‘Tis the Season for Sashiko ♫

It happens every year. Christmas Eve. 2 am. Me, alone in a poorly lit room, stitching furiously to finish my last handmade gift.

I love to give handmade gifts for Christmas, but I always cut it a little too close. This year it was a table runner for my parents. I started out ahead of schedule, since I had to do most of my holiday preparations before we left Japan a few weeks ago.

But I kept putting off those last few tasks, and suddenly my ahead-of-schedule schedule was gone. There I was, alone with my stitching while visions of sugarplums danced in my head.

I enjoy designing my own sashiko patterns, but sometimes it’s fun to follow someone else’s rules. I found the pattern for this table runner in this book and I backed it with vintage kimono silk from a flea market in Kyoto. I liked the way the threads came together at the point to form a tassel.

I bet my mother never places anything on top of it, no matter how much I insist it’s meant to be used. But I guess, how practical is a table runner, really?

But enough about the sashiko, can you believe this needlepoint covered bench made by my husband’s grandmother?!

For auld lang syne, my dear.

In a bit less than 24 hours my Etsy shop will shut down for a little holiday break.

This is the blog equivalent of my local supermarket playing Auld Lang Syne 5 minutes before closing time. It is so slow and depressing, it makes me want to gather my potatoes, leave the produce section and head for my couch, tout suite.

But I don’t want to depress you, just encourage you to check out the shop. Then get yourself out of the produce aisle.

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind… dah dah dee da, doo dah dee doo, do do doo di diddly dee…

Say Hello to My Etsy Friends

I spent the weekend keeping shop at the Make: Tokyo Meeting 07 with a group of top-notch Etsy shop owners.

Maker Faire, as it’s known in the United States, celebrates all things DIY and hosts major gatherings in New York and San Francisco every year. Tokyo’s version is smaller and focused a bit more on robotics, but the craft scene carved out its niche.

Each person in our Etsy group had a small box to decorate and fill with our shop goods, and during free time we gathered around a big common table for craft shenanigans. There were monsters, markers, and disassembled computer parts. It was heaven.

As an Etsy shop owner and a (somewhat) new arrival in a foreign land, I sometimes feel a bit isolated. So it was fantastic to spend the weekend with others who are also passionate about making things, who I could talk shop with, who were creative and inspiring, and who were just plain fun to be around. And so, I’d like to introduce you to my new Etsy friends!

From My Atelier: Yuki-san’s embroidery is beautiful. She hand-dyes her own embroidery thread using indigo from her grandparents’ yard. And her wrist warmers are rad.

Harukaze Designs: All weekend Sarah was whipping out adorable drawings of monsters. Monsters on frames. Monsters on buttons. It was awesome.

Necocoa: Neko (cat) + cocoa = so darn cute. Necocoa is hand drawn in a variety of leisurely poses. Darn cute.

Flat Packables & Tokyo Craft Studios: The quality is amazing. Flat Packables are all made from solid wood using a laser cutter and fit into little boxes for easy shipping. Partner shop Tokyo Craft Studios makes lovely porcelain tea light holders and lighting. So nice.

sushifactory: These handmade silver charms are so. incredibly. detailed. I don’t know anything about cars, but these tiny silver ones looked just like the photos of the big ones.

The House of Lau: Lulu’s cheeky screen printed underwear was a bit too much for the old folks, so she switched it up with t-shirts, aprons, tags, jewelry, and all sorts of great holiday gear. This gal is seriously talented.

Do me a favor and show them some love — check out their shops on Etsy.com. Not only are their handmade goods all gorgeous, but they are some of the nicest people I’ve met.

Handmade for the holidays, hip hip hooray!