Otedama are small Japanese beanbags. They are most commonly used to play a rather complicated jacks-type game. I've never actually seen any of our cousins play this game, but I have seen these charming little toys around the house. I found some tutorials here and here, so I decided to try my hand and making these little gems. Here's how it turned out:
As you can see, I also made a matching draw-string bag to keep the otedama in. Traditionally, the otedama are quite small, but I made mine a bit bigger (a bit more American-sized, no?). One great thing about these is that you need very little fabric to make them, so it's a great project for your leftover scraps. The fabric combination possibilities are endless! I made several sets to give as Christmas gifts - they are perfect for either gender. Try them out if you are sewing-inclined and send us pics so we can see!