Saturday, May 22, 2010

Zokei Bonsai

On my previous post for the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival 2010, I mentioned that I learned to make Zokei Bonsai - bonsai trees made of silk, wire, and rice paper. I wanted to share some of those bonsai I've made:

This is the first one I made, a plum tree. Since this was made in the "beginner's course" of the Zokei Bonsai class, the flowers and buds are store-bought. The focus was learning to create an attractive tree trunk and branches. Near the base is a piece of drift wood that was incorporated into the trunk.

This is the second one I made, an Iris. The focus was learning silk flower making, so this is an "Ikebana" type arrangement. The flowers are layered sheer Japanese silk, and the petal textures were created by wringing the silk between gauze rags in a particular way.

This is an azalea. The flowers and leaves are all silk, and their textures were created using a special type of stick-shaped iron that looks like a soldering gun.

A small arrangement of African violets. The leaves are silk and formed the same way are the iris petals, the violets are satin and were formed with the stick-like iron with a rounded tip to form the cup-shaped petals.

A bonsai I made for New Years: Shochikubai. Shochikubai is a combination used to decorate during the New Year as a symbol of happiness, using pine, bamboo, and plum. The arrangement is accented by a dry riverbed of white pebbles. The pine tree is elevated on a cool rock, and the pine tree's roots are snaking down the rock.

These are some camellia I made that were left over from a camellia tree I did. Unfortunately that tree is still in my instructor's possession, so I do not have pictures of it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Beaded Scorpion

I used to make beaded spiders for my co-workers. For my husband I made this beaded scorpion to use as a prop for an L5R card tournament. This guy was fun to make. Eventually I'd like to put up a tutorial, but if you are crafty you can try to replicate it from the pictures. The stinger and claws are heart-shaped beads!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Yesterday I had a doc appointment. Originally the doctor said that he thought I was going to have a big baby, 8-9lbs, so I asked for an ultrasound to see how big he's getting. He's 6lbs some ounces now, he'll be about 7lbs when born. So everything is looking great! We were trying to get a good look at his face on the ultrasound, but he was too busy sucking his thumb!

37 weeks pregnant!

Lately, Matrix has been climbing into the crib :-( and shedding hair all over the bedding. I got tired of lint-rolling the cat hair off the sheets, and I'm worried he might poke a hole through the waterproof layer of the mattress when he jumps out. So Bobby and I were thinking of ways to keep the cat out but still be able to have the door open so we can see in easily. Cats can jump over pet gates, so that was not an option. I looked online and the only options I could find were to keep the door closed all the time (and use a baby monitor, which I don't like) or install a screen door.

So today I picked up a screen door! Its sort of awkward but I hope it'll work. Bobby is going to put it up when he gets home tonight. I propped it up against the door frame to see what it would look like, and as soon as Matrix heard the baby's room door open he came running -- head-first into the screen! And he preceded to ram his face into the screen 3 more times! It was so funny! By the time I grabbed my cell phone, he was finished bonking his head and just inspecting the door in frustration.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bryan's first handmade blanket

Today I received a handmade baby blanket for Bryan. My mom made this for Bryan, and is in the process of crocheting many more things! :-)

Monday, May 10, 2010


We have the nursery set up. We were lucky enough that Bobby's mom bought most everything we needed. Unfortunately, that means we didn't get to pick anything out. I had inspirations for what I wanted the room to look like, but no money.

Since grandma decided we didn't need furniture (she wanted us to put baby's clothes in a tupperware container...) we have to reuse some antique furniture I had: lacquered dressers with Chinese paintings on them. They are neutral colored, and the bamboo sort of matches the green crib bedding. The dressers are old and the lacquer is in bad condition (covered in nail polish, chipping, coffee rings) but it's better than plastic bins.

I'd love to decorate the walls, but there is no telling what grandma will buy next that will totally clash with what we've got going now. And I don't feel safe hanging anything over the crib. I have a pretty panda picture that would go with the Asian theme, but no other wall space to put it. That crib is way too big!

Belly Pictures

Mother's day marked day one of my 9th month of pregnancy! For my Mother's day gift Bobby got me a massage. It was nice, I'd only had a professional massage once before. Since I'm preggers, I had to lay on my side. Bryan got a massage too, via belly rub. He was squirming all around in my belly, and afterward the massage therapist and I watched him squirm to get back to his favorite part of my tummy.

So, with the last few weeks remaining, I realized I hadn't posted belly pictures yet. Forgive the blurriness.

29 weeks

32 weeks

35 weeks

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Another passing

Today my uncle Butch passed away. This death was expected, and isn't as hard on me as my father-in-law's was. I wasn't very close to my uncle. He was still young, late 40's I think, but he died because of the bad decisions he made with his life.

My uncle was a schizophrenic, he talked to himself and at times thought he was Jesus. He also got into drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc since he was young. He had contracted hepatitis C from sharing drug needles, his lungs were bad from smoking, his liver and kidneys had failed from alcohol abuse, and recently he had gotten sudden severe diabetes they believe attributed to his recent diet change of eating only cakes and cookies.

Until now he had been living with my grandmother, since he was unable or unwilling to care for himself. She had recently just bailed him out of jail, on charges of assault with a knife. His wild behavior had also caused her to loose her home recently, so she's had to move suddenly to an apartment in a bad part of town (only one available on short notice).

We knew he didn't have long. A few days ago grandma called an ambulance to get him, since he could not get out of bed, and he had been suffering urinary and fecal incontinence with blood present. They would not let her visit him in the hospital because he was unresponsive and critical condition. He passed away this morning, it is my understanding that he was taken off of life support.

My mom had gone to see him at the hospital with my grandma. My mom tells me they had to go through security decontamination procedures in order to see him. I don't know if he had something infectious, but they took all kinds of precautions.

I will be trying to attend the funeral this Thursday. The only thing I can say to others about my uncle's life is too be smart about what decisions you make. Choosing drugs and partying may sound like a good way to enjoy life, but it really is a quick and painful way to die. Not to mention the pain of a mother who had to nurse her adult son, and now has to bury him.

Photos from father-in-law's funeral

My brother-in-law took photos of the honor guard ceremony that was held at my father-in-law's funeral. I thought I'd share them.

After the funeral, outside the honor guard did a 3-volley salute.

Playing "Taps". I've heard it before, but this time I could not keep from crying. It was very emotional.

During the 3-volley salute and "Taps", Bobby had his hand up in salute as well, since he also served in the Army.

Folding the flag. They folded it twice since it wasn't secure the first try. Bobby's mom now has the flag in a glass case.

Presenting the flag to my mother-in-law.

The honor guard carried the coffin to the Hurst.

Bobby holding his father's old Army photograph.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Matrix and socks

There is nothing my kitty loves more at the end of a long hard day than to curl up with daddy's socks. Or really any of my husband's clothing.
Bonus video. He was actually doing this for quite a while, I only managed to get video of the tail end of the sock cuddling.