January 27, 2012

✿Lip Cream

We made toner, massage oil and lip cream at aromatheraphy class a few day ago.  I made toner with chamomile water, chamomile essential oil and purified water.  It's supposed to be good for dry skin and other class mates made rose toner.
I usually make rose toner myself so now I have 2 kinds of toner !!  So nice !

It's hard to see in this photo but this pot has 2 layers and it has candle on the bottom layer to heat the bee's wax.  I put bee's wax, sweet almond oil, honey and lavender essential oil to make lip cream.  It's so nice to have essential oil in daily life, it uplifts my mood. 

As always, my teacher's house decoration is so beautiful.  This time, I saw lots of birds... Do you see the tiny bird cage ?  kawaii~~~.

She made special rice with red beans (koso genmai) also salad and desert for us.     
My teacher, Mari-san is also my flower teacher and she is such a wonderful person, she is so sweet and lovely.   I love her taste ! 

January 26, 2012

✿Tea Ceremony

I've been taking Japanese Tea Ceremony lesson almost a year now.  I remember taking one casual Tea Ceremony lesson when I was in Girl Scouts in Japan but I never thought I would take Tea Ceremony lessons especialy here in U.S.  

I find it very interesting to know the special manners and there is always more to learn at the Tea Ceremony 
Yes, we learn to be polite and respect other people in Japan but this Tea Ceremony is ultimate way of respecting people, tools and tea itself.  
We learn to respect the deep meaning of manner as a tea server and as a guest and each little movement of the hands has meaning to respect and to enjoy the maccha tea.
Another reason I take Okeiko(lesson) is that my Tea Ceremony Master is someone I really respect. When I found out she gives Tea Ceremony Okeiko, it made me want to learn from her.  I respect my Master and I admire her as a person and as a woman.  She started taking Tea Ceremony Okeiko when she was a child in Japan and now she has a beautiful tea room and teach several times in a month.

It's not very polite to bring camera into the tea room but my Master gave me permission.  This photo is right before we start Okeiko (lesson) so no one is inside the room.  Tea setting changes every seasons and this day was the first Okeiko of this year.

Tea sweets, Omanjyu.  It has red bean paste inside.  People find it very strange (funny) that I'm taking Tea Ceremony lesson when they find out that I don't like these Japanese sweets because these sweets always come with Tea Ceremony.   I think they are very pretty thought... so I enjoy the beauty of it.

Sakura pink color and young leave green color tells spring has arrived.  
We say "new spring" meaning... "new year"

January 22, 2012

✿Herb Ticnture

In November, I made herb tincture in aromatherapy class and I finally finished the last process, straining and bottling and they are ready to use now.

I made 3 kinds.  Rosemary and vinegar tincture, mixed herb alcohol tincture and calendula oil tincture.  Each tincture has different extract time and I left mixed herb alcohol tincture for 3 months. 

Straining tincture with a bamboo strainer.  
Many of these tinctures are great to mix with face cream or just simply put it on skin.  

I'm always thinking what else I can make... I love the process of making and having hand made natural items around me !

January 21, 2012

✿Face Cream

Since last year, I've been making organic and natural face care products for myself. 

This cream is made with organic raw bee's wax, organic cold pressed sesame oil, organic frankincense essential oil and water.  It's thick so I use it for night time.

In the small blue bottle, I make toner with organic rose water, organic frankincense essential oil and urea.

One that says Happiness in the bottle is room spray with essential oil. I spray it in the room, inside the car... I love being surrounded by great aroma.

I never knew making own face care products is so easy and so good for us.  

January 20, 2012

✿Handmade Deodorant

A few weeks ago, I made deodorant the first time using alum and essential oil.
(Alum is something that used in picking, making bread or dying fabric etc...)

It was very easy to make.
A.  Mix 5g alum and 150ml purified water and wait until dissolved. 
B.  Mix 5ml vegetable glycerin and 3 drops of lemon grass essential oil and one drop of peppermint essential oil.
C.  Mix A and B.
that's it...
I am using the half amount in a spray grass bottle and the other half in refrigerator to keep it fresh.

I've been making natural and organic room spray, facial toner and face cream since last summer.  I love using and making my own environmentally friendly items.  

January 08, 2012

✿Tail of The Yak (2)

This is their new display at Tail of The Yak.   I remember seen this kind of old mannequin at Alameda Flea Market.  It's so precious.

There were lots of mushroom and vegetable Christmas ornaments during the holiday season.

Above the bird cage, it looks like little mannequin dolls are having a theatrical play. 

Beautiful swan head piece is for window display.  

Their 2012 calendar is mix of Japanese wards and Chinese art. 

I love this shop, Tail of The Yak.  

January 07, 2012

✿Tail of The Yak (1)

This is one of my favorite shop in Berkeley.  It called " Tail of The Yak ".
Every time I go in the shop, I take photos of the display (I always ask first if I can take photos) and it changes all the time !  
They have this old mannequine and it's very beautiful.

They have all kinds of beautiful Asian-chic items to French-chic items, vintage jewelries, calligraphy pens and papers, candle holders, soaps... Anything looks cute for the home.

They always changes display of the show windows and inside of the shop so I enjoy visiting this shop a lot.

The black and white paper art in the middle is their original calendar for 2011.   One of the owner, lauren design their calendars every year.  I've been collecting their beautiful calendars for last several years and I've been fan of this shop for a while and Lauren and her sons used to come to my shop and that made us closer.

Tail of The Yak
2632 Ashby Ave. (at College Ave.) Berkeley, California 94705

This photo was taking earlier 2011.  Tomorrow, I will post thier new display and new calendar for 2012.
(I always ask before I take photos...)

January 02, 2012

✿Happy New Year !!

This is my chestnut maccha cake for celebrating 2012 !! 
(I made it really big to feed lot of people)

We have a custom to do a big cleaning at the end of the year in Japan, so I did a big cleaning and also got rid of clutter especially from the garage.  All the papers I kept since 2000 for my business are thrown away and all the photos I want to keep are on photo albums now.
I feel so good and free by getting rid of clutter.  I was so ready for 2012...

On December 31st, I went for Zazen, (meditation) at temple in Berkeley the first time and we had Soba noodles after that.   
I have been meditating almost every day since September 2010, so having meditation at the temple was a different experience.  
Having Soba noodles at the end of the year represent a long life and it's a custom of December 31st in Japan.

After Zazen and having noodles, my friends and I went to Yoshi's Jazz club in Oakland which is the most famous and popular jazz club in the bay area.   By the time we park the car near Yoshi's were 11:56 pm so we run to the club. ( I felt like Cinderella running right before midnight...)  For me, it was so special and fortunate that we arrived in time when the MC was counting down  3, 2, 1... Happy New Year !!  
On December 31st, I was already experiencing so many fortunate things around me among the other things !  
I'm so grateful.   

New years day is the most meaningful day for Japanese people and we have traditional Osechi food with family.  Osechi food is something we prepare at the end of the year so the first few days of the new year, we don't have to cook each time. 

My friend invited me to her house and many of her friends made lots of Osechi food.  I never made Osechi before so I made my favorite chestnut cake which is mix of French Mont blanc cake and Japanese maccha cake.

There were a lot more food than you see on these photos and I really had an amazing new year Osechi food.

I was very fortunate to meet lots of people and doing a fundraising for Japan last year.  Fundraising was a big event for me fiscally and mentally because I spent 4 ~ 5 months doing it.
I learn so much from this experience and I realized helping other is so important.  Even thought gathering $36000 from the fundraising could be just my self-satisfaction, but it definitely felt so good by doing it and I would like to continue to be helpful. 

Thank you so much for visiting my blog last year and I will continue writing about 
♥ cute things ♥ 
♥ fun times 
♥ lovely people  
and my hand made hats 
in 2012....

I wish 2012 will be your wonderful year as well as here on earth.