The Kissing Hand for Evie Raccoon

“Chester Racoon stood at the edge of the forest and cried. ‘I don’t want to go to school,’ he told his mother. ‘I want to stay home with you. I want to play with my friends. And play with my toys. And read my books. And swing on my swing. Please may I stay home with you?'”
~ The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Racoon-IMG_5887

October 29, 2014 PART I

It was three days before Halloween and I thought I was let off the hook from making a costume for Evie because, I repeat, it was THREE DAYS before Halloween and she had a dozen other costumes hanging in her closet. I was 4 months pregnant and ultimately too tired to do anything that required my focus. But just as I was confirming with her what she wanted to be for Halloween, she grabbed a book off of her shelf titled The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. She was a bit obsessed with this story for the entire month, asking everyone to read it to her repeatedly. It is about a young raccoon named Chester, who is a bit nervous about going to school. Mrs. Raccoon kisses his center palm and tells him that “whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think, ‘Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.’

While every little girl in the world wanted to be Princess Elsa, Evie [5 years old] wanted to be Chester Raccoon. She read the book over and over again and thought that it was the cutest story of a raccoon and his mother. I must have asked her a dozen times, “Are you sure you want to be a raccoon?” She was absolutely unwavering about the idea.

Third Fitting

PART II

Evie wanted her entire body to be covered in fur, but I told her that we should just make a fur coat that she could add to her fall/winter wardrobe. We went to the fabric store to find grey faux fur, and I worked on her costume over the course of 2 days…

PART IV

PART III

PART V | Fashion Valley Mall Trick o' Treating

PART V | Fashion Valley Mall Trick-or-Treating in the daytime

Trick o'Treating with her best friend, Graham

Evening Trick-or-Treating with her best friend, Graham

Raccoon DIY Costume

Raccoon-Costume-6-2014SUPPLIES FOR COAT:
Grey Faux Fur [1 1/2-2 Yards]
Black Thread

SUPPLIES FOR EARS & TAIL:
Grey Faux Fur
Black Fabric
Black Thread
Headband
Safety Pin [to pin tail on coat]
Polyester Stuffing

I don’t have any photos of the process, but it’s simple if you know how to duplicate a pattern. I started with a basic pattern–tracing the front, back, and sleeves–using a coat she already owned. We used one of her black headbands and sewed ears onto it. The tail was stuffed with polyester stuffing and the selvage side of the fabric was incorporated to look like stripes. There wasn’t quite enough fabric [approx. 1 yard] so the tail and sleeves were a little short. Had I bought more fabric, I would have made her tail longer and spray painted thick black stripes. To complete the outfit, she rummaged through her drawers and found a plain light grey shirt, black leggings, and a dark grey tulle skirt [Zara Girls].

TheKissingHandPresently, 10 days before Halloween, I asked her what she wanted to be. One would think she would be influenced into being a Disney Princess after seeing other little girls walking around in their costumes throughout the month of October–but Evie blurted out to our neighbor last week that she wanted to be a… mammal from the weasel family. Predictably, our neighbor’s eyes bulged out of her sockets and her nose and upper lip scrunched up on one side as she muttered under her breath, “A whaaaaat?” I presumed she was expecting to hear that she was going to be a pretty and dainty something

…But Evie has another original idea–unwavering in her decision, again. She’s also hoping that I would agree to dress Emaline up as the same thing.

xx
Jena

Wild Daisies & A Wreath of Eucalyptus Branches.

Wild Daisies in the Berrious

Wild Daisies in the Berrious

“Daisy, give yourself away.  Look up at the rain, a beautiful display of power and surrender, giving us today and she gives herself away.”
Jon Foreman

We came to the Berrious one morning, with a nature list of things to collect to spruce up our home; bringing the outdoors, indoors.  I had ambivalent feelings of the weather, anticipating yet another victory for the sun, whom I wasn’t rooting for at all.  Thankfully, the warmth slowly dissipated as the fog crept in and covered our playing grounds.  We sat underneath the shade of an enormous pine tree, where the air was even chillier.  Evie collected lavender wild daisies, searched for giant pinecones, and came across slithering black slugs that made her shudder a second time as she told me her terrifying encounters with all of them as she fished for squirrels.

102813-Evie-6

It didn’t hurt.  It was just an accident, mommy.  It didn’t hurt.” Evie said.

What didn’t hurt?  Did you hurt the slug?  Did you kill it?” I asked.

No.  I saw the slug, and was afraid, and so I pressed it with my finger and it didn’t hurt me.  But it put slobber on my fingers and so it died!  But it was an accident,” she replied as her voice trailed off into a whisper.

The slug left a fingerprint of its sticky residue on Evie’s fingertips.  Traces of black pigment from its skin also stained her fingers.  It really nauseated me to think that she practically stabbed the slug to its death.  I quickly pulled out the antibacterial wipes.  My insides twisted and turned as I tried to calmly wipe the residue of slug mucous off her fingers, while at the same time wiping the expression of grossness off my face.  I cannot understand the inhabitance of gross terrestrials that slither and crawl upon this earth; what is their purpose?  I sat there unentertained by the repulsive thought that my daughter just killed a slug with her brave bare hands.  Deep inside, I might have been more traumatized than she was.

102813-FallWreath

Evie and I gathered large branches that had fallen from the Eucalyptus trees and dissected it branch by branch, forming a pile of mahogany colored twigs at our feet, and also picking off all of the leaves and clustered buds.  I envisioned a simple fall wreath for our front door– dark brown twigs layered together, fastened pinecones and tiny wild red berries bunched along the bottom half, and lastly, a simple satin or lace ribbon to hang it on a nail above the peek hole of our door.  I had no luck finding any red berries.

Wreaths take on many symbolic meanings in different cultures and beliefs.  I am a Christian and our family celebrates Christmas; so I am enamored by all the symbolic meanings behind most of the décor that is apparent in the months of November and December.  The advent evergreen wreath, symbolizes the everlasting life through Jesus; it is circular to represent God– with no beginning and no end.  But even though it hangs in significance, honestly, I just want our front door to be fall-esque; and in December, winter-esque.

102813-Mushroom-2

28 October 2013 Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in the Berrious

28 October 2013 Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in the Berrious

Time goes by quickly when we’re outdoors.  After a couple hours in the Berrious, we sat on our picnic blanket and munched on the snacks that I had brought.  I don’t think I can resist pumpkin sales this year, especially after roasting my first successful batch of pumpkin seeds.  The seeds were lightly golden, the insides were perfectly crunchy, and the salty taste and process of cracking the outer shell was just as addicting as eating sunflower seeds while watching a baseball game.  Unmindfully, I haven’t thought much about pumpkins being the prime vegetable on our table, rather than just a front porch halloween decoration.  When I was a child, my mother roasted the pumpkin seeds from our carved jack-o-lanterns, and both my grandmas occasionally made soups using pumpkin squash and other types of gourds for cooking.  In all honesty, I don’t know how to make one dish from my ethnic background; I am Filipina.  Needless to say, pumpkin is not a foreign food to me, it is part of my culture; I just did not anticipate the day that I would have to pick up where my mother and grandmas left off after I became a mother and a wife.  This includes, decorating for the holidays!

"These are your flower earrings mommy, put them on!"

“These are your flower earrings mommy, put them on!”

FALL WREATH

SUPPLIES:
A Bebe Florist
Branches
Pinecones
Hot Glue Gun + Glue Stick Refills

1.  Circle Template.  I used my largest circular knitting loom and traced a template with chalk on my working surface.

2.  Break branches into smaller sizes and start laying out your sticks following your circle template and hot-gluing it together at the same time.  Keep adding more branches and filling spaces until you are satisfied.

3.  Fasten pinecones and other nature finds to your wreath.

 xx
JENA

Heart Specs | Look How They Shine For You

DIY Gold & Glittered Heart Specs

DIY Gold & Glittered Heart Specs

When you think of the seasons of fall and winter, you most likely edit out the pastels and spring hues.  White may stay, but it looks better as faux fur or frosted beads, and gold isn’t just plain gold, its glittered gold.  Some garments and accessories can be carried from one season to the next, and Evie’s heart specs are one of them.  However, they needed a little bit of a seasonal update.

Last week, Evie saw gold-rimmed sunglasses at the store and she really wanted them.  I explained to her that she already had glasses at home and didn’t need another pair unless those all broke.  She made a frown, and this is usually the moment when you give in as a mama.  However, her frowns inspire new crafts and challenge me to make something even better and personalized than something she can buy.  I brought up the idea of painting one of her sunglasses at home a color she would rather have them, and even glittering them!  She wasn’t too enthusiastic about the idea…

But Monday afternoon, I took out the materials to glitter her specs and set them on the table.  Evie stood behind me in curiosity.  As I opened the glitter, she got really excited and said, “This is going to be beautiful!!!”  I wasn’t quite sure if the glitter would hold with the decoupage glue and if it would matte the gold instead of dry transparent.  After three layers of fine gold glitter around the entire frame, it looked like a pair of brand new golden specs!

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”
Audrey Hepburn

10 September 2013

10 September 2013

091013-GlitteredHeartsunglasses-800w

SUPPLIES:
A Golden Heart Child
Heart Sunglasses
Paint Brush
Jar of Water
Napkin
Paper

Gold Extra Fine Glitter
I used Recollections
Michaels

Decoupage Glue
I used  Ranger Inkssentials Glue N’Seal with Gloss Finish
Walmart

*These are materials that I normally have for crafting and projects.  One tip that I can give is to take advantage of Michael’s coupons and make purchases on separate visits to be able to get at least 40% off of an item or even 20-40% off of your entire purchase.*

DO-IT-YOURSELF:

1.  Take out plastic lenses.  Make sure that there is a piece of paper underneath when applying layers of glitter.  This is so that in the end, you can carefully fold the paper and pour the glitter that falls off of the glasses back into your glitter canister.

2.  Dip your paintbrush into the water to moisten the bristles, then dip it into the glue and paint a thin and smooth coat on on the frame of the glasses.  The glue dries quickly– you will want to a small section, rather than a whole coat at once.  Work your way around the entire frame (or front of the frame if this is the only area you want glitter on) applying glue and sprinkling glitter.

3.  Let the first coat of glitter dry.  Do steps 2-3 until you are satisfied with the amount of glitter.  I did about 3 coats around the entire frame to cover up the pink.  Be sure to clean your brush between coats so that the glue does not harden on the bristles.

4.  Apply a thin and smooth coat of decoupage glue over the last layer of glitter so that it is sealed and does not come off.

Inspiration | Moschino Spring Ready-To-Wear 20016  Heart Sunglasses

Heart Sunglasses Inspiration
Moschino Spring Ready-To-Wear 2006
Photo Source : Style.com

xx
JENA

Bijoux.

Bib Necklace Inspiration Source: Unknown

Bib Necklace Inspiration
Photo Source: Unknown

“The things you fear are undefeatable
not by their nature
but by your approach”
Jewel

04 September 2013 Evie wanted to show her Auntie Jaymi the necklace that she made.

04 September 2013
Evie wanted to show her Auntie Jaymi the necklace that she made.

My daughter loves puzzles, patterns and building things in symmetrical structures.  Teaching her how to make her necklace look symmetrical and having all the gems fit like a puzzle on the felt didn’t take long.  She wasn’t sure how this would end up into a necklace, but I told her that I would finish it when she woke up from her nap.  I left the final product tied around the neck of her pink pony.  When she awoke, she saw her pony wearing her necklace, and smiled. “Aww… my pony is wearing my necklace!!!”

She wore her necklace to dinner on Labor Day, and seeing it on her made me proud to know that she designed her own jewelry.  I would have never thought that all those pink gems would make the emerald and amber ones pop out so perfectly.  Believe me when I say that I did tell her, “Perhaps you should try to use some other colors…?”  She responded with, “Umm… its okay mommy, I just want all the pink ones.

090413-Evie-BibNecklace-6

BIB NECKLACE:
“A style of necklace that mimics a baby’s bib, with a thick section on the chest and a thin cord going around the back of the neck.”

090413-Evie-BibNecklace-3SUPPLIES:
A creative child
Hard Paper to make a template
Scissors
Glue Gun

NOTIONS: 
Gems
Beads (Optional)
Thread
Ribbon (Satin)

FABRIC:
Felt

DO-IT-YOURSELF:

1.  Fold paper in half (I used the thick back cover of an old magazine), and draw your own template on the fold.  Cut template out.  This is where you can make adjustments if you don’t like the shape of your template.

2.  Fold felt in half, and place template (on fold) on felt fold.  Cut felt out.

3.  Design the layout of the gems on top of felt. Take a picture of it just in case it falls off (mine did) as I was taking it to the glue gun.

4.  Carefully glue each gem onto felt.  It helps to align the holes of the gems so they are in a place that can easily be threaded from one gem to the next.

5.  Secure each gem by threading each one into the pre-drilled holes.  You will want to start from underneath threading up into a hole, and coming back down through the felt for each hole.

6.  *OPTIONAL*  I hand-sewed each tiny black bead individually to cover up the felt to make it look more elaborate and less like a Sunday school project so that she could wear it to parties and not just for fun.  This will take up a couple hours of your time if you have that to spare.  I did this all during Evie’s nap time.

7.  I used black ribbon (cut 2) and hand-sewed it to the edges of the final product.

Miraslava Duma Russian Bazzar Editor

Stylist | Miraslava Duma
Former Harper’s Bazaar Russia Editor
Photo Source : Unknown

xx
JENA

A Pocket For Mousey.

Pattern : McCall's M6274/CCE Style A

Polka Dot Shirt : Sewn by Me

My dear friend Nancy-Josephine and her husband Patrick made the move to Goleta in Santa Barbara this past weekend.  We spent our Thursday evening gathered with friends in their humble cottage tucked away in Old Town.  Nancy had a bag full of clothing and holiday decor that she was giving away.  I coveted a knitted black turtleneck sweater that I am o so eager to throw on when the weather drops.  Evie adopted a stuffed mouse, now going by the name of “Mousey.” She is fond of little creatures, and once she gives them a name, it becomes a part of the family.

31 August 31 Morning Dots at Balboa Park

31 August 31 Morning Dots at Balboa Park

Evie’s hair is getting very long, and I have been growing her bangs out so it can be pulled back for ballet.  When daddy undoes her braids and buns at the end of the day, he likes to say, “Bobby lives in your hair!”  (meaning: why do you have a dozen bobby-pins in your hair?)  I never quite understood why they make brown bobby-pins, until I had a daughter with brown hair, and then it made a lot of sense.  We have our own tiny jars in the bathroom; one full of Bobby Blacks, and one full of Bobby Browns.  Bobby has been serving his purpose during this unbearable heat-wave, and we never leave the house without a troop of him standing by.

083113-PolkaDot-1

Gathered at the sleeve

Despite the temperature rising as we near the end of Summer, my thoughts have already moved on to fall and winter projects.  I imagined our fall full of dots, and it hasn’t been easy looking for a polka dot knit.  Evie loves polka dots, and I think it’s because of Minnie Mouse.  It couldn’t have been more ironic that on this day she had Mousey.

The woman at the fabric store told me that these polka dots just came in and I may have been one of the first to buy a yard of it!  I was tempted to buy the white dots, but Evie preferred the black dots… of course it was the better choice.  When I made this shirt this past Friday, we were on our way to Auntie Bee’s surprise birthday party at Mission Bay.  She had just awoke from her nap and I had just finished modifying the stitches at the hem.  Her eyes widened when she saw her new polka dot shirt with a big patch pocket on the front.  She immediately gathered 1. A painted wooden duck that daddy gave which he got from Korea 2. Lip gloss — and dropped them into her pocket.  Her head would nod down every few minutes to make sure that they were right there where she put them.  Patch pockets are quite simple to make, and I will have to add them to several more of her shirts because of her affection for holding her treasures close to her heart.

Modified Hem Line + Tuck & Button Tab

Modified Hem Line + Tuck & Button Tab

A Pocket For Mousey

A Pocket For Mousey


SUPPLIES:
A little girl fond of little creatures + A Mouse
Sewing Machine
Pins
Paper Scissors & Sheers
Tissue Paper, Straight + Curved Rulers, Pencil (to trace out pattern)

NOTIONS:
Thread
Two 1/2″ Buttons (I used silver stud shank buttons)

PATTERN:
$1 McCall’s M6274/CCE Style A
*Bottom hem manipulated by me
Discount Fabrics

FABRIC:
Polka Dots (I bought 1 yard, but you end up using less)
Discount Fabrics

Near the Dog Park | Prado

xx
JENA

Easy As π

Evie in her full-circle floor-length skirt

Evie in a full-circle floor-length skirt

Evie calls this place “The Berrious,”  and I’m not sure why.  It is a secluded part of the Presidio that not many people pass through, and it has become our secret wonderland.  It is a hillside of green grass, encompassed by tall pines and wild daisies, under a picture framed blue sky.  It is the most perfect place to lay our blanket in the early evening, when the air is cool and the sun passes over the Mission.

She brought her ponies and unicorns, and I brought a book called, “Anthology of World Poetry“, edited by Mark Van Doren.  My mother-in-law, Sherry, gave it to me two Christmases ago.  I turned the pages to French poetry and found the most beautiful stanzas of life.  I then decided to read to Evie a few Psalms which is listed under Hebrew poetry, and there we stopped at Psalm 8.

She blinked... and it was perfect.

She blinked… and it was perfect.

My bundle of joy.

My bundle of joy.

THE CHILD READS AN ALMANAC

The child reads on; her basket of eggs stands by.
She sees the weather signs, the Saints with awe,
And she watches the fair houses of the sky:
The Goat, the Bull, the Ram, et cetera.

And so the little peasant maiden knows
That in the constellations we behold,
And markets like the one to which she goes
Where goats and bulls and rams are bought and sold.

She reads about the market in the sky.
She turns a page and sees the Scales and then
Says that in Heaven, as at the grocery,
They weigh salt, coffee and the souls of men.

LUDWIG LEWISOHN

Top : Zara Kids

Top : Zara Kids


082313-Evie-4

SUPPLIES:
A little girl with a pony
Sewing Machine
Thread
Paper Scissors & Sheers
Chalk
Pins
Measuring Tape
Chiffon Fabric (or any sheer woven)
Jersey Lining
Elastic
Tissue Paper, Tape, and Pencil (to draw out pattern)

WAISTBAND FORMULA
pi : π = 3.14

1.  Waist Measurement + 2 = x

2.  x / 2π = Radius of Waistband

The Radius of Evie’s Waistband:
19″ + 2 = 21″
21″/ 2π = 3.34 (or about 3 3/8″)

HOW-TO MAKE A FULL-CIRCLE SKIRT

1.  Lay out the tissue paper on your cutting mat aligning it to the grids.

2.  Take your measuring tape and place the 1″ mark to the corner of the tissue paper.  Find the measurement of your radius of the waistband and like a protractor, take your pencil and while the 1″ mark is held in place, create dotted lines across the tissue paper while dragging the measuring tape.

3.  Do the same thing with the length of the skirt you’re making + 1/2″ (hem that will be taken under).

4.  Cut out your pattern.

5.  Take your fabric and fold it in half, and in half again.  Place it on your cutting mat so that the folds are on both sides of starting point.

6.  Place pattern on top of fabric and pin down.

7.  Cut out fabric to pattern.

8.  Repeat steps 4-7 if using lining.  You can make the length of the lining about 2″ shorter than the chiffon.

9.  Pin chiffon to lining, and sew at waist with a 3/8″ seam.

WAISTBAND

1. For Evie’s waistband, I put elastic in the back half of the waistband (11″).  First I took the waist circumference of the skirt I made and used that as the length + 1″ (seam allowance).  The thickness of the waistband depends on you.  I made Evie’s about 1″.  So you would take that 1″(2) + 1″ (seam allowance) =  3″.  Evie’s waistband pattern was about 24″ x 3″.

2. Sew together your chiffon to lining on both length edges with a 3/8″ seam.

3.  With right sides facing, sew waistband into a circle.

WAISTBAND TO SKIRT

I am not the best seamstress, so ironing, basting, and lots of pins at this point is a lifesaver.

1.  Take your skirt and waistband, and with right sides facing each other, pin all the way around.

2.  Sew 1/4″ seam together.

3.  Take two pins and mark the side seams.  The front half of the waistband will be a smaller measurement and it will not have elastic.  Evie’s front half measured about 11″.  Everything else will be gathered with the waistband.

4.  Take your elastic and sew it at one of the side seams (where you marked with a pin) on your waistband.

5.  At the raw edge of the waistband, you will fold about 1/4″ under.  Sew 1/8″ seam from fold.

6.  You will be now closing up the waistband.  Fold the waistband in half, and pin so that it is aligned to the front.

7.  Top stitch from the outside of the waistband about 1/8″ from edge.  When you start getting to the end, leave about 1 1/2″ opening.  Pull the elastic until it reaches the other marked side seam.  Sew the elastic down to the inside of waistband.  Then close it up waistband by sewing the last 1 1/2″ of the waistband.

8.  I went back and secured the elastic by making stitches from top of waistband to bottom of waistband at the side seams.

HEMMING

The hem of the chiffon will can be challenging if you don’t iron and pin.  There are a couple ways you can do this, but I chose to do a basic hem.  I folded 1/4″ under, and another 1/4″ under.  Sew with folds faced down about 3/8″ from hem bottom.

The jersey lining will have a raw edge and will not need to be hemmed.

082313-Evie-5

xx
JENA 

How To Take Your Waist Measurement!

Forest green floral printed chiffon

How to measure your waistline for a full-Circle Skirt

Thursday morning, I decided to make Evie a full-circle skirt, similar to a skirt that I am actually wearing at this very moment, which I’ve wanted to duplicate for the past few years.  My sister bought me this high-waisted flower bud crêpe skirt for my birthday, and its the most versatile (casual and eventful) and complimenting thing next to a tee or a blouse.  I want this skirt in every color, print, and length.

I bought the last few yards of this beautiful chiffon earlier this Spring, which I found in the scraps of the Discount Fabric Store in Normal Heights off of Adams Avenue. However, Spring had come and gone, and my determination to make spring skirts for the both of us delayed. Then summer passed, and Autumn will arrive in about a month (and so will my one-year wedding anniversary!), and the thought of Fall inspired me to start making Evie new pieces to add to her very minimal winter wardrobe.  Once I told her that I needed to measure her for a new skirt I would be making for her, she got ecstatic and began to throw out her embellishing ideas– “We need to put some glitter on it!!!

082213-EvieMeasuringHerWaist

Measuring the circumference of your waist:

You will need a cloth measuring tape, and not a hard plastic/metal one. Many people mistake their hips as where they should take their waist measurements.  Bending to one side will show you a crease that will form your natural waistline which is located above your belly button and below your rib cage. Evie is wearing a shirt just for the picture, but you don’t want to take measurements over your clothes. You want to make sure you don’t suck in your stomach because that can give you false measurements!  Wrap the measuring tape around your waistline and write this number down because you will then use that number to calculate the radius for your waistband!

082213-Poloroid-ForestGreenandFlorals

 DIY Full-Circle Skirt Tutorial Coming Soon!

xx
JENA