Friday, December 23, 2011

Big thank you and a Merry Christmas to you :)

I don't usually take the time to thank every one of you for your kind acts you have taken to make me feel good about myself, but this past few days, I have been giving a lot of thoughts to how lucky I have been to have such great, supportive, warm friends who are always there for me. I have been in need of a lot of support lately, and I have had more than enough of it from my trusted friends and my hubby. Supportive people for me includes every one of you who are nice to hop over here to read my new post out of your busy time. Thank you so much to you all!

Sewing something and putting my projects out there for anyone's eyes has not been easy for me. I am very critical of my work and am always afraid that people might be here to judge me. However, in the history of Pink Penguin since April of 2008, I have never ever received a single email from anybody to criticize anything I have made or have said. This I find it almost a miracle as there are people who aren't necessarily as nice as you guys. I am so lucky. All my fear about my creativity and my projects are usually swept away completely by your sweet comments/emails. They have such strong uplifting power to me, so much that I can hardly describe it to my friends who don't blog or craft. (I would look just silly, hehe.) Without your support, I would not have as much confidence to keep creating and blogging. I deeply thank you for any moment you have spent to let me know you like my projects/tutes/blog. I am especially thankful when I receive emails letting me know that they liked my stuff in published works, as I am usually very, very nervous and shaky about having my work being published in print. So when I saw this post by my friend Penny of Sew Take a Hike today, I started feeling too warm and fuzzy and tears came down on my face. How much it made me feel better is indescribable.

I am also very thankful of all of you who have supported my wee etsy shop. It has been very helpful to me in that I feel I am doing something I can to support this family that Joe works very hard for.

I am ready to have a great Christmas with KFC and a decorated cake at a Kotatsu table (a table with a heater right underneath the table top and a blanket to go over to keep the heat) in our tatami room. I will make quick eggnog for Joe so that he won't miss American way of Christmas too much.

I hope you are keeping yourself warm and that you have a Merry, Merry Christmas with your loved ones!

Thank you again for your every kind act! Love you all!


P.S. Here is a little pattern I made a long time ago. I never cared about it enough to write a tutorial on how to use it, so the whole idea was tossed, and time passed by. I just happen to remember about this because I was thinking about a cake for tomorrow. (It's supposed to be a cake in the oven.) If this is something any of you would want to give a try for personal use, I'd be delighted! It may look a bit boring as it is but maybe it has potential to turn into a fun potholder? Who knows? You can download it here if you would like ;) Just a wee Christmas gift from me to thank you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas = KFC

Secret make #2

Here is a little sneak peak of my second and sadly possibly last 
Christmas gift from me this year. (Can you still call it a sneak peak 
when you show 90% of it? lol)  I totally underestimated how fast time flies.
 I was told at the post office that it's too late to send Christmas
gifts overseas via standard airmail now. So my gift list went from 20
to 2 since all my recipients-to-be live overseas. So sad, but
this is a great lesson - I will start VERY, VERY early next year! 

Christmas is not celebrated in the same way in Japan, so there is
no gift exchanges between family here usually. (I have never given Christmas gifts
to any of my family, nor received one, but we have a perfect relationship :) )
Christmas is rather a romantic day for couples and people
enjoy a nicely decorated cake and KFC. 
Can you imagine what Joe's reaction was like when 
I told him we have to order KFC for Christmas this year? haha
He said he would accept the idea if and only if he could
have eggnog, which is basically impossible to find in Japan.
Thanks to Krista for pointing out to me that I could make it at home.
Well, I might have to do it so that we can have KFC!

Oh the winner of Kerry's Candy Cane pattern is
**nicke... of kiss kiss......Quilt!
Congrats, Nicke! I will contact you soon ;)

I hope your holiday making is coming along and you are 
enjoying every step of it! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Secret Gift Making #1

secret gift making

Here is a little gift I whipped up for someone, hehe.
I know the recipient of this little drawstring bag reads
my blog, so I hope I am not ruining a surprise too much 
by posting this..!

secret gift making

I made this using the same method in this tutorial, but instead of
2 1/2" squares, I used 1 3/4" x 2 3/4" rectangles, which makes
a 7 1/2" x 7 1/2" drawstring pouch. I also sewed the patchwork
panel onto thin muslin to stabilize it.

If you are anything like me, you had a longest list of to-make-for
Christmas gifts to begin with, but now you are finally realizing that 
1) Christmas is just in 10 days,
2) you don't have time to cross off everything on the list,
and 3) you need a Plan B - switching your initial ideas to something a lot 
quicker and simpler. At least for me, this happens every year, haha.


Here are some tutorials of small things you can whip up little quick
and can be great gifts for your friends and family just to name a few:

Scrappy organizer by Leila of Where the orchards grow
Quick scarf and lined drawstring bag by Jeni of In Color Order
Mini tote bag by Kerry of verrykerryberry
Scrappy armrest pincushion by Amy of During Quilt Time
Needlebook by Amy of nana company
2011 star desktop calendar by Nathalie of An once of creativity

Oh and you must have seen Kerry's amazing newest paper pieced 
Candy Cane pattern by now. It's on sale in her shop, but if you would
like to win the pattern, leave one comment on this post by Thursday midnight.
A random winner will be announced here this Friday.

One more thing! I would be so thrilled if you checked out
my sister-in-law's etsy shop here! She's got lovely
handmade jewelry for unbelievable prices! If you snatch 
anything from her shop, please say hi for me ;)

Hope you're having a great week!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

ABC House Block

House Bock for Leila ~318 Bee ~
Hi all! So sorry for the longest absence ever on this blog! 
I have been sewing a lot recently, but I don't have very many projects
I can talk about at this moment! It's the time of the year with a lot of
secret projects, right? Anyways, I am so glad to be back today with
this block I made last night for Leila for Patchwork 318 bee. Leila chose
"Home Sweet Home" as her theme in November. In this bee, we use
Kumiko Fujita's Patchwork Pattern 318 book and our own stash 
to create blocks. This block is sort of a combination of 4 block
patterns in the book - a house pattern and three alphabet (ABC) patterns.
I saw Kumiko Fujita's work just like this in a quilt magazine at the
library and was so inspired to make one just like hers.

Here is how it looks like with seam allowances.
I remembered Leila mentioned she finds quilt inspiration in song lyrics here
so when I spotted the musical note symbol fabric in my stash, 
I knew immediately it must be used for her block ;)

Speaking of Kumiko Fujita, I had such a great opportunity to 
meet her in person at the International Quilt Week held last month
in Yokohama, Japan. Here is us in front of her quilt she made for her 
grandson - so so so cute!! (You can have a little virtual tour and see her and 
her students' works exhibited at the festival in this video.)

Meeting my super star in person - Kumiko Fujita

She was an absolutely amazing person - so kind, humble, and funny!
She had no idea that her books (unfortunately out of print) and fabrics have inspired
so many of our sewing/quilting styles overseas. I told her that her Patchwork Pattern 318 
book is especially popular that it is sold really expensively due to its rarity value.
She said she feels terribly sorry for all of you who had to pay a lot 
to snatch a copy of the book and also for those of you who have yet to spot a copy.
According to her, the popularity of patchwork in general has declined 
dramatically in the past three decades in Japan so that there are less and less
patchwork/quilt books available here. Would you say the situation is completely
other way around in the US? I feel that there are more and more patchwork
books introduced nowadays in the US. Maybe some of you need to
move to Tokyo for me so that we can start a modern quilt guild here, ya?

I have a lot of things I want to talk about on my blog, but it's
time for me to go now! Thank you so much for coming back to my blog after
such a long break ;) I hope you are having a great holiday.