Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Lovely Surprise!

I am convinced that this is the best period to live in, ever. We have every tool possible to help us make things better, do them faster, and get them done better. While many people appreciate various gadgets available, I am particularly appreciative of all of the friends I have met thus far in this virtual space because of all of the technologies available. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without all of you. The internet, ipad, blogs, easy photo sharing process, and so much more allow me to share my little creations with people like you who share common interests. Instead of trying so hard to meet friends in real life, I have this rich network of people who truly matter to me.

I met Maryse, who blogs at Anyone Can Knits, in this space awhile back. She lives in Canada and is a avid knitter. I enjoy reading her blogs and checking out photos of her beautiful work, and she does the same with mine. She surprised me yesterday with a huge package from Canada! Wow! I was not expecting this at all.

Watermelon color sock yarn, super cute bag to store my long needles, cute pins, stitch markers and counter with beads! 

Wow! No offense, but which of my friends in real life would know that I would love everything in this package!? The bag has a ribbon attached to it that holds these tiny stitch markers and the counter! What a ingenious idea! And! Look, the bag has pink polka dots lining! She purchased these items from local artists near her. I am convinced that Canada has cute stuff! See for yourself.

I am jumping up and down in excitement!

 Blue stitch markers and counter; her favorite color :)

Ah! My project bag is all ready for action! 

I started a Citron shawl (shown in the image above) and of course, I immediately replaced my boring rings with these darling stitch markers. Can I just tell you how wonderful these little beads are!? I just love seeing them dangle on my yarn! So pretty :) I also attached the pin and counter to my project bag's zipper. It's hard to keep track of what row of Citron I am on and often times, I have no idea where the counter is on the sofa!

Special thanks to Maryse for this very lovely and thoughtful gift. Thank you for your friendship, Maryse! I will put these goodies to great use. 

If you haven't visited Anyone Can Knit, I highly recommend it! She makes some seriously good looking mittens that are lined.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aeolian Shawl

Remember this Aeolian Shawl that I cursed so much about? I finished it last September, but actually never got around to wearing this until today. Since I got this new shawl pin yesterday from Stitches West, I decided to drag my husband out of bed this morning to take tons of pictures of me wearing it with the elegant pin! I am sure he was so excited to photograph me in some weird looking shawl first thing in the morning! I even put on nice shoes; he said "are your shoes going to be in the photos?!?" Hm... I guess not? 

I am in love with this photo!

Check out that pin! Isn't it perfect?! 

The shawl is perfect even without the pin.

My cherry blossom makes the perfect backdrop.

 Oh, look at that!

Although this pattern was a pain, it was worth every second of my time. I stopped by Stitches West again today to pick up Malabrigo yarn to make more shawls. But don't worry, I am not going to work with lace, beads, or anything complicated!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spring is Around the Corner

I love seeing little surprises in my backyard. It's like a treasure box, I find something new popping out everyday... amazing!

Allow me to give you a tour of my backyard at this point in time...

 I absolutely love my Cherry Blossom.  I think it's my favorite tree ever! I love everything about it; the color, volume, size.... what a beauty. 
My pomegranate tree is budding. Maybe it will finally yield something this year?

Does anyone know what this is, maybe tulips? It's popping out all over the place.  
Again, no clue what this is, but I never paid attention to this "bush" looking thing until today. It's flowering! Wow... 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stitches West 2012

Wow! What a fantastic day visiting Stitches West and scoring tons of goodies today! As usual, Stitches doesn't disappoint. I didn't take any class this year because I have learned that I have issues remembering what I learn from these classes. I usually have a great time during the class, but as soon as I walk away, I forget everything!? Oops....

Susan wearing Ysolda's hat + Ysolda at Stitches West. 

The highlight from today's visit was meeting Ysolda of Whimsical Little Knits and Alana of Coastal Knits. They were both so nice and patient; they not only signed my books but also had photos taken with me! I have heard so much about Coast Knits and cannot wait to make projects from this book. My friend, Kristen, has made almost every single project from this book. You must check out her blog. She is an amazing knitter.
 Coastal Knits

Other goodies from the show: 
  • I bought 12 balls of Aventica yarn to make gorgeous knit wear. This yarn is made of Acrylic and New Wool; it's extremely soft but holds up well. The pattern is called "Ladies' Vest" from Inspiration. Being able to see the actual finished project hung in the booth is a wonderful thing!
  • See that adorable blue giraffe project bag? You pull your yarn through that opening, and it prevents yarn from being tangled up in your purse. I love this simple idea. I met the founder, Lori; I think she is a genius. I can't wait to carry my sock project in this bag!
  •  I found these tiny Clover circular needles, which are perfect for socks! I dislike working with three or four dpns for socks, so this tiny circular needle is just so perfect! The shop owner did mention that it can be hard for people with large hands, so let's see how this works.
  •  My friend, Marisa, has been raving about these shawl pins. So of course, I had to check them out today. They are not cheap, but are elegant, simple to use and go with everything. 
 New shawl pin + my beautiful Aerolian shawl. It looks like I will finally be able to wear this shawl.

If you live in the area, did you get a chance to stop by? What were your favorites?!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Meet Jane

Wow! I think I have spent every minute of the last 48 hours sewing up this little doll. Eating, sleeping and showering were just things that had to be done; sewing and finishing this doll was my one and only priority. See for yourself.

 Jane measures 20"x9". She is wearing pants with lace!
Jane writing a thank you card for her friend.

 Jane standing up with the help of my husband.

Jane sleeping. Sorry, the hat doesn't come off! LOL

This was my first time making dolls. This all started on Saturday when I found this whimsical doll book from my bookshelf. I knew that this would make a perfect long-weekend project, but I didn't realize how much fun I would have sewing her up. I went to Jo-Ann Fabric four times this weekend; each time for something I forgot to get the previous time. But no worries, the store is only five minutes from my house! Thank goodness.

I spent the most amount of time and energy on the doll's face. I have always been picky when it comes to faces and expression of all stuffed animals and dolls. The face determines the mood of the doll and makes each doll unique and special. I wouldn't have continued with this face if I wasn't happy with the eyes, nose, and mouth. 

I think I am officially addicted to making dolls. This is the first of many more to come. I made this without anyone special in mind, but I know that this doll would make little girls so happy. I, for sure, would have enjoyed having a doll like this growing up. I think Jane needs a doll quilt and pillow. By the way, Jane sits on top of our fire place in my center corner to keep me company.

What do you think? Do you have kids who would enjoy dolls like this?

I hope you are enjoying your long weekend.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Paper Pieced House Blocks

Do you have a copy of Patchwork Lesson ABC by Kumiko Fujita? It's a book full of small hexagons, houses, flowers and tons of adorable little blocks you can make and turn into hot potholders, pincushions, tea cozies or tons of other things. My favorite ones from the books are the house blocks used to make tea cozies. I found a copy of this in Chinese about a year ago. Although I can usually decipher these Japanese quilting books with visuals, it brings me so much joy knowing I am able to read every word Kumiko had to say. I get so much more out of the book. I have been wanting to try one of these patterns and decided to make them for Valentine's Day.

 Perfect little coasters for my husband. 

I machined paper pieced these house blocks. I had a hard time ensuring everything came out straight because all of the pieces were quite small. Maybe I will hand piece these next time.

I had a nice surprise from my husband for Valentine's Day. It wasn't easy for me to transport it home at the end of the week. I think this may be the prettiest flower arrangement I have ever received.

 Beautiful long-stem red roses always make me smile.

Thanks, honey :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Strawberry Fabric Basket

I cannot wait to share my latest creation with you! Check out this cute little strawberry fabric basket I made today. I used Ayumi's tutorial, and it came out so cute. I am proud of the fabrics I selected for this, and the strawberry lining is simply adorable!

I am in love with this!

Maybe it will be used to store yarns?! It will be sitting on my sewing table for sure!

Fabrics used:
    - Fruit Basket by Robert Kaufman
    - Children at Play by Sara Jane
    - Fabric with letters printed (I accidentally threw away the salvage) 
    - Japanese fabrics from my trip to Taiwan

Have you been following Jeremy Lin? It's Lin-Sanity at my house for sure. I hope this talented young guy continues to play well. I am so proud of him.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sewing Pillow Cases

I found these pillow case kits from my stash this weekend. I bought them a long time ago from a fabric convention and finally got around to finishing them. I don't know why it took me so long to make these.

The green flower one is for my mom and the pink heart one is for me.

These pillow cases are finished with French hem technique. French hem allows you to hide the raw edges of fabric by overcasting the seam allowance to prevent fabric from unraveling. This technique gave my pillow cases a professional finish look.

Fabric used: Lotus by Amy Butler for Rowan fabrics

I don't have the name of this fabric I used :(

My mom is so happy with the pillow case I made her, and it goes so well with her bedding. However, I think I really should have gotten two of each kit. I mean, one pillow?! Come on! So I searched around on the internet and was able to find the same Amy Butler fabric I used for my mom so I can make her a pair. I ordered this fabric from QuiltHome on Saturday and already got it today in the mail. QuiltHome was fantastic to work with; my order was correct, and I received it so fast even with regular shipping! I will definitely order form this place again.

Have you made pillow cases before? I think they are great sewing projects for beginners.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Cake

My good friend inspired me to bake this week; she tried this Lemon Blueberry Bread recipe, loved it, and shared it with me. As soon as she forwarded it to me, I knew I had to make it. Fortunately I had everything this recipe calls for. I have a nice and healthy lemon tree in our backyard, and I think it had over 70 lemons just a few weeks ago! I made two batches and used five lemons in total. I grated these lemons into lemon zest and they smelled so good! I had to take a break in between though. Who would have known grating is such a tiring activity?!

These frozen blueberries came out good!

I made two mini loafs without walnuts for my husband; he has a thing against walnuts. Weird?! But the larger load I made with walnuts were amazingly good. I don't have a photo of it, but you will just have to imagine it. By the way, the name of this recipe is Lemon Blueberry "Bread," but I think it's really more "cake."

Lemon blueberry cake with lemon glaze.

I know, I am sorry... you are probably salivating over this, but hey! The recipe is so simple, and you probably already have all of the ingredients. So go ahead! Make some, you will love it.