Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Year and Resolutions

Usually when I come up with some New Year's resolutions I do good for the first few months and after that everything goes blank. I guess I create too many goals or goals that are too big; basically setting myself up for failure and the get discouraged. NO MORE of that this year!

I am going to set a few simple goals and try to stick to them. I think it is always good to have goals, and strive to stretch ourselves a little, not by few yards... but by a couple inches. Progress is progress. :)

I am not going to list them here today, but I will share one of my goals for January; Get organized.

I think I am a pretty organized person, but I learned that I am also an indecisive person. That is why my sewing room still look like this...

The room hasn't changed much since we moved to our new house at the end of August. Shocker huh? Yeah... every time when I pass the room I almost want to close my eyes. I thought this room was the first one I'd put together but in reality this is the hardest room for me to organize.

I have way too many interests and hobbies, therefor I have tons of stuff; books, jewelry making supplies, fabrics, scrap booking supplies, ribbons, trims, drawing supplies... so on so forth. Also I want to make sure I can group them right and put them away in order so when I am finished the room is so organized, I can utilized the room to its maximum potential.

Though, I have been having problems with where to put things with what. Putting things in, and out, reorganized here and there... Ahhhh!!!

The rest of the house doesn't look like this any more, but this room looks like an episode from "Hoarders". One of my kids even asked me "mommy...are you a hoarder?". Well, maybe a little. I have a hard time throwing things away, especially when it comes to sewing items. Pretty ribbons and laces, buttons and scrap of fabrics, because I see potential in them, what they can be used for and become. I might have to take extreme measures and say good-by to some of them.

What is one of your new year's resolutions? Big or small I will be cheering you on. I wish you all a Happy New Year and have a wonderful 2014!

P.S. I will for sure share "After" photos of my sewing room!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Very Merry Christmas! / Family Photo Shoot 2013

We haven't had our family picture taken for a while, and with our life being so chaotic since... well pretty much the whole year, I wasn't even thinking about doing that. But in the last minute, I really wanted to and decided to call a photographer. She was able to fit us into her busy schedule. Yeah! Thank you so much Ai! (Check out her Facebook Page Ai Sonomura Photography)

It was a really cold day, also, the wind was blowing like crazy, so we had to hold our pose and smile for when there was no wind. We had so much fun doing it, I remember most of the time we were just laughing and giggling.

Please consider this as a Christmas letter to my dear readers, who I can't send a physical copy of the card. :)

Christmas is near, the year 2013 is ending soon. We look back on our days and are amazed by how fast the kids are growing.

It has been 18 and half years since Mr. TRH and I joined our hands together...

and We still enjoy each others' company very much.

and we talk often about how lucky we are to have found each other; given that we lived on opposite sides of the Earth.

Sure, things get crazy sometimes (I feel like it's mainly caused by those three...),

But we love spending time together as a family and have lots of fun

and I wouldn't want it any other way.

We are well and happy. I hope you and your loved ones are the same from bottom of my heart.

I wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Two Ways Felt Project / Coaster or Pincushion

A While ago, I did a guest post at Craft Snob and I shared an easy felt project that you can actually turn into two different projects. Also, these would be a perfect, easy, inexpensive small Christmas gift for friends, neighbors and sewing groups. Christmas is right on our door step, but you can whip these up in no time.

Do you already have some felts around the house? If not, it would be fun to go to a fabric stores or craft store to pick some up. I found a few last week at Joann's, 4 for a dollar. To create these pincushions or coasters you could totally have fun with which colors to combine together. Are you interested? Let's start.

{You will need}

Felt in many colors

DMC floss that will match the felt you are going to work with

Fiber fill (if you are making a pincushion)

White marking pencil, needle, and other sewing tools.

{How to}

1. To cut the felt, I just cut the felt horizontally in the middle which measures 4 1/2", then cut twice vertically with a measurement of 4 1/2". You should have 4 pieces of felt squares.
You need three pieces of felt which will be used for the top, the middle and the bottom layers. I chose three different shades of blue, but you could use the same colors for the top and the bottom, and something different for the middle.

2. On the felt for the top part, mark an X in the middle. Leave 1/2" from all the corners. Cut on the lines.

3. Layer the middle felt under the top felt. Sew in the middle, so they won't move around.

4. Lift up the middle of one of the lines that are cut and fold it outward, pin and sew. I chose to sew by hand, but I bet it would look pretty to sew by machine too.

5. Repeat the process till all 8 parts are sewn. Then, you will end up with this:

6. Layer that with the bottom piece then sew...WAIT! There are two Separate instruction from here.

If you are going the make a pincushion, remember to leave a 2" to 3" opening on the side, so you can put fiber fill in. After you have done that, sew it shut.

You just made yourself a pincushion.

If you chose to make coaster, all you need to do is just sew all four sides... yes, that is it! I have to warn you though... it is so much fun to think about color combinations, you might want to make tons of them just like I did...
My personal favorite is this one; mustard and light gray.

See, wasn't it easy? I hope you enjoyed my tutorial!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Jewelries Coming Soon to My Etsy Shop!

During the 5 months we were living with my in-laws, it was much easier for me to work on jewelry than to sew clothing or quilts. When I was going to sew something, I realized I packed something I needed in the storage unit, or it needed more table space than I had to cut fabrics and such. So, I created many jewelry pieces, though I haven't listed them on my Etsy shop yet.

Would you like to see some of them?

Antique gold bracelet. I love how different chains create interest without being over stated.

Pearl necklace. I braided three stringed pearls to create a little more volume than single stringed pearls. It looks a little formal, but you can wear this with casual outfits too.

Multi colored chain bracelet. This one is made with different thickness and colors of chains. You will be surprised at how versatile this bracelet can be.

This is one of my favorites. I want them in different colors too!

I haven't made this type of necklace for a while because it is kind of time consuming. Thinking about the color combinations, what to place where and such. Though, I enjoyed the process very much and I love how it turned out.

This is another one of my favorites. It is a simple necklace and earring set, but I love how the beads are smaller on the sides of the necklace.

Do you see something you like? The thing is that I still have more to list! Hopefully I will get to listing them on Etsy soon. :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Guest Post ~ 5 Styles for your Home that are Here to Stay

Since our family moved in to our new house, whatever time I have left, I have been spending it on our house (that is why you don't see much sewing post lately, sorry guys!). I don't quite know what my decorating style is, but one thing I can say is that my clothing choices don't really follow a trend like I do when I decorate my home. I add some elements of what's in style; for example, pillows, window decoration and such, things that are inexpensive and easy to replace rather than big furniture. Do you ever wonder what kind of style is here to stay and what's not? Today's guest post by Brionna Kennedy talks about just that, enjoy!

Home Trends: 5 Styles For Your Home That Are Here To Stay

Just as with wardrobe fashions, every year, new colors, textures and design ideas appear in home decors. Even with the continual changes that occur, there are some styles that seem to be here to stay.

Comfortable Living Rooms
The living room is where many families spend a considerable amount of time. While upholstery colors, patterns and fabrics change from year to year, it is essential that they retain the qualities of durability and beauty. Sofas and accent chair designs may be altered to reflect new trends, but comfort still remains a key element.

Inviting Entryways
The first few steps a visitors makes into your home can give them an idea of what to expect as they move into the living room and dining room. Foyers that are attractive and welcoming will never go out of style.

Clutter-free Living
Rooms that are well organized and clutter-free seem to be here to stay. Small home living is a popular trend, as is downsizing, but these are also situation that reduce or limit the amount of storage space in a home. Modern, contemporary and transitional decors require an absence of clutter. Storage Units are a great a solution to a shortage of home storage space and a desire to live clutter-free.

Bedroom Retreats
Another style that is here to stay is the creation of a master bedroom retreat. This retreat generally includes a sitting area and a wonderfully comfortable and attractive sleeping space. The room is decorated so that it exudes relaxation and gives the room the appearance and feel of a luxurious retreat.

Vintage Style
It seems that vintage decor is here to stay. Vintage furniture and some vintage accessories actually blend very well into a modern, contemporary or transitional decor. You have to make your selection of vintage items carefully, with your over all decorating plan in mind, but there are vintage items that can be successfully incorporated into any home decor.

The one thing to remember about choosing a decorating style for your home is that it should be a style that you can live comfortably with. You want to enjoy living in your home, not feel as if you're living in a hands-off museum. Decorating styles change and quite often, out-dated decorative accessories reappear in later years in some form or another. If you have some of your out-dated decor in a storage unit, you can retrieve it, display and look very trendy without spending any money.

Brionna Kennedy is native to the Pacific Northwest, growing up in Washington, then moving down to Oregon for college. She enjoys writing on fashion and business, but any subject will do, she loves to learn about new topics. When she isn't writing, she lives for the outdoors. Oregon has been the perfect setting to indulge her love of kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking. You can visit her at her Facebook page or twitter.

I think those five points are timeless tips. Thank you for a fantastic post Brionna!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Package from Japan; What was inside?

It has been a pretty busy day for me today and when I came home after picking the kids up from school, I found a package on my front porch. Actually, my kids spotted it even before I did and they were so excited. It was a package from my mom and my sister for my birthday and Christmas.

They send me a package like this every year, but the excitement never seems to dull. The kids are always SO excited to see what's inside. I usually call my mom as we are opening the package, so even though she is not here, she can at least hear how excited her grand-kids are.

In the package, there was...

Cute goodies for bento making...

Small bottles covered with stitched beads that my sister made... (aren't they so pretty?)

Lots and lots of my favorite Japanese food. Believe it or not, some things are not in the picture... because kids already ate them before I was able to take picture!

and, there were lots of washi-tapes and one of my favorite magazines.

Ahhh... I can't wait to tuck the kids into bed, relax and enjoy the magazine page by page... (huge grin)

It is so funny how they know me so well. I moved to the United States 18 years ago, and I haven't been going back that often; I feel like they are very close to my heart. When I went back two summers ago it was the first time in 11 years; it felt so natural and we just picked up where we left off and enjoyed the time together. I guess that is family.

We are not a picture perfect family. We have our quirks and a skeleton or two in the closet. There were many times I couldn't wait to grow up and leave home. Though, now I live so far away I miss them very much. My sister and I always talked about how we wished there was a transporter somewhere in our homes, so we could see each other all the time.

If you live close to your family, don't take that for granted, go visit them often! What I miss the most are the small things in everyday life; cooking in the kitchen, telling funny stories and laughing together, watching TV and making small comments and such... treasure the moments everyone. I guess I am trying to do that with my family here. Some days are harder than others and it gets frustrating at times, but I know my kids will grow up and leave before I know it. I guess my big secret plan is that I create lots and lots of fun moments as a family, so they would miss us and would want to come back to see us, hehehehe...

In America, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the big holidays and it seems like we talk about family a lot around this time. For me, New Year is it. The celebration of New Year's is important in our culture and centers around the family. I miss my mother's traditional Japanese New Year's dishes and other traditions.

I found a picture of traditional Japanese New Year's dishes; I love how it looks so beautiful

I guess my family just didn't send food and some goodies, I found some sentiments in the box as well. I am almost ready to ship my Christmas package to them soon, I hope they will enjoy opening it.
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