2022 Free Printable Holiday Tags and Mini Gift Wraps

Can December 16th still be considered early December? No. It cannot. I erroneously believed and declared that I would have these holiday printables for you many, many days ago, but here we are. Let’s not dwell on excuses or explanations, though. If you need last minute tags and mini gift wrapping paper (ideal for tiny presents — jewelry, perhaps?), I got you.

I’ve designed some fun ones, which I hope will come in handy. Lately I’ve been really, really, really loving the Procreate app and have been playing around to see if I can make my digital watercolors look like the real deal (not that digital painting isn’t real — it’s just a different medium). I’ve sprinkled in some traditional watercolor illustrations amongst the digital ones. Can you tell which is which? I’m actually having trouble differentiating them myself.

For your merry-making and gifting pleasure, simply click on the image to download the PDF file. As always, I recommend printing the tags on card stock or sticker paper or textured inkjet paper like this one. If your printer has a borderless option, please select it; otherwise, you’ll have a 1/4″ border for the wrapping paper, which isn’t too big a deal. I tried to create some designs that could be used all year-round, just because I’m a practical gal and like to have options.

I will one day round up all the tags and wrapping papers I’ve designed and posted on this blog over the years, but if you’re looking for more options, please search on “holiday tags” and a whole slew of them should pop up!

Anyway, here are the 2022 holiday printables (click on the image to download):

TAGS

 

MINI GIFT WRAPS

Alright. That’s it for me in terms of 2022. What a year! I am looking forward to some R&R, and other than a couple of short posts for Patreon, I will log off from the online world to allow for some much needed rejuvenation. I’m going to hang out with my fam, eat some good food, read lots and lots of books and paint up a storm in Procreate! Oh, and I’ll squeeze in some sewing too. Sounds divine.

I am thinking of you all with a heart brimming with appreciation and a sense of wonder. We’ve made it to the end of another year — this alone is cause for celebration! 

Sending you so much love and wishing you the most glorious holiday season and the loveliest start of 2023! I’ll be back at the end of January. Stay cozy, my friends.

 

2022 Advent Calendar

Happy end of November! Did you have a gratitude-filled holiday weekend? Mine was good and hearty and on the quiet side.

It’s my personal tradition to work on K’s advent calendar around this time of year, and I’m almost done. Because I know that K has zero interest in my blog, it’s safe to share some images here. 

As per usual, I wanted to use what I have on hand. Remember my Swedish tracing paper flower advent calendar? This one is a similar concept, though far less complicated. I am in possession of multiple rolls of Pellon 830 interfacing, which is very similar to STP, and it came in handy for these fluttery “ornaments.” I thought about getting some glow-in-the-dark paint, but ended up experimenting with two different gold watercolors instead. One is more bronze-y than the other.

I didn’t bother with templates or anything. I like the organic quality of the wings and each butterfly is different. With a little double-sided tape magic, it was a breeze to assemble these. Oh, the antenna’s are fake flower stamens left over from past craft projects.

The idea is that K can hang each butterfly on the Christmas tree each day (we’ll be getting our tree some time today). Simple. Fuss-free with a tiny touch of bling. I like it!

Another nice aspect was that I only needed 18 days’ worth since there are some travel plans in the works and there’s no need for a count-down the last week before Christmas.

 

Alright, I’m going to go finish the advent calendar!! My aim is to position them on a wall with the loops hidden — like a flurry of winter flutterbies! Originally I wanted to wrap each butterfly in crepe paper. It would have been cool for K to unfurl each “cocoon” like a surprise ball, but my prototypes looked…not charming and evocative of turds, let’s just say. I’m glad I decided to simplify, though I was digging the whole metamorphosis conceptualization.

If you’re curious, here are all the calendars from the last 10 years:

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

I’ve been painting/designing some free printables for you, but I’m not quite done so I’ll be back in early December with the digital goodies. Take good care, my friends!

Wait, is it already Halloween?

October. Oh, how this month felt like it was kidnapped by pirates, torn asunder and swept away into roiling, thundercloud-studded seas. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. Basically, I have no idea where the time went. And these pirates that I drew and made into a repeat pattern seem awfully adorable and incapable of any kidnapping.

Year after year, October continues to be the busiest month full of deadlines for me. How’s your October been?

I’m currently smack in the middle of preparing for the next round of Creativebug classes, and that’s been my main focus for the last month. I totally phoned it in with K’s Halloween costume and resorted to a hyper-speed shopping trip at a local thrift store. One plaid pleated skirt, one white button-down shirt and one blue blazer later, the Rory (of Gilmore Girls fame) costume was complete. We have zero spooky decorations, not even a tiny pumpkin in sight. It’s safe to say that I’ve been a Halloween grinch.

We were at one of K’s volleyball games last week, and the sound system blared holiday music. Holiday music!!! Pre-Halloween! I was very confused. I remember the ancient times when fa-la-las could be heard only after Thanksgiving. I’m starting to sound more and more like a crotchety old person, aren’t I? Don’t get me wrong, I love the end-of-the-year festivities, but mid-October seems a tad much to get the holiday spirits jumpstarted. I’m pretty sure that my stress level spiked up as the first notes of Jingle Bells filled the gymnasium.

Anyway. Enough of that. I am going to jump back into Creativebug preparations and will be back next month with some downloadable goodies! Hope you all have a delightful Halloween!

Sumo Colors + Sumo Shapes!

Banzai, banzai!! More darling sumos in the house — or in sumo parlance: more sumos in the heya! “Heya” or “beya” means “room” in Japanese and also refers to the sumo stable, which is sort of like a team.

SUMO COLORS and SUMO SHAPES have officially flown from the printer’s coop and are flapping about in the world. I am deeply, deeply in love with these books (okay, I say that about every one of my books, but it’s always true).

I’m thrilled that School Library Journal gave the latest additions to the Little Sumo series glowing reviews, and Sumo Colors even got a star (stars, I hear, are a very good thing)! My dream is for every school and general library to have a copy of all the sumo books.

Here are the reviews:

SUMO COLORS
PreS-K: A merry troupe of sumo wrestlers traipses through a landscape inspired by the iconography of feudal Japan. Soft washes of color depict a carriage ride past a red shrine, a tea ceremony in a green garden, a boat ride over a blue ocean, and a picnic under a pink sunset. Each page features the English name of a color, as well as its Japanese name, both written in hiragana or katakana characters and transliterated into the Latin alphabet. VERDICT: A treat for the eye and an early primer on Japanese vocabulary. Recommended for all collections.

SUMO SHAPES
PreS-K: An energetic band of sumo wrestlers occupies a series of abstract vignettes highlighting various geometric components of sumo culture. The inspired choices include oval fans, pentagonal houses, and crescent bowls of stew. Each page features the English name of a shape, as well as its Japanese name, both written in hiragana characters and transliterated into the Latin alphabet. VERDICT: An additional purchase offering a delightful early primer on Japanese vocabulary and culture.

Hooray!

From beginning to end, working on these board books has been pure joy. Look at how cute they all are:

SUMO COUNTING | SUMO OPPOSITES | SUMO COLORS | SUMO SHAPES

I love that every book in the Little Sumo series incorporates Japanese words in a rather unexpected, lively way and offers up glimpses into the life of a sumo wrestler. I’m a sucker for fun educational components; I believe that people learn best when they’re entertained and/or engaged with the content.

With the publication of these books, I’ve reached a huge milestone — I’ve produced 10 books in collaboration with Sasquatch Books and Little Big Foot. 10!!!!!! My mind is blown.

These sweet board books make delightful gifts and would be a fantastic addition to a child’s bookcase. Who knew that sumos could be so adorable? Purchase your copies today anywhere books are sold and learn some simple Japanese words and fascinating sumo culture! Interested in a signed copy? Signed copies of all of my books are available at Queen Anne Book Company — if you’d like personalization, please email the bookstore and I’m happy to pop on over to the shop to do so. Thank you!!

P.S. I’ll post a little flip-thru of the newest books on Instagram later today — SO happy with the way they turned out!

Encouragers + Sewing Love Launch Day Giveaway! {CLOSED}

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed and I will be contacting the winner directly. Congrats Laura!

“Books are a bad idea. You aren’t making any money. You should get a real job.”

That’s what my husband told me when I published my first book and has repeated a variation of these words over the years as I diligently worked on building a career as an author and illustrator, fueled by copious amounts of hope and coffee. I’ve wanted to make books since I was a wee girl. I used to inhale Japanese comic books ever since I could read, and by the time I was 12, I’d checked out and finished every book in the kid’s and “Youth” sections of my tiny local library (YA wasn’t a thing in 1980s Los Angeles). Multiple times. I am always, always reading a book, even if it’s half a paragraph at the end of a long day. Books taught my daughter to read and write and introduced her to a vast universe of imaginary and real wonders. I understand the magic of books. The importance of them. Books have saved my life on more than one occasion.

My husband’s words — uttered from a place of concern and love, to be sure — were a blow, and I did want to give up on many occasions. Even my editors told me how rare it is for authors to make a living, especially if none of the books ever hit the New York Times bestseller chart. I tell you this because I have found that if you have big, audacious dreams, the people closest to you will often discourage you. It’s surprising, but it’s partly to protect everyone involved from too much disappointment and partly because making dreams come true is not actually supposed to happen when you’re “realistic.”

Despite his words, I kept going. I keep going and keep seeking the alchemy that words and images can create in the human soul. Today, on August 23rd, 2022, my wonderful publisher Sasquatch Books is releasing my eighth book, Sewing Love: Handmade Clothes for Any Body.

I have dedicated this book to my dear, dear friend Annelieke, who has continually filled my doubt-ridden brain with words of encouragement.

For every 10 discouraging comments, I have received perhaps one word of support. I don’t rely on other people to hoist me up at all, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s nice to hear, “You can do this! I believe in you!” What makes Annelieke particularly special is that we’ve never met nor have we spoken to each other. She has quietly and staunchly supported me through many of my side projects, and over the years we’ve exchanged innumerable emails. We are penpals of the modern era and our friendship is proof that genuine connections can be forged through the internet. I love her so much and can’t put into words how much I appreciate her. I have turned to her to share some of my lowest moments and my biggest celebrations, and she has been a font of wisdom and an everlasting encourager. I wish for everyone to have an Annelieke in their life.

I would be remiss not to mention that the husband has given up on me ever getting a “real job.” He now says (with a resigned sigh), “maybe your books will work?” He says that I’m talented and tenacious and that though I’m terrible at making money, I have other wonderful qualities. I’ll take it. On my end, I have no intention of giving up on becoming a book-maker and beautiful-things-creator that also earns what is considered a “real” living (what is that anyway?) — I keep going.

Anyway! To celebrate this book that I am so, so proud to have co-created with many magical folks, let’s do a giveaway, shall we? You will discover that I have subtly woven the theme of not giving up into this book about accepting our amazing bodies as is. Although “self -love” is very much a buzz word these days, I believe it’s at the heart of a well-lived life and is quite possibly the hardest thing to do. Tenacity is required. And I am hoping that through the book, I can be the Annelieke-like figure to encourage you to create slopers and gorgeous clothes that delight you.

As a bonus, I’ve created a measurement form PDF to make the process easier. Worksheets and sections that can be filled in are avoided if possible in books, because libraries don’t like them (borrowers end up marking up pages), which is why this form is not included in the book. You can download the PDF here or in the sidebar. Keep in mind that this is an evolving document and my goal is to keep improving it to make it as effective as possible. 

I will be offering up one copy of Sewing Love for this giveaway and to enter….hmmm. Any comment will do, but I’d love to know if there’s something you’ve not given up on, something that you keep being/doing because it’s important and meaningful to you. International entries are welcome as always, and the giveaway will be open until next Friday, September 2nd! Good luck, good luck!

P.S. I’ll be doing a separate giveaway on Instagram, and you can also see some behind-the-scenes posts there!