Patchwork door mat and the backyard peacock update...

I made a patchwork door mat for my mother as part of her Mother's day gift this year.  Each squares of this mat measures 5 in x 5 in (12.7 cm x 12.7 cm).    My mom asked me if I can make her a kitchen mat also, so I better hurry up and finish it up so that I can send them to Japan over this weekend, or at the latest, by next Monday.  Otherwise, they won't be able to arrive by the Mother's day next weekend...!!

Another view here.  I really like the crisp blue/white color combination of this mat.

The close up of the patchwork.  I used acryl batting for this mat, instead of cotton batting, so that the mat dries faster even in the wet rainy season in Japan (in early summer).

The door mat is reversible, and the other side looks like this (navy bandana print from my stash).

I attached a handmade tag made of handcarved eraser stamps, to the back side of the door mat to add that personal touch.  I love adding these small details to my handmade projects!

By the way, let me give you an update of our peacock eggs in our backyard that we discovered about a week ago.   Today, we had two more peacock visitors, besides the mommy peacock (peacock no. 1) who literally lives in our backyard...

We're not sure how these peacocks no.2 and no. 3 are related to the mommy peacock, but they all seemed to be friendly to each other (although I'm not sure how peacocks express affection and friendship to each other...)  They just wandered around the mommy peacock and left quietly.   And they seem to come back several times during the day...

And the mommy peacock continues to warm her eggs in our backyard....  She's totally covered in the ivy bush, but can you see her in the picture below?  

 In our area, the weather is much colder than normal this year, with more rain with gusty winds, which is very unusual for April. With a harsh weather like this, we are all concerned about the well being of the peacock mom and her eggs... 

Few days ago, when it started raining in the middle of the night, I found my husband standing in our backyard, next to the peacock nest, with his umbrella in his hand, trying to cover the nest from the rain...!  I almost laughed when I first saw him standing outside in the rain in the middle of the night! Yes, protecting the peacock nest and the eggs is a major family concern in our household right now...  

Mommy peacock sitting on her eggs all day long...

Today, I was lucky enough to take a picture of her eggs.  Normally the mommy bird  literally sits on her eggs all day long, rain or shine, so it's almost impossible for us to see (and count) the number of eggs in her nest.  

As you can see here, it seems like we already lost one egg in just one week...: (  as there were five eggs originally).


We are continuing to cross our fingers for the safety of these eggs... so stay tuned!

Hair scrunchies for our girls

Our girls asked me to make some hair scrunchies (pony tail holders) for them, using the fabrics that they selected from my stash.  I made a couple of them last night and our girls wore them to school today.   For each scrunchie, I used approximately 5 inches x 20 inches (12.5 cm x 50 cm) piece of fabric.

My older daughter (10 yrs old) wore the pastel check version to school today.

And my younger daughter (8 years old) wore the polka dots version.

It may be hard to tell the fabric pattern of their hair scrunchies from this picture... But they both seemed to like their new hair accessaries!

Patchwork & linen tote bag and the peacock eggs...

I sewed up this tote in a storm last night.  It's a large size patchwork and linen tote bag.  Each patchwork squares are 5 x 5 inches (12.7 cm x 12.7 cm) in size.   The handles are made of cotton webbing.

This is how the other side of the patchwork squares arrangement looks like.  

Can you see the handmade tag on the side (red ribbon eraser-carved stamp)?   I love to add these small details to my handmade items!

The tote is reversible with a large linen pocket...  

By the way, do you remember my earlier post about the (wild) peacock visiting our backyard lately?  She's still here, making loud noises everyday...

And instead of just wandering around our backyard like she used to do, we noticed that she's been sitting in the bushy ivy area for the past few days like this...

And look what our girls found in the ivy bush!!  Five peacock eggs... Oh my!  She laid her eggs in our backyard!!  My jaws almost dropped when I first saw the eggs \*0*/

We're all excited about this news (especially our girls), however, we're also very worried about the safety of these eggs.  Because there are many natural enemies of peacock eggs out there, who visit our backyard regularly, such as cats, squirrels, racoons, skunks, possums, crows, and all sorts of birds...

We're just crossing our fingers that all of these precious eggs are protected from the enemies, and that eventually they are able to hatch out to be healthy peacock babies...

Flower corsages and bag charms

Look how many flower corsages and bag charms that I've been making lately... Just too many! I'm totally hooked on making these.

These are my "regulars".  Crocheted flower charms with covered fabric buttons in the middle.

This one is made of strips of cotton and linen fabrics only.  Very natural looking.

And this one is my favorite... I made the flower using lace.  In the center of the flower are the "pearl" beads.

Add one flower corsage to the handmade bag and it really makes a difference... Don't you think so?

Mini tissue holder

This is a small folding pouch to carry a mini tissue and a hanky, etc. on the go.   I used small fabric scraps of linen, gingham check, and a Cath Kidston florals to make this... I like the soft combination of these fabrics ;)

 When the front flap is opened, it looks like this:

It is quite convenient because there is a small pocket behind the tissue holder, where a small necessity, such as some band-aids, a chapstick, or a folded hankerchief can be stored inside, like this:

And  I followed this Japanese tutorial (sorry, in Japanese only).   This tissue holder may look quite simple to make, and yes, the tutorial was well written and easy to follow, but it was still challenging for me to sew... Well, I guess small projects does not always equal easy sewing!!

Crocheted mini basket

I love making handmade baskets, and this time I made a mini crocheted basket using regular (wool) yarns and fabric yarns.  Leather strips are used for the handles.   I decorated the basket with white cotton crochet flowers to add a finishing touch.

The bottom part of the basket is made with regular yarns, crocheted in the round...

Then, I used fabric yarns to crochet the top few rows of the basket.  This fabric yarn is basically a 1/2 inch (1.25cm) wide cotton fabric strips that I handcut from my fabric stash a while ago.

I changed the yarn and kept on crocheting for few more rows...

And added leather handles and cotton crochet flowers.

The basket measures about 4.5 inches (11.5 cm ) in diameter.  I think it's a good size to store my buttons and sewing notions, like this, on my sewing table.

By the way, look who's been visiting our backyard lately... a (wild) peacock!  Our girls get all excited when they  find a peacock walking in our backyard, and the pictures below are taken by our oldest daughter. 

She (the bird) does no harm to us, except that she cries really loud!  They sound like a broken trumpet, they really do.  And sometimes, she brings her family members, too. We've seen a total of three peacocks walking together... So many birds!

Patchwork small tote

Remember the patchwork work in progress that I was working on earlier this week?

Well, I made a small  tote bag using some linen and several blocks of 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) patchwork squares.  I used 24 squares in total, with some linen, and the handles are made of cotton webbing.  The fabric squares used for patchwork are from the Moda snippets line.

Inside it looks like this

This lining fabrics is one of my favorite fabrics.

Once again, I followed the very helpful fabric basket tutorial by Pink Penguin when making this patchwork tote.  However, I made several changes to the fabric basket this time, such as the size of the squares (2.5 inch squares used instead of 2 inche squares) and where to place of the handles (front and back, instead of left and right). 

Here, you can compare them.  One to the right is the fabric basket (original size) that I made a while ago.

I love the cheerful patchworks, it's so spring like and fun!

Seven things about myself...

Hi, all :) I was tagged by my dear blog friend Sam of Sunnysidey a while ago, to come up with seven random things about myself, and then tag seven other people...  I try my best to keep it short and simple, so hope you bear with me... So here I go!

Seven random things about me...

1. Craft addiction...
Okay, this is how my crafting table looks like. To the left is a refrigerator (my craft space is located right next to our kitchen area) and right behind my back of where I sit, our kids normally do their homework, play games, eat snacks, and make noises...

I became a craft addict after I bought a sewing machine for myself when my youngest daughter started kindergarten.  Since then, I've been sacrificing sleep and enjoying making things with my machine!

Updated 3/15/2013: My current sewing machine Juki TL-2010Q

2. Radio vs T.V.... I'm a radio listener, and I always keep my radio on while I work, drive, cook, clean, and even when I craft. During the day, I mainly listen to the news radio and at night, I like to listen to easy music.  On the other hand, I almost never watch TV, probably less than an hour a week is a max for my TV time!

My kitchen radio that I listen to when I cook

3. Good food with fine drink... I love eating tasty food with a glass of good wine (or a cold can of beer, or a bottle of Japanese sake, or with Korean soju, or you name the drink, I'll take it!)  I also enjoy cooking, so when I cook dinner, I like to have a can of beer or a glass of wine with me...  What a great way to do three of my favorite things (to cook, to eat and to drink) all at once! 

4. Makeup... I started wearing makeup when I was in my senior year of high school, I think, and since then, I've been wearing it every day.  Well, sometimes I skip it, but on most days, I wear it. I think of it as part of my normal daily routine, just like brushing my teeth or checking my e-mails. 

daily makeup ritual

5. My hubby...I met my husband when I was nineteen years old and when he was twenty two... We got married about a year later and here we are, still *happily* married after more than two decades of being together, now with two kids...which is quite amazing for me!

6. Babysitting vs parenting... When I was growing up, I was the oldest of five kids in our family, and I was the babysitter of my younger siblings all my life (until I left home for college.)  And because of my background, I used to think that having and raising kids of my own will be a breeze... But boy, I was damn wrong...!!  Parenting was so much different from babysitting!!

7. Accounting... I know that crafting and accounting doesn't really mix... but I am a Certified Public Accountant here in the U.S.  Before I had kids, I used to work very long hours as a C.P.A., and back then, I was so busy that I had no time to craft at all! Poor me! Luckily my current work schedule is much more flexible and with fewer hours, it allows me to spend more time with my family.

...Phew! This must be my longest post, ever, on my blog.  Oh, and by the way, I don't think I really know seven other bloggers well enough to tag them, so any of you bloggers out there who feel like posting your own random seven, just give it a try!! And don't forget to let me know when you post 'em ;)

Thanks for reading and happy crafting!

Work in progress...

I started patching these squares last night... I will post it again here when it's done ; )

Natural linen x black handbag with corsage

This is my latest sewing project : a natural linen and solid black cotton handbag.  When I made this bag, I had my girlfriend in my mind, who often dresses in black or white tops with denim jeans.   I thought that a simple linen x black handbag will suit her image.

She is a dear friend of mine, and ever since she gave us very generous and beautiful holiday gifts for myself and our girls for last Christmas, I've been wanting to make a special handmade gift to her... And after more than four months later (sorry for the delay, friend!) I thought it would be a good timing  to whip up a handbag for her for the spring season, since April is her birthday month.

On the face of the bag,  I sewed a black/white ribbon on to the part where the linen fabric and  black cotton are pieced together.

This is the ribbon I used.

Close up view

Just like the flower print bag that I sewed earlier for myself, this bag is also reversible, and the reversible side looks like this.  Black and white dot stripes with wavy curves.  I think this fabric is from our local Joann store.   

Side veiw

And here is another side view.  It may be a bit hard to see from the picture below, but
 I attached a tab with a D ring on this side of the bag to hang keys.

This is how this linen x black bag looks like without the flower corsage... Doesn't it look a little too boring without the corsage, maybe?

Speaking of flower corsage, I had a hard time making this linen flower corsage...

I normally crochet the flower corsage with yarns and crochet hook, but this time, it was my first attempt to make one with several layers of linen fabric.  The toughest part of making this was when I sewed the layers of fabric petals, laces, and leather  strings together, and it was so hard to pull the needle and thread through the layers,  that  I pricked my finger with a needle pretty badly... Ouch!  I had to cease everything what I was doing until my bleeding stopped...(to prevent the corsage from turning bloody... how horrifying!)

I'm a pretty clumsy and careless person, but I guess I shall be more careful when using needles, especially when I'm handstitching :( 


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