Saturday, June 30, 2012

Link Love No.80!

I had a relaxing yet pretty productive day. I have been working on a tutorial and some projects that I am going to share with you soon (wink), so stay tuned!

I am not going to list everything I did today, but one of my highlights of the day was watching "Kung-fu Panda" with my family... boy you gotta love that movie. Sometimes it's so nice to sink in to your comfy couch and just watch a fun movie, don't you think?

Well, are you ready for the link loves for this month?

I LOVE what Owen's Olivia did for her baby's nursery!! It is fun to see non-traditional style nursery. I love the colors she chose, and all the love, details she put in. So creative!

Do you have a baseball jersey you no longer need laying around the house? Sweet Bee Buzzings shared one of the fun ways to repurpose them... Jersey Pillows! I have some jerseys from last year when we signed up one of our sons for baseball. I think he will love to have a pillow like those.

We can always use some creative themes for parties, right? This very pretty and not to mention refreshing "Pink Lemonade Party" was shared by Cherished Bliss. There are a bunch of pictures on her blog, so head over to see all the details on her blog!

QuarDecor turned a "blah" office file cabinet into a stylish center piece stylish. This is a perfect example of how imagination and little bit of elbow grease can create something awesome. :)

The last link I want to share is the Peanut Swaddler by Sugar Tart Crafts. I swaddled all my kids when they were babies, and they slept very well. Although, I hated to unwrap them to check their diapers because they usually woke up. WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS? How clever to have 2 zippers?! Check out her complete tutorial on her blog, you don't wanna miss it!

Thank you everyone for linking up your awesome creations. The next link party will be on July 25th. Mark your calendar and get ready, set… go! :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Silhouette Fabric Ink Starter Kit

I LOVE being an affiliate for silhouette... look what I found on my door step the other day...

Fabric Ink Starter Kit! I have done fabric stenciling in the past, but I must say I love the results of this kit so much better. Because the see-through stencil material (thick like vinyl) sticks to the fabric, it is so much easier to put paint on, and the lines came out sharper because I don’t have to hold it down, it doesn’t slide or move one bit. It was easy to peel off.

Are you anxious to see what I mean?

I make tons of stuff for my little girl but not enough for the boys. When I saw some of the cool designs that came with the kit, I immediately knew what I wanted to do with them!

Camera shy?

Not for long, they warmed up pretty quickly.

I found these t-shirts at Wal-Mart for less than $4 each. My boys were so excited about the new "cool" t-shirts. Michael's only request was, "Mom, I wish you did the splash with red." Ugh, he is such a boy.

I kept on playing with this kit. I made a sassy pouch for me!

There are a couple things I need to mention though... I used canvas for this project, and it was a big mistake! The stencil design I used was such a detailed one, it was a bit tricky of a design to work with. Because the canvas is such a rough fabric, the stencil didn't stick to the canvas very well. So, make sure to choose smoother fabric if you are going to work with a more detailed design. It took me a while to complete the stenciling on this project, but I LOVE how it turned out!

Guess what I slipped in to this sassy pouch before I stepped out the door this morning with the kids... make-up? Some electronic device? Wrong!

Candies and granola bars, and they were mostly for me. I need extra energy to keep up with the kiddos all day. :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Link Party No.80! / New Most Favorite Basket

I sent my oldest to his first week long scout camp last Monday. He was so excited about it, and I guess I was the clingy one.

There was a minor accident (he cut his finger and needed stitches at the emergency room). He came back VERY tired and in one piece. Because of the stitches, he couldn't take a shower for two days at camp which was very hot and dusty. Ugh…

I have been his mom for almost 12 years, but I never seen him so dirty. But you know, he had a big smile on his face and was very excited about sharing his stories about camp.

When he came home he said "Here, mom." and handed me a small basket. It was the basket he made for basketry. Wow, my boy made a basket!

I am sure I shared my love for baskets in past posts, but this one, made by him became my most favorite basket amongst all the baskets that I own.

It has been only five days, but to me he looked a bit taller and mature (really, by a little). I guess I had glimpses of him growing after scout camp. Watching the kids learn and grow is a joy but letting them go is another story. I guess I am in the process of learning the "art of parenting" slowly too. :)

I can't believe this month has passed already since the last link party. How have you all been? How do you manage your time in the craziness of summer and still have time to create?

I can't wait to see what you all are going to share with us!

1. Please post something YOU made. It doesn't matter if it is crochet, quilt, clothing, anything would be fine. I want to see it! If you use someone's idea or patterns please give them the rightful credit.

2. Link to your specific post, that way it is easier for everybody to find and read it.

3. Please grab the "Tea Rose Home" grab button, and link back from your post. If you can mention the party in your post or place the button on your side bar, that would be great! I want more people to have a chance to come and show off their creation.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

New Love: Paper Coterie Daily Documenting Books

Are you familiar with a company Paper Coterie? They are a company which helps us to create something unique and beautiful with our favorite photos. They offer services for books, calendars, cards, etc.; you name it.

After the earthquake in Japan, Missy from How Does She? called on 50+ bloggers and created a cookbook and worked with Paper Coterie. They ended up raising 20,000 dollars from the sales of the book, and donated all that to the Red Cross. I was one of the bloggers to participate in the project, and bought a few books myself too. I was impressed with the quality of the book, and how fast the book came after I placed my order.

I am originally from Japan, and my home town was deeply affected by the earthquake and tsunami. I was so touched and grateful for Missy's action; also when I learned that Paper Coterie donated all the books for the cause, they became the number one company in their industry in my book.

I use to scrapbook, but that stopped when my oldest turned 9 months old. Why? There are a couple of reasons; I am more involved with sewing and jewelry making. And not having a big working space, pulling out papers and other supplies creates more mess on top of whatever I am working on.

I always felt bad for my other children for not having any scrapbooking done. So I always thought that I am going to start where I left off but 11 years has already passed!

I was always oohing and ahhhing over Paper Coterie's photo books on their web site, but I am bit shy to try "new" things with technology, so I never created one for myself. Although after I became one of their affiliates, it gave me a push to try.

I created my first photo book a few weeks ago, and I can say I really enjoyed the experience. It was so much easier than I thought, and I LOVE LOVE the book! I ordered two books- one for our family, the other is for my mom's birthday. I already sent it to her and she was so happy to receive such a unique gift with bunch of her grandkids’ pictures! My kids were so excited to see the book as well; they sit and turned the pages and giggled.

I have SO many fun family pictures in my computer that are just sitting there. I have decided that I am going to create photo books from now on, so we can look at them often and share as a family.

Paper Coterie has another new and exciting product out.

Daily Documenting Books

I added my name to the "this book belongs to" part, and added some photos of my family. I received it a few days ago... and Oh boy. I'm in love.

I am not a great journal keeper, but I always wanted to be better. It is an 8" x 8" coil bound book. The inside of the book is created so that I can just write short and simple things daily. How awesome and fun would that be in 5 to 10 years to reread this book? Even a very simple dialog such as "We a had slushy outside today..." might bring back some fun memories.

Great news everyone! Paper Coterie is having a special promotion right now for a Daily Documenting book.

Pick a few pictures that you want to use to create the book, and at the checkout type "DOCUMENTDAILY" to receive 40% off. This offer ends July 1st, so hurry! :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kaboo Bags Giveaway Winners!

I think people are talking about how fabulous Kaboo bags are. I got over 400 entries for this giveaway! Thank you all for your entries, but I can only pick two winners... So here goes!

The Olivia- Turquoise bag goes to...


and, the Roxie- Red goes to....


Congratulations you two!!

Ok, if you are one of the lucky winners, please contact me with your shipping info, so I can send the bags to their new home.

Thank you for playing everyone!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thoughts on Post Father's Day

I hope everyone had a wonderful Father's day yesterday.

Our Father's day celebration kind of started on Saturday, and continued on to Sunday. We all had such a fun day Saturday, and on Sunday after church we visited grandpa.

We celebrated Father's day there too. I happen to have a Brazilian brother-in-law who is an excellent cook... boy he cooks a mean steak, lamb, bacon wrapped chicken and other meat. Usually, I am not big on meat, but when he is cooking for a family get-together, my meat intake goes up by 120%.

It is such a blessing to have the family that I have.
I love my simple everyday life.
I love sitting around with them and sharing funny stories and laughing.
I love to watch our children learn new things.

Above all, I am so grateful that I have a husband who loves our children and is a devoted father to them. Sharing parenthood with him lightens the worries and burdens (is it just me that feels that way? Hey, I am being honest here :)), and triple the joy when we see our children learn and grow.

This is my shout out of "Thank you" for the fathers out there, who are trying their best and being there for their wives and children. I strongly believe that we, as a society as whole, need more responsible men who love, teach, protect, guide their families.

I just thought that I need to make sure that Mr. TRH knows that he is appreciated 364 days, on top of Father's day. :) Those are my thoughts on post Father's day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


If you haven't entered in for a chance to win one of the Kaboo bags, make sure to check out the post here. :)

How are you all doing? If you are a mom or not, are you busy? Having a good summer?

I have been playing around with my kiddos: going to the museum, weekly trip to the library, cooking together more often, watching movies, etc. So far nothing big, it is kind a nice not to have homework and be at a slower pace.

One of my "things to do" this summer is to clean and organize the house (especially my sewing area!! Seriously, it needs attention so bad). I guess I need to prioritize things and just get it done. That being said, the progress of my projects is very slow at this moment. The picture above is one of the things I am working on and I will share the whole picture later.

I do not like hot weather, but summer has its own perks: watermelon, shaved ice, fireworks and picnics. Above all, it is one the perfect times to spend time with the kids and make fun memories. Don't you love summer?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kaboo Tablet Bag Review / Giveaway!!

Have you heard about Kaboo Tablet Bags? They are fashionable bags specially designed for tech-savvy girls. I was given a chance to review one of their bags, which was just perfect timing. I just bought an iPad, and I wanted to find a bag that I can fit my iPad safely in along with other items too.

The best part… They sent me two other bags that I can giveaway to my readers!! Before I talk about the details of the giveaway, let me introduce you to my new fave.

Meet The Riley-Pearl. I. LOVE. HER.

I love the color of this purse. I feel like it goes with pretty much any outfit I have, it is very stylish. But, that is not the only reason I love the Riley. As I mentioned in the beginning, their purse is designed to protect tech gadgets. Check this out to see what I mean...

My iPad easily slides in to the tech pocket even with the case around the iPad. I feel much better knowing that the shock absorber bottom will protect the iPad, if I accidently put my purse down too hard on the ground. There are LOTS of pockets inside and outside of the purse to organize things, which is another plus. And get this; I was able to fit my DSLR camera too!

The people close to me know that I am not "tech savvy" AT ALL, but I feel like the bag lets me feel that I am. :)

Are you ready to hear about the giveaway now? They sent me two fabulous bags, they are…

The Olivia - Turquoise

and The Roxie - Red

They have their own sleek looks, but they are tablet bags as well. Beautiful and useful; what more can you ask for?

Here are the rules to enter in the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment on this post (1st entry)

2. Follow me (2nd entry)

3. Go to their web site, come back here and tell me which bag is your favorite. (3rd entry)

I will end the giveaway on the 19th and post the winners on 20th. If you are one of the lucky winners, please contact me with your shipping info, so I can send you the bag. If I don't hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new name, so make sure to come back to see if you are a lucky winner. :) Good luck everyone!

Monday, June 11, 2012

60x2Red Quilt

I did it. I finished my mom's 60th birthday quilt. I was contemplating if I should go with hand quilting or machine quilting, but I really don't have time to do hand quilting and finish it by her birthday right now. (Seriously... red is such a difficult color to take a picture of!)

So I decided to do machine quilting.

I have been saying "Red quilt" whenever I shared the fabrics or a block for this quilt, but I names this one "60x2Red"quilt. Why? I will tell you the story behind this quilt and how I came up with the design and the name.

According to the Chinese Zodiac system, it takes 60 years for a person to finish a cycle on this earth. Traditionally, People have a big celebration with their family and friends on their 60th birthday (kanreki). Since the completion of the 60 year cycle means the rebirth of a person, we give a red vest and hood as a birthday present. The color red represents a baby, since it is a celebration of rebirth.

I was talking on the phone with my mom several months ago, and we were talking about her 60th birthday. Then she said, "I don't want a red vest." Of course I asked her why. Her response was this;

"Well, first of all, I feel old to even think that I am turning 60. Second of all, I never like that silly red vest. I don't wanna wear it. That reminds me of a performing monkey at a circus."

SLAM! There goes an ancient Japanese tradition. That's my mom. Yeah, there are some monkeys that wear a red vest when they perform in front of people.

After I hung up the phone with my mom, I thought, "fine, we are not going to give you a red vest and a hat, but what can I give her that still has some meaning and represents her 60th birthday...."

When I ask her what she wants for her birthday, she always says her grandchildren’s pictures, letters, or a quilt I made. So, I decided to make her a red quilt. Yeah, she will like that better than a red vest!

At first, I was going to have 60 blocks. Although, to make the quilt a decent size with only 60 blocks, each block needs to be really big, and I didn't want to do that. So, I decided to do 60 x 2 which is 120 blocks. With the wish that she will live another 60 years. That's how I came up with this quilt.

Her next big birthday celebration is her 70th birthday, and the theme color for that is purple. If she lives to be 70, I will gladly make a 70x2purple quilt 10 years from now. :)
She has absolutely no clue that I was making this quilt for her. When I talked to her a couple days ago, I told her that my family’s photo book I just made came in the mail, and that is her birthday present. She was really excited to see it. Hehehe....

I am sending her the photo book along with the 60x2red quilt today. I hope she likes it.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

New Profile Picture(s)

Some of you might have seen my pictures that were tagged on Facebook about a week ago.  Yeap, I had a photo shoot for my profile picture. 

It will be almost 4 years (that long, already?!) since I have started blogging and I have not changed my profile picture in a very LONG LONG time.  In those 4 years, I have definitely been aging, and didn't want to have a huge gap between the profile picture and the real me when I meet my blogging friends in person.

My friend, Ai, started a photography business a while ago, and she took my pictures this time.  She did such an awesome job for me that I had a hard time choosing just one picture for my profile.  I replaced my profile picture with one of them, but I am still trying to decide.

I will share them with you, any votes?

Her photography business is still fairly new, and photo sessions are generously priced.  If you live around the Utah county area, and are interested in more information, go to her site here.

Thanks Ai for the fun photo session and awesome pictures! :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Once upon a Thread / Big Sister and Little Sister

A couple weeks ago, I guest posted at No Big Dill for the "Once Upon a Thread" theme. This is my second time participating in this; the first time, I chose "Little Hungry Caterpillar". This time I chose "Big Sister and Little Sister" as my inspirational book.
I am going to post it today here on my blog.

This book was published in 1966, written by Charlotte Zolotow, and illustrated by Martha Alexander. Thank goodness it was translated into Japanese, because I really enjoyed this book throughout my childhood years.

This book has been one of my most favorite books growing up, but the story became even more close to my heart in my late teen years. I will share the incident later, but now let’s read it together just in case this is your first time hearing about this book.

There were two sisters...

The big sister loves little sister, she makes sure her little sister won't go on the road while she is playing jump rope...

Takes her for a bike ride, she holds her hand when they are crossing the road on the way to school.

When they play in a field, she makes sure the little sister doesn't get lost.

She even teaches her how to thread a needle, how to use scissors when they sew. Big sister knows everything. The little sister thought there is nothing the big sister can’t do.

The little sister cries sometimes, but the big sister comforts her and takes care of her...

But one day, the little sister wanted to be alone. She got tired of being told what to do.

She snuck out of the house while the big sister was preparing a snack.

She left home, the garden... and walked away...

She just sat in the field of daisies. In a short while, she heard her sister's voice calling for her.

But little sister kept silent. Big sister is kept calling, her voice got closer and closer... then got further away. (At this time, the little sister is really enjoying being by herself, and relaxed).

Big sister's voice came near again. She could touch the big sister if she reached her hand.

The big sister sat down and started to cry. The little sister realized that, when little sister is sad, the big sister is there for her to comfort her, but right now she has nobody to do that for her.

The little sister stood up and put her hand on big sister's shoulder, then said "here, wipe your tears away".

Big sister did. They hugged each other. "Where were you?", asks big sister. "Don't worry." little sister replies. "Let's go home and have some lemonade."

From that day forward, they help each other out. The little sister learned a lot from big sister. She can do anything now.

I read this book over and over again, and I thought "They are just like my sister and I!".

I am the oldest of three girls, but my youngest sister wasn't born until I was 20. So, this story is about my younger sister and I. My sister and I were so different. I love dresses and skirts. My sister hated them; she was always wearing pants and shorts. I loved sewing, reading, cooking, playing some piano (just a little), and organized spaces. My sister on the other hand; she was good at any sport, enjoyed wood working, loved eating what I cooked, playing drums and guitar, and she would bribe me to clean her room.

See how different we were? Also, let me share a couple of my childhood memories too...

Our family moved several times growing up. Whenever we went to a new place, our whole family was busy unpacking, except my sister. She was nowhere to be found. I thought "uhg! she is probably outside playing with a new friend."

When I was in about the 4th grade, one of my sister's friends rushed in to my class room and said, "Your sister is fighting, you have to stop her!" I thought "Oh my gosh, what is she doing?"

I always had a sense of responsibility to teach her, and take care of her. Just like the big sister in this book. Then, something happened right after my high school graduation to totally change my perspective about my sister and our relationship.

I have to give you a little back ground about myself to tell the story. I will not go into detail here, because I could really write a novel. But here goes; I was born with a disorder and because of that I had an amputation at age 2. I still had to deal with the disorder throughout my life, so I was in and out of the hospital all the time. Usually my hospital stay was months at a time.

Right after high school graduation, my condition got really bad, my mother and the doctors decided that I needed to be hospitalized again. I was thinking about a lot of things in bed, about my life, my future, and my past. Then I guess I was finally starting to mature... I was thinking about my sister. How my illness affected her and her life growing up.

My sister was born a month after my amputation. My mother needed to stay by my side to take care of me, so, my sister was sent to live with my grandmother in a different city. The first couple of years of her life was pretty much that way. Even after that, because I got hospitalized at least once or twice a year, she had to live with my grandmother or with a close family friend for months. But I don't remember her complaining about it even once. If I can't go outside, she would bring something back for me, a rock, a flower, and some funny stories to tell.

Remember I told you about how she was gone when our family was unpacking? My mom later told me that when she went to look for her, she was standing on one of the moving boxes, and had gathered the neighborhood children and said; "My big sister is missing a leg, if one of you are mean or teases her, I will not let you get away with it. You will be sorry!"

So back to my fourth grade story; she was fighting a boy in her class, I rushed in to her class room to stop her. They were both grabbing at each other. I said "Stop! What are you doing?!". She turned around and saw me, she had a bloody nose, then she started cry and said "He said, your sister is a one legged freak." She was fighting for me, she was trying to protect me.

What a loyal sister that she would do that. She has always been there for me no matter what, and at the same time, I was finally seeing and thinking how much I took away our mother's attention from her. How lonely and sad she must have felt all those years...

The night of my high school graduation my sister came in to my room to spend some time with me and we were just chatting. I really felt that I need to say sorry, for what she went through because of me. I started talking what was on my mind.

She was quietly listening then said, "There is no need to say sorry big sis. You weren't born with your disorder on purpose. You had no control over the situation. I never once thought that it was your fault, or wished you weren't born.”
Then as she spoke, tears started flowing down her cheeks. "Besides, I always admire and look up to you. How you live your life; it's to your full capacity, how you are dealing with your medical issues and pain. You have such a cheerful and strong spirit, big sis. I am proud to be your sister."

That did it. She made me cry. We held each other's hands and cried for a while. She was only 16 at the time. I was amazed how mature she was. I always thought I was supposed to teach her and lead the way. Ok, maybe I taught her cooking and how to organize her sock drawer, but she taught me something much more than that. She taught me not to hold grudges, how to forgive, and above all how to love unconditionally. That day I totally changed how I see my sister.

Eventually I got better, but my condition wasn’t stable as always. My sister always told me that she will take care of me the rest of her life so I don't have to worry about anything. Then God had a different plan for us, I got married and moved away. REALLY far away; all the way to America. Now my sister is also married and has become a mother of two beautiful girls. We talk on the phone all the time, even though we haven't seen each other for 10 years, I feel like nothing has changed. She is my sister, but also my best friend.

Every time when I turn the pages of "Big Sister and Little Sister" I think of my sister and I as little girls and how we were. That's how this book has become so special to me.

Oh, and then this little missy... She is the most special little girl in my life.

I couldn't give her a sister like I had, but I really hope that she will be blessed with "sisterhood" throughout her life.

I know, that starts with me. :)

As you can see in the above pictures, I made a quilt inspired by "Big Sister and Little Sister". I was thinking about the flower field the sisters were in in the book. I call it "Vintage Flower Field Quilt". I will show you what I did to make the quilt top.

I had some vintage pillowcases that were perfect for what I had in mind...For this quilt; you will need 180 triangles. You should be able to cut out about 30-36 triangles from one pillowcase, so you should have at least 5-6 pillowcases, but if you want more variety in you should have more. I mixed and matched with some vintage sheets too, so I am not exactly sure what that would do with the calculations, go figure. :)

1. I used my 60 degree pyramids to cut out some of the fabrics. It is easy to see the design and see where to cut.

2. Some of the pillowcases like this one below, the pattern is all over, so I cut 6 1/2" wide strips to match with the length of the triangle ruler and cut out triangles.

3.Now, they are ready for piecing. Put right sides of the fabric together and sew the triangles as the picture is showing. Press the seam to one side and snip off the excess. Piece 15 triangles to make a row.
You need 12 rows.

4. Press the seams with the iron to one side. Press the seam to the opposite side on the next row. That way, when you are going to piece the rows together, the seam will be less bulky.

5. Keep piecing and when you are done piecing all the rows, press the seams and cut the sides to make it straight...

6. I won't cover the basting, and quilting part on this post, but there are lots of tutorials and helpful tips you can find online. I quilted mine with a machine, and I used vintage sheets for the back. I wanted to create the flower field feel with the quilting pattern too.

7. Time to enjoy! I think this quilt looks its best outside on the grass. Even though there are no flower fields; I can create one in an instant. VoilĂ ! How awesome is that?

I hope you enjoyed my post today. The Once Upon a Thread is still going on and there are amazing guests posting everyday. So hop on over and check it out.
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