arts and crafts

Nintendo fans, get your sewing machines ready! Official Nintendo fabrics now available to buy

Have you ever wanted to lounge around in your own pair of Legend of Zelda pajama pants? How about snuggling up with a Mario Kart or Donkey Kong pillow? Well now thanks to Jo-Ann Fabrics, all of your Nintendo-related craft dreams can finally come true!

The U.S.-based arts and crafts retailer is now offering more yards of Nintendo-themed fabric than you can shake a Master Sword at. From Mario to Donkey Kong, Zelda to Pokémon, they have it all. Who says fully-grown adults can’t make their own homemade Pikachu PJs?

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Cool and fun paper craft from the makers of Akafuku — one of Japan’s favorite sweets!

If you’ve lived in Japan for some time, you may have heard of the popular traditional sweet called Akafuku. It’s basically mochi rice cake topped with a rich and incredibly smooth sweet red bean paste. Well, it’s come to our attention that the makers of this long-selling confection are also offering on their website something you may not expect from a sweets manufacturer — awesome paper craft templates, and all free too! So, are you ready for some serious cutting and pasting?

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They’re not real?! Exploring the detailed, colorful world of Takuto Shibuya’s mushroom bonsai

Have you ever come across a beautifully colored, picture book-worthy mushroom while walking in the woods or the park? I still remember the flashy fungi I happened upon when I was in seventh grade; I was near a mountain biking course in Rhode Island and amid the grass was a cute yellow mushroom with red dots, much like a Mega Mushroom from New Super Mario Bros. I considered picking it but I was pretty sure my fingers would start to rot off upon contact, and it would have shriveled up soon enough anyway. Oh, I wondered, will the days of ornamental mushrooms never come?

Enter Takuto Shibuya, whose life-long love of toadstools compelled him to find a way to marvel at their variegated beauty at home. His book Kinoko (Mushroom) Bonsai, released back in June, includes photos of his work as well as instructions on how to make your own. But wait—this type of bonsai isn’t about replanting your find in a pot. Because mushrooms are difficult to take care of, Shibuya took a hint from the Japanese traditions of bonsai and figurines and decided to preserve their alluring forms by recreating them in clay. Read on to take a closer look at his creations as well as his process!

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Here’s a magic frame that can warp a cat’s butt through your wall

If you’re a cat lover, you must love cats’ butts too! Of course, their fluffy expressive tails too! Maybe you love them so much you just wanna hang their perky posterior on the wall of your room… all right, that sounded a bit weird. We’re not talking about hanging real cat butts on your wall. No way, that’s just creepy.

We’re talking about these adorable felted cat bums! More pictures after the jump!

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These are probably the most realistic needle felted cats we’ve ever seen!【Photos】

Did you, by any chance, think that the picture up there was of a real cat? If you still think we’re trying to trick you, take a closer look! As real as it may seem, the cat pictured above is actually a hand-crafted needle felted cat made out of sheep wool! Produced by the skillful hands of Tamako from Nekolabo, these little needle felt felines have been getting quite a bit of attention on Instagram, especially among Japanese cat lovers!

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Japanese pottery repair technique makes comeback, clumsy people rejoice

When I was 13, I fell in love with a hand-made bowl in a ceramics shop in Italy. “How are you going to get it home without breaking it?” asked my dad. I wrapped it in a tight bundle of clothes in my suitcase and fretted about it all the way back to England.

My little bowl survived the airline baggage handlers, but it was no match for a clutz like me. Two weeks later, I knocked it off the kitchen counter and it took a sizeable triangular chip out of the rim. “It’s always the things you like that get broken”, my dad told me. “The bowls and cups that you don’t care about, they stay in the cupboard and don’t get smashed up.”

If only I’d known then about kintsugi, the Japanese art of restoring pottery that makes a broken object even more beautiful than it was before.

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Attention, all artists! Design your own New Year’s postcards on this awesome website

If you’ve ever been in Japan over the New Year’s holiday, you’re probably familiar with the Japanese custom of exchanging nengajo, or New Year’s postcards. People exchange nengajo with friends, coworkers, and others to whom they are indebted or with whom they wish to maintain a good rapport in the coming year. There is a deadline to mail nengajo, usually around December 25, so that they will be delivered to each house on New Year’s Day precisely. If you still haven’t gotten around to sending them out this year, then never fear, because this incredibly cool website lets you design your own nengajo!

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This is what happened when we tried to make a cute wool felt Shiba Inu!【Arts & Crafts】

With the winter cold now upon us in Japan, we suppose it’s natural that some of us should feel more partial than usual to warm, fuzzy-looking objects — like wool felt dolls, for instance. And in that spirit, one of our reporters from our sister site Pouch decided to try her hand at making her own felt doll herself. Sounds like a nice little project that should result in a cute hand-made creation, right?

This same reporter has previously written a story about a felt-craft project gone horribly wrong that had been shared on Twitter, in which what was supposed to turn into a cute cat ended up as, well … a bizarre-looking creature that’s hard to describe accurately. Could it really be that difficult to make a decent-looking felt doll? Our reporter’s account follows.

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