Annual dose of saltpeter

My favorite part of Chinese New Year, barring time spent with family, are the lion dancers. Or any time really. Whenever I hear the characteristic drumming, I follow the volume like a child led off by the pied piper. They’re just so energetic and happy looking!

Traumatizing children is part of the job

(I was a bit jealous of my sister because she got to be a lion dancer when she was in college. She did tell me that she dreaded parades since she was the head, meaning that she had to be cheerful and acrobatic while lifting a 10-15 pound head for an hour. Yikes.)

Lion noms baby

Anyway, happy year of the dragon!

The dragon is whispering, "Psst. Finish your thesis."


Xin nian kuai le!

新年快樂! Since it’s the year of the dragon, I made this little one:

Dragon with Deathcake

Aw, isn’t she adorable? She’ll get wings eventually, but I haven’t finished them yet since I tired of hand sewing tiny stiches. She’s a more appropriate 中國龍 this way too. I haven’t decided what I would like her to be holding, so I used some Cupcake Royale baby Deathcakes as props.

Tomorrow is the Lunar New Year, though it’s already hit China and one of my friends said it sounds like a warzone with all the exploding firecrackers. The celebrations haven’t really started here though. I went to Seattle’s International District and while there were a lot of people in shops (I waited 45 minutes to buy a BBQ duck! There’s usually never a line!), no real festivities. I did run into a lion dance troupe and they said to come back next week, when they’ll be going around to all the local shops. I suppose it make sense to scare away evil spirits when the new year actually starts since they could sneak back into your establishment in the 12 hours beforehand. So I will head back next week, because I love watching the lion dancers run amok.

If it doesn't stop traffic, it's not going to chase off evil spirits

Running through the produce aisle

Continue reading

Hello Pingu

I finished this girlish penguin just in time for snow flurries in Seattle! It’s for a co-worker’s daughter whose birthday is next week and who loves pink and all things girly. (Eh, nothing wrong with that, she’s going to be 5 years old.) The eyelashes were an invention from my other labmate and I couldn’t resist adding the Hello Kitty-esque bow.
Continue reading

Year of the Dragon preparations

Two things I look forward to in the Year of the Dragon:

1.) Increased availability of dragon-flavored merchandise. That’s right, time to stock up!

2.) Crazy stories about Chinese people trying to do everything they can from January 23, 2012 to February 9, 2013, including having kids. My favorite shock-and-awe stories: parents delaying or inducing births so their kids will be blessed by the dragon year.

I have to admit that I’m not exactly immune to my Chinese heritage (having a dragon offspring would be fun), but that would be unwise. My husband delights in poking at my tendency for Chinese cultural “superstitions,” as he calls them. (Don’t worry, there are things that I mock him for that are rather politically incorrect and probably tasteless as well.) We also debate the degrees of parsimony from our respective backgrounds, but his Scottish blood quails in comparison to Chinese miserliness.

Anyway, I think this red dragon is turning out nicely! I’m using felt and the small pattern from Sew Lolita’s dragon. My stitches are cruder that the ones in the original, but I take consolation in that gives the dragon a nice, handmade mien. However, next time I will use and enlarged pattern with seam allowances because I’d like a large dragon and, man, it takes a long time to sew anything by hand.

(Although, next on my list will probably be a wearable trial of Megan Nielsen’s Darling Ranges dress and a Toothless plush pattern, tutorial developed by Spirit-of-America on Deviant Art.)

Outfoxed cell phone cover


I got a new cell phone over the weekend.  Since all I’ve had before were flip phones*, with the screen protected on the inside, I was worried about scratching it, especially since I keep my cell phone in the same pocket as my keys.  I had recently purchased some awesome “Outfoxed by Lizzy House” fabric on a whim from the local quilting store and this seemed a good chance to use some.  As opposed to me sitting there, staring at my fabric saying, “My precious cute fabric!  I’ll save you for a good project…even though I don’t know what yet.”

*Go ahead and laugh at my old fogey-dom.  While you’re at it, get off my lawn, you darn kids!

Continue reading

Jamie Christina “Abbey” pattern

I was noodling around on the internets and stumbled upon Jamie Christina Designs, an independent sewing pattern designer. One of her patterns is a lovely coat named “Abbey.”

This image belongs to Jamie Christina Designs.

I’m still going ahead with my Alice coat, but I keep meebling at altering pattern pieces from 3 patterns to fit together. The prospect of a pre-made pattern is quite alluring in this case. On the other hand, this coat may be too cute and too mod for my personal style, but I can see three friends/siblings who would look great in “Abbey.”

Oh right, I should be working on my thesis.