A Winter Beanie in Indigo Blue.


By Jena Sommer Kim

“We found the westward way to
the hills of indigo blue
We watched the northern sapphire sky
We found the westward way to
the hills of indigo blue
The stars were burning through the night”
Future of Forestry | The Hills of Indigo Blue

This time of year, Balboa Park is lined with white buds of flowering Dogwood trees.  As the wind gusts through the branches, all the white petals of these gorgeous tiny flowers fall to the ground like snow– decorating the pavement in a lovely delicate confetti.  It’s a sight for sore eyes, and made for a bride and groom.  I’m sure my husband would have loved an aisle of Dogwood trees on our wedding day… it’s like superficial nature wearing thin, I can’t seem to begin [you know?].

It is psychologically altering my mood to feel December in February. I don’t feel like I should be thinking abut hues of blues still, and the white of winter. But thank God it has finally arrived, two months shy of the vernal equinox. Although I am eager to be wrapped around the dainty florals of pretty spring, I felt robbed of winter, and deprived of a body that “kicks” me to be wrapped up in knitted sweaters, beanies, and scarves. Comically, my daughter made up the phrase “my body kicks me to do…” as an excuse for her disobedience; terrible, but genius.  She is her own scapegoat.  What are we suppose to do?  Its like the child that blames her imaginary friends.

A Winter Beanie by Jena Sommer Kim

07 February 2013 Flowering Dogwoods at Balboa Park

I am finally able to put to use my leather gloves which my mother-in-law, Sherry, gave to me years ago to brave the snow in Texas.  And I am smitten that my husband wears his black fingerless gloves that I knitted for him in October for these blustery cold days in San Diego.  Inhaling the cold air on our evening walks at sunset around our neighborhood is exhilarating and refreshing.  However, every task begins to be a little more difficult in the cold.  Getting out of bed and getting my daughter bundled up to go outdoors for long periods of time can take longer than normal.  What I love most about the chill, is that coffee shops are now a haven and we all have an excuse to be comforted by hot beverages.

A Winter Beanie by Jena Sommer Kim

07 February 2013 One year ago at Balboa Park

One year ago, I knitted my own beanie.  I don’t wear hats unless its for some purpose– to shade my face from the sun, to cover my messy hair that I don’t want to brush, or because it’s cold.  I’ve never bought a beanie in my life, because for some reason, they never fit comfortably.  I’ve only worn beanies with bills on them, two of which I can recall, and I’d wear them backwards with the bill on the back to give shape to my head.  One thing we all learn at some point is that we all have different body types, head types, etc… and just because something looks great on someone else, doesn’t mean it will look as flattering on another.  Which is why I’ve created my own beanie pattern.

This winter beanie is loose fitting so it doesn’t create an obvious crease when you wear your hair down underneath.  It slouches slightly at the back, so if you have a head similar to mine, it doesn’t make your head look flat or coned–which tight beanies tend to do if you don’t have a shapely round head.  I also used a bulky yarn for cozy and warm comfort.  It took me many sessions of unraveling this skein of yarn to finally get it to the proportion that fit, and it is also easy to edit the pattern to make it in different sizes.

23 January 2014 Thursday Morning at Balboa Park

23 January 2014 Thursday Morning at Balboa Park



One Size

One set of 5 size US 11 ( 8.0 mm) double-pointed needles (dpns)
One set of size US 11 ( 8.0 mm) circular needles.

1 Skein of Loops & Threads Charisma Bulky 5 weight
100% Acrylic
Machine Washable & Dryable

Other Materials:
Scissors, Embroidery Needle, Stitch Marker

Ribbing: K2, P2 (in multiples of 4) so that you end last two stitches in P2
Decrease K2 Together:  Knit into 2 stitches.

K knit
P purl
CO cast on
K2tog knit 2 together
Dec decrease


If you want the ribbing of your beanie to be slightly tighter, I would recommend switching to size 10 circular knitting needles for the first 9 rows of ribbing and then beginning the body of the beanie with size 11 knitting needles.  Over the last year of wearing this beanie, I do want to note that it did slightly stretch, so using those size 10 needles may be better.  

CO 56 on circular needles
Row 1-9:  Place stitch marker & connect ends.  Begin working in the round.  Work in K2, P2 ribbing.
Row 10: Knit to end for 22 more rows.
Row 32 Begin dec: switch to dpns.
*K8, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
*K7, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
Knit 1 row
*K6, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
*K5, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
Knit 1 row
*K4, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
*K3, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
Knit 1 row
Cut yarn leaving an 8″ and string through remaining loops
Pull tightly (like a drawstring) and weave in ends.




OCTOBER | My Idea of Fall.

3 October 2013 Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park

3 October 2013 Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park

When we were in Santa Cruz on our road trip, we took a walk down Pacific Avenue and found a bookstore called Logos Books & Records, where I marveled at a wide selection of crafting, knitting, crocheting, and sewing books all in one corner.  I came home with a book titled, Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaffer.  As I skimmed through the pages, I knew that this was my idea of fall.  Not to mention, I’ve already found my winter coat.
Morning on the Prado + Couture Sewing Techniques + sticker: Vessel Drum Co

Morning on El Prado + Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaffer  + Coffee (Sticker: Vessel Drum Co)

God put a coat with character and a story on a rack, on a day that I was not expecting to look for a coat, though I’ve had this particular one envisioned in my head for quite some time– and it only makes me testify again of how He faithfully answers even my daydreams.  I traded in old clothes to Buffalo Exchange, and acquired a new vintage Lilli Ann couture swing coat of the 1960’s for only $24.  It’s perfect.  Its made of a blend of mohair and wool.

How to make a birds nest for birds...on the pavement.

How to make a birds nest for birds…on the pavement.

Elizabeth Barret Browning wrote of The Autumn (1833): “Go, sit upon the lofty hill, And turn your eyes around, Where waving woods and waters wild, Do hymn an autumn sound. The summer sun is fait on them– The summer flowers depart– Sit still–as all transform’d to stone, Except your musing heart

Evie.  Her musing heart does not seize in imagination and wonder, no matter the season and place we are in.  Yesterday, we spent five hours in the park exploring new trails and resting under the shade of a tree– making up stories about animals, mermaids, and pirates.  I watched her collect fallen twigs and autumn leaves off the pavement in the Organ Pavilion, making a birds’ nest for “the birds that want a new home.”  She makes a nest everywhere we go, genuinely caring for the little creatures, and resting assure that they will most certainly settle into her nests.  I cannot express how I am so thankful to have  a daughter after my own heart.  One day, we will have our own tree… {God  willing} our own backyard, or field, a meadow,… or an entire hillside!– building a tree house from dawn till dusk, stringing curtains with garlands of leaves, and weaving flower crowns.

Evie in noir | Knitted turban styled headband by me

Evie en noir

Thus far, this season has been truly giving— of family, life, travels, and motivation to be a wife and a mother full of intentional creativity; whether in explorations, crafts, or even in the kitchen.  We have nothing spectacular on our calendar for this month, but I hope to make an effort in baking a very savory apple or pumpkin pie from scratch (or watching someone bake a very savory apple or pumpkin pie from scratch).  Also, if the time permits, gather with friends for a joyous and whimsical evening in costume.  Julian is always on the list, come November, for what I like to describe as trees of inferno red leaves, as well as pumpkin patches, and apple picking.

Knitted Seed Stitch Turban by Me

I Knitted this Seed Stitch Turban for Evie during the frigid Spring

Knitting, sewing, and reading… this fall to the sound of  Phil Wickham‘s latest album “The Ascension” and Evan Wickham‘s “Christmas Music Vol.1″.


Morning On The Prado

Balboa Park

Balboa Park

I felt the first chill of fall on El Prado sitting at this round table, while munching on the top of a blueberry muffin and sipping a cup of hot coffee from Daniel’s Coffee Cart; such tasty treats.  I am thrilled for more days like these which inspire creativity through the cold atmosphere and calls for mandatory morning coffee-&-conversations with my girlfriends.  I soak in this solo hour to treasure and watch this place come to life one minute after the next.

We recently returned from our week long one-year anniversary family road trip (Sept 18th – 25th) exploring the central west coast of southern California; just the three of us.  It was a tiresome morning the day after driving from Monterey Bay back down to San Diego in one day.  I am convinced that I love a life so peaceful as the days we spent together this past week on the road.  Life is so simple and at ease in the quaint and cozy towns we stayed in, so peaceful and where one would never find a child unamused.

“Slow down everyone you’re moving too fast
Frames can’t catch you when you’re moving like that.”
Jack Johnson

I have much desire to share some pictures of the road, but before I do, it is my goal to make our first family photo album of our family road trip before this week ends.   I sure want it in my hands, instead of archived in my external drive like the rest of our photos have been over the years.


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.


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

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

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

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

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

Near the Dog Park | Prado


Her First Capezio’s.

Baby Capezio's Media : Pencil & Watercolor

Baby Capezio’s
Media : Pencil & Watercolor
L-R : Evie trying on her first leotard, In the studio, Baby Capezio’s

I wander around searching for a place to sit and wait for my little one to finish her ballet class.  The morning air is fresh, the grass is full of dew, birds are chirping, and the sun has begun to light up the east side of each building.  I find a table and chair underneath an umbrella, one of many scattered around the recently enclosed parking lot, which now is a big open space; I love it.

Morning on the Prado

Morning on the Prado

So many things distract me from the very thing I want to do.  I blame the combination of motherhood + creative genes… this mind just can’t be still.  It always takes a moment of focus to even turn the page to where I left off in my current book [The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges].  Its chilly on the Prado, and I begin to wish I had brought a sweater.  I thankfully have my tumbler filled with a fresh brew of coffee which should keep my insides warm until the sun delivers its afternoon heat.  My thoughts are fixed on how this would be a perfect time that my husband and I could spare with one another.  He has been on a trip over the last couple of weeks, and we shortly await his return.

On Pointe Media : Tablet in Photoshop By JSK Keep Calm Source : Unknown

On Pointe
Media : Tablet in Photoshop
Keep Calm Source : Unknown

One thing on my mind is drawing and painting pieces for my home.  There are some significant things that I hope to someday begin to sketch out, and Evie’s first pair of ballet slippers was one of them.  I finally managed to unleash this urge to draw, and Evie sat beside me doing a painting of her own– she loves to paint “Sunny Days.”  I am still continually learning how to paint, and I haven’t yet took even a day to find the patience to learn the basic fundaments of paint brushes and mixing colors.

Needless to say, the painting of her first “DaisyCapezio ballet slippers is close to completion.  It isn’t quite how I preferred it to look.  I ended up painting the background black after I took the photo of it being grey, and I truly wish I had stopped at the grey.  Evie also agreed in the final critique.


Post-Ballet Sucre!
El Prado, Balboa Park


My Botanist.

Balboa Park Botanical Garden

Balboa Park
Botanical Garden

Ever since I became a mama, my curiosity grew, and so has my fascination with plants and flowers.  Part of it is because I am asked these questions on the daily, “What is that? Why does it look like that? How does it do that? etc…” by my daughter.  And sometimes I know the answer, but most of the time, we’re searching for them together.

There is a very large botanical garden at Balboa Park, in front of the iconic lily pond full of Koi fish and turtles.  It was built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition [the reason why Balboa Park was built], and apparently it is one of the largest lath structures in the world.  It is quite an incredibly sight.

I spent a lot of my childhood in my grandma’s garden on the North Shore of Oahu.  She grows her own orchids, ferns, fruit trees, vegetables, roses… and more.  I know that if she ever visited San Diego, she would fall in love with this park in a heartbeat.  The entrance to this botanical garden is vibrant of the most perfect orchids, and it all reminds me of my ‘small grandma‘.  Kindred spirits.


These pink bromeliads are paralyzing. Its radiant tropical colors in contrast with its green leaves. I couldn’t help, but mentally draw a print of this on a breezy summer spaghetti strap dress sweeping the floor.

Color attraction

Color attraction

koi fish in the lily pond

koi fish in the lily pond

That is “Marigold,”  the very yellow-orange medium sized fish in the pond.


Our Secret Place.

Evie running up the staircase to get to her class on time. Poloroid : She carries her mini-tumbler full of cold water.

“Second star to the right, and straight on till morning!” – Peter Pan

Five minutes before class begins, and we arrive.  She holds her tumbler full of water and soars up the flight of stairs in those adorable ballet Robeez, her hair tightly braided and bobby-pinned into a bun, as I follow behind her staring at her Peter Pan jacket– I silently think to myself….

“Never Grow Up.”
-Peter Pan

These toddler times are so precious, those infant stages like a blink of an eye.  I adore her run that doesn’t fully stride, her skip and spins– imperfect, her lion claws so graceless, her curtsy– unbalanced.  Everything about her little body is so darling, that I cannot help but daily capture her essence.

As I await for her class to end, I sit in our secret nook, undiscovered by those who never explore this marvelous place.  I have begun to read a book that was recommended by my Elliot, of which he has never read, but I take his word for it.  Every book of his was collected or given to him, therefore, I take its spot on our shelf a sign of good review.

The Pursuit of Holiness By Jerry Bridges

“The Pursuit of Holiness”
By Jerry Bridges

Our secret place.

Our secret place.

Dreaming up a Hopeful Home

Dreaming up a Hopeful Home

Inspiring Textiles

Inspiring Pavements

1x1 Basket Weave in Bricks

1×1 Basket Weave in Bricks


Like Mama, Like Daughter.

Evie measuring how big her feet is next to mine.


I find most of my inspiration for design in this park, and even my escape to another country.  It is my France; Le Louvre.  If we ever designed and built our own house, it may have much of Balboa influence.  I thank Kate Sessions, for dreaming landscapes of which my mind could never dream of.  She is the brilliant mind behind all the flowers and trees that grow in this park.  I have fallen head over heels in love with this place after almost two years of living in San Diego.  Everything inspires me here: the architecture, botanicals, museums, trails, history, and the memories we have made here as a family.  We have even named the fish in the pond.