Pop! goes the brain.

Ah, vacation – it really is lovely.  This year our family went to visit my sister’s family in Seattle. 


After a couple of days away from the house and the sewing machine, I started to feel my brain relax.


Really.  It actually popped like my ears pop during the plane’s descent – free from the tight wadded up, stressed out ball of neurons it had become.  I slowed down and started looking around.

twin falls trail

I was seeing beauty everywhere – especially on the trail we hiked on our last day.


And this beautifully symmetrical weed-looking-celery-looking-leafy thing?  I can’t explain why I like the shape so much, but I do!

I spent the flight home sketching and taking notes on design ideas.  Then, when we came home, I started focusing on  all the things I had to get done, and I could see myself rapidly returning to the stressed out crafter I was before we left.  Not a good feeling.  So today I shipped off pattern orders and spent time throwing stuff out.  That’s the plan for this week – the last week of summer.

Amazingly, Joanna and I didn’t get a chance to sew together.  With 6 young boys between us I don’t know why I thought we could.  Maybe a sew-along is in order.  :o)  Thanks for a great week, Joanna!

Tagged. Then tagged again. And again. And now feeling very guilty.

Has anyone noticed?  I have tag phobia.  Yep, a fear of being tagged spurred on by the fear of having to post the tags.  Maybe it’s a fear of revealing that besides sewing I don’t do a whole lot else?  But after putting off 3 tags from different people, I’ve been shamed into posting!  

Melanie tagged me for a name meme.  Shannon tagged me for 7 random facts.  My Sew Called Life tagged me for a meme of fours.  Whew!  Put your reading glasses on!   🙂

 L:  L is for little.  Not only am I the youngest in my family, but I was always the shortest. Then just a couple years ago my chiropractor discovered that I’m missing a vertebra.  And not one of the little ones near the top – one of the big ones – T12, to be exact.  I blame my shortness on my missing vertebra.

 I:  I is for indoor soccer.  Hubby has been playing for years.  And after watching the kids play for a few seasons I finally joined a beginner’s co-ed team a couple of weeks ago.  Wow – after that first game I was in incredible pain.  Who knew that 6 years of being relatively sedentary would hurt that much?  Now I know when people say, “Oh you’re active chasing those kids around!” it’s really not true.

N:  N is for NPR.  We download This American Life and Radio Lab and if I’m ever driving around by myself that’s what I listen to.

D: D is for dairy-free.  I don’t drink milk  eat dairy anymore and I feel SO MUCH better.

A:  A is for allergies.  In the last few years I’ve gone from being relatively normal to being unable to wear makeup or use hair products.  If I’m outside for any length of time, I’ll need to shower to wash the pollen out.

My name has 5 letters, so I’m adding two more because 5+2=7 and then I’ll be set for the 7 random things meme, too.  Clever, eh?

6:  I like playing piano.  I’m not any good.  In fact, it takes me months to learn a song, but once I get it it’s nice to be able to just sit down and play.  My latest song is Sleeper’s Awake by Bach.  Very pretty and relaxing.

7:  I sleep on my back.  But not just on my back, I sleep without a pillow under my head.  Then, to keep my head from rolling to one side or the other, which results in a headache, I have a neck pillow on each side of my head.  Yep, my head is wedged in between two flat-sided pillows.  It’s taken me years to figure out how to sleep and now I’m a happy sleeper but hubby says I look funny.  🙂

Four jobs I have had ~

1.  Gymnastics coach to expats living in Taiwan.  50% of my students were Japanese and I was able to teach gymnastics not only in English and Chinese, but also Japanese.  Just for the record, I wasn’t speaking in whole sentences.  🙂

2.  Waitress in a Korean restaurant.  Bi Bim Bop in a hot stone bowl is my favorite Korean dish.

3. School-based Occuational Therapist for kids preschool to highschool.

4. Admissions assistant for the OT department when I was in school.

Four places I’ve lived

1.  Taipei, Taiwan (age 0-17)

2.  Grand Rapids, Michigan

3. Ann Arbor, Michigan

4. Fort Worth, Texas

Four Shows I watch

Not much of a TV girl…  When I need to iron my fabric I can usually find something I don’t mind watching.  As long as it isn’t too scary, racy, or violent.

Four places I have been

1.  The Vatican.  I saw Pope John Paul II when my parents took our family through Europe in the 80s.  He was a tiny little dot of white in front of a sea of people.

2. The Areopagus. This was the place where Paul preached to the Greecian philosophers about the “unknown god”.  Same trip as above.

3.  Singapore.  I took my gymnastics team there for a competition and had a great time.  I was struck by the diversity of cultures that lived so close together.  Singapore would be a neat place to live.

4. Hong Kong.  I haven’t been there since it was turned back over to the PRC.  I wonder if it’s still the same.  I loved walking everywhere because things were so close and realizing when I came home that I’d lost weight without even knowing it.

Favorite things to eat

1.  BiBimBop (see above)

2. Hokkaido Soft Milk Candies I haven’t had these in years.

3. NaiSu bread.  I haven’t had this in years either.  When I was pregnant I would dream about eating this stuff.  It’s like a French pastry that has a rich dry filling.  Can you hear me drooling?

4. Dutch almond banket.  Does it get any bettern than almond paste?  Yum Yum.

Four places I would rather be

I’m pretty happy with my life, but one day it might be nice to live in Asia again.  I really miss it.

Four things I look forward to this year

1. Putting out another pattern or two.

2.  Starting my youngest in Kindergarten.

3. Visiting my sister this summer.

4. Planning a family vacation for later in the year.

 That took a lot of thought.  But it was nice to take a trip down memory lane.  Thanks for tagging me, ladies!  Is there anyone who wants to play along?  Then you’re it!  Let me know if you play so I can come and read!

Tagged/Crafty Combo

So I’ve been tagged for various things lately, and haven’t participated.  I don’t know why.  I never intended this blog to become the show-and-tell blog that it’s turned out to be, but somehow things about me don’t really seem to fit very well.  So here I go – a few things that I haven’t mentioned on my blog before combined with some weird things about me and some craftiness all wrapped into one.

Here is padfolio #4.  #2 ended up in the trash.  #3 looks exactly like #1 minus the business card holder.  But the good news news is that 95% of my Kaffe Fasset prints are gone.  GONE!  I’m feeling better about my stash already. 


So for quilted padfolio #4 above I used polyester batting.  10 years ago I stumbled onto Warm & Natural batting  for my first quilt ever and have never tried polyester.  Until now.  I used some on this padfolio and let me just say, YUCK!  I didn’t like working with it at all.  It looks fine, but the feeling on my hands was just not the same as Warm ‘N Natural.  That’s thing #1.


See the business card in the padfolio pocket?  It’s from my doctor.  Not my PCP, mind you, but my proctologist.  “Your WHAT?” you ask?  Yep, my proctologist.  Hee hee.  None of you really wanted to know that, right?  But I just slipped it in.  Pretty good, eh?  Now if you’ve had 3 children and all the pushing that’s entailed, you can imagine why I might need to see a proctologist.  If you haven’t had kiddos, then consider yourself warned/informed.  I’ve been to a proctologist in the last month – that’s thing #2.

Which leads me to thing #3:  I don’t really have a whole lot to hide.  I talk about some things so freely that I know I make people uncomfortable (see above).  I usually don’t bring it up unless the person I’m talking to opens the door, but I figure if someone had told ME about ‘rhoids, I wouldn’t have been so surprised.  Btw, the banding procedure wasn’t exactly fun, but I am so glad that with modern medicine something can be done. 


This fabric:  it’s English, from Monica in a fabric swap.  It is so pretty and so happy.  I loved working with it.  Thanks, Monica!

And on totally unrelated note, thing #4:  I can’t watch other people kiss passionately or do anything more on TV or in movies.  This didn’t used to be an issue for me, but after I got married, I just didn’t want to look at it anymore.  The sweet, innocent stuff  in movies like this are fine, but I routinely have to close my eyes when watching TV.   And this isn’t hard, since (thing #5 here) I hardly ever just sit on the couch and watch TV.  I’m always doing something, either ironing interfacing on my fabric or cutting something out on the coffee table.

 Sorry folks.  I usually try not to be this wordy in a post.  Words take time and that’s probably why I have a show-and-tell blog.  But consider yourself warned.  If you tag me, there’s no telling how much more honest (and gross!) I might get next time.  😉

104 Things About Me

1. I was a third child.

2. I have three children.

3. All three are boys.

4. I used to feel sorry for women who only had boys.

5. Now I am one of them.

6. I named my boys based on the meanings of their names.

7. My first son’s name means “Honoring God”.

8. My second son’s name means “God saves”.

9. My third son’s name means “Gift of God”.

10. People always ask me if we are going to try for a girl.

11. I don’t really find it a rude question.

12. I always tell them that we are done and my uterus is closed.


13. I have a bachelor’s degree

14. in Physical Education.

15. I have a master’s degree

16. in Occupational Therapy.

17. I went to total of 19 years of schooling (not counting Kindergarten).

18. to work as an occupational therapist for 2 years.

19. Now I’m a Mom.

20. I’ve been a mom for 5 years.


21. I am a Christian.

22. I am a sinner.

23. I hope and pray that my life brings glory to God

24. and that people don’t see all the hypocrisy.


25. I love my hubby.

26. He challenges me to grow rather than let me wallow in my problems.

27. He challenges my faith.

28. We laugh a lot together.

29. He is God’s greatest gift to me.


30. I am half Chinese.

31. I grew up in Taiwan.

32. I am bilingual.

33. I miss living in Asia.

34. I wish my kids could grow up the way that I did.

35. Sometimes I wonder if people make assumptions about me because I am Asian.

36. When people treat me rudely, I wonder if it is because I’m am Asian.

37. When my husband and I got engaged, we were going to different schools.

38. My classmates had not met him before.

39. The first question they asked after we got engaged was, “Is he Chinese?”

40. I think that’s a stupid question.

41. My answer was always the same, “No.  He’s a whitie, like you.”

42. My hubby says it’s things like that that make people uncomfortable around me.

43. I guess I don’t mind that so much.


44. I found out in my twenties that I had high cholesterol.

45. I decided bombarding my body with fiber would be the best thing for my body.

46. I started eating All Bran everyday for breakfast.

47. My cholesterol came down almost 90 points.

48. I still eat All Bran Bran Buds everyday.

49. I eat it with Dannon La Creme vanilla yogurt.

50. It tastes so good this way.

51. After college, I worked for a year as a gymnastics coach

52. in Taiwan.

53. That was a really fun year.

54. Half of my students were Japanese.

55. I learned to coach gymnastics in Japanese.

56. When I coached, I would work out with the kids.

57. That was the most fit I’ve ever been in my life.

58. I had a 6-pack on my stomach.

59. I have come to accept that I will never have a 6-pack again.


60. When I went back to school, I gained some weight.

61. I was paranoid about being fat.

62. I cut my fat intake way down and was hungry all the time.

63. I had issues with food – nothing extreme, though.

64. It wasn’t until I got pregnant and had kids that the issues resolved.

65. I now eat red meat.

66. I drink 2% milk.

67. I’m a much happier eater now.

68. I actually feel full after a meal.

69. and hungry before a meal.


70. My parents were missionaries in Taiwan.

71. I am an American citizen.

72. We spoke English at home and at school.

73. When I came to the US for college people asked me how I spoke English so well.

74. People asked me what my real name was, since my name sounds so American.

75. Those are weird questions.


76. My dad cooked for us when I was growing up.

77. He always packed the fridge and freezer full of stuff.

78. My clean freezer is a reaction to growing up like that.


79. I am missing vertebra in my back.

 80. I am shorter than my siblings.

81. I blame my missing vertebra for my shortness.

82. I have back pain.

83. I get migraines.

84. I have mild rosacea.

85. I have bad allergies.

86. I have painful varicose veins.

87. If I don’t wear good shoes, I have heel pain.

88. When a new doctor used to ask if I was in generally good health, I used to say “yes”.

89. Now, I’m not sure what to say.

90. Physical ailments make me feel old.

91. I have to get up in the middle of the night to go potty.

92. That makes me feel even older.

93. I’m getting more and more gray hairs.

94. That makes me feel even  more old.

95. One perk of getting gray is that my normally flat hair now has more body.


96. I don’t like my nails long.

97. I used to like my nails long.

98. One day after my first son was born, I ate something juicy, licked my fingers and

99. tasted diaper ointment.

100. No more long nails for me.


101. I thought that coming up with a list of things about myself was going to be hard.

102. It really didn’t take me that long.

103. Just 5 months.

104. Just kidding.

Yes, I’m a Black Sharpie Mom

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Has anyone else read this book?  My real-life friend, Angela, lent it to me and since I try to spend every spare moment crafting, it’s taken me a while to find the time to read it.  This afternoon I had a headache that was increasing in intensity so during the kid’s nap/quiet time, I made up some strong coffee and read this book cover to cover.  A fun book that took my mind off of my headache for a while.  It’s nearly 200 pages, but large print, large spaces, and several pictures make it what I would call a quick read.  I’m not a fast reader, but it took me about an hour.  I still have a headache (the coffee didn’t work) but I thought I’d post a quick plug for this fun book.

Edward Tulane is a bunny – a china bunny who is owned by a little girl.  She loves him, but he is selfish and feels no emotion. Through a series of events, he learns to feel.  He feels fear, sadness, and finally, love.  This simple story moved me.  I enjoy writing, and wish I had the ability to write a story like this – full of description and able to pull the reader into the emotions of something as inanimate as a toy bunny.  I’d like to get a copy of this book for myself to read outloud to my kids one day – maybe when they are older – I’m guessing around 8?  To warn the more conservative of you out there, there is a small story within this story that mentions a witch.  And since I’m into editing out things I don’t want my kids to think too much about in their young brains, I might change the word “witch” to “mean old lady” or something like that.  More on my editing antics below.

There’s even a picture that makes me want to get a bunny and make him a shirt by cutting off the toes of a sock and making little arm holes for him.  His pants are made out of handkerchiefs.

So yes, I am a black sharpie mom.  I know from reading other’s blogs that I am not the only one out there.  One example of why I edit books (don’t beat me up about this, please) is from a book that I had growing up.  I recently got it for my kids because I remember really liking this book when I was young.  It’s called Tiki Tiki Tembo and on the first read through with the boys, I was really surprised by the book. I remembered this fun story and when I read it now, all I can see is the favoritism for the oldest son and how it pushes misconceptions about Chinese people. I am half Chinese and speak Mandarin and let me just say that most of the sounds in the boy’s name (Tiki Tiki Tembo No Sa Rembo Cheri Beri Richi Pip Peri Pembo) sound more English than Chinese. *sigh* Needless to say, I went through the book with my black Sharpie and edited. Now, the story is just about a family (not necessarily a Chinese family) and the little boy’s name means “little” instead of “nothing”.


I wrote this post earlier today.  I am very grateful for migraine drugs.  I took one an hour ago and although I’m a bit restless, my migraine is gone.  GONE!  YAY!  Have a good weekend, everyone!

Oh My Itching Back and Stupid Thoughts

I went to the allergist today.  It was long overdue.  After we moved to Texas, I developed some seasonal allergies, then I started having symptoms all year.  I’ve tried soooo many allergy medicines – some knock me out, some make me so alert I can’t sleep, and this last one I was on made me so nauseated I actually thought I might be pregnant!  Yikes! False alarm.

At the allergist I was tested for 64 allergens – whew!  It was soooo hard to keep from scratching my back waiting for the 20-minute timer to go off.  Well, it turns out I am significantly allergic to 34 things including dust mites, cats, and a mix of 31 grasses, weeds, and trees.  THIRTY FOUR!!!  How did I go from having zero allergies to being allergic to 34 in just a few years?  And cats?  I love cats, even though we don’t have one.  (Well, we couldn’t get one because hubby is allergic.)  And now here I am – 7 hours and a Zyrtec later and my back is still all red and itchy.  I had hubby take a picture of it to post here, but it’s just too gross and I’m sure you all would rather not see that!


So as you can tell by now, this isn’t going to be much of a crafty post – mostly just things that have been on my mind.

I’m afraid that homeschooling is going to reveal how stupid I really am.  I have gone to years, I mean, YEARS of schooling and did alright.  Before the kiddos came along, I worked in a school as an occupational therapist, and have felt pretty confident about my abilities to teach our children.  But just last week, I realized that there was something in my son’s Kindergarten lessons that I just didn’t know!  And I’m wondering if I’m the only one…or if anyone has any knowledge on this area that they can share with me.

We brought our little butterfly garden to a friend’s home and got some caterpillars to raise until they became butterflies.  I was a bit nervous after picking them up that I might somehow kill them, but I brought them home anyway, knowing that they would most likely take care of themselves.  I told the boys that it was just like the caterpillar in The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  After a few days, they would make cocoons and then in a few weeks, they’d become butterflies and we could set the free!  Well, here’s where the stupid part comes in.  Apparently these butterflies don’t spin cocoons.  In the span of about 60 seconds, they just sorta mutate into a chrysalis.  We saw one caterpillar’s spines slip off of his body and he immediately looked like a chrysalis.  It’s an amazing thing to see – at least to this city girl.  It’s taken days to deprogram the boys – they are still calling them cocoons.  How could The Very Hungry Caterpillar mislead me like that?

Well, Zyrtec makes me tired so I’m off to bed.  Maybe something creative and crafty will make it’s appearance later in the week.  Em loved her gift last night.  Thank you all for your kind comments. 

A Story of Humiliation


This is the final bag in my order of 3 bags for mother’s day (all for the same mom!). I’m really not good at pairing fabrics together – especially 2 prints so when I came up with this combo, I was so thrilled – this is actually the 4th bag out of this fabric combo – none of which were for me.

Some of you know that I am half Chinese. I grew up in Taiwan, and after college in the US, moved back to Taiwan to be a gymnastics instructor. I taught expat American kids, Chinese kids, and a group of Japanese kids, since there was a Japanese school across from where I coached. Did I mention also that I waited tables at a Korean restaurant in college? I consider myself pretty well exposed to Asian cultures and have often “known” when seeing an Asian person where they are from – Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, etc. So when I came across this test at http://www.alllooksame.com/ I was sure that I would ACE it! I took it last night and scored a 7 out of 18 which means basically that I have NO CLUE. I had my sweet hubby take it as well and he scored a 3 which means that he’s so bad that it’s really difficult to score that poorly. I’m humiliated. I’m so bad at this that this morning, when I woke up and looked in the mirror, I thought for sure that I looked Japanese. I’d love to know how you score!

Crafting Is My Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well, crafting is my apple. It’s what I do to maintain my sanity. There is so much running around involved in taking care of the little guys that live here (my three sweet kiddos – age 4 and under). When I started sewing again a few months ago, I couldn’t believe how satisfying it was – what a void it filled, and now I can’t stop! I am a quilter and a bagaholic – I have made more purses for myself than I’ll be able to use in the foreseeable future and 1 week ago, I bought myself a how-to-knit kit and can’t seem to stop knitting (“Just one more row, boys, then Mommy will start making lunch.”)

Some of my inspiration:

Amy Butler – Her patterns got me started on making bags.  And her fabric is beautiful

Michael Miller Fabrics – fresh, new collections all the time!  Fun stuff!

Two of my favorite stores:

Cabbage Rose Quilting is my favorite store these days – they carry all of Amy’s fabric and patterns, Moda fabric and have a nice yarn section as well

The Fat Quarter Shop carries a nice selection of fabric.  And, they make Jolly Packs.

Let the craft blog begin!