Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category


DIY: Super-Easy $5 Holiday Wreath (from Present Bows)

In Christmas,DIY,Holidays,Of House and Home on December 25, 2010 by Naoko Takano

Have a couple bows left over after the wrapping-extravaganza?  Have a whole bunch ripped off of presents in the aftermath?  Craft a smaller, point-ier wreath as a counterpoint to a larger piece…as your final Christmas handmade project.  I got all my materials at the Dollar Tree, so it only cost me $5 to make – but it’s also a great way to recycle those bows from presents if you don’t want to re-use them next year.  Here’s how:

You Need:

*2 packages of small stick-on pointed bows
*one larger stick-on bow
*1 small wreath base (styrofoam)
*red ribbon

*glue gun & gluesticks


1. Cut a length of ribbon long enough to hang the wreath.  Wrap it around the top of the wreath base and secure with glue.

2. Glue the small present bows onto the base, filling the base up completely and staggering them to cover any gaps.

3. Glue the largest bow top center onto the red ribbon.

4. Tie the ribbon to a wreath-hanger or hook to display.

 DIY Tutorial for my Super-Easy $8 Holiday Wreath (the larger wreath, pictured above) is here.

Happy DIY’ing…and Merry Christmas!  Hope it is wonderful!


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DIY: Super-Easy $7 Holiday Wreath

In Holidays,Of House and Home on December 20, 2010 by Naoko Takano

Since I’ve posted a how-to for a cheap n easy Easter Wreath and a similar one for a Fall Wreath, I thought a Winter Holiday Wreath was in order.  Though you don’t have to buy your bits and bobs at the Dollar Tree per se, I found that they had such a variety of items I could just mix and match add-ons to their pre-fab wreaths…which alone, looked a little sad and like you bought it at the Dollar Store.  And we want something a little more fabulous, no?

(Everything except the tiny ornaments I bought at the Dollar Tree…and the ornaments were in the $1 bin at Target near the entrance of the store!)  Though the method is a little self-explanatory, I figured why not do something easy when everything’s all caught up in that last-minute countdown to Christmas?

You Need:

*evergreen wreath base
*4 assorted decor sprays (mine had pine needle sprays, pinecones, tiny horns, wrapped packages, and plastic fruit, already affixed!)
*large red velour bow
*pack of tiny ornament balls

*hot glue gun & gluesticks
*wire cutters


 1. Trim the ends of the decor sprays so they won’t stick out from your wreath.  Also: Fluff out the pieces of “evergreen” towards the outside so the wreath looks a little fuller – we’ll be angling all the stuff we’re sticking on towards the inside to create the illusion of a nice, full wreath.

2. Attach the bow at the bottom of the wreath base – mine had a pipe cleaner attached to the back for easy-affixment.

3. Hot-glue the decor sprays around the wreath.

4. Add the tiny ornaments, hot-glued in-between.  (I chose ones that were within the same color scheme of my other decorations: red/gold.)


Okay, that took 5 minutes.  Now on to the million batches of cookies I still have to bake!

Did You Know? The familiar stick-on 8-point ribbon bows that so many of us use on our holiday gifts are actually called “German Christmas Stars” (among many other names).  There is a great step-by-step illustrated tutorial here for those of you who want to try folding your own (just don’t flatten down the points to get that “present bow” look).

Happy DIY’ing!  (And if you’re looking to jazz up this wreath a little bit, do so with my Super-Easy $5 Holiday Wreath Tutorial…coming up shortly!)


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Holiday Wishlist: Do-It-Yourself Fun (Under $50!)*

In Holidays,Objects of Desire,Of House and Home on December 15, 2010 by Naoko Takano

How goeth the holiday shopping?  I am terribly behind and having mini panic-attacks in-between braving the crowds at the mall and waiting in a line that stretches 3 times around the Post Office just to use the Automatic Mailing Machine.  Hopefully everyone else has it under control – but if not and you’d like some ideas for that person who prefers to do everything themselves – and who has more than just a little craftiness up their sleeves – look no further and check out these DIY-themed gifts, all available online: (all under $50* – except for one* very important gift!!)

1. The Big-Ass Book of Crafts, $19.95

2. Beginner Studding Kit, $23

3. Wood DIY Gnome, $4.99 (sale)

4. Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter, $10.19

5. Kenmore Drop-In Bobbin Sewing Machine, $141.99*
(This is, BTW, the exact same machine I use – Hub gave it to me for my birthday 3 years ago.  It is by far the best machine I have ever used – glides through EVERYTHING, even leather up to 3/4″ thick (six layers of sueded split top leather at 1/8″ thick a layer), and it’s never broken or given me any grief.  It has 90 stitches on it (not that  And I’ve never sent it in for maintenance, oiling, or anything.  It’s pretty fabulous and I can’t say enough good things about it!)

6. Gingerbread Train Kit, $19.95

7. Mayan Magic Chocolate-Making Kit, $24.99

8. Urawaza: Tips & Tricks from Japan, $15.95

9. Felt Whole Cakes Pattern Set, $5

10. Black & Decker 14V Drill with Stud Finder, $34.99 (sale)

If you know anyone who wants to get into studding their clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories, the studding kit will set them on their way to spiky fabulousness – or for the DIY gourmet, make-your-own-chocolate or a sweet gingerbread train that will have to be safeguarded against prying little fingers until after the holidays.;-)  And no serious DIY’er should ever be without a power drill – I use mine to drill holes in pendants, sand and buff metal jewelry, distress denim…and of course, make holes in walls! (and your drill doesn’t have to be pink for it to be perfect for you, despite what the hardware store guys may think:-)


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Winter Wishlist Under $80: Warm and Cozy Creature Comforts Holiday Gift Guide

In Fall Fashion,Gifts,Holidays,Objects of Desire,Winter Fashion on December 7, 2010 by Naoko Takano

Oh the weather outside is frightful…but I’ve got a shopping list chock-full of comforting picks for the holidays.  A veritable shopping stew, if you will, with offerings that will thaw even the most frigid Scrooge’s heart.  A little bit utilitarian, a little bit vintage/outdoorsy, here’s a grouping of gifts with a hefty dose of tongue-in-chic humor.  (And everything’s under $80!)

1. Sweep Me Off My Feet Sweater Cardi, $54.99
2. Crystal Garden Wish Flower, $14
3. Kimchi Blue Cummerbund Short, $34.99
4. Triple Thrill Belt, $69.99 
5. Cupcake Beanie, $30
6. Puckered Salutation Scarf, $32
7. Alternative Apparel Large Collar Jacket, $80
8. Jeweler’s Bronze Whitetail Deer Antler Ring, $55
9. Nostalgic Fireplace Decoration, $16.99
10. Blowfish Jasper Boots in Taupe, $79


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Happy Thanksgiving!

In Announcements,Holidays on November 26, 2010 by Naoko Takano

animated gif source

If you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday today, hope everyone’s was a lovely and warm feast with friends and family galore.  We have so much to be thankful for this year…on my list are my family, my friends, our health, burgeoning careers, roof over our heads, enough food to eat, and each and every one of YOU!

Thank you for making every day so special and paying my blog a visit.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!


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My Halloween Costume

In Costumes,Holidays,Japan on November 4, 2010 by Naoko Takano

Just a little break from the 30 Days of Outfits…

Or maybe a PREQUEL???!  😉

I went as a Ninja.

Every year Lil Tot has decreed what Mama will be for Halloween.  When he was 1, he had a high fever and we didn’t do Halloween at all (though I did have a little bee costume for him)

At 2, he was a lobster and told me I should be a witch.

At 3, he was Harry Potter and told me to be a pirate.

At 4, he was Dash from The Incredibles and I was told to be a fairy.

But at 5, though he was going as a vampire it seemed he had no preference as to what I wore!

So I looked into my closet to figure out what I could cobble together with stuff I already had, and I managed to scrape together the perfect ninja costume.

I knew Hub would find it amusing that I was wearing a Japanese happi [coat] that said MATSURI [festival] on the back of it, along with numerous festival-related markings – since I last wore it in 1991 at my local town festival where I helped hoist a gigantic, 1000-pound shrine on my shoulders and carry it through the village.  Not fun.

Anyway, I figured most people, especially those who can’t read Japanese, wouldn’t know the un-authenticity of the coat, and it would read “ninja.”  Especially when paired with Lil Tot’s ski mask, black leggings and turtleneck, and an old pair of tights I cut up to use as armwarmers.  I also used a scarf I made as a belt.

And yes, everyone we met during Trick-or-Treating “got” that I was a ninja!  A lot of people seemed to love my shoes, which are authentic tabi – at 11, I was obsessed with the Japanese construction workers’ uniforms, which consisted of a pair of wide trousers that ballooned at the knees [tobi], and a pair of split-toe shoes with rubber soles [tabi]. 

 (photo from source website linked below)

My father worked up the courage to visit a clothing store for construction workers and buy a pair of trousers and a pair of tabi for me as a birthday present.  So I held onto them!  The shoes are uber-comfortable, but of course I can only wear them (and the pants) as part of a costume;-)   [Many workers still wear that uniform today, though their numbers appear to be dwindling.  If you are interested in the traditional uniform of Japanese construction workers, as well as a thorough explanation of how each apparel element came about (it’s a fascinating read!), click here.]

And the sword is a plastic thing Lil Tot won at the fair.

Hope you guys all had a great Halloween!  (Or Bonfire Night;-)


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Really, Really, REALLY Last-Minute DIY Halloween Costume Ideas

In Costumes,DIY,Holidays on October 30, 2010 by Naoko Takano

Still stuck for something to wear – TOMORROW NIGHT??!  (*gulp*)  Here are a couple ideas that you could make from items that are perhaps already in your closet…or that are available at many stores for cheap:

From What I Wore, Jessica put together a list of her costume ideas from years past:

From, here are some DIY Kid’s Costumes…that could be easily adapted to an Adult version:

On there’s a million iterations of Lady Gaga costumes (including many fabulous by user Carleyymaybe it’s just the name that’s making me partial??;-))

Red Lace Costume by user scoochmaroo
Lady Gaga Costumes on

And my own 2cents:

DIY Style Blogger

Go as your favorite Style Blogger!  So many people have such signature looks.  A couple photos to get you inspired:

Though you’ll have to wait until Halloween to see what I ended up as;-)

Happy Halloween!

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