Vinyl Lined Zippered Pouches

For my mom's birthday, I made her a set of zippered pouches. She had seen me make so many for other people, that she would occasionally mention how she wanted some for herself. Of course, I made sure I remembered which fabrics she gravitated towards - her favorite being the black fabric with white flowers which came from an old dress of mine.

To keep this project interesting and fresh, I experimented with a different way to sew on the zipper. The difference isn't too noticeable, but I feel the pouches look more polished than the way I used to sew them. If you can't figure out what changes I made, I'll take that as you saying my pouches looked awesome already. ;)


Handmade Christmas Cards

Call me old-fashioned, but I send Christmas cards. It's a tradition I started when I was in middle school and have kept it up ever since. Who doesn't love getting snail mail?

This Christmas, I decided to try making my own cards for the first time. I kept them pretty simple since I had to make quite a few and also wanted to using up supplies I already had.

Stacks of cardstock, cuts of felt, and dabs of puffy paint....


Family Photo Christmas Ornaments

For my family, Christmas time has always been very low-key. We like to take advantage of everyone being at home and spend as much time together as possible. Everything else - from meals to decorations - is kept simple. However, one tradition we don't skimp on is presents. My mom insists we gather around the tree every Christmas morning to open presents together. This means none of us get to sleep in. This also means we need to buy presents for everyone...

Every year, my brother and I go through the same "I have no idea what to get mommy" dance. We usually settle on buying her something that is an upgrade or a replacement for something she already owns. She is so hard to shop for because she rarely uses anything anyone gifts her. For example, one year we bought her a new pressure cooker to replace her old one. She continues to use the old one, and only recently began to ALSO use the new one.

This Christmas, we decided to make her a set of ornaments using pictures of our immediate family and her extended family. My mom is the only one to immigrate to the US from Taiwan, and given how close she is to my grandparents, aunts, and uncle, the distance has always been difficult for her. This year was especially difficult because my grandmother passed away after a three year battle with lung cancer and early stages Alzheimer's. I wanted to use these ornaments to honor the memory of my grandmother and celebrate the family that my mom loves so dearly.

These pictures are of my mom in teaching college and my grandmother on her wedding day.

Fun fact: My grandmother, my mom, and I are all the oldest women AND the shortest women in our respective generations.

Stanley and I made sure our mom opened the first present on Christmas day.

In the case she didn't like the ornaments, we also bought her a nice purse. =)


Christmas Decorations

My mom wanted to give me more opportunities to practice my design and decorating skills, so she put me in charge of decorations this Christmas. Because our past ten trees have all been adorned with the same lights and red, silver, and gold wire-edged bows, I quickly decided to make and buy brand new decorations.

Here is the tree after the jump:

The garland comprised of 100 handmade wire stars attached to thick silver cord.

I splurged and bought strands of blue and ice white LED lights.

Rather than use traditional ball ornaments, I hung mini and large jingle bells which made the tree more whimsical and fun.

My favorite find had to be these snowflake ornaments. Target was selling them in packs of four for $1 (what a steal!). I cut off the flimsy cords that they came with and used prettier ornament hooks instead.

Lastly, I made a simple blue fleece skirt with fuzzy white edges for the tree base and matching stockings for the fireplace.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I can't believe how quickly 2011 passed by. Many exciting things happened this past year which included a lot of traveling (SXSW, Asia, etc.), laser eye surgery (I can see 20/20 now!), and a summer in NY (Parsons Intensive Summer Program). In the midst of all of this, I decided to leave my job and awesome work group of six years to try to pursue something design/craft related. I've been enjoying unemployment - maybe a little too much - for two and a half months while trying to figure out what it is I want to do and where I want to move to.

With the start of a new year, I wanted to set a few goals for myself. Here they are:

Career Goals

  • Revamp the website & blog more frequently/consistently - I keep telling myself and others that this will happen. It's 2012 now, I promise it will finally happen.
  • Get my Etsy site up - With a lot of time to spare and a new brand new camera (Olympus Pen Mini E-PM1), I have no more excuses.
  • Learn, learn, learn - I aspire to be a jack of all trades in all things crafting. Isn't that pretty much what Martha Stewart is? I've been doing alright teaching myself how to do things, so I want to continue along that path and also supplement my learning with some extra classes.
  • Find a job - Additional experience and the possibilitiy of making some money along the way never did anyone harm. Hey, the mounds of fabric I bring home from the Garment District don't pay for themselves. =)

Personal Goals

  • Run a full marathon - This goal is a bit of a surprise to me since I definitely have a love-hate relationship with it. At the end of the day, there is nothing quite like running outside in the crisp cold air. I didn't get to do much last year because of severe shin splints and heel pain. So this year (health permitting), I want to train for a full marathon.
  • Get back into singing (choir, voice lessons, etc.) - For some of high school, all of college, and several years post-college, I'd been involved in something singing-related. I left my women's choir three years ago when I was planning to move to NYC (which, by the way, did not happen). Since then, my life has been so up in the air that I haven't had the chance to commit myself to anything long term. I miss singing a lot, so hopefully I'll be able to find something to fill that void this year.
  • SCUBA certification - The number one thing on my 'bucket list' is to watch great white sharks feed in the wild. A SCUBA certification is not required but would be helpful for this adventure. A friend and I have been talking about getting certified for a long time but have never gotten around to doing it.
  • Continue to work on my "D" list - At the start of 2010, I wanted to set some long-term resolutions for the new decade with hopes that they would improve my character and well-being. The five items on the list touched upon spirituality, relationships, emotions, and talents/career. Progress has been made in all areas, but there is still more work to be done.

Feels like I have a lot of work cut out for myself in 2012. For those that know me well, I am big on setting goals and am always determined to see that they're achieved. We shall see what the new year has in store!