Happy Friday + K’s Grad Dress

Happy Friday! I tell you, these days I can’t tell what’s up and what’s down with all that’s going on. There are daily events at K’s school, work deadlines are looming and it’s dawning on me that my dream of sewing up a whole new wardrobe for my Japan trip is of the pipe variety. We leave next week and the total number of things I’ve sewn for the upcoming Asian adventure: nada.

Luckily, I started early on K’s graduation dress and after many, many iterations it’s done a week ahead of schedule!

One word: silk. Yes, my friends, this little number is made out of floaty, slippery, hair-pullingly challenging silk. My mom gave me this fabric years ago, and I had visions of sewing up a summer tunic for myself at some point, but when I asked K to choose material for her graduation dress, she beelined for this one.

I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I am that she loves it. She found every muslin I attempted somehow lacking (I don’t blame her — I was trying to hack this pattern and this pattern together and it took me a few tries. You can see the progression on instagram here and here). In the end I drafted the entire dress pattern from scratch, which was a major learning curve for me given the asymmetry of the design.

The dress is fully lined with some rayon lining fabric, and I made my first ever thread belt loops using this video tutorial. It’s basically crocheting thread, and I had fun.

I thought I had all the kinks worked out and sewed up the bodice with the lining, only to find out that the sleeve was digging into her arm pit. It was a hairy moment since I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to enlarge the armhole without messing the whole thing up, but whew, it all worked out. The dress fits her perfectly and she’s happy as a clam.

The design was based off of this sketch that K so helpfully provided:

What do you think? The end result is pretty close to her sketch, right?

I was so immersed in the making of the dress that it didn’t fully hit me that I was, in fact, making a graduation dress. What a milestone! No more elementary school! Ack!! I’m not sure if I’m prepared to be the mom of a middle schooler…I am having HUMONGO feelings.

Back to preparing,
watch my baby grow,
begin packing for Japan

P.S. Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there!!

Happy Friday + Randomness

Happy Friday! I’m having one of those weeks when nothing I do seems to turn out well. Case in point: the above photo is a muslin I was working on for K’s graduation dress, but I messed up the invisible zipper insertion and then accidentally tore the very thin rayon fabric in a very bad way when I attempted to unpick the seams. Unsalvageable.

At least it was the muslin, though I was secretly hoping that she’d like it so much that I wouldn’t need to make the final version in an even more finicky, sheer fabric. Ah well, serves me right for trying to shimmy out of extra sewing.

There have been a slew of other less-than-successful sewing and illustration projects, but I’ll spare you the details.

On the bright side, the garden that K and my mom planted a couple of months ago is thriving. So exciting! I’d never even attempted planting anything in our backyard because until recently I believed that I had the blackest of thumbs, but it turns out that K is a diligent gardener and I’m not too shabby either.

We’ve been enjoying salads with fresh lettuce and spinach plucked from the backyard, and oh, they’re delicious. They planted peas, carrots, lettuce, spinach and basil, along with a bunch of wildflower and sunflower. The basil isn’t doing too hot, and we have yet to see an actual carrot or pea pod, but the rest are growing rather nicely. However, some serious weeding needs to happen…

I’m going to take the spate of failed projects as a sign to go have a relaxing weekend. And I will probably eat some more salads. That sounds like a good idea.

Although it eluded me this week, I’m wishing you a success-filled weekend!

Canoeing, soccer,
A friend’s grad party and more
Maybe not so chill…*

*Is it just me and do I write this every year, or is the month of June completely bonkers schedule-wise? My body seems to be rebelling against the frenzied activities and I’m having the worst allergy reactions ever. Did you know? Soaking black tea bags in hot water, letting them cool a bit and putting them on the eyes helps a ton with swollen lids.

 

 

Happy Friday + Hallelujah!

Happy Friday, my friends! I did it! I did it! I completed my rough art for the next book that’s coming out in 2018. Normally, I create digital rough art using only Photoshop brushes like these and these, but I wanted to try a little something different.

For this next book’s rough art, I used only black watercolor and I enjoyed it so much! It’s a different kind of challenge to paint with a single color to create various shades. Surprisingly, it took less time to hand paint than it does to do everything digitally. How could this be? I’m still scratching my head. That’s a bit of a sneak peek of the next book up there. It’s a continuation of the Little Kunoichi series and the ninja world is going to keep expanding.

Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet will be out on August 8th, which feels just around the corner. I’ll be doing a mini PNW book tour, so Portlanders: if you have recommendations for awesome places to stay and eat, I’d love to hear ’em!

What’s nice is that with each book, I’m learning from previous mistakes and developing a system that minimizes stress, so I don’t feel quite as drained after each phase. Hooray!

Now I have a slight respite until final art is due mid-September, so I’m going to go full hog in preparing for my upcoming Japan trip. We fly out June 24th! Because we’re traveling with K’s school, there’s so much paperwork involved…better get to it.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Painting bonanza
and loving each progression
book-making is FUN

P.S. Furoku members! The next edition has been delivered!

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