Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vegas Vacation ~ Our Way

Last weekend we were in Las Vegas. It was a last minute decision to take a small family vacation. We have so much to do around the house and I thought it would be better to spend the money on the house (backyard, basement, furniture... etc) we weren't going to go anywhere for spring break. Then, another part of me kept thinking about how many more chances we will have to go on a family vacation. I mean... my oldest is going to be 14 this year. If he is leaving home at 18, we will only have 4 summers! By then, they get busy with school, work and social life it will get difficult to go as a whole family. The last 13 and half years went by SO fast, I can only imagine how quickly the next 4 years will go by.

We decided the destination, booked the hotel, and we were off Friday morning.

I love driving through the valley, well, to be specific, I love looking at the amazing views from the passenger seat. Driving the winding road myself makes me nervous. The blue sky, telling jokes to each other, we were having a good time.

There were several memorable moments during our trip. I will list a few.

We were able to visit a couple LDS temples: the St. George Temple and the Las Vegas Temple. We spent time there to visit the visitor center and walked around the beautiful garden.
We went to Mandalay Bay Aquarium. It wasn't a very large aquarium, but we all enjoyed it so much that we were there for easily more than a couple hours.

Next we visited the M & M store. We all got our own combinations of M&Ms to munch on later. My personal favorite was the Raspberry M&M.

One the right hand side corner Rachel is taking pictures with her DS... I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Until I can go to Paris and see the real Eiffel tower, this is the closest I can get.

I took this picture with my phone, and this doesn't do it justice, of the gorgeous flower arrangement at the entrance of the buffet. Vegas is famous for their buffets. Yeah, there are restaurant offering buffets where we live but we had to do a buffet in Vegas. We decided to go to Wynn after reading tons of reviews (eating is serious business for me! I love good food) and it was so good! We have never spent that much eating out as a family in one setting, but this was part of the vacation. Everyone got what they wanted and we were all happy. I went back 4 times and by the time we were done, I had to sit super straight so I wouldn't feel so stuffed. We rolled out of there and went back to our hotel to sleep.

While we were there, we also ate at a sushi restaurant, went to a Japanese Ramen noodle shop (I wish they were in Utah too! They were so good!) visited several different Japanese/Asian super markets and I even went to one thrift shop too!

I wanted to visit at least one quilt store in Vegas. When I googled it, I found a store called "Quiltique" in Henderson. For some reasons I was drown to this store more than the other ones. I am so glad I was able to go, it was one amazing store! Their fabric selection is wonderful, also the staff was very friendly and helpful. Oh! They also had a little "cart" to put fabric bolts in to carry around while you shop. It was very helpful for me since I didn't have to carry around the bolts while trying to look at other things.

I spy with my little eyes... Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner's fabrics!

While I got permission to take some pictures around the store, I was looking in to their class room... I saw something very familiar on the wall. I was thinking to myself :

"Huh, I have seen that quilt somewhere... WAIT! That is my quilt!"

They were offering a class for the quilt "Bubble Up", I designed and published in "Quilts and More" a while back. It was such an unexpected nice surprise; that made me want to go home and start sewing right away.

We don't need to have family vacation to spend time and make memories as a family. Though, it is so nice and fun to get away from the usual routine and do something completely new and share the experience.

We had a lot of fun while we were there, but when we came home at 1 am and hit the pillow to drift off to sleep I was thinking how blessed we are to have each other and have a place to call our home.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Friends who Stitch Together...

My friend and I took a class at a local quilt shop last week. She just had a birthday recently, and I wanted to do give her something unique and fun as a birthday present. When I saw the class information in my inbox, a light bulb went "!!!", I had to book our spot for the class.

I have been sewing for a long time, but I hardly ever take classes. I am a self taught sewer through books and trial and error. To tell you the truth, it is a bit of a hassle to go to another location to sew and I become a bit anxious when I don't know what to expect. Though, I must say the class was so fun and relaxing and I learned quit a bit of things that I didn't know about.

Pine Needle is my most favorite shop around here and the class was taught by the talented Sandra Walkman. We learned how to make English paper pieced coaster and it was such a delightful class! My friend loves to learn new things and taking classes, I knew she would enjoy a gift like this.

This friend of mine is special to me. We have been friends for more than 16 years. I feel like she came into my life when I really needed a friend; I mean a true friend.

I had a great set of friends in Japan, where I was born and raised. Even though my parents moved a lot, I made many great friends in my high school years and I still keep in touch with them. When I went back a couple years ago, they did a mini-reunion for me and got together to catch up a few times within the two weeks I was there.

For a few years after I moved to United States, I really struggled... I missed my family and friends, and I didn't speak English at all. I used to be a very chatty person and love to tell jokes and make others laugh, but I couldn't do that in English. I felt like my true self was locked up somewhere inside of me and I had a very hard time getting to know people and making friends. Usually, well, at least from my own experiences, people aren't that patient with you when you don't speak their language.

My friend and I met, when I was at the point that I could understand most of what people were saying and I could kind of speak English, but I wasn't very confident, also, I was a little afraid to even give it a try. Who would like to make yourself look silly or feel dumb, right? At the time, I was twenty something, but when I speak I felt like I sounded like a toddler.

Because of her kindness I slowly opened up. Eventually, I didn't care if I sounded dumb, English became a tool to communicate with her. She was very patient with me, and if I made mistakes or mispronounced some thing she would teach me in a way that it was very natural. I didn't feel belittled or judged by her at all. Mr. TRH did that for me too, but we girls need friends, don't you think?

She is a pretty private person (no blog) so I won't tell you too much about her, but she has been such a blessing to me. She has been there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on, or to share great news with. I learned so much from her and have tremendous respect for who she is and her values. I hope she feels the same way about me too.

Over the years our lives have changed quite a bit, so we don't see each other as often as we would like to. I feel like we are different in many areas, yet we have so much in common. One of the common threads is "quilt making". I think the saying "Friends who stitch together stick together" is so true. When we sit and chat, while our hands are busy working, I feel like we can start from where we left off.

I think, well at least for me, it is hard to come by such a good friend... I want to make sure that I nourish our friendship so it will last for a long time.

Do you have such a friend? What do you do to nourish that friendship? Let me know if you have special ways of doing so, I think we can all benefit from your experiences. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fabric Blooms Giveaway Winner!

Are you all anxious to find out if you are the lucky winner? Here we go!!

The winner is (drum roll...)

Sailboats and Circle Skirts

Congratulations!! I am so excited for you and I am sure you can create many pretty flowers for your creative adventure. Please email me and let me know your shipping info, so I can pass it along to the publisher. :)

Thank you everyone for entering. Have a nice weekend!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Fabric Blooms ~ Book Review and Giveaway!

Oh I so am excited about today's post! Not only was I given an opportunity to review this new book by Megan Hunt, I can do a giveaway for my readers as well. Before I get to the giveaway details, let me share something about this book with you...

Megan is the voice and creativity behind the popular blog Princess Lasertron. She is a wedding designer (and much more!) and her beautiful works have been featured in leading magazines several times. She has a keen eye for combining colors and I love how all of the flowers in the book are made from common materials.

There are 42 flower projects in the book. That is a lot of different styles of flowers you can learn to make! If you have been reading my blog you know how I love incorporating flowers in to my projects to add character and flair. The book is not just pretty to look at, it is a very useful reference book that you will enjoy for years to come. I totally recommend this book for someone who has been wanting to get their creative juices flowing.

Here is one of my most favorite project Prom Nosegay...

It has a really nice assembly diagram.

* Note: The images are posted with permission from Fabric Blooms © 2014 by Megan Hunt, Lark, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Lark Crafts

Hmm... Dreamy...

So ladies! Are you all dying to see the rest of the beautiful book? Here are the giveaway rules:

1. To enter for the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post. I would love to hear what you would like to use the flowers for!

2. For an extra entry, share this giveaway on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and leave the link in the comment section. (Sorry, without the link, I can't count it as an entry)

3. I will run the giveaway until April 9th and announce the winner on the morning of the 10th. If I don't hear from the winner over the weekend, I will choose a different winner on Monday the 14th. If you are the lucky winner, please send me an email with your shipping info. I will forward that to Lark and they will send you a copy of the book.

Spring is near and what an appropriate giveaway for the season. :) Good luck every one!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hello there!

Well hello there! The last couple of weeks has been really interesting for me... A mix of good and bad. I got sick and had to go to the emergency room a couple weekends ago, that completely threw me off schedule. After that my daughter became sick and missed school for a couple of days. Of course, life goes on even though times like that there were things needing to be taken care of and so forth.

I am ok now and the last couple of days I have been sewing. I am working on projects I won't be able to share for a while (yes, I think it's ok to keep some secrets from my readers every now and then... hehehe). Meanwhile, I wanted to check in to say hi and share a picture of what I found at a dollar store the other day.

Yup, they are ordinary hair clips. I think they are so colorful and fun! I am planning to use them when I am going to bind my quilts.

Where I live we have been having a weather roller coaster. A few days ago was really warm and sunny, and today it snowed! I don't mind rain and snow though, those days I love to cozy up in the house and work on my projects.

Have you been working on anything fun?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Embroidery Hoop Wall Decor

I was given the opportunity to be a part of Home Sewn at Living With Punks. This is the tutorial I am sharing for that. I have been racking my brain for a while on what to make... Then I decided to use one of my growing collections of embroidery hoops. I came up with this;

{You will need} --- this is for 14" diameter embroidery hoop

4 different White fabrics 5 to 7 1/2" x width of the fabric(usually it is 44")
1 - 6"x 6" red fabric
1 - 6"x 6" interfacing or heat and bond
1 - 20" x 20" thin cotton batting
charcoal, dark pink, white thread
14" embroidery hoop
3 different washi tapes

(How to}

1. Cut 9 - 2 1/2" x width of the fabric strips from 4 different white fabrics. Cut them in half in the middle. Now you have 2 groups of 9 fabric strips of 2 1/2" x 22".

2. Take one group of fabric strips and lay them out diagonally from right top to left down. The tip of the strips need to be 1/2" off from each other. Take the first two strips right sides together then sew. Press with an iron. Repeat the process until you are done with all 9 strips.

3. Cut strips. I used the 60 degree line on my sewing mat. Cut off the excess. Then cut 5 - 2 1/2" strips. Those will be your right side strips.

4. lay down the other group of strips from left top to right down. The tip of the strips need to be 1/2" off from each other. Sew the strips together and press with iron. Cut 5 strips with 60 degree angle. I laid down the fabric right side down and used the same 60 degree line. This part might be a little confusing, so make sure that you are not cutting the strips the same as step 3. These strips needs to be a mirror image of step 3. These will be the left side strips.

5. Sew the left and right strips together. Then sew all of them together.

5. Trace a circle with the embroidery hoop. This will be your guide line to design within the circle.

6. Print out the PDF I created for the heart and the words. Fuse the interfacing or heat and bond to the red fabric. Then trace the heart, cut it out.

7. Trace the words onto the white fabric. Pin the heart too.

8. Layer the fabric with thin cotton batting. If you prefer stabilizer instead of batting that is fine too. Pin them together so they won't move around while you are stitching. I was going to embroider by hand, but decided to do free motion stitching on my sewing machine. It goes fast and is actually really fun! Go back and forth a few times to have a thicker look. I also did extra stitches on the word "Happy" with pink thread. Working on the heart was really fun as well, don't worry about making it look perfect, a little bit of an "off" look gives it character.

9. For the hoop, you could leave it as is, or paint it. I decided to have fun with washi-tape.

10. Put the finished fabric in the hoop, and fold the excess fabric in the back and sew it down.

11. Done!

I love reading the positive quotes and signs. They up lift me instantly. Wouldn't it be nice to have a sign like this on your wall for your family to tell them how much they mean to you? Even though my 8 year old daughter pointed out that the sign is grammatically incorrect, she still liked the sign. :)

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial today, head over to Susan's blog Living with Punks. She is running an amazing giveaway until March 31st.

hs giveaway 700 copy

Also, check out her Facebook, twitter and pinterest. There is always something going on there!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tutorial ~ Radiant Orchid Meadow Necklace

I posted about the Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores National Craft Month Campaign in my last post. It is where you can find four types of trends for this Spring on Jo-Ann Spring Inspiration Website and I will choose one theme (or more) and create something fun. After I created the Geometric Two-Layered Skirt I rolled up my sleeves and started working on my second project. The rest of the themes were "Nautical", "Floral", and "Radiant Orchid". I came up with a floral necklace with radiant orchid, so,two birds in one stone? I didn't intended to, but it just happened that way. :)

Joann is offering a $5 off coupon for purchases totaling $25 or more during their National Craft Month, but hurry, it is ending soon!

Now, are you ready to see what I came up with for the themes "floral" & "Radiant Orchid"?

{You will need}* I ended up not using the lace flower on the left hand side, but I used the other items in the picture

Two types of silk flowers --- to have the look in the finished picture you need 1", 1 1/2" and 2" flowers each with dark color. Also you will need Hydrangea in a lighter shade.

One string of coordinated beads string --- it contains several different colors and sizes in one string, so you can create more interesting look without breaking the bank

One string of pearl beads in lilac

2 - buttons

2 - 4 1/2" of chains

2 - Jump rings (these will go to the back)

1 - Lobster (this is a parts that will open and close for you to be able to put the necklace on)

7 - Head pins

6 - Eye pins

Several large split rings (to attach the buttons to the chains). I used 2 but if you want to add more you can

1 - 4" X 8" fabric scrap that would go with

Matching thread, fabric glue, and basic tools for jewelry making

{How to }

1. Prepare the silk flowers. First, take the flowers off the stem. Then, separate all the parts and take the plastic pieces out from both type of flowers.

2. For the three larger flowers, sew a bead in the middle from the bead string. For the hydrangea, layer three flowers together and sew small pearls in the middle. make sure that the larger flower peddle will be at the bottom.

3. Open the Jump rings and add it to the chains. On one of them you need to add Lobster as well and close.

4. Put the eye pins through the beads you are going to attach to the chain. I linked three glass beads together on both sides, then attached them to the chains from step three. Now you have two chains with beads hanging from the bottom.

5. Put the head pins through the beads and pearls and prepare them to attach to the chain in the same way that you did in step 4. I also took one piece of hydrangea folded in 1/4 then sewed it to the chain on both sides.

6. Print out the PDF template to create the backing for the flowers. I sewed the edges with a zig-zag stitches to prevent fraying. you could also use fray check.

7. I used fabric glue to glue on the flowers. Lay them out first to see where exactly you want the flowers to go then start gluing them from larger petal to smaller. Then I started adding hydrangea petals. Set it aside and wait until it is dry.

8. Sew the end of the beads to the fabrics.

Now... it is done!

I am so happy how it turned out. I wore the necklace with an ivory blouse and a smoky lilac cardigan for the picture, but I also have a darker shade tunic that could go with the necklace. I think a blended look can also be nice. :)

How was my craft challenge? I love picking my brain and participating in challenges like this. Thank you Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store for letting me be a part of such an event!

* Disclosure: This review is part of the Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores National Craft Month campaign. I received compensation for this review; however, this is my personal honest opinion based on my experience.
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