Feb 02

The Queen


Started out as a doodle in Illustrator and ended up having a lot of fun with it.
Would like to tweak this a bunch later on more to give it more texture.

Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2015/02/the-queen/

Jan 26

Peach Soda


(Drawn in Illustrator, coloured in Photoshop)

(Why is Photoshop just so much friendlier and comfier to work with???)

Another exploration of the piled-bun hairstyle. I like drawing hair buns… they’re orderly and easy, not like my curly Medusa hair :D
I usually avoid pink things because it’s overdone, but once in awhile, it’s fun. This drawing feels like it belongs on a bottle of Japanese peach soda.

Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2015/01/peach-soda/

Jan 26

Teal updo


More experimentation in Illustrator. Getting there.

Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2015/01/teal-updo/

Jan 25

Hot Cocoa!


It’s snowing yet again (groan, moan), and I’m padding around the house in thick socks, nursing a hot mug of tea. No better time than this to stay in and draw!


I finally tried colouring in Illustrator. It went pretty smoothly. I still don’t understand why the keyboard commands are different than in Photoshop, which makes it really frustrating at times, but the vector strokes makes everything look much smoother and polished.


Weather forecast predicts another week of daily snow… guess I’ll be doing a lot of drawing.


Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2015/01/hot-cocoa/

Jan 24

No way!


The result of today’s fiddling around with Illustrator, and it’s gotten a lot more comfortable. I’m still colouring in Photoshop because I’m really confused by how layers work in Illustrator, but I’ll take things one step at a time. I’m proud of this piece! :)

Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2015/01/no-way/

Jan 21

Simple shapes 2

Today’s continuation of the simple line drawings from yesterday, this time with lighter-coloured outlines and animals, while staying with the same palette as before. It’s getting a bit closer to the look I was going for, but not quite there yet. Will experiment further tomorrow.


Top Canary:



Curled Cat:


Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2015/01/simple-shapes-2/

Jan 20

Simple shapes 1

I just started using the messaging app called “Line” and it has some really cute emoticons. I tried to find an image of them online but I’m not sure what the emoticon set is called, but it’s the set on the lower right here, from this blog post. The emoticons use really simple linework, pastel colours, and characters with giant heads… just up my alley!


I wanted to try my hand at the style of simple, clean lines, no fussiness, but then I got carried away and forgot what I was doing with the colours and shading. I got fussy, as always. Oops. So there goes the simplicity, the pastels, and even the head size!


In any case, an astronaut on Mars, stepping out with trepidation! :)



This one looks a bit like me…

doodles 2


A dissatisfied ghost:


Line art done in Adobe Illustrator, colouring in Photoshop.

Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2015/01/simple-shapes-1/

Jan 11

Making lemon (tree tragedy) into (lemon tree) lemonade

birdhut web 01

We recently had a record-breaking snowfall here in Z├╝rich, which also happened to be the first real snow of the season. Unfortunately, I thought my lemon tree would be okay on our covered patio, but after three days of snow, I noticed that the tree was looking really droopy. I brought it inside, but it was too late. All the leaves had already died and it was so sad-looking that I couldn’t bear to look at it when I walked past. I plucked off all the crispy leaves and decided to wait until spring to see if there would be some sort of miracle to revive it. In the meantime, having a tragic tree skeleton in our living room isn’t exactly very welcoming. I decided to make some mini birdhouses to decorate the dry branches. My inspiration came from Kat Button’s nests here.


The process is pretty straightforward: take some balloons, blow them up, cover them with paste and strips of paper from the recycling bin; after it dries, pop the balloon, and decorate with more upcycled materials. I used egg cartons, popsicle sticks, coloured paper, beads, old books, paper punch-outs, dried flowers, and silk flowers.

birdhut web 06

birdhut web 02birdhut web 09

This was also an effective way to get all the junk out of my crafting cupboard… I had tens of popsicle sticks saved up from this past summer, along with some old Japanese books I had taken from a library discard bin years ago. Even the beads are recycled– they were painstakingly peeled off an old paper bag from my ceramic club.

birdhut web 07

This one ended up being my favourite. I had emptied a hole punch onto a dish and rolled around the paper ball in it while the paint was still wet. The tiny punch-outs got absolutely everywhere, of course, and I expect to be vacuuming them off of my rug for the next millenia, but I love the result!

birdhut web 05 birdhut web 03

birdhut web 04

The tree is still pretty forlorn, so I plan to make some more decorations for it. Anything to distract from the poor, lifeless branches!

Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2015/01/making-lemon-tree-tragedy-into-lemon-tree-lemonade/

Jan 10

Coaster Toaster


My friend just moved into a beautiful new apartment, so as a housewarming gift, I presented her with the Coaster Toaster. Inside the felt toaster are four buttered-toast coasters, also made of felt.


Basic instructions for the coasters (not the toaster) in the link below!

Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2015/01/coaster-toaster/

Oct 27

Convertible DIY Mini-Backpack

backpack 01 web

I needed something to tote stuff around to work last year, and since I walked to work every day, I didn’t like the way that a shoulder bag would put more stress on one side of my body than the other. Thus, I figured I’d make a mini-backpack, since they’ve come full circle from fashionable to unfashionable to outright dorky… to fashionable again. Personally, I think mini-backpacks are really convenient, and much healthier for your back than a purse or messenger bag is.


I wanted a backpack that was small and light enough to carry just my daily essentials for work (pens, pencils, notes, paper documents, occasional 11″ EeePC), but also hardy enough to put up with daily use and rainy weather. It also had to be secure and multi-functional… kind of like cargo pants. I’m just a cargo pants kinda gal!


Anyway, I drafted up a pattern, based once again on simple rectangles to make life easier, and came up with a basic design that has two side pockets, a fold-down top flap, a drawstring top, and a convertible double strap/messenger strap. Because it was really a first attempt and an experiment, just like most of my sewing projects, the pattern was totally off and I had to make a million adjustments along the way, so I didn’t scan the pattern to post because it’s not really useable.

backpack 02 web backpack 03 web

Materials used:

-Printed canvas, probably around 1.5 m (this one is from Ikea)

-Interfacing (same amount as canvas)

-Webbing straps (~3m)

-Buckles (2) and those… strap adjuster loop things (2)

-Optional snaps for side pockets (2-4)



backpack 04 web

Pinned mockup from the front. Note that the bottom is reinforced with a second layer. It was really hard to sew through :(

Since it’s been already over a year, I don’t remember exactly the steps I took, but there is one important things to remember:

ALWAYS IRON AS YOU GO. Iron all hems before serging, iron before cutting out your pieces, iron corners before attaching pieces… Basically, when in doubt, just iron; when not in doubt, iron anyway. I didn’t learn this until recently, and it really goes a long way to making your project look polished and clean :)

backpack 07 web

Above: I cheated a bit with the drawstring part– I had a blanket that came in a water-resistant drawstring pouch, so I simply sewed the entire pouch to the inside of my backpack as a liner. It was the perfect size and works really well to keep stuff in and keep raindrops out.

backpack 05 web

Above: Here you can see the side pockets with the snaps. For some reason, the snaps really didn’t want to stay on, maybe because they were made for lighter fabric. I would recommend using the most heavy-duty ones you can find if you’re attaching to canvas + interfacing.

backpack 06 web

The pins are still on the top of the straps on the photo above due to technical difficulties with the snaps, but this is a view from the back.

The straps are convertible — if you unsnap the top (the two tabs at the top), and pull up from the handle, the whole thing converts to a messenger bag:

backpack 10 web

Messenger bag mode!

Putting this backpack together was a good learning experience, and I actually got to use it right away on a weekend trip to Salzburg. It also was super helpful for work and for running errands.

All in all, success! :)

Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2014/10/convertible-diy-mini-backpack/

Older posts «

» Newer posts