A Place to Play!

I’ve always thought the most important thing in a living space isn’t the amount of your square footage, but rather the right space for your lifestyle.

That being said, our previous Japan apartment was spacious, but lacked an important feature for a family with two girls: a place to play.  In fact, this photo highlights the issue clearly ~ the only place The Cuties could spread out with legos, dolls or board games is behind the sofa, which just happens to be the first thing you saw when you walked into our apartment.  As a result, it wasn’t terribly conducive to three-day Monopoly tournaments or building a city out of construction paper for Squinkies.


In the new apartment we have a designated PLAYROOM!  I’m not sure who is more excited, me or The Cuties!  Our “futon” now lives there as a sofa to hang out on {I put futon in quotation marks since it’s an IKEA futon and not a true Japanese one}.


We moved a television in there and hooked up the Wii and a DVD player.  We also hung the felt Nerf target I made in a place where kids can have fun, but it’s no longer hanging in my hallway where everyone who enters can see it.


I moved all the toys out of The Cuties’ bedrooms and took the board games off the living room shelves and stashed them in the built-in shelves and cabinets.  The American Girl dolls had been stashed away in each of The Cuties’ closets for lack of anywhere else to store them.  Now that they are front and center on the shelves, they are back to being played with on a very regular basis.



I love that there’s room in this space for my two J.C. Phillips paintings.  She’s a friend of mine who is a fabulous artist and extraordinarily clever children’s book author.  If you haven’t read Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed or the sequel, Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Nap, you should run right out and buy them!  She also has a new book coming out in March that you can pre-order on Amazon, called Monkey Ono.  We will be sure to stop by the bookstore as soon as we land in America this summer to check it out!


There are frosted sliding doors to this room, so it can double as a guest room when we have visitors, as well.

But on a day to day basis, what those doors really mean are that I can close them when creative play is happening and The Cuties want to leave their games or inventions until the next day, and no one has to step over it or see it first thing!

How awesome is that.

Posted in Decorating | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Big Cutie’s Room

There are no hidden cameras in my apartment.

I know this for a fact, because if there were, the footage of me repeatedly falling off the bed while attempting to re-hang the  Chihuly-esque collage in Big Cutie’s ceiling would have gone viral by now, and you’d be wiping away tears of laughter.

At me, not with me.

I felt like I was in a Three Stooges movie.  Climb up ladder.  Hang lantern.  Fall off ladder onto bed.  Have lantern fall on head.  Climb up ladder to re-hang lantern.  Fall off ladder again.  And repeat.  At some point you would think I might have realized my slippers were the issue.  Not so much, apparently.


In the end, they look good, Big Cutie is happy and no concussions were incurred.  Really, as a Mom, that’s all I’m hoping for at the end of each and every day.

We’re now going on about Year Seven with these monogrammed pillows, which is pretty impressive, if you ask me!  The boudoir-sized one came from L & M Monogramming when we lived in Charlotte {great inventory and terrific customer service ~ I highly recommend them!} and the bolster is from Pottery Barn Kids.  The two-tone bird pillow and bedding were last-minute purchases from Target when we packed to move to Japan and realized Big Cutie’s double bed would not fit, and we needed to find twin bedding that could work with all her lavender accessories from her old room.  Not bad, right?


We moved the ragamuffin garland she and I made together from The Nester above her bed {another safe decor item in an earthquake-prone country!}, and she organized a bulletin board of photos and mementos from the year for over her desk.


My favorite new find for the room are the bejeweled curtain tie-backs I found at Franc Franc, here in Tokyo.  Big Cutie pointed out the little smiley faces in the hardware to me. Do you spy them?


This weekend I hope to finish Little Cutie’s room.  Thankfully it requires no acrobatics, although if you follow me on Facebook, you may have read about my wish to hang a disco ball from the center of her ceiling.  Since I can’t screw a cup hook into a stud here in Japan and it’s too heavy for a 3M hook, I’m hoping for suggestions.  If there ever was a child who truly needed a sparkly disco ball hanging from her bedroom, its Little Cutie.

Posted in Decorating | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Favorite Past Valentine Crafts!

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Here’s a little trip down memory lane as these are still some of my post popular posts and pins on Pinterest! {by the way ~ do you follow me on Pinterest?  If not, click the button!  Speaking of following me, … Continue reading

Gallery | 3 Comments

Occasionally I Come Out of My Closet

I’m almost unpacked in the new apartment and getting myself organized.

There were a few features to this place that really “sold us” on the concept of moving.  The Master Bedroom Closet was tops on my list.

{I will continue to remind those of us in the Felt So Cute household of these things on a semi-regular basis as this was a more hassle-filled move than they tend to go in Tokyo. Our packing and moving days happened to coincide with the biggest snowstorm the city had seen in years, The Cuties were sent home from school early but their bus took 5 hours to actually make it home, and then they had a snow day on our actual move day instead of a full day of school and extra-curricular activities.  Not quite the seamless adventure I had planned.  On top of it all I caught some sort of plague that required me to walk back and forth between the two apartments with boxes of tissues practically strapped to my shoulders as epaulets.}

But it’s a lovely closet, and makes me smile.  A lot.

And now that there’s not a sniffle in sight, we can all laugh about it.

Here’s my side, in perfect rainbow order, just the way my anal-retentive self loves it.  {My husband’s side is the mirror image, but of course he’s content with shirts, suits and pants co-mingling willy nilly.  Anarchy, I tell you!}


And back the other way.  I added the largest 3M hook to the back of the door for our dry cleaning bag.  The frame above the door is a silly poem my husband wrote me for our first  dating anniversary almost twenty years ago that has hung in every closet we’ve ever lived in, now spanning two continents and four states!


The clear boxes on the floor are my shoes.  I discovered this idea from my fabulous college friend Murphy, oh so many years ago {the most beautiful female Murphy you’ll ever meet!} and have been doing it for years.  I use a label maker to put the description of the shoes on the outside, and the boxes keep them clean and dust-free.  Plus it’s easy to stack quite a lot of them.

{And check out the outlet in the closet!  Isn’t that a terrific idea?  We often use that as additional charging space overnight when our night stands are full up!}


But my very favorite things in this closet are the built-ins between the two hanging rods.  I’ve slipped my purses on the shelves with the ones I use the most on the lower shelf and my costume jewelry is organized in bins as well.  The top drawer holds all my scarves and the lower drawers have things like socks and tights.


So here’s the only downside to this much accessibility and organization:

Big Cutie, my budding fashionista, has discovered just how easy it is to walk in and find exactly which scarf or bracelet she’d like to request to borrow in the mornings….the days of my dressing her are clearly long gone!

Posted in Organizing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Washi Wires

So by now you’ve probably figured out that we have just a wee bit of washi tape around the Felt So Cute household.

I’m on a mission to use it in as many ways as possible.

Which is completely fueled by my desire to justify wanting to purchase each and every new tape design I see.  It’s a sickness, I tell ya!

So the other day I stumbled across the adorable idea to embellish my charging cords here.  Which reminded me I’d also seen a related idea here.

The Cuties {and let’s be honest ~ my husband, too} are constantly pilfering my cords and then claiming they didn’t take them.  But now, everyone will clearly know which cords are mine and which plain white ones are theirs {actually the other plain white ones will be the Husband’s since Big & Little Cutie got brightly colored ones for Hanukkah in an attempt to curb this problem that has so far been unsuccessful}.



{the above project was done by placing a piece of tape over the Apple logo and pressing it down into the inset.  I then took an X-acto knife and gently cut around the logo’s inner edge and peeled away the excess.  It comes right off if you want by lifting a corner with the knife blade ~ I know because I messed up once and did this}

Do you have pretty cords?

Posted in Craft Projects | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Sanshoku-don Bowls

We have a new family favorite for dinner since moving to Japan.

And I’m going to share a secret with just you readers, but not my family.

It’s delicious, healthy, easy and involves no actual cooking on my part.

Seriously.  You can’t tell my children I haven’t been slaving in the kitchen all day while they’re at school to make their favorite meal.

So now that my secret is safe between us and the whole Internet, let me share.

sanshoku-don bowl is literally “rice with three different seafood toppings.”

Yup.  That’s it.

Here’s all you need:


{from left to right across the top: rice, tuna sashimi, negitoro [tuna belly], ikura [salmon roe] and across the bottom: nori sprinkles [seaweed], scallions, wasabi root and shiso leaves [mint]}

After rinsing the rice and making it in my rice cooker, I scoop it into our bowls to let it cool a bit and slightly salt the rice.

I then add a shiso leaf to the middle of the bowl {this is a yummy minty flavor and makes an outstanding addition to a mojito ~ but we’re not discussing cocktails, now are we?}


On top of the shiso, I add a dollop of wasabi that we’ve grated ourselves.  If you have an Asian market, it’s absolutely worth it to hunt this down.  Fresh wasabi is so much yummier than the paste you squeeze out of the tube.  More importantly, its great fun to grate it yourself, and a way kids can help if you use a ceramic grater instead of a metal one {be sure to peel the wasabi first}.


Then I simply add chopped scallions, a spoonful of ikura, a large spoonful of negitoro and several slices of tuna sashimi.  Now that we have our three seafood selections, I add a bit of nori shreds, and serve!


This is an especially great and filling meal on a night when kids have activities and we get home right at dinner time.  I often start the rice cooker in the afternoon and slice up the tuna and put it back in the fridge in a Tupperware container so all I have to do at dinner time is assemble.


Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

We Rocked

Little Cutie had her 9th birthday party this past weekend.

In a bar.

Yeah, I’ve become that Mom.

OK, in all fairness it was a Karaoke Bar, and they regularly rent the place out for children’s birthday parties on the weekends, but still, in the end, my child had her birthday party in a bar.  Even better, my parents were in town for the big event, so her grandparents were in a bar with their granddaughters at a birthday party.

And it was awesome.

I found these great invitations at Polka Dot Designs that I could completely customize online right down to the font and placement on the card.


There was much thought, of course, put into wardrobe selection for the big event, and Little Cutie opted to wear this fun ensemble from Chasing Fireflies with a sequined skirt from J.Crew’s Factory Store.  Big Cutie wore one of the fabulous petticoat skirts from our Heather Golde photo shoot close to two years ago ~ love recycling!


You’re dying to know what the adults wore, right?  I had grand plans for custom shirts, but alas the whole moving the week of the party while recovering from some sort of plague put a damper on that, and I reverted to the all black I wear about 99.999% of the winter.  So disappointing. My husband, busted out his classic Will Ferrell cowbell t-shirt, which was meaningless to the children, but amusing to us.

Little Cutie’s friends are still split fairly evenly between girls and boys so this was a great co-ed party.  However, the first hour was spent mostly like this:



And then we fed them and they were willing to get on stage at least at the same time…


And then I learned that if 3rd graders know cupcakes are imminent they don’t care one iota who they are standing singing next to, and hop on stage to sing to the Birthday Girl!


The Birthday Girl and her Groupie thoroughly enjoyed a stage filled with admirers.


We blinged up an ordinary grocery store numeral candle with some rhinestones and a glue gun {I’ve seen the idea on Etsy and Pinterest, but can’t find an original source to link you ~ my apologies}


The kids were absolutely adorable and sang non-stop the whole two hours.  I especially loved how many of the other girls showed up decked out for the stage.  Little Cutie was very pleased with the evening’s event.

I did want to share with you our lovely Karaoke Host {he’s holding a Flat Stanley we were sent from the States that we brought with us everywhere all weekend}.  One of the Moms at the party commented that she had been coming to this particular Karaoke bar for almost two decades and laughed that it was still around.  My husband and I  were laughing that the equipment behind him must be the original equipment he started using back when she was in college!  I imagine if you opened a Karaoke bar new today, you’d run the whole thing from a single laptop!


Posted in Celebrations, Parties | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments