Attention Span + New Sewing Gadgets

Hello, my friends! How are you? Are blogs still a thing? I’m committed to updating my little space at least once a month, but I get the sense that the collective attention span has been rapidly dwindling (including mine for sure) and Instagram is so much easier, isn’t it? Despite my amoeba-like attention span, I can spend so much time just consuming images — which perplexes me. There have been times when an entire HOUR (or more!) will have been frittered away while I mindlessly scroll through my feed. Yikes. Intellectually, I understand that I’m getting dopamine hits with every new image or a “like” for something I’ve posted, but I make sure to read super interesting books just before going to bed and have noticed that I can barely make it through two pages before my mind wanders off. There’s something about just looking at fun square photos that feels easy and addictive and lately, reading can seem like too much work. This is a travesty for someone who considers books to be the very lifeblood of existence. So I’m actively working on weaning myself from social media.  Although I’ll continue to post on Instagram every once in a while, I’m going to dramatically cut back on the time I spend ogling at all the pretty feeds. I don’t want my gravestone to read, “She excelled at Instagram, the viewing of.”

I also like to watch my cat, Katara. True to the cliché, she’s a curious creature and is constantly exploring all the smells and sounds and sights around her, and her attention span is ultra robust. Her ear twitches back and forth in this cute way when she catches an unusual noise that my ears are incapable of hearing. We have staring contests sometimes and she beats me every time. It’s so fascinating to see how primal and deeply encoded many of her actions are. For example, when she chooses not to finish her food, she’ll scratch the linoleum all around her food bowl. I found out that it’s a genetic predisposition from ancient times when cats lived in the desert and would bury prey in the sand to save for later and to hide it from other animals. Katara’s never been near a desert or even a sandy area as far as I know. It makes me ponder our human encodings — what do we all act out unknowingly, instinctively? Marketers and advertisers and social media developers seem to have a full grasp of our primal instincts of wanting validation and constant change within a comfortable nest of familiar safety.

Anyway, I wanted to pop in and ramble digitally for a bit.

Also! Earlier this year, I treated myself to a cover stitch machine and a new serger (to replace my dying Brother 1034D). I am completely intimidated by both machines and have only used them once. I did figure out how to thread the snazzy things, but I feel very shy around them, like they’re the cool kids that might reject me. Anyone have recommendations for tutorials or resources for using the Juki MO654DE and Janome CoverPro 1000CPX?

I’m off to go give them another whirl. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, my friends, and I’ll keep you posted on my serging/cover stitching adventures!

Giveaway!!! Making Issue No. 7: DESERT [CLOSED]

Hello my friends! It’s been a long while since I’ve done a giveaway, hasn’t it?

One of my favorite things is to contribute to Making Magazine. No matter how crazy my schedule gets (and it’s truly crazy these days — in a good way), when Carrie, Ashley or any of the lovely ladies from Making contacts me about a project for the next issue my answer is always a most enthusiastic YES.

The magazine itself is gorgeous, obviously, and it’s an honor to be a part of it. But the reason I love working with them is because I’ve had a LOT of jobs in many fields in my lifetime and have worked with a LOT of people and I have rarely found such a heartening mix of integrity and kindness and generosity and creative abundance. Carrie and Ashley are thoughtful people cultivating the beauty and delight of creation in its many accessible forms. It’s such a brave thing, such an important thing, especially these days when the act of making and the attendant presence it requires seem overshadowed by outrage and strife. “Crafting” often gets a bad rap as a self-indulgent, frivolous hobby. Yet, it’s one of the most healing, joy-inducing, meaningful activities I’ve ever engaged in. It’s so easy to get caught up in judgment, yes? I know that I get judgy all the time and have to gently and consistently pull myself out of that unhelpful mental space.

For issue no. 7, I contributed a simple backpack and animal keychain tutorial. All these photos are by Carrie Hoge and @makingzine, by the way. So pretty, right?

In keeping with their magnanimous spirit, the folks at Making sent me multiple copies of their recent issue, DESERT. I immediately knew that I wanted to do a little giveaway and have two copies to offer up! Plus, I’ll toss in one of my cute li’l animal keychains that I hope will amuse a little one. Or a grown-up one!

Please leave a comment here or on my IG account (@sanaeishida) to enter the giveaway. Hmmm…maybe you could share your favorite hobby? I’ve probably asked this before, but I love knowing what interests people. I’ll leave the giveaway open until May 3rd and will contact the two winners that weekend. International entries are more than welcome as usual! Good luck!!

Vintage Patterns Haul – Part 1

Hello my friends! There’s so much stuff going on behind the scenes and I’m feeling slightly scattered, but I wanted to take a moment to post this amazing vintage patterns haul I received from a friend a few weeks ago, mostly as a way to have a handy reference for myself. The patterns appear to range from the 1960s to 1990s and I feel like a sewing godmother swooped down unexpectedly and waved her wand.

There are SO many patterns that I couldn’t scan them all in one go, but for today I wanted to feature the Vogue patterns in the large envelope format, many of which have me swooning. For example, I desperately want to make this coat:

Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s happening for winter 2019, mark my word!

I thought these from the 80s were hilarious:

 

 

Oh man, I’m so in love with the Vogue Paris Original patterns:

 

 

I’m also digging the Couturier series:

And then there are some patterns lumped into “Vogue American Designers” (there are a couple that are called “Americana” which might be a different category, but oh well)::

 

I wasn’t aware that Vogue had all sorts of other categories like Basic Designs, Career, and something labeled Vogue Attitudes.

 

Finally, there was one random pattern for making stuffed animals. So funny!

Incredible, right? Most of the patterns are in pristine uncut condition and I’m pretty sure I can fit into the size 12. In part 2, I’ll share the interesting backstory of how I came to receive this treasure trove. For now, I must get back to sample sewing and preparing for my book’s upcoming photoshoot! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

xo

Rockstars

Oh the days! The weeks! The months! I feel like I’m operating at warp speed and am hurtling through a galaxy littered with to-do meteors. Things are good, though. It’s mega-exciting to see the feedback from all the pattern testers and I am so so so so so so close to getting my manuscript completely done. I feel lucky that other wonderful non-publishing opportunities keep popping up and I’m spending a lot of time asking myself, “Is this something I really want to do? Is this the best use of my very short life? Am I fully using my skills and talents?” These are tough questions to answer sometimes.

Speaking of talents, I always marvel at K’s musical acumen. It’s something I don’t possess — I’m sure I’ve told you at some point that I have on record the lowest score in the history of a certain karaoke machine in Tokyo. Did you know that K is in a band? That’s her and her bandmates above. They have a gig at a coffee shop coming up in a few weeks and have been practicing regularly with their music teacher, Lacey. K does guitar, bass and has also written some original songs. AR, on the left is on keyboard. AM on the right is a spectacular drummer. All three girls alternate on vocals. Their band is called “In Tandem.” I love it.

K and AR have been friends since elementary school and all three are in 7th grade (K and AM go to the same school). They’ve had a couple of recitals together at the building where they have their lessons, but this will be their first “real” performance at an outside venue. We’ll see how it goes — I get the sense that K is wary.

For now, they’re practicing hard and M is designing a band poster for the show (the photo below is one of the photo options I provided). A band poster! How cool is that? Let’s hope that the event doesn’t get canceled due to jangled nerves or unforeseen complications….what brave, beautiful creatures these girls are. I don’t know if I would have been able to go up on stage at their age. From my vantage point, they seem like true rockstars.

Okay, back to work-like things for me. Mid-winter break is almost over and K and I have been “remodeling” our bathroom all week in-between my book editing sessions. It’s looking so fresh and clean! We just went to IKEA for a new medicine cabinet and fingers crossed that we can install it successfully…

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

~xo

Call for Pattern Testers for My Next Book! [CLOSED]

Update: There’s been an overwhelming response, and I have lots of fabulous testers signed up. THANK YOU!

Hello, hello! I’ve been diligently working away behind-the-scenes and my next book is starting to come together in a lovely way. It’s SO exciting. This is my favorite part: when the structure of the book is mostly done but there’s still enough wriggle room for changes. I can practically feel the elation of bursting through the finish line, but it’s also continuously and thrillingly uncertain.

So. Do you love sewing? Are you interested in getting a sneak peek into my new book? Are you a stickler for details? Then perhaps you’d like to be a pattern tester? That would be so tremendously awesome!!! This new book is a slightly different flavor from Sewing Happiness. It’s been pure fun and the projects are very beginner friendly and kid-friendly. All of the projects can be whipped up in an afternoon or less. If you’d like to be a tester, please fill out the Google Form below and I’ll send you a PDF with the pattern to test by February 8th. You’ll have a couple of weeks to work on the pattern and in order to meet my deadline, I would need all feedback by February 22nd. Because I’m so grateful for any and all help, I’ll be popping a little treat in the mail for you so please make sure to fill out the address fields. 🙂

I’m looking forward to being able to share it in full next year, my friends!! Sometimes I wish the book process didn’t take its sweet old time but then again, that’s what makes it all the more rewarding. Patience is a virtue and all that.

OK! Here’s the form (if you can’t see it, please click on this link):

P.S. The photo is actually an outtake from Sewing Happiness styled by my wonderful friend Allegra Hsiao, shot by me.