Handmade projects and fun ideas for a cute, Tokyo-inspired lifestyle
Handmade projects and fun ideas for a cute, Tokyo-inspired lifestyle by a hugely popular Japan-based blogger.
Ebony Bizys is a Tokyo-based Australian craft artist, designer and Instagrammer who records her daily life in Japan on her hugely successful blog, Hello Sandwich (hellosandwich.jp). Before moving to Tokyo in 2010, she worked as deputy art director at VOGUE Living. Ebony collaborates with many influential brands, holds regular craft workshops and contributes to books and magazines. She self-publishes her own zines, and in 2012 released a Japanese craft book that has since been translated into multiple languages.
This easy project is a great way to use up small pieces of cotton fabric you may have in your home. It doesn’t matter if the fabric patterns are different, so long as the sizes are identical and the colours work well together. You can create a fun and unique set of table napkins by double-hemming these squares of fabric. I've made small napkins perfect for informal lunches and breakfasts. But you could really make these napkins any size that you like. Be sure to wash and iron the fabric before you start the project as some fabrics can shrink once washed.
You will need + 25 cm (10 inch) squares of cotton fabrics + sewing thread + sewing machine (or hand-sewing equipment) + scissors, pins, needles and general sewing supplies + iron and ironing board
STEP 1: Start with the fabric facing the wrong side up. Fold and press a 1 cm (3/8 inch) hem around all edges of the fabric squares.
STEP 2: Open out the ironed hem and fold in the corner diagonally as shown in the image.
STEP 3: Tuck the point of the fabric under itself and refold the ironed hem.
STEP 4: Turn the hem over once more to make a double hem and secure in place with some sewing pins. You will find you have a neat little mitred corner now. Finish by sewing around the inside edge of the hem with a straight stitch either using a sewing machine or by hand.
Painted Plant Pots
Mini-potted gardens are something the Japanese do so well. Create your own green oasis by bringing the outdoors in with some potted plants. Alternatively, create a little potted garden on your balcony or other outdoor area. Here are a few of my favourite ways to customise simple, inexpensive pots.
You will need
+ plant pots + masking tape + POSCA water-based paint markers + multi-surface paint and paintbrushes + spray paint + stickers + varnish
POT TIP 1: SPRAY-PAINTED POTS
Create an original pot by using spray paint for a speckled or multicoloured blended effect. Finish with varnish.
POT TIP 2: RETRO TIN POTS
Repurpose tins that are way too cute to throw away by removing their lids with a tin-opener that doesn't leave a sharp edge, and make a few drain holes in the bottom of each tin before planting.
POT TIP 3: STRIPED POT
First, use masking tape to mask off vertical stripes on the plant pot. Paint the exposed area with multi-surface paint of your choice. Let the paint dry completely before you carefully remove the tape.
POT TIP 4: PAINTED POTS
You can paint ceramic plant pots with multi-surface paint, as I have done with the yellow pot shown here. Or try using masking tape to cover horizontal sections of the pot before painting the remaining areas with all-purpose paint, as in the blue pot with a white lip. I've used Martha Stewart Crafts® Multi-surface paint.
POT TIP 5: DOTTY POSCA POTS
Use POSCA water-based paint markers to draw a pattern of your choice on a ceramic pot. Here I've used a black POSCA marker to draw random polka dots on a coral-glazed pot.
POT TIP 6: POLKA-DOT STICKER POT
If you have a little pot plant that you keep inside, you might like to stick dot stickers all over the pot. You could also use gemstone stickers or any stickers of your choice to decorate a pot that is kept away from the elements.
There's nothing nicer than treating a guest to morning coffee on a cute tray, adorned with a simple bloom in a miniature vase.
You will need + wooden tray + round stickers + multi-surface paint + clear varnish + paintbrush + craft knife
STEP 1: Cover the tray with stickers, making sure to press down on the edges of each sticker so that they are firmly in place and no paint will be able to seep under the edges. I've used jumbo dot stickers, but you could also use smaller dot stickers for a different effect. You could also experiment with masking tape, masking off different shapes and areas or creating stripes or zigzag patterns.
STEP 2: Use multi-surface paint to cover the whole surface of the tray. Make sure not to add too much water to the brush, which might cause the paint to thin and seep underneath the stickers. Allow the paint to dry with the stickers in place.
STEP 3: Slowly and carefully peel off the dot stickers. Use the tip of a craft knife to gently lift the edges, if needed.
STEP 4: Apply a coat of clear varnish and allow it to dry overnight, then the tray will be ready to use. Yay!
POINT: MAKE SURE STICKERS ARE FIRMLY IN PLACE BEFORE PAINTING