Busy Summer

With the kids at home and a job from 8 to 5 Monday through Saturday, I am deprived of weekend sewing and blog time! Hence, I have no blog post for July. It’s a really crazy schedule that would go on until the 11th of August after which I would have the luxury of a four-day vacation which in Japan is called “bon yasumi”. I am certainly looking forward to that. In the meantime, to break the silence in my blog for the past month, I am posting some pictures of what I have been doing in my freetime, if you may call it.









Kurokabe Square (Toyoyama PTA Field Trip)

Kurokabe Glass museum — famous for its black lacquered walls which are fireproof

My friends from the Philippines and United States often tell me how much they want to travel here in Japan, particularly to see famous cultural spots and experience the rich culture and heritage in each area. I have been here for 13 years and I, myself, have rarely traveled outside our prefecture (Aichi) except for the occasional visits to Osaka, where we have the Philippine consulate and Universal Studios, a sightseeing trip to Kyoto with my aunts, and to Gero. Our plans of a family trip to Disneyland has never pushed through because my husbnad’s work schedule is always in conflict with it. So when this PTA field trip at my son’s school was scheduled, I signed up! It was a trip to Kurokabe Square in Shiga prefecture where there are hands-on lessons in glass-blowing and burner work. The place is just an hour from Nagoya via express way and just cost 2500 yen (for the lessons, lunch and transportation).

There were about 20 people in our group who went and we were divided into 3 small groups for the specific hands-on lessons we chose which were either stained glass, glass etching, blown glass, and burner work. I chose the glass burner work where we made small glass ornaments which can be used for jewelry as pendants, earrings or key chains.

Our teacher has been doing the craft for 25 years now. I struggled to understand every word he said (which was in Japanese!) when he explained the procedures and some safety points. I forgot most of what he taught, but, basically it was heating techniques to avoid breaking the glass rods which could accidentally hit other members. The lesson lasted for about an hour and afterwards we were all exhausted from the heat of the burner! I was fortunately able to come up with a nice pendant (with the occasional help from the teacher :D)

Here are the finished products of our burner work group

My glass pendant

The coins are payments for the jewelry parts which the teacher will attach to the glass ornaments so it can be used as pendants or key chains.

Here are other pictures I took during the trip…

Kurokabe glass taiken kyoushitsu – Place where lessons are held

Samples of the finished products in each glass art lesson

glass blowing

gel candles

stained glass

burner work

ornaments for gel candles

Where we ate lunch (sorry, forgot to take pictures of my omelette rice)



lovely glass pendant necklaces


some glass items sold at the museum


Kurokabe soft cream made with black rice, black soy beans, black sesame seeds and bamboo charcoal

DIY Fabric Yo-yo Necklace

I have this red knit tunic which had a very nice shade of red with some luster in the fibers.  When it was brand new it looked great.  But, after washing it, somehow it stretched in all directions that it looks more like an over-sized dress on me now.  I can’t wear it anymore.  I was thinking of upcycling it into a shirt but was hesitant that it would just stretch further.  So I just set it aside until I found some other purpose for it.

When I made a bag for my aunt with the fabric yo-yos,  I remembered about the red knit fabric of my tunic and thought that it would be great to work on for the yo-yos.  So I did just that today…At first I was planning on making some and store them for future bag projects but  had an idea that they would be nice as accessories too!  I have very few red in my wardrobe which are mostly blacks and whites so adding a splash of red through accessories would put some statement to them.

For the fabric yo-yo necklace I used:

red knit fabric (my tunic)

pearl beads (different sizes)

circle templates (small and big)

needle and coordinating thread for the fabric

felt for the backing

glue gun

jump rings to connect fabric yo-yos to chain

suede or chain with adjustable lobster clasp

just a teeny weeny bit of creativity

First I traced the circular templates on the fabric, 2 small and 3 big ones.  Then I folded the edges and chain-stitched all around, pulling the thread afterwards to gather the fabric.

I flattened the fabric secured the thread on the back and sewed a pearl bead in the center.  I  did the same to all the other pieces and connected each of them with thread and pasted them on felt backing with glue gun.

I then secured the jump rings to the ends of the felt and attached the suede cord with lobster clasp.


DIY Fabric labels


As you have seen, I’ve been sewing these bags as gifts, each of which I think are very special if you consider the time and effort I spend in making them. You should consider yourself a very special person to me if you receive one of the things I make :D. They are certainly not the Louis Vuittons or Chanels you so desire but I do think there is a different kind of joy in receiving such handmade gifts.

So, I just thought it would be much nicer to add a really personal touch to each creation by attaching a label or logo that says it’s unique and made by me. But I don’t have professional software nor any budget or experience in making such.  I figured maybe I could find some do it yourself tutorials in the Net…and I certainly did!  I  found a good one at Sewdelicious.

It’s one of the easiest and cheapest , in my opinion, because the template was done using a web-based software like Picmonkey. All you need is a printer and iron-on fabric or print sheet made for your printer and a little creativity.

Here’s what I made…