Wednesday, October 27, 2010

2010 Haloween #1

The Halloween season has come again! I feel the last costume making was just done a few months ago!
My daughter's costume request was "Tigress" the Tiger in the movie "Kang fu Panda" which both Nina and I love. She is a master of the Furius Five. Every time Nina watches this movie, she gets so excited and Kicks and Punches around in the living room in her Kng-fu move.

By the way, I couldn't find costumes of tigers at Halloween stores. There are "Tiggers" of the Disney everywhere but no "Tigress" anywhere. Then I found a "Lion" of the Lion King at a thrift store. I decided to get it and make it Tiger.......somehow. Even if I could not make it, I would ask her to be a Lion this year or since it was only five dollars, I would buy another one (something very safe like a princess or a fairly) . But I tried and finally made it a Tiger. There you go. It looks like a Tiger, doesn't it?

I forgot to take pictures of the original, so this is a picture of the Lion body already has some stripes on it, which is the closest to the original. I stenciled stripes with a bottle of black fabric spray paint.

This one (left below) is the "Before". There you already see some tiger pattern on the face again. I gave him a cosmetic surgery and it turned like this (right below). The "After" looks much more attractive, don't you think?

I appliqued new eyes and a nose over old ones with felts. The spangles added some sparkles in her eyes.

 The model is her. Master Tigress.

 Oops.There is a vestige of being a lion in her tail.

It seems Nina likes the costume. After a fitting, she didn't want to take it off. Kept drawing as Nina the Tigress.
 I could have made clothes for it like a kind of Kimono shaped top and Kang-Fu pants. But I didn't want to hide those stripes. My diligent work.

Have a happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Super Style Bag Swap


Sew, Mama, Sew! blog is hosting "Super Style Bag Swap" this month. I joined the swap and just finished the project yesterday.  This morning I sent my bag out to my lovely swap partner Melissa in SC. I know many recipients of this kind of swap would love to be surprised rather than to see pictures of what they are gonna receive before they open the package from their partner. So I asked Melissa if I could write about this on my blog before she sees the bag I sent. And I am permitted to do it. She says " I'll try not to peak :)". Thanks Melissa. And there it is. I made a kind of Boston bag with some fun elements.

The organizer of the swap assigned swap partners based on type of bag the participants want to make/receive & shipping preferences. My partner's taste is pretty similar to mine. She likes "fresh modern" type of fabrics and her favorite colors are "Orange and Mustard and Emerald and Raspberry (though not all together!), and even solids".  I don't use Orange and Mustard very much. But I love Emerald and Raspberry. So I checked through my stash and decided to use this print from Good Folks in Emerald Green.

 And also Melissa mentioned that she is particularly addicted to anything with trees or dandelions on it. That gave me an inspiration of design. I appliqued Dandelions with wool felt and a couple pieces of organza in front of the bag. The fabric I picked out is cotton canvas for the front.

 I especially liked the idea of using the shape of dandelion leaves in my design. It made the composition of my design more interesting. And I am glad the white down turned out really fun. I layered white felt and organza, 
 and stitched them on the canvas with white floss.

 On the back there is a pocket hemmed with the emerald print.

Lining is Green&White stripes print. I had this fabric for many many years in my stack. That means it is purchased in Japan. For reinforcement, I put a bag bottom which is a sheet of plastic canvas wrapped with fabric. Plastic canvas sheets are my favorite material for using as bag bottoms because they are very manageable. They are pretty much flexible and you can easily add the strength by layering two (or maybe three) together. I made one inside pocket.  Raw edges are all covered with bias tapes.

 I love this bag. I enjoyed making this so much. And I was so happy to see that finished. It was kinda hard to part from this bag, but I also would love to give this to my partner and made her a little happier. I think I have to make a similar thing for myself soon. I really hope my partner likes it and enjoys it.

Never forget I am gonna receive one from my partner! She showed me a sneak peak picture via email and it looked so good. I cannot wait to get a package in my mailbox soon. It is so exciting!

There will be more pictures in my flickr pool soon.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

a little illustrator / Sashiko in progress

I love my Five-years-old's drawing. I asked Nina to draw a dog for me this afternoon. And this is the picture she finished in ten minutes. I love it! I just love it.

Not only a dog. There are four puppies smiling by a mama dog.

She has just started learning to write at school. Fortunately, she is interested in writing very much. She is not good enough yet, but she keeps trying. Can you read this? It is not a secret code. It says "Puppies are cute. Dogs are cute too." Isn't that writing cute too?

And this is the first story she made up a couple weeks ago.

* * * * * * *

I already finished up this sashiko. I only have a picture of it in progress here. It is going to be a little purse.

Birthday pouch

My mother in law asked me to make something similar of this pouch. It is going to be a birthday gift for her friend. So I whipped up this. I hope the birthday lady will like it.

Have a happy weekend!

Canvas Toy container

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


We have been so busy these weeks. That made me slow to update my blog. We had a very big event last weekend. The event meant a lot for us and was pretty much emotional too. I will write it down here about that event when I am ready to handle it. So I am going to update about general life around myself today. I cannot believe it is October already. But it is October. The busy holiday season is just starting.

We went to another apple orchard for our second apple picking. My kitchen is filled with a lot of apples again. We got several different kinds of apples. This time we had Johnathan, Mutsu, Empire, Red and Golden Delicious.

Last time I baked an Irish apple cake from my favorite recipe book I brought from Japan. This time I baked  two apple pies from the same book. The book is featuring the English sweets' recipes written by a Japanese woman who has lived in England for long time. In Japan, all purpose flour is not common at all. I don't know what people use in England, though the recipe instructs using cake flours for everything. for the first pie I used cake flour and it tasted just right. Then the second one I ran out of cake flour so I used all purpose. It didn't turn right. The crust was too hard (my husband liked it though). I still have plenty of apples. There are many enough for making four more apple pies. Well, I think this is a good opportunity for me to learn baking apple pies and build up my own family recipe.

I started crocheting. It is going to be a large market tote or something. The cool weather always makes me feel like crocheting and knitting. I wish I had more time to play with yarns. If I had two more free hours everyday, I would make scarves or hats for all the family members for Christmas gifts.

In this country, I don't see the custom that people admire the taste of seasons from wild plants growing in the corner of your back yard or on the shoulder of the streets. (I am sure there are many people love wild flowers in the nature in America :)) Many Japanese like to enjoy looking at some plants in the nature which are regarded as weeds. In Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement ) and Sadou ( Tea ceremony ), those kinds of plants are cherished very much.

 I got this weed from my backyard. This is called "Yama-gobou" in Japanese. And I just found it is "Pokeweed Inkberry" in English. In this season the berries get dark purple.Its beautiful. I love this plant. Sadly my husband thinks of them as weeds. So most of them were cleaned out in the Summer. But they are obstinate! That is the ground of they are regarded as weeds! I am glad that I still am able to see the berries in my yard.

And I show you my recent finds from antique mall.
A crockery of the dairy company in Wisconsin. I often see this company's pottery around here.

And a children's book about the life of 1960's.

We like Mid-century style homes. Our home is build in 60's and we are collecting furniture and knickknacks from that age. The reason I bought this book is not only it was our taste. The stamp on the first page says 1964. That is our (my and my husband's) birth year!
The pictures in the book are so pretty and it is fun to imagine  how my husband and my In-lows lived in those days in this country. I am sure that Japanese people in that age were eager for living like these American people in the book.

I hope you enjoy the cooler weather in your place too!