Sunday, July 8, 2018

Delicious Summer Recipes

I've recently been searching for some new recipes for the summer.  You know, all the wonderful produce that's in season has had me wanting some good salads.  I've posted a couple on Instagram recently, but I thought I'd share the links to them here.  

This first one is Ravioli with Sautéed Asparagus and Walnuts from Green Valley Kitchen.  I could only find cheese ravioli in my store, which I thought was ridiculous, but it was still delicious.  These are my photos, so you can see how they really turn out.  
The second one is 10-Minute Zucchini Noodles with Garlic, Lemon and Parmesan.  I asked for and received a Spiralizer for Christmas and I finally tried it out.  It worked perfectly on zucchini and this recipe was very good too.  You can find it at Instant Pot Eats.  
I loved all of these recipes or I wouldn't be passing them on to you.  I've just hit the jackpot lately.  This one was my favorite combination.  Pasta, tomato, basil what can be wrong with that? This recipe is from Alexandra Cooks and was a favorite with my husband too.  
And lastly, I decided to make my own hummus. In Japan, we couldn't buy hummus or decent crackers.  I craved hummus and Triscuits. I had friends that would make their own. I even brought cans of chick peas to Japan for them and myself.  I never did it. Yesterday I did and I added "Everything but the Bagel" sesame seasoning to the top with some olive oil. It was amazing with some Triscuits.  I made this Classic Hummus recipe from Gimme Some Oven.  
Do you have some new summery recipes you'd like to share with me? I'm on the hunt! 

Happy eating. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Crafting in Texas

Hello everyone!  You read that right.  I'm in Texas these days.  Crazy turn of events, isn't it?  We are still missing Japan very much.  I do miss all of my crafty adventures while living there.  I really hadn't planned on blogging again anytime soon.  Most of what I do I share on Instagram.  You can follow me @ksueb.  

Recently I have been playing with a process called Cyanotype.  You may remember doing it as a child or with your children.  I've seen some artists trying it on Instagram and asked for a kit for Christmas.  It had quite the trip getting to me, but eventually I received it.  I didn't really try it until recently when I had more time and the sun was strong.  It is a chemical process that was invented in the 1800's and was eventually used to catalog botanicals.  I'll leave you some links for more information.  This is the Wikipedia explanation.  The kit is no longer available at, but this DVD gives instruction and some resources. 

Here is what I've done so far.

These were wild grasses. 
Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus Carota)
Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera)

What are you going to do with them, you ask?  That, my friends, is TBD.  I might frame them or sew them into something.  I'm just having fun at the moment, playing.  Hope you are all well and enjoying your summer.  We have big things on the horizon and I'll maybe keep you updated here.  If there is still anyone out there.  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Value of the Handmade

One of the things I love most about Japan, is the immense variety of handmade crafts that continue to be done here as well as the continued appreciation of them.  I do understand that some of these traditions are not necessarily being handed down to the younger generations.  A few of the artists that I know personally do not have children that want the family business.  Some have assistants that they have trained that will continue the craft.

A few weeks ago was the Arimatsu Shibori Matsuri (festival).  I didn't get to go last year so jumped at the chance to go with our Japanese teacher and her husband this time.  I didn't even know it was scheduled, so I'm so glad they invited us.  Shibori is a type of fabric manipulation used when dyeing fabric.  It was probably handed down from China, but Arimatsu developed it's own style and was set along the Edo trail, which was the road from the capital of Tokyo (Edo) to Kyoto.  Arimatsu has a 400 year tradition of the shibori trade.

The streets and shops were swamped with people buying discounted shibori ready made and fabric yardage.  There were food booths (of course) and craft booths where you could learn several different craft techniques.  It isn't entirely handmade any longer.  Small tools have been developed to make it a less laborous process.

I ended up buying only a handmade and hand dyed linen scarf.  It was dyed with natural ingredients, the green was rosemary, blue was indigo and pink was madder.  Here is a description of madder.  The lovely lady that I bought it from had a henna rinse in her hair.  Ken says that's a "no go" when I mentioned getting a henna rinse myself. I think the scarf is so beautiful.  It has already softened up from wearing it.  

Here are some photos of beautiful fabrics at the festival.

This display was incredibly impossible to photograph.  It was in a gym so there was that distraction, but it was stunning the way the light played off of the fabrics.  

These are coasters I made for Mari's birthday.  They are made from vintage Yukata (summer cotton kimono) fabrics that have patches and stitches and seams.  She was actually with me when I purchased the fabrics over a year ago. Because the fabrics were rustic, I decided to do Sashiko stitches in a heavier weight thread with more of a rustic, primitive feel to them.  I love how they turned out and she did too.  I've learned recently that the traditional Sashiko indigo and white colors were used because it was illegal for commoners to wear bright colors or large ornamentation during the Edo period.  That is why most of the designs are small and the colors are blue and white.  This came from a book with the history of Sashiko that another Mari gave me.  It's called The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook by Susan Briscoe.  

Recently I asked a friend from the UK to teach me how to do EPP (English Paper Piecing).  Another friend joined in and we were taught this lovely piecing technique.  

I made a coaster for myself out of my little flower.  

Since I've been talking about Sashiko, I thought you might like to see how I mended my jeans recently. I used an iron-on patch on the back and then sewed some Sashiko stitches for reinforcement.  This idea is referred to as "visible mending".  Google it and you'll see lots of ideas.  I think it would've been easier if I would have used regular fabric instead of iron on.  That was difficult to stitch through.  But, I did and I read that they will be so strong that the fabric around it will be weaker.  So, we will see how these hold up.  In the mean time, I think they look cool.  Okay, so enough about Shibori and Sashiko for now.  We've had lots of company in June and so I've taken so many sightseeing pictures as well.  Maybe that will be my next post.  Or flowers.  
Our sensei and her husband, Keiko and Akio.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit,

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Wow, It's Almost June!!

Sorry for the silence these last few months.  I knew they would fly by.  Last March we were talking about all that was on the calendar for the next few months.  We had a home leave trip planned for April for two weeks.  The following week I was helping decorate for another wedding at our church.  Four days after that we had guests arriving.  They left today and now in two more weeks our oldest daughter and son-in-law come for a two week visit.  We blinked and the time has flown by.  Soon, too soon, it will be the end of June and we will have only two more months in Japan.  

I'm trying to take it all in.  There are goodbye lunches, dinners and picnics being held every weekend it seems.  All the while there is still uncertainty about what happens once we get home.  We are just trying to take things one day and a time.  What good does it do to worry too much about it. God always seems to have another plan.  It's usually superior to our own anyway.  

Here are a few photos from our recent months.

We went on a couple of hikes around our house.  It's an entirely different kind of beauty in comparison to Japan.  But, everywhere you look, there is something gorgeous.  

This is the only part of the garden that looked good.  So much work to do when we return!
Do you remember this place?  It's been awhile hasn't it?
I came back to help this lovely lady get married.  I was sweet and simple, but still took a lot of work.  What a blessing to be able to contribute to this special occasion.  

Our guests arrived soon after and we hit the ground running.  They are from Malaysia and she was one of our foreign exchange students that we hosted several years ago.  We hadn't seen each other in 12 years.  The sensei really gave us some special treatment and took us to his favorite lunch place.  

Last Friday I got a message asking if I wanted to go with my photography group to the fish market early in the morning. My company was so excited so we headed out at about 5:30 am. This was definitely not my normal environment for photography but it was very fun and quite a learning experience.   

He's using the longest knife I have ever seen. 

They went off and did their own thing in Kyoto and Osaka for a few days.  Such great kids and so helpful and considerate.  When they returned, we visited the Aquarium.  My husband hadn't been there yet either.  Along with it was the Fuji Antarctic Exploration Vessel that was in commission for 18 years.  

With that I'm going to swim off and go eat some Mexican food.  Yes, we have one good Mexican restaurant here.  Basically it's a bar with about 4 tables, but that's beside the point.  Until next time. . . 


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