Those of you who are afficionados of Japanese craft books may already be familiar with Aranzi Aronzo books. These are unbelievably adorable craft / story books, featuring a cast of characters and simple projects. (Aranzi Aronzo is a Japanese company that could best be described as a purveyor of cuteness.)
Well, a U.S. publisher, Vertical, Inc. is releasing these books to the U.S. market, translated to English. I recently became the proud parent of two of them: The Cute Book, and The Bad Book. (Follow those links, by the way, and you can check out sample pages.)
The Cute Book is all about making felt mascots, with patterns and instructions for 20 insanely lovable peeps, including Bear, Bird, Cat, Monkey, Squirrell, and, oddly, Kidnapper.
Flipping through this book awakened my inner four year-old, and so this was the dialog running in my head all day yesterday:
Inner Four Year-Old: â€œLetâ€™s make felt mascots right now!â€
Outer Forty Year-Old: â€œNo, no — weâ€™re on deadline right now. Letâ€™s get some work done, and we can play later.â€
Inner Four Year-Old: â€œNnnnnoooooooooooooooooo!! I want to make felt mascots!!â€
And so, finally giving in, I made this little cat-friend for my cat, Athens. (There are few things in the world that Athens dislikes more than getting his picture taken. He told me later that he appreciates the gesture, though.) Isnâ€™t she flippinâ€™ adorable? I need to make a few more, so she has friends to play with.
This was such a fun, simple project. The instructions are clear, and the English translation, charming. (Example from the pattern for Monkey: â€œHeâ€™s a serious monkey. Heâ€™s from Japan. Thatâ€™s why his tail is short. Heâ€™s not a chimp. Heâ€™s a monkey. Please craft him seriously.â€ I am so making a Monkey next.)
. . . And then, thereâ€™s Bad Guy. I am head over heels for Bad Guy. He has his own Aranzi Aronzo book, The Bad Book, in which he gleefully engages in all kinds of reprehensible behavior with his friend, Liar. Iâ€™m keeping him on my desk, to remind me to do more bad things — like sneaking away to watch Battlestar Galactica in the middle of the workday, and refusing to put my laundry in the hamper. Ha! Iâ€™m so bad.