kokeshi doll tea towel

I bought this from Sublime Stitching last week, and it only took a couple of hours. It came with the design drawn on in that blue water-soluble ink that washes out the first time you wash the towel. I used split stitch, again. I guess a lot of modern day stitchers are kind of snobby about split stitch? Whatever, I like it. I think it looks cleaner and less “bumpy” than back or stem stitch.

This was simple and fun, and had personal meaning for me because I actually have a set of kokeshi dolls that are in storage, and I miss them. (I bought them at Daiso, which I also miss. Horrendously.)

Apparently Sublime Stitching puts out new products like, weekly. This may be a problem for me–although almost all of them are less than $10. This morning I bought the new Epic Alphabet transfers. I’m going to make some monogrammed shirts — a couple Ss and a couple Gs — but I also might embroider some totally random word on like a tote or camera bag. Any suggestions? (Jenny Hart asked the same question when she was getting ready to unveil the alphabet; although she went with “merci”, one of the runners-up made me LOL IRL: “tacotastic”.)

outfit of the day: cherry blossoms

ootd cherry blossoms

The socks are from Sock Dreams, $7. The shoes are from Target, I bought them online and got them just last night, $16.99. The furoshiki is from Daiso, $1.50. And the pin is from Thrift Town, it was about $5. Wearing both the pin AND the furoshiki might be a bit overboard, but how could I resist?!

pink cherry blossom furoshiki

blue cherry blossom pin

cherry blossom socks

brown nailhead shoes

The socks really pull the outfit together, because they contain all the colors — blue, brown, and pink — of the individual accessories.

outfit of the day: linen flowers

ootd linen flowersThis is the dress I bought at Thrift Town, it was $5.99. Man, linen wrinkles if you so much as breathe hard on it. But it’s such a light, breathable fabric. The last foot or so is slit up both sides, and there’s a pocket on the left side. The neckerchief is a furoshiki from Daiso ($1.50), it’s black with biege, pink, and white flowers on it. The socks I already owned, they’re tabi socks from Ichiban Kan, and they also have pink flowers on them. The shoes are black ballet flats I bought a few weeks ago from Target. The white t-shirt under the dress I already owned.

This could do with a belt so it doesn’t look so sack-like… but sometimes I really like sacktacular dresses. They’re comfy.

outfit of the day: blue & black blossoms

ootd blue and black blossoms

Sorry about the cheesy pose. I took a second one where I had my head at a more normal angle, but it was blurry.

Blue and black was my favorite color combo when I was a tween (although we didn’t use that word back then). Then for a long time I hated it, I think because it screamed REAGAN ERA! to me. But recently I’ve started to enjoy them together again.

The socks are from Sock Dreams ($7), the shoes from Target ($14.99), and the tie from Daiso ($3). You can’t see it in the photo, but the tie has lighter blue polka dots. It’s actually the same deep blue as my shoes, but photographed kind of purple for some reason.

thrifting & fireworks

daiso st vincent thrifting stash 1

On Friday I went a-thrifting. Well, the top row was from Daiso, which isn’t technically a thrift store; but economically, it’s comparable. The ties are all from St. Vincent de Paul, they were a buck each. Total cost: Less than $20.

We didn’t have our big block party this 4th, a lot of people went out of town because they had a 3-day weekend. So we had a smaller party at our next door neighbor’s. I contributed a rack of babyback ribs with an apricot-orange jam and soy sauce glaze, and a bunch of sparklers. Fireworks are illegal in Fremont, but still legal in Newark, a little town that’s an enclave of Fremont. So pretty much everybody in Fremont flouts the law with impunity, especially since the cheap bastards stopped providing a public display a few years ago.

outfit of the day + bonus yucky medical stuff

chambray shirt dress and cupcake socks

This is the other shirt dress I bought at Target. It’s identical to the black one, except for the color. Man, I ironed it after I washed it, but it looks really wrinkled in this photo.

The Uniform Project uses a lot of dickies and tank tops to change the look of her dress, but hers doesn’t have a collar. That would look pretty stupid with a collared dress, so I should try to find at least one scoop neck dress. For now I just have a tan tee shirt underneath. Plus my cupcake socks! My feet got cut off again, but the shoes are just my old brown mary janes.

An idea I had, besides thrifting, was to go to Daiso and a get a bunch of furoshiki. They’re only $1.50 each, and you can do a lot of different things with them: Head bands, neckerchiefs, etc.

You’ll forgive me leaving my sunglasses on, because when I woke up this morning, my left eyelid was all swollen up. It’s totally freaky; it was fine when I went to bed, and there’s no bruising or pus or even pain. My doctor is on vacation this week, so I called the 24 hour nurse hotline United Healthcare has. She thinks it’s a blocked tear duct (I guess you have them inside your eyelid, too) that’s causing a build up of fluid. She said warm compresses (a damp, hot washcloth) for 10-15 minutes several times a day should cause it to clear up within 48 hours, and it’s already starting to go down.

I came in to work because I can do that here, and I don’t see the point of staying home just because of a swollen eyelid. It doesn’t hurt, and it’s not contagious. Plus we have tomorrow off and I have a thousand and one things that NEED to be done today. (Did I mention my boss quit? Her last day was Tuesday, so we’re kind of understaffed at the mo’.) I’m just gonna keep my sunglasses on. The swelling is barely noticable now, but I feel weird without any eye make-up. I feel naked!

My other option was the ER, but that seems kind of douchey. “Excuse me, domestic abuse victims and people with shattered bones! BUT MY LEFT EYELID IS SLIGHTLY ASKEW!!!” Plus I’m reluctant to spend $50 just to be told what I’m 99% sure I already know: warm compresses, 10-15 minutes, several times a day. Cash or charge?

midweek day off

I had yesterday off, and I wasn’t playing hooky. I have to work tomorrow — ironically, summer registration is always our busiest. I could have taken Monday off and had 2 days in a row, but I thought it might make the week go faster to break it up this way.

I decided to spend my free weekday at Daiso, where I haven’t been in months, and having lunch at one of the Japanese restaurants in the same shopping center. That second part almost didn’t happen, because I walked in like 5 minutes before they were closing for the afternoon. (Most of the Asian restaurants around here close between lunch and dinner.) But the hostess didn’t say anything until she was actually seating me, so it would have been kind of awkward to be like “Okay, then”, and walk out. I ate fast and left like a 50% tip to make up for it.

daiso otter 1Anyway, I went kind of crazy at Daiso, which is easy to do and has few repurcussions when nearly everything costs $1.50. I bought a bunch of cute stationary, because it’s fun receiving and writing snail mail. I also bought a bunch of candy and kokeshi dolls.

<— I also bought this, even though I have absolutely no idea what it’s for. It was in the school supplies aisle. But for fuck’s sake, how could I NOT buy it?!

daiso otter 2

Oh, Japan.

The remainder of the day was spent watching the second disc of Wonderfalls and reading Columbine, one of the books I received this week from Amazon. I’m only about 1/3 of the way through it, but I can already tell this is the book on the subject I’ve been waiting for. So much of what we think we know about the shooting is bullshit. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold weren’t social outcasts or bullied kids who snapped. They were popular kids who liked sports and had plenty of friends. Klebold went to prom 3 days before the shooting; Harris had no problem getting dates. They weren’t targeting jocks and/or Christians, they were targeting everyone — Dave Cullen says Columbine wasn’t a shooting so much as a failed bombing. If those bombs had gone off, virtually everyone in that school (and many of the first responders) would have died. Basically: Harris was a psychopath, and Klebold was a suicidal depressive who was in his thrall. But I guess it’s just easier to blame Marilyn Manson and Doom.

Anyway, if you’re interested in the subject, I recommend the book.

rainy bicycle rides, eerily appropriate notebooks, and annoying flyers

My weekend was uneventful, except for getting SOAKING FUCKING WET on Saturday.

See, I wanted to go to Daiso and Marina Foods, which are close enough that if the weather pemits, I’ll just ride my bike all the way. It rained Friday night and Saturday morning, but it had stopped by the time I was ready to leave the house, and I really thought I was going to have a couple hours in which to run errands.

HA HA NO. I got there okay, but it started pouring when I was in Daiso, so I dawdled, thinking it might stop, but it just kept coming down harder and harder. So I thought I’d take the bus back and then I’d only be in the rain for a few blocks, but I had to wait like 97 hours at the stoplight at Decoto and Union Square. So by the time I got to the stop I was about as wet as I was going to get, and the bus wasn’t coming for another half hour. (It only runs once an hour on weekends.) And I thought if I just stood there in wet clothes I’d likely get sick, but if I bicycled I’d at least be keeping my body temperature up, so I bicycled all the way home in a torrential downpour. By the time I got home my clothes were dripping wet and sticking to me, and my pants, which were beige, were nearly see-through.

I don’t know though, in a weird way it was kind of exhilarating. Plus it was lovely to come home and dry off and put on my favorite pajamas, make a mug of matcha milk tea and watch Firefly DVDs. There’s probably some word for it in German, the joy of suffering a discomfort so you can enjoy its alleviation.

I went to Daiso to look for food cutters in leaf shapes, which they did not have. But I don’t count it a wasted trip because I got many other useful things, including this notebook which of course I had to buy, because of the cover. It’s like it was made for me. I also got some bento stuff (a sidecar and a really large adult-size box, which is a rarity because usually they only have small children’s boxes; also some chopsticks and a new case, and a furoshiki and an insulated button-closed wrap), a cheap pair of earbuds for my work computer, and a papercraft chest of drawers, which I never pass up buying when I find them because I’m addicted to assembling them. I have 5 altogether.

Total cost: About $23. Yay Daiso!

Yesterday I had to go to 99 Ranch for some things for my lunch, and as I was leaving some old biddy tried to hand me a “Yes on Prop 8” flyer. I was like “I’m voting against that stupid proposition because I’m not a bigot, THANK YOU.” I don’t know how much of that she understood (she was an old Chinese woman), but she must have gotten the gist, since I refused to take her stupid flyer.

It’s not gonna pass, so maybe I shouldn’t even get worked up, but it just staggers me that such ignorance and bigotry is still around, and in enough numbers to have gotten the damn thing on the ballot in the first place, in the 21st century. STILL. Are we ever going to stop fighting these idiotic battles with ourselves? It’s depressing.

stitching, hurricanes, japanese housewares, and the return of my teevee boyfriend

Except for a quick trip to Marina Foods and Daiso on Saturday, I pretty much stayed glued to MSNBC all weekend, following Gustav’s progress. Mom decided Butte La Rose was going to get too much wind, and they couldn’t risk anything happening to the motor home, because if the house got trashed they’d have to live in it. So instead they went to stay with an old family friend who lives in Alexandria. They have a standing invitation to stay with him whenever they need to evacuate, it’s where they stayed during Rita.

All appears to be well, by the time it got to Vermilion Parish it had dropped to a Category 1, and except for some trees missing some branches, there doesn’t appear to be any significant damage. (They’re still in Alexandria and probably won’t leave until tomorrow, but my cousin who’s a State Trooper already went around to everyone’s property and called them with news.)

There’s like 2 more hurricanes and another low pressure system right behind this one though, joy. Hannah looks like it’s definately going to hit Florida and the Carolinas and miss Louisiana; but Ike’s still too far out to predict where it will go. August and September are the worst months of hurricane season. Sometimes I really wish the ‘rents had stayed in California.

Anyway, like I said I did get out once, to get some groceries and a few things at Daiso:

Bento cups!

Egg sectioner thingy!

Adorable chicken-shaped kitchen timer!

More school notebooks!

All $1.50. You gotta love Japanese dollar stores, they actually sell useful items; unlike the tatty junk peddled by American dollar stores. Also a few other things I didn’t bother to take photos of, including a new bento box (it’s exactly like the square red one, except it’s blue), and a cylindrical onigiri mold. Triangle onigiri are played out, man.

Luckily by 8:00 last night the need to obsessively track the hurricane had died down, so I was able to tune in for the 4th season premiere of Prison Break, which looks like it’s going to be pretty weird. Allow me to break it down:

  • Whistler: Dead!
  • Sara: ALIVE!!! And could we please have some hot monkey lovin’ between her and Michael already?!
  • Gretchen: Dead! No wait, alive and in some Company hellhole. And this show continues its fine tradition of the female characters getting tortured horribly.
  • T-Bag: Cannibal! I told you it was weird.
  • Sona: Burned down!
  • Tattoos: Lasered off! Aww. The tattoos were my favorite character!

bento #47: gyoza sammies & tomato aspic

  • Gyoza sammies, 2 peanut butter and 2 cream cheese.
  • Spicy tomato aspic.
  • Roasted & salted pistachios.
  • Apricot.
  • Strawberry and blueberry white chocolate candies.

Gyoza sammies: I got this idea from somone in the LJ bentolunch community. Gyoza presses are a simple plastic utensil and I was able to find one at Daiso for $1.50. You could probably also get one at any western kitchenware specialty store, but I bet you’d pay a lot more.

Use any kind of soft sandwich bread, and any spread, or a filling that isn’t dry. Sandwich meats wouldn’t work; but things like tuna or chicken salad probably would. I started out simple with just peanut butter and cream cheese.

Cut the crusts off the bread.



Put a bread slice on the open press, and a small amount of filling. Really no more than a tablespoon.



Close and press down firmly.






The aspic was even easier. I used Spicy Hot V-8 Juice, but the possibilities are limitless. Use any fruit juice or nectar for sweet aspics; use vegetable juice or any non-condensed vegetable-based soup for savory ones. Trader Joe’s sells a great carrot-ginger soup that I totally want to try with this.

  1. Use Knox unflavored gelatine, which you can get in most any supermarket. (Usually they keep it with the Jello.) It comes in little packets, and each packet is enough for one cup of liquid.
  2. Heat half of what ever liquid you’re using to a simmer, stir in the gelatine until dissolved, stir in the cold half of the liquid, pour into molds, and refrigerate until set. I used little individual silicon molds (4 for $1.50 from Daiso); silicon is best because it peels away from the aspic without sticking.

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