Monday, July 26, 2010

Piling up my stash

During this month, before leaving US to Japan, I purchased pretty many fabrics. Almost all the fabrics were on sale and good bargain.  So I didn't need to feel guilty about this purchase so much. Only one thing I am worried about is that my work room would get to be filled with unused fabrics and scraps soon. I really have to keep spending stuff I couldn't resist to buy. Just like many of you! :)

 And some other pretty prints. All fabrics in four pictures above are purchased on line.

 One day my favorite local fabric store had a sidewalk sale in their parking lot. Of course, I stopped by and bought these lovely prints.

Right before leaving US, we went to Chicago to meet some friends and shop at IKEA. These fun fabrics are what I got from IKEA this time. I just love them so much!

This one is perfect for the project I have been thinking of. Black back ground and houses are really ideal for this project. You will see it maybe in a couple of month I guess.

I love the color and modern taste of this fabric. Doors and numbers. Bold!

I can make quite a number of bags quilts and so on with these fabrics. I already have some ideas in my mind. I am going to draw many designs while I am in Japan and make them after coming home. I am looking forward to shopping crafty stuff in Tokyo. It seems I won't be able to stop my stash toppling over pretty soon!

Happy shopping!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer in Japan

We have arrived in Japan on Thursday. It's been super hot here. The temperature goes up to about 97°F everyday. We are staying at my Father's house and we got an air conditioner broken in the kitchen and living room. A new one is coming on Saturday. But fortunately we have individual air conditioning system each room. It is very common in Japan. The family members are gathering in my dad's bedroom or our bedroom. That is not very convenient but sort of fun. I think it is going to be a good memory for everyone. The top picture is taken at Chicago O'hare airport. There is a tunnel connecting two concourses which has colorful illuminations. Nina loves going through this tunnel. She calls it "the rainbow trail".

At Grandpa's home, playing in a little pool with the cousin Momo.

We love Japanese white peaches! They are big, so sweet and juicy.

The girls wearing "Yukata". Yukata is a kind of Kimono for Summer time which is made of cotton. People hold "Bon Odori (Dance)" events everywhere. Please read this article about Obon. Sorry, but it is just too much for me to explain it in Japanese.

This is the park we had Bon dance festival. It is decorated with a lot of lanterns and there is a stage where kids play Taiko (Big drums) for dance.

People dance around the stage.

We went to the little amusement park yesterday. I hate riding roller coasters but this little dolphin water coaster was just barely endurable.

The girls ate Japanese kids meals for lunch at a family restaurant. Nina got an American flag on her rice.

How was your weekend? I hope you all have a good week!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Handmade gifts are ready.

I finished making five little porches for my best friends in Japan. We are leaving on Wednesday, so I made it just in time!

I even tried to make labels. I used Iron-on transfer papers for ink jet printers. It looks OK, but I don't like it is not able to be ironed directly. You need to cover the transfer with a piece of baking parchment paper when ironing is necessary.  

These are made of leftover fabrics of this quilt and that quilt.

This one is made out of scraps of Japanese cottons. For one of my best girlfriends who loves traveling islands. I love the Japanese traditional pattern of blue waves. It is called "Sei-gai-ha" ( Blue ocean waves).

This one is for the friend who owns a cosmetic store in Tokyo. I like the black and white floral pattern. Very modern and sophisticated.

This one in front, I used the old Kimono fabric which has a woven hexagon pattern on very light gray background. I appliqued circles of flying cranes. Cranes are symbol of happiness and fortune. This one will go to the Mom of my best friend. She has been like my second mother since my mother past away in my twenties.

I did satin stitching to attach the circles.

On the other side, I put a smaller circle of a flying crane.

I cannot wait to see people who I love and looking forward to shopping around in Tokyo. Tools, fabrics, books and more! I will try to update about my trip and what is going on in Japanese craft world as much as I can!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fashion Doll Organizer

Everytime we travel to Japan, I always need to prepare some activities for entertaining my little girl when we are on the airplane for many many hours. I get some crafty stuff like papers, crayons, tapes, and "Wonder Knitter" for making I cords, etc. A portable DVD player and her favorite movies, books, games, several kinds of snacks carefully divided into small portions in ZipLocks. And of course, some NEW TOYS! I bet lots of you, who have (or had) little kids, know what I mean.

One day I found these little stylish chicks at the store and I thought they would catch Nina's attention for some hours. I had a vision of Nina and her Japanese cousin Momo are playing together with these dolls. That sure will be cute! Anyway, I bought them and started thinking to make an organizer for making all of these tiny parts of their fashion accessories more portable.

"32 pieces = 400+ combinations!"

I know. These chicks look pretty much spooky when they don't have their heads. But that is the way how you change their clothes. As you imagine their body can be divided in two at their waists.
......! *o* !.....Horrorrrr!

However, I made this organizer for them. I considered 4-5 designs I drew and eventually I decided to make this "Rolling up" style.

The original plan was that I am going to keep it in secrecy until we get on the plane. BUT you know, if you finished any projects and you thought you did pretty good job, you would never be able to keep your lips sealed! I really wanted to see if my choice was correct and the chicks were attractive enough to enchant my 5 years old girl!

My goodness! She seems to like them! And she could unroll the rolled up thing I made! (That is the most important point, isn't it?!)

I made transparent pockets to store dolls with the remnant of a plastic shower curtain. (Sometimes curtains are too long for your bathroom height.) I attached a rick rack tape on the edge of the plastic. The pockets have tucks so the dolls can fit in there nice and tidy.

This is another pocket for organizing accessories. I put a flip so those tiny hats and purses won't fall out.

I am so pleased it turned out very pretty and functional. There is only one thing I want to change is the closure. Nina cannot tie a bow yet. So I have to help to close this organizer every time after she played. That's a pain. I think I am going to put buttons or snaps on  instead of these long tapes to tie.

This was a cool invention. I am now pretty sure that the13 hours flight to Japan will be fun for us. We are so excited!

Happy crafting!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Little things flying to Japan with me

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday weekend!

I made this pouch yesterday out of the leftover "Tweet" charms of Nina's quilt. I used this method for piecing and it worked so well.

I don't remember if I wrote about our plan to trip to Japan for visiting my family and friends. Did I ? OK, however, we are flying out on July 21 and staying in Japan for a month. I am so excited! It's gonna be about two weeks from now, so its time to start making stuff I want to take with me to Japan.  Gifts for my best friends in Japan! This pouch is one of them. I am going to make four more pouches all in different fabrics. They will particularly be designed for each friends.

Have a good week!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Finished the tweet quilt for Nina!

The quilt for Nina is done yesterday! I thought it would take longer to finish, but one day I started quilting after my family went to bed and I couldn't leave the seat in front of my machine. Unexpectedly I finished quilting that night at 2 am. Then I found some time to finish binding yesterday and Ta-da! Here it is!

It could have had some more pink as a girl's quilt. But I am pretty happy with these cheerful colors and Nina liked them as well.

The backing is my favorite! I am so glad that the piecing turned out an effective accent of this quilt.

I used a polka dot print from my stash for the binding.

I love the wrinkled look of the quilt after it went through the water.

I eventually conciliated my old Singer with using #16 needles for quilting. You can see the evolution of my pebble quilting from where I started to where I finished.

The size is about 33×41". Contented lying on her brand-new tweet quilt under the tree.

I hope Nina will keep loving the quilt as much as she loves her stuffed animals.
I already want to start making next quilt. I am indeed obsessed with making quilts!