Emily’s Dress with roses

I love it when readers share the things they make using my fabric rose tutorial.  I recently received a note from 17-year-old Emily in the U.K. thanking me for the tutorial which she used to make a dress for her textiles class.  She shared photos with me and graciously gave permission to share on my blog.

She was designing her dress with a midsummer night’s theme, and I think she nailed it!  She has sewn roses in a very feminine pattern on the front and back of the dress.

Emilys dress with roses midsummer nights dream

Just beautiful.  And for a designer so young!  I hope others will be as inspired by Emily as I am.


Turning Japanese, I really think so

I’ll get to the Japenese sewing in a bit, but let me start at the beginning…

It all started with Martha Stewert and the guy cooking the Japanese hot pots.  Then, by chance, I found that Japanese Hot Pots cookbook in the library so I used it to make the yummiest beef sukiyaki I’ve ever had.  (Which I had to rename “Sukiyaki Western Django” because I liked that movie so much-especially the costumes.)

I was so enamored with the Japanese hot pots, that I decided to stop at the huge Japanese supermarket Mitsuwa in the Chicago suburbs this weekend and purchase the hard to find ingredients for more hot pots.  Then on the way out, we stopped by the Japanese bookstore and I bought 2 Japanese sewing magazines. (Y’all know I’m addicted to magazines, right?)

I think my life may have just shifted a little bit.

I’ve been in love with Japanese food since I was introduced to it 14 years ago while I was pregnant.  We frequently went to the Japanese market for food.  I’ve even seen Japanese Zakka sewing projects and loved them. 

But this was different.  These are MaGaZINeS full of Zakka sewing.

May I introduce to you my new pals, Cotton Friend and Cotton Time

japanese zakka sewing magazine

japanese zakka sewing magazine

(I feel a little bad showing photos of the magazines which have their own copyright, but since you can’t easily get them in the USA, and because these photos are less revealing than you flipping through the magazine at the newstand, I don’t feel too badly.)

These are not just magazines.  They are full of projects complete with full size patterns, step by step instructions and full color photos of the assembly process.  Many craft and fashion magazines had freebies inside them.    Cotton time included a bit of fabric so you can make the project on the front cover.  (how cool is that???)

japanese zakka sewing magazine

Let me start with Cotton Friend which is geared towards clothing. I really like the simple style of these clothes in linen.

japanese zakka sewing magazine

There is a big, fold-out sheet with all the patterns for all the clothes in the magazine (in one size). But all the pieces are printed all over each other. You might need a degree in cartography to figure these out. Reading Japanese would also help.

japanese zakka sewing magazine

The Cotton Friend magazine is more geared towards sewing crafts and smaller projects.  Look at this embroidery & applique pattern on the very first page…it is so adorable.  They include the stitch diagram too.  Loving this.

japanese zakka sewing magazine

Even though I don’t speak or read Japanese, their photos are enough to catch on and figure out the steps for most projects.

This page below made me think of Charissa’s gift wrap blog which is often inspired by Asian aesthetics.

japanese zakka sewing magazine

Oh deer, what a cute satchel you have there.

japanese zakka sewing magazine

The two photos below look like they could be straight out of Country Living Magazine or something, except for all the Japanese writing all over the place.

japanese zakka sewing magazine

japanese zakka sewing magazine

Here’s another freebie stuck in the Cotton Friend magazine.  It’s full of tools and techniques for crafting children’s food.  Have you ever seen food look this cute?

japanese zakka sewing magazine

You paper junkies will love this.  Want to know how they get the faces on those rice balls?  They have craft punches and they use it on a sheet of nori, which is a dried kelp used to wrap sushi.  It comes in sheets like paper, so they punch designs and decorate the food.  Upon further research, there is a whole flickr group for bento boxes if you want to see more like this and source the face punches.

japanese zakka sewing magazine

That’s enough photos for now.  I’m in love with these magazines even though I can’t even read them!

Before I go, I’ll leave you with this little earworm.  It’s been singing in my head for days – so maybe passing it to you will help me shed the Vapors one-hit-wonder from 1980.

(Tip – play the song while you go check out the photos of zakka sewing from google images and bento boxes on flickr.


Costuming Alice

Since I haven’t seen the other crafty sites talking about this, I’ll fill you in.

Costume designer Colleen Atwood talks about the costuming for Alice in Wonderland which comes out this Friday, March 5th.

And here’s another bit of Tim Burton trivia for you.  He has already teamed up to direct the movie version of this book which just came out this week.  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter sounds pretty interesting.  Even though we’re all sick of vampires (those of us who started with Anne Rice have been through enough, haven’t we?)  This one peaks my interest anyway.

Now if I can just find that book used or handmade, so I don’t have to cheat on my Dottie Angel challenge.


A list of 11 rose making tutorials

Today I’ve decided to share a list of 11 different tutorials for making and crafting roses from various materials.  Read on to see links and photos off all the lovely roses you can make… Read more…


Being original on Etsy

Whether you have an Etsy shop or dream of having one someday, perhaps you should check out Gary’s fine jewelry and Stuff on Etsy to see how things should (or shouldn’t) be done.  He gets the most points for originality on Etsy, that’s fer sure.

He seems pretty touchy about his images so I won’t post any here.  (I don’t want to aggravate his rampant alcoholism or smoking habit)   Just go to his shop, read the shop announcement and look at his items.  His attention to detail is awesome – even his tags and materials are well thought out.  When life gives you lemons – make lemonade, then make a necklace out the empty lemonade can like Gary did.

Gary’s fine jewelry and stuff on Etsy

(Best laugh I’ve had all day – Thanks to the Plumb Pretty blog for pointing this out!)


The Allure of Babies

I’m going WAY off topic today, because I haven’t made anything new in a while, and I have no photos to share of the studio remodel.

The video below is a trailer for a documentary called “Babies” which comes out in April 2010. I’m fascinated by the concept and the cinematography of this movie. I think it’s more about anthropology than babies. I’m loving the first and last scenes of this trailer.

BABIES:Movie TrailerFor more funny movies, click here

Did you know that the human brain is wired to enjoy the faces of babies? It makes sense, otherwise we could not be such a prolific species. But did you know that advertisers know this about you and use it to influence your buying decisions? Babies are not just for selling baby products, they sell you tires for your car, and online stock trades and even bottled water. We feel the need to watch the baby, and thus watch the commercial. I got all that from a neuro-marketing book I found at the library.

And there you go – I gave you fighting babies, science, and business all in one post.


Flickr gallery of whimsical wearables

I like to peruse through Flickr photos for inspiration.  There are so many talented people out there sharing their creations.

Today I created a Flickr gallery with 18 different wearable items that are whimsical.  For some reason, the pinks, aquas and greens have been capturing my attention lately.

I can’t figure out how to put the thumbnails here, so I’ll just point you to the Flickr place with these pretty things I chose:


Do they inspire you to create something whimsical?

If you have a Flickr account, leave a comment over there.  Or over here.  Or you know, just whatever.  Speak you piece!


Vintage kitsch for $20

My mom gave me a $20 bill for my birthday.  How old fashioned is that?

So to honor the old fashioned, here’s how I spent it…

vintage embroidered linens, buttons, and thread

One of my favorite thrift stores had some new hand-embroidered linens on consignment from a woman who moved to assisted living and sold off her collection of stuff she’d made.  Most of the linens are from her, or another person I didn’t get the story on.  There is also some old buttons and thread on wooden spools.  I love the look of wood spools – it reminds me of my first impressions of sewing.

Anyway, there are 8 different pieces of embroidered linen and cotton.  Those plus the buttons and spools still totaled $20 and some change.  Not bad.

What is your favorite vintage find?  Where did you find it, what did you pay, and what are you doing with it?  (I need some ideas for all these cute linens!)


Virtual trip to Ginger Blossom – part 3

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This is part 3 of my photo journey to Ginger Blossom world bazaar.  Check out part 1 and part 2 if you haven’t already.

Read more…


Virtual trip to Ginger Blossom – part 2

Continuing our photo saga of the amazing Ginger Blossom shop, here are some scenes from outside and inside this incredible world bazaar on the farm.

As we drove up to the big anniversary sale, there were many more cars than usual…

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This is the main barn full of furniture and home decor on the upper level.  There are also lofts in there storing more furniture that you can’t get to.  Then the lower level is the rugs and worldly textiles…

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I like these full size, rusty metal horse sculptures outside the barn…

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Inside the top part of the barn there are rows and rows of armoires and shelves and other furniture.  Most of it is carved rustic pine.  Remember that Ginger Blossom sells handmade goods – not mass produced stuff.  Somebody hand built all this furniture, and there are many more rows like this one.  (the barn also has home decor which I’ll show tomorrow).

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The downstairs part of the barn houses rugs and textiles.  I showed you textiles yesterday.  This is only about 1/2 of the room with the stacks and stacks of oriental carpets & rugs, with the walls lined with heaps of textiles.  This is my favorite part of the multi-part store.  (by the way – the crowd is awaiting the belly dance performance at the end of the room)

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The grounds outside are just as charmingly decorated as the insides.  Here is an old tractor, overgrown with brambles, and protected by a few South American dieties.  How whimsical is that?

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A wooden carved deer statue next to a very knarly willow tree…

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I found the rusty arbor just as charming in the brown winter as it would be in the lush green of summer…

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It was cold outside, so we went back indoors.  This red living room setup made me feel very warm.  I like how they put a few entire rooms together to spark your imagination on how to pull off the world traveller look in your own home…

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And finally, an ornately hand carved chair sits next to a poster bed.  Goodnight.

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For part 3 tomorrow –  I’ll show you chat-skis and statues and other nic-nac bric-a-brac home decor items on display.

(The owner of Ginger Blossom gave permission to post photos to my blog.  Ginger travels the world and buys directly from the artisans in small quantities so she can keep her prices low.  She also follows the guidelines from the Fair Trade Organization.  Although she doesn’t sell online – you can go to the Fair Trade Organization and find other retailers near you.)

All photos are copyright Luci Ayyat 2009