Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Multipurpose anyone??

I am always drawn to 2-in-1 (or more) type of things. It feels like a bargain to buy one thing and end up with an extra or two *grin*. I am certain many of you out there feel the same. 

Well, recently I've discovered a 2-way function to my old multipurpose bag design. 
By adding prong snap buttons on the sides (as pictured above), the bag shape changes from 
this to this 

I am pretty sure I'm the only one getting so hyped up over something so simple, but it is fun and very simple to make that next I tried with a quilted version. 

The outcome was even better, that I decided to make four more *grin*
Here's the size and features of the bags: 

Quilted - sturdier shape
1 pocket inside
magnetic snap button closure
2 prong snap buttons on the sides

bag size: 47cm x 33cm
handles length: 54cm
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year a.k.a Oshogatsu

For the Japanese, New Year a.k.a Oshogatsu is the most important holiday. Schools are closed for about 2 weeks, while businesses close down for usually about a week.

The Japanese has many traditions that they observe during oshogatsu. From the type of food, games, decorations and various symbolisms - for more info about oshogatsu read this.

A couple of activities or customs that we have adopted ourselves since coming to Japan is osoji a.k.a extensive cleaning. Though I would not call my cleaning method extensive, still I enjoy this culture of welcoming the new year with a clean state.

The second custom that we have adopted is sending out new year cards, which are postcards specially marked to be delivered on 1st January. The cards can be store bought on handmade and usually depict the zodiacal animal for the new year. I've been the unofficial card creator for our family. Here are our cards for 2009, 2010 and 2011..

Since it is school holiday now, Sofea and I spend our time doing some activities together. Today she helped me peel the carrots and potatoes while I prepared other ingredients for lunch. She also helped me to bake a cake. I also put together some activity sheets for her to do in between working on her holiday schoolwork and kumon. 

What activities do you do with your little ones at home..?? 
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eat your GREENS

Do you like eating vegetables? What's your favourite?  I LOVE veges, but I cannot for the life of me eat brussel sprout (very bad memories of being served blanched brussel sprouts as a student in the UK in my early twenties..yucks!!)  

As consuming vegetables might be daunting for some, making it yummy and irresistible is the key *grin* 

Here's a very simple how to..
1. Boil potatoes (with skin) until a fork can go through when you prick into it. Peel the skin and dice.
2. Cut some carrots and broccoli (you can use other vegetables as well like capsicum, radish, baby corn). Put in bowl with a bit of water, cover with sling film and microwave for a couple of minutes. You can blanch the vegetables if you prefer not to microwave. 
Mix 1 and 2 and add some ground pepper if you want.    
Here's the best part...
3. Add hot water to 3 spoonfuls of Knorr instant chicken gravy mix (I got my 1kg pack from Tesco, you can even get the meat gravy mix). Stir and it's ready.. *wide grin* or.... you can make your own gravy sauce. If I spend that much time in the kitchen, I'm sure you'll be reading MyBotanG cooking blog instead.. hehehehe  
As easy as 1,2,3... Just pour over your potato vege salad before eating. It is totally tasty. My 8 year old prefers the salad to the pizza.. honestly!!
Give it a try!! 
Do you have any other simple and easy vege recipe? Do share.. 
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bitten by the crocheting bug

I started crocheting again (not that I'm good at it or anything) but it seems like the logical thing to do on cold and chilly days in December. It keeps your mind active in a stationary position.

I picked up crocheting using the books you see in the picture.
I wrote a review on one of the books here.   

I attempted something bigger than my usual mini flower motif this time (as in the picture above). It turned out quite all right for a beginner like me (I think) but I still can't seem to get the tension right *sigh* 

I use my completed projects (the better ones) to embellish bags and pouches

For better crocheting experience visit MisFydKrafts
Read more about crochet here

On a totally different note, here are a couple of pictures of us here in Kyoto.
 Us amongst the bamboo forest
Sofea and I

December will soon end, have you started reevaluating your year and making plans for the year to come..?? Pin It

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

1st Anniversary

The greatest comfort of my old age, and that which gives me the highest satisfaction, is the pleasing remembrance of the many benefits and friendly offices I have done to others. 

- Marcus Cato

My blog is 1

Here's to my family who supports my infatuation, who doesn't flinch when I come home with bags of fabric (yet again), who tries to listen attentively to my sewing and crafting related ramblings, and who loves me even if the first and sometimes the only place I want to visit is the fabric shop *sigh*

Here's to all of you, who has been here from the first post, who stops by to say hi!, who takes time to see what I've been up to..

Here's to all of you who has inspired and motivated me to strive to be better

And here's to many more years to come.. ameen..

Here are few pictures taken recently. Common view during colder season where due to shorter daylight (it gets dark by 5pm), many streets and park are illuminated to encourage people to be out and about. 

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

When in doubt, use BLACK!!!

I have used many different combination (here and here ) with this KOTO fabric by Alexander Henry, but only recently discovered BLACK brings out the best in this print *grin* 

Hope you are having a lovely weekend..Pin It

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Patch ready fabrics

As much as I enjoy patchwork projects, there comes a time when you need a patchwork project without the hassle or the work (lazy me!!). 

Let me introduce you to a couple of patch-ready-fabrics in my stash 
*note - doing patchwork from scratch is a rewarding process, 
please do not give up on it all together*  

1. Type - Japanese cotton (soft)
Cowboys/girls print
The colour combo (brown, pink and yellow) easily makes this print unisex

All you have to do is quilt along the lines to get the patch effect
Alternative - Combine the larger squares with thicker white borders and use the smaller rows of cowboys either for thinner second border or as the binding 

2. Type - LECIEN fabric (left) Japanese cotton (right)
The colour combo (brown, pink) combined with cute prints on both fabrics would make a lovely quilt for a little girl

Use the fabric on the right as centre panel and add LECIEN fabric on the left as the border, quilt the squares to get the patch effect
Alternative - Cut big squares (from 4 small squares in the LECEIN fabric), measure and do the same with the Japanese cotton fabric, patch and quilt (you get to save time as you do not have to patch each smaller squares but end up with the same effect) 

Do you have other time saving techniques that you use??

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Monday, November 22, 2010

The end of the road

Do I sound corny and sappy.. 
It's MONDAY and so I'm allowed to feel that way 
*sheepish grin*

The last of the LOVE U panel (turned into a baby quilt) has been completed and sent to its rightful owner. I feel relieved and at the same time sad to see it go. Relieved that now finally I can move on to working on different baby quilt designs and prints, and sad as having been working on the panels since I bought them (in bulk) earlier this year, I'm going to miss the familiarity they brought into my life *sappy sobs*
I use the same yellow twirl fabric for the border as in the wall hanging in the previous post. The label is hand stitched on the bottom-right hand corner of the quilt.

I used fabric by Moda (light yellow) for the back and added another fabric (in blue) as borders for the top and bottom.

To complete the look, I binded the quilt with similar red polka dot fabrics as the second border right after the centre panel. 

I also SOLD about 12 of this panels to my fellow bloggers.. Wonder if any of you have turned it into a quilt or a wall-hanging or maybe something else? 
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Alphabet wall hanging

The alphabets are taken from the Love You fabric by Deb Strain for Moda. You might remember the alphabet cards I made awhile back using the same fabric.

Not so long ago, a friend of mine (who also commissioned me to make the Alphabet Quilt) requested an alphabet wall hanging for her son's room. I procrastinated long enough, and finally decided it was time to get on with the project. Using the idea from my previous wall hanging, I came up with what you see above. I arranged the alphabets in rows of threes and embroidered Matthew's name. I use the same fabric (yellow twirls)  for the borders, loops and backing. It didn't take up much time as I had anticipated earlier. 

I have just one more alphabets set and I am planning to make another similar wall hanging. However, the yellow twirl fabric is out of stock, so I would have to find another fabric that would work well with the set.. 
What colour would you recommend?
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Autumn Collage

We had a rather uneventful and quiet weekend. However, we did go out for evening walks where Sofea got to gather some colourful leaves for her collage. It's a simple activity you can do with your little ones and it keep them occupied for several hours. 

You can make the activity simple for younger kids by asking them to paste the leaves according to colours etc. For older kids you can make the activity more elaborate like ask them to picture the leaves as something else i.e butterfly, tree, etc. It is better if you make your own collage as well alongside your kids, as it keeps them motivated. 

 It is not cold in the apt. but she insists  on wearing her Kitty snow cap indoors
Sofea's completed collage
How was your weekend? 

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Card Holder revisited

I finally managed to take pictures of the card holders, edit and upload them. (blogged here)
I've made some improvements to this batch of card holders and added hand sewn embellishments. 

I have maintained the original features of the card holders; 2 card compartments + 1 zippered compartment, size: 12cm x 9cm

Instead of snap button for closure, I've used magnetic snap button for this batch. They look better but more difficult to sew around them

In addition I hand sew the label with red floss instead of my usual method (machine sew). If you have noticed I've made a new label as well (BotanG'z). I was trying out my DIY label set, and came up with this. Both labels (MyBotanG and BotanG'z) are active and will be in use *grin*

Coming back to my improved card holders, I've also added few embellishments; decorative button and decorative cotton label

This is the only one with a Japanese motif - geisha girls
 What do you think?
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

An apple a day...

I am always attracted to bright bold fabric design. And I just appreciate the NO direction fabric. It reduces the anxiety while cutting into the fabric where I don't have to worry if the apple is facing in the right direction or not. 

These two features (bright and bold, and no direction) are apparent in this APPLE fabric. The different shades of RED is nicely contracted contrasted against the black background. The fabric is of medium weight which means light interface will suffice for bag-making. 

And wallaaa.. 
My first project with this fabric is a Kinoko Sling. 
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My current obsession

I'm currently finishing up these little lovelies.. 
The weather change is making me dormant where I just want to lie still in one place all curled up under a blanket.. *sigh*

Activities like embroidery, knitting and cross-stitching are most conducive at times like this. It made me revisit some old projects (read more here and here). What have you been up to..? 

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Undies take II

Monday shouldn't start before noon, especially when Monday decides to be all gloomy and moody.. *yawn* 
Our weekend was relaxing. Since Saturday was sunny and bright, we went for a picnic in Osaka Banpakku Commemorative Park. Such a HUGE space with lots of activities going on on that day (bazaar, stalls, shows) 

What with the title (Undies take II), I hear you ask... 
Well, I found something similar to the original undies fabric I posted awhile back. 
It is less revealing and more modest *grin* with pale pink in the background. I am yet to cut into it but for the moment it is sitting there on the shelf looking all pretty..hehehehe 

How was your weekend..? My fellow Malaysians had a long 3 day weekend, right? What did you do..? Pin It


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