Happy Friday + Sewing Happiness Anniversary

Happy Friday! Somehow I totally missed that this Wednesday was the one year anniversary of Sewing Happiness. A whole year! Yesterday, I attended a marketing meeting for Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet coming out in August and I’m currently working on the illustrations for the book that is slated to be released in 2018, so I’ve been a bit preoccupied…

It’s interesting because I think Sewing Happiness is doing just as well as Little Kunoichi in terms of sales, which I hadn’t expected. I was gently warned that because the book topic is so niche, it was a gamble. A crapshoot, if you will. Then again, every book is a gamble and nothing is ever guaranteed. All I know is that I love making books. Absolutely love it. I want to keep creating books and I want to keep improving my skills. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to do this, especially with Sasquatch Books/Little Bigfoot.

I received many wonderful responses for Little K, but maybe it’s because the content was so personal — the emails and feedback I’ve received from people who read Sewing Happiness have been so heartfelt and candid in astonishing and humbling ways. I’ve always been prone to tears, but it’s been a year of consistently wiping at tear-stained cheeks. Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out!

I often get asked, “What’s your favorite project from the book?” I have origami pillows and fabric buckets scattered all over my little abode, and the eco bags and knit dresses often come in handy, but the most used and loved item I sewed is the cross-back apron. Hands down. I made about ten of them for the book, and I wear one every day (I have them hanging on a hook in the kitchen and will grab one that strikes my fancy — I can even wear some of the kid’s versions because I made the straps adjustable).

A little behind the scenes: this image was cropped in for the final, and the bamboo stick was tied to a nail above the kitchen doorway on one end and a curtain rod on the other end…

I listen to a lot of audio books and podcasts, and the pocket that’s part of my many aprons is perfect for my phone. I wear it when I cook, do dishes, paint and sew. There’s something comforting about donning a long apron and puttering about the house. If you have the book, have you tried any of the projects?

See how the fabric was taped to the wall? This image didn’t make the cut, but I liked it.
I actually preferred my hair down, but the powers-that-be thought my messy bun was better so that’s the version that ended up in the book. K is holding extra sprinkles in her scooped left hand there.

I need to dive back into illustrating now, but I plan to do a round-up of projects I’ve seen from Sewing Happiness around the web and on Instagram. They’re so awesome!!

Have a delightful weekend, all!

A year goes by fast
Book babies are so lovely
J’adore my lit kids

P.S. The images are outtakes from the photoshoots. Styled by the incomparable Rachel and shot by the always fun George.

Happy Friday + Happy Easter

2017-easter

Happy Friday! I always start off with an ambitious list of things I’m determined to complete while my mom is here in Seattle. Since my mom is the world’s greatest babysitter (Homemade Japanese feasts and treats! Art lessons! Never-ending willingness to play board games and charades!), I feel a certain amount of pressure to get as much work done as possible.

And every time, I don’t even make a dent in my list and throw in the towel mid-week. As far as spring break goes, it’s been mellow and uneventful, and we’ve done a whole lot of nothing. The best kind of vacation.

The one thing I have been doing is staying up way too late reading books. For some reason, I’d taken a hiatus from fiction for many months, but now I’m back at it. I’ve become a little obsessed with Patrick Ness and his YA novels. I just finished The Rest of Us Just Live Here and the first book of the Chaos Walking Trilogy. So good. There’s a generosity of spirit and humor in his writing, even when supernatural beings are wreaking havoc and bloody violence. I also read Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which took me a while to get into, but I ultimately loved it. You really can’t go wrong with Rushdie. As you can see, I’ve got a strong fantasy/sci-fi theme going on. K wants me to write a middle grade/YA novel one day, so I’m calling this recent spate of binge reading research. K recommended this book from her own personal library, and I read it in a day. It left me heaving with sobs and utterly spent emotionally. No wonder I needed to escape to fanciful worlds in which animals talk.

My watercolor bunny up there doesn’t have much to say, however. It’s Easter in a couple of days, and I’ve run out of time to make K an outfit. Ah well, let’s hope that I’ll find my sewing energy once the school routine resumes next week. These are the patterns in my queue at the mo:

Naeh-Connection Undies for K

Aster Top by Colette Patterns (I have the PDF ready to assemble)

Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

Hunting Easter eggs
is not as thrilling for K*
But she’s a good sport

*This year, our neighbor’s tiny tot is joining our annual Easter egg hunt, so the challenge level will skew to the ridiculously easy side. When do kids officially stop wanting to look for candy-filled plastic eggs? It seems like K is pretty over it…

Happy Friday + Etsy Shop Update!

FoxToothPillow-main
photo by Carrie Hoge of @maddermade

Happy Friday, friends! I added another item to my etsy shop! For about a year or so, I’ve only had one item, and now I have a grand total of two items. At this rate, I might have three items by next year.

This fun little tooth fairy pillow I made for the FAUNA issue of Making Magazine is now available as a downloadable pattern/tutorial for purchase in my shop here. I think it’s pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.

Speaking of Making Magazine, I’ll have another project in the next issue coming out soon and here’s a little sneaky peek:

makingpincushion
photo by Carrie Hoge of @maddermade

I really enjoyed stitching this up!

Well, it’s spring break as of this evening and my mom is visiting from Los Angeles and there is much mischief and good times to be had. I’ll be back with some sewing next week!

I don’t have to cook
And K is taken care of
Ba-chan* visits rock

*Although “Ba-chan” technically means grandma, M and I now call her Ba-chan too. She loves to feed us and play with K, so it feels like a real vacation for me as well when she visits!

Happy Friday + Randomness

 

japenesegardencoloring

Happy Friday! A while ago, I created a coloring book for K’s school event and this was one of the pages of the book, inspired by the Seattle Japanese Garden. I’ve got all things Japanese on my mind because we are spending a couple of weeks in the land of the rising sun this summer. Super super super super excited!!

My predominant thought is: I have to make clothes! My wardrobe has been whittled down to nothing these days and the situation is quite alarming. I love planning sewing projects and I’m in research heaven at the moment for travel friendly clothes. Beth of Sew DIY is about to go to Japan (she may actually be headed there as I type this) and did a lovely feature of one of her travel outfits. Her choices are stellar. Because I’ll be braving the extreme heat and humidity of summer in Japan, my to-sew list will have to be a little different. I’m still in the beginning stages of perusing patterns, but any and all suggestions would be so appreciated! My grand hope is to take only a carry-on with me to keep it all light and easy. K will have her own carry-on and yes, I want to sew for her too!

I’m off to go research some more. Have a terrific weekend, all!

I will be sewing:
knits knits knits knits knits knits knits
and even more knits

 

P.S. Furoku members, the next edition will be delivered April 2nd :-)!

 

Happy Friday + Simplicity Tween Patterns

simplicity1510-outfit2

Happy Friday, my friends!

A little while ago, it occurred to me that K has officially outgrown the largest size (130cm) for most of the Japanese sewing books that I own. This was a momentous and startling occurrence. I’ve been sewing from these books for five years, which means I haven’t bought her (or me!) any clothes for 60 months. Wait, that’s not true. I did buy the first day of school outfit here.

Okay, K has received an embarrassment of riches in terms of hand-me-downs from neighbors and she’s worn the ready-to-wear outfits exclusively and exuberantly for the last couple of years. Mildly discouraged but also relieved that it gave me more time to work on books, I had stopped sewing for her.

But joy! K has a sudden renewed interest in handmade clothes and has been squeezing herself into the garb I stitched up years and years ago. It was time to get the sewing machine cranked up again.

simplicity1025-1510

So we hightailed it to the nearest JoAnn’s and found a bevy of tween patterns. I already had a few tween patterns on hand, but we were looking specifically for cardigan patterns. She has big, big love for cardis. And shrugs. And boleros. I’ll do another post on the New Look patterns that was part of the same haul, but these were the two Simplicity ones she liked: 1025 and 1510 — see what I mean about the cardis and boleros?

simplicity1025-fauxcardi1

The funny thing about this view C of Simplicity 1025 is that it’s actually a faux cardi. The shirt portion is cleverly stitched as part of the cardigan. I didn’t realize this until I started sewing and was perplexed by the instructions and stared at them for a while. Once I figured it out, it was easy to assemble. K loves it. Size 8 seems to be spot on for my petite, almost 11-year-old in all the Big 4 patterns.

simplicity1025-skirt

She also begged for the knit skirt, and chose all the fabrics from my stash. That’s my ironclad new rule: no new fabrics. Both were quick to sew, and though my stitches got a little weird around the neckline of the faux cardigan, I’m pretty sure that no one would actually notice.

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It looks sort of business-casual to me, but hey, she adores the outfit. That darn skirt hem keeps flipping up…

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By now, I’ve quietly surrendered all creative decisions to my budding fashionista, and her next request was for a “musical” outfit. For those of you that may not know, K is a musician. She plays the piano, guitar and cello and she also takes voice lessons. All by her own request. As a totally non-musical person who is tone-deaf myself, what she can do with all her instruments is miraculous to me.

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I actually made three boleros total from Simplicity 1510 (the other two disappeared in her laundry basket and I haven’t been able to get photos). The pattern is meant for wovens, but I used a sweater knit, and as per her instructions, I ironed on a big ole gold treble clef. It’s become a fave.

simplicity1510-outfit1

The dress is made out of quilting cotton and isn’t the best in terms of drape. The pleats don’t really show up much with dancing musical notes everywhere, but it’s a nice detail.

simplicity1510-dresspleats

Speaking of dancing, apparently this is the new “it” dance move called The Dab:

simplicity1510-outfit5

The Dab from behind:

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It’s all the rage at K’s school. My invisible zipper insertion technique needs some work, and I couldn’t get the waist seams to line up but again, chance of anyone noticing are slim.

simplicity1510-outfit4

I’ve noticed that the dress isn’t getting much wear compared to the boleros, but maybe it’s because she had wanted the maxi version and I just didn’t have enough fabric. She’s talking to M here and making him pinky promise something, but I can’t remember what it was about.

simplicity1510-outfit3

Alright, I feel like I’ve assailed you with enough photos for now. As you can see, I’ve been sewing fairly frequently. And I am LOVING it.

I’m not ready to figure out what to do with all the Japanese sewing books, but I will get around to it when the time is right. Baby girls seem to be popping up around me a lot lately, and I do get an outsized amount of pleasure from sewing itty-bitty clothes…

I’m off to sew some more! Have a delightful weekend everyone!

Tween sewing is good
Though our tastes aren’t quite the same
We connect through it