Tuesday, March 30, 2010


My creative husband who was born and raised in San Francisco has been on a hunt for quality vintage replica of the City's trolley route signs.  But to no avail.  They were either reproduced poorly or sold outrageously expensive ($1,000 range!)  
The idea of recreating his own was within reach but time-consuming.  With his workplace sponsoring a fundraising effort for Haiti Relief, he took on the challenge and intricately reproduced the bus route sign he took as a young boy.
He individually designed each type to match the original artwork.  He's a perfectionist and cannot tolerate bad typography. 
After laboring many hours, it was ready to be printed on high quality canvas.
After the ink has completely dried, he crumpled the beautiful 26.5x66" piece of art for an authentic look!  Ugh...I couldn't stand it being beaten up.   
I was hired to punch the holes.  Not the most exciting job, but someone's gotta do it.  And it has to be almost precise.  
He sold one piece at his work's Haiti Relief Fundraising, and brought one home to donate to another auction.  But before giving it up, it hung very nicely in our living room's bay window especially when the light shone through it.  That's how it would've been if it was up on a scroll in a bus or trolley back in the days.
I personally enjoyed it most because I was home more.  But like all things, this came to pass.  It was time to give it up for my son's school's fundraising event.  He's planning to reproduce a couple more of the same design, and will work on another bus route sign.
If you're interested in getting an original vintage replica, he's making them available for sale.  Just let us know.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


"The horse is God's gift to mankind." ~Arabian Proverb
SR loves horses.  She would own one if she's allowed to keep them.  So you can say that her horse t-shirts are one of her valuable possessions.  She has several of them and most of them are getting shorter but not tighter.  

To salvage one, I cut off the lower part of the shirt saving the main image (of course!).
I took one of her dad's old gray t-shirt (shhhh, don't tell him...), gathered it before adding it on.
The shirt is a little loose after sewing it together so I added elastic in the back (not pictured).
Here's a baby doll shirt that should last, hopefully, for a couple more years.
"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children."  ~Charles R. Swindoll, The Strong Family


"A baby is God's opinion that life should go on." ~Carl Sandburg
Here's a cute little tutu for a baby girl who was born a month early. I think it'll fit her just right by now.  This pink & white rose patterned fabric were scraps from a receiving blanket I made for someone who turned 13 years old this year. Yes, I kept them. I told you, I'm a pack-rat.  

I cut a long piece of the fabric and sewed the lace trim (which I already have in my batch) to its hem. 
Then I gathered one side and attached it to the onesie.
Made a little rosette with a cute little button.
Tada!  I could've added an applique and some trimmings on the arm and neckline.  Next time.  It's pretty easy, once you have everything.  Check out the link where I got my simplified version.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.” ~Abraham Lincoln 

"You're so tall!" A comment my kids are used to hearing but not necessarily endearing (esp. to my eldest).
"Yes, I am." Standing even taller.
"You should play basketball, be a model, be this, be that."
Big sigh...

Well, I've accepted the fact that my kids will always be very tall and long (for Asians anyway, and for their age =.) We have no qualms with that.  The only problem is that they grow out of their shirts/pants faster (lengthwise) and it's difficult to find outfits that fit them just right.  It's either too short or too loose.  Plus it gets expensive.

For a quick solution (time-permitting, of course) is, you guessed it, refashioning!

For instance, TC loves her Blue Marlin shirts but the sleeves and the waist were getting too short.  To revive it, I took one of her old shirts...

Cut off the sleeves and the waistline area...
 And added onto one of her Blue Marlin shirts.
Sewed on the sleeves, embellished with buttons, left a hole on each sleeve for the thumbs (to serve as "gauntlets" on cold days). 
I completed it by sewing up the bottom part together.
Voila...a newly "refashioned" shirt that fits!
She wore this the next day for her PE's iceskating day.  It kept her hands nice and warm.  It's an easy, fun and economical project to make but you have to know exactly what you want and have all your needed materials ready to go.  Otherwise, it can be time-consuming trying to figure out what to do.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Adventures of Tintin

Have you ever read any of Herge's Tintin books?  DSL is a big fan of the young Belgian reporter. He's always borrowing them from the library.  
Les Aventures de Tintin is a series of comic strips created by the Belgian artist, Georges Rémi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name of Hergé.  I learned of him when I did a short-term mission work in a French camp near the Alps for a whole summer.  A group of young Bostonian kids came to volunteer for a week and on their time offs, they will go to a local bookstore to buy Tintin books.  I ended up getting my own copy of Le Lotus Bleu, in French no less.
And I bought now-hubby a souvenir shirt.  After more than 20 years, the shirt is still around, somewhere.  Until I found it all tattered up.  I guess I couldn't throw it away.  It's priceless (that means it cost me a lot of Francs to buy that shirt.)
The graphics are still intact.  So, I originally planned on cutting it up to apply it on one of DSL's t-shirt.  But I thought of a scarf, too.
"Make it into a scarf.  I will always grow out of a t-shirt and then you have to cut it up again and again. But not a scarf," were his remarkable comments.  So scarf it was.
I cut up some old t-shirts to add on to the main piece for one side.  T-shirt materials are flimsy and not very warm all by itself.  So I used fleece for the other side.  Just cut one long piece.
More cutting.  This time strips of t-shirt scraps. I sewed them on each end of the scarf. He didn't want fringes--too "girly" for a rambunctious boy.
Added the original label for some authenticity =.)
Et VOILA! Une écharpe pour mon garçon! Ready to wear, esp. during this rainy cold season.
He was so pleased with it, he was showing it off to his classmates and his teachers the very next day.  The only thing I need to do is to embroider his name in.  Just in case!
I'm sure you have some old sentimental t-shirts you or your kids would just love to refashion into a scarf or re-apply on another t-shirt.  What are you waiting for?  Go make one, it's so easy.  And don't forget to share with me what you made.  

And oh, read the book at your own risk.
As the French say, "Couture heureuse."
(Freddie, Kandee, Irwin: Si vous lisez mon français, sentez-vous libre pour le corriger =.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"L" is for Letter-writing

The word that is heard perishes, 
but the letter that is written remains. ~Proverb

What do you do with those old wall calendars, old magazines, scrapbook paper with really nice images, or just plain nice quality paper.  Well, here's one way to revive them. Make envelopes. 
Just open up any used envelope for a template.  Trace and cut away.
You can bring this project anywhere...while waiting in the car or at any sports practices/events. Before you know it, you have a dozen made.  Just enough to have a stationery set to give as gifts.
To go with the envelopes, TC did a calligraphy for one of her dearest friends' birthday with her initial, "L".
She scanned and we resized to fit 2-up on an 8.5x11 cardstock.
Final touch: tie the cards and the envelopes together with ribbons from my recycled stack.
Black lace looked very elegant, don't you think?
And off it went to Lee-Anna for her birthday whom TC regularly corresponds via letter (a lost art).
What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can't reread a phone call. 
~Liz Carpenter

I'd love to get a letter from you.
See the artist's portfolio HERE.