Saturday, October 29, 2011

Enzymes part 2

Its been more than a week, but I just didn't feel like the enzymes were done brewing. For one thing, they didn't foam up like Tomoko-sensei told me they would. I was wondering if I did something wrong, asked her but she told me not to worry about it. So this evening I strained them.

Here is what they look like still in the bucket. See how the fruits and veggies have all shriveled up. Everyday when I stirred them I would give each handful and good squeeze to try and get the juices out.

First thing was to put all the contents in a mesh net and get the juices out.

Next thing is to add the Umi no Sei. Kerry told me that these are natural enzymes from the sea. You can drink it straight for your daily enzyme intake, but its very expensive. It also contains iodine and this is why its effective against radiation. Very important in Japan nowadays.

Finally, I put it all in bottles. From 3 kg of fruits and veggies mixed with 3.3 kg of sugar, I got nearly 4 liters of enzymes.

The leftover fruits and veggies are still full of healthy nutrients! Tomoko-sensei said they can be ground up in a food processor and added (about 1 tbs) to stews and curry, even put into a small mesh bag and put into a hot bath to make your skin all soft. (You know how the Japanese luv their baths.)

From now I'll have to keep all 4 liters and the leftover fruits and veggies in the fridge. Starting tomorrow the kids and I will be drinking a little each day. I hope we stay healthy this winter! These enzymes are supposed to help boost our immunity, so we'll see!

As always, thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the web. Please come again soon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Door Hangers part 2

A few months ago some ladies came to my home for scrapping door hangers. When I asked my usual group of students if they would like to give it a try they were all for it. So today I had scrapping door hangers part 2. You'd think that making one of these would be a lot easier and faster than scrapping a full page, but that isn't necessarily the case. Maybe we were too chatty, but even these took the full 4 hour lesson.

It is common in Japan to have some kind of identification on the restroom door - even in a private home - so that guests can find it easily. I think the majority of my students plan to use these hangers as such.

Regardless of their use, I think they did a wonderful job today making these gorgeous hangers. It was a good time.

Thank you as always for stopping by my little corner of the web. Please come again soon!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Challenge Me This

Chief Challenge Chick here. Not only do I get to be the team leader, but sometimes I even get to host a challenge or two as well! All challenges are open until the end of the month, so please feel free to join in any of them, or all of them! Participants earn points which add up then can get discount coupons to The Digichick shop!

My first challenge for this month is called the Beautiful Autumn Day challenge. The basics of the challenge are for participants to scrap a page remembering a wonderfully spent autumn day. My family and I spent such a day just last weekend. It was nearly perfect in every way!

I used the gorgeous Old Garden kit by Etc. by Danyale for my page. For the challenge, your page should be rich with color, texture and memory! Further challenge details can be found in the challenge thread linked above.

My second challenge is called Inspired by Design. Every once in awhile there comes along the perfect kit, one that is exactly what we were waiting for. As soon as I saw Chakra by ViVa Artistry, I knew it would be perfect for the page about balancing life's challenges and changes that I've been wanting to make for the past several months.

For this challenge, I would love to see what designs inspire you and why.

And just so you know, any of our challenges can be adapted for a greeting card or hybrid project! I hope you'll join with us for a challenge or two!

Thank you, as always, for stopping by my little corner of the web.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Digichick CT Call

How would you like to have access to an entire digi store? We have some of the best designers in Digiland and now the Digichick is having a CT call! The requirements are more than fair and you use some of the most beautiful designs available. Here's the scoop!

The Digichick is having a call for new permanent Creative Team members! Our requirements are simple:

    Create at least 3 layouts, uploaded to 3 galleries and 1 social site of your choice.
    Be an active member of our forums and our gallery.
    Scrap along with our biweekly challenges.

Along with one supplemental task of your liking: either being a member of our Challenge, Chatty Chicks or Social Media team. Please let us know which team sounds the most interesting to you!

To apply, please send the following information to

    Your Name
    Your Username
    Your Best Gallery
    Your Current CTs

Deadline is October 31st. We look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, October 21, 2011

秋の酵素づくり教室 開催日決定のお知らせ

Enzyme workshop information 日本語

Real quick post here for my Japanese friends. Tomoko-sensei, who taught me how to make the enzymes in the post below, has a few open seats for her next couple of enzymes workshops. If you're interested, please follow this link to her blog! It's worth every penny! (every yen). (*^_^*)v

She also teaches aromatherapy! She's such a naturally beautiful woman!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I made enzymes... what???? I know. The first time my dear friend Kerry told me that she had "made" enzymes I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained a lot of it to me, but I am slow learner so I still didn't grasp what a big deal enzymes are until I did a little more research.

To start off with here is a layman's explanation of what enzymes are and what they do. "Enzymes are catalysts. Enzymes serve as the labor force to perform every single function required for our daily activities and are required to keep us alive. They are most important in supporting our body defenses and immune system to protect us from harmful forces and specific dangers to our health." I took these sentences directly from this site here, Soul Guidance - Enzymes. It has some wonderful, in-depth information so I highly recommend a visit to read their page.

Several weeks ago, Kerry came over bearing gifts. She had made far too many spring enzymes for her family to use and gave me three huge bottles. Two were made from plums and one from spring grasses. My children and I have been drinking them almost every day since then. I don't want to say its a cure-all or anything like that. We still catch colds, we still get tired. But for the most part, since I started drinking my daily dose of enzymes I have had more energy and I notice that I feel more clear-headed.

So yesterday, I went with her to Tomoko-sensei's house and we made fall enzymes. I can't find my list of all the ingredients, but I used three kilograms of raw fruits and vegetables and about three kilograms of sugar. (Yes, I know that's a lot of sugar! But it too acts as a catalyst for the fermentation.)

Apples, pears, pumpkin, ginger, mushrooms, 9 variety of beans and grains, passion fruit, several citrus fruit varieties, broccoli, carrots, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, red beets, radishes, persimmons, and I few exotic fruits I don't know the name of.

We first carefully weigh out the proportions of each fruit or vegetable as determined in advance by Tomoko-sensei. In a large 5-kg plastic bucket, we first place 1 kg of sugar. Then we start cutting. We slice and dice each variety, adding in the skins, seeds and all! After we have a good layer of fruits and veggie mix on top of the first kilo of sugar, we mix it up by hand (using the hand we do not cut with).

Oh, I just remembered something very interesting. It is absolutely best for each mother to make her own families enzymes because of the natural bacteria in her body. That is why we cut and mix everything by hand - in order to add our own bodies bacteria and natural defenses to the mix. Even though all participants use the exact same ingredients and measures, each batch of enzymes will taste differently because of the maker's natural bacteria being added. The Japanese even have a saying, "Fukuro no Aji," which means mother's taste. Every family can usually tell which dish their own mother made because of her individual style and because of her bacteria that gets added in the process. I know that sounds very strange in English... but it sounds beautiful in Japanese! This is just another way we mom's can protect our children.

Okay, back to the making process. We continue cutting, slicing and dicing, and mixing in more sugar until all our ingredients have been used up. After its all mixed up its already starting to get juicy and sticky. On top of all this, we add kelp powder. This also kick starts the fermentation process as well as adding a huge amount of healthy goodness. (Kelp is a natural radiation fighter and you know how important that is to Japan these days.)

Finally, on top of that we add the last kilo of sugar.

This will sit for 24 hours in a cool, dry area. After 24 hours, we stir the mixture by hand. From now, its also important that each person who will be drinking the enzymes also stir the mixture by hand. So every morning and evening for the next week, my kids and I will each be reaching our freshly clean and washed hands up to almost the elbow into this bucket full of sugar, fruits and veggies. This will add even more of our natural bacteria and immunity into the brew.

Tomoko-sensei told us that while we are cutting and making the enzymes, its important for us to be thinking happy thoughts. And while the enzymes are stewing and brewing, we need to place the bucket in the most used room of the house so they don't get lonely!

After one week, I will need to add the entire contents of the bucket into a net and strain the juices out. I will then add a liquid called Umi no Sei which is... well, I don't know really what it is, but its chocked full of nutrients. I'll then pour the juice into glass bottles for storage.

Each morning, my children and I each have about one tablespoon of the enzymes mixed into a glass of cool water, it tastes like sweet fruit juice. Once cold and flu season roll around, we'll probably have a glass in the evenings too.

And that's it. Pretty easy overall as long as you've got all the ingredients. Its certainly not cheap, but I hope in the long run we will all be healthier!

Here is a pict of my dear friend Kerry (on the left) and Tomoko-sensei.

And one of me with her too.

Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the web. Please come back again soon!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chief Challenge Chick

Not to brag or anything - because it was simply appointed because I volunteered to do it - but I will be taking over as the Challenges Team Leader for The Digichick. Woot! I have an awesome team already in place so now just to do my best not to rock the boat. Come on over and join in sometime if you're up for it. See anything you really like? let me know. Have any suggestions for a great challenge? let me know.

As this blog is for the most part about scrapping, and since I have a few pages to show, let's just get right to it, shall we?

First up are a few layouts that I made for the Artisan Notebook magazine. This one was for the weather challenge, requesting the Just Write team to "Scrap a layout that journals about a weather-related event in your life." I guess I could have written about how the only car accidents I've had have been caused by rain slippage, or how I used to brave driving through raging blizzards over Monument Pass south of Denver to visit my boyfriend. Instead, I decided to make a page about the times my dad and I have shared while listening to thunder. So many of my Japanese friends find it amazing that I would like to sit out on the patio while there is a storm about just to listen to the rolling thunder. I guess I learned to appreciate its beauty from my dad. Thanks dad! Actually, its not enough for me (especially since we don't get thunder here very often at all) so I also have a rain and thunder CD that I pop in the music player every once in a while.

We don't need words, we listen. And somehow our hearts connect in the far off echos and the shimmering drops surrounding us. We sit, we listen with our ears and our hearts. We share a bond in the peacefulness of the moment. Its long been our way to connect, sitting on the patio during the thunderstorms. Sometimes we'll talk, most times not. Even after the thunder ceases to boom, ceases to echo, we know we have been a part of a special moment between God, nature and we two. I love sharing thunder with you Dad.
Papers and most elements from Sign of the Times: Aquarius by ViVa Designs
This next layout was for the September issue, challenging us to make a layout using a scrapbooking or photography technique that we've always wanted to try. I've always thought I wanted to try to make a hybrid layout. I've made several hybrid mini albums, but never a real layout. For this, I first made the entire layout in my Photoshop, then printed out each individual element and paper separately. I slaved for hours to get it all cut out and realigned like the digital layout, added real glitter because the digital stuff just wasn't enough texture for me, then assembled it all and voila! Here is the final product.

papers and elements from Around the World by The Digichick Designers

On to other layouts. This first one, unbelievably is a layout from months ago that somehow never made it to my blog. It uses a bunch of designs by various Digichick designers in the same color pallet for a collaboration called the Chick Fix. But now that I go and look for the specific designs I used for this page I see that most of the designers I chose from have left the shop. Sorry about that. But at least you get to see my precious beautiful grand niece, years ago.

 papers and elements from past designs from The Chick Fix by the Digichick Designers
page template is from Summer Flavors Orange Sherbet by Busy Bee Designs

I love to participate in The Color Room challenges, something about the challenge of making a page based on a color pallete alone is fun. For last week's color pallet #78, I made this page of my own precious little baby girl, also years ago. I've had this kit by Joyful Heart Designs on my wishlist for quite some time. I love her fun and funky paper patterns.

 papers and most elements from Happy to Be Me by Joyful Heart Designs
page template from Solos Part 2 by Busy Bee Designs

Four down, one to go.

In other breaking news, the ladies of ViVa Artistry have finally persuaded me to join their own team. That sounds a bit arrogant and I don't mean it that way. I have been honored that they kept asking me over the last several months to join, but up until now I just didn't feel I had the power. They already sell their stunning designs at The Digichick so I've used their lovely creations many times before. But this is the first layout I made as a member of their CT. Again my daughter from years ago. I think I need to make more pages for my son...

papers and elements from The Cat's Meow by ViVa Artistry - 
guest designers at ScrapMatters for the month of October

If you have kept with me this long, I thank you. More scrapping and crafting projects will follow. If you have time, come on over to the Digichick and join us for a few of our challenges. Would love to have you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy October

In all actuality, I really do not like October. Traditionally it has been a stressful month for me - the reason being that I do not like Halloween. I think I may have when I was a little girl, but somewhere along the line that changed.

I remember trick-or-treating around our neighborhood, I remember parties at church.

I remember dressing up as a punk rocker as a young teen. (Don't you just love those orange retro-70's curtains mixed with my bright punk pink?)

I think that may have been my last fond memory of Halloween.

After coming to Japan Halloween became a lot of work. As an foreigner in Japan teaching English to the native children it suddenly became my responsibility to entertain the young students, educate them in the American ways of Halloween. They in turn always fully expected that I should dress up like a witch, because that is what they imagine all foreign women to dress up as for Halloween. I have never once dressed up like a witch, before coming to Japan or afterwards.

Even after my own children were born I only remember a few Halloweens that I dressed them up in homemade costumes and took them to a party. The "joy" of the season always seemed to be dragged down from the pressure I felt of having to single-handedly make Halloween for my students. As a self-employed teacher I was the only one to plan, prepare and execute Halloween parties for up to 50 children each year. In recent years, because most of my students have grown old enough to be too embarrassed to want to dress up I can get away with more low-key parties with just a few games and trick-or-treating. My own kids are satisfied to go around to a few friends' houses and collect candies. But from this spring, I started teaching two classes of younger kids again, so I am feeling the pressure to preform once again. I love November 1st.

Speaking of October, my three-month scrapping hiatus is officially over. I thoroughly enjoyed my summer off of scrapping. I read nearly 25 books and just basically chilled out. I felt no pressure and it felt good.

I think I am ready to get back into scrapping. I've already made a few pages. When I saw the latest collaboration, Emporium, from the Digichick Designers I couldn't wait to use it. This is a page of my gorgeous niece, her wonderful hubby and their babes.

This last one is made with a kit I've had on my hard-drive for months. I love the bold and colorful patterns in this kit, called Freebird by Lauren Reid. I also used some papers and elements from Emporium.

So... there you have it. Happy October, Happy Scrapping. Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the web. I hope you'll be back again soon.