How to Create a Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) Picnic at Home

As mentioned in my previous post about hanami (complete with origami cherry blossom tutorial), I wanted to recreate a cherry blossom viewing picnic scene that’s very common in Japan right now.

Japanese washi - cherry blossom

I decided to use a variety of cute sakura kirigami/origami to create a peaceful hanami atmosphere, then I added some common hanami staples like a cute plastic ground sheet (used as a tablecloth), cherry blossom chopsticks, onigiri (rice balls), noodles, grilled fish, sweet snacks, and the last but not least, beer and wine.

Japanese bento - cherry blossom picnic

Japanese bento decorations

 

Japanese bento deocrations - takuan

 

Japanese hanami picnic spread

To stay on theme, I also used my felt cherry blossom coasters, kirigami cutout sakura placemats, sakura printed placemats, and a couple of mizuhiki sakura that I made a few years ago.

Cherry blossom coasters

 

Cherry blossom toothpick holder

 

Japanese mizuhiki cords - cherry blossom

 

Kirigami cherry blossom

Please let me know what you think!  I’d love to hear suggestions for future picnic setups!

 

Cute Japanese Bento Accessories for Hanami

Before I show you the complete hanami lunch setup, I want to show you some of the adorable bento accessories that I have straight from Japan (you can also find some through Amazon here).

This is a lovely metal cutout set that you can use one cheese, deli meats and vegetables like carrots:

Japanese metal bento accessories

This is a very sweet set that has a variety of shapes, including individual petals to decorate dishes.

Cherry blossom Japanese bento accessories

It even comes with extra decorations that you can add in your bento boxes.

Hanami Japanese bento accessories

This mini mold makes cute little shapes for tiny onigiri (rice balls).

Cute Japanese rice ball shapes

You can make bento with mini rabbit heads, star shapes, flowers and little bear heads.

Japanese rice molds

A three set of rice ball shapes. These are medium sized and some with three different shapes.

Japanese rice shapes

You can make rows of hearts stars and bear heads…. aren’t they cute?

Cute Japanese rice shapes

You can make the shapes as simple or as decorated as you like. Most people like to make the onigiri shapes and decorate them with Japanese nori (dried seaweed paper). I don’t have any special seaweed shape punches, so I’m stuck cutting everything out by hand, but you can get seaweed shape punches on Amazon.

Winter in Canada 2014

This winter has been exceptionally cold and snowy…. basically as Winter in Canada should be (according to the rest of the world).

Since the season feels VERY long, I like to break it up by doing fun things in the snow. If all you ever do it commute from home to work, then it really brings you down (and can make you quite grumpy after a few months. I’ve found, if you find something fun to do, and share it with good company, the season is great!

Here are a few photos from this year (so far):

The Distillery Christmas Market

The Distillery – warm up stations

Beer can coated in ice

More ice

Beautiful blanket of snow

Beautiful blanket of snow

A snow trail on a frozen lake.

Snowshoeing

Frozen kayaks

Lovely wintery painting

Swans and ducks enjoying the sun.

 

 

New Year Resolutions

new yearEvery year we write out a set of New Year resolutions to either lose weight, eat healthier, go to the gym, and like every year, we vow to stick to them no matter what.

The problem with New Year resolutions is that we are initially motivated with them and then life slowly goes back to the way it was, and these resolutions eventually take a backseat to everything else.

I have always had these problems and would really like to make significant changes in my life this year. I’ve created a daily checklist of things that I would like to keep track of in hopes of creating a healthy habit of more than one thing at a time. We’ll see how it goes.

monthly tracking sheets

January monthly tracking sheet

If you would like to print out your own set of monthly tracking sheets, please click here.

Each page is a separate month that will help you track various things that will help promote a happier and healthier life.

You are free to use my chart as a reference for customizing your own or feel free to use them as they are. Here’s a brief explanation of each columns that I’ve listed:

Hours Slept – Every morning, you should write down how many hours you slept. This will help you see just how much sleep you are getting each night and help you get motivated to hit the sack earlier if you are not hitting your recommended average.

Here is a sleep guide from www.helpguide.org

Average Sleep Needs by Age
Newborn to 2 months old12 – 18 hrs
3 months to 1 year old14 – 15 hrs
1 to 3 years old12 – 14 hrs
3 to 5 years old11 – 13 hrs
5 to 12 years old10 – 11 hrs
12 to 18 years old8.5 – 10 hrs
Adults (18+)7.5 – 9 hrs

 

 

 

 

 

Steps Taken – To track just how many steps you take in a day. Many people say the average person should take about 10,000 steps each day. Ten thousand steps is supposed to help promote a healthy body and mind, but the average office worker or overall sedentary person will only take between 1,000 and 2,500 steps each day, which is a dangerously low number. You can track your steps with a pedometer or by using an app on your smartphone. I’ve been using the Ozeri digital pedometer and so far, it’s pretty good.

Glasses – This section is to help you track just how much water you are drinking per day. I know the standard that has been thrown around is 8 glasses per day but the actual amount depends on the person, their environment and active lifestyle. To find out how much you might need per day, check out this page on About.com: http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm

Workout Min. – The dreaded workout routine. Even if you can take 10 minutes out of each day for a quick workout, it can have a lot of positive benefits for your overall health. Give it a try and make sure to keep track of each workout session. Looking at the numbers just might motivate you to increase your workout time each day.

Clean – One problem that everyone faces is having a busy lifestyle with little time to clean around the house. This section is to help you write down just one area around the house that was cleaned/organized. If you clean up one area each day, it will help maintain a tidier home.

$ – This section is to help you keep track of money that was made or saved during the day. If you would like to make a little extra cash on the side, this column will help you track how much you make each day. If you’re goal is to save more money throughout the year, track down how much was put away or saved from coupons, sales, deals etc..

There you have it. I hope my charts will help you reach your goals this year. Please tell me what you think I can add to improve this list. I would love to hear your thoughts!

What do you do to stay on track of your resolutions?

resolutions

Simple Gift Box Decorations – Sophisticated “Goodie Bags”

Gift Goodie Boxes

Here are a few small boxes that I decorated as “goodie bags” for my Birthday (yes, I still enjoy giving goodie bags and I think I always will).

goodie boxes

The plain kraft paper boxes are approximately 10cm x 10cm x 5.5cm and only cost $1 each.

Japanese paper cards

I tied them up with plain string and added a mini card made from Japanese paper.

I adore these boxes because they were cheap, helped me use up craft string that I already had at home and scraps of my favourite type of paper. Afterwards, the boxes can be reused in the same way or decorated with a collage, paints or even gold leaf.

They are simple and have a soft nature theme, which is exactly what I love.

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