High Tea Party Blog Tour

Phew! What a crazy week for me. I mean really crazy times trying to manage everything at one go. Did I mention I just started an intensive course learning Thai language? Speaking, reading and writing. Every morning, class starts at 7am. Usually by 9am, two cuppa coffee are gone. Then the usual routine of cleaning, laundry, preparing dinner, fetching kids... My eyes can barely open during dinnertime.

So making something for this blog tour was a challenge for me. When sweet Jera asked me to join her tea party team, I was too overwhelmed and agreed right away without thinking twice. I really like Jera and her sewing for a long long time. And now that she designs such beautiful fabrics, how can I possibly say no...?

Since I "kinda" told Jera that I would love to handsew something from her first fabric debut "High Tea Collection" by Lecien,  I had to keep my promise right? Or maybe she has forgotten about it? >.< In my plan was a cute mini quilt for the wall and I was quick to cut out all fabrics ready to sew. Then I saw this small 2.5" mini charm pack on my table and I thought, "hey, selfish sewing time again! I need a pencil case for my Thai classes!" Instead of making something for the home, I wanted to make something to use and "show off" the beautiful fabrics!

Well well, it was not a good idea at all because once I start handsewing, I can't stop! It took me almost a week with pockets of time to handsew the mini squares together in 6x7 rows (forty-two squares in a pack). Another week to handquilt and handsew the binding, zippers plus embellishments. It was a mad rush seriously. Handsewing is a rather slow process. For this project, I had to speed up ten or even a hundred times faster since time was running out. Many times, I was so tempted to pull out the sewing machine. But each time, I bit my lips, turned away from the sewing machine and continued handsewing. The feeling was tough love.

Frankly, I just finished the last stitch just moments before writing this post. Just in time.

Here it is, my completely handsewn boxy "High Tea" stationery pouch!

Very very roomy and useful pouch for all kinds of pens, pencils, rulers... It fits my unorganised character perfectly since I can throw everything in just like that.

I added "X"s for many many hugs.

Lace details at the sides for key chains and dangling souvenirs.

Look at the teapot and strawberries. Too delicate and dainty. Very vintage chinaware feel. I love it so much.

Back of pouch. I love it a lot too!

If you are wondering why two zippers? Well, it was a solution to a mistake. I had actually chosen a floral zipper that would fit just nicely. Then when I finished hand quilting, I squared up the sides way way way too short for the zipper! It was gave me a big shock! Frantically, I rummaged through the zipper bag and tried all sorts of zippers. But nothing fits. I was almost pulling my hair out.

I have to say, my mind is always good at jigsaw puzzles. So it clicked me that I could use two zippers for the pouch. And I did! One longer and one shorter! It just so "me".  It gives the pouch another sense of beauty being so different. In my eyes!^_^

The interior is my favourite fabric in the collection. Hardly can find this shade of brown with florals. Of course, I had to add a fabric tag for zakka-ness.

The bindings are linen (you can get it here) for simple and clean look.

Bottom of pouch with very wide base. Hand quilting details.

The pouch is rather easy to make. If you have a sewing machine, it will be a breeze to sew one for yourself. However, I will still choose to handsew again by any chance.

It seems I am the last blogger for this blog party. You may visit the other amazing bloggers in the tour from the list above. They made really wonderful stuff I tell ya. Jera will be wrapping up the tour tomorrow in her blog. Do check it out!

Now may I sit back and relax and enjoy a cup of tea, with some thick chocolate cookies? xx

Sew Illustrated Blog Tour + Giveaway!

That day when I told my kids "Hey loves, Mom is going to draw with my sewing machine.", they looked up from their books almost instantly. Well, I have to admit that I love the surprise twinkle in their eyes. Then, they started crowding around me and asked if I could sew their drawings too. Suddenly, I felt like a wonder-mommy who can do something so special. It made my heart sing!

So I got to work that very night to learn how to draw with the sewing machine. I mean, sew illustrations. I read through every single page of this super amazing book "Sew Illustrated" and I could feel my adrenaline rushing through my head. This book actually spoke my heart about creativity and not being afraid to try.

My dearest friends, Minki and Kristin, did a really fantastic work creating this book to teach how to turn drawings into useful sewing projects. I think Minki has super talents to design so many beautiful yet functional projects and Kristin wrote the book in the clearest and most straightforward way with her super writing flair. I tell you, this book is worth to keep forever.

In the book, they introduced us to use iron-on transfers, wash away stabilisers, tracing paper, heat transfer pencil, fusible web, freezer paper etc. to help us in sewing illustrations. I used non of the mentioned to sew the projects. Nothing at all. Not even glue! You may be surprised but I don't have any of them. But well, I still managed to sew everything without any problem. Since mine is an e-book, I enlarged the page to the correct size, placed the fabric on top and traced with water soluble marker. Or, I just drew free-hand by eye-balling the picture!

The projects are just so unexpectedly do-able, even without any sewing aid.

Oh yes, this time I made everything for myself. For myself to use or admire. And I have to say this out loud, I did not unpick a single stitch. I kept sewing non-stop. All because Minki and Kristin wrote:

"Let go of perfectionism! Each project is a unique work of art. It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful! Enjoy the process, practice, and it will get easier. It is often the imperfections that create the charm." 

A hundred YAYs to that! I finally can sew whichever way I like!^_^

Project 1: Pin cushion

This pin cushion was my second sewing because I just couldn't resist. The sewing machine illustration is way too adorable.

Never mind the frills and not so perfect stitches. I had so much fun making this one. And finding the right cherry picture.

I added my favourite lace detail as always.^_^

Project 2: Coasters

This set of coasters are the most exciting to sew for me. They are my first try in sewing illustrations and I had a blast of time working on them. Together with using my favourite floral fabrics "Memoire a Paris" from Lecien and linen. Both are from Ministry of Fabric. Including that very cute strawberry button.

The first time I tried cutting a really tiny oval and stitch it, pretending to be tea in the cup. How yummy is this tea?

When Minki and Kristin asked if I would love to join the blog tour, I was hesitant because I didn't know if I can work well with the sewing machine. And that I don't have any sewing aid to be honest. Handsewing is also something I prefer so I raised my concern. Kristin was very nice to reassure me that the projects in the book are actually suitable for handsewing too! It was a pleasant surprise for me so I agreed straightaway. This coaster is completely handsewn. I used embroidery floss and back stitches to sew everything. All the hand quilting are also done with embroidery floss.

This purple one I almost ruined it by sewing too much on the body of the flask. So I cut a small piece of fabric to cover it up. And also a word tag that I love. I think it looks much better this way.

Close up on the hand stitches.

And of course, the back of the coasters must be also as pretty as the front! So now, they can be reversible too!

Project 3: Crochet hook case

I had planned to make the fabric basket but changed my mind to this crochet hook case (supposedly a pencil case) because I think it's time my crochet hooks need a home. This case was so interesting to sew. I didn't quite follow Minki's illustrations as I got lost during sewing trying to figure out my own marker lines. And then I shamelessly added my initials like the way Minki does. Can you see..?

My most accidental find, the "handmade" leather tag, that I bought a couple of years ago. To add some charm to my crochet case. Hey, I had to make it pretty for myself as a reward for crocheting almost every night.

The case is made to my own measurements to fit the crochet hooks. See how versatile the projects are.

Handquilting is what I do with a lot of love. And I'm very happy to add to the case.

The inside of the flap. I had to sew the heart doily to cover up the hand stitches for the "handmade" tag. It looks like an added delicate touch to handsewing.

I love little details like this.

The back of the case. In pretty pink with fabric tag and hand quilting thread.

I really enjoyed this book so much that I'm planning to sew more illustrations from today. First, my children's drawings!

Thank you (from my heart) Minki and Kristin for inviting me for this wonderful blog tour! Below is the list of other talented ladies joining the tour:

August 15: C&T Publications
August 16: Amy at nanaCompany
August 17: Wynn at zakkaArt
August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane
August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar
August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing
August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson
August 22: Debbie happy little cottage
August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave
August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut
August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet
August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon
August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity
August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations
August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs
August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand
September 1: Elnora on Instagram
September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet
September 3: Auribuzz

And now for a giveaway! C&T Publishing has kindly offered to giveaway one copy of this book to one lucky reader of this blog. Simply leave a comment below. Opens international. Comments will close on August 24. A winner will be chosen randomly and announced soon thereafter. Good luck!


Comments closed! Phoebe from Richmond VA will get a free book, courtesy from C&T! Congratulations! I'll drop you an email soon!x

Pixie Noel Blog Hop - 12 days advent calendar

It's another Christmas craft today with one of my most favourite designers, Tasha Noel's new fabric collection Pixie Noel by Riley Blake Designs. I was eyeing on these adorable fabrics for a long time so I couldn't be happier when dear Tasha asked me to join her blog hop. In fact, I was very elated!

I am not shy to say I have all of Tasha's previous collections too. I love her drawings. My kids too. They always ask if I can make something for them with all her cute fabrics. Pixie Noel, in particular, is their favourite. The bunnies, reindeers, stockings, pixies on sledges and snow covered christmas trees. Oh well.

This time, I planned to make an advent calendar and I did. Twenty-five fussy cut pockets on a big red polka dot linen. When I finished sewing, I wasn't quite happy with it. It was too big and clumsy for my liking. I mean, I always prefer something smaller and more zakka style. So out of impulse, I snipped it into a simpler version of a twelve days advent calendar.

Here it is, Pixie Noel 12 days advent calendar! Oh, remember the song "12 days of Christmas"? 12 days before and after Christmas?? Oh my, now it becomes so versatile!

I added little details like fabric tags, doily and lace. And christmas-sy green pom poms to make it like a banner. The sides are intentionally without binding to keep the edges raw. There is no interfacing/batting as well. So free and easy just the zakka way I love it.

See the alphabet stamps for the numbering of pockets? 

My plan was to find a branch to hang the calendar but obviously I could not. The wooden hanger in the wardrobe caught my sight and I quickly cut strips of fabrics to wrap around it using mod podge as glue. Well, it was the best decision ever! The ribbon was a discarded lace found in the stash box. I'm glad it wasn't thrown away previously!

Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year and I am so happy to be already done with quite a few Christmas sewing in summer. Including this Pixie Noel Twelve Days Advent Calendar! Come on, Christmas! I am so ready for you!xx

ps. thirteen remaining pockets snipped away and what should I do with them?>.<

Holiday Wishes Quilt Along by Fat Quarter Shop

Christmas in July? Can you imagine that? I know it's so hard to feel Christmas right now with the super hot weather and tanks and shorts and flip-flops. But I think this new quilt along will bring you straight into the Christmas mood if you sew together with us!

Fat Quarter Shop was very kind to send me a copy of "Holiday Wishes" book by Sherri Falls. It's an amazing book with 12 different projects to sew for Christmas, from cozy pretty quilts to table runners to tree skirt. There's something to sew for everyone to gift and share!

It was so hard to choose just one thing to sew in the book. When I finally decided to make "Comfort & Joy Mini" Christmas project, I realised that there isn't many Christmassy fabrics in my shelves. I wanted to use 1930s reproduction fabrics but they did not quite stand out for this joyful sewing. Then I thought, hey, there is the very colourful and happy Flower Sugar (by Lecien) that I collected for so many years! So I rushed to take out the big bag (yes I put the same collection in the same bag) and smiled the biggest smile. They are just perfect for this sewing.

So this is my Comfort & Joy Mini!

The vibrant colors and prints make this mini quilt extra cheerful! My kids all love this and kept asking me to hang it up the wall! ^_^

The cutting instructions were confusing to me initially because I'm not used to labelling and reading in alphabets. It was so tough to relate the cutting to sewing by just reading through. So I dragged making it for some time. Until the night before, I decided to start cutting the fabrics because time was running out. I diligently labelled all the patchwork pieces as in the instructions. This step is so important and I'm glad I didn't skip it.

The next day when I started sewing, I was so surprised it took only one hour to piece the mini quilt top together. Only one hour! Just in time for two Elmo shows to end for my kids! It was a total breeze sewing with the labelled pieces. No squaring up at all. Everything just fits as it was to be. It was a very happy sewing because I'm so lazy to trim while sewing.

To make sure it's a mini quilt made from all Flower Sugar fabric, I had to rummage through my stash and was SO lucky to find the one and only piece that was just big enough to be the backing.

The wavy quilt was a last minute decision all because I wanted to quilt in the fastest way. So I'm very thankful for machine quilting this time! However, my machine quilting skill is not fantastic so it made the mini quilt wonky. I was sad at first but since there was no time to waste, I continued to quilt in the same way till the end. And it turned out so much better than I expected! It was a win-win! The mini quilt looks wonky but in a joyful way that it looks like it's dancing!

I love the gingham binding so much too that I was still happy even though there was only a fat eighth of it! I tried piecing them together so it does not look mismatched.

All in all, this is one sewing I truly enjoy and it looks so good on the wall even now it's not Christmas yet. It's the fastest sewing for me using a pattern. And one of the prettiest thing on my wall right now. xx