Browsing CategoryHands

Handmade Knuffle Bunny Laptop sleeve (ears up), photo by Heidi M. Kim

An illustrator-friend of mine recently had a birthday, and I was excited to make a personal, handmade gift, especially since he is a fan of Mo Willems. I found Knuffle Bunny fabric (in organic cotton, no less!) and some coordinating flannel fabric and made him a padded sleeve for his new laptop: As I was making it, I came up with the kooky idea of making bunny ears instead of the usual tabs to close to sleeve. This came out nicer than I expected.Whew! (I never know what I’m going to get when I start a new project. Kind of…

16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Francisco, photo by Heidi M. Kim

On a recent trip to San Francisco a good friend took me to see these beautiful tiled steps high above the city at 16th Avenue & Moraga Street. It happen to coincide with a time when I was feeling particularly dispirited about our society and what seemed to be a lack of kindness and caring. Perhaps tainted by politics and media, I felt an emptiness from the tearing down and destruction and rifts I was seeing and feeling in the world around me. So on a clear and cold day, we went to these unassuming steps that rose high above…

I Wanna Be a Real Book!

As I slowly teach myself to #CelebrateEverything, when I find myself reaching a writing milestone, I look for ways to mark and celebrate my place on the writing journey. In 2014, although I had drafted many picture books and had started many manuscripts, I had yet to complete a novel-length story. For me, it was a personal goal to complete a YA-length first draft and when I did, I took it to an office supply store and had it comb-bound into a notebook of sorts. I deliberately bound this first draft in landscape mode to allow myself a wide margin.…

Recently, I have been swept away by the tidal wave that is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a book by Marie Kondo that has worked its way through my circle of friends. Although I have to admit to skimming my way through this philosophical book about purging oneself of Things, the core principles have been incredibly helpful to me as I work my way through the vague and vast stash of stuff that I have and hold onto in my physical space. According to Kondo, we should hold each object in our hands and have a tactile experience, asking…

Löwendenkmal in Luzern, Switzerland, photo by Heidi M. Kim

While traipsing through Switzerland, in the beautiful town of Lucerne (Luzern), I found myself staring at the Löwendenkmal sculpture. Some call it the Lion of Lucerne. Designed by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen and carved by Lukas Ahorn in 1821, the dying lion is a tribute to Swiss guards massacred during the French Revolution in 1792. The sculpture is carved in the side of a mountain, a rock face with trees above it and water below. (Of course the writer in me also thought of Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia.) Without knowing any of the history behind the sculpture, I…

In my living room, there once was a blank wall that cried out for tender loving care. This led to a spark of an idea which led to a fun and experimental weekend project. I decided to fashion some inexpensive shelves to attach to this blank wall. I needed them to be sturdy enough to hold small decorative items and books. (Not heavy textbooks, but mostly paperback books.) First, I picked up two semi-hollow interior doors from a hardware shop and cut them in half vertically. (With two halves of two doors, I could make four long shelves.) I decided…

There are cooks, and there are bakers. I’m a cook. Most of the time I enjoy cooking (unless I’m wrapped up in a story, then I’m an amazing taker-outer). Depending on my level of commitment, there are days when my Better Half tells me that I’m a good cook. Even on those days, I’m a good cook but not an exceptional one. Even more than exceptional cooks, I have intense respect for bakers. Bakers are creative while respecting the rules of science. Good cooks, even great cooks, can cut corners and substitute ingredients and play fast and loose with the rules.…

Eric Carle illustrations on fabric by Andover Fabrics

  Sometimes when I feel my life careening off the road because of things I can’t control I have a visceral need to make something with my hands. Whatever it is doesn’t have to be perfect, but seeing it comes to life between my fingers fuels something inside of me. These creative projects are especially helpful when I can’t do anything about the speed bumps in life like illness or fate – or even when I’m just stuck inside my head with my story. On such a night, the insomniac that lives inside me found this fabric on Etsy featuring Eric Carle’s…

Sculpture by Yutaka Sone (Photo by Heidi M. Kim)

  Priceless /ˈprīsləs/ So precious that its value cannot be determined: priceless works of art (Oxford Dictionaries)   When I was learning new words, one of the ones I stumbled on was priceless. To me, it seemed like one of those words that sounded like it meant the opposite of what it really means. I thought it meant ‘not worth anything’. These days when I hear the word priceless, my ears expect it to be followed by art. On a recent trip to New York City, I was walking along the High Line. The park was coming to life as the City seemed to turn the page of winter…

During revision, I reached a point where my own words were a blur on the page. I had just received feedback on my full manuscript from beta-readers, astute friends who are keen readers or writers or both. Trying to concentrate on the words — the story — was futile. Even though I had wanted a break-through, not a break, I made myself put the manuscript aside for a few hours to let things simmer in my brain while I worked on something with my hands. I decided to make book weights as a small token of gratitude to my beta readers. It…