I am lucky enough to be starting the blog tour of Amy Morinaka’s new book, ‘Zakka Handmades’. I have followed Amy’s blog for a long time so to see her beautiful cute style altogether in a book is a huge pleasure. Zakka relates to the everyday and her book perfectly reflects this with twenty four projects to make and use everyday. I thought it would be fun to find our a little more about Amy and her crafting style...
You were brought up in Japan. When did you move to USA and how did the cultural change affect your crafting style?
I first came to the U.S. straight out of high school to attend college. That was back in the mid-80s, when people wore leg warmers and kids carried cabbage patch dolls and there were no zakka movement around here! (lol) Few years later I met my hubby and we’ve been enjoying our lifestyles here in Southern California ever since. We often visit Japan to visit our family members and friends.
Although I sewed and knitted occasionally, crafting took a back seat for a long time until I had my own kids (now ages 13 and 11). I guess I was just too busy adjusting to the American life, studying, working, and managing my family, during all this time. Crafting became part of my life when I bought myself a brand new sewing machine when my youngest was in preschool, and from that point on, I’m a non-stop crafter!
Looking back, I’m not sure how the cultural changes affected my crafting style, but one thing for sure is that I’ve always cherished the Japanese zakka culture. Growing up in Japan, hunting for cute and “kawaii” zakka, adoring them, and showing off to my friends and family, has always been a big part of my life, regardless of handmade or not!
Your projects have a mix of sewing combined with other crafts like crochet, embroidery and stamping. Who taught you to sew? Are there any crafts that you would love to learn?
I’m a self-taught everything girl. I’ve been a book worm all my life and whenever I want to learn something new, my first stop is to get help from the books. That’s how I learned how to sew, to crochet, to knit, to embroider, to carve eraser blocks and you name it – all sorts of crafty things - from both Japanese and English craft books. Of course, online resources have been a big help in the recent years. So when it was my turn to write a craft book, I had a very clear goal - to provide step by step instructions to the crafters of all experience levels as clearly as possible, with abundant illustrations and diagrams.
As for new crafts I’d like to learn, on my current list are magic loop sock knitting, stencilling, bead accessory making, Eastern European inspired embroidery, soap making… and the list goes on. (Which means I need to get more books! lol)
There has been a huge explosion in Japanese fabrics and cute Kawaii style. Has that made it easier for you to find the materials you want? What are your favourite fabric and notions suppliers for Zakka projects?
Oh yes, definitely! I continue to be fascinated by the wonderful fabrics available out there, including the Japanese imports, on both online and at a local level. I don’t have a specific fabric supplier that I favour to make zakka projects, because I’d like to keep myself open to all sorts of yummy fabrics available. But when it comes to notions and sewing machine, I really favour the Japanese brands – namely the Clover supplies and tools and my Juki sewing machine (TL-2010Q)!
The book is packed full of projects. Can you explain a little about where you find ideas and inspiration and how you go about designing a project?
I don’t look for inspirations, but I’m always open to inspirations! Craft books and magazines, pinterest, flickr, and the amazing craft blogs out there (including yours, Kerry! **blushes**) are all precious sources of inspiration. I keep a small doodle book where I sketch my ideas and thoughts. And every time I try a new project, I write down the measurements, the how-to’s, and the specifics in my “project notebook” for future reference. My current project notebook is in my fourth, and I know for sure that these notebooks will continue to grow!
I think my favourite project, and the one everyone will want to make, is the Kotori Little Bird Pouch what’s your favourite?
Hmmm… this is a tough one! But it will probably be the Crochet Doily Pouch. It incorporates two of the things I love – sewing and crocheting – and it’s also a quick project to put together.
My daughter is almost 13 and she was very interested in your book. We made the Puffy Ponytail bows together. Your projects have a simple fresh style and many of them would be perfect for beginner crafters. Which projects would you recommend for someone without much sewing experience?
Oh that’s fantastic, Kerry! (*blushes*) As you mentioned, most of my zakka projects in the book are great for crafters with limited sewing experience. Simple Linen Tote, Sashiko Style Coasters, and the Puffy Ponytail Bow, are probably the simplest of all. And if you know how to stitch simple crochet stitches, the Crochet-Edged One-Yard Scarf should be worked effortlessly. The crochet edging of this scarf is stitched using only three simple stitches – chain, single crochet and double crochet. (In the UK, they’re chain, double crochet, and treble).
You often mention home and your family. How does crafting fit into your family life and space? Can you describe your sewing space at home?
My family, especially my girls, inspired me to begin sewing. I would probably not be creating as much as I do now if it weren’t for my girls. I feel very fortunate for the inspirations they continue to provide me! At the same time, I find it interesting that crafting is what really helps to save my sanity from day-to-day hassle of raising two demanding pre-teen/teenage girls!
I don’t have a designated craft room of my own, but instead, my sewing table, ironing board, and supply shelves are all placed in our family room that is adjacent to our kitchen. This is really convenient for me, because I can multitask – craft, cook, help my kids’ homework, drink green tea, and listen to the radio – all at once, staying in one location.
What are your top tips to give a small project like a pouch or a bag a Zakka twist?
To me, it’s all in the details. I love adding a personal touch to my zakka projects by incorporating crochet parts, simple embroidery, pieced patchwork, and stamped art to create one of a kind design. Stitching small pieces of fabric scraps or vintage ribbons as original “labels” or “side embellishments” to pouches and bags, and attaching a small wood bead or a button to the zipper pull makes all the difference!
Thankyou Amy! The next stop on the tour is Jeni of In Color Order on 26th June
6/24/13 - Kerry verykerryberry (interview post)
6/26/13 Jeni In Color Order
6/28/13 Tea Rose Home
7/1/13 – Amber One Shabby Chick
7/3/13 – Kristen Feeling Stitchy
7/5/13 – Hiromi Harujion Design
7/8/13 – Amy nanaCompany
7/10/13 – Lisa and Sarah A Spoonful of Sugar
7/12/13 – Mette Erleperle
7/15/13 – Sarah and Rachel Roxy Creations
7/17/13 - Anna Noodlehead
And on every stop there is a giveaway of the Zakka Handmades book, including here! This one is open internationally. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment about your favourite Zakka or small project make, either from a book/pattern or of your own invention and make sure your email address is included in your profile or as part of your comment e.g your name (at) gmail (dot) com. Winner will be randomly chosen 1st July!
Really great read. Thanks. Jo xReplyDelete
I am a pouch fan. Lovely this crochet doily pouch! firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete
The Little Bird Pouch is definitely my favourite! Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win this book.ReplyDelete
I have the fabrics and the will power, now all I need is the pattern book and I could make you a fave - probably a pouch with some applique or embroidery on it.ReplyDelete
Hi Kerry! That book looks wonderful! Thank you for sharing one!ReplyDelete
The Crochet Doily Pouch is my favorite. Thank you for sharing it will be my first one,Hooray!!!
Fingers cross this book it's on my birthday gifts pile tomorrow... I really love Amy's style...ReplyDelete
I've never tried a Zakka project but the more of this type of book I see the more I want to give it a go! Thanks for the give away!ReplyDelete
I like the two pouches!ReplyDelete
Thanks for a great giveaway
That crochet doily pouch looks cute!:)ReplyDelete
I am a big fan of making pouches - always with a little handstitching on them to make them special.ReplyDelete
What a gorgeous looking book! Fingers crossed! My favourite small project at the moment is my new needle book pattern, I think.ReplyDelete
My favourite project is a little bird pouch, so cute:)ReplyDelete
Any little bag or pouch is irresistible to me! The book looks wonderful!ReplyDelete
I'm excited to see crochet mixed in this book but I really love the puff bow!ReplyDelete
I will have to get this book.ReplyDelete
The crocheted doily pouch is calling.
Thanks for the giveaway.
This looks like a really lovely book ~ I love to make anything Zakka! I've done a lot of sewing kits ~ last year I made them for all my sewing friends ~ mine has little pockets and a little pincushion. I love mine!ReplyDelete
This book looks beautiful, with so many great ideas! I have to make the lunch box!ReplyDelete
This book looks awesome!! I love the Little Bird pouch, and I agree it would be a favorite to make.ReplyDelete
I love the lunch bags that I've made for friends, with draw string tops and wipe clean liners......my friend say they get loads of comments about them.ReplyDelete
this book is very exciting and great eye candy. I see a few projects that I'd like to do already.ReplyDelete
Congrats on the book and thanks for sharing!
mmmmm yummy book!! I'm enjoying hand stitching and crochet through the summer, especially mini quilts and needle books!! Thank you for the chance to win :)ReplyDelete
I love pouches and baskets and anything with hand embroidery.ReplyDelete
I love the little pouches. Thanks. email@example.comReplyDelete
Pouches are always my favorite. Looking forward to seeing more projects from this book.ReplyDelete
The Crochet Doily Pouch is adorable! Thanks for the giveaway! realbeal (at) gmail (dot) com.ReplyDelete
Thank you for doing this great giveaway! I really enjoyed reading the interview. My favorite Zakka make is the tea pot cozy I just made from Patchwork Please!ReplyDelete
What a cute and fun book! I love weaving potholders with my daughters and now feel ready to move up to sewing. Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyDelete
I'm in love with the little bird pouch! Pouches are so fun to make!ReplyDelete
I don't really have any small makes unless you count WIP's but I love your little bird pouch. I also want to try some little fabric shoes for my first granddaughter who is set to arrive in August.ReplyDelete
I love the little bird pouch - my niece would love one!! Thanks for a great blog post!ReplyDelete
I <3 the birdie pouch!ReplyDelete
I've been admiring the bird pouch for awhile, but today I was all over the rubber stamp collection on Flickr and above. I just love adding details, and that it is more than "acceptable," it's practically compulsory! I love all the different kinds of Zakka storage and wrappings!ReplyDelete
The lunch set is just adorable. I also love the stamps!! I must have this book. I love it!ReplyDelete
The little bear is precious. I like knitted animals, felted animals---I guess I just love animals.ReplyDelete
The pictures look enticing. Thanks for the chance to win the book. Bobkat1896@sbcglobal.netReplyDelete
The best are needle books, always useful gifts to have ready to give.ReplyDelete
I love making little zakka-style projects, particularly PINCUSHIONS of any size or shape. I like that zakka adds cuteness and creativity to functional items.ReplyDelete
I absolutely adore that chick pouch! Now I just need to get my hands on a copy of the book... ;)ReplyDelete
i love little zakka pouches and i also love the little tape measure covers. thanks!ReplyDelete
I absolutely love Amy's style and have been following her blog. I love the baskets and like to try everything I've had a glimpse at so far!ReplyDelete
Great projects must add this to my wish list. My favourite Zakka projects recently were the Bird Pegs for a Blog Hop. They are perfect for hanging up blocks!ReplyDelete
Looks like a super book. I am a fan of anything that looks way more complicated than it is especially purse and pencil cases xReplyDelete
I just finished a bento bag for my friend - so much fun!ReplyDelete
I love the matching lunch set but the little bird pouch is my favorite! Thanks for the chance to win this lovely book!ReplyDelete
I loved Zakka handmade. I wish i can get this giveaway handmade book.ReplyDelete
I love the Key Pouch.
Thanks so much for this lovely giveaway!
i love zakka handmade..and my favourite is lunch bag..^^ReplyDelete
I like making small tissue pack covers but I think that bird pouch may become a new favorite! Thanks for the chance to win!ReplyDelete
Would love to win!!!The bird pouch is adorable!! Thanks for the giveaway!! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete
My fav zakka project to sew are linen-print pincushions, made a few of my own patterns, and "emulated" others.:)
Tks fr the chance!
paulaheredec at gmail dot com
oh, I love the draw string lunch bag. coolReplyDelete
ABreading4fun [at] gmail[dot] com
I love the crocheted doily pouch. I don't crochet but a friend is doing it for me. Maybe I will check out a book and give it a try!ReplyDelete
What a fun book! All the projects are things I'd love to make. The little bird coin purse and the crocheted doiley purse are too cute! One of these two would be the first things I make. Can't wait to see more in the book!ReplyDelete
Thank you for a super giveaway and a chance to win.
What a lovely book! I love the little baby shoes and also the little bird pouch :)ReplyDelete
I love making pincushions, everyone likes to get one as a gift.ReplyDelete
My favourite project to make is the little fabric basket by Ayumi ( I think that's one in one of the photos ) I would love to win this competition so that I can make the lunch bag and the bird pouch !ReplyDelete
I love making useful projects like the coin purse made from milk jugs. I found a tutorial here http://zakkalife.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/coin-purse-made-with-yogurt-lids.html and everyone loves them.ReplyDelete
lyndat65 (at) tpg (dot) com (dot) au
Right now I am obsessed with making pot holder and trivets. I just love how you can play with fabric and shape and they are so useful and cute!ReplyDelete
I would love to make those cute shoes from the front cover. Thank you for the giveaway :)ReplyDelete
This book looks fabulous.I love that luch bag and I`ve made the fabrics basket from Ayumills blog.Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyDelete
This book looks great for present ideas, I love the idea of mixing crochet with sewing. I have recently mastered my fear of zips so I am loving making pouches.ReplyDelete
Awww... super cute projects and I must say I love those little details with each project. I think that I'd love to make a lunch bag - mine is embarassing!! Thanks for the chance!ReplyDelete
Love the interview with Amy. We are looking forward to sharing our ideas during our week.
Sarah and Rachel a.k.a. Roxy Creations
My favorite projects are pouches!ReplyDelete
I don't know a whole lot about Zakka but would love to learn from this book! I agree that the little bird pouch is wonderful. Some years ago I made a couple pincushions shaped like flowers and they are really cute, so that would be a favorite small make of mine.ReplyDelete
Very interesting review and would love to be the winner.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure I've ever made anything Zakka but I sure would love to!ReplyDelete
I haven't made anything like this before, but adore the little bird pouch! So cute! Thanks for the great interview and a chance to win!ReplyDelete
I've never done anything Zakka but I've made some mug rugs!ReplyDelete
I recently made a set of three apple shaped potholders that turned out very cute. Choosing the perfect fabric is always fun.ReplyDelete
I really like the little bird pouch.ReplyDelete
lovely little bird pouch! I'm obsessed with making crayon rolls and mathcing book covers and totes for my daughter.ReplyDelete
I Love making project bags.ReplyDelete
Great interview...I love making small bags with linen...everyone I know has at least one!ReplyDelete
I don't happen to have a favorite, I did a zakka sew along last year, and am joining some of the projects from the zakka 2.0. Mainly I'm finding it interesting using linen since I never would've used it - and now I have a stash of lots of colors!ReplyDelete
The birdy pouch is super cute, I'm sure I'll have to make different animals for my kiddos :)ReplyDelete
i like making pouches for gifts... the small size is perfect and I fill them with little cosmetics. hildreth.katie (at)gmail (dot)comReplyDelete
I love the pouch with the crochet closure. My first craft was crochet, and I still have a huge soft spot for it, even though I am not able to do as much as I would like. They're also my "go to" last minute christmas giftsReplyDelete
blackvelvetstitches (at) gmail (dot) com
I have been loving the storage baskets and totes. The book looks like great fun!ReplyDelete
My favorite Zakka project is the "Fabric Bucket with Hangtag".ReplyDelete
I'm really loving the Zakka inspired crafts. Today, I finished sewing together a little Zakka inspired stuffed bear. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for interviewing Amy and giving us an insight into her history and process. Also thanks to both of you for the opportunity to win her lovely book. My most recent zakka project was 10 needle cases for my executive team when I completed my term as guild president. It makes me happy to see them using them.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the fun!!! I love the little bird pouch and I need to make the little baby shoes soon!!!!ReplyDelete
The little linen/doily pouch is sweet as can be! Love this book!ReplyDelete
I like little pouches or bags. The bird pouch is adorable!ReplyDelete
Love the little bird pouch! This book would be wonderful to have! Thanks for theReplyDelete
chance to win!
the bird pouch is cute!ReplyDelete
These projects are ridiculously sweet! Thanks for the giveaway! mlower03 at yahoo dot comReplyDelete
My favorite would be tote bags - so useful!ReplyDelete
Love the simplicity of the zakka style ! it looks like a great book. I love to make pouches and bags !! thank you for the opportunityReplyDelete
I love the featured tote.ReplyDelete
lag110 at mchsi dot com
I could always use another tote bag!ReplyDelete
love the bird wallet. how stinking cute!ReplyDelete
I always like Zakka bags.ReplyDelete
I love to make pouches and the crochet doily pouch is calling my name.....or maybe its the Kotori Little Bird Pouch calling! I guess I will have to make both. Thank you! anglanouette(at)gmail(dot)comReplyDelete
I love the crochet doily pouch and I can't wait to see more of the projects in this pretty book!ReplyDelete
I think the little bird pouch is adorable. Thank you for the chance to win.ReplyDelete
The Babushka key safe is definetely my favourite. It's so sweet and practical too. It inspires me to make one with some of my ribbon stash!ReplyDelete
I love making little zip pouches. I also have a simple fob keyring from last year's FQR that I keep meaning to copy. Simple, practical, personalised things.ReplyDelete
Lovely interview given me more inspiration to make. I love the little bird pouch :-) Claire clairejcorry(at)gmail.comReplyDelete
I have the Patchwork Please! Zakka book and my favourite project in there is the windmill pincushions. Very cute!ReplyDelete
Cute, cute and more cute!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the chance to win!
I love handmade gift card holders!ReplyDelete
I really like the little Bird pouch!ReplyDelete
I love sewing little handmade pouches, and I also like making colorful yarn pom-poms to use as holiday garlands or gift decorations. thanks for the giveaway chance!ReplyDelete
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I love the Kotori Little Bird Pouch too. Its so cute, and would make a great gift for girls young and old (including adults) xxReplyDelete
So cute! I'm getting back into sewing and this has great ideas!ReplyDelete
i just love the crochet doily pouch , such a cutie :)ReplyDelete
I love the apple potholders that have been making their way across the blogland!ReplyDelete
my favorite zakka items are pincushions - all kinds - all sizes - all colors. Thanks for the chance.ReplyDelete
I love the little bird pouch. Thanks for the chance to win this pretty book!ReplyDelete
All the great ideas in this bookReplyDelete
Lovely book! **I cross my finger, hopefully I have a chance to win**ReplyDelete
Great book thanksReplyDelete
My favorite is the drawstring lunch bag!!!ReplyDelete
I love Zakka projects! My favorite is a teabag pouch: lovely and great as a small present for friends that like tea :)ReplyDelete
There are so many cute projects! Thanks for the chance!ReplyDelete
love the little change purse my grand daughters are always wanting purseReplyDelete