Thursday, December 8, 2016

Linen Blouse + Shorts

It has been quite an emotionally draining week for me. Maybe because it's December already and I'm feeling that another year has gone past and I wish I could've done a little bit more -- sewn more, created more and just lived more. I have the very spirit of a workaholic and I often feel frustrated when I don't see enough results. Generally speaking, in order for me to get to that working mode, there are always other unrelated chores in my way. I guess it's just what it is, some responsibilities you can't shed once you've become a parent.

Friday, December 2, 2016

White Linen Blouse


Lately, I've become an expert at dealing with hanging-on-a-thread baby teeth. I guess it's just something you pick up on the way. C has lost 8 teeth so far and every single one was caused by apple biting. So whenever I spot a tooth that's too loose for comfort, I offer apple, naturally.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Linen Long Jacket

I am loyal to long jackets. I think they are extremely versatile and hide any bits and bobs on your body that you are not too comfortable to show. Plus, I love a flowing effect.
Since I didn't have a fan on hand, I had to keep on twirling around.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hooded Fleece Jacket

I just spent a very hot five minutes taking these photos, wearing a fleece jacket in our summer temperature. I'm not sure if it's going to keep me toasty yet in some extremely humid and cold northern hemisphere climate in Shanghai when I travel next month, but I've said farewell to all my real-deal winterwear. This jacket will have to be a good transitional put-on-once-you-get-out-of-the-plane piece.
I am not fond of winter, especially the type that's accompanied by humidity. After spending 10 years in Cape Town, it has indeed untrained my tolerance for cold weather.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Gingham One-piece

Hi there, I present you this one-piece Spring/Summer dress with a one semi-clear picture. I was quite annoyed that it's the best picture I got after deligently deleting hundreds of unqualified blurry ones. The fabric is of some quite fine 100% cotton gingham. I admit it did make my eyes go a bit while sewing, and I did get the feeling that it would do the same to a camera. I was, quite right.

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Bubbly Linen Bolero

Is there a list for the world's top unrealistic goal planners? If there was such a thing, my name would be there. No fail. This weekend, I pulled out a bunch of sheet music books purchased years ago and challenged C that if she cracks any Disney song of her choice, I would go for Jon Schmidt's All of Me. It's a joke for both of us, really, but who cares, if there's some slight motivation for either of us, it's a win.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My Second Baby Geranium

I want babies in my life.
No. I want baby girls in my life.
Actually let me rephrase that. I want more baby girls that aren't blood related to me in my life.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Simple Chic Dress

I'm creepily but surely adding dresses to C's wardrobe again. She has to wear purple clothes to school this coming Thursday, but we turned her closet upside down and found one piece of purple --- a dress I made last winter, which is not season appropriate for now. C first said she wanted a purple tee shirt with purple shorts. (sigh) I don't have problem with purple tee shirts and I understand how comfortable they feel on your body, but really, I just can't put myself together to sew another tee shirt at the moment. In the end, we both settled on a blouse with a pair of non-purple shorts she wears to death, and called it a day.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Linen Drawstring Three-quarter Pants

I don't have the brain capacity to think what I want to wear the next day before my bedtime, and more often than not, I tend to dart all over the house in the mornings. Bad combination, I know. It's a new habit still to be formed, but before then, my instinct is to grab something, anything easy from the cupboard in those manic minutes, and usually I aim at tee shirts and pants/shorts only. I mean I've made a number of pants already but they are either for the wrong season, or they are so worn due to the heavy rotation, like this one here. I am in need of Spring pants...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Summer Linen Strappy Dress

Oh hi, we are back to dresses. You heard me right. C claims she doesn't mind wearing a dress when it's not windy. Makes sense. And since I know her favorite summerwear is sun screen --- the less fabric on her shoulder, the better, I needed to make a strappy dress. Plus I've got tons of soft linen at home to make it happen --- the result of my new buying style.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Here Come the Black Tees

Is it just me or everyone's feeling the year's coming to the end? Last week I was literally recovering from C's birthday. It's a very small celebration so to be honest, it was more like taking the time and wearing off that sugar high.
Just prior to her birthday, I bought 10 meters of black cotton lycra. It's not easy to find 100% cotton knits here in fabric stores, so this time I went straight to the local manufacter -- Rotex Fabrics. I didn't even wince at their minimum order meterage. Black and knits combo means there's plenty opportunity for me to use it up, plus post-cake-baking syndrome can only be cured with monotonous sewing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Birthday Tee and Pants

I would most probably ask for a fancy dress from my mom for my 7th birthday, if I was offered an open ended clothing request, and if she could sew. Not my daughter. She asked  for a simple tee shirt that says "Today is my birthday." Yep, I guess she loves me that much to not fuss over some birthday clothes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Wanderlust Tee + Linen Tuck Skirt

After sewing a few summer basics for C, I was extremely bothered by the leftover single jersey fabric. I knew if I didn't use it up quickly, it'd be buried deep in the box. I'm becoming very confident at hauling fabric lately, 10 meters of this and 10 meters of that. I'm certain that I will use them up, eventually. The thing is buying fabric happens way faster than using them. That's a problem....

Friday, October 21, 2016

Summer Essentials -- White Tee and Bubble Shorts

I'm here to bore you with another basic outfit I've sewn recently for my dress-rejecting 7-to-be little girl. She's making it more and more clear with what she does or does not want to wear. I used to get to choose what kind of clothes I wanted to sew for her, but now that's freedom is completely gone. She now gives very specific order as to the style of her taste --- plain and simple, the very opposite of Fancy Nancy I guess.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Sewing Summer Essentials

Have you ever seen any of Zach King's videos? We are addicted. As I buried myself sewing these basics, I kept on imagining having real magical power that I could copy and paste them in one second, or at least throw some new colors in and watch them multiply.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Linen Pintuck Dress

Oh hi, long time no see. I was in my hibernation mode, not really, school holiday survival mode to be exact. I tend to ignore my sewing altogether during these quarterly holidays and it's often the time when I remind myself that I'm a mother first, and spending time on cooking is beneficial, and that doing loads of house chores in front of your child has educational values...blah blah... It's just the times of the year when I truly slow down.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Linen Dress with Flared Sleeves

We've been having really poor internet service for the past three weeks. It just comes and goes with a super low speed. Finally, we got Telkom to come and check the problem on Saturday and after an hour of fiddling here and there, the guy managed to kill our internet and landline altogether. I replied on my cell phone for very limited internet and that's all. It's aweful to live without proper internet connection, but on the bright side, it has freed me from wasting time on social media.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Little Linen Summer Top

After making a linen summer outfit last week, I swear that soft linen is the only fabric I want to work with from now on.  Linen can be soft or quite hard, depends on the density I guess. I don't see this type of linen often so when I did see it and tested it, I became a little paranoid, which resulted me going back to the shop last Saturday morning and hauled two rolls of fabric home. I have never ever bought that much fabric -- of the same color -- at any given time, so it's pretty safe to say I was nervous and excited at the same time. I think that panic attack is yet to come when M finds it out.... 

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Simple Linen Summer Outfit

Since I made that black dress last week, C has worn it twice - the second time more talked into than volunteerily - but I can sense that temporary dress itch is slipping away. Separates have been set as her default dress code, which I'm totally OK with, expect for the fact that they take longer to sew than one single dress, but that hardly matters anyway.... 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Weekday Bits

I've been thinking a lot about my carefree working days lately. I was still living with my parents at the time, and my cost of living was pretty low. Basically, I only needed to hunt for lunch on my own. One day, I saw an ad on the internet that lead me to this buying office in Shanghai at the end of my university years. I still attended classes in the mornings and then spent 1 hour commute on the subway to get to my work place. My days were very stretched but I felt so motivated to get up every morning. This was, after all, my first step to enter the real world as a young adult.

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Little Black Dress

"Oh no, not a dress, mom." Yep, the reflex response from my 6-year-old, who has chosen to adopt a tee shirt + pants style way too early for her age. She then examined the dress and accepted the color --- she knows black is her color. She put it on and held my hand for me to walk her to the mirror --- a little shy to check what she looks like in the dress --- "I actually love it." 

Weekday Bits

It's been ages since the last time I wrote a food related post. If I have to be honest, I feel making that real deal food is important, but it's also holding me back from pursuing what I really like to spend my time on. In my little family of three, I cook 99.99% of the time, and 80% of that time I cook from scratch. Come to think of it, it's a curse to have a weak spot for DIYing everything. Somehow, the food looks and tastes more authentic after chopping and slicing it yourself, than the ones you empty out from a preprepared bag. It's 100% psychological, 200% untrue, and probably saves you 300% cash, which does come as a bonus.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Linen Cape Dress

A linen cape dress... is one way to call it. I feel I might go to an audition for a Nightingale or some nun roll in this outfit, and have a winning shot. But you know what, this linen is so comfortable and there's a hint of summer in the air, so I don't really mind that I look like a religious worker.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Panda Onesie

My weekend was filled sewing and cooking sans cleaning up the mess. It was a good one. Since I announced I'm off cleaning duty, about three days ago, I'm in the zen-iest state that I've ever been. I know I won't be off forever, but to know that I can have a break every now and then is solid enough.

Friday, August 19, 2016

A "Gold Digger" One Piece

The extra errands this week has indeed disturbed my sewing plans. You know, it's just the usual excuses of routine maintainence appointments, extra cooking and cleaning. Why do weekends have to be filled with good food and friends? OK, I do enjoy that bit, so I really should stop complaining. But choosing a one-piece like this to tackle during a busy week was not a wise move.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ashanti Travel Pillow and Sleep Mask Set

Lately, I feel deflated after fabric shopping. It's like I'm darting among shops but still nothing catches my eye. I often come back home empty handed. Very disappointed. Well, At least it shows my impeccable self-discipline that I'd rather buy nothing than build unnecessary stash, ha!

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Stenciled Tee and Shorts Combo for a Proud Dog Walker

As my daughter's gone deeper and deeper in this dog phase, our shoes have become ever so muddier from the trail road walks on the mountain, with our neighbor's dog. To be honest, I'm slowly reaching a point where I'm starting to lose interest, but she's persistent, even though most of the time, the dog is ahead of us...

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Stripy Women's Metro Tee

Yesterday, it was voting day/public holiday in the middle of the week, and we had a really fun and adventurous time. We walked to our favorite (and the closest to us) restaurant for lunch, stuffed our tummies with pizza, then carried on walking down the road, stopping at various boutique shops. And then we took a taxi home. I think it's my first time taking a taxi in Cape Town after living here for more than a decade. It felt we were doing something new, like being in a foreign city. Even my daughter was excited and didn't complain about the walking. It was early evening already when we got home but when we spotted our neighbor's dog, we asked the neighbor if we could go for a walk together with the dog, since you know, C's in a deep dog phase. The man was very kind and so we headed towards the mountain for another walk.... Great great fun. I'm secretly hoping this becomes a regular.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sashiko Stitching Multiple Zipper Pouches

Since I work on our dining table, from time to time, that whole space needs to cleared up to serve its original purpose. I did the exercise this past weekend. Overtime, I've moved bits of sewing supplies here and there to the table, before I knew it, the table had become quite clustered. While I was tidying up, I looked at my big fabric stash and sewing supplies and realized wow, I've really spent a lot of money on this hobby.
Probably not as much as a woodworking hobby drains the bank account I assume. I took C to a friend's house this weekend and the father of the child makes all the furniture in the house, purely as his hobby. The pieces are very unique and beautifully handmade. He gets you-should-sell-them a lot, but it's difficult to put a price tag on them once you've poured so much heart and time. I feel very related, except for the part that he's got a day job and I don't. From pattern tracing to fabric cutting, then sewing up pieces, with ironing in between. It takes time. It's a process that you will only understand once you've done it. It's like having children in a way, you will not register how much time and effort and love need to be invested before you have your own children. At least, that's my case.
With constant pressure to monetize my hobby, I made these 9 sashiko stitching zipper pouches. The idea is quite exciting so I've packed them in a big box labelled "to sell one day". Maybe I will just carry on building up the collection until that day comes when I have enough stock to open up a pop up shop, that is, if I don't hand them away as gifts. Apparently I'm quite good at that....
Happy Monday, friends.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Block Printing Apron

Can you sense that we are in a dog phase right now?
More than two and a half years ago, we introduced two kittens to our family. This cat-owner journey's been bitter sweet. Soon after that, C was diagnosed with asthma and the test result showed that she's allergic to cats (!). As it turned out, that it's not very easy to rehome a cat. Till this day, we still cautiously live with one cat. And because of the allergy, C's not allowed to go too close to the cat, and the cat has no access to our bedrooms whatsoever. We're not a proud cat family if you'd ask me. The most asked question these days is "Can I get a dog?" I took her to the lab and did a blood test last week, not because we're getting a dog any time soon, but I simply want to make sure this time around that she's OK with dogs, if we ever get one in the far future. After the result showing negative on dogs and still positive on cats, that question has evolved to "When can I get a dog?"

Friday, July 22, 2016

Basic Tee with Japanese Linen Pants

Lately, my days start with discomfort triggered grumble produced by C, totally unrelated to the school day early morning routine. She stretches and twists her arms and pulls the tee shirts down as far as she can. It's the inevitable side effect of wearing clothes that are too small for you. Yep, she's outgrown hundreds of tee shirts I made for her last year, except for this very recent one made out of a bigger size.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Zipper Pouches with Sashiko Stitching and Blockprinting Experiment

I have a confession to make...
I might have picked up a new hobby, or two...
And like always, they are time consuming ones.
I'm fallen in love with Sashiko Stitching. I could do it all day long, if I was allowed. It's more theraputic than washing dishes.

Monday, July 18, 2016

A School Holiday Survivor

As a proud school holiday survivor mom, I feel I need to report to my very neglected online space. It has reminded me of my school years when I dreaded writing that holiday news just before the start of a new term. It's a compulsory habit, you see?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tote Bag x 3

Who says domestic sewing machine struggles with webbing? My entry level Elna eXplore 240 can prove you wrong. I'm no expert at sewing webbings. Should I have used a specific needle, or foot? I'm pretty sure that's one way of DIYing ballpoint needles from sharp needles....

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Chicken Stencil Tee + Metallic Skirt combo

Today, I'm letting my child be a child, with a normal tee shirt and a simple skirt.
Sometimes I wonder if I've been making too much grown-up style clothes for a six-year-old. I decide what to make, which fabric to use, and she just wears them without the option of being taken to shops to choose what's on the shelf for everyone else. Fortunately, she's not complaining and I suppose she will never run out of clothes as long as my machines are chugging, but somehow, I'd like to involve her more so the clothes she wears have her voices too.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Fifty-Shades-of-Grey Jacket

Around this time last year -- Okay, 10 months ago to be exact -- I made one of my proudest produces, a Skinny laMinx Jacket.  I adore it so much that most of the time I let it rest in my closet. I don't want to wear it too much so it becomes worn. That sounds a little silly. There's also the other reason that I don't usually go to places which require me to be any dressier than my usual loosely fitted everyday pants.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Brushed Cotton Check Pants

It feels like the gap in between my posts are stretched bigger and bigger. I'm permanently buzzing behind the scenes, be it fabric cutting or stamp carving. I also seem to have spent many hours getting stuck in various shops, buying more notions than making use of them. Or other times, I just totally fail to invest my time wisely. This morning, I spent an hour recharging our iTunes account. grr.... My relationship with technology has always been on and off.  Right now, I have no desire to deal with the slow internet. I just want to do some old fashioned sewing and knitting.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Purl Soho Sweatshirt Sweater in African Expressions Yarn

Happy Monday! I'm entering a new week, still machineless, with a new project to share. I think by now I am officially numb with all my ill-focused photos. My tripod is still in the store-room and nobody else was around but a six-year-old labor. I couldn't be too picky. These photos are the least blurry ones out of 100 more bursts....

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Handstitched Felt Donuts

Donut, anyone?
These donuts were purely C's idea. If you ask my 6-year-old what's her favorite thing about school, she answers in a split second --- Eazy Stitch. Tuesday morning I don't even have to wake her up because that's Eazy Stitch day. Lately she wants to do more stitching related activities at home. The other day, she mentioned while they were sewing pencil bags, the older kids were making felt donuts. "Can we make felt donuts at home, too?" Sure thing, especially when my sewing machine has gone on a sabbatical week and getting a well deserved spa retreat on its own.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Long Dress Coat in Brushed Cotton

I don't remember doing a weekly clothes shopping in the pre-sewing days. But for some strange reasons, even with a weekly production for C, I still struggle to keep up with the demand. The pants I made not too long ago were either too three-quarterly or too thin for the cooler season. Warmish jackets are also on the sought-after list.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Color Blocking Hemlock Tee

You know, half of our dinning table is cluttered with my sewing machine and newly acquired serger, together with other sewing related things. I use the other half for pattern and fabric cutting. As much as I like having friends over for meals, I don't exactly enjoy the part that I have to pack away all of my sewing possessions and take them out the next day. In the picture above, I'm looking at a deck space in our front yard that is going to be my studio one day. It's a little project that should keep M busy for the coming months.  

Monday, May 16, 2016

Weekday Bits

picture source
Almost on a daily basis, I receive messages or links to online articles from my mom revealing how bad the local food industry is in China. Her words were "If you had to take the reports seriously, there's absolutely nothing you can eat anymore." Yep, this is what's been happening, from gutter oil and fake eggs and to thousands of other poisonous products that are labelled as food. Where has the moral gone?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Frozenland Fleece Jacket

It's no news that I've adopted knitting and I'm gearing up for a fully handmade wardrobe. As exciting as it sounds, knitting doesn't happen fast. It's one stitch after the other, a solid production out of labor of love. On the other hand, temperature is dropping and leaves are falling. A contingency plan was born.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Classic Knitted Mittens

I'm going to say I thoroughly love knitting, so much so that I feel It suits my personality even more than sewing, not so much in a granny-related way hopefully. I'm an introvert and most of the time I love being quiet in a quiet place. Have I ever mentioned Jing means quiet in Mandarin Chinese. I was doomed from birth. Anyway, knitting started when we were staying in our flat temperorily. I was sewing on the dinning table, as always, but our living/dinning room is too small for me to work at night. It's close to C's bedroom and even closer to the TV --- hubby's favoriate activity. More than that, we stayed with 9 more units in the same block. I didn't think anyone would be happy to hear the chugging machine at night. I shifted my focus on patterns and fabric cutting, but I soon met the space issue. I was working on the floor and thus blocking the TV screen from time to time. A complaint was filed.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Boxy Tee + Pleats Fiesta Skirt

Almost two months ago, when I saw Ms Sato Kana had released another book of hers, Kana Standard II, I immediately added it onto my birthday present list, right after I returned the hideous polyester gym tee shirt and pants I received from my husband. No matter how many times I had announced that I'm not buying clothes from stores anymore, garments were the only gift option he could come up with? That was a grrr moment but after placing my order from CDJapan, I felt incredibly good. The power of getting your way to choose your own present....?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pyjamas and Another Hat

We are having a couple of deep autumn like days with a temperature drop and some scattered rain, which immediately gives me this vision of knitting on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate. The thing is, that vision brings the guilt, too. Life-cannot-be-this-good guilt. Sewing is more like working while knitting is more relaxing related. So I've limited knitting to night time only when I can do it quietly and not have our next door neighbor knocking on our door because of the chugging machine.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

More Knitted Animal Hats

Since I made the Koala Hat, C has been wearing it a lot, in the mornings before leaving for school and straight after school. It's end of summer/beginning of autumn here, so the days are still quite warm. She runs around in knitted hat, very often wet headed drenched in her own sweat.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Weekday Bits

I'm probably the last high-tech driven person. I was still very happily using my blackberry when everyone else had changed to touch screen phones. I don't know. Chasing after the latest technology is not my style. I'm quite laid back in that area. If I was thrown back 50 years when there was no computer or smart phone, I would be just fine.

Having said that, I surprised myself when I decided to get an Apple Watch two weeks ago. I got a new battery for my old watch at the beginning of the year but in less than 4 months, it stopped working again. I had been contemplating whether or not to get a new watch a while, so when my old watch died, I took it as a calling. Plus, with our medical aid policy, I could get one "for free". Pourquoi pas?

Remember I mentioned that I started the active rewards programme and now I get free smoothies/raw juice for being active? Well, that novelty was wearing off quickly. The goal was clear and my intention was there too, but what had I to lose if I wasn't being active enough? I was not to get a smoothie for free. No big deal. I needed a bigger motivation. I always need a big motivation to exercise. I mean I like the idea of it, a lot, but to drag myself to the gym from sewing is almost like wasting time. At one stage I used to have the gym subscription and a weekly yoga class outside the gym. It's silly because the gym offers tons of classes, including multiple yoga classes a day. But psychologically it made me think all these classes were free. For me, attending gym classes was very inconsistent. On the other hand, I never missed any outside-the-gym yoga classes because I felt I had paid extra for them, and there's a pricetag attached to every single class. That's such an illogical motivation but it worked.
What's the big deal with this watch besides time telling? Well, it's like an exercise policeman. If I reach my weekly goals for two years, I get to have it for free; if not, there's a weekly penalty that will be contributed to the cost of the watch. So, I will be paying it off in the coming two years, with my sweat, literally. Do I need such a high-tech watch? Definitely not! I have the bluetooth off and not using majority of the features 95% of the time. But not paying weekly penalty is a solid motivation, so much more than free smoothies.....
Until the next bigger motivation....