Posts Tagged 'sewing'

In Praise of Miho

I love the internet for many things. It is the starting point for many of my craft obsessions, my go-to for new recipes, the way I start to learn about interesting subjects (including how to make, do, or find just about anything), and even my reinforcement that no one is alone in the universe. I mean really, google something. Anything. No matter what you type, chances are someone else is into it, or wants to learn about it too. It might even be someone on the other side of the world, and you now have something in common with them.

And there are so many people willing to give of themselves, to share knowledge about their passions, for free, in this global forum. Their enthusiasm for a subject is so great, that they must gift it to the rest of us. Case in point: Miho Takeuchi. She has a lovely website, Studio Aika, in which she shares quite a bit of information about the wonderful Japanese art of sashiko. It is a tradition of embroidery that seems to have originated as a way to conserve cloth when clothing started to wear out, or to create insulation through the layering of fabrics, much as a quilted bed comforter does. In addition, sashiko is delicate and beautiful, even mesmerizing with its intricate patterns and geometric shapes.

Miho Takeuchi, the proprietor of Studio Aika, gives some very interesting background about sashiko, both as a domestic necessity, and as an art form. She also shares much of her own work on the website. What makes her website above and beyond though, to my opinion, is all of the extra information that  Miho gives about Japanese culture, particularly in relation to art, history, and daily living. The site also features a blog, and a shop tailored very specifically to high quality sashiko and quilting supplies. In many cases, as part of the product information, Miho gives tips as to what to look for when buying supplies for sashiko crafts. If you sign up to receive updates and special extra information (which I highly recommend you do), you will receive a free sashiko pattern to your email. And Miho will send newsletters periodically, offering pattern instructions, interesting articles about sashiko and Japanese culture, and even photos from her yearly trips to Japan.

Miho teaches sashiko workshops throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, which you can also find out about on her website, under the “Sashiko classes and events” tab on the homepage. It appears that she keeps the class sizes small (usually 6-8 people) so that all of the attendees can learn as much as possible in a single session. Miho seems to be a born teacher, just given the way that she constructs her website, and the way that she words her email newsletters and informational articles. I only hope one day that I am lucky enough to attend one of her workshops.

Also, when I signed up for the newsletters back in February, I received a personalized email asking me – by name – if I received my free pattern correctly. The email also invited me to email Miho with any questions I might have in the future. I responded to Miho telling her that I really enjoyed her website, and I received a very kind email in return. It is quite obvious to me that Miho cares about the people who follow her site, and pays attention to their feedback. You can really tell when someone loves what they are doing in life, and that passion is very evident in Miho Takeuchi. Please visit her website, and please share any sashiko or Japanese craft experiences here.

Talk to you soon and happy crafting!

Cute Stuff Book Review

One of the things I really enjoy about a good craft book is getting a lot of good info in a small space, and therefore a lot of bang for your crafting buck.

I also like to be able to learn a lot just by flipping through the pictures. I’m a visual person, and I know that lots of you crafters out there are too.  Cute Stuff by Aranzi Aronzo satisfies on both counts. The colorful and clever images, and simple but cute craft ideas (and lots of ’em I might add) will keep you busy on many an afternoon.

To find out a little more about this wonderful book, please keep reading after the jump. Continue reading ‘Cute Stuff Book Review’

In my world, protests are pink and furry.

A few short weeks ago, I learned the dreadful news that one of my favorite shows of all time, Ugly Betty, was not going to be renewed for another season. Now, for YEARS, I have declared my undying love and admiration for this show. Week after week, I would laud the writing and acting abilities of those employed with the show, and remark as to how great it was for young women to have such a fantastic role model on television.

Many people might criticize the show for its crazy telenovela-esque plot turns and outrageous fashion don’ts, but I think the show is wonderful. The plot twists keep you glued to the television week after week, and almost every episode feels like a season finale. But at its core, the show really has heart. Betty is a young woman trying to make a life for herself, in and out of the business world, without compromising her principles, and without losing sight of her long term goals of changing the world. Betty’s family is a loving and supportive unit, composed of Betty’s widowed father Ignacio, Betty’s sister Hilda, who lives at home, and Hilda’s son Justin, who was born when Hilda was still in high school. Underneath all of the hilarity and the drama that occurs in Betty’s life and in the lives of her family members, there is a real undercurrent of unconditional love amongst these characters. They accept each other, flaws and weakness and all, no matter what. And at the end of every episode, you have the sense that you’ve learned something about humanity, without feeling like you’ve just sat through an after school special.

So in protest of the cancellation of this wonderful masterwork, I have re-created this bunny, which Betty-philes may remember from a season 1 episode of Ugly Betty called “The Box and the Bunny.” To find out more, and to learn how you can make your own bunny, please continue reading “behind the scenes”: Continue reading ‘In my world, protests are pink and furry.’

Softies Book Review

Hi everyone!

I thought I’d make a little series out of this book review thing, since I have amassed SO MANY craft books over the years. And, you can tell a little bit about someone by what they read (and what they make), so I hope that this will help you get to know me a bit better.

Today, I am going to review a book called “Softies.” This book will help you to make little plush characters of your very own, either by hand or using a sewing machine.  The happy little tree above, otherwise known as “Treeling,” was made from a pattern in this book. Continue reading ‘Softies Book Review’

Blue owl

Hi guys,

I hope that anyone who may be reading this has been having a great start to their 2010! I am still trying to get past the fact that it’s 2010 (so futuristic-sounding!) and we’re not in hover cars dodging hover skateboards like in Back to the Future II. Well, all disappointment to that effect aside…I wanted to post another project that I have made so that you guys can get to know me and my interests a little better.

Blue is my favorite color, and clearly I am obsessed with owls (please see the banner at the top of this blog for reference).I made this sewn blue owl ornament by making a few small modifications to the pattern found here on Craftzine’s blog. I used glass seed beads (for the eyes) and sequins instead of buttons. But really, he’s mostly just craft store felt (the kind you would get for kid’s craft projects) and some leftover thread we had lying around. I hope you like him. Please feel free to comment if you’re reading this…or if you know where I might have parked the DeLorean :-)  Thanks all!

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