Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Miyazaki Madness

The Studio Ghibli Collection 


Hayao Miyazaki is an established Japanese film director and animator.  And he is also the co-founder of Studio Ghibli whose films are being celebrated this month at the Landmark California Theatre in Berkeley!

The film festival opened last Friday, September 14th with Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984).  This movie features a princess with the spirit of a warrior and the heart of a servant.  Nausicaa practically carries you along in her glider as she navigates a post-apocalyptic world filled with poisonous gases, gigantic bugs, and friends who help her triumph.  The entire theatre was clapping by the end credits of this fantastical story.

I'm personally drawn to Miyazaki's films because of the way in which he captures the emotion of the characters through both their illustration and dialogue.  From the very beginning, Nausicaa is presented as a heroic princess with a true love for her father and all living creatures.  Even the son of a competing clan becomes enamored by her deep sense of compassion and does everything he can to aide Nausicaa in bringing peace back to a ravaged land.

Nausicaa was an excellent choice for the debut of Ghibli's collection.  My husband and I, along with many other film fans, laughed, cried (a little, yes), and sat back in awe during parts of this marvelous nugget of Miyazaki artistry.

The Landmark Theatre is located on 2113 Kittredge Street in Berkeley, California.  The films are all in Japanese (with English subtitles) and upcoming Studio Ghibli titles include:

  • Today 9/19:  Only Yesterday (1991)
  • Thurs 9/20-Fri 9/21: Spirited Away (2001)
  • Sat 9/22: Princess Mononoke (1997)
  • Sun 9/23-Mon 9/24: My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  • Tues 9/25: Pom Poko (1994) & Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
  • Wed 9/26: Whisper of the Heart (1995) & Ponyo (2008)
**For more details and show time information check out:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ready, Set, Jump!

Origami Earrings by Rini
Do you like trying things that challenge you?  I do!  Well...sort of...kind of...sometimes?  I certainly love being a creative person and a big part of that involves diving into the unknown.  Creativity requires moving forward, exploring, and playing around with ideas & materials.  That by itself can be a challenge.  How do you move forward when you don't even know where to begin?

Sometimes you need a jumping off point!  The earrings that I made (pictured above) were inspired by a design pattern that I found in the book Origami by Gay Merrill Gross.  The shape is called a hexahedron and it looked simple enough (for an origami project!).

Since I wasn't sure how to even make the basic pattern, I started with pretty large size pieces of origami paper.  I figured that once I had practice with something larger that I could then move onto these much smaller earrings.  I made quite a few hexahedron "Christmas ornaments"  before I decided to jump into a much more daunting task--making earrings out of one-inch squares of origami paper.  It was slow, painstaking, and frustrating at times BUT an hour or so later...I had these gorgeous earrings that I'd made myself!  How absolutely thrilling--to find your way to something new and undiscovered!

Since then I've kept trying new things ranging from knitting to moving across country to mentoring, cardio-boxing, zip-lining, pedal boating, & more!  I keep a mental checklist of things I want to try and experience.  And guess what?  Even though I don't necessarily love everything I try, my list keeps growing! I've made a deliberate choice to live a life that is passionate, exciting, and transforming.  I hope you'll join me for this exhilarating journey!

When was the last time you tried something you've never done before?  What was it?  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Purse Potential

Create!  Transform!

We all have our favorite things.  A jacket...mug...or in this case, purse!  And just as in the story of The Velveteen Rabbit--our favorites begin to show signs of this "love" over time.  A chip here...a rip there.  We often disown or discard these things without much thought.  I almost did this (again) but then asked myself: 

What if I transformed this worn out purse into something new?  


  • A well "loved" purse
  • scrap material
  • ribbon
  • silver chain, lobster claw clasp, & large size link/hoop
  • mini glue gun

This project was not only fun to make but also a great reminder that we often overlook the potential of what's already there.  Not just the potential of the things we love but of the people that we love...including ourselves.

After all, even people can become worn out and faded over time.  Unfortunately, we start to treat ourselves (and one another) like dispensable items that can be thrown out and replaced.  We forget just how invaluable we are as human beings.  Our potential for growth and change is never diminished.  You and artists, writers, and creative beings...we can take what we've already got, gather our supplies, and use our imagination to make something new and wonderful.  We've got everything we need.