July 29, 2009

You Know It's Bad

You know it's bad when I'm not stitching and posting everyday. Not wanting to be a crybaby-whiner, I've been silent. This non-H1N1 flu is taking a long time to clear. I've got to get back up to speed because the summer Talmadge Art Show is happening very soon!

The final series of rag baskets is finished. I just need a prettier picture of the group than the one you see here. (At least it's a start!)

There is a huge bag of lavender downstairs just waiting to fill vintage Chinese and Japanese silk pillows. That's the next project.

July 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jodie!

Dear Jo, how lucky am I to have such a great relationship with my cousin? There's nothing better than the closeness that comes with knowing each other our whole lives. I hope you are having a wonderful day -- you deserve it.

Above and below are two views of the same rag basket. I was trying to find an excuse to use my new butterfly sequins.

Above and below are also two views of a purple rag basket. There wasn't any purple silk left, so I dug deep into the scrap box where I found plenty that looked beautiful with it.

Above and below are the same rag basket. The top photo is a blunder. I wasn't happy at all with the way this turned out, so I removed all the amethyst, seed beads and Swarovski and tried a new technique which turned out to be a lot of fun.

July 23, 2009

Personally Speaking...

Maybe you know... The ABC-part of my business name, ABC Rags, is an acronym for American-Born Chinese. This is why the following article is of interest to me.

If they were still alive, I'm not sure know how much this California State resolution would mean to my grandparents who endured Federal immigration laws aimed specifically at Chinese. Still, it's a step in the right direction. Here is an article in the LA Times.

July 22, 2009

No Swine Flu Here

The nurse called with results of my H1N1 flu test and it's NEGATIVE! She and the doctor were both surprised, since nearly all the local cases have been positive.

If you have any flu-like symptoms, go to your doctor immediately. They may be able to give you Tamiflu, but only in the first 72 hours of symptoms.

Read about H1N1/swine flu here. TAKE CARE and wash your hands frequently!

July 20, 2009

Sad But True

So much for goals, as this piece is the only thing completed over the last seven days.

July 18, 2009


Please pardon my absence. The flu has had me flat on my back since Tuesday night. During wakefulness, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the blog of Thomas Mahon, a Savile Row tailor. It's a rare blog that captivates me such as this. Now, to find someone who writes about her/his daily life in a couture house.

In four days, this one beaded florette is all I've managed to produce -- very sad indeed!

In the sewing room, Tien replaced my monitor with a larger 23" that has a built-in TV tuner. Now I can watch instant NetFlix period flicks or Turner Classic Movies on the same screen. Removing my old-style TV will give me more space. First, however, I need to be healthy again.

July 15, 2009


Kuanza, my bro-in-law, is back from Shanghai for a few weeks. Being his usual generous self, he brought presents and this is one I esp love, a cinnabar bottle. He picked it up at an open-air market serving locals in Ulan Bator, from a vendor who specialized in snuff bottles. The carvings are clear and crisp, and you know I love nearly anything red.

I've slowed down, maybe coming down with a cold, and rag basket embellishment is taking longer than planned ... or maybe making beaded stars and flowers is fun and I'm taking my time!

July 12, 2009

I Excel at Futzing

I had an entire day to finish all my rag baskets, but managed to spend the majority of hours doing other stuff -- none of which I can account for -- and this left just enough time to complete one. The basket in the background was finished a few days ago and I forgot to photograph it.

In case you'd like to see what the fabric looked like before it was torn into one inch strips... Oh, btw, I cut and sewed the colored circles to make the grapes that embellish these baskets.

July 11, 2009

Hummin' Along

Finishing rag baskets is going smoothly. I might even be done this weekend, then I can begin work on the last series of purse hooks.

July 10, 2009

Front and Back

Both sides of a rag basket...

July 8, 2009

Finished Baskets

Most of the time I'm satisfied with what I've made. Other times the work is nearly perfect, which isn't quite good enough. Do I attempt to rework the piece until it's just right? Or leave it?

I love mixing textures in the same fabric. This came out just right.

The rosebuds are my favorite. The best detail is barely visible at the top edge of the basket, a rose hip.

July 7, 2009


My eye doesn't detect pink in this fabric, but the camera sees it in the lighter tones of the dye... or maybe it's my lighting. The rag basket and the flowers are all from the same piece of silk, there are many gradations of color.

July 6, 2009

Coming Together

This is the part I love, fussing with the flowers, finding just the right placement, and pinning them into place. Beads and other sparkles will be added. Almost all the baskets have flowers now. I'll be working on stems and leaves too. With luck, all rag baskets will be done by week's end (fingers crossed and wishful thinking).

Happy Birthday wishes to Masami in the land of the rising sun! Have a wonderful day, my dear friend.

July 5, 2009

Efy Tal

This beautiful necklace was made by Efy Tal. I met Efy at Old Town Saturday Market in San Diego and I wanted nearly everything she had for sale. I think she's there every weekend. Her work is delicate and feminine. See Efy's website for more gorgeous jewelry or in stores along the West Coast.

July 4, 2009

Tiny Flowers

Another case of my bulletproof handwork: too much Fray Check. It's visible in each flower where it dried stiff, but the green calyx I'll make later will cover it up.

This was my first attempt at little buds. A nice thing about making flowers is, as in nature, they are perfectly imperfect.

Have a safe and happy Independence Day. Happy Birthday, USA!

July 3, 2009

Selvedge Edge Flowers

A few more flowers using the same technique: 7-8" length of selvedge edge, 1/4" wide, fold in half so it's even skinnier, tie 5 overhand knots approximately 1" apart... With upholstery-weight thread, push needle through halfway between knots -- make it like an "M" shape with overhand knots as petals tips... Whip around center and tie off. VoilĂ ! a five-petaled flower!

July 2, 2009

The Details

Maybe no one but me will notice, but I don't care. Details are nice.

Gold threads were cut from the back of a woven obi scrap. Three pieces were tied together, folded in half, then a tiny bead was slipped over the six threads. These are stamen.

Selvedge edges folded in half under the heat of an iron become a five petaled flower.

July 1, 2009

Happy July (already?)

It's officially 1.5 months until my next show and I'm working hard. Unfortunately, I'm working on non-creative stuff (Boss, are you reading this?!), but I still took time for itty bitty flowers from kimono silk.

Right now they're sitting on the edge of the rag basket. Eventually, the baskets will be fully embellished like the first series (click here).