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... ;)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Sew Powerful + Baby Lock National Sewing Month Project

Did you know that September is National Sewing Month? I know we are still in August, but let me do a shout out for a great sewing project so you can be ready!

Baby Lock has partnered with an amazing organization called Sew Powerful whose mission it is to help combat extreme poverty in Zambia through sewing. During September, Baby Lock retailers are hosting an exclusive charity events in their stores where you will use a Baby Lock sewing machine to make and donate purses that girls can use to carry reusable feminine hygiene products. This enables them to attend school all month long and improve their academic performance.

I love to sew quilts, clothing and other fun items, but wouldn't it be amazing to sew something so meaningful that helps young girls' lives?

Your retailer will provide you with everything you need including a sewing machine, fabric, and instructions. To find out more about the event and to sign up, hop over to Baby Lock.

Happy Sewing!


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Magenta Pink Summer Dress

I was looking at some clothes I made in the last few months and I guess I have been really drawn to deep pink or purplish colors. I made a skirt with similar color to this dress and a lavender color linen dress. When I found this magenta pink light weight fabric I immediately pictured a summer dress.

I decided to use the pattern Butterick 6451. I love relaxed flowy style to wear around house and I noticed that tiered style is back. This was a perfect pattern.

The original pattern showed sleeves with elastics in them, but I decided to leave it as is (I left the openings just in case I change my mind, I have an option to put elastic through).

I think it would be cute to cut the sleeves short to make a short sleeve dress.

Magenta pink is a bit of a strong color, but it sure is fun to wear! What are you going to sew this summer?

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Vintage Trim Belt Tutorial

One of the things I have a hard time resisting is buying beautiful vintage trims. I know you can buy some of them online and all, but there is a cute local shop called Harmony near where I live and they are the "go to" place to find such treasures. They have yarns, fabrics and many wonderful gift items (for your friends and yourself too!). Among them, the area I always check is the shelf filled with trims and ribbons.

I was there the other day and picked some up again. I am sharing a tutorial on how I made a belt.

You Will Need

Wide trim (Wrap around your waist and see how much you need. They don't need to overlap)
Fabric (same size as your wide trim)
two narrow trims (to tie a ribbon) about 18" to 20"

How to

1. Cut the fabric to the same size as your wide trim. It will be the backing.

2. Insert the narrow trim in between the wide trim and fabric on both ends of the belt. Pin them to keep them in place.

3. Draw diagonal lines on both sides of the narrow trim as shown in the picture. Leaving a 3" to 4" opening in the middle of the belt for turning, sew all around it. I used a 1/8" seam.

4. Turn inside out. Press with iron.

5. Stitch the opening with slip stitch.

6. I folded the ends of the narrow trim twice and stitched them to prevent fraying.

Now, it is ready to wear! I was thinking about many possible conbinations with my wardrobe, but this time I choose this dress. The belt adds unique flare to a rather simple dress.

I am planning on making some more vintage trim belts this summer. Do you have any favorite ways of using trim? What would you do with pretty wide trim?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Knit Set Up 2

I shared a knit set up in my last post. I loved it so much so that (and I have more fabric that I can use!) I decided to make a similar knit set up; I changed the skirt pattern and made it to a flare skirt with this one.

I can say that 90% of my wardrobe is skirts or dresses. Things like this is very comfortable to wear, washable and instantly looks put together. What's not to love? I made this just before I went in to get my procedure and I haven't sewn any clothing after that, but I am recovering and started doing some hand stitching. I have been looking at my fabric piles and thinking about what to make next. I think that is one of the fun parts of sewing... imagining the potential of the fabric.

It is a bit cold to wear this without a jacket where I live but I am going to wear this all the time this summer!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Sewing ~ Strip Knit Set Up

First of all, please let me apologize to the people who left comments on the post about my breast cancer journey a few months ago Breast Cancer Awareness Month and My Story, This is the Morning and Update ~ Post Surgery. I didn't get an email notification for the comments and didn't know there were comments for the posts. I happened to be poking around and found a bunch of comments and I was so touched by each one of your kind comments. I am so sorry that I didn't reply to them, but I deeply appreciate them. I changed the setting, so now I finally get email notifications.

I can't believe it has been almost 6 months from my mastectomy. I had quite a rough time after the surgery from the reaction to the anesthesia, bleeding problems on both breasts resulting in me going back to surgery the next day, infections and low grade fevers that lingered for a few months. I just didn't feel like writing a post about it during that time. My fever finally went away and the last couple of months I have been sewing a lot more and enjoying my family. But this morning, I am ready to go back in to get the second part of reconstruction surgery. Wish me luck!

In the month of March, I sewed several clothes using the fabrics I already had. It was a very good experience to revisit the fabrics and patterns I already had and complete the projects. I am very much motivated to continue this even though it is April, in fact, I would love to keep going till I use up all my apparel fabrics. I finished this knit set up a couple days ago.

I have been looking for a T-shirt with V-neck in the back, but I never found one with just the right amount of opening. I drafted a pattern and made this one and I. love. it! I found this knit probably a year or two ago and couldn't decide what to do with it, so I stashed it in my closet. I am usually intimidated by knits, but this one is thicker and it was much easier to work with.

Clothing like this is comfortable to wear, you can mix and match with other things, and with the right accessories you could instantly look put together and that is exactly what I love about them. My newest project is also a knit set up with a slightly different design. I didn't have time to take pictures, so I will share it after I recover from the surgery. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Purple Dress

I have been participating in a sewing challenge called "Sew that pattern now" during the month of March. Emi, Olga and Mijke encouraged people to sew with the patterns and fabrics that have been sitting in your closet or sewing room forever and just get it done. I am totally guilty of having such stacks and I decided to join the fun and knock some projects off my list. It is actually really motivating and fun to go through my stash of fabrics and patterns and finally do some. I made other garments, but this dress is the only one that I took picture of with a real camera and I decided to write a blog post. I promise that later I will upload pictures from my phone and share other clothing I made.

I used linen blend I bought years ago in San Jose. for the longest time, I couldn't decide what to make with it, but I am really happy with how it turned out. The pattern I used is from one of my Japanese sewing books.

I love the pleats and V-neck on this dress and I am thinking about making it with different colors (yes... I have more fabrics in my closet. This is what happens when you shop faster than you sew!).

I was suppose to have surgery done at the end of this month, but last Friday, the doctor's office called and they needed me to reschedule my surgery to the beginning of next month. To be honest, I was pretty annoyed about this at first because that would affect everyone's schedule around here. Also, I thought I wuold be recovering, I didn't plan our Spring Break trip, otherwise we would have been on the road. :( But, now I am thinking I can sew a little bit longer before the surgery and organize my house too. Do you think I can squeeze in some more projects??

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Accidental Baby Quilt

Have you seen the cute fabric line Gretel designed by my sweet friend Amy Smart for Riley Blake designs? I had a chance to work with them and I made a quilt top a few weeks ago. What? the quilt up above? NO. That isn't it. The picture below is the quilt top I made first. For some reasons, my dog always shows up from nowhere when I start taking pictures of my quilt and gets in the pictures. Sorry if you are not a doggy lover. ;) It is not quilted yet, but I love how it turned out. I made it up as I went along, which is great, but because it wasn't planned nor did I follow a pattern, I had some left over blocks. I hate to waste so many blocks, so I started playing with them and kept switching things up to see the design potential... and pieced them together...

and ta-da! This baby quilt was born.

I was so happy how it turned out and got carried away. I hand quilted it, decided to do scalloped edges, and embroidered some red motif on it.

Sometimes you can come up with something fun and unexpected when you go with the flow and just let it happen. My baby sister is pregnant with her first baby and I am crossing my fingers that the baby is a girl, so this aunt can ship this quilt to Japan!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Top from Japanese Sewing Book

I fell in love with this top when I first saw the cover of this Japanese Sewing Book (I don't think it is translated to English) and it was put it on my "things to sew" list...
When I was visiting a local shop, I found a beautiful shot cotton in a similar color, I immediately thought about the top.

Ok, it is a little bit brighter, but I still like how it turned out. It was a very straight forward and easy to make pattern; I enjoyed making the shirt.

I used left over faux fur from another project I did recently and made this scarf. It is so fun to coordinate the things you made yourself.

I love this top so much so that I am probably going to make more in the future with different colors. Simple and versatile white or nice and soft muted green...who knows, I will know when I see the perfect fabric for this. :)
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