Did you know that as well as writing the Lucky Ladybird craft blog I also write for and edit a creative arts magazine called Cassiopeia Magazine? If not check it out. Last night we released issue 3, and the theme is 'fake'. There are articles on fake designer goods, fake meat products
and photoshopped images, short stories, photography and artwork inspired
by 'fake', reviews of remakes and rewrites, recipes and even a knitting pattern for making your own knitted roses. These beautiful flowers were created by my good friend Whitney. She's used this pattern to knit all the flowers for her wedding which is taking place this weekend. She's bound to end up the toast of Offbeat Bride and I know it's going to be a beautiful day full of craft and love.
To read the tutorial visit expand the issue above and click through to page 37. You can also follow Cassiopeia on Facebook (facebook.com/CassiopeiaMag) or on
twitter (@CassiopeiaMag) to receive updates about new issues. I'm always on the look out for interesting contributions, so if you think you'd like to submit something (crafty or otherwise) take a look at the submissions page or email me at email@example.com for more information.
I've been making sushi roll bags for many years, but I'm probably most known for my recycling crafts (especially my ever popular plastic bag basket weaving tutorial) so what's the connection?
From the outside my bags look like a finished product, most of the time the finished piece doesn't give much away about where it came from. In fact all my sushi bags start out as ordinary bags, sourced from local thrift and charity shops. I chose them based on shape and size and then customise them to bring out the inner 'sushi-ness'. I don't tend to take 'before' photos because when I first buy the bags they don't tend to inspire me much. I decided to make an exception to this to show all my readers that my sushi bags really are made from reclaimed materials, and how much love really goes into bringing them back to life.
First the 'before' picture. All the bags in this photo were bought on the same day when I went on a bit of a spending spree!
From left: a barrel handbag, a square handbag, a big cat handbag,
a cosmetic bag and a wallet.
It's not an inspiring collection unless you look at the shapes. Three suggested nigiri sushi to me, and two round sushi rolls. All were in a good condition with working zips and sturdy handles. I just hated the picture of the cats, but I could see the potential!
One of the things I love about making sushi rolls is that I'm forced to be very creative with what I have. All bags are different and I try to think of new recipes and new techniques each time. The result is that each bag is unique and, as a crafter, I'm never stuck working a production line. By using pre-existing bags I also avoid the need to make use of sewing machines. The bags already have zips installed and linings reinforced leaving me to embroider, embellish and applique to my hearts content.
All the bags shown on this post are now for sale on my Etsy shop along with many more. If you have any recipes you'd like to see me try please let me know.
I'm sorry to say this week it hasn't been possible to create any new bags. First my husband dislocated his jaw. We don't know how he did it but he was in agony all weekend and we spent a lot of time trying to find foods he could eat. We were thrilled when, after a few days, it finally seemed to 'click' back into place and we were able to enjoy the Tastes of Herefordshire food festival with all its delicious dishes and ciders. Unfortunately it seems that one of these delicious dishes wasn't what he needed, on Monday he came down with food poisoning. After twenty-four hours it seemed he was on the mend, but about this time I was starting to feel run-down and have since developed a terrible cold. I think it's inevitable that my husband is going to catch this cold too, which is awful because this week was half term, a holiday we'd been looking forward to for a long time!
All in all the situation hasn't been conducive to crafting, but I'm hoping next week I'll be able to get back into the swing. I've also had a chance to start planning some Christmas present ideas which I'll definitely need to get working on this month. For now we're off to a firework display for Bonfire Night at Blists Hill museum (which you may remember from my post Vintage Crafting). It's a great place to get some handmade inspiration and a great place to enjoy a starry autumn night.
Okay so maybe I lied about giving up on nigiri bags. After I wrote the last post I was struck by the fact that I'd never made a bag of my favourite kind of sushi, inari nigiri. The reason is simple, I'd always thought that inari was too plain to be decorative. Most of the time it looks like a plain brown pouch, like this.
Don't let the plain exterior fool you, inari nigiri is a seasoned tofu pocket and it's a lot more flavourful than other sushi rolls. After browsing sushi images online I changed my mind. Perhaps inari could be colourful and interesting after all.
Inspired by more decorative creations like this I decided it was finally time to show my love of nigiri. Using a slightly chunky square shoulder bag wrapped in a little pocket of tan fleece I came up with this tribute to a delicous dish.
So last week I decided to add a couple of smaller nigiri bags to the collection. I'd been out on a raid locally the week before and picked up several purses, wallets and handbags that I knew were desperate to become sushi rolls. I've also been asked recently why I haven't been making any vegetarian sushi roll bags, an excellent question given that I'm a vegetarian! I took this as a challenge and decided that vegetarian nigiri was the way to go!
The first was a little brown cosmetics bag that I founds in a local charity shop. It has clearly never been used and was ripe for re purposing! A day spent carefully cutting out petal shapes later and voila, asparagus nigiri.
Whoever this reaches I hope it inspires someone to eat their greens! More here.
Next the wallet, and I decided something very simple was needed. A batch of brightly coloured felt arrived for me in the morning and that was all the inspiration I needed - the beautiful yellow seemed perfect for sweet omelet.
As you can see the finish is very simple, but I wanted to keep the functionality of the wallet intact. It's still easy to open and close when you need to grab your change or cards in a hurry! More on the wallet here.
So for now I think the muse of nigiri is sated. I'm currently working on a larger more traditional sushi roll handbag which should be finished soon. Once that's complete I have lots more felt for inspiration and some interesting materials on the way, including some small red pom poms that I just know will be perfect as roe. You read it here first!
The last few days I've been adding some new kinds of sushi bags to my shop - nigiri sushi. Nigiri (hand-formed) sushi is a bed of rice topped with fish or sweet omlette and sometimes bound in place with a little strip of nori. The rectangular shape of nigiri sushi gave me the opportunity to work with square handbags and clutches.
This first bag is shrimp tail nigiri. The rice base is a little clutch bag and because it had two zip-pulls I was able to add two condiments, soy sauce and wasabi. More pictures here!
The second is a tako nigiri - octopus sushi! This is a larger bag, a full sized handbag with faux-leather handles. The zip-pull condiment for this bag is wasabi and the nori is a strip of fleece which you open with a popper. Take a look at the listing here!
Over the next few days I'm hoping to put together a couple of smaller nigiri, of a similar scale to my little maki roll purses. I also have a plan to make a roe maki roll using mini craft pom poms. If it works out I will show you how very soon.
I've been hard at work this week creating some larger sushi pieces. This first bag was a comission from a friend, so it's not available from my shop. I used the opportunity to work on a new extra-colourful design for the interior, including salmon, red pepper, omlette and asparagus.
I used this new design on the first of my 'long roll' handbags, made from a barrell style handbag.
I've also had the opportunity to work on the design for my wasabi-sachet zip pulls. This is the new design (as featured on the long sushi roll above) based on the font of S&B wasabi paste.
As an experiment I also tried making an 'inside out' sushi roll bag (with rice on the outside and nori around the filling). This is the result, and it's also available from my shop.
The filling of this roll is the ultimate for fish lovers with tuna, hamachi, salmon and avocado. As you can see the zip pull for this is a soy sauce dropper. They're so fun to make, I know I won't be able to resist making anothe for the next bag!
As a sneak peak this is the inspiration for my next creation. Watch this space or more!
I'm pleased to say my new sushi-based creations are now available to buy on my etsy shop. I have three cute sushi coin purses available, but for those who have been waiting for the handbags (as featured in my previous post sushi crafting - a retrospective) I will be working on a few over the next few days and will hopefully have some ready by next week.
Once upon a time, in the distant land of Chester in 2007, I decided I wanted a handbag that looked like a sushi roll. This might have been a pretty wacky notion but sushi has been my favourite food since I was a teenager and I've always loved the cute and cuddly, so I thought it would make an awesome accessory. I scoured the internet, convinced that someone, somewhere, would be selling one, but to no avail. Nobody was making them, so I decided to make one myself. I went out and bought a second-hand barrel style handbag and covered it with fleece and felt so it looked like a sushi roll. This is how it looked when I was done.
I covered the zip with a felt version of a soy sauce dropper and it was done. It was a little rough and ready, but as a first try I think it worked out nicely.
At the time my husband was working in a little Japanese-themed gift shop called Tokyo Jazz Panda. TJP is now online-only, but at the time it was also a little shop. I went to visit my husband at work and the owner of TJP wanted to know where I got my sushi bag from. When I told him I'd made it myself he asked me if I'd consider making them for the shop. Within a few weeks I'd been given my own shelf in the shop and made lots of sales, of the handbags and also of some small badges, key rings and pin-cushions.
After we left Chester I continued to sell sushi bags on my etsy store but the return to education and then to full-time work meant I didn't have time to make my larger pieces any more.
Well the good news is I've started making sushi accessories again. I'm starting small with some sushi purses but I'm hoping to be making full-size maki roll handbags again in the next few weeks. Photos to follow soon, but keep an eye on my etsy store for more updates.
Thanks for reading. If you're interested in any of the creations above or would like to commission something even weirder please let me know. Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of you who enjoyed my sushi-based crafts you might like to take a look at issue 2 of Cassiopeia Magazine, the creative arts magazine I created and edit. I put together a quick mini sushi pendant tutorial for the craft section of the magazine. Very simple and quick, you only need 2 buttons, a few seed beads and some felt.
For the full tutorial follow the link and click to zoom in.
The third issue of the magazine should be coming out in October, so watch this space for more tutorials soon!
In the mean time if you enjoy reading the magazine we're on Facebook and Twitter and contributions are always welcome (craft-based or otherwise). Enjoy!