Friday, January 28, 2011

Japanese Paper Vase

Everyone knows how the Japanese are queens of paper art but who knew just how many different ways paper can be used.

I bought this Air Vase, as it is called, in Tokyo. Designed by Torafu Architects, it is a 'paper bowl that envelops air. You can freely change its shape.'

It starts out flat.

And ends up like this.

Turns out Torafu Architects do some pretty modern, funky architecture too - as I have just discovered looking at their website (see here). It's reassuring to know that the face of Tokyo is starting to change and its new buildings are a far cry from the old.

P.S. The best news this week is that we got council approval for the decking louvred screen which means we don't need to deal with Knucklehead Neighbour over our house again!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DIY Project: Foot stool

I started a small DIY project over Christmas and thought I'd better finish it! We inherited a foot stool with a colourful printed base and cushion when bought the Bach but it now doesn't go with our decor and it needed a little TLC.

I thought I'd paint it white for starters.

Then I took off the old base fabric and replaced it with part of the leftover hem from ready-made curtains from Freedom. And my 12-year-old daughter (with not much help from me!) made a new cushion cover with the leftover fabric from Yardage Design used for the cushions on the cane chairs.

Now it all co-ordinates beautifully and I feel quite chuffed as it was my first dabble in upholstering (which was quite easy, really) and I had to delve back 20 years to remember how to sew a zip into a cushion!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunset at the Bay

Was going through photos we've taken recently and had forgotten about these I took over Christmas up at the Bay. Who doesn't love a sunset?


The colours take my breath away.

What's the best sunset you've seen?

Friday, January 21, 2011

A few things about Japan

Okay, so I said I wasn't going to post  any more holiday snaps! But I thought I'd tell you a few things about what we observed while in Japan.

You don't go to Japan for the architecture (I guess the war is a lot to blame for that, unfortunately). But the temples and shrines are beautiful.

You don't go to Japan without a phrase book. Jenglish abounds as this sign attests. Apparently the reason is two-fold, so says my friend's Japanese fiancee whom we met in Tokyo. The Japanese language doesn't have letters and sounds like 't' and 'r' and 'l' which makes it hard for them to pronounce many English words and because they, in general, perfectionists (their food presentations are examples of that), they don't like to do anything unless they can do it well. But the Japanese people are so super friendly, polite and respectful and go out of their way to help, that the language barriers do not matter. However, they do appreciate it enormously when you try and speak their language, so giving it a go is a must. They also apologise profusely even when they are not in the wrong!

Be open to new and different cultural experiences: like eating a meal with the owner's dog at the table next to you; eating types of raw fish and sea creatures you've never seen before (dead or alive); and taking part in a the Japanese onsen (hot spring) ritual which, if you can get past the fact you must be naked and communal (but sex segregated) you will wish you had them in your home town.

And if you go in winter, you must check out the snow - there is tons of the stuff - and, of course, build the obligatory snowman (but try not to make him look evil likes ours ended up looking!).

P.S. I have just been down to the house and guess what? Forgot the camera! Can I blame it on jetlag??
Anyway, there isn't a lot to see - just steel framework - which probably wouldn't have photographed so well. Feeling excited about the progress, though.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Holidays and all that carry on

Howdy folks! Am back from my blogging hiatus after an amazing two weeks in Japan. Now I won't bore you with a  load of holiday snaps (phew, I hear you say) but I will show you two, if I may. Not only did we go from 30-something degrees celsius to around minus 8 in the snow, but hubby decided to show off a Christmas present I gave him and in light of the current trend in homewares for all things with the British wartime slogan (or something similar) 'Keep Calm and Carry On', I feel the need to show you the result. I'm sure he won't mind ...

Image by the girl in the brick house taken at Hakuba in beer-freezing temperatures.

I found this little gem (the T-shirt not the husband) at - a typically British male website if ever there was one. When I saw it, I knew just who would love it!

Says the site: In these rather trying times we simply can't allow the backbone of Britain, its pubs, to wither away and die. It's time to get a grip, gird our loins, dig for victory and stiffen those upper lips (around a pint of fine British ale, of course). So, show your support for mine host on the frontline and don one of these rather dashing undershirts.

Apart from taking silly photos, skiing and trying to speak Japanese, we also made a visit to the snow mt the Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park near Nagano who love to wallow in hot springs in the wild and don't mind human company. I just have to show you one I photographed only centimetres away from us. So cute I could have taken him home!

Image by the girl in the brick house taken on her little old digital camera.  

P.S. A quick update re the house: there was a delay with the roofing steel because of the application of zinc spraying which protects the steel from corrosion so it didn't go in pre-Christmas. But tomorrow it does, as well as the timber rafters and then the roof sheeting. Yay! Still waiting to hear official confirmation that the privacy screening is all a-go but it's looking good. And we have a site meeting on Friday so will hopefully be able to show you the new roof then!


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