Back in the felt garden

Maybe it is my lack of green garden space or maybe this time of year just brings out the felt-freak in me, but I pulled out my cute veggies and fruits books again.


Veggies in a line.

Last year I made some tomatoes, onions, carrots, and posted a tutorial for mushrooms. Any guesses on what these shapes might become?

felt shapesfelt veggies

Kawaii (Cute!) Mushroom Tutorial

More vegetables are popping up…

This was the result of a rainy weekend in Tokyo. What was I supposed to do, study Japanese? Bah!

Some folks expressed interest in making their own veggies, so I thought I’d share a short tutorial. This mushroom pattern is super easy and comes from this book, which is from the Heart Warming Life Series and translates to “Full of Cute Vegetables and Fruits.” As I mentioned in my earlier post, these felt fungi stitch up quickly and are really satisfying to make — they’re maybe even a bit addictive. Consider yourself warned!

Kawaii (Cute!) Mushroom Tutorial

Here we go!

Gather your materials. You’ll need white and dark brown felt, a pair of scissors, a needle, stuffing, and some matching thread. I use embroidery floss because it’s what I have handy, but any thread will work as long as it matches your felt.

Cut out your felt pieces. I like to make a paper pattern first, and then trace around the pattern onto the felt. From the white felt cut out two circle “tops” 35 mm in diameter (1 3/8″), and two “stems” approximately 25 mm (1″) in height. From the brown felt cut one circle 55 mm in diameter (2 1/8″).

Assemble the mushroom. Stitch the two white circles together, sewing 3/4 of the way around the perimeter. Fill your mushroom top with stuffing, and then stitch the circles closed. Repeat this process for the stem, leaving a little tail of excess thread. I recommend using a blanket stitch, because it leaves a nice edge, but use whatever stitch you’re comfortable with.

Next, attach the stem to the top using that extra bit of thread. Make little stitches around the open edge of the stem, securing it to the top until it is nice and stable.

Make the mushroom cap. Stitch along the outside edge of the brown circle using a running stitch.

Now the fun part — gently pull your thread tight , and your mushroom cap should slowly take form…

Slip the assembled mushroom inside the gathered brown felt, placing the mushroom cap on top of the assembled mushroom like a hat. Continue to tighten the brown thread until the mushroom cap hugs evenly around all sides of the mushroom top.

Tie a tight knot and hide the tail of your thread inside. Nice work! Now make a few more, and watch your own garden start to grow. (@⌒ー⌒@)

In the spirit of sharing and caring, please don’t use this pattern for profit, and give credit to the book’s author when credit is due (前田 智美). Thanks! 

Tokyo Craft Kits

New! in my Etsy shop, just in time for the holidays!  ☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆

The Tokyo Craft Kit, $25

As I mentioned earlier, I have a slight crush on masking tape. It is inexpensive and colorful, and so it always finds its way into my shopping basket.

I’ve started carrying masking tape with me everywhere I go. And a notebook. And stickers, colored pens, a sewing kit, the occasional hair bow, and embroidery floss. It is important to be prepared when when inspiration strikes.

And so, the idea for a Tokyo Craft Kit was born. Each on-the-go DIY craft kit includes a handmade drawstring bag full of whimsical and fun craft goodies: stickers, notebook, 4-color pen, a self-inking stamp, a dainty bow pin, and 2 rolls of masking tape.

Check ’em out!

Anpan Panda

Because why not, right?

This is what happens when you enter a bakery in a post-study, pre-lunch haze.  Though, I did manage to pass on the corn and hot dog pizza.  Another day, perhaps.

Sure, maybe anpan あんパン is basically a donut, but I firmly believe a woman can eat an animal-shaped, sweet-filled sweet bun in the middle of the afternoon without shame.  Mr. Panda Face here is was full of chocolate.  I’m pretty sure I was the only adult eating one.

Design Festa

Asia’s largest biannual art fair, Design Festa, took place in Tokyo this past weekend. Hosting over 8,500 artists from around the globe, Design Festa provides independent artists an opportunity to showcase their work.  Having little idea of what to expect, I set out with camera and pocketbook in hand.

Anyone with original work (and the requisite entry fee) is welcome to participate, and so media on display runs the gamut.  Print illustration, “live painting,” music, handcrafts, and a dramatic interpretation of an anime series were just a few spotted.  The venue lent itself especially well to single artists selling handmade goods, and the range of crafts was unbelievable.  Walking around the convention hall, I couldn’t help but compare the scene to a physical manifestation of Etsy — if Etsy were Asian and wearing animal ears, that is.

Illustration clearly took center stage, and I found myself most interested in the print media and stationary.

Sugar had some great postcards.

okappalover‘s calendars were my favorite of the day.

Here, すっちゃん Succhan’s four seasons – はる is spring, なつ summer, あき autumn, and ふゆ for winter.

I loved the exercising turtles from もりやりょうこ.  And hey panda, what’s got you so relaxed?

The cute-to-creepy spectrum was pretty grand, but a few skirted it gracefully.  More creepy or kawaii?  You tell me.

I was also happy to see a few eco-conscience designs.  My favorite came from designers in Korea, of the GAB : Graphic Design Group.  These picnic bags by Ahn Sung Kyung unzip and fold out to create a dry place for sitting, and are made from leftover rice bags.

The ORIORI_Bag is a convenient way to carry an extra shopping bag with you.  Just unfold and you are ready to go.

And for some good green fun, the green friend.  I was tempted to take one home, but not sure my apartment lends itself well to mud balls.

Of course, an event in Tokyo just wouldn’t be complete without cosplay.  The woman in the box never moved.  I watched her for, like, minutes.

Thanks to the staff at Design Festa for showing me around.  If you are in Tokyo next May and want to check out the next volume of work, visit their site for more info.

Turkish Delights

Not all things in Tokyo are kawaii (adorable cuteness in Japanese pop culture), but let’s face it, many are just too lovable and awesome not to mention.  Like Namja Town.  Dan and I accidentally stumbled upon this gyoza and ice cream nirvana, and were simultaneously bewildered and amazed with what we found.  (By the way, if you follow the links and are confused, have no fear — you are in good company.  I still feel that way.)   Namja Town is a food theme park, where you can try gyoza (dumplings) from different parts of Japan, and visit an ice cream museum full of flavors you never wanted to know existed, including…

Turkish tea ice cream, in a cone, dressed up like a Turkish man.  It was also served by a (seemingly) Turkish man, who twirled it upside down before handing it over, making all the teenage girls in line shriek with delight.  Please take note of the licorice scarf, my favorite part.  This little man didn’t stand a chance.