DIY Chair Makeover

I had a big Thanksgiving party at my home last month and it was a huge success. It was a nice chance for our friends to come and see the new place, and it was a good chance for our Japanese friends to get a taste of American Thanksgiving. Our last party took place two years ago at our old apartment and a funny thing happened at our place. A friend came over wearing boots that were quite tight and she had a bit of trouble getting them off in the genkan of our apartment. In the end, we had to call down my husband, Masa, to help pull them off of her. Ever since then, I’ve always wanted a little area where guests could sit and take off their shoes, rather than the awkward taking- off- one-boot- while- standing- on- one -foot- maneuver which is common in Japanese genkans.

Image via

Image via This boot hokey pokey is no fun!

I snapped up this fold-able chair at a discount store which would be the perfect size for my genkan.


I never liked the fabric on this chair so I decided to cover it up with some cute fabric I got at the fabric store.


The finished project! I love polka dots.

I did a quick YouTube search on how to reupholster chairs and tried to follow this one as a guide.

Unlike the video, I left all of the original fabric and stuffing on the chair. I cut a large circle of fabric, placed it over the seat, and started to use my staple gun to to affix the fabric to the chair.  Unfortunately, my staple gun was not strong enough to affix the fabric so I switched over to my hot glue gun. I glued the fabric to the chair and the cut off the excess as close as I could to the rim. Refer to minute 15:53 of the above video to see. (I used scissors instead of an Exacto-Knife).

I then made the welt cording (refer to minute 16:25 of the video) by folding a thin strip of fabric into thirds, hot gluing it closed, and then hot gluing it around the rim.

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Folding the welting cord into thirds.

Tip: make sure the length of your welt cording can circle around the entire cushion so you can just close up the circle once.

Once I glued the entire welt cord around the chair there was an unsightly seam where the two ends met that I wanted to cover up. I made a quick ribbon and hot glued it to cover the seam.


I then went about covering the top section of the chair in the same fashion. I put the seam at the bottom so it couldn’t be seen.


The finished back cushion!

The chair came out extremely well and is holding up very well despite being held together with hot glue! I also have a great chair for me and my guests to sit in when they take off their shoes and boots.


DIY Sun Catcher Using Old CDs and DVDs

The rainy season in Japan is finally over and I’ve decided to decorate my porch for the summer. In the spring I put a few cheerful colored paper balls outside. For midsummer I decided to make something sparkly or reflective that would catch the sun shine.


Wooden circle
Three CDs or DVDs or a mix of both
Hot water

I first made a tiny hole using a driver from my Ikea tool set. Once the project was finished I would string wire through the hole to hang it on the tree.


My handy IKEA driver

I then painted the circle. I painted the front side white and the back side gold.


I then prepped the CDs. I read somewhere that boiling CDs makes them easier to cut. I didn’t want to boil CDs in a pot I cook with so I poured boiling water over them in a makeshift foil pan.



I used two CDs and a DVD.

I then went about cutting up the CDs into random pieces and shapes. I laid them out on the front side of the wooden circle and arranged the pieces to my liking and then used bond glue to glue them on.

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I waited for the glue to dry and wiped away my finger prints with a damp cloth. I strung wire through the hole and I was finished!




Getting Into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter USJ

I took a day off work on July 15th and took a train to Universal Studios Japan (USJ) to attend the opening day of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter(WWHP) with my friend Dani.


At the entrance of USJ

The park opened at 8:30am so we decided to meet there at 8:15 with tickets that we already printed out from the USJ website. When I got to the station, at about 8:10, I noticed people running out of the station at full speed and racing up the escalator. I thought this was strange as the park wasn’t going to even open for another 20 minutes but I just brushed it off. I met up with my friend Dani and we head to the park which we were surprised to see was open. We went through the gates easily and headed toward the WWHP  when I heard multiple people shouting into megaphones saying “入場整理券” or “entry ticket” I went over to someone who worked at the park and they told me I had to get in line to get an entry ticket to enter WWHP.  “Wait? I have to get a ticket to get into Harry Potter World?” I asked. “Yes” she answered and she pointed to a very, very, long line that was getting longer by the minute. It took Dani and I about 5 minutes to walk to the end of the line, which was fortunately moving very quickly. I took a look at my phone and it was only 8:20. We got to  the head of the line at about 8:32 and pushed a button at one of the many ticket machines that gave us an entry ticket that said we could enter Harry Potter at 11.50. I couldn’t help but wonder what time we would have been allowed to enter Harry Potter World  if we had gotten there at 10am or something. We had three hours to kill so Dani and I went around to all of the rides like Jurassic Park, Jaws, Backdraft, and even Sesame Street 4-D (which was surprisingly fun and very cute.) There were virtually no lines anywhere. Most likely because it was early on a Tuesday morning and probably because most people were in line to get an entry ticket for Harry Potter World.  As we walked around the park it was amazing to see that so many people had dressed up in costumes. Even though it was 9o degrees outside many people had cloaks and sweaters on.


Being silly at Jaws

At 11.50 we finally got into Harry Potter World.



Gorgeous, but very crowded.


Hogwarts Express

It was insanely crowded, which was to be expected. There was a two hour wait to get into Honeydukes/Zonkos (the stores were connected), there was a line for the Butterbeer stand, and a long line to get something to eat at the Three Broomsticks/Hog’s Head(also connected).  Dani and I decided to get in line for food first.  We waited behind a group of Slytherin girls decked out in sweaters and cloaks (It was 90 degrees outside! So impressed by their dedication!) and waited about 2 hours to get into Three Broomsticks.  The menu consisted of ribs and corn, fish and chips, roast chicken and salad, or  Cornish pasties and salad. Dessert consisted of chocolate cake, apple pie or ice cream.  The drink menu consisted of juices, pumpkin juice (it was 800 yen), Butterbeer, and frozen Butterbeer. I got the fish and chips and Butterbeer.



The Butterbeer was amazing! 500 yen for a normal cup and 1000 yen for a souvenir cup. Here is how I described it to my husband:




The Butterbeer was so good that I got another on the way out at Hog’s Head which only serves drinks and had no line.


Enjoying our Butterbeer in front of Hogwarts

Dani and I went into a few shops that didn’t have lines. (Filch’s Emporium and and Honeydukes/Zonko’s both still had lines). The Owl Post Shop sold postcards and Harry Potter stamps that you can mail from USJ.  We also checked out all the different wands for sale like Luna’s, Snape’s, Krum’s, and other character’s wands.


We later decided to get into line for Honeydukes/Joke Shop but the wait for the line  was four hours. We took a peek inside and the only things that were being sold there that weren’t being sold at other stores seemed to be cotton candy and some joke toys like giant ears. Items like Sneakoscopes, chocolate frogs, and Every Flavor Beans were sold at stores with no lines. Perhaps there were rare items in the store, but  we figured it wasn’t worth the wait.  We stopped to see a show in the square that consisted of the boys from Viktor Krum’s school and the girls from Beauxbaton doing a dance. There was also the frog choir show, but they did a beat box rap version of “Something Wicked This Way comes” which had me and Dani both rolling our eyes. We stopped by the Black Lake which I hear is only at USJ. The view from the lake gives you a great view of Hogwarts! photo (2)

We didn’t do any of the rides while we were there as I get horrible motion sickness. We spent about 5 hours in the WWHP and it was magical. So many people were dressed up and you could tell everyone was excited to be there, which makes sense because only die hard fans would be willing to brave the lines on opening day. The long lines  honestly weren’t all that bad as the people- watching was amazing. It was fun to see everyone’s costumes and the merch that they all bought. I’ve decided to go to WWHP around Christmas with Masa. The lines will hopefully be shorter and I think  the snow covered roofs will fit in more perfectly with the holiday season.

Feel free to ask me any questions about the WWHP at USJ!

From Old Jewelry to Stunning Magnets

I have a lot of old jewelry in my jewelry box: earrings that have lost a mate, rings that I feel are too young for me, and a few pieces from broken bracelets and necklaces. They are so pretty and sparkly and I hate the idea of throwing them away so I have been thinking of ways to reuse them.


I have a few magnets from a failed DIY project and I thought it would be fun to hot glue them to a few pieces of an old bracelet.


Magnet and jewel from old bracelet.


This project was super easy. The only problem was that the magnets were super strong and kept attracting the corners of the jewels(the prongs) to its center. It took a little bit of wrestling to get the magnets in the center but once it was finished I was able to add a nice sparkle to our fridge.


My magnets on the fridge with our other magnets.