Creativebug Classes!

Hello my lovely friends! A while back, I mentioned that I filmed some classes for Creativebug, and hooray hooray! A couple of them are now up and available on the site. More will be added over the next few months.

The newly added is class is from my first sewing book, Sewing Happiness, featuring the Triangle Eco Bag. I’m going to daringly say that this would be an excellent Mother’s Day gift — I have a bunch of these Triangle bags around the house and use them for various purposes. They’re quite versatile!

Back in December of 2021, my Quiet Adventure Book class launched on Creativebug, a project from Animal Friends to Sew:

It’s so simple to make, and I’m extra proud of the secret pocket element. Plus, cutting out all those felt shapes is SO FUN.

I’m so appreciative of the many lovely comments and reviews that the classes have already received. I love that these projects that I poured my heart and soul into are offered up in different iterations. I’ve been teaching more and more and I’m getting into it. Part of the reason I’ve become more comfortable with teaching is because I’ve done it so much by now and don’t feel quite as imposter-y as I used to. 

For example, this past weekend I taught a watercolor class for Camp Thundercraft and I had a blast. I was amazed that I knew so much about various tools and techniques. It will probably elicit a “duh!” response given that I’ve been painting with watercolors for over 10 years now, but for some reason I kept thinking of myself as an amateur and not good enough to teach the medium until very recently.

There are some other exciting teaching events coming up and I will share them with you in the near future. If you know of a class that you think might be a good fit for me to teach, hit me up! I’m always looking for ways to communicate and instruct in better ways.

I hope April has been a good month for you. It’s been productive, good and hard for me. Such is life. I won’t update the blog until the end of May, but if you’re subscribed to my email list (see my sidebar), I’ll send you a little digital goody that will come in handy for Mother’s Day! Until next time, take care my friends!

Photo credits: 1st and 3rd images by Creativebug, 2nd image by George Barberis Styled by Rachel Grunig

A simple offer can lead to so many things

Way back in 2014, back when sewing blogs felt a little different from the current vibe, I was approached by a marketing person at Tuttle Publishing about reviewing a couple of Japanese sewing books that had been freshly translated into English. I said yes, of course. As I was corresponding back and forth with the marketing person, I offhandedly mentioned that if they ever needed another translator, I was happy to help out. A single sentence in a short email.

A few months later, an editor from Tuttle Publishing reached out and asked if I would be interested in translating this book. I said yes, of course. And then I kept saying yes and the other day when I received another translation assignment, I noticed that somewhere along the way I had stopped keeping track. I was shocked to count up the books — I am currently working on my 20th translation project!

There are 17 shown up there from 2014 to 2020 and three more will be published next year, which I can’t show yet. Translation projects are a different animal from working on the books I publish through Sasquatch Books and Little Bigfoot. I am paid a one time fee for the translations and don’t get any royalties. I love doing the translations because they require me to use a different set of problem-solving skills. It’s still writing, but with a twist since the original words aren’t mine and I’m tasked to convey the nuance of the Japanese text while keeping an English-reading audience in mind.

I’m learning all about natural dyeing right now via this latest translation project, and it’s so educational! Very much like a science project!

More than anything, I was marveling that all of this came from putting out a simple question. It makes one wonder, “What else can I ask?”

I hope you are all doing well, my friends! I’ve decided to make some website/blog changes over the next few weeks, so I may skip a blog post for October, but I will definitely be back for November. I apologize in advance if things get glitchy around here. In the meantime, I am sending you all shiawase* thoughts!

*Shiawase is a Japanese word that roughly means happiness or good fortune.

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