crafts

Bring the beach to your room this summer with these cute new “fan accessories”

Bring the beach to your room this summer with these cute new “fan accessories”

We don’t know you guys, but we’re already starting to wish summer only lasted a week or so, and have started spending most of our waking hours in close proximity to our desk fans so as not to melt in the heat and humidity.

Thankfully, though, we now have something to entertain us while we sit with our faces inches from the fan trying to resist the idiotic compulsion to jam pencils in it. Now on sale in Japan, these “fan accessories” let you transform your household appliance into a relaxing beach scene, with miniature gulls, ships, shark, surfers and more that attach to your fan via lengths of coloured card, wafting along in the cool, life-restoring breeze it creates.

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Fan makes awesome Final Fantasy art with just a screen door, ink, and a toothpick

Fan makes awesome Final Fantasy art with just a screen door, ink, and a toothpick

Back in the heyday of Nintendo’s NES, video game hardware wasn’t advanced enough to handle the kind of polygon-based visuals that are the industry standard today. Instead, artists had to bitmap their characters.

Bitmapping involves laying down squares of color, called pixels, to form an image. It’s essentially a digital mosaic, and with enough time and dedication, you could perfectly recreate the cast of your favorite 8-bit classic using a sheet of graph paper.

Or, as one retro fan in Japan recently did, a screen door.

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Takehiko Inoue helps make record-breaking sheet of Japanese Paper

Takehiko Inoue helps make record-breaking sheet of Japanese Paper

Takehiko Inoue, the creator of manga such as Slam Dunk, Vagabond and Buzzer Beater, helped craft the world’s largest sheet of washi (Japanese paper) on May 23. Working with a team of 20 other people, he produced a sheet measuring 3.3 meters x 10.7 meters (or 10’10” x 35’1”) at the Ueyama Paper Mill in Echizen, a town in Fukui Prefecture known for its washi artisans. The sheet of paper was dubbed the Heisei Choujaku Daishi, or “Long Great Paper of Heisei” (the current Japanese era).

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Amazing shows of craftsmanship to make you feel woefully unaccomplished

Amazing shows of craftsmanship to make you feel woefully unaccomplished

It’s our opinion that everybody needs at least one good hobby that they can really devote themselves to. Being good at something other than sitting at a desk and banging out Excel spreadsheets will not only make you feel more whole as a person, it’s also pretty sexy when you can whip out a guitar and casually riff out “just something you thought up over the weekend.”

The sexy part doesn’t really apply to, say, basket weaving, but hey, if it fulfills you personally, have at it.

Of course, we wasted our innate writing talents on weird Asia news and useless listicles instead of polishing up our young adult vampire novel writing skills, so when we saw this huge collection of people who are really, really, really good at one particular craft, it sort of made us feel a deep existential sadness as we reflected on what we could have been doing if we’d just applied ourselves.

So, beware, unless you’ve already mastered an impressive hobby yourself, these amazing shows of craftmanship will probably make you feel like a horrible waste of flesh:

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Awesome origami artist recreates the creatures of Monster Hunter 【Videos】

Awesome origami artist recreates the creatures of Monster Hunter 【Videos】

Although it’s had only limited success internationally, in its home country of Japan, the video game series Monster Hunter is a massive hit. New titles have been released for the series at a pace of more than one a year, and the franchise can count 17 titles since it began in 2004.

Monster Hunter is popular enough that you could argue that it’s become one of Japan’s national pastimes, so maybe it was only a matter of time before someone thought to combine it with another of the country’s favorite cultural activities, the paper-folding art of origami.

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Beautiful Disney princess greeting cards fit for any regal occasion

Beautiful Disney princess greeting cards fit for any regal occasion

Japan still hasn’t gone all-in on the concept of digital communications, and in many situations there’s still a lot of value attached to physical, paper documents. Sometimes this can be puzzling, like the time I applied for a job at a prestigious technological institute which required a hard copy of my resume, as email applications weren’t acceptable.

For personal relationships, though, it’s nice to see so many people in Japan still willing to put pen to paper in order to write a heartfelt message to a friend or loved one. Many even take great care in selecting the perfect stationery, and those looking to add a touch of classic femininity to their correspondence will be hard-pressed to find a better choice than these elegant Disney princess greeting cards.

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Fan sews amazing felt versions of Totoro, Sailor Moon, Final Fantasy Black Mage and more

Fan sews amazing felt versions of Totoro, Sailor Moon, Final Fantasy Black Mage and more

As someone who learned to drive a car before he could ride a bike, there are a couple of things that slipped through the cracks on my path of acquiring basic life skills. Sewing, for example, is still an arcane art to me. After all, why go to the hassle of making my own clothes, when there are plenty of stores perfectly willing to take my money in exchange for a new shirt or pair of jeans?

But maybe I’m missing the point. After all, knowing how to sew doesn’t just mean you can design your own wardrobe, it also means you can create awesome anime and video game figures made entirely of felt.

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Impress house guests with toilet paper origami!

Impress house guests with toilet paper origami!

Hotel and restaurant bathrooms have really done a number on us by introducing a new level of hospitality through toilet paper etiquette. When the next sheet of paper on the roll is folded into a neat triangular point, we’re made to feel that extra bit special, safe in the knowledge that the area has recently been attended to, as if the place was just done up in anticipation of our arrival.

One lady in the United States has taken the triangular toilet paper fold to a whole new level, incorporating traditional Japanese origami concepts to produce a book of cute, funny and surprisingly beautiful designs to dress up the toilet roll in your bathroom. From swans to candles, who knew toilet paper could be so adorable?

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How to peel an orange: Is mikan art the new origami?

How to peel an orange: Is mikan art the new origami?

When it comes to Japanese handicrafts, almost everyone has heard about the amazing shapes achievable with origami. But how many people are familiar with Japanese orange peel art?

In the cold winter months, it’s an unspoken tradition for Japanese people to curl up under a kotatsu (heated table with a blanket thrown over it) and eat mikan (Mandarin oranges). However, many people have found that just eating these winter treats is not enough to satisfy them, and cutting away the peel into complex shapes has become a common art form. You’ll be amazed by the creatures that can come to life from a single orange peel!

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Don’t eat that! We make delicious-looking models of tempura out of wax

Don’t eat that! We make delicious-looking models of tempura out of wax

Although the language barrier can make traveling or living in Japan tough at times, dining out is a snap. There are plenty of conveyer belt sushi restaurants where you just grab what you want as the plates go by, and at many ramen and beef bowl restaurants you simply buy a meal ticket out of a vending machine, then pass it off to the cook.

Even when technology isn’t there to save you, ordering is still easy, thanks to the numerous Japanese restaurants that display wax models of their menu items, allowing you to bring the wait staff to the display window and point and what you want. There’s a whole industry devoted to replicating food, and we recently tried our hand at making a wax creation of our own.

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Beautiful folded paper art by Vietnamese origami artist, Cuong Nguyen

Beautiful folded paper art by Vietnamese origami artist, Cuong Nguyen

“Origami. It’s the sushi of paper.”

Much like sushi, the art of folding paper has spread abroad and is now enjoyed by people all over the world. With so many different artists taking part in the same craft, the results can be breathtaking, just like these pieces by self-taught artist, Cuong Nguyen of Hanoi, Vietnam.

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Crafty crochet turns tortoise into evil King Koopa

Crafty crochet turns tortoise into evil King Koopa

While it’s easy to get swept up in all the talk of new technology and the future of home entertainment, it’s sometimes nice to take a moment to focus on the more leisurely pursuits that one can enjoy. As we’ve seen before, the kinds of arts and crafts that have been popular hobbies for generations can still manage to impress us, and this piece is no exception– transforming a regular pet into the evil lizard king Bowser from the Super Mario Bros. games.

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Simple Arts and Crafts Kit Produces Beautiful, Shiny Balls of Mud

Simple Arts and Crafts Kit Produces Beautiful, Shiny Balls of Mud

Some things just don’t quite translate culturally. For example, in most parts of the West, horses aren’t really considered food, while some Japanese consider horse meat a delicacy, particularly if you don’t mar the flavor by cooking it before eating. But whether it’s a hamburger or a stallion skewer, at the end of the day they’re both ways of satisfying a meat lover’s cravings.

Likewise, kids in Japan might reach for some dango dumplings instead of a slice of cake, but they’re both just treats for someone with a sweet tooth. Which brings us to another fundamental human condition: children love to make things out of mud, and while Japanese kids don’t make mud cakes, they make mud dango.

Now, writing supply maker Shachihata is putting a new, shiny spin on mud dango. Read More

Grumpy Cat is Not Pleased After Japanese Wool Felt Artist Shaves The Furry Bits

Grumpy Cat is Not Pleased After Japanese Wool Felt Artist Shaves The Furry Bits

Wool felt crafting is fast becoming a popular hobby these days. With new techniques and innovative designs, more and more people are taking out their needles and dusting off their glue guns to test the boundaries of the craft. The results are wide and varied; some crafters choose to create cute, brightly coloured toys and accessories, and others prefer to sculpt half-shaved animals with pissed off faces.

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Micro Amigurumi Crochet Animals, Small Enough to Balance on Your Finger

Micro Amigurumi Crochet Animals, Small Enough to Balance on Your Finger

I’ve tried to crochet a cute little amigurumi animal in the past. In fact, I’ve had several attempts at it, but failed every time. I read a book on crocheting and even had someone teach me, but the end result was always the same: a tangled mess of yarn, a whole lot of frustration, and the shattered dream of creating a yarn buddy to call my own. So when I saw these micro amigurumi, I couldn’t believe that someone was able to crochet a unique animal pattern, let alone one that is so small it can balance on the tip of your finger.

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Hand-made Pussy Palaces Require a One-Year Wait

Hand-made Pussy Palaces Require a One-Year Wait

It’s too late for this Christmas, but if you want to pamper your pet next December, this might make the perfect gift!

Made from soft inewara rice-straw, these neko chigura (lit. cat cradle) are made by a 30-strong team of weavers in the town of Sekikawa, Niigata prefecture on the northwest coast of Honshu, Japan. The weavers are known simply as the neko chigura kai (cat cradle committee) with each cradle taking around a week to put together.

Demand for the cat beds have exceeded even the creators’ wildest dreams, however, when thousands of orders flew in during recent weeks, creating a 12-month backlog.

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