Saturday, June 21, 2014


This week we have had a few thunderstorm warnings/watches, so we've paid extra closed attention to the sky changes and weather reports. It is beautiful in most of the days and the animals near by the farmhouse is pretty lovely; lots crickets, birds, and cows "singing".  Indeed, it reminded me of my childhood summers spent in my grandparent's house; in the rural countryside. Where we used to pumping water out from the pumper, walking barefoot in the mud, running like no one is around, picking guavas from the neighbor's backyard, picking sticks making bird houses, playing house with Fifi.  There was a little creek ran by grandparent's house and we used to catch fish, crabs, shrimps there. Oh, I do miss that rural country house that I spent most of my summer time as a child. It has been great that S is able to experience the summer in the farmland and take her time to enjoy the outdoor.

Do you remember your very first quilt? Um, my very first "colored" quilt was made in 2007 summer. You might need to stand 3 feet away from the screen to view this quilt, it is not a perfectly made quilt. Back in 2007, I made a few red and white mother goose quilts then slowly I started purchased remnant fabrics from one of the quilt shop. You know back then, I didn't know how to read a quilt pattern or wanted to spend money buying quilt patterns. I simply just want to make a quilt and I did! I cut the small fabric collection that collected from the store and the thrift stores.  I think at the time, I was thinking a simple patchwork square quilt. Each square was cut into 2.5"x2.5" then sewn together in strips. Um.. then I quilted by myself without any knowledge of HOW to do it. I used the poly type of  batting;very stretchy because I didn't know about cotton batting at the time. The quilt top shifted during the quilting process, so did the backing piece. Few of the quilting lines are missed! It was machine binding and lots spot got missed, so there are repeat sewing lines on the binding. This quilt has been using to cover the seat in the back of the vehicle ever since then.  We loved how this quilt travel with us from place to place. I'd say it started looking like a quilt that passing down from family after years of wash and uses.

So, the stash that I pulled out for S' birthday quilt is ready! I have decided to go with another design. It will be a simple quilt for S to cuddle up then trying to make the quilt complex for her. She is starting loving things simple and maybe anything from this mama is great and will be loved! Yes, it is another over though quilt in my head for her.

Our thrift found lately have been fun! Last year before we moved away from ND. I decided to give up lots of the vintage sheets. Then when we go on thrift hunt this summer it is hard to pass by completed set and good condition vintage sheets. There are a few sets that I saved for bedding and a few sets for sewing.  It would be lovely to discover more this summer!

The sampler finished this week and I did the happy dance around here. I've started looking at some other patterns already, but haven't decided on the pattern. I do need to finish the "welcome" piece still, maybe next week.  It has been a nice project around here.  Do you have any idea how to frame it? I have been thinking using old picture frame for it. It might be easier than trying to have it custom frame.

I've been going through the fabric stash and reorganize them in colors. There are few prints are repeated; I must really liked the repeated pieces. It is nice to tidy up the space a little and getting ready for S' quilt cut, piece, and quilt! I've added a few more garment patterns into my notebook. I am so inspired by Kerry's aka {verykerryberry} garments making and all the lovely patterns that she uses. I might sew like an owl again very soon!

This weekending has been quiet around here. This morning, I have accomplished a few tasks around here. This afternoon will be sorting fabric, watching movie, drinking coffee, and making banana cream pie here. May you have a wonderful weekending, my friends~


Monday, June 16, 2014

June Summer Days

Come on in, my friends... Yes, you've landed in {quarter inch mark}! In case you wondered, no sewing? no fabric here. I've taking a little sewing time off last two weeks. Do you cross stitch? I've just started it over this past weekending. I've always though I'd pick up stitching again and there was never a good timing to do so. Years ago, I used to make embroidered dish towels and sale them in the {shop} and local stores. At the time, there was not budget for fabric, sewing supplies, nor able to afford a sewing machine. I loved how DMC thread cost was inexpensive and the dish towels were were affortable in the local hardware store. Later on, as everything started running for us, I started patchworking, sewing, and stashing fabric. From time to time, I still embroider from S' drawings, but just skip the idea of making embroidered dish towels anymore.

This past weekending with helps from our dear friend, S and I learned how to count and cross stitching. It already became a loved "stitching" activity around here! For years, I've fancy a cross stitch sampler on a wall space and a little greeting sign "welcome" somewhere closed to the entry way. You know all the simple touches around the home.  While most of the sewing material are still packed up; start cross stitching has been a great for me. While S reads books I could sit by her quietly and work on the sampler. Indeed, I've missed count on two alphabets, can you tell?

June Summer has been pleasant in many ways. The weather has comfortable all week long until the summer storms arrived. The windows were open up during the days and the lights shine into the house each morning and bring much new energies to us! Our summer schedule has been running nicely daily; without much hiccup times between S and I. We have both agreed to manage this break like a summer camp. Beginning of the summer, we sat down and set a schedule for activities that we like to take part in. We each set small goals for what we like to accomplish before school starts for S this late summer. It seems like the older S gets the less detour we take!

I have started the next quilt last week. Indeed, it is S' belated Birthday quilt that I have postponed! She has been waiting nicely and perhaps will let this mama take her all the time she needs to dig in the fabric stashes. I did manage pull out 30 different prints, but haven't get the chance to finalized the fabrics that got pulled out. Indeed I have been procrastinating over the weekending about the pattern that I designed; allowed me to keep this quilt pattern unreveal for now. I am afraid I'll change it again in next few days.

For the second quilt idea is the quilt from Patchwork Tsushine June edition {the left quilt} in the photo. The scrappy quilt is always fun and personal! It will be for the living room space and probably will be cuddle up during the Friday movie nights. I'd say, it is going to be a quilt that will be use up the most once it is made and ready to be loved! I plan on a queen size, so we each can get a corner for the quilt.  I've start pulling fabric out as well, mainly blues, greens, yellows, and a little fuchsia.
Kona white would be the white for the sashing and adding some solid colors to cortinate some of busy prints.

While everything start falling together. I started to bake again! Yes, these scones are gone now! They are much appreciated here! The next sweet dish is {banana cream pie}! Have I mentioned that we missed the apple pie making last Fall, but I think a cool sweet dish for the June summer will make it up! The pie crust will be extra thicker, since we love it so much. I'll share with you how the pie turn out next time!

Oh, I have been keeping this secret for so long! Back in one May day morning, I received a phone call from the local Button Design committee. After a 5 minutes conversation, I was still surprised S won the Button contest. She spent a few nights to make the drawing. When she first received the design paper we did brainstorming together then off she hid herself in the room! The night before the submission date, S proudly presented her drawing to me and did you see herself portrait in the drawing? hint: the girl in blue shirt . Then follow that she had an interview from the local newspaper! This mama is very proud! Indeed so proud! Her drawing has been printed on the buttons for sale now. I will need to purchase some and send them to friends and families soon!

Onto the {mini quilt along}, we just finished our week 8 last Friday. We are getting closed to wrapped up our mini quilt along! It has been truly an amazing experiences to share and meet many quilters/sewers. I've wished that I could spend more time in the day to catch up all the blocks in the pool. Each day,  there are new blocks being upload in the pool and I am loving seeing so many ideas and colors every week! This fall, I plan on hosting another mini quilt along with a little twist. The plan has not been finalized, but I will start working on the details during the summer.  

The limited edition zippered pouches for the {shop}  has been updated. For the new pouches, I used one piece cloth to keep the large scale print and added the leather for the embellishment on the side of the pouch then added the copper domed rivets to make simple touch. I love how these prints turn out great with the zipper pouches. If you are looking for some simple style pouches you can find them in the {shop} now~

I can't really describe this summer cold that we've been fighting. It needs to end sooner or later for us. This caughting seems not quiet ready to leave us. I am not sure what to drink or eat to stop the late night sleep caught. I've been hearing S from the next door caught during the middle of the night and I am getting up to get water as well. Maybe another week will be better!

{THANK YOU} for all the sweet comment on {Fifi's quilt}. I will share your comments with her once she opens the box.  The package is still traveling since she hasn't mentioned to me it arrived this morning. Did I mentioned, I made Lucky, the pup two new patchwork mats? I didn't get the chance to take photos. Um, I'll ask Fifi to take photos while Lucky is on them.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Fifi's quilt

Last night  Over the weekending , I sewn up the drawstring bag for Fifi's quilt. I used {French Seam Style Drawstring Bag} from the {tutorial} I wrote awhile back. Then stored the quilt in the drawstring bag last nightThe quilt is almost ready for her journey over pacific ocean and I hope  The package has been shipped this morning and on its way over the pacific ocean. Next week, sometimes will landed and delivered to Fifi. We did let her know there's a package coming to her soon, but she has not idea what's the contents { shhhh.... don't let the cat out of bag}.

After finished the photograph last week, I debated on if I should writing a short post or a long post due to the terrible summer cold that I have been fighting over a week now. This summer cold seems never going away, I made a few more days pause and thinking if I make it long where should I start? If I make it short, what should I included in the post on the fabric information,etc.  Um, then I work up this morning tried so hard to clear my throat and keep this awful caught down before wake up S. After a few hours this morning to myself and sitting quietly in the kitchen table sipping through the lemon water; I am feeling much better. My mind seems functioning again and recall stories between me and Fifi is running like flash cards. Then I knew, that I actually want to write a long post and also included all the fabric information about this quilt.  So, my tea cup is filled with fresh made tea and you might want to get a cup of nice tea/coffee before start this reading...

How we met? 
It is not so tricky! Fifi and I met in October 14, 1978 sometimes that afternoon {my birthday}. She just turned 5 that summer and a pretty cute toddler. Fifi is the oldest kid in the family, so she is "trained" to be helpful! She probably didn't know what her mama was going to have; a baby boy or a baby girl. Dad was on the business trip to Hong-Kong, so he didn't make it to the labor room that day. Fifi was with other aunts waiting outside the labor room and waiting for her second siblings to be to be born.  I am not sure if she was excited to have another sibling, but for sure he/she was coming not matter what!

Toddler Years
Since Fifi and I are almost 5 years apart. You can pictured us being less connected when we were toddlers/ kids in many ways. When I was in kindergarden she was almost graduated from the elementary school. We spent some fun time in Grandpa's house as little kids. Of course, she didn't mind me much, since most cousins are closed to her age. I was always a mama's babe. Indeed, it was great, but she got in trouble more so. She was expected to be the good model between siblings and asked to take care of her sister and brother when she was little.  We still didn't have much in common in the toddler years.

Having an older sister in the teen age years are the BEST! We finally were closed as we were started to changed in many ways. Last summer, we had so much talks about how our teen weekends spent. Fifi and I got so closed when I was in 6th grade and she was in high school. On many Sundays, We would rode our bikes from our home to the city, where fun shops were. The bike ride was almost one hour per one way then we spent so much time in the shops getting little things like stickers, cute socks, cute notepads, cute stationary, kawaii wash cloth, etc. We always stop by a beverage shop and older the same drink, peanut butter milk drink to the end of our Sunday adventure.

Most of the weekdays, Fifi studied in school till 10p.m. for the national college examinations. It was a very important exam that everyone took at the time. It determined which college you can go or some people would take a real job after high school.  When she was in the 12 grade, we rarely hang out anymore. When the time she arrived home, I was mostly in bedtime. On the weekends, she had to go to school for more studies.  

When Fifi decided to go to America to study. We, the family were shocked by her decision. Perhaps the study environment at the time was high volume pressure. We didn't know why she decided to leave home, but our parents respected her decision and helped her to go oversea. That time in high school was boring for me! After Fifi left home, we started to write to each other from time to time. Internet wasn't popular in the 90's back home. International phone call was so expensive at the time. I was always in school when she called home. Slowly, we were on two sides of the balance again. Summer time when she visited home, she was always busy and I had a gang of friends that I hang out with. A long summer vacation always went quick for both of us. I always work on some summer part-time job in the city. Her school always started early than we did then it was time for her to pack up to return to school. I knew I will see her again next summer, but each time when she left it felt really lonely again even we didn't get to hang out much. Her bedroom was dark again!

One year together 
Before graduated from high school, my parents asked me if I'd be interested to go to America study. I wasn't sure! It felt like so far away from home and not able to see my friends ever again. But, after all then thoughts and talks. I decided to give it a one-year try. So in 1997, Fifi and I spent a whole year together. Oh.... NO! We were probably THE worse sisters ever! Somehow the chemistry didn't work so well together that year! Now, I think back! I felt that she needed to be there for me all time, since I just came to this new country and she is the only person I knew! We travelled within U.S., but we didn't travel well! I've always wanted to go one way, but she was more interested in to go the other way. You know, we never didn't come to the same agreement in that whole year. But she still is the best sister that I could ask for! She cooked for me on every weekending that whole year, since I was so sick from all the new food and lost so much weight.

Little S
Seeing your sister in the labor room is a very powerful moment and memory in life. I could never forget Fifi's tears when she saw me giving birth to S.  Since the labor went so quick with little S. I was able to walk that afternoon, but I also hurt my back during the labor time. Doctor asked me to rest and not bend my back for a month long. Then of course, there's a new born baby to take care of.  So I looked at Fifi and asked her if she can come home to bath S. I fully trust her gentle and sweet to baby S.  So for the first month of S' birth,  Fifi made her lunch break trip home everyday to bath S. I felt sorry that S always cried on the second month when I bath her. I never know WHY! Maybe there's always water on her face? oh dear...

Last Ten Years
Since S was born between Fifi and us are very closed! She is the person I go to when there's something that I am frustrated. She is the person S go to when S and mama got confliced. She has a lot of wisdoms as an older sister, a friend, and S' aunt, almost another mother to her. Fifi is lovely, but she also has powerful thoughts! Well, at that moment, we will try to stand 5 feet away from her until she is cool again! Years ago, as a younger mother, I always asked Fifi what should I do? There's always something that I felt she would do it wiser and better when it comes when the challenge from S.

Fifi always supports me in many of ideas of my handmade works. She still uses the pouch that I made her 10 years ago. It is ripped on the seams, but she still used it because it was made by me for her. Each time, I talked and shared with her my new work she always listen and give me her two cents.

No to mentioned, the well care that she gives to Lucky, the pup! After S adopted Lucky we realized it would so hard to have him here with us. Fifi takes over the job and take care of Lucky. Lucky is really "lucky" he gets full attention from Fifi and he even gets on scooter rides when Fifi gets errands to run in the city.

The quilt 
Back in February,  my Skype message pop up, " What to get for the 40th birthday?"  I replied, " a diamond weight 40 c." Fifi replied, " How big of my hand need to be?". I replied " oh, well".  Last year before we travelled back home. I knew I wanted to make Fifi a quilt for the big birthday, but it got postpone. I knew the "Single Girl Pattern" is the one that I want to make her, but with lack of idea in fabric selection I just stopped!  Then I narrow down fabric selection is going to be 30's reproduction fabric and then later on added various solid to break down the colors.  I am really happy about how this quilt turns out and you know this is my Third single girl quilt. I made one for  {S' 9th birthday} last year and made { roommate quilt} for myself to match S'.  I hope Fifi will love this birthday quilt and cuddle it up with her when she misses us.

I am blessed to have a sister who will always by my side. No matter what decisions I made and she will always be there while people come and go in my life. She will always be in my heart; cry with me and listen to me even thought is midnight in her time and she sounded so sleepy. Ever since high school, I am often being called, "the older sister". Since my body gesture is much alike mom side's family and Fifi is much alike dad's family and I am much taller than she is! When I was much younger, I didn't like that being called OLD, but for last two years. I started to enjoy being the "older" sister.

Fifi W. 

Happy 40th Birthday! 
We really LOVE you! 


Quilt Information: 
Quilt Pattern: Single Girl Quilt Pattern by Denyse Schmidt
Quilting: Used Long-arm quilting machine by me
Fabric Selection: Mainly used 30's reproduction fabric and added Kona solid fabric to break down colors.
Batting: 100% Cotton Batting
Binding: Scrappy Binding, cut in 2.5" wide
Photograph: By me; location: Alta, Iowa