SUMO books giveaway [CLOSED]

Today is the birthday for my newest book babies SUMO COUNTING and SUMO OPPOSITES! I’m doing a little giveaway on Instagram, but in case you’re not on the ‘gram, I’m offering up the chance to win a set of these darling sumo books here on the blog.

These bright, cheery board books are ideal for babies, toddlers and beyond! I loved every moment of creating them. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment and I’ll select a winner this Friday, September 10th.

On IG, I asked about favorite seasons. If you would like something specific to comment about, how about a beloved book from your childhood? I gobbled up Japanese comic books and folk tales as a kid.

International entries are welcome, and I can’t wait to see who wins! Good luck!

SUMO COUNTING + SUMO OPPOSITES!

Wow, August just vaporized and I’m reeling from the fact that September will be upon us in a matter of hours. How are you, my friends?

I’m doing a quick check-in today for a couple of reasons:

  1. I wanted to say hello – August has been somewhat rough for me and my monthly ritual of updating my blog has a helpful, grounding effect. Though I’ve been pretty overwhelmed especially in the last week, there’s a chance that life will calm down very soon. Whew. My favorite autumnal season is just around the corner, and I’m excited to savor it. Things are starting to look up!
  2. I have new books coming out:

Oh my goodness, aren’t they CUTE?????? SUMO COUNTING follows a typical day of sumo wrestlers with little rhyming couplets. SUMO OPPOSITES is just that — opposite words, plain and simple. I did try to incorporate lots of Japanese cultural elements in the  illustrations for the OPPOSITES book too, though. Plus, there are Japanese words accompanying the numerals and English terms. I always love it when board books are informative and interesting for adults as well as for the littles, and I kept that in mind as I created these.

The official release date is next Tuesday, September 7th! They are available wherever books are sold (you can click on the book images on my sidebar or click here), and pre-orders are always awesome!

I am particularly in love with this spread from SUMO COUNTING (the most elaborate one):

The Japanese garden I painted is a mash-up of three local gardens: The Seattle Japanese Garden, Kubota Garden and Bloedel Reserve. All three are incredibly beautiful and it was such a delight to incorporate various aspects of the three gardens.

This is the opener for the SUMO OPPOSITES book:

I loved trying to balance the minimal and complex illustrations for the series.

So! I like to include fun extras whenever possible, and to celebrate the forthcoming launch of my adorable sumo guys, I designed a little repeat pattern, which can be used as gift wrap for small presents. Click here to download the printable PDF file.

I taped two sheets of the sumo paper to wrap both books. As you can tell, I’m very into blues and greens lately.

Here’s what’s even more thrilling: there are TWO more Sumo books in the pipeline! Like all of my kids’ books, the next two will be published through Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch Books. The entire set will be a great addition to any library, and these make excellent baby gifts. The best way to describe how I felt making these books is “joyful,” which was much appreciated since I was working on these during the height of the pandemic lockdown last year. I’m so grateful to have had these sumo books to keep me company during these uncertain times.

Yay! Please order these joy-boosting books for every baby/toddler you know :-)!!!

 

May Round-Up

Hello, my friends! Happy Memorial Day! How’s it going? May was such an exciting month for me. For the last couple of years, I’ve been giving tons of attention to my next sewing book, which has been postponed time and time again. The publication date has been pushed out once more to August of 2022 (most recently it was slated for Spring of 2022), but I’m gleeful because we completed the big photoshoot last week! I have a smaller photoshoot this upcoming week, and I’m avidly preparing for that right now, but the amount of mental space that’s cleared up since completing the photoshoot last week is staggering.

So many wonderful people have been involved with the book and I will do a proper and effusive acknowledgement of them all when it’s closer to publication date. It takes a veritable bustling town to get a book production chugging along! What you see above is a quick mock-up that I submitted for my book cover, but this idea didn’t make the cut.

I’m super proud of myself that I kept up my weekly sewing and illustrating amid the overflow of behind-the-scenes photoshoot goings-on. Sure, there was one week that I was sewing only for the photoshoot, but I figure that totally counts as weekly sewing.

I still have a little more to go to get ready for the upcoming photoshoot, so I’m going to sign off with a round up of May’s illos and sewing projects, but I will be back next month with some musings on turning 50-years-old. My birthday is in a couple of weeks and I have HUGE thoughts and feelings about it.

As always, I’ve included more info about each project in my Instagram feed.

ILLUSTRATIONS + SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNS:

 

 

 

WEEKLY SEWING:

This month was all about self-drafting patterns. I have a rather big goal for the rest of the year that I will share next time…

Wishing you all a lovely June! xo

April Round-Up

Hi, hi, hi! How are you, my friends?

April has been a packed month, and the countdown to the photoshoot for my next book has begun. I have 3 weeks to get all the prep work done, which involves a lot of sewing and figuring out props and coordinating schedules. I’m getting more and more excited!

As you can imagine, my days are full and will continue to be extra full for at least another two months as I wrap up all the details of book #8 (yes, #8!!!! I’ve published 3 kids’ books, 2 sewing books, and have 2 more kids’ books that are whirring through the printing press as I type this). So I’m keeping this blog post short, and let’s dive in!

I dipped my toes into sewing a little bit out of my comfort zone for the month of April:

Clockwise from top left:

Butterick 6024 in off-white handkerchief linen – Pintucks still intimidate me, but I’m getting better at ’em!

Tank top from Pattern Magic in pink batiste – I botched this one, but tried my best to salvage it

Lodo Dress by True Bias in a double-knit from JoAnn – Such a comfortable dress! I’ve worn it a few times already.

New Look 6556 in a bamboo/Spandex knit from Drygoods Design – A simple tee with a twist: asymmetrical hem and draped side. It reminds me of something that I’d seen at Anthropologie many moons ago.

Wattlebird Jumpsuit by Common Stitch Studio in a light weight reddish/brown twill – I’m not much a jumpsuit gal, but something about this design really appealed to me. It’s not teenager-approved (K thought it looked weird and hazmat-suit-esque), but I like it!

As always, you can see more details on my Instagram feed.

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Since the pandemic started, I’ve firmly established a daily art journaling habit and I’m noticing that I’m getting faster and faster at painting. Paradoxically, when I notice how rapidly I’m slapping watercolors onto paper, I try to deliberately slow down. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m turning 50 this year, and I just don’t have any desire to speed through life. I want to savor everything, you know?

Anyway, I had fun painting these:

 

I was lucky enough to contribute to DAWN, the newest edition of Making Magazine. I made cute little house shoes and here’s a quick snap of one of the many samples that I shipped to the good folks at Making:

These are so easy and quick to make, and the DAWN issue of MAKING is absolutely lovely.

Alright my friend, that’s a wrap for April and I hope to have some updates about the photoshoot or at the very least more sewing and watercolors to share next time! Have a wonderful month!!

 

 

Almost done with the testing phase…

Hello, my friends! How are you?

It’s a bright, blue-skied day here in Seattle as I write this. I have been running around town to make progress on the current book I’m working on, feeling more like a project manager than a writer/illustrator. The testing phase for the garment sewing book is coming to a close (if you signed up, remember that responses are due by February 29th if you haven’t completed the form yet). It’s been unreal. Amazing. I’ve been reading all the feedback that’s been popping up, and I keep getting more and more excited. This is going to be one well-tested book! Of course I love all of my books, but this one feels extra special because the kismet level has been off-the-charts.

I wish I could share more, and I will as soon as I can.

What I’m trying to say is that there’s quite a bit going on and when I misread my calendar and took K to her viola lesson at the wrong time this week, I knew I had to step back. Take it easy. I actually got sick for the first time in almost a year on Saturday (husband expressed concerns about coronavirus; it wasn’t). I recovered lightning fast, but it was my body giving me a stern talking-to. I’m going to listen to it.

I’ll be back with a short blog update next month, but I’m going to take an extended Instagram break and focus on getting my book wrapped up. I’ve been intrigued by Cal Newport’s philosophy that he calls “Digital Minimalism” and he seems like someone who knows what he’s talking about. I have a bit of a crush on him, if I’m honest. That there is a brilliant man — I think my husband is a little jealous because I keep mentioning Cal (See? We’re already on first name basis). I also read his other books, So Good They Can’t Ignore You and Deep Work, both of which are thought-provoking and excellent.

I’m off to go sew up more sample garments for my book! That image above is one of my trial garments. I seem to have an abundant supply of the indigo chambray and have been making everything in that fabric. Love it.

It feels like spring is just around the corner, and it’s so refreshing after what seemed like endless rain and grey. Wherever you are, I hope you’re having a day full of vibrant promise and forthcoming blooms. xo