A Gift Idea for a Special Valentine (Tutorial)
Spring Into Art March 28 & 29

For the Love of Furoshiki

Day by day our world becomes fuller and fuller of gadgets and gizmos and new products to make everyday tasks easier, more "simple" and efficient.  Drugstores now have entire aisles dedicated to the "as seen on TV" products.  Wow!  I didn't even know I needed a snuggie or a tool that will pop out heart shaped watermelon bites or that scary contraption that will curl and dry my hair at the same time! 

No thank you.

Day by day I become more interested in the ancient ways of doing things, of products that focus on the beauty and quality of the materials and are thoughtfully made.  The Japanese are masters of this philosophy.  That's why I love the zakka aesthetic.  If you're not familiar with the zakka movement, read my post about it.

When I came across some examples of Japanese furoshiki (accent on the "o") handbags, I was giddy and inspired.  What a chic and easy way to use a piece of vintage fabric!  I immediately started sorting through my collection, divising ways of making cool handles and ordering more supplies.

Of course, I ended up falling in love with yet another artisan technique as I researched: sashiko (with a short i).  It's a gorgeous zen-like embroidery made up of only short seed stitches in intricate geometric patterns. Sounds easy, right?  Wrong. I've been working at it for about a week now, and I still feel like a kindergartener writing in cursive. Getting all of those stitches the same length and in a straight line is hard!

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Today I put all of the pieces of my research and practice together to create my first furoshiki bag with a simple sashiko-stitched handle.  The sashiko is far from perfect, but I added "magical" mitered corners to the fabric, and I think it's the closest I've come to nailing a project with true zakka spirit!  

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I'm got dinner guests in about seven hours, but thanks to Mr. T's Flavor Wave oven and my Air Curler, I'll be able to whip up a delicious dinner, look gorgeous and still have time to make a couple more of these bags.  Cheers!

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