Guess what? Its Chinese New Year today!
Its incredible when I think of the fact that last Chinese New Year I was in Singapore/Malaysia with my family and not the least bit with child! So much have happened in the past year.
As I am the only one (within my social circle) who actually celebrate Chinese New Year (CNY), I didn’t bother to do much this year… Hopefully its just this year (when the Bun is still so young) that we don’t do much for CNY. I did, however, just gave myself a foot soak (something simple – hot water with a few drops of jojoba oil, pine essential oil, lavender oil and a splash of lemon juice) and scrub… Setting off the new year with the (fresh and scrubbed) right foot!
Earlier this week I made some pineapple tarts. Because what is CNY without pineapple tarts?!
I made the pineapple jam from canned pineapple. I didn’t bother to glaze the tarts before baking because 1) I think they look fine without; 2) Its an extra step that only serves a visual purpose; 3) the Bun was crying.
I might be making more (jam and tart) today or tomorrow… And maybe some almond cookies? (Its usually peanut cookies for CNY but I have ground almonds in the cupboard but no ground peanuts.)
In the previous post, I promised to show the dress I sewed. And here it is:
A cheongsam styled dress! Very fitting for the occasion eh?
It isn’t exactly perfectly made, but I’m very happy with it!I used a simple woven cotton fabric with little blue flowers printed on, and used a satin bias tape along with 2 frog closures for embellishment.
I did not use any pattern for this.. Instead, I stuffed my wedding cheongsam with cushions and copied the cutting using newspaper, pins, pencil and scissors. Because my wedding cheongsam had been modified to fit my body shape (pre-baby, though) by my mom, who had a lot more experience with sewing than me, I decided I will be way better off using it than a pattern that is unlikely to fit me anyway.
The front detail went the opposite way as the original because… I wasn’t paying attention when sewing and couldn’t be bothered to undo/redo it. :P The frog closures were bought from the local haberdashery. I was pleasantly surprised they have it. In any case, a cheongsam is supposed to have the opening in front (where the front detail is) but most cheongsams these days are made with fake front opening and a zipper either at the back (like I did with this dress) or the side. I’m planning to sew at least one with the real front opening for summer… It is more suitable for breastfeeding!
I’m happy with the fit of the shoulders in this. It accommodates my wider front and smaller back very well.
I had to modify it from the original pattern copied from my wedding cheongsam to accommodate my slightly bigger bust and generally wider torso. The side dart could be a little lower, but the bust dart was surprisingly spot on.
I used an invisible zipper for this dress, but because I do not have the invisible zipper foot for the machine (either that or I don’t know which is the right zipper foot… Husqvarna sewing machines have slightly different looking feets…) I used (what I think is) the normal zipper foot and sewed as close as I can to the coil… Which is a trick that AP taught me! I only realised that I have no idea how to attach an invisible zipper when I was cutting the fabric. Thankfully, AP happened to be visiting with her little one and I asked her advice.
I decided to sew a cheongsam out of the blue because I wanted a nice dress to wear to the Bun’s christening. My wedding cheongsam is nice but it was a tad too formal, being so long and shiny. Also, my hips are still wider than pre-babyso my wedding cheongsam doesn’t fit so well.. yet?
A pic from the christening.
The Bun in his christening gown. I had (hand)sewn on a lining for the lace skirt a week or so prior to his christening.
He was pretty much well behaved during the christening. Here he is, sleeping in his godmother’s arms during the ceremony.
Thankfully, HH prepared the venue and most of the setup. Because I had absolutely no idea (except planning the menu and making the food) what to expect for a christening, as I had never been to one! That said, I think HH did it beautifully. :)
I made a blackforest cake for the Bun, who finally got named at his christening. No one (except the pastor, M and I) knew the name before the ceremony. I had made a chocolate plaque using chocolate beforehand and kept it wrapped up in the fridge until after the ceremony. I made the base using white chocolate and marbled it with a tiny bit of dark chocolate. Then piped his names on the base using dark chocolate. LM is part of his initials and I will probably start calling the Bun “L” here.
HK made one of her gorgeous and impressive sandwich cakes.
I also made some strawberry cream cheese tartlets. I have since miisplaced the tartlet tins! Must have squirreled it away after the christening and then forgotten where I’ve placed it. :S
There were tortilla pinwheel rolls as well as mini pizzas and cinnamon buns that HH have made.
HK made this sweet little donkey toy for L.
All that going-on-s made L tired, but he had no qualms about sleeping anywhere, anytime. :D We think L inherited that ability from me.
And that was the story for the dresses (my cheongsam and L’s christening gown and party)
Next up, the winter coat!
Tadah~ I don’t remember very clearly, but I believe the fabric is a wool(blend?). The coat has 4 toggles, a belt, side pockets, a bit (fuax) fur collar and fur trim at the bottom. After some use, I’m beginning to think I would prefer it without the fur trim at the bottom. Will have think more about it and maybe ask AP’s advice with regards to this!
The pattern I used is this Burda one. They have so many pretty coat patterns, but I wanted one that is very simple with very few pieces and stitch lines because of the faux fur I used to line the coat. I had quite a bit of modifying to do because (as usual) the smallest size is way too big for me. As a result, I don’t like the fit of the armholes very much (newbie + difficult fabric + modifying armholes = Very risky combination!) but it is very functional and very warm.
Also, did you notice the neckline? The original pattern has a round collar with no lapels. I made up the collar and are you as surprised as me that it actually fitted in? It doesn’t lie completely flat but I guess that is as good as it gets in this fabric and my skill level! Sometimes it feels like one of those neck pillows people bring on the plane with them.. Its really puffy! But when it gets cold and the wind starts blowing, I stand it up and wrap a scarf around it. Then my neck is toasty warm!
Here it is in action when M and I were taking a walk with L in the countryside!
The best part is that this winter coat is reversible! I basically made 2 coats and sewed them back to back. The faux fur is great because it is So. Warm. And I really like the natural looking effect of the really dense pile. However, I feel a little like a Shar Pei* wearing this side so I tend to wear it like the first 2 pics. That also means that the soft and cozy faux fur is next to my skin – awesome!
*Not to say Shar Pei-s are not adorable. They are oh-so-cute but on a human adult like me, the effect feels more like this. (Links to a youtube video clip). ;)
Faux fur version in action.
Side-tracking a little.. When we went on the walk that day, we brought along an old sled and did a bit of sledding. It has a seat and is steered by someone standing behind, like this. When M steered, it was all fine. But when it was my turn, we crashed…Sledding down a very gentle slope without any curves. We were generally unharmed but I scraped my knee and tore my stockings! This girl from the tropics still need more work fitting in with Winter!
Back to the winter coat… I used this padded fabric for the sleeves on the faux fur side, instead of faux fur, which I think is a nice idea because then 1) the sleeves are not so bulky; 2) it won’t be too warm; 3) it keeps the faux fur from taking over the whole coat (helps me look less like that giant hamster and more like a Shar Pei. :P)
Close up of the pocket, which is the same style for both faux fur and grey wool side. I love how deep the pockets are and how they blend into the princess shaping. I’m thinking of a Spring/Fall coat some time in the near future. Maybe I will use the same pattern in a different fabric?
The toggles are handsewn. I saw the (ridiculous) price of the assembled toggles at the local haberdashery and almost gave up sewing for good! So I simply bought these toggle buttons, some black elastic, cut some fabric and slowly sewed it in by hand. They blend in a little too well – I would’ve like all that hard work to be a little more visible but maybe this is for the best. :P
I did consider a reversible zipper instead, but I’m not so good with zippers and it will be really difficult finding a reversible zipper in this length here. I like the look of toggles anyway, and this allows some of the faux fur to peek out on the grey wool side!
And that is my (not so) new winter coat!
Not too long ago, A friend of mine invited L, M and I to her little girl’s first birthday party. I wanted to sew a little bib for her (because I discovered that babies drool so much their clothes keeps getting wet! L is currently teething -yes, exceptionally early. We have a foodie in the making, I’m sure of that! – and so I know all about the drool!)… BUT. I forgot we had taken the sewing machine back to have something fixed. So the night before the party, I decided to crochet the pieces together and add a picot and shell edging to it.
So there I was around midnight with L snoozing away in a baby sling plastered to my chest as I swing him left and right while crocheting with the teeny crochet hook (0.45mm).
L usually sleeps much earlier, but that night he was teething (I didn’t know that yet – my friend told us the next day at the party. It was totally unexpected for his age, but when we found out, it all made sense) and so was really cranky. Yep, when it rains, it pours!
I really like the fabric. It is nice and sweet but not too girly. I would’ve done a thicker edge but as it was, I barely finished this project before leaving for the party! (I did manage to wash it and iron it dry before wrapping it up.)
We’ve been having banana cake quite often here these days. It started with some overly ripe bananas and me recalling the fragrant and yummy banana cakes I used to eat from time to time in Singapore. I found a recipe and discovered how easy it was to make banana cake.
L had been growing very well. He had been learning to grab things, though his actions are still very jerky and uncoordinated. He is kicking literally all the time he is awake… Anxious to start crawling around? Whatever the reason, it is fine except that his leg muscles are not very strong yet so when he kicks, the legs drag on the surface of whatever he is lying on. So his legs are really dry on the side, even though we apply lotion at each nappy change and put long pants/stockings on him.
Speaking of nappy changes, we have switched out to reusable diapers. (Thanks for the flushable wipes idea J!) I had ordered reusable diaper cover and they arrived late last week. They are So. Adorable. Seriously! I’m looking forward to Summer when L can crawl around wearing just those diapers and not have them hidden under layers!
And we’re at the end of yet another really long post. If you’re still with me, wow! I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. I have been working on L’s sweater/onesie – want to finish it so he can wear it before he outgrows it! I have knitted socks onto the legs and they are so adorable I can’t wait to show it here! And after that maybe I get to finish the last 5% of my green sweater. It is mostly done but just need a bit at the sleeves and also toggles (yes, I have a thing about toggles…).
After those projects, I might be doing a knitalong with a friend here for a mohair cardigan. Also, will be starting a very exciting project with AP soon! Plenty to look forward to and work on, so stay tuned!