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Entries in craft projects (7)


new skills festival and wonderful work of dosanko debbie

painting by dosanko debbie


the lovely jo of a bit of this and and a bit of that invited me to participate in the september new skills festival she is hosting on her blog this month, and i was honored to join! my felt ninja tutorial will be up on her blog next week. it was a great motivation to get a tutorial together and share it, something i've been thinking about doing but has been on a very back burner for long time. also i've been thinking of new ninja projects...

since march, i've been spending a lot more of my online and offline time and energy in directions related to disaster recovery--which is my field of study and research, and my primary reason for being in japan.

i miss the time that i used spend reading craft blogs, but i have to be practical (and i have been squeezing in some crafting-for-myself time when i can, which is a great feeling!). finding balance is something that i am continuously working on, and i suspect is an eternal project;-) for now, i feel like i have figured out a situation that works for me, continuing to run the felt cafe japan shop on etsy at a slightly slower pace, but blog posts have been few and far between!

but through jo's new skills festival, i discovered the beautiful work of debbie, who paints traditional japanese etegami (literally picture-letters). i love her work, and the emotion that she conveys through it. especially the earthquake series.

today, as i'm getting ready for a 1 week trip to china that starts tomorrow morning, there's a large typhoon moving across japan, and this umbrella feels especially fitting for today, as the winds just broke my umbrella this afternoon.

but actually it's a reference to the famous peom of kenji miyazawa, who was from the part of japan that suffered the tsunami.  the poem is called "ame ni mo makezu" which means ''be not defeated by the rain." it's a powerful message about how to live, and has been widely used as inspiration for rebuilding after the tsunami. (link to wikipedia)

david sulz's translation:

Be not defeated by the rain, Nor let the wind prove your better. Succumb not to the snows of winter. Nor be bested by the heat of summer.

Be strong in body. Unfettered by desire. Not enticed to anger. Cultivate a quiet joy. Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you. Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear.

A thatch-roof house, in a meadow, nestled in a pine grove’s shade. A handful of rice, some miso, and a few vegetables to suffice for the day.

If, to the East, a child lies sick: Go forth and nurse him to health. If, to the West, an old lady stands exhausted: Go forth, and relieve her of burden. If, to the South, a man lies dying: Go forth with words of courage to dispel his fear. If, to the North, an argument or fight ensues: Go forth and beg them stop such a waste of effort and of spirit.

In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy.
In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy.
Stand aloof of the unknowing masses: Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a “Great Man”.

This is my goal, the person I strive to become.

the umbrella print, and many others, are for sale here, and originals in the dosanko debbie etsy shop


easiest clothes for baby and kids, my new favorite japanese craft book

recently, i needed to make a bunch of baby presents for friends, and i knew it was time to take the plunge and get a japanese sewing for baby book. this was pretty daunting, because there are so many choices out there! i knew that i wanted one that included the fabulous japanese monkey pants (so so cute) and also some basic projects that i could sew using cute cotton knit fabrics for kids.

after multiple trips to the bookstore, where i would look at all the baby sewing books, and get confused and overwhelmed, i found myself coming back to this one over and over. it had so much variety, and so many projects that i wanted to try.

it has the wonderful cute japanese 'monkey pants', as well as bibs, shirts, dresses, panks, hats, leggings, romper and diaper covers. it also had a nice range of ages, so there are projects for new babies, toddlers up to 3.

full size paper pieces are included as an inset (you will have to trace them since the pattern lines overlap). all instructions in japanese, but if you are familiar with basic sewing you should have no problem. details are shown with step by step photos.

more photos in this flickr set:

37 projects total, 108 pages.
isbn 9784529048422

and now that i've tried it out, I have a new copy in the shop!


here are the things i made:

bibs-super fast, super easy! i used a bright tourquise nani iro gauze for 1 side. i love this fabric, so bright and modern.

and some organic cotton striped knit for the other side.

monkey pants!! also pretty easy, and i liked the pattern a lot.

and then i used a pattern from the book for a little shirt, and made up a whale using some of the nani iro. it was really fun to just whip up a bunch of sewing projects--and finally send them off!


sock sheep and sock zebra


baby quilt

i worked on this project for a while, and it was a surprise so i had to keep it a secret! whew.
it's a baby quilt made from tenugui fabric, which i don't seem to be becoming any less obsessed with. it's my first quilt, and it was super fun.


tenugui bag

my first sewing project made with my hello kitty sewing machine: a bag made from tenugui-traditional japanese towels. my obsession with tenugui continues.