30 November 2010

Its a little bit cold here.

Well the UK certainly has been having interesting weather for the last few days.

We have snow and of course with the snow we been having all sorts of power and traffic problems. Not that I have been experiencing them because I don't work and as I live in the city centre, power is pretty stable. However it is cold.

The good thing (or bad thing depending on your outlook) is that I have enough snow to build Bob the Snowman on my balcony.

Does he look great!

He isn't that big by the way, I have a finite amount of snow although it is suppose to carry on snowing today so maybe he will have a friend.

22 November 2010

And finally "Cotton Tail" is finished

Back in August I made a lovely white kusudama from cotton fabric that Hong gave me.

Well I have sat on it for ages (not literally by the way) without finishing it off but on Saturday night I decided that enough was enough, it had to be completed.

What do you think? I didn't want the surrounding features to be too busy since the kusudama was complicated as it is but I wanted some sort of strand to drape/hang from it.

I am going to have a hard time letting this one go!

14 November 2010

Second Kimono de Jack - Camden

Finally after a month waiting the day has come, the second Kimono de Jack in Camden!

Last time we achieved a total of 5 kimono wearers but this time it appeared we had 8 attending. Excellent our rank grows bigger!

So how did my day go? It started off so well, I got up at 07.00 and began to get ready but somehow my hair was not playing ball and by the time I was ready it was 08.15. In theory enough time to get to the train station but it wasn't and I just missed my train. Oh f$%k!

As you may have guessed I was very annoyed but my partner offered to pay the single train ticket to London for me (which cost £59) and reassured me that it wasn't a problem. So after a bit more reassurance from my partner and being told to enjoy myself, off I got on the train to London.

I have nothing to report about the train journey it was a two hour and 20 minute journey where nothing of interest happened. I mean nothing. Thank god for books and ipod or I would have died of boredom.

The train pulled in around 11.20 and I minced my way to the Northern Line to get the tube to Chalk Farm. That was the easy part, now comes the hard part, locating the Keiko Tea bar in Stable Market. I had a rough idea of where this tea bar was situated but getting there from tube station wasn't as easily as it sounds. There was no signpost to say "This way to Stables Market" so I just headed in the direction that I thought was right. After a few worrying minutes I saw the sign of Stables Market and found the tea bar but no kimono friends.

No they haven't run off, they just wandered to find some toilets and after using the the wonders of a mobile phone I found them. After a few more minutes Elizabeth turned up and we are up to 6 people. Woo hoo one more then last time and we still had one more member to turn up but that will be for lunch.

Now that we are all together we can sample the delights that Keiko Tea Bar has to offer.

So much to choose from but I chose a nice cooling iced lemon and ginger tea. There were cakes as well but I had to refuse since a couple of nights ago I went out for a curry and I didn't want to pig out too much. It was a very nice refreshing tea with the lemon definitely hitting all the right taste buds. YUMMY!

Here is Hong's Matcha latte

And Tegan's hot tea (I can't remember what she brought) with a tasty looking matcha cupcake.

We all decided to sit seiza way which for us was a challenge. I cheated by placing a cushion between my feet and my bum so that I wasn't sitting directly on feet but eventually I began to lose feeling in my toes after a couple of hours.

Of course gave me some interesting photos!

And of course Hong decided to take it easy when things were hurting.

During our tea break we were join by Sapporo who turned up to pick up some calligraphy brushes from April. It is a shame he will be leaving in February 2011 but hopefully we can organise another get together.

We were enjoying the tea bar so much that time flew and soon it was 13.15 and we had a lunch reservation at Sen Nin for 14.00 somewhere. Therefore we finished our drinks and off we went to the restaurant. It didn't appear to look far on the map and I am sure it was only a short walk but it seem to take awhile to get there. Not to mention it wasn't visible from the main road so when we turned into Pratt Street we started to wonder whether Sen Nin actually existed. However we found it and it was very nice indeed. We were the only customers in the restaurant but this was good as it meant we could carry on with our conversations.

We all chose something from their lunch menu, I chose the chicken katsu which was breaded fried chicken and it came with some rice and miso soup. All very healthy and filling. Cynthia turned up after getting a little lost but that is the problem of giving directions in London when you don't live in London (apart from Hong but she doesn't know Camden).

So with our stomachs refuelled we tackled Camden and Stables market again. As we were walking around Stables Market looking for the Gothic Loilta we were asked by a passing photographer for some photos as he was taking them for a book about Camden. Wow what a photo opportunity! So we filled out his forms and got our pictures taken.

Unfortunately the light was failing and all my photos didn't turn out well. Hopefully the photographer will be kind enough to send me his set but I can wait.

After our little photo shoot it was time that April, Hong and I were off but between my own stupidity for the second time of the day I got confused and missed the train to St Pancras. As such I missed my train for the second time!

Yes I was panicking and worrying like a manic and I apologies to April and Hong for my very silly outburst but sometimes I get very wound up by my own thoughts. Maybe I need some anti-anxiety pills or something!

Following April's advice I asked East Midland staff if they could put me on the next train and the very nice girl said yes. Phew my card was spared another day!

I eventually got home 1 hour later then planned and even thought I wore my boots my feet still hurt! Why can't I find a pair of shoes that I can walk around in for more then 6 hours? I don't think trainers will got with any kimono so I better get looking for extra comfy shoes.

So that is another Kimono de Jack wrapped up.

I hope you all are all excited about the next one because this time we are branching out into Birmingham! There will be lots of lovely Christmas goodies to try so I better find an extra long obi.

13 November 2010

Another Kimono de Jack has happened!

It has been a very long day but very enjoyable until I got near a train!

Anyway all details will be posted tomorrow. Now I am going to destroy stuff on GTA4.

12 November 2010

Second Kimono de Jack Tomorrow

I can't help it that I'm excited about tomorrow. There is nothing better then wearing kimono and meeting a load of people who are also wearing kimono.

Tomorrow will probably be cold so it is time to be creative ones accessories. Clearly gloves and scarf will be needed but I think my ear muffs will be necessary as well. As for shoes, hmmmm I don't think my toes can cope with such cold temperatures so I'll be wearing my tan coloured boots. This way I can wear some nice thick socks and no one will know (apart from you the reader).

I am torn between wearing my cape or ama coat. Cape is heavy but short so my legs will have no protection. My ama coat is long but thin. Maybe I need a longer cape, hmmm something to buy in the future or possibly make if I ever get a sewing machine.

9 November 2010

Kawaski Orchestra Take two!

So Saturday's night performance was lovely but I took rubbish photos which I am going to blame on the lighting in the room.

Therefore I don another kimono and made my way to their second performance in Sheffield at the Winter Gardens. This time it was the middle of the day and in a lovely bright inner city botanical garden.


I didn't mention this before but the reason why the orchestra is in Sheffield is because Kawaski and Sheffield were celebrating 20 years partnership and the Mayor of Kawaski is in the above photo (he is the one standing in the middle).

The ladies insisted that I had my photo taken with them, how could I refuse such lovely ladies.


I went a little overboard with the photographing so here is a link to my flickr page

There is also a video of one of the dancer performing.


7 November 2010

Mini Candy Craft Stall

So the Elsecar Art and Craft fair was a little disappointing but one must try to be positive or you will never get anywhere!

Onwards to the next stall and it was the Mini Candy Craft Stall.

Candy Craft is a Sheffield based craft group who work together to promote Sheffield crafter and I have been trying to get a stall at one of their events for a while and this time I succeeded.

So the event started at 13.00 but I had to get there around 12.15 to secure a decent table. Ideally I would have wanted one which was next some nice comfy seats but I couldn't and therefore I chose a table that would allow customers to view it from both sides.

The organiser grabbed me a chair so I didn't need to spend the whole time standing up.

Again was it a success? Hmm this is becoming a bit of a curse for me these fairs but no it was not good. No sales again and only a few of my cards were taken this time.

I am beginning to feel that my little creations need a different market. I think my larger pieces would be great for occasion wear but how does one enter such a market?

Kawasaki Orchestra Concert

Well Facebook has certainly been very handy in this case because I only got to know about this concert on Thursday and it was happening on the Saturday. At a price of only £1 it was a bargain to good to let go.

In addition it is another chance to don my kimono.

I decided to wear the same purple/pink komon that I wore to the first Kimono de Jack UK a couple of weekends ago but I of course changed my obi. This time the obi I choose was a lovely black one with various mon on it. It is a little bit fragile so as this was going to be a short concert and I'm not going very far, I thought this seem to be the most ideal time to wear it.

Here is the outfit!

Not bad kitsuke for 20minutes and I'm loving the new elastic koshihimo that Hong gave me. My kimono stayed in place and I was nice and comfortable.

Here is a picture of the taiko.

and another closeup of the front.

So off I go to Bar One which is one of the student bars near the university. It was strange to be walking through Sheffield in full kimono especially on a Saturday night but no nasty comments which is good.

It was only a 10 minute mince for me but once I got there I saw the strangest sight. An empty student bar! I couldn't figure it out at the time as I was more concerned in finding the lounge that the concert was being held so the fewer people at the bar the better. It turns out it wasn't hard to find and we were actually early so we had a quick little drink and watched the Ireland v South Africa rugby match on big screen.

Hmmm I'm never a sport fan but if I had to watch one sport then it would be rugby. At least you feel that the players are earning the right amount of money for their sport unlike football but that is just one of my many pet hates (we will go into it another time!).

So the minutes disappeared as did my drink but eventually they got ready and we could go in. I paid my £2 to the guy (the other person who came with me was my partner) and we took our seats. Why is it that I always end up being the only person wearing a kimono at these events. One day this will get me into trouble!

I wish I knew more about traditional Japanese music but I don't but it was lovely to hear the koto and shakuhachi being played. They did a couple of Beatles songs as well which was amusing however I feel the koto sounds a lot better when it is playing music that has been composed for a koto.

There was also some traditional dancing as well but I couldn't get any pictures of him as my camera was useless at taking moving people.

Then the dancer wanted some audience participation in the bon odori dance. Do you remember me saying that wearing a kimono will get me into trouble, well the dancer noticed me and asked me to join in. How could I refuse? The man has travelled all this way so I had to didn't I.

It wasn't too bad until the tempo increased but it was soon over.

After the dancing there was a question and answer session but only one question was asked and it was whether they were playing again in Sheffield. The answer was yes, at the winter garden on Tuesday.

Questions over, it was offically over the concert but I couldn't go away without getting a group photo.

I got a glowing reception from these lovely ladies who were complementing my kimono and kitsuke skill. I was equally admiring their kimono and I wanted to get closeup of them but it seemed a little rude to do so.

I love the lady at the back playing with some sort of bamboo mat. During the concert she gave a mini demonstration of something the merchants use to do to make extra money. I was useless at guessing what she was trying to do but the bamboo mat looked fun. She is the sort of grandmother that would always make you laugh with her childish behaviour.

Also during this time, one of the koto players was allowing the audience to play twinkle, twinkle little star on her koto. I should have done it but I didn't have the guts anyway I have already spend 4 hours running a mini candy craft stall at Bear and Bungalow so I was feeling pretty tired.

Anyway, I plan to see them again on Tuesday in kimono again and hope to get better photos.

Wish me luck!

1 November 2010

Elsecar Art and Craft Fair

After the (sort of) success of Art in the Garden, I thought I would give another Art and Craft fair a go to see if I would have better success.

This time it was the Art and Craft Fair at Elsecar Heritage Centre in Elsecar.

It was a very pleasant drive to Elsecar I have to say with very little traffic although why do they keep changing the speed limit along an A road beats me. My boyfriend and I spent most of the time wondering whether to do 30mph, 35mph, 40mph, 50mph or 60mph. Really which speed limit would you like us to obey? When it is 30mph, we had cars whizzing past us as if it is 60mph but we were pretty sure that it is 30mph due to the road sign with 30 in a big red circle we saw a few seconds ago. Other road users are the biggest threat to me and my car.

Enough of this rant on driving back to the fair.

It was situated at a lovely little place called Elsecar Heritage Centre which has craft shops and its own private little train yard. The fair was in one of buildings on-site named Building 21 and after looking aimlessly for a few minutes for the organisers, I managed to located my table.

So what was on offer at the fair? We had the usual array of jewellery, craved wood, cakes, cards and knitted item stalls but there was also some other such as lace demo stall which look very interesting but one doesn't need another hobby and a cute little stall (which happened to be behind me) selling stuffed toys.

I have to say that once again that I was the one offering the most unusual thing for sale and I lost count of the number of time people said "oh that is pretty and unusual". Which I will take as being a nice comment (well I hope they were being nice!)

Oh you wouldn't believe it but my boyfriend here is working hard on this paper in this photo!

No really, he is working! Just look at the concentration here, he didn't even notice his picture being taken.

Anyway here are some other pictures of my stall.

So was it an overwhelming success? To put it bluntly, no it was not.

Several people took my business cards but I only made one sale. I think it was the "made to order" sign that put people off and also the price because one lady was very interested but as soon as a mentioned the price she recoiled away from my stall. I think some of the people really don't know how much work goes into one of these little flowers and when you tell them, you get this look of disbelief. Oh well, you live and learn.

I have managed to gain another stall this coming weekend on the 6th November at the mini Candy Craft fair at the Bear and Bungalow in Sheffield city centre on Division Street. Hopefully the city population will be more interested in my ware.