Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Halloween!

oh my goodness. it's been so long since I updated my blog :( I hope you've been great (if anybody's still kindly checking out this blog, haha) and you had a wonderful Halloween.

I was so disappointed I had a cold on the Halloween day and couldn't go around the neighborhood for trick-or-treating. Ugh. I had been thinking about and getting ready for this year's Halloween months before and all it took was a little cold to ruin the fun. 

But I somehow managed to go to a Halloween event held nearby. Little Guy became a tiny (but strong) Popeye this year.
I bought the outfit from Spirit Halloween. The shirt didn't have those iconic yellow buttons so I sew them on. The set came with a sailor hat but Little Guy doesn't like hats so of course he didn't wear it. Isn't he still cute though? :)

I, however, made his spinach can. 
I wasn't thinking about making a tutorial so no step-by-step photos. Sorry. But here's what I did. I used a quaker oats container for the base of the spinach can. I wrapped the container with a sheet of green felt. The felt sheet wasn't long enough to go around the container so it looked a bit patchy in the back but that wasn't too bad. And then I drew some spinach leaves on a piece of green felt, cut them out and glued them on. And finally I stitched the word "spinach" on a piece of white felt and glued that on the green can.
Little Guy was too small to help me with this but I can see that this will be a great Halloween project for older kids. Isn't it fun to collect candy in a spinach can? :)

I've also made my Olive Oyle costume.
I put a piece of felt over the collar of the red shirt and drew a line following the collar line of the shirt. Cut the neckline open then drew the wavy collar freehand on the felt with disappearing ink pen, which I used to cut to make the wavy collar. I taped the yellow line with washi tape on the skirt, but unfortunately this came off while I was walking. I probably should've used a different tape.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day Cards

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day! I was invited to a beautiful Mother's day brunch with in-laws and it was fun. It was some Mother's day that we, two generations of moms and all their sons, could all get together to celebrate.

For MIL, I made this card. Mother's day does not seem to complete without flowers, so I wanted to make a card with lots of flowers and cheerful spring-like tones.

For my mother, though, I ditched the flowers and went for the route 66 theme. Until about a year ago we were living in an area that was related to route 66. My mother, who is a fan of route 66, was so excited to visit us there. During her visit, she helped me get through the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy and the first couple of weeks with the new baby, and held her new grandson for the first time. Lots of precious memories. It was indeed a "sentimental journey".

I love that when you make your own card you can really personalize it. Sometimes words fail to express what I want to say but I can still use other medium to convey my messages.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Koi Fish Cookies for Children's Day

Many of you may be celebrating Cinco de Mayo today, but here at Crafty Mochi's house we're celebrating Children's Day that's held also on May 5th in Japan! As the name suggests, Children's day celebrates children's healthy growth and happiness. Typically koi fish streamers are displayed to celebrate this day, like the ones shown in the wall hanging below. And I made some koi fish cookies too!
I've made these koi fish cookies last year too with only chocolate icing, but this year I decided to make them more colorful. The green icing on the top koi fish uses matcha green tea. Isn't that a beautiful color? 

Little guy can't get enough of these cookies. Last year he was still too small to actually eat cookies (although his eyes were telling me he wanted to eat them. hehe.). What a difference one year can make!

Here's how I made the koi-shaped cookies. It's fairly simple.

Step 1: Make cookie dough following your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Roll out the dough. Cut the excess around the edges and make a rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise and cut also crosswise to make small rectangles. I just eyeballed the size of each rectangle but you can of course measure to make them precise. (I hear bakers tend to be precise. not me lol)
Step 2: Cut off a small triangle from one side of the rectangle piece to make a fish tail. I used my star-shaped cookie cutter to trim off the tail side but you can use a knife too. Don't put away these small triangles just yet (see step 3).
Step 3: Using the triangles cut off from the tail side of the rectangle piece, make a small ball and attach it to the head side of the fish. This will become the fish's eye. I made 2-3 eyes from one triangle piece.
Step 4: Bake according to your recipe's direction. Cool the baked cookies before starting to decorate.

Step 5: Now the decoration time!
Place a drop of your icing onto the center of the eye and write a "W" on the body. Pretty easy!
You can also spread clear or white icing over the fish and decorate with sprinkles too, like the third koi fish on the first photo. I used coloring pens for the second fish. I love the convenience of these pens! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WIP Wednesday #8

If you've been following my WIP Wednesday topics, you'd remember that I was working on some girl's dress. Unfortunately, however, after I finished almost everything and the dress came off the needles, it didn't look quite as pretty as I imagined. I don't know if it was because of my yarn choice or the size but it looked too wide. Maybe I measured my gauge wrong. It's a shame because the pattern itself is really cute. I wish it worked out for me.

So I changed my mind and decided to make a hat for the intended recipient.

Actually for her and her mom (who is actually a friend of mine).
I chose Lace-leaf Hat by Sophy Ting. It's a free download from Ravelry (thank you Sophy!). The hat is pretty fun to knit and quick to knit up. I've already finished up the adult version that will go to my friend. And I'm more than happy with the result. That's the white one in the photo. I can't wait to finish up the purple version for her daughter. It'd be really really cute. I know we won't need knitted hats in the coming seasons but by the time I'm ready to ship everything, we'll probably be longing for colder days again (hehe) and my friend and her daughter will appreciate cozy hats, I think. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy 3rd Anniversary Mochi!

As of yesterday, Mochi's been with us for three years.
I actually feel it's been forever since we met her. It doesn't feel like it's only been three years. That's probably because she's so essential to our life now.
And because she acts like she owns our house. And everything (yes, everything) in our house hehe.
Thank you, Mochi, for bringing us joy everyday. I know you've been stressed out a little bit by our one-year-old little monster, but I hope we'll be able to happily play together sometime soon. Here's to many more years of fun together! :)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Baby girl card and Birthday card

I actually made this card a couple of months ago. A good friend of mine from high school had her second baby girl and I included this card in the gift package I sent her. At first I was thinking of a completely different design. I usually draw a very simple draft on a piece of paper to sort out what kind of cards I want to make (which probably is only readable by me haha). My first draft shows that I was thinking of an image where there's laundry hanging under those heart-shaped rain drops.

However, when I was searching for a pattern paper that would fit for this design, these duckies caught my eyes and I couldn't resist! So I scrapped my initial design and this is how it ended up. I even had to change the color scheme. This particular friend loves girly things and her baby is a girl so I wanted to use pink or red. But neither of the colors didn't look cute with these duckies so I chose this lime green paper as a background. 

I love the planning stage of my card making process, but sometimes it's nice to see a surprise result, especially if it is cute like this. 
I used this Friskars cloud squeeze punch for the clouds. I love this punch. It's so versatile. I actually used it to make my valentine's card I wrote about the other day too. "X-Large" is a bit misleading imho, though.

The second card I show you today is a birthday card.
I definitely wanted to use flower prints for this card. Among a few I had, I picked this one because I liked its vintage and feminine feeling. I paired dark brown card stock with it and finished with the mint color band and pearly stickers. I love the light blue/mint and brown color combo.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday #7

It took me more than a month to reach this point but I finally finished the body of this Meredith dress. I'm now working on the final lace pattern on the bottom of the dress.
If you have a keen eye on colors, you'll notice the color changes around the 1/4 of the body from the bottom. This is because I used yarns from different dye lots. Agh. I did it again. I bought these two skeins of yarn on different occasions believing they would be the same color. The colors are actually not very noticeable while knitting, but they become apparent under a bright light and especially in photos. At least the change in color looks like a design feature (or not).

Monday, February 17, 2014

oh-so-sweet Valentine's card, cupcakes and Mochi

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's day, whether you have a partner or not. I used to celebrate the Valentine's day with single friends when I was a single too, hehe. I'd also think cuddling with your furry friends would make a lovely Valentine's day too.

theme: Just like the plants need rains to grow, rainy days actually help one's relationship strong
and of course, chocolate & candy because it's Valentine's day

Mochi trying to steal my Valentine's day tulips lol

I love tulips. I think roses are pretty but I love tulips more.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WIP Wednesday #6

When I started this WIP Wednesday theme back in November, I wrote that I was working on a Meredith dress for my friend's daughter. Sadly, this project has been neglected because I had other projects I wanted to finish by certain times. Well, I'm happy to report that I can finally get around to work on this dress and have been making some progress. Now I've finished the yoke, the lace pattern of which was pretty fun to knit, and am onto the body. This is going to be one beautiful dress!

I'm using Bernat Softee Baby in Mint color. The needles are US 5 (3.75mm) to achieve the suggested gauge. This is going to be a 4-5 years old size.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kimono Sweater Finished!

Having cast on in early November last year, I finally finished LO's baby sachiko kimono sweater. I started to get worried that I wouldn't be able to finish before the winter ends, so I made this project my priority. I'm so glad I finished it because 1) LO wouldn't be able to fit into this next year and 2) this winter is super extra cold!!

Instead of making the ties with yarn, I used a bias tape. I used a 1/2" wide bias tape, made two 10.5" long ones, sewn the open side and attached to the bottom of the slants. I'm not a fan of the look of knitted/crocheted ties. Fabric ones look cleaner and neater, imho.

Having said that, I used crochet ties inside of the sweater. I found that the bias tape tie would've been too bulky.
Rather than leaving the sides open as in the original pattern, I sewn the seams as you can see from the above photo. I love the sweater. It looks warm and comfy. And I think it looks great on Little Guy too :)
(yeah. Modern babies know how to use apps already)

Yarn used: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, Lime & Almond
Needles: 5mm
Gauge 4 sts per inch
Size modification
I wanted to make this a 24 month old size but the pattern goes only up to 18 month, so I made the following modification.
Cast on 52 stitches. For the front, started to decrease when the piece measures 5" to 18 sts. The total length is 11.5". In retrospect, I might have wanted to make it half an inch longer.
I made the sleeves as the 18 month old size, except I added 2 rows at the beginning.

Right now he's only 14 month old, who was as tall as 18 month old at the 12 month checkup. So I'm not perfectly sure if this measurements will fit actual 24 month old children but it looks just the right size for him - not too big but seems to last till spring.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Toy Box

We bought this chest so our little guy can store his toys. It's so cute to see him taking toys in and out :)
But of course, before he was able to use it, somebody had to claim it.
"Whaaat? Are you going to use this to store toys? What a waste of space!"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday #5 starting a wavy blanket

My kimono sweater now just needs to be stitched up, and I needed a more or less mindless project to work on while watching downton abbey (don't you just love that show?), so I've started this "wavy stripes beach blanket" from a Crochet Today! magazine. The original pattern is for a full size blanket but since I wanted to make this for LO, I'm making only 12 wavy repeats (as opposed to 15). I'm just using red heart super saver from my stash that was meant to make amigurumis and cat blankets. I hope there's enough to make a blanket. I might run out the sky blue but we'll see.

Actually there's some story behind making a wavy blanket. My husband's late-grandmother was an avid crocheter (so I was told) and made this beautiful wavy blanket with different hues of blue for him. It's for a king size bed so you can see how much time she spent on the blanket. I was so impressed and fascinated that I wanted to continue this "wavy blanket tradition" in our family. So I've made myself a wavy throw. And now our little one needs one too! I could've used the same pattern but thought a little change wouldn't hurt. I hope this will become his "blankie" and he'll cherish it for a long time :)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy 2014!

I hope the new year's been treating you well so far. The weather hasn't been great here, more snow on the way (oh I hope those of you who are affected by the snow storms are ok!). But I've been enjoying the feeling of starting anew. I feel like everything is possible. Well I'm gonna make everything possible! :)

New Year's celebrations center around counting down on the new year's eve to the new year's day (and possibly being hungover in the morning, hahaha) in western countries. In Japan, however, they consist of reflecting the year that's going to pass on the eve and celebrating a fresh new start on the first 3 days of the new year with families, relatives and friends. THREE days! (And if weekends are included, it'll be five days this year)

We may not have been able to enjoy long holidays like that, but we celebrated our new year's in Japanese style.

It's a Japanese tradition to eat noodles called toshikoshi soba on new year's eve. This year, though, our son is still avoiding buckwheat (it's a high allergy food) so we instead had udon noodles (although I doubt this was real udon).
I served the noodles in tsukimi style (literally means viewing the moon) with egg, mochi rice cake, shiitake mushrooms and green onions in kelp dashi soup. It's called tsukimi probably because the egg looks like the moon.

I found a great tutorial on how to make dashi soup with kelp (kombu) here by the way.
We also had vegan "duck" I found at a local Chinese grocery store. I just fried it but it tasted pretty good. I served it with hot sauce and lettuce to make lettuce wraps. yum.

And here's our Japanese style new year's meal.
On the top is mashed sweet potato called kinton, vegetable stew called chikuzen-ni, and tempura. The bottom right is zoni soup and the bottom left is agar. The traditional Japanese new year's meal is called osechi which includes several kinds of food. I just made two of those this year. I tried something different and threw in some apple in my mashed sweet potato, which turned out great. Our son couldn't have enough of it :) Kinton represents money. Hope this will bring some good luck in our finance this year!

I made the agar cake in white and red because the combination of the colors red and white is thought to be celebratory in Japan. I used milk for the white and cherry juice for the red. I got some of these ideas from Japanese cooking sites.

I hope you all have a successful year in your chosen field, whatever you do. I'll continue to share more handmade fun so hope you'll stick around!