Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pizzelle Week!

I baked a lot of pizzelles this week, for giving away to NOVA faculties as my routine of end of semester and for donation to Japanese support community.
The first group of pizzelles was vanilla flavor since some of the faculties do not favor anise.

I visited main departments looking for the faculties who supported me. I was able to see many of my favorite people and was happy.

I thought I made enough pizzelles, but my very favorite librarian could not get it…

So, I promised her to return with more pizzelles later.

The second group of pizzelles were donated to Japanese community that had a fundraising bazzar today. I mixed with Matcha (green tea) powder in the dough since Japanese like Matcha; we use Matcha in ice cream, pound cake, cheese cake, etc as well.

I asked the people of the community who were selling Japanese food for including my pizzelles.

Their cooked food was YUMMY!

I love frofuki daikon (Japanese white radish).

I helped to make Sakura Mochi for sale :)

Sakura Mochi is Japanese sweet. It is designed from Cherry blossom. Mochi is made from sticky rice and has sweet bean paste inside. The leaf wrapping half of the mochi is a real salt marinated Sakura leaf. We love mochi!
Since today’s event was a fundraising, they provided me a free table to sell my quilts and small items. I was really surprised that 4 quilts (and other small items) were sold today. I donated proceed of sale.

My neighbors for today :)

I am very happy to know many people were really interested in quilts. I found two ladies who actually do quilt, but cannot do quilting, thus they have been holding their quilt tops without quilting for a long time. They promised to contact me later for business and were happy to be able to finally complete their quilts :)

They asked me if I can teach how to make quilt in the group – they offer several cultural classes for members -, and I will gladly do it if I do not have to move out of this city….

Since I bake pizzelles often, R offered me to buy larger maker that can bake 4 at once. Mine bake only 2. I cannot leave kitchen while baking pizzelles because I have to open and close the maker every 45-50 seconds. It usually takes around 3-4 hours standing (I enjoy watching Japanese drama online with my iPad though), and R felt sorry for me.

I am going back to Japan this Wednesday to see my family and friends. One of my best friends has been already busy with making plans for me connecting to other friends; I will experience my first quilt show in Japan :) ; and R signed up an online English writing class for me starting middle of June. I am already having a lot since the Spring semester is gone, and will continue it in this summer :D

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Wool Balls

I had bunch of wool for a long time, and as usual I did not know what to do with it. When my friend gave them to me, I wantend to try felting craft, but (as usual) it never happened.

I thought so many times that I would do something with it, or even tried to sell them, and finally thought of giving it away. But, now, S brought me a way of using them.

Wool balls for driers! It really works for reducing static.
It seems very popular as I was able to find many videos on Youtube showing how to make woolballs. One video on youtube said that recommended amount of wool balls in a dryer is 3 - 5.

Here are mine :)

They look cute, don't they :)

Thursday, May 07, 2015


Today was my last day at NOVA. I took the "final" final exam in the morning, and finished the life with NOVA as a student. I am still surprising and amazed by the fact that knowledge and critical thinking take a person to a place where never imagined. Knowledge is like seeds planted on mind and they grow with critical thinking and additional knowledge.

I am all happy, but probably sadness is stronger. Do not have to go to NOVA anymore is not my reality yet. The graduation ceremony is held on 17th, but I am not going.

I first thought that it is silly to buy a hat and gown for only one day, and I have already many recognitions of my academic achievement. Then, the provost and an adviser told me that they can get a hat and gown for me so I should come and learn one of the American culture.

I thought in a moment, that would be interesting to see how a graduation in the US is like, but I have already signed up for a fundraising event for my Japanese community on that day, and I felt it is more important for me. I will have another opportunity of graduation probably a few years later.

This semester was again really special. I had many opportunities to see higher academic world. Also, the Abnormal Psychology class and Mythology class I took this semester really made me think about humans a lot.

Another special thing is an encounter a professor who I am able to talk very naturally. I took her class for my first time. I think my inner chemical is calling her. Every time I see her, I can just walk to her and share what I did yesterday, or ask questions about the materials without hesitating. This usually do not occur as I often do not know what to say to people. While thinking what I should say, or what they may want to hear, and hesitating to say something, a situation that I could have a conversation with the people is gone.

At the end of final today, she said to me "Keep in touch. I like you, too." It really made me happy and she let me hug her.

Many extraordinary things happened this semester in both private and school. After all, everything is working all right. R and I will be busy with cleaning (especially R! He will have to throw a lot away!) before moving to the new place where the 4 year university I transfer to is. I am ready for enjoying the summer missing NOVA and exciting about the new university.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Coming along.

It has been a long time since the last post, again.

Life with my friend did not work out, so we decided to move out in the middle of March after considering both S and our situations. We are now back to S’s place, and everything is working nicely. We really appreciate S welcoming us back.

Sonny was strange for a while after we moving back, but he now acts like nothing had happened (because I worked to get him back with a lot of treats. He was completely a S’s follower while I was away).

I also appreciate my quilter friends customers. They are really patient with getting their quilts back. “Do your study first!” “Do not let you bother by my silly quilts!” “No rush!!”

This semester was supposed to be a “fun time” for me. This is my last semester at Northern Virginia Community College and I simply wanted to have fun. I found the class choices I made initially did not work out in the first week of the semester, so I had to change it. It screwed up my plan for "fun time" !

I ended up taking 3 PSY classes and 1 ENG class (mythology), and learned this combination is the same as taking 4 ENG classes (worst for me). PSY classes require a lot of readings → analyzing → writings, which is almost the same as ENG classes.

Consequently, quilting jobs started to fall behind. I really hoped to get most of quilts I was holding done during the Spring break (middle of March), but I got a cold. I spent most of the break in bed. During the break, we finally decided to move back to S, we now had to have the move during midterm-exam.

Academically, it was good, I think. I received 3 awards this semester. Not sure how that happened, but these brought me extraordinary experience such as ceremonies, dinner, lunch, pictures taken as a honor student (happy but embarrassing somehow), had to smile in a formal dress (I gave up to smile showing teeth. It is not embedded in my culture), a day trip with the provost, … etc.

I am not good at formal situations, and looking for a "would look OK" dress from the closet is troublesome. This time, I found a black dress that my mother made with fabric $10/yd when I was in early 20s.

I applied some scholarships as well. I learned how difficult to win! It is a team work! A recommendation letter from a professor is significant, and my essay as well! Writing an essay for scholarship is different from the one for ENG class. I really have to know who I am and what I want to do, what I did in the past to help others, about my life, struggle during school or life AND these need to be written very concisely yet strong and attractive!

Winners I saw at an event looked very special and highly competitive. I felt they were born to win, such as a "pedigree horse." I thought I would never win as long as my essay is so dull and I do not like to compete. Later, R found a guy who know how to write essays for scholarship. He gave me tips for writing an essay.

The last scholarship I applied went well. I had an interview with the scholarship committee, and later received a letter saying "Congratulations!" It is so nice to learn people in the committee evaluated my future is worth $$. The 4 year university I applied accepted me soon after they received my application, and sent me a financial package for me. They also provided me 2 scholarships.

Looking back this semester (I still have 2 weeks left including finals though), I think it was wonderful as usual. I received so many supports, my vision for the next step became clearer, and I got rid of what I wanted to.

I have not seen my quilting friends for a long time, since the Spring break. I hope they have not changed next time I see them (probably not).

I am very sure I will feel wonderful after this semester is over. Every semester is different but always brings me very nice feeling. I cannot wait it this time as well.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Alphabet Quilt Fabric set

It had been more than a year since a fabric set of my Japanese alphabet (Hiragana) quilt went out of stock, and finally I made 6 of them during this weekend. I received some inquiries from my customers about it last year, but they were not strongly interested in purchasing it soon, and it is "really" time consuming to cut 50 assorted blocks, it took more than a year to list it in my etsy shop again. The beginning of this year, I had 2 ladies who determined to purchase. So, here they are.

I usually make many of them when I make. This time, only 6…,

but, I cut a lot of extra blocks for making a process easier the next time of making the set.
The blocks on your right side in the box are for Korean alphabet quilts, and for Japanese alphabet quilts on your left.

Dark color fabrics for alphabets.

It is always hard to find light orange fabrics and dark rusty (between red and orange) fabrics. I did online shopping for fabrics for the set this weekend since I found some sales. I hope the fabrics colors are what I expected. Usually, I receive some in my order that the colors are very different from what I thought, and end up taking them to "free for a good home" table at my quilting bee, or use them for charity quilts.

Well, I need to make room for the new fabrics that would be delivered this week.


So, we are expecting a snow storm tomorrow. I am ready for staying at home, especially I am very ready for not going to an evening class tomorrow & a morning class Tuesday morning! Assignments for the classes are done, but it is always nice to stay at home. I LOVE a day that I can stay home all day long being in pajama and do whatever I have to do.

Hope you have a nice week!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

New Year Days.

I am really feeling that I am in a break being away from school things! (- but actually I am now at the college library…)

I am enjoying cooking everyday, as R and my new landlady appreciate any of my cooking so far, and sewing projects. I appreciate their comments "After finishing 4 year university, go to a cooking school (to make my cooking professional - I hope not 'to at least cook something edible')." ha-ha-ha.

We finished 2014 with Toshikoshi Soba which is Japanese tradition to have soba between an old year and a new year, so start to eat before 12am on Dec 31 and finish eating after 12am on Jan 1 wishing a long prosper for a new year.

We had a different version of Ozoni on the New Year Day with Japanese Sake,

and cleaned my long years stashes cutting into 2.5" strips to make charity quilts!

So far, the stripes are categorized into 3 sections - Perky Girl, Flower Girl, and Boy. I have much more to go, of course.

Then, we had an unexpected power failure that lasted around 2 hours while I was cooking cream stew. So, I took advantage of it and did appliqué in candle lights.

Then, I received a package from Japan sent by one of my best friends. Full of Japanese food!

So, we had Zenzai, Japanese sweet.

Also, cleaned up my stuff - craft items, books, fabrics, too small clothing, shoes, etc -, took to "free for good home" at my quilting bee and donated to Good Will. Total around 15 boxes. I feel good!

And, since my birthday is coming, Nancy brought a cake to the quilting bee. I appreciate birthday gifts from my quilter friends and a big birthday song from the members!

After a long time, I made 2 drawstrings bags for my etsy shop. New Items!

I cannot stop loving small circles.

And, made Snoopy cushions recycling my old clothes which was never worn, but was kept for 25 years.

I still need to reshape my belongings. My sewing projects left for a long time including ones that haven't started yet were organized and waiting to be finished.

Since I did not have much time for myself for a long time, I strongly feel that I need it before the next move.

I also would love to add new items for my etsy shop! Although there have not been new additions for a long time, I still have transactions and interactions with my customers. The numbers of admires and positive feedbacks are growing little by little. I appreciate their attentions to my shop.

Getting excited!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Moving Forward

Dec 31, 2014.

I completed moving out of the place today where I lived for 5 years.

My initial plan was to move out for transferring to a 4 year institution, but the transferring plan was postponed from Spring to Fall, and since I initiated discussing with my landlady about me (and R) moving out, it prompted her to have a future plan for her life.

R and I started to look for a new place to live locally, and one of my quilter friend kindly offered us to live together for the next 6 months until we leave this area.

I remember the days of the first year of my living where I moved out today just like it happened yesterday. I did not have a friendship with my landlady before, but when I moved in, she was very helpful as well as my quilter friends. She respected my way of life, gave me things that I may need, took me shopping when I needed, became a witness for my divorce, and kept low rent for me and never raised it.

It is kind of scary for me to leave her support, because I do not have the guarded place to go back since I decided to leave, but I think I need to move forward. I now have R to support me in many ways until I finish the 4 year university.

Thinking back to 5 years ago…, who including me thought I would be willing to go to a 4 year university? So many things happened during the 5 years, and my challenges will be continued.

Wish you a Happy New Year! :)