Saturday, January 4, 2020

Hello









Hello! Happy New Year!

Christmas was slow for us, I got a bad cold and couldn't really taste anything, but made the effort to cook the breakfast, opened presents, and prepared lightly dinner for everyone. Although, I was mostly blowing my nose and caught, caught, caught and felt my body weighted over a ton, but the cold is over now ( thank goodness).  S loved her gifts that she found under the tree. Just like every year, she would get up extra early in the morning and still excited about opening gifts. I secretly hope when she moves on in her adulthood she would still be home for the Christmas and watch same Christmas movies over and over.

I actually couldn't wait for December, 31st to come sooner, I thought that I would stay till midnight, just like everyone else, cheering for the new decade, but the truth is I was asleep by 11:30 p.m.  I knew the phone was buzzing with all the Happy New Year texts, but I couldn't open my eyes or even made the effort to reach out to the phone. I was out, completely, from the cold, busy at work, and the new neighbor noises. That was probably the best snooze for the longest time! But yet, I was up by 6 a.m. The body alarm was set; even I tried to go back to the cozy and warm bed. 
Oh.. but here we are into a new decade.

So, the staycation started for me! I have had all the things plan out that I like to work on.  The tree has been put away, I carefully stored away the ornaments. I love friends who sent their handmade ornaments and cards in the mail every year. I appreciated them not forgetting about me, since I have been busy in life and hardly able to do much.  I miss the old days when S and I crafted in our little dinning table and she would make extra ornaments for selling during the holiday time. I miss Julie who got the tree for us in October 2007 and gifted us ornaments every year. It was a memory lane drive for me.

While the washer was running in the kitchen, I started cutting more penny square for the quilt.  The quilt is slow slow slow in process.  I plan on finish all the nine patch blocks before adding them together, so the colors can be balance as a whole. This is going to be a big quilt, a queen size.  I love the colors, cream background and contrast with floral prints, only. It is an intentional idea. I knew that in the past I used to use much modern vibrate colors. But for this quilt, the mix-match backgrounds with nice floral prints that I have been saved for years just seem special to me; time to let these prints shine! 

I am feeling so rest with the self-time, the most needed self time. I used to be home alone a lot, but things just have changed. After four years of city life; I have semi-adapted the lifestyle, but the inner me, is so not! I have not been to a real fabric store for a long time! The store that with lots quilts hang on the walls, ladies that walking in the store with handful of fabric bolts, fat quarters and they are talking in quilting languages. Oh, I hope my quilting language still fluent since it has been awhile!

On my last trip oversea, I bought some Hakka floral prints. My dear friend Erin has always talked about these prints. So when we met last time, we spent all day in Taipei, DiHua District.  I got some prints and though making them into drawstring bags for her would be nice. Erin and I met when we were 16, she has always though that she was a year older than me, then years later, maybe after college. We found out that we were 4 months part. I was born in the Fall, so I was held a year back before entering elementary school; yes, so not fair! Because I was always the older kid in the class at the time.  I will put these drawstring bags in the mail for her, so just in time for her lunar new year travel.

When all the sewing bits and bobs are happening in the studio. The kitchen stove was busy, too. I made another big pot of chicken broth and chicken pot pie last night. I always love to saved up the roasted chicken from bone to skin. These are the best ingredients for the homemade chicken soup.  A dozen of the Blueberry Lemon Muffins for the Saturday morning can't go wrong!  Tomorrow I plan on making a pound cake, so we have some breakfast for the next few days.

For this year, I feel the need for staying authentic and original. I would like to make time for myself, so I could be more fulfilled. I would like to go back where I was before cook and prepare fresh food for the family, so we can dine out less ( Life gets out of control when it is busy). I would also hope that things calm down a bit more as we are settled in more now. These are simple goals, but somewhat the it gets challenge to enforce these in life.  I stay positively about the challenges and changes and I cried when there is frustrations, but after all it is all going to work out!

Meanwhile, for the last two days off, I shall use most of it! Sewing, cooking and a bit of movie watching before Monday arrives!

Wish you the best new year!

xxc










Saturday, November 30, 2019

Around the corners
















I just had a small piece of apple pie at 6 a.m. this morning. It was a cold slice of apple pie, not very sweet and the crust still is lovely and flakey enough. The coffee maker has brewed me a good 6 cups of coffee to least me a full day; awake and ongoing. As I was waiting for the fresh brew coffee, I took out the roasted chicken that I made for Thanksgiving dinner and deboned it. The chicken bones will go into a big pot for making the chicken noodle soup broth and half of the meat will share with a chicken pot pie.  I tried to be creative! 

Hello! 

How are you doing? I tried to keep things going on a smooth flow and trying not to rush all. I see things different and calmly and believe that would have to do with the maturity and growth in a better life perspective this year.

In October, I have had another birthday (it comes every year, you know);  the first year in the round of forty I did pretty well, I didn't get held back to be 39 (ha); pass the probation and entered second year of forty. I can't tell you how much I am enjoy this lifetime of mine! Nothing is real a big deal, but learning the acceptance of life and feeling grateful and cherish life and being able to be with love ones. Have a steady job that I clock in and out and not to mention that my job fulfills my days and it is meaningful.

I was spoiled by having a blueberry chiffon cake and a dine out at a fun Korean restaurant. I do miss and wish having time to bake the birthday cake, but with the lack of time and energy now. Things just got crazier in real life and we tended to go for easy and outsourcing for what could be done quicker. S drew me a very sweet birthday card as always! I have keep them in my safes, where all these drawings and things she made for me over the years. I am still touched by the words that she had in the card.  Finally it is really the light shine in our life that she is slow settled in this crazy costal life. I am sure once the time has come that she will fly out the safe nest with her strong wings to places that she wants to be and go. Now, I still got some work to do; more training on her independence and decision makings. Parenting is never ending, but I am doing alright as far as I know of; we can talk like adult and debate on things and it is alright that we don't agree from each other every time.

It was probably the end of October, when Fifi was telling me that mama is unwell. Mama have had some infection on her leg and caused some swollen, redness, and pain. It was uncleared to me since everyone described mama's symptoms differently; and the trouble is that she refused to be seen by the doctors that she didn't know and postpone her office visit. Finally, she was taken to the hospital for outpatient visit. Thank goodness, it was not too late to treat the cellulitis, doc said it almost life threatening if she came in another few days late. It was hard for me not being able to be there! I was like a mad chicken trying to figure it out things on the other side of the world.  I soon checked at my PTO hours and realized by the second week of November I would have 7 days PTO, plus two weekends that means a total of 11 days.  I was planning to use this time to take S on a mini vacation, but I just felt strongly to travel to see mama. Soon, I booked the oversea ticket.

On the Wednesday of second week of November,  I left work half an hour early and came home to finalized the last bit of packing. I knew I wasn't going to be gone for a very long time, but I tried to be sure the apartment is decent clean before I left.  I boarded a midnight flight and it was over a 16 hours straight flight; for the first time that I felt that home is so far away. I was anxious, maybe. I watched six movies and had three cups of coffee. Oh, I didn't bother to sleep; the girl who sat next to me twisted too much and it was not comfortable. I can't blame on her, the seat is small and we all were exhausted and trying to get to our destinations.

When I landed, it was five a.m. there; after pick up the luggage, I got on the airport shuttle train to the speedy train station; on the way there stopped by 7-11 to get a rice ball and a cup of coffee. I was lucky and hopped on the 7:15 train to my hometown and it has had been over 24 hours since I closed my eyes for rest.

Mama is doing much better, her leg where the infection caused has a large dark marking on the skin. We sat down to chat on the first afternoon I arrived, along with papa.  My parents always are happy that I am home to be with them even though for a short time visit.  I know I have been giving these unconditional loves from them ever since and it is my time to return these to them.

I've gone to the open market to get fresh grocery for our hot pot dinner on the first Saturday I arrived. My brother's little family came, so we all can see each other and chat. We ate for the longest hot pot dinner time! We literally devoured a whole cabbage and more food! It was always fun to see them and just listen to nieces talking about schools, that reminded me how my S does at home!  I have had few breakfast dates ( It is always been special time) with papa and coffee time with mama. Fifi and I took our nieces out for breakfast date, so we get to hear the girls talk more.

The one week visit went so quick, I really didn't have much time to do much nor sleep.  My brother took me to the train station on the second Saturday;  I headed to another city to visit my bestie from college, it has been another few years we seen each other. She is still the same her; funny and kept me laughing so hard. We were trying to staying up the night to chat, but seriously; we are both just too old to do so! The following day, I headed to Taipei to visit Erin my childhood friend; we've always trying to see each other when I am there or she came to NYC.  She was diagnosed with rare cancer when she was in her early 30's and she is staying strong ever since. 

Oh, the trip was packed with visits and chats and families! I am feeling settled with mama and papa's health; they are taking care of each other. It feels like yesterday they were still young with all the strengths and energies, and now they are carrying sliver hairs and wrinkles faces. They walk much slower and take their time for everything in no rush! I miss being with them and began to consider a future moving back home to be with them when the right time comes.

Every time, when I travelled away, I see my S grew a bit older! My little family picked me up at the airport and it was a Sunday late night. Everyone was starving! We headed to a late night restaurant before headed back to the apartment. Then we unboxed all the gifts from the families; it felt Christmas came early for us! I went back to work the Tuesday after I returned.

Every since I returned from the trip, I have been in a strange sleep hours and exhausted from not being able to sleep at the right hours. By 4p.m. I feel like I could use a good sleep to catch up all the sleeps that I missed and it has been 2 weeks now.  I have been trying to fix the irregular hours of sleep ever since and it gotten worse. Oh, I just need to relax about this, right!

After the unexpected trip this year,  I am ready to settled in for awhile now! Today is a busy cooking day;  chicken noodle soup and a chicken pot pie for the upcoming week.  And the annually carmel corns making. It will be the first weekend that we don't need to travel anywhere in a long time! I miss being homebody a lot more than you think.

I know, I haven't talk about the patchworking. It hasn't been all very exciting! It would sounded an excused for not having time to sew, but it is so true! I now understand and hear all of you who have a full time job and trying to be passionate about the patchworking. It is really challenge some of the days.  The studio has lightly layered with dust since my last visit and few fabric bundles that came in last few months still stay unopen and the penny square cuts are still waiting to be put together. I have not come up with a resolution on how I can manage to sew daily and making it into a commitment.  Eventually it will all work out!  Crossed fingers for some weekending sewings now on!

Thank you for another great year here; you've come here from time to time and read about this life and all. I really wish I could write and share more bits and bobs, but sometimes I am trapped in real life events; the good kind and some days might be not the highlights, but it helps me grow.

Before I take off here, wish you have a happy holiday season with families and friends!  I will see you in 2020. I promise sharing good patchworking and you know my S is turning 16 next February. I am trying very hard to start the 16th birthday quilt here and also a mini holiday celebration.

Until then...

xxc













Sunday, September 15, 2019

End of Summer



















This time of the year, almost is the most perfect timing for everything; baking, sewing, walking, finding... and more. School is officially in session and my S starts 10th grade this year! She is switching classes and trying to find out clubs and other adventures in her sophomore year in high school; sometimes it is hard for me to believe that she is on her way out in just a few years and somethings I have wonder and question myself, if I have prepared her for that soon to come independence, but I know there will take few trial and error at the beginning, aren't we all started that way?

Fall is almost here (yay), I can literally feel it in the mornings. The bus stop where I wait for bus in the mornings has an acorn tree and it is starting drop off some acorns from the tree and the morning sun is softer than the summer heat. The crickets are singing pretty hard these days and for all that last bit of summer signs is slowly taking over by the Fall.

I so love the morning dimmer light that came in the bedroom these days, and thank goodness the a/c is finally off! The apartment is no longer rate in the high 80's when we got home and I finally can make decent meals without sweat like a athlete who just ran for half marathon.  It feels so good...

While the heat in the apartment remained, I washed all the summer quilts and put on new quilts for the Fall, too soon? I think I am just so anxious to get the Fall back. I can't tell you how much I love some of the older quilts that I made in my very beginning of quilting journey. For some reason, I just love the darker values of the quilt and the look of "old" in some sense. It probably doesn't make any sense to any of you, but these older quilts made me feel so cozy. It is start making this city home a bit of ours now.  Especially when the contentment is finally falling together.

Oh, it did take some time for me to settle down, isn't it?

Today, we are all home, finally! I made the morning walk to local groceries; get our sandwich meat in one store and milk in the other store. They are both in the walking distance, which I love. I stopped by the donut store and bough two chocolate glazed with sprinkles on top. The last time I have had donuts was probably beginning of the year, but no donut tastes like in Storm Lake, Iowa. I really miss donut holes and long johns filled with nuts on top and the walks in the downtown area.

Oh, weekend is too short now as work days take away much of energy and time. There is always home bits and bobs to pick up, but it is slowly became routines and I have found this life routines finally working out well instead of struggling.  I still have wish to come to write more, but it is not as easy as I wish.  There's always time that I really want to share with you of a store or two, but then when the time I could really sit down to write, I can vaguely remember what were the stories, oh dear.

**Penny Square Patchwork Zippered Pouch is in the shop.
Until then...

xxc


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Mid-Summer



















It's hard to believe that summer is half way through and back to school supply is in the shelves already. The last two weeks of June were mostly stormy and rainy I kind of like that and thought I need to find a pair of rain boots at least, so I won't need to wear wet shoes and socks at work. Then July came along, the heatwave was just unbearable. The apartment felt like a 375 degree oven temperature and we all have been roasted at some point. We hid inside and tried to feel "cool", but the heat that absorbed from the rooftop made the cool air from the a/c never reach to the comfortable point; anyway it was terrible. I really am not a fan of summer after all~

But, hey how are you doing? It has been busy for me, new job, new tasks, new workflow, and new routines. It is not as easy as I though with the new job, there's a lot to pick up and things to learn and I felt slower for getting all that new knowledge into head this time, but thank to all the supportive people at work that I can finally say that I am doing well.

It is hard to believe that we have been moved to NY a little over three years now. Beginning of this year, we started talking about finding a place to buy and settle down, but a plan is a plan. Buy a place will be postpone for now. Then we have had many talks over the table and car rides about finding a new apartment and move away the one we are in now might be an option?! After all the math and reality facts, we decided to stay put for another year or two for now. The place is closer to S' school and my work now, so we don't  really need to commute far away for school and work. It seems a disappointment for not getting a place of our own, but relief of not need to pack and move so soon at the same time.

I have been updating a few things around the apartment and for us; getting a bigger bed for S, finally after her first twin bed from Grand Forks and it is about time. Updated window curtains,  as the living room is facing the west; it is terrible place to be in the summer. Then I found a sale stoneware cooking pot as the older has a crack on one side's handle, but I still keep it for our soup making day and new a kettle for tea time; and finally new bath towels. That things we kept using over the years are really need an update. I also have been working through boxes that still unopened from the last move and hope to declutter more. But summer makes everything slower than usual.

My sewing time is slow, it has been hard to find time to sit in the studio and sew, even on the weekends. as I am always catching up the house chores. laundry, cleaning, mopping floor, grocery shopping, all that necessaries. By the time, I am done with all the necessaries, I want to sit and read and maybe watch a slow film and drink iced tea.  I see the change in myself a last few months, I am feel all that hurry, but go with the flow and all. Especially I found that I really like to sew when no one is around these days. The quietness, the freedom and the self-time. Last week, I just committed myself to sit and sew for 30 minutes a day before everyone gets around and it really work out well. I continue working on the nine-patchwork quilt and the quilt blocks are coming together nicely. I knew that I could have it done quicker, but working slowly with patchwork is so rewarding these days. Just me and the fabric. I can not wait still for the new quilt top finish, but it won't be quick this time. 

We have been taking short trips this summer, just to get away the city life. We tried rafting for the first time and also zip-ling. It is such excitement for us! We kind of paddling through the rafts and soaking up all the summer heat at the same time. Exhausted, but really loving all the greens that Pennsylvania has. It really has been awhile since we try new things... let's say more adventures events.

I am finally home alone for the first time this week just for a few hours, moment of quietness.  Thank you for all the kinds and support comments from the last post and placing orders from the shop. Thank you for the encouragements and kindness. I really am not sure where this journey will take me now, but for now all is good!

Tomorrow I will be making a cheese cake for S, since it has been awhile since I really cook or bake this summer; just try to avoid adding more heat to the apartment. This is one of the biggest reason we want to move, the unbearable indoor summer heat.  While the cake sits in the oven, I will be in the studio sewing and cutting up more squares. Maybe you can join me for the sewing time... 

until then...

xc