[101204] Useless from Texas

I received a mail from Texas today. Opened it up with excitement as I knew there would be a drawing of Useless inside:)

The sender, Bizzlebee, first contacted me on Postcrossing and told me about her amazing idea for her daughter's birthday. Her daughter loves Japan and she wanted to collect as many Japan-related postcards as she could, and give them to her daughter as a surprise gift. What a sweet mom!!! I was in to the idea, needless to say, and I sent out a card to Texas. The envelope I got today, was supposed to be a card from her. As it was enclosed in an envelope, I thought that would have been to protect the card from any incident during transit, but it was not... She enclosed two drawings of Useless, two sets of Useless stickers, and a message card!!!!!! I was speechless to see all of the beautiful artwork she made. You are so creative Bizzlebee!;)

From the left, "Useless Astronaut", "Useless Texan", and Useless stickers. They are so beautiful, and I feel so happy to see that she even drew Neko on the stickers!! I love all of them<3 Thank you Bizzlebee!!!
Useless in space is such a great drawing... I like his ears curled up within the suit. So cute! Hahaha:D



[101129] Useless travels Russia

It's monday today, started out a new week and it is going to be a tough week; many paperworks as December's coming up, and 5 working day week this week. I was feeling a bit low and dull, until I found this card from Russia in my mail box.

This is just beautiful! I love it so much!! It sure made my day<3 Useless in this picture looks so happy and excited to be in Moscow, traveling with his scarf and glives on. How creative this is... so amazing.

I have never been to Russia, but I would love to travel if I ever get a chance. Russia in my mind is a place that is really, really cold. I love the cap he is wearing, by the way! (I <3 Moscow cap) Hehe, Useless has a heart on his cheek, I wonder where he got that from:) Thank you so much for this card, Olya!



[101109] Birthday Cards

Happy early birthday to Nikki and Mai chan! I drew Useless and made cute little cards for them:) I hope they like it...

I love birthdays in general! Because we were born, we meet and get to know each other. I can't thank enough my parents and "god" - whatever that is, for giving me the chance to live, letting me be their child, and loving me.

It's someone's birthday everyday. Happy birthday all!:)



[101104] Useless by Yoko

Yoko Iogawa is a brilliant illustrator in Japan, and one of my best friends:) (Check out her blog by clicking here!) Many thanks to her for taking time to draw Useless for me, although she's been super busy at work... and her Useless is just adorable!!! Kawaii!!!!

She always gives me inspiration every time I see her. Such a creative person! When we had lunch together in Kashiwa the other day, there was a booth that was selling some Japanese sweets and snaks, and she had Gohei-mochi there. It is rice cake coated with miso based sauce, and she loved it. In the drawing, Useless is holding the Gohei-mochi she had:) So cute! Gohei-mochi is usually formed differently, like the one on this website, but the one we saw was shaped like Dango. I had a different kind, and it was delicious as well... we need to do that again sometime! Hahaha

Thanks again for everything, Yoko!



[101025] My 4th Hobbes Doll

I took this order from a customer in the states a few months ago, and since they were not on a rush, all the other orders and work kind of took over my days, and the next thing I knew was that I needed to finish it within a couple of days. I felt horrible... and I was so sorry for my customer. I think I should have a small notebook with me all the time and keep everything on track from now on.

It's the 4th Hobbes doll of mine. I still don't have a pattern written yet. I think I should, but I don't know how to write a pattern. Hehe, gotta learn it soon;) Here is a picture of him below:

I hope they like him:) I might crochet one more, just in case I get another order in the future. Next up probably is Birdock the 3rd, and then Ah fook, and then Puni puni... Fun fun;)



[101014] Last Day of the Stay

Sean has been here in Tokyo from the 1st of October, and he is leaving today.
It's been so fast and I had a great time being with him:) Since I needed to work a few times while he is here, every minute of the time when we spend together was so precious. Even though I knew he was tired, we tried and  made it to the Ueno Antique Festival in the morning. It's so much fun at the festival because we both love antiques. He bought a Japanese print, little purses made with Japanese cloth, some old coins and bills. We also found a nice ring. The owner of the shop is a funny guy, it was one of our favorite shops at the festival. The owner said that this ring was worn by a lady who lived until her mid 90s. The gem is Topaz (I don't really trust him on this part though. And it doesn't matter anyway, because this ring is just like an empty container for us to put our beautiful memories and it's priceless!)

Photo taken on the way back home from Ueno. I am going to miss him so much. Argh...
I can't wait for the next time he is in town!!



[100928] Walk on a day of Fall

I just LOVE her work. What else can I say. This drawing of Useless is done by Heli from Finland. (Those of you who saw I once wrote she was from Sweden, I am sorry, that was my mistake:P) Useless is in her front pocket... so damn cute. She is so talented<3

The theme was 'Fall'. My favorite parts of this drawing are the colors, the clothings of the girl's, and of course, Useless!
It's amazing to see how people are creative as hell. They always give me inspirations in so many different ways and I can't thank enough for that, as I can never be creating anything without those wonderful people:)



[100925] Useless Charm handmade by Christina from Greece

Christina is so creative! She is a talented girl from Greece and she made this beautiful charm for me... How sweet!

This gives me good luck, she says. Thank you so much, Christina! :D



[100924] Hobbes doll No.3 is now traveling

This is the 3rd Hobbes doll and he should be flying right now. I hope he is having a safe flight:)

I have one more request to crochet a Hobbes doll and it needs to be done by next Tuesday... It is not an easy job, but for the people who love my Hobbes dolls, I feel like I can make it, and I sure WILL make it:D



[100923] Mina Petra artwork

Somehow, I got to be an interpreter for the Croatian booth at JATA event in Tokyo Big Sight. And I met some beautiful ladies wearing beautiful hats!! I wondered who they are, but I really liked the hats, so I asked them if it's okay to take pictures. They said "Oh, thank you. She made it." and then I looked at one of the ladies and she was the artist!!! I was soooooooooo excited. Okay, okay, here is a picture of the lady I first talked to:

Isn't it beautiful? I mean, both ladies and the hats:)
The picture below is of the artist, Mina Petra from Croatia.

She was such a cute lady. I crochet as well, so I gave a small gift to her. (I hope she likes it;) She did a fashion show at the event. This whole experience made me feel like visit Croatia someday... Hmm... Places I want to visit in my life are; China, Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt, Italy, Ireland, and Croatia. Hehe, I love traveling!


[100921] A sweet message from Russia

This postcard has a spot in my heart, because the sender, Anna, from Russia, wrote me a heart-warming message for me with this amazing drawing of Useless.

I often feel I am so blessed and lucky enough to come across beautiful people in my life, and this was surely one of the moments I feel so. My happiness is in your hands. I agree with the quote from the bottom of my heart, because I am happy when the people around me are happy.

My happiness is in your hands as well, Anna!:D



[100920] GOPAN cafe

When I was checking out some recipes on my favorite cooking site "Cookpad", I came across this new product by SANYO, called GOPAN. It's a bread maker, and you can make rice bread from actual rice, which means you don't need to go get rice powder to make rice bread. So I instantly fell in love with it, and I went to see what it tastes like, all the way down to Omotesando today. What I like about the product already, is that you can also make normal bread with flour as well. I have never own a home-bakery, but GOPAN made me feel like getting one...

A lovely cafe called Zipzap in Omotesando was hosting the promotional campaign of GOPAN, titled GOPAN cafe. I arrived there at 11:40 am, which is only 10 minutes after the opening, but there was already a queue and I had to wait for a little bit. They serve a sampler with a regular order from the Zipzap cafe menu. As I just wanted to taste the bread, I ordered something small -- a cake set (The top picture is the cake I had. Chocolate & Berry cake... Yummy!). The rice bread was delicious. I would love to get a GOPAN already, but the concern is how much it will be... Well, I will see... 



[100913] A lovely handmade card from Shanghai

So... I have been a crazy busy bee in the past week with everything... and I barely find time to sleep. Happy Monday! Here comes another round. This postcard I received today was such a great start of the week. Thank you Qinqin! She says this is her first handmade card, but it just looks awesome! I love it!

Isn't this beautiful?:) Nihao, Useless~*
The stamps she put were with a mark of the Shanghai Expo that is going on these days and reminded me of my friends who are actually in Shanghai visiting the Expo right now:D I hope they are all having a good time:) I am the home sitter. No fun for me... poor Ai... Hahahaha



[100911] Greetings from the Netherlands

I received two cards this afternoon, and both were from the Netherlands:) I miss it there... the country is so beautiful. Well, at least the places I went to, they were quite beautiful. I hope to visit there again someday. Most definitely!

One of the cards had an interesting quote, so I post it on here.

Very true, I believe. But it's funny when you think of it, because you can't live without it.
Art is everywhere. Even when you talk to people and interact with them, I think it's art of communication. That way, it easily gets so philosophical and can keep going on and on... but what I wanted to post here is that this card made me think again. I highly appreciate that she wrote it on the card. (Thank you Elizabeth!! You made my day~*)



[100910] Halloween Neko card

Yes, I know it's way too early. HAHAHA
Postcrossing told me to send a card to Taiwan, and the receiver really likes cats, but I didn't have any cat-related cards at the moment, and I thought.... I have Neko! I don't know, if she likes it, but I am sending this anyway. Safe trip, Neko chan:)

I have been loving Postcrossing a lot and it's been a month since I signed up for it. So fast. I told this to one of my friend when I saw her recently, but she says 'Eh, you have to give them your real address, right? that's creepy. they are total strangers, you know...' Well, that is true in a way, but it's like you don't go into the ocean because you are afraid of sharks and everything but once you got in, you will be amazed how beautiful underwater world is. Of course there are sharks and other predetors and such, but to me, it's so interesting to be able to meet 'people' online and getting something 'real' as written on an actual postcard. Anyway, that is just my opinion:)


[100910] New listing on Etsy

I have been hearing from a few people from overseas and they tell me if I have some extra Hobbes dolls to sell to them... I am blushing:) I am so happy to hear that people like my Hobbes doll and even contact me for it. I currently don't have enough yarn to crochet more of these dolls, but I managed crocheting a one-inch-smaller one with leftover yarns... Here is a picture of the doll.

Now I have it on Etsy... Let's see if anybody wants it.
To go to the item page, click here:)

Up next is an Octopus doll for my friend Cari's baby!! I will be working on it this weekend. Can't wait!!



[100908] Happy Birthday Sean

It's my boyfriend Sean's birthday today! Yay! :)
I am sending this drawing to him as he wishes to go fishing when he comes visit my home in a couple of weeks;)

I can't wait to see him! We are going to have so much fun in both Chiba (my hometown) and Tokyo area!! I really need a Doraemon to let me use his Dokodemo Door now.



[100901] Detective Useless

So, I got to send a postcard to a girl from China, and she says she would like a handmade card, and I was wondering what I should draw for her. When I talked to my boyfriend on the phone and asked him for ideas, then he suggested me draw something about detectives, as her profile says she loves detective stories. After the phone call, I sat at the desk and worked on it. Here is a picture of the postcard that is going to travel Wenzhou, China:)

Dragomander is supposed to be Useless's assistant in this one. (For those who don't know what Dragomander is, he is a hald dragon / half salamander little creature:) He is one of Useless's friends.) My friends from Singapore said I should go for writing a book of Useless, and I would love to do that in the future. I want to make a book of Useless, not only drawn by me but everybody from all across the world. Hmm... just to think of it makes me excited already!;)



[100830] One and only T-shirt of myself

This year, I participated in a show called 第22回Tシャツアート展 and got the final product back in my hands today! It's a T-shirt that has my self-portrait on it. My family loved it as well as I do, and here is a picture of it:)

This summer has been super hot and that is why I added 暑 to the design. I won't forget this crazy heat. Hahaha
I heard that my drawing won a prize and I got extra happy! Nothing fancy, but a wee prize, but still it sure brightened my day:)



[100825] Useless Clutch

I have never handled a clutch as a crafter... and it was fun and tough for me:)
Today, I finished a Useless clutch purse. My sewing machine is so old and it had not been working well until last week. I finally got my grandma to take a look at it, and then it started working way better since then... My grandma used to work in an industrial facility that deals with sewing machines, so asking her was the right choice:)

Okay, so here is a picture of the clutch.

This Useless is almost the same as the one on the sneakers as you may notice. It's such a simple pattern of Useless, so I added some things like a fig leaf, and sprouts. The back side also got some sprouts on it:) I love it, and I wish I could put it up on Etsy, but I will have to wait until I get better at handling clutches. I have 4 or 5 more clutches in different sizes, so let's see what I can do with them.

Happy crafting, people!:D



[100820] Docomo dake mushroom

My friend Jon from Chicago sent me a gift early this year, and I ever wanted to send something back to him since then. And here I come, I crocheted a Docomo dake mushroom doll for him, as I remember when he visited Japan, he seemed to be really liking it. For those of you who have no idea what the mushroom dude is, here is a link to its wiki page.

It's been shipped today via EMS, so I hope he will receive it sometime next week:) I wonder what he says. Hahaha

I am not being cocky here, but I am pretty satisfied how it came out actually. I even thing I should have taken some notes to remember how I made this. In case there is anybody who wants one, or wants a pattern for this, please contact me so I can do my best for you:)

Next up, another crochet doll for another precious friend of mine. Fun!!



[100811] Shrimp postcard 2

I have been meaning to get this postcard up on my Etsy store these days and finally I did, today! My first shrimp collage card was purchased this afternoon (Yay!) and I simply needed to get something else up on my store. Here is a picture of my second shrimp card:)

To see more, please visit my Etsy store.

I am now working on a squid collage card, so stay tuned!:D



[100805] First Pumpkin of this summer

When I was about to leave home today, my grandma called me from the back yard and said 'Hey Ai, check this out. Tada-! Kabocha!!'
Kabocha is pumpkins in Japanese:) I was totally stunned when I saw it; it was HUGE!:D I have seen even bigger ones abroad, but this one is definitely one of the biggest I've ever seen in Japan... She is such a great farmer. Here is a picture of my grandma and her deliciously grown pumpkin.

'We will have some pumpkin salad, tonight,' she smiled.

It is so amazing that she actually grows something like this awesome full grown vegetable in such a small back yard. When I get to have a house one day, I would definitely try the same as she does. My grandma is also a great chef, and I always ask her, 'How did you cook? May I have your recipe? ...please?' and she ALWAYS says, 'Nothing special. Just add some love:)' and she never tells me the recipe. Haha, but I know she doesn't measure ingredients, and she just uses what she has in the kitchen and fridge, so I don't complain;)
I think those vegetables she grows are also filled with lots of love, and that is why they are so delicious.



[100801] Useless x Converse

Useless is collaborating with Converse, as part of a project that my friend Maki is working on.
Here are the links to her project;

So, she gave me an opportunity to make Useless sneakers to include in her book. (Thank you so much, Maki san!) A picture of the shoes is on Facebook too, but I post another picture on this blog post so you get to see them:)

It was so fun working on these. Blank white sneakers made me feel like a child with crayons and a piece of paper:)



[100717] Who ate the eggplants?

We've had a massive amount of rain, and all plants and trees are deep green by now.
The vegetables in my grandma's garden are doing great. She has cucumbers, pumpkins, watermelons, goya, herbs, oranges, uh, so many delicious food:) Last night, she and I were standing in front of her eggplants and looking for something. Worms. Not only the leaves but also the fruits have been damaged by something, possibly caterpillars, and we tried to find them but didn't see anything.

This morning, I looked again closely, but didn't see any either. When I got inside and was having breakfast, my grandma screamed and said, "Ai, I found it! Come check it out!!"

The one who has been eating her eggplants like crazy, was this beautiful colored HUGE caterpillar:D

She said it was pretending to be a branch. Haha, I was like saying to this caterpillar, "Sorry, but you are too bright and big to camouflage!"



[100702] Huhu versus Oreo cookie sandwich

I am so glad that I finally used all of the leftover clay today!
I made a lot of stuff out of it, and here is a picture of funny ones.

It is blurry though... a Huhu figurine, and an Oreo cookie sandwich. Doesn't it look like he is trying to see if he takes the cookie or not? Hahaha

Oh well, a few days left for my stay in the states... it's been super fast and I know I am going to miss it a lot. I shall enjoy Fourth of July weekend as much as I can, then head out to my country next week. I wonder if my dog even remembers me... Ha!



[100623] Colorful Dotted Giraffe

The other day, I came up with an idea of crocheting a giraffe for some reason. Maybe I got bored with the project I have been working on lately... well, anyhow, I did crochet one today.

He is looking up to the sky, and it is because I ran out of the yarn to make the head, to tell you the truth... But I love how he came out anyway! :D

He can be purchased on my Etsy store.

Tonight, I had a drawing session with Bella again and now we have a bunch of new characters to make. FUN!!! Oh well, I gotta finish this current project and move back to the collaboration project with Bella!! Arrrgh!



[100610] Playing with clay

When I went up to Michael's last weekend, I got some clay to make something out of it. Since I finished working on my Hobbes yesterday, I can finally move on to this project and am so excited:)

Just to see how it comes out, I made a Useless and a Hodad dude. (Hodad's Hamburger restaurant is a great place to eat. Their hamburgers and fries are just AWESOME!!)

Well, I thought it would be great to make them into broaches, but I am not quite sure if they are hard enough to do so. The clay is an oven bake kind. I think I need a piece of wood or something to put it... Hmm...

But they sure look cute!! 



[100604] Wee Wedding Gift

A friend of mine is getting married in Portland, Oregon this month!!
I am broke enough to not be able to get something fancy for her and her man, I made a small gift by myself... Aww, I hope they like it:)

It's an ornament, with two little beans. As I put it in a box and getting it all ready for shipping, I realized that I like doing this kind of thing so much; design>make>wrap>ship. Haha, it all sounds funny, but I am loving it!

Anyway, congratulations to my friend, Chiemi, and her man, Ben!



[100601] Huhu Auto Charm

Learning about Etsy little by little these days, trying to put more stuff in my shop:)
I crocheted two small Huhu dolls to make auto charms.

I put it up on Etsy already. To check out this product on my Etsy store, click here
Hmm, what's next... how fun!!



[100529] Mr. Sunny Pants

Since I have finished up my hamburger restaurant project, I just went back to the project I was working on. Yes, collaborating with my little artist, Bella!
Here is the latest crocheted doll of one of her characters:) Mr. Sunny Pants!!

He is so sunny. Hahaha, I mean, he is so CUTE!
His smile makes me smile, and Sean loves this one as well. Mr. Sunny Pants doesn't have arms, but has three pieces of hair. That's what Bella told me:D

It is a lovely day today, and is as sunny as he is, indeed;)



[100528] My Etsy Store Stickers

I have been trying to set up my Etsy store front these days. In one of their email letters, I read that it's good to have some stuff to make my products nicer when I make a sale, like a letter head or a thank you card, stickers, business cards, etc. Something that looks professional. Haha! I mean, I haven't made any sales yet, and have no idea how long it will take for me to make my very first one, but I just don't want to let it fade out. I really want to keep doing it. It will be a bit frustrating for sure, until everything settles down, but I have the people around me, who encourage me. I cannot thank them enough for that.

So, here is a picture of the stickers I got; Even though I say they are stickers, they aren't. I didn't have anything and was broke enough to refuse buying some equipment, so I just printed out on a regular paper, and I am going to stick it by myself.

I have also been working on a project for a hamburger restaurant lately, and it's almost done. I don't make any money out of it, but it is absolutely pleasurable to work on it, because I can see the restaurant's owner's happy face:) That is to me, the ultimate beauty of doing art; I just love seeing people like my stuff and smile on me.



[100520] The Useless Factory

This week, I only focused on this project, and I am so glad that I finally finished it today!
These Useless are with 100% cotton yarns, half and half cotton/bamboo yarns, and 100% organic cotton batting. Useless just makes me laugh, as he ever does:)

Looking at them, especially in a cardboard box, is such a day-maker. I made 8 in total, 2 are already sent out, and the other two out of these 6 will be sent out next week. What should I do with the rest?? Hahaha



[100503] Mr. Funny Pants!

I worked on this little cute character that Bella drew the other day during the weekend. It was su much fun and I really like how it came out. Well, except the fact I ran out of my black acrylic yarn... so basically he ended up having short hair. Hahaha! Look how funny he looks!!

Went to Michael's last Saturday, and got some white cotton yarns and batting for a bigger Dragomander, as Bella and Keith said she wants a Dragomander:) I shall now work on it!



[100428] Using organic materials

I have just finished crocheting another Useless this morning. He is made with cotton yarns, bamboo yarns, and cotton stuffings. I loved working on this because all the materials I used for this have very nice feel to them... especially the stuffings!:D

I think he is definitely the best one I have crocheted so far. As I put all parts together, he made me laugh just by the look. Hahaha



[100426] Crocheted Goldfish

I finished crocheting our goldfish, Titty, and it came out a bit different from what I was expecting, but I like this anyway! I might want to try crocheting another Titty sometime...

Titty, in the real world is more like a ball. This one I just finished looks more like some other goldfish. Anyway, I can't wait to show this to Bella who saw this unfinished last weekend:)



[100421] Scrap paper collage on mini canvases

I started collecting papers since last week, to make a basket out of them. But I found out that I need some extra tools to do it, so I used some papers for Origami, then this week, I ended up using it for mini canvases. Hahaha
Here is a picture of what I made in the past few days.

Left: Useless. (See the little Elmo on his tummy?:)
Right: Self-portrait. (I look like Chinese here...)

I find it fun to work with the papers, and I might be doing some more of it.


[100421] Paper bag from a convenience store

Don't ask me why, but I just love those little paper bags the convenience stores give me.
I always save them. I don't know, maybe I like the material. Some sort of recycled papers are very interesting to me. I drew a Useless on one:D

This is going to be my snack bag as we go out on weekends. Hehehe



[100416] Latest Mini Canvas

I have been away from my blog for a while... Here are some latest mini canvas paintings:)

Left: Mr. Funny Pants
Right: Mr. Sunny Pants
Those two characters were created by Bella, my little artist friend, while we were in Alabama.
She is so creative and she inspires me a lot. Amazing. She told me that Mr. Funny Pants is so mean. (Hahaha!) Very cute.

This one is Dragomander. He is half dragon and half salamander. I also crocheted this, and Bella loved it:) Oh, it is so fun doing art with her:D

I bought some bigger canvases last month, and I hope to paint Bella. Can't wait to work on it!!



[100226] Stuffed Useless

I am glad that I nailed this one... I don't even remember exactly how I made it, but it doesn't look bad, does it?  :D

▲ Useless chilling out on the shelf.
▼ Front look.

Making things like this is always fun and frustrating at the same time... a lot of struggles. I will be making Neko, Huhu, and another Useless next week and I hope they come out better:)