Thursday, October 29, 2015

Almost Winter...

It feels so cold this whole week here! It is still wet and cold! We pulled out the woolie blanket and comforter  beginning of the week, but still cold! There's always a say that Winter arrives on the day of Halloween here, and I hope it will not come till later the year. I would like more warm and sunny days and more days that I could spend sometimes outdoor. Let me keep my toes crossed for all the good sunny days!

After a year moved in our home, my eyes aren't as sharp as when we first moved in, but I did make a few notes on things that could be improved and updated as I noticed. Finally, this week is the week that I have most of them done! New ceiling fan in the bedroom that provided some room light, finally. New freshly painted laundry room where no more ugly stains and sad wall space and where I hung a little patchwork piece on the wall, just because! Then finally some counter stools arrives for our kitchen and you know this is the moment that I have asked myself why I waited so long to purchased the stools. Oh, I could have a little house warming party anytime now! Who is coming?

I have had a very lovely birthday! A sweet and far away package arrived from a dear friend. There was a little tweet bird she made, a handmade birthday card, and a really sweet vintage apron. Oh, I tried it on, but it is too precious for me to wear it everyday when I cook. The birthday cake was made by S, without any help from me. It was so nervous hearing all the sounds from upstair and try to figure out what she was trying to do; Oh, relax mom! That's the last sentence before I heard the oven sound beeping. It was a delicious cake! The icing is just sweet! Maybe had two cups of sugar instead of one? I might over dose the cake, since I was the one ate the most of it. yum!

Oh this year's birthday, I purchased a floor lamp for the studio. It is such a needed purchase, but I wasn't sure if I should get it, but I talked to myself, "I need a new light and yes, I should get it!" After visited three hardware stores, finally found the one match the space {68"tall instead 72"}!

The only lighting in the studio is located in the center of the ceiling, however it was behind the station where I sit and sew. It didn't provided any good lighting during the night time. I have been using the machine light and a table light for sewing. It is quiet hard to do all from limited light sources at nights. I am already satisfy with this gift to myself. It will help out with the incoming winter days when the studio is gloomy and dark. Then I ordered a few fabric prints that I have been thinking about. These fabric prints are probably a few years old, but I love some older prints that still available.

While some house projects being crossed off. I've started a {new project}. I decided to rearrange the fabric stashes like how the fabric shops do. I am not sure how the stash arrangements would turn out, but I am hoping it would give more options for storage space and maybe a better set up. It will be so nice to have a new look in the studio space. Oh, let's see how this projects turns out in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, I made little patchwork pieces to keep my hands busy and gave myself some time to sit down and really just some self time. I can't tell you how fulfilled I am lately! Taking another step forward to being another year older! It is actually great and quiet awesome at the same time!
For the new year, I wish myself to be courageous like I was in my 20's, early 30's, but add a little wise and compassion elements to that. oh, indeed extra cheers to myself!

I really would like to {Thank you} for all the lovely comments on S' birthday quilt! Somehow, I had a though to keep the quilt up on the wall. I am quiet proud for finish up the quilt still! and you know S is quiet happy, still! She is quiet funny, always! Sometime, growing up could be painful because not always goes the way that she likes, but it is what life learning is all about!

Meanwhile, we'll keep learning and keep us busy... to the end.. all is good and all is well!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Stella Joy

It seems like the day has been shorten by hours rather by minutes.  I am not sure how time fleet away from my clock, but it did! I feel slightly uncertain about sharing this quilt every time when I am in front of the computer. When I take a pause of my writing, I ended up erase all. So, today I am going to take a time ship down to the memory lane again and wondered if you'd join me for this birthday quilt that I made for S' 11th birthday...

Every year right around this time of the year, I've always careful paying attention to the the conversation between S and I. I rarely ask her "what do you want for your birthday quilt?" I tried to listen to her words or maybe some moments that we shared in our drive to music classes, times at home or just something that she is into. You know I take it in my head and think how could I transferred something like that into a quilt. Um...

We have always loving and wowing the Fall season's sunset here in the Midwest. You need to see it before you believed in my words. Around late 6p.m. the sky turns into the warm yellow, orange, then at the far end of the sky is slightly blue. By 7p.m., you see merely bit of orange, yellow, and then the sky is almost in a shade of dark blue and maybe a bit of turquoise/orange. We talked so much about the pretty of sunset and somehow one night; it clicked into my head. The 11th birthday idea landed my head and you know I was overly excited because birthday month were a few month away!

After collected, cut, and sorted the prints for the birthday quilt, I aimed to finish the birthday quilt in 2 weeks, but it actually took me 11 months to finish and your probably didn't know that I almost walked away from making this birthday quilt.  S and I had a serious conflicts right after her birthday. I had no idea how she started behaved difficultly for me or maybe I was not paying closer attention on the changes that she made during the time? I had to step away from this quilt making and was so mad at myself and on top of my head was all about how could I fix this. I didn't want to have any regrets and it was the right decision to leave it along and come back later.

Our trip helped out and relax our relationship! The intense and the anger between us have quit melt down after a summer long time together with families and of course lots Lucky time. We talked about the right choices of how we live, how we appreciate each other, how we want to be respect and wish others do so, and how we gain trust from someone we love. Maybe there were moments that she can't wait to be so growing up and I on the other hand was holding that tied and wasn't ready for it.

Slowly we learned to slow down, spend time together and listen to each others'  words, not just hear the words from our own mouth, but listen to each other!  We started some weekend activities, somewhere we could walk around and enjoy! It was hard to start the early weekend walk, but we are really loving it now!  S talks more than I do now and most of the time I listen close up what she is trying to tell me; there are worries, maybe unfairness, and giggle moments at school.  I often shared a bit of my childhood schooling time with her and we compared how my days and hers together! She loves my talks sometimes; as long is not picking up your room; collect your books from the floor,etc.

I made a self-commitment after the summer trips;  finish up the birthday quilt was the priority. I tried work on four 36 patchwork blocks a day then needed 56 in total. You know, it felt mission impossible!  It was hard to finish because my quilt math wrong! I had intended to make a throw size quilt, but ended up to a closed queen-size , but I will be so honest with you. I actully am so glad that I got bad math skill for this quilt. It will be perfect for a Full-size mattress that S will be getting next year! win-win?! 

It seems like I am no longer produce quilts in a fast speed. The slow and steady making time have really been working out so much better than trying to jump right in and finish up in no time.  I preferred iron open seams for each blocks and preferred spend 2 hours the most on one quilt, but likely more hours than that have spent.

When all the blocks sewn together and pressed into a quilt top, I was so fulfilled! Indeed, there were lots of my mind went with this quilt the same time I made this quilt. It feels like this promise didn't break down, but slightly delay. It always feels that it is the best gift I could make for S. I know it is not true, but somehow it always does to me. My heart sings when the gifting time comes closer!

However, it gets harder to make the quilt for S now.  She will be happy with any thing I made for her, but see I always want to be different from the last one and surprise her! You will see me getting excited very soon with the 12th birthday quilt!  I love seeing each year the birthday quilt coming together! There will always be some interruptions for making the quilt on time, but it will always turns out fine to the end.

For the quilt backing, it was simply paper-pieced with S' name and middle name and the year. It turns out really simple and is so S! Perhaps a bit skylight looks from my original sketch only I switched the dark backing colors to low value prints.  There were near 10 yards of fabric for the backing! I ordered the 108"wide print, which saved a bit cost on the backing.

I had wished to send this quilt for long-arm quilting, but it always feels so great to finish the quilt from the beginning to the end by myself. It was quilted by my little machine and took a good two days (5 hours each day). The quilting pattern was puzzle, which is nothing fancy, but it work out well.

To accompany the quilt, I made two pillowcases. I know I had to spoiled S this year! It seems just so approirate to have something newish for her! You know that I have had spilled the bean out when the quilt top was done and S was already giggled about this quilt. When the day, I hung the quilt on the wall for photo shooting and ready to gift to S, I pictured that jumping so hard!  She did jump so hard in her room and hugged me so tied and told me, "Mommy you made my room to a blue room! I finally have a blue room!" You know that moment all that struggles and challenges that I have had were just really nothing! Then she talked about the new birthday quilt for next few weeks and show it to her cousins via Skype and felt proud of the quilt. She keeps telling me that I am the BEST mom in the whole wide world that afternoon. I do hope the Best Mom stays very a long time, no just one afternoon length time!

There will always time that we get so mad at each other, but it is reality of our life surround from each other. We disagreed from each other and will also learn from each other small to big! These time will always be challenging, but it will bring the goodness indeed! Oh.. motherhood is something that I learn from the day one that S arrived! and....

It is always,  priceless!

birthday quilts from


Hope soon, I'll be adding up 2016 on this list...


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Handmade quilt for Sasaki

Over the years, I have made many baby quilts for friends and some babies are growing into toddlers now. I always am smitten when I see their photos from time to time! It makes me feel special that the quilt became their favorite blankie to play hide and seek with.

While visiting Japan this summer, my friend Saki shared her big news. Saki is expecting a baby any day now! I wanted to make the baby a quilt while I was oversea, but with all the activities I have had I have to wait to make the quilt after return home in states! After all settling in the new schedules, I finally started this baby quilt and committed myself on finish it before September {I made it!}

I was thinking a really simple pattern and a fresh look for the quilt. Nine patch block is my all time favorite block pattern. It provides some fun and possibilities for the quilt layout! Within this baby quilt, there are 26 Minny Muu prints. Each print is really sweet and cute! I can't help not to tell you it is a really cute collection that I started to recollect again a year ago. I like how small of the each print's scale; small and sweet. It is great for any patchworking and not miss out some details in the cutting.

There are different tone of blues, greens, and yellows are being used in this quilt.  It is so cheerful! The rainbow over the clouds are my favorites and the ladybugs are quiet sweet! To bring out some of the soft/ pastel yellow, I used three off-white prints for the blocks and sashing. The major sashing print is from Doe collection and it comes with 108"; great size for the quilt backing {used this for S' birthday quilt backing.}

Like every baby quilt I hand-quilted, so it helped soften the batting. I didn't want to make so many quilting lines in this quilt, so it keeps the quilt loose a little and soft as well. I still like and love using the traditional basting method for hand-quilting quilts. It helps me to work through the entire quilt without taking pins off. For the binding, I used gingham in black and white to finish up the quilt.

The quilt label is written in konji character. It means mother and son safe! It feels so great to have this quilt made and posted! Soon, it will arrive the baby's home and possible the baby has arrived; as the due date was last weekend!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Once in awhile...

Once in awhile, I get into something fun then don't stop very soon. Likely I keep going on and on until I get bored with it, but likely it rarely happens! It probably has been 5 years, since I bake bread at home. The oven we had in N.D. student housing was 30 degree higher than the actual setting; I purchased an oven thermos for it and that helped for awhile; the oven was very old, so it really quickly burn everything I put in even with a thermos.  After moved in our home, with the trust worthy new oven I really think it is time to make some bread again! I remember the smell of bread from the oven especially in the Fall season and bread sticks are the favorite here! It is really just regular flour mixing and spare butter on the dough and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

With all the cool air here, I am just so attempting  to make all the bread selections from the cookbook! The Danish Bread is my next wanted to make bread. It is closed to croissant, but in a loaf form; outside brush with some honey when the bread is cool off. It is really tasty with all the butter in the dough; lots folding and cooling then repeat! I am waiting for a day that's so cold to make it, so I could sip the tea as I roll the dough then run upstair and sew a little then get downstair to roll the dough again; repeat!

I can't wait to share with you all my accomplishments from the last post. I have cross-off many lists from my to-do list! It feels really really great! I also made a very big decision two weeks ago and the result has made me so relief and positive {paying off student loan is quiet awesome,right and I do feel so poor, but rich at the same time}.

My little celebration was spending time in the studio; feeling great and positive about next step and maybe a bit future! I went through patchwork block box and sorted them into piles then bring out what I could accomplish now and set others aside. All the scrappy log cabin blocks have put together as a mini quilt. Oh dear, I really love how it turns out! There's lots colors that so contrast together and quiet interesting as well!  The scrappy mini will be hand-quilt and will list the mini quilt in the {shop}!

I also have been busy gather #mysmallworldqal part 4 fabrics. The part 4 isn't too complex compared to last three parts, but there are still pinwheels need to be fancy on and the houses to build on. I keep the houses pretty simple in fabric choices, but got fancier with all the other elements. My biggest challenging is still choosing prints. I keep not repeating the same print twice/triple and have used so many long saved prints for this project. It makes me really nervous when I cut into some of the prints that I've been saved for ages; especially the fat quarters. I hope I am not the only one feeling so...

This Monday, Two of the love/care packages have sent to oversea. One package is contained a baby quilt {will share soon} for a dear friend and another package is for mom! It is not her birthday or holiday seasons. However, every year before/in October, I managed to send a little something for her; it has been either a handmade scarf, a mini pouch, or store bough gifts, etc. It is my apprication to her for giving birth and nourished me. Some years, when I got so so busy I wrote her cards in the mail and called her for Happy Birthday, even though its mine! She loves that and so do I! This year, I prepared a store bough gift for her and have just called her and let her know a package is on its way to her! I know, she will be expecting this package from now on and worried if the package got lost... But you know,  it will be a happy mail for her. That made me think of my happy mail; fabrics that came to me! We all need some love and care package once in awhile! I think that really brings some smiles to someone's day.

Hey you know, my accomplishments are not quiet finish; a good studio pick up means going through all the piles of fabric pulls and all the clutter! The studio is quiet clean and organized once again! I found not just one missing print, but three! I won't be asking S all the time, have you seen my prints? Did you take it? Where did I set it? All the frustration self talks? um.. that would be me for the particular print that I can't find. Then big relief sound.. oh, it is here, but I've looked?

The orange peel blocks are done! I made 12 of them and they are hand-appliqued on 100% linen. It is a little stretch, but I marked the guild lines to sew on. Oh, it is far to be perfect, since I hand drawn the templates onto freezer paper and hand cut them. Each peel's curves is a little off, so could I say it is quiet "organic" in the form. So many prints are really my favorites! A few prints are really gone from my stash, but it makes me smile that I could get them into this patchwork for a special friend. I'll be busy to get them all sewn together and hand-quilt it and will be reveal after its send and receive, may I?

My goodness, such a long post of you! I will be sharing the baby quilt soon and Of course S' birthday quilt is given and loved! All the photos are taken and need a bit bright up, since the lighting has been well lately.  Meanwhile, I will be busy for the month of October and getting as many handmade items ready to list in the {shop} soon! I am excited about some new works that I have been slowly put together and hope you'll enjoy them as well!

Thank you again for all the participations on the {Good Neighbors fabric post}. I will announce the winner the the {post} later in the week.