took me awhile, but my wreath was born.

I also took a stab at make a cork Christmas tree that I saw on Pinterest. I am not really pleased with how it came out…doesn’t look as good as the picture 😕. I might try to add some colored  ribbon to jazz it up.

What are some of your favorite things to do to get ready for Christmas?

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

That Time I Went to Michael’s

My trip to Michael’s Craft Store was suppose to be an in and out operation. I don’t know why I lie to myself. Never have I ever made a “quick” trip to Michael’s. My original plan was to just go in and get some of my wedding photos framed. However, when I finished up with the associate I decided to take a little look around. What’s the harm right?  Well 30 minutes, many sales, and a coupon later I ended up with this bounty:

img_0529I am pretty proud that I made it out of there with all of this (and a few other items) for $58! First, I perused the Halloween items. It was all 40% off. I got some stuff for my students (stickers) and a easy Halloween costume for me (the spider headband). I am also participating in a Halloween Swap on Ravelry, so I picked up some  goodies for my swap buddy (hence why some items are not pictured). Then I found the monogram letters for 70% off. They are boxes so I plan on filling them with treats for the holiday season. I also picked up some yarn (no sale there) and stitch marker supplies (50% off strung beads).

When I got home I got to crafting. I was too excited to pack my goodies away.  I got out my extra beads, headpins, jewelry findings, wire cutters, and pliers and got to work.

I made these cute Skull Earrings:

img_0547These pretty dangle earrings:

img_0548And six stitch markers. I hope these aren’t too bulky as the beads do have a bit of bulk to them. 

img_0549 I also started this hat. It is Patons Classic Wool in Blue Denim. I continue to be happy with this yarn find. It is 100% wool, soft, and budget friendly. Perfect for hats! The hat is made with a 80 stitch cast on. I knit through the back loop (k tbl) to give the knit stitches a twisted look. I liked this little detail on a very basic hat silhouette as it makes the knit stitches stand out.

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All and all it was a good day. Michael’s is one of my favorite large craft stores as everything is pretty affordable. If you are like me and like to dabble in a little of everything Michael’s is great for gaining inspiration and keeping your wallet in check. For me, when the hobby is my passion (e.g., knitting), I do try to shop at local and/or online small businesses (i.e. Etsy shops). However, when I just want to explore Michael’s is a great start.

What is your favorite Big Box Craft store? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

So I Tried This…

The catch line was…Have you heard of a magic ball?

No! What is it?!?

Well basically it is a fun way to use those leftover tiny balls of yarn.  You take all of your odds and ends and create your own self-striping yarn. All you need is random yarn bits and a tapestry needle. Follow this Link and you too can DIY a ball (or cake) of awesomeness!
img_0511A Tip: For a consistent result use yarn of a similar weight. Wanna get artsy? Mix up bulky, worsted, and DK to get a mixed texture look.

Until Next Time

-Whit-

Cute Mother’s Day Card

 Crafts are a great way to get kids talking. Plus they are a hands-on so even the antsy kids have a way to keep themselves busy. This year I wanted to the keep the cards sweet and simple. Paint is always a pain (long wait to dry, messy) and paper collage can be tricky for the little ones (all the cutting and glue management). I stumbled upon this cute card on Pinterest from Teacher’s Pay Teachers. Well 5 minutes and a little glue later and Tah Dah!!! 

What I think I like most about this card are the awesome number of adjective possibilities that kids could come up with regarding their moms. I am sure that some of them will have me cracking up.

Happy Friday!

 

Valentine Garland

Valentine’s Day is 5 days away. Here is a super easy craft that was taken from this book:

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This book is such an antique. It was published in 1966! Despite its age, it is a great source of crafting. Think of it as the original Pinterest haha.

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Valentine Garland

Materials: 3 sheets of construction paper (any color you desire), string or yarn , scissors, single hole puncher, sharpie marker

  1. Taking the construction paper and scissors, cut out 3 hearts (small, medium, large).
  2. Use the hole puncher to make a hole at the top and bottom of each heart.
  3. Using your Sharpie, write your Valentine’s Day message.
  4. Make a knot in one end of your string. Put the other end of the string down into the bottom hole of the biggest heart. Pull through. Place the same end of the string up through the hole at the top of the heart and pull through. Continue this with the other two hearts.
  5. Hang your garland and enjoy!

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Christmas Crafts: Part 1

Christmas is only 16 days away…can you believe it? I am still puzzled as to how fast this year has gone by. I know that many retailers have had Christmas stuff out since October, but I  really like to get in the holiday mood closer to the 25th. In my mind, celebrating too early ruins the novelty of Christmas. I generally like to start talking about winter (think snowmen, penguins, and mittens) at the beginning of December with my students. Around week 2 or 3 we begin to talk about Christmas (we go on break the week before the 25th). Most kids are dying to talk about it sooner, but I try to divert them (haha).

This year’s first project: Christmas Trees

Materials: 1/4 of a paper plate, green paint, paintbrush, wooden craft stick, paper/stickers/jewels, stapler

Time: 10 minutes

1) Staple the wooden craft stick to the back of the paper plate.

2) Paint the paper plate green. Let dry for 5 minutes.

3) Apply stickers and/or jewels to decorate your tree.

This craft is super quick and makes an excellent prop for plays or assemblies. 🎄Enjoy!