Wedding Decoration Photos

My super talented photographer friend, Sandra (of Shoebox Stories Photography/Loveland Photography), had asked me to help her take some photos at her family’s wedding. I was quite surprised when she asked since I’m still just starting out. But she assured me that I could do a good job. (I sure hope I did. hahaha!) So I agreed with some bridled excitement. My task was to photograph the wedding decorations, while she was to take care of the rest. Here are her photos from the wedding. And below are mine. Some of the reception photos were challenging to edit since they were taken under bright fluorescent lighting. But I picked out the ones I liked the most. Feel free to tell me how they turned out!

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Descanso Garden Photowalk

Spring is officially here…! And when you think of Spring, flowers are the first thing that come to my mind. Well, last weekend, a group of us went to the Descanso Gardens to check out their Cherry Blossoms Festival. Here are some pictures from the photo walk! Ironically, I did not take any pictures of the cherry blossoms because I got distracted by other beautiful things in the garden… :) Hope you enjoy!

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Camera Strap Covers

Spent a few hours this afternoon making these camera strap covers! I wanted to cover my current Canon straps with something more comfortable, fashionable and washable so that it doesn’t end up getting gross in the hot summer months (sorry for the visual!) Thankfully, it was a pretty straight-forward project, so I was able to whip them out quickly. I made two variations; one with an old silk scarf I had and the others with cotton fabric. Below are some links I used to learn how to make these. No sense in re-inventing the wheel when the web is full of these tutorials!

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Check out these links for the tutorials I used:

Camera Strap Cover with Lens Pocket
Strap Cover without pocket (less wide)
Scarf Camera Strap

Also, here’s how I sewed the silk scarf onto the key ring. Just go over the gathered edges a few times with regular stitches and zig zags.
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I was able to use the same leather scrap from my previous post to add some accent to the ends of the strap. I’m very pleased with how they look on the scarf!
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Now I just have to finish adding a top stitch on the fabric covers… Back to the sewing machine I go!

Lastly, here’s me using the strap!
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Leather Initial Keychains

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A couple of Saturdays ago, I went to a leather fabric store in Downtown Los Angeles. It was right by the 10 Freeway in a sketchier part of town. But surprisingly, there was a flood of customers for such an obscurely secret place. They sold all kinds of leather; from lambskin to pigskin.
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I went looking for white leather to make a cute clutch I saw online, like the one below. Since I didn’t need a large piece, I went directly to the scrap piles that sold leather scraps for $3.50 per pound! Unfortunately, the only white leather piece I found was too small. So I ended up getting a big sheet of light grey pigskin fabric for ONLY $13.50! Still a bargain!
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Then off we went to look for some purse hardware and trims (for a lamp project I’m doing.) Going to the fabric district is like treasure-hunting to me. And I’m glad to do it with a friend who loves sewing and creating stuff just as much! :) Anyway, before tackling the leather purse, I wanted some practice sewing on leather. So I decided the easiest thing to make was initial leather keychains out of the scraps. One for my name “S” and another for my sis “W”.

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Here’s how I made the keychains:
(IMPORTANT: Before you do this project, please read through the steps and figure out what you’ll need to do for your initial/letter. Since each letter is differently shaped, you’ll need to alter the positioning and cutting/gluing of your shape.)

Materials You Need
* Leather Scraps
* Sharp Scissors
* Clear plastic (as template for initials)
* Fabric or Tacky Glue
* Sharpie Marker
* Scratch Paper
* Ruler
* Binder Clips
* Key Ring
* Sewing Machine
* Denim/Leather Needle

Instructions
1. Select a piece of leather you want. It should be big enough for your initial/letter(s).

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2. Cut the plastic to a rectangle that will fit your letter and set aside. Draw (or print out) your letter(s) on a sheet of paper. I drew mine using a ruler. It took me a few tries to get the shapes I wanted. Place the plastic over the letter and trace over it with a sharpie. Cut out the plastic letter.

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3. Before you place the plastic cut-out on the leather, you’ll need to figure out where the key ring will go. The leather will be folded over to create a 2-ply and it’s the fold that will create the “hole” for the key ring. I’m using “W” as my example and I’ve decided that the key ring will be positioned on the top left (or right) of the “W”. (See picture # 5.) So that’s where the fold will be. When you’ve decided on the placement of the key ring, place the plastic cut-out on the wrong side of the leather. Using a ruler, draw an outline around the letter, about 1/4″ from the edge of the plastic.

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4. Remove the plastic and set it aside. Fold the leather over to create a 2-ply, making sure you have enough space in the fold (to create the hole for the key ring.)

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5. This next part is kind of tricky… Hold onto both layers of leather tightly and start cutting along the outline. Use binder clips to help you hold the leather together. Cut as neatly as possible around the edges.

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6. Here’s the leather initial, unfolded.

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7. Next, you’re doing to glue the 2 layers together with the plastic template sandwiched in between. (The purpose of the plastic is to make the keychain sturdier and less flimsy if your leather is on the thinner side.) Glue on the plastic first, then put glue all over except for the key ring area. Put the two layers together and press gently. Clean any glue that seeps out between the layers.

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8. Let the glue dry for at least a couple of hours before you start sewing.

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9. Here are the initials all glued together. I didn’t take pix of the sewing steps. But I sewed very carefully near the edge of the letters, remembering that there is plastic in between the layers. Actually, I had to hand crank the sewing machine because you cannot make mistakes on leather… Once you’ve punctured a hole, the hole is permanent! So if you’re not an expert with the machine, I strongly suggest hand-cranking each stitch and taking your time going around the edges!

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10. As for the treatment of the edges (apparently, that step is called “burnishing” leather edges), you need more tools. But I wasn’t about to buy more stuff just for these initial keychains. :) So I read up on how to do the minimum treatment. You can treat the edges by using some water and a canvas piece to rub off the roughness for a smoother finish and paint with some acrylic paint or rub beeswax to seal the edges. I painted mine with some gold acrylic paint I had on hand! (The products photographed here don’t show the finished edges. I had taken the photos before I found out about burnishing. lol.)

Hopefully this is easy enough to try it yourself! It took me about 3-4 hours to complete two initials. If you do make your own keychains, please do share and send me a link! Thanks for reading~.-

Santa Monica Pier Photowalk

Here are some pictures from my photo walk last weekend. Enjoy and feel free to leave a comment (or click on the heart at the bottom of the post if you like what you see!)

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Heart-Shaped Lavender Sachets

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I made these heart-shaped lavender sachets. Which one is your favorite? Mine’s the white lacy one. :) These are wonderful to use in your lingerie drawers. Or hang them in the bathroom or anywhere you want the fresh scent of lavender!

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Here’s what you need to make them.

ITEMS YOU NEED
* Pretty fabric
* (Optional) Embellishments: Buttons, lace, rick rack, etc.
* Fabric Scissors
* (Optional) Pinking Shears
* Pins
* Needle and thread
* Sewing Machine
* Fabric Marker
* Heavy Stock Paper or light cardboard (Cereal boxes work well!)
* Coordinating Fabric Ribbons or Elastic
* Point Tool or Bone Folder (for turning fabric right side out)
* Dried Lavender (got mine from Amazon.com)
* (Optional) Polyester Stuffing (Poly-fil) to make the sachets plump

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Make a paper template: Cut out a heart from a heavy stock paper or brochure. (The size depends on how big you want the sachet.) Fold it in half, draw a half heart and cut it out.

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2. Trace on fabric and cut: Keep in mind that you’ll have a minimum of 1/4″ seam allowance.

3. Embellish your hearts: After you cut out the fabric pieces, you can decorate one or both sides of the hearts. I sewed on some lace using a small zig zag stitch on the sewing machine.

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4. Trace a smaller heart on the inside: on the wrong side of the fabric, about 1/4″ to 1/2″ from the edge. (You only have to do this on one heart.) You will sew on this line. Also, mark off two inches on the straight side of the heart (either on the right or left side), as shown below. This is where the opening will be to insert the dried lavender.

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5. Pin the two fabric pieces with right sides together. And sew on the trace line you created, leaving a 2″ opening for stuffing. Sorry, I don’t have the trace line in this picture but I sewed around with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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6. Remove the pin and cut around the heart with pinking shears to avoid bulk: Leave the 2″ opening alone. If you don’t have pinking shears, you can cut with regular fabric scissors and clip the curved parts. Here’s a good tutorial on clipping corners and curves. And another one.

(Click on the picture to enlarge.)

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7. Turn the heart right side out with a point tool: I use Martha Stewart’s bone folder as my turning tool and it works great! You can also use the bone folder to fold the hems in on the 2″ opening seams if you don’t want to use an iron.

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8. Stuff the heart: You can stuff with dried lavender or any aromatic ingredients, like dried rose buds. If you find the opening too small, you can use a funnel rolled out of paper to drop in the lavender. (See picture.) For plumper hearts, a good option is to partly fill them with some polyester filling. The amount depends on how nice and bulky you want it. Close the 2″ opening by hand stitching a blind slip stitch (check out this video) or if you’re lazy like me, just use your sewing machine or hand stitch as neatly as possible. haha.

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9. Lastly, sew on your ribbon and buttons: Sorry, I didn’t take pictures of this step. But one thing to point out is to sew your ribbon closer to the top corner of the heart. This will balance the weight so that it doesn’t topple backward or forward when you hang it.

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>>>THE QUICK & EASY VERSION<<<
If you don’t know how to sew or don’t want to, you can make lavender sachets in these cute sheer drawstring bags!! (I got mine from Oriental Trading!)^^
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^^ I received these products from Oriental Trading Company for this review. All opinions are my own.

Avila Valley Barn – San Luis Obispo

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a nice holiday season and a chance to rest and celebrate with loved ones. I spent a few days in one of my favorite vacation spots, San Luis Obispo, over the holidays. Of course I took my camera with me and took some shots of the beautiful “wintery” scenes of the Central California Coast. Here are a few from Avila Valley Barn. It’s a fun place to go all-year-round. Enjoy!

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This last shot is from Apple Farm Inn.
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DIY Magazine Christmas Trees

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! What are you thankful for this year? I have lots to be grateful for but one of them is my talented sister. I love her not only for her creativity but for her spunky and fun personality and her never-ending well of wisdom! And speaking of amazing capabilities, she has done it again. It was time to transform her library with Christmas decorations. So what does she come up with? These wonderful Christmas trees made out of old books and magazines! Ok… To be honest, this wasn’t her clever idea. And I’m sure someone else had come up with this long before Martha Stewart ever did. But here is the link to Martha’s DIY tutorial if you’d like to see where she got the idea from. Wouldn’t this be a great craft project for the holidays with the family?! If you haven’t thought about what to do with your old books & magazines that’s just taking up space in your home (besides tossing them into the recycling bin), give this a try! I guarantee you’ll come up with wonderful results like these…

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Fall Pumpkin Centerpiece

Hello folks!

Long time no write on blog! I don’t know if I should be sad or happy about it. Sad because I have so much to write about but “life” took over and blogging had to take a back seat for about a month. Happy because I was able to enjoy the break even in the midst of more pressing responsibilities. Aaah, life… Why can’t it be all about play? :)

Anywho, I had these awesome pumpkins** painted and ready to go about a month ago. They were all orange when I received them. I’ll skip the step-by-step how-to’s. But I’ve included some of the in-process shots at the bottom. First, here are some pictures of the finished products. Enjoy!

**I received the pumpkins and acrylic paints from Oriental Trading Company for this review. All opinions are my own.

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I LOooooOOooooove~ these china from Lenox!! It’s the French Perle collection.
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Here are the some of the before shots. Sorry, these were taken with my point and shoot so the quality isn’t great.
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The pumpkins were painted with white acrylic paint first, then I added a layer of “Fine Crackle Effect” medium by Martha Stewart. I may have put it on too generously. You can see it dripping on the pumpkins. Please learn from my mistake. ;) For the white paint, I mixed plain white with some cream colored paint to make it an off-white for a more natural look.
Pumpkins painted with white acrylic paint

Here’s a close-up of the fine crackle effect.
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And lastly, some of the paint colors I chose from the Martha Stewart’s Pearl and Metallic acrylic paint collection. I did end up going to Michael’s a couple of times to get more acrylic paint (of different colors.) I didn’t take photos for the coloring part but you can see in the final products above of the variation I made. ‘Tis was lots of fun!
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2012-2013 Sewing/Knitting Projects

Helloooooooo world!  I’m back for a little bit to play on the blog.  :)  After my last BIG project for the year in June, I told myself that I would take a looooooooong break from doing anything remotely obligatory for the REST OF THE YEAR.  This kind of a hiatus is highly unusual for me, as I’ve always been known for packing my schedule with things, whether it be social, hobbies or church stuff.  Anyway, I find this newly found freedom liberating and empowering… and I admit, sometimes truly boring.  lol.  Only because I’ve never had this much free time to do WHATEVER I wanted, which includes not lifting a finger for anything and just being a couch potato.  I think my body and soul desperately needed some rest from my addictive quality of doing, doing and more doing…  It’s amazing how much time I’ve gained now that I don’t have every weekend booked with some kind of a project.  My focus has shifted to taking care of the things I have long neglected to do (like getting back into shape, learning Photoshop, catching up on my Korean dramas (hehe), etc.) I can’t go on, however, neglecting my blog forever.  And I won’t even start mentioning the long list of creative projects I’ve been putting off because I would torture myself with guilt and a sense of failure…….  So for now, I want to be child-like and happy by presenting some of my past work.  (Note: My next shipment from Oriental Trading Company is on its way!  I will be throwing a Fall-themed birthday party for my sis and dad whose birthdays are coming up.  So please be on the lookout for my next post on Fall decorations!  Or better yet, please subscribe to my blog via your email address or RSS feed.  As you can see, I won’t bombard you with daily updates.)  ~grin~

When I started sewing more things and posting them up online last summer, people started encouraging me to open an Etsy shop and start selling my stuff.  I made some sales on and off of Etsy, which in itself was rewarding and surprising that people actually wanted to pay money for my “creations”!  I even went as far as coming up with a company logo and making fabric labels to sew onto my projects.  All of this was embraced and affirmed by the community of supporters I had around me.  And frankly, that kept me going for some time.  But sewing is a laborious task…  (And that’s probably an understatement.)  The materials can be quite expensive to make a profit or break even, even when you acquire them at a wholesale price.  If I had to choose between yay or nay, I would have to say sewing IS enjoyable (especially when you see the final product after hours of concentrating and making your work space look like a fabric war zone), but just not as a money-making wheel.  :)

Anywho, here is a sampling of some of my past sewing/knitting projects!  Please excuse the quality of my photos.  These were taken during my pre-DSLR-days with an iPad Mini in not-so-good lighting.

1. iPad Mini Cover – made purely out of necessity and me being cheap.  I didn’t want to shell out $25 for one. So instead, I spent a good 6-7 hours making my own.  Time well-spent!

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iPad Mini Cover

 2. Make-Up Bags – I think this is one of my favorite things to sew!  (And they happen to be my best-sellers ’til this day.)

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 By the way, I LOVE the app “Bamboo Paper” on the iPad!  You can make docs like this by importing your photos and writing/drawing on them directly.

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3.  Business Card Holders – Had some leftover scraps of fabric and was looking for ways to use them.  Googled and found a few great tutorials for these card holders!  I’m carrying one myself to house all my frequent buyer cards and business cards inside.  Love these!

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4.  Fancy evening clutches – I have yet to use any of these clutches (well maybe the blue one once, and I have given another one out as a gift.) One of these days when I have a fancy event to go to…  I feel quite accomplished to say that I made the fabric flowers myself (tee-hee).  And not to mention feeling like a pyro when I burn the edges of the fabric to make them curl up…

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5. Custom Orders:  It was exciting when I started getting custom order requests!  I’ve done some knitted hats (not pictured here) but the most requested were tote bags (baby diaper bag, school bag, lunch bag, everyday bag made out of oilcloth, etc.)

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7.  And lastly, my craft show back in March.  Ah… the Craft Show…  And, the memories of freakish long hours slaving over the ironing board and my wrist getting sore from all that fabric cutting…  Did you know that I even took one week off from my full-time job to sew for this event?  Now, THAT is dedication, if I must say so (or maybe I’m just not a fast sewer.)  No denying that it was lots of fun but to my better judgment I’ve decided against doing another show this year. Sorry to those who were asking about another show.  I may do another one next year… Maybe…  :)

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Here’s a vendor belt I made for myself, with hidden money pockets.

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Vendor Apron - Purple

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This is a belt I made for my friend Christine. I like the multiple pockets on this one. :)
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Vendor Apron - Blue Green  

Well, that’s it!  :)  Hope you’ve enjoyed looking through these pix!  Looking back, it’s good to know where all my time went to these past 12 months or so.  Man, I guess I didn’t waste any time after all…  hahaha.  Please click on the heart if you liked the post and/or leave me a comment.  It’s always encouraging to see people visit my blog.  I’ll try to be better about posting more regularly!  But for now, back to my hibernating hole…