Monday, December 28, 2009

christmas wrap up

my finished sashiko ornaments!
white and green sashiko thread on navy linen,
with paper ornament garlands
and some gingerbread cookies, using this recipe that was very easy, and fun.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

bright colors lego and paper set from muji

here's another one of the wonderful lego and paper sets from muji.
it has clear and bright colored legos, and bright colored paper too.
one main theme is undersea life: fish, jellyfish, seaweed, and even seahorses.
girls and butterflies
and my favorite: mushrooms and a gnome.
the projects above come printed on heavy cardstock, so you can just cut them out, punch the holes, and put them together with the legos!
in my shop.

Friday, December 25, 2009

merry christmas

i first learned about this image transfer technique years ago in college, and this is a great tutorial on poppytalk.

i spent most of today baking cookies: russian tea cakes, a new gingerbread recipe, and my first time to attempt christmas stollen. i realized later that i forgot to take any photos! i'll try to make up for it next time, and let you know the verdict on the stollen after it has a chance to cool.

merry christmas! i hope you are enjoying today with the people you love.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

tra la la la laa, la la la la

it's christmas eve! in fact, here in japan it's already after midnight, so if i want santa to swing by my balcony i should best hop into my futon right quick.

i love this carol garland from katie did, via craft.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

lego paper punch from muji

here's a little example of what can be done with the excellent lego paper punch from muji,da-ta! it comes with a template for perfectly sized and aligned lego scale circles, which you can then easily punch out precisely with the punch, which is classic muji simplicity plus quality.
the lego sets come with some 1 dot legos, which are perfect for this kind of project (the same reindeer shape from yesterday's post, which i copied from the lego christmas set).
or this one, which i just made up. but the point is, this is a really fun toy to use!
it's really satisfing to punch the holes and then have the legos fit just right. and i can only imagine that for a real lego fan, it would be even more amazing.
here's the template in action.
here's what the punch looks like from below, which is clear so you can see exactly where you are punching.
this side of the box shows the steps: draw, punch, lego!
and this side shows the exact dimensions of the hole punched.

i've added the punch to my etsy shop; right now it seems like the punches are available, but the paper and lego sets are limited in supply, since they have been very popular here in japan for christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

a few crafts in progress

here are a few little crafty projects i've been working on. i copied these reindeer from the muji lego christmas set.
more sashiko--maybe one of these days i will be able to show you this project finished!and some christmas ornaments, made with washi making tape (it's addictive, i can't stop!) and using the pattern from twig and thistle.

Monday, December 21, 2009

creative gift wrapping

this feature on design sponge by ashley english has some beautiful ideas for reuseable gift wrapping. more ideas about japanese style furoshiki over on whip up, including a link to this chart from the japanese gov, via make.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

carpet map art by instant hutong

this is one of the carpet maps created by instant hutong, which i found via flickr. hutong are the traditional dense courtyard neighborhoods of beijing, and the artists behind instant hutong have done a whole series of pieces where figure ground maps are made into carpets. maps plus textiles? on a large scale? i love it!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

five days of felt on twig and thistle

twig and thistle has been doing a 5 days of felt series, which has some great ideas, including these felt bows,and these projects from martha stewart.

Friday, December 18, 2009

lego and muji in the shop!

here's more from the christmas edition of the lego and muji set, now in my etsy shop!

here are all the legos that come with the basic set.

you can still get them in time for christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

lego and muji

here's a sneak peek of the new lego sets from muji, which are a brilliant combination of paper and legos. the sets include lego blocks, and paper patterns that you can cut out and use as is, and more paper that is pre-punched to fit the lego blocks.
the standard set
includes paper dolls,
and this wonderful dragon. at the top of this picture is the special punch (sold separately, and on back order right now) that includes a template and is easy to see exactly where you are punching, and of course the holes are the exact size to fit legos!

there are these animals and caterpillers's what's included in the christmas set: legos, and pattern paper, and plain paper.
these little card stands are clever.
and these christmas patterns are what i want to try this weekend!

i'm planning to have these in the shop soon, but if you want more info or to get on the pre-order list, just let me know at the punches are on back order since they've been very popular here for christmas, but i should have a few this weekend, which can ship by EMS in time for chistmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

pretty birdies

from designsmayamade
and melissa sue

watching the birds at the feeder reminds me of christmas when i was small. there aren't so many birds in the city, but the forecast does call for snow on friday! and i think it might be finally time to get that long down coat, since the temperature just dropped.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

beautiful detail from dadaya

tinytoadstool from dadaya.
this is why i love flickr, finding beautiful things like this!

Monday, December 14, 2009

knitting and winter

i think the knitters out there would agree, knitting and winter go especially well together. i know that when it starts getting colder is usually the time i start thinking about new knitting projects. and, it seems there might even be snow falling in kyoto this weekend!

like most things related to crafts, knitting books in japan are especially cute, filled with good patterns and interesting-looking projects. i have to admit that since i got into making felt several years ago, i haven't been knitting as much. but recently i've become inspired especially by the combination of cold weather and great new knitting books.

and i am happy to say that i've finally added these knitting books to the shop. they have both japanese and english written instructions, so i am betting that they will be the perfect introduction to using japanese knitting books. and, the projects are awesome! they are all from nordic countries, and are very clever, seemingly simple with with very unique results. ok, so i should admit here that i am kind of a lazy knitter. i like big yarn, on big needles, not only because i can finish a project faster, but let's be honest, that's a consideration. also, i tend to make simple projects (hats, scarves, mostly a single color with a simple rib) that don't involve much surface design at all. but i really want to try some of these patterns,
maybe these armwarmers will be first...
although i also love this mobius scarf
and this crown hat would be great for a kid!

i also love this frilly scarf
and someday i might even be inspired to try socks (but probably not this year;-)

you can see all the photos from these books in my flickr knit and crochet books collection.

i also found this book that has explanations of all the common knitting stitches, including the symbols using in japanese knitting charts (it's in the shop).

and, last week i found some great yarn/ scarf kit, that i'd love to pass on to any reader of this blog who's interested:
each kit has 5 balls of 100% wool yarn (very soft, not sure about what kind of wool it is), each ball is 50 grams, and 100 meters. the kit also includes 2 knitting needles. with the rib 2 pattern included (in japanese) each kit should make a scarf that is 17 cm wide and 160 cm long.
i picked up one of each color: red, dark blue, and blue and brown.
if anyone would like one of these kits, they are $20, plus shipping. since i only have 1 of each, i am not going to put them in the shop, but just make them available to the first folks who send me an email to or maybe i will just knit with them myself, we will see...

happy knitting!