Friday, April 11, 2014

JJ's Garden Surprise

After a week of rain, one afternoon, JJ showed me something she found in the yard next to a stepping stone.  It was a sunflower seed with a tiny root.  We planted it in a plastic cup.  Slowly but surely, it grows.  I guess we will always wonder where the seed came from.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Gift of Life

Scarlet Runner Beans
Right before school ended last year, for the science unit, Ms. W let each student plant a scarlet runner bean (see how big those beans are?).  Soon, JJ came home with a 5" tall plant in a foam cup.  She was so thrilled to have her very own plant that she watered and watched the plant grow every day.  As the plant grew taller, it started to become floppy.  With my help, JJ transferred it to a terracotta pot with stakes (...well, they were really space filler pieces from an IKEA shelve packaging, disposable chopsticks, garbage bag ties and long rubber bands). 
Sitting on the kitchen windowsill, the bean plant flourished.  It was funny to see the vines tended to cling to the window to kiss the sun.  Then, we spotted the white and yellow bean blossoms, though most just withered after a few days.  Just when we thought nothing else would grow out of this plant, JJ went into the kitchen one afternoon and squealed with delight.  Without fanfare, a slightly curved oblong bean pot had been quietly forming.  By the time JJ picked it, the pod was almost as long as her palm.  Curiously, when JJ opened the pod, she found the bean inside to be creamy white, instead of scarlet, like its mother plant.  We planted the white bean a few weeks ago and found it sprouted this morning (exactly a year after the mother plant was planted)!  Life just keeps on giving.  Isn't it a beautiful thing?

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Box Shape Wooden Handle Tote

Sewing this tote was a piece of cake.  I attached the ruffle for added interests.  (I feel lightheaded when staring at this bright orange longer than 10 seconds...).  However, I procrastinated on cutting the dowel to size for the handles for months.  Earlier this week, I finally had enough motivation to look into my husband's tool box and found the hacksaw to do the job.  After a little sanding, and a few stitches, the handles were attached.
When I was in high school, mom got me two totes of this kind, one white, one burgundy, to carry my heavy text books to and from school.  They were perfect because of their wide bag bottoms and wide openings. They stood well on the floor, too.
Making this tote sure brought back memories.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Peek A Boo Pouch

This is a fun pouch to make.  I love when it is filled with goodies inside and expended, the contrasting fabric peeks out.  Reminds me of a chubby dumpling.  I made the boxed corners 1/2" deeper than usual.  It's perfect for holding makeup (the compact could sit at the bottom so there's no worry of it popping open).  However, the spaciousness does not allow the pouch to need room to expend...  I had to stuff 2 skeins of yarn in there to force the pouch to pop up its belly.  Perhaps my next peek a boo project would be another pouch with no boxed corner.
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Friday, January 24, 2014

Tutorial: Pattern Tracing--New Trick

In my October Aha!--Pattern Tracing Options post in 2011, I mentioned about using the clear folder as pattern tracing plastic.  Well, that worked for me...mostly.  With tracing the pattern onto the plastic using permanent marker, I still needed to write pattern information on the plastic.  Although the marker has the word "permanent", the ink did not stay well.  After just one use, some of the writing would rob off.  If I had a bad day, the ink would stain my hands, too.  Then, I would need to wash my hands before handling the fabric and rewrite the pattern info. yet again.  Not fun.

So, just a few days ago, I went through this whole routine of pattern tracing, my hand got stained as expected.  I looked at the plastic and thought, there's got to be a better way.  Then, a light bulb went on!  Here is my solution:

Picture 1: New solution on the left (pattern B) vs. the old way (pattern A)
Picture 2: (old way) Tracing with permanent marker with ink robbed off.  (steps taken: trace, cut, write pattern info.)
Picture 3: (new and fast way)
You'd need: your pattern, plastic sheet, masking tape or painter's tape and a pair of scissors
a) I use painter's tape (loop it so it works as double-sided tape) to secure the pattern on the back of the plastic sheet.
b) Then cut both the plastic and the paper pattern at the same time following the pattern outline.
c) Remove the double-sided tape and secure both layers (cut plastic and paper pattern) with masking or painter's tape around the outline.

Now, you have a sturdy pattern piece with all the pattern info.!  The seam allowance wheel works smoothly with the plastic pattern, too!   Best of all, your hands and fabric stay clean!!
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tutorial: DIY Cinnamon Christmas Scrub

Thanks to Pinterest, I have been reading about how others created their own beauty products.  From mineral make up, lotion bars, to lip balm, you name it.  Feeling inspired, I started making my own concoction of facial/body scrubs.  My first one was a disaster.  The mixture of nutmeg, honey and some other ingredient was so runny that I thought my face was falling off.  (scary huh, good thing that no one saw me...) And there was the lemon honey sugar scrub.  Nah, too citrus for me (though there was only 1 table spoon of lemon juice in that big old jar).
After a few experiments, I went back to the pantry and grab a few of my favorite things.  It was simple, yet everything I hoped for.  If I love it, then I think it's gift worthy.

Here's how I make my Cinnamon Christmas Scrub:

1 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp grape seed oil

Mix well and spoon into a jar.  Tie a ribbon or add a label to finish it off.  I tied my gift tag with a piece of thin elastic.

The grape seed oil has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, and is fairly light.
Honey has antioxidants as well as antibacterial properties.
Cinnamon has anti-bacterial properties and smells great!

Note: this post is featured here.
Made By You Monday
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Black and Orange Fun

Remember my last year's Halloween post about lugging a big pumpkin home?  Well, it happened again this year!
JJ's class had a fun contest of guessing how many seeds are in the pumpkin.  After some seriously calculation (my hats off to the parent who actually counted every single seed), it came to 869.  JJ's prediction of 1,020 came to be the closest number and won this year's big pumpkin!  I could not believe JJ's luck.  And my poor arms started weeping silently, foreseeing their fate in a few hours, shaking from carrying this pumpkin home.   You should have seen the look of relief on other parents' faces when they found out that JJ was the winner, for it is a BIG pumpkin alright.  One of the parents teased: "I want to take a picture of you carrying that baby home this afternoon!"  
This year, I still had wimpy arms, but I did have a smart and kind friend.  Mrs. O came to the rescue and let me borrow her cart!  She saved my day!!  We came home with the pumpkin all cleaned and carved, ready for tonight.  How good is that!?  Now, I could smile.  Thank you, Mrs. O!!
top center: my hero, Mrs. O & JJ.  mid center: pumpkin from pumpkin patch; bottom left: Mrs. O's mini pumpkins with Cuties and celeries. 

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Friday, October 25, 2013

iPhone Pouch

I made an iPhone pouch the other day though I DO NOT own an iPhone.  Originally, I wanted to send it to Michelle, but then I found out that she does not have an iPhone, either.  Debating whether I should open an Esty shop just for this...humm.

Also featured HereMade By You Monday
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Starting A Collection?

Just not long ago, I was gifted with a cute mug from auntie Shu-jen.  For some reason, I thought the chick looked awfully familiar.  Then, JJ exclaimed: "Mom, I have the same chick!" and showed me her cute Piyo Piyo chick piggy bank (back of the picture) from uncle T.  They now sit together on our display shelf, keeping each other company.  Love the vibrant colors and the adorable eyes.  The thought of collecting Piyo Piyo crossed my mind for a second.  Then I quickly scratched it off my head.  I, for one, know too well the price one needs to pay for a collection--the time, the attention, the money, the space...etc.  Nah, let's just keep these two and make sure they don't multiply.
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Girl Who Likes Blue

Kayla likes the color blue.  For her bday, I wanted to make her something blue.
 Kayla Bag is based on this tutorial.  I enlarged the pattern by 2 inches on each side, added an inside pocket, and a pocket on the back of the bag.  
Blue the fish keychain was based on Faith's sketch of Kayla's betta fish, Blue.  The big eyes were where I spent the most time on.  The circle stencils were very tricky to cut since they were so itty bitty.  It took me several tries before I was able to get perfect circles.  My eyes almost fell out from the tedious work.  It's now clipped on the Kayla bag.
Have a blessed year, Kayla!  Happy birthday!
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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

JJ's Loose Teeth & Teeth Pouch

Within 3 weeks, JJ lost 2 baby teeth!  Both during dinner time.  We were all thankful that JJ did not swallow them with her food.  JJ got to be on her class "tooth chart" twice!  (Her teacher, Mrs. O is so brilliant!  She knows how to put a proud smile on those young faces even when they talk funny.)
F was more excited than JJ.  "You could ask mom to make you a reindeer pouch for your loose teeth!" she said.  So mom had one more chore on her to-do-list.  Thank goodness, this one was fun.  This teeth pouch was based on  this tutorial from my little mochi.  JJ wanted the pouch to look just like her sister's but with pink ears.
Now, if I could just stop playing the tune of "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" in my head...
JJ's 1st  Loose Tooth & Permanent Tooth
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Saturday, October 5, 2013


Believe it or not, I had not seen acorns.  Not the intact ones at least.  Only what's left of a squirrel's meal; bits here and there.  So, when I saw acorn caps on the sidewalk, I was overjoyed!  And then, I saw it--an acorn with the cap on (at the moment)!  I could only imagine how many of these are hidden somewhere for the squirrels on cold winter days.  And, sorry, little critters, I am keeping this one.  
Now, what crafty things could I do with the acorn caps?  Any suggestions?

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