Rafu Craft Editor

Say arigato with a letterpress kokeshi doll card from Arcadia’s Sharon Maruya Shin. (Courtey Papermum Press)

Gobble, gobble! It’s turkey time!

Get ready for all the tasty fixings too. Yum! Buttery mashed potatoes, sourdough bread and sausage stuffing, brown sugar and marshmallow candied yams, green beans with mushrooms, cranberry relish and pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream.

Did this holiday sort of sneak up on you? Keep hearing that comment. Get your gears in motion to capture the moment and take control.

Three arts and crafts shows with that Asian flair will open their doors in Seattle and here in SoCal for shoppers to have some fun filling gift baskets this weekend before Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Support our artisans, many who make a living selling their unique wares year-round. With gift list or smart phone in hand, keep your budget in check with quality products you won’t find at the big retail stores.

Black Friday shoppers will get a jump-start at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night at Toys R Us and Walmart. Target opens an hour later. If you’re crazy enough to be out there, be strategic! You can download store layouts to pinpoint where to find the doorbuster bargains.

Surprise that onigiri lover with a kawaii rice ball pillow from Nancy Matsudaira of Sammamish, Wash. (Courtesy Nancym4)

For Seattle shoppers, the Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair and Bake Sale takes place this Saturday at Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church. Local crafters will mix with those from Hawaii, Cali and Oregon.

Transplanted Angeleno Nancy Matsudaira lives in Sammamish, where her creativity juices were unleashed sewing Halloween costumes each year for three daughters.

Kawaii is what Nancym4 is all about. Top-selling oh-so-cute plush pillows — like onigiri, Spam musubi, shave ice and watermelon — are too cuddly to resist.

Matsudaira’s mom is not only credited for teaching the sewing basics but serves as her source of inspiration.

“My mother instilled in me the Japanese culture by having me attend Japanese language school on Saturdays, taking Japanese dance lessons, music, attending events in L.A. (Obon, Nisei Week) … I continue to have a love for all things Japanese,” she said.

It’s only natural that Matsudaira selects mostly imported Japanese fabric and washi paper for magnetic bookmarks, retractable ID badge holders, keychains and fobs, pouches, tags, bags, binder clips, document covers and credit card holders.

Happiboshi, or happy hats, is her daughter Jaymi Matsudaira’s line of cute fleece hats like Totoro and anime characters plus kids’ stuff.

Here in the Southland, the place to be on Saturday is Koi Krafters at Almansor Court, where you can find exceptional hand-printed cards of all sorts from Sharon Maruya Shin of Papermum Press.

Maruya Shin has confessed to being a paperphile. It all started when she decided to print her own wedding invitations after taking a letterpress class at the Armory in Pasadena. From there, her passion snowballed.

Impress friends this holiday with a whimsical hand-printed greeting card. (Papermum Press)

Letterpress printing is a labor-intensive method similar to how The Rafu was produced before a commercial Goss printing press took over those manual processes. Impressions are made using metal letterforms to create a positive image on paper.

Maruya Shin’s fascination with paper and older printing presses found her taking bookbinding/box making classes at Shepherds and other private classes in London, workshops at Art Center, even taking a teaching assistant role for Archetype Press.

It’s obvious that she loves what she does! Her output of specialized custom wedding invitations, baby announcements, business cards and small book editions during the past six years is worth perusing.

Pick up a card or three, frame them for an interesting grouping. A doe-eyed kokeshi doll card remains the popular seller.

Shop ’til you drop on Sunday at the Buena Park Holiday Inn for the Beary Best Friends Christmas Boutique. Newcomer is PeeDee Krafts Irene Takaki of L.A., who has a blast making baby stuff.

Four years ago, her BFFs were making babies, so she decided to give them something homemade. Enter nursing covers, onesies and burp cloths.

After a time lapse, it was baby time again, so Takaki asked friends for ideas. A car seat canopy was the next project to tackle. With good reviews, her next step was to see how they’d sell at craft shows. That’s where she’s at now.

“As a child, I remember sewing pillows and headbands and my mom taught me how to sew them,” said Takaki. “More recently, I’ve been learning a lot on the Internet.”

Takaki’s grandma, who lives in Japan, is the creative inspirational force, giving her the “coolest” sewn or knitted gifts while growing up. Her daughter and Takaki’s mom, Teruko Ishikawa of Ai Ceramics, is tagged as the artist in the family.

Ishikawa got involved with ceramic production taking a class with her brother in 2008. Her cache includes dishes, bowls, platters, sake holders and cups.

“Having people like my work really inspired me to make more,” said Ishikawa. “Making people happy is important.”

Within the next five years, both daughter and mother see themselves honing their crafts and selling them at the local craft shows.

To all of you out there, let’s lift our glasses and give thanks. Here’s to a joyful and happy Thanksgiving gathering with family and friends — cheers!

LIKE The Rafu on Facebook to keep up with Krafty Korner.

Saturday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Koi Krafters
Almansor Court, Lakeview Room
700 S. Almansor, Alhambra
(626) 282-2932, Irene Jong

Saturday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair
Blaine Memorial Methodist Church
3001 24th Ave. So., Seattle, WA
(425) 827-4930, Shizue Yahata

Sunday, Nov. 18, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Beary Best Friends
Holiday Inn
7000 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
(562) 865-2637, Ellen Mabuni

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  1. Thank you for including PeeDee Krafts and Teru Ai Ceramics in your Krafty Korner Article. Check out more PeeDee Krafts on facebook at “Like” my page to get 10% off your purchase. Come check us out at Beary Best Friends Craft Show this Sunday (Nov 18) from 9am – 3pm at the Buena Park Holiday Inn. Also check out PeeDee Krafts at the SCNBA Boutique Fair on December 1st from 4pm-7pm at Canoga Park Bowl.