Monday, December 29, 2014

Wintery Pause!

Today it a long post day for me and maybe you! I made two delicious hot coco cups and top with creamy whipped cream then tip top with the special chocolate sprinkles from a dear friend. Actually they are all gone now and the tea kettle is on and there's a plate full of holiday cookies for us.

This time of the year I get homesick lots! Like every other year, I missed dad's birthday celebration  and will miss mom's birthday then the Lunar New Year. The technology has been life saver these days; chatting with Fifi for hours, watching Lucky naps, talking to mom and listening to her little bits of this and that .

When I was little, I remember every winter days mom would cook a huge pot of soup and our family would gather in the kitchen table. We all asked the same questions, what kind of soup for today? Mom always said, It is good for you! We all have the soup before rice and side dishes. The soup likely is some kind of herb soup; bitter and the color is black.  Now I made some for S; bitter and black. I tell her the same thing mom told me, It is good for you!

When we were still lived in N.D. The winter was long and bitter cold. The second year was particular hard for me with schooling, teaching, and mothering. I wished that mom could walk through the "space" to our home; cook for us and just be with us! Homesick is hard! That year, a package arrived after Thanksgiving. It was a surprised package from Monica. I have had not idea who sent the package and guessed with S in the living room for a good 10 minutes. I keep thinking it might be a wrong package because I didn't order the fabric! Then I went ahead and opened the package. Within the package was a beautiful layer cake fabric and a kindly note. Words are still hard to describe the gratitude I have till this day.  The layer cake has been saved for years for the right quilt design!

When I saw Patchwork Tsushin magazine's quilt design. I knew it is the pattern for it! I was quiet nervous cutting down to the charm pack size. I switched to a new blade and slowly cutting. I hope a queen size for this quilt, so I went through the stash and pulled out some fabrics. Still not quiet enough for a queen size quilt at this point, but I am enjoying this patchworking here; extra slow!
More fabrics have been pulled out and await to be iron out and cut. Hope before this winter season ended, I could have it ready!

As the end of the year approaches so soon, I have slowly gather S' 11th birthday quilt fabrics. I hope to surprise her on her birthday this year, which is coming so soon! I am not confident as I used to, but will give it a try! It is all about stars and dreams! I was thinking tiny 1.5"x1.5" finished at 1"x1", but it will probably be the 12th birthday quilt instead.  I always look forward making S' birthday quilt more than any other quilts. It always makes me feel great that I can sew and consider myself a quilter; I could sew for families and help friends sew their memories together. It is a great gift that I have and hope I continue for years to come!

For many years, I used to be an organized person! Then after so many moves and travels, I let go many of that organization skills! It is quiet scary that I realized I have a few items that are triple. They were placed in the different boxes and buried under other items. Last night, I made a commitment to myself to take a wintery pause and hope to get things in orders again! It will be nice that we could look up the labels on the boxes and find the paperwork that we needed or it would be nice that I can pull out S' school pictures when she was asking if she can take a look.  It would be so nice I could go through all the supply boxes and put them in the proper place. I know, there's a lot of serious organizing prepartion around here!

I continue enjoy my part-time job! I met people from different part of the world and share lots stories and feel better each day! There's time that I still feel quiet in between, but it comes and goes! I like to think it is part of the life challenge and will make me a stronger person after all! I still take one step a day and take pause when I need! There are still confidents and such need to catch up and feel great about myself again! I will be taking a long wintery pause from here. I hope not too long, but I don't want to worry you.  I think the pattern can wait a little longer to publish. I hope you can wait for a better and fulfilled me to return to this space again. Yes, that {bands of colors quilt along} will be happening sometimes, my goal is when I can talk clear and feel confident to host the group again!

Meanwhile, you can picture me surrounding with file boxes, picture albums, and acknowledge award cards S collected over the years. Of course, cutting fabric, making chain piecing, piecing the quilt tops, and such! Lots "good for you herb soup" and homemade cooking!

Until then I am taking the pause from here..


Update:  Many of you have asked about the {half triangle quilt}. As I mentioned in the post that the pattern is found from Patchwork Tsushin, a Japanese quilting magazine that I subscribed last year. The pattern was found in the June, 2014 issue. page 63. Due to the legal copy-right issue. I cannot share the pattern in this space ( Sorry, but it is illegal take someone's work and claimed as mine). I did work on my own measurement for the quilt blocks.  Thank you for understanding~

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Wintery mode

 {photo taken by S.J.H}

{photo taken by S.J.H}

 {photo taken by S.J.H.}

 {photo taken by S.J.H}

 {photo take by S.J.H.}

December 25th, 6a.m., there was a sound from the other side of the room then all went to slight again. The next thing I know was a whispered sound, " Mommy, HE was here! Can you get up now?" I replied in the most sleepy sound, " Can I sleep in? just another 10 minutes?" Then she whispered again, " but I really want to go downstair and check, can you come with me?"  Time for me to wake up and go downstair!

The last few days were quiet around here! The most excitement was open presents that have been collected under the tree. Each day, we have few packages arrived from friends and families all we did was placed them under the tree! I didn't take guess on any packages!  I am just all smitten by all the brown packages and the greeting cards that arrived from day to day!

Oh yes! I did manage made Lucky's cape and mailed out! S' robe finished just in time before the last day of school and the stocking was done, but I had made a huge mistake in the rush sewing period of time! I didn't reverse the pattern for the backing stocking, so ended up have two stockings! The robe for S fits perfectly, only the sleeves are longer, but it will allow her another few years to grow into.

Each year, we always try to have simple meals on the 24th, brunch is always a popular pick here! This year, I made French Toasts and lots fresh fruits; mini bites crackers and swiss cheese for the snacks then I had to brew myself a pot of coffee and warm S a cup of milk. It was homey and of course, we had to turn the Christmas tune up before we headed to the grocery store.

We have a cozy time here! Taking the time extra slow and take relax pause extra longer! Our book shelves are heavier after this holiday season! S has been devouring her new books ever since she open the packages.  I, on the other hand is being spoiled by many kind and sweet friends allover the world. Thank you So much for all the handmade goods!

Then the road trip that planned weeks ago was taken right after all the celebration! We miss it, lots! I miss the view of the corn and bean fields. I miss hearing all the observations S has while passing through little towns. I miss driving without hitting much breaks. We missed the corn field being harvest this year, we missed the sunset view during the harvest season, we missed friends that we used to see daily!  However, we were able to catch up a bit during the trip! The corn and bean fields are asleep now! It is so pretty with partly cover with snow now! We let the car windows down and let the cool air in! The smell of the field and cold air was fresh! Oh, the car break didn't get use much throughout the time! It was a smooth and fun drive even it started with foggy outlook. We had great time with our friends; over dose the coffee and over consumed the homemade treats. We watched the sunset on the way home! It was warm and fuzzy! The orange sunset was perfect to end the trip! Slowly we pulled in the city freeway, we knew we are home! We are quiet happy to be home again!

The sewing machine is on again and books are being check out from the local library and downstair library this morning! We are into Wintery mode again! See you soon!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Wintery Living

Are you ready? I am overwhelmed! It has been hard to keep the space organized and it gets crazier, per day! Then I hum.m this song to myself... 

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

I am pleased that S' new robe is finished and packed in the brown box without strings! It is something that I would love her to open up first! It would be a fun gift for her, since she has been giving me lots hints, per night! Yes, per night! I do take her words by heart and knowing this is the priority of making from the list! My shoulders are lighter when crossed off the robe from the list! There are still new stockings to make and the fabrics have been pull out for a few weeks now I still haven't get to them yet!  I decided to bring out stockings that made when I first started sewing, 2007, in case I won't make it on time! Then you know, within the old stockings there are lots little Christmas drawings and cards S wrote to me. The spaceship that she imaged that we would ride together and it has a kitchen and living room and two lovely captains! It made me smile and recalled the old days that we were in ND. 

The winter has been mild and the lawn still is green here! I wish, I wish a snowy holiday season for us! S and I could go on a snow walk and build a snowman together then of course hot coco top with whipped cream always is our favorite drink after all the snowy activities!  With the end of school year, music recitals, and packing/getting small presents; we have finally found time together to sew! S is making a gingerbread house as a gift and I made three ice cream cones tags. Oh, I so want to make {this} and {this}! Maybe during the night movie time? 

This year, the book orders placed quiet late, but hope will be here soon, so I can wrap them up! Oh, I did get a little something for me-self! It is a 2015 {planner}. I am such an old fashion! I love to write down the weekly events and doodle a little! It always tickles me when I revisit the old planners I kept! Do you have planner in your bag that you pull out? 

I was surprised to read S' wish list this year; it is short! The list is quiet simple, books, books, books, books!  I don't have a wish list for this year!  I am thankful and blissful with a cozy home to be and not need to live in our suitcase anymore! A place that we can get clutter, get disorganized, and get comfy! It is a wish came true!  S has already placed a little something for me under the tree and I am not allow to get near by! It will be another great gift, for sure!

Meanwhile, I will still try to get the stockings made, Lucky's cape made, mini pouches made, and cookies made! and keep hum.m.i.n.g.. 

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

We wish you a very merry holiday! Wish you many sewing time, family time, and cookie time! We shall will do the same! I can't wait to share with you the half sandwich quilt in process and many other things; a new pattern {i have been finished and talked for a long time} and the new linen pouches for the {shop}! I shall return to this space before 2015 arrives! 


p.s. {Thank you} for the sweet comments on the {Widow zippered pouches}! It has been fun seeing through your window pouches! Enjoy~

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tutorial: Window Zippered Pouches

Back in the summer, after attended the school open house. The teacher sent a new note home with the supplies that missed out from the list. One of the supplies was a ring binder pencil case. S and I quickly made another trip back to the store and hope to find one. S stood in the school supply section for over an half hour and couldn't find the one that she is satisfied!  Then she tipped her head on the side and looked at me..UMMMM  Then asked me, mommy do you think you can make one from you fabric stash? Without a second though, I replied, OF COURSE! {i was actually hoping and waiting for her to ask me}. On top of my head, I knew that I need the clear vinyl to make the magic!We walked to the fabric section and bough 1/4 yard of clear vinyl.  After return home, I jump right in the studio and started {the project}. I had a few failed to start with, but S loves it! Last month, I worked and improved the pattern again and made/ adjustments on the pattern. I thought it would be great to make lots window pouches for the holiday season as gifts.These window pouches are ready to gift to S' teachers as holiday gift and nieces back home and will be stuffed with all kind of chocolates and fun things!  These are easy to sew up and you could make one in half hour or so!  Let's get start! 

-Sewing machine
-Coordinate thread
-10" nylon zipper
-Medium weight fusible interfacing
-Clear vinyl  {I purchased 1/4 yard of clear vinyl. It will least for a long time if you only use small portion on the projects}
-Linen and Cotton blended fabric {If you use 100% quilting weight cotton, I would recommend to use heavy weight fusible interfacing instead}
-Ironing board
-Rotary Cutter
-Be-Gone pen

Measurements for making one 5.5"x8" Window Zippered Pouch

Cut ------
Linen and Cotton blended Fabric { *indicated as A fabric in the following description}
4 pieces of 1.5"x3"
4 pieces of 1.5"x8"
2 pieces of 5.5"x8"

Medium weight interfacing {* indicated as B fabric in the following description}
4 pieces of 1"x2.5"
4 pieces of 1"x7.5"
2 pieces of 5"x7.5"

Clear Vinyl
1 piece of 3"x6"  { *indicated as C fabric in the following description}

Cotton fabric cut 1.75" x44"
Linen and Cotton blended fabric cut 2.25"x44"

10" nylon zipper

Seam Allowance 
1/4", unless noted!

Prep. Time: Bring all the *A and *B fabrics out then fuse the *B fabrics onto *A fabrics. As you can see, the *A fabric left with 1/4" seam that's unfused.

 Completed all the ironing process for *A and *B fabrics

Use Rotary Cutter and cut one piece of 3"x6" *C fabric for the window. 

 Checking time!!  Do you have all your "fabrics" ready to go before the next step?

Step 1   -Bring two pieces of 1.5"x3" *A fabric out
             -Sandwich the *C between two pieces of *fabric

 Step 2  Lined edges of *A and *together

Step 3 Sew with 1/4" seam allowance

 Step 4  Now, bring the two *A pieces together

 Repeat step for the other side of the *C

 Step 5  Bring two *pieces together then top-stith close to the join edge; repeat for the other end.

Step 6  Bring two pieces of 1.5"x8" *A pieces out; sandwich the *C in between

Step 7  Use sewing pins on the side to stable the 1.5"x3" *A fabrics.  Sew with 1/4" seam allowance; repeat for the other end.

Open both end of the *A pieces.

At this point, the window is framed!

Step 8  Top-stitch along the edge of the 1.5"x3" *A fabric. You will need to flat the edge a little before top-stitch. The edges are getting "thicker" at this point, so you may enlarge your stitch length to make the sewing easier! And you have your "Front" pouch finished!!

Bring the zipper out, we are ready to install zipper onto the "front" piece

 Step 9  Place zipper face down, as shown on the above photo

 Step 10  Line the zipper onto the edge of ONE piece of  1.5"x3" *A fabric

This is what it looks like

 Step 11 Sew the zipper onto the *A fabric

Step 12  This is a tricky step, but follow along...  After attached the zipper onto the *A fabric; "fold" the sewn side of zipper inside of the *A fabric

This is what is looks like!

Step 13  Gentle press with warm iron {no steam} on the zipper and *A fabric, DO NOT  Iron on any part of the *

 Step 14  Now we'll be working on the opposite side of *A fabric that's without zipper

 Step 15 Iron/ fold the 1/4" seam allowance inside of the *A fabric; shown on above photo

Step 16  Bring two ironed *A pieces together; the image shown above is the the opposite side of the from piece ( see the zipper is wrong side?)

Step 17   Sew on the zipper side edge of two ironed *A-1 and *A-2 pieces together. You will need to make sure you have catch/ sew the back *A-2 piece that has been ironed {Front piece window shown above}.

Step 18  Top-stitch along the edge to reinforce the edge { The shown image above is the back of the front window piece. Check you'll get a clean look of the edge; no Raw edge since you have ironed and folded in the raw edge inside}

 Step 19  Bring out two pieces of 5.5"x8" *A fabrics

Step 20 Place the one piece of 5.5"x8" of *fabric that you would like the window look through; Right side up

 Step 21 Place the second 5.5"x8" *A fabric RIGHT side out { It would be the printed side}
Step 22  - Sandwich the three pieces together { Front/window piece, 5.5"x8" A-1 piece that window look throughout, 5.5"x8" A-2 piece that in the back}
                - draw lines cross the zipper
                - Pin layers together

Step 23  Use 1/8" seam allowance sew perimeter of the pouch; it is the idea of baste the layers together, just like sandwich a quilt.

This is the form of the window zippered pouch; we are getting there!

 Step 23  Clip the excess zipper ends; don't use your fabric scissors

Step 24  Making Binding Tape; here are two methods that I'd like to share.

For the Cotton binding tape:

Cut 1.75"x44" fabric strip; fold the strip in half; press with hot iron then bring the two edge of binding tape to the center press with hot iron. Or you can use a bias tape making to do so.

For the Linen and Cotton blended binding tape: 

Cut 2.25"x 44" fabric strip; fold the strip in half; press with hot iron then fold the tape in half again and press with hot iron. When using the linen and cotton blended fabric as binding tape you will notice it is thicker and you'll need to adjust your sewing seam allowance to 2/16" instead of 1/4".

This is the cotton binding tape I made and you can check in and see the folding lines

Step 25 Attach the binding tape onto the zipper pouch. Line the binding tape along with the zippered pouch then sew on the far right side of folding line

Just like making a quilt binding, you make a 90 degree fold on the corners that you sew that would give a nice corner folds!

Step 26  Fold the two ends of the binding tape together then press with fingers to create folding lines

 Step 27 Use Be-Gone pen and drew the folded  line that you create on both side of the binding tape

 -Pin the two pieces together or hold together if you feel more comfortable without a pin

Step 28  After a few attempts that I found if gentle fold the pouch in half way and bring the binding tape out is easier to sew the two ends together or you will need to ripped off the binding tape to give more room to sew two ends together.

 Step 29 Now the binding tape is attached!

Step 30 I used clips to hold the binding tape that I folded in; if you don't have clips don't worry! You'll still fold the binding tape in and can use pins to pin the binding, but be very careful!

Step 31 Sew around the binding tape!  


I hope you enjoy this new tutorial as much as I make/write it! If you are thinking to make a larger size or make a ring binder pencil case. You will use the same method, but enlarge the window size.  I used 2.5" on the *A fabric cuts! You also will need to purchase the hardware to install the holes. You can find these hardware in most of the local craft stores.  I love how the window shows little bits this and that! I am also so happy to share this new tutorial with you during this holiday season! It is a way of my {Thank You} to your time to come here to support and encouragements!


P.S. This is tutorial is for PERSONAL use only and proper credit given is so much appreciated!
P.S.S I need to apologized for another day late! We have had friends here in the city! I spent a very pleasant day with my dear friend yesterday; shop in craft stores, chat about fabrics, and had very delicious lunch together! Then Julie is in town for the holiday shopping, we had Julie's special soup, tasty pound cake{s}, and lots catch up! Oh.. when we got home was late for us. More soon!