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.

Toronto National Home Show 2014

I recently went out to the National Home Show & Canada Blooms. There were 700+ exhibitors showing off environmentally friendly products and services for everything your home would need indoors and out (including tons of landscaping ideas).

We spent about 4 hours walking around to see as much as we could, but we still didn’t manage to see everything.

To give you an idea of what they had, check out these photos:

air plant

Lovely air plant in a shell



Beautiful azalea in a planter box.


Hanging tulip display

I love this hanging tulip display.



Typical example of an Ikebana arrangement.


Yellow Ikebana

Yellow Ikebana arrangement.


3D art

Interesting painting with a 3D metal wire tree.


Modern wooden outdoor decor.

Artistic outdoor decor. Find out what the cream wall really is in one of the photos below.


Rock wall with moss

A rock wave feature with moss.


Potted plants

Large potted plant arrangement.


Mini orchids

Mini orchid arrangement.



A collection of paintings.


Wheelbarrow flower arrangement

A wheelbarrow flower arrangement.


Decorative wooden wall

I would love to try a wall decoration like this.


rock table

I absolutely love this rock table!


Indoor flower field

A field of flowers.


String vases

Here’s a great idea for decorating plain vases with colourful string.



Great succulent arrangement.


Rock arch

This rock arch display must have taken a lot of work.


Outdoor rock feature wall

Simple rock wall feature to double as shelves outdoors.


wooden outdoor room

Love this hidden room.


Pink flower

Interesting pink flower. Anyone know what it’s called?


Moose cutout

Also love this moose cutout.


Mini flower arrangement

Smaller flower arrangement I’ve ever seen.


Colourful Japanese maple leaves

Japanese maple leaves.


Tropical ikebana

Tropical Ikebana arrangement.


Simple Ikebana

I love the simplicity of this arrangement.


Black Ikebana

I love the striking colour combinations for this arrangement.


Hanging flower chains

This would be a pretty flower display for parties.


flower bikini

Nartural flower bikini.


Elephant outdoor fountain

Outdoor fountain… not sure about the elephant though.


flower dresses

Creative dresses.


Purple flower dress train

I love this purple flower dress train.


Flower carousel

This is the cutest flower carousel ever!


A New Project Using Felt

I’m excited about a project that I started working on. I have a special little girl who will have her first Birthday this summer and I would love to give her something special. I’ll post photos from start to finish, but just to give you a sneak peek, here’s a photo of one finished piece:


Handmade Felt Strawberry

Handmade Felt Strawberry

I know it has a couple of unpolished edges, but it was my first one and I’m pretty happy with it so far. If you have any suggestions to make it better, please let me know!

Books – The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Like many people out there, I have ups and downs in emotions, and lately I’ve noticed that I tend to focus more on the negatives rather than finding something positive in every day. Unlike people who are generally bubbly and positive, I’m naturally a slightly more negative/skeptical person…. but one who would like to change for the better!

As a way to create a happier me, I created some simple New Year’s resolutions that are designed to help me become healthier both physically and mentally. I’m always on the look out for different ways to relax, feel happier and change negative attitudes -or let go of negative things.


You can get the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin on Amazon.

I started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

I thought it would be an interesting read, and possibly give me different ideas to become a happier and more positive person. So far, I find her research quite interesting and there are many simple everyday things that anyone can do to change their mindset and live a happier/more positive life. I’ve tried a few things so far and they have motivated me to continue on my own path to happiness.

How Do You Relax?

I’ve asked many people what they like to do to relax and I’ve gotten quite a number of responses. Here are a few to give you an idea of what others do to relax:

“Tea is a very good way to relax any time or place. If you feel stressed at work, or are at home with nothing to do, making a cup of tea and enjoying it (emphasis on enjoying) can really help. Tea is also good accompanied with watching TV, music, laying in bed, reading and much more!”

“Sit or walk around a place that is secluded.”

“Knitting then give it all away to a charity to help other people.”

“Take the dogs out for a long walk in a park or along the beach.”

“Take a bubble bath and read a good book.”

“Listen to music, enjoy a glass of wine and write poetry.”

“When my husband gets home, he will take over taking care of the kids. That’s when I turn on my favorite music and take a long hot shower.”

Before reading over the responses, I expected people to suggest retreats, spa visits, exotic holidays or other expensive options. I quickly realized that most people just want to enjoy simple everyday pleasures. All of these comments made me realize that I too neglect to enjoy simple little things in life. I drink lots of tea, read books, listen to music but rarely sit back to really enjoy it.  This must change.

I’ll keep tracking my progress and hope to get more tips from all of you!

What are you doing to be happier/healthier each day?