Monday, March 22, 2010

Interesting video about Boro textiles

Wada on Boro: Japanese Rag Textiles Go from Shabby to Chic from Andrew Galli on Vimeo.
"In Japan, mended and patched textiles are referred to as 'boro', or rags. For some time within Japan boro was regarded with shame because these utilitarian textiles are strong evidence of rural Japan's impoverished past. Nonetheless, boro has begun to attract considerable interest outside Japan."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Scrap Buster Pencil Case

pencil_case on hay_polaroid

My much loved scraps have now been reborn into a pencil case.
At first my scrap project was going to be yet another book cover, but the finished size turned out to be a little smaller than anticipated (measure twice cut once). In the end I made a pencil case. The zipper was really hard for me to put in, and after wrestling with my sewing machine, in the end I did it all by hand. I had to rip out the zipper no fewer than 4 times, until I finally got it right. How is that for perseverance!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Scrap Buster mini quilt ミニキルト

I have the hardest time throwing away little scraps of beautiful material, especially antique japanese cloth and material from past projects.

Following a great tutorial from , I set out to get rid of all my bits and pieces of leftover material by making a scrap buster mini quilt.

First I trimmed all my beautiful scraps into perfect square, then carefully arranged them into a pleasing design.

With the iron, I bonded the fabric to the interfacing, and now I was committed.

With the final arrangement complete, I now dusted off the sewing machine, and started sewing.
完成しました。 今から縫います。
What a simple method to get perfectly straight rows of squares with perfectly matched corners!
What should I make, a book cover, a pencil case, a bag, a wall hanging?
何でもに合いそうな布を出来上がりました。何を作ろうかな? やってみませんか。


Monday, March 8, 2010

Oilcloth Bookcover オイルクロスのブックカバー


Carry your book everywhere and anywhere with an oilcloth piecework book cover!
This is just one book cover in a series, this one using Anna Maria Horner`s oilcloth material.
For directions and inspiration, I googled "book cover, tutorial" and came up with many helpful suggestions and ideas. Don`t you love that red velvet rickrack. I`m such a sucker for trimmings.
What`s beneath the beautiful exterior?  A gaijin friendly, large print with furigana version of Natsume Soseki`s Botchan.
米デザイナーのアンナ マリア ホーナーのオイルクロスを使って頑丈なブックカバーを作りました。今度読んでみよう本は外国人と子供に読みやすくしている夏目漱石の坊ちゃんです。

Spring is very rainy and windy this year in Amakusa. I love the yellows and light greens you can find dotting the mountainside.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gumdrops on my bag

It all started with a beautiful cut of Marimekko material given to me by a friend. The pattern was too beautiful to cut into, so I decided to leave it as it is, and just quilt it. By basting some scrap material around the edges, I was able to make the canvas large enough to fit into my quilting frame, and then came the hours and hours of teeny weeny stitches.

close up of sewing
Of course I got carried away, who wouldn`t with this fun pattern. I ended up quilting around each separate circle, and even doing some decorative stitches to make the circles into delicious candies.

closeup of strap
To compliment this material, I needed something plain and sturdy, so I decided to upcycle some old jeans. The denim was all machine quilted in simple straight lines using navy blue thread and rainbow colored thread.
The denim shoulder straps (perhaps the best part) were inlayed with little rectangular scraps of material. I initially cut rectangles into the denim and then basted the scraps on the inside. It ended up being something like reverse applique, although I left the cut denim with raw edges for a fun and playful look. One of the rectangle scraps is a piece of material with my inkan (japanese name stamp) stamped on a piece of cream colored material. Now there will be no mistaking whose bag this is. (tee hee)

Picnik collage
The inside of the bag was made using a beehive fabric by Echino in pink and turquoise green. This material is darling with bumble bees scattered throughout. The pink fabric was the main material with the turquoise green used for making accented pockets. I also went wild with some pretty purple velvet trim here and there and everywhere. I even covered the raw edge of the zipper with the velvet trim.
In the lining there is a general pocket, a cellphone pocket (with elastic to gather the top), a pen holder (for 2 pens) and the much needed and loved key fob. On the outside there is also a zippered pocket with the turquoise green beehive material used for the inner pocket material.

Picnik collage
Problems with the bag:
urgh, really it is basically perfect, but if I had to be picky.....
I should have been more careful when sewing it all together. The bottom of the bag is a little puckered. The style of the bag makes it very difficult to open while it is around my shoulder. I basically have to take it off to get into it. Slightly inconvenient for a lazy butt like me. The top of the bag is closed with a zipper, but since it is rounded the zipper doesn`t lie super flat. Oh yes, and the pen holder on the inside of the bag was placed too high up and is difficult to access. It was a great idea, but would be better a little lower.
I should have machine quilted the little patches on the strap BEFORE I sewed everything together. For some reason it didn`t strike me as necessary until later.
Other then that, it is great, perhaps too great to use!

Gumdrop bag


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

House Collage

house collage

My latest inspirational collage. Guess what I`m thinking about these days.
最近感動を与える写真。 次の計画がだいたい分かるでしょう。
1. House, inspired by fabulous Yoko Saito, 2. House stitching, 3. house quilt, 4. more neighborhoods, 5. DSC01093, 6. Copenhagen, 7. Window, Castelo Rodrigo, 8. Finished Jewel Squares top!, 9. Polka Dot Estates

Monday, January 25, 2010

Check out the locals 四国の伝統的な人形

During the winter holidays in 2009-2010 Rik and I packed up our bikes and headed for a two weeks cycling trip around Shikoku. If you are interested in reading about our trip feel free to surf our blog entries.
As we were cycling in the rather remote area of the Tsurugi mountain range, we came upon these life size dolls of japanese people. First this young lad waiting perhaps for a bus.


A living room scene complete with the entire extended family. Notice the middle age man drinking sake, the young boy with some sticky candy and the sandals carefully lined up at the entrance. I love all the careful attention to detail.

Here is a close-up of grandma and grandpa preparing some goodies on an open stove. Looks almost good enough to eat, especially in our ravenous state.


taco age
Further along the road we found this traditional new years scene complete with a playful kite flying scene.
The humor and the expression in all these scenes was wonderful and left us in a jolly mood for the rest of the day. We didn`t see a single live soul in these villages, but we were assured of their kind presence through these creative scenes from traditional rural japan.


Thursday, January 21, 2010


Milo sitting on his Echino Baby quilt. What a big boy! He is hardly a baby.
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