Craft Book Review: Travel Origami

Travel Origami BookTravel Origami by Cindy Ng

Tuttle offered to send me a review copy of Travel Origami by Cindy Ng and I gladly accepted for two reasons.  For one, origami is one of my favorite crafts.  And two, I liked the concept of making keepsakes out of collected ephemera from my vacations.

Travel Origami is compiled of 24 projects to fold from your keepsakes.  There’s also a two page section that introduces you to origami terms and symbols.  All the projects (except the money rings) give you the dimensions of paper you need to start out with.  That way, there’s no need to be concerned about finding a specific item to create a project. For most of the projects, Cindy suggests a variety of paper products to use for a project.  You can even make the projects out of any paper you have around the house.

Below are few of my favorite projects from the book.

Travel Origami Book 3I made this bookmark out of a postcard from Powell’s bookstore that I got in Oregon.  After testing out a couple of projects from Travel Origami, I found the directions to be brief.  I found myself wishing there were a few more steps to explain some of the projects.  For that reason, I would recommend this book for intermediate and advanced origami artists.  I recommend going to the bookstore and  looking at the book to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Travel Origami Book 4This envelope stood out to me for its style and purpose.  The author suggests sending it with a letter about your travels to a friend.  I personally love when people incorporate things they brought back from their travels into a letter.  Once I received a cherry blossom leaf from a blog friend who traveled to Japan and it really made me feel special.

Travel Origami Book 2This memory folder stood out to me because I thought it would look nice inside a scrapbook. I can imagine a scrapbook filled with pockets made out of maps, menus, and other fun things.

For more information about Travel Origami, click here where you can look inside the book.

Mochi Cupcakes with Azuki filling

mochi cupcakeSome of you might have seen this mochi cupcake recipe before.  I shared it back in 2007 on my old blog.  Have I really been blogging for that long?! But I digress, this cupcake recipe is one of my favorites so I’m sharing it again.  Make this recipe for a dessert, a snack, or even breakfast.
mochi cupcake 3The two ingredients that make this recipe unique are mochiko (rice flour)  and an (sweet azuki bean paste).  The mochi gives the cupcakes a more chewy texture and the “an” adds a subtle sweetness.  I usually purchase the mochiko at my local supermarket. I purchase the “an” at the Japanese grocery store. You can also find both these ingredients for purchase online.

Mochi Cupcakes with Azuki Filling Recipe Yields 24 cupcakes


3 Eggs
1 16oz box of mochiko (pictured above)
1 Cup of sugar
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 Cup vegetable oil
1 17.6oz Bag of sweet an paste (pictured above) – I use about 1/2 to 1/3 of the bag.

Poppy seeds for sprinkling and cooking spray


1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Spray the inside of the cupcake liners with cooking spray.  Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl mix wet ingredients: eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and sugar.

3.  In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients: mochiko and baking powder.

4.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Mix until smooth.  This is easy to do by hand.

5.  Fill cupcake liners 1/4 way up with batter.

6.  Place about 1 Tablespoon (or less) of “an” on top of batter in each liner.  I recommend cutting the corner of the bag off and squeezing out the “an”.  It doesn’t have to be exactly a tablespoon.

7.  Cover up “an” with batter so your cupcake liners are about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

8.  Bake cupcakes for 25 – 30 minutes.

The cupcakes are best up to three days.  After the third day, the texture starts to change.  Store in an air tight container.

mochi cupcake 2

Back to School Bento Boxes

kawaii bento boxesIt’s that time again where I have to start thinking about packed lunches. We’ve gone back and forth between bento boxes and standard lunch boxes. In the end, I like the bento boxes the best. They eliminate the need for plastic bags. Plus, my children aren’t into sandwiches so a variety of compartments filled with food appeals to them.

We already have our bento boxes for the school year and they’re not nearly as cool as the ones pictured above.  But if you’re in the market for a bento box, here are some of my favorites.

1. Retro Fridge Bento Box – This gives new meaning to “mini fridge”.

2. Kokeshi Girl Bento – If you’re looking for something a little more traditional.

3. Book Bento Box – The perfect bento for your little book-worm.

4. Bento Doll house – Kawaii!

5. Pokemon Ball - For the Pokemon fan.

Fun With Washi Giveaway!

Fun With WashiToday is the official release date for Fun With Washi! It sneaked up on me so quickly. Between school registration, orthodontist appointments, and moving into a new house, I almost forgot! So in honor of the release date, I’m hosting a giveaway for one signed copy of the book.  Details below.

Fun With Washi by Jessica OkuiTo enter, please share what you like or would like to make with washi tape. One entry per household. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you win. The last day to enter the giveaway is Tuesday, August 26, 2014. I’ll announce the winner Wedensday, August 27, 2014 on this post. If I do not hear back from the winner after two weeks, I will choose a new winner.  Contest open to everyone, international friends welcome.

To see more projects from Fun With Washi, click here and then click on the picture of the book to the left.

Contest Closed

Congratulations to Anna who is the winner of the Fun With Washi giveaway!

We Bought a House in the Bay Area!

new houseAfter two years of hunting and bidding, we purchased a house in the Bay Area, CA!  If you’re wondering why it took two years, all I can say is the real estate market here is very competitive.  You can read an article about it here if you’re interested.  But all those weekends of open houses are over and I can finally breathe.  I’m still moving into our new home which is why I was away for a couple of weeks.  Pictured above and listed below are a few things I’m enjoying about our new place.

1. Skylights – Our home has two skylights, one in the kitchen and one in the family room.

2. A loft – My children have been enjoying throwing paper airplanes from the loft.

3. Fig tree – we have one fig tree and the fruit is just starting to ripen.  I see lots of fig recipes in my future.

4.  Kitchen tile – I love the color of the teal tile back splash in the kitchen.

Fun With Washi by Jessica Okui
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in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight - Proverbs 3:6