Happy Friday + Faux Fur Pillows


Happy Friday! Earlier this year when I did a little giveaway, I was poo-pooing the whole concept of faux fur pillows. So naturally, I decided to make them 9 months later.


I’m not sure why. In fact, I rarely have a rational explanation for why I make things. I guess I might be classified as an intuitive sewing enthusiast who is completely guided by my whims. If something stops feeling good or right, I tend to quickly abandon projects these days (unless it’s a shirt for M). Life is too short to be wasted on subpar activities, I say.


Not that sewing faux fur is a stellar activity, mind you. Especially when I thought I was being all clever and made it a removable cover with an invisible zipper for easy washing. Did you know that the fur gets ceaselessly caught in the zipper teeth, which has the potential of devolving into a sort of push-pull nightmare? Now I know. Strangely, despite the many factors that could have made this an unpleasant project, I really enjoyed it.

The more textured grey-and-black fake fur is from JoAnn’s and it’s incredibly soft — it feels like you’re caressing a bunny, though come to think of it, I’ve never caressed a bunny. Maybe they’re not that snuggly? The lighter grey pillow cover is actually more bristly, and the backing is also much thicker. My mom brought it for K when she visited Seattle in August, and I’m assuming it was thrifted from somewhere in Los Angeles. I found it tucked in one of my fabric baskets after she’d left. Very sneaky, Mama! I had asked her not to bring me any more fabric because…well, if you saw my fabric stash you would see why. It’s been pre-washed a few times, just to be on the safe side. Who knows what creepy crawlies can be in new-to-us fabric, right?

I used 20″ pillow inserts and cut the faux fur to 20.5″ squares. Looks like that worked out well. The key with faux fur, I’ve discovered, is to move at a snail’s pace. Cut slowly but steadily. Carry the pieces like they are made of the finest, most delicate china. Keep your foot light on the sewing machine pedal. Overlocking all the edges before assembling the pieces also helped. I felt richly rewarded because there were virtually no scattered bits of fur after I finished sewing.


They are, of course, for K. And yes, she loves them. So much so that she sleeps surrounded by them every night and when I see her clutching the pillows while deep in slumber, I realize this is why I sew. To bring joy, to feel joy. It’s awesome. Faux-fur-tastic, even.

Have a delightful weekend, my friends! What are you making these days?

Unicorn costume*
is feeling sort of daunting
But I’m ready now

*I have all the supplies for the costume and will start sewing this weekend!

Happy Friday + Giveaway! [CLOSED]


Happy Friday, my friends! I’m becoming comfortable with my new routines. I like posting just once a week, and maybe in a few months, the urge to post more will surface but for now, this feels just right. K’s school time has shifted significantly this year, which means that we have to wake up almost 2 hours earlier and that’s been a major adjustment. 5 weeks in, however, I’m starting to enjoy the early kick-off each weekday. I have books to work on for the foreseeable future and with each completed deadline, my body tells me I need major downtime. I’ve learned to respect that instead of powering through. Right now is my downtime, and I’m puttering around, taking it easy. It’s nice.

I’ve also been slowly plugging away at purging all our belongings. For example, we had this monstrously huge old microwave that we barely used and one day I thought, “what if we got rid of it?” Unfortunately, K seems to have an intrinsic hoarding instinct and vociferously argued against it. “How are we going to heat up the soup dumpling from Trader Joe’s that I love so much??” she keened.

We came up with a compromise. I proposed putting it in the basement and if we managed 30 days without using it, we would donate it.

40 days passed and we didn’t notice the lack of a microwave at all. I melt my butter in a cute, tiny saucepan. We steam those beloved TJ soup dumplings in a pot. I reheat leftovers on the stovetop or in the oven. They taste better that way anyway.

Once the behemoth microwave was gone (and yes, we donated it), our kitchen felt so much more spacious. It’s wonderful. I like my basement quarantine method.

The one thing I have a hard time letting go of is books. I haven’t officially counted all the books in my house, but I’m pretty certain that it would take me a minimum of 30 years to read them all.  It doesn’t help that amazing books keep luring me to buy more (I also check out way too many from libraries). But I’ve had to come to terms with the sheer ridiculousness of my book stash. Our house is simply too small to accommodate them all and I thought about applying my basement quarantine method, but clearly, that won’t work since I can’t possibly read hundreds of books in 30 days. I also tried the Marie Kondo method, but wouldn’t you know it, they all spark joy. So in a rather haphazard, there’s-a-method-to-my-madness way, I am attempting to tackle the issue.

Which leads me to my giveaway today. I have a copy of  The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees, she of the wonderful blog Into Mind, that I would love to pass onto you. I actually have the digital version of The Curated Closet as well, because I definitely want to read it and it’s beautifully done. I haven’t gone completely nuts-o so I don’t have a digital version for every physical book I own, but I thought this would be a fun giveaway and I am reducing the analog possession. That works for me.

Since I haven’t actually read the book yet, I can’t in good conscience give a review, but it looks like there are tons of helpful reviews out there already. I’m drawn, of course, to the chapter about the closet detox though I have to admit that my clothing situation is shockingly sparse these days.


More on my whole clothing situation later. To enter the giveaway, any comment will do as per usual. And perhaps you’d like to share what your favorite apparel item for fall is? I myself LOVE boots. And big, chunky scarves. Yep, very much my uniform for autumn. I’ll leave the giveaway open until next Friday, October 21st. Good luck!

That’s what I’m striving to be
Need lots of practice

Have a fantastic weekend, all! There’s a storm brewing in Seattle, and I intend to stay cozy. M’s parents are in town right now, and we’ll need to find some good rainy day activities!


P.S. [UPDATE]: The winner of the giveaway is Tammy!



Happy Friday + Randomness


M used to have this phrase he would toss out whenever he wanted me to do something that he could easily do himself but was feeling less than motivated to execute. “Would you be a peach?” he’d say. Usually it was followed by a request to get him a glass of water, or roll up the sleeves of his shirt, or you know, something mildly inconvenient for me. But he’d say it in this jokey cute way, and of course I would do it.

Lately I feel like my days are an endless litany of these kinds of mildly inconvenient requests from myself to myself, except I’m not very jokey or cute about it. Would you be a peach and stop droning on about how little time you have? Would you be a peach and update your blog already? You get the picture.

Blog updating is actually still very enjoyable for me, but it’s amazing how quickly I can get out of the habit when I let a few weeks go without regular posts. Ugh. I’m still not done with my deadlines (a few new ones suddenly cropped up) and I’ve been feeling behind in everything. I have to keep reminding myself that I belong to Team Tortoise and not Team Hare. I plod along, one ponderous step at a time, craning my neck in curiosity and befuddlement as I sloooooooooooooooowly make progress.


What helps is that I’m hugely enjoying this tea that my neighbor brought back for me from Guatemala. It’s Mayan cacao tea with all sorts of purported health benefits. Better blood circulation and improved heart health and all that good stuff. You just soak cacao husks and nibs in hot water for about 10 minutes and the traditional way is to drink it with a little honey, my neighbor told me.


cacaotea2 cacaotea6

I add unsweetened almond milk and a touch of raw honey and mmmmmmmmmmmm. It’s not fully chocolate-y, but it hits the spot for me and it’s become a daily ritual. I’m almost running out, so I better get more! I can’t seem to find this brand online, but maybe this one or this one will do the trick…

cacaotea4 cacaotea5

Be back soon. With giveaways, I hope. Or maybe even a sewing project of some sort. Gotta get started on that unicorn costume.

I’m wishing you a wonderful weekend, my friends!

Would you be a peach?
And forget that I complained?
Thank you very much


HoJo’s Tablecloth Shirt


Oh, this shirt.

My intentions were so good. I started with Colette’s Negroni pattern and dug through my abundant plaid fabric collection for this blue and cream colorway. I believe it was from Drygoods many moons ago.

It was supposed to be a birthday shirt for M, then July whisked by.

I told myself no problem, it’s simply a late birthday present, and then August sped away.

Then, with our 11th wedding anniversary careening towards us, I finally completed it on September 3rd, our actual anniversary date.


He claims to love it, but here are the statements that he’s made so far: “Did you raid a Howard Johnson’s supply closet and steal a tablecloth? Or maybe it was a curtain?” And “I’ve never worn such a heavy shirt, putting it on is like a workout.” And “Very innovative of you to make a winter shirt with short sleeves.” It’s a good thing I have an excellent sense of humor.

And it’s true, the mid-weight cotton was a poor choice for this pattern, given all the facings and interfacings.


Now, it’s been a couple of months since I started making it, and almost a month since I’ve completed it, so I can’t say that I remember much of the details. I omitted the collar loop (a mid-century style detail, apparently) but otherwise, followed the instructions to the letter. I do remember not enjoying the process even though the instructions were superb and I was killing it in the print-matching department.

The lack of enjoyment was probably because I could tell that the shirt was going to weigh a ton and was most likely going to be too big for M (I cut an XL, which is his usual size, but he lost a lot of weight over the summer). Yet, I couldn’t quit on it.


The fit isn’t too bad, actually. He’s somewhere between a large and XL, and too big is better than too small, no? I’ve washed it a few times hoping to shrink it, but that’s some serious high quality cotton and it hasn’t budged in size.

But done is done, and undaunted, I’m looking to try a different pattern for the next shirt. Maybe McCall’s 6044Morgan‘s made a bajillion versions for her husband and she’s a thoroughly trusted source.

“Can I choose the fabric next time?” M asked. I don’t know, do you get the sense that maybe he doesn’t love the shirt?

But he loves taking pix with K! In actuality, he may make endless fun of it, but M wears the shirt all the time — my sweet guy.


P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Norah, congrats!

Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! Hmmmm, so it looks like the best I’m able to manage is a once-a-week posting while juggling other projects. I still have a number of completed sewing I want to document here, and I’m starting with this little gift package I made weeks and weeks ago. Unless I record them here, they will be forgotten forever given my spotty memory. In fact, they had completely slipped my mind until I happened to see the photos as I was looking for pictures of another sewing project.

Anyhow, every day I count my lucky stars that I have the most wonderful editors. They shower me with encouragement and gifts and general good vibes, and naturally, I want very much to return the favor. As a thank you for the many, many generous presents that my editor Tegan continues to surprise me with, I made her some tea towels from this pretty striped linen from Drygoods. I love this toweling fabric so much that I made myself some tea towels as well.


I also embroidered a Little Kunoichi coaster. Little K is upside down there, fyi. The next book in the series is almost complete! I have to turn in cover concepts soon — actually, I’m supposed to be turning it in now (yikes), and I’m super excited about it. Like the first book, I feel like I’ve given it my all and the outcome doesn’t matter to me all that much. Coming your way Fall 2017!! Isn’t it crazy how long book publishing takes? Time for me to get back to cover concepts!

I will see you all again some time next week; have a fabulous weekend!

What will I sew next?
It’s a unicorn costume*
Not sure how to yet…

*Halloween is coming up and K wants to manifest her spirit animal…if anyone has any recommendations or suggestions on how to sew a unicorn costume, I would be eternally grateful!