panda backpack for elijah

 panda backpack

this is one of the christmas presents i made for elijah.  it’s a panda backpack.  elijah really likes the pandas we’ve bought him.  he has three panda cuddly toys from ikea.  he really looks up to them, he’ll follow whatever they’re doing.  when his panda sits down on a chair without making a fuss, so does elijah.  when his panda eats quietly takes a few bites of supper, so does elijah.  so pandas are very helpful for elijah’s mama.

happy elijah with happy panda


elijah is happy when his pandas are happy.

sad elijah with sad panda

and he feels sad when they are sad.

i don’t know if he can really use this as a backpack, since it’s made out of felt.  but that’s okay, it’s just another useless toy from his mama.

panda backpack (back)

panda backpack (abdominal incision)
(abdominal incision/zipper)

i’m elijah’s personal entertainment device

six leg elephant
(a six leg elephant for elijah)

i am elijah’s personal entertainment device.

i read books to him from dawn to dark, and even later (it gets dark at 5pm these days).  i’ve read some of his books so many times i started reading them back to front, for variety.  i make sure to read the credits, publication date and all the small print just to keep myself informed about the world.  elijah says ‘book, yomu [read].  hon[book] yomu.  etto~ [hmmm], atta! [found it].  tech, okay” [he means a book called ‘iggy peck, architect‘ ]’.  he grabs a book or two from his bookshelf and tells me, ‘mama, sit!’.  he climbs onto the sofa and points next to him.  as a japanese citizen i’m naturally obedient, so i sit and read to him as much as he wants.  whenever he finds one of my books around the house he grabs it and pretends to read it.  then he says “okay, okay” meaning i’m supposed to read it to him.  if i start reading, he gets bored right away and goes off somewhere else.  sometimes he tries to take the book with him.  i tell him ‘that’s mama’s book’.  he firmly assures me, ‘mine!’.

i’m also his jukebox.  all day long, he asks me to sing.  he’ll say, ‘zoh-san [elephant], okay~’ or ‘abc, okay!’ etc..  i sing ‘zoh-san’ in japanese and the alphabet song in english.  as soon as i finish he says ‘okay!’ and he wants me to start singing again.  this continues even when we’re eating supper or when he’s nursing or when i’m driving the car.  he doesn’t care that i’m behind the wheel and it’s icy and i have to concentrate.  he says ‘mama, cookie, okay!’.  i used to think he was asking for a cookie and i’d give him a cracker (i told him crackers are cookies).  then i figured he was wanting me to sing ‘c is for cookie’ from sesame street (he saw it on youtube) again and again.  i start singing and crash the car into a ditch… mentally.  it won’t be long till elijah finds out i’m tone deaf, maybe then he’ll start listening to different music.

finally, i’ve been appointed as his personal toy maker.  i made him a panda scarf the other day since it’s been awfully cold here in saskatoon (-25 during the day, -35 at night).  it’s not as bad as it sounds — the sky is blue and everything is covered in white snow.  it is very beautiful and painful, nice to sit inside and look out the window. anyway, as soon as elijah saw the scarf, his mouth opened wide and he said ‘OH~! PANDA~!’.  it was almost as exciting for him as the time we had supper near the yellowhead highway on the way to edmonton and he spent 20 minutes pointing at every single truck that drove by (‘OH~! TRUCK!’).  i was touched that he liked the panda scarf, even though he didn’t let me put it on him at first.

ever since then i’ve become his personal toymaker and i’ve been sewing away while he is playing and sleeping.  he likes elephants very much, but he didn’t have an elephant plush toy.  so i made one for him out of felt.  it’s flat like a pillow and has six legs.  i don’t know why it ended up with six legs. i just started making legs and kept going until i reached the end of the elephant.  elijah’s first reaction to it was enthusiastic (‘OH~~~ ELEPHANT!’) and i was happy he noticed it was wearing socks.   but since then my elephant is only played with occasionally, but at least it makes it into the lineup of the favorite plush toys that elijah wants to say goodnight to before he goes to sleep.

today’s elijah :: happy holidays with mtp duck headgear

dear elijah,

your mama is still horrified by the idea of putting her hand into a beheaded and skinned dead bird. so there will be no turkey dinner for you this year.

as a compromise, your mama asked santa to give her a super power to make ‘maximum team power duck headgear’ free hand. she had been thinking about how to make this headgear since you were still in her body. in her mind, ‘beheaded’ and ‘bird’ parts are all covered. so it’s basically the same thing.

i hope this headgear will keep your head warm all winter and you find it somewhat festive. it’s a festivus for the rest of us.

best wishes,


the ornament show :: tree trimming 2

tonight is the opening of a group show called, “the ornament show” at J Flynn gallery in costa mesa, california.

these are my ornaments. the red ones are called “severe pain pin cushions”. i created these severe pain pin cushions last year. they are the only somewhat useful toys in my useless toy collections. for one thing, they come with a wrist band. they are for sale at J Flynn gallery as well as in my online shop.

in addition to my useless toy collection, i made this “milk head-chan” (centre) for this ornament show. this is the character shows up in my matchboxes. i hand-stitched her face. i wanted to make her as ugly+cute as possible. i think this ugliness will brighten the holiday spirit even more. this is available at J Flynn gallery. please contact J Flynn gallery, if you are interested in them.


OC register’s art critic’s blog on ornaments

severe pain pin cushion


they are all handstitched freehand. “severe pain” is written on their heads in kanji. the heads are attached to a wristband, so you can wear them on your wrist. i didn’t cut a buttonhole yet, so you can adjust the wristband to your size.

i handstitch pretty much everything i make. i like the work but sometimes it causes shoulder pain and boredom. so i thought i should give this pain to something else. that way, i can stay painless!!

i made an original version about six months ago. the first batch looked pathetic. but this time, they gained power. they all look like they’re really in severe pain. only one exception: the orange one is smiling, so he looks like he’s enjoying the pain. well, that’s good too.

this severe pain pin cushion will help keep your sewing time happy and pain-free. for sale as soon as my shop is ready…

*UPDATE* now you can buy this severe pain pin cushions in my online SHOP.

spencer book 14

(click the image to view close up)

it was serendipity. the pink jeep cherokee and maximum team power duck, they’d got to be united.

i found it at value village in saskatoon. i went there the night before the spencer book photoshoot to look for roller skates for goro chan. i was on my way to the sports section. something incredibly pink caught my eye. it was the pink jeep. it was so beautiful just sitting quietly on the empty shelf. i rushed to the jeep and grabbed it. i had to have it. i knew it was just perfect for the maximum team power duck.

i really enjoyed taking these scenes with the duck and the jeep. they just look perfect together. it was already late at night after taking photos all day long for the book. i was exhausted. but hey, to be able to capture the secret life of the useless toys, it was definitely worth it. i had so much fun carrying this jeep around in the city and the parking lot. even though i’m actually too big to get in, i felt like i just got my ride pimped up!

spencer book 11

(click the image to view close up)

that’s correct. maximum team power duck has “power” glued on its chest. i cut letters out freehand and used a gluegun to attach them.

it wasn’t such a great idea to use a hot gluegun, though. those letters were thin and floppy. i burnt my fingers badly.

but it was worth it. because it shows clearly how powerful maximum team power duck is!

spencer book 9

when you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go midtown.
midtown, things’ll be great when you’re
midtown, don’t wait a mitute more,
midtown, everything’s waiting for you.
midtown (midtown), midtown (midtown)
midtown (midtown), midtown (midtown)
(repeat and fade out)