Rafu Craft Editor

Crafters will be delighted with “Zakka Handmades,” a book about everyday necessities to add color to your lifestyle from Amy Morinaka of Torrance. (Courtesy of Creative Publishing international)

Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall.

Summer vacations are but fading memories, school’s back in.

Reality check!

September is a pivotal month. Daylight hours get shorter, traffic seems denser, temps fluctuate. Mother Nature will grab center stage soon enough with Pantone red-oranges, yellows, browns, and we take to layering our fashion style.

Know what? Those holidays are just around the corner!

Time to get your creative on—tackle that holiday list early. Try making something new, far from the norm.  Here’s a great way to get started. Released in June, “Zakka Handmades” is getting positive hits on Amazon, Pinterest and Etsy.

From Nagoya-born Amy Morinaka, an accountant living with her husband, Ben, and two daughters in Torrance, she is addicted to crafting—sewing, embroidery, crocheting. Her book includes 24 handmade projects using natural fabrics as linen and cotton to organize, adorn and simplify your life.

Zakka? A quick Google search finds all things zakka—books, shops, images and blogs—all filled with imaginative handicrafts for designs with a purpose. Via Japan, zakka refers to many things that focus on small necessities of everyday life that help us keep our acts together.

Each project features a close-up photo with step-by-step instructions. Well-defined graphic illustrations and patterns are credited to the artsy crafter. Check out those green circles with tidbits of info.

Always aware of her surroundings, Morinaka said, “It’s really the small things in my daily routine that inspire me most, like beautifully arranged stacks of veggies and fruits at the farmer’s market.”

Cute kotori zipper pouches utilize fabric scraps and buttons for eyes. (Courtesy of Creative Publishing international)

If you’re like many gals I know, fabrics get stashed away for other day projects. The time is now! Wrap a gift or two in a cute zakka pouch. Go green with an eco tote to challenge any TJ bag out there! Perfect for stocking stuffers are patchwork baby bibs, pencil bags and pony tail bows.

Specialty fabrics, lots from Japan, are available at Momen Plus in old town Torrance, Ventura’s superbuzzy, and Fabricworm in Paso Robles.

Shoppers: ready, set, go! Talented crafters and artisans come from near and far for the fall/winter Asian arts and crafts scene. Here’s the BIG list of upcoming events! Clip it out today!

Doors open in SoCal, NorCal and Seattle, where artisans pull out all stops to sell their wares. A social shopping experience, you’ll discover new ideas, well-made items, many with that Asian pizazz, at affordable prices.

The first show kicks off in NorCal. Midori Kai, a professional women’s group, hosts their 13th annual arts and crafts boutique at the Mountain View Temple on Saturday.

A perk is day-long entertainment. Chat with local artist June Kuramoto, who will be on hand to sign her band Hiroshima’s new CD release, “J-Town Beat,” with a special mid-day appearance.

The feel-good part of shopping here is knowing that 100 percent of the boutique’s proceeds goes towards providing grants to local non-profit organizations. Recipients include Asian Americans for Community Involvement, Japanese American Museum of San Jose, National Japanese American Historical Society—Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center and Yu Ai Kai Japanese American Community Senior Service Center.

Shoppers who admire works from Monet, Van Gogh, Degas and Toulouse Lautrec will appreciate the watercolors and oils from Diane Fujimoto.

With pink cherry blossoms set against a brilliant blue back drop, “Sakura” is from a series of three original watercolors by Diane Fujimoto of Los Altos. (Courtesy of Diane Fujimoto Fine Art)

An artist at heart, Fujimoto grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs. After studying textile design and marketing, she worked successfully in the corporate world on the East Coast for 35 years.

Drawing classes in Berkeley led to watercolor and oil lessons with local artists in Palo Alto and the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society.

Nature, people and unusual settings are Fujimoto’s focus. A camera is her BFF on travels with her husband, Gary, to France, Italy, Kenya and Belgium. “I work from photographs taken on our trips because I can’t paint fast enough to complete something in ‘plein air,’” she said.

Heads turn for her cherry blossom paintings. Giclee prints on canvas will be available.

Need a tote bag? These are strong enough to hold 34-40 pounds! Made from recycled newspapers, some 12 layers are sewn together, and finished with a laminated cover of one of Fujimoto’s images. “Waiting for Merlot” makes a perfect gift for that wine foodie, around $49. Optional: add a bottle!

“We are all born with a unique voice—some use it to speak, to act or to write; I paint. That’s the language I use to express myself, especially when words don’t quite do it,” said Fujimoto.

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It’s all about the grapes in this watercolor. (Courtesy of Diane Fujimoto Fine Art)

Saturday, Sept. 14, 9-4
Midori Kai Arts & Crafts Boutique
Mt. View Buddhist Temple Gym
575 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mt. View
925-596-1770, Phyllis Osaki

Saturday, Sept. 21, 9-3
Jan Ken Po Gakko Arts & Crafts Fair
Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation
9040 High Tech Ct., Elk Grove
408-839-6023, Renee Kumamoto

Saturday, Sept. 28, 10- 4
14th Annual UJCC Asian Craft & Food Faire
United Japanese Christian Church
136 N. Villa Ave., Clovis
559-322-0701, Vivian Takeuchi

Saturday, Oct. 5, 9-4
Eden Holiday Craft Show
Marina Community Center
15301 Wicks Blvd., San Leandro
510-471-8052, Karen Valerio

Saturday, Oct. 5, 10-4
Kokoro Craft Boutique
Japanese American National Museum
100 N Central Ave., Los Angeles, Janet Maloney

Saturday, Oct. 5, 8-2:30
SEJSCC Holiday Boutique
Hawaiian-Style Pancake Breakfast 7-11 am
Southeast Japanese School & Community Center
14615 Gridley Rd., Norwalk
562-754-8582, Richard Shinamoto

Saturday, Oct. 19, 9-4
Crafty Foxes Holiday Boutique
Joan Pisani Community Center
19655 Allendale Ave., Saratoga
408-356-2764, Carol Yuki

Sunday, Oct. 27, 10-4
Krafty Delites Fall Boutique #1
Carson Community Center
801 E. Carson St., Carson
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Fridays to Sundays, Nov. 1-3, 8-10, 9-4
Touch of Nature Home & Holiday Show
Diamond Bar, call for location
909-594-5964, Lily Saito

Sunday, Nov. 3, 10-3
Kiku Crafts and Food Fair
East San Gabriel Valley JCC
1203 W. Puente Ave., West Covina
951-818-8740, Hisako Koga

Saturday, Nov. 9, 10-4
Japantown Winter Boutique
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
San Jose Buddhist Church Gym
640 N. 5th St., San Jose, Komo

Saturday, Nov. 16, 10-4
Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair
Blaine Memorial Methodist Church
3001 24th Avenue So., Seattle, WA
425-827-4930, Shizue Yahata

Saturday, Nov. 23, 10-3
Koi Krafters
Almansor Court, Lakeview Room
700 S. Almansor, Alhambra
626-282-2932, Irene Jong

Sunday, Nov. 24, 9-3
Beary Best Friends
Holiday Inn
7000 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
562-865-2637, Ellen Mabuni

Sunday, Dec. 1, 10-4
Krafty Delites Christmas Boutique #2
Carson Community Center
801 E. Carson St., Carson
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Sunday, Dec. 1, 11-2
St. Mary’s Christmas Boutique
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
963 S. Mariposa, Los Angeles
213-215-3883, Fifi Newcomb

Sunday, Dec. 8, 10-3:30
A Time for Sharing Holiday Boutique
Gardena Elks Lodge
1735 W. 162nd St., Gardena
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Sunday, Dec. 8, 10-6
SCNBA Holiday Craft Boutique
Canoga Park Bowl
20122 Vanowen St., Winnetka
323-661-9891, Janet Taguchi

Saturday, Dec. 14, 10-4
Kimochi’s Silver Bells Arts & Crafts Faire
The Event Center at St. Mary’s Cathedral
1111 Gough St., San Francisco
415-931-2294, Sakura Suzuki

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing the crafty news with us! I sincerely appreciate for spreading the word about the release of my book! Your post is informative, inspiring and fun! I look forward to your next post… Best wishes to you and to Rafu Shimpo!