Thursday, 24 April 2014

Zesty Zakka!

zakka morinaka According to Amy Morinaka, author of Zakka Handmades, “Zakka is a Japanese term for the many small household goods that organize our homes and help us with our daily tasks” [and I always thought it was Bob who organized and helped round here!!] I picked up her book in Dereham Library this week.

zakka gifts

I also got Cecilia Hanselmann’s book, Zakka-style gifts. Dereham Library has a brilliant crafts section, and it is a treat when I’m at Cornerstones for a week to borrow a few of them. I knew nothing about zakka, so these two little books seemed a good introduction to the subject.

Homemade zakka is traditionally made by combining 100% natural fabrics [linen, cotton, wool] with small embellishments and meticulous handwork. Designs are inspired by cultures from around the globe [Scandinavian style, East European folk art, French country, Asian ethnic …] I enjoyed the two books and would like to try out some of the ideas. I found the ‘Handmades’ book more interesting than the ‘Gifts’ one. But both had around two dozen projects with well written instructions and clear photographs.

I felt the ‘Gifts’ one was less innovative. The pincushion was fairly ordinary, and I didn’t see why you would need a ‘glass holder’ – but the owl paperweight was quite fun [but who uses a p/w these days?]

zakka gifts pincushion zakka gifts glass zakka gifts owl

The ‘Handmades’ contained more projects which I felt I might like to make sometime. There was a cute Matryoshka key fob, various baby gifts, a shopping bag with its own drawstring pouch, an ‘air mail’ place mat and these little ‘kotori’ purses [kotori is Japanese for ‘little bird’] There are also projects which involve crochet embellishments as well as hand and machine embroidery.

zakka morinaka matryoshka zakka morinaka baby zakka morinaka bag zakka morinaka kotori purse zakka morinaka mat

I have no idea if I will make any of these – but the books are great fun to read and do certainly give you ideas for using up the small bits and pieces in your stash. I may have a go at the ‘chopstick holder’ – [it can also be a cutlery holder and doubles up as a napkin ]so would be ideal for my packed lunches when I am at school. I think the kotori purses are really cute. Two good holiday reads!

My verdict -

Zakka Style Gifts ****

Zakka Handmade *****


  1. I've never heard of Zakka, but I love the concept. It seems very Japanese, doesn't it? Can't wait to see what you make!


  2. These books look interesting. Looking forward to seeing what you make. Our library's craft section is getting smaller week by week. Don't know if people are taking them out or that they are being shipped to other libraries.

  3. Ooooh.. some nice ideas! I feel a bit of internet research coming on! Jx


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