Kokeshi Doll Face Tutorial

I agonize over crafting ideas ... on how to transform each from a visual picture in my brain into an actual replica with fabrics and threads.

This is how it was with the Kokeshi Doll Crochet Hook cozy.  Every moment I could was spent on engineering the pattern and techniques.  The best times of enlightenment came just before I fell asleep or when I stepped away from my project table for a pee break or snack break.

Now I am happy to share with you the technique used for the Kokeshi doll face.

Only a few supplies are required : A transparency, fabric stamping inks, scissors, hole puncher, sponge daubers, cotton fabric (or muslin, canvas, etc.), Sharpie pen, and an iron.

Step 1 : Find a circle template for the doll's face.  It can be any size (or shape) that you want.  Place your template on the transparency and trace with a Sharpie pen.

Step 2 :  Draw in the doll's hair and eyes.

Step 3 : Cut out the space for the hair by first cutting a slit anywhere in the hair area.  This step is simply to open up a space for the scissors.  Follow the lines to cut out the hair area. 

Note: I added couple of triangle spaces to create the 'bangs'.

Step 4 : Punching out the eyes was the most challenging step.  While doing this tutorial I found a much better way than my previous attempts.  Punch a hole on an extra piece of transparency...that's it.  How simple instead of trying to punch a hole where no standard hole puncher would go.  The best part?  You can change up the eyes using a punched out heart or star!!

Step 5 :  Place the face template on a piece of cotton fabric (or a fabric of your choice). Stencil the hair and eyes using your sponge daubers and fabric inks : Black ink for the hair and brown for the eyes.

To do this step, press your dauber into the ink pad then add the color on the fabric using an up and down motion to transfer the color from the dauber onto the fabric.  Do this for the hair and eyes.

Step 6 :  Partially lift up the transparency to check for ink coverage before removing the transparency.

Step 7 : Add the doll's cheeks by using a sponge dauber with pink ink and press once, straight down onto the face. You might want to practice on a piece of paper before applying the rosy cheeks to the kokeshi doll face.

Step 8 : Press with a dry iron to set colors.  And there you have it ... enjoy.  Send me pics of your doll faces !

Feeling Very Jane Austen-y

I daresay what an awful mother I am for I have reared two sons who feel obliged to have their rooms cleaned by moi.   Oh pul-leeze, don’t wag your little finger at me.  For you see, I’m a messy ‘messer’ myself.  So it was inevitable that I would birth much the same. 

Ahhh, if only I had a girl.  Perhaps one who possessed qualities of Miss Martha Stewart?  That would be a very good thing indeed.  For my heart would burst into song with the hum of the vacuum cleaner in her hands, my eyes will twinkle as she danced around the room with her feather duster and my toes will tap to mairzy doats as she and her little birdies and mice friends… Oh wait…that fairy tale is already taken….sigh.

Filled with woe for a child that never was, I feel a singularly strong urge to drink but instead I sew.  With needle and thread in hand, I am happy.  Inspired by Mairuru, my sewing machine is left idle, while I think myself as Miss Elizabeth, sewing in the parlor, whilst drinking tea.  As I sew I wonder if Miss Elizabeth suffered as much needle intrusions into her skin as I have….ouch..ouch..ouch!

In the end I love my hand sewn drawstring pouch for ipods and such.  With every stitch done in reverie and calming my thoughts to create for the sake of creating.

I am so inspired by this project that I plan to continue to hand sew until my fingers have tired of being a pin cushion.

Butter Mochi Cake ~ A Japanese Confection

This is a butter mochi cake....a mochi with a cakey texture...soft, fluffy, delicate, and with every bit of onolicious : delicious richness.  The secret to this butter mochi's texture is the combination of flour and mochiko (Japanese rice flour).

While visiting in San Francisco, I spotted a basketful of butter mochi squares on the counter top at a snack shop in Japan Town. The mochi's had the familiar dense and chewy texture found at family picnics & gatherings in Hawaii.  I love this local favorite but is so rich that I literally gain 10 pounds with every bite! 

This fluffy butter mochi recipe produces a very different texture. Rich? Oh Yeah ... but one might gain only 5 pounds with every bite of this lovely confection.

Fluffy Butter Mochi Cake Recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mochiko
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 3/4 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease one 9 -by-13-inch baking pan. Line bottom with waxed paper or dust lightly with flour. Sift the flour, mochiko, salt, and baking powder together. Cream butter and blend in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, ending with the dry ingredients. Stir until just blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from pan and allow it to cool.
Serves 18 (3-by-4-inch butter mochi cake pieces)

When I Grow UP

I heart my blog design…  it's more than I could have imagined … on first peek, giddiness tickled my insides ... I must have looked at it every time I powered up my PC and IPOD ... it makes me happy

The designer?  My very own son.  How lucky am I?

Aaron is a cartoonist/ artist / designer.  He is one those lucky few born with a passion.  

My friend once shared her definition of passion : It is something out of abandonment of obligations…of what others think.  It is something that makes your soul sing.  It is beyond yourself.  It is something that drives you to take risks…to grow. It is God’s will.

Aaron’s journal entry at 10 years old

Aaron is pursuing his passion….a journey full of stops and turns… a journey that has created a circle of friends that is forever growing wide and deep … a journey filled with life experiences … a journey that has landed him in one of the most beautiful cities: San Francisco … a journey that I hope, as a mom, will make his soul sing.

THANKS SON for a beautiful website!!!

Zakka Inspired Rabbit Bag Tutorial - Sewing

I love bagels...toasted and lathered with cream cheese...hmmm...  It's a rare treat...one that I savor when I indulge.  I had one today.  It was a quiet moment...just me and the bagel.  It's the same feeling I get when I craft...working on projects that make me smile...inside and out. 

...like this here Zakka Inspired Rabbit Bag….here is a step by step tutorial on the fun part ... having a 'bagel' moment....

Step 1 :  Prepare Front of Bag

Cut pieces for front of bag
1 top border and1 face

Optional : If you’d like to, go ahead and use an interfacing of your choice to add more body to your fabric. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Sew top and face pieces together with ¼” seam (or ½” seam ~ your choice)

Step 2 : Prepare Face

Take your paper pattern and open it so that you see the full pattern.
Lay the pattern on top of the fabric face, mark the eyes and nose with fabric markers.

Sew on buttons for eyes or embroider with your favorite stitch.  Embroider then nose with satin stitch and the ‘mouth’ area with a straight stitch.  (Use 3 strands)

Tip :  I placed a piece of fabric on the wrong side to provide stronger support for the button.  To prevent the knot from falling through the fabrics, secure the thread as shown in the picture below.

For the ears: Iron on fusible web.  Secure edges with blanket embroidery stitch using 3 strands.
Add other embellishments : flowers, ribbons, buttons

Please note in the picture that I stitched around the linen to stop the edges from fraying.

Step 3 : Prepare Bag Back

Cut fabric for back.  You have two choices here : a) use the same pattern pieces as for the front or b) use the sewn front piece as the pattern  to cut one piece of fabric for the back.  For option (a), sew the two pieces together as done for the front. I used option (b).

Pin right sides together (front and back of bag),  sew completely around except for top edges (bag opening).  Carefully clip curved edges. Set aside.

Step 4 : Prepare Lining

Next cut 2 fabric pieces for the lining using the back piece.  Pin right sides together, leaving a 2” opening on the bottom for turning the bag inside out later.

Sew lining together except for opening.  Set aside.

Step 5 : Prepare Strap

Cut strap 36” long by 3” wide. 
Option: If using interfacing, cut 1.4" x 36".  Attach to fabric accordingly with manufacturer’s instructions.

Fold in half, right sides together, sew raw edges together.  Turn strap inside out.  Press flat with sewing seam in the middle of the strap.

Add top stitching along left and right edges.

Step 6: Attach strap to body of bag

Pin top raw edge of strap to top edge of bag; aligning middle of strap to side seam of body of bag. Do for both ends of strap; being careful not to twist strap.  Secure strap with extra pins or with baste stitch.   Set aside.

Step 7 : The Finish Line

With right sides together, place the rabbit bag inside the lining pouch, matching the sides seams and pin along top edges.  Carefully stuff / roll the strap into the lining.  Sew around top edges.  ( I like to use ½” seam around the top edge to assure the straps are well secured to the body.  To further secure, sew go back and sew over straps).

Pull the rabbit bag and straps out of the lining through the 2” bottom opening.  Sew the opening close (sew close with by machine sewing along the edge or hand stitch with a ladder stitch, a embroidery whip stitch or a stitch of your choice.

Press. Sit back and smile...

Please send me a note on any questions…I’d love to help.

Zakka Inspired Rabbit Bag Tutorial - The Pattern

I never thought of myself as a procrastinator but truth be told sometimes I move awfully s-l-o-o-o-w.  After 2 years since reserving a name for an etsy shop, I finally started to stock the shop with handmade goodies.  But getting to this point was an inner struggle.  I spent hours in my craft room … experimenting with cross stitching, embroidery, paper crafts, sewing, crocheting, carving rubber stamps … only to emerge with NOTHING.  I was dissatisfied with everything I made.  I was trying too hard….losing myself to the pressure of self doubt…to the fear of whether folks would like what I make…whether my hand work was good enough.

It was sooo very frustrating but a funny thing happened on the way to etsy ….. I was really enjoying the process of creating.   There was a moment when I was carving yet another stamp that would eventually end up in the trash can, when I lifted my head, looked at my hubby and said … “This is really fun”.   To be in the moment …. absorbed in the process of making … whacking my fear with  a mallot whenever it pops up in my head … this is what being out there is all about isn’t it? 

Screen saver on my IPOD touch

Then a miracle happened…I started to like what I made…the kokeshi doll crochet hook cozy, the funky zipper pouches…and this adorable zakka inspired rabbit pouch.  I finally found my craft groove.  Give Up??? Not Yet…Not Me

Zakka Inspired Rabbit Bag

The inspiration for this Rabbit Bag is this here pic.  How could I resist making one?  Oh the pattern of course is in Japanese and is so teeny tiny that to get it to human size requires a 500% increase! 
Rabbit Bag Inspiration

Part I of this tutorial is focused on how to put the pattern together.   The pattern includes a ¼” sewing seam.  You can also use a ½” sewing seam but of course the bag will be smaller.  No hard fast rules here.

Fold a 8 ½” x 11” paper in half, width-wise.
Tip :  Using graph paper makes drawing straight lines with less measuring.
Tip :  Working the pattern in half mirrors the left and right sides and helps in later steps for eyes and nose placement.

After folding your paper in half, mark lines : 8 ½” long x 3 1/8” wide.

Find a round template to make the rounded corner for the rabbit’s face.  This cover has served me well in pattern making!

Mark 2 ½” from the top.  This will become the pattern for the top fabric border. Mark 2 1/8” from the bottom to give a guide for face placement.
Mark the eye ( a little dot for button placement) and nose (drawing half of the nose on fold). The only consideration here is to keep the eyes and nose away from the ¼” sewing seam.

Cut  out your pattern.  Cut the top for the border pattern. Draw a pattern for the ears and cut.

Hang on …. Just one more step

Cut out the nose. Pierce a hole for the eyes.  You will be using a marker to mark the eye placement on the fabric through this hole in the pattern. 

Tip : This is where working on half a pattern helps.  Doing it this way assures the both eyes will be in the same position on the face.

Ta da…now we’re ready to move to the next tutorial on how to put this bag together.  So off with you … find your fav fabrics, embroidery threads, buttons, and knick knacks to make this bag your own!

May your pattern feel as much love as my beat up pattern.

Dare to be Me

There is this particular moment in time when I learned something about myself … through the eyes of a friend.  Our company celebrated a move into a new building with a token gift.  Employees had a choice between a glass coffee mug or a glass candy jar, both bearing a picture of the building.  Most of my coworkers chose the mug, I chose the candy jar.  Seemed like a harmless decision…nothing soul wrenching about it…until my friend observed … “you always have to be different”.  What the #$@@??  Excuse me but I don’t drink coffee…

Oh yeah, my feelings were hurt….But why?…simply put, the truth stung.  And although that moment happened over 20 years ago…it is still with me.

I think about my friend and what she said every time I feel the need to be DIFFERENT….

I wanted to make a crochet hook cozy for my etsy shop.  Prototypes : a jelly roll version and a book style version.  I stared at them for a long time…even when I wasn't looking at them, I was still staring at them in my head on my morning walks, before falling asleep...waiting for my craft senses to kick in…like “oh that’s cute”…or “oh, I’m loving these”… or “ oh yeah, your mama would be proud”… Alas, they looked like every other cozy out there…well, not as nice but still with the same ‘look and feel’.  So I thought really hard about how to make one that was DIFFERENT.  Oh yes, here it is 20+ years later and I’m still feeling the sting. 

But out of my quirk…came this zakka inspired crochet hook cozy.

Zakka Inspired Kokeshi Doll Crochet Hook Cozy

 Oh yeah, I’m loving my kokeshi doll.  The inspiration? … a little sticker here that’s so cute !
Zakka Inspiration

 So my dear readers….lesson learned … Cat Stevens (Harold and Maude) : “Well, if you want to sing out, sing out. And if you want to be free, be free. ‘Cuz there’s a million things to be.  You know that they are”

P.S. If you’re looking around for the Rabbit Pouch tutorial…it’s coming!