Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Sewing

Well, as I said in this post, I started 2011 with my sewing machine. I made another set of summer outfit for little caterpillar.This is again a refashion project, and of course I forgot to take a before picture. It started with a XL lady top, with 3/4 sleeves. I could just take it in on the sides for myself, but as soon as I held it up against little caterpillar, I knew it was meant for her. I used the sleeves to make the capris, and reused the neckline.Poor girl is having a fever, otherwise I will definitely take pictures of her modeling the new clothes. She looked so cute in it. Even though it's made of tshirt material, it has the japanese fabric feeling to it, because of the color. I made it quite big, hope she can wear it for at least a whole summer. Hmm, maybe even in fall, with a turtleneck underneath. The sleeves are made with the leftover pieces from the old sleeves. I just zigzagged along the edge to add some movement to it. I think it's quite cute.

I also made a couple of toddler shoulder bags for my little girl and our friend's little boy, inspired by Coco Stitch. They carry their favorite little toys or snacks in them. Soooo cute! Here is pictures of the little boy's bag, with a matching bowtie!I have to wait till little caterpillar takes her nap to steal it away and take some pictures. She carries it around all the time.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter Blizzard 2011

This one was big! And it was not those light and fluffy kind, all heavy wet snow. Our area hit the jackpot, got about 24" of snow. Funnnn! Lots of digging, and occasionally some snow fighting. To get the idea of how much is 24" of snow, here are some pictures I snapped after sunset.

Our cars were totally buried. Oops, we forgot to lift the windshield wipers and cover the side mirrors with plastic bags.
Stubborn had to dig a path so he can take the snowblower down there. We don't have a garage, so the poor snowblower has to sit on our porch the whole winter. That's why we cannot buy really expensive equipment. This little guy only can handle up to 8" of snow, so poor Stubborn had to go several round this time.
The bottom of our mailbox is about 4ft above ground, now there is about 12" between it and the snow. After the plowtruck cleaned our street, he piled some of that snow next to our mailbox, so it got buried. We had to work extra 20 minutes to just dig it out.
Our deck chair looks so comfy now, that is if you wear ski outfit sitting in it.
There is about 18" snow on top of our grill and that yellow cart. Some area on the deck got more than 2ft.
See that little dark green thing in the middle of the left edge there? That's some sort of eletric box thingy, about 2ft above ground. Now all buried. That vehicle behind the snow pile is the plow truck. Those babies are not small at all, yet I cannot even see its hood. Do you get the idea now?

OK, enough of this blizzard talking. Doesn't matter how cold and dark outside is, it's always vibrant and colorful in my dining room. It's like a never ending garden show. Here is what's going on inside our house. 3 more orchids bloomed, black jewel, a Cattleya, and my epidendrum.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Love It Or Hate It

This strange song is extremely popular in China now. You can listen to it on YouTube. It just got some performance award from Europe. It was written by the singer's husband, Robert Zollitsch, who has been studying Chinese music for very long time. The singer, Gong Linna, is very famous for singing songs from minority ethnic groups. Here is some information about them. This song has NO lyrics, just several simple characters. Her performance is the combination of all different roles from Peking Opera. Even though personally, I think it's a joke, but from the technical point of view, I have to say she is a great vocalist. Millions of people in China are trying to sing this song, but even the best singers cannot do it. If you listen closely, every single character was sung clearly and smoothly, even at this high speed. I have to admit, I can never sing it, not that I want to sing it. One question lots of people has been wondering is whether she memorized all that nonsense words, or she just randomly put them in when she perform. Can she repeat the song exactly herself?

There is another version of this on YouTube. A young Chinese performer, who is very good at facial expressions, add his interpretation to this song on stage. That one is extremely funny. Even my little caterpillar loved this funny version. She showed no interest in the original one. Will post the link as soon as I find it again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Refashioned Toddler Clothes

So far, I have been doing exactly what I set for 2011's new year resolution. You can say, I started 2011 with my sewing machine. Since last year, I have been more and more interested in wardrobe refashion. Saw so many great projects online and lots of amazing tutorials too. They totally opened my eyes. I attempted my first refashion, and it was quite successful. Then I made this set of black shirt and pants for little caterpillar's Halloween outfit. Not too bad either. This year, I finally gathered enough courage to make some real cloth for our little girl.

This first set is made with just some small scraps. I made the capris quite big, hoping it will last a couple of seasons. I didn't use any patern, I am quite proud of myself. I also cut the fabric for a matching shorts, but didn't find the time to finish it.

Then I made two dresses with t-shirts. The orange tshirt was brand new, but it's one of those hidious promotion tshirts that we would never wear. I always wanted to make little caterpillar a tshirt dress, and this color is perfect for toddler. I have so much leftover, I am thinking about making a matching cardigan for it. But maybe that will be too much orange.
Then I cut up one of the nursing tshirt my friend gave me (I never used it) and made this cutie for my girl. I might need to resew the ruffle around the waist line, it's not perfectly level.
More sewing and refashion projects are coming soon. My sewing table and fabric shelf are such a mess. Well, it's in the basement, nobody can see it.

New England Aquarium

Last time we visited, my camera couldn't catch the quick moving fish or our little girl. But this time, we are prepared. Stubborn got me a brand new Canon 7D with 3 lenses! Well, I have been too busy with the holiday and crafts, so stubborn is the one study it now. So, this time, he set it up for me, I just point and shot. The pictures are much better. Not really amazing yet, we still have a lot to learn. There are more pictures over at my flickr.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Homemade Baby Gifts

How did you start your 2011? Are you sticking to your new year resolution? I sure tried, or should I say, I am still trying. I promised myself to sew more, refashion what we have in the closets and attic, instead of buying new stuffs. Stubborn doubts my skills, but he loves this budget friendly idea. I have been working on some outfits for little caterpillar, but have to wait till the weekend to take proper pictures. So you just have to wait a couple of more days.

Yesterday, I got an email from my lab, there are two more babies coming! Yay! When I had little caterpillar, there were total 4 babies around that time. It was so much fun chatting with co-workers about baby progress and share some laughs. But the other 3 are boys, my little caterpillar will be quite lonely. This time, one of the baby will be a girl! I am actually very excited about this. I could just give them some money, since the lab is collecting money and buying them gifts together. But I thought homemade ones are more special, and it fits my budget friendly plan. I made lots of nursing covers sometimes ago for my shop, but was too busy to list them. So I just grabbed a couple of them from the stash, and some of the burpclothes I made, and quickly finished some bibs that have been in that WIP pile for a long time. Tada! Two sets of homemade baby gifts ready to be hand over. The best part is they didn't cost me a dime! Each set contains a nursing cover, two burpclothes, two bibs, and a drawstring bag. I just know they are going to love them, they are so practical. I used mine all the time! I especially love that little bag, I always carry mine around. It's big enough to hold a small wipe case, a couple of diapers, and a fabric changing mat, and yet small enough to put in your diaper bag. When I take little caterpillar to public bathroom at the mall, while Stubborn watches the stroller and other stuffs, I don't need to carry the whole diaper bag with me. Just hold this little one on my wrist, and off we go. Who wants to bring their diaper bags into those public bathroom, while you probably have some snacks and a bottle or cup in that bag. I think the air in there is dirty and grose, even it looks clean. Maybe it's just me being paranoid. I don't take that chance.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Favorite Garden Moments, Part II

Thought I would continue this post on New Year's Eve, but instead, we spent the long weekend playing with little Caterpillar. Afterall, she is the center of our life now. So, now it's all back to normal schedule, I can finish rounding up my garden adventures for 2010!

In July, some of my daylilies bloomed. I planted different varieties, so they can bloom on different schedule. My purple coneflowers, I started 5 years ago from seeds, still going very strong. As the asiatic lilies all faded, my Nicotiana took over the center stage. Love the star shaped flowers, and they smelled so strong. Even attracted a cute little hummingbird one day. Below the nicotianas, are my balsams, and four o'clock flowers. Even the sprouted potatoes I threw in the garden bloomed. Surprisingly pretty little flowers.In the flower bed faraway from the house, my oriental lilies and daylilies turned on the heat, added such strong colors and strong aroma to the garden. I also got some surprises. Some volunteer cosmos and patunia started blooming as well. Lucky me!Oh, I also got a couple of big surprises. I never dreamed to see my snakeplant and hen-and-chicks blooming, since I totally left them on their own. How I just love these tough plants. And for some reason, I never blogged about my gorgeous tiger lilies. I planted them from seeds, waited 3 years for them to bloom. They only gave me 1 little flowers the year before, but this year, they exploded. Absolutely worth all the waiting.

By early August, my snakeplant put out 4 spikes, tons of delicate little flowers. Two of my jasmines bloomed. My "belle of india", and a new pink one from AK. Look closer, you can see the pink edges.My Encyclia radiata also jointed the show. Its smell is so unique, all the jasmine and nicotiana fragrance couldn't cover it.

In September, all my summer annuals were blooming stadily, perfect background for all the BBQ parties and birthday party. We also took little caterpillar on her first ever vacation at Tanglewood.

October was another very busy month. Now think of it, every day after little caterpillar was born has been super busy, in the very best way. We went to a couple of farms for apple picking and enjoyed autumn colors there. The meantime, all the mums in my garden bloomed. I bought them 5 years ago as small potted ball of color, then planted them in the garden afterward. They thrived in New England climate, and gave me the heaviest blooms you can possibly imagine.

By November, it was already very cold outside. My garden quiet down, plants slowly prepared themselves for winter. But inside our house, the show was just beginning. I took all my potted plants back in, then the orchids started budding and blooming.

In December, as we were getting ready for the holidays, more orchids bloomed. So many lovely flowers in so many colors, I didn't even need to decorate the dining room. (That's where all my plants are)

That's it! Another excellent year for my plants and garden. I am so grateful for all the amazing colors and fragrances they shared with me. And since little caterpillar will be almost 2 this summer, I think it's time to teach her about gardening. I can just see the joy on her face when she see the little beans she planted start sprouting. Cannot wait to teach her how to water plants, pull weeds, and pick strawberries and cherry tomatoes. Oh, I better make her a couple of gardener's helper's aprons. Oh, we are going to have so much fun this year.