Mitsuwa Grocery store… or Prepping for Hina Matsuri

One of the most popular posts on my blog is this one about Hina Matsuri, or Girls Day in Japan.  As March 3rd approaches, I am slowly putting up my Hina doll display, and took a trip to Mitsuwa, our local Japanese grocer (which is not so local to me, it’s an hour drive).  I love Mitsuwa.  I can’t read any of the signs unless they are also in English, and half the time we buy stuff we have no idea what it is, but it looks good, smells good, and other people are buying it.  
Mitsuwa is having it’s anniversary this week, and they had these special pastries from the pastry shop inside.  They looked like apples and had a creme/apple filling inside.  It was so wonderful, and they are only around for a short time at the store inside Mitsuwa (which is called Pastry House Hippo… love that!).
Also inside Mitsuwa is a Japanese bookstore, called Books Sanseido.  They have Japanese quilting books and quilt magazines!  I love to go in and browse, and I eventually come out with a couple of things.  Japanese magazines are really expensive, so I only buy one or two.  
Later on I will post my Hina display! 

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Japanese New Year traditions

Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu! (Happy New Year!)

I’m very into Japanese traditions and culture, and New Year is a special time that the Japanese celebrate in a special way.  

These are my mini kadomatsu (the bamboo pieces that hold the ancestral spirits) and the New Year animal, which is the usagi (rabbit).   I also have my shimenawa, which is a twisted rope wreath. 

We have a great Japanese grocery store but it’s not exactly nearby.  I wanted to get over there to buy some kagami mochi this year but didn’t get a chance to.  Instead I made this little version and put it on a display stand.  It’s made out of craft felt cut in decending circles and stuffed.  

Have a great new year!
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Zansho Omimai moushi agemasu!

So, How are you in this lingering heat? This phrase comes from a Japanese tradition of sending a little postcard in summer that inquires how your friends and family are doing in the heat of summer.  I particularly love Japanese traditions like this.  They make me feel happy. So please consider this my little postcard to you!
When I was a kid I loved “Little Twin Stars” by Sanrio so much that I bypassed all of the Hello Kitty stuff just to buy this stuff instead.  I remember someone in my family had a small collection on a dresser that was only up to my nose in height, and I stood in front of that dresser for hours staring at the Little Twin Star things that she had collected.  Now when I see cute things from Japan I snap them up quick! 

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My Kadomatsu and Year of the Tiger display

I forgot to post pictures of the kadomatsu display I put up this new year.  I have a cute animal zodiac figurine set from Japan and I got to put up the adorable cute tiger for 2010.  
I got some kadomatsu this year to add to my little display, which resides in my china cabinet.  You may remember my kadomatsu quilt from last year’s weekly Japanese culture series of weekly quilts.  Now you can see what I was trying to depict. Kadomatsu means “gate pine” and is used in doorways to attract spirits to them.

You are supposed to put them up after Christmas and take them down on January 7th.  Traditionally you burn them after the 15th to release the spirits inside, but as mine are plastic I doubt they were made to be burned.

I’m going on a quilt retreat this weekend and am super stoked to get some things finished up!

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Commence the Showing and Telling

I know you’re waiting with baited breath to see the stuff I got at the IQA Chicago Show. Wait no more! Here it all is!!
One of the things I like best about the quilt show is the ability to get stuff you can’t get in one single quilt store. I especially like shopping for new thread so I can see all of the varieties and weights, and especially the colors. I stuck to 30 and above weight cottons for this trip. Also shown are the smallest yo-yo maker and a new ribbon flower maker I had not yet seen from Clover.

Next up is hand dyed stuff. I always spend a ridiculous amount of money on Cherrywood fabrics, as I find their fabrics to be top notch. I also buy from Artfabrik (Laura Wasilowski), Frieda Anderson, and Wendy Richardson. Wendy dyes in the greatest mottled greens, purples, and browns, and I love her dyed damask napkins. They are a treat to sew on.

If you know me, you know I love things from Japan, and the Maeda Imports booth has lovely fabrics from Japan. These are cotton furoshiki (wrapping) cloths. I especially love the Hina Matsuri (Doll festival or girl’s day) and Kodomo no Hi (children’s day) with the koi cloths. I also love, love, love the kawaii cats and fishbowls. I also got some Japanese knotting cords for some future project.

One thing you won’t have at a quilt show is a lack of patterns, books, and DVDs to inspire you. Kits are popular, because they can be made up as is, and folks like to make what they see on display or in the picture. Here are a couple of pin kits (one of wool and one of shibori silk) because I love pins. I also love this Crabapple Hill pattern of embriodered haunted houses called Hocuspocusville. And I love the Quilting Arts booth, where I picked up a couple of DVDs. One is season 2 of the QA tv show, and one by Melanie Testa.

I am not a huge purchaser of novelty fabrics, but I know a couple of people who would appreciate the motifs on a quilted project from these. Some racecar fabric for a certain father, and some Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairies for a certain mother in law. Isn’t that face striking?

Ah, the odds and sods. The grey looking thing is a kimono sleeve, vintage, with sparkly threads in it. It will become a purse. The round things are strips of hand dyed wool from one of the many wool booths at the show. The sparkly stuff in the middle is Stewart Gill rainbow texturizers. The Fuzzy Nabber is a washable lint roller, which I have one of already and just adore. And the little fruits are the weird kind of thing where I could have bought the book and materials to make them myself, but I know I would never do them, so would rather buy the finished products themselves. They have loops for putting on a keychain or project.

Now for the things I made at the show. At the MIU booth (Quilting Arts/Interweave area) you can take classes on the show floor for $10. These are the 3 classes I took (besides Surviving the Runway). The first made the background fabrics, which were taught by Melanie Testa. The doll class was by Debbie Crane. The little charms were the resin class by the Little Windows company. All were great!

Last but not least is my tiara from the Art Quilt reception, and the pin award I recieved for being runner up.

Hope you enjoyed Show and Tell!

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