Monday, August 10, 2009

Crafty Weekend

I have been stressed to the max since Thursday. My laptop computer has been giving me all kinds of grief. And of course this grief comes right smack dab in the middle of an insane amount of work that needs to get done. I'm heading out for vacation on Friday and hope to have it all resolved before I leave. Cross your fingers for me.

To take my mind off of my computer woes, on Saturday I spent time with my girls and their next door neighbor friend making a poster for our block party which is happening tomorrow night. Yeah. I swear the block party might as well be another holiday because the girls get really worked up about it. We really do have fantastic neighbors so I can see why they're thrilled to spend time with them.

Then on Sunday, we went to grandma's house where more crafting took place.

Here you see grandma showing Sammy how to sew a button on an elephant. Yes, elephants have buttons if you didn't know that already.

There's a pink elephant in the room and if I'm not mistaken, he's got a purple button eye. Honest to goodness we weren't drinking. My mom has so much patience with children, a trait that I apparently did not inherit. I don't think Sammy and I could have finished this project without her. Good job Sammy. Your sewing is coming along so nicely.

I can't possibly begin to explain what this type of craft this is so I went to Wikipedia and found this explanation.

Mizuhiki is an ancient Japanese artform that uses a special cord. The cord is created from rice paper, that is tightly wound, starched to give it stiffness, and then colored. The ways of coloring include brightly colored mylar (a very thin plastic), thin strands of silk, or simply painted. The artform was used to tie up the hair of the samurai.

Currently there are several forms. The traditional decoration, given away at Japanese occasions, such as weddings, births, and funerals take the forms of animals or boats. Different animals are created for different meanings, including Cranes, Frogs, Fish, Dragons, and Turtles are among the most popular. The other traditional way the art is done is in decorating cards with little colored knots, similarly to how people in western cultures use a ribbon and bow. A third way is being developed that uses the ancient art for a more modern purpose, jewelry.

The piece that my mother and daughter are holding were both made by my grandmother many years ago. It really is special to have these items. My grandmother now well into her 80's is quite the artist. I still find her arranging flowers whenever she gets a chance.

Sammy also had many questions about Japanese craft called Bunka. It's something my mom used to do often when I was girl.

Bunka is a knitted rayon cord that is similar to the material used to make decorative tassles and graduation tassels. It is shiney, and has a nice drape.The word 'bunka' comes from a Japanese form of punch embroidery. The needle art is called 'bunka', and the thread that is used is actually called 'kayo'.

Like Mizuhiki, in Bunka different animals represent different meanings. In Japan, the tiger represents bravery and is also associated with strength and prosperity.

It was a crafty weekend all right as well as a nice trip down memory lane. I hope my daughters really begin to appreciate the importance of these precious handmade items. I want them to know that the craft itself should be treasured but that the true treasure is the time well spent with friends and family.


  1. Wow, never heard of either of these needle work forms, cool. Your Mom and Sammy are great demonstaters!

  2. Charlie, these are candid shots so I'm surprised that they came out as well as they did. Thanks.

  3. Beautiful stuff! The girls are lucky to have such a talented grandma.

  4. It's so great that the girls can spend time with grandma, I really missed that growing up - I'll always treasure the memory of the summers that I did get to spend with my grandparents.

    Are you going to OR this weekend? :)