Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Envelops and Mailbox Block for Ringo Pie

My block ~ Ringo Pie Bee

Remember I told you that May is my month in Ringo Pie bee?
Seriously, you have no idea how excited I am about
receiving everyone's blocks - 11 members besides me; therefore,
11 envelops/packages to come. Ever since I picked my theme which
is "Delivering letters and packages," I knew I was going to
paper-piece 11 envelops. My initial plan was to embroider
everyone's initial on each envelop, but I wasn't sure if
I could pick the best envelop for everyone, so I decided not to.
Or in other words, I just got tired of working on this. lol

I used photoshop to design a simple envelop pattern,
and then picked 11 different solids that seemed to work
well together. Well, that may just have sounded an easy
step, but choosing 11 solids was one of the hardest part of
this project. Most of my craft projects are improvised;
I barely ever go fabric-shopping with any particular projects
in mind, but I couldn't be happy with my solids collection,
so I had a few trips to fabric stores to get just the right
solid. Yellow was the trickiest color. I ended up with
Kona corn yellow - what a lovely color it is!!

Choosing print cotton to match solids was easy and fun.
My favorite envelop might be the orange one with a
boy and girl. Isn't the vintage print super adorable?
Thank you so much erica for sharing me this beautiful fabric!

Another tricky part was this mail box, because it has curves!!
Yikes! In the past I've always avoided paper-piecing anything
that has curves for Ringo Pie bee blocks, because I suck at curves.
But I took this opportunity to step outside my comfort zone to grow up.
And I am very happy I did, because it wasn't as difficult as
I expected and It was such a pleasure to know that I am
capable of tackling curves! well, not perfect like everyone
else's in Ringo Pie, but I think I will get better.
A positive attitude is indeed necessary when I sew.
Without it, I would be too overwhelmed to do anything.

Yes, this sewing blogland intimidates me too.
It has been sort of nice to read what people have
said recently about sewing blogland being intimidating.
I thought I was the only one who is terribly intimidated
and worried too much about presenting myself/my projects,
but clearly I am not alone. (a big sigh of relief.)

It's been hard for me too. I could have a
loooong post about my fears to blog/sew, but
I try to be optimistic. When I am too overwhelmed,
I get fresh air, go hiking, hang out with a hubby/friends
for some laugh, and eat really yummy stuff
until I am ready to have some fun again with sewing/blogging.

I am just grateful that there is anybody out there
who is willing to spare some time to stop by my blog,
read what I have to say, and leave me nice comments/emails
that constantly encourage me to keep
doing what I've been doing.

Thank you SO much for allowing me to share my
projects here. Have a fabulous day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Let Trader Joe's inspire you

Trader joe's inspires me

One of my local stores I will definitely miss is
a grocery store called Trader Joe's. I bet many of you living
in the states know about it, but it is a chain store located
throughout America that produces such fun and unusual
original products. I sure love their food, but I am
not here to promote Trader Joe's products today.
I am here to share with you the packaging of their
products that inspire me. Their packages/labels are
so cute that sometimes I have to buy some stuff
for no other reason other than they are simply cute.

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

Trader joe's inspires me

I always walk out the store itching to get
back to my sewing table. Is that weird?

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kitchen Goodies Swap: Sent and Received


Thank you so much for all of you for lovely and
sweet comments and emails about us moving to Japan!
We still don't know exactly when we will be moving,
but I started packing up just a little and am already
overwhelmed. I've moved a lot in the past 10
years (Gunma -> Tokyo -> Seattle ->San Jose), but
this is definitely going to be the most hectic moving ever
because we have SO many things accumulated in last 8 years
including my TWO sewing machines (I bought a new one
recently which turned out to be much cheaper in Japan
because the manufacturer (Janome) is Japanese.)
And of course lots and lots of fabric, including a lot of
them I just brought from my last trip to Japan. Sure,
I am not the best decision maker ever. lol


Anyways, I wanted to share with you what I've sent
as a part of Kitchen Goodies Swap I'd joined as well
as what I've received from my secret partner!


This is one of the linen kitchen towels I made for
my partner. The linen used is really cool. It was
sold as "Pre-double-washed", so I didn't have to
launder it. Woohoo! And I just love how it looks and feels.


I picked fabrics based on my partner's preference.
I wish I could share with you what her preference was
like but she hasn't received my package yet, so I
don't want to ruin a surprise in case she reads this post.


This is a little extra I whipped up very quickly to go with
the linen towels. I hope she will be able to use this one to
hold some little things at her kitchen.


Another linen kitchen towel. Ever since I found
this linen and cotton blend fabric, I thought it
would make a nice linen towel, so I'm glad I
actually made a towel with it.


Although I don't think it was the greatest decision to
buy my new Janome sewing machine right before going
to Japan, I'm really glad that I got to learn about
a lot of different types of feet at the sewing machine
store. This salesperson spent one hour showing me
how to use some feet that I didn't know were existing,
which made me squeal like a little kid at a candy shop.
This very narrow rolled hem was done with a 4mm hemmer foot
which creates professional-looking double folded hem so easily.
Oh how I enjoyed using the foot to do this! I've been
crazy about learning what other kinds of feet are out there ever since.

Let me share with you what I got from the swap also.
Try your best not to be jealous although it might be hard.

Kitty placemat KGS
Photo originally uploaded by sonjaartsania

Can you believe Sonja read my entire blog to research
my likes to make a set of placemats for Joe and me?!
When I first saw this picture on flickr, I was like
"Oh My! Please Please Please come to me!" Then the next
second I realized the cat reminds me of my cat Oto
in Japan so much. If you've read my blogposts about
my latest trip to Japan and you like cats, you might
recall this photo I shared here to introduce him.


So I became very sure that it was coming my way.
You have no idea how thrilled I was. The night I discovered
this photo, I couldn't sleep well because I was overly excited.
How sweet of her to think of me like this.. I am so touched!

sushi placemat
Photo originally uploaded by sonjaartsania

And this is another placemat she made with paper-pieced
sushi which is Joe's favorite food!!! And to share with
you my selfish aspect, these are the only three different
kinds of sushi I can eat - cooked eggs, cooked shrimp,
and rolls, so it was really thrilling to see these three!
Joe eats any kinds of sushi, so he is as happy as I am.

I must have annoyed Sonja by shooting three long emails
explaining why I love these placemats so much, but I
just couldn't help it.

I usually hesitate to join a swap just because I tend to be
way too intimidated by the thought that I may not be able to
make something that would satisfy my partner. And also,
deadlines for swaps come too fast in general. But after receiving
Oto and sushi placemats made my lovely Sonja, I am determined
that I should join more swaps from now on. Sure it scares me,
but look what great things you might receive in return!

Oh in case you want to make your Oto or sushi,
remember to check out Sonja's pattern shop.
They are coming soon.. :)

Thank you for taking the time to read this!
Have a great day!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Something to celebrate...

So there is something I had been itching to tell you about.

I couldn't tell you this until now because it wasn't official.
It is official now though, so I can finally take a deep breath
and share with you our excitement.

My husband and I are moving to Tokyo!

Very soon.. probably in a few months!

Living in Japan has been Joe's lifetime goal and
in the past several months he has been looking for
the opportunity to transfer to Japan within the company
he works for. And the chance finally arrived.
He was just now informed that he is really moving there.
So yes, as you can imagine, he could hardly hold in the
excitement. He really had to do something and asked me
if he could dump my fabric scraps on top of his head.
I said he can.

Probably many of you know that this may not be the
most favorable time to be in Japan. The radiation threat,
lack of food,drinkable water and medicine, limited electricity,
and other aftermaths from the eathquake/tsunami,
but to Joe "adventure is more important than comfort."
And to me, I'd rather be close to my family and friends
when they are experiencing hardships.

We must be the only people who are excited to go there now. lol!

I've really loved living in America. I've met lots and
lots of nice people who have influenced my perception
in very positive ways. This is the place I exposed myself to
a new culture and a new lifestyle which I've learned to embrace
from heart. Seriously, if I had not moved to the US in 2003,
I would not have met Joe and cool friends in America
who I know will be my lifetime friends.
I would not have challenged myself to learn a different
language nor have graduated from a four year college.
I would definitely not have started this blog and would
not have 'met' any of you which is crazy to think about,
because I've 'met' SO many awesome people in blogland
who inspire me, encourage me, and help me feel good
about things I do. I am talking about all of you.

I have no regret whatsoever about my decision to move to
the US in 2003, but Japan is where my whole family is and
that is where my heart belongs. Although there are many,
many reasons for me to think staying in the US might be better,
I am ready to go back for now. I was not there when someone
very important to me was going through severe depression.
I was not there when my grandma was very ill (and she still is.)

I'll definitely miss my friends here though.
I keep telling them they need to move to Japan
which makes them giggle, although I am actually being serious.
I just know I'll miss them way too much.

A cool thing about blog friends is that we can be
connected anywhere we are as long as we have
the Internet. I'll be blogging just like I have been
even after moving there and I will be checking
out my friends' blogs who are everywhere in the world.
So this is not a good bye message to you at all,
which is just great :)

Anyways, I'll stop talking now.
Anyone can guess what Joe is doing right now?
He is cleaning up the mess. That's my man!

Thank you for letting me share my thought :)

Have a lovely weekend~!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tentative Layout for my Dresden plate wallhanging

Tentative Layout

My sewing machine is still sick, so until I get it
all fixed, I won't be able to sew these pieces together,
but this is to show you my progress on my dresden plate
I am making by following Lynne of Lily's Quilts' QAL.
When Lynne asked me to play along, I was really excited
to put together lots of fun fabrics I love.
This is just such a fun project! Very happy with this so far!

I tend to keep very few handmade items of mine to myself,
but this is definitely a 'keep'. I already love it so much
that I know I won't be able to part with it!

dresden plate

In the middle, I'll probably sew applique
saying "6.12" which is our anniversary.

A bit scared of sewing curvy lines and quilting,
but hopefully it will come out nice enough for
us to want to hang it on the wall :)

Thanks for visiting!