Sunday, June 28, 2009

my fractured heel

my fractured heel, originally uploaded by feltcafe.

well, i finished moving...and prompty took one careless step off the edge of the street into a deep ditch which left me with a fractured heel. this is the xray. tomorrow i will find out how serious it is and what will have to happen next. for now i'm hobbling around on crutches and resting a lot.

Friday, June 26, 2009


agisai, originally uploaded by feltcafe.

i'm still the meantime, here is one of the many many varieties of hydrangeas (agisai in japanese) that are blooming everywhere here in japan's rainy season. (although it's not raining these days....)

Saturday, June 20, 2009


i'm moving to kyoto! this week i will be going back and forth a bit between kobe and kyoto, and blog posts might be a little sparser than usual.

this image above is a beautiful print by mizu designs, and i agree that these geta perfectly capture the feeling of kyoto, and the sound of the footsteps of women wearing traditional kimono and geta walking down the old streets.

i love kyoto, the beautiful old buildings and traditional crafts, lovely shrines and little shops. i will continue to teach part-time at my conversation school in kobe, and hope to enter kobe university this fall. but i am also looking forward to being able to explore kyoto, and i will share my adventures here, of course!

train hoop earrings by dmdmetal

in japan, i spend a fair amount of time on trains and subways. after i move next week, i will become a proper commuter, with even more train time.

these train hoop earrings by dmdmetal on etsy are customizable, you can have your own message included in the graffiti (something there is much less of in japan!).

Friday, June 19, 2009

paris map print

this amazying map print is made by famille summerbelle and available at bodie and fou.

via poppytalk

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

seedling kit from project wedding

check out this very sweet seedling kit project from project wedding. directions here.
via the stork on etsy. can you tell i'm still thinking about plants?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

muji mustache bags

do you need a cotton drawstring bag with a mustache on it? perhaps if you think about it for a bit, you will realize that you do!

muji (my most favorite store in japan) has them for father's day, and i have them in my store.

Monday, June 15, 2009

learning japanese bookmarks

i found these at my local bookstore. hiragana and katakana are the 2 phonetic writing systems in japanese. there is also kanji, which is a pictographic writing system from china. japanese is usually written with a combination of kanji and hiragana, and katakana is used for foreign loan words, names of plants or scary animals).

these bookmarks have all the hiragana/katakana characters, plus the pronunciation written in roman letters below. would you like 1 (or both)? i'll send them to your for free with any order from my shop, just leave a note!

while supplies last.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

coffee sleeves and plants

here's a clever way to reuse coffee sleeves as pots for transplants on instructables. it uses folding only, no glue. via craft.

one of the things that i miss in japan is being able to plant a garden, but i have some optimistic plans to try a little balcony gardening.
here are a few photos of plants at my local mega home center,
more vegetables,
and potted ginger.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

my second sashiko sampler, nowaki pattern

this was my second sashiko embroidery project.
again, i used a sampler, which is great because it has the pattern printed on the fabric, in wash-out ink.
these are a few of the available patterns for sashiko samplers for making a small cloth towel. they are all classic sashiko motifs, the one i did is on the right: nowaki, or wind-blown grasses.
another nice thing about the sampler is that it shows the order to stitch the different lines.

sashiko thread is a little thicker than regular embroidery floss. the sashiko needle is fairly long.
for sashiko, you use the needle to load as many stitches as possible, then pull the thread through.
this is the traditional sashiko thimble, it's worn like a ring and has a flat, round dish. i didn't use a thimble at all the first time i tried sashiko. this thimble was fun to wear, and maybe it made the sewing just a little faster, but i think you can do sashiko without a thimble.
in process
this is what it looks like on the back. the one important thing when doing sashiko is to make sure to leave a little extra tread so that the finished work will lay flat.

Friday, June 12, 2009

printed textiles from girlscantell

i've been daydreaming about outfitting my new apartment (i'm moving next week!).

i love the style of girlscantell on etsy, line drawings or diagrams printed on fabrics, or in this case felt!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

rainy season is here

in japan, rainy season lasts from early june through mid july. the official first day of rainy season was a few days ago. i'm thinking it's a good reason to finally buy the rain boots i've been looking at, and a nice big umbrella from muji.

rainy season is also the best time to see hydrangea (agisai in japanese) blooming, which is one of my most favorite japanese flowers. in the next month or so, i'll be sharing some hydrangea photos here, but for now, check out the work of elizabeth scott designs on etsy. that's her hydrangea necklace above. her botanical jewelry is inspired by some lovely forms and textures, like honeycombs and ginko, i also love her birchbark pieces.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

win bookhou animals from bloesem kids

would you like a chance to win these lovely soft stuffed animals, made by bookhou? for the details and to enter, check out bkids.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

dana robson of aquarabbit

dana robson of aquarabbit makes beautiful mixed media creations, with a winning combination of vintage maps, gocco printing, and embroidery.

she has a showcase here on the website the beholder (that i just discovered). you can see more of her available work on flickr, and she has an etsy shop too.

if you're in seattle, you can see her works right now at the fabulous bluebottle gallery.

(thanks justin!)

Monday, June 08, 2009

the semaphore collection at piano nobile

this post is a bit overdue, as i just realized that i didn't share the launch of the semaphore collection at piano nobile last month!

here's the lovely description from their website:

Semaphore is an alphabet native to the sea, composed of striking angles and decisive movements. Each piece is constructed in the Piano Nobile workshop from locally sourced, environmentally responsible, and, above all, beautiful materials.

Abstracted from the vocabulary of ship design, pipes, plates, and exposed welds recall the ferry fleet of the Puget Sound. A low Coffee Table and trim End Table balance on folded planes of recycled steel. Their wood tops (in oiled Oregon walnut or milk-painted poplar) display a turbulent grain, polished smooth.

The twisting Stick Lamp inspires divergent images of taut rope and whirling jellyfish tentacles, executed in the most simple steel rod composition. The Belle Lamp tilts its elegant head toward the floor; its base creates a counterpoint of jostling steel plates. Both lamps and tables are available in oiled or powder-coated steel.

A broken net drapes across linen Semaphore Textiles, faded white. Available as made to order shades from Seattle-based Lit Shades, or by the yard as a special order.

The Semaphore Collection, with its’ maritime economy of materials and sharp, decisive silhouettes, presents a modern group of furniture that is more than minimalist, yet remains free of embellishment.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

sewing some felt vegetables

this weekend i had a little time to work on an ongoing project, making some of the projects from this book that i blogged about before. if you want more info about the book, i have a flickr set here, and it's available in my etsy shop.
yesterday i made the tomato, and today i finished the garlic.
to join the shiitake mushroom, carrot, and green onion i'd finished earlier.

they are really fun projects, and pretty easy to figure out even though i can't read japanese. the patterns are very precise, and create some very realistic and cute veggies.
here's the daikon radish in process. eat your veggies!

Friday, June 05, 2009

renegade brooklyn this weekend

if you're crafty and near new york city, you probably already know that the renegade craft fair is this weekend in mccarren park. if you are somewhere else, check out their website, since they now have shows in 4 cities 5 times during the year!

if you want to check out the vendors who will be there (or find out about some talented designers), the direct link is here. poppytalk also did a lovely preview, part 1 and part 2.

i'll always have a special place in my heart for renegade, as an early inspiration to hand made crafters, and as i have had some great experiences as a vendor at renegade ny and chicago. (although last year's renegade chicago was definitely more of an survival endurance challenge, what with the heaviest rainfall on record. seriously. but even then, people were great!~)

my first renegade (and first craft show!) was brooklyn 2005. thanks to some great pals (anna, who put me up in brooklyn, and katie, who helped staff my table) it was a great experience. i also met the creative geniuses who would go on to become piano nobile.

one of the best things about that weekend (and for those of you who have done craft shows before i am sure you will understand), was having great neighbors. in my case, the lovely jeni from saltlick, and her adorable french bulldog, nardo(?).
good to see that saltlicknyc is still going strong and making cute shirts!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

nani iro fabric and sewing book

nani iro is a line of fabric created by the designer naomi ito for the japanese fabric company kokka. for the last few years, she has designed a new textile collection every year. you can see all the nani iro collections here. this fabric is from the 2009 nani iro textile collection. i love it.

i also finally got my hands on the nani iro book, which is full of lovely sewing projects using the nani iro fabrics. i am feeling very inspired to start sewing again...

there are also free patterns available for download from the nani iro site! it's in japanese, but if you go to this link you can click on any of the photo icons for patterns that were released with those collections. if you get lost on the site, just go back to the 'sewing' tab at the top of the page.

oh, this book and fabric are both available over in my etsy shop.

little seedlings sale

check out these wonderful mushrooms made of felt by little seedlings on etsy. she's even having a sale this week (until the 7th)!
oh, and jane from little seedlings also makes these wee tree stumps. lovely.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

sarubobo pattern and tutorial

sarubobo are traditional japanese good luck dolls. etsy seller mairuru makes these dolls, as well as other cute items. this photo is from her very informative blog instructions for making your own. via whip up.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

ann wood's cardboard horses on design sponge

i love this project from design sponge, from the creative mind of ann wood. she starting making these little cardboard horses as a creative activity of 'paralysis prevention,' and they are lovely as an installation of multiples. there are full instructions to make your own here.

Monday, June 01, 2009

fairy tale fabric in the shop

i have listed a few more fabrics in the shop, this one has zoo animals...

there are also 3 little pigs and little red riding hood. you can see them all here.