Wednesday, December 24, 2008


It's Christmas day here in Japan... One day ahead of those of you in western Canada and the United States. The turkey is cooking, the lights are twinkling and the champagne is chilling. Our guests arrive at 6:30 for their first Christmas Supper. There are no rice balls, deep fried pork pieces, noodles or mackeral on the menu. We're eating with forks and knives instead of chopsticks and the wine glasses are twice the size of the normal asian glasses. Instead of the many, small, individual dishes, there is only a dinner plate and a salad plate and the napkin goes on your lap, thank you very much.
We say a prayer before dinner, instead of ringing a bell and sing Christmas carols after supper, instead of climbing a mountain. Yes, traditionals are very different. Christian beliefs are not followed in this part of the world. The Japanese celebrate New Years . So ZaaArt of eating turkey off the bone with mashed potatoes, turnip and cranberry sauce will be a completely new experience for all .

Monday, December 22, 2008


Looking for Christmas in Japan... I seem to be wandering around the streets at night trying to catch a glimspe or glimmer of the festive spirit. I think it's a Western thing !!! In Canada, I made my own decorations, poured rum on the traditional fruitcake and toughed it out in the blistering, zero below temperatures, to select just the right Christmas tree. Suddenly, I've discovered fibre-optics and developed an Eastern mentality for the excitement of the season.

I have a five foot glistener in my Tatami room, a three foot, fibre-optic fairy tree in the hallway and a fibre-optic, giggling, jiggling Santa, in the livingroom window. Oh and did I mention, the 200 or more outdoor twinklers that blink on and off, for the curious neighbours. Yes, I've gone crazy for lights.

Needless to say, Japan is an electronic world. They do not celebrate Christmas but do partake in cookies and New Years' festivities . The effect of the electrical displays are the same around the world... It's magical. In Maigaoka, if I'm not listening to Christmas Carols, I'm hanging around local alleyways, snapping picture of neons lights and experiencing ZaaArt of plugging into the season. Merry Christmas to you all.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


ATC's are always a challenge for me... Flower Blossom #1 and #2 were a swap project for a friend in Germany. I was alittle worried that they might get damp in the mail, due to the humid weather.

The question was..Do I or don't I seal them with Hodge Podge? Washi paper is so much more porous and absorbant than most papers. It was a big decision, especially since I had worked for many days on the dollies.

What the heck, I took the challenge and this was the result... Two glossy Washi dolls. They look alittle too stiff and unnatural for me .. So I chalked it up to ... A lesson well learned... Apple Blossom #1 and Apple Blossom #2 are very unique ATC's, but in ZaaArt of Washi Paper, " Natural is Best".

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Yesterday my friend Yoko invited me to her Ikebana show. As a sensei, of Ikebana many of her students had created beautiful floral designs that were on display in the Riverwalk area of Kitakyushu. I love flowers, so naturally, I was excited to attend. I have included afew pictures that I hope you will enjoy.
Ikebana was first introduced to Japan in the 7th century by Chinese Buddhist missionaries, who had formalized a ritual, offering of flowers to Buddah. It is an artform based on the harmony of simple linear construction, the appreciation of the subtle beauty of flowers and natural material( branches and stems) .
In it's highest form, ikebana is spiritual and philosophical in nature. In modern Japan , it is practised, as a sign of refinement. I quess , I have a lot to learn, because in ZaaArt of floral arranging, I use way too many flowers .

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Age Features

Remember Yoko from the November 23 post... I just thought you might want to see the differences(below) in the hairstyles and kimonos. Please do ENJOY ZaaArt.

Cho Cho Belt

A new creation admires herself . This is Sachiko, who is willfully vain about her age, her looks and her new position in life. She is afterall a teenage Washi Doll, who is much more sophisicated than her sibling sister doll, below, ( see November 23rd post). You might say Sachiko has attitude. Everyone will know how old she is, by observing her long hair and flowing Kimono sleeves. If you listen carefully , you'll hear her whispering to herself, " Mirror mirror on the wall. Who's the fairest of them all ". Hey Sachiko, that isn't a Japanese Haiku !!! How will I ever get her away from the mirror?

My greatest enjoyment while working on the teenage doll was the hair styling and the obi belt. Washi paper is so flexible and user-friendly. This particular tied bow shape is called 'cho cho' because the bow resembles a butterfly, thus giving it the name, butterfly obi. I just love making them. Doesn't take much to get ZaaArt all aflutter.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Collage Sheets.

My new collage sheets are here... I'm so excited. Look at all the wonderful beauties awaiting their destiny as cards and art projects. I found these ones at She has a wonderful selection of collage sheets, tranparencies, rubber stamps and scrapebooking materials at a very reasonable price. They arrived so quickly that I added her to my bloglist if you are interested: . It's quite interesting reading. Right now, it's time to get started on some new cards. How will I ever decide on ZaaArt picture.? I'll post it soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Paper Dolls

Fantastic Flat Paperdolls is a creative group that I participate in. The themes vary according to the season of the year.

This particular month was "costumes". While most participants dreamed of Marie Antoinette and her lusty gatherings..I was quite content to get right down creative with the traditional Geisha.

I had some geometric origami paper that I loved and a small piece of stretchy gold cord in my 'Fluffy Bag" . Good start , I thought.

The basic form of the doll is easy .. It's like tracing the shape of a wine bottle for the shoulders and following it all the way down. Then I trace a circle, the size of a bottle cap for the head, glue it onto a paper post for the neck and reshape the face.
Creating the face is always a challenge for me, so I got out my historical Japanese art books... There were so many interesting faces and eye shapes... I chose a less than perfect face, because , when I look at the people in Japan, I do not see perfection. There is a real individual characterization in the various facial features and positioning of the eyes here in Japan. So, this paperdoll looks very similiar to an authenic Geisha beauty from the past.

I tried to incorperate some of the traditional body embellishments in the hair styling which I made from rolled black paper. While she is not perfect... She is an experiment in the beginning styles of a Japanese PaperDolls ..ZaaArt way. Her name is Ming Lee.