My name is Mariko. Kittenette is an account of my life in San Francisco, running a business from my apartment, my interest in film and media, cooking and crafting, and how I got adopted by a stray 5 month old kitten.   Read More




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Kittenette Rebranding

The switch from Studio Kitchenette to Kittenette happened a couple of months ago, but I haven’t had time to blog about it. I still favored the one-page scrolling layout but converted a lot of the ugly links in the old layout into icons. Also, each project now has its own image. Here’s a quick comparison image of the redesign.

website redesign

This also meant I had to redesign the business cards. I wanted to keep the minimalist design that emphasized the quality of the paper so I stuck with the black on white color scheme. I also still liked the hand-drawn type of the old logo, so I just made some quick edits to the old card to make the new one.

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The Iluxo business cards were also changed to reflect better the themes/motifs used throughout the brand.

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Traditional Japanese Pattern Design and Studio Kitchenette Backgrounds

I’ve been borrowing my friend’s sewing machine lately, which reminded me to bring back some of the gorgeous Japanese silks that my mom gave me. I found them tucked away in a box that also had some other pretty fabrics that I’d forgotten about.

One thing that I like about Japanese textile design is the large, intricate, and often repeating patterns you can find on them. Making repeating backgrounds (digitally) is one of my hobbies, and I love to design them for my personal projects. For the current Studio Kitchenette and Kittenette backgrounds, I decided to mimic the flowing designs found on many kimono fabrics, which are sewn together in vertical panels that go from top to bottom. As the user scrolls down, s/he sees the pattern moving and changing as if seeing a bolt of fabric being unfurled. Since SK (Studio Kitchenette) is a project portfolio, I drew a cascade of papers that repeated themselves in an S shaped pattern. For Kittenette, I wanted to make it a bit more cute and ornamental since I didn’t have a header that was as intricate and large as on SK. So I drew in some cherry blossom petals falling along with the papers.

You can see the background for Kittenette below. I upped the contrast (the contrast is low on the websites because I wanted text to be easily read over them) and made it smaller.

Flowing Sakura/Paper Background

These were the fabrics I found in the box at home. The first three are silks that were probably for Obi making or for making other ornaments, as I think they’re rather thin for Kimonos. They aren’t very wide but are probably about 3 meters long each- the width is typical for Kimono fabric, which as I mentioned earlier are sewn together in strips. Below is my favorite; I have a thing for florals, especially in this hue of salmony pink. It’s a thin, sheer silk patterned with plum blossoms. One thing that frustrates me is when people incorrectly sell patterns with plum blossoms marked as “Sakura” or “Cherry blossoms.” This is especially rampant on Etsy and makes it hard to search for actual sakura designs. Sakura are traditionally depicted with a “tick” in each petal.

Japanese Fabric

I also held it up to the light so you can see how sheer it is in some places, though it didn’t show up very well:

Japanese Silk

Next, a really cool, modern-looking geometric pattern in silk:

Japanese Silk

Some chrysanthemums. You can really see the similarity to the backgrounds I made here by the placement of the leaves in a flowing pattern.

Japanese Silk

These were the other fabrics in the box that I had completely forgotten about. Some cotton fabrics with other traditional designs. I believe the blue fabric with the morning glory design was given to me by my Great-Aunt in Japan. She made it herself with indigo and the katazome method of dying fabric. My aunt gave us the other fabrics.

Japanese Cotton Fabric

The rest are some remnants from some really cute fabrics that my mom bought in Japan probably in the 80s. I love the pink and yellow strawberry patterned ones.

Japanese Cotton (80s)

So I’m not sure what to do with all this fabric! I’ve decided to just make stuff out of most of it (except the Katazome fabric, which I plan to display someday) and keep some of it as an heirloom. They’re all remnants, so I can’t really make anything serious out of them. I’ll be posting the results here if I ever figure out what to do with them. Any ideas? So far I’m thinking of making some stuff with purse frames.

computer cat