Thursday, February 27, 2014

Random: sew, just like that

 {clutter and not space to work, indeed}

 {clean and neat?}

Early this week, S, aka {quarter inch mark studio assistant} returned to studio after her good day at school. She asked if I have made the improvement? I was so happy to tell her, yes! Check it out!! Isn't it clean and neat around here? Then she looked at me, "Really, mama! I can't even find a space for homework".  A day later, before she walked in the house, she asked again, " How's the work today? Did you really improve?" I said, " yes, tried my best".  She checked out the space, and said, " well, BETTER, and thank you!  And now, it is pretty clutter here again, but I still have a few hours before pick things up!

This week has been a great improvement busy!  I have keep myself quiet when I am home, alone! It actually gets lonely sometimes; just me and the music { plus fabric}! I miss working in real place and meeting people, but this moment of our life the quietness helps me to think and reflect.  This week, I have set the job applications aside because it starts feeling discourage and it gets to me quick! So, I walk away from it for a few days; I start to sew, design, make new patterns, go through fabric stashes then group them in a small stash, bake, clean, take time to cook and enjoy each meal, have friend over for some fresh bake scones, make a fresh pot of coffee after sending S to school.  Make I "will" do it to I "am" doing it, try to have less pauses in the day and go for what's in my mind! It feels GREAT and positive, again!

The little tote grocery tote is finished! I used 18 piece of 9.5"x9.5" squares to patch the front and back and used simple straight light for quilting. I plan to make a few softie toys to stuff in the tote before I send it away to California. I hope our friend's little girl will love and enjoy her little grocery tote when she goes out to shop!

You know, it has been a "pouch making" week here! I made few more pouches added to the parcel for my sister. There are few pouches for mom as well. Sometimes, it is hard to know what mom likes, but I know she will put them in good use. My sister asked for another smallish pouch for her USB drives and little things. I can't wait for her comments when she gets them, simply they made me giggle...

I have been wanting to share with you on the moo cards that I designed for {quart inch mark} back in January.  This is the very first time, I made the cards for the studio. I used the old sketches that I have had from the sketchbook and scan it into computer. I freehand drew with illustrator and really pleased with the outcome. The little house represent the space that we live and work; with an open door to welcome friends and family to our space and enjoy the place we created. The cloud above the sky represents lots talk and dream. The flowers on the left side, the taller flower is me, and the one below me is S and the rest of flowers are friends and families.  I also made some stickers to seal the order packages for the studio. That makes the {quarter inch mark studio} a little more official and add simple touch to the orders that were made.

After talked about the ironing board and iron in the basement from the {last post}. Guess, it never occur to me to bring them upstair! I tried to be aware the space that I have spare myself out here. Yesterday morning, I brought them up and ...... it made everything six times better and no more need to dress in outdoor layers indoor. I hope you are not smiling, but giggling.

{Thank you SO much} for the great supports! The {patchwork books} are packed and ready to ship today! I will make my way out soon, so won't run into busy hour at the post office. Another sunny and bright day here for photographing,  but it is COLD!

And yes, I took the {travel tote} apart and more on this later....


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

quarter inch mark studio: patchwork books!

The night is getting dark and late here. S is next door and sound in sleep. Late night always works better for me when I had two plus cups of coffee during the day. It helps me to think clear and read to myself as I tape.

Oh dear, we have been working hard together for last few weeks and thanks to S who contributed her time and efforts to be the special model of mine. Her smile always makes me sing whenever I flipped through our photos and she is a great fellow to work with. Indeed, sometimes she is too funny to be around with as she considers herself is the studio assistant.

I have been taking time to made these {patchwork needle-books}. I absolutely love making them and loving the idea of tiny patchwork style. Would you like to hear the process of these books? shall I?

So, I cut 40 different prints into 1.5" wide strips then cut them into 1.5"x1.5" squares. They were collected in a nice basket as they were being cut. After cutting , I slowly pick out the first two pieces then two more pieces. After two sets of two-pieces, I joined them into one row then repeated 5 times. After that I joined all 6 rows of the pieced fabric then make one small patchwork. The process repeat, repeat, and repeat until the basket was empty.  Then slowly I walked down to the basement, where the ironing board locates then heat up the iron { Brr.. it was only 40 degrees in the basement, so I wore my winter jacket and a nice warm scarf for the time being}.  I preferred open seam allowance when work on small patchworks. It helps decrease the bulkiness for hand-quilting! After spent some time in the basement then I returned to the warm and cozy mini studio { Between the time, I went pick up S from school and she was working on her assignment as I continued working on the books}.

The cotton batting pieces were cut and ready for each patchwork. I lay each patchwork on top of the batting piece then used the basting needle for hand-basting. Following the hand-quilting started as S made comments on the books; S: I really like this blue book, do you think I can have one? me: Sure, but how about let's focus on finishing tasks of the day then we can make one later.  The hand-quilting process taken most of the weekday afternoons to completed and S made very similar comments each day; the last day, she asked for a green book!

As the hand-quilting came to the end, I was still debating on the book closure design. There were 3 ideas, the first one was using elastic loop, the second one was using the hand-sewing snaps, the third one was using professional fasten snaps. It took some days for the mind to set, so the professional hardware won! Then I made all the fasten belt in linen and attached to each patchwork piece, BUT I wasn't happy with the size and the shape. I ripped them out then remake them. Indeed, I am so pleased with the changes. It made each book so much nice and clean.  After reattached the fasten belt to the patchworks ; off I went to the basement with my winter coat and warm scarf for the second trip { this is the moment that I wish summer is here}.

For the book lining; I look into fabric stash and pick out the fabric print that collaborates well with the exterior of the book and look into the wool felt collection to find the coordinate colors. This is one of the process that I truly enjoy and it is exciting to see the work come together. After the selection and cutting, time for the hardware installation! I ran down to the basement again, a really quick trip to bring the hammer up; no coat, no scarf.

The wool felt was attached with the small snap hardware and it gives a nice, clean and stable outcome! The new design for the interior of the wool felt is leave it blank without any embellishment, since I found more space for the needles is needed.  There are so many needle sizes that quilters, sewers, crafters need and the needles need a cozy home when they travel around the sewing tables, cars, and places to places.

These {patchwork needle-books} have come together nicely and indeed, it has taken a few hours a day and few days a week to make simple progress! Between the challenging and unsettle moments of our life. I still wish to keep creating and able to support our little family when I can.  I hope you love these {patchwork needle-books} as I made them! Yes, I have been busy from time to time and made  these tiny books. It has been aThey are not listed { here} and enjoy~


Sunday, February 23, 2014


It looked so decent and sunny from the window where we spent most of of day then I talked into S to take a long afternoon walk around the neighborhood. Then we came home with pink noses, pink ears, and pink cheeks.  brr...  We were glad the wind wasn't blowing and the walk was great! We chat all the way on the walk, just like every walk that we have taken.

Since the weekday is full with all other after school activities; S' Chinese learning did not stop since we moved back! She does weekday reading from the storybook then weekending writing. We have started to see great improvements from the reading as she reads fluently; less pauses and slowly recognized the characters.  There's much encouragements go with the study and always reminder her the positive accomplishments that she has made this far! Yes, it is not as easy as it seems, but I am a proud mama seeing S gives her good work each day.

The orange/brown feedsack print was found in the local fabric store a few weeks back. I picked out three pieces then sent two other pieces with the Christmas parcel to dear friends. This orange brown/ cheater print cough my eye when I was browsing around the fat quarter section. I have not decided what to make, but though it is very different from other feedsack I've seen so far.  Do you love feedsacks? In my long list of to make quilt, I'd love to have a quilt that made entire from the feedsack prints.

Last week, after sent out five job applications I headed to the local gallery to set up my MFA artworks. Going up and down ladders made the last two days hard to sit on, but thank goodness, I have rephotograph the show and the works! Hope the official website will be up and running soon, so I can introduce to you about my fine art works.

The weekending is really quiet around here, since we both have our little plans and works to accomplish! I tried out a new pattern and love the way how it turns out! S on the other hand had great time sketching her backpack that she would like to make.

Thanks again for the last post~ tomorrow I will have a full post for you~


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Random: moments

the month of February: lots love, lots special moment, lots one of a kind day here


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Random: this and that

Two days in a row to put on a spring coat is unreal for the weather forecast we have had lately. I have been wearing the spring coat and it has been just the right amount of the cover I needed.  We all think spring is making her way to us, slowly! This morning, S insisted to put her spring coat on and told me it feels so great; no more heavy jacket and scarves. Indeed, it has been gorgeous days here and how I wish you can be here with me, drink tea, coffee, taste local donuts, and of course sew.

It has been a week that the mind is clear and the schedule is fitting so well in all the aspects. Yesterday, I was invited by a dear friend to tryout on her long-arm quilting machine. It is a HQ Sixteen and I LOVED it! It is the first time I tried on the professional long-arm quilting machine and it was a little tense to start with.  At first, I tried a row of randomness to get the feel of the speed that machine manual sets and slowly I draw a few pictures and really I could go on and on .. truly enjoy the process. It is amazing to be able to quilt in a nice speed and move arms more freely.  She generously offer me to quilt on her machine when I would like to get quilt quilted. I am feeling lucky!

Our wool felt collection is slowly growing in the corner of the sewing space! It is another great material when it comes to hand-sewing or machine sewing. It always adds a nice texture with cotton fabric and also the soft texture makes small handmade items delegate and unique. S loves using wool felt for little hand-sewing and cut them into small pieces for pasting on the paper for some collage fun.

Do you remember the tote I made last year? It is a super lovely tote and has been hanging in the room since we moved back. Lately,  I have been thinking and planning to cut into the tote and remake something new. I would like a messenger bag for the summer and running errands.

Another super duper belated Christmas gift is in process. It is for a friend of mine's little girl who just turn 2 a few weeks ago.  She is into the little girl fun and likes play house with her mama. I though a little tote for her "grocery" is appropriate! Of course that involved some animal and sweet prints.

It seems so truly that my colors are changing lately. It is crazy seeing purple prints arrived in the mail box; lots retro prints, calmer colors, and something out of comfort zone prints.

Time to run, a presentation at the elementary school today~ wish me good luck!