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!

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

pieces

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!

Christmas Crafts

Did you think I’d let a holiday go by without any crafts?  I think not!

A few years ago I started Homemade Christmas, an ambitious plan to sew or bake or stitch some element of all the gifts for my family for the holidays.  I always meant to start in September, but never got going until after Thanksgiving and then without fail would spend Christmas Eve in my room with a headlamp and an embroidery hoop.  Spoiler alert — I didn’t make any gifts for Christmas this year.  I’m a little disappointed in myself, actually.  I’ve been busy making things for other people, and with an early December deadline for shipping to the States, I didn’t have my 2 am Christmas Eve sewing miracle to count on.  Sorry, family.  This year you’re getting random Japanese curiosities instead.

But the crafter in me just couldn’t let the holiday pass without a little sparkle-adorned felt for the occasion.

Take note, Santa.  And what is that adorable Christmas village, you ask?  Even Tokyo looks quaint in wooden miniatures.

The Lego angel is on my desk all year long and I think finally feels at home with some Christmas company.  I’m sort of loving his Godzilla-esque presence over those buses.

I didn’t stop at stockings.  Maybe I’m crazy, but I somehow feel it’s not Christmas unless I’ve made something for someone, so I whipped up a few ornaments to give as gifts.

A few of them even got star tree-toppers.  I’m in love with these 5-hole buttons.

I think the ornaments look rather cute on my tree branch.  No $500 Oregon pine for me. (Seriously.  That is no exaggeration.)  The beauty of a corner nook in a small apartment — I really only need 1/4 of a tree.

Today is the Emperor’s birthday, a national holiday in Japan and the beginning of our long weekend of leisure.  I’m looking forward to all the fried chicken and eggnog in my future.  What is everyone else cooking?

Merry Christmas!

Crafty Pie

In the wake of my tirade pie-rade the other day, I couldn’t resist a little of this:

While wandering through my friendly neighborhood craft store Yuzawaya, I came across the make-cute-things-out-of-felt aisle.  Usually able to resist its powerful magnetic pull, this time I fell victim and I came home with a sweet little kit of my very own.  I blame the pie.

I haven’t yet delved into too many Japanese craft kits (and there are many! glass, wood, felt, wool, paper, plastic… hobbies are serious business) but figured I could handle this one — just cut the felt into shapes and stitch it together like in the photograph.  Right, piece of cake, er, I mean easy as pie.

I should know better than to trust my own clichés!  As anyone who has made a pie knows, pate brisee is not easy (damn you, ice cold butter chunks that make it impossible to roll you into a flat pie crust shaped circle!).  I opened the kit this morning, and the pieces are teeeny.  I don’t think I can cut them that small, let alone stitch them into something smaller.  Apparently my big Norwegian hands are not well-suited for cute felt things.

Also, I forgot that there might be directions to follow, and that they would be in Japanese.  What can I say, pie + crafts make me crazy.