Happy Friday + Making Magazine DOTS + GIVEAWAY [CLOSED]

Happy Friday! Just popping in to sing praises for the latest issue of Making Magazine: DOTS! It’s been so fun contributing to this gorgeous, gorgeous publication, and Carrie and her team at Making are top notch.

photo by @maddermade

My project for the DOTS issue is a diminutive Sashiko-embroidered pin cushion inspired by a meditation pillow. Form, function and Ommmmm — doesn’t get better than that, right?

I sewed several iterations to get the project to match up with my mental picture, so my little sewing area is fully stocked with many, many versions of this pin cushion. Rather than add more to my already robust collection, I’m wondering if anyone would like one of these charmers? I wish I could also include a copy of the magazine, but alas, I have just the one copy and you will have a hard time prying it from me, I love it so. It’s filled with beautifully well-rounded (the theme is, after all, dots) sewing, baking, knitting and even ceramic projects. And that cover!! The texture of the shibori-dyed textile comes through so realistically, I rubbed the cover to see if was in fact made out of fabric. To subscribe to Making magazine, check it out here.

photo by @maddermade

If you’d like a meditative pin cushion, please leave any comment, though I’d love to know what your favorite calming and restorative activity is. The giveaway will be open until next Friday, May 26th and I’ll select three winners at the end of the day. International folks are always welcome, of course. Good luck!!

Have a relaxing weekend, all!

Still painting away
My deadline is coming up
Lather, rinse, repeat*

*”Do you ever not have a deadline?” a friend asked me recently. I realized that the answer is, “no”. But that’s okay. I’m a fan of deadlines; otherwise, I would get nothing done!

Happy Friday + Randomness

Happy Friday! We’re not into fancy trips. Or long ones. Last weekend, we went on one of our typical low-budget micro-vacations in Central Washington, and it fully reinforced how much we enjoy these.

We stayed in a town called Roslyn made famous via Northern Exposure, a cult TV classic from the 90s. Whenever we go to Roslyn, we avoid the Suncadia resort and stay at the Huckleberry House. We actually thought that the Huckleberry House had closed its doors to business, but I recently got an email announcing a spring special so I delightedly booked two nights.

We had so much fun! The restaurants are excellent, and we filled our bellies with homey deliciousness at the Red Bird Cafe and Roslyn Cafe; M and I also thoroughly savored the great coffee at Basecamp Books and Bites. I really love that combination of coffee shop + book shop, and if I ever retire early (M would argue that I have, in fact, already done that) it’s something I’d consider doing. M and K went biking while I took a walk and familiarized myself with their literary inventory — it’s small, but a well-curated one with an emphasis on outdoor activities and nature topics.

Though 30 long miles away, it was worth the drive to hit up the Ellensburg community pool recreational swim time. We laughed so hard trying to play water basketball, I snorted up an unhealthy amount of water. M forgot his “Dapper Dan” as he calls his hair grooming product, so we somehow ended up at a dollar store on a hilarious quest for some sort of Dapper Dan. He found some sketchy-looking hair gel and K scored some hairbands (exhibit A in photo above). There were 10 headbands in a pack, so each one effectively cost a dime. It made me wonder what you can buy with a dime these days. I feel like I wrote that exact same sentence before. Early Alzheimers… At any rate, after dinner, we cozied up in the well-appointed room filled with worn antiques/vintage furniture and watched Boss Baby on M’s laptop. Yep, un-fancy.

We settled ourselves into the comfortable old sofas in a lounge area and played board games and read a lot during down time. About a year ago, I got this digital book subscription for K that she LOVES. It’s called Epic, and for 5 bucks a month, K can read as many books as she wants from the thousands upon thousands available in digital format. This includes award-winning books and comics and even audio books. Similar to Amazon, the app will list books that she might like based on previous selections, and she adores this feature. I like that I get a weekly report on how much she’s reading as well as what she’s reading, and her numbers are impressive. She clocks in about 500 to 700 minutes a week. And this is just for Epic. She’s a true bookworm and loves good ole analog books too. All this to say, in the photo above K is using the Epic app on my iPad Mini. These are the times when I think technology is awesome.

We were back in Seattle by early afternoon on Sunday, totally refreshed. Ahhhhh. Yet another successful micro-vacation! There will be more in the future!

Have you been on a trip recently? Or do you have plans for an upcoming out-of-town adventure?

Time for me to go back to illustrating. Have a fantastic weekend, my friends! And Happy Mother’s Day to all you mamas out there!

The micro-vacays
have become my specialties
I love to plan them

Happy Friday + Little K Turns TWO

By Sasha

Happy Friday, my friends! It’s Thursday afternoon as I type this and it’s hailing. Massive amounts of raindrops are thrashing against our window panes that don’t seem up to the task and thunder and lightning and sunshine are adding to the confusing yet exciting mix. By the time you read this (if it’s Friday), I will be headed out of town with M and K for a little weekend getaway in Roslyn. Let’s hope the weather gets better.

Left: By Dylan // Right: Ines

So! May 5th is not only Children’s Day but Little Kunoichi’s 2nd birthday!! How amazing. I am currently up to my eyeballs with sketches and illustrations for my next book that will be published in 2018, and yesterday, an advance copy of Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet arrived on my doorstep. I still have a hard time believing that this is all happening.

Left: S.C. (this is debatable) // Right: Poppy

I did not get my act together enough for a fun giveaway or celebratory post, but I wanted to acknowledge this special day somehow. I remembered that last January I had taught a watercolor class to a group of elementary school kids and about a month later, I received a big envelope stuffed with wonderful thank you cards from the kids. I became very emotional – they’re brilliant, just brilliant! What better way to commemorate my very first book than by sharing these special cards inspired by Little K?

By Beth

There were so many cards and because the names weren’t all entirely legible, I chose a few that I could decipher and that I felt captured the energy of the kids.

Left: Valentine // Right: Max

I love how fearless children are about making art. How do we allow them and encourage them to keep that fearlessness?

It’s been a dream-like adventure since Little K flew out into the world. I don’t think my self from five years ago would recognize my current self that is whistling away and drawing cute ninjas and samurais. I feel like I’ve somehow regained a tiny little bit of fearlessness. I like it.

Left: Leo // Right: Coral

Anyway, I’ll be celebrating away this weekend (and sketching/illustrating like crazy) and I hope you all have a terrific one too!

Two years go by quick
There’s much to appreciate
And that includes you*

* I don’t think it’s possible to thank you enough. Although my postings are far less frequent, I’m so grateful that you stop by and preserve that sense of community that I love so much. Thank you, thank you!

 

Happy Friday + Randomness

Happy Friday! I picked up these fetching ranunculus blooms at Trader Joe’s yesterday, and it really is about the small things that brighten our days, isn’t it? Pink flowers in general uplift me, but these delicately layered petals are mood-boosters on steroids. It was fun to play around with my camera and photo editing…I haven’t been doing much of that.

Instead, I’ve been spring cleaning like a fiend now that I’ve completed a couple of deadlines — the dining room table’s been looking like a crime scene. And that’s currently the least offensive part of the house. My next big book deadline is at the end of May, so I’m taking advantage of these few glorious carefree hours this week to restore order to my workspace and home before I trash it all again. It’s the never ending and oddly comfortable and predictable cycle.

Gah, these flowers are so gorgeous. If reincarnation is actually a thing, I’d like to come back as blush-pink ranunculus. I wonder how it feels to be that beautiful? And who knew that $4.99 could bring so much joy? Anyway, I hope these photos brighten your day too! I’ll be back next week with more substantial content (maybe. maybe not. now that I think about it, I’m not sure that I’ve ever created substantial content).

Have a refreshing and lovely weekend, all!

What brightens your day?
It really doesn’t take much
Wouldn’t you agree?

Happy Friday + Sewing Happiness Anniversary

Happy Friday! Somehow I totally missed that this Wednesday was the one year anniversary of Sewing Happiness. A whole year! Yesterday, I attended a marketing meeting for Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet coming out in August and I’m currently working on the illustrations for the book that is slated to be released in 2018, so I’ve been a bit preoccupied…

It’s interesting because I think Sewing Happiness is doing just as well as Little Kunoichi in terms of sales, which I hadn’t expected. I was gently warned that because the book topic is so niche, it was a gamble. A crapshoot, if you will. Then again, every book is a gamble and nothing is ever guaranteed. All I know is that I love making books. Absolutely love it. I want to keep creating books and I want to keep improving my skills. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to do this, especially with Sasquatch Books/Little Bigfoot.

I received many wonderful responses for Little K, but maybe it’s because the content was so personal — the emails and feedback I’ve received from people who read Sewing Happiness have been so heartfelt and candid in astonishing and humbling ways. I’ve always been prone to tears, but it’s been a year of consistently wiping at tear-stained cheeks. Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out!

I often get asked, “What’s your favorite project from the book?” I have origami pillows and fabric buckets scattered all over my little abode, and the eco bags and knit dresses often come in handy, but the most used and loved item I sewed is the cross-back apron. Hands down. I made about ten of them for the book, and I wear one every day (I have them hanging on a hook in the kitchen and will grab one that strikes my fancy — I can even wear some of the kid’s versions because I made the straps adjustable).

A little behind the scenes: this image was cropped in for the final, and the bamboo stick was tied to a nail above the kitchen doorway on one end and a curtain rod on the other end…

I listen to a lot of audio books and podcasts, and the pocket that’s part of my many aprons is perfect for my phone. I wear it when I cook, do dishes, paint and sew. There’s something comforting about donning a long apron and puttering about the house. If you have the book, have you tried any of the projects?

See how the fabric was taped to the wall? This image didn’t make the cut, but I liked it.
I actually preferred my hair down, but the powers-that-be thought my messy bun was better so that’s the version that ended up in the book. K is holding extra sprinkles in her scooped left hand there.

I need to dive back into illustrating now, but I plan to do a round-up of projects I’ve seen from Sewing Happiness around the web and on Instagram. They’re so awesome!!

Have a delightful weekend, all!

A year goes by fast
Book babies are so lovely
J’adore my lit kids

P.S. The images are outtakes from the photoshoots. Styled by the incomparable Rachel and shot by the always fun George.