I made little animals

Out of odd-shaped scraps, that inspired me to make something with them. They are simple and more graphic than “Hot Wheels”.

They are made of scraps of materials, stuffed with the little remnants of thread fabric, and hand-stitched together.

Something to pass the time, something to make me smile.

Cat
Elephant

What to do with small scraps of fabric?

I have three bags of scraps from my cousin’s mask-making business. From medium-sized pieces to very tiny ones, I told him to give all to me. My first idea was to spin them into fabric twine or yarn, but my spinning skills need work. Still not to the point that I get enjoying it.

Bag 1 of 3 scraps of fabric from mask-making

During the Christmas weekend, I watched handmade craft videos and happened upon DinLife . DinLife is a video from Japan. No one speaks, just background music. It’s very peaceful and calming watching her do her craft. Her stitching is so consistent and she makes these beautiful pieces out of scraps of fabric.

I decided to try my hand at making a doll. I used one of the large pieces of scraps from a Hot Wheels mask and started with the head. As this was the first attempt, I decided to go with the flow and see how it turned out before committing to a pattern and directions.

I turned a doll’s head into a dog’s head with that technique by adding a muzzle and ears. It reminded me of a German Shepard. I don’t know why I did the muzzle area and ears. It just happened, a happy accident.

bodyless

This happy accident turned into a Christmas day project I finished up on Boxing day. Mom and Dad thought it was funny and cute. Now “Hot Wheels” the dog sits on the dining room table to keep them company.

I think he’s more Poi Dog than German Shepard. Poi Dog is Mutt in Hawaii slang. His proportions are off, neck too long, ears too wide, and the stuffing of his leg needed to be firmer so he could stand up taller. But all in all, he is a pretty cute pup, if I say so myself. He makes you smile.

Dad’s Art

Dad has been enjoying drawing and collaging in these recent years. It’s not an everyday thing. When he’s in the art mode, he’ll whip out his sharpies or start cutting up cardboard.

His materials of choice are old newspaper, discarded cardboard boxes, and his trusty sharpie pens. He uses the newspaper as his canvas with the sharpies. And the cardboard is the structure of his piece. These pieces are ones that he wants to stand on their own.

The key to Dad’s art is upcycling. He has always been a frugal man and has made many things from scraps around the house. He’s our MacGyver. But these days, building things is hard for him, and his drawing and pasting has taken its place.

He’s medium of choice is sharpies and old newspaper. I’ve bought for him sketchbooks, paints, and watercolor pencils to no avail getting him to use them. He would always fall back to his sharpies

Sourcing Materials

Dad does think about sourcing his material. One day, he asked me if I ate a fig bar. He said, “I want the wrapper because of the foil inside of the wrapper.” I asked him why he needed it? “I’m going to use it for the eyes on my turkey and snowman to make it stand out.”

He sourced the Depends box for the Christmas tree because of its green color. One day, I walked past him, sawing away with a serrated knife at the box, cutting the tree’s triangle shape. I just had to smile, he still has that making thing at 92.

I’d thought I would give my dad art a show case so I gave him a tag on Instagram and Facebook if you like to continue to search for new work. #jo1drawing. I made his tag from his first name, Joichi. “Ichi” means one in Japanese. 

Have a Happy Holidays. Eat well and stay safe.

Our Happy Thanksgiving Menu

As a three seniors (60+) family, it is hard to find a small turkey that we wouldn’t be eating for the next month. Plus, I found out my mom doesn’t like turkey. What! Who doesn’t like turkey? Well, in my life, this makes two. Oat tolerated it for my love of turkey, and now it’s my mom. Huh!

Dad’s annual Thanksgiving drawing. Loves to draw on newspaper. #jo1drawings

With no help from the parental units, I came up with the menu of shrimp tempura, veggie tempura, and mom’s famous pumpkin shortbread.

Mom’s eyes are close but it’s the only shot of the table: shrimp tempura, eggplant, veggie tempura; Okinawan sweet potato, Hamakua mushroom, three types of tsukemono (Japanese pickles by me), black sesame tofu with ume salt, black soybean natto with shoyu koji

Everyone loves mom’s pumpkin pie even people who hate pumpkin pie. It’s the combination of the creamy custard and the slightly sweet shortbread cookie crust. I have fiddled with this recipe over the years, changing the pan shape and size, using sweet potato, and even trying it with a regular pie crust (not the best). My sweet potato pie is based of this recipe. Here’s my adjusted version.

The corners are the best with it’s caramel edges

Mom’s Famous Pumpkin Shortbread–adjusted

makes 9 x 13 pan, roughly 20 pieces
Pre-heat oven 425º

Crust*

  • 3 c flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 c cold butter, cut into small pieces

Prep pan with a light coat of non-stick spray, be sure to get the sides. Mix flour and sugar, cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, till a sandy texture. Press flour mixture into the pan, slightly up the sides. Refrigerate crust while you mix up the filling.

Filling

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 t salt
  • Large can of pumpkin about 3 1/2 cups**
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon***
  • 1 t ground ginger***
  • 1/2 t grounded cloves***
  • 3 1/2 c evaporated milk
  • 1 t vanilla

Combine all the filling ingredients, making sure it is blended well. 

Pour the filling into the crust—Bake at 425º for 20 minutes. Turn down the oven to 350º and bake for 55 minutes or when the toothpick comes out clean. 

*If you want to use the springform pan instead of the 9×13 pan, half the crust amounts. The baking time will differ because it has a thicker filling. It has a longer bake time at 350, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Test with a toothpick. The center shouldn’t be jiggly. Cool to room temp. Then put in the refrigerator to set.

** I’ve used both can and roasted pumpkin for this pie. The differences would be you can control the caramelization, chunkiness, and you will have pumpkin seeds to roast up as a snack. My preferred pumpkin is Kabocha because of its smooth texture.

*** I use my spice mix. Here are the proportions: 1 t cinnamon and ground ginger, 1/2 t ground cloves, 1/4 t nutmeg. I mix up a large batch and keep it in a small jar in the spice cabinet. I used 3 t of the mix in the pie. You also can use it in apple pie, oatmeal, or whatever suits your fancy.

New Look

So many changes of recent, I decided to add one more. What the hell, why not? A new look–not to me but my blog. I hope I to generate more traffic and post on a more regular basis. I added advertisements to the site as I’m working part-time, and hopefully, I can generate some extra income.

one of the items going into my Etsy shop: knitted market bag, 100% cotton

And speaking of generating extra income, photos have been taken, and I will be posting to my Etsy shop soon (next week, keep your fingers cross). I’d hope to have more of an inventory; I guess I gave away many gifts during the prototyping phase.

The patio area, looking toward laundry room and storage

Another thing I’m aiming for a new look is the patio area of my parent’s house. I need more space. Going from a four-bedroom place to my childhood bedroom, a mere 10 x 10) is an incredible feat on my part.

I decided to enclose the patio and add a full bathroom, storage, and a bedroom. I met with the draft person to get drawings of what I want, and hopefully, 2021 will be the year of having more space—no more piles of stuff. There will be a lot of decluttering to happen. In the meantime, I’ll start a look board for what I love for the bathroom, entertainment area, and the bedroom.

Life: 11.11.2020

Who knew in a matter of two three months, my life would change so much. Here’s what is going on. I started this post on 10.20.2020 and have started on a few things.

me from the trail
  1. Furlough officially turned into unemployed.
  2. Decided only to work part-time 
  3. Staying put in my parent’s house.
I guess I need to look life from a different point of view

I mentioned in my post Moving Forward; I need to update my to-do list. I looked back at my list, and it seems going longer and longer. Hmmm. I thought I made more progress. 

Well, I need to adjust the ever-growing list to make it attainable for me to feel like I’m getting things done. I’m putting out in the universe. 

Do List

  • Clean out my storage unit by the end of the year; last week I cleared out 4 boxes; and I think I found a home for the dehydrator and my imac.
  • Get plans to rework the house: call someone to draw up the ideas.
  • Make a budget; made the budget sheet; need to make an appointment with myself to enter my month expenses
  • Work on projects with scrap materials and yarn
  • Draft a blouse pattern for me and make so clothes for me
  • Start stitching my aloha shirt patchwork quilt
  • Open my Etsy shop; scheduled myself for a photo shoot for my inventory this week
  • Make a sourdough starter and make more bread
  • Experiment with my pickle and jam flavors

This list is my wish list that things I want to do and over time hope to achieve.

Wish List

  • Go on another hiking trip to Japan.
  • Learn how to double knit and brioche stitch
  • Make a batch of miso
  • Make a batch of croissant

Recipe Testing: Pickled Ogo

Coming back to Hawaii has triggered many food memories for me–shave ice (extra fine snow cone), seed (flavored preserved fruit), malasada (Portuguese yeasty donut), to name a few. Pickled ogo popped in my mind during my monthly girls’ zoom meetup. J was telling us about the Marine Learning program at Waianae High School, raising and selling ogo. That spiraled into talking about pickled ogo and ended with four of us buying 5lbs each. 

What is “ogo”? 

Blanched in salt water

Ogo is an edible seaweed that we used to handpick at the West Oahu beaches when we were kids. It has since been over harvest, and only the people who know the secret spot pick it. Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, and Hawaiian use it in their dishes. The Hawaiian name for this variety is called Limu Manauea. You can find it mixed in with different pokes.

I just learned that ogo is short for ogonori, which means large amounts of ocean moss in Japanese. Here’s a link to an article about ogo and Waianae’s Marine Learning Program, where I got my giant 5lb bag full. Here’s another piece if you want more information about the different limu (seaweed in Hawaiian).

The recipe

The funny part about the recipe is I thought my mom had one at the ready. I have distinct memories of coming home from the beach and her cooking up a storm making the pickled ogo. But when I asked her, she didn’t have a recipe. But my friend, Google, did several recipes. They were similar in ingredients, with slight variation in amounts. I picked this one, “My Dad’s Ogo,” from feeding my ohana.

First off, a 5lb bag of ogo is enormous. In my mind, it should be half the size. Fitting it in the refrigerator overnight was challenging, and I played refrigerator Jenga to make it work.

Smelled like the ocean
Ingredients ready to go: chili pepper, garlic, onion, green onion, shoyu, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, no sesame seeds

The hardest part was blanching the ogo in salted (Hawaiian) boiling water. It cooks so fast, as soon as it turned green, within seconds, I was scooping it out of the water to drain in the colander. Back and forth, back and forth. Remember, there were 5 pounds to blanch.

I got through half minus a bag of ogo saved for another time. I decided I better see how much of the dressing I need to cover half the bag. I figured to double the recipe would cover it. I mixed all the ingredients well, making sure the sugar dissolved. On tasting, I added a tablespoon more of shoyu. It needed a more saltiness to it.

I dumped everything into a giant yellow Tupperware container from the 70s and mixed well. Everyone (Mom, Dad, and I) had a taste test and agreed it was delicious. Letting it sit would make it even better.

First batch done

Still had another half to do but had an evening training, so that would have to wait till tomorrow morning. Mom wanted a version with Gochujang in the dressing.

First thing in the morning, started the salted water to boil. Now that I’ve done it once, I have the process to follow. The dressing would be similar to version one, without garlic or round onions plus five teaspoons of gochujang.

L to R: version one with garlic and onions, version two with gochujang, version three with salted cucumbers, more rice wine vinegar, and gochujang

Mom made a version of her own using the gochujang version; adding sliced salted cucumbers and more rice wine vinegar (not sure how vinegar she added; I say approximately 1/4 cup). It was more like a namasu dressing-much tarter than rest. I would have added another teaspoon for gochujang for a little sweetness and umami.

Hiking: Poamoho Trail

Hiking this trail isn’t easy to come by. It’s a permitted trail, only allowing hikers and hunters on the weekends and federal holidays. The permit enables five people and one 4-wheel drive vehicle. It’s a 45-minute slow drive up a rutted (if it’s been raining, muddy) road. But once you arrive, it is all worth the effort.

My effort was very minimal as I was one of the five that didn’t have to apply for the permit or drive the truck. All I needed to do was to arrive at the meeting places at a reasonable hour (7:00). I’m a lucky girl (really an old lady). Haha.

Beautiful day for a hike

Our group of five hiking friends that met through my cousin, “E.” There was “L,” “J,” “R,” “E,” and myself. Pretty well paired with each other as hiking ability goes. Several of them have excellent knowledge of fauna and birds on the trail. Always nice to have that on a hike.

The trailhead

The weather was beautiful; winds picked up from earlier in the week. Sunny, with a minimal amount of clouds. It had been dry the previous days before making the mud at a minimum.

The trailhead looked different because of the tall grasses surrounding the sign. Hiker “L” heard the trail upkeep might be lacking because of the quarantine. Grasses were tall but still walkable.

It has been at least two years since I last hiked the trail. It was a similar type of day; dry and sunny. I’m happy because of the stories I’ve heard slipping, sliding, and walking out mud up to mid-calf doesn’t sound like fun.

On the way up, we were met with a brisk breeze around every corner, making corners something to look forward to. The trail was narrow, on foot in front of the other in places. Making it a good workout on our balance.

Much of the Strawberry guava was past it’s prime. The fruit flies were swarming in those areas (needed to breathe through our nose or get a mouthful). And where there wasn’t guava, there were ferns. I’m not sure what type of fern, but a sturdy variety as it saved me from falling into the mud.

Once you reach the summit, you understand why this is one of the beautiful hikes in Hawaii. You can see all the way to the east side beaches. On this day, the breeze was more than a breeze but a Pali Lookout style winds.

We had our rest and back on the trail. It was as comfortable as the morning as the sun had risen high in the sky. Turning the corners, we were not greeted with a gust of wind. But we made our way to the last bench for orange slices and the last of the water to get us out to our truck.

We all feel accomplished finishing the 7 miles and dreaming of our next hike together.

Moving Forward

I had a good run of 21 years at my job. My furlough has turned into a layoff. I made many great friends in the 21 years who I will miss, not working with them. I will miss working with beautiful images and illustrations in my designs. I’ve learned so much from these many years with these people.

Hiking will get me through it

But I think it’s time. I was antsy throughout the leave, wanting to know if I would be going back or not. Being laid off is the kick in the pants that I needed to move on with my life.

The last 3.5 years has brought so many major life changes and I’ve been running with it non-stop. Now it’s time for me to slow down and think about what I want to do with my life and how to achieve it.

Lone torch ginger bud standing strong amongst the brush

The first thing I decided it to work only part-time 30 hours a week to be available for my parents when they need me. I move back to Hawaii to help them and with COVID, life has changed for them and they seem to need me more.

The folks with a mid day threat–ICE CREAM!!!

I need to prioritize my ever-growing To-Do list. That should be the top of the list. So many things I want to do, and at times it gets overwhelming. For now, I’ll make a shortlist of the most important things.

  1. prioritize my TO-DO List
  2. make a budget
My furry twosome kept me entertained.

My time off hasn’t been unproductive. Here’s what I’ve up to since August. I’ve been busy knitting, crocheting, jamming, and pickling Japanese-style.

Knitting and Crocheting

Jamming

Pickling Japanese-style