Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Conquering a Fear...And the Beautiful Result!

Once upon a time a sensitive mother purchased yards of expensive silk brocade for her daughter as a pre-wedding gift... mostly because said daughter had been fawning over the Asian design and rich royal blue color for a long time and this mother thought it would go a long way towards soothing her 'day-before-the-wedding' jitters...and a kimono pattern so that yardage would go to good use. (Wait, at this point the daughter didn't even own a sewing machine! What were they thinking?)

Sadly, GUILTILY, the fabric sat in the daughter's fabric stash for 9 1/2 years because this gal didn't know HOW to read a pattern and was terrified of destroying the gorgeous fabric.

Until last week.
I am that daughter. I do sew, but the only clothing I've made were very simple/forgiving projects for my kids (costumes, straight lines, online tutorials for easy things, ya know)... Until I decided enough is enough. After all, the logical accusation was that I was wasting the gift just as much by NOT using it as I would be if I messed up the sewing. Time to put on my big girl pants and JUMP IN!

I decided I would rarely use a kimono, so why not try something I could wear more regularly? The brocade lent itself to a fit-and-flare design because of the weight of the fabric. I bought a pattern (Simplicity 1418), made a mock up in muslin first so I could learn a few things, and read and reread those instructions! I am really proud that I stretched myself to a) figure out how to read a pattern, b) sew darts, c) sew pleats, d) sew fitted sleeves, e) sew in a zipper and f) make adjustments to the pattern so that it was a custom fit! Weight loss not-withstanding, I still have my original body shape with which to contend, so adjusting the pattern to my specs proved a challenge indeed! I'm happy to say, I conquered! (and I think my next dress will be even better!)
and you know what? I've really been bitten by the fashion sewing bug! I whipped up this argyle peasant dress for Gwen for Valentine's Day (free fabric from a friend! Thanks, Rach!) and I've already got fabric and plans for Easter dresses... and even a couple more projects that should keep me busy into summer! Wondered where I've gone? Check my sewing room! I'll be there for a while!
Moral of the story? In conquering a fear, I've unleashed a monster!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Lovely Valentines Decor Projects

I've had way too much fun sprucing up our home for Valentine's Day this year! I can't seem to stop doing little projects!
I made this cute wall of free V-tines printables using thrift store frames. Gwen decorated those doilies and I wanted to use them around the house! Printables from Yellowblissroad, 18twentyfive, the36thavenue, and theredheadedhostess.   
Completed this adorable free printable candy hearts banner from sandytoesandpopsicles.
Found this 'house' at the thrift store and new it would be adorable for the girls little pet shops and princesses to have a Valentine's cottage especially for them! Painted it white then added in scrapbook paper to each hole. 
Burlap and felt heart inspired by Embellishinglifeeveryday.
Speaking of embellishing, check out Gwen's work on that doily!

These pink rose topiaries were inspired by the Idearoom.

Now I just need to finish up the simple peasant dress I'm making for Gwen (pink and green argyle-- so cute!) since she doesn't have a good V-tines dress and I'll be 'set' on the projects! Then I can add some more, or start on my St.Patty's decor, or begin their Easter dresses, or work on my spring hexie quilt for our bed! So many options! I LOVE having a project (or projects!) in the works! What are YOU working on these days?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Asian Love

Eric and I got to celebrate Asia 2 weekends in a row! We had our monthly in-home date to Japan and then the next week was Lunar New Year so we had our annual Korean feast!

Japanese in-home date night. We are poor with no extra vacation flexibility but we both LOVE the idea of international travel! So we decided this year to have a monthly "trip" to a place of interest! We get take out, plan small activities for our date, and then enjoy our evening as though we took a quick vacation! For our kickoff date, Eric chose Japan! We had delicious sushi (not pictured) before we put the kids to bed. 
We made some fancy but sweet origami flowers together.
I put up some gorgeous light posters given to me by my mom's Japanese friend, Yoko, back when I was in 4th grade. I love them! 
We had a great evening of delicious food, music, movies, and entertainment and I am loving our travel dates! Some day we'll go there for real, but in the mean time, this was a ton of fun and nicely romantic. 

We had a great dinner celebration for Lunar New Year this past weekend!

Emmett loved the japchae noodles. He had a pile of them in his lap by the end of his efforts!
kimbap and ddeokbokki
Kasia was a natural at rolling the kimbaps!

Stacey's hubby was a missionary in Korea like I was (just different place and years), so she came along for the Korean market shopping and food prep. It was so much fun to have a friend in the kitchen with me! Thanks Stacey!
Caroline wasn't feeling so well. She fell asleep right there WHILE everyone was running around her!
an impromptu blanket peek-a-boo game was warmly received by all the kidlets!

Our lively game of Yutnori went down in favor of guys... TWICE... but we're saying that we just let them win. Twice. :)
I made Hoddeok for the first time and it was a smashing success! Adding it to the yearly menu for sure! Why have we never done it before? Oh yeah: because there is already so much food and we are always stuffed. Though it is traditionally essential for Lunar New Year, I think I'm going to remove ddeok guk from the menu. No one really enjoys that soup as much as the rest of the food. I'd rather have more room for other foods. Would that be heresy if I left it out? :)
We had a wonderful time! Thanks for celebrating Lunar New Year with us, folks!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lovely Kiddo Projects

Did ya'll miss me?
I finally got a camera to replace our busted one. So now I can share my ordinarily entertaining days with you again!
First up: here are 2 projects I've done with the girls that I love! 
Doily Heart T-shirts
Original idea from cuttingtinybites. I bought solid colored shirts from a consignment store. I hoped to go cheapest and get them at Volunteers of America, but there weren't any shirts without designs on them. Oh well. It was still cheaper than brand new. :) I forgot to get a pic of the doily painting part. This is after the doilies are removed and we added pink 'jewel' accents.
Caroline got lots of help for this project. She couldn't squeeze the tubes with enough control to get the paint out in nice dots. 

Gwen wanted dots all over the place and even added a cute smiley face!
The hardest part was waiting the 24 hours to let the shirts dry! These girls were SO EAGER to try on their new shirts!
Dinosaur Valentines
These were so fun and easy! Adorable. The girls each got to keep one, the rest we sent on to Grandparents with lots of love. 

Gwen informed me that the baby is following her mommy and daddy dinosaur. 

Caroline loved em all!

I love all the fun things to do for holidays!