The Cute Book by Aranzi Aronzo
I had been planning on reading this weekend, but I borrowed this book instead. This is how I spent my time:
(The red blobs on the bird? They’re supposed to be flowers. And I didn’t have dark brown thread for the monkey, so you can see how bad I am at sewing. Those stitches are so uneven!)
Anyway, until the new issue of Craft: magazine arrives in the mail, I’ll spend my time working on these Japanese crafts. It’s not temari or sashiko, or even origami, but these Aranzi Aronzo felt mascots are, well, so much cuter. (Oh look, there’s a short article on page 53 about it, along with the White Cat/Striped Cat/Black Cat pattern. Ah, the benefits of subscribing to a magazine with an exact digital edition available online.)
The Cute Book is exactly that. It’s cute. Even better, it’s a great craft book, too. You know a craft book is doing something right when, as you flip through the book, you can’t decide which project you want to do first. The table of contents includes a picture of each mascot so you can see all of them at once, but I think it’s more fun to jump from page to page, saying “Oh, that is so cute!” After a brief introductory section describing the general materials and techniques used for all 20+ mascots, you’re ready to get crafting. Each mascot is covered in two pages, as in the Craft: excerpt. The left page has a large picture of the finished project, a cute description of the character, and templates to photocopy or trace. The right side lists the materials required and contains step by step directions. Cutting the templates and felt is the hard part, but once you start putting the toy together, it’s pretty fun. The book is a hardcover and not spiral-bound, but the binding is such that I had no problems getting the pages to lay flat so I could refer to them as needed. The last four pages of the book show how you can use the basic templates and designs in other projects, like making a keychain or on shirts and tote bags. And at only $12.95, the book is very reasonably priced, considering it’s in full color on glossy pages.
The mascots do require a bit of time to make (closer to two hours than to one, if you’re like me and rarely sew), and it can be hard to cut out all the skinny and/or small shapes out of the felt, so if you’re doing this with younger kids or a group, you probably want to have everything cut before you start. That said, the mascots are simple and fun to make. Most of the patterns fall in the “Oh, how cute” category, but there are several with guy appeal.
Get this book! Kids, teens, and adults will all want to borrow it.
And do check out Vertical’s website to share pictures of your finished mascots and for information about other Aranzi Aronzo books. Although they should really include a mention of this in the book, not just list their homepage, so more people can find it.