“Starry Night” Kimekomi Ornament

Recently I’ve added a new tutorial page to the site, Combination Divisions. One of the new divisions I’ve posted is the Combination 10 Division. I’ve been obsessed with this division for the past few weeks. There are so many cool designs that can be done using a combo 10. My new “Starry Night” design is just one of many.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • ball point pens in 5 different colors
  • measuring tape
  • white out
  • tracing paper
  • craft knife
  • glue stick
  • tucking tool (I use a straight upholstery needle)
  • foam ball
  • quilt batting
  • 2 colors of cotton fabric
  • metallic cord in the color of your choice
  • 3/4 inch sequin pins
  • satin ribbon in the color of your choice
  • star sequins in the color of your choice
  • beads (optional)
  • craft glue

Instructions:

  1. First you will need to mark the combination 10 division on your ball. Watch the video below to learn how to do this. This video is also located on the new Combination Divisions page.
  2. Once your combo 10 is marked, trace three 5 pointed stars with a different color pen or a marker. The stars will need to stand out easily. If your ball is like mine and there is a major indentation at the north pole of your ball, turn the ball so that this indentation is in the center of your first star.

    Once you have your first star traced turn the ball to the left, find and trace the next star. It’s points will touch the points of the first star.

    Then turn your ball once more to the left to find the third star. The third star may seem a bit off center. Now you have 3 large stars surrounding your ball with a new north and south pole.

  3. Mark your new poles with a bright color. Here I used red.
  4. New North Pole
    New South Pole
  5. Next trace the diamond patterns at the north and south pole with another color of pen. Here I used green.
  6. Marked Diamonds from the North Pole
    Marked Diamonds from the South Pole
  7. The next step is optional depending on the color of fabric you intend on using for your star. If you are going to use a dark fabric, you can skip this step. However, if you are going to use a light colored fabric, you will need to white out the lines in the stars so that the lines do not show through the batting and fabric when you are finished.

    You may need to white out the extra lines inside the diamonds at the poles if you intend on using a light colored fabric there as well. For my ornament I’m going to use navy blue at the poles to simulate a dark sky, so there is no need for me to white out those lines.

  8. Now you will need to make a cutting pattern for the quilt batting. For this ornament I’m only going to use batting on the stars. This give the ball a little more texture and dimension in the end. The stars will be raised and the navy background will be flat against the foam. Lay the tracing paper over one of the stars and wrap it so it curves with the ball. Trace the star onto the paper. When your done straighten out the paper and cut out your pattern. It will look distorted but that’s OK. It’s due to the curve of the ball. Use that pattern to cut out 3 stars of quilt batting.
  9. Next you need to make the cutting pattern for your fabric. Lay the batting pattern down on some card stock or thick paper. Trace around the star, leaving about a half a centimeter of space between the edge of the batting pattern and your drawn line. Now cut out your new pattern and use it to cut out 3 stars of fabric.
  10. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the diamond shapes at the poles. For this ball I will discard the batting pattern and use only the fabric pattern for the diamonds.
  11. Next, cut the foam along the outline of the stars and diamonds.
  12. Glue a piece of star shaped batting to the foam in the star shaped section. Then lay one of your star shaped fabric panels over the top of the batting and tuck the fabric edges into the foam. Do this for all 3 stars.
  13. If you have one star with that factory made indent or hole in the center, just fill it in with some extra batting and then glue the regular batting piece over the top. This should smooth it out so you never knew it was there.

  14. Once all your stars are finished, start on the diamonds. This time however, do not use do not use batting underneath the fabric. If you want, you can glue the fabric directly to the foam. However, be sure the glue doesn’t soak through the fabric. Only a very thin layer will be necessary.
  15. Now that all your fabric is in place it’s time to glue your cord around the stars. Using your tucking tool, scrape a small amount of glue from your glue stick and apply it to the seam where the 2 colors of fabric touch, outlining the star. Gently place the cord over the top of the glue. Do this all around the 3 stars. Only a small amount of glue is needed.
  16. Pin star sequins in each star in a random pattern.
  17. To finish, add a hanging ribbon and bow at the top of the ornament. You may also wish to add a sequin and bead at the bottom or, like in my yellow and navy ornament, a fringe of sequin stars hanging from the bottom. Need help making your bow? Please watch the “Making a Bow” video on the Tutorial and Techniques page.

That’s pretty much it! Here’s a look at all 3 sides of the finished product.

Happy Ornament Making!

Satin and Tulle Video

I love the fat quarter bins at my local craft store. Sometimes when I’m having a creative block, all I have to do is go browse the bins to find inspiration. I was lucky to find several colors of satin and a few different types of tulle recently. My favorite is the black satin and this beautiful black and gold tulle. I knew that when I combined the two it would have a really beautiful effect, turning a simple 6 division kimekomi into something special.

The satin has very little stretch and is more difficult to tuck than cotton fabric. The tulle tends to slip around a lot on top of the satin and It will take some practice and patience working with these fabrics in combination. The tulle wasn’t very secure before the sequins were pinned into the seam. The sequins helps hold the tulle in place. Ribbon would do the same. If you tuck all the extra on the edges into the foam rather than trim it off it slips less.

Combination 8 Glitter Ornament

Update:
When I originally posted this I didn’t realize I was doing an 8 division wrong. I now have 2 types of 8 division instructions. Alyx’s 8 division and Normal 8 division. This one uses Alyx’s 8. You can find videos for both on the Combination Divisions Page.

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Several weeks ago I posted my “Flower Garden” Kimekomi Orament Video which showed you how you can create interesting kimekomi designs with the temari combination 8 division. These combination divisions are not just reserved for temari and kimekomi ornaments. You can also create great sequins and glitter ornaments.

Tools & Materials Needed:

  • ballpoint pen
  • tape measure
  • glue
  • drafting compass(optional)
  • paint brush
  • one 60mm smooth foam ball
  • 1/2 inch silver sequin pins*
  • 15/0 clear iridescent seed beads*
  • 5mm green sequins
  • light blue glitter paint**
  • 9mm wide green satin ribbon
  • 16 pearl topped corsage pins
  • 16 hot pink metallic plum blossom sequins

*purchased at Cartwright’s
**homemade, using loose glitter and clear iridescent glitter glue. See FAQ page for more info on how to make glitter paint.

Directions:

  1. Draw combination 8 division lines on the foam ball. You can find directions on drawing the combo 8 division in Suess’ book Japanese Temari, or online at TemariKai.com. Rather than using pins and string to mark your ball, use a measuring tape and pen and draw your lines and dots directly onto the foam ball.
  2. Trace all lines drawn with green sequins, except leave about 1.5cm without sequins at each point where more than 2 lines intersect.
  3. Prep your glitter paint.
  4. Fill in all exposed foam with glitter paint and let dry.
  5. At each point where more than 2 lines intersect, pin a plum blossom sequin with a corsage pin.
  6. Finish your ornament by placing a bow and hanging ribbon at the top where you left some exposed foam. Thread a plum blossom sequin onto the corsage pin, then the hanging ribbon, then the bow, in that order.

The most time consuming part of this ornament is waiting for the glitter paint to dry before moving onto the next step. You may need several coats of paint to get an opaque look.

I wasn’t completely happy with the color of the bow when I was finished so I removed it and added a purple bow.

For an even more interesting design change up the colors or use more than one color of glitter paint. Use star or holiday shaped sequins instead of flowers. There are so many possibilities.

Easter Egg Sagemon

Hey everyone! I know it’s been several weeks since my last post. I just started a new part-time job teaching English to kindergarten kids and have been busy with training and my first lessons. We’ve also been experiencing strong aftershocks here in Japan. We had a 5 + as I was writing this post. Life is still a little weird and it’s been difficult getting back into my old routine. Anyway, enough excuses.

Introducing Japanese Sagemon!


In the time of the Samurai, in castles and wealthy households, nannies made sagemon for the children in their care to enjoy. Sagemon literally means “hanging stuff” in Japanese. They are mobiles made of traditional Japanese toys and may included temari, kimekomi balls and little fabric dolls of popular insects, birds, fish, etc. A mobile with 50 hanging toys was made for a child in hope that he or she would live 50 years, which during the Edo period was full life expectancy. Each ornament and doll had a meaning of some kind. For example, a cicada has a relatively long life for an insect, living 7 years underground, and when they emerge from the ground their noisy singing means they are strong and healthy. Just as the strong cries of a baby at birth is a sign of good health. There is even a specific order the different items should be hung in. Birds and flying things should be hung at the top, and so on. (Info translated from http://sagemon.net/sandai/)

Nowadays they are typically hung for Hina Matsuri, aka Doll Festival or Girls Festival and the traditional meanings behind this ancient craft have been lost within the general population. However, they are still a popular craft and the craft stores carry kits for simple sagemon, as well as individual kits for the little cloth animals, simple temari, and kimekomi balls.

I’m not so interested in the little fabric dolls. They are cute but not really my thing. I did however like the idea of hanging ornaments in a mobile. Why just hang ornaments on a tree or put them in a basket? Let’s think outside the basket!

Since it’s April, I decided to make an Easter Egg Sagemon. Luckily the small foam eggs I use already have holes in them.

I made 10 random Easter egg ornaments of varying styles and colors, using designs and techniques I have shown you in previous posts. I then strung them onto 4 pieces of thin cord, along with some beads, and attached them to a hoop using tape.

I used a thicker cord for the top hangers. I measured the diameter of the hoop and cut the thick cord twice as long. I then I sewed the cords together in a cross and taped the ends to the hoop.

I then strung a key ring at the cross point and tied a bow of pink cord around the hanging cords to create a loop.

The hoop I used was originally intended as a handle for a handbag. The clear plastic hoops were much cheaper than embroidery hoops or the hoops being sold specifically for sagemon. It doesn’t really matter what you choose to use because you’re going to cover it up anyway. I used a long piece of wide white ribbon to wrap the hoop. I sewed the end of the ribbon on the inside of the hoop with white thread.

Then I remembered I had this green beaded fringe from a project I did years ago. I sewed the fringe to the ribbon on the outside of the hoop.

That’s pretty much it! Add some silk flowers or stuffed bunny’s and chicks if you wish. Hang a large egg in the center. There are so many possibilities. Be creative and have fun.

May I also suggest you do a Google image search for “sagemon” or “さげもん”. You might be able to copy and paste those Japanese letters into your search bar. There are hundreds of wonderful pictures to gain inspiration from.

Got a question about this or another project? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Picture Window Easter Egg

White rabbits are a common theme in Japanese art. Apparently, it comes from an ancient Japanese myth about rabbit that lives on the moon and makes mochi (Japanese rice cakes). The Japanese also adopted the Chinese zodiac in ancient times and according to that calender 2011 is the year of the hare. I’ve encountered a lot rabbit motif fabric in my search through the fat quarter bins at my local craft store. I bought some of this fabric earlier this year knowing it would be perfect for Easter.

The little rabbits on the fabric I got were perfect for a small picture window egg. I’ve seen picture window ornaments in various shapes and sizes throughout my kimekomi research. It’s a very common design. I was inspired by what I have seen others do but I came up with the “how-to” totally on my own. You can easily change the measurements to change the size and shape of your window.

Materials & Tools Needed:

  • ball point pen
  • tape measure
  • craft knife
  • tucking tool (I use a straight upholstery needle)
  • liquid whiteout
  • glue stick
  • smooth foam egg
  • cotton fabric, one with a rabbit theme and another complimentary pattern and color
  • 5mm sequins in the complimentary color of your choice
  • 1/4 inch sequin pins*
  • 15/0 clear iridescent seed beads*
  • 2 pearl topped corsage pins
  • 2 plum blossom sequins in the complimentary color of your choice

*Purchased from Cartwright’s

Basic Instructions:

  1. Divide your egg into 8 equal sections.
  2. Using your tape measure, measure the height of your egg from the top point to the bottom point. Divided the height by 2 to find the midpoint.
  3. Mark the midpoint on every other line.
  4. Divide your midpoint by 2 to find the quarter point.
  5. Mark the quarter point twice, once measured from the top and once from the bottom, on the lines without midpoint marks.
  6. Using your tape measure as a straight edge, connect the dots. Midpoints to quarter points, creating diamond shapes on 4 sides of the egg.
  7. White out the line in the center of each diamond.
  8. Cut foam along all remaining lines.
  9. Make a cutting pattern for your window fabric with tracing paper or clear vinyl.
  10. Cut out 4 panels of fabric, with your desired image at the center, using the cutting pattern.
  11. Spread glue on the foam, lay the fabric over the top and tuck in the edges. Do this for all 4 windows.
  12. Glue and tuck the second color of fabric onto the remaining exposed foam.
  13. Pin sequins along all the seams except for the seams along the midpoint lines.
  14. Pin a plum blossom sequin at the top and bottom of the egg with a peal topped corsage pin.