Blackcabbit's World

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 Big Preschool Prep for ME!

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

The design

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. Printable CottonSo 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…

Transportation and Animal Series:

Lunch box pouch

A porcupine driving a car with balloons.

Envelope pouch

A rocket with a monkey, a lion and an owl in space…

Shoe bag

A submarine with an octopus, penguins and a sea otter…

Lesson bag

A train with a tiger, a tortoise, a snail, a boar, a tanuki and an ostrich…

Sling / messager bag

A bus with a giraffe, a rooster, an elephant, a polar bear and a fox…

(Please visit my Facebook Page to see the illustration’s sketches…)

The Printed Illustrations:

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.

O Bento Bukuro

Used as an appliqué for my son’s lunchbox pouch.

Otayori ire

Used as an appliqué for my son’s envelope pouch & apron decoration.

Shuzu  kesu

Used as an appliqué for my son’s shoe bag & apron decoration.

Ressun baggu

Used as an appliqué for my son’s lesson bag.
I used the printable fabric to make name tags too.

Shoruda baggu

Used as a pocket for my son’s sling bag.

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
c. Placemat
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)…

6 comments on “The Big Preschool Prep for ME!

  1. Anonymous
    April 10, 2013


  2. saukuen
    April 9, 2013

    Great job Dionnie! Really like all your illustrations. The works are so excellently executed.

  3. Blackgodzilla
    April 9, 2013

    Congratulations on both the new baby and your son starting yochien. Our little monster starts yochien for 2 year on the 15th and next April he will be full term. Since my wife is due for our next bundle of joy on Halloween and our break will be short live (quotes Blackcabbit, “~~~>_<~~~").

    That nervous feeling is the same thing we had on our son's first day at the base daycare, "We he be alright?". After the first month you will get over it, and still find time to unleash a secret plan or two. LOL!

    • blackcabbit
      April 10, 2013

      Thank you Blackgodzilla! Congrats on the new bundle of joy! b^_^d

      Yup, do look out my secret plan(s) when the dust settles… [Once again, Blackcabbit let out another INSANELY menacing laughter but was AGAIN interrupted by a screeching 4-month-old! Somehow she sensed that the baby is doing that on purpose…]

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This entry was posted on April 9, 2013 by in Art & Illustrations, Craft / DIY Projects, Life in Japan, School Life and tagged , , , .
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