Fabric scraps and the art of omiyage

Vacation is a time to relax and break out of habits, but that doesn’t mean its time to put down my needle and thread. I find it extremely soothing to have a hand sewing project that I can enjoy while sipping on my morning coffee. Its a bit challenging in the winter months when there isn’t enough daylight but as soon as spring comes along I notice I pick right back up on this morning ritual of mine. We were in Barcelona this year as the clocks sprung us forward officially into spring and I was sure to plan ahead and pack supplies into my already busting-at-the-seams case.

But there is more to this story, so perhaps I should explain that I very much believe in the tradition of omiyage. The Japanese custom of gift-giving resonates with me deeply. The idea of presenting a small gift when traveling to or from friends and loved ones is an important part of etiquette and there is a lot to learn from the highly complex tradition in Japan. The ideal omiyage is something transient, perishable, and thus food goods rein supreme at the top of the charts. This way you are not burdening someone with something unnecessary that they need to take care of or commit space to in their home. Now the thing is, Japan has a support structure for this, but when it comes to the US nothing really stands out as an ideal, iconic small gift. Maybe I am missing something obvious. What really represents New York and isn’t a bad tourist trinket? I just don’t feel we have an equivalent to the dainty, well packaged, perfect box of treats that other countries have.

plush bunny faces made using leftover fabric and lace scraps

As cooking or baking is simply out of the question for me the next logical answer to the gift-giving conundrum is craft. Admittedly this breaks the rule of being perishable, but it allows the gift to be sincere and from the heart. (And I will not be offended if anyone discards their gift, it is theirs to do with as they please.) Equally important in this approach is that the item share something of both the giver and the recipient. And that brings us back to a freshly brewed cup of coffee, breathtaking sunrises from a rooftop flat in Barcelona, and a mish-mash collection of fabric scraps, lace, beads and satin flowers.

Literally in the last moments before our flight the idea came to be to make plush bunny badges. The item needed to be sewn by hand while away, so I squeezed in a few quick stitches to shape the face and the ears before dashing to the airport. What I particularly like about this project is that it uses up little pieces of lace and fabric that normally would be discarded. Waste is waste and now I feel justified with my basket of odds and ends I have held on to for so long. Given the frenetic pace at which the materials were packed its very fortunate that in the end they worked well to make cohesive pieces. All-in-all I am pleased with the outcome and hope that the recipients enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.

 

 

Handmade: Rosettes for 2014 Winter ILD

I wish all year was as mellow as the week between Christmas and New Years!!! Finally have a moment to reflect and go thru all my photos and memories of the blur of frivolity that has ensued since October. It started with the tsunami of lace that was RuffleCon and the waves of cute have kept crashing in.  What a magnificent way to end 2014.

Today’s catch up is a pair of handmade rosettes I whipped up for this winter’s International Lolita Day. Everyone was asked to bring a small gift to exchange. I didn’t want the gift to be too impersonal so mixed things up with some small store bought items and these made-with-love badges.

sweet lolita chocolate rosette and classic lolita violin and roses badge

Sweet Lolita – Golden Chocolate Rosette

Waaaa, so happy that my friend Dixmacabre got the chocolate rosette!!! Having your artwork go to a fellow artist is humbling and such an honor. The girl has mad sewing skills. Make sure your check out her latest collection. She has been in a sewing frenzy with the most beautiful art prints and black brocade called “Walking Museum.” At the tea party she immediately attached the rosette to her beret and wore it all night.

lolita chocolate print rosette with key charm

Classic Lolita – Nature’s Melody Rosette

And the pastel rosette magically made its way to our very own pastel princess Parfait Doll! How perfect is that! I loved Victoria’s expression when she opened the package. She was all smiles and gave me a big boost of confidence with how pleased she was to have one of my rosettes. Yay!! I was going to stop on this one with the rabbit button but felt it was missing something. The decision to add the violin button was validated when she professed it was adorable on Instagram. Just needed that little extra sparkle. hime rose animated gif

victoria got the handmade rose and violin rosette

Follow the White Rabbit

Alice in Wonderland holds a very special place in my heart.  So it is no surprise that I also have a love for bunny rabbits.  But you need to be careful when going for bunnies as your style point.  You have to pull it off without looking like you belong in an Easter parade.  So I put on my purveyor of kawaii hat and scoured Tumblr and Pinterest for some fun and fluffy fashion options for spring that are a bit more grown up.

rabbits and bunnies in fashion

sugar and spice bunny rabbits

The best part about many of these rabbit inspired fashion pieces is that they have both a hard and a soft side.  Yes, we are talking about bunnies, but they can badass New Yorkers too if they want.

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