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!

Happy Friday + Making Magazine DOTS + GIVEAWAY [CLOSED]

Happy Friday! Just popping in to sing praises for the latest issue of Making Magazine: DOTS! It’s been so fun contributing to this gorgeous, gorgeous publication, and Carrie and her team at Making are top notch.

photo by @maddermade

My project for the DOTS issue is a diminutive Sashiko-embroidered pin cushion inspired by a meditation pillow. Form, function and Ommmmm — doesn’t get better than that, right?

I sewed several iterations to get the project to match up with my mental picture, so my little sewing area is fully stocked with many, many versions of this pin cushion. Rather than add more to my already robust collection, I’m wondering if anyone would like one of these charmers? I wish I could also include a copy of the magazine, but alas, I have just the one copy and you will have a hard time prying it from me, I love it so. It’s filled with beautifully well-rounded (the theme is, after all, dots) sewing, baking, knitting and even ceramic projects. And that cover!! The texture of the shibori-dyed textile comes through so realistically, I rubbed the cover to see if was in fact made out of fabric. To subscribe to Making magazine, check it out here.

photo by @maddermade

If you’d like a meditative pin cushion, please leave any comment, though I’d love to know what your favorite calming and restorative activity is. The giveaway will be open until next Friday, May 26th and I’ll select three winners at the end of the day. International folks are always welcome, of course. Good luck!!

Have a relaxing weekend, all!

Still painting away
My deadline is coming up
Lather, rinse, repeat*

*”Do you ever not have a deadline?” a friend asked me recently. I realized that the answer is, “no”. But that’s okay. I’m a fan of deadlines; otherwise, I would get nothing done!

Happy Friday + Randomness

Happy Friday! We’re not into fancy trips. Or long ones. Last weekend, we went on one of our typical low-budget micro-vacations in Central Washington, and it fully reinforced how much we enjoy these.

We stayed in a town called Roslyn made famous via Northern Exposure, a cult TV classic from the 90s. Whenever we go to Roslyn, we avoid the Suncadia resort and stay at the Huckleberry House. We actually thought that the Huckleberry House had closed its doors to business, but I recently got an email announcing a spring special so I delightedly booked two nights.

We had so much fun! The restaurants are excellent, and we filled our bellies with homey deliciousness at the Red Bird Cafe and Roslyn Cafe; M and I also thoroughly savored the great coffee at Basecamp Books and Bites. I really love that combination of coffee shop + book shop, and if I ever retire early (M would argue that I have, in fact, already done that) it’s something I’d consider doing. M and K went biking while I took a walk and familiarized myself with their literary inventory — it’s small, but a well-curated one with an emphasis on outdoor activities and nature topics.

Though 30 long miles away, it was worth the drive to hit up the Ellensburg community pool recreational swim time. We laughed so hard trying to play water basketball, I snorted up an unhealthy amount of water. M forgot his “Dapper Dan” as he calls his hair grooming product, so we somehow ended up at a dollar store on a hilarious quest for some sort of Dapper Dan. He found some sketchy-looking hair gel and K scored some hairbands (exhibit A in photo above). There were 10 headbands in a pack, so each one effectively cost a dime. It made me wonder what you can buy with a dime these days. I feel like I wrote that exact same sentence before. Early Alzheimers… At any rate, after dinner, we cozied up in the well-appointed room filled with worn antiques/vintage furniture and watched Boss Baby on M’s laptop. Yep, un-fancy.

We settled ourselves into the comfortable old sofas in a lounge area and played board games and read a lot during down time. About a year ago, I got this digital book subscription for K that she LOVES. It’s called Epic, and for 5 bucks a month, K can read as many books as she wants from the thousands upon thousands available in digital format. This includes award-winning books and comics and even audio books. Similar to Amazon, the app will list books that she might like based on previous selections, and she adores this feature. I like that I get a weekly report on how much she’s reading as well as what she’s reading, and her numbers are impressive. She clocks in about 500 to 700 minutes a week. And this is just for Epic. She’s a true bookworm and loves good ole analog books too. All this to say, in the photo above K is using the Epic app on my iPad Mini. These are the times when I think technology is awesome.

We were back in Seattle by early afternoon on Sunday, totally refreshed. Ahhhhh. Yet another successful micro-vacation! There will be more in the future!

Have you been on a trip recently? Or do you have plans for an upcoming out-of-town adventure?

Time for me to go back to illustrating. Have a fantastic weekend, my friends! And Happy Mother’s Day to all you mamas out there!

The micro-vacays
have become my specialties
I love to plan them

Happy Friday + Little K Turns TWO

By Sasha

Happy Friday, my friends! It’s Thursday afternoon as I type this and it’s hailing. Massive amounts of raindrops are thrashing against our window panes that don’t seem up to the task and thunder and lightning and sunshine are adding to the confusing yet exciting mix. By the time you read this (if it’s Friday), I will be headed out of town with M and K for a little weekend getaway in Roslyn. Let’s hope the weather gets better.

Left: By Dylan // Right: Ines

So! May 5th is not only Children’s Day but Little Kunoichi’s 2nd birthday!! How amazing. I am currently up to my eyeballs with sketches and illustrations for my next book that will be published in 2018, and yesterday, an advance copy of Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet arrived on my doorstep. I still have a hard time believing that this is all happening.

Left: S.C. (this is debatable) // Right: Poppy

I did not get my act together enough for a fun giveaway or celebratory post, but I wanted to acknowledge this special day somehow. I remembered that last January I had taught a watercolor class to a group of elementary school kids and about a month later, I received a big envelope stuffed with wonderful thank you cards from the kids. I became very emotional – they’re brilliant, just brilliant! What better way to commemorate my very first book than by sharing these special cards inspired by Little K?

By Beth

There were so many cards and because the names weren’t all entirely legible, I chose a few that I could decipher and that I felt captured the energy of the kids.

Left: Valentine // Right: Max

I love how fearless children are about making art. How do we allow them and encourage them to keep that fearlessness?

It’s been a dream-like adventure since Little K flew out into the world. I don’t think my self from five years ago would recognize my current self that is whistling away and drawing cute ninjas and samurais. I feel like I’ve somehow regained a tiny little bit of fearlessness. I like it.

Left: Leo // Right: Coral

Anyway, I’ll be celebrating away this weekend (and sketching/illustrating like crazy) and I hope you all have a terrific one too!

Two years go by quick
There’s much to appreciate
And that includes you*

* I don’t think it’s possible to thank you enough. Although my postings are far less frequent, I’m so grateful that you stop by and preserve that sense of community that I love so much. Thank you, thank you!