Today I want to welcome Marisa, based in Toronto, Canada, Marisa writes Omiyage Blogs and with her husband runs Omiyage, an online shop full of charming things from Japan,

After living in Japan for a number of years, I’ve become rather passionate about the country and can be found sharing my love for Japan, Japanese culture and craft with anyone who’ll listen! One Japanese thing I love is zakka. And what a thrill to be asked to guest post for Whip Up. Thanks so much Kathreen and hello to all you Whip Up-er’s!

Zakka – one of the most wonderful, yet confusing, terms to come out of Japan. I’m often asked “what is zakka?” The explanation that has always stuck with me is that zakka is something that makes your life simpler and warms your heart at the same time. Sounds great, right?

If you have the chance to visit Japan, you will find store after store (after store) filled with zakka. From pillows shaped like turtles to toothbrushes with faces to sweet characters on pretty much everything, there certainly is no limit to the cute and quirky! But the zakka which interests me the most is handmade zakka. Simple projects with a little extra flair – clever patchwork, kawaii fabric choice, applique, unique form.

And because who doesn’t want to craft up something which will both simplify their life and warm their heart – here are a handful of sewing tutorials with zakka flavour – these are pictured above in order:

1- Scrappy Mug Rug – Stash Manicure
2- Pin Cushion Cuff – Keyka Lou
3- Zakka Inspired Pencil Pouch – Noodlehead
4- Bento Box Lunch Bag – Pink Penguin
5- Sweet Bunny Sachets – Craft Passion
6- Patchwork Camera Strap Cover with Lens Cap Pocket – lbg studio


I Love Patchwork: 21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew by Rashida Coleman-Hale. Interweave Press (December 1, 2009).

Rashida Coleman-Hale writes an inspiring blog at Iheartlinen where she showcases her linen and patchwork sewn goods. I fell in love with this blogs minimal style and so was excited to see that she has written a book. The book has a definite Japanese aesthetic, with simple sweet projects, a minimal style incorporate natural materials and cute fabrics.

The projects in the book are mostly simple – with a few suitable for more advanced sewists, but none really that are too hard. As you might guess from the title the projects are patchwork based – but not necessarily quilts – there are cushions, toys and aprons and a couple of simple quilted throws.

I will let the pics do the talking as they are lovely too!


Lisa from etsy shop this and that from Japan is kindly giving whipup readers the chance to win one of 3 $25 vouchers to her very cute etsy shop + she is offering whipup readers 15% discount on fabric orders over $25 (excluding shipping). Just mention whipup when checking out to receive your discount. stocks a huge range of Japanese fabric and stamps and other craft supplies (just a few pictured above). You have 48 hours to leave a comment on your fave Japanese fabric. entries closed: winners are: Giselle, Heather and Meg – congrats girls – you have been contacted via email.

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The first books in the Make Good: crafts + life series of Japanese craft books translated into English.

Linen, Wool, Cotton: 25 Simple Projects to Sew with Natural Fabrics (Make Good: Crafts + Life) by Akiko Mano. Trumpeter (April 14, 2009)

Linen Wool Cotton is completely sweet and lovely with an eclectic mix of project for the home. Sarong apron with a tiny patch of cross stitch. Cheesecloth fruit bag is wonderful. Tunic dress, lunch bag, house shoes, aprons, lingerie case, lap bag and lots more adorable projects, alongside lessons on cross stitch, adorable hand drawn illustrations and clear and simple instructions.

Patchwork Style: 35 Simple Projects for a Cozy and Colorful Life (Make Good: Crafts + Life) by Suzuko Koseki. Trumpeter (April 14, 2009)

Patchwork style is a delicious book, with colorful patchwork bags, quilts and table mats. A colourful logcabin quilt, patchwork fan shaped bag and tie front apron and more. Along with excellent illustrations that Japanese craft books are famous for.

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Very sweet. Link.