Merry + Bright

It’s Christmas Eve and our house is quiet. My mom is drawing in the kitchen, K is off with a friend on a last-minute shopping expedition, M is also out and about — probably hunting for gifts as well. I am sitting by our tree, candles aglow, marveling at the snow that is drifting gently outside.

It’s been quite a year, my friends. I launched one book, completed another (out next September!). I had so many adventures near and far. There were ups and downs, joy and sadness, ebullience and exhaustion. Overall, however, it was a far better year than the previous one, which was one of the toughest. I feel lucky that everything turned out as well as we could have hoped for — there were some touch-and-go moments in 2016 due to some family health issues, and I’m so grateful that 2017 kept improving each month.

I haven’t been around much in the interwebs arena for a long while now. Part of it was intentional; I wanted to slow down and experience life directly. I was also taking care of many things and many people that I didn’t feel I could discuss on a blog, and it took all my focus to juggle the projects I had in the background.

This will be my last post of the year until January, when Ute and I will get the 2018 Secret Valentine Exchange rolling — our fifth year!!! Last year blew us away with over 400 participants. So very many kind souls all around the globe! More details to come so stay tuned…

I am incredibly excited for 2018. I don’t know if I’ll post more here, but I would like to. I would like to start making lots and lots of things for the sheer fun of it. A variety of things in addition to books. I feel my energy coming back, and it’s lovely.

I am also profoundly appreciative of all the people I’ve met (in actuality and virtually) through this blog. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, comment, send emails, connect. Thank you for being so wonderful. Again, I feel so lucky to have such regular contact with uplifting, generous folks. M tells me it’s crazy magical and really rare, and I would have to agree.

Happy holidays to you and all your loved ones, and cheers to another year filled with more adventures! Let’s do this. xoxo

Holiday Sewing Happiness Book Giveaway! [CLOSED]

And the giveaway goodness continues! Sasquatch Books and I are teaming up again this week to offer up two copies of Sewing Happiness as an end-of-the-year hurrah!

It’s hard to believe that over a year has passed since its publication. I’ve met SO many amazing people through the book and it was a labor of true, true love in collaboration with magical folks.

I’m keeping this post short and sweet since we’ve all got holiday festivities and preparations to attend to, yes? On top of a signed copy of the book, we’re adding a mini Sashiko sewing kit that includes 2 Sashiko needles, a spool of Sashiko thread and indigo cotton/linen fabric (I think? It might be cotton only, but it has a linen texture as well). The fabric is pre-cut and pre-quilted so you can make a Sashiko-embroidered coaster, similar to the trivet in the book.  I’m also throwing in a mostly-made heart-shaped  sachet that can be filled with lavender (or whatever you please) and closed up with just a few stitches. The fabric is one of my favorite Nani IRO designs.

(The embroidered pin cushion is just a prop and is not part of the kit — it was too cute not to include in the photo!)

It’s the usual to enter the giveaway: any comment will do! If you’re keen to share something specific, I’d love to know about a fun activity you’d like to do in 2018. A friend just told me she started taking Bollywood dancing lessons and that sounds awesome to me! Might give that a whirl…I’m also looking forward to going hiking more in the new year. Gotta take advantage of all this gorgeous and accessible nature in the Pacific Northwest!

The giveaway is open until Thursday, December 21st, and I’ll contact the two winners by the end of the day on Friday, December 22nd. I’ll also post this on IG (@sanaeishida) too if you’d like to enter there to increase your chances. Good luck!!

Please note: US residents only and the parcel will arrive after January 2nd.

Happy Monday + BIG Holiday Giveaway!! [CLOSED]

Happy Monday, my friends! I’m so excited — Sasquatch Books/Little Bigfoot contacted me last week to see if I would be interested in hosting a holiday giveaway, and I jumped at the chance.

‘Tis the season for giving! Sasquatch Books has generously offered 20 copies to give away in celebration of the festive season: 10 winners will receive a signed copy of Little Kunoichi, The Ninja Girl and 5 winners will get the GRAND PRIZE: a signed copy of both Little Kunoichi and Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet.

And that’s not all! I’m including some watercolor holiday tags that I painted, which I think are quite charming, if I may be bold enough to say so myself. They’re based loosely on the 12 Days of Christmas song, and there are a few other holiday motifs as well (it’ll be a surprise!).

We’ll try to get the parcels shipped in time for Christmas, though they may land on doorsteps a few days after. These would make great gifts any time of the year if you’ve already got a copy of either or both books!

To enter, please leave any comment below, though if you’d like some ideas, I would love to know what your favorite holiday tradition is. I started making K an advent calendar six years ago and hands-down, it’s the loveliest part of the holidays for the entire family. I challenge myself to come up with something different every year, K has something to look forward to almost every day of December, I include activities for family bonding, and it does double-duty as holiday decor. This year, I asked her to write down something she’s grateful for every day, and her growing gratitude list is so sweet! Here’s a little shot of this year’s advent calendar.

You can see past calendars here and here and here and here and here.

I’ll also post this giveaway later today on Instagram and if you’d like to comment there as well, it might up your chances of winning! The giveaway will be open until Thursday, December 14th and the randomly selected 15 winners will be contacted by the end of day Friday, December 15th. Good luck!

Important note: this giveaway is limited to US residents.


Happy Friday + Making LINES

Photo by Carrie Hoge

Happy Friday! Have you seen the latest Making issue, LINES? What a beaut! Carrie and team continue to slam dunk with gorgeous content, and I’m so honored that I was a contributor! Many things have changed in my life these last five years, and one of the most glorious changes is that I now get to collaborate and work with the loveliest, most amazing people all the time. I’m sad to say that wasn’t usually the case for the 25+ jobs I’ve had in the past, though of course there were always a gem or two.

Today I thought I’d do a sort of behind-the-scenes of my projects in LINES, since that’s always fun for me.

Photo by Carrie Hoge

Project one was the nesting fabric buckets. I realize I’m not scoring any points for originality here, though I did add flourish on the canvas fabric with fabric paint, which turned out to not only be enjoyable, but I was also very happy with the results. Quick and easy, that’s how I roll.

Here’s another pretty outtake of the buckets that Carrie shot:

Photo by Carrie Hoge

I can’t remember exactly whether I offered or if Carrie asked me if I wanted to contribute to the kids’ section as well. At any rate, I was planning on creating an animal nesting version and made these samples:

Then I found out that there was a distinct and totally coincidental cat theme going on in the kids’ section so Carrie wondered if I would be able to make a cat version. But of course!

Photo by Carrie Hoge

So cute, right?? As I’m prone to doing, I squealed with delight when I finished the kitty basket.

Plus, it worked out well because the bear and owl buckets ended up as gifts for friends and K fell in love with the bunny.

What you may or may not have noticed if you’ve browsed through the issue is that I did a number of illustrations, which was a dream assignment. I’ve always wanted to have my illustrations in a beautiful print magazine, and I can now check that off my bucket list. Thank you, Carrie!

The middle illustration was based on the supremely adorable cat made by Erika Barratt (her instagram AND Making‘s feed are must-sees — so much inspiration!).

The entire issue is a visual feast full of thoughtful projects and stories. I hope you check it out!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

I’m out of practice
Haven’t created haikus
in a long, long while

P.S. Furoku members! The next edition is scheduled to go out tonight…I think. I hope. Probably!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hello, hello! My goodness, has it really been so long since I last updated here?

I just wanted to pop in to say “Happy Thanksgiving!!” I wish I could send you all flowers, but these watercolor blooms will have to do. I hope my mother-in-law isn’t reading this because this is a card I painted for her that I just posted in the mail.

It’s been a whirlwind of a year full of HUGE events. So whirlwind, in fact, that I can’t even wrap my head around all that’s happened. The Japan trip changed my life, for one thing. I haven’t even shared any of it with you here.

So much. SO much. And Thanksgiving is an excellent time to reflect upon it all. I have something fun to share with you next week, but my postings will continue to be sporadic for a while longer as I finish up the next book (I turned in most of my art, but there are still a few things left to do). I miss keeping up with the good ole blog, but I know my limits. I almost made it through an entire year without getting sick, but alas, the deadline crunch got to me and I succumbed to a cold for a couple of days this week. I’m on the mend, however, and all is well.

Anyway! I am sending you all big, big love from rainy, chilly, cozy Seattle. I’m so grateful to have this space, even when I’m not here as often as I used to be. I have a good feeling that 2018 may see a resurgence of blog posts. We shall see…

I hope that you are celebrating all that is wonderful in life in some form, no matter where you are in the world! xo