Today the weather was beautiful. I packed a lunch, hopped on my bike and peddled out for an impromptu picnic.My neighborhood has a take-away karaage (fried chicken) shop which proves irresistible at lunchtime when they stack bentos in the front window. Next door is a sweets shop, so into my bike’s basket went a sakura-shaped sugar cookie for dessert.The sakura trees are just starting to bloom in Tokyo. I found a few over-achieving blossoms that had already fallen and scooped them up to take along. The wasanbon cookie was stuffed with azuki red bean paste and much too sweet for my liking. It looked pretty anyway.The footpath that runs through Setagaya is lined with small gardens, play areas, and occasionally a small stream. As I ate my lunch I dropped the blossoms into the water. They meandered about 5 or 6 meters before getting caught on a rock. A bit later a small girl noticed them and plucked one out, very proud of her find.Ah, spring.
Yesterday I shared last year’s to-do list and how well I did checking things off. It feels good to keep a list and look back a year later, to see how your year changed from the one you had imagined. I might not have accomplished everything on my list, but keeping an eye on it throughout the year gave a good push to keep trying new things.
I’m stepping into this year tentatively, like I am dipping my toes into water — will it be refreshing? Too hot? Will I turn and run and hide under my towel? We shall see. Here is the list for 2013:
Cook 12 new recipes. I am putting this on the list again, even though last year I failed miserably at it. I want to cook more, and if this list gives me even a little bit of encouragement it will be a positive gain. I’d love to learn more traditional Japanese dishes, so perhaps I’ll even treat myself to a cooking class.
Read 8 books. I’m upping the ante from 5 last year. Recommendations?
Visit 6 new places. This is achievable so I’m sticking with it. If I could go anywhere? The mountains of Chile, Alaska, New Zealand. Where might I go? Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, or a romp through northern Japan. I’d love to find a hike to a secret little outdoor onsen in the mountains.
Sew 6 new garments. My new sewing hobby has me obsessed. I’d like to learn more skills this year, and make a fitted and lined dress, pants, and a jacket or blazer. I vow to not be afraid to cut into expensive fabrics.
Make a gigantic sashiko art piece. A last-minute addition. Why not?!
Publish something. An article or an encyclopedia (dream big!), it doesn’t matter.
2013? Let’s do this.
Happy Holidays to everyone!
Perhaps you’ve already finished your holiday crafting. Me? I’ll be stitching until 2 am on Christmas Eve. I do it every year, no matter how much planning or preparation I’ve put into my projects. Now I prefer it this way. A quiet Christmas eve, low lamp light, warm tea and hand stitching.
If you also want to hide with a stitching project, here is a little gift for you — a snowflake sashiko ornament pattern. (Click here to download the PDF.) Thanks for stopping by Saké Puppets! Wishing everyone a spirited winter holiday! ☆彡
Hello! Just a quick note to share that today is the last day for worry-free delivery by December 24th for purchases from my online shop. There are still many sashiko embroidery kits and a few gift items available, so please have a look if you fancy. Also, use the coupon code CHEER for 10% off your purchase!
Not to worry, express shipping is available until December 17th. Need some help deciding? Check out my gift guide for inspiration.
The holiday season ’tis upon us again. Tokyo is blanketed in tiny LED lights and Colonel Sanders has donned his holiday Santa hat. The Christmas spirit and the smell of fried chicken are in the air!
My web shop will be offering Black Friday/Cyber Monday specials again this year, so I encourage you to take a peek! For all orders placed between Friday, November 23rd and Monday, November 26th use coupon code CHEER to receive 10% off your order and to receive a special little surprise gift in the package. It might be edible. It will definitely be weird. Orders will ship Tuesday morning and will arrive in plenty of time for Christmas.
Need a little help with your holiday shopping? I’ve taken the liberty of putting together a holiday helper guide. Friends, see if you can guess which one of these are you.
For the Crafty Teen :: Maybe they’re too smart for their own good, or maybe they just like to glue sh*t to other sh*t. Perfect for the girl who loves to mix and match accessories and colors and multi-color nail polish. Or for the full-grown woman who also loves these things, including dressing like a teen.
For the Busy Mom :: They love to create but have troubling finding the time, because, you know, they are busy keeping tiny humans alive. These sashiko kits come with all the materials needed for a full project, and are easy to start, set aside, pick back up again, and finish by dim lamp light in the middle of the night.
For the Friend Who Always Throws a Better Party Than You :: Wine parties, knitting parties, and impromptu I-just-threw-this-delicious-hotdish-together parties, she does it all. This friend enjoys creating a fun atmosphere for her loved ones and is very good at it, so the special touches really matter.
For the Girl Who is Just a Friend :: You don’t want to give the wrong impression, like the time you gave her holiday-themed socks and you found yourself in an awkward position. You also know ladies love presents and you don’t want to take the heat the next time you introduce her to your new girlfriend, and she tells New Girlfriend how awful you are at gift-giving. Because you care enough to say you know she knows you care how she looks.
For the Inoffensive Coworker :: You like your colleagues but perhaps you don’t know much about them. Or maybe you do and pretend you don’t. A hand-stitched gift for an inoffensive coworker is the perfect way to say, “Have a fine holiday. But not too much fun that you run off and leave me with all this work.” Also, these ornaments are fun to make, so you might as well get something out of the deal.
I’m delighted to announce I’ve placed some new sashiko kits in my Etsy web shop.
The first is a do-it-yourself sashiko and patchwork brooch. I am excited about this one, as you can tell by the goofy grin on my face. Kits contain a brooch setting, sashiko instructions and materials, and a selection of beautiful fabrics, including plenty of Liberty of London and Echino cottons.
I think these kits would make a nice gift for someone who likes to craft. I would give one to myself if I could. But that is weird. Sashiko Brooch Kit, $15
The second kit is inspired by the upcoming holiday season. This trio of starry night ornaments with sashiko stitching is a nice way to add your own handmade holiday cheer. Kits include fabric, patterns and sashiko materials, and heavy charcoal gray felt for stability and backing. It is really nice felt, I went for the good stuff. The crisp lines of these stars are simple to stitch, but look quite fancy hanging in a set.
Can you believe I found a Christmas tree look-alike in Tokyo this time of year? I can’t. I thought I would have to wait for the $500 trees to arrive and then photobomb them with my ornaments. I’m talking snap and run. But I didn’t have to wait that long. I just photobombed my neighbor’s bushes instead. I don’t mind if they think I’m strange, I already put more wine bottles in the recycle bin than they do, so they expect such things from me, no doubt. Starry Night Sashiko Ornaments Kit, $20
You can check out other sashiko kits and gift items in my Etsy shop. Thanks!
Thanks again to everyone who joined us at the Etsy Worldwide Craft Party in Tokyo yesterday! It was fun meeting fellow makers, talkin’ shop, and getting our hands dirty in some decoupage. It must be a sign that I was too busy enjoying the party to stop and take photos, though thankfully my trusty assistant (my husband) snapped a few.
My sashiko workshop in-progress:
Never enough pom poms:
Some ladies wore yukata, a cotton kimono popular at summer festivals:
The staff at FabCafe were wonderful. Here, the laser cutter at work:
My assistant and I take a break:
Thanks again, everyone! Hope to see you at the next event!
As I hinted before, I’ll be hosting a sashiko workshop on Saturday, August 25th at the Etsy Worldwide Craft Party! Email me at email@example.com to reserve a spot or see below for more details.
It sounds like the event is shaping up to be a really fun night, so I hope you’ll join us. Etsy gatherings in Tokyo are always a great opportunity to meet other sellers, trade advice about our shops, and generally chat about craft life in Japan. I’ve met some wonderful people at past Etsy parties who have since become good friends, so I’m looking forward to this one as well.
This year’s Etsy Craft Party theme is “Wish you were here!” so we’re celebrating what makes summer unique in Japan — festivals! Etsy is sending craft supplies for lots of DIY activities, including a photo booth, laser-cut designs, a photo frame workshop, lots of food and cheap drinks. I hope to see you there! Click this link to RSVP — the more attendees, the more craft loot Etsy sends us! So please sign up!
Saké Puppets Sashiko Tissue Case Workshop
When: Saturday, August 25th 7-8 pm
Where: FabCafe in Shibuya (Access map)
Cost: ￥2000 per person for workshop participants. Entry to the Etsy Craft Party is free and includes snacks, drinks available for ￥500 at the bar
The Project: Make your own sashiko tissue case! Together we’ll hand-sew a pocket tissue case and learn how to use sashiko embroidery to decorate it with fun and modern designs. Choose your favorite fabric, colors, patterns, and embellishments! The workshop will be held in English, but help in Japanese is available.
Space is limited so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. Thanks! I hope to see you there!
ワークショップでは刺し子作りなどを通じて、楽しく英語を勉強できます。ワークショップ = 手芸 ＋ 楽しい英語!