Sunday, March 30, 2014

Origami Earrings photos by Take A Look Photography

Beautiful photos of my origami earrings by Take A Look Photography.  Thank you Ashley and Josh!!

Hina Matsuri 2014 Recap

Hina Matsuri at the Japanese Garden this year attracted a lot of visitors despite the rain.  My student helper did super awesome, for the second time since the last event that we did together at the Oregon Historical Society.  He is only an 5th grader, but growing up in Montessori environment he must know exactly how to be helpful.  I am so proud to have him help me.

7-tier hina doll donated by Dozono Family

Close-up of the dolls...

My display area with my helper on the left,
getting ready for the workshop

My diorama hina dolls in the center,
greeting card nina dolls  on right and left

My helper teaching the visitors

Japanese sweets for sale by Yume Confections

In front of their pavilion

Looking down their sand garden

I love the Doll Festival; it really makes me appreciate being born as a Japanese girl.  The garden was so beautiful as always, even in rain.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hina Maturi, the Japanese Doll Festival at the Portland Japanese Garden 2014

I will be offering an origami workshop at the Japanese Garden, once again from 1 to 3pm on Sunday, March 2, 2014!  I'm very excited to be able to work at one of the most beautiful places in Portland!

"March 3rd is Hina Matsuri, the Japanese Dolls Festival. One of the five annual Japanese observances marking the changing seasons, this is a day that families with young girls pray for their daughters' healthy growth and happiness by displaying dolls. 

Yuki will be offering a simple origami Hina doll making workshop in a drop-in setting. It will be made into a greeting card which can be used for Hina Matsuri or a wedding.

Free with Garden Admission."

Monday, February 10, 2014

How to make FURIKAKE, Japanese condiment to sprinkle over cooked rice

This blog post is not at all about origami, but I wanted to share this recipe of furikake.  Furikake is a dry Japanese condiment that is typically sprinkled over cooked rice.  The word "furikake" actually means "sprinkle" in Japanese.  You could purchase packets or bottles of pre-made furikake at Asian groceries, but most of them contain additives such as MSG and preservatives.  By making your own, you can avoid these additives, and it's actually very cheap and easy to make.

Recently, I made furikake as a cooking project with a group of Montessori pre-schoolers that I teach weekly, and they loved the process of making it, which involved stirring, grinding, tearing, shaking, etc.  They also loved eating what they just made.  It was so rewarding!  By sharing this recipe here, I hope that my fellow teachers, friends with children as well as blog readers will get to enjoy making and eating furikake.

So here is the recipe... The ingredients are very simple: sesame seeds, sea salt, and seasoned seaweeds.  Use the best ingredients that you can find.  I used about 2 tablespoons of organic white sesame seeds, about 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt from Okinawa, and 2 small packs of seasoned seaweeds without additives (purchased at People's Co-op).  I used white sesame seeds but black ones are good as well.  As for sea salt, there are so many varieties but use one that you like the best.  Instead of Japanese seasoned seaweeds you could use Korean ones, if you like.

First, roast sesame seeds in a frying pan.  Do not use oil.  Use high heat, for 3-4 minutes, constantly stirring the seeds.  You will start to hear the seeds pop, and that is when you turn off the heat.

Next, put the roasted sesame seeds in a mortar.  Grind up the seeds using a pestle.  My students loved the movement of hand-griding seeds.  If you don't have a mortar and a pestle, you could grind them in a food processor.  

Tear up seaweeds to small pieces (about the size of a thumb nail) and put in a food processor.  If you don't have a food processor you could tear the seaweeds to tiny pieces by hand or by a pair of scissors instead.

Grind up the seaweed in a food processor.  Press the "Grind" button, one second at a time, for 10-20 times until the seaweeds are in tiny pieces.

Put all the processed ingredients into a container with a lid.

Once all the ingredients are in the container, put the lid on and shake!

Now furikake is done!  Sprinkle a small amount on top of rice.  Itadakimasu!

You can also modify this recipe and add more ingredients, such as dried bonito shavings, dehydrated umeboshi (picked plum), dehydrated shiso (Japanese mint), dried salmon flakes, chili flakes, nutritional yeast, etc.  Instead of sprinkling it over rice, you can season popcorns and other things, too.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Origami Earrings

Over the holiday season I've made a lot of origami earrings.  Making a few pairs to gift to friends and families turned into making dozens and dozens for their colleagues, clients, and friends, and eventually, I ended up making almost 100 pairs over the course of a few months.  Here are some photos of the earrings.

Most of the paper that I've used to make these earrings are pretty handmade chiyogami paper from Japan that I had collected over the years.  If you'd like to order my origami earrings, please contact me.  I only custom make these earrings.  St. Valentine's Day is coming up soon!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review: LaFosse & Alexander's Dollar Origami

When I was gifted this Dollar Origami book by Origamido Studio recently, I was kind of dreading having to use icky old dollar bills.  Crisp new ones were hard to come by, as far as I knew.  But when I first opened the book, I was pleasantly surprised to find fake dollar bills to tear-out and use. I also learned from my local origami friend Janessa from Daily Dollar Doodle that if I wanted crisp new dollar bills I just need to call my bank to see if they have gotten a shipment of new bills.

Dollar bill origami seems to have become more and more popular in the U.S. these days.  There are quite a few books published on the subject now.  But to me, this was unexplored area of origami.

This book has a wide variety of models, simple to intermediate to advanced, modular to practical to animals.  Something for everyone.  I found some of more advanced models toward the end of this book  pleasantly challenging.  My favorite models in this book include "Reef Pony" (seahorse), Bunnies (2 versions: standing and sitting) and Teddy Bear.  I love when dollar bill origami designers incorporate models with eyes.

Sitting Bunny and Standing Bunny
"Reef Pony"
Teddy Bear
How fun it would be to use these folded money creatures to tip at restaurants or to give away to kids such as a tooth fairy!  LaFosse & Alexander's Dollar Origami is available on Amazon and Powell's.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review: Origami Bonsai Kit by Benjamin John Coleman

I first laid my eyes on an artwork of Benjamin John Coleman on Origami Caravan website, over a year ago.  He was auctioning off an original work of his, which was a wall hanging of intricate origami flowers.  It looked very organic and sculptural, unlike most other origami flower models.  I loved it.  You can still see the photo of it here: "Outcropping II" by Benjamin John Coleman.  So when I acquired the Origami Bonsai Kit by Benjamin John Coleman, I was very excited.

This kit comes in a box with a full-color instructional book, a DVD, and folding papers in a variety of colors.  In the book, the author uses his own diagramming system called Glow-fold, instead of the traditional Yoshizawa-Randlett system which I'm very much used to.  Because of that, I needed to read the book a little more carefully than usual and get used to his own way of explaining the steps.

There are four types of simple yet attractive leaf models.  As for flowers, there are six varieties that are all very intricate and beautiful.  Five out of the six flower varieties start out from the same base model.  The last step of the basic flower form was a bit challenging for me, but luckily I got help from a friend.  The DVD is also a great resource for a time like this.  Aside from that small learning curb, I was able to fold all models with no problems.

The kit comes with folding papers in a variety of colors, a bit grossy and printed on both sides.  I love the subtle gradations of bright colors.  These printed papers give crease marks that are visible, as you can see in the photo below.

Rotundifolius, Ficus, Berlin Popular, and Ivy
(from left to right).
Black Eyed Susan, Primrose, Foxglove,
Buttercup, Pumpkin Flower, Morning Glory
 (left to right, top to bottom).

The crease marks look fine on leaves, but I was not fond of how they looked on flower petals.  Because of the crease marks that I couldn't seem to avoid, I used these printed papers only for practice.  For actual display pieces I chose to use washi.  I love the matte, soft texture of washi.  I have a good variety of washi at home.  The author says he paints the papers for his own creations, so that might be another option.

After folding flowers and leaves of my choice, with the papers and colors I like, even more fun comes next: finding a twig (and a stone) for the sculpture and assembly.  The author suggests to use an actual twig to attach to folded flowers and leaves: something that I had never thought of doing.  I've made a lot of origami flowers in the past but always used floral stem wires or pens/pencils with floral tapes around them to attach the origami flowers.  I found that using a real twig is much more elegant choice.  The author also talks in detail about leaf alignment and perspectives of sculptures, which really helped me figure out how to make it look more like a real plant.

As suggested by the author, I used a hot glue gun to attach the folded pieces to the twig.   I actually didn't own a glue gun before, but I picked up a seemingly good quality one from SCRAP for just $2! I was very happy and excited to see how organic and natural my first origami bonsai sculpture turned out.  I picked the combination of Primrose and Foxglove in pink and red: my favorite colors.

I can't wait to make more of these origami bonsai sculptures as center pieces for our Thanksgiving dinner and for holiday decorations.  Perhaps I could also give them out as holiday gifts.  I think this kit itself makes a great holiday gift to people who loves craft projects as well!

Origami Bonsai Kit is available to buy on AmazonPowell's, and many other book stores.