NaBloPoMo & NaNonFiWriMo: A Successful November!

Phew!! Writing both a blog post (almost)each day and writing a non-fiction book in a single month is a LOT of writing for one who doesn’t normally write.

NaNonFiWriMo, National Non-Fiction Writing Month, was a really huge success for me. My idea for Tako Life, an octopus cookbook, has been sitting on the back burner for several months was able to get my full attention in November. From a crazy, random thought, it has become a fully flushed out idea, recipes written, layout ideas created, coordinating art and stitch ideas solidified, color scheme, and several marketing ideas to look into. All of this put into Evernote, ready for editing and updating anywhere.

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The idea of NaNonFiWriMo suited me very well as it gave me space. Space in my calendar to focus on a single project. It provided space in my head, gaving me permission to concentrate on other projects before the arrival of November. And now that it is written down in an organized fashion and out of my head, there is more space in which to complete a few projects I had set aside for NaNonFiWriMo. YAY!!! I wrote a book this month!!!

NaBloPoMo was also successful for me in that it forced me to learn more about my own website, the art of blogging and what frequency is most comfortable for both myself and my readers. Definitely not everyday…my life is just not that interesting…yet :) The goal of blogging everyday was not met, but many other peripheral items were accomplished throughout the attempt this month.

Now I am setting the cookbook aside for the first week of Dec before I start to edit and put the layout together. I WROTE A BOOK THIS MONTH!! A small book, but how cool is that?

I already have a pre-order, too! Thanks, Mom :)

Happy Expat Thanksgiving!!

Turkeys are hard to find in Japan.

Crochet Pattern User Error(s)!

Counting is not my forte. It’s the challenge that would get I and my partner kicked off of an episode of Amazing Race. Clearly this counting impairment runs deep and makes a real, written pattern much more difficult than it really is.

I’m on my 3rd attempt to complete the beautiful Pizzelle Beret by Linda Permann.

The first time my swatch was too big, the hook size I used was a wee bit larger than recommended. The second attempt was a little better and I think each row I finished I had to rip out at least once because I missed one simple, little, “2dc in next dc,” that created count errors when working the next row.

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After completing Row/Round 9 for the second time I realized that I don’t have enough repeats! I have no idea how I only have 5 repeats instead of 6? So now what do I do? Rip it out again and try for a 4th time? But the swatch measures correctly with the 5 repeats and finally using the correct hook size. Adding in the 6th repeat will make the beret swatch too large.

So, as usual, I’m doing my own plan. Not because there is a problem with this clearly, well-written pattern, but the thought of starting over again is well, just plain demoralizing. I would really like to get this beret done. Besides, I’m curious to see where this “Sand Dollar Variation” is going :) Wish me luck!

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Tokyo Yarn Crawl

UPDATE: Nov 2017 Tokyo Yarn Crawl Info: http://tokyoyarncrawl.jimdo.com

Not here in Nov? Here’s a great list of participating shops with maps! https://tokyoyarncrawl.jimdo.com/協賛店-participating-shops/

Had a great time at the Nov 2013 Tokyo Yarn Crawl – Looks like it is expanded and improved each year so I highly recommend joining in the adventure!

Coordinated by Cassie of  Hitsujidama Yarn Shop, almost 30 of us made our way through Tokyo visiting 6 independent Yarn Shops. I had tasked myself with finding a lovely yarn in which to make the Pizzelle Beret. The pattern calls for approx 430meters of lace weight yarn and with it having such a strong design created, I knew it would be best made in a single color. Have to start with a big Thank You to our cat herding Yarn Crawl Guides, Nao and Anna! Starting at Studio F in Chiba, at the opposite end of the metro area from me, made for an early start to the day. Met another Yarn Crawler in the station near Studio F and discovered she lives just 2 stations away! IMG_0019 Second stop was Keito in the Nihonbashi neighborhood, I felt it to be the most personable store, with the most variety, the most books and they also had a sock knitting class going on at the time we visited. They had fun yarn displays, kits and yarnbombed traffic cones out front for us to easily spot their shop. IMG_0022 Next stop Classe in Daikanyama, near Shibuya. A lovely little shop with a nice variety and a bookcase stuffed with books. Can you tell I really like the Japanese design books? Fourth Stop – Puppy Yarns! Don’t worry, no puppies were harmed in the making of this brand of yarns. It was my first look and feel of Rowan brand yarns also and I have to say, they were very, very nice wools. But they did come with the very, very high price. Avril, in Kichijoji, was the next stop and it was the place I found what I hope to be the perfect yarn for my beret. A beautiful yarn in a lovely shade of brown with a coppery sheen to it. Avril has a great selection of sparkly, poofy, fun art yarns and a few other unique threads to make the most unique items. They are pricey but clearly you will not find anything like what they carry anywhere else in the world! I’ve already started on my beret and am so very pleased with my choice of yarn. IMG_0021 Last but not least is Hitsujidama. Out on the western edge of Tokyo, sits this really nice yarn shop with the owner, Cassie, who is fluent in both Japanese & English. She doesn’t just have a yarn shop, she is creating a community. With regular Stitch n Bitch Sessions, Spinning Workshops and more, Hitsujidama may become your favorite place to knit/crochet/spin. She gave each of us a set of KnitPicks Interchangeables, my very first knitting needles!! As I am a single stick looper so far, playing with just my crochet hook, I see a bit of knitting in my future very soon. IMG_0023

Stationery Cafe w/Squee Pumpkin Cookies

In Omodesando, out Exit A2 is a fun little Cafe called Bunbougu,文房具, which means stationery in Japanese. Offering larger than normal cafe tables and a drawer full of paper & pen surprises, a creative like me couldn’t resist adding my own touch to the pages of the community notebook.

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Paper & Pens provided also make it easy to take a page for writing that to do list or a just purchased journal from the stationery store. All while enjoying a shrimp & avocado bagel sandwich or relaxing with a cup of latte.

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The cutest little pumpkin cookies are also available with a pumpkin seed strategically placed to serve as the stem. Best of all the rare and elusive free WiFi is available!!

After the very successful show at Hagiso Gallery, I’ve placed the remaining available designs in my Etsy Store, StudioDeanna.  Through Wednesday, Nov 27th, I’m offering 20% off all items in my shop.

Use Coupon Code: BlogReader to  receive the discount.

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Hand-crocheted Fluffy Winter Snowflake Hanging Scroll with hand-embroidered hanko.

After the Gallery Show...

Sakura Hanging Scroll – Hand-crocheted cherry blossoms using my own pattern with hand-embroidery completing the Springtime scene.

The final touch is the hand-embroidered hanko.

Newest Crocheter

Bring your sunglasses to this party because the Newest Crocheter on the block is working in Neon Yarn-y Goodness! Starting with a simple square coaster design, she chose to randomly shorten her rows for a unique updated look.

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Rocking the round rows she tried 3 different stitches for an ever-expanding look to her round coaster design.

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A hyperbolic scrubby completes her line of fabulously functional crochet work:

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