Saturday, February 04, 2023

Around Here at the Beginning of February


Daffodils are the cheeriest spring flowers. A bunch of tightly furled buds came home with me from the grocery store this week and are gradually opening inside the house. Outside, daffodils have a month or so to go before blooming. 

I finished the Japanese Rice Bag I showed you last week. It was a quick project and fun to do with the simple hand stitches as embellishment. 
I confess that I have an enormous stash of fabric, mostly linen and cotton, that I am determined to use. There are plans for a couple of summer dresses and tops, as well as a quilt or two. A small project like the bag is good motivation for me to get going on larger projects. 

I'm using the bag to store a crochet project I pick up from time to time - making flower coasters from cotton yarn. It's another "use it up" project. 

There are rice bags and there are rice bags. The one on the left is a Japanese Rice Bag, also known as Kinchaku, and was used as a lunch bag or small purse. This bag has a 7-inch square base. When the bags are made with a larger, 10-inch or more base, they are known as Komebukuro and were originally intended to carry rice to the temple for offerings. Check out the link for a lovely quiet video watching a master create a kinchaku bag.

The pink rice bag is a rectangle of fleece filled with rice or flax seeds and can be heated in the microwave to provide soothing relief to sore muscles. I have several of these and often sit with one at my back.

Two kinds of rice bags - both useful in different ways.

We've been noticing several Northern Flickers around our garden lately and I happened to catch one on my camera this morning. They are common to most of North America and I find their gentle colouring very beautiful. Do you see Northern Flickers in your garden?

Making decisions about our upcoming house renovation is taking a lot of time. There are just so many choices! We've been working on lighting recently and made the order for the kitchen today. For the month of February, the store had a promotion of "spin the wheel" and see how much of a discount you could get, from 5 - 40%. So I spun the wheel and was shocked to see it stop at 40%! That was a huge bonus, and the store owner said I was the only one thus far to have the wheel stop there. 

What colour is your kitchen? Or what colour would your ideal kitchen be? We are adding some colour into cabinets and I'm getting excited to begin the project. But first, someone has to retire from his day job! Just a few more weeks. 

Have a lovely Sunday and a great week ahead. I hope the lengthening days brighten your heart as much as they do mine. 


  1. I love your bag. I have some Japanese sawing to do the video inspires me. I was looking to your crochet flowers and how they were made. We don’t have this bird here but it is beautiful. What a nice project to redo your kitchen I hope you will show us.

  2. We certainly don't see Northern Flickers in our garden - how wonderful to have those. But we do have daffs in abundance here in Pembrokeshire Wales - indeed there is a commercial farm just down the road; fields of lemon yellow. And soon it will be St David's day when all the children (and many adults too) wear daffodils.

  3. We get pheasants in the garden occasionally, but no flickers! Doing a new kitchen is exciting, so many choices, in fact too many sometimes. My kitchen is, as you might expect, blue and white, with pine worktops.

  4. The Japanese rice bag is adorable. I would use it as my purse! We see the Flicker here but not as often as some of the other woodpeckers. Oh and my kitchen is blue. I love a cheerful kitchen and mine gets a lot of light. You did good with your discount!

  5. You are a crafty lass!
    Our kids are renovating their kitchen in April. They've lived there since 2004. It is epic. They are going out to check and choose pieces, as well.

  6. Your husband is retiring in just a few more weeks? That sounds
    wonderful, especially since you have work all lined up for him.

    The mere thought of renovating sets my teeth on
    edge. I'm afraid that ship has sailed. Occasionally, my
    brother-in-law suggests laying a new floor and I give him
    a look. Ha!

    Yes, we see Northern Flickers, but rarely. They live here all
    year round. I've probably heard them more than I've seen them.
    He is a handsome fellow with those striking patterned feathers
    and his two shades of peach colored throat. God is an amazing

    Have fun with your selections and your projects. Congrats on that
    40% off!

  7. The longer daylight lifts my spirits, for sure!

    Yay for your husband’s retirement!

  8. Anonymous10:40 AM

    We do not see such beautiful birds here in California, at least I have not. As for kitchen cabinet color, we got new cabinet doors and drawer fronts in a shaker style and painted them and the 80’s oak cabinets a lovely griege color. It has been a great update.

  9. Retirement on the cusp. Exciting. And projects lining up already. Love your rice bag and the idea of a hot rice pad. Great shot of the flicker. Enjoy picking those colors! We are white in the kitchen because of the busy darker counter tops the former owners installed...

  10. Wow, I am in love with your Japanese rice bag, just beautiful. I have starting doing some of that 'slow stitching' in a project, also to use up what is in my sewing room. Too bad, I overdid it and now have a stiff left thumb, lol. Daffodils are one of my favourite flowers, in that brilliant clear yellow. We rarely see them here, and the garden produces only a couple of blooms per year. Our kitchen is all white because the location is a bit dark, and I have a few yellow accents. A pot of daffodils would be brilliant!

  11. My ideal kitchen would be blue! My Aunt Jean had a blue kitchen, which I fell in love with when I was a teenager. But my own kitchen is contiguous with the family room and those walls need to be the same color; altogether it would be too much blue. So I have a sort of vanilla look, walls and cabinets, a huge improvement from what was here before, dark brown laminated (crumbling) particle board cabinets. But we were happy for 20 years cooking up a storm even in that environment. ;-)

    I saw a pair of flickers for the first time, in my garden two winters ago, and never since. It was such a joy.

    Your rice bag is just lovely! It would be a lot of fun to make them; I watched two videos just now. Who knows? Maybe I will get to sewing in the next couple of years and use some of my many beautiful remnants to make bags...

  12. well done on using up your fabric stash. Your bag is perfect. Love the northern flicker. Nothing like that here. How exciting about the kitchen and a brilliant discount. We have a cream shaker kitchen with deep blue walls. Bet you’re excited about your husbands retirement. B x

  13. I just love your Japanese ricebag! So nice! We have a old kitchen that really needs a renovation soon. Colour? I would love to have a kitchen in a green colour...
    Have a great week and take care.

  14. Daffodils! Happy flowers to see, they shine in yards big enough to have space for them to grow naturally through the woods.
    I think lighting is the most fun part of a decorating project.

  15. We remodelled our kitchen about fifteen years ago, and already it's looking a little dated. I doubt that we are going to do it again, however.

  16. No, we don't have Norther Flickers, wish we did! Exciting times ahead with your husband retiring and remodeling projects. My kitchen is white because it's a small galley kitchen and I have so much color in accessories in it. But if I had my druthers we would paint at least the lower cabinets the green that was the kitchen green of the 1930s. And my bathroom the bathroom green of the 1930s and my bedroom a dark moody green, not because it's been trendy and probably going out but because I've loved those colors for decades and think they would suit our 1930s house. I'm looking forward to seeing the choices you make for your kitchen! My favorite YouTube channels are those doing remodeling projects around the world.

  17. We see flickers both in Oregon and here in Florida and they are lovely in soft gray with that pop of color. They look the same to me, here or there, but there are probably subtle differences because Florida definitely isn't 'northern'. Exciting that your husband is retiring -- congratulations. Remodeling is always exciting too (although I confess to occasionally having used different adjectives at times throughout our many such projects!)

  18. Thank you for the interesting post, Lorrie! Indeed, for me a rice bag would be one for seeds that can be heated. Your new Kinchaku is beautiful and cheerful.
    Congratulations on your discount! It will be very interesting to follow your house renovation. Our current kitchen is white but my dream kitchen is like the one shown in my latest post. :) We had a kitchen of that style in Italy and because it was of good quality, we transferred the "pieces" to Finland and will use them for our kitchen renovation.
    Wishing you light and happiness.

  19. Anonymous4:34 AM

    I have never seen or heard of a rice bag. we use wheat bags to heat up and put on sore places. I love the cheerful colours of the one you made. Happy stitching!
    Daffodils are such happy flowers, not only because they are the bearers of good news, i.e. spring coming, but also because they brighten up any room or garden. There are only the first spikes visible here in my garden, the first daffodils will be the small narcissi, tete a tete and suchlike. Soo, soon, can't wait.
    Enjoy your home decorating, my kitchen is terra cotta but it could also do with an energetic overhaul. Not by me personally, though.

    No flickers here, a gorgeous bird I'd be happy to see round my bird table.

  20. As much as I love to see daffodils and long to see mine, I'm afraid if I see them too soon another freeze will zap them. They are resilient blooms so -- but I"m not sure if they're Michigan February resilient! I love your bags and am always heating up a bean bag for my back or to put by my feet in bed on extra cold nights. You asked about kitchens. The paint in mine is aqua.I have wooden cupboards so it looks nice together. Before it was a soft yellow. The room is rather dark so both worked.

  21. sigh---lost my comment!!! I love the rice bag-it's cute as can be. I will be so glad to see daffodils or anything else blooming here. We are months away from that though.
    Good luck on the house reno. It's a lot of work but so worth it in the end. This time in this house I went with all white--cabinets, subway tile backsplash, quartz white "marblized" countertops. I love how clean it looks. I have had color many times over the years but this is great-I can add splashes of color with accessories and change the 'color' out at will.
    Have a wonderful week-xo Diana

  22. How exciting to get a 40% discount, Lorrie! That was one lucky spin. I like your rice bags. I have made the microwave kinds as gifts for my family. They do come in handy. I have never seen nor heard of Northern Flickers, but I love seeing different birds that I’m not familiar with. Have a great week, Lorrie.

  23. Love your bag. It's so pretty!

    Hugs and blessings, Lorrie!

  24. My favourite dominant colourfor kitchen (cabinets, table) is a quiet shade of orange. The walls are off white all over the flat.

  25. Anonymous4:18 PM

    I agree daffodils are the cheeriest spring flowers, our local shops have bunches of them for sale at very reasonable price ... who can resist!

    All the best Jan

  26. Congrats on scoring the 40% off discount!

    I remember "Scratch and Save" days at the Bay. We usually got the minimal discount, so it was thrilling when we actually won the maximum % off.

  27. You accomplish so much, even with using up leftovers! I am so excited to see what you will do with your kitchen! The process will be a mess, but the end will be worth it! I imagine there could be blue cabinets? 💙

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