Can You Draw a Circle?

Hi Friends,

Summer has arrived!

What plans do you have for this summer?

I hope it includes some time to nourish your soul and creativity.

Setting aside as little as 15 minutes a day to simply sketch and color is great for our mental health and creative productivity.

So why not set a start date on your calendar and get papers and coloring tools ready and make the most of the warm sunny days? 

I’ve planned a fun summer boot camp that will nourish your soul and jump-start your creativity.

I will send you one lesson every morning for six days. You can draw and paint with me from the comfort of your home. No worries, it will take only 30 minutes a day of your own time.

BLOOMING FLOWERS SUMMER BOOT CAMP awaits you…

What will this do for me?

It will get you away from it’s hard to draw and color to “Oh, easy-peasy I can do it

You will end up with six beautiful flower cards that you made with your own hands.

It will help you to release stress and tension from worries.

The meditative effect of creating art will sustain your self-care.

Share your peace flower cards with the world. You will help to lift their spirits and fill their hearts with peace.

Did I hear you say, “But I can’t draw”?

Let me ask you, Can you draw a circle? Can you draw a line?

If you answered yes to my questions, then I say yes, you can make your own beautiful hand-made cards filled with beautiful peace flowers!

The door to Blooming Flowers Summer Camp will open soon, and there are only twenty spots available.

Don’t wait, don’t put it off … the door will close for registration in five days … and it’s completely free!

Register here!

Register here.

Any questions? Please send me an email and ask. Kay Hirai kh@studio904.com

MoMo’s Enigma, What I Learned

How time flies! It’s been 1 year + 2 months since MoMo arrived from Korea. I remember seeing this shaggy dog, rescued from the Korean Dog Meat Market, traveled for 18 hours on the plane, scared and shivering refusing to come out of her crate. The minute I laid my eyes on her, I felt such compassion for this dog that I promised to give her a life filled with love and care that will make up for the miserable life she lived on the streets of Korea and enslaved in the Korean Dog Meat Market.

MoMo is an enigma.

Not knowing any specifics about her history made it difficult for me to train and acclimate MoMo to her new life in the U.S. I learned to take small, itty-bitty steps in everything we did. People would say, “Gosh, how do you find so much patience in working with her?” MoMo was an enigma to me, so I looked deeply behind her actions and reactions which all seemed to start from her FEAR of things in life.

Some common synonyms of enigma are mystery, problem, puzzle, and riddle. To get to the point, enigma applies to utterance or behavior that is very difficult to interpret.

Being with MoMo for the past year has definitely made me into a more compassionate and understanding human being. The biggest reward is seeing a dog with no confidence in herself into a sweet and happy dog who found a way to trust human beings and regain hope in life.

Let me share with you the things MoMo and I learned from each other.

MoMo: Here are the things I learned from Mom Kay.

Going pee on the grass is an ok thing to do. 

Going up the stairs is not as scary as I thought. Why did I put up such a fuss?

Sleeping on a soft blanket feels better than sleeping on a cold cement floor.

All men aren’t bad, some are nice. 

When someone touches my head, it doesn’t mean they’re going to hurt me.

It’s ok to come into the kitchen to eat dinner, I’m a member of the family.

It feels good to be hugged and touched.

Toys are fun to play with, even though the squeaky noise is scary.

It’s fun to run and catch balls in the park with other dogs.

“Sit and Stay” earns me rewards.

Kay: Here are the things I learned from MoMo:

Understand that those bad memories cannot be erased and forgotten.

If I want to earn her trust, I need to be patient.

Practice empathy, not sympathy (Don’t feel sorry, try to understand).

Never use force, wait until she wants to do it, even if I have to wait for a long time.

Take time to play on the floor with her every night and have fun!

Walk, walk, walk, every day and enjoy the fresh air.

Cook healthy homemade meals to nourish her health.

Always talk with a soft voice with a smile on my face.

Ask questions and learn to listen.

Say “Good Girl!” when she does anything good…Never say “Bad Girl!” when she doesn’t mind.

It was hard work every day, but this is what I know for sure…I learned way more from MoMo than what she learned from me. Take a look at this drawing of me and MoMo. So true!

MoMo and I want to thank you for your support. Having you come along with us on our journey gave us the energy we needed to face each day with confidence and hope. MoMo is having some health issues as a result of the bad treatment she received in Korea but we are working on it with her Vet.

It’s nice to know that friends are rooting for us!

MoMo and I’d love to hear about you and your favorite furry friend. Any stories?

Ode to World Peace Part 2

Do you know the story of Sadako who folded 1,000 paper cranes in the hope of a world where people can co-exist in peace and harmony? Her wish was that countries make a promise that they will not engage in nuclear attacks on human beings.

I hold Sadako’s story close to my heart and read it often to keep my spirits strong. What can I do? What I can do is share her poignant story and teach others to make beautiful paper cranes that deliver a strong message of peace.

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Sadako was two years old when the United States dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on Aug. 6, 1945. Although she survived the horrific attack, Sadako developed leukemia from the radiation diagnosed as atomic bomb disease. 

While in the hospital, Sadako began folding paper cranes. She was inspired to do so by the Japanese legend that one who created a thousand origami cranes would be granted a wish. Her wish was to live in a peaceful world. 

She exceeded her goal 1,000 cranes and died having folded 1,400 birds. The Japanese government continues to gift Sadako’s cranes to countries around the world as a token of her unfulfilled dream for world peace.

The Art of Making Beautiful Paper Crane Ornaments

Come and play like a child and fly like a bird … all for a good cause.

The cost of this workshop is only $30. Proceeds will be donated to American Humane to rescue and care for the injured and abandoned animals in Ukraine.

My passion is to share my love of making things with my hands and help you to release your creativity and inspiration for positive thinking.

What could be more rewarding and peaceful than to paint and fold beautiful Peace Cranes during this time of disturbing world affairs? You will make your own style of birds where you express your hope for world peace. What meaningful ideas will come out of your head and translate onto your folded cranes?

You will feel so good to have your peace crane near you every day to remind you how little things and little messages can give us renewed energy to fight for peace in our world. You can also give them away as gifts to others or sell them to raise money for your favorite peace organization.

You can use whatever art supplies you have. How to assemble your needed supplies such as magazine papers, watercolors, crayons, etc. will be delivered to your inbox after you register. Can’t attend? No worries, a video replay will be sent to you.

The Art of Making Beautiful Peace Cranes (Zoom Workshop with Kay)

Date: Saturday, May 21

Time: 10:00 AM

The cost of this workshop is only $30. Proceeds will be donated to American Humane to rescue and care for the injured and abandoned animals in Ukraine.

Can’t make it? No worries. A replay of the workshop will be mailed to you.

Please join me. Together we will raise funds to help injured and displaced animals in Ukrane.

Register Here.

Sound of War…Again

Hello Friends, checking in to see how you are doing. I hope the coming of longer days and sunlight is helping you to feel refreshed and hopeful about our future. This early morning, as I look out the window in front of my desk, I see birds fluttering amongst the tree branches and a man taking his dog for his morning walk. I also see crows on the ground looking for their breakfasts. I appreciate the joy of watching these simple things and realize how precious everything and every minute in life is.

I don’t know how many of you know this but I wrote a memoir, Keiko’s Journey, a story of me growing up after World War II in Kyushu, Japan. I’d like to share Chapter One of that book with you. This story will be published as an article in the North American Post in a few weeks, as it is appropriate for the viewers as another atrocious war is taking place in Ukraine. The Editor asked me to draw a watercolor picture of the scene in this chapter so I did.

This is a scene where my older friend Mari is leading me down the hill as the loud noises from the sirens are warning us that American planes are over our head and we must head to the bomb shelters.

Please watch is book trailer video I made for my book, Keiko’s Journey.

Here is Chapter 1 of my book.

Chapter 1: Siren

If you are interested in purchasing Keiko’s Journey to read the rest,

purchase it here.

Thank you for reading my story. Let’s share our stories and experiences. Do you know of people who has gone through the atrocities of war? War is one thing that changes everyone’s lives instantly. Many are left behind to cope with their painful memories of the atrocities of war. Let’s continue to pray and preserve unity and peace.

Ode to World Peace

Hi, I just want to reach out to you today.

I know how heavy the recent days have been for all of us.

I’m sure that thoughts like, what can we do, how can we help, and how to make sense out of it… made us feel so helpless and despondent.

I too have been feeling so sad for Ukraine’s people and the world for having to take on this unjust fight.

It’s hard to stomach that people in Ukraine are putting themselves on the line to save their freedom and we in the U.S. have been fighting over masking.

I remember reading something like this…

. “If we feel sad and lost, we can still show up by sending our voices out through creativity”.  

This is what I believe:

Creativity is powerful… when they’re shared with others, your feelings can be understood, and it helps others to understand their own feelings.

When we sit down and make something with our hands, it calms our nerves and will bring joy to our hearts.

When we send our gifts to others, it can bring understanding, the feeling of peace, and renewed enthusiasm to their day.

I recorded a little video tutorial, “Birds for Peace”.

I’d love for you to watch me draw and paint a flock of birds, flying for peace. I’m planning to make six cards and send them to people that need their spirits lifted during this difficult time. Painting repeat designs are simple, meditative, and calming. Come and paint with me.

I encourage you to make something with your hands. It doesn’t matter… make what brings you joy. The powerful part of your hand-made gift, if given, is that it can bring joy to someone who needs love, support, and encouragement during this difficult time.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away”. -Pablo Picasa-

I’d love to hear about your ideas on how to spread peace in our world. Please write it in the comment section below.

To Go Forward, Look Back at 2021

Are you looking forward to a great year, filled with joy, actions, and great relationships? Like you, I’m certainly ready for a good year. As I look back at 2021, I had a feeling that what I did so passionately didn’t seem to make much difference in helping people get to a greater place in life.

So I studied my Ikigai chart, trying to figure out what my Ikigai is…the reason why I get up in the mornings. Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy secret to living a long, happy, purpose-filled life. Here’s how it works:

IKIGAI

  1. DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
  2. DO WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT.
  3. DO WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS.
  4. DO WHAT YOU CAN BE REWARDED FOR.

Watch my video to find out how I finally figured out “DO WHAT YOU CAN BE REWARDED FOR”. It’s surprising, how I found my answer to the important question.

Now I feel completely rewarded for the work I’ve done and ready to make more exciting and worthwhile plans for 2022. Do you want to come with me?

I made a video of all the wonderful projects I made with my wonderful members of the Artful Giving Community in 2021. Please watch this video and I think you will agree that we all got a lot out of working together to create these wonderful art projects and gifted them to family, friends, community and the world.

Do you want to hear more about this wonderful community of like-minded people, making things with their hands? Check it out here: https://bit.ly/3rFY8iX You can join now at a reduced price of only $15 per month.

January, Here We Come!

Happy New Year and let’s begin the adventure!

I wanted to welcome the New Year, 2022 with a positive and joyful mindset. The question I asked myself was, “What do I feel grateful for?” Ask yourself the same question and I can guarantee that you will not be able to write them all on one sheet of paper. Right?

This past year has been a challenge for all of us. Nobody knows exactly what will happen in 2022. As I write this, a new variant is causing numbers to spike again. What I do know for sure is that we are capable of adapting, coping, and thriving with these many changes TOGETHER.

To begin the new year, I thought it would be appropriate for me to pull one of the cards from my Magical Mindshifts card deck. I published this card deck two years ago but still review them regularly to keep my mindset going straight. I hope this card will help you to face some of the unforeseen changes that may come your way.

Balance

The wind’s direction can change at any time without notice.

Your task: Walk lightly, but always maintain your balance. By standing firm, you know that you are now prepared to withstand the shaky ground or storm that will eventually come your way.

Your AHA! Moment: You remain standing while many fall.

Magical Mindshifts

Ignite Your Inner Power. Build a Life and Business You Love.

A limited number of my Magical Mindshifts card decks are available. If you would like to have a set of your own, you can purchase here. Kay’s Artful Giving Shop.

This morning, I got up early, can you believe 5:30 AM? The reason for this is because I have many traditions that I still follow from my childhood days, while growing up in Kyushu, Japan. I think the reason why I got up so early was because I was motivated and inspired to follow the “To Do” list my mother made for me every year. You can read about my New Year “To Do” list in the article below.

Childhood Memories…

I drew and painted this watercolored picture of me playing the Hako-Ita (new year’s game). I loved batting the feathered target back-and-forth with my neighborhood friends.

The story I wrote, Embracing Childhood Memories as We Step into the New Year will be published in the North American Post news in their January issue, but I want to give you a head start. Please click here to read this poignant story and learn a valuable lesson on how to unload all the old stuff as we step into the new year.

Embracing Childhood Memories as We Step into the New Year  By Kay Hirai

I know that you have many memories of your New Year’s traditions that you were taught as children. I’d love to hear them so please write them in the comment section below.

A BIG THANKS TO YOU! You have been part of my community for a long time…you helped me to celebrate the publications of my books, you attended my business and art workshops, you purchased my hand-made gifts, you supported my philanthropy projects, and you read my blogs and gave me feedbacks. I couldn’t have done any of these without your support and encouragement. I look forward to bringing more stories, workshops, and creativity into your life in 2022!

A Season to Work on Transformation

I have a question for you. How do you feel, when you change something plain and useless into a beautiful little art treasure that you can enjoy for yourself or gift it to someone special in your life? 

This is something that I’m passionate about. I spot something around my house and try to see it, not as how it looks now but how it can become. 

Some of my favorite things I use for my make-by-hand projects are kleenex boxes, cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, and brown grocery bags. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of self-worth that I am doing a small thing to take care of our earth.  And when I succeed in creating something I love, I want to share my ideas and skills – to help uleash the pent-up creative energy in others.

Some people say, “Oh no, that’s not me. I don’t have a creative bone in my body. My mind doesn’t work that way”. My answer? I believe creative energy won’t flow until you start doing something. So it will never flow if you don’t get your hands into creative projects that are simple and fun.

I invite you to attend my upcoming zoom workshop, “Cute Holiday Adornments”.

Saturday, December 7 – 10:00 AM (PT)  on Zoom. Can’t attend? No worries, a replay video will be sent to you. 

Come, get your hands into making adorable holiday stuff. I guarantee that it will be fun plus your creative energy will flow, getting you ready to step into the holiday season with a positive attitude!

All you need are cereal or kleenex box, crayons (or any other coloring tools you have around your house. No need to draw because I’ve created templates for you to follow. When you sign-up for this workshop,  you are making a donation of $35. to help a great animal rescue organization, “Ginger’s Pet Rescue” where thousands of animals (from around the world) have been saved and given a second chance in life.

Register now. Only two days are left before the workshop.

Register here 

I can’t hardly wait to have fun with you!