A new dress made for SF trip

Last month, my husband and I put the doggies in boarding, and took a weekend trip to San Francisco for a friend’s wedding. We both grew up in the Bay Area (Cupertino!) so going back to norcal is always a treat for us.


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I bought this fabric from Fabric.com about 2 years ago. I’m not sure, but I wanted to turn it into a dress ever since I bought the fabric. But procrastination got the best of me–I even finished tracing and adjusting the pattern in the previous week before actually sitting down to sew.

 

 

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I love the brightness of yellow, and big bold print.

 

 

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Candy and Bagel doing better!

Back in March, Candy and Bagel had a big fight and Candy got hurt badly. This was her 4th time getting hurt by Bagel’s sudden lashing out, and we just didn’t know what else to do.

Bagel is a very calm, submissive dog. He never barks, never pulls on our walks, he gets walked 3 times a day, given plenty of training and games, along with treats. He never jumps on our bed or mess with our stuff. The only things that we have to be careful about is leaving out trash (he loves going through the trash).

But Bagel is very protective of his food. Never from us, we can do whatever we want with his bowl or him when he’s eating and he stays calm. But when another dog approaches him too eagerly, or comes to sniff his food, he snaps. It’s never a long fight; always very brief, and he snaps.

We tried 2 different trainers and both basically said the same thing. It’s his personality, and he is otherwise a very well trained dog. We can try to desensitize him but trying to make him socialize with strange-dogs is like putting an extremely shy kid on a stage in front of a large crowd and tell him to sing.

The good thing is that Candy is never afraid of him. She was a bit scared of him after her first fight with him, but she is a very dominant Chihuahua. She got over it after a few days and she’s ok with him. We’re very thankful that 99% of the time, They are good together.

These were taken throughout 2 days. I would like to think that my hand crochet rug is bringing them closer.

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Knitting: Nourishment for my soul

If you haven’t noticed already, this is my knitting blog — I talk about my work, my trips, and life in general, but this is mostly for my knitwear designs and other things I create.

Knitting is how I nourish my soul. When I picked up knitting again in 2007, I was looking for something fun, something I can focus on, besides school. In a way, my stressful law school days made me crave something cozy and fluffly and colorful.

When I first got published in 2011, I started seeing knitting in a different light. It was no longer just a hobby. It was love! Deep down, I knew that I would never feel alive without my knitting.

Why do I knit? you ask. After all, the world is literally littered with cheap, affordable clothing and accessories.

But handmade clothes are different.

Whenever practically possible, I use natural fibers and the possibilities are endless — any combination of: cotton, shetland, merino, cashmere, qiviut, yak, bamboo, banana, seaweed, silk… Even when I create things for children or activewear, I choose materials of high quality and NOT made in China (or any other countries with a long history of deliberately violating human rights and consumer protection laws). This is why I make a point to tell my customers where my yarn is made from on my Etsy shop, even though the U.S. law only requires me to note “Made in USA with Imported Materials.”

It’s the least I could do as a small, indie designer. Someday, I would love to scout for a mill myself and go right to the source.

Knowing that what I’m wearing is as cruelty free as possible, makes my heart sing with joy every time I walk into my closet.

Some old-fashion things never go out of style. Books will still be loved by book lovers; newspaper will still be there even though we do get news from online sources; hand-written cards will always have that special touch that emails can’t replace. In fact, my theory is, the more technologically advanced the human race becomes, the more we will crave ‘the natural way’ Handmade/handknit clothing are the same way. A piece of us ache for the warmth and uniqueness of the threads a human being stitched on carefully and expertly.

Vancouver recap

Vancouver!

My husband and I traveled to Vancouver, BC for his birthday! We had so much fun, and doggies, especially Candy, had a marvelous time themselves at their boarding places.

<Day 1>
Headed for the John Wayne airport by 5am for our 7:30am flight. Got on the plane and then was held up at the gate for 2 hours due to a mechanical problem which turned out to be nothing. Missed our connecting flight by 3 minutes because the SFO gate agent closed the door earlier. Was on Standby for the next flight and luckily got on it.
Arrived in Vancouver. Vancouver Airport was probably the most beautiful airport I have ever seen. There were waterfalls, totem poles, and trees. Took the Canada Line Skytrain to Downtown Vancouver. We stayed at the Sutton Place Hotel on Burrard street but didn’t want to change station so we got off at the City Centre (note: Marty and I kept making fool out of ourselves saying “hey they spelled ____ wrong!”) and just walked over to the hotel via Robson.

The rest of the day was a smooth sailing. The very first thing we did was to get a hot dog at the Japadog stand, which was RIGHT in front of our hotel. Literally, same block. It was amazing. (NOTE: during this trip, I decided to try eating gluten again. I took Pepcid AC religiously to control any kind of stomach symptoms I might get. Other than some bloating issue and exhaustion, I didn’t feel sick! But yes, now I’m fully back on gluten free mode again).

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We found some great restaurants on Robson, walked to the Pacific Centre shopping mall and looked around, took some pictures of the scenery, bought some snacks at London Drugs, then walked over to the west sideof the Robson for some Asian food.

We were originallly looking for Benkei Ramen but I guess it’s gone now because we couldn’t find it. Instead, we found Dinesty Chinese Restaurant, which from the outside reminded us of Din Tai Fung in Taiwan. We weren’t disappointed. Well, I was–because I realized how much fun I have been missing out, having to be on a gluten free diet! :D

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We were pretty exhausted after dinner so we just walked back to the hotel and immediately fell asleep. I for one had an amazing night of sleep, I slept through the night, and woke up aroung 6:30am without the alarm.

 

<Day 2>
We woke up pretty early around 6:30, slowly got ready for a day of fun. We decided to stay at the West Side of the city, and check out Granville Island.

After we got coffee at Cafe Artiggiano, we got some chocolate cake and liquid chocolate at Thierry’s, then we walked on Burrard and Hornby towards the Island, took the Aquabus to the Grandville Island ($5.50 per person for a roundtrip).

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We looked aroundn the Public Market, then slowly walked over to the Kitsilano Beach area which was a beautiful walk! We passed by the Marine Museum, and took so many photos there. It was a relaxing walk and seeing so many dogs around the beach neighborhood made us miss Candy & Bagel. But we knew they were being taken care of–Bagel is loved by everyone at the animal hospital and we know that Candy was having an awesome time at the Bone Adventure because we were watching her on the webcam every few hours. :D

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We walked around the Kits Beach neighborhood, then walked back to the Island. We had lunch at Go Fish. I got 2 cods & chips, while Marty tried their Oyster Poboy. The ordering was pretty quick but the wait for the food was about 30~40 minutes. But it was worth the wait! Totally recommend that place if anyone is going to hang out near the Grandville Island.

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The Island itself was fun too–we looked at so many cool arts and crafts, I even bought some silk rovings from the Silk Weaving Studio.

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We came back to the hotel and got dinner at Sushi Mart and a Belgian waffle at Nero on Robson (Again, this area on Robson had so many good Asian food choices).

Marty fell asleep around 10, but I stayed up until 1AM to work on my lace shawl. Totally failed to finish it on the trip, but will be available soon! :D

<Day 3>:
We woke up again around 7 am. The plan was to check out Chinatown and Gastown, and Yaletown. We took the train to the Science Centre-Main Street station (The Skytrain doesn’t stop there anymore; you have to take Train2Main or something like that). I thought we were gonna walk on Main all the way to Chinatown from there, but Marty just wanted to take pictures of the Pacific Centre Station. So we walked around there for 5 minutes, then took the same train back to Waterfront.

We had our morning coffee at Revolver in Gastown, walked to Sun Yat-Sen Garden, looked around there, walked through Chinatown and randomly walked into the busiest Chinese food cafe called “Newtown” to get some buns, egg tart, and sesame ball. DELISH! I think the food here is better than in LA. Food in LA, even at really good restaurants, food tastes “cheap” compared to food in Vancouver. The LA food tastes like Costco food!!!

Then we walked back to Gastown, stopped at a restaurant called Tuc, and got some beautiful waffles with blueberries and cream cheese. Marty got a Lamb & Egg skillet which he said was great.

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So this is how crazy Vancouver food is. When Marty has good food, he says “it’s not bad,” tilts his head to one side and nods a couple times. During our past 7 years together, Marty only had GREAT food maybe 10 times total. When he has really great food, he would first close his eyes then breathes in deeply as if he just had a heart attack. On this trip, he did that twice. Once at Dinesty, and then again at Tuc. At other places, he still said the food was really good. Never once he has said, “not bad” and nodded twice.DSC05087

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We walked back to the Waterfront Station and decided to walk to Stanley Park. We overestimated our fitness level and underestimated the size of this “PARK” because everything else in Vancouver was so close. We barely made it to the Totem Pole, turned around for “The Girl in Wet Suit” or something, took the pedestrian trail back to the info center. FAIL.

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But on the way back from Stanley Park back to the hotel was a great one. The weather was perfect and the cherry blossom trees were everywhere. This was exactly why we took the trip to Vancouver, and were worried about the bad weather but it was perfect all 2.5 days!

It has been a week since we got back and we’re still talking about how great the food was and how much we wanna visit again (a bit of honesty here, we actually looked into moving there!).

Candy + Bagel is now live!

Candy + Bagel is now live!

02/17/2014

After months of planning, Candy + Bagel is now live! 

I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, or whether this was a good idea, but I just know that if I don’t do this now, I’ll regret it forever!

When I turned 29 last November, my resolution was to thoroughly enjoy my last year as a 20-something.

One of the things I wanted to do in my 20s was to own my own business, and share my passion with other people who have been so supportive. 

Handknitting/hand spinning may seem antiquated and almost insane in the 21st century, but like all good things in life, I believe thoughtfully-made clothes and accessories never go out of fashion. If you have ever tried on clothes someone else made by hand, just for you, you know that special feeling. Like you have been wrapped into a warm hug. 

That’s the feeling I want to capture in everything I make for Candy & Bagel shop. That love I feel when I hold Candy and Bagel in my arms, and the warmth and pride I feel when I put on my handmade clothing. I hope my customers will share that special feeling with me.

None of the Candy & Bagel products is made with materials made in China. Fibers are finest materials from Peru, Uruguay,Turkey and USA. 

 

My 29th birthday with Diana Vishneva!!

Well not exactly. I went to SEE Diana Vishneva’s performance which was DEDICATED TO ME by my wonderful husband. :D

For months, my husband was telling me that he bought a BIG birthday present for me, so big that it should cover Valentine’s Day, my Birthday, Thanksgiving (do people give presents for Thanksgiving?! haha), and Christmas for 2 years. And that he doesn’t even really know what it is. I was confused but didn’t press it so that I can be properly surprised.

And surprised, I was.

After a modest but delicious sushi dinner, we went to the Center, and upon entering my husband just points to a nearby poster without words.

And it said:

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My heart skipped a beat. For a second, I thought wait, how did they know it’s my birthday? And then I thought, Oh do they do this to everyone who has birthdays this month? So I looked around but every poster around the entire Segerstrom Hall had MY name only.

Not only that, after the preview talk, my husband led me to the upper level, I was still focused on the blue posters, when a lady greeted us. At the private donor’s lounge!

We hung out in the lounge, took some photos, and met wonderful people from the Center.

 

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Side Note! Can you see what I’m wearing? My handmade faux leather dress and handknit shawl!

 

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Diana Vishneva was wonderful. Modern ballet pieces are always difficult for me but even if I didn’t understand 100% of the material, I didn’t really have to. Diana’s movement was the art. For each of the 30-something minute act, I was totally mesmerized in her movement, couldn’t even breath big. I can’t believe I’ll be getting her autograph soon!


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and the Center sent us home with this goodness.

This morning, I woke up with a smile on my face. I felt like I was waking up from a really sweet dream. It was such a special day. I dreamed about seeing Diana Vishneva since I heard that she was coming to OC. It was on my birthday, and to top it off, my husband made the whole experience extra special for me.

You win, husband.

 

My First Handmade Leotard!

Instant gratification #2 — Sewing leotard.

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Fabric: 4-way stretch fabric from FIDM Scholarship Store.

Pattern: Jalie 3136 View A, with cap sleeves.

I got this fabric few months ago, from FIDM scholarship store. FIDM is a famous fashion school based in LA and SF, and I happen to work very close to the LA campus. They have the scholarship store, where they sell clothes, fabric, shoes… to help fund the school’s scholarship program, and to employ students who need that extra financial help.

So I got this lilac 4-way stretch fabric for $1 a yard, thinking I would make either swimsuit or comfy dress. At that time, I wasn’t back in ballet class so I had no intention of making this into a leotard.

Few weeks ago, my in-laws came to visit from Taiwan, so we cleaned out our guest room. In the process, I found this fabric under my stash!

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it was pretty easy to make. If I didn’t get sick, it wouldn’t have taken me 3 days to make it. if you’re more an experienced sewist, you can probably make this in a day.

I finished the hems of the sleeves and neckline with a twin needle in my Janome sewing machine. I also attached the elastics on the leg opening with my regular sewing machine. The other seams (shoulders, sides, and attaching bodice to the yoke) were done on my Brother serger.

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Attaching the sleeves — I followed the directions, but I think if I made this again, I would do my regular method, which is to seam the sides of the body and the sleeve, and then insert the sleeve into the body on the wrong side, pin and stitch. Because when I followed the direction the first time, the fabric slipped and I ended up skipping a small section on the serger. I had to pick the stitches again and re-do that section.

There’s also an instructional YouTube video for this pattern: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BQzOR-WCgE

I watched it briefly for the elastic directions. I think after this project, I can go back to my first swimsuit I made for that Knit Construction class. I totally winged it that time, because I was mainly graded on the design, not the sewing.

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As you can see, I have to re-do the leg openings and the arms/neckline. FIrst.. I have to find it again. =D