Inspiration file20
Tiny tote bags 123 ♪

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Look closer at the tiny totes in the above picture. 1, 2, 3… These number appliquéd items were made by the handmade craft artist neige.

For those who love the handmade products as well as surfing through blogs and social networking services on a daily basis, neige’s blog “Living with the handmade” is well known. She is a popular blogger who is always ranked at the top of handmade category by the biggest blog ranking site in Japan.

neige has updated her blog almost every day since April 2005 to show her linen and knit creations . The simplicity and the rustic vibe from the combination of fabrics of her creations keeps fascinating the handmade craft lovers and attracting more blog readers. She sometimes demonstrates how to make items through her blog, and that is one of the reasons why there are so many fans. The posted pictures are incredible, too, because the presentation makes the items look pretty.

The bags in the picture are what she made at the end of summer. The display and photography were also done by neige. Can you believe she discarded these cute creations?

neige wrote about it in her blog as follows.

“I made countless prototypes, spreading them over the table in the living room… Among the items I created, some satisfied me but others did not. I wondered if they would look better after my mood changed, and I changed the display to give them a different perspective. But still I could not compromise myself…”

neige says that it is difficult to show how small her items are. To display these tote bags, she used a case with partition from Natural Kitchen in Japan which is a retailer with household items for 100 yen apiece.

“Hopefully people can see how tiny the totes are by comparing with the pin cushion made of a walnut. Looking anew at them, I am getting interested in the totes again. Isn’t it funny?” neige ended the episode in her blog.

By revising your display, the item which once did not appeal to you, may look way nicer and become a precious item for you. Have fun in the process of reviewing, coordinating and presenting your creations beautifully.

neige will give you soon the tutorial for one of her creations in the craft & sewing column of this site. Don’t miss it!

For neige’s blog, go to http://yunyuns.exblog.jp/

Inspiration 19
Needle felted animals in the woods

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The websites to buy or sell handmade items have increased for the past few years. Besides the online market these days, more and more showcases are held where artists sell their own products over the counter by themselves. The “exhibition & sale” style craft event is exciting for customers to meet the artist whom they usually deal with through the net. Such an occasion also gives artists a rare opportunity to talk personally with their online shop customers. tetote, which is one of the online marketplaces of crafts in Japan, recently held the showcase named “tetote handmade bazaar @ Hankyu Umeda” in Osaka. I met a wonderful artist with her lovely products there.

What cute animals they are! My eyes met theirs for a while. The animals in the above picture were created by the needle felting artist Lycka.

Lycka, who loves the soft feel of woolen felt, was fascinated by the wool texture and started needle felting almost two years ago.

Lucka says “lucka means ‘happiness’ in Swedish. I want to make more people happy through my products. That is what I keep in mind while making a needle felted item.”

The work in the picture was made with the theme of “the animals in the woods”. It is a scene where animals get together in the woods to share fruits. It makes you feel warm inside, doesn’t it? She continues, “I made these rabbits while actually observing a real one. The eyeliners were added with black wool.”

“In my mind the best part of needle felting is the image becomes formed as is.” Lucka expresses. Forming shapes without threads or sewing needles is what the needle felting creators enjoy. For those who are familiar with sewing according to patterns, needle felting is a bit challenging. Once you create something, you may discover something about yourself you have never known.

Click here for further information about Lycka
http://tetote-market.jp/creator/Lycka/

Inspiration file 18
I found it! The toolbox with ICHIGO TO ARI print

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The other day, we presented the drawer box in our Japanese Craft & Sewing column which the handcrafter Mihoko Sugiyama created with “Musikkiste von nacht” prints. Once it was posted, the article instantly became the most popular one on this website.

We, KOKKA, that is the textile maker/wholesaler, usually introduce sewing projects made of our fabrics via this site. It was the first time that we had presented how-to-make “cartonnage” (fabric-covered box). That must be enlightening for some of you on how to enjoy fabrics even without a needle or thread.

Here we continue featuring Sugiyama’s projects. The toolbox in the above picture is what she posted in her own blog named “happiness is in a box”.

Strawberries and ants… It looks familiar….
If you think so, yes, you are right! The print is the “ICHIGO TO ARI (strawberries and ants)” from ueda college collection x KOKKA featured in Textile Story column. It had been her favorite and was used for her project. Thank you, Sugiyama-san!

The black gingham on either side gives an urbane taste to the lovely box. Opening it up, you will see the frames bound with red cloth.

“I wanted to add red to the black-and-white as the ICHIGO to ARI print.” Sugiyama says.

What an elaborate work she did!

Allover print of large motifs will look differently, depending on where you cut out to use. Thus each can seem unique even if you create something with the same fabric and pattern. Aren’t you excited about that?

You can see the blog of Mihoko Sugiyama at http://happbox.blog.fc2.com/

Inspiration file 17
How to survive the hot summer ~ a hidden message from “amigurumi” (*) tomato

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The tomato is representative of summer.

In summer, tomatoes occupy a very prominent spot in the produce section of local grocery stores. We have seen tomatoes in varying sizes and colors in recent years; orange and yellow ones besides typical red and green tomatoes.

Tiny cherry tomatoes, misshapen but lovely heirloom tomatoes, palm-sized plum tomatoes…. These tomatoes are so enjoyable not only for dishes but also as a snack.

Here is a picture of a various tomatoes in the glass bowl we arranged. What? There is a tomato with a face!

This is the “amigurumi” tomato made by the doll creator mimiwn. In fact it was only tomatoes mimiwn could enjoy while she had fallen ill and almost lost her sense of taste.

Thank you, tomato!
The “amigurumi” tomato was created with mimiwn’s sincere appreciation. The tomato with lovely cobalt-blue eyes look smiling or even prim.

“Hey tomato, can I carry you as a lucky charm or a key chain for my bag, so I can survive the hot summer?”

You can see the website of mimiwn at http://yaplog.jp/una-na/

(*)The word is derived from a combination of Japanese words “ami” and “nuigurumi”. “nuigurumi” means stuffed doll but it refers to sewn fabric items. “ami” means crocheted or knitted. That is, an “amigurumi” is a crocheted or knitted doll.

Inspiration file 16
What is the material of the bag?

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It is a bag that is the most popular item of handcrafted projects. A tote bag, a granny bag, a bucket bag…. Whenever you see a new fabric, you contemplate your next bag project, don’t you?

The bag in the above picture is made by the knitting textile artist kupu. Guess what the open weave bag is made from?

The answer is selvage of denim! It is the left-over parts during the manufacturing process of jeans.

“This selvage-woven bag is a little heavy because of its material, but it is popular with both men and women.” kupu says.

The good balance between the outer coarse weave and the self-effacing lining makes the bag fashionable. The leather handles gives the bag more style.

Knitted bags, which are her main products to make a living, have many devoted followers due to the unique coloration called “kupu-color”.

“Could it be anything for my next project?” Keeping such a thought, the curious kupu is always on the lookout for anything around her. This selvage “woven” denim textile was generated by a knitting artist and it is now used as a major material for bags.

Getting away for a while from your routines… To do so, you may get a new idea or inspiration you have never had before.

You can see the website of kupu at http://www.kupu.bona.jp/

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