Good bye California... Hello Japan! さらばカリフォルニア~日本へ引越します☆彡

Cute embroidered applique patches from Japan

First off, I apologize for the non-existence... It's been quite some time since I blogged here and I truly missed posting about my latest handmade creations!


Fabrics from Japan

The truth is, I haven't had a chance to create for a while, because we are in the midst of our family move to... Tokyo, Japan!! The move is due to my hubby's business and we are moving in just a few more days!!


Colorful acrylic yarns from Yuzawaya, Japan

Our family stayed in Tokyo for over a month in early this year, to take care of our girls' school issues and to settle down in our new place prior to our real move (scheduled in end of March).


Sanrio World, in Ginza, Tokyo, Japan

Now we're back in California, packing things up for our final move and saying good-byes to our good friends (the worst part...)


Local shrine in Tokyo

This move is going to bring major changes to all of us, because we have enjoyed the sunny California lifestyle for too long! (Almost thirty years for my hubby and I, and for our teenage girls,  their entire lives were spent here.)


From the train station near Kamakura, Japan

We have been preparing for this move for the past few years. As a mom, my major concern was our girls' school issues, whether they can get into schools of their choice and to get accustomed to the school life in Japan. (In Japan, getting into high school is like getting into college in the U.S. - kids are required to study hard to get accepted in the schools of their choice).


Green tea ice cream parfait from cafe in Tokyo

There were emotional moments... but I am so proud of my girls for studying very hard and getting accepted at the schools of their choice (high school for our oldest, and middle school for our youngest). They are finally ready to start new school year in Japan, which begins from April in the Japanese school system.


Cold soba or buckwheat noodles and tempura dinner

We will badly miss our wonderful friends, the beautiful Southern California weather, and the In-n-Out burgers! For me, I will definitely miss the American fabrics...

カリフォルニアの温暖な気候や、近所のハンバーガーショップの名物バーガー(In-n-Out Burgers)、そしてこれまでこの地で仲良くお付き合いしていただいた友人知人との別れはそれはそれは悲しく辛いです(涙、涙…)。手芸を愛する者としては今後はアメリカの生地を入手するのが難しくなると思うとそれも寂しい~。

Me, in front of huge Buddha statue in Kamakura, Japan

However, we are ready to start our new venture in my home country. After all, it's great to be reunited with my hubby's and my family members in Japan. And more than anything, we wish that this experience will be a positive one for our girls.


Packing, packing, packing...

 I look forward to post about our new life in Tokyo. Wish us luck and see you soon!!

Oh and don't forget to check my instagram account @chickchicksewing - I try to post frequently than I do with my blog!

このブログも次回は日本から更新することになるかと思いますが、皆さま、引き続きよろしくお願いします♪ (スマホでインスタグラムをされる方は私のアカウント@chickchicksewing もチェックしてくださいね!)では皆さまもどうかお元気でおすごしください。☆彡

With lots of love from California,
***Amy Morinaka***

Find me on Facebook (Amy Morinaka) →☆
Follow me on Instagram @chickchicksewing →★

Raindrops pouch for my girlfriend♡ レインドロップス(しずく)のポーチ ♡

My girlfriend visited me with her cute little boy over the weekend. I stitched up a small gift for her just because she deserves something special from me!


The pouch design is my original. I call it the "Raindrops pouch" because it's the pouch version of the "Raindrops Tote" from my book :)


The "raindrops" are made from cut out felt and then machine appliqued on to linen panels. 


Friends are like stars... you can't always see them, but you know they're always there ☆彡 This is my favorite quote that truly describes my feeling for my friends.


***Love, Amy***

Find me on Facebook (Amy Morinaka) →☆
Follow me on Instagram @chickchicksewing →★

♪Crocheting flower corsage and chair pads ♪ かぎ針編みのコサージュと円座をあみあみ♪

Lately I've been very busy with work, home, kids, and everything else that I hardly have any time left to sit down and sew... :(   Yet I try my best to squeeze in crocheting time whenever possible during my crazy schedule.


This is a crochet flower corsage I made last year end. The crochet flower pattern is from my book. For this corsage, I added several fake pearls in the center (instead of the covered button shown in my book).


I somehow managed to stitch these crochet chair pads for our kitchen chairs. I didn't follow any patterns here, I simply crocheted in rounds with double crochets and popcorn stitches.


I used these super soft and bulky Bernat baby blanket yarns. Great for making chair pads!


Here I'm stitching another chair pad while I waited at my daughter's doctor's appointment. For me, waiting time is a crocheting time!


***Love, Amy***

Find me on Facebook (Amy Morinaka) →☆
Follow me on Instagram @chickchicksewing →★

Celebrating Japanese New Year in Southern California 2015 ♪カリフォルニアで日本ふうのお正月♪

Happy new year everyone!

As a Japanese family living abroad (i.e. Southern California), I try my best to celebrate our New Year's Day with traditional Japanese new year food, mainly for our girls who are born and raised here in the U.S. 

If you've been following my blog for several years, you've seen the same food over and over, year after year for the New Year's Day post and here I go again this year! lol  Here's is the list of prior year posts of New Year on this blog :


2010 →
 (*includes explanation of traditional dishes)



Every year I prepare new year food in abundance, pack them in several ju-bako(重箱)lacquer boxes (I own several of them), so that I can share the food with my friends and neighbors. This year I was not able to cook as much variety of dishes, so I prepared red bean rice to fill in the space. Red bean rice or Osekihan (お赤飯)is considered as festive food in Japan.


We made chopstick holders with these origami papers.


 The food is packed in  ju-bako lacquer boxes, then wrapped in furoshiki (風呂敷)wrapping fabrics like this before delivered to our friends and neighbors.


We feel blessed to be able to celebrate this new year with good food surrounded by family and friends. Wishing you all have a prosperous and healthy 2015 with lots of crafty time!


***Love, Amy***

Find me on Facebook (Amy Morinaka) →☆
Follow me on Instagram @chickchicksewing →★

Patchwork needlebooks made for my crafty friends ♥ 手作りニードルブックのプレゼント ♥ 

Today I'd like to show you what I had stitched for my crafty girlfriends as holiday gifts this year... Patchwork needlebooks!


I followed an awesome tutorial by my talented friend, Amy of nanaCompany. You can find the tute here.  It's super adorable and highly recommended project!!

作り方はこちらのレシピを参考にしました。→☆ 親しくさせていただいているブロガー友達のAmyさんのブログ nanaCompanyより。

For the inside (needle holding pages) I did not have good felt sheets on hand (100% wool felts are probably the best to store needles)... So instead, I used 100% cotton batting (I selected the thickest batting I had on hand).  It may not be the best option available, but hopefully it works!


Reverse side of the needlebooks.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


And above image is the "genuine" needlebook that Amy of nanaCompany had made for me recently. (Check out this post for our first get together!)  As I immediately fell in love with her work, I decided to make a couple more for my girlfriends... Hope my crafty friends like it as much as I liked mine!

そしてこちらのニードルブックは本家本元、レシピ考案者の nanaCompany ブログの Amyさんからいただいたものです♪(初のオフ会についてはこちらから→★)とっても可愛くて一目で気に入ったので、今回私も友人たちにプレゼントさせていただきました。 友人たちにも気に入って使ってもらえたら嬉しいな♥

***Love, Amy***

Find me on Facebook (Amy Morinaka) →☆
Follow me on Instagram @chickchicksewing →★

Sewing for my newborn nephew♪ 甥っ子君に手作りベビーギフト♪

When my nephew was born in October, I was so happy that I immediately began stitching his initial and birth date onto a piece of linen...


... to create this simple patchwork drawstring bag.


Then I whipped up these handmade bibs for him... 

Actually I wanted to keep on stitching more handmade goodies for the cutest baby boy but due to the lack of time... I instead rushed to our local Target store and bought more baby stuff! lol

その後もちくちくと手作りビブなど作ってみました。 本当はもっとハンドメイドのギフトを作り続けたかったのですが時間的制約もあり。。。

Here is what I got from our local Target store for my baby nephew. (Oh and the chocolates are for the new mom and dad!)


I packed everything up and shipped to my youngest brother's family who lives in Tokyo. Hope the baby likes the gift!


***Love, Amy (the proud aunty ♥)***

Find me on Facebook (Amy Morinaka) →☆
Follow me on Instagram @chickchicksewing →★

Happy Holidays from my little Kotori bird ☆ 小鳥ポーチよりホリデーシーズンのご挨拶☆彡

Hello my friends! I'm just dropping by to wish you all have a safe and happy holiday season with your loved ones... 


Wishing you the best from my original *kotori* zipper pouch holiday version! (lol)  
Note: Kotori refers to little bird in Japanese. The pouch pattern is featured in my book, Zakka Handmades


***Love, Amy***

Find me on Facebook (Amy Morinaka) →☆
Follow me on Instagram @chickchicksewing →★

Puffy Ponytail Bows made from my book ♥ふわふわリボンゴムたくさん作りました♥


I stayed up late last night to put together these "puffy ponytail bows" for my oldest girl. As you may already know from my previous post, my fourteen year old loves pastel colors, hence she selected these fabrics.

♫母さんが~夜なべをして~リボンゴムを作りました~♪ すみません字余りですが(笑)昨夜は深夜までこんなの作っていた母さんです。前回に引き続いて今回も中学生長女からのリクエスト作品です。

These were made for my daughter and her friends. I had to rush to make these last night because she wanted to bring these to school on Monday morning for some sort of school activity. (And today is Sunday)!


Here's the view of the back side of the ponytail bows...


The project is featured in my book, Zakka Handmades


***Love, Amy***
Find me on Facebook (Amy Morinaka) →☆
Follow me on Instagram @chickchicksewing →★

Handmade Bow Pouch for the teenage girl ♪ハンドメイドのリボンポーチ♪

I've been making things here and there, yet I just haven't had a chance to post pics on my blog with the start of the holiday madness!  Let me quickly show you this handmade bow pouch that I whipped up over the Thanksgiving weekend per request of my fourteen year old daughter.


Actually, it was made for a good friend of my daughter as a birthday gift. As always, my daughter selected the fabrics (She loves pastel pink!)


Pattern is my original. 


I like to add a small embellishment ball to the zipper pull...


A birthday gift is complete with a Starbucks gift card inside of course!


Of course now I need to make two more of the same pouch for two of my own girls!


***Love, Amy***

Find me on Facebook (Amy Morinaka) →☆
Follow me on Instagram @chickchicksewing →★


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