Category Archives: Cool Ideas

Temari Stitches on a Kimekomi Ball

My latest idea was to add some simple temari stitches to a kimekomi ball. I had to use a double layer of quilt batting between the foam and the fabric so that I could actually sew the design while the fabric was on the ball. A more flexible needle might have made it a little easier, but I think in the end it turned out pretty well.

The thread I used for the stitches was specifically made for temari and it’s very appropriately called “temari thread” in Japanese. It’s 100% polyester which gives it a nice sheen. You will probably have a hard time finding this exact stuff outside of Japan.

In both Suess’ and Vandervoort’s books on Temari, they suggest Pearl Cotton #5 thread. I suggest you use whatever you think will be pretty. This is not an exact science.

I referred to Suess’ Stitch Directory in the back of her book, to make my stitches. It’s a variation of the starburst stitch.

Now, I’m off to buy an embroidery hoop and some thread. I’m going to teach myself to stitch some simple flowers and use them in a picture window ornament. This should be fun.
Until next time. :)

A Christmas tree for all seasons

When I was a teenager, I had a friend who’s mother was crazy about Christmas trees. She had several of the plastic variety that stayed up all year round and would be decorated according to the season. Valentine’s theme for February, St. Patrick’s for March, Easter in April, and so on. I love this idea and if my husband would allow it I would do the same. Being Japanese, he has a difficult enough time understanding my absolute need to have a Christmas tree up in December. I’ve decided not to push the issue. But what about you? Have you gone Christmas tree crazy and keep it up all year? Are there any non-traditional ways you decorate your tree? Let’s discuss it in the comments.

As I was searching for examples I came across a blog post by HippieDog they call The little Valentine tree. I can’t post the image of their Valentine’s tree but I suggest you follow the link and see for yourself. So cute! They even tell you how they did it.

Here’s a tree for St. Patrick’s Day.


maryimp has some super cute stuff on Etsy for all the holidays. Perfect for an all season tree.

Now that’s what I call an Easter Tree!

The possibilities are endless!

How To Make Quilted Ornaments

YouTube is a great resource for new project ideas and today I would like to share one of my favorites with you.

angiejanca has made this wonderful tutorial video explaining step by step how to make quilted ornaments. There is no sewing involved. All you need is fabric, straight pins and a foam ball.
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I just followed Angie’s simple instructions and voilà…

I just happen to have a lot of pink fabric left over from another project, which is why my ornament is sooo pink. I suggest using fabrics in opposing colors like Angie did in the video. i.e. Red & Blue, Red & Green… I added the sequins just to spice it up a little. In total, I would say it took me about 4 hours to complete, including the time it took for me to measure and cut all the fabric. I’ve seen these in the past and always thought they looked so complicated. I’m surprised at how easy it is.

Kimekomi Video

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I’m not going to give you step by step details of how I made this since I don’t have rights to the design. However, you can figure out the basic concept from the video.

Making this kimekomi was interesting but difficult. Honestly, I was a little frustrated at one point. Especially when I was trying to divide the ball into 6 equal parts. It was way more difficult than it should have been. The directions told me to use a string and do some math and measuring but in the end I had to figure it out on my own because it wasn’t working. I’ll have to share how I did it in a future video.

As you can see from the video the finer details of the flowers were lost once I started tucking. They ended up distorted and funny looking. Also, my lines were a little off and so the bottom is not centered. I’ll just remove the bottom cap and it won’t be noticeable unless someone looks at it close up. Despite the flaws, I’m glad I made it. It’s always fun to learn new techniques and expand on what I do. I’ll try to incorporate some of the things I learned into my next project.

Kimekomi

As some of you may know, I live in Japan. I don’t live in Tokyo. I live a few hours north, in the suburbs of a small city called Utsunomiya. I ventured out on my bicycle today to check out a craft store I just recently discovered in my neighborhood. While I was there I found a kit for something called Kimekomi.

I’ve seen a few of these before but I never paid much attention because I wasn’t interested in creating ornaments using fabric at the time. Also, my Japanese language skills are pretty basic and trying to read the directions was not something I was willing to try. Recently that’s changed. (Not the language skills, just the interest.)

I’ve been trying out some new things and as you saw in my Stars and Stripes Ornament post. I’ve learned what I called the “cutting technique” to create an ornament with fabric panels. Come to find out that the Japanese have been doing this for a long time. Jeez… Don’t I feel silly. Here I am, living in the country where this stuff was invented and I’m just now figuring it out. Well better late than never I guess.

So apparently it started as a type of doll making. Back in the day, they used wood as a base. Now with the invention of smooth foam, anyone can make them. Kimekomi (pronounce key-may-ko-mee) actually means “tuck in” in Japanese. These are not to be confused with temari which are just as beautiful but very different from kimekomi. Some day I will try temari, but not yet.

Copy and paste the following Japanese into your google search bar and see what you find.
木目込み

Anyway, my project for next week will be to film myself attempting to make the kimekomi kit I purchased. It will be interesting to see how well I can figure it out, considering my pathetic Japanese ability. I hope I can convince my hubby to help me translate the directions. Wish me luck.