Etsy Search Top 10: Japanese Vintage

This week’s keyword for my Etsy search was ‘Japanese’, within the vintage listings. That probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise!

Just click on the image captions to go to each Etsy seller’s page.

My Friend ABC – a vintage children’s book.

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Shopping in Tokyo Part 2 :: Design Festa

Apologies for the very late post today. You know some days things just get away from you and before you know it you’re transferring your list of things to do on to tomorrow’s page in your diary? That’s how it’s been for me today.

Yesterday I promised today’s post would be about Design Festa. Our family holiday to Japan last year coincided with Design Festa and I vowed to do my best to get back to Tokyo each year for the event (especially with bargain flights from Jetstar making it so affordable). Design Festa is held twice a year and if you’re interested in shopping for independent art and craft it’s one for your calendar. There are also stages for various acts and areas and performance art… something for everyone as far as art goes.

This year crochet and needle felting seemed to be very much in vogue. The ‘miset’ sign below was entirely crocheted. And did you see the gorgeous earrings in my post yesterday which I bought at Design festa?


And of course being Japan, ‘cute’ is always in.


Naturally there are a lot of fun and interesting ways people showcase their work… like putting embroidered brooches in a madeline tray. Who would’ve thought?


With nearly 3000 exhibitors there’s always so much to see – and it’s people-watching heaven.


A lot of artists use their stall space as a canvas for their art, and many are creating the entire time. This guy was hand carving the most beautiful stamps.


A few more random images:


These were the most incredibly detailed scenes created in small boxes. They were displayed on black plinths against black walls and lit by black desk lamps. They were so amazing and there were so many people crowding around that it was impossible to get any decent photos.


I bought my goddaughter a lovely little painting, but I didn’t photograph it because I know her mum will be reading this. [Hi Donna!] I also bought a few books and postcards by some very talented artists, which I’ll share in another post. The photo below shows one of my favourite purchases of my whole trip: a quirky little softie guy. He’s only about 8cm (just over 3 inches) tall and is so sweet – made from linen and hand embroidered. There’s also an embroidered book cover and a little coaster backed with handwoven fabric. Please excuse the unironed fabric background!


And lastly from Design Festa this necklace and brooch made from felt.


Once I get them photographed I’ll show you the cards and a few books I bought from Design Festa artists. And hopefully I’ll find some of their websites so you can see more. As you can probably see it’s visual overload, and a wonderful way to spend a day or two.
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Shopping in Tokyo Part 1

Before this trip to Tokyo I already had a nice little collection of Japanese craft books from my holiday there last year and from regular visits to the fab Sydney branch of Kinokuniya. These photos are of all my books, including the dozen or so that I just bought. The book prices in Japan are about half what you pay here… hence my very heavy hand luggage.


One of my favourites at the moment is the one on top of the pile called Knot. It features the most divine and delicate accessories. As my fellow Owls will attest I had no patience with or interest in crocheting granny squares (at the end of the evening I gave away the hooks and yarn I’d bought), but oh my, I’d crochet my heart out if I thought there was any hope I could make things this lovely. I’ll be on the scout for someone to translate this book, as well as a patient teacher.


At Design Festa (there’ll be a whole post devoted to wonderful, crazy Design Festa tomorrow) I bought the beautiful earrings below, which are very much in the style of the projects in Knot.


Aren’t they fab? A crocheted flower shape hangs in one gold hoop, and some cascading tendrils in the other.


Lotta Jansdotter is apparently huge in Japan although disappointingly I didn’t come across any of her fabric there. I did find this book though, called Handmade Project, which has text in both Japanese and English.

The two best places I found for craft books in Tokyo were Okadaya and Kinokuniya, both in Shinjuku. I’m going to try to get some directions/maps together for shops I write about. In the meantime though if you’re heading to Tokyo and want to know where to find them just email me. Or, if you want Tokyo shopping link overload check out Asking for Trouble’s guide here.
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Summer Tweets Tutorial :: small magazine

I was flattered and excited when Olivia from the lovely online magazine small asked me to create a tutorial for the (northern hemisphere) summer issue, which came out last week.


I came up with the idea of a bright and fun bird mobile which is made using mainly fabric scraps and newspaper. The swings are rattan cane rings wrapped in fabric and the birds are made using my ‘cheat’s papier mache‘. Roxy and I had lots of fun in the last school holidays making these sweet little birdies and they are now hanging from the light in her bedroom.


You can see the tutorial in small and in more detail on their blog smaller (such a clever and sweet name). As always this issue of small is packed with gorgeous things and is well worth having a look even if you don’t have any small people in your life.
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Monday BlogDay: Ninainvorm


Dutch artist and student Nina Van de Goor has a delightful and inspiring blog called Ninainvorm. I find my spirits instantly lifted each time I visit because of Nina’s vibrant and beautiful photos and her whimsical creations.


Nina has an Etsy shop where she sells her fabulous ‘redecorated’ vintage ceramics. I’m really loving the platter with the red polkadot dress.

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