Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Giveaway Results: 2 Handmade Bags

So....using the random number generator at we have a winner for my first-ever giveaway....

And the winner is.......
(drum roll please)

Congratulations! Please email me with your mailing address so I can send you your prize!

Everyone else, thanks for participating and keep an eye out for more free giveaways coming your way!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Laminate Me!

Ever since I served my stint as a kindergarten teacher back in 1999 in San Francisco, I have had a fascination with laminating machines.
The smell of that plastic melting makes me want to laminate anything in sight.....original drawings can become a placemat, dried flowers can become a placemat, unwanted hair can become a placemat...the world becomes my proverbial placemat oyster.
So when I saw one on sale at Lakeshore, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take one home with me.
Then I hit a laminating funk. It had been over 10 years since I last smelled that sweet, sweet smell. The question was: what should I laminate? Peter's drawings were all accounted for, either hung to our clothesline in the breakfast nook or nestled in picture frames.
I decided instead to use this as an opportunity to get organized. I wish I had a before picture to show you what a disaster our playroom shelf space was like. Here's a photo of our empty shelf from IKEA.
Now, picture it with a million toys just shoved into each square with no rhyme or reason.
I decided to divvy up the toys by category, name them, and take a digital photo of each. Once I had the photos printed, I glued them to the name of category and laminated away.
"Eew, what's that smell?" came out of at least two mouths. Unlike me, they were not seduced by the melting plastic.
After cutting each sheet and using a binder clip to affix to collapsible bins with handles, our room was finally organized!
The best part about this system is that not only does it keep the clutter to a minimum, but because of the pictures, the kids know exactly where the toys are that they want to play with and where to put them back when they are done. Even Doodle-Bop (as his brother calls him), who is only 16 months old, will stand in front of the bins studying which one he wants to pull out and play with.
The only question left is.....what will I laminate next??

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Golden Beet Salad

I've started a new label titled "from market to table."

One of my favorite weekend activities is perusing out local farmer's market looking for food that inspires. The farmer's market has become a family affair and it helps that the kids get to stuff their faces with free, fresh samples. We make it our goal to find the most bizarre, interesting looking foods and figure out what to do with them (today it was Chinese long beans and this is what we decided to do with them before eating them.)

Apologies to those who came over for the Chinese long bean stir-fry. I assure you he keeps his hair very clean.....on most days.

After we shop and nibble, there's a great play structure and water feature to tire the boys out.

Today, I brought home some gorgous golden beets and decided to make a salad for lunch.

Assemble: boiled beets, avocado, walnuts, goat cheese with a citrus vineagrette (fresh-squeezed orange juice, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar and garlic.)

Almost too pretty to eat......almost.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

First Give-Away: repeat zipper pouches!!


This is my first official give away!

Two, machine washable, reusable zip bags made (by yours truly) out of fabric from repeat. Their fabrics are TO DIE FOR!! All hand-printed on eco-friendly material. Check them out!

They both measure around 7 x 5 1/2 inches and can be used for a variety of purposes: snack bags, jewelry storage, crayon holder, change purse...... the possibilities are endless!

The fabric is a feast for the eyes (not so much the sewing) but that's okay!

You can win these three different ways:

1. Add a comment to this or any other post on my blog.

2. Become a follower of this blog.

3. Add a link from your blog to mine (i.e. you can mention the free giveaway in your own blog with a link to my blog - if you do this, please be sure and let me know you've done so in the comments box.)

Each different method counts as one entry in the giveaway raffle. Do all three and up your chances to win! I will mail these to the winner.

All entries must be received by the end of the day on Tuesday, July 27th.....good luck!

I will randomly select a lucky winner on Wednesday, July 28th.

Please be advised that these bags will not be flawless. (it only adds to their charm.)

If you don't win, don't be sad. Instead, make your own, similar snack bags with my tutorial here.

Interview: Very Purple Person

I have been ooing and aaahing at Very Purple Person’s blog for quite some time time now. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Novita Estiti, the woman behind the blog. Not only are the clothes she makes unique and vibrant, but her blog is refreshingly candid and lends itself to a vulnerability and openness that makes this reader intrigued to see what she’s been up to. Aside from her amazing clothing creations, we also get glimpses into her life in Japan, her growing career and her creative expression.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Novita Estiti, and I'm originally from Indonesia. I've been living in Tokyo, Japan for the past two years with my wonderful husband and our happy son. I used to work as a fashion editor/stylist in Jakarta, Indonesia, but since living in Tokyo, I became a stay-at-home mom. I always love fashion and handmade activities, and now that I have time for myself, I began to make things for me and my little family. Since then, I almost never buy clothes anymore! Here I am in Tokyo, and I don't go around shopping clothes. That makes me so happy!

(Check out some of the incredible clothes that Novita has made)

I began my site as a blog journal of my projects and I'm happy that people find inspirations from what I do. I always crave for making stuff, that was my reason for opening a little online shop, so I can have more reason to satisfy my cravings!

Where does the name very purple person come from?

Unfortunately the story is not that interesting. Several years ago, Ineeded to make an email account, and I chose the name 'purpleperson' because I like the color purple and I'm, um, a person. But the namewas taken, so I used 'verypurpleperson' instead. The funny thing is, most people seem to think that Iintentionally created the nickname to present some kind of image. Well, it's just for practical reason, really.

Besides sewing fabulous things, what else do you do?

Not much actually, hahaha. I like spending time in front of my computer, browsing stuff or maybe tweaking around my site a little bit. Basically I just love doing things with computer. We have three computers in the house and sometimes I talk to my husband who is sitting besides me over the messenger! I can draw, edit photos or movie clips, sorting files on folders, updating stuff, changing the wallpaper, etc. Have I told you that I love doing things with computer? I even love clicking on the recycle bin icon and listening to the crumple sound afterwards!

(Her version of this dress inspired me to make this)

Have you always been artistic?

I really don't know. I was always interested in fashion and visual stuff, but I didn't do much of anything until I finished high school. I didn't even know that I could draw or sew until then.

(These reversible bags can be completed in about two hours. The tutorial is clear and simple. Click here.)

What is your creative process like?

I see pretty fabric, I buy it. Then I sit around for a while, and start cutting the fabric. Because if I don't do it right away, I will loose interest on the fabric. I often improvise in the middle of the project, sometimes because I have a new idea, sometimes because I think it will be easier. I have tried to be prepared with plans and ideas months or days ahead of the project, but it's just not fun.

My projects are mostly easy and fast, ones that can be finished in one day. I got bored rather easily if I need more than one day to do a project. Most of the time, they end up being put aside the next day and I don't touch them again until months after that. I know it's not a good thing and I try to change that because I want to make more complicated stuff. I also try to slow down and take time when doing something, but it is hard. I want it finished quick!

(Look at these fabric button necklaces!! Click here for Novita's tutorial.)

How do you find the time to be creative?

After my son goes to school and my husband leaves to the office, I have lots of time for myself. I don't like watching television or hanging outside the house, so that pretty much leaves me with quite some time to fill.

From where do you get your inspiration?

I like to look at things, I browse a lot of pretty sites, and I like to look at people on the street, noticing the little details on their clothes and appearance. I like to go to museum and gallery and I love Japanese fashion magazines. So I guess my inspiration comes from people and things that I see around me.

(Room shoes. So comfy cozy!)

In what ways has your location inspired your work?

I live in Japan, surrounded by so many resources and pretty things that can be easily reached, those are the most important things that the location has to do with my work. In the place I've lived before, there might be lots of beautiful fabrics too, but I had to make more effort in order to get them. But here, I can order stuff from internet and had them sent to my door. As I don't really enjoy going shopping, this is really convenient to me.

(These tissue pouches make a great gift - I made them for all four of my son's teachers - and they're a great way to use up scrap material. Click here for tutorial.)

What advice would you give to a wannabe crafter like myself?

I think if you want to make something, just make it. Don't worry whether you're a crafter or not, I don't even know whether I'm a crafter. Well, I want to be a crafter too! I guess the most important thing is that you're having fun with it. Being labeled as crafter doesn't do anything with the final work itself.

(I'm still optomistic that a tutorial will emerge for this amazing Bubble Dress)

Where can we find your work?

I post about my projects on my site Sometimes I make tutorials and simple patterns, I hope that I can make more of them! I also have an online shop at where I list my handmade stuff, at this moment I have my floral collection specially for small and petite woman like myself (I'm selfish like that!).

Any upcoming projects we should know about?

I'm working on my contribution for the Burdastyle Book (, which will be released sometime in 2011. For this book, I will make an interpretation of a never-been-release pattern, which then will be modeled and photographed for the book. I'm very excited and nervous at the same time!

I'm still holding out hope that Novita will one day make her clothes in a size 6 so that i can buy them! In the meantime, follow her blog!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just a Spoon Full of Flower

I have recently discovered a designer wannabe's dream come true, Spoonflower.

This is a website devoted to the people who think their designs should be seen on threads.

Let me be clear that I am not one of these people.

However, I will do what I can to reap the benefits of those more gifted than I in the designing textiles department.

So here's how it works:

Designing types can upload their patterns and Spoonflower will print it onto the fabric of your choice. Pretty freakin cool, right?

It gets better.

We (I'm speaking for myself here), the non-designy types, can browse through thousands of these designs and order them on our fabric of choice. I have to admit, some of the designs are god-awful, I mean, shockingly so. But, a lot of it is really good! And some even look suspiciously like popular patterns that are seen in more designer-type crafting stores.

See below for examples of patterns you can get on Spoonflower.

(yellow rings on yellow stars , blueberry large , green summer flowers , green in stereo ,elephants in Green)

Draftsmen and women, this site is for you......and for the rest of us? We just get to sit back and peruse the designs of all of the talented (and not so talented) designers out there waiting to be discovered.

Check it out!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Icee You!

To all you naysayers (and there were at least two of you) who scoffed at my patriotic snow cone idea......suck it! (no, literally, I mean, suck on the multicolored ice that is my 4th of July snow cone.)

This 4th of July consisted of rounds of Smash ball on the beach, way too much food and general lounging.

But back to the snowcone....

After finding this snow cone maker, I forced my family (and a few friends) to brainstorm various ways that we could concoct a patriotic snow cone.

We settled on juicing out own fruit, strawberries for the red color and blueberries for blue, but they came out a bit purple.

Then we put the snow cone maker to the test!

Perfect shaved ice! (Yes, that is a bottle of Belvedere on the kitchen counter. The grown ups received a different but equally refreshing version of the snow cone.)

We added the colors and voila!

Okay, so the blueberry juice looked more brown than blue. I tried to locate a country with a red, white and brown flag, but no such flag exists.

The kids loved them.

And so did the grown ups!