Monday, January 31, 2011

little rabbits at play

(rabbits-at-play) fabric buttons

(rabbits-at-play) fabric buttons

I've been wanting to bake for I'm bent on trying out a particular recipe but my oven is acting up and the service man who came today has to acquire a spare part and who knows when the oven will be up and running good again. I'm hoping I could try using the oven to make a small batch later today despite its broken status.

Meanwhile, I'd gotten the winners for my giveaway dresses. The vintage brown dress is going to Ou. As for the black one, I wrote down the names on small separate pieces of paper and asked Kaeden to randomly pick one out. It turned out to be Regina.

Sorry Dawn and Rubyru for my budget of domestic shipping fees only! I don't wish to disappoint Puri and Citra, hence for the two ladies, I made a few fabric covered buttons using my vintage kitschy print fabric, depicting small children dressed as rabbits at play. Just a small happy symbol and gesture of ushering in the year of the rabbit in a short few days' time.

I hope the four ladies will each like what she'll be getting!
ps. Please email me your mailing address, Ou, Regina, Puri and Citra.

Okay, back to the baking and Chinese New Year lunch prep..

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

of a strawberry & some cherries

strawberry pot

cherry pouch(es)

cherry pouch

Cherries are unfortunately not a common sight around where I am so do excuse my lame photo of a strawberry pot hanging on the wall next to the door of my home. I feel like doing some quick sewing today and making pouches are just about the best thing. The cosmetic pouches are lined with blue gingham cotton and interfaced with white felt for sturdiness. The cherry fabric are flounce parts which I didn't fancy making for an apron I made for a friend once and I was attracted to the hues of its blue and red today. Another view of the pouches ::here::.

I'll be keeping these aside for Xin's shop, maybe even giving one away to a friend, if she fancies it. Making small things make me happy so over time, there will be a stock pile of them again. If anyone has taken a fancy to something I'd made, feel free to write to me for enquiry and I'll give a friendly quote. I'd stopped running any online store and would probably do so for this year but I'll tuck the available items for sale in a corner of this blog for anyone who might be interested to take a look.

Friday, January 21, 2011

bits of red within the grey

leftover pears

pear with strawberry jam glaze tarts

It's a grey and rainy day. An inviting weather for staying indoors and doing some baking. Have I ever mention that I like to bake on a Friday? A ritual for hoping for a sweet start of the weekend.

(Pear tarts with organic strawberry jam glaze. I might never revert back to buying jams from the supermarket aisle. I used the tart recipe from ::here::.)

fabric from Christie

There is a surprise mail for me today as well. Lovely fabric, picked out by my dear friend. I wish there's an owl to help me deliver to her a knotted linen bundle of those tarts I made.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

cupboard cleaning & clearing :: Dresses Giveaway (sorry, closed!)

giveaway dresses

For the next few days, I plan to undertake the task of cleaning out all the cupboards we have at home. Sort of like a prep for welcoming the Lunar New Year. But more for the satisfaction I know it'll bring in me, the thought of clean and tidied storage space which you must know, haven't seen the wipe cloth for ages.

The wardrobe is the best place to start, I suppose and I have these two precious dresses in storage for a long time. I'll like to keep it until I can fit into again, but hey, who am I kidding? I have given big bags of clothing I can't fit into anymore (especially those pants!) away during one collection and those two dresses had escaped. Instead of hoarding them, I'll like to give to any suitable takers who would appreciate the dresses and happily give extra wear mileage to them. I'd hand washed to rid off the dust, sun dried and lightly ironed them for this post.

This giveaway is now open and there will be two winners (one for each dress, well, unless there's only one willing taker. Hopefully, not none!), residing in Indonesia. Please leave a comment, stating your preference (button up black dress or vintage brown dress), along with your email address. I'll close this giveaway on the 30 Jan and announce the winners the next day.

Here are the garment details:

button up black dress

A black chiffon shirt dress with a stretch black slip. Pleated front bodice, very cute sleeves , ribbon tie front and flare skirting. Perfect condition!

label: elita
size: 10
measurements (across when lain flat):
pit to pit: 17"
waist: 15"
length (nape to hem): 43.5"

vintage handmade brown dress

A vintage handmade dress, with two front pockets and trim details. The fabric is slightly coarse and dress features a back zipper and tie-backs. (You might recall that I blogged about it before, if you know me that long enough.) I'd once adjusted the hem so the dress ends at just under my knees.

label: none; handmade
pit to pit: 16"
waist: 14.5"
length: 40.5"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

swing dress sew-along :: materials

swing dress materials

Just a quick update: I'd cut up the printed paper pattern just yesterday and bought the fabric, a dark mustard yellow and black floral lines print lightweight cotton plissé . I also got white cotton for making the muslin mock up of the bodice and would probably use it as well as a backing stabilizer for the midriff piece. The brown invisible zipper was purchased sometime back and I have an almost matching colored thread.

The two haberdasheries I always go to in Palembang had closed down, much to my dismay. So I'll be in quite a fix by the time I need to replenish supplies, for I've yet to discover another store.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the Sunday golf bag

golf sunday bag

Brian & his golf sunday bag

Brian & his golf sunday bag

Brian wanted me to make insisted that I make a Sunday bag for a few of his golf clubs, particularly his driver, a putter and an iron or two. I, on the other hand was adamant on not making one because I wasn't confident on how my handmade version would turn out and hold its shape.

Alas, he won.

Brian chose the grey pin stripe corduroy and orange poly fabric for the lining and strap; from the fabric store and the rest of the materials are polyester batting, a black strap from a used bag, two make -your -own cloth buttons and thread.  The Sunday golf bag turned out as according to what I had in mind but it was hard work. It has seen the record number of broken/bent needles and made me a semi expert on threading my old school serger machine.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

swing dress sew-along :: joining in

After two days' worth of consideration, I finally decided to join Casey's swing dress sew-along, basing on Sense & Sensibility Patterns: 1940's swing dress pattern. I totally adore how put together Casey's looks are, her vintage style and my, her hairdo-s! Beautiful. Of course I will not ever in my life be able pull together such a style but I think the swing dress pattern has potential and a 'modern day looking' dress can be made. Following a sew-along helps put me in a direction and it'll be sew beneficial (and especially, fun!) learning from another and within a community towards the same sewing goal.

I'm going to put Casey's timeline for the sew-along here, for my reference.

Start Date: January 11, 2011
End Date: March 3, 2011
January 11: intro and supplies list. Inspiration from period sources
January 13: sources for fabric/suitable stabilizers
January 20: preparing for the muslin
January 27: making and fitting the muslin/adjustments
February 3: finalizing the pattern + cutting out the fashion fabric
February 7: applying stabilizer and sewing the shoulder seams
February 11: topstitching the midriff and finishing the bodice
February 14: sewing the skirt + attaching the skirt and bodice
February 17: closure application (invisible and regular zipper, as well as a “period” method)
February 24: setting in the sleeves
February 28: hemming and finishing touches
March 3: final dress show-off party!

I'll be working on printing the pattern off the downloaded pattern soon and I'm already thinking of how I'll like my dress to be. (fabric types; definitely adding the pockets; sleeves length; tie-backs?; shoulder pads yes no?)

Are you planning to join in the sew along? Let me know if you do! I'll love to read your dress making process.

Some inspirations:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

(altered) black sweater

old sweater


Considering that it seems to be the rainy season now and it does get chilly in the mornings every now and then, I thought to turn my old black knit sweater into a size suitable for my two, nearly three year old Kaeden. I have had this sweater for many years, bought for me by Brian when we were still newlyweds. I love the many small buttons down the front and flap pockets. Unfortunately, I could no longer wear it. I'll like to blame the knitted nature of it and that it shrank after many washings.
But I know better.

To alter the sweater, I simply took in the sides and shorten the length, by overlocking the seams and stitching in the hem. I cut the sleeves up to a suitable length, rolled up twice and hand stitched them into place. I also added two pockets, using brown polka dot and black linen for the under side. I thought the pockets helped cheered the otherwise dowdy look of the sweater.

playing golf

playing golf

Have you got an old outer wear you'd like to alter?
Here's a great tutorial: how to refashion a cardigan , I chanced upon.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

the 'sweetheart turquoise' dress

pattern & fabric

sweetheart turquoise

My second attempt at making myself a dress, this time using the Macaron no. 1001 by the Colette Patterns. I finally dared have a go at the pattern and the verdict is it wasn't that intimidatingly difficult as I had imagined it would be. Looking through my fabric stash, I found some leftover turquoise material which was bought for a project of making a baby chair sling (which I'd commissioned a local seamstress for but the mass project didn't take off) and a piece of soft white knit flannel with small heart prints given to me (thank you, dear Iris!). The knit flannel piece size was enough for the top yoke but wasn't sufficient for sleeves which suit me just as well, in the weather where I am.

The dress  is made in some hours over a span of four days this week, completing it today. I'm pretty satisfied that that the seams are all neat now that I've a serger to work on and that I didn't make a rush to the fabric store but gave my fabric box a chance and looked into it hence spent very little on the materials. I'm also liking the turquoise colour and the little heart prints combo.

I would attempt the  dress pattern again, next time with sleeves. As for this one,  I would perhaps wear it on the first day of the Lunar New Year, later on the 3 February. The pockets are great for keeping red packets I'm going to have to give out and receive on behalf of Kaeden!


Mambo & Me

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

food for a start


The past week was pretty unpleasant for me. I was so worn out -inside out-, I went for a massage on Monday to straighten 'things' out again. I hope 2011 will be a good year for me and everyone.

Here are some (food related) photos I'd taken earlier today.


starfruit burst

fingers meet water

picking starfruit

There are two starfruit trees in our front yard, currently bearing the last batch of fruits. I don't fancy eating starfruit much, one of my least favourite fruits I must say. So it does get bothersome when nobody picks them off the branches and have them dropping onto the ground by the lot.

Kaeden had a go at picking a few. "Twist and pull." the boy said, recalling the strawberry picking episode from the Special Agent Oso.

(homemade) Kimchi

homemade kimchi

homemade kimchi with rice

My first attempt at making kimchi. It's been fermenting in the fridge for about a week and I'd the first taste for lunch (pretty alright. not too sour~y yet which is good for me. and, spicy. i added lots of chilli powder.).

Funny how Brian once asked me if I would bury the stuff in the earth (for the fermenting process). That thought ever came to me too before I did some reading on the making process. I followed instructions from ::here::. Except I only used one biggest head of cabbage I could find from the supermarket (about 1kg) plus a carrot and spring onions, skipped the fish sauce and squid and used blended pear (along with garlic, ginger, water) paste and soy sauce and salt instead, aside from the other necessary ingredients.

Apple tarts

apple tarts

Brian will be returning home later today from a out-of-town work trip and I want to give him a treat. We had a bag of granny smith green apples and a bit of butter left in the fridge. I decided to give ::this recipe:: a shot because the ingredients required are pretty basic. I made the dough yesterday, without using the mixer I simply rub my what little left butter into the flour until it resembles cornmeal before adding the chilled water. It worked just as well. I was lazy as anyone could tell by now and didn't make the glaze. After the tarts were baked, I glazed them using the yummy homemade jeruk & melati (orange & jasmine) jam I bought from Mei; Oma Anna instead.