Cough Cough


As I’m typing this, I hear the muffled yet constant coughing from K’s room.


Still sick. She insisted that she was all better and braved the cold and wind and rain, parading around with friends on Halloween night. Came home with her voice hoarse and cheeks rouged, fingers icy. She gleefully counted her candy: 80 pieces (AND I ate sooo many while trick-or-treating, Mama!). Collapsed in a coughing fit. All that candy was probably not wise.


So today (and maybe tomorrow and the day after) is all about herbal tea with honey and reading books and burrowing into bed and extra hugs.


Cough cough. Oh. I hear her…singing? Better check on her.

This is the part about autumn that I always forget: the flurry of fever and germs and little sniffling people. But the light is pretty this time of year and I find it endearing how she gets so engrossed in books that she forgets to eat.


I fought a good battle, but I’m toting a box of tissues with me everywhere now too…

P.S. Furoku 8 has gone out! Please let me know if you have any issues.



Happy Friday + Randomness



Happy Friday! K is down with yet another fever and general malaise, and she’s missed a couple of days of school this week. The prospect of trick-or-treating is looking a little dubious, much to her chagrin. I’m feeling some wooziness myself, though I’m fighting it with all my might.

When we picked up K’s costume elements last week, I spotted a Crock Pot for a good price, and remembered several friends telling me how much it can save time and money. My mom never used a slow cooker (though she went through a passionate pressure cooker phase), so I’ve been curious…

Of course, it’s still sitting in its box, awaiting the perfect comfort food recipe. And right about now, with all these flu-like symptoms zipping around, comfort food sounds wonderful. I’ve been Googling “best crock pot recipes” and Adobo chicken seems to be a thing when it comes to slow cookin’. I don’t know…I’m in the mood for something vegetarian, though I’ve got nothing against poultry. Anyone have any recommendations?

Must go make some more lemon-honey tea for K and me. Have a restful and healthy weekend, all!

Floodings, colds, oh my!
It’s been a rough week so far
Time for extra sleep

Ginger Skinny Jeans Revisited


When we last left off with my Ginger Skinny Jeans adventures oh, a mere seven months ago, I had gone down from a size 12 to a 10. And then something mysterious happened and although all my clothes are fitting just the way they always have, I recently attempted to shave the muslin down to a size 8, and they’re still too big. Could this be the result of the denim somehow stretching out over the months of neglect?


In my craziness of sewing up samples for the book and moving my supplies helter skelter, I’ve lost fabric and pattern pieces for my original muslin and am thoroughly confused. At this point I figure I might as well go back to the drawing board and start fresh. I’m now happily assembling the pattern pieces, anticipating more progress this go around.

A few weeks ago, I had the enormous pleasure of meeting Heather in person, and the woman is a dynamo. I love her. We perused the essential pit stop for all fabric and sewing aficionados — Drygoods Design, naturally — and she kept me in stitches over lunch. Fiercely intelligent, wildly witty and full of gorgeousness, you could practically see her brain pumping out ideas every nanosecond. Once again, I’ve discovered how easy it is to transition online friendships into face-to-face ones, and it makes me believe in the power of the internet for good.

So of course, when I finally found my own brain again, I wanted to resurrect the sewing of the now desperately necessary pair of skinny jeans (I’ve patched and patched my last surviving pair from 8 or 9 years ago, and we are reaching a point of no return). I’ve learned not to promise anything, but maybe, just maybe, I might be sporting a brand spanking new pair next week…

Here’s what gives me hope at least: I may let projects languish, but I rarely entirely give up on them. There’s a chance that I’ll be enjoying senior citizen discounts by the time I finish a successful pair of skinny jeans, but I will get them done, and they will be awesome!

Monday Outfit: Superhero K


Good morning! It was a weekend of highs and lows — shall we start with the lows? I had been looking forward to large chunks of sewing time, but it was not to be. Much to my dismay, I discovered that our basement was flooded and spent my allotted sewing time moving a large number of plastic bins and wiping down the the floor. Not fun.


On the bright side, however, our basement is now sparkling clean and I managed to finish K’s costume in time for the school event. We even got our photo shoot squared away in record time.


Remember her instructions? My one rule was that I wouldn’t buy any fabric for the costume because I simply cannot add any more to my already excessive pile, and I’m happy to report that I abided by my own rule with flying colors. The top, shorts and cape are all from my fabric stash, and I drafted them all myself.


K is in love. We hauled ourselves to Fred Meyer (sort of like Target here in Seattle) and found the mask, belt, boots and fingerless gloves. I had actually been planning to make the gloves, but at $1.49 a pair, handmade gloves seemed pointless.


M conceded to model for the photo shoot as well. They’re so funny.


I had to redo the tie to the cape twice because the sparkly ribbon I used initially was too itchy, and then I found the perfect strip of faux leather and it was a done deal. This is a virtually no-sew cape made out of some shiny black knit and I watched this youtube video to construct it (the sound quality of the video isn’t great, but his instructions were very clear and I had a cape in 15 minutes).

In fact, I didn’t finish any seams, nor did I hem the shorts, so this costume came together ridiculously fast. The part that took the longest was the “K” stencil, only because we had to wait for it to dry.

At Fred Meyer, we got one more thing:


And yes, K did wear the whole get-up including the wig to the school event. Her friends squealed with delight when they recognized her after the initial confusion.


To me, she looks like one of those troll dolls, though I think these photos are super fun:

superherok10 superherok11

She’s all set for Halloween 2015! On the actual day, she’s going trick-or-treating with one of her best buddies outside of our neighborhood, followed by a special Hallow’s Eve sleepover. M and I may actually have a date night!

My sweet girl – she absolutely adores her costume and it’s these sorts of moments that make me so happy that I sew.


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

Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! Do you like K’s instructions for this year’s Halloween costume? “Tight” seems to be the overriding theme…She’s been into this show called Mighty Med, which is about a hospital for superheroes. As a result, there’s been a significant uptick in the obsession level of all things superhero-related (Marvel comic books are permanently piled next to the kitchen table). I’m a little stumped when it comes to what she wants attached to the velcro strips on the utility belt, but it seems like something doable in 24 hours, right? It’ll have to be since that’s all I have until the annual Halloween-themed, dress-up bash at K’s school.


Wishing you all a cozy weekend! It’s gorgeous in Seattle, and I’m savoring this slightly-chilly-yet-sunny autumn with multiple cups of warm beverages and walks around pretty neighborhoods. I love this time of year so much.

Superhero K
will rise from the fabric pile
shining mightily


Madame Frump No More


When I was a young lass toiling over catalog page layouts amid the design-y and stylish citizens of Williams-Sonoma / Pottery Barn HQ, I used to spend a lot of time and effort on my appearance because everyone around me sashayed about in beautiful attire. One of my good friends and co-workers — he of the vintage couture connoisseurship and wearer of thrifted Ferragamo loafers — would appraise my daily outfits and give me a thumbs up or down. We had the sort of honest and hilarious relationship that was blatantly modeled after Sex and the City, except I wasn’t as cool as Carrie and he was way cooler than Stanford (though technically, we both wanted to be Carrie). One day, when I was developing what seemed suspiciously like pink eye and generally felt unsexy and un-urban, I showed up to work in a pilled, shapeless sweater and baggy pants.

My friend’s hands flew to his cheeks and he uttered in horror, “Ay Mamacita*, what happened? You look like… Madame Frump!!”

*He was from the Dominican Republic

Fast forward many, many, many years, and I am Madame Frumpin’ it hardcore. I look like that illustration above on a good day. At least that has a sporty vibe and is acceptably like the ubiquitous “momiform”. I did rustle up deeply hidden energy to wear normal clothes on the few occasions I was meeting people for the first time or for special events — it’s always a good idea not to be mistaken for a homeless person. For most of the last six months in particular, though, I’ve been reaching for pretty much the same three t-shirts and stretch pants. The other issue is that in my enthusiastic embracing of the KonMari method before I got caught up in deadlines, I’d vigorously emptied out my closet. You’d think that if I kept only what sparked joy, I would look presentable, but no, apparently dumpy clothes light me up. Perhaps in the chaos of this last year, I yearned for comfortable and forgiving garments with elastic waists.

BUT. No more, I say, no more!

Now that I’ve cleared away most of the bookishness haze and I actually have a manageable to-do list, I’m eager to revamp my handmade wardrobe. Would this be considered completely non-essential? Yes. But I am a staunch believer in the power of clothes and have had a perennial love affair with them. I’ve experienced how differently people treat me depending on how I’m dressed (let me tell you, the dirty tee and leggings combo doesn’t garner a lot of respect), but more to the point, I’m acutely aware of how I feel in clothes. Beautifully-made, well-fitting clothes are inherently uplifting and confidence boosting. And who doesn’t want a more positive and self-assured person around?

Of course, it’s going to take me a bit or maybe a lot to get to the revamped, lovely me-made wardrobe of my dreams, but I’m prepping my fabrics, sorting through my patterns, firing up my sewing machine and iron.

Goodbye Madame Frump, hellooooooo….well, something better, I hope.

Stay tuned.


Giveaway: Cute Fall Fabrics! [CLOSED]


Good morning! So. The first order of business now that the book is 99% done (at least in my mind) is absolutely critical: cleaning. I am, by nature, a neat and tidy person, but for the last few months I’ve really let the house go to pot. It’s ugly, folks.

The disarray has been steadily driving me crazy and probably had some impact on my productivity, but I tried my very best to choose taking care of my health via food and exercise and spending time with people over laundry or vacuuming when I wasn’t working. I made dinner most nights, dishes got done daily and bills got paid on time, so I felt like a champion despite the ever-increasing dust giants.

It’s a huge relief to finally tackle the mess. I’m planning yet another massive purge, and I’m getting my feet wet with a little bit of fabric elimination. I have about a yard of the adorable animal print flannel above and according to the selvage, it’s “Urban Flannel by Valori Wells for Free Spirit.” The scale of the print is quite large, and I think this would make a lovely baby blanket.


I also have about a yard of this darling floral corduroy that I purchased at JoAnn’s several years ago. I meant to sew up a back-to-school, first grade dress for K, but I had opted to go with polka dots instead and forgot all about this corduroy until yesterday. I figure that if I haven’t felt compelled to sew with it for 3 years, it’s unlikely to ever happen.

Anyone interested? To enter the giveaway, I’d love to hear about something you’re proud to have accomplished. It could be something seemingly small (unloading the dishwasher this morning, say) or something admittedly massive (climbing Mount Everest, perhaps?). All accomplishments should be celebrated, don’t you think? I obviously feel extremely proud and elated to have reached this point today, and I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of all the wonderfully encouraging comments, emails, pattern testing help, care packages, and so much more that I’ve received over the last year as I plodded away at the book. But making a dent in the gargantuan laundry pile in the last week has felt just as significant. Maybe that’s weird, I have no idea.

The giveaway will stay open until this Friday, October 23rd, and I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Internationals entries are always welcome! Good luck!




Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! Above are my poor, poor neglected serger (left) and sewing machine (right). Did you know that you can use a regular old sewing machine cover for your serger too? The pear print is what could be considered a vintage Kokka linen/cotton blend — I made that cover for my very first Singer sewing machine back in 2007 or so. I adore that fabric. The cover on the right was a potential book project (it has multiple pockets), but it didn’t make the cut.

Good news: final illustrations for the book are COMPLETE. I still have a couple of extremely minor things to turn in before I can call it a wrap, but the illustration portion was huge (over 300 files!). Now that I’ve become a little familiar with this process, I’ve given myself a few days to relax after the milestone. I’m going to ease back into my beloved routines and ever so slowly ramp up. I can tell I’m doing the right thing because I haven’t gotten sick at all. Both K and M have been under the weather, sadly, but I’ve been hearty enough for both of them to handle care-taking duties.

So I’m off to revel in this feeling of accomplishment for a bit before channeling my energy into a new phase that I’m excited about. I hope you all have a great weekend, and I’ll see you some time next week!

What shall I sew first?
A costume for K, perhaps?
Or maybe for me…


Happy Friday + Randomness


I did not make my deadline. This was a colossal bummer since I’d told everyone and their pets that I would be officially fini with all book brouhaha by October 5th (even the barista at my regular coffee shop haunt greeted me with a high five on The Day). I was technically done — of course, I’m using the words “technically done” very loosely here — on Monday, but then I kept finding mistake after mistake. It killed me, but I asked for an extension. Again. I used to pride myself on keeping my word and meeting deadlines, but them’s bygone days it seems…Each time I don’t hit a deadline, a little part of me withers, but I’m very lucky that the lovely folks at my publisher are wonderfully accommodating. So I am still, still hunkered down, painting and illustrating. It’s the last big hurdle of the book process for me and for reasons beyond my understanding, I keep complicating things by trying to get fancy when simple is always best.

Some of what you see above may end up as decorative elements, we’ll see.

Alright. Even my mom has stopped reading my blog, so I’m quite certain I’m yammering on to an audience of about 3 people at this point — no matter. It’s funny how I noticed that I’d been feeling jittery and as though something was sorely lacking, and then I realized I’d let yet another week go without updating here. As soon as I snapped a photo and started typing, I felt a curious release of tension, a decompression. Relief. That’s what it was. I suppose there are worse things to be addicted to than blogging.

I’m so looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. Soon, soon!

My haiku brain’s stalled
Just coming up with this one
felt herculean

Have a wonderful weekend!



Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! I was going through some of my old photos, and I found this image I’d snapped of a cardboard sign someone had tacked up near a construction site. It’s an iphone shot, so it’s not stellar in quality but the message more than makes up for it, don’t you think? I had an interesting conversation with a couple of friends the other day about how the internet’s anonymity seems to breed meanness. I wonder what kind of world it would be if the philosophy above was widespread on and offline? Now that’s where I want to live.

It looks like it’ll be one more week of posting just once, but then, THEN, I’m back to regularly scheduled programming! I’m beside myself with anticipation.

So I’m keeping it brief to give me maximum work time, and I’ll be back with so much to say soon-ish!!

Hello October
Fancy seeing you so soon
Need costumes pronto

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