Sausage craft?

You might have seen the carving art with fruits and vegetables. I know there are many Asian chefs who are very good at this.

Recently, in a Japanese magazine, I saw an article on art using sausages.

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You can make these with mini frankfurters. Aren’t they cute?
My mum used to cut sausages into octopus shape when I was little. I have tried it myself, but I always end up losing one or two tentacles.
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I think this one is more simple and easy.
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There are more advanced ones.
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I think the eyes are made with black sesami seeds.

I heard this craft was created by a ham and sausage producer to increase their sale. Carving tools are also invented and sold in Japan.
I am not too keen on processed meat and do not buy much, but this craft is tempting.
I may practice a little and try to make some for Christmas to impress my guests.
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If you would like to have a go, there is a webpage with video tutorials. It is in Japanese, but I guess it can be translated: http://www.nipponham.co.jp/recipes/kazarigiri/

Knitted Australia

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I have been enjoying knitting the world themes as I have written in the last post.

Some countries have unique, distinct, traditional costumes which are easy to include in the design, but I struggled with this one: Australia.

Australia is a fantastic country with interesting animals as koala bears and kangaroos, but I have already knitted them in a few different styles. My first book, Mini knitted safari, has their patterns, too. I also wanted to add human figures. I know of the Aboriginal people, but I think I want to save it for the Easter Island for similar figures. I may do the Moai statues together with them.

How do people in Australia dress? If you Google images for ideas, you get the photos of people dressed in T-shirts and shorts and face-painted with the Australian flag.

But then, I got the photos of famous people on the same page.

He was the first one to come up. The guy in the photo above.

I asked my boys if they knew him, but they just looked puzzled. My boys haven’t seen the movie.

I just thought he may work for Australia scene. I made a crocodile for him. This croc has his mouth opened.
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He may have too many teeth, but never mind.

He has a little girl companion. You have to have a koala for Australia.

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I have never been to Australia. I would love to go there and hold a koala in my arms. I think it is one of the must-do once in a lifetime.

Knitting the world

I would love to travel around the world some day, but for now, I am happy knitting it.
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We had some visitors from Japan over the weekend, and they were quite shocked by the temperature here in the UK. We have had warned them, but they were shivering in short sleeves. It is still 30 degrees in most places in Japan.

The family is with four small children. It must be such a hard work flying 15 hours!

When I was single, I traveled often between New York, Tokyo and London because of my job. After my marriage, my husband and I have visited many places in the UK and some cities in Europe, but with children, I found it quite stressful to travel. Now my kids are much older, but the holidays cost much more. We visit Japan to see my parents every two or three years, but the airfares are enormous, and we use up all our holiday funds on these trips.

But some day, I will visit places that I always wanted to see.

The places warm and with lots of yummy fruits,
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The places with fun people,

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the places with fantastic animals,
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and interesting traditions and costumes.
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It is fun knitting figures with traditional costumes. I made them in different sizes. You will see adult male, female, boy and girl, young children and babies. I am also throwing in different elements as animals and vehicles.

You can enjoy traveling this way, and it is utterly fantastic.

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Results

Boys’ dream: F1 team!
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Long wait is finally over. My 16 years old got his GCSE results yesterday.

Two A’s, one B and nine A*s. It wasn’t a clean sweep, but he did very well.

Maths, geography, French, physical education, Design and technology, Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Art. He got A*s.
I was brought up in Japan and have never taken GCSEs, but I believe this is a great achievement.

He will be taking Maths, higher maths, physics and art next year in six forms.

My younger son, aged 15 has taken the core science exam and he received a B. I was more worried about this one, but he did well, too. He isn’t keen on studying as much as his older brother, but I love him just the same. He has gone to Kart racing and wasn’t even there to pick up his result. He is with a racing team and has been karting last 10 years.
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Impressive photos? But we are not one of those super-riches and on a budget. We support him as much as we can.

My older son’s dream is to join a F1 team as a racing car designer. His hero is Adrian Newey of Red Bull racing.
He is also interested in developing alternative fuel for the next generation. He just loves cars.

And his little brother? A racing driver, of course.

They don’t want to work together and, I think that is a wise decision. I can picture them arguing over who is to be blamed for every incident. The driver brother wouldn’t trust the car his brother would build. He doesn’t want his wheels to fall off in the middle of the race, he says.

I made these little F1 team for my sons. It surely made them smile.

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I think there isn’t anything more fantastic than having a dream in your life. I am very happy for my sons.

And I made this guy, too.
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Healthy nori seaweed

You may think I am crazy, but I have knitted sushi in the past. I knit everything so why not?
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I saw a couple of young boys shopping for sushi ingredients at a supermarket yesterday.

One of them had a pack of nori seaweed sheets and a box of Japanese sushi rice. He was wearing a T-shirt with “Tokyo” writing across the chest. He must be fond of Japan.

With the rising popularity of Japanese food, it is getting more and more easier to obtain ingredients for Japanese cookery. This is great for us.

I found this product the other day in a supermarket, I was quite excited.
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It is “seaweed thins” produced by Itsu. It is dried and flavoured nori seaweed.
We are very familiar with these in Japan. They are my sons’ favorite and we used to get them from Asian supermarket whenever we traveled to London. They are sold in a plastic jars or in individual packages.download (6)download (5)

Now it is available from local supermarkets. How fantastic!

What is interesting for me is that it is sold in snack and sweets isle. Unlike seaweed for sushi, these are flavoured with soy sauce and mirin, Japanese sweet wine. I guess you could have them as a snack.

The conventional way to have these flavoured nori sheets is either to wrap rice balls with them or to have them with warm steamed rice.

You may need to be able to use chopsticks quite well to do this. And you do need short grain sticky rice. You dip a nori sheet in a little bit of soy sauce and place it on top of rice. Fold rice with chopsticks.
Like this.
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You can also crush them and sprinkle over rice or salad.

Very often, these nori sheets are served for breakfast at hotels and inns. If you eat them without rice, you may attract many curious eyes.

In Japan, people used to say seaweed make your hair dark and glossy, and it was very much favoured by ladies of all ages. It is a good source of dietary fiber, iron and iodine. It is also believed to improve bone health and lower cholesterol level. Amazing.

I should make sushi more often myself.

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Well, not the knitted ones, I mean.

Beach boys and a girl

The day is getting shorter and it is getting much cooler. Will we be needing woolly jumpers soon? But It has been a lovely summer.

I made these beach children last week.
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Although I am a fully qualified swimming teacher, I didn’t teach my children any swimming strokes until they were about 6 years old. We didn’t do any water baby classes or mother and toddler lessons either. We just enjoyed playing in the water.

When we lived in Tokyo, going to a beach wasn’t too easy. Tokyo is very close to the ocean, however, you do need to travel some time for a dip in the water. I remember battling against traffic jams and spending a small fortune on toll fees of the motorways, we drove more than two hours for my little boys to have their first beach experience.

My younger son was fully equipped for this occasion. He had a swimming cap, arm bands and even goggles. But to my dismay, he didn’t want to go into the water. He was just over three years old and looked very cute in swimming gears, but at the same time, looked quite ridiculous with all that stuff on him. This image is still in my head and makes me smile whenever I think about it

I made this baby inspired by this image of my son.
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And here are his big sister and brother.
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I don’t have a daughter, but I thought it would be nice to have a girl for this set.

And do my boys swim now? They joined a local swimming team for a few years and are still proficient swimmers.

The promotion is launched

My publisher is kindly helping me promoting my first book. Here is what the sales team came up.

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Isn’t it lovely?
This is done by Lin, one of the sales representatives. It looks lovely.

We are offering signed copies and some of my knitted mini animals as the prizes. I think it is a fantastic idea.
I have made more than enough animals for the book. I would like to keep most of them because I have an ambition to do exhibitions some day, but I can always make some more, can’t I?

To join the fun, here is the link.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Search-Press-Art-and-Craft-Books

There is another promotion running on Ravelry. You can download a tester pattern from my original design page.
See, it is listed now.
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I also heard that Create and Craft TV show is interested in featuring my book. My animals came home a few days ago, but they are traveling to be on the show. They are busy touring.
I am so pleased. It is such a fun, creating a craft book!

I hope my creations will bring many people happiness.