Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Yesterday, Kang (in green) and Kazue (in white) and I met in Manhattan for a visit while they are here on Tulip business. Our list of destinations for the day was headed by Kinokuniya bookstore across from Bryant Park. On the way I knew we'd pass Lily O'Brien's and we were fortunate to find them open! (Yes, you've read about Lily's in earlier posts. Fran, Elaine and I discovered this sweet spot when we made our first visit to Kinokuniya.)I didn't read about the summer's iced chocolate beverage until after I'd ordered my skim milk latte and chocolate croissant that would be brunch. Check out this vast selection of chocolate, fruit and flower flavored macaroons! The little sign on the display says that "these little cookies were first introduced to the Court of France in the XVIth Century by Catherine de Medicis, spouse of King Henry II." What an amazing coincidence that the shopping tote Kazue was carrying sported a photo of 3 of these delicacies from another bakery!
From Kinokuniya we headed for the bead district.
First bead stop was York beads. It is my fave. Perry has all those fabulous new Czech beads with peacock designs. One bead in particular called out to me, so to speak, and I bought all of 'em! Yipes. The good news is that the couple pounds of exotic colored seed beads I picked up will work up beautifully with them AND when the piece is desgined and beaded, I can make kits immediately. Much better than designing a piece and then having to track down the beads in an effort to kit it.
Kang and Kazue were having a great time amongst the beads. They confessed that last year when we were in Columbus (where I had joined them in exhibiting at TNNA) and I showed them how to beadweave a bracelet, they had turned into beaders! They were so enthralled that the next day, they went to 1Stop Bead Shop before flying out of Columbus, spending, much to their horror, over $100 on beads! (Bet you remember that first time you dropped a C-note on beads. Lots of beads under the bridge since then, right? Now I can't remember the last time I got away from the bead register for less than $100!) Speaking of...I bought beads by the pound at New York Beads! Just once when heading out on a bead mission, I will remember to bring my wheeled bag. It is just as well though. We hoofed and hauled ourselves and our beads around enough to burn off the goodies from Lily's plus make Kang faint with hunger by dinner time. Kazue produced an address in the Korean district and we headed there in pursuit of Korean cuisine on West 32nd off Herald Square (sounding like I know something about getting around in Manhattan?)

Hey, that tote bag decorated with macaroons, that I referenced at the top of the post is seen here between Kazue and Kang.
As we waited for our entree, we had all these beautiful side dishes to try. There were spicy julienne of zucchini and carrots, seaweed salad, a hybrid of potato and waldorf salad with peas! and spicy dried squid. Kazue had a spicy stew that was bright red with chili paste and as tasty as it was delish. Kang and I had bi bim bap. It consisted of a shallow bowl with meat in the bottom, a plate of many little portions of prepared and colorful fresh veggies with an egg on top, and a dish of short grain white rice. The plate and dish are emptied into the shallow bowl and stirred until blended and then seasoned with sauce and sesame oil.

The plate in the center is a special Korean sausage. When Kang ordered it she cautioned me that though it is an extremely ugly food, it is quite good. Then she told me that even in lean college years, when funds are low, this dirt cheap sausage is an affordable staple. When the black sausage arrived at the table I was pleased that it was not the disgusting sight I'd expected. It was rather attractive, as sausage goes. Despite our conversation about how there are some foods that you almost have to be born into to enjoy, I had psyched myself up enough to taste it, when Kang mentioned that it has what could be considered an off-putting odor. Oops, now I just couldn't overlook that all the comments were cautionary rather than cudos.,so it went unsampled by me. And you KNOW how I love opportunities to try the tasty bits, culinary delights and favorite foods of my friends. Food is love.

Last year at TNNA, in addition to turning Kazue and Kang into beaders, I taught several people to bead crochet using their new line of comfortable cushioned hooks from Tulip Co, designed by Kang (ETIMO crochet hooks). Two of those new bead crocheters are from South West Trading Co., Jonette and Jonelle Beck. Soon afterwards they sent me a skein of Tofutsie, their space-dyed soy silk sock yarn. So, a year later, I finally get around to crocheting with it. I strung it with clear AB beads and used a new beads crochet hook designed by Kazue, called Sucre. Let me report that the hook slid easily under each stitch AND never split the yarn, EVEN THOUGH I began crocheting from the wrong end of the yarn, which unplies it into separate strands as I work. Nice hook. Sweet.

Kumiko Mizuno Ito had shared the new bead crochet she was doing when I was in Japan last. Keiko Seki, a protege of hers, taught a project at the Bead and Button Show last month using this technique. Keiko had shared the spotlight with a Turkish beader in an article about this technique published in Bead and Button Magazine. And in March while teaching in Germany there so many beaders wearing all types of bead crochet. It sent me off to fooling around alot more adventureously with hooks and beads. You've seen the new bead crochet approaches I've been teaching, as I share them here. Expect to see some more, perhaps even in time to propose some for Bead and Button Show next year. Proposals are due August 6th.

Tulip Co has published a booklet of beginner bead crochet designs in Japan. They are even selling kits so the reader can make exactly the same item as seen in the booklet. They asked if I would advise them on the English translation. Yes. And I will love to work with them in their pursuit of sharing more bead crochet (and Tulip crochet hooks, books and kits) with more and more beaders and crocheters in Japan, Europe and the U.S.
Kang told me about a tour of the factory in Hiroshima and the shocking amount of snow that fell upon the guests' arrival. While preparing the links for this post I stumbled onto this blog written about that very experience from one of their guests. Enjoy.

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