Tuesday, October 30

#FMSphotoaday October challenge {Part 2}

Above is the list of what we had to do this past month - by Fat Mum Slim

 15. Dinnertime - Chopping vegetables and trying to avoid my own fingers

16. Something I wrote - Cut-out letters in paper to celebrate their dad's big achievement and project launch. It should have read "we missed you".

 19. Letters - Business cards I have collected at one of my favorite kids shop in Futako Tamagawa shopping center. Full of adorable goodies, stationery, furnitures and more!

 22. In your town - The main street going down to the train station. Unfortunately these are not cherry blossom trees... still gorgeous though!

23. The view from here - What I see from our 1st floor balcony. Green, green and more green - no wonder all the mosquitos! Quiet and peaceful street. 

 24. Weather - We have an awesome sun on most days (well, not today while I am writing this post). Winter in Japan is cold and sunny. Helpful to keep your best smile on!

29. Moon - Last night's moon. I don't like full moon, I feel more tired than usual.

30. Clothes - I haven't worn stocking for the past 6 years. Can you guess how happy I am to wear my electric blue ones again? And yes, I have kept them for that long.

There is one more day until the end of the month, and if I take any pic, I will definitely show it to you - it will be Halloween related for sure! I haven't been as good following up the schedule the second part of the month, but I enjoyed a lot taking part of this challenge and will continue in November. Don't you think it looks a bit like a diary?

Monday, October 29

Sweet Gift Thursday is turning 1 soon...

My Sweet Gift column will turn one this coming Thursday... I have shared my finds with you over the past 12 months - true, not very regularly. This column aim to encourage you to purchase handmade gifts more often than not, and to help you find your way on Etsy. There are absolutely amazing gift ideas online!

I will host a couple of giveaways in the coming weeks, to thank you all for following me and to encourage you to stay as well - truth be told. Seriously, I just feel like sharing all the amazing stuff that I  find daily here in Tokyo. Shopping has become a very pleasurable activity indeed...

Will you check this blog on Thursday and participate?

At Disneyland {Tokyo}


I am back from our little Autumn break as they call it at school - luckily only two days off school for the kids. We have been busy preparing for our Halloween celebration on Wednesday (at school again) and we went to Disneyland Tokyo - the very first time for me and the kids.

I had high expectations, and unfortunately wasn't very impressed by the whole experience. It was crowded, hot and we had to wait minimum 30min for each attraction which honestly isn't fun AT ALL with a toddler. On the other hand, a lot of visitors were dressed up which was very entertaining *big smile*. The parades were also beautiful but a bit too short to my opinion... I feel that Japanese people totally embrace the Disney world!

Cinderella castle, Chloé, 
Ice Cream Cones and Minnie Mouse's dream house

We will most definitely go again in the near future, but I would recommend families to stay overnight at one of the resort hotels if they have young kids in toes... We haven't been to Disney Sea this time around, which was not recommended by our friends - given the age of our kids. We left quite early (before 5pm) but the night was falling and it looked quite magical with all the lights on. We will be more prepared next time I guess and know which attraction to focus on!

What have you been up to this weekend?

Thursday, October 25

Sweet Gift Thursday... // Petit Cadeau du Jeudi...

I have wanted a teepee tent for my kids for a very long time, I know I should be crafting one myself. I am falling for the one below though, made in The Netherlands. How about you?

Teepee tent by mozzlehome on Etsy - US$275

Also, my Sweet Gift Thursday column is turning one next week which is the perfect occasion to thank you all for following me on the blog - and elsewhere. I will hold a giveaway and here below are some of the goodies I will send to the lucky winner. Stay tuned!

Catch up with my previous Sweet Gift posts {here} if you need inspiration for your Christmas gifts!

Wednesday, October 24

On Russian Fairy Tales

I need new directions, fresh ideas, inspired designs. I have given myself until November 2 to come up with a collection of friends for the Mini Me dolls.

As a fashion designer, I used to draw my inspiration from books, art exhibitions, fashion museums, shows, travels, outings, people from the streets of Paris, art galleries, Les Puces flea market and more...

 Illustrations {left} {right}

Right now, I have very little time to visit (and enjoy) exhibits of all kind, I am not going out much at night (as I collapse most days by 10pm) and as I work from home, well, I am mostly at home.
However I have been living in many countries, and traveled to even more countries, so I have got a bunch of images and feelings stored in my memories. I extensively scour the web for more images, and I am reading a lot of children books to my kids.

I have always preferred reading tales from various countries, and better yet, fairy tales books with gorgeous illustrations. I was an avid reader as a young child, and as I grew up without TV and in the country side, I would pick up my book and go read it in some hidden place in nature. I love the peace and quiet that nature surroundings offer you, it allows for dreams to spring and blossom. 

 Illustrations {left} {middle by Yergeniy Mikhailovich Rachyov} {right by Boris Kalaushin}

I find illustration for children books truly inspiring as they tend to be more colorful, fun and sweet. I pay utter attention to the illustration of a book when making a purchase, as I always describe the images while reading the story to my children. The more details, intricate designs and hidden elements, the more enjoyable the read.
I have set up my choice to Russian fairy tales illustration for this new line of plushes, partly because my Mini Me dolls look a bit like matryoshkas {Russian dolls} and also because Russian illustration have it all: colors, flowers, intricate designs and animals. I am very confident I can come up with something really beautiful if I work hard and dedicate all my energy to it.

Illustrations {left} {right}

I also have to share a very good news with you all: my Japanese sewing machine has arrived today, I can't wait to try it out in the coming days!
It's been three months since I last sew a piece, my fingers are kind of itching...

:: Discover more inspiring images in my Pinterest board {Illustration}. And leave a link to yours in the comment section below, so I can start following you ::

Tuesday, October 23

Art for my walls...

Hello friends,

Sorry for the looong silence since last week, I couldn't manage it all and I have decided to first focus on my working schedule until the end of the year to avoid last year's busy rush. I will soon tackle 2013 as some projects have already come up, and I better make sure I can look after each and everyone in details. More on that later, not to worry.

I am getting a new sewing machine - Japan approved, and therefore will start sewing intensively again soon. I am currently conducting some research and drawing a new line of plushies and all I can tell is that I will draw my inspiration from Russian children literature and folklore... stay tuned!

And I am actively searching for a couple of things to continue the home decoration process. We need a standing light and a rug for our living room, art on our walls, a bunk bed for the kids, heaters - not for decoration, alright.
Speaking of what, temperatures have gone done lately which is also affecting my productivity. It's harder to get up in the morning, and it never seems to be early enough for bedtime.

I have been saving a few links recently as I need to decorate our white walls, and I want to share a couple of them with you. I have been looking for a piece of art to hang in our bedroom, and these prints by Mia Oatley might just fit the bill... Sexy theme and warm colors, just what I need!

©Mia Oatley - All rights reserved

Then I could have something like the giclée print below by Mette Boesgaard in our office room.
©Mette Boesgaard - All rights reserved

Of course nothing beats original artworks and since we will spent a good amount of time in Philippines at the end of the year, we will also look at local artists and hopefully find a beautiful painting for our home. 

Which type of wall art are you choosing, and what leads you to make a purchase? 

Friday, October 19

Nature's wonder

I had a dream last night about our last holiday in France and it was taking place (my dream) in the city of La Rochelle nearby Ile de Re. There we visited the aquarium, which is not incredibly big compared to the ones I visited in Asia, but still worth visiting (especially with kids). I am always mesmerized by sea creatures, their colors, the way they move and interact with each others. Below are a couple of pictures of a tiny jellyfish "dancing" under the water. I can't think of a better image right now.

The back of the aquarium was painted blue which allows for this wonderful shots and color combination. I took all these pics with my iPhone and in the dark. It was hypnotic to watch the jelly fishes move effortlessly. Who could imagine than they can be so dangerous...

Have a lovely weekend, enjoy your precious time with your loved ones!

Thursday, October 18

Sweet Gift Thursday... // Petit Cadeau du Jeudi

I have just realized that it will soon be one year since I first started my Sweet Gift Thursday Column{November 4, 2011}. I hope you are enjoying my finds. For today I have gathered more items as Christmas is fast approaching and you may want to start your shopping...

Are you wearing flat shoes to go on a date sometimes? which item would you pick for yourself?

Wednesday, October 17

My Tokyo Diary {October 2012 - Part I}

Hello everyone,

How are you doing today? I thought it was a good idea to have My Tokoy Diary  post as we are already in mid October, and I have a lot to share with you!

I am very excited and tired all at once this week. Excited thinking of upcoming projects and collaboration in 2013, and I have completed my project for the Singapore first MT tapes exhibition that will take place next month at the National Library. Tired to run the household all by myself these past three or more weeks. The Mr. has been real busy and we hardly saw him even when he was in town. Hopefully it's all coming to an end this week and a more regular work schedule should follow.

So, without further bla-bla let's have a look at what the first two weeks of the month looked like:

#1 Weather is really getting much cooler over here. We are talking about temperatures above 18 degrees - and gorgeous sunny days, but still, I am feeling COLD! How will I feel when it will snow you wonder...? I didn't grow up under the tropics though. Have 7 years spent in South East Asia erased the previous 25 years spent in one of the coldest areas of France??

#2 Moving to a new country is all about making new friends and starting all over again. Lucky me for having lived here before, I have many good friends whom I have re-connected with. And I have made new friends thanks to the kids schools. Most of them are Japanese and it makes me very happy. There is no better way to blend with a country and its culture than spending time with its folks, right? 
You learn faster and better, believe me.

#3 I'm spending so much time playing with MT tapes, I'm slightly obsessed thinking of what I can do with them. Above are two very simple examples of gift wrapping enhanced with MTs. They are so versatile and easy to use!
With my daughter, we also attended the Hello Sandwich Festival last week, and we were able to meet Ebony and get our signed copy of her latest book. Great inspiration for my 5 year-old.

#4 I have always heard that Singapore is all about great food. Well, I have the same impression here in Tokyo. Not sure how many food joints you can find in Jiyugaoka alone {a trendy suburb of Tokyo}, but there is a ton of things to taste. We've tried a new spot nearby school: home-made fast food pizza in a space as big as what you see on the left photo. Ramen is an all-time favorite, and with colder days ahead, I foresee an even higher consumption of this local comfort food.

#5 We are enjoying Autumn season and spend as much time outside as possible after school. We found new playgrounds, discovered new parks, made new friends. We are looking around at the leaves, the fauna and flora. We start collecting things and I will soon make a trip to Muji to get transparent boxes to keep all these treasures and collectibles :-)

#6 We keep eating and eating... should I say "tasting" the food around us? It's GREAT! 
We see funny things in the sky: loads of helicopters and clouds in stripes! 

#7 We play even more with masking tapes, and use the scraps to decorate things around us - such as my planner, instead of simply throwing them in the bin. I am frustrated to spend my weekends alone with the kids, so I did some shopping. The rug above in a new addition to our home. Too small for the living-room - where I desperately need one, it ended up in our bedroom and actually looks great there (I think). It hasn't got the stamp of approval by the Mr. just yet, but I will convince him...

I am curious. How have you spent your month of October so far?

Tuesday, October 16

Same Mini Me dolls, new photos!

I worked on a couple new group photos of the Mini Me dolls currently available in my Etsy shop to be submitted for an upcoming project in January 2013. I am both excited and scared to participate, and there is a lot of work laying ahead of me to make it a successful experience. Wish me luck!

The trio: Susan, Amy & Amanda Mini Me dolls. Aren't they cute together?

Yoko and Amanda Mini Me dolls day-dreaming

Yoko and Susan Mini Me dolls hearts details

:: All the Mini Me dolls are currently available here ::

I will soon create new dolls and completely new softies, but I need to purchase a new sewing machine that is compatible with the Japanese electrical system (110V instead of 220V). This is also why I have made several sparkly embroidered brooches in the past two months... my own two hands don't request any electrical power!

Have a nice day ♥

Monday, October 15

#FMSphotoaday October challenge

Hello everyone,

You may have noticed some funny hashtag on my personal Facebook page or Twitter or Instagram recently... I have decided to join the Photo a Day Challenge by Fat Mum Slim this month.

Chantelle publishes a list of prompt every month and all you have to do is take a picture each day following it, then share it with others. I posted below the list for the month of October together with my photos to date. I have missed a few days already, but how fun it is! I recommend you to print the list and put it in front of your desk... 

 Daily prompts for October 2012 - by Fat Mum Slim

1. Where I stood - With my son, waiting for the bus after school

 4. What you read - Currently laying on my bedside table... but I am much too tired to read in the evening!

 7. Light - Outside on my porch at night, an Ikea lantern.

 8. Angle - My favorite piece of teak furniture in the house

 9. Red - My favorite Stella Cadente red jacket with an embroidery I added 10 years ago. Here is my trademark I believe :-)

11. Something close-up - Party supplies I am working with at the moment

12. On my table - Mini Me dolls waiting for a photo shoot

14. Makes me laugh - Watching my kids play remind me of my childhood = good memories

I am looking forward to the upcoming prompts - especially day 28 Looking Back. Will you join me next month?

Tuesday, October 9

Hello Sandwich Festival @ Kusakanmuri {Tokyo}

Yesterday I was very pleased to be able to attend the Hello Sandwich Festival held at Kusakanmuri in Tokyo. I have been following Hello Sandwich's blog for a while now, it's a very inspiring place where to wander and get inspiration...

Anyway Hello Sandwich was having a book launch event yesterday with a craft workshop followed by a little party. I wasn't able to attend either the workshop nor the party, but I managed to drop by early and with my little one - who loves crafting!

Chloé posing in front of Kusakanmuri entrance...

And were we in for a treat! Kusakanmuri is located in Ebisu {Tokyo} in a very nice and secluded building - which took us several minutes to discover. There are a flower and book shops and a pretty big and bright space for exhibition and workshops. Hello Sandwich had decorated the space with her creations featured in her book, and it was colorful, whimsical. {It made me feel happy}

Chloé with the author of Fragola blog and talented baker who made the Hello Sandwich biscuit brooches... Other biscuits by Thumb and Cakes.

As I mentioned earlier, we were not in for the workshop, but as there was a free craft station, we took advantage of it. Chloé really enjoyed it, crafting happily under Hello Sandwich' direction. Meanwhile I was discovering the space, her work... and the books. I got my signed copy of Hello Sandwich Japanese Craft Book and Chloé got a sugar decorated biscuit {too cute to eat to my opinion}.

A really beautiful space where to hold parties and workshops!

I would have loved to come later for a drink and mingle with the creative people who attended the workshop. I may only wish that the next one will happen sooner than later and that I will make it! I need to meet and interact with creatives every now and then to keep the creative juices flowing and challenge myself as well. 

Hello Sandwich original creations... you feel inspired straight away!

Paper garlands mostly got my attention, it's what make a party a party. Hello Sandwich uses a lot of fancy and patterned paper for her crafts, pom pom trims, masking tapes and all sorts of ribbons. It sparkles and shines, it's an explosion of colors!

Chloé concentrating and playing with masking tapes...

I am now happily browsing my Hello Sandwich Japanese Craft book, and although it's written in Japanese, it doesn't really matter as you are mostly inspired by the photos, color combos and materials used. As usual in Japanese craft books, the crafts explained in the book are done with pics for every step of the process, which makes it easy to do yourself.

I recommend this book if you like crafts, masking tapes, Japan, Hello Sandwich and paper/ pretty stationery. You will love it!

Now off to continue working on my masking tapes creations for the exhibition... deadline is fast approaching!

Monday, October 8

CHRISTMAS stationery by Le Poetik Studio

Hello everyone,

How was your weekend? We had a blast at my eldest's school's Festival of Nations last Saturday, but it was really exhausting as well... I mean, we parents do get exhausted much faster than our kids at the end of the day! Apart from that we also started decorating our home for Halloween {I'm not a fan, but shhh...} and I FINALLY cleaned up my office room and put everything in place. I have got a new desk from Ikea, and although it's smaller than the previous one, it's kinda cute! It should also help me be more productive and gear up for the holiday season...

Pretty fairy (?) wearing her energy-super-power-green-sticker

Talking about Christmas, I am planning my greeting card ahead this year, and I am very keen to order again from Le Poetik Studio on Etsy. I was very pleased with the result last year! The new collection is already available in Cecile's hop, go check it out! There is much more to see than my selection below...

Season greetings cards by Le Poetik Studio

So tell me, how was your weekend?

Wednesday, October 3

For my kids rooms...

I am in the midst of decorating the kids room & playroom. They used to have their own bedroom in our previous house but I thought it would be nice now for them to share a bedroom and a playroom. I am also hoping that it will encourage them to play together even more often, share their toys and try each other's toys too {my son loves to play with his sister's Barbies when she's not home}.

Here below are three very easy decoration stuff that I am planning to integrate in their room design: 

top to bottom, left to right via my Pinterest board:

1. A shelter for all the little knick knacks that they both collect here and there. I used to dislike these mini-toys that come with every Happy Meals etc... but they are kind of cute now. Ferm Living shelf could be an option but I would rather find something out in an antique shop or a thrift store. I will keep my eyes peeled for this one!

2. I MUST include masking tapes in the decoration: it's quite easy to use and it won't damage the walls. You are also completely free to create whatever comes to your mind. I kind of like the clean, pink geometric lines here.

3. Since I am living in Japan now, paper balloons shouldn't cost so much... and they are so adorable! I might keep them for the playroom, but sure enough these will be mine as soon as I know where to buy them!

My daughter has been asking to sleep in a bunk bed for a very long time and as it was a dream of mine when I was a kid {and I never got one}, I have planned to get one soon that she will share with her brother. Ikea will do the trick once more I guess, although I am not a fan of their bunk beds colors!

Do you involve your children in the decoration of their own space?

Tuesday, October 2

My Tokyo Diary continues... {Aug & Sept 2012}

I realized that I had stopped sharing with you what our life in Tokyo translates as via my Tokyo diary column. One reason is that we spent two months in France and therefore there was nothing to share anymore. But we've been back for more than a month now and loads of things have happened ever since. So here we go:

#1 Kids have started school again at the end of August, and thanks God for that! They both love it and made new friends, it's perfect. You can find many gardens such as this one {above right} in the suburbs. You can buy local veggies directly there is you fancy. The soil looks gorgeous and everything is well maintained {you wouldn't expect less anyway}.

#2 If you follow this blog, you may know that we made a weekend trip to Izu peninsula in September {read}. It was just wonderful and the sea was amazing. The food wasn't bad either, and trust me that we enjoyed every bite of it!

#3 I have discovered my favorite place to hang out at {for the time being}: props paradise Hands cafe at Tokyu Hands in Shibuya. They have a small garden section as well and I would love to own one of these cute little plants. Only worry: plants never last very long with me...

#4 I love how you stumble upon funny things or amazing architecture in Japan. We parked next to this very lovely Volkswagen last Saturday in Kawasaki and I passed by the infamous Prada building while strolling in Aoyama two weeks ago. This design {by Swiss architects Herzog & Demeuron} is timeless and... breathless. Not to be missed!

#5 Last but not least, although it seems that I have disappeared from the face of the earth {I'm slowly making my come-back}, I'm still working on embroidery projects, and I have reopened my Etsy shop. I have also worked on the styling of a nursery {here} and I am catching up with my Japanese. All topped up by volunteering {a lot} at my kids schools. Busy indeed!

Is there anything that you would like me to share about Japan? I will most definitely start sharing more about the food, as there is much more than sushi and ramen in the local gastronomy...

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