Knitting Needles Haul!

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Over the weekend, I went to my fave store, Daisho in japan town San Francisco to pick up these needles which only costs $1.50 each! Surely having expensive needles are nice, but for beginner knitter like me, these sticks are fine. Compare to Takumi wooden needles, these are a little bit less smooth but still very nice. Keep in mind though that they have different sizing chart, therefore just go by mm size not their needle size. Also, this japan town location seem to be the only one that sell these needles, I haven’t find them in other locations. Anyone ever seen them in other Daisho locations?

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House of Knits

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Ever since I came across this box pattern, I have been pretty obsessed with making knitted container and covering any object around my house with knits and here’s the result so far:

Ongoing projects: cabled pillow case, table runner, pot holder and kitchen mitts. Phew..! Thats quite a lot.. But once I start I can’t stop! My goal is to fill my house with knitted accessories ☺!

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(Never) Too Hot To Knit

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(Never) Too Hot To Knit

The weather has been rising up until 90 degrees on most afternoon but it doesn’t stop me from knitting. Of course I leave my wooly project behind, instead I’m picking up cotton yarns… Somehow the combination of bamboo needles and cotton yarn is very comforting and cooling. Lily Sugar ‘n Cream has been my trusty cotton yarn so far.. They are very reliable and affordable!! I have compared the price of other cotton yarns with Lily’s by yards and found out that Lily has the lowest prices! For around $2.10-2.45 per ball, I can make 1 dishcloth. And the quality is really great.. It is sturdy yet still soft and able to drape. That is why I am very on fire to knit kitchen and home products… I even learn to crochet! Here are some yarns I picked up from Jo-Ann and the results:

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Rest, Relax and Rejuvenate at Prana Spa, Bali

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Claim time to attend to your wellness by having an exotic treatment in a Middle East royalty environment

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pranaspa courtyard

The rich culture and natural resources of the island make Bali as one of the most highly sought destination for spa treatments. For us, the visitors, although we are happy to have endless option of spa places, from the most luxurious to the most affordable one, but when it comes to impressing guests, there are no time for experiments. We need to give them an experience that they will remember upon their return. And for this quest, I chose Prana Spa to wow my guests who flew 20 hours from their country to be pampered in this island of God. This was also my first visit to the spa, and while I’m quite nervous on how the treatment would turned out, but looking at the impressive awards the spa has collected these past few years, I am pretty convinced that this will be a great choice.

Located strategically on Seminyak Road, we headed down to Prana Spa after having a delicious lunch. It was a scorching day in Bali and we would prefer to be pampered rather than wandering around the street. The wow factor already started as soon we entered the exotic orange, Middle Eastern style building. We were served a refreshing ginger lemon tea while the Spa Manager greeted us and explain about all kind of treatments. After spending some time looking at the menu, we decided to take the Revitalize Package with additional Hot and Plunge Pool treatment, which originally wasn’t included on the package. But since I heard so many good benefit about the pool, I thought it will be a fun experience for us to try.

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We were ushered into a gorgeous changing room, Moroccan style, with bright orange and red color theme and Indian ornaments. After changing into a maroon colored robe, we headed down to the plunge pool. Both the hot and cold plunge pool have blue tiles and located on a private outdoor area overlooking the bright sky. Surrounding the pool are treatment rooms for Thai Shiatsu massage. After relaxing our muscles in the hot pool for a few minutes, we were advised to dip into the cold pool. Although the sensation was pretty electrifying but we braced ourselves to try it several times as we heard so many benefits of the cold plunge. They say that immediate immerse in very cold water after the hot one will stimulate blood circulation, numbs the nerves of your joints and muscles to release hormones and endorphines and stimulate the immune system.

After that session, we headed to the steam room to release body toxins and continue to the shower room for body scrub. There are four options of scrub suitable for every skin type: coffee scrub for oily skin, the traditional Javanese lulur, milk scrub for sensitive skin, and sea salt for anti aging and younger looking skin. I chose the sea salt scrub and was delighted to find out that the scrub was actually felt mild on the skin and not harsh. But the best part came after the scrubbing, when my body was showered by the Vichy shower. Basically a vichy shower is a shower that has five to seven heads that are placed in a row over a cushioned table where you lay down. The water will be sprayed on a medium pressure level to all over your body, back and front, creating a massaging effect by the water. It is an effective way to rinse off the scrubs without the client have to move around. Besides the relaxing effect, the shower also boosts body immunity.

Personally, I will already be satisfied if my treatment session ended here, as I feel so relax already. But afterwards is the full body massage time. Looking at the rooms itself, one will want to doze off right away. With an option of tented ceiling room or an elaborate hand painted canvas ceiling, the treatment rooms are the perfect space to relax completely under the trained hands of our therapist.

Derived from an ancient Sanskrit word, Prana has a meaning of breathe, life and vitality of the Spirit. While the exotic interior was inspired by the legendary Moguls of Rajasthan, the painting was done by the owner of this place, Jim Elliott, who is also a painter. He sought to blend Indian Palatial complexity with Moroccan rustic simplicity. Combined with the royal pampering menus like Shiro dara, Ayurvedic Simple Bliss, Thai Massage, Sacred Heated and Cold Stone Massage, one can have a rejuvenating ritual like the ancient Eastern kings and queens at Prana. Nevertheless, me and my guests leave the spa in full revitalization, our skins were glowing and our spirit was lifted. Was it the benefit of the plunge pool, the vichi shower or the relaxing massage? Maybe it’s the combination of all. But it is definitely a nice feeling to be fully pampered, royalty style once in a while.

Click on this picture to view my video review of the spa:

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Prana Spa

Jalan Kunti 118X – Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia

+62 (361) 730 840

Design talk, hedgehog drawing and a special martini

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I always see art center, bookstore and museum as my playground… I can spend hours in it; admiring stuffs, reading, just basically dwelling there. That’s why I have been joining the volunteer program at Palo Alto Art Center. On Feb 8th 2013, they launched a new monthly event called Friday Nights at the Art Center. It was a fun night for adults to mingle, listen to an art talk by John Edson, President of global creative firm, LUNAR, and author of Design Like Apple, or to practice drawing, where artist Sharon Reich lead a fun and easy drawing activity with Bristle the hedgehog from the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo as the live model.

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Ending the evening with an Hedgehog Martini!

The upcoming event will be April 12th, 2013. If you’re in nearby area, come join the fun! Check out their website for more information about the event.

 

Random Handbuilding Projects

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Time certainly passes by so quickly when we’re having fun… Next week will be my last pottery class in MVLA… Here are some random handbuilding ceramics that I made. I tried to play around with blue tone color: aqua, turquoise, marine blue to see which one I will like the best.

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French country style cup

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Twotone pastel cup- (L) G 106 pink, (R) 503 Aqua. Finish with clear glaze.

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(clockwise) Fish spoon rest- G 2 Tuquoise, Ring plate- G 137 Powder Blue, Napkin Ring- G 186 Deep Red, Feathers Plate – UG 21 sky blue, UG 19 royal blue, UG 15 zircon blue

Lesson of the Day: Maiolica Glazing

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Today I decided to try another decorating technique called majolica or maiolica, which is an Italian tin-glazed technique,  decorated in bright colours on a white background, frequently depicting historical and legendary scenes.

Here are some examples of Maiolica works:

A modern plate from Caltagirone, Sicily, painted in cobalt blue.

Dish with bird, in Islamic-derived style, Orvieto, ca.1270-1330

I decided to do a simpler design, using only light blue and dark blue on opaque white background. I use Japanese calligraphy brushes to paint these. I made the plate using a ready mold. Basically I flatten a piece of slab into 1/4″ thickness with rolling slab, cut it into two parts and join them together, since I find it easier that rolling 1 big slab.Then I covered it with plastic to let it air dry slowly. After it has reached bone dry, then I started glazing.

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After firing:

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*G is for Glaze and UG is Under Glaze

February Art and Sculpture Events!

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This will be a very exciting month indeed.. and not because it’s Valentine’s =) … even though this will be my first Valentine’s Day with my husband but other than that, I’ve got a handful of exciting events related to art and sculpture that I am so excited to share:

1. Friday Nights at the Art Center of Palo Alto

February 8,2013- from 6-9PM

This will be a weekly event to mingle with other art enthusiasts and be inspired as John Edson, President of global creative firm, LUNAR, and author of Design Like Apple, will lead a dynamic and collaborative activity designed to help you unlock your creative potential. On the fun side, artist Sharon Reich will lead a fun and easy drawing activity with a live hedgehog from the Junior Museum & Zoo!

2. Chinese Terracotta Warriors

From February 22–May 27, 2013 at Asian Art Museum San Francisco

The Terracotta Army by John Man

Whether you are an enthusiast of art or the greatest wonder of the world, you MUST witness this great exhibition. Honestly I haven’t been interested to travel to China, I don’t know, there just too many other countries that I wishes to visit first…but many years ago I was considering to go to China just to visit Xi-an village, where these terracotta warrior are located. But now, since they will exhibit in SF, I definitely will go! I will try to go on weekdays because I think it will be a huuuge crowd on weekends.  For me personally, the awesome part of these discovery not only because of how meticulously detail they are, in total they have found over 8,000 life-sized figures, each with different design and over 10,000 weapons, represent the actual army! But I read a book by John Man called The Terracotta Army and I became so amazed by the discovery behind it… These warriors were found in 1974 by a farmer, quite recent considering these were made in 210 BC, the era of the first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang who unite China into a single empire. He was also the man who built the first Great Wall! For immortality, he wanted to build these terracotta armies. How he managed to bury all these armies for centuries without being discovered until 1974 was the part that amazes me. How come the people who made these sculptures (and their generations) managed to keep this burried for centuries? I think I want to reread the book again… it was such an amazing story and observation from John Man.

3. Batik, Spectacular Textiles of Java

From November 2, 2012- May 5, 2013 at Asian Art Museum San Francisco

Now, I only know about this event because I saw it on the museum website BUT I still can make it because this exhibition will run until May! For those who are into fabric and art… definitely have to check this out as batik looks much more beautiful upclose, not just from the internet! Basically, batik is a traditional Indonesian cloth that is hand-drawn with pain staking process using a special ink tool called ‘canting’ where the hot wax is dripped and drawn from one corner to another, sometimes using natural dyes. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work around these fabrics back when I was living in Indonesia, where I got to visit some batik villages and museums.. I promise I will post my stories and pictures! As they are sooo much I don’t know where to begin! But I will.. that will be my goal for 1st quarter of 2013! So yeah I will definitely check this out too since it will be on the same location as the Terracotta Army… how awesome is that? Oh another thing, they will be showcasing antique batik clothes… which you won’t be able to see anywhere else (except other exhibitions) because these clothes don’t exist anymore.

4. Girl with a Pearl Earring

From Jan 26- June 2, 2013 at deYoung Museum

Johannes Vermeer’s enigmatic Girl with a Pearl Earring has intrigued art lovers for centuries. See this masterpiece and more than 30 others by artists of the Dutch Golden Age—including Rembrandt, Hals, and Steen—from the collection of the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in this exclusive West Coast presentation at San Francisco’s de Young Museum.

5. Artist Lecture with Stan Welsh

Wednesday, Feb 27 7pm at de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara

Santa Cruz-based sculptor and San Jose State University Professor Stan Welsh will talk about his work and his creative process in a lecture.His work has been recently collected by the San Jose Museum, Ca. the Santa Cruz Museum, Ca. and the Daum Museum, Missouri.

6. Clay in the Bay

From January 18- Mar 17, 2013 at de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara

The use of clay as a fine art medium has deep roots in Northern California. Once considered a form of craft, it took the ingenuity, creativity, and vision of artists like Robert Arneson and Peter Voulkos to look beyond the medium’s utilitarian properties to its expressive qualities. In the decades following, their successors—artists such as Stephen DeStaebler, David Gilhooly, Ron Nagle, and Richard Shaw—continued to stretch the creative boundaries of clay sculpture. Today, the use of the medium as a respected art form continues to thrive.

Clay in the Bay speaks to this important legacy and to the vitality of the medium in the Bay Area. The exhibition brings together artists from around the region who are consistently utilizing clay as a form of self-expression. For some, it is the sole medium in which they work; for others the ceramic elements are part of a larger whole. Through the diverse practice and varied technique of these artists, clay is transformed into organic shape, architectural design, and narrative form. The works included in the show speak to the incredible versatility of the medium as it is molded, shaped, and otherwise manipulated.

Artists in this exhibition include Bean Finneran, Don Fritz, Francisco “Pancho” Jiménez, Robert Kvenild, David Linger, Spring Montes, Matthew Scheatzle, Nancy Selvin, Ehren Tool, Monica Van den Dool, Jenni Ward, and Stan Welsh.

Glazing Basic

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Today we’re doing some sgraffito work on our tiles using the small scraping tools. My method is lightly draw the tiles with pencil without having too much pressure, then start scraping using the pointy bamboo skewer. After I like how the outline looks, then I start using the scrapping tool.

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Our teacher, Susan also taught us about glazing. A glaze is a coating applied to ceramic that have been fired once.The purpose of a glaze is:

1. To protect the surface of the clay from dust, dirt, etc.

2. To make the piece water-proof. Containers that hold water should be glazed inside and outside, if the glaze is not applied properly the container may leak.

3. To make the piece pleasant to the touch.

4. For decoration.

Now I have a clearer idea what is underglaze, glaze and clear glaze. Basically underglaze is used when you want to do details drawing, because it holds the color very well and do not bleed. For me, it’s kinda like acrylic painting. Meanwhile, glaze, is similar to oil painting, where the color could bleed, resulting an interesting mix. But it’s not good for small details. Lastly, clear glaze is used to make the surface shiny and used for protective purposes. Clear glaze must be used when using underglaze, but glaze can be used alone.

Some important note from Susan:

1. Don’t be shy putting on the glaze. Don’t do scrubbing motion, but spread the glaze lightly and thickly. Rather than doing three thin coats, save the time and do two thick juicy coats! Now this is the interesting part: all three coats can be the same glaze OR different glaze.

2. It is unnecessary to glaze the bottom, but if you have to, do one thin layer only.

3. Watercolor or other soft brushes are good for applying glazes and draw, avoid oil painting brushes as it will drag the glazes.

4. Experiment!

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Don’t be shy when applying glazes! Two thick coats is what you need.

 

Tale of the Tiles

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Today we learned the art of Tile Making, or Sgraffito. This website has basic information about the process. To cut the tiles easily, the teacher, Susan Worley lent us her tile cutter that looks like this:

Tile cutter

After we cut the tiles, then we smooth out the edges with water and poke one side with small holes to allow air to penetrate in so when the tile dries, it won’t curl up. Then we apply engobe (colored slips) in contrasting color than the tile for easier carving. Today I am making 4 tiles and the colors that I chose were 1. Medium Brown 2. Maroon 3. Blue Green 4. Brick Red.

Engobe (Underglaze)

Apply the engobe thickly, 2-3 layers, and let it dry in between. Let it dry completely to leather hard stage and using scrapping tools, start scrapping the design. Here is my teacher’s sample:

Susan Worley's work

And here is a work by her artist friend:

Laluna Tile

Birds Tile

For display, you can either hang it or put a stand behind it. Or you can even use it as coaster. I think the stand is pretty neat. She said we can purchase it in hardware store. I am going to look them up when I’m there. Since we do not have any carving tools yet, we will have to wait for next week to do the carving. Meanwhile I will be looking for some design ideas.

Tile Support

And here are my experimental tiles, before and after firing:

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Scraffito Tiles