Monday, May 2, 2016

Random: Seeing the beauty

It has been raining for two full weeks and finally the sky is clear and feels cool this morning. The light comes in quiet early now, maybe 6a.m. or 6:15a.m. I never know what time it is when I awake, it has always been before the alarm,  I lay in bed, just wait for the  first alarm goes on at 6a.m. then it gets turn off then there comes another one 15 minutes later. It repeated 7 days a week for awhile, but I got really good at mute all the devices on Friday nights before weekends arrive! But,  you know I wake up before dim light shine in the window. I bet it was before 6a.m. 

It is so rare that I made the two cheese cakes in a row. The first one was a rhubarb cheese cake and has been shared with Staci when she was here helping us getting things ready. I never know that rhubarb is edible and tried it raw maybe almost 15 years ago. My facial expression might had been a really bad one then my friend brought the sugar out and telling me how tasty it is dip the raw rhubarb with sugar. Of course, rhubarb has never appear in our grocery list. Up till we lived in ND, I had rhubarb and strawberry crisp from a party. It totally made rhubarb a new definition to me; yum! After that I always get them from Jen's backyard while still in ND and after that was always from some other friend's backyard.

The super chocolate cheese cake is requested by S. It is super sweet and super chocolatey! I have made few notes in the book; no sugar added for the crust, no extra chocolate chips added to the batter and half of what's call for the chocolate chips for the top.  I started worry who will be the one finished this cheese cake, don't think that would be me this time!

I debated if I should show you what were the original condition for the Five drawer storage and the four drawer cabinet or the refinished ones. So, let's wait for the original in last, shall we?  In our last weekend away trip, I had a little time to stop by the thrift store number one in town. I found some vintage sheets, but no hesitation walk away from them even I think they called my name at once  twice. Then I check into the dishes section and almost bought home a set of 20 plates and has some really nice vintage blue and white motifs on, but they stay.  Turning my head over the other side, I saw these two cabins, so pretty, but needs a lot of  a ton of work. S asked me why do you need new furniture when we are moving? She was so right! I patted these two storages then was thinking, New handles? New stain and new look?, they will be so pretty, but...! We walk out the store with  empty hands! Shorty after I turned the first corner around the gas station stop then made second turn the back to the store number one.

These two pieces are so beatuiful after sanding. Yes, hours after hours sanding, but worth every bit of the time and effort. The five drawer piece needed so much work; added new plywood piece for backing and a wood bar nail in for the bottom to stand nicely, the wobbly sides need to fix up and used half bottle of the wood glue to seal up the gaps. I am guessing, it was once sitting in the water for a long period of time. For the front drawer faces used cheery stain and the body is used with Gel Stain in Cabernet. The handles are purchased in the craft store and had 50% off that day. Can you guess how much I paid for this piece?

The second piece needed a new plywood backing, as it might had been punched by some hard objects in the back. Other than that every bit of this piece is perfect in condition. I keep the original handles as it is so pretty. Only thing I did for the handles was put them hot soapy water for 2 hours. Used Gel Stain in Cabernet for the entire piece and lightly sanded (#220 sand paper) between coats ( made three coats for a dark outlook) finish up with clear stain for both piece, buff up the piece with cotton cloth. I am guessing  wood wax would be better approach to maintain the pieces.  Can you guess how much I paid for this piece?

I heart vintage furniture! It has a bit of its history and was treasured by someone in the past then it is my turn to take care of them!  I'd love to find an old table; a farm table would be perfect and some stools! Wish me good lucks! 

Getting all the things ahead is the the day/week/ month goal now! But I failed sending mother's card this year again! Ma will receiving the card late again! It often feels quiet guilty not be able to post it ahead of the time for her, but we'll buzz her early that morning! Another list crossed off!

These two are my little {kin-cha-ku}. These two are the very first version before the modifications. I travelled with them a lot and though you might like to see them! I always have little bit of this and that in there. Likely sewing tools and devices outlets. I like how soft they are after these years of traveling around with me and the hand quilting still stay strong for me.  Mr. Rock  paper piece pattern is a free download pattern {here}. It was the second attempt to design a paper piecing pattern a few years ago.

And just like all of us, maybe you as well! These are the fabric pull for S' 12th birthday quilt! I waited the a few prints to arrive and making sure this is what she has been thinking; a very simple and calm quilt, but very Stella Joy look! So,  I am up for that challenge from her {smile}!

A few more blocks for the Glitter quilt were made last week. I have been thinking going with the bottom row of colors scheme, but  can't really decided on that! Maybe after few more cups of coffee and play a few more blocks?

Last! What you think? Five dollars for the left and two dollars for the right!
The total cost; priceless! 

{Thank You} again and again! Your words and all have been appreciated and made into my heart big and small! I will try to write back soon this time! Meanwhile, I will be getting little things organized around here, so I am keeping all calm and positive! 


Friday, April 29, 2016

Patchwork kin-cha-ku

{kin-cha-ku} is pronounces in Japanese. It means traditional Japanese purses or handbags. Likely a small bag, typically with a drawstring. When I first search out a special name for {drawstring bag}, there were lots great myths and movements for the handbags and history of making purses. I discovered the usage of {kin-cha-ku} is so much closer to what I grew up with. 

For six years in elementary school, my siblings and I brought our own lunch to school. The lunch is prepared in the {metal lunch box} and wrapped with a big piece of cloth and tied with a metal plate engraved our name that dad made.  Ma always fixed extra rice for dinner and prepared extra veggies and meat for the dinner because part of that is for to our next day lunch. She filled the lunch box with rice on the bottom then veggies on one side then meat on the other side and sometimes special sausage that uncle made for us. The lunch boxes always sat on the dinning table till cool off in late night then mom add the lids up and store them in fridge.  The next morning, likely before 6 a.m. mom would be in kitchen getting fried eggs for each lunch box to complete the lunch meal for us.  

There is always some fruit in the separated sack and water bottle as well. Each of us has a {kin-cha-ku} to put our lunch box in. Our {kin-cha-ku} were made from old cloth that my aunt made up for us.    There's just one layer of cloth with open seams inside. 

When we arrived classroom, we put our lunch box into a large metal basket then the daily helpers in the classroom will bring the metal basket to school kitchen and they will get steam after the first period of class.  The {kin-cha-ku} likely hung by the chair till lunch time.  I remember, I always made little complains on how un-pretty my {kin-cha-ku} looks and wished that aunt could make some pretty ones for me.  Then it might be the year I turned 10 or 11, mom got me a store bought {kin-cha-ku} with all the pretty prints on {actually it was a Hello Kitty}, and it was made with poly material. I was so happy with the cute and pretty of it for the few days, but it didn't hold up too long before the bottom seam loose up. 

A few years back, when I first making the kin-cha-ku, I sewn the same style of kin-cha-ku from the memory; it wasn't lined with any batting to start with, so it is quiet lightweight. Then I tried on hand-quilting them on the batting and was so satisfied with such nice outcome {soft, nice hold up look, elegant of it}. I made few more samples and adjustments after that. There are so many possibilities for one pattern and turn into so many different patchwork possibilities...  

Here are seven new {kin-cha-ku} for today's preview and each one of them is possible the most unique kin-cha-ku! Enjoy 

{Daffodils Joy} 

It is possible the best daffodil yellows that I could find and have been collected! This is such a sweet and special kin-cha-ku to my heart. The contrast of text prints and the similar hues give a such nice spring and joyful look. All the yellows are elegant and special in a way that I consider it is such a signature of my little Daffodils Joy.  This piece is hand-quilted throughout front and back. The string is used 100% linen wax.

Featured the lovely pinks within some small scale prints and text prints.  This is such a sweet and cute kin-cha-ku! Each print coordinated well together and the contrast between two side stands out its own characters.  This kin-cha-ku, is hand-quilted throughout the front and back. The string is used 100% linen wax. 

Lots spring themes in Spring Bee kin-cha-ku. Perfect for a day out with little one. Bring their little toys or maybe hand sewing projects. I have my mind for a little one while making this kin-cha-ku. Perhaps a special lunch date somewhere special? This kin-cha-ku, is hand-quilted throughout the front and back. The string is used 100% linen wax. 

Blues, yellows, and whites are three of most useage colors around quarter inch mark. Wonderland kin-cha-ku has purposely using the linear prints on the white print, so it leads the other prints stand out! This kin-cha-ku, is hand-quilted throughout the front and back.The string is used 100% linen wax. 

There is a piano piece called Blue Tango if you look it up. It is so a nice tango music! I always enjoy and inspired by some of the surrounding and happening here! Somehow these little prints and that music piece come to me while I was upstair in the studio. These little floral prints are sweet and indeed the light blue one has been one of my tiny print fabric!  This kin-cha-ku, is hand-quilted throughout the front and back.The string is used 100% linen wax. 


Nothing like little patchwork pieces that contain with all the fabric love the maker carries! It is hard not to create another Daffolidal Joy style kin-cha-ku. I called this piece is labor of love kin-cha-ku as well. All the tiny hand-quilting stitches and tiny patchwork work surely is the true patchwork to me and the joy to create/make. This kin-cha-ku, is hand-quilted throughout the front and back.The string is used 100% linen wax.

{Sea of Star} 

It has been fun working with dark to light scale of the patchwork. Sea of Star kin-cha-ku is the inspiration after made S' 11th birthday quilt. I wanted something small, but contain the similar colors approach. There are some additional prints that pull out from the stash and add on, but the color scheme stay very close by.  This also another labor of love piece. Tiny patchwork and small hand quilted stitches! As a patchwork maker, I like to stay true about the meaning of it  and stay the original concept of patchworking! This kin-cha-ku, is hand-quilted throughout the front and back.The string is used 100% linen wax.

You'll be able to find all these special of {kin-cha-ku} in the {shop} now. There is also a popular step by step {kin-cha-ku pdf pattern} in the shop to make your own kin-cha-ku and add on your own signatures, stories, and so on!

So, this is the last bit making for selling for me! The compassion of making will keep growing in me and maybe might stay a little quiet from time to time. There are many of  this and that I would like to explore and learn.  Taking time to be a beginning learner is always the best way to start learning or relearning.  

{Thank you from the bottom of my heart}! Thank you for taking time to check in on us, emails, and encourages! Spending your time reading and sending encouragements to a stranger that behind this blog. All these Good Lucks are being collected in my little kin-cha-ku and I'll take it with us on our long road trip this summer, only 1200 miles! We can use that and possibility need more! {smile}



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Handmade Patchwork, Last!

It was around this time eight years ago, I launched my {Etsy store} and back then it was called {Payge Lyra Handmade}, if any of you recalled and a blog under the same name was attached to that. Now, you can't relocated the shop and the blog anymore, since a change was made years back. 

I remember the first sold handmade item was a hand-emoridered dish towel and posted to England then followed more hand-emoridered dish towels then a big commissioned hand-emboridered dish towels arrived and yes, more dish-towels followed. I don't remember how many hand-embroidered dish towels made and sold, but remembered the first year was busy and fulfilled! 

Follow by that little handmade success, I started making some little pouches, kids friendly library totes, and baby quilts, odds and ends commissions. One of the challenge commission request was a toaster cozy that needed to be ready in two days! It sounded so simple, but yet it needed to  paper pattern draft out first then make a sample piece before went on the actual materials.  However, I have truly enjoy all these challenges and night owl days! 

I have never though that one day that I will stop making and selling my works, but I have been thinking about it for last year or so. This self-dilemma talks come and goes from day to day, but yet I continue and keep making what I love to do and keep posting them into the {shop}. This is something that I always feel great and proud about the works made by my own hands fly out to places. I remembered most return customer names and what they purchased. I read through your messages from buyer to seller box each time and appreciated all these encouragements and appreciation from day one the store launched! 

In last eight years, I moved our little family from place to place and so as well the shop with me. It always took great positive energy to build up the blog and shop after every move we made. Putting myself into the public without hesitations and be like a good sales is challenge in some ways! But, the true is that I have grown into an introvert person in past few years. I don't consider myself shy, but just sometimes, it is hard to say it all now! I don't remember how many times, erasing or deleting posts that just spent a few hours on; simply just thinking maybe too silly to share all that.  

Soon, we will be onward to our new journey again.  This time, we are moving cross half of this country, far away! This upcoming move leads me to be serious on all asepcts, could I still be able to put good efforts and positive energy into this small handmade business lately?! 
The answer to that is run down to me is no

After relocate to the new destination, there will be no space for the studio, most of the tools and fabrics will be in containers for a little while. I might not be making for a little while. Then that means, the commitment to making and selling is impossible. 

Last few months, the decision of last making and selling came to me quiet firm. So, I started just making for the shop, almost a way of my little gratuity of farewell handcrafting business that means much to myself.  The last batch of the {patchwork needle-books}, {moon pouches} then {patchwork zippered pouches} and the newest {patchwork style coin pouches} and soon to be reveal patchwork pieces, tomorrow. 

What's next? There is no next for me now! Somehow no plan is a good plan! It would be great for me to continue bring out great works to share around here and continue meeting great makers out there and share bits and bobs of fabric loves! 

It truely has been a great and the best eight years of running a small handmade patchwork business, but now I will take a long patchwork making pause from here! I will probably feeling lost of this achievement, but yet it is time to so do!  

{Thank you} to all the encouragements and supports over the last eight years! Oh, I hope you know what I mean, {Thank you}!!  

The last batch of zippered pouches are ready for you to preview now and they are ready in the shop. 
Tomorrow, I'll be making last post of patchwork pieces that I have been working then that would be all the patchworks from now. 

::Welcome to Spring 2016 Patchwork Pouches Preview::
I would love to give you a little preview on the newest patchwork zippered pouches. This time, I have made some coin pouches as they are perfect and great for spring and summer day to the local ice cream shop or farmer's markets, a coffee date with girl friends in the town/city. 

Patchwork Pouch {Penny}
As a Denyse Schmidt fan, this pouch is made with all DS fabrics, only! This pouch is like a little fabric gallery of DS prints. It is hand-quilted and added on a leather pull embellishment to add on classic look of the pouch and a little extra fancy. 

Patchwork Pouch {Miss Liv}
This pinks and blues pouch is the ever BEST selling color combos! This pouch used some of really spring and sweet colors. These is an extra cotton lace embellishment on the pouch body front and back to make zakka look. 

Patchwork Pouch {Miss Jul}
Another zakka style pouch. This pouch features the daffodil yellows and greens. I called these yellow prints doffdial joy yellows. These are the soft and elegant yellows that I have been collecting whenever I travelled oversea. This pouch also have added the cotton lace in the front and back as gentle embellishment on the pouch. 

Patchwork Pouch {Miss D}
Black is not the poplar theme or color, but I always like to add one unusual colors into previews. There is always someone who is looking for a certain style and colors. I though It would be a nice to add on an unusual color/theme into this collection.  

Patchwork coin pouch- {Megan} 

These patchwork coin pouches are made with the idea of a Spring and Summer quick trip/stop to the ice cream shop, quick meet up with friends in local cafe, or weekend Farmer's market. These coin pouch is perfect size for the quick trip out and about. All the zipper is metal zipper, so it is secure and easy pull.  rints

 Patchwork Coin Pouch- {Sophie}  

 Patchwork Coin pouch- {Lucy}  

 Patchwork Coin pouch- {Liz}

 Patchwork Coin Pouch- {Ann}  

Dumpling pouch- {Summer} is one of my favorite pouch pattern around the studio! I keep a few around the sewing basket. One is for storing sewing foot, one is for all the digital chips and cards.  These are just handle to have around

Patchwork Dumpling- {Karen} I always like working with contrasting sewing methods. The previous dumping pouch is machine quilted, but this one is hand-quilted.  What is the difference between two pouches? The hand-quilted pouch is always softer than the machine quilted and extra handmade touch to it.

To keep this a shorter post, you can find and view few more pouches in the shop listings. I hope you've enjoyed today's preview and stay turn for the next and last preview, which is coming up on
tomorrow, April 29th, 10:00a.m. CST

Hope these patchwork handmade piece might be one of the coming up mother's day gift to you love ones. If you like to send out this as a gift to a different address, please let me know in the buyer to seller's box.  All the handmade piece is places in none-toxie glassine paper that custom sewn to fit for each piece.

Tomorrow I shall return to for another full post of last bits and bobs patchwork handmade!



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016

Spring bee!

So many lists got postponed as we took a trip away the city. It was always great to see friends and their new family members. I brought a few little gifts for the kids; a double sided flannel for the newborn baby and a library tote for a little toddler! I didn't get to take photos as I made them the morning before we travelled! Something about gifting handmade gifts to special ones is priceless!

We walked around the downtown; stopped by the bakery and got a dozen of donut holes and a Long John filled with nuts, my absolute fav. of all donuts.   Then we stopped by the vintage store that I loved and found new feedsacks. I would love to find some more of greens or perhaps some browns! I always crossed my fingers before I walk in to the store.  That morning was just a perfect morning to out and about!

This week has been gloomy and rainy! Little sunshine peak in around 4p.m. then right away the clouds moved in then tarted showering again! I have been putting together simple meals for the dinners and was looking for a dish that has varies ingredient in one! My first attempt making a {quiche} this week was a pretty good turn out! I dashed a bit of salt and just grain fresh black pepper for the taste. Um.. I used 2 cups of swiss cheese instead of 1.5 cups. It is so cheesy and tasty! I let it set the full timer then turn off the oven and let it sit for another 8 minutes.  I always have a doubt about the freezer pie crust from the store, so I made the pie crust { 2 cups of flour, 1tsp salt,  2/3 cup plus 1 tsp shortening, 6 tbsp cold water }! No need to bake the pie crust, just fill in all the ingredients! yum!  

As I went along my to-do list; I also crossed off the clean and washed flower pots! I am taking them with me this time! It seems like I have been giving away all our greenery when we move away, but always had wished to bring them with! Our succulent plants are doing so well and so simple to take care! One of the miniature one has gotten 2 inches taller since March and is ready for a bigger pot now! Oh, a trip to nursery soon?!

The little floral appliqué block is finished! This is the last one for the quilt that have been in progress! Well, I thought this quilt would be mostly hand appliqué, but the last patchwork block is mostly paper piecing by machine and by hands. It is so true that the simple design actually is more complex in making! I took a long time to decide what would be the best method to completed the last block. Deciding the last fabric pull was also challenge. Repetitive prints that could bring the pieces cohesively together and indeed the feedsack is a little tricky around the edges for the paper piecing.

Oh, then few irregular errands occur this week. I have no idea that my mind still isn't quiet connected, so let's say one step a day! Spring bee is how I feel like lately; buzz.. buzz.. buzzzz..


Thursday, April 14, 2016


Do you like the little change of the logo that I made? Back in February, I took a graphic design job and worked with an oversea company. After the project was done, I went ahead and work on the quarter inch mark new logo. It took a few weeks and couple pages of sketches. It was surely a fun experiences that conferencing during midnight and getting back to the design jobs.  

Oh, I have lots promises to fill still, but here we go! 

The Light Box: 
It is such an inexpensive spending for me to make this light box! The battery operated light was found in the hardware store and cost around 6 dollars. It has 4 double A battery. I placed it under the placement of the sewing machine then lay on a plastic acrylic sheet {also can be found in the hard ware store}. I keep the space pretty dark and the result is very nice! Shortly after finish tracing. I can put everything back! You can simply find a box that's stable and will work the same! Hope this little tip help out!  

Kale Chip
The newest kale chip batch was the most delicious one that I have had made! Here is a little newest tip that i like to share. Preheat oven at 400; at the time, assumed the Kale has been washed, dry with towel and tear in the smaller pieces. Toss with olive oil and salt. A great way to make sure all the nicely coated is toss them by hands. Place the Kale into the oven the set the timing to 10 minutes. In between time, gently use the spatula stir up the kale. Once the timer comes up, check in the Kale, it needs to be dark green, if still hear the sizzle sound, set another 5 minutes. Then turn the oven off after the last timer setting. I let the kale set in the over for other 5 minutes. So it actually is 20 minutes. 

Plain Scone: 
Still in search! 

It was a much need to make a big tote to carry things around. Something really simple, no pockets and zippers. Sometimes, I just preferred totes without zippers and pockets, since I carried so many little pouches. It seems just nice to bring out the pouch out instead of looking things in the pockets!  I might be the person who carries lots pouches with or maybe you are the same {smile}!  The tote is so simple. it is finished at 18"x16"x 4", just a nice size for me. The first one was made with two side handles,which allows a little privacy and the second one was made with one large cotton swab and I just love how the second one turned out. I added a little extra fancy leather embellishment and hardware on the second tote.  

The long hoard collected County Fair prints {in home decor weight} finally are being used! Both tote was lined with linen without cotton batting. It is super light and perfect for all the pouches and me!  I laughed at myself, why I waited so long? Indeed, I'll make the third one with much similar and simple design! Then I think fourth one... maybe?  

I get a little carry away with life sometimes, but learning to focus and find time for myself. The FW blocks are 81/99 and the challenge for myself is finish all 99 blocks by the end of the month. The last 18 blocks are actually slightly complex compared to 71-80, but I love how I've polished up the machine paper piecing skills and managed to find a great way to approach the not so wasteful precut fabrics! 

Finally, I am getting back to Glitter quilt! Oh.. There are four Y seams to accomplish for one block! I walked away after I made 4 blocks a few months back. It really required perfect cutting and perfect 1/4" seam sewing. I debated if I should order acrylic templates then I did! It has been such helpful tools with perfect cutting and nice dot placement for 1/4" seam. All the blocks turns out pretty nicely together! 

With two new totes, I think I need few more new pouches, what do you think?