APRIL FIRST | Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt in Vogue April 2014 by JSK

Emily Blunt + Christy Rilling Studio in Vogue April 2014 by JSK

I received my April Vogue issue in my mailbox yesterday.  I flipped to this photo of Emily Blunt and read her lovely article on pregnancy and taking on motherhood. I wish it had been this photo of her glowing pregnant belly to have graced the cover of our birthday month.  I get to celebrate the 13th with my twin sister, Jaymi Britten; and our adopted triplet, April W. (friend for over 12 years + Tini-Manini boutique owner)!



OC | Smocking Bird’s Baby Boutique


Smocking Bird’s Baby Boutique 3313 Hyland Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626


smock·ing |  ˈsmäkiNG/  | noun : smocking
  1. decoration on a garment created by gathering a section of the material into tight pleats and holding them together with parallel stitches in an ornamental pattern.

“Smocking is an embroidery technique used to gather fabric so that it can stretch. Before elastic, smocking was commonly used in cuffs, bodices, and necklines in garments where buttons were undesirable. Smocking developed in England and has been practised since the Middle Ages and is unusual among embroidery methods in that it was often worn by laborers. Other major embroidery styles are purely decorative and represented status symbols. Smocking was practical for garments to be both form fitting and flexible, hence its name derives from smock — a farmer’s work shirt.[1] Smocking was used most extensively in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.” [Wikipedia]


08 February 2014

February 8, 2014—  Continued…

As we circled through the maze of The OC Mix, we walked past the glass sliding doors of the whimsical curated shop called Smocking Bird’s Baby Boutique.  My eyes were instantly gratified at the vibrant chartreuse/neon green patches of moss laid out upon the grey concrete floor.  Stones are scattered amongst the metal base and feet of jersey covered children’s dress forms, with arms cuddling adorable stuffed animals.  Everything captured Evie’s eyes, or should I say, caught her fingertips.  Inside, lovely clothes sewn in her favorite patterns climb across a white trellis, housing darling shabby chic furniture made specially for a little one.  Evie found a seat on a pale pink and white rocking bench– where she beckoned me to come over, then elaborated on why we desperately needed to bring it home.

Let me back-track about a year ago.  My dear friends, Megan and Brittan, brought Evie and I to The OC Mix for the first time.  After a cup of coffee at Portola, we walked around the corner and discovered a baby boutique.  We were delightfully greeted and invited into the shop by the owner (whom at the time I didn’t know) of Smocking Bird’s, Becky Pierce.  Noticeably, Smocking Bird’s have expanded both in interior and assortment.  Becky’s handmade smocked day gowns, bonnets, etc… are the most darling baby clothes I’ve ever seen; made to be heirlooms.  An admirable collection of Children’s books are displayed as birds on sturdy branches of a tree bookshelf built against the entrance wall.  Furthermore, this boutique invites featured authors to engage with children for story time and book signing.  I would love to attend a book signing to also meet illustrators of children’s books!


A stunning Spring mint dress for an Easter Sunday!


An elegant victorian child-sized mirror


Evie cannot resist hugging a stuffed animal


A few days ago I pondered the thought of learning correctly how to sew pleats, gathers, and other details into my sewing projects.  Some may say it is coincidence, but I acknowledge that God orchestrates days as these that reveal how much He hears our thoughts.  A chalkboard propped outside of the Smocking Bird’s studio read, “FREE Smocking Demo!”  Coincidence?  I think not.

Two women were already seated across the table from Becky.  Samples of her smocked bonnets, bibs, and bodices of unfinished day gowns were laid out across a rustic table.  Evie and I pulled up a chair beside her after she waved us over to take a seat.  She demonstrated how a smocking pleater works.  It was the first time I’ve seen one.   This small machine is an essential part of smocking; invented in the 1950’s by the Read Company of South Africa.  Becky demonstrated how to feed the fabric into the pleater from the back– by turning the handle on the side, it pushed the fabric through grooved rollers onto specially designed needles; creating perfect pleats.  After that step was done, she [quickly] showed us the tedious and patient art of stitching decorative motifs over the smocking.  If I lived in Costa Mesa, I’d likely be caught at this table every Saturday morning, learning this fine sewing technique.  What a great opportunity to learn from a professional, in an environment designed for creative people.


Little Dancer


Due to lunch plans, we couldn’t stay for the full demonstration.  However, I am now a loyal fan of Smocking Bird’s Baby Boutique.  An article written in the Orange County Register featured Becky’s shop with a headline titled:  “Shop owners… sell with class.”  I couldn’t say it any better.
+ photos courtesy of Jaymi Britten

OC | Where We Meet Again

Portola Coffee Lab | 3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Portola Coffee Lab 3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

February 08, 2014She ordered a mocha, and I ordered a latte. I ordered Evie a buttered croissant [de lune] which she devoured instantly. We had been awake since 5 a.m. and was on the road from San Diego [as far south as the 8] for nearly an hour and a half.  My husband’s call time for a soundcheck in Costa Mesa was 7 a.m. Although it was too early for me, I would not miss the opportunity to witness a beautiful dawn. The twinkling gems in the sky slowly disappeared into the light of the day, just as my mental check-points and landmarks (Del Mar, Oceanside, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Irvine Spectrum’s ferris wheel, John Wayne Airport), which made the hours go by quicker.

The air was a chill to my bones, and it took me back to vague memories of when I used to live in Orange County– a city with undeniably no lack of luster and continues to grow in art and design. The OC from the television screen is almost similar to the OC in real life. However, I have a nostalgic acute sense of its familiarity of white concrete business buildings hidden amongst tall trees, freeways overlapping, the distance to the ocean and every bothersome traffic light in between that makes it even less exciting to get there, and routes to all of my favorite places. I recall the John Wayne Airport off of the 405– the place that transported me home in the summer and over holidays, the dreadful commute at 5 a.m. to downtown L.A. to get to a class by 8 a.m. and the constant ache of longing to move back to San Diego where I’ve always felt at home in California. I hold a fond memory of my past living in the OC. It marks the time in my life when God revealed Himself and showed me that His ways are not my ways.

09 February 2014 OC MIX in Orange County

09 February 2014 OC MIX in Orange County

This day was a surprise for Evie. I told her that we would wait patiently inside of the car until my “friend” arrived, to which she continued asking questions whom it might be: “Is it a boy or is it a girl?” “Have I met her before?” When this “friend” of ours appeared at the driver’s seat window where she sat with the chair reclined, she was ecstatic. Evie usually morphs into a wolf and claws at anything within reach, howling in glee, but this time she remained semi-composed.



At 9 o’clock on a Saturday morning, we finally met up with my only doppelgänger, speaking in its contemporary vernacular, face-to-face. Between my sister and I, we are opposites in taste of style and pursuits, but we always need each other to execute dreams into the world [whenever that may be]. I need a photographer, and she needs an artist.  So again we meet, every conversation with a cup of jo on the table, and exchange of inspiration to connect the dots to collaborate. She goes by the name, Jaymi Britten, my twin sister who is older by one minute and will never surrender her elder title. She is a very talented photographer and photo editor, who should have already been taken under the wing of Annie Leibovitz, Peter Beard, or Raphael Mazzucco many moons ago.



As we sat on a silver round table outside of Portola Coffee Lab at The OC Mix, Evie drew pictures with her foot in her hand-me-down ruby red glittered mary-janes and scraped the gravel on the ground. She wanted to gather sticks and pick flowers off the landscape, but I warned her not to do that.  We had cold hands wrapped around lime green Portola Coffee cups with lovely espresso art stirred on the foam surface of frothed milk.  I asked Jaymi if I could share her photos on my blog over the length of time she will be residing in Huntington Beach, which is over the next 6 months.  She permanently lives on Oahu (Hawaii).   I’m sure everyone else who knows her would delight in her candid and documentary photos as I do.  So while Jaymi will be capturing stories with her lens, I will be writing stories with my words…


+ photos courtesy of Jaymi Britten

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.



La Vie En Rose.

17 January 2014 Rose by JSK

17 January 2014 Rose Illustration by JSK

La vie en…
Rose Byrne on the red carpet in Calvin Klein’s pale pink simple and daring mid-drift dress at the 2014 Emmy’s.

Ms. Bryne has been one of my favorite actresses since Wicker Park (2004).