Magnum Opus

Today I present to you what is my Magnum Opus thus far in my crafting career: my Totoro Quiet Book and pattern.  I worked on this project over several months, coming up with ideas, sketching them out, creating them in felt, and finally putting the pattern together and getting it up for sale on Etsy!

Is the word “Totoro” new to you? If you haven’t seen the Studio Ghibli movie “My Neighbor Totoro,” get it now!  You’ll love it!  It’s a sweet anime written and directed by the amazing Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.  In recent years, his films have become big in the United States and other international markets, not just Japan.  You might know of Ponyo or Spirited Away, but if you haven’t met Totoro yet, you are missing out!

Without further ado, here are some shots of my Quiet Book!

Image

There are pages of quiet activities for your little one, starting with..

Image

Image

Finger puppets!  The main cast members are here, including Mei, Satsuki, Big Totoro, Chu Totoro, Chibi Totoro, Catbus, and a Soot Sprite/Gremlin!

Image

Make Satsuki’s lunch!

Image

You, I mean, the child gets to make Satsuki’s bento lunch, just as she made it in the movie!

Image

Help Totoro use Dad’s umbrella!  The umbrella snaps into place as you teach Totoro how to use the umbrella instead of a leaf to protect him from the rain.

Image

Untie the present that Totoro gave to Satsuki and Mei to find…

Image

Nuts and acorns!  They velcro on and off so the kids can play with them.

Image

Next, wait with Mei to see when the seeds and acorns will sprout into…

Image

Plants!

Image

Next, you get to pick vegetables off the plants and place them in the basket, just like Satsuki and Mei do with Granny!

Image

What a harvest!

Image

Help Catbus find poor, lost Mei, who was just trying to take her corn to Mom in the hospital.

Image

Poor, tired Mei.

Image

Unsnap the ocarina flutes and match them to the correct Totoro!

Image

Image

Definitely an optional page, you can practice spelling TOTORO in English and Japanese, and store the letters/characters in the cute pouch when not in use!

Image

And…. The End/Oshimai!

Image

Featuring Soot Sprites!

If you are interested in the pattern to make your own Totoro Quiet Book, including detailed instructions, list of materials, helpful hints and shortcuts, check out the listing on my Etsy page!  The pattern is available as an instant PDF download which includes instructions, pattern drawings, and plenty of photos as well.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/174363863/totoro-quiet-book-pattern?

A blast from the past

From late 1999 until the Fall of 2005, I was living and working in Japan.  I did a fair amount of drawing and painting during those years (Oh, I can’t believe how much TIME I had on my hands before having children!!!), and I was especially fond of colored pencils.  

I was/am also quite fond of plays on words, and one day while taking the train to Shinjuku, I listened to the announcement warning against forgetting things on the train as you exit.  In Japanese, there’s one word to describe a forgotten item; “wasuremono.”  “Wasure” comes from the verb “to forget,” and “mono” means “thing.”  

But “mono” also means “monkey” in Spanish, so as I looked up at the luggage rack, listening to the announcement over the intercom, I imagined a monkey that someone might have forgotten on the train, a “forgotten monkey,” “wasuremono.”  There are a lot of words that are formed with verb +”mono” in Japanese, and my mind whirled with ideas for silly little drawings of monkeys.  This began my series of colored pencil drawings of kotoba asobi (play on words) between Japanese and Spanish, some with the monkey as the thing, some with the monkey using/doing something.    

My friends and students were very helpful in coming up with more ideas for me, and I had a blast putting them into drawings.  Eventually I made postcard prints and sold them at Design Festa, a huge art event in Tokyo.   http://designfesta.com/en/

Today I thought I’d share a few of my “mono” pictures with you!  

Image

Araimono = dishes (to wash)

Arau = to wash, mono = thing

Image

 

Iranaimono = a not-needed thing

Iranai= don’t need, mono = thing

Image

Kanamono = hardware

(no verb that I know of)

Image

 

Yakimono = grilled food (like yakitori, yakisoba)

Yaku = to grill/fry, mono = thing