Sunday, May 27, 2012

Shanghai Spring Rolls

I know you probably have had spring rolls before, but nothing tastes as good as the ones my mom makes. Her springs rolls are one of my favorite dishes that she cooks. The secret is in how she prepares the ingredients. The ingredients usually include Napa cabbage, beansprouts, leek greens, eggs, organic chicken, and Chinese mushrooms. Every item needs to be prepared "separately" and completely well drained. For example, Napa cabbage becomes extremely soggy after it's cooked, so my mom usually waits hours after they are cooked, then she wraps the cooked Napa cabbage in muslin fabric to squeeze out all of the water. If you don't do this, then your spring rolls will become extremely soggy. It usually takes my mom two days just to prepare this huge bowl of goodies that will be used to make her world famous spring rolls.

 Ingredients are all ready to go!

After the ingredients are prepared, you want to use them as soon as possible or the ingredients will become soggy. This is when I usually take over and make these spring rolls so my mom can sit, take a break, and adore my skill :) 

These flour sheets tear easily, so one must be cautious when wrapping them. 

Deep frying them... Good thing I remember to take this photo before they all were removed. 

Crispy, crunchy, golden brown, heavenly, and simply delicious! This is when they fly off the plate.

World's best spring rolls made by my mom.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Carmel Valley, CA

Today my husband and I decided to visit Carmel for a day. Carmel is not too far from us, so we thought it would be a perfect day trip, and it was. We were only there for a few hours, but wow, we had a fantastic time. Pictures below simply can't capture the beauty of this charming town. I love the boutique shops, fruitful harvest, and the ocean view. This town just has it all!

Our first stop was the Tancredi and Morgan antique store. It's a French inspired shop in Carmel Valley, and it was highly recommended by Kristen. She did a great post on this particular store not too long ago. I love everything in the shop. You should check it out if you are ever in the area. 

My favorite part of the trip was discovering an olive oil and vinegar store! Who would have thought!? They have only been open for one month. I absolutely loved the grapefruit white balsamic vinegar. It is so good I could drink it like juice! I got some and cannot wait to make a nice summer fruit salad with it. The name of the shope is Trio Carmel. This vinegar is delicious. You have to trust me.

We enjoyed strolling down the graceful streets not to mention all of the dogs I got to play with. I love the combination of linen, embroidery, old charm, simplicity and the scent of lavender and lemon verbena available in almost every store I visited.
Of course, our trip to Carmel would not be complete without having artichokes and bringing lots of them home with us! Did you know that most of the artichokes available in the US come from towns near Carmel? Those artichokes were ten for $1, baby bananas were $1.50, cherries were $2.50... you get the idea. I think we will be making artichokes for awhile. Thanks, Carmel! We had a great time today.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fabric Shopping Spree

Many of you know I have a thing for orchids. My mom bought me another gorgeous one on Mother's Day this year. I am not sure how she does it, but she always seems to know exactly what I love. I almost bought this orchid just a few days before she did. It looked just like the one she got me!

Absolutely love these little pink flowers!

I had "free" time to cruise around Michael's today and found those adorable birdies. They are so perfect for my orchids. I have different types of birds in each of my orchids planters. Oh they make me so happy; it's the simple things in life. Isn't it? 

I also went on a crazy fabric shopping spree in person and online. Check out what arrived this week!

Yes, I know. I have a thing for Japanese fabrics. 

Okay, here is the thing.... my biggest purchase hasn't arrived yet from Japan. It will take awhile, but I simply cannot wait to have them in my hands!

I got to spend many hours today sewing up this little adorable project. I can't wait to share more pictures with you when I am done with it. It's made with a special recipient in mind. 

Vintage blue duckie. 

Have a wonderful long weekend enjoying what you love doing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sewing Door Stoppers

You know how sometimes doors make these squeaky noises? Well, some of the doors in our house were doing that. So my husband decided to oil them up, but I guess he over did it. And since then, those doors just would not stay open! I used my books as temporary door stoppers, but hated the way they looked. Well, not anymore! I designed these door stoppers, and they are just so adorable to look at.

Simple door stoppers filled with nasty brown rice that I no longer wanted. 

Door stopper in action!

I looked everywhere online for inspiration but there is nothing out there on making door stoppers! Hm... I wonder why?! *LOL* So anyways, I created a simple tutorial for you in case you are interested. If you do make one, I would love to see a photo of it. Enjoy!

:: Sewing Simple Door Stopper Tutorial ::

Step One: Cut two 6"x6" squares from two different fabrics.

Step Two: Sew three edges and leave one side open. 

Step Three: Turn it inside out.

Step Four: Fill it with 1 and 1/2 cup of rice.

 Step Five: Sew and close the one side that was left open.

Step Six:  
Fold down the two ears on each side and stitch them down. 
Repeat for the other side. Add a decorative button, and you are all done!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Matching Pouches

I wanted to make a matching pouch to go with the bag I made awhile back with the Go Anywhere Bag pattern. Pouches are a great way to use up scrap fabric. I had just enough extra fabric for these pouches.

After doing some research online, I decided on this popular dumpling pouch. It's quite cute and looked very simple. However, I must say I am not a fan of this pouch. It doesn't hold up very well, and when it's open, things fell out of this pouch easily. Also, because there are no ears on each side of this pouch, you really can't hold on to anything to zip or unzip it. I usually purchase my zippers from Jo-Ann, and these zippers are usually great, but not for this pouch. I had a very hard time opening and closing this pouch. I think the curve of this pouch made the zipper very difficult to slide up and down. I even waxed it! Who waxes zippers!?!?

Not bad!

So of course, I decided to put this one aside and make another one using this tutorial. I have used this tutorial many times in the past and highly recommend it. Except this time I decided to modify it a bit  so it's slightly bigger for my mom to store a few more things in it. I used the same zipper here, and it's no problem! Lesson learned: buy a nice zipper when the shape is curvy!

Same fabric but with a pink zipper. It's so feminine... I love it!

So cute together! I gave both of them to my mom so she can decide which one to use.

I splurged tonight and bought some super nice fabrics from Japan. I cannot wait to have these fabrics in my hand! This purchase inspired me to organize my existing fabrics and look at what I "discovered!"

 So dreamy...

I had these fabrics already all cut up into 6"x6" squares! Can someone tell me why they have been put away all these years!? I didn't have a rotatory cutter back then and used a scissor to cut them up at the time. It is fun to look at all these unevenly cut squares :) 

Hope you are having a great week so far.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Recap of mother's day this year...

An amazing and simple summer dessert. This idea came from Angie's Pantry. Basically you take an orange and slice off the end of it so it can stand up. Then you slice off the top and save it for later. Remove as much of the flesh of the orange as you can and place the empty orange cup and top in the freezer. Instead of using orange sorbet as per Angie's instructions, I used strawberry sorbet, vanilla ice cream, and passion fruit sorbet (in that order). These Belgium waffles are from Wholefoods. 

 This was a huge hit!

Beautiful peonies for my mom; these peonies are as big as my hand and the fragrance is simply unlike any other flower. I think this is my favorite flower of all time. 

Love the bright colors. 

 And of course, hot chocolate to conclude this wonderful day.

Wishing all mothers a very happy mother's day. You deserve the best, and only the best. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lavender Field

We have been blessed by nice and warm weather in our area, so we spent a good amount of time in the garden today. While we were in the yard, I noticed my lavender field is blooming! Just a few months ago I thought they were dead! Good thing I didn't get rid of them.

I cut them up and brought them into my house :)

I placed them throughout my house for the fragrance.

They are tied up into small bundles using twine. 

These lavenders are so beautiful in their own way. I love how they are not huge, but make such a presence... field of lavender is a breathtaking scene. Also, did I mention that the fragrance is so fresh, clean,  and sweet?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pretty Little Pouch

I wanted to stop by and show you pictures of this beautiful little pouch Katie made. Katie writes at There and Back and she has some of the most beautiful creations. I came across a pouch she made on flickr for one of the swaps I participated in; I noticed she made another one with different fabric. I commented on that post and was the winner of the pouch! Can you believe it?! Over 68 people commented, and I won! Woohoo!


Pouch - inside. I love this subway map fabric! *gasp!*

Combination of solid fabric and random placement of these fabric makes this pouch an eye catcher. Katie also spoiled me with tons of goodies, including Aruifil thread and a modern pink key holder! I have been wanting to try Aruifil quilting thread since so many people are blogging about it. I think she made the key holder? I have to take a picture of it to show you. It's amazing. 

Katie: thank you! This is such a lovely pouch and all the goodies you included are so wonderful!

Baby Lamb for Baby Shower

I have been tasked to design and make invitations for an upcoming baby shower. I took my honorable task very seriously and started to sketch out a few designs that can be created easily. The theme for my friend's baby shower is lamb. After scratching out a few ideas, here is the one I decided on.

Love gingham! So appropriate for baby shower.

These measure approximately 2.5"x3.5" and will be placed in the lower left hand corner of the invitation. The invitation itself will be printed on nice white card stock paper and layered on top of a blue shade card stock. I am sure green grass and simple flowers will be drawn somewhere on that as well. 

All stacked up and ready! 

The hardest part of designing this lamb was making sure it can be replicated easily. Body parts were glued using glue dot foams. I love this product; it makes the end product three dimensional! I hope recipients of these cards find them adorable and show up to my friend's baby shower with bells on. 

Some of you may know that I love Sunbonnet Sue, especially the Japanese version. My dad knows Sunbonnet Sue is my favorite sewing character, so he went out of his way to buy me one of the last few limited edition Sunbonnet Sue coaster sets!

 The clothesline/laundry one is my favorite. 

These coasters are backed with cork and when not in use they go into this little container.

I can tell you that I will probably not use them as coasters; they are way too cute for that purpose! I will find a way to properly display them. Thanks, dad! He not only took the train to get to the store, he even fought the crowd to get one of the last two! And he didn't even tell me about it until he went through the trouble of buying them. *happy*