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! 

Read More

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!
Read More

Hina Matsuri!

It’s Hina Matsuri, and here is my display!  I have a few more things in my Hina collection for this year, including a solar bobble doll set, a beautiful cotton scarf that is hanging as the background, candy from a trip to Mitsuwa in Arlington Heights, and my weekly quilt from my Japanese Doll series. The center item on the platform is sugar candy. 

Click here to see my display from last year! 
I still have my kimono Hello Kitty doll, but she’s not in the picture.   I bought some hina-arare but I ate it already.  There some more hina snacks in the plastic bag on the left of the picture I saved to the actual day.  My DH has become quite enamored with the mochi cakes in the fridge I bought, so let’s hope they last until tonight!  
The next festival is Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing.  It’s far too cold here yet for that, we still have snow.  But it would be a welcome to spring!

Read More

Happy Hina Matsuri Day!

In keeping with researching Japanese culture and themes, happy Hina Matsuri day, other wise known as Doll Festival or Girls’ Day!

I made this Hina quilt last year as part of my Japanese Doll theme. It’s still so Kawaii! Also, I purchased some Hina Matsuri display dolls from, which I am very happy about. Here is my little display!

I have this cute bowl of Konpeito to celebrate with, and DH and I are going out for Japanese cuisine tonight. We’re also going to try plum wine, and we may float a little origami doll out on the pond. We don’t have kids, but we can still send our misfortunes out on the water to be washed away with the doll instead of us.

I hope you have a happy Hina Matsuri day too!

Read More

Another year passes

I’m on vacation this week also, and have been enjoying the relaxing times I have spent at home with DH. I have not been sewing as much as I had expected, because my DH got a new video game for Christmas that I am enjoying watching unfold, probably as much as he is enjoying playing it. I have been doing a lot of thinking about the past year and am really looking forward to 2009.
I have decided to do another year of weekly quilts, but I have decided to challenge myself again with changing the size and continuing to do them in themed groups by month. The size for 2009 is 8 inches by 5 inches, landscape orientation. I have a theme already for January.
I got great presents for Christmas from the DearHusband, and he was even so thoughtful as to wrap my gifts in fabric! Plenty of things with which to make art this year, and some more Nohohon Zoku (Hidamari No Tami) for my office. I have the best collection of these now.
I have been doing plenty of Japanese culture research for some quilt themes this year. I love the idea of nengajo, New Year’s postcards that are supposed to arrive on Jan 1. This year is the year of the cow (or Ox), and it’s also the sign of my birth year too. I love some of the holidays and traditions of Japan.
Anyways, have a great New Years celebration, be safe, and see you again in 2009, with a lovely giveaway!

Read More