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! 


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...


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...


Saturday, July 27, 2019


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...


Thursday, May 30, 2019

It will come..

After a full month of the 9-5 routine, things are gather up together; in a good way! The bus stop is so close to the apartment and I always get off a few stops early, so I could walk home and decompress the day and reflect what could have done better and of course other things that come to mind right after getting of the bus is what to make for the supper and can I make it to bed early today (honestly). 

I guess, holiday is always a treat for full-timers, is it? The long weekend seemed just gone like a swift. Where did all that time go? When I was still staying at home I was able to finish so much, sewing, house working, and running errands. It felt so strange not being able to do so much for the first time and have trouble finding time to just sew during the long weekend. I really would like to catch up the sew along I am doing and mini nine patch quilt that I am working on and few other sewing projects that I have started, but have not be able to task on. 

Over the weekend, I took Sunday morning off from everything else and focus on working the shop listings for the patchwork handmade items that I have been slowly creating. It has been over 3 years since I have decided reopen the handmade items for the shop.

When I first finished up graduate school in 2013, I though I would teach fine art for rest of my life,but teaching in a large classroom setting was not something that I felt comfortable with and I taught 3 years in college setting for fine art students. There was just something that I was not truly connected to.  So, I took time away from teaching after moved away from N.D. 

Of course, I was lost, if I don't teach what can I do? I have had asked myself this questions a lot from the day I graduated from school.  It was hard to find that path after school. Luckily, I was commissioned to make patchwork quilts at the time, word of mouth is magic! That led me into a new path and I was also giving private sewing lesson to local friends' friend and friend on a one-on-one base. It was the path that I was seeing myself going for; making/selling handmade quilts, pouches, and teaching sewing lessons. 

Around March, 2014, I launched quarter inch mark studio. That was the time I have published my very first sewing pattern. The feedback was unbelievable and that really have brought me excitement and encouragements. No one would  really understand what that supports and feedback meant to me and S. Until this day, I still am feeling grateful!

Right around that June, we've decided to settled down in Iowa and found the perfect home for us! It was in a perfect neighborhood area for S to grow and I can start grow roots for the little patchwork studio. Between month of March to August of 2014, it was dramatic months and exhausted. I have had all kind of ideas and anxiety for all the things, but it didn't work out and I have had to start allover. It was not easy, but we managed and moved into our first home! 

It was a perfect home! It really was! We loved it there! After settled in S with new school and lessons.  I started the "talk" with my dear friend Staci for running a sewing studio in  our "living room and kitchen area". It was a perfect space for a table of 6 people and enough of plugs. Staci helped me on checking into all details for running a studio at home and took me to local sewing stores for possible teaching class. The local teaching opportunities didn't turn out, so that was disappointment for sure, but that didn't back me down. I remember that somehow there were things that didn't work out and that "dream" of running a studio fall apart. I fell into real difficult depression time the hardest emotional break down. I still have no ideas how it happened to me, but I was hard! The sewing studio idea was great, but it didn't work out. Maybe the timing was not right? That have led me to questioning myself more and more and that was the true reason I decided to discontinue selling my works. It was hard decision at the time, but it was the decision seemed right to make. 

Moving away Iowa was something that I never though about! Life takes us on roller coaster rides and sometimes we really get tire and frustrated of it, but sometimes it takes on adventure and discover better and meaningful of the life ride. Coming to east coast is the best decision in my life! I probably would not admit it 3 years ago, but I definitely believe it is the best of best move that we've done so far! I wouldn't say that we love New York ( but who doesn't love New York), but after living in Midwest for nearly 18 years, New York is too much for us still this day. 

It has taken me a good 2 years to feel settle in and getting used to the city life pattern; not all that perfect, but there's a lot of changes that made within myself. I've not change a bit who I am, but then change to a better and confident soul in someway and I am taking No so much easy now! Rejections just come easier for me and maybe I am getting older, so it doesn't hurt too much. 

In 2017, I took a leap and started creating sewing patterns. I knew that having an in-house studio is impossible in our small N.Y. apartment and the timing is not right, still. But I do enjoy writing sewing patterns; provide clear instructions in the way how I would taught in person and show every details if I could in the photos. I have had started a few new sewing patterns; unfinished ones in the pattern folders. Then in 2018 I had to leave my little family behind for awhile to be with my family oversea.  

After all the curves in life, I am still holding up my "dream" of running a patchwork studio somewhere this day. I didn't want to give up what I have been working on last 10 years. Getting a full-time job is for the reality, paying the bills and saving up for the studio. Soon S will be leaving the nest that we build together. I knew I probably will have empty nest symptom and I like to prepare for that now.  I am excited to have patchwork items update to shop from now on. 

I will keep on writing. I can't promise weekly posts, but will promise for monthly post.
I will keep on sharing patchworks here because it is important for me. 
I will keep on sewing , maybe not everyday, but I will keep building the dream job that I dream of. 
because I know, it will come.... 

Thank you for being here and all... Years of blog reading, private messages and all. You have really gift this gal a dream to dream on ! 


** You can find all the handmade pouches in the shop. The handmade items will be active from Thursdays to Saturdays. I will deactivate the listings around Saturdays 10a.m. So that will give me time to wrap up the packages and ship them in a timely manner, since I am not able to make it to the post office on the weekdays. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Slow Patchwork

Time has slipped through my fingers since I was last here. I have tried to write an update post in my mind many times, but then when I have a few minutes to sit down all I want is to read and be slice. Today I made my mind to stay home; tidy up the living room, water plants, mop the floor, laundry , iron all the work shirts, and wipe out the dust in the studio and more bits and bobs that have been accumulated.

After coming back from visiting papa who slipped down and broke his backbone the end of the last year. I took another few weeks off from job hunting. The job hunting started in early January, I sent out lots resumes and waited to hear something and of course, nothing was heard. The ongoing searching jobs and submitting resumes taken up lots of energy and time. There were time, that I took time off to sew and write and to give myself a break from the process (thank you for being here). There were time, I had though maybe the phone is not working, so I would text a friend and just to check if the phone is actually work ( and it is working). The job searching process is long and it drains out confidence and brings anxiety.  I knew it wouldn't be easy since I live in a competitive city even job opportunities are widely open.  I keep on trying and keep optimistic about it!

Nothing was heard in February! So that made the month of February very long and gray! I wish it was pink allover, but it was not! I actually was depressed and started have more doubts in myself and of course that inner self conversation began all unhealthy and questionable. I was blessed! Have friends started calling and checking on me and see where I am at with things! Then beginning of March, I took time off from the job search and focus on sewing and positive self-dialog.  It felt pretty encouraging with all the work that I could have done in the studio without distraction and brights me up.

Around mid March, I started getting phone calls and emails for interviews (what????) I know,  they just came all together around the same time. I had numbers of phone interviews and in person interviews. I have had rejections follow up, but more opportunities came along! I felt dizzy after all the roller coster rides.   Right after the last posting, I was invited for a second interview and spent time to prepare for it. I knew I have a good chance and needed to take extra mile on this opportunity. I didn't think the second interview went that well! You know, you just kind of know how it went after met with the directors! But then I received the offering phone call two days later and was hired! It just happened!  So,  I have been working and training last three weeks full-time and yes it takes time to feel myself again! I am just tired and too anxious!

My body is exhausted after getting off the bus from work as I have been getting up at 6a.m.. When I came home, all I want is sit and read a page or two of the book. Make myself a cup of tea. Around 6p.m. put on the apron and start prepare supper and semi-tidy up the space. I tried to reground myself a bit and getting things organized, but mentally I am just not there! I knew it is going to get better and improve as the time goes!

I haven't step in to the studio for three long weeks and totally miss the sewing time and everything. I am thinking I still remember how to sew and cut fabrics, but it requires time to pickup that productive sewing mojo.

Today has been a productive day at home for a long time; cross out to-do lists and getting organized!  The shoulders are feeling lighter as I check off the promises list as well. This is the behind blog life that I am working with and finally feeling comfortable to share with you.

As the weather gets warmer and daylight gets longer, I am hoping to maybe sit and sew a bit in the studio before prepping the supper and I just knew it takes routine and self effort for that, too!

Stay turn!

and Thank you for staying around...