My LOL Refashioned Apron & a Mini Bento Box Bag Tutorial

I envy a person who could care less of what other folks think about how she dresses, crafts, keeps her home, occupies her time, wears her hair, how loud she guffaws (HAHAHA).... I'll always take pause when I spot a person with a strong individuality oozing out of her being; a person loving her spirit and being comfortable with one's self.  Me? I easily, too easily, let others dictate my ways; filled with guilt and a victim attitude, ...working hard to cling on to who I am. Take for instance these little words uttered when I wore this apron refashioned from a thrifted little girl's dress....

A Niece : Aunty, WHAT are you WEARING?!!??
Me in My Head :  huh?  Oh oh..now I feel silly wearing it.

.... and that was the last time I wore this apron. Oh well,  I suppose it was a little silly to wear this girly apron since I'm kind of on the older side...but still; with a snip here and a snip there and a stitch here and a stitch there..voila! a pretty apron...sigh. And I do love it. I swear I'll wear it again! ... maybe.

I've had similar remarks from people, who mean no harm...but such words do sting  and move me back a couple of notches each time.  But if you recall from my last post of my 100 things list, on my list is to "strive to protect my spirit from others".  It's hard.  I think I need a mantra or a 'shake it off' phrase to remind my sensitive soul to let the words float up towards the sky and into nothingness  ... What about : "what the hell!" or "what the heck!" or "what the #*#(@!!" or "be all you can be"...hmmm; Dale Carnegie; I'm not.... Any suggestions?

Enough Psych 101...let's sew us a mini bento box bag !

You can never go wrong with Hello Kitty

Materials
Exterior Fabric : 25 1/2" long x 10.5" width
Lining : The lining is optional; if using; cut same size as exterior fabric. More on options below.



Steps
  • Without Lining - Crease all sides by 1/2".  Fold in half to create a 1/4" seam and to hide raw edges. Sew all sides.  The benefit of sewing the bag without the lining is that the bag is "softer" and easier to knot
  • With the Lining - I decided to use a lining knowing I wouldn't be able to sew a tiny fold-over 1/4" seam successfully. To use a lining, lay right sides of the exterior fabric and lining together and sew with a 1/4" seam; leaving a 2" gap for opening (on any side). This is just a bento bag so you don't need to change the dimensions if you choose this option. If you have a serger, you could serge the edges instead.
  • Pull the bag through the gap to turn it right side out. Sew the gap close. 
  • Lightly mark your fabric piece as follows:  Choose one short end of the piece and mark "top" and the opposite end as "bottom".  On the "top", with the right side of the exterior fabric facing you, mark one corner as "left" and the other as right". Likewise for the "bottom" edge.
  • Measure 8 1/2" from top left edge of the bag and mark.  With the right side facing you, take the bottom left end and fold up to the mark; pin.  You should have what looks like a pocket; with the lining facing up. Sew along the left edge only. DO NOT sew the right edge.
  • Note: It doesn't matter which end is top or bottom
  •  Next, sew a 5" boxed corner on the side you just sewed together. (no need to open seams before sewing) DO NOT CUT the excess fabric. The excess fabric will help reinforce the bottom of the bag. This completes one side of the bag.
  • Using the top RIGHT edge; measure 16" along the side and mark. Fold the TOP edge to the mark; pin. Sew along right side.
  •  You will sew another corner but NOT a boxed corner.  Refer to pic below. After sewing corner, do not remove excess fabric.
  •  Turn bag right side out.  That's it...you just finished a kawaii mini bento bag ! 
Let me know of any questions...enjoy.

A Brain Fart

I really enjoyed making this linen tote bag that I posted earlier.  I decided to make another but with a different design but still using a deer motif.  Here's a close up pic. Cute.


Oh, but I ruined the bag. I had a brain fart. I grabbed the wrong interfacing...craft fuse, which makes your sewing project very stiff.  Stiffness is okay, perhaps when using with a cotton fabric to make a structured bag but unfortunately it does not work at all for this linen bag which I wanted to be soft and natural.

I noticed the stiffness when ironing the interfacing to the linen but my lame brain thought it would soften up as I work with the bag.  Another brain fart moment.

See the stiffness and the ugly crinkles? Wrinkles would be good but Crinkles? yuck.


I still want to make another bag but I need to get over this one first.

On another note, my friend is retiring in a couple of weeks.  She shared her bucket list with me...filled with dreams of trips to Japan, China, and Europe and a whole load of craft projects...10 lap quilts, scrapbooks galore, a recipe collection and more. whew. 

I have a list too but I don't call it my bucket list. It's simply 'a list' of 100 things. Yeah crazy me.  I don't treat it like a 'to do' list because hey, a to do list sounds like a lot of work.  My list is centered around FOOD (lots of it),  health, relationships, learning, and giving.

My 100 things to do list :

Silly things...eat a sinful ice cream treat on my birthday, drink Chai at Starbucks, make ice cream sandwiches, fix hem on jeans, drink wine (hah)

Crafty things ... sew a dress or blouse, take a scrapbooking class, volunteer in projects involving crafts, do a crafty blog, teach a craft class

Food things...Find tasty recipes and make: gyoza, pizza dough, bread, rolls, sushi rice, chocolate chip cookie, brownie, pancake

Travel things...Visits to China, Japan, Europe..just travel, period

For the soul things...start a herb garden, laugh more, lighten up,  judge not, love what I do, protect my spirit from others

..there's more.  I check my list every so often to check off things that I did.  If I do I do, if I don't I don't. 

Getting back to my friend...we each made 'favors' for her luncheon.  This was my contribution .. home baked butter mochi cake ( a local favorite) in a container adorned with this cute bird.





..till next time...hugs, kat

Another Giveaway : Hosted by Jaebum Fangirl

Oh I count myself lucky. Here I am just sitting in my corner of the world when the most fabulous folks bump into my blog. Alexa of Jaebum Fangirl is cosponsoring a giveaway with ZAKKA INSPIRED (that's me...oh but you knew that already) on her blog.

She did a really nice intro on my etsy shop and has all the details of the giveaway on her site. Check it out here

What's up for the giveaway you ask? This here darling GIVE PEACE A CHANCE wristlet


A shop update : I will be adding another deer pouch to my shop .. this time with embroidered mushrooms.!...


Oh and please do check out auction for Japan Quake Appeal in my previous post which ends on Saturday and my items in etsy to also help with the Japan recovery. thank you so much. 

An Auction for Japan Quake Appeal


Hi There. . .Jojoebi of Jojoebi Designs, sponsor of an on line auction for Japan, bumped into my blog a few days ago.   I am thankful that the universe led her here, humbled to be a part of her circle, to do more to help our friends in Japan. 

Once on a trip to Japan, we visited the Nara Deer Park where I was quickly encircled by a group of very hungry deers, who were quick to sniff the wafer snacks in my possession.  Being too slow to unwrap the wafers, these darlings bit, pushed, and tugged at me as they grew impatient.  I was literally squealing from fright.  Oh but it was love at first bite. My infatuation with the Japan deers makes them a common motif in my work.

So I decided on offering two of my kawaii embroidered deer pouches for my auction items. I love working with linen because it is like a blank canvas...waiting to be embroidered, cross stitched, appliqued, or whatever one's heart desires to make it all pretty-like.







Oh but I couldn't stop at one deer...





back fabric : lining is with this same fabric


And now for the auction details (this is my first so please be patient if I mess up...fingers crossed)

  1.  Auction is open to all
  2. Auction ends at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 26th (Pacific time).
  3. Leave a comment to this post with your bid amount. Please bid in whole dollars only. The highest bidder on March 26th wins, so keep checking those comments throughout the week to make sure you are not outbid.
  4. Bids are to be made in US dollars.  
  5. Starting bid is $24.00
  6. The winning bidder will be announced and contacted after the auction closes on March 26th.  
  7. IMPORTANT: The winner must donate the amount of their winning bid to Global Giving.
  8. Please send me proof of payment via email : zakkainspired@yahoo.com . Upon receiving proof of your donation, I will happily mail your pouches.
  9. I will cover shipping costs (but will not cover any custom fees if incurred)
  10. The bag will be shipped flat.

This auction is being held in cooperation with Jo at A Bit of This and a Bit of That.  Participants are not affiliated with Global Giving or any other aid organizations, this organization is the chosen method of getting funds safely to Japan.  Thank you for bidding and please see all the other lovely items up for auction or raffle listed on Jo’s blog. 

Japan Tsunami Relief Efforts

Hi All ~~ I decided to join in with other crafters to help Japan Tsunami Recovery Efforts through my etsy shop.  

I spent yesterday sewing these cute Hello Kitty zipper pouches that are now in the shop.  100% of the payment received for the items (excluding shipping and handling costs) will be donated to the recovery efforts through the Red Cross.   I also added one of my Kokeshi Doll Crochet Hook case to the sale.  The items for the recovery efforts are in a separate category listed as "For Japan Tsunami".  Please stop by if you like.  I'll be adding more things along the way. Thank You.









I will also be participating in an online auction in a couple of days with Jojoebi Designs.   More on this effort later.  I have to get back to my sewing machine! 

I Am

..in tears as I read about the devastation in Japan...hearts and hands across the ocean...

Drum Roll Please...The Giveaway Winners are..

Congratulations to Yana and Kerry! 

~~and thanks to all for entering and for you lovely words ~~
When I have moments when I feel it's just me and my blog, I'll read through all your comments again and again for inspiration..thank you all..for I am touched.

P.S. Yana and Kerry ~ can you email me at zakkainspired@yahoo.com? Yana, the email won't go through with the address left in the comments. Don't know why.  Kerry, when I used the email on your blog, I got a funky message about not having an email program. Sorry I don't know how to fix that.  THANKS for helping me out.

Kawaii Linen Bag with Felt Deer Silhouette


Hi All ~  For the past few days I have been working on this linen bag that I simply adore.  I added a felt silhouette of a deer and his friend the blue bird ( my fav theme) which took a bit of time to hand sew. I like 'noise' when I craft so I usually have the TV on to keep me company.  I admit I sometimes spend way too much time surfing the channels instead of focusing on my project.  hmmm...this could explain why it takes me so long to finish anything!


The linen gives the bag its naturalness ... soft and wrinkly.  The strap wraps from the back of the bag to the front and is adorned with a cotton twill tape with sashiko threading.

One thing I struggle with is how much embellishments to add to a project.  I'm leaning towards the KISS principle...where simple is good.  So in making this bag, I held back on adding buttons, stitching, etc. And I'm totally happy with how it came out!  You can find this bag in my www.zakkainspired.etsy.com

...and I had the perfect fabric to make more kawaii rabbit bags...I never tire making these bags...so kawaii neh?..These bags are now in my kodomo: kids etsy shop:  www.happyhappydiy.etsy.com 

pink eyes
blue eyes
 hope you all had a great weekend.!

Happy National Pound Cake Day !


How perfect is this?..today is National Pound Cake day (go figure) and I have a most delicious pound cake to share with you all....


...and this lovely cake was as oh sooo good as it looks!


...the knife gently glided through the cake...so smooth...a hint of how wonderfully rich and dreamy the first slice would be in my mouth




...can you just see all the goodness?..eggs: check, butter: check, sugar: check, cream cheese: check...and a few strawberries thrown to make it all pretty with pink flecks

Cream Cheese Pound Cake from the Smitten Kitchen blog
link here See Smitten Kitchen beautiful pics and full recipe which includes a strawberry coulis

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) Philadelphia brand cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract plus 1/2 teaspoon almond extract or 2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly butter a 10-inch tube pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper. Alternately, you can use a 12-cup bundt pan, and simply butter and flour it.
  2. Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar, increase the speed to high, and beat until light and airy, at least five minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the vanilla, almond, then the flour and salt all at once. Beat just until incorporated.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and shake lightly to even out the top. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, 1 1/4 hours.
  4. Place the pan on a cake rack and cool for 20 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely. Serve at room temperature.
 ..this recipe is a keeper!..enjoy.

...want more delicious-ness ? Drop by with your cup of coffee or tea to visit the sweet as sugar cookies blog

Hinamatsuri Omedetogazaimasu



HAPPY GIRLS' DAY


Hi All ~ Happy Girls' Day!  This is my favorite favorite day! Oh it just happens to be my birthday too..oh yeah...birthday cake..ice cream..fried foods..but no gifts in sight. My stupid hubby can't take a hint when I told him, "I want a new bed frame for my birthday gift".  Here I thought I was being 'practical' ... after all,  I could have asked for a cricut (scrapbooking tool for about $300), a new sewing machine, or a serger.  At this point I think he should get me ALLLLLLLL of the above. stupid man. 

But don't listen to me whine...please please please..do have a GREAT girlie day....

Oh wait, don't close my blog window yet...I wanted to share my little crafty-do in the pic above.  I hand sewed the little sakura flower with some pretty Japanese fabric. It's so delicate. Here's a close up. 


...until next time...hugs