Sunday, May 30, 2010

kappa illustration and amigurumi

I'm playing around with different ideas for a standalone berrysprite website. I'm trying to do it on the cheap. Although I'd love to hire someone to do it all for me, I want to see if I can do it myself first. One of biggest problems I've run into has been deciding on a single theme/design for my website; there are so many cute websites out there and I have so many ideas in my head. Layouts, characters, links, pages, carts.... it's mind boggling! Don't expect to see anything too soon because I'm pretty sure it will take me ages to figure it all out. So far I've gotten a domain name and a wordpress ecommerce site. The little kappa above is because I'm working on my graphic illustration skills! I experimented on this kappa with gradients and a gray outline instead of a black one. It sounds bizarre, but I really want to work on making my illustrations more "real" (or maybe more professional is the phrase I'm looking for?) Anyway, graphic illustration is something I still need to work on. I've decided to make more amigurumi out of my illustrations (instead of the other way around!) and he came out pretty darn cute... kinda like San-x's sabo kappa or a little flower!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

kawaii bear cozy

Yay for pink bears! I crocheted this ipod touch holder/ cozy out of cotton yarn (for durability) in the shape of an oh-so-kawaii bear... I really like the way it turned out. I wanted something that was cute and easy to take care of, so you can't beat cotton yarn for machine washability (though the yarn and felt may get a bit fuzzy, and it may shrink a bit in the dryer). The verdict: they hold up really well and protect your ipod from getting scratched in your bag! Plus, the fact that they are bear shaped is a really big bonus; people always comment on how cute my test cozy is. I actually have a bunch of these made from a few months back (when things weren't as busy as now but still busy enough that I never photographed them all) but I wanted to make sure it would be up to the job of protecting my ipod from me (ya know, the dropping, the car keys, the heavy books, etc) ... now that it's passed my extensive and professional testing (ha ha) I'm all set to go! I only have the pink one ready for my store, but I'll soon have more bears in brown, light pink, blue, aqua, lavender and light yellow.

Speaking of my store, I've moved some stuff to clearance in my etsy; most of it is around $2 off!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Marukai Hawai‘i

Auahi Street Location

If you guys ever come to Hawai‘i/ O‘ahu, you should make sure to stop by a Marukai! If you're already familiar with Marukai (as there are some in California) you won't be disappointed by our Hawai‘i Marukai :D. There are two flavors of Marukai here in Hawai‘i and several locations on O‘ahu: one flavor is a full grocery store (Marukai Wholesale Mart) while the other is strictly for household goods (all aptly named Zakka Avenue).

Auahi Street Location: Inside looking towards the grocery area from Zakka Avenue

There are two Marukai Wholesale marts: one on Nimitz Highway, near the airport and one on ‘Auahi Street by the Ward shopping Center in Kakaako (near to Ala Moana Shopping Center). In order to go to both the Nimitz location and ‘Auahi Street location you must be a member, but you can easily and economically purchase a day pass for around $1 (I think) and a yearly pass for $15. These stores are most definitely your one stop shop for Asian (Korean, Chinese, and Filipino... but mostly Japanese!) groceries and hard to find items (for example, good sake, bento fixings, fruits and vegetables imported specially from Japan, Japanese sauces and mixes, special cuts of meats especially for Japanese cooking.... and the list goes on!). It is definitely worth buying a one day pass just to check out what's inside one of these grocery stores... there's so much to look at! And even if you want to pass on some of the more "exotic" Japanese items, you can always pick up a great bento lunchbox! Both Marukai carry a wide selection of delectable foods, such as fresh ahi and shrimp tempura sushi; teriyaki, karaage and mochiko chicken bentos; saba fish and unagi bentos, oyako and donburi rice bowls, takoyaki (sometimes) and more... am I making you hungry yet? Haha, that's the point! Here's what I love... Okonomiyaki (Hiroshima style), which has been described as a Japanese pizza for its widespread availability and status as a relatively cheap eat in Japan. Basically okonomiyaki is yakisoba noodles, cabbage and bacon under a thin, crepe-like pancake, with an egg and okonomi sauce.... Marukai's okonomiyaki is really good and pretty economical at $5.99!

yummy Okonomiyaki, Hiroshima style!

However, what I love most about Marukai is Zakka Avenue; these stores sell home goods. While there is a Zakka Avenue within the Nimitz grocery store location (meaning you need to pay a membership to get into it) , there are also free-standing Zakka Avenue stores: one is next to the ‘Auahi Street location and the other is in Windward Mall in Kāne‘ohe. Both of these locations are free to go to, and carry a wide range of really fun things, such as bento making supplies (see how highly bento rate on my list?) cute dishes, kawaii home and office supplies, stationary, Japanese candy and snacks imported from Japan, toys, and other good things. Although everything used to be under 99¢, now mostly everything is $1.49 and up (dang economy!) Despite the price increase, I've gotten some really great kawaii items from Marukai, including stickers and notepads! Anyway, I always visit Marukai, even if I don't plan to buy things... it's one of those stores that's really great for browsing! That's how I know it'd be great for you to visit :D

bento making supplies!

Japanese have a penchant for making things funny/kawaii: these are toilet papers wrapped to look like dolls... I laughed out loud when I saw these! And yes, it was $6.79 for a toilet paper doll. Somebody on etsy should get on that.

Yummy snacks and candy...nobody does strawberry flavored chocolate like the Japanese!

Monday, May 17, 2010


Guess what I made the these with... that's right, my clover heart pom pom maker! (See, I told you it was a grand invention!) Well, actually, I only made the big chickens with it; the little chicken is made with a regular small pom pom maker. They came out so darling... I even made a blue cojiro chicken (from Zelda: Ocarina of time) for my sister and she loooooves him! I love playing all the Zelda games in Nintendo's franchise, but the first one, The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time had this blue chicken named Cojiro that you had to trade for a broken saw. I always wanted to keep Cojiro... forget that stupid saw! I'd much rather have a blue chicken! Anyway, it was kinda vital to the game, so I'd end up trading him away... well, no more! Cojiro is mine forever!You can bet I'll be making more of these for my sometime. P.S. Thanks for all the recent love guys; hearing from you always makes me smile :D

Friday, May 14, 2010

super easy strawberry shortcake recipe

So I made this shortcake the other day, because the strawberries we had on hand were getting a little soft. It was the perfect dessert; kinda light and cool, which is really nice when its hot out! Even though I'm not much of a baker, these came out so good and they were so easy to make that I thought I'd share my little recipe with you! Basically, all you need are strawberries, bisquick, sugar, milk and cool whip (I know, I know... those of you who know how to bake for real probably shudder at the thought of using bisquick and cool whip!) If you don't have fresh strawberries another fruit or even a jam will probably do nicely!

Don't mind the messy and cramped apartment kitchen, or the dinner on the stove!


Strawberry sauce:
  • Strawberries (1 small clamshell)
  • sugar
Cool Whip
Cooking spray
Sweet Biscuits:
  • 2 1/4 cups of bisquick
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar

Don't mind the messy and cramped apartment kitchen, or the dinner on the stove!

To make strawberry sauce: Wash, remove leaves and stems and finely slice fresh strawberries. lightly sprinkle with sugar and refrigerate until needed.
To make biscuits: Preheat oven to 450º F. Combine bisquick mix, sugar and milk. Stir and knead lightly. Drop on a greased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
To assemble: cut biscuits in half, place a generous helping of strawberries and cool whip on biscuit, cover with other half. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Clover Heart Pom-Pom Maker

It's been a little bit since my last post, but I had a paper due for the end of the semester; now that's done and done! I thought I'd do a little product review of one of Clover Japan's newest craft items... a heart shaped pom pom maker (click on the link above to go to the clover website where there is a video of a heart pom pom being made)! Clover's regular round pom pom makers are genius, so I thought I'd give their cutie heart ones a go.

I would definitely recommend using/ getting the heart pom pom maker... I think it would be pretty hard to make a heart pom pom without it! Although I initially bought the "large" size (2.5" - 3" or ~63mm-76mm), I have since bought the small size too. The heart pom pom maker works in basically the same way as the round pom pom makers, except there are markers where you should wind the yarn; this is to build the shape of your heart. There are a few key things you should remember when using this pom pom maker: Compared to the round pom maker, cutting the yarn once you've wound it is a bit harder on the heart pom pom maker. I always overload my pom makers with yarn... I hate the sparse look! And although the instructions say you can use yarn to tie your pom together, I've found that it's way too bulky... you really need to tie the heart pom VERY tightly; I would recommend a thick string or even wire of some sort, as long as you can get it really tight (not embroidery thread... I actually ripped my embroidery thread in half and my pom exploded).

I also thought I'd share a cute pom pom book I got a while back. If you're looking to get this book (or a book on pom poms, for that matter) I would definitely recommend this book; while it's entirely in Japanese, the pictures and ideas are really kawaii. From animal keychains to Christmas themed poms, this book provides a really good range of projects.

Friday, May 7, 2010

New fabric from Robert Kaufman... featuring artwork from Bored Inc!

images from

Isn't this so cool! When I first saw this fabric while perusing the online fabric wares available on Etsy, I thought that some fabricmonger had stolen these designs from a fellow kawaii artist. Silly me, these super kawaii fabrics are the result of an awesome collaboration between Bored Inc and Robert Kaufman. I love Bored Inc designs, and TokyoBunnie is a contact of mine on flickr... how fun is it that two of her designs are part of Robert Kaufman's Toyland line of fabrics? Ahhhh, the rest of us can only dream.... Anyway, see more by this lovely artist at Bored Inc or on TokyoBunnie's blog!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Boy's Day! (and Cinco De Mayo!)

So many holidays...Happy Cinco De Mayo everyone! We're having tacos tomorrow to celebrate. It's also Boy's/Children's Day (tango no sekku/ kodomo no hi), which is celebrated in Japan (as a national holiday) and here in Hawai`i (because we have a large Japanese population, and also because its fun!) I kinda got sidetracked and made this drawing of a little boy and his koinobori, or fish carp wind socks which are traditionally hung outside people's houses. The fish represent all the boys in the family, from oldest boy/longest fish to youngest/shortest fish. Basically, May 5th is a time to give good wishes to all the boys in your life. There are actually lots of these flags around now in celebration of Boy's day, and you can even buy them with candy and other goodies in stores around town, even Long's Drugs! I'm so in love with the look of the koinobori, especially their scales and bright colors.... they're a great design element. I also got some rayon chirimen fabric with a traditional Japanese scale pattern from fabrictales, an online fabric store based in Japan which has specialty fabric. I hope I'll be able to make some fish pouches out of these fabrics soon... I'm itching to have some koinobori of my own, even though I'm not a boy! Have a good Boy's Day, and don't forget to show love to the boys :D

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Calendar!

Yay! May's calendar is now available for download, just go to my flickr or photobucket! I worked on it extra hard, because for April's calendar I kinda took the easy way out, haha! Anyway, this calendar also incorporates some of the suggestions I got from fans on my facebook: people wanted to see flowers and rainbows (and I was all to happy to oblige). Mix that in with the end of school (for most kids) and you get a happy welcome-summer-calendar! Here's the story:

"Scout, Oscar and Lionel are so happy that school is out... Playing in the schoolyard is much better than being in a classroom!"

Hope everyone has a happy May!
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