Here in Japan, ’tis the season to make nengajo. Nengajo are specialized New Year’s postcards sent to friends, relatives, acquaintances, former classmates, current classmates, co-workers, and anyone and everyone else in one’s contacts list.
These days, the vast majority of nengajo are either pre-printed or made on a computer and printed at home. Even then, however, many people still make a few cards by hand with stamps and ink. To that end, every year, stores display and sell rubber stamp and ink pads, along with markers, glitter, and all kinds of other utensils and accessories. The stamps are made primarily by two companies: Beverly Japan and Kodomo no Kao (Child’s Face). Both companies produce a full line of New Year’s themed stamps as well as stamps featuring popular characters like Snoopy, Doraemon, and Hello Kitty.
2016 is the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese Zodiac, so, for my card this year I chose a stamp called “Banana Kara Konnichi wa,” or “Hello From the Banana,” and a small banana stamp for accents. I toyed with using a multicolored ink pad but, in the end, I chose a standard black ink pad for the outline. Once I had the outline stamped on all my cards, I colored the cards using stiff brushed markers. I used the same marker to color directly onto the banana stamp in lieu of using an ink pad and it worked very well. What I have yet to do is write individual messages on the cards and then haul them down to the post office to be stamped (different kind of stamp!) and sent. Read the rest
Born in Australia, Ebony Bizys made the move to Tokyo five years ago and hasn’t looked back since. As the founder of the popular blog Hello Sandwich, Ebony has always been obsessed with Japanese culture, as well as cute stationary, colorful home décor, and all things DIY. This 224-page book manages to cram in as many pretty images, kawaii ideas, and adorable craft projects as it can hold. From a whimsical look into Ebony’s daily life and apartment in Tokyo, to tutorials for pom-pom cardigans and handmade camera straps (among many others), to insight into ‘bento’ and even tips for entertaining, Ebony is certainly one talented and creative lady.
For those who aren’t familiar with Ebony’s blog or even Japanese culture, they’re still sure to enjoy this publication for its overload of cute images and inspirational ideas. Ebony’s aim in producing Hello Tokyo was to inspire people to bring more fun and beauty into their everyday life. After reading this book numerous times, I truly believe that she has achieved this. – Melanie Doncas
Hello Tokyo!: Handmade Projects and Fun Ideas for a Cute Tokyo-Inspired Lifestyle by Ebony Bizys Murdoch Books 2015, 192 pages, 7.1 x 9.5 x 0.9 inches (paperback) Read the rest
Grace Brett, 104, is part of a guerrilla crochet group called the Souter Stormers who yarn bombed landmarks in Selkirk, Ettrickbridge and Yarrow, Scotland. The installation was tied to an arts festival in the area. Video below.
“I liked seeing my work showing with everyone else and thought the town looked lovely," Brett said.
Her daughter Daphne, 74, added "She thinks it is funny to be called a street artist.”
More at the Daily Record.
My daughter Jane has been asking for a laminator so she can make bookmarks, club ID cards, and other projects. I just learned that Amazon is selling a Swingline thermal laminator for $15 (regularly $60) so I ordered it. It comes with 5 letter-sized lamination pouches. (A pack of 100 lamination pouches costs $10.) Read the rest
I’m 18 and still have so much fun sitting at my kitchen table doing arts and crafts. One of my favorite craft kits I own is an awesome and simple pin-making kit called the Sukie Button Factory. This kit makes it easy to create adorable fabric-covered pins. It comes with 25 pin backs and fronts, fabric with many different cute and colorful designs, a button-covering mold and pusher, a fun zine-like instruction book, and a template to help you cut the fabric (I added felt to my kit, which I’m going to experiment with). All you have to do is cut out the circle of fabric that you like and attach it to the button and pin using the mold and pusher. It’s super easy, fun, and addictive. Of course you can use your own fabric when making the pins. The finished pins can be attached to birthday cards, on clothes, backpacks, shoes, and anything else you can think of.
The Kalebo village in North Eastern Ghana isn't fertile enough for extensive agriculture. Instead, the Kalbeo Women's Trading Group create traditional cloth, pottery and other handicrafts such as this beautifully handwoven Bolga basket.
The Bolga baskets are made using local grasses and help supplement their incomes. This money, along with micro loans from CENSUDI, help send young women to school. Purchasing a Bolga basket can help get a young woman an education and out of a lifetime of poverty.
I know what my kids will be making me after school today. Read the rest