Monthly Archives: February 2013

Chinatown, San Francisco

Lanterns & Banners over Grant Avenue

Rem and I weren’t prepared to brave the crowds at the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco tonight (Saturday, 2/23) but we did enjoy a visit to Chinatown last weekend.  New Years celebrations were ongoing so we decided a walk around enjoying the sights, and some nice baked barbeque pork buns would be a great way to spend the afternoon.  I hope you enjoy our photos.

Mural of Chinese Lion Dancers.

Mural of Chinese Lions

A lantern-shaped streetlight with the Transamerica Pyramid in the background.

Transamerica Pyramid with Chinese Lantern

Colorful embroidered shoes.

Colorful embroidered shoes.

The sidewalks were crowded with people.  Plenty of tourists, like us, and lots of locals out shopping.

This gentleman is dapper in a navy suit with blue pinstripes, a leather vest and a beret.

Dapper man.

Walking around the bustling streets we saw produce stands piled with tangerines, oranges, and many different kinds of greens. Oranges are considered auspicious – the word for orange in Chinese sounds like “wealth”.

Oranges for sale

A window display of roasted ducks and chickens.

Glazed Duck

A large tray of steamed pork buns.

Steamed Pork Buns

Very fresh (still live) crab.

Crab Wagon

Roly poly piggy banks.

Street Stall Wares

Are these the opposite of dunce caps?

Wisdom Hat

Bay Area locals may have heard radio ads for The Walk Shop in Berkeley, home of footwear for people who walk.  Here is another Wok Shop.

the Wok Shop


Dragon details on several buildings.

Dragon Detail

Dragon II

We heard the loud, rapid popping of firecrackers several times and once, when it was particularly long and loud, we jogged to a corner and up around to an alley to see what was causing all the ruckus.

We were in time to see the very end of a long string of firecrackers, hanging down from a balcony, exploding noisily.


Afterwards, the sidewalk was littered with bits of red paper.

Confetti Remains of Firecracker

Walking down another street we saw several groups of young men, some with flags, others with drums and a few in traditional lion dance costumes.


Several lions were going to different businesses.

According to Wikipedia:

During the Chinese New Year, lion dancer troupes from the Chinese martial art schools or Chinese guild and associations will visit the houses and shops of the Chinese community to perform the traditional custom of “cai ching” (採青), literally means “plucking the greens”, a quest by the ‘lion’ to pluck the auspicious green normally ‘vegetables’ like lettuce which in Chinese called ‘cái'(菜)that sound like ‘cái'(财)(fortune) and auspicious fruit like oranges tied to a “Red Envelope” containing money; either hang highly or just put on a table in front of the premises. The “lion” will dance and approach the “green” and “red evelope” like a curious cat, to “eat the green” and “spit” it out leave it in a nice arrangement, like an auspicious character but keep the “red envelope”. The lion dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the business and the troupe is rewarded with the “red envelope”

Festive Flags

Lion Dancers I

Lion Dancer II

Across the street, an orange lion and a green lion were bringing good luck to restaurant.

Orange Lion

Orange & Green

As they leave, one of the group lights a small firecracker at the doorway of the business to scare away evil spirits.


Thanks for stopping by, I hope it has been a good visit!

Close Up Orange Lion


Filed under Life

Art from the Heart 2013


Rem and I exchanged our annual Art from the Heart Valentine projects.

Read more about this tradition that we started about 11 or 12 years ago here with pictures of many previous creations.  See the 2012 heart-art here.

I had my idea but didn’t start on it until the Sunday before Valentine’s Day.  Luckily it came together fairly well.  My original idea was simply a dartboard with a heart in the center or maybe I should call it a heart-board.


Rem listens to some British radio shows and I heard a chat about darts one day and that got the seed of an idea planted. I picked up some cork tiles and wire and looked up images of dartboards.

This isn’t meant for real games of darts but I wanted to capture the look of a genuine dartboard.  It is a little less than 12 inches across (the size of our dinner plates, one of which proved handy for tracing a large circle).

I hadn’t planned on making a dart but when the board was done I realized it needed one to hit the bullseye.

Dart in Heart

Half of a bamboo chopstick, wire for the point with washi tape and some gold embossing powder for decoration and red paper hearts for the flight – or what I thought of as the feathers at the back end and I had a dart.

Wire numbers and letters spell out the date and my simple message.

Love letters in wire

I asked Rem about his creation, which he calls the Love Shack.

Love Shack

He was inspired by some aluminum loaf pans we have in the cupboard and he thought of making a little house.

Looking Down on Love Shack

Rem wanted a larger surface to work with than the loaf pans and found disposable aluminum cookie sheets at the grocery store.  He liked the textured surface.

A small heart punch (he knows his way around my craft desk) worked well for windows with red and pink paper glued on the inside of the shack.

Open Door, Heart Windows

He devised a series of tabs and slots to hold the folded foil house together.

Folded Foil House

Both of us spent hours on these creations which will be added to the walls on either side of the bed.  Some of the projects over the years didn’t lend themselves to being on a wall, but many are there.

Creations I’ve made for Rem are on his side.

Rem's Side

And the ones he’s made for me are on my side.

Dianne's side

Rem also made dinner for Valentine’s Day using a recipe from the cookbook I gave him for Christmas, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, The Basics.  We had Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli (delicious.)

He surprised me with deep, dark chocolate brownies for dessert, also from the cookbook, and homemade vanilla ice cream.

Heart Shaped Pan of Brownies

Warm, gooey and really chocolatey.

Warm Brownie & Ice Cream

Which is directly related to my decision to trot trudge up and down these stairs Saturday morning.

Larkspur Stairs

Oh, we also made cards for each other.

Big Red Heart

Photobooth Valentine

I used a strip of pictures from a photo booth we visited at the Groundspeak offices in Seattle while we were on vacation last fall.

Thanks for the visit.



Filed under Crafts

love & hugs

Home is Where the Heart Is

I’ve been up to my eyebrows in valentines.  I no longer send Christmas cards but I do like to give out a bunch of valentines.  I make some for the women in my choir, a batch for family members, and a pile to give to colleagues at the community college where I work.  I also do a Valentine project and a card for my sweetie (2013 project photos coming soon). For all the hearts I’ve punched and beautiful greetings I’ve embossed, I am a bit red-faced that I didn’t do a better job of sharing much of that process with you!

In past years I would come up with one design and make multiple cards.

Itty Bitty Valentine's

Masterboard Valentine Tags

A few years ago I made heart-shaped crayons that were a part of my valentines.

Crayon Hearts

It’s a good way to do lots of cards – production line style.  But sometimes by the time I made all my valentines, I was really tired of the design.

This year I did some multiples but I also did lots of variety.  I looked in my supplies and found some unused envelopes in different sizes and I also bought some small envelopes from Paper Source.  Then I started crafting different cards to fit in the different-sized envelopes. I showed some of the cards in these posts.

I made great use of my heart-shaped punches, washi tape was on many cards, I embossed greetings in gold or silver and I embellished with dots, buttons, jewels and charms. Here are a few of the valentines I made:

Script Love

love button

Big Red Paper Strip Heart love


I also lined the envelopes for many of the cards – it’s easy to do and adds a lovely touch to the finished valentine.

Lined Envelopes

Coordinate Card w/  Envelope

Almost all of my valentines were created with pink, grey, white and turquoise paper but I did one that was completely unique: a green valentine for my friend who loves green.  Thanks for sharing this picture, Shook. 

Green Valentine

What I didn’t do was my blog –  only one post before this for February!  So here are my belated best wishes, love & hugs to you all.

love & hugs


Filed under Crafts

Wearing My Heart On My Sleeve

Leah and Di Back to camera

I loved this idea from the first time I saw it here on Honestly WTF.  I already had supplies and tools because I’ve done some needle felting, and I love hearts.  So this was an idea just waiting for the right time.  The time has finally arrived.

I added these needle felted heart elbow patches to two sweaters.  One for myself with pink hearts on a grey sweater, and one for my niece, Leah, who graciously offered up a sweater for my project that was perfect.

Leah & Di turned toward camera

I’m delighted with the results!

If you want to wear your heart on your sleeve too, here’s what you need:

A sweater – the heart patches are made of wool but it worked on both the grey cotton knit cardigan I picked up on sale at the Gap outlet…

Grey Cardi

and the lacy cream acrylic sweater that Leah let me embellish.  Leah lived in Portland for a few years and has quite a sweater collection and I thought she would see the charm in heart-shaped elbow patches.

White Cardi

You will need a template – I cut one out of a cereal box.  In fact, I made two – one is a heart-shaped hole in a piece of cardboard and the other is a heart cut from card stock the size of the heart-shaped hole.  I used both in creating my elbow patches.

Wool roving (wool that has been washed, combed, usually dyed, but not spun into yarn)

Felting Needles (individual needle as well as a group of several needles set into a handle, such as a felting pen with 3 needles)

Foam block or felting brush mat for working on – I use a piece of felting foam.

Felting Tools

You will also need a piece of tape to mark where you are going to put the patches.

Washi tape elbow

My placement wasn’t the best – Leah brought her sweater to me when she came to see my new office.  I had her try on the sweater and I tried marking the elbows with paper clips.  One came off, the other got tangled in the knit of the sweater.  I ended up putting her patches a little on the high side.  When I looked back at the Honestly WTF site they suggested putting the tape about 1/2 inch below the elbow – a good tip if only I had followed it.  Consider if you push or roll up your sleeves as well. I like my sleeves pushed up a bit and I didn’t really take that into account.

Once you figure out where you want to hearts, put the foam block into one sleeve of the sweater and place the heart-hole template.


Take off a nice tuft or two of wool from the clump of wool roving, and pull it apart and tease it a bit with your fingers and lay it down in the heart.

Wool In Template

Now start felting: poking the sharp, barbed felting needles or needles in a felting tool up and down into the wool.  The barbed needles catch on the wool fibers and tangle them together.  Keep on poking, watching your fingers so you poke the wool and not your fingers.  I used a multi-needle tool to go over the whole area a few times but started using a single needle when the heart started to take shape and I wanted to add definition, especially at the point and at the cleavage.

Roughly Felted

Keep poking the needle/s into the wool – there is no sewing involved and you want the wool fibers to become snugly felted together and firmly attached to the sweater.  Add tufts of wool if you can see sweater peeking through the heart or it seems thin in places.  This is still fairly loose still, but you can see it is taking shape.

Heart sans template

After awhile you can remove the template and just keep poking the needles into the heart.  I find when I remove the heart-shaped-hole template I can see what areas need a bit of cleaning up to keep the shape.  I put the heart cut from card stock over the wool heart and go around the edge, carefully, with a single needle.

Wool Peeking Out

You can see a bit of wool fiber here peeking out from under the red paper heart.  Use the needle and corral those fiber with a couple of good pokes alongside the edge of the paper.

When you are finished, the sweater will be lightly attached to the foam block with wool fiber.  Just peel it off gently.  My foam block has been used quite heavily so I found some bits of foam stuck to the fibers and just pulled it off with my fingers.  I need to get a new foam block.

This is the underside of the heart.

Fuzzy Underside

Now you just need to press it.  I put the iron on wool setting, sprayed the heart with water and pressed the heart.

Ironing Heart

The finished heart.  Outside.

One Heart

And inside.

Inside Sleeve

Repeat on the other sleeve and enjoy your enhanced sweater.

Here is Leah in her sweater.

Leah's Back

Adorable Leah

I think this sweater was just made for her.  Oh, yeah, it was.  I made it.

She rocked the look from the toes of her red boots to the tips of her red fingernails.

Leah Hand

Her sweetheart came out to help with our photo session.

Leah & Robert

Thanks, Leah & Robert!  And thanks, Rem, for helping with the photography.

Elbow to Elbow

Thank you for stopping by.

1 Comment

Filed under Crafts