November 30, 2008

2008 Gift Tags

Do you remember last year's gift tags for my family? Here I go again.

Names were loosely embroidered with yarn onto wool-blend felt, then adhered into place with my felting machine. There are lots of unnecessary/ugly needle holes alongside each letter because I was too lazy to remove extra needles, but I'll do something about that later.

An extreme closeup of the back shows how yarn underneath connects letters.

So far so good and it was great fun. I'm not sure what I'll do next, but it'll be in the next post.

My 400th post is coming up in about 10 days. I will be having my first giveaway -- stay tuned!

November 29, 2008

I'm So Short...

... (a) I can play handball against the curb, (b) I have to jump up to look down, and (c) all my pants have to be hemmed up. I love that my circa 1991 Bernina 1130S sewing machine has a cover stitch for stretch fabrics. This was useful for shortening new sweatpants and PJs. Tien's jacket needed new elastic too. Plenty of practical stitching going on here, even after Kuanza left for Shanghai. My father-in-law has offered to take Kuan's place in the will-you-fix-my-clothes-for-me department, and has been kind enough to wait a bit before giving me his slacks to repair.

Poppalina, one of my fav blogs, posted this image and now I want to redo my doll wall (when I get to it I will post before/after images). The image is from Danny Mansmith's Flickr, but visit his studio -- it's fun and will keep your eyes busy for a long time.

November 27, 2008


There's no sewing while I make deviled eggs with pancetta and candied yams/pumpkin with Kahlua. I hope you are enjoying the day as much as I am. I have plenty to be thankful for, such as my family and friends, creativity in abundance, the autumn rainfall San Diego is getting and you, for taking this journey with me.

November 26, 2008

Yo-Yo Quilt

I worked on this quilt for a long time. Piecing was fairly quick, but making and appliquing yo-yos was time consuming. The challenge was laying out the finished yo-yos while our black cat Magellan chased them. Even after they were pinned into place, his little mouth pulled the pins out -- maybe this is "reverse sewing?" The finished top was quilted by a machine quilter and I bound the edge by hand. The 78"x78" quilt will fit a queen size bed with a 9" hang on three sides. I'm proud of it!

I showed this quilt in a previous post, but with the possibility of it going to a new home, I thought new pictures were in order.

November 25, 2008

Mad For Felt

Using Anna Maria Horner's owl pattern and felted pieces worked under the seven needles of my Embellisher, I hurriedly made three owls for my brother-in-law who leaves us on Friday for his new job in Shanghai (he's an advertising exec and, yes, he speaks Chinese). The base fabric is wool-blend felt and the eyes, beak and furry head are felted roving. The eyes are vintage buttons. It took two hours to make and then we rushed out for an early family dinner at Bleu Bohème, yummy! Not sure why, but Kuanza loves owls.

Waiting on my doorstep was wool batting I ordered from an Etsy seller. Obviously, these gorgeous fibers won't be used inside a quilt! My favorite one is on top, blue black pink.

November 24, 2008

Dear TAS Friends

Dear Talmadge Art Show friends, I was glad to see you! I enjoyed sharing stories and hearing reports of enjoyment from purchases. I'm glad for the calmness the lavender pillows provide to you. Your curiousity and interest in my craft is lovely to my ears and I love that you read my blog. Thank you especially for your purchases -- it's the icing on my cake. Happy holidays and see you again in May.

My buddy Nancy Tyrell had a booth nearby. Her quilts are so much fun.

Hmm, should I take a break now? YEP! Actually, bro-in-law Kuanza will leave for a new job in Shanghai after Thanksgiving and he requested clothing repairs before he goes. Little does he know, I'm making a little wall hanging for him to be presented very soon. To be shared here, for sure!

November 23, 2008


Start your holiday shopping for handmade goods! I will be offering quilts, one-of-a-kind purse hooks, catnip quilts, and a few remaining dolls and silk rag baskets from previous collections. As always, there will be lavender‑filled pillows in vintage Asian fabrics. I went a bit crazy acquiring textiles, so there is plenty to choose from.

If you want purse hooks and the smallest lavender pillows, please come early -- they sell out quickly. Nancy Tyrell will be selling her happy and colorful quilts too.

10a to 4p, Sunday
Talmadge Art Show
The San Diego Women's Club
2557 Third Avenue (Laurel/Maple)
San Diego, California

November 22, 2008

Felting Fun

I made these ornaments for people who have been generous of heart with me. As I make them, my warmth goes into every stitch. One went to my pal Anita during lunch but I forgot to photo it -- it was a tiny yellow and purple handbag-shaped ornament.

See this glob of yarn, thread snips and lavender wool roving? The thread ends came from everything I've sewed, embroidered and knitted during the past few months. I put them under the seven needles of my felting maching and out came...

...THIS! I'll show you the rest later. I have plans to embroider and bead it. I still had a LOT of thread ends left and felted them too with bright yellow roving. Here's a preview. I ADORE this machine -- I want to wrap it in a blanket and sleep with my arms around it. Okay, that sounds really bizarre.

November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday dear Daddy, Happy birthday to you! My father is 83 today and going strong with great health, excellent memory, calm spirit -- it doesn't get better than that. My cousin Dennis took this photo a few days ago. What a really lovely photo of my ADORABLE Dad.

Pillows are tagged and going into storage boxes. What shall I work on next to drive myself nuts with just two days before the Talmadge Art Show?! Ha, I think I'll go out for lunch with my pal Anita instead.

November 20, 2008


I've misplaced my mask. Cough-cough, SNEEZE! Lavender dust wreaks havoc in my throat and nose, but I met my goal and the pillows are ready for price tagging.

My stitchin'fingers friend Ayala gave me a blog award! Blush, I'm touched, honored and humbled. Check out Ayala's blog. She's a sister-in-stitch all the way over in Holland. I continue to be amazed that friendships can be forged over such distance and with modern technology. I would like to pass it on to Jude Hill whose work inspires and awes me.

November 19, 2008

Nose To The Grindstone (still)

After the private luncheon event on Friday, I said I was going to rest. That meant not sewing anymore inventory. Lo and behold, I found those three last Wish Dolls to work on in case Montez comes to my booth on Sunday looking for them (a fun and fabulous customer with her 'sister' Francheska, equally fun and fabulous), plus I discovered a partial bag of loose lavender which I had to use up before the end of the season. I managed to fill another 38 pillows from a pile already stitched and ready for stuffing. Some are tiny pilows -- those go fast. By fast I mean they sell out within the first hour at my regular shows. I made lots of medium-small pillows too, just in case. With this economy, I'd like to have something within everyone's budget. After Sunday's show, maybe then I can take a break until the following show on December 6th.

November 18, 2008

My Girls

These are the last of the Wish Dolls, tagged and ready to be put into cardboard wine boxes I use for transporting dolls to shows. I feel a little wistful saying goodbye...

November 17, 2008

Talmadge Art Show

I'm hoping these Wish Dolls will be ready for Sunday's show. Boy, did I have fun making hair today! It seems I've found another way to use my felting machine. I broke another needle (there are 7 in this machine) and will soon have to order a back-up supply.

Have you seen the movie Wool 100%? My goodness, it was quirky. The visuals were wonderful -- live action, puppetry and animation make up this film. I love photography with saturated colors and rich imagery. The link has a gallery.

November 16, 2008

Wish Dolls

Those who know me well are familiar with my desire to control situations. Over the years I've worked hard to let go, and I'm still not great at it, but I'm definitely more relaxed. I loved reading Shakti Gawain's book Creative Visualization and, specifically, the Pink Bubble Technique (keep reading). This technique inspired Wish Dolls which I made and sold a few years ago. Each doll had a back pocket. Inside the pocket was a note that read, "Envision your goal; inscribe it on this card; set the card in the doll's pocket; allow the Wish Doll to bring it to you. Best wishes!" Eventually, I sent Ms. Gawain a doll - she inspired me, plus the technique really works.

The following is from an interview with the author. "...I use a very simple technique that I call the pink bubble technique. Once you've created the scene or the feeling that you want, you just imagine that you put it in a beautiful big pink bubble -- this is fun, you know -- and you just take that pink bubble containing your image or the feeling that you want. It doesn't have to be an image, it can just be a feeling. And just very lightly toss it in the air and release it. Let go of it. Now symbolically, what this means is that you've visualized it, you've created it, you've asked for it, and you release it. The reason we need to do that is because we have a tendency to want to hang on to everything, and to try to make it happen. That's how we've been taught, is that for anything to happen you have to make it happen. But really, that's the opposite of how it really works. You have to allow things to happen. The more you sort of relax -- it doesn't mean you don't pursue something or work at it, but the more relaxed you are as you're doing it, the more open you are, the more you can see the different options that you have. So as you release the pink bubble, symbolically you're saying, 'Okay, I want this to happen, and now I'm open. And I'm willing to have it happen, and if it's not going to happen, I'm willing to see something even better.' I sometimes say that affirmation: 'This, or something better, is now manifesting for me.' Because sometimes we think we know what we want, and in actual fact there's something even better for us that we haven't realized yet."

Although I've moved onto other dolls, I did find three Wish Dolls waiting to be sewn. I have a show in one week and hope to put these out when they're done.

November 15, 2008

Dear FRCC Ladies

Dear Fairbanks Ranch Country Club ladies who attended the Holiday Extravaganza Luncheon, thank you for your purchases. It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope to see you again at the Spring FRCC event. Until we meet again, happy holidays!

The guests weren't the only ones shopping. The vendors were too. I haven't added to my collection of hearts in years, so this beautiful pink glass one came home with me. It's from the studio of Cherrie LaPorte and Garry Cohen. They are having a their 11th Semi Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Sale, complete with a glass blowing exhibition.

One of my neighbors was Susan Kirchmer, a pottery artist whose work I love. When you go to her website, check out the "memory keeper" vessels. Suspended from the lid is a smaller pot to keep written "commitments, promises, well wishes, and even regrets," as Susan suggests. WONDERFUL!

November 13, 2008

Showing Off

Now comes my favorite part, sharing the finished stitch-work. I love this array because it's bright and happy. What you don't see are the stitch-works adhered to purse hook hardware -- I haven't figured out how to photograph shiny metal without interference from reflections.

Here are a few more.

These little pouches come with each purchase. Last thing to do before Friday's show is to sew ABC Rags labels to them. These keep purse hooks safe from everything else in a woman's handbag.

My newest trick is to use a syringe for applying glue. It not only places adhesive into tiny spots, it also keeps the contents of the large bottle from drying out. The downside is glue-sniffing is unhealthy.

November 12, 2008

Holding Out

You know I knit caps for chemotherapy patients, right? Knitting them is such a part of my life -- they just get done and stockpiled. This is what I've completed with Mom's yarn while watching TV since my last donation to Moore's Cancer Center at UCSD.

On my way home from the office (which is one block from the Pacific Ocean), I stopped to take this picture. No fancy camera work, no special settings and no retouching. Only Mother Nature doing what she does best. Fall sunsets leave me awestruck.

Masami went to visit Enryaku Temple at Mt. Hiei. It is in Shiga Prefecture in Japan, and a train ride north from Osaka where she lives. Mother Nature is doing her thing on the other side of the Pacific and it's breathtaking! Our next trip to Japan will definitely be during Autumn.

November 11, 2008

So Little!

These are so small! WIth edges turned under, they are less than 1.25" at their widest. Chinese silk brocade is the fussiest due to firmness and fraying. Phew, only a few more to do.

Today is Veteran's Day, a day that makes me think, in particular, of our Greatest Generation because of my father's wartime service. I've always loved this photo of my dad, Corporal George Chong, flanked by two members of his B-17 training crew. The blonde on the left was the radio operator and the guy on the right was the co-pilot. Dad was the ball turret gunner -- at 5'3" he was the perfect size for the position under the belly of the plane. This image was taken in May 1945 at Rapid City Army Air Force Base in Iowa. My Dad is adorable.

PS from Dad: "I forgot to mention that a bunch of us old men veterans all over 80 years young are meeting in an Alameda restaurent for lunch. After lunch we plan to visit the aircraft carrier Hornet. We will be able to get on board free by showing some sort of identification that we are veterans of WWII. I will wear a borrowed "Eisenhower" jacket with staff sargent stripes and my Ball turret wings." I'm so proud of him, sigh!

November 10, 2008

Thinking About It

I've been talking over with Tien the number of shows I participate in. By the end of 2008, I will have done seven that I can remember. I even turned down an invitation or two, plus one was cancelled, and there isn't a shortage of events in San Diego. Next year will be different for ABC Rags -- we've decided that I'll do a few less shows. I can spend time doing a few other things, such as finishing incomplete quilts for myself, housewarming pillows for Cliff/Lihn/baby Aaron, a 30th birthday quilt for Brian, new clothes for me, read some books and maybe take on special orders requested by friends. I have enjoyed fiber art swaps with stitchin fingers friends and would like to try some new techniques too. We'll see! All progress will be posted here.

I learned a little something recently about my headaches: a recent study says that migraine sufferers have a 30% lower chance of breast cancer. Here is a link to the article. It's definitely a silver lining.

November 9, 2008

Switching Paths

Yippee, I'm finished with small canvases for now! In three weeks, I've cranked out 43 little stitchworks and it's time to do something different, like mounting them on purse hook hardware. Keep reading though; there's more after these photos.

The fancy threads they have nowadays, wow, they are so much fun. Of course, these came from Needle Nook of La Jolla. I used Flair tubular ribbon for much of my chain stitching. It comes in a zillion colors. Another one, Frosty Rays, has a metallic thread core and it's versatile because I can remove it for use separately. Cool stuff!