Happy Friday + Yet Another Giveaway: Sew Sweet Book

Happy Friday! I might as well just call this a giveaway blog at this point, no? I’m still playing catch up since returning from Japan and when I looked at the calendar, I shook my head in pure disbelief that over a week had already passed and that we are yet again traveling (this time domestically, to visit M’s family in Indiana).

But lucky you, I have a backlog of Tuttle Books I’m happy to give away and this one is a particularly good one. I would keep it, except K can no longer fit into the largest size. Besides, the patterns in this book are precisely the kind that I drool over but hold very little interest for her. I mean, look at those dresses and skirts!!

Anyhow, if you’d like to win a copy of Sew Sweet: Handmade Clothes for Girls, please leave a comment. As always, any comment is great, but perhaps you’d like to share a favorite summer dish? I love making pesto pasta because it’s easy and quick and refrigerates well. Who wants to slave over the stove in this heat, right?

OK! I will have to skip yet another couple of weeks due to travel, but will be back again on August 4th. Happy end of July, everyone!

So many flurries
of summer activities
Barely keeping up

P.S. Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet is launching SO soon on August 8th, and I have some fun stuff I’ve been working on to share soon!!

 

Happy Friday + Stylish Dress Book Giveaway! [CLOSED]

Happy Friday! We are in full-on countdown mode since we are boarding Delta airlines to head out to Tokyo tomorrow. I did, however, promise Tuttle Publishing that I would do a little review of their books before I left. Given my current state of being caught up in travel preparations, I’m cheating a little because I discovered that I had, in fact, already mentioned this Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori. At any rate, I now have an extra copy to give away.

The top I made from this book a couple of years ago is so well-loved and worn, I’m definitely planning on making another. I’m actually taking it with me to Japan, despite its current slightly raggedy state. That’s how much I adore it.

Interested in owning your own Stylish Dress Book? To enter the giveaway, please leave any comment though I’m always curious to know people’s dream destinations. I’m so so so so so so excited to go to Japan — it’s been over 20 years since I was there and I’m chomping at the bits to see how it’s changed/stayed the same!

While I’m away, I won’t be making any blog   updates or checking online much (though I might pop up on Instagram from time to time) so this giveaway will be open for a few weeks until July 10th, when I return. International entries are always welcome, and good luck! See you in a while, crocodile!!

Off to grand Japan!
Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka
and so many more*… 

*We’re hitting up quite a few places within Tokyo while we’re in Japan with K’s school and then we will be squeezing in visits to relatives and sightseeing in other prefectures after the school program portion is done. FUN!

P.S. Furoku members: the next edition is being scheduled to reach you on July 1st, but do let me know if any technical issues arise or you don’t receive anything.

Happy Friday + K’s Grad Dress

Happy Friday! I tell you, these days I can’t tell what’s up and what’s down with all that’s going on. There are daily events at K’s school, work deadlines are looming and it’s dawning on me that my dream of sewing up a whole new wardrobe for my Japan trip is of the pipe variety. We leave next week and the total number of things I’ve sewn for the upcoming Asian adventure: nada.

Luckily, I started early on K’s graduation dress and after many, many iterations it’s done a week ahead of schedule!

One word: silk. Yes, my friends, this little number is made out of floaty, slippery, hair-pullingly challenging silk. My mom gave me this fabric years ago, and I had visions of sewing up a summer tunic for myself at some point, but when I asked K to choose material for her graduation dress, she beelined for this one.

I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I am that she loves it. She found every muslin I attempted somehow lacking (I don’t blame her — I was trying to hack this pattern and this pattern together and it took me a few tries. You can see the progression on instagram here and here). In the end I drafted the entire dress pattern from scratch, which was a major learning curve for me given the asymmetry of the design.

The dress is fully lined with some rayon lining fabric, and I made my first ever thread belt loops using this video tutorial. It’s basically crocheting thread, and I had fun.

I thought I had all the kinks worked out and sewed up the bodice with the lining, only to find out that the sleeve was digging into her arm pit. It was a hairy moment since I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to enlarge the armhole without messing the whole thing up, but whew, it all worked out. The dress fits her perfectly and she’s happy as a clam.

The design was based off of this sketch that K so helpfully provided:

What do you think? The end result is pretty close to her sketch, right?

I was so immersed in the making of the dress that it didn’t fully hit me that I was, in fact, making a graduation dress. What a milestone! No more elementary school! Ack!! I’m not sure if I’m prepared to be the mom of a middle schooler…I am having HUMONGO feelings.

Back to preparing,
watch my baby grow,
begin packing for Japan

P.S. Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there!!

Happy Friday + Randomness

Happy Friday! I’m having one of those weeks when nothing I do seems to turn out well. Case in point: the above photo is a muslin I was working on for K’s graduation dress, but I messed up the invisible zipper insertion and then accidentally tore the very thin rayon fabric in a very bad way when I attempted to unpick the seams. Unsalvageable.

At least it was the muslin, though I was secretly hoping that she’d like it so much that I wouldn’t need to make the final version in an even more finicky, sheer fabric. Ah well, serves me right for trying to shimmy out of extra sewing.

There have been a slew of other less-than-successful sewing and illustration projects, but I’ll spare you the details.

On the bright side, the garden that K and my mom planted a couple of months ago is thriving. So exciting! I’d never even attempted planting anything in our backyard because until recently I believed that I had the blackest of thumbs, but it turns out that K is a diligent gardener and I’m not too shabby either.

We’ve been enjoying salads with fresh lettuce and spinach plucked from the backyard, and oh, they’re delicious. They planted peas, carrots, lettuce, spinach and basil, along with a bunch of wildflower and sunflower. The basil isn’t doing too hot, and we have yet to see an actual carrot or pea pod, but the rest are growing rather nicely. However, some serious weeding needs to happen…

I’m going to take the spate of failed projects as a sign to go have a relaxing weekend. And I will probably eat some more salads. That sounds like a good idea.

Although it eluded me this week, I’m wishing you a success-filled weekend!

Canoeing, soccer,
A friend’s grad party and more
Maybe not so chill…*

*Is it just me and do I write this every year, or is the month of June completely bonkers schedule-wise? My body seems to be rebelling against the frenzied activities and I’m having the worst allergy reactions ever. Did you know? Soaking black tea bags in hot water, letting them cool a bit and putting them on the eyes helps a ton with swollen lids.

 

 

Happy Friday + Hallelujah!

Happy Friday, my friends! I did it! I did it! I completed my rough art for the next book that’s coming out in 2018. Normally, I create digital rough art using only Photoshop brushes like these and these, but I wanted to try a little something different.

For this next book’s rough art, I used only black watercolor and I enjoyed it so much! It’s a different kind of challenge to paint with a single color to create various shades. Surprisingly, it took less time to hand paint than it does to do everything digitally. How could this be? I’m still scratching my head. That’s a bit of a sneak peek of the next book up there. It’s a continuation of the Little Kunoichi series and the ninja world is going to keep expanding.

Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet will be out on August 8th, which feels just around the corner. I’ll be doing a mini PNW book tour, so Portlanders: if you have recommendations for awesome places to stay and eat, I’d love to hear ’em!

What’s nice is that with each book, I’m learning from previous mistakes and developing a system that minimizes stress, so I don’t feel quite as drained after each phase. Hooray!

Now I have a slight respite until final art is due mid-September, so I’m going to go full hog in preparing for my upcoming Japan trip. We fly out June 24th! Because we’re traveling with K’s school, there’s so much paperwork involved…better get to it.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Painting bonanza
and loving each progression
book-making is FUN

P.S. Furoku members! The next edition has been delivered!