Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
The wait is almost over. My little boy is starting his Yochien (幼稚園 / kindergarten) tomorrow. With the new-found extra free time and all my accumulated secret plans, I can finally take the world of illustration and handicraft by storm! [Blackcabbit let out an INSANELY menacing laughter but was immediately interrupted by a screeching 4-month-old!] Oh I forgot, the wait have been extended for another three years. Well, back to the old drawing board… ~~~>_<~~~
Here in Japan, most kindergartens require the mothers to prepare school commuting goods for their kids who are starting school. It is also a trend here that these goods are often hand made. In fact, books teaching how to sew bags and pouches (i.e. 通園通学手づくりバッグ) are selling like hotcakes during this period.
The school, which our Fireball is going, has given us a long list of bags required (with all the measurements provided). They said that it is not compulsory to hand-make but they STRONGLY RECOMMENDED it. So strong was the “recommendation” that one would feel that if you buy instead of making, you are a bad mother who ought to show more involvement. Somehow, I can almost tell that EVERY mother who attended that school meeting, will sew the bags themselves. Sigh, the crushing “peer pressure.” Normally, whenever I sense pressure of any sort, my defiant nature will take over and will become a stubborn mule who refuse to budge despite of good sense. However, this time I decided to be a good sport, take on the challenge, and aim to make my boy proud. I think motherhood is slowly melting away my bullheadedness (I hope). :P
Like most little boys, our Fireball loves trains, cars and all sort of vehicles. So I decided to make that the theme. Usually, embroidery is the popular method used to decorate school bags. However, I know it will be impossible to hold a needle near a 4-month-old and a bouncy toddler. Furthermore, hand stitching can be time-consuming. So, I decided to do what I do best – illustrations. Do you remember my previous experiment with Iron-on Transfer & Printable Fabric? Well, I still have a few packets of Kawaguchi’s 100% Printable Cotton to spare. So every night, my wonderful (but tired-looking) husband would babysit the kids after a hard day’s work, while I’d digitally draw & paint uninterrupted. These are the results of our teamwork – Five illustrations in total…
Because of the earlier experiment that I’ve done, I know that the printed illustrations will turn out to be less saturate than my digital ones. Even with that expectation, I was kind of disappointed on first glance. Thankfully, they blended in with the strong-colored fabric I have chosen and served well as appliqués for the bags.
To recap, here is the list of DIY projects I have done for my son:
1. O-bento Set:
a. Lunch box pouch
b. Pouch for cup & toothbrush
2. Envelope pouch
3. Shoe bag
4. Lesson bag
5. Sling bag
6. Apron decoration
Okay, enough said. It’s time to prepare for tomorrow’s Nyuenshiki (入園式 / entrance ceremony). Suddenly, I’m feeling nervous (I wonder why)…