Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hana Patchwork Cushion

Would you like to come and have a cup of tea with me? That would be really special; especially in the early afternoon and I'd have some delicious shortbread cookies around and scones,too. Gosh, I ran out of homemade jams and maybe you can bring yours to share.  I will have patchwork cushions made for each chair and probably make all the placemats for each. I'll bring out precious tea set that Julie got me two Christmas ago, Fine hand-painted China tea pot and cups.  Sounds good?

I have this Hana patchwork Cushion made last week and waited for the pillow insert to arrive this week. If you followed me over Instagram Story last week {the last few photos that I snapped from the phone}, you know that I was pretty excited about putting this patchwork piece together.

I planned on making the cushion in a scrappy style and though simple tiny patchwork would be perfect. I particularly love earthy tone lately, so decided to go with more brown and wood colors for the patchwork piece. As I went through the scrap boxes I picked out mostly browns, dirt black, yellows, greens and just few blue tones to give some fun factors to the patchwork.  Each tiny patchwork is cut in 1" strips then 2" wide.

I didn't second myself to hand quilt this patchwork piece, as I think the recipient would treasure  these tiny stitches.  Since, I have a piece of unbleached muslin in the back for the patchwork it got a little thicker and bulky to hand quilt on. I tried to give even stitches so it has consistency look and nice texture!

For the cushion backing, I used a chestnut brown linen for the backing. I love how linen gives a nice and elegant finish look and touch for the cushion. Also it is very soft and just match the patchwork top nicely! It finished a little larger than 16"x16". I used a 18"x18" pillow insert to make it puffy look.

You can find Hana Patchwork tutorial {here}. The only modification that I made was I kept the tiny patchwork pieces in rows and didn't turn it in a diagonal direction. For hand quilting tutorial, you can find {here}.

I love rainy days for making tiny patchworks now. The rain seriously pour hard on the thunderstorm days.  It is not the best kind of afternoon for quick grocery run, but guess what? I made the quick run for grocery that afternoon, betweens rains. I had a large umbrella accompanied me, and totally think a pair of rain boots would really help out in the places that got flooded.

These days, it is just beautiful in Big Apple City! Today is the last day of school for my S, so late! I see her is ready for school break and getting ready for some sleep in time.

More later...


Friday, June 23, 2017

Patchwork delight

This week, between projects, I managed to make a small scrappy style patchwork zippered pouch. It has been a while since I used to make them for the shop. This patchwork pouch is an add on to a parcel that will be ship next week.

These prints are some of my favorites and I particular love the versatile prints play good contrast in the pouch! Thanks to the new walking foot tool, the quilting lines turnout even, I keep on 3 m.m. on the stitch length setting, but think that 4 m.m. will work well, too. I'll give it a try next time and let you know how I like it.

I've added the feedsack fabrics Julie brought to me in her recent visit to the feedsack box. Don't you think feedsack fabrics present some humble colors and gorgeous designs? Oh, maybe it is time for another feedsack appliqué work.  I have the design print out and am ready for a little appliqué piece for this summer sewing project.

{Thank You} for all the words of wisdoms and loves that you sent. Simply made me warm and loved by many of you that I have not met. But you are here, my neighbors (smile). Life is not all perfect and cheerful and some of the day is not as easy as I like. I try my best to be honest and share what I am comfortable with you. Mostly, will be lots sewing and good time, enjoy!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice! It has been two beautiful days here in the big Apple City and it reminded me of the high school days when I still had school in late June and first week of July.  Today is not a sewing post and maybe a little bit of sewing sharing, not much! You might want to skip or scroll down photos quick and enjoy the beautiful solstice day, but you always know that I love you stay and join me with an afternoon tea and shortbread cookies. 

A little over a year ago, I wrote this {post} and now just a little over year later I am ready to share how this year have been in the dense and populated city.  It actually not all perfect and that great! I might have shed more tears than I had in last ten years and living through unexpected changes and making bigger adjustments in this life I live.

After left the key in the house and met with the realtor on the house closing day, we traveled to Northwest  Iowa and stayed with our friends for a few days before onto our big move; cross half of the country. We spent afternoons by the lake with Julie and had taken time drove through roads between fields and you know in Iowa it is likely corns and beans.

Before we left Iowa...
the cornstalks were just by my knee and it is always, corns will be knee high by fourth of July.

It was humid days while our last few days in Iowa. I think it was record of 98 degrees, but I could be wrong after a year's memory. We stayed inside at Carol's house a lot.  Unload the car and reload the car again ( can you picture that? with lots last minutes of clean up the house and stuffed the car as many as we can take).  With Ron's help that I was able to map out the roads, interstates that to be on. Things to watch out for and I-80 East was terrible in Illinois, trucks and semis...
I was pretty scared! 

Before we left Iowa...
We stopped by the local bakery more than we should while we were around. I can't tell you how  hearty these handmade donuts were and meant to us. It was always perfect birthday treats for kids while S was in daycare and perfect treats for Carol and I having coffee time together.

 Summer fields in Iowa are always green and the sky is always always blue and endless... 

Only three plants made their live after a year... I basically and accidentally left them without much care and that said, I am not a green-thumb! (duh)

Sunset time over the field is gorgeous and outstanding! It is breathtaking moments. I've so much appreciation and love for it! It is always my favorite kinda drive. I could pull the car off the road and just... ENJOY

We left Northwest Iowa in an early morning, hugged and waved goodbye to dear friends and of course, had to made the last stop at bakery and double check on the belongings are all in.

 Eastern Iowa

 Mississippi River 

 Cars were crowed 

 Hello... Indiana 

We cut through part of Indiana and enter Michigan for a fun detour trip. 

Michigan is a beautiful state! We had wished made our way to North Western part of Michigan to visit Rebecca, but didn't made our way there... always next trip and stop!

 Cross Bronx Express.... oh my god!

 oh dear...

I shouldn't tell you how frighten I was driving through Cross Bronx Expressway, G. Washington bridge and Throgs Neck Bridge.  I was pretty sick by the time when we arrived the apartment building. It was the most dense and intense drives that I have ever done. I shed my tears the first time after three days driving cross half of the country; shacking hands and body after being honked by trucks and cars, million times... seriously!

Oh, I said, I never drive again!

The apartment isn't all that perfect, but it is a place where we started the new journey in big Apple City and a place, we sometimes called home! Last summer, when the container came in the early morning (7:30a.m.). It was 84 degree and humidity was 85% already. It was not so easy for us to unload all the boxes and few furnitures, but you know we made it within two hours unloading and later on hired two movers to come help us move up.

Indeed I have had few seconds of how we are going to fit everything in this tiny apartment and that took a full year and some "letting go" time and that was hard moments!

It took a few weeks to get the apartment set up and finding places for grocery shopping and few tries and fails of finding the right milk. This move is particular hard since I don't drive after the day arrived! I learned to get on bus and walk a mile or two to local grocery stores.

There is a Korean grocery store behind the Post Office off Springfield Blvd. that I discovered just few weeks after arrival. The gentleman who runs a small Korean style pastry always says, "an yo ha say yo" ( how are you? in Korean),  I always reply, "Hello".  Every week, I would walk there to get milk and look around what the store carries. It is fascinating to see items labeled in both Korean and English!

On my way out from the K store, I always stopped by another grocery store runs by Italians. There I found the most  delicious sausages for cheese and crackers and that's where I get lunch meat, too. I love how they slice meats and cheese for what I ask for.  By the time, I walk out the I store, my hands are likely full and heavy! But I always need another stop, the coffee shop!

It took me sometimes to get used to order coffee here, at least the coffee that I go to. The lady who probably remembered my face after a year of ordering plain coffee.

Every time our conversation always start...

the Lady: How do you like your coffee?
Me: Plain would be great, Thank you!
the Lady: Milk and sugar?
Me: Oh, no, just plain.
the Lady: NOTHING?? Black?
Me: Oh, Yes!

and now, I would tell her if I needed milk or sugar. Likely, is black now!

By the time, I get a cup of coffee, and groceries. I walk a mile back. It is rather quick now since it has became part of the life for me. I've always like to count the streets and always stop every corner of the streets before I cross.  Can I secretly tell you it is dangerous walking street to street? Cars sometimes run over stop signs and after a year, I still have a heart attack for that.

 My inner voice said Gosh, they need count to 10 before they go on stop sign... 

The year went rather quick and it is surely turning corners of our everyday life. It hasn't been easy and have been hard in someway. Mostly the lifestyle, the struggles of us living without a great community supports and friends. People who we used and able to turn into for good and bad times are living in far distance from us now.

The people that I regularly have conversations with since moved is the gentleman in the Korean pastry shop, hello and Thank you! Then the lady in the coffee shop, plain and Thank you! I also love taking time at the check out counter and listen to different languages that I am exposed to. It has been lonesome sometimes.  I bet our friends knew that so they've sent cards in the mail, texts, emails, sometimes calls then I shed more tears ...

The depression hit on me rather quick after my sister's visit last summer. It was hard time to go through and I had shed more tears for little things; questioned and wondered if this is the right move for us, but that isn't a questionable question, life forward and go on...

I was able to go see my mama last Fall and regain the meaning of the motherhood and learn to be a brave and adventurous person again. I worked hard on depression, but it is not that easy! Along that I knew something is wrong with my health. I wasn't careful enough and was letting myself draining myself down. When I was in the doctor's office this early spring and done a health check up. Doctor had serious conversation and letting me know the worse case is cancer cells, but let's wait for the numbers to come back.

Before getting the report back, my life was in the deeper and darker place.  There were many of what if is cancer? How scary that sounded to me? I shed my tears more often, but the reality was that I really needed to learn and  try to live better and trying things that I have dreamt about and step away my fear and uncertain, but it was not easy when I was in the frustrated situation and deeply felt, I can't! 

Then, I started a schedule for myself and getting things cross off the list that I made the beginning of the week. It started small goal then following up bigger goals. Sometimes, when I am unwell, the daily goal is getting the floor map then I could just lay down for the rest of the day. Ok, that sounded so silly, but I did for a few times! When the day that I could and had more strengths,  the daily goal is getting clothes wash then I could just lay down for the rest of the day. That sounds ridiculous, but I have done that a few times.  It really gradually improved and I was able to do both in a day and more!

The day before doctor visit, I had sleepless nights! I got on the bus that morning and waited at the doctor's office and was nervous! That was probably some longest one hour waiting time.  As the doctor sat down, face to face with me, the first sentence doctor said, it is not cancer cells! I couldn't say anything... follow up with instructions and the treatment for me for the next six months.

On the way home on the bus, I was pretty sick and the bus was crowed! I had got the shots that same day as the treatment takes months in between. It was probably closed to two o'clock that afternoon when I got back. I had fell asleep for the first time, peace.  The following days, weeks, and months, I started exclusive diet, food that I can consume and not to have. Oh, I wasn't all that perfect to follow. I still have a few cookies in between and visits to the coffee shop from time to time.  I've started gained some health strength back. Likely I feel that good energy is coming back and you know what?
That depression moment is going away, slowly.

Few weeks back, I had the second treatment and the numbers are still good, but have lost some weight!  I started to work on my belief on this life that I want and what does it means to me and my family. I am still learning to be a better mother, a healthy mind human kind, and a kinder person. How can I step outside and try to meet people openly still is hard for me, but I have tried a few things and it really like a magic wand; made some differences!

I have finally feel it is good time to be open and honest to share this year's journey. It is not all so great, but it made me grew and be stronger! It might not and will never be perfect, but I am giving it a try! Trying to be who I am, cheerful and thoughtful and trying bring positives into life, not just mine, but people around me.

For sure, One step a day!

After almost a year living  in Big Apple City. There is still many uncertainty and unsettle times. There is still hard time, challenges and struggles in life and I need to work on that.  I see the importance I am playing as a role of a mama, a family member and a friend.

The dramatic life shifting is rough if I am not able to lift myself up in a positive attitude it is impossible to improve!  I knew I will continue to shed tears as I go on, but now I see that as a positive to let go the frustrations and letting the negatives out when is need.

Last couple months I have been working hard on re-center the positive on me and how can I take good care of myself, so from there I can take care everyone else and provide comfort to love ones! It is not easy to being more honest and being available in most ways, but I am trying! I have feel good that I am able to reflect the new meaning of life and more to myself these days!

and now... I am excited!

Excited that my papa is coming to visit me so soon! We'll be journey together this later summer. I plan on having good health, so I can take good care of him while he is here! I have started a list of where to take him, food to try, and must to do's list with him!

In this life, I like to be a better pilot; adventurous and positives!

more later,


**photo credit: S.J.H.