Wednesday, March 22, 2017

On the days of Handmade Gifts

Hello!  Happy Spring! 

Spring has slowly arrive here! I haven't seen flowers blooming in the neighborhood, but seeing people with lighter weight jackets on them for sure shows the change of the season. It has been nice to have window open from time to time, fresh air!

These days, I have been getting the workroom organized! Rearrange the workroom a little bit 
{moved the book shelves, moved around sewing books, moved sewing table to face off the window, moved every sewing containers, and ordered a super sturdy coat rack as the one we had collapse one night during dinner time and it was scary as no one in the workroom, you know...ha}!  It has been a better space to work , better lighting and much functional as previously the space is filled with containers and thing that I tried to hide. Now the light is coming from a different direction and much comfortable during the afternoon hours.

I have been sewing many gifts lately! You probably don't know that I am a slow holiday gift maker. Time always runs shorter during the holidays, birthdays, and special days for me! Even though I have notes overall the planner for myself during these special times. It seems that I am late, always!

These days, I try to make gifts when I can! When there is a free afternoon and a Sunday morning,  I try to get few ideas down and start working on. Likely I spent an hour or longer pulling out fabrics then work around with colors and do a little adding and subtracting on the fabrics. No doubt that would be the one afternoon for me. So, the holiday gift making is not working well for me. Then I turn around thinking maybe sending gifts do not need to be birthdays or holiday times. It could be anytime, just like little care package to warm and surprised someone!

It has taken me a few weeks to prepare a small package for my dear friend. I wish to make something  that she can enjoy and things that would be useful for her. It actually is hard to sew gifts for someone who also sew!

I couldn't think of a better bag for her, so I made her a {Travel Outbound Bag}, as she travels often to visit her families and overseas. I used {Astuko Matsuyama} fabrics since we shared our love with Astuko Matsuyama fabrics, one of my favorite Japanese textile designer and hers as well. I used vintage floral trim and linen tape for the bag to added and given extra elegance. For the inner panels, I used linen/cotton blended print that have saved for years. It just seem a perfect print for the bag. Also made a leather full to accompany the bag.  It turns out just really nice and sweet! Now, I want to keep it! {smile}

Also, I knew she just had her studio reorganized! It is so neat and organized as she shared with me. I though a mini patchwork quilt would be so sweet to add to her studio wall. I used four patchwork blocks from the {mini patchwork sample pattern} and hand quilted throughout the mini.  I kept the fabric usages more vintage, retro, and used lots small scale prints. Now, I hope she likes it!

There is a scrappy style hot pad holder for her kitchen, since she cooks and I do, too!  I also made a few hot pad holders for myself. Tea is something that I love/enjoy and hope she'll take some times to sip a cup of tea while she has a moment. Oh! Yes, no wrapping paper for me to wrap gifts. I try to keep wrapping minimal whenever I can.  Likely wrapped gifts with one or two sheets of tissue papers then a hand writing card will be set on top.

Meanwhile, I am also preparing another set of gifts for another friend. I made a scrappy style patchwork zippered pouch; pattern can be found {here}. We shared love of scrappy style patchwork for sure!  I also made a Travel Outbound Bag for her!  I'll show and tell for later post as I think it would be different story to share in a separate post.

I have been adding more to make list these days. Mother's Day is coming and I would love to make it on time for mama as oversea post is always taken a good two weeks period. I am guessing if I made an outbound bag for my mama she might try to travel outbound to see us?  fingers crossed!

The blueberry pie that made from the magazine was delicious! I made two in a week! The first one was made with the the equal amount of ingredients from the book, but it was too sweet, so second one was cut down on sugar and blueberry usage, which turned out just perfect!

Most of you probably have made {Lasagna} in your kitchen. A few weeks ago, I have made a Lasagna dish for first time ever, it turned out really tasty! It taken 3 hours to make it, I know it sounded really crazy with the timing.  While lived in Iowa, I have watched my friends made a few times in their kitchen, but never try on my own.  

The hearty chicken noodle soup was served one night and plus following night. The good broth was made from turkey bones, chicken bones, cut off vegetable skins, and onion heads that have saved in the freezer.  mmm.. have you try? It is the best broth ever! I always let it boil for a good half hour then turn the heat to low for another good 2 hours. During the cold days, the apartment is filled in that good familiar smells. Rice crispy is long gone before I could get a second. Few more ingredients added to the grocery list since a Lemon Chiffon cake and a Pound Cake are calling my name. Also a request for another chicken pot pie for dinner. Indeed, I've been homesick and this time is my Iowa family-friends and the land! It feels good that I could make these food to remind us, the time and life we were there and still there by heart!

{About Ocean Wave quilt in Scrappy style}
Awwee... Thank you for tagging me and the kindly responds in the {post}! I've enjoyed seeing your ocean wave lately! It is really one of kind, in your fabric choices and colors! I have set the quilt top aside and getting ready to piece the quilt backing, something bold and versatile to compromise the quilt top.

{About Handmade patch-works}
It has been a year since I discontinued selling my handmade patch-works via Etsy Shop. I have been receiving emails over this past year and asking if I'd reconsider listing my works in the shop. I am afraid that I am not able to offer my works now. My move to the city have had big and small impacts to the life. I have only been working on small scale customer orders behind the scenes as it seems work well with time, space, and everything else. If I ever do again, I'll for sure let you know! Thank you for kindly asking as always!

{A Sidewalk Pouch} 
Thank you for your enthusiastic and supports on {A Sidewalk Pouch Sewing Pattern and Kits}! Some of the kits have been sold out and have a few in the shop. It is surely a different pouch making approach and lots small details go into the little palm size pouch!  I hope you enjoy and love it!




Friday, March 17, 2017

A Sidewalk Pouch Sewing Pattern+ Sewing Kits

Hello! Today I am excited to introduce my newest pattern {A Sidewalk Pouch} and limited sewing kits. Also share the story of the pattern and ideas with you.  

Many moons back as a new sewer. I first learned to sew by two hands; a single needle and a spool of thread. I wasn't sure if it was just a fun sewing course for me to passing time or something I'd felt in love with, and you all know that I felt big LOVE with patchwork many moons later.  I vivid remember the patchwork course I took was offered in four lessons (one month) and it was during hot summer month; one day a week and I could pick any day of the week and time, afternoon only.  

During sewing lessons, I learned to draft my own patterns and edited as I made mock ups and designs.  While the teacher was available at the time, I was able to ask questions and make improvements. {A Sidewalk Pouch} was the first few patterns that I learned to draft and sew. It didn't have a name at the time, it was a {pouch}.  

Over the years, I have used this pattern over and over and love the patchwork edition the most and have made many, many. This is a tiny pouch, just about a hand palm size and it fits just perfect on the side of any totes. So, {A Sidewalk Pouch} is just a perfect name for it. 

{A Sidewalk Pouch} was originally designed for fully hand sewing only, but over the time I have 
modified the pattern with partly hand sewing and partly machine stitching. This pouch making is for someone with zero sewing skills, just like how I started it. I'd say this pattern is a skill builder pouch that allows the maker to do simple patchworking, learn how to attach bias binding and learn to hand installing the zipper. 

It seemed and sounded scary installing zipper by hands, but it is not! Within this pattern, there are step by step photos to walk you through each sewing step. There are clear illustrations to guild you through the how to make the pouch and tips along.  

{A Sidewalk Pouch Pattern} is one of a kind sewing pattern that allows more hands on sewing experiences and learn to sew in a traditional method. This pouch is perfect for sewing for swaps, gifts, and I have use it for store my USB drives, sewing foots, small spool of threads, and perfect for small storage pouch. You'll LOVE it!! 

{A Sidewalk Pouch Sewing Pattern} 
- The pattern comes with 23 pages in PDF formate. 
- The pattern supported with colored photos and hand drawn illustration to guild through the process. 
- It is perfect for small scraps project. 
- There are two patchwork sizes for the patchwork panels. 
  a. Penny Patchwork, finished 1" square
  b. Tiny   Patchwork , finished 0.75" square 
- The pouch finished at 4"x5"x1", on fold. 

If you love to make this pouch, you can find the pattern via my {Etsy Shop} and {Craftsy Store}. 

I have also prepared limited {sewing kits} to purchase. I have curated prints for each kits to be one of a kind. These are versatile prints that have been collected over the time and are truly special. Once the sewing kits are sold out will not be restock as I like to keep them limited and special. 

Oakland Gardens-
Curated varies pinks, corals, burgundy for this kit. The yellow added nice contrast within this warm color palette.  To finish the pouch, selected the brown and white gingham as binding print and gives a elegant touch.

Sewing Kits are available {here}

Poppy Seeds- 
Curated varies yellows, mustard yellows, daffodil yellows, lemon yellows, etc for this kit. The floral brown print give a nice contrast within this cheerful color palette.  To finish the pouch, selected the floral brown gingham as binding print that added fresh and classic look. 

Sewing Kits are available {here}

Ocean Wave- 
Curated varies blues, aqua, small floral prints, whimsical prints, and Robin egg blue, etc for this kit.  To finish the pouch, selected the fine charcoal gingham as binding print that gives a delight finish. 

Sewing Kits are available {here}

Coney Island-
Curated with versatile prints that reminded me so much of cotton candy. This mixed and matched print pouch is so playful. To finish the pouch, selected fine linen cloth for the binding to finish up the sweet look. 

Sewing Kits are available {here}  Sold Out

Bear M.  (In Tiny patchwork style). This patchwork panel square finished 0.75" square.

Selected a wide range of yellows, browns, tans for this kit. I have only prepared one Bear M. sewing kit as it is unlike my patchwork with versatile prints selection and using varies colors/ prints for patchwork making. I love how simple and elegant this pouch turn out in using varies color range.

Sewing Kits are available {here}  Sold Out

Green Hopper  (In Tiny patchwork style). This patchwork panel square finished 0.75" square.

Selected a wide range of greens, yellows, and pink for this kit. I have only prepared one Green Hopper sewing kit as it is unlike my patchwork with versatile prints selection and using varies colors/ prints for patchwork making. I love how simple, fresh, and almost pixel like of this pouch turn out in using varies color range.

Sewing Kits are available {here}

{More Sewing Kits talk...}

{A Sidewalk Pouch Sewing Kit} comes with everything you will need to make one pouch.
It comes with...

-  40 assorted square prints for making Penny Patchwork panel/ 84 assorted square prints for making Tiny patchwork panel
- a zakka style zipper
- 35" length long bias binding
- 5"x12" Pellon 987F Fusible Fleec
- one fat sixteenth (9"x11") fabric (lining)

Thank you again for reading through {A Sidewalk Pouch Sewing Pattern} review post.



Friday, March 3, 2017

Ocean Wave Quilt in Scrappy Style + quick tutorial

It surely feels great when the last seam allowance was press and quilt top carefully iron out before fold up for photo day! This quilt might had been the quilt that I spent most hours and making good square trimmings. Gosh, it is ready to being quilted, any day now!  I also wrote a quick tutorial for you, if you would like to make one! 

There are total of 30 large Patchwork Blocks to make this quilt top. So the layout is 5x6. It is a closed to a queen size quilt and barely fit to the living room floor here.    

I chose using versatile and bold prints for the darker value prints; 80% of the prints are used from {Suzuko Koseki} prints, one of my favorite Japanese textile designer. The other 20% of the prints are used from last bit of older prints that have saved from years of sewing and also added a few new prints that I purchased earlier this year.

For the low value prints, I used 50% of Kona Snow (from Robert Kaufman) and low value prints that has smaller scale prints on. So, it gives some nice contrast as a whole.

The challengs of making this quilt I'd say were the time, patience, and determination. 

Time: This quilt started August 2016, but really started cutting and making efforts of making was last October. When the weather was cooler and I was able to stay time in the workroom for longer hours. Soon after that, it became a Snow Day project! It was just that perfect for the Snow Day, slow process. I was able to keep on sewing and making more HSTs during snow days.

Patience:  In the earlier quilting years, it seemed so important to start a quilt on the weekend and finish it on following weekend. Oh, it was surely fun and lots sacrifices, too! Lack of sleeps because I was young, quick dinner meals because mama has to get back to finish the quilt and poorly assemble/sewing jobs after all, live and learn!

This quilt really made me to take time to process every little step of making. Carefully cutting squares (good squares), accurate 1/4" seam allowance sewing ( it is very important if it calls that for seam allowance), HSTs (half square triangles) trimming is so time consuming (good trimming brings happy dance when it comes assembling). Matching seam allowance sewing ( for nice nice triangles outlook).

I preferred making small amount of cutting at a time for making a quilt, so I won't overwhelmed myself. I also do step by step job; cutting in one day, sewing in one day, pressing seams in one day, trimming in one day. Assembling in another day. It makes easier for me and allows me to work on other projects as well.

Determination:  This is probably the most challenge aspect in quilting for me over the years! That result many W.I.P ( work in progress) quilts, unfinished quilt tops, distract to new directions then end with many fabrics that might not work for the new projects over the time.

When I first started the idea of making an ocean wave quilt, just a few block to start with. I didn't plan on if I'd make a full version of it. I actually had plan on making a mini quilt instead. Then I though if I scale up wouldn't that be so fun? I knew the challenges that I mentioned (time, patience, determination) would come to me. Then I started to organized how can I make the quilt without feeling overwhelmed.  I planned once a week I would work on this quilt and little by little the time it will come together; step by step.

I wasn't going to give up making this quilt, but maybe impatience towards to the end; honest talk!

The assembling came really quick and probably is another favorite step in quilting for me. Especially when the seams are nicely match together!

I stopped working on the sewing when it is time ( dinner time, rest time, off accuracy moments). I took finished Patchwork Blocks to the ironing board then start press seams in the back. Sometimes, I have 3 large Patchwork Blocks finished for the day, sometimes 5, and sometimes just one! Never too little to call for a good accomplishment for the day!

The most pretty and surprise of the quilt is the pixelate look for the entire quilt. The versatile colors and the low values are nicely pieced together!

The last 7 Large Patchwork Blocks were harder to finish up. I ran out HSTs, a few hundred of them. Then I stepped away for a few weeks before started pulling out fabrics and repeated cutting, sewing, trimming, and pressing. I found good joy for the repetitive making process because it will be a worth all after it is all put together and use!

Unlike the other Ocean Wave Quilt that used flipped corners, I went with squares and HSTs process. Which means extra time and extra steps, but wroth every bit of that! 

Here is a quick and simple tutorial for you! You can decided on the color themes, making a big or small quilt. A mini quilt sounds really good to make! I'd make four patchwork units for a mini quilt, so that finished at 16"x16", fairly nice size for a quilt.  

You can download the quick tutorial images from the blog post and print it out!

If you make one, please tag me over on Instagram. I love see your scrappy style ocean wave quilt!