Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Update

I have about ten days off from work this holiday season, and I purposely didn't plan anything this time around. I want to relax, enjoy my house, spend time with my family, knit, sew, visit local coffee shops, and do things I like. It's the little things in life that make me so happy. Here is a quick update on my vacation so far.

I visited a local nursery and bought supplies to re-pot some of my plants. I transferred this plant from a tiny little pot into this bright yellow pot. Look at how much my plant has grown! There are so many buds and they are blooming!

These pots are bio-degradable. 

My orchid is also coming back to life. My mom bought me this orchid last winter, and I have just been watering these two "sticks." It's finally budding!


I made some Aloha shirts using Hawaii fabric I purchased from my recent trip to Maui. I used Beyond the Reef Aloha Shirts pattern that I purchased from the same visit. I made these shirts smaller than what the pattern called for so I can turn them into magnets. I saw these magnets at the quilt shop and immediately knew I had to make them. 

Quilt shop's version.

My version; not sure I like the look with the white buttons.

My husband and I also went to the bowling alley, watched "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (really intense, I liked it), and went on lots of dinner dates :) 

By the way, my "things I want to make" list continues to grow, and it's stressing me out! LOL

I am looking forward to celebrating the start of 2012. I hope you are enjoying this special time of the year as well.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is less than two days away! Can you believe it?! It crept up on my so fast this year. I had no time to bake or send out greeting cards. Shame on me :(

We lit the fourth candle for Hanukkah tonight. I also haven't made Latkas, which is fried potato pancake; you eat it with apple sauce or sour cream. I love it!  Not sure what happened this year, but I just barely had enough time to keep up with everything.

I finished sewing up this little hot potholder tonight. I started back in September and have no clue why it took me three months to finally finish it. I used one layer of Insul~Bright insulated batting and one layer of regular cotton batting to prevent myself from burning. This insulated batting works really well. Give it a try if you are interested.

I forgot to take a photo of the backing. I used one of my favorite cupcake prints. 

This finished potholder did inspire me to bake tonight. I cheated and used Trader Joe's Sugar Cookie Kit. This is the best and easiest sugar cookie kit out there. I always have a box of this in my pantry. The frosting that came with the kit did not cooperate with me this time; half of the cookies ended up with no frosting. But the cookies were still delicious!

They are disappearing as I type. 

Thank you for being such a supportive group of friends. I am so happy that I got to meet all of you through blogging. Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to you. I look forward to continue sharing my projects with you in 2012!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sewing Machine Cover

My dad bought me my sewing machine when I was 13; this was my first ever sewing machine. We had just moved to the US at the time, and I was so excited to have this machine that does magical things. I remember this White Sewing Machine was around $400, very expensive back then (still is). My brother and I were such good kids that my parents wanted to reward our good behavior. My brother got a nice bike, and I got this beautiful sewing machine. I remember going to the sewing center to learn how to operate this sewing machine in English. This was the nicest gift I had ever received at the time, and I have treasured it to this date. I still use the same sewing machine, and I am so proud of my dad for getting me such a special gift.

I have been sewing all these years, but it never occurred to me to make a nice sewing machine cover. I did some research over the weekend and didn't find any sewing machine cover pattern that I liked, so I sketched one up to match this nice pouch I received for Dawn from a swap this year. This pouch currently stores all of my sewing tools. It's always on my sewing table, so I figured I would make a machine cover to go with it. It was my first time working with Dresden, and I enjoyed it. It was so late when I started working on this, so I ended up just making my own Dresden template! Got to strike while the iron is hot, right!?

My machine all dressed up :) 

I even created an opening for the plug. I wasn't sure if I was up for the challenge, but this YouTube video tutorial on how to create binding for inside corners helped tremendously.
It's not perfect, but it will do.

My sewing table has a nice finish that I don't want to ruin, so I made a sewing machine mat to go with it. I usually have my sewing machine sitting on some type of mat. 

Double sided. I used the same cherry lining for the sewing machine cover.

Cherry lining for my double sided sewing machine cover.

This is how my sewing machine cover used to look like.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bunny Rug Mug and Sunbonnet Sue

My friend, Dorothee, is a cat lover and has the biggest heart. She looks all tough and stuff, but deep down inside, she is always thinking about other people and the first to help and give to those less fortunate. I wanted to celebrate her kindness this holiday season by making her something special. She is a huge tea drinker so I decided to make her a little cute coaster/mug rug for her to use. It looks similar to a mug rug I made for a swap. I hope this will remind her of how awesome she is every time she sips her tea.
I usually add little buttons to things like this, but didn't think that will work well with cups!

Before my trip to Maui, I finished making a simple wall hanging for my sewing corner. Many of you know that I love Sunbonnet Sue. I love the fact that there is no facial expression on her face so I feel like I can determine her mood based on how I feel. I just love this little character. About three years ago, I started making Sunbonnet Sue blocks from "Sunbonnet Sue and Scottie Too." This book features charming childhood activities, such as jumping rope and reading. I made about nine blocks and decided to turn one of them into a wall hanging. Because this wall hanging is so small and light, I used Command's damage free strips. They are great and work just like double sided tape.

Interesting look with the strips, right!? It was so hard to line them up!

Lastly, remember this slouchy cable hat I made awhile back? I have this project posted on Ravelry, and the pattern designer reached out for permission to use my photo on her pattern page! I was beyond ecstatic! Check out AZURE KNITS. She has the cutest stuff. 

Have a great weekend doing what you enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Paper Pieced Yellow Fox

Say hi to another fox I finished piecing over the weekend! This is the same as the one I made last week, except this one is a mirror image. Now I have two foxes facing each other with their tails on the outside.  I think I am going to paper piece a heart in between them and make a wall hanging for my sewing corner.

I participated in a White Elephant exchange with my knitting group last night and scored some pretty purple yarn. I am going to have to think about what to make with this gorgeous yarn! I am so fortunate to have gotten to know these ladies and to be able to share my hobbies with them :) 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Maui, Hawaii

I returned from a short trip to Maui with my husband this weekend. It was so beautiful, relaxing, and fun. We stayed in an area called "Wailea." It's a really nice part of Maui that doesn't get very rainy or windy. I finished reading two books: Sarah's Key and Heart of the Matter. Both of these books were really good and tear jerking.

The sunset was breath taking. 

We had breakfast by the beach with the rainbow. 

Visited a cutest coffee shop in Pa'ia and had the most delicious/smooth Kauai coffee.

My husband knew that our trip would not be complete without taking me to a quilting or yarn shop of some sort, so when he saw this article in a local magazine, he was determined to take me there :)

The shop had tons of Hawaii quilts on display and kits available for purchase. I find Hawaii quilts interesting, but not enough to actually purchase them. Check out the Hawaii prints I picked up from this shop. 

I am thinking to make Aloha t-shirts with these fabrics.

 A Hawaii quilt on display at the store. 

We also came across another fabric store in Kahului on our way back to the hotel from our drive to Hana. The store was also super close to the airport. This store carried so many Japanese fabrics, and they were so cheap! However, I dislike how I had to dragged these big bulky rolls of fabric to the cutting table. I mean... hello!? Seriously? If I wanted to buy up the whole store, does that mean I have to physically carry all of them?! No, thanks!

Love these big floral prints. 

Tokidoki fabrics from Japan.

Has anyone heard of Tokidoki before? I had no idea what it was until the shop owner mentioned that it's a very popular cartoon thing in Japan? Whatever, it was cute so I got tons of them! See those sushi?

Maui was amazing. I will definitely go back again. Maybe I will stay longer and take a Hawaii quilting class. If you haven't visited Wailea in Maui, I highly recommend it!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wow! I Paper Pieced Something!

I have always wanted to try paper piecing, but was intimidated by the process. Have you heard of or tried paper piecing before? You are basically trying to sew a bunch of small pieces of fabric together using a sheet of paper. Yes, sewing with paper! How weird is that, right?

Anyways, I finally gave paper piecing a try for the very first time today. Instead of trying with something simple, I went with this little fox. And O M G, I did it! Take a look!!!

Isn't she adorable!? 

That's it. I love paper piecing! You bet I will be making many more; I plan to make a yellow fox to go with this one. The eyes took me longer to embroider than this entire fox, arg!

SO happy :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Birdie Mini Quilt

I finished this simple mini birdie quilt for a special friend of mine. Unfortunately, I can't go into details about this mini quilt because she may be reading this.... but here is a sneak preview of this quilt I made my friend.

Blocking a portion of this quilt because it will for sure ruin the surprise!

This was my first time trying free motion around the birds, not sure if I love it, but it's not bad. I love the idea of mini quilts though, I think I will be making a few around my house. What are your plans for the weekend? Enjoy!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

More Wine Bottle Covers

Just wanted to show you more of these that I made tonight, they are addicting!

Christmas Wine Bottle Cozy

Did you have a relaxing Thanksgiving? I did. It was wonderful to spend time with my family, I had a nice break. Now that Thanksgiving is over, I keep hearing about Christmas. Everything is red and green at the stores, I find it very festive.

I have been wanting to make these Christmas scarf and hat for wine bottles for years, I finally got around to making them this afternoon.

I am a fan of white wine. You?

I plan to make a few more and think they will come in handy. Who doesn't want to dress up these boring bottles for the holidays!? Check out the pattern I used for this, I recommend it. 

Have a good week!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. There is no religious reason behind it, and therefore, it's widely celebrated by almost every individual. I love the idea of giving thanks to those around you. I am thankful for my family, friends, health, and all of my readers.

My best friend from college came to visit me recently. I had a fantastic weekend with her, it's amazing how much we have to say, somehow we never run out of stuff to talk about.

Special chocolate from her recent trip to Paris.


I am looking forward to some knitting and quilting. I am hoping to get started on a blue cabled scarf using some gorgeous yarns from last year's White Elephant gift exchange. The vest that I recently finished is also begging to be assembled. 

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family wherever you are.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Knitted Slouchy Hat

It wasn't easy for me to find the perfect hat pattern will also cover my ears without making my face look round and big. I came across this Quick Cable Slouchy Hat pattern on Ravelry and was able to finish this project under two days. I used Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky; it was so soft and dreamy to work with. I used US size 10, but think I would have loved it more if I had used 11... it would have been more slouchy.

Side view

Pretty cables that somehow all lined up perfectly... 

Simple and easy! I recommend it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quick Yarn Fix

My LYS is open late on Thursdays, so although I was already stuck in traffic for more than an hour on my way home from work, I still had to stop by the yarn store. I didn't need any more yarn, but I just had to go. I have no idea what I am going to make with these, but I got them anyway.

Just looking at them makes me happy.

On a completely unrelated note, I made flan this past weekend. It's one of my favorite deserts. Have you tried making it before? It was made with Dr. Oetker Flan Creme Caramel Premium Dessert Mix. Waiting for the milk to boil was the hardest part; I was so bored.

Flan + yarn, not bad for a Thursday night.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mittens for the Cold Winter

My aunt inspired me to make these mittens. She started making them, and of course, we all know knitting is contagious. These knit up so fast and are so practical, I love how they keep my fingers warm in the cold and rainy winter. I have to make my mom a pair as well for when she walks the dog.

Side view of the mittens. By the way, do you like my new nail polish? Not sure if this picture is about the mittens or the nail polish! 

Top view of the mittens.

OK, you caught me.... there is nothing in the cup! LOL

Have you been to Fresh & Easy? It's a new chain of grocery stores that sell fresh prepared meals with no artificial colors, flavors and those things that are bad for you. Everything was washed and packaged to make cooking super easy. This place was surprisingly affordable as well! The cranberry orange scone shown in the picture above was purchased from Fresh & Easy. So excited to discover a new grocery store in the neighborhood! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Aaron's Favorite Things at Age Two

I have an adorable nephew, Aaron. He is two and reminds me of curious George. He loves going to the park with his aunt (that would be me) and uncle. I started a quilt for him a year ago and finally got around to finishing it last month. I hand appliqued trains, cars, hot air balloons, and airplanes; these are his favorite items. Although he was only a year old last year, he could say "airplane! trains!"So of course, I had to make him a quilt with all these items.

100% handmade

All aboard! Choo Choo! I cut out these trains from the fabric and applique them onto the quilt. The name of the fabric I used is called "Choo-Choo Puppy" by Kate Honarver" for Timeless Treasures, Inc. 

These trees are my favorite part of the quilt. I cut out red apples from a cherry fabric and embroidered the apple stems.

I used up some cute scrap fabric for these cars, they are perfect for it! I love that flower bed fabric you see here.

Hot air balloons


This airplane took a long time, I redid the windows three times!

Not sure if I like this airplane so much.

Pink hot air balloon, a little bit of pink is okay! Right?

I used a car and airplane theme fabric for the back of the quilt. It's called "On the Go" by Jill Webster for Clothworks. The fabric I used for the binding is by Ann Kelle; you can find it here.  
I hand quilted this quilt using circles of different size, I love the way it came out. It will be so hard for me to give it away, but I know Aaron will enjoy it very many years to come.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Plastic Grocery Bag Holder

How do you manage grocery bags from the grocery stores? I usually try to reuse them, but oboy, keeping them can be a "messy" job? Here is a simple grocery bag holder I designed to "contain" these ugly plastic bags! I used new Japanese fabric that I purchased from my recent trip to Taiwan.

Kitchen is the best place to hang it!

Folded up when not in use. 

I just love these fabrics so much! The colors, patterns...

This was super easy to make. I assembled two different pieces of fabric into one rectangular piece that measured 16"x12". Then I double folded and stitched the shorter sides (i.e. top and bottom) of this piece, and sew along the 16" side (i.e. the longer side) turning the fabric into a tube. This is when I attached my new label! Once I had the tube, I inserted a 6" elastic into the hem created on the bottom, and created a loop on the top so it can be hung. That's it! Easy! Now I can put all those ugly wrinkly looking grocery bags into this tube and pull it out from the elastic side when I need it. 

If you make one, I would love to see it! Let me know if I can help with the process.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Custom Made Label

Gosh! What a crazy week... so glad Friday is here! I was super excited when the mail carrier got here today, check out what he brought me.

I finally had some labels made by gutenTags. If you are thinking about having customized labels made, I highly recommend Cassie. She was so patience with me and was extremely funny and easy to work with. So what do you think? Quite cute, huh?!

Back of the label.

I attached my very first label onto this grocery bag holder (pictures shown above) I made my aunt. I designed it and it looks beautiful in her kitchen. I will do a post on this project shortly.