The next photo session

I will be in studio next week again.

This time, it is for “Tiny toys to make”. This one is a small A-5 size book from 20 to make series.

I like this 20 to make collection and have several in my book shelf myself. The books are handy and inexpensive and give you good introduction to a new craft, too.

http://www.searchpress.com/search?terms=20+to+make

And when I was browsing their website, I found my 20 to make book listed already!

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Ha, ha! This must be a provisional book cover for promotion purpose, but it looks lovely.

You can see the book is a collection of mini toys. The projects are all so simple and easy and you can make one in a couple of hours. You can take it to a holiday and knit on the go, too.

Here are some of the projects. They are all pocket size.

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Usually, the photos for 20 to make books are done outside of the Search Press studio, but my editor kindly accepted my request. I am quite fussy when it comes to photos and do not like the sessions carried out without my presence. I also like their artwork team very much.

Recently, my editor asked for 21st project. This will be a special gift for readers.

I have many projects already made, but I gave it a thought and came up with this one.

Knitted rings.

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I do like these very girly stuff.

WATERSTONES book shop is currently running a promotion with a special discount on all my books. You can get a fantastic deal on my upcoming “Mini Knitted Toys” and “Tiny Toys To Knit” too!
https://www.waterstones.com/books/search/term/sachiyo+ishii

Off to Kenya!

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Mr. President Obama is in Kenya this weekend. My son is going there today as well to take part in World Challenge youth program. He will be travelling Kenya and Tanzania next 4 weeks.

When he signed up three years ago, it seemed that the trip seemed so far away. I cannot believe the trip is actually happening now. It still feels surreal to me.

He is going with 17 other students and three teachers from the school. They are accompanied by a tour organizer and also meeting up a local guide over there. Let’s hope he will turn up at the airport.

The group is going to be involved in volunteer projects, and one of them is to help building a school in a remote area in Kenya. They are also bringing some gifts and my son has bought 150 pencils.

There will be some trekking excursions. They will be walking 7 hours a day for 5 days with all that heavy loads packed in 65 litre bag. For me, it is strange some people actually like doing that kind of thing.

I think they are sleeping under the stars some nights. I wonder if you get to see the Milky Way there.

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I heard they would be taking a local bus for 8 hours from Kenya to Tanzania.

Sounds like a lot of fun….

It will be literally ‘No new is good news’. We will not hear from them unless something really bad happens.
No internet or mobile phones. We just have to prey to God to send them back safely.

I must be mad to agree with this whole thing, but if this is what he wants I guess I just have to let him go. He needs to live his life the way he wishes.

As a Japanese proverb, ‘If you love your child, send him out into the world’, yes?

I know he will have fantastic experiences and learn so much things that he would never be able to learn in a class room.
And they do get to spend time at the beach. They are also visiting a safari.

He wanted me to buy him a mole skin sketch notebook. I am looking forward to seeing what he would draw in it.

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He got this fortune last month! How timely is that?
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Summer sewing

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I have decided to do a bit more of sewing starting this summer.

It is not that I feel I had enough of knitting (never!), but it may be nice to broaden my craft activity.

I have done my fair share of sewing and at one point, I was making all my clothes, even tailored suits. But my sewing skill has become a little rusty and my sewing machine is hiding in a corner of my room. I decided to start with what I like the most; small items and toys with felt fabric.

Making felt mascot dolls and animals is the first craft I took up when I was 11 years old. It was so popular in my class and every girl was making them. There were some popular books of sewing patterns circulating among us and we also exchange our handmade little cuties for birthdays and Christmas. I gave one to a boy I had a crash on.

Remembering all this and feeling a little nostalgic, I dug up some felt fabrics from boxes. This time, I am making my own designs of course.

The first project; summer and beach

I have decide to make the style simple and stylish. I did not want them to look too childish.

And here is my Nautilus set. I hanged them like banners.
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These are simply made with front and back fabric pieces sewn together and lightly stuffed.
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I collected my favorite items. I think you can make them into a baby mobile, too.

And beach huts. You have to have beach huts.

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This must be the easiest sewing craft and anyone can do enjoy it. It is super easy to create your own design, too.

Now, I think I am addicted to this. Ooh, I am in trouble again.

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This is actually my conservatory dressed like a shop window. I think it works well.

A day trip to London

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We went to see the exhibit of the National Student Art Competition in London last week end.

This is the second time my son’s work has been chosen. This year, two of his drawings entered the competition.

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It is exciting and motivating for him to see his work nicely framed and exhibited in art shows. We also saw lots of young talent.

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Oh, yes, I am a very proud mum and I want him to know it.

Sometimes he goes to London on his own to visit galleries and do sketches. This time, he dragged me to several museums. I used to enjoy studying art history when I was young and I have a shoe box full of postcards of paintings. I have been there and done all this and now, I may be more attracted to China Town and M&M World, but it is nice to spend some time in front of master pieces sometimes.

In the second year in 6th form art, students need to write an essay on two artists of their choice. My son has chosen Turner and Richter, both his favorite. We decided to focus on Turner.

National Gallery has five paintings of Turner. They are utterly amazing.

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My son is really fascinated by Turner and the idea of painting elements of the Earth. He didn’t move from these paintings for what seems like an eternity and I needed to sit down.

We also visited Tate Britain.
Tate Britain is a little away from the central Tourist attractions and was much more peaceful and calm. Here, you can see the largest collection of Turner’s in the world.

I found these very interesting.
I didn’t know Turner painted women.

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This one must be unfinished?
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It is too good to be true that we never have to pay admission fees to enter museums in London! There isn’t any city like this. When my boys were young, we enjoyed Natural History Museum, Science Museum and British Museum. A lot!

Art museums used to ban any photographing, but these days, it is permitted for personal, non-commercial use.

And souvenir shops! You cannot forget visiting souvenir shops. It is so fun looking around and I also get a lot of ideas for my craft.

I think I am going to make these with felt fabric myself.

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Crocheted London.These are so cool!

Almost there!

My third book is at the final stage of editing and is almost ready to be sent to the printer.

I have received the final proof. This one is printed on nice glossy paper and is sent from the reproduction team. I am to check the colours of the photos and spot any flaws.

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We had photo shoot sessions back in March. Since then the photos are nicely laid out by my editor and the text has been checked by a pattern checker and a proof reader thoroughly.

Checking the patterns is the hardest of all the process. I always try my best not to trouble my editor but my original patterns do contains errors. With the help of the pattern checker, we correct any errors in the patterns and reword some of the instructions if necessary.

When we are done with writing, then, the draft is sent to the art designer.

He has done art work on my previous books and I loved what he did for them. I was really looking forward how he would add art work on this new book.

I knew he would not disappoint me and I was right.

He has added cute and quirky drawings and nice backgrounds. I heard some of the drawings are done by him. He is very talented.

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And the cover page. It is always very exciting to see the cover page.

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Yes! Isn’t it cute? My son said this one is his favorite of all three books of mine.

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This book has many many patterns. It will keep you busy for many days.

I have heard it is the few Search Press titles selected by Waterstones to be made available for pre-order on their website. Customers will get a discount. I will post the link once it goes on live.

The book is scheduled to be out in December. It is a Christmas present for myself.

Happy 4th of July!

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I lived in the States for a year when I was in high school.

As an exchange student, it was compulsory to study the American History. I enjoyed the class very much, but I found it a little odd that a country has a history of only 200 years. Japan has over 2000 year history and we spend hours learning and memorizing all the shogun and samurai names in school. America is certainly a very young country.

A young country with new ideas, freedom and full of opportunities.

I returned to the States after graduating a university in Tokyo. By day, I went to school and by night, I waitressed and I ended up in Wall street. You can achieve that in America.

The Fourth of July is a big event in the States. Fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games! I think it is very nice to celebrate the birth of your own country like this.

There is a day called ‘ National Foundation Day’ in Japan and is a national holiday, but I don’t think we celebrate it much.

For my monthly seasons and occasions project, I have chosen Independence Day for July.

I have children, a boy and a girl.

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a dog and a baby
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and Uncle Sam
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All wearing red, white and blue.

I never really gave a thought about the colours, but it seems they do have meanings. According to the House of Representative in 1977,

White signifies purity and innocence
Red, hardiness and valour,
Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice

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I have visited Washington DC once. I heard that the flags are changed every day at the White House and you can purchase the flag. I have a very lucky friend who came home with the flag.

Also, I heard that anyone can purchase a U.S. Flag that has flown over the United States Capitol building.

There is such a strong sentiment to the national flag in America. And of course, it is very cool. I would love the flag flown over the White House, too.

A very Happy 4th of July!

Knitted animal accessories

Knit Now magazine kindly posted photos with nice comments on Tweeter and Facebook.

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In this new issue, you will see these of my design.

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These animals have button holes in the front legs and buttons in the back legs. They can be connected with one another. You can attach one on a bag or a baggy handle.

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Or on a baby’s wrist.

I have been making many many knitted toys, but I realised that haven’t designed baby toys much. I should make more.

In the past, I did try these ones.
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And these.
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You often see these baby rattles made of wood. I think I can attach bells to make them more interesting.

I thought of knitting them, because I remember my sons use to bang their heads with wooden rattles and cry. These are soft and squeezy and feel very nice.

When my first son was born, my mum gave me the rattle that I used as a baby. She also gave me the personal child record. She had them all these years. Both my children used the rattle and hopefully, it will be passed on to their children.

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I weighed 3940g (8.68 Ibs) when I was born! A big baby!

Some things are absolutely priceless.