Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

S & M and sewing

April 6th, 2015

As I mentioned in the previous blog, I committed to sewing Olivia curtains for her room, because she asked me to. I'm not a great seamstress, but I can do straight lines (somewhat!)


One Saturday, my friend Kalei came over, so I asked her to help me with the curtains. She is about as undomesticated as they come (What's the opposite of that? Feral?) so she did the following whenever I asked for help:

-Take photos

-Need to respond to a text

-Need to post something work-related on Facebook

-Laugh at me

All this, while I slave over the sewing machine.


Probably the funniest moment was when she said she couldn't help me because she had to look up the number for a sado masochist.

If needing to find a bondage professional has never come up in your casual conversations, this is how it sounds:

Me: "Can you hold the other end of this material so it doesn't move?"

Kalei: "Hang on. I just need to find the number for a dominatrix for an interview." <two text alert ringtones later> "Shoot. She can't go on air. Who was that other dominatrix? Think, think."

I should clarify, Kalei is a media person. The angle here was a tie-in to the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon.


So it goes on like this for many minutes and I, being a liberal media person as well, am also not fazed by the topic. It's just another conversation in my crazy household.

We debate why a professional dominatrix would not want to go on air to advertise her business (I mean, if this is her living, right?), we brainstorm other leads for S&M services, we discuss the attractiveness of the subject matter in general.

I have a lot of contacts in my address book but because I'm a news person, a lot of them are politicians, agency directors, and business executives. She's in music radio, so her sphere of influence is, well - alternative.

"You would make a good dominatrix," she muses. "You're bossy."


FYI this is purely conjecture. S&M is not in my life experiences. Not that there's anything wrong with it!

This, because I've bossed her around (or tried to) all morning with the curtain sewing. She's one of my best friends and so it's easy to slip into the familiar / command form.

Like, thanks? I've never thought about that before?

She continued on. Continued! This is so bizzare! "I also can't see you as the subject. You're too strong willed. You'd be like, 'No. I don't feel like doing that. I'm not going to.'"

Truth be told, she's probably right. That sounds exactly like my personality. Bossy Chinese lady. Spun for political correctness: Confident career professional!

Here's what bossy Chinese lady did accomplish, though, while non-domesticated friend found a zillion ways to not have to help: I whipped up that set of curtains.

Custom curtains

March 27th, 2015

Olivia said she's tired of her green walls and asked me to paint her room pink. I said no.

It took me three years to paint the chalkboard wall. She might get pink walls by graduation. By then her favorite color will be blue.

I told her the next biggest thing we could do the change the room would be to change the curtains. She has drapes that are 80 inches long, so it practically takes up the wall.

She was excited, so I brought her to the fabric store to pick out material. In my mind, I envisioned super cute tokidoki curtains. Maybe, for variety, three different backgrounds but all fitting the same character theme. (Sanrio set me up well to become a fan of tokidoki.)

I remember when I was a child, my tastes ran so counter to what the adults liked. When I crafted with my mother and aunts (which was constant), I always thought their suggestions for my projects were so boring. Now, I'm that boring adult.

The first thing she asked for in the store was a fuzzy rug material that was neon green and fluorescent pink. <?!?> For curtains?? No.

Also, knowing that she changes her mind every other week, I told her it would have to be fabric on a budget. I gave her a price limit of $4 a yard, though I ended up giving in and letting her go up to $6 a yard.

To my amusement/ horror, she wanted three different materials for the three separate curtain panels. Olivia has always been really colorful so it wasn't a total surprise, but none of her materials match. I pointed that out, but she didn't care.

Then, the project gets more elaborate. She saw the notions section with all the sequins, ribbon roses, and lace, and asked me to embellish the curtains.

The chosen fabrics and notions.

The chosen fabrics and notions.

"Honey, this is rather complicated for Mommy. I'm not the best seamstress. I'm a desk worker," I pushed back.

"But! You ARE THE BEST seamstress! You made me that skirt! Please?" she said sincerely.

And visions of Super Mommy danced in my head. I acquiesced. "OK. Pick out the decorations."


I walked out of the store having spent double the money and committing to double the work.


Two weeks later, I finally finished the curtains. Naturally, it took even longer than I thought because half the notions needed to be hand sewn.

Hand sewn ribbon roses and sequins.

Hand sewn ribbon roses and sequins.


Good grief. If I was more experienced I could have realized that in the store and rejected it.

They are pretty cute, though when taken as a collective, so mismatched!

Making marble magnets with kids

March 13th, 2015

I'm always looking for a fun kid-friendly craft. If it's too difficult, Olivia will end up losing interest and making me do it, so these cute little marble magnets were a good choice.


Often, we play weekends by ear, partly because we are so tired during the work week that we can't think that far ahead. Other times, though, we wait to see if the neighborhood kids are out and about, or if some adult will wake up Saturday with the energy to call another adult to schedule a playdate.

Failing all that, Ben Franklin Crafts Hawaii is on my regular list of fallback activities.

So here's what I bought:

Flat Marbles
Flat Disc Magnets
E-6000 Glue
Really cute craft paper with hearts and words on it (you could just use pretty pictures from a magazine)


You'll also need a scissors and some newspaper to work on in case you drip glue.

There's more than one way to do this, but this was what I did - considering I had two impatient seven-year-olds to oversee.

Find the desired section of the paper and glue the flat side of the gem onto it. Let dry. Cut the marble off the paper. This will probably not look perfect, but if you're doing this for fun, it won't matter. Use E-6000 to glue magnet to back of glass gem. Allow to dry. Attach to any metal surface and enjoy!


You could absolutely buy these, pre-made, for less at the store, but think of the ten whole minutes of fun you have just bought yourself. Until they start bickering over who has the glue or who is hoarding the prettier paper.

Chalkboard paint

February 23rd, 2015

When you walk into my house, there is absolutely no question a child lives there. Other than the fact that most of the time, Olivia's toys are scattered throughout all the common areas and several rooms and bathrooms, we now have a big chalkboard painted on the wall at the entrance.


It's something I've seen on restaurants, offices, and stores, and have been meaning to do... for three years. I got the can of paint immediately after hatching this brilliant idea. It just took me some 1,000 days to crack it open. Ha!

Meya and Olivia breaking in the new chalkboard.

Meya and Olivia breaking in the new chalkboard.

It happened one weekend when my friend Kalei came to visit and then got bored sitting around. Kalei is Type A, needs constant motion, but hates the outdoors.

"Do you want to do some craft project? We can go down to Ben Franklin and find something to make," I suggested.

"Crafts? No!" she rejected.

"Do you want to walk or hike?" I offered.

"No!" she said.

"Do you want to go to the beach or pool?" I said because I was getting desperate.

"Diane. Do you even know me?" she asked.

Then I remembered about the chalkboard wall. "Do you want to help me paint my entrance way with chalkboard paint?" I asked.

Kalei got excited, and that became our afternoon project. Claus supervised and mixed up the paint while we cleaned, taped, sanded, and painted the wall. We thought perhaps he assigned himself the good job as supervisor. I'm grateful to Kalei because if it wasn't for her, I know that we never would have done this.


I felt kind of guilty because Olivia would want to paint with us, but I've learned as a mom that my energy and time is unpredictable, so I have to strike while the iron is hot.

Olivia was out with the babysitter, so I texted the sitter: "The foyer paint is wet. Don't tell Olivia we did this without her. Tell her the Paint Fairy came."

Two coats later, it was done, and it works like a charm. It was covered with chalk drawings within five minutes of me declaring it dry and peeling the tape off.

I thought our family could use it as a little message board (one that doesn't get covered up with clutter or blown away in the breeze) but I see it's found a primary home as an art surface. And that works, too!

Chinese New Year's bottles

February 18th, 2015

For Chinese New Year, Olivia and I made our friends bottles. We bought teensy little bottles, colored sand, twine, and shells at the craft store and made it at home.


It is the perfect project for a seven year old. I don't know about your kids, but mine loses patience and interest very quickly with any kind of detail work, so something that requires just mixing together a few simple ingredients is perfect.


I sometimes bead, so I happened to have little blown-glass sheep charms that I could wire wrap and attach to the outside of the bottle like a charm. This is the part where Olivia abandoned me to do all that tedious work.

Olivia enjoyed putting it together, though I was amused watching her as she started playing with the sand. I gave her a funnel to pour the sand into the bottle, and she experimented all kinds of ways with putting the funnel upside down, or filling the funnel all the way up and stopping and starting the flow of the sand into the bottle. Kid stuff - funny. Table was a little messy after, of course.

My bottle!

My bottle! My charm is a slipper.

The last step involved cutting out little strips of paper. The intention is that you write your new year's wishes on the paper, roll it up, put it in the bottle, and let it serve as a reminder to you all year long to achieve it. Kind of a Western version of a daruma doll.

I got excited about this craft project, so in addition to making mine, I asked Claus if he wanted one. He quickly answered no. Clutter and girly charms are not his thing. Then, Olivia decided she wanted to make one for Daddy, and he was all in. Cute.

So I've got my beautifully decorated new year's bottle, and I'm super excited about the Chinese New Year. 2015 so far has been fantastic, and I have high hopes it will continue through the Asian calendar!

Happy Chinese New Year!