2014 Sewing Projects!

Hello cyber world! I’m back with some goodies to share; some sewing projects I’ve enjoyed working on over the past few months. It was such a relief to FINALLY check off some of the items I’ve been meaning/dying to make (thanks to my ever-growing list of things I want to make in life… which none of it is truly necessary. But I just like hoarding ideas and creative undertakings I would eventually get to do one day.) Like my sister’s laptop bag, with the fabric was that bought specifically for it over 2 years ago! And I made a few simple tank dresses for my madre who wanted some not-too-shabby home clothes. Next on my “list” are tops I could wear to work and I bought a cute skirt pattern from JoAnn’s during their 99 cent pattern sale. But that’s for another rainy day… Onto my projects!

Ok, so my sister’s laptop bag is made with this adorable British fetish fabric, featuring vintage scooters. We went fabric shopping together one day and she was all over this design. It was originally supposed to be a messenger bag she could carry to work. But she later decided that a laptop bag would be more useful.
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Here it is hung on the dress form (which I really wish wasn’t so purple-ly) with a tank dress I made to wear during the hot summer SoCal days. (Oh, how I miss the warm summer nights…) Because the over the shoulder strap was wide, I had a heck of a time finding hardware that fit its size. I found one at the fabric district but it was a belt buckle instead of a strap adjuster. Oh well. It still works.
Laptop Bag with Tank Dress

Next, is a summer tote I’ve been carrying around all season long (even now I take it with me everywhere!) I didn’t realize versatile tote bags were until carrying this around. Now that they’ve gotten rid of plastic grocery bags, it’s been so practical to have a tote on hand to carry your smaller grocery purchases away. As for the straps, if you remember a few posts back, I had shopped at a leather store and got a bunch of scrap pieces. Well, the straps were made with one of the scraps. (Straps, scraps, straps, scraps – that’s hard to say.) I really like combining leather with fabric. I am “planning” on going back there and getting bigger pieces to make myself an all-leather tote. Yea, let’s see when THAT’s going to happen. lol.
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These next two, I made these with the intention of selling them on Etsy if they turned out well. But I wasn’t so confident they would sell. So I’ll just give them away to someone’s daughter if they want ‘em. I used mesh fabric for the Fairy Head Piece and some sparkly silver Christmas ribbon I got from Michaels.
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This one I wanted to call it the “Miss Little Diva” headband if I sold it. But it just didn’t look all that diva to me. Oh well.
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Next, I found an easy dress pattern for little girls in a Liberty book and thought, ‘Why not make a dress for my niece in Korea?!’ I call her my niece, but she’s really my cousin’s daughter. The fabric isn’t from Liberty but it was so darn adorable that I couldn’t pass it up. I made matching headbands and sent them on their way across the Pacific. My niece liked the dress so much that she wanted to wear it for four days straight! lol. Oh, that made me soooo happy. :) Here she is!
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Seriously, she’s the cutest thing ever!!!

This apron is on my Etsy shop. I saw this fab green apple fabric while shopping in Seoul’s fabric district and immediately fell in love with it. What better way than to make it into an apron?! Et voila.
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These next few are also on my Etsy shop. For a while, I’ve been hearing about “Liberty of London”, especially from my sewing buddy J.B. I’m quite ashamed to admit that for someone who sews often, I’m so late in the game in my discovery of this ridiculously spectacular fabric line. Its prices by the yard speak of its undeniably exquisite quality. And the feel of tana lawn cotton fabrics is comparable to silk. So ever since these luxurious objet de desir caught my attention, I’ve been hooked! I mean, I can’t really afford to buy them in bulk or anything. But even 1/8″ of a yard is suffice to soothe my craving for a little something magnificent. I made a skinny and a wide versions of these headbands.

Liberty of London “Fitzgerald” Fabric-Covered Wide Headband:
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The skinny version:
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I also made these headbands in this awesome turquoise fabric I found at JoAnn’s. (I love love LOVE ~~~ turquoise! It’s just a fabulous color that seems to go with just about anything.) Here’s the wide version of the turquoise headband:
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And the skinny version:
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That’s it for now! I hope to be posting more before the year’s over. But I’ve decided to be more gracious to myself and not push for something that might not really happen…

Spring 2014 Korea Trip – Photowalk Part 2 – Ewha Women’s University

On this last trip to Korea, we stayed in the town behind Ewha Women’s University, literally over the hill. There’s a small entrance on the back side of the mountain that leads to the (only?) dormitory and I usually start from there, strolling through the campus towards the front entrance, taking in the sights of trees and people, being in awe of how lush and gorgeous the campus is, and wishing I could be a college student again. Here are some photos from the walk. Enjoy!

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Spring 2014 Korea Trip – Photowalk Part 1

Hey folks! I’d like to share some of my photos I took on my trip to (South) Korea back in May. I love going to Korea in the Springtime as the landscape is lush with newly sprouted greens and everywhere you turn there are mountains and hills of trees (even in the city!) I finally went through the 400+ photos and sifted out the not-so-good ones. Here’s the first collection of two. I captured some moments and scenes I’m familiar with or identify as quintessentially “Korean”. Like the mound of cigarette butts in the trash can that truly was disgusting, but I couldn’t pass it up because it was quintessential… (So bad, I know! Koreans unfortunately smoke so much…) Some shots are of the Gangnam District (as in Psy’s “Gangnam Style”) and some of my old neighborhood in Northwest part of Seoul. Hope you find these interesting! Enjoy!

Bikes parked along the main road (this was taken about an hour outside of Seoul)
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New leaves (outside of Seoul)
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Gangnam Blvd business buildings (where you can find Korean conglomerates like Samsung.)
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Koreans love coffee shops!
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Workers taking a smoke break
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Cigarette butts
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Many business buildings showcase these types of sculptures or art pieces in front of their buildings.
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Workers coming out in droves for their lunch break
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Koreans must love pastries because there are tons of bakeries all over the place!
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Underground “malls” that lead to subway stations and other buildings
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I saw these red roses everywhere I went in the month of May!
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Rock wall. Koreans seem to use a lot of rocks and stones in their architecture.
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Many of the old neighborhoods are being torn down to make room for new developments (mostly apartment complexes.) I’m going to miss these little residential neighborhoods…
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And old traditional Korean house standing lonesome amidst modern houses
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Iron doors are common in Korean homes. They are like the home’s main gate you must enter through. Inside you will usually find a courtyard/garden that you often have to climb up the stairs to get to.
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A rustic blue door
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Alleyway
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We stayed at a place that looked out to a massive ginkgo tree. Look at all these ginkgo fruits! I remember roasting these and eating them with salt when I was younger. So yummy!
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How this bucket got on top of the roof is a mystery!
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Foodie Artsy San Francisco

Here are a few pics from my food and art-filled San Francisco expedition over the July 4th weekend! Our main goal was to hit as many eateries as possible as our stomachs could hold! San Francisco being a foodie’s paradise, it was definitely worth the short stay. I also had set my own personal objective to explore parts of the city I had never set foot in with my camera in tow. Some of the places we checked out were Philz Coffee (they put mint leaves in many of their yummy drinks!), Tartine Bakery, Craftman & Wolves, Fisherman’s Wharf, and a few other eateries I don’t have pictures of (like Foreign Cinema and a bakery that sold cronuts to die for!). That’s a lot to squeeze in a couple of days! Luckily for my camera, there were tons of points of interest to take photos of throughout the wonderful neighborhoods. There was so much art everywhere we went. Not so lucky was my failure to use a smaller aperture when taking landscape/cityscape shots. So, here are the best of the bunch. Hope you enjoy!

Philz Coffee

Philz Coffee mural

San Francisco post office

San Francisco Latin Quarter

San Francisco church

Tartine pastries

Tartine Croissant

Craftsman & Wolves San Francisco

Craftsman & Wolves strawberry tarts

San Francisco Mission mural

San Francisco Mission street art

San Francisco park

Fisherman's Wharf Eat Crab sign

Fisherman's Wharf crabs

Fisherman's Wharf seafood vendor

Britex Fabric Store San Francisco

LA Flower Mart + Flower Arrangements

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Hellllllllloooo Peeps! And Happy Summer!!! After a month of traveling to my motherland, South Korea, and getting used to the time changes back and forth, enjoying my lazy weekends, etc. etc., I felt the need to be creatively productive again. :) So, yesterday, I visited the LA Flower Mart in Downtown Los Angeles with the intent of getting lots of “cheap” flowers and making several arrangements out of them. Well, I was hoping they were relatively cheap and I could even squeeze in some beautiful peonies into my budget. To my surprise, I actually woke up on my own unusually “early” on a Saturday morning and got ready lightening fast, got in my car and was happily on my way to the flower mart! Aaah, not so fast… The lovely 5 freeway that had an unexpected road closure and everyone was crawling at 3mph. Forget that! So I decided to be brave and go locally the rest of the way, through the daunting streets of South LA…! But it wasn’t so bad after all mostly going through the City of Industry. I just had to pass through a lot of graffitis and bad smelling areas (seriously). And finally, I made it to my destination by 10AM.

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I brought with me $40 in cash (plus an extra $20 JUST IN CASE I might go fLoWeR shopping CrAxY!) I circled around the entire store before making any purchases, checking out everything and comparing prices. All the flowers were so pretty but there weren’t too many vendors selling my beloved peonies. I found one vendor that had these stunning coral ones but they were being sold for $30 for five stems!! WOWZAS…

coral Peonies

I wasn’t about to blow my whole budget on them, so I made one more circle around and slowly started purchasing some other flowers I spotted earlier. Before my visit, I went on Pinterest and discovered the beauty of wildflowers! I totally fell in love with them… There’s just something so romantic about them. And the arrangements can be carefree and still look perfect. So of course, I knew I had to include them on my shopping list: chamomile, spray roses and a bunch of other flowers I know not the names of. I REAALLY tried to stick to my $40 budget….. (heh heh) But I ended up spending the extra cash I brought, ’cause man, flowers add up! Five dollars here and there, two bunches of spray roses for $10, and I ended up getting a bouquet of pink peonies that were $17. They were my most expensive purchase of the day. But I’m so glad I got them!

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Okay, time to create my bouquets! First of all, I had no idea how to arrange flowers. I had tried putting them together many time before. But alas, they ended up looking like sad limply things, flailing around in the vase. Not this time! I watched several videos of this guy, Michael Gaffney and learned how to make full-looking flower bouquets/arrangements the fast and easy way. Watch his videos. They’re pretty good and full of good info! One take-away is to buy some greens along with your flowers, because it’s the greens that help fill the vase and make your arrangement look good. And here it is. My first time trying out the Michael Gaffney way and I think it turned out well!

Michael Gaffney floral arrangement

As for the vase for the wildflowers, I wanted something rustic-looking. I had gotten these mason jars** from Oriental Trading Company a few months ago and a wooden crate (?) from Michaels.

Mason Jars

Together, I knew they were going to be the perfect pairing to make smaller arrangements look like one big statement! Here’s how the idea turned out. What do you think?

Wildflowers in Mason Jars

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The best thing about arranging wildflowers is that there seems to be no rules! You can just put them in the vase however you want and they turn out just fine. :)

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I made a total of four arrangements in different containers. I spent a good three hours working on these and they made me so happy! There is truth in happiness being found in connecting with nature.

Floral Arrangements

Peonies in vase

I think this is my favorite out of all the arrangements. So simple yet so elegant!
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How would you feel if this came delivered to your door? It would make this girl smile ear to ear for sure! :) Thanks for reading!

Wildflowers delivery

**I received the mason jars from Oriental Trading Company for this review. All opinions are my own.

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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