Happy Friday + Randomness



I’m craving stillness
to think thoughts, read books, to sew
and sow and slow down

These images are outtakes from the book (the top one was styled by Rachel, the one below by Allie; both were shot by me) — you may be seeing a lot more outtakes since there were so many images I wanted to include that didn’t make the cut.

Anyway, wishing you all a slower-paced weekend (unless you want a faster-paced, exciting one, of course)!


P.S. I’m getting a serious case of wanderlust reading all the comments from the giveaway. Thank you for the inspiration!

P.P.S. I’ve actually been reading a bit more lately and just finished this book — hilarious and thought-provoking! I’ve now moved onto this one and and am loving it so far! Makes me want to move to Paris.

Preparing for a Sashiko Demo


I’m no expert at Sashiko stitching, so it’s a little laughable that I’ll be teaching the craft this Saturday, but I’m rolling with it. It’s a FREE event, Seattle friends, if you want to drop on by the Kinokuniya Bookstore at 2pm on June 11th. I’ll be joined by my writer/editor/journalist friend Tamiko. Imagine a cooking demo, but with indigo fabric and Sashiko thread and needles instead of food– that’s the concept we’re working with, anyway. We’ll be making coasters and I think it’ll be sweet and casual and fun. I hope. I suppose it could also be weird and awkward and dull, but we’re all optimists here, right?

Copies of Sewing Happiness will be available and I’ll be doing a signing as well. I’m curious to see how it goes!!

As you can tell from my last few posts, I’ve been flitting about like an industrious bird, pecking away at my massive to-do list. But guess what?? After this Saturday, I am going to be so relaxed. I may not even post anything on this here blog for the next month to experience what it feels like to be completely disconnected from the internet and off the grid (we all know that would never happen; I’m too much a creature of habit). Anyhow, my big deadline has been met, I have virtually nothing on my calendar, and I can actually feel my innards decompressing. It’s glorious. Sewing might actually happen!!

Just a little more prep work to do for the Saturday event — be back Friday.

(Image is from the book. Photo by George Barberis)

A rather big announcement…


It was a jubilant and triumphant weekend. After months and months of preparing, hoping, sketching, querying, refining and negotiating, I received a confirmation: I will be publishing two more books with Sasquatch Books!!!

In fact, behind the scenes, I’ve already been working on book #3 (those pesky deadlines), but until the countersigned contracts and advance check were in my nervous, sweaty palms, it felt like make-believe and not at all truly true. And this past Saturday, I had a very happy mail day indeed. Of course I’d told my most trusted circle of friends and family members a while ago when discussions started, but I seem to have a hard time convincing myself that these things will actually materialize.


This image above is a little segment of the proposal I assembled for the 2-book deal. We’re making Little Kunoichi into a series of sorts, and the next one will be released Fall of 2017. Followed by another book in the Fall of 2018. I’m beyond grateful, especially for my editor who champions the ideas that I toss out willy nilly like errant spaghetti noodles, crossing my fingers that something will stick. And I’m thankful for you! Without this blog space, and without the AMAZING Furoku membership (the most awesome of awesomest groups ever) which gives me the mental and financial buffer that powers me through…well, I shudder to think what I would be doing. Most likely flipping burgers. No shame in that, sure, but oh, the grease stains!

“It’s not luck anymore, is it?” a good friend asked me when I told her the joyous book news. I don’t know — I still think lady luck and timing have significant parts to play, but I do hope that I’ve become a little more assertive and persistent compared to my past self.

I started this blog on July 16, 2012, almost exactly four years ago. As I published that first post, I told myself that I would do everything that felt right and would stay open-minded. Sometimes, the things I did troubled and puzzled the people around me, particularly those closest to me. Sometimes, I felt alone and very lost and a bit coo coo for cocoa puffs. Sometimes, I couldn’t believe I got to live this remarkable life. And that last part…those moments are increasing slowly, slowly, slowly.

Whew. It’s been an eventful year already! I hope you’ll be patient with me as I figure out how to juggle the multiple projects I have going on in the background, and I am yearning for some extended sewing time, but I’m doing little bits when I can. I look forward to sharing some sewing with you eventually.

The purple bouquet at the very top was actually a gift from a friend at the Sewing Happiness launch party, but it made me think of the cover of Little Kunoichi — I was looking at the various meanings ascribed to the purple hue, and the ones that jumped out at me were: creativity, mystery and magic. Yep. It all feels like mysterious creative magic to me.

Happy Friday + Giveaway [CLOSED]


Happy Friday! I got my translations done in time as well as a few other projects, and now I’m looking at one more big deadline hurdle, then I’m home free for a couple of months. I’m bursting with anticipation.

Anyway, while I duck my head down to get just a little bit more done, I wanted to kick off the weekend with another giveaway. We’re going full-on Japanese with this one. The little thread snippers are officially called itokiri hasami but every Japanese person I know calls them choki choki basami. Choki is an onomatopoeic word for the sound that the snippers make and basami is another way of saying hasami, which means “scissors”. A giveaway + a Japanese lesson, doesn’t get any better than that, right?


Moving along, people who know me well are aware that if you put any product in a test tube or glass vial, I’ll buy it. So obviously, I had to purchase this assorted hand sewing needle set that is this brand, though I mixed up the outer packaging so I’m not sure which particular set it is. The point is that I have way more test tubes filled with needles than I need, which sounds sketchy and somehow drug-related, I just realized. Regardless, they’re lovely needles, and I’m happy to pass along a test tube.


To enter the giveaway, any comment will do, but I’ve got summer vacation on my mind. Do you have fun plans for the coming months of summer (or winter if you’re on the other side of the globe)? We’re going to Michigan in July, and I’m wondering if I’ll have enough time and motivation to make a few things to fill out my anemic summer wardrobe. I hope so!

I’ll leave the giveaway open until next Friday, June 10th and will announce the winner the following Monday. International entries are always, always welcome. Good luck!

Have a great weekend, all! I leave you with the gems K offhandedly shared with me this week — so many morsels of verbal deliciousness:

“My thoughts,” K expressed,
“are like poetry bubbles”
and “love is magic”*

*What she actually said was, “Mama, you know that love is magic, right?” but that didn’t fit into my haiku.

Totally Teepee


Good morning, friends! I hadn’t been able to wrap my head around making plans for the long Memorial Day weekend, but by last Thursday evening, my projects were starting to look somewhat manageable so it seemed only fair that I try to add at least a little bit of fun. Luckily, K’s got initiative, and she had invited a friend for a Friday sleepover. I was able to get even more work done while K played with her buddy and on a whim, I booked a short Saturday/Sunday getaway for my family.


As you can see, we stayed in a teepee! The second image shows the one we actually slept in — it was called the hummingbird. There were four teepees total as well as cabins and a general camping area. The best part is that it was only a short 20-minute ferry ride away on Vashon Island, and though barebones (which is to be expected with a tee pee), it came with a fire pit and wooden risers on which to sleep. A flap at top can be widened to release the campfire smoke. I had only my iphone with me, so these shots aren’t awesome, but I like including the reference images. The widest riser even had a mattress (exhibit A below), and I appreciated how the conical structure had a very organic look.

teepee8 teepee4

The nearby “barn” had restrooms and a fully-functioning shower, as well as a kitchen and lounge area complete with a pool table and a Native American Indian statue next to a sparsely stocked vending machine. Everything was nicely maintained and the other campers/guests were very friendly yet respectful. Bonus: a jovial dog befriended K.

teepee5 teepee7 teepee3We excel at the hastily-planned-micro-vacation, and this was perfect. I booked the teepee and rental car Friday evening, and by early Saturday afternoon, we were unloading our sleeping bags and pillows onto the wooden risers (M refused to bring a pillow, citing his extremely rugged manliness).

Of course, our trips wouldn’t be complete without some sort of incident. M had spent some time in the barn chatting it up with another teepee renter and at about midnight, he tumbled into our sleeping quarters in a panic. I was already deeply asleep but the conversation between M and K woke me up with their barely contained whisper-shouts:

M: Something huge is out there!

K: Is it a moose?

M: …Maybe. I heard snorting. It could possibly be a bear.

K: Really?? I’m scared!!

M frantically tied the cords to close up and secure the small opening at the base of the teepee, though how that would prevent a gigantic moose or bear was beyond me. I had to finally hoarsely and groggily voice my opinion that it was probably one of the many deer that’s been roaming the area.

Though not entirely convinced, I must have sounded confident enough that they took my word for it, and we all went to bed. K announced the next morning that she had a dream about trudging up to the barn to go to the bathroom, and when she opened the door, a moose was sitting on the toilet. “It was a nightmare, Mama,” she explained when M and I couldn’t stop laughing (sorry honey).

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. She-who-adores-s’mores even roasted marshmallows over the small fire pit. M loved it so much he’s making calculations on how much moolah and time it would take to construct a teepee in our backyard…


Hope you’re enjoying your Memorial Day weekend to all the US folks — I’m taking Wednesday off to finalize a few things and will be back with a giveaway on Friday!

Speaking of giveaways, the winner of last week’s is Sherry, congrats!