A New Pouch Design ^^

I made two pouches adorned with tiny fabric appliques ... I named this one "Three Houses on a Hill" .. I know; how clever am I??? (sarcastic joke aimed at myself..heh)

and this one is called "A House on a Hill"...hahaha...

I think I'm on a roll...I have another pouch with a cross stitch design done, just need to take pictures and another pouch cut out ready for sewing.  oh yeah, move over China !

Both pouches are now in the shop

SHOP ANNOUNCEMENT : I am having a 20% off month long sale in November.  Please stop by and take a look ^^ thank you ^^

happy day ^*^

A Very Simple Bento Bag Tutorial : The Math

Hello All ~~

I came across a very, very simple drawstring bento bag pattern; thinking it would be a delightful project to share as a tutorial.  However, when the bag was complete, it seemed a bit small, barely fitting my 4.5" square bento box. So I worked on a 'formula' (did I tell you I'm a numbers geek?) to  customize a pattern to fit your bento lunch box. 

The bento lunch bag is a basic drawstring bag but what I like about it is how the bottom is done; a different method from the commonly used boxed corner.


To determine HEIGHT for your pattern
1) Measure height for your bento lunch box =  h"
2) Add drawstring tunnel allowance =  +2.0"
3) Add top and bottom seam allowance = +1.0"
4) Add bottom fold allowance:
     a) Measure the shorter width at the bottom of your box
     b) Divide that measurement by 2 : add to height = +x"
5) Add allowance for extra room at top of bag = +2.25"

To determine WIDTH for your pattern
1) Measure width for your bento lunch box = w"
2) Add allowance for room needed when bag is 'closed' with the drawstring = +5.0"
3) Add allowance for side seams = +1.0"

You see...a numbers geek am I !  :-B   With this formula, making a bag to fit a square or rectangle container shape should be a help.  If you are unsure about the fit, making a test piece is a good thing.

Now for the fun part.  After calculating your measurements; here is how you put the bag together.

STEP 1 :Cut 2 pieces using your pattern measurements (there is no lining or interfacing for this style)

STEP 2 : Finish all edges with an overcast stitch or zigzag or stitch of your choice

STEP 3:  Place fabric pieces right sides together and sew along bottom edges with pressure foot (align pressure foot along edge of fabric and sew OR sew with a 1/4" seam).

STEP 4: Mark the line for the bottom fold : Use the bottom fold allowance you used in calculating the HEIGHT.  IMPORTANT : Measure from the sewing line on the bottom.  Do this on both sides. Repeat for second fabric piece.

STEP 5 :Fold along bottom fold line; with right sides together, press.  Repeat for second fabric piece.  In this step you are forming the base of the bag; similar to doing a boxed corner but with a different method.

STEP 6: Bring the two folds together; creating a valley fold in between the 2 fabric pieces; lightly press fold in place. (see above pic)

STEP 7: Mark 2" from the top for the drawstring tunnel.

STEP 8: Pin sides.  Sew along each side up to the drawstring mark.

STEP 9: To finish drawstring tunnel; fold over 1/4"; press.  Then fold edge to drawstring line to form tunnel; press.  Sew along edge.

STEP 10: Cut 2 cords; 23" in length each.  Pull a cord through each drawstring tunnel. Tie ends.

A couple of notes :

In the 'formula', One Inch is added for the seam allowance although it may be less. Hey, this is a bag so an exact measurement is not needed.  But with the extra allowance you can finish the edges by turning over the raw edges and sewing in place instead of using a cast over stitch or zigzag.

Feel free to adjust the height of the bag so that you can fit a couple of lunch containers in your bag.

Your bag may fit a couple different containers, close in size.  If you don't want to do any calculations here are a couple of sizes for you to have fun with :

To fit a 3.5" (h) x 7.25" (w) bento lunch box :
Pattern Measurement : 10.5" (h) x 13.25"(w), Bottom Fold : 1.75"

To fit either a 2.75" (h) x 5.5" (w) lunch box or 4.5" (h) x 4.5" (w) lunch box
Pattern Measurement : 10.75" (h) x 11.50"(w), Bottom Fold: 2.75"

This pattern is so simple and quick that these bags will make great Christmas gifts! You can use the bag to hold a 'ziploc' container filled with cookies or candies, a scented candle, jars filled with cookie mixes, etc.  The bag can be a lunch bag or a bag to carry electronic devices, jewelry, scrabble pieces, etc.

I added a couple of "hello kitty" bows to add a bit of cuteness

Thank you dear followers for visiting with me and crafting along; I feel privileged to have your company ^*^

Cute Halloweeeeen Cookies

It's funny what one remembers among all the minutes of one's life.  Like so many, food is a trigger to a single point on the clock.  For me, shortbread cookies arouses memories of grade school, rushing to the cafeteria during recess to buy a snack; cookies and juice.  Shortbread was my favorite; the aroma+the texture+a light buttery taste.

I searched and searched for 'that' shortbread.  It could not be any shortbread cookie; it had to be 'that' one.  It was a cookie shared (the best kind!) by a friend that made me happy happy.  Her recipe replaced some of the flour with Rice Flour (mochiko).  The Rice Flour gives the cookie a soft, crumbly texture. This cookie had the right aroma, the right texture, and the right taste...3 RIGHTS makes this cookie recipe ... THAT one.

 How lovely are these?  Not too sweet, not overly buttery, and with a tender texture.  So good.
Since it's Halloween season, I had some fun with these cookies by adding a bit of goofiness using my mini cookie cutter set and blueberry jam to make a jam filled cookie sandwich. Yummy.

droopy eyed ghost
a smiley jack-o-lantern
2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
4 cups flour
1 cup mochiko
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter with sugar.  Add other ingredients (do not over mix).  Form into balls and flatten or roll out 1/4" thick onto a lightly floured surface and cut with a cookie cutter.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for about 20 minutes.

Another option is to bake the cookie dough in a 15" jelly roll pan.  Press dough in pan to about 1/4" thick. Poke dough with fork before placing in oven. Bake for about 20-30 minutes.  Cut while warm. 

NOTE : The cookie should have a faint color to it...not overly brown.  Baking the cookie to just until set will keep the cookie on the tender side; baking it for 5 to 10 minutes longer will add firmness to the cookie.

happy day ^*^

Happy Roofing

Oh what a week!  Our roof is under repair...heavy pounding, nailing, and scraping for hours and days.  And for that little extra irritation, a blaring radio and oh, the loud singing.  But what's to complain about?..a happy worker is a happy roof, I say.

I could not sew.  I was paralyzed by the never-ending din.  Happily I finished one pouch before the clatter and yesterday (Saturday). 

Red Riding Hood Pouch : Greeting Farm Image

Alice in Wonderland Pouch : Greeting Farm Image
The cute fabric is a recent purchase, a Megumi Sakakibara design.  So cute.

The roof work will be completed tomorrow ( fingers crossed).  So no more excuses...on to the sewing room!

happy day (*^-^*)


I have been in a terrible way with the holidays coming.  Sad that I don't have any little ones to create the kind of chaos that makes for lovely memories further in time. 

What is a holiday without kids?  No happy noises.  No laughing.  No jumping and running with excitement. No cute faces looking at you, filled with awe. No nagging ^^  No messy messes ^^  No one to sew a cute costume for.  Oh, I have LOTS of nieces and nephews ... too many I'm afraid.  In the last 8 years or so, my nieces and nephews have been spewing out babies as if in a competition; with one of my nieces birthing her 5th baby just about a month past, now one ahead of her sister with 4 brats (as she lovingly refers to them) of her own.

Kids or no Kids; the holidays bring out the need to create!  ^^  Here are a couple of things made a few years back that I wanted to share with you.

the MUMMY card
This card is a quickie to make.  Start with a letter envelope; cut to size; across the width of the envelope to make a pocket. Wrap the envelope with gauze (check the Halloween section for gauze or the pharmacy section of the store) ; glue at the start and end to hold down the wrap.  Glue on BIG GOOGLY eyes. I inserted a Halloween greeting into the envelope..but I think the little one may be much happier with a candy bar and the larger kids, a gift card perhaps?  ^^  This is also a fun way to decorate a candy bar  ^^

Here's another project...Mr. Cool Hoot; a candy pouch ^^

Click here for pattern (print on 8.5"x11" paper)

  • Different colored felt pieces for the BODY, FELT STRIPS, FACE, EYES/FEET
  • Embroidery Thread for the eyes (optional) I used one set of felt eyes and embroidered the eyes in place but you can you 2 sets of felt eye pieces to complete the eyes instead.
  1. Start with a 6" W x 5 1/4" H felt piece for the body. DO NOT use the pattern to cut the felt into the body shape just yet.
  2. Cut felt strips into 1/2" to 3/4" widths.  Don't worry about the length; any excess will be trimmed as you sew the strips in place. Cut 3 strips to begin with and more as you need.
  3. Mark 2" from the top; this is the stopping point for the felt strips
  4. Draw a center line to help center your felt strips for the body
  5. Lay the triangle on top on the felt piece as in the picture; lining up the tip with the center line; top stitch in place.
  6. Lay one strip down, lining to the center line as shown in the picture. Trim any felt that extends beyond the base of the body.  Top stitch in place. 
  7. Layer another strip down to the opposite side of the triangle piece. Top stitch in place. Trim. 
  8. Repeat this layering until the 2" mark.
  1. Place the body pattern on the felt piece and cut. 
  2. Cut out felt pieces for the face, eyes, feet, and top of head. Embroider eyes (optional)
  3. Sew face, eyes and feet in place
  4. For the owl's back felt piece : CUT IN TWO STEPS...First cut a top piece following the cut line on the pattern; then cut the bottom piece, again following the cut line on the pattern. Lay the pieces to the wrong side of the front piece.  The TWO back pieces should overlap to form the pouch opening to slip the candy into the owl.  Sew front and back pieces together.
  5. Sew top to owl's head. 
  6. Fill with candy, gift card, small toys, crayons....oh, just have fun and make a kid happy! 
happy day ^^

Hello October

Oh Oh...here we are at the starting gates on our race towards Christmas...on the mark, get ready, GO GO GO.  If I don't watch my thinking, I easily fall into a stressful anticipation of what lies ahead between now and December...and for us local folks, NEW YEARS is another day of cooking, cooking, and more cooking. At these times, I hate the holidays...I truly do.  :o(

But as my brother would say, "take it easy".  Yes, my friends, let's enjoy the moment of 'now'.  Yesterday, I did just that, having lunch with a friend then treating myself to a quiet moment sipping a  Matcha Tea Latte with Matcha ice cream; perusing my latest Japanese craft book.  Yes; a quiet moment is good; I think.

Today I'm having lunch with my sister and cousin.  And to be nice; because I am nice ... when I feel in the mood; this morning I made a treat for them .... Mochi with Peanut Butter filling.

Mochi is really popular here; with many of us having Japanese grass roots. I love this recipe; its easy and the mochi is so soft; just the right texture and the peanut butter filling makes this a yummy treat. ^^

If you like sweet and if you like peanut butter, then you will love these ^^
I used a recipe from this youtube video on how to make mochi ice cream.  I really love The Tofu Guru, she has spunk and charisma; and it helps that the video is so well made.

I've made peanut butter mochi before and found it bothersome but the recipe for the mochi and method on the video was so easy. I'll definitely be making mochi ice cream soon. ^^

The Tofu Guru Mochi Ice Cream Recipe (I substituted peanut butter for the ice cream)

To prepare Ice Cream

1 quart of vanilla ice cream or your favorite flavor

Scoop a third or so of the softened ice cream in a bowl and add flavoring of your choice. The Tofu Guru used matcha powder for one batch, red beans for a second batch, and the remaining plain vanilla ice cream as the third batch.

Either return the bowls of ice cream to the freezer or if you have a mini cupcake pan then scoop the ice cream into the cupcake pan and place into the freezer

To prepare the Mochi

Heat 2 cups of water in the microwave.  In a microwave bowl, combine 2 cups of sugar and the 2 cups of water.  Mix until the sugar is melted.

Mix in 2 cups of sweet rice flour (mochiko).  Cover the bowl with clear wrap and microwave for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and being careful again, remove the clear wrap.  Mix the mochi well.  Then cover again and return to the microwave for 5 more minutes (I left it in for 2.5 minutes)
Sweet Rice Flour : Mochiko
Prepare your mochi work surface : Place a couple of pieces of clear wrap on your counter.  Generously dust the surface with Potato Starch (this is similar in look to the sweet rice flour and can be most likely found in the same section of the market) or cornstarch (the dusting helps the mochi from sticking).

Place the mochi on the clear wrap and generously dust with the potato starch or cornstarch.  Using a rolling pin, roll the mochi to about 1/2" thick.

Using a round cookie cutter (3 to 3.25") or cup/bowl, cut circles of mochi (you will not be able to re-roll the mochi as with pie crust or cookie dough so cut efficiently as possible).

Place the frozen ice cream in the center of the circle and pinch the ends of the mochi together.

Eat right away or place in the freezer to enjoy later.

Peanut Butter Version

Place peanut butter in the center of the mochi and pinch the ends of the mochi together.

For this version, I like to add more potato starch to the completed mochi to prevent sticking.  I saw a mochi shop; add the mochi to a large strainer and toss to coat with the potato starch.   So this is how I do it now; assures a more even coating of dusting.

Instead of dusting the outside of the filled mochi with potato starch, you can also use a Kinako (soybean flour) coating. This is how I like to eat my mochi but for today I didn't have any Kinako on hand. 

Mix the following and dust the filled mochi
1/2 cup kinako
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

NOTE : the air will dry out the mochi so it is best to keep it tightly sealed or wrapped in clear wrap

The Mochi with Peanut Butter Filling is packed all pretty-like. My sister is going to love me for this.

Before I sign off, here's a recent project for my etsy shop...A Mini Tote Bag with a hand crochet 'white' rabbit and clock.  The inside lining is an Alice in Wonderland themed fabric.  I used this mini tote tutorial with a small bit of modification; adding the band along the top.

happy day (*^-^*)

A Zakka Style Zipper Pull Pouch Tutorial

Hi All ~ Remember this pouch? I promised a tutorial for you to try if you like.  I modified it a little bit from the method shown in my Japanese craft book.  The lining in the book's how-to was hand sewn...which is okay if you plan to do a couple of pouches but tiring when its the fifth pouch and counting.  So this pouch is done in using the 'traditional' zipper pouch method where the lining is machine sewn to the zipper. 

Okay, ready? ... ^*^

Zakka Sewing Tutorial for A Zipper Pouch with a Tag Pull
  • Main Fabric : 2 pieces 7" h x 9"w
  • Lining Fabric : 2 pieces 7" h x 9" w
  • Interfacing : 2 pieces 7" h x 9" w
  • Zipper : 9" 
Note : You may cut your fabric on the fold if the pattern is non-directional instead of using two pieces. There's no need to adjust the measurements if you do so because, hey this is pouch, no exact measurements required

Use presser foot to sew seams; aligning foot along fabric edge

  • Embellish your pouch at this time if you like
  • Prepare zipper : Measure 1.5" from the metal on the end of the zipper (mark the back side of the zipper)
  • Place zipper face down to right side of main fabric and sew zipper with a zipper foot; repeat for second piece of main fabric : IMPORTANT : Do not sew beyond the 1.5" marker
  • Pin lining to zipper; right side of lining to zipper (the zipper is sandwiched between the main fabric and lining);  Sew over zipper sewing line on main fabric

  • Flip fabric pieces so that the right sides are now facing out; with main fabric + lining on one side of the zipper and main fabric + zipper on the opposite side of the zipper.  Flatten the pouch; lightly press if you like, then top stitch about 1/8" along the edge where the fabric meets the zipper.  You will sew through the main+zipper+lining.
Note : I do my zipper in two steps, first sewing to the main fabric then secondly, sewing to the lining.  If you like, you can sew the zipper to the main and lining in one step : Place zipper right side down to the right side of the main then place in the lining right side down on the zipper; sandwiching the zipper in between the two fabrics; sew.  DON'T sew beyond 1.5" mark.

  • IMPORTANT : Open your zipper part way
  • Pin sides together : right side of Main Fabric to right side of Main Fabric and likewise for lining. Carefully line up the edges by the zipper (top edge); turning bulky seams toward the lining.  
  • For the side where the zipper tag is; fold top seams down and pin
  • Starting at the zipper edge; sew entirely around the main fabric
  •  Now sew around the lining; LEAVE a 2" to 3" gap at the bottom for turning the pouch right side out (If you had cut the fabric on the fold; then leave a gap on one side of the lining)
  • Turn pouch right side out
  • Pull the zipper tag out if it's stuck
  • Hand sew gap under the zipper tag
  • Sew gap in bottom
Note : If you like; sew rounded corners (find your favorite cup or bowl to draw sewing lines onto your pouch; keep the seams in mind) or sew a 2.5" boxed corner

  • Trim the zig zag end of the pouch

  • Cover the end with a piece of fabric, trim, or ribbon
  • Approximate Finished size : 8" wide x 6 3/4" h


It's A Sweet Word

Oh my poor etsy shop is suffering from lack of attention.  I often start a day wanting to sew but the day silently slips away until its time for dinner and WATCHING TV (The Big Bang Theory, NCIS LA, Fringe, Desperate Housewives, Project Runway, Amazing Race, Survivor ....).  Today, lunch with Aunty and Uncle, a trip to Lowe's Hardware to find a piece of nice wood to use as backdrop for my pics, snacking on sour cream banana bread made by Aunty, taking a gazillion pics of things made, some blogging...and now it's 4:36 PM...and here we are...with Saturday silently slipping away. 

My plan is to work on a tutorial tomorrow for that extended zipper pouch I blogged about here. Wish me luck!

Here is a pouch adorned with a crochet design; my recent project.  I used a pattern from one of my Japanese crochet books.  It was difficult at times to figure the pattern out, especially the "w"! My other challenge was the lace zipper; being unsure how to sew it on.   I ended up hand sewing the lining.  A lot of work but I like how sweet the pouch looks.

Have you ever worked with a lace zipper?  Any tips on how to sew it to a pouch? 

I like how the pine wood from Lowe's Hardware works with the natural look of the pouch ^^

 happy day ^^