Macaron Craft Kit Giveaway

I am in a macaron phase.

a macaron treatThis was a macaron zipper pouch kit, and according to the package it was only supposed to take me 40 minutes to assemble. Liars!

the guts of a macaron zipper kitAdmittedly, I spent most of my time with the sparse instructions and a dictionary. I’d look up kanji and then with an exasperated eye-roll think, “I know what that means. Damn you, memory!”

The kit comes with a 10 cm zipper, precut felt circles, plastic button parts, and a small cell phone strap. Here is the part that had me stumped:

zipper tricks on the macaron pouch kitThis is an example with a different zipper. Once you sew the ends of the zipper together, creating a zipper-circle, you want to gather the sides with a basting (or running) stitch. This creates a nice bed for the felt-covered button part.

sewing the felt-covered button parts to the zipper on the macaron zipper pouchBack to the real deal, you can see the zipper teeth are the middle of the felt sandwich. The sweet macaron guts.

Voila! A mini macaron zipper pouch, on a string.It is just the right size to hold a 500 yen coin, for those moments when you need an emergency macaron.

And lucky day, I bought an extra kit to share the macaron love!

Macaron zipper pouch kit giveaway! via Saké PuppetsTo enter this giveaway for a strawberry-pink macaron coincase strap kit, which doesn’t make much sense so I decided to call it a mini macaron zipper pouch kit, which makes much less sense, leave a comment on this post telling me what you’d hide inside your macaron. Comment before noon (Japan standard time) on Monday August 5th. I’ll choose the winner randomly.

Good luck!

Spring on Instagram

It may seem like things here at Saké Puppets have been quiet, but on the other side of the Internet curtain I’ve been busy — drafting sashiko patterns, summer sewing, and … drumroll please … finishing up my Tokyo Craft Guide ebook! Woot!

Wrapping up our book has meant a lot of meetings over lattes and days with proof pages scattered across the tatami floor. If you follow me or Tokyo Craft Guide on Instagram you may have already seen some of our behind-the-scenes snap shots. Enjoy a glimps of spring in Tokyo, and see you all back here again very soon!

Tokyo Craft Guide!

Tokyo Craft Guide!

Shinkansen Felt Ornaments

One of the craft shops in my neighborhood is owned by a very old couple. They don’t always hear the bell ring when you enter the store so I often have to loiter, waiting for someone to emerge from the back room so I can make my purchase. The top shelf is covered by dust, but I pretend not to notice.

One of the perks of a shop like this is that their stock is old, and sometimes you come across an item that has been sold out elsewhere since 1987.

Shinkansen felt mascot

This Shinkansen (known as the “bullet train” in the US) felt mascot kit isn’t that old, but in this dusty shop is the only time I have seen it for sale anywhere. I thought they would make ideal Christmas tree ornaments, so over the holidays I dug out the kit.

Shinkansen felt ornaments

The kit includes die cut felt pieces (very cool), beads for wheels, embroidery floss and stuffing. The directions are easy since this kit is meant for children to complete in about a day.

kit contents

kit instructions


My favorite parts are the wheels. It took me a little time to figure out that the small felt pieces are actually glued on rather than stitched. Once I had that down, these were really fun to assemble. Sometimes you just need a little something easy to do while drinking all that eggnog at Christmas.

speedy little trains

For those of you who love speedy bullet trains as much as I do, Sanrio has a cute website full of free printables. Enjoy!

Super Deco!

Fellow Craft Club host Kim and I spent the afternoon making samples for our next class, Super Deco iPhone Cases. When I was 12 I bedazzled a jean jacket, but this is by far the most sparkly thing I have ever made:

I named mine Strawberry Sweetcake and Kim’s is Gothic Love. We didn’t make it far from the bead shop before ripping everything open. We huddled in the corner of a chain coffee shop with our gems, ice coffee and glue fumes, sticking sparkly things to other things with wild abandon.


Want to make one too? Come to the Craft Club! The Super Deco iPhone class meets Sunday July 22nd at 1 pm in Shinjuku Gyoen. All materials included and snacks for ¥5000, bring a friend and cost is just ¥3500 each. (Such a deal! Kim bought a similar case, ahem, our inspiration, at a Tokyo boutique for ¥6500!) Check this page for more details.


場所:新宿御苑 (ホームページ地図
参加費 :¥5000 –> お友達と参加すると割引があります! 2人=¥7000

I’ll stab you in the eye.

But first, I’ll stab myself in the finger. Repeatedly.

I learned the hard way that drinking wine while needle felting is not a good idea.

Needle felting is a bit trendy in Japan now, so it is easy to find inexpensive, adorable felting kits. This was my first attempt so I wanted to start slowly. I skipped all things cute and cuddly (with limbs — too advanced!) and instead opted for beer snacks on a strap.

Beer, fava bean, beer snacks.

The kit comes with everything you need … except the most important part, the needle. You have to get that yourself, probably because felting needles are a bit more expensive than your average needle. The instructions also recommend purchasing a foam base. A friend gave me a tip and suggested using a cheap kitchen sponge from the 100 yen shop. It was a bit clumsy to work with, but I’m not sure it was the sponge’s fault.

Felting needles are unique in that they have tiny barbs near the tip, which catch the wool fibers and help felt it together.

I didn’t know what I was doing. I tried reading the Japanese instructions, then watched a few YouTube videos and stabbed at some wool for a while. And stabbed and stabbed. And then I missed a few times. Blood functions as glue, right?

Eventually I got my revenge.

This wasn’t merely torture. I was making french knots for eyes.

In the end I enjoyed needle felting. I liked the way the wool roving transformed into a tiny nest of fibers. It was the opposite of untangling a knot. And I also really like stabbing at things.

Eventually, wooly snacks emerged. I like they way they smirk. It seems they’re a little salty.

The English Craft Club: 楽しく英語!

On Sunday, May 27th, we’ll hold our next English Craft Club class in Shinjuku Gyoen. Please join us!  (For English, please scroll down)

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The English Craft Club』は、刺し子やジュエリー作りなどを通じて、楽しく英語を勉強するクラブです。毎回のクスごとに、皆さまに各自で作品を作って頂きます。クラフトをしながら、様々な表現や英単語を楽しく勉強していきます。またあわせて毎回異なる身近なトピックスでの会話も行います。


  • クラフトに使用する材料(型紙、布、針、糸、ビーズ、その他道具)
  • 英語の教材(ペーパー)、クラフトの単語集など。
  • トピックス英会話(人気のカルチャーや質問。クラスメイトとアメリカ人インストラクターとのおしゃべりなど。)
  • コーヒー、紅茶、ホームメードのお菓子

『The English Craft Club』に参加をご希望の方は、以下のアドレスまでご連絡下さい。

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トピックス “In the Kitchen”

料理に使うタオルに刺繍をすることを学びます。トピックスはゲストを夕食に招く際の話や、あなたの好きなレシピ、アメリカのレシピ をメートルに換算する話なども含まれています。型紙の写し方、人気のある4種類のステッチをお教えします。これでお友達がきたときに、素敵なキッチンを見せられますね!


The English Craft Club is an English lesson disguised as a craft class — a fun way to learn and practice English while learning new craft skills. All craft materials, snacks, and English lesson notes are provided. Enjoy fun conversation and crafts with new friends!

Each class includes:

  • Craft materials, such as patterns, fabric, needle, thread, beads, tools, and much more!
  • English lesson notes, with craft-related vocabulary
  • English conversation topics and tips – chat about popular culture, ask questions, and have relaxed conversation with your classmates and American instructors
  • Coffee, tea, and homemade snacks
Please email to sign up for the class or if you have any questions (English and Japanese are both OK).

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Sunday May 27th, 2012
1:00-2:30 pm
Shinjuku Gyoen

Topic: In the Kitchen!  Learn how to embroider a tea towel while discussing cooking. Topics include hosting guests for dinner, your favorite recipes, and converting U.S. recipe measurements into the metric system. For this class craft project, we’ll show you how to transfer a pattern onto fabric and embroider 4 popular stitches onto your tea towel, so you’ll have a beautiful kitchen to show friends when they come to visit.

Craft: Embroidered Tea Towel
Materials Included: one cotton tea towel, embroidery thread and needle, embroidery hoop, your choice of patterns, recipe, and lesson notes.
Location: Shinjuku Gyoen (map and location within the garden will be sent after registration is confirmed)
Cost: ¥5000

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The English Craft Club is taught by two fun and energetic American ladies — Angela of Saké Puppets and Kim of The Cat’s Meow. Click here to learn more about them.

Saké Puppets at

Etsy and Better Homes and Gardens teamed up to create a list of handmade gifts for the holidays, and Saké Puppets’ Tea-for-Two DIY Sashiko Kit was featured in their roundup!

I’m delighted and honored to be included! I also love many of the other projects, and am planning to try a few for myself , like the tea set or sewing kit in a jar — so handy!

You can find other projects online or in their November issue. Thanks again, BHG!

On-the-Go Project Pouch Tutorial

I wrote a little how-to for the lovely sewing blog, Sew, Mama, Sew!

It just went live and I’m pretty excited.

So pop over there and check it out!  They also posted a few photos of me — gasp!  I usually like to rock it Wizard of Oz style … “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”  So enjoy it, folks.

Thanks again, Sew, Mama, Sew!  And to those visiting for the first time, いらっしい!Welcome!


Action Craft deadline met!

I completed the last stitches of the binding minutes before the park’s closing music rang through the trees (Auld Lang Syne, in fact — Japan’s universal “Go home already!” song).

This quilt was a joy to make.  I was determined to make something from fabric I already owned, and several times resisted the urge to go out and buy something “just right.”  I knew that would just delay and deter the project.  So I tried to make do and not worry so much.  I machine pieced and quilted it in just a few hours, and finished on Saturday by hand-stitching the binding while sitting in Shinjuku Gyoen.  I hope my lack of crazy with this quilt will carry on to whoever receives it.

Boxes of blankets have been arriving — thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make a little bit of comfort for someone in need.  If you’re still working, don’t worry!  Keep at it, and send me your quilt when you can.  I’ll probably make the drop later this month.

If you haven’t already, please leave me a message to let me know something is on its way.  If your project is still in pieces (it’s OK, it happens to the best of us) perhaps hold off from sending and save your quilt for a shelter or hospital near your home.

Good work, team!