Thursday, May 14, 2020

Book Review ~ Animal Friends to Sew

I have been given a chance to review this delightful book, Animal Friends to Sew by Sanae Ishida. She is known for her award winning book Sewing Happiness.

In her new book, she offers up 15 projects with 35 variations (they are beginner-friendly!) of items inspired by the beautiful simplicity of Japanese and Scandinavian design.

Even though I don't have a little one to sew these items for at home, I had fun looking through the pages. In the book there is cute decor and everything from fun toys to adorable wearables. Here are some of my favorites from the book:

Imagine how fun it would be to use these place mats! Little helpers might want to set the table.

I adore these shoes! Why can't kids stay small to wear stuff like these?

Then these... I LOVE these hooded capes. Beautiful and whimsical designs like these make me imagine all the good things about being a child; being in the moment and just having fun.

Are you intrigued? You can find the book on Amazon if you would love to see the other projects in the book. Happy sewing everyone!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Tall Tales Quilt Pieced

I have been making some cute paper piecing blocks here and there when I had time and I finally finished piecing the whole quilt last weekend!

I happened to see these adorable book quilt blocks many months ago on Instagram and found the pattern at Quilt with Kate.

Look how fun these blocks are!

It was such a fun process to make these blocks. I went through my stash to see what kind of "book covers" I could make... one of the fun parts was to look at prints and decide where and how to cut out designs from my fabric for the perfect front cover. I wanted to create something I would want on my bookshelves. I am finished piecing mine, but now I am thinking about making another one for my sister who is a big bookworm. She and I have very different taste in style, so I can totally see in my mind's eye that her Tall Tales Quilt would look different from my floral feminine one.

Now, I am going to think about how I am going to quilt it, but already I have a great idea for a quilt tag on the back (grin). I can't wait to share the finished quilt!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Mask Tutorial

How are you all doing? It has been quite a ride since the COVID-19 outbreak. I have been staying home most of the time except when I go to a doctor's appointment or grocery shopping, just like many of you who are reading this. I also have been making many masks. I started making my own mask so I could go shopping, then I made some for my family, friends, to donate, extended families and more. During this mask making journey, I have tried several different patterns I found online. I found a mask that fits fine for me, but my family always had something they didn't like about those masks. Here are some problems with the masks we have tried:

* They felt like the tip of their nose was being squished, but to loosen the tie or elastic to relieve that pressure, the mask slides down or creates too much of a gap around the bridge of their nose.

* They prefer the kind that loops around the ear, but after a while of wearing their ears start to hurt.

* The mask doesn't cover the chin

* With the ear loop type, you can't adjust the length of the loop for individuals. Sometimes this creates an arch shaped gap on the sides.

* Not enough space around the mouth and it is hard to breath.

They have given me a lot to think about and to study! I never put that much thought into masks before. Who knew mask making could be so complicated and difficult!!

It is especially hard to find masks that would fit Mr. TRH. He and I have very different facial structures and features. He has deep set eyes with a tall nose and the distance from under his eyes to chin is longer than mine. I have rounder face with typical asian features. No wonder the same mask that would fit me doesn't fit him.

Keeping the problems I listed above in mind, I drafted a few patterns and made some prototypes and asked him to try them on. After some trial and error, I finally came up with a pattern that works for him and I! I know there are lots of great patterns out there and my pattern may not work for you, but here is my contribution to the mask making community.

I drafted three different sizes: small, medium and large. Large fits perfectly for my Mr. TRH, my teens and I take medium and I made small just because. my neighbor helped me by having her kids try the mask and I figured the small would fit kids around 5 to 8. I am wondering if small would work for even bigger kids if you put longer elastic. Let me know if you find out. :)

Please read all the instructions before you start


For fabrics, it is recommended by the CDC that tightly woven cotton fabrics layered together is very effective. Also, using flannel as a liner is a very good option.

1 piece of Outer fabric (S - 6"H x 12"W / M - 8"H x 12"W / L - 8"H x 12"W )
1 piece of Inner fabric (S - 6"H x 10"W / M - 8"H x 10"W / L - 8"H x 10"W )
2 pieces of 1/4"wide and however long elastic(or knit string) for individual - I usually cut mine to 9" to 11" to have extra for adjustments
Wire, pipe cleaner or twist ties (optional)
Other basic sewing tools

How to

1. Download my printable pattern. If you are planning on making many masks, it is very helpful to make a template with thicker and harder material.

2. Fold the fabric right sides together in half. Trace the template on to the outer and inner fabrics.

3. Sew short straight lines along the top and the bottom.

4. If you want to make the mask with an opening for a filter, take the inner fabric and fold both sides twice with 1/4"seam and sew. If not, you can skip this part.

5. With right sides together, pin outer and inner pieces. Make sure that the seams on the top and bottom are facing opposite directions for a cleaner finish.

6. Sew the top and the bottom with 1/4"seam. Turn inside out.

7. Press the seam with an iron and top stitch both seams.

8. Fold the sides of the outer fabric twice (1/4" first then 1/2") and stitch. Make sure that you don't stitch over the opening for the filter.

If you skipped step 4, you can just sew the folded outer fabric on top of the inner fabric. If you want to sew in wire for the bridge of the nose just like I did, you should do it now.

9. Put the elastic through or knit string through the sides and tie the ends to make a loop. Hide the knots inside of the sleeve and it is ready to wear! Elastic is very hard to find nowadays, but I actually LOVE knit string so much better. You might be wondering what knit string is; basically, you vertically cut thin knit fabric such as a t-shirt and pull it hard. Both sides of the fabric will roll toward the inside and voilá! You have knit string. Dana from Made Every Day has a tutorial for this along with her pleated mask tutorial.

*Optional --- This mask is pretty secure around the bridge of the nose without the additional wire, but if you prefer, you can sew one in like I did, or you can sew ribbon or bias tape to the inner fabric side to create a sleeve for your mask to have a removable wire option.

Here is what I did:

1. I measured 2" from the center of both sides and marked.

2. Slide in the wire (in my case, I made an aluminum strip out of a piece of a soda can) from the side. Keep the wire in place using pins while sewing.

3. This is the view from inside and outside of the mask.

When I wear the mask, the tip of the nose area has more space than Mr. TRH's does. It fits perfectly for him and the fabric is not pushing his nose in and he loves it. The rest of the family is pretty happy with the results including myself.

I know some areas are relaxing the stay at home order, and I don't really know what this means for us, and the whole nation, but I think it is good to be cautious and wear a mask when we go out. Not just for us, but for the other people around us. Might as well sew what we want to wear, right? ;)

Stay safe everyone!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Photo Wall Canvas Art Review

This post is sponsored post by Photo Wall

I was given the opportunity to work with a Sweden based company called Photo Wall. I visited their website and I was blown away by their choice of beautifully designed wallpaper. I spent a long time scrolling through their site and going back and forth to decide on the design I wanted to work with. At first, I really wanted wallpaper, but I couldn't think of any walls in my house to put up at this time. Maybe when we finish our basement... there are going to be a few big walls in need of some design inspirations.

I decided to do a canvas art and ordered mine. They ships within 1-4 days and offer free US shipping. My order came very quickly but I was a bit surprised... to be honest with you, I was thinking that I was going to receive canvas art on a wood frame ready to hang. The box delivered on my door step was a long slender one. I thought "Oh no! I have to put it together myself? What if I don't do a good job? Do I need special tools?"...

I rolled up my sleeves and got ready to work. There were 4 wood pieces, some small parts and instructions. With genius design and clear instructions I was able to put my canvas art together in less than 15 min. Oh, and I did not need any extra tools. I was so impressed by how easy it was and the quality of the product!

There were other designs that caught my eyes, but I LOVE flowers and I LOVE white. When I saw this design; Ivory White Double Tulip I heard a voice inside of my head screaming, "This is it!". I loved the look online, but it is much prettier in person. when I finished putting together the canvas, my most toughest critic AKA "teenage daughter" exclaimed "That is SO pretty!!" :) As of today, I am thinking about hanging this in the front room or the hallway, but I haven't decided yet.

Photo Wall offers canvas prints, posters, wall papers and also, you can use your own image and order them as well. If you are looking for a beautiful wall art, you need to visit their website to be inspired!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Giveaway + Post Surgery Cami Pattern

Before I dive into the giveaway details, let me visit with you wonderful readers. If you prefer not to read it, you can skip to the end. :)

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you so much for reading my post and leaving the comments. My hope is that we can support, educate and lift one another by talking about breast cancer. The winner for the giveaway is...

@queenscarlett (she entered on Instagram)

Congratulations! I hope this little gift can brighten up your friend who is battling the cancer. Please DM me your info.

As I mentioned in my last post, I can't believe it has been a year since my mastectomy. First of all, I just want to say I am so sorry to those of you who left such loving and kind comments on my Breast Cancer Awareness Month and My Story post and This is the Morning... posts. Blogger didn't send me comments notification for several months and I had no idea there were comments on my posts. Also, I was really not in a place to check my blog and emails often. I found out about it several months after the surgery and read and published them all. Some of you shared your own stories as well as encouraging words. They all touched me very much in special ways. Thank you, thank you so much for being so kind.

I never wrote about my update after the surgery, but here is a quick run down...

I woke up from surgery and had a bad reaction to anesthesia. I was throwing up all night long. Long story short, I had a fever and a bleeding issue in the breast and went back to surgery a couple days later. I stayed at the hospital longer than I expected. But a week or so after I got home, I had severe chills and a fever, so I contacted my doctor. After sending him the picture of the w and a conversation, he prescribed antibiotics for infection. I slowly but surely made a recovery, but for some reason I had a low grade fever for several months. Not only am I allergic to pain meds and very sensitive to most anesthesia, my body is also very slow to recover from surgeries.

In March I had reconstructive surgery and it was much easier compared to the mastectomy. I slowly recovered from it and in June, I had one of my shoulders operated on. This was suppose to happen much sooner, but I decided to wait on that after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had to rearrange my medical priority list. I am still recovering from that, but making progress day by day. It was definitely a lot to deal with in one year on top of my typical vein and prosthetic issues.

I even admitted to Mr.TRH and few close friends that I might have had mini depression from time to time. I usually consider myself a very strong, happy and optimistic person. But, there are days that I really didn't want to do anything at all and just kept watching movies or TV shows and that is totally out of character. I guess I was in hibernation mode. Now looking back, I am glad that I allowed myself to be that way. I also am extremely grateful that I am in the position that I could focus on getting better without worrying about keeping a roof over our heads and putting food on the table because of how hard Mr.TRH works for our family.

It was a very hard year for me, but at the same time it was an amazing year; I felt so much love and support from so many. I saw wonderful blessings in different ways. I know it is not even November and Thanksgiving yet, but here a quick (well, it is quick version by my definition, it could be much longer if you let me) list of those blessings.

I am so grateful that I was able to find (more like guided to) caring and skilled doctors and they were able to help me.
I am thankful for my long time friends for organizing special get-togethers before surgery to show their support.
I am so grateful for my in-laws for visiting and calling me in hospital.
I am thankful for my friends and neighbors for welcoming me home with a neighborhood filled with pink ribbons, texting, calling, bringing us meals, flowers, treats and making so many paper cranes.
I am thankful for my sisters who are 5,400 miles away who texted and called often to check up on me and send me care packages including some Japanese books I so crave!
I am even grateful for Netflix (I watched many K-dramas while I was recovering)
I am grateful for the gospel. As I always hear, having the gospel in our life or believing in Christ doesn't make problems go away or make our life easy, it definitely makes me stronger than I can be on my own and help me to bare the burden better.

And, what can I say... I do have an awesome family. My husband is always there for me without fail. When I woke up from the surgery, I saw him standing by my bed. Even without looking at the scars or anything, just the thought of the surgery being over and losing my breasts made me weep. He just held my hand and stroked my hair quietly and let me be until I was OK. He was there for me as always. My oldest drove a few times himself and brought the other two to visit me in the hospital and they continued to take care of me at home. One time he stayed for a few hours to just sit next my bed and talk to me, make me laugh like he always does and we watched TV too.

Then my friends from sewing and creative blogging community... Mellisa of Melly Sews sent me two handmade Post Surgery Camisole for me to wear after the surgery. BOY, they were a life saver!!

After few month from surgery, Amy of Diary of a Quilter and Andy of A Bright Corner Visited and gave me a special quilt made by many hands. I worte about more about the quiltif you are interested. These ladies became very special friends to me over the years and this unexpected special gift gave me strength and I will always cherish this quilt.

I was thinking about what I could giveaway for Breast Cancer Awareness month and when I was looking at the heart quilt, it gave me the idea to make a mini heart quilt for my tin room. This is my small way of paying it forward for all the kindness and support I received. This is for someone who is going through breast cancer issues or who wants to support someone special in their lives.

The word "Cancer" is scary, but with early detection your survival rate is very high. Spread the word and go get checked out!

Here are the giveaway rules:

1. Leave a comment here. You can simply say hi or share your breast cancer story. It is so helpful when we share our stories.
2. Leave a comment on my Instagram.
3. For an extra entry, tag your friends who might benefit from knowing my story.

I will run the giveaway until midnight Saturday the 19th. I will announce the winner Monday morning.

Thank you for visiting, stay well everyone!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Eagle Scout Project

Today is exactly one year since my double mastectomy. It has been quite a hard and amazing at the same time type of year for me. But hey, I am here with my family and I am extremely grateful for many things. I am planning on a special giveaway really soon and I will share more about my journey in that post.

I am writing a quick post about one of my sons' Eagle Scout Project to raise awareness for Breast Cancer.

Michael wants to do heart shaped pillows to donate to my doctor's office. Last year before my surgery, I was able to donate about 50 pillows. Later they told me that they were gone so fast. I am glad that my small contribution might have been able to help someone, but that means, so many women were newly diagnosed with breast cancer...

I shared that with my children and they were quite surprised too. He wanted to do something meaningful for his project and we thought that this would be a great way to celebrate my one year anniversary as well.

For his Eagle Scout project, he needs to teach and lead others. So, last week I taught him how to make a heart shaped pillow.

He was such a trooper! It was kind of hard for him to keep the 1/4" seam especially on the curvy areas, but he made one pillow! Is he going to develop a love of sewing? I guess not, but I am proud of him for trying something new to serve others.

The actual day that he was able to schedule the church building for the big sewing event is during fall break (that was the only Saturday available this year!). We are a bit nervous about that... many people might be out of town, but he is hoping to make 200 pillows! Wish him luck! ;)

Note: I added the link to my original post from year ago. Near the end of the post(blow the picture of heart pillows), you can find the link to downloadable pattern for the pillow. Thanks!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Halloween Themed Tiny Tin Sewing Room

Hello! It's been a while since I posted. My recovery is going well and I am so happy that I can do things as long as it doesn't require me to lifting or putting too much pressure on my left arm.
I created these 4 Halloween themed tiny tin sewing rooms this week. At first I was going to make just Halloween themed rooms. Then, looking at black sewing machine with gold details made me think "How fun would it be to put together sewing room with Halloween colors...".

I love how they turned out!

These will be seasonal limited addition and available in my etsy shop. I might make more depending on how well they are received. It is fun to do things bit differently. Now I hear Christmas bells ringing... ;)
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