Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Messy!






二日連続ずっと雨でずっと引きこもってしまったぁ。明日外に出してあげるのが楽しみだな。歩乃歌は毎日新しい言葉を発してるから面白い。最近は、「すごいね~!」と「待ってよ~!」をいっぱい言ってるよ。

Two rainy days in a row meant we never got a chance to leave the apartment for two days. I can't wait to take her outside tomorrow. Honoka has so many new words she can say now everyday. Lately she likes to say "Sugoi ne" (Impressive, isn't it) about everything especially when she can accomplish something. She also says "Matte yo!" (Wait for me!) very often.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Make it Take it Blog Tour


Welcome to this stop for Make it Take it blog tour! Krista Hennebury, the author of this beautiful book, Make it Take it, has been a very lovely friend of mine for years. I couldn't be happier when she shared with me the news she was writing this book. She is a very talented quilter/sewist but to me, what makes her very special is her friendship. She has always been willing to help friends in need, teach them, and support however way she can, (not to mention this amazing alphabet quilt she has put together with friends for my baby!) This book's theme is around 'sewing together' which I think is appropriate and perfect for her first book. She has years of experience in attending retreats, sewing with friends, and teaching. Unfortunately I have never had a chance to sew with her just because we live way too far away from each other, but her MQG has always been the guild I want to attend the most partly because there are many other members in it that I've known for years and have admired as well!

I am just so honored that I was able to contribute my project for this book filled with ubber talented people. To be honest, I was nervous because I knew most contributors including Krista herself are way beyond creative, and I didn't know I could come up with something that is up to the standard! Well, but this is very typical of me to feel inadequate, but this was an opportunity I had to right jump in!


I ended up designing these bags for her book. When Krista asked me to come up with a design for her book, it was right around the time I made this bag over two years ago. I had a lot of requests to make it into a pattern/write a tutorial on it, so I suggested the project for the book, and Krista kindly accepted it. I need to warn you that there are minor corrections to my pattern. Here is a link to a correct instruction. (See the part squared in the yellow line under the cutting instruction: in the book it asks you to cut two pieces but you only need just one.) So sorry about this!


There are so many things I want to make in this book! So far I've made these double scissor keepers which are designed by the lovely Amy of During Quiet Time. This is so fun and easy to make, and it is such a great project for quick gift making. It is very likely your sewing friend has scissors that need to be organized in a pretty, handy way like this, but it isn't likely she already has a cute keeper for her scissors, right? I am giving these to my mom and my mother-in-law as birthday presents. Now I know I need one for myself too because it is perfect for my great Kai scissors my friend Mary gifted me :)


Fabric used for these is Denise Schmidt's older fabric (floral) and my Lighthearted (text).

Here is the blog tour schedule!

Friday, April 3 Blog hop kick-off: Right here!

Monday, April 6: Berene at Happy Sew Lucky and Amy at During Quiet Time

Tuesday, April 7: Leanne at She Can Quilt and Felicity at Felicity Quilts

Wednesday, April 8: Martingale Inc. at Stitch this! (check out their Rainbow Round the Cabin staff party!)

Thursday, April 9: Krista at Spotted Stones and Krista at Krista Withers Quilting

Friday, April 10: Lynne at Lilys Quilts and Cindy at Live a Colorful Life

Saturday, April 11: Ayumi at Pink Penguin and Krista at Poppyprint

Sunday, April 12: Kristie at OCD: Obsessive Crafting Disorder and Christina at Sometimes Crafter


I hope you will get your hands on this fabulous book and make lots of things from it with your friends! If you would like to win a digital copy of this book, leave me one comment! The giveaway will close on the 14th and a winner will be announced soon after that. Good luck :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The winner of The Paper-Pieced Home is...


Thank you to eveyone for your sweet comments on my previous post! The winner of a copy of The Paper-Pieced Home by Penny Layman is...


Marco!! Congratulations! Could you do me a favor to email me your mailing address for your copy to be sent to? Thank you!!

Hope you are having a lovely weekend wherever you are! Let me leave you with some pictures from last week where cherry blossom trees were amazing here in Tokyo, Japan!









Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Paper-Pieced Home Blog Tour: Allie-Gator


By Penny Layman
Interweave/F+W; $26.99

I am very excited to host a stop for The Paper-Pieced Home Blog Tour by my dear friend Penny Layman on my blog today! I feel I've said this so many times already, but I just love Penny and everything she makes!! I don't know if I had discovered the joy of paper-piecing if she had not kindly invited me to co-host our Ringo Pie bee years ago where we designed and made a paper-pieced block each month with super talented gals. I fell completely in love with paper-piecing techniques, and as of today it is by far my favorite sewing technique. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about her writing her first book full of her original paper-pieced block designs!!! I knew her book would be amazing, but it even exceeded my expectation. How could that be possible?! It has so many amazing patterns and there is a CD inserted with all full sized patterns!


When I had to choose a project for this tour, it was so hard because thought I could make literally anything in this book joyfully!! So I ended up sending a long list of projects I want to make and had the coordinator pick one for me from it :) I am happy this Allie-Gator Block was selected, because he is super cute, and I just needed to start making a quilt for my nephew to be born next month! This is my first time to see my sister being pregnant, and I am beyond excited to welcome a boy in the family! 


Both my sister and her husband are big eaters! My sister is already concerned about food expense since she expects her son to be a big eater like them. I somehow wanted to include some food theme in this quilt, so I modified the pattern between the alligator's teeth just a bit only so I could fit in some chocolate cake and a cherry. And then, I thought I want to incorporate more of food stuff into the quilt so I made the patchwork border around it. (Each square is 2 3/4" finished) This turned definitely too busy for my sister's taste. She likes things soft and quiet, and that's why she never seems to appreciate anything I've made for her lol. Well, it may be the case this will be another thing she won't like very much, but I bet her son may like it.


My girl, Honoka, is having a lot of fun learning new words everyday. In this household, we speak English and Japanese completely mixed, (which is not good, I know) so she would point at chickens if I ask her where "cock a doodle doo" is and enjoys telling me which ones are "Go" (which comes from a Japanese word, Ichigo, meaning strawberries) and "JinJin"(which comes from a Japanese word, Ninjin, meaning Carrots) If my nephew is a big food lover like his parents expect, then he should learn these words quickly and joyfully from this quilt. Well I hope so!! (Most fabric I used in this quilt top is from Lighthearted, my fabric for Kokka which I still have some left in my shop. You can still find them at some shops too - see the shop list in the previous blogpost.)


I think I will embroider his name above the cute alligator's head or applique because the white part seems a bit too strong to me. Then I will probably hand-quilt just like Penny did for hers in the book! Oh I should mention that Penny offers this Allie-gator patterns in two sizes. I picked a larger version. 

If you love paper-piecing and all things retro, you will covet this book like myself, I promise! This may become one of my very first book that I make everything from!!

Here is the schedule for this blog tour. Go ahead and be inspired by all the amazing things these talented ladies are making from this awesome book!

3/16       McCall’s Quilting / Sewing Machine Block
3/17       Love of Quilting / Review
3/17       Sandi Sawa Hazlewood  of Crafty Planner / Watering Can Block
3/18       Quilty Pleasure (Quiltmaker blog) / Review
3/18       Imagine Gnats / Rotary Phone Block
3/20       Verykerryberry / Lion Block
3/21       Artisania / Cast-Iron Skillet Block
3/23       Where the Orchids Grow / Lamp Block
3/24       Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt / Layer Cake Block
3/24       House on Hill Road / Oven Mitt Block
3/24       Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced / BBQ Grill Block
3/26       Pink Penguin / Allie-Gator Block
3/26       A Happy Stitch / Giraffe Block
3/27       Bijou Lovely / Jar Block
3/27       Two Little Banshees / Saucepan Block
3/27       Charise Creates / Espresso Mug Block
3/30       Karen Lewis Textiles / Couch Block
3/31       Poppyprint / Clawfoot Tub Block
3/31       One Shabby Chick / Stack of Books Block
3/31       During Quiet Time / Sleeveless Dress Block
4/06       Pat Sloan The Voice of Quilting / Author Podcast Interview

Would you like to win a copy of The Paper-Pieced Home? If so please leave one comment by the midnight of March 31st! A lucky winner will be announced on the following day!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Introducing "Lighthearted"...finally!

Image courtesy of Kokka Fabric

Warning: This is a ridiculously lengthy post, so I suggest you just skim through the photos!

Thinking lightheartedly has always been a challenge throughout my life. I worry about everything like crazy. Whenever I take on a new endeavor, I can't help myself thinking about the worst possible case scenario and get cold feet eventually. This new journey was no exception... the journey to design fabric!

Image courtesy of Kokka Fabric
This line is called "Lighthearted"" by Kokka, a Japanese fabric manufacturer. When this amazing opportunity to design fabric came to me in fall 2013, I was so excited. I have always loved fabric, especially retro inspired, quirky, small prints - all sorts of fabrics I used for my projects in my book, Patchwork Please!. I thought this would give me a perfect opportunity to bring some fabric I-wish-existed to the real world!

Image courtesy of Kokka Fabric
I was really enjoying designing it in the beginning but spent just way too much time looking at my designs, editing, twisting, changing colors, etc to the point I started having second thoughts. 'Is this line really cute? Is this something people will want to play with? ....I thought so, but I am not sure anymore!!!'


After mulling it over, I felt I was in middle of nowhere and really didn't know where I was going. I felt ridiculous that I thought I had what it takes to be a fabric designer. After all I didn't know anything about designs/colors. I didn't know how difficult the whole process of designing fabric could be. Everything was so new to me. I was in the world I had absolutely no clue about.


Loving pretty fabric didn't necessarily mean I could create pretty fabric, which is the conclusion (at least I thought, at the time) I came to when it was too late. Also, I was scared of the thought about promoting my fabric. Promoting myself is the last thing I feel comfortable about doing in general. And I was afraid I would neglect my family by getting into it deeply.
Image courtesy of Kokka Fabric
My name was going to be on the selvage of this fabric line but I asked for a big favor to remove it. I got too intimidated and it helped me to think it was over. Yes it was very selfish of me and I felt extremely guilty about this. I shut down and needed a long break from social media. I was scared of people judging me who was still struggling to find the balance in life with a baby, have made very few things lately, and thought I had what it takes to call myself a fabric designer.  I didn't want people to think of me. I had to turn down many great offers/opportunities during the hard time.


Now I think about it..., it was solely myself who was the most critical of myself.


A few friends of mine and family I've shared my fabric with said great things about it, but because they are just being kind, I thought. Then I started seeing my fabric popping up on blogs, Instagram, and popular fabric shops. One of Lighthearted fabric, the mustard text print, was actually Kokka's best selling fabric last month! There were some people who bought it!? And believe it or not, they are the people I've admired for years!! Seriously? Reading through comments on IG about my fabric just made me cry so much. OK, so I guess this is fabric some people love and want to play with.


It made me feel so good and gave me enough courage to finally reveal that this fabric was truly designed by me. I've read lots of inspirational articles and self-help books ("Self-Compassion" by Kristin Neff is so inspirational) to deal with the difficult time, but what helped me most effectively and quickly was knowing that the sewing community does support my fabric much more than I had expected. That's just amazing finding. My fabric doesn't suck. It will be used in people's creations which will be loved by someone's hands for possibly decades. Sure the market is filled with beautiful fabric already and Lighthearted may not be everyone's favorite, but you can say that about anything, right? It's time I stopped beating myself up. Maybe it's time I admit I do like my fabric and say I am proud of it. *sobbing*

I even started making some paperbag blocks to put together a quilt. Maybe I can even make it into a pattern. Would anyone like to make some paperbag blocks?


Anyway I am very thankful of folks at Kokka for flying over to visit with me so many times and having a lot of patience to deal with this very difficult person during that time. Thank you for creating amazing things with my fabric for the quilt market! Thank you Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts for making the beautiful quilt for it! I am very thankful of the chief editor of Patchwork Tsushin magazine who first encouraged me to get into fabric designing. And I am extremely thankful of all my friends and family who have supported me throughout. This community of my sewing friends is very good and important to me. I should never try to hide under a rock again. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for all of you who have been supportive and encouraging.


If you are interested in playing with Lighthearted fabric (Yay!), here is a list of shops that carry Lighthearted as far as I know.

USA
Kiwi Fabric
Pink Castle Fabrics 
Sunny Day Fabric 
Westwood Acres
Stash Fabrics
Momen Plus (In store)
Cool Cottons
superbuzzy

Australia
Amitie Textiles (In store)
Polka Dots Tea Fabrics 
Patchwork on Pittwater (Coming soon)

UK
The Village Haberdashery
The Eternal Maker (Coming soon)


Japan
Miss Matatabi 
My shop

If you know of other shops that carry Lighthearted, I'd love it you could let me know so I can update the list! If you are a shop owner and would like to have Lighthearted, here is a list of Kokka's international distributors.

Thank you so much for reading through such a lengthy post! *Big hug*