2015 MY YEAR OF DIY!

Rain-1

This kind of weather inspires me a lot!

The afternoon sky was an eerie shade of grey as I walked out of the house on the first Tuesday of 2016. The clouds were ready to weep over San Diego as I drove to a nearby Starbucks to organize my brain of thoughts–some creative and some of mundane tasks. Then there were those flashback of memories of 2015 that began to pour in my mind like the rain that flooded the streets. Everyone’s cell phones around me alerted an emergency flash flood-including my own- and we all took a moment to silence the obnoxious beeping. The man sitting on the table next to me announced how he had never seen such a thing before; neither have I. The rain started as small droplets and quickly grown 3 times in size. A river of water filled up the street and the gutters could not keep up. The sidewalk was under a foot-or-so of water. I kept looking out of the window to see if I could see my car and the man next to me said, “Doesn’t look like you’ll be able to go anywhere for awhile.” Fine with me. My husband took the kids to the museum and I had planned to spend some time in the coffee shop for a few hours. I love the rain and the stormy skies because it inspires me creatively. We haven’t had much of a winter in the past couple years and January was already making up for it all.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 9.27.51 PM

It’s hard to believe that it is January of 2016. If I could share of all the memorable events that happened in 2015, it would be a breath full. It would take me forever to write a blog entry that summarized this past year because not only am I a scatter brain, I’m also not a quick writer and my own self~critic. Sometimes I’ll write a draft, read it over, and then delete it. So instead of a writing some inspiration blog post of my intentions for this year, I decided to compile a list of all the links to tutorials I used in 2015. It turned out to be a DIY year for me!

I’m slowly learning how to document my projects and am realizing that it takes a great deal of patience since it lengthens the entire process of production. I’d say that majority of the crafts I do are pretty self~explanatory or it was inspired by another tutorial [follow the link to see the step-by-step]. Below, I have listed all of the DIY projects I did- my husband helped with the home & decor- in 2015 and will update this list with patterns and my own tutorials when I get a chance!

Without further ado…

Sewing:
DIY Baby Bloomers by See Kate Sew
DIY Bassinet Lining [sorry, no tutorial, but I’ll try to find one]
DIY Baby Bibs by Purl Soho
DIY Jessica Brown Rag Doll by Jess Brown

Knitwear & Crochet:
DIY Baby Bonnet by CrochetLatte
DIY Knitted Bon Hiver Baby Beanie [pattern coming soon]
DIY Knitted Aire-Sur-La-Lys Scarf [pattern coming soon]
DIY Crochet “Hexagon Market Bag” by Lion’s Brand [register to access FREE pattern]
DIY Knitted Baby Booties [More Last~Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson]

Jewelry:
DIY Friendship Necklaces & Bracelets [tutorial coming soon]

Stationary:
DIY Baby Shower Water Color Invitations [coming soon]
DIY LAST MINUTE Christmas Cards [coming soon, never fails for any occasion]
DIY Our “30” Birthday Piñata

Home & Decor:
DIY Coat Rack [coming soon]
DIY Hanging Jewelry Rack [coming soon]
DIY refurbish furniture [coming soon…how to Craigslist if you’ve never done it]

Homeschool:
@creations_académie [Follow our homeschooling journey]

Crafts:
DIY Loom by Honestly WTF
DIY Better than salt dough ornaments
DIY refurbish old ornaments [coming soon]
DIY pinecones and acorn ornaments [coming soon]
DIY Tissue Paper Roses by Lia Griffith
DIY Christmas Stockings [coming soon]
DIY Paper Garlands [coming soon]

I have also compiled a list of my DAILY READS that can be found in the menu list to the left and will also add my library of my favorite books that I have used over the years!

xx
Jena

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A Painting For Suzi J.

SuziPainting-900w

A Painting for Suzi J. Illustration by JSK Medium: Watercolor

Earlier this year I did a painting for my dear friend/photographer, Suzi Jacobs, in exchange for taking our family portraits. My husband and I were extremely grateful for this trade because her photos are timeless.  I rarely get a chance to see what becomes of my art or creations after it’s shipped off!  Below is a picture that Suzi took of her lovely reading corner in her home-sweet-home:

Photo taken via Suzi's Instagram

Photo courtesy of Suzi | via Instagram #DarlingWeekend

xx
Jena

A Winter Beanie in Indigo Blue.

020614-Beanie-3

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

A WINTER BEANIE IN INDIGO BLUE
BY JENA S. KIM

Easy-Intermediate

Sizes:
One Size

Needles:
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.

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

Other Materials:
Scissors, Embroidery Needle, Stitch Marker

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

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

PATTERN:

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.

February-Confetti

xx
Jena

Noir Tricoté Des Mitaines!

8 October 2013

8 October 2013

I chase the orange setting sun in the remainder of these shorter days, feeling a tragic loss of sunlight after starting my morning too late.  My body, sleeping soundly, is never present at the first gleam of dawn, and my tiredness spirals deeper throughout the humdrum of the day.

“The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.”
Proverbs 4:18 NLT

I refuse to live detached from any season, especially the whimsical fall.  These months have the potential to be the most therapeutic of all, inspiring transformation; deeper discoveries in myself, and my surroundings.  I am always attempting to change the ambiance in our place with every new season– both in decorating and de-cluttering.  After I have gone through our compacted closets and have made a clean sweep around our apartment to remove the things we no longer need, I feel refreshed and capable of letting all my creative ideas pour like fresh water into my thirsty mind.  The old and outgrown things are then handed down to friends, sold to Buffalo Exchange, or donated to our friend’s  homeless ministry.

It is liberating and a joy to give away the things that we no longer have use for; knowing that somebody else in the world will find it sufficient for their needs.  Evie outgrows her clothes and shoes almost twice a year, and it warms my heart to hear her thoughts of someone she is giving her things to.  Out of love, her friends have kindly given her their own treasures.  These exchanges leave a true impression of the virtue of giving, and I am grateful for these children that are living examples of such kindness to her.  I think we learn most about how to give when we experience the joy of receiving– and through this, it sparks the desire in us to share that same joy with others.

Psalm 113:3

Junipero Serra Museum

Junipero Serra Museum

In the fall, nature sheds such beautiful things at no cost– giving us materials to produce wonderful things with our own hands.  It is the perfect time for us to collect woodland treasures and disposable decorations which we have been wanting to bring home since late summer.  Up the side steps from the Junipero Serra Museum in Presidio Park, there are heaps of pine cones in the bushes.  I feel like I get to re-live my childhood as I explore with my darling Evie.   On this hill, the park staff pile up dead palm tree leaves and trimmed branches.  I bring Evie to this hill once in a while to get her nature fix– collecting leaves and breaking the sticks off of already sawed branches.  She could destroy an entire park landscape in an hour if I told her it was acceptable.  Every flower would be picked, every leaf and branch broken off, and patches of grass would be uprooted.  In her innocence and reasoning, she needs to make stews and nests for the animals that are not being cared for.  She thinks that all animals should be pets, and have an owner that would care for them and feed them daily.  I get to share with her that our heavenly Father feeds them, and it makes her happy knowing they aren’t neglected {Matthew 6:26}.  I am a bit afraid that if she ever had a pet, there would be excessive feeding and a lot of terrorizing– this is the manner in which she loves her stuffed animals, and her first real beta fish, poor Teken.

It is more rewarding to pick up a soft skein of worsted yarn and produce something satisfying, than driving to a shop and purchase fingerless gloves that do not literally fit like a glove.  After a week of watching documentaries with my husband on my laptop, bottoms glued onto our forest green suede-like sofa and backs pressed against faux fur white throw pillows, I finally completed three sets of noir tricoté des mitaines (black knitted fingerless gloves)!  I like to use French words to describe my projects because it always sounds better than English.  Vous voyez?  The hours knitting a set of gloves are soon forgotten after I try them on, and I also feel as though I’ve gained knowledge of the world while watching:  Happy People: A year in Taiga, China’s Mega Dam, Pururambo, Park Avenue, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and listening to a few audio (dramatized) books in the bible on the Bible Gateway app.  I’ve become so accustomed to movies and productivity combined; that if I were to simply watch a movie by itself, it would feel like wasted time.

WoodlandCreatures-5

Evie’s fingerless gloves were quickly crocheted using this lovely ‘Fingerless Gloves with a Bow’ pattern that has been archived in my bookmarks for a few years.  I am constantly bookmarking in my web browser, pinning, or searching in Ravelry for new ideas and patterns so that when I do get the chance to knit, I have endless options in front of me.  Evie wasn’t too excited about black gloves, but the bows gave way to approval.  She also requested her name in pink embroidery thread and the number 4, for her age, to be stitched on the palm of each glove.  I will probably knit her a mini-size pair like mine (below) because I like the stretch in ribbing and how much more insulated it feels.  I’m sure if I used 100% wool, it would be very warm; despite the exposed fingertips.

Knitted Fingerless Gloves |Pattern by Life In Cleveland

Noir Tricoté Des Mitaines

View the original pattern by Life In Cleveland HERE.

To knit these fingerless gloves, the pattern calls for double-pointed needles (DPN’s), which are pointed at each end and work similarly to circle-needles where you knit in the round.  There is no need to reverse stitches in each row, like you would on straight needles.  Knitting in the round for gloves, socks, hats, and other tube like pieces of garments (sleeves, pant legs…etc.) create a seamless product; meaning, you do not have to sew up a side seam.

If you are petite like me, you can always go down a size of DPN’s which is what I did.  I used a size  6 and 7.  I did make a few adjustments for a custom fit, but did not change the overall results:

Sizes:
Small(Large)

My adjustments:
CO 32(40) with size 7 DPN’s
For the ribbing at the cuff, I did 15(20) rounds
And at the end of the gusset, when you start knitting plain rounds, I knitted 7(12) rounds
Switched to 6 DPN’s before you work the last 5 more rounds of the glove.

After the gusset has 13 stitches between the markers, I would probably knit about 5 more rounds before removing the markers– so that the thumb has a little more warmth.

WoodlandCreatures-3

Sunset from the Junipero Serra Museum in Presidio Park

Streaming “Dawn” written by Dario Marianelli & performed by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet
xx
JENA

The Seed.

Evie post-ballet

Evie post-ballet and watching our neighbor sweep the leaves.

The sky is a blanket of grey, the temperature has dropped to 63 degrees, and golden leaves are carried with the wind.  Our neighbor who sweeps the leaves daily is a very kind little old woman who has lived in our complex for over 40 years.  And amusingly, I hear her cursing under her breath as she bends down to pick up another leaf that has fallen after she swept the area.  Her frustration makes me smile because this gorgeous season is unrelenting in pure messiness, while this old woman works so hard to keep the apartment complex and curbside pristine!  It has crossed my mind to send Evie out there with a broom and dustpan to keep her leaf piles smaller, and lighten her work load.

A gentle breeze passes through the open window where I sit.  It feels good to breathe in fresh air, especially when I sit to write, or knit for a few hours indoors.  I found two untouched skeins of worsted yarn in my stash– one in black, and one in beige; two colors I feel that I must always have in stock for projects.  Black is so classy and never retires no matter what season or era we are in, and the many variations of beige (nude) can be the most complimenting color to tone down vibrant hues.  I feel that it also causes the darker colors to be courageously bold and intense.

Boye size US 8 (5.0) Knitting Needles

Boye size US 8 (5.0 MM) Knitting Needles

I love to incorporate the seed stitch into my personal projects.  Each raised purl gives it texture and dimension; appearing like scattered seeds–hence, the seed stitch.  You start with casting on an odd number of stitches, and then *knit 1, purl 1* repeat to end of row.  On subsequent rows, you will knit the purls and purl the knits.  The key is knowing the difference between both stitches, just in case you need to put down your knitting needles to get a second cup of tea and come back to it.  I have unraveled so many partially knitted projects due to sudden interruptions, and its not as simple to undo as a crocheted piece.  But it is through every mistake that I have learned something new as a knitter.

Matching Mother & Daughter Seed+Knot Turban

Matching Mother + Daughter Seed & Knot Turban

I’ve been wanting to write an easy turban pattern to share ever since our stroll around Balboa Park last week.  Several strangers passing by had whispered compliments into my ear about it.  That particular turban was made with larger needles and bulkier yarn, and also knitted wider in width to keep her ears warm and covered back in the frigid Spring.  We spent a lot of time at the playground off of Park Boulevard, where the airplanes are quite loud in flight– so it not only kept her really warm, but it also softened the sounds of the cars on the street and the airplanes above.

There are many ways you can achieve this style, but I think tying a knot in the middle before the ends are seamed together gives it that eastern flair; rather than the bow headband where you might knit in the round and knit a separate piece to gather the middle.  I had to include a mama version because I love when mamas and daughters match.  It took me approximately 2 1/2 hours to knit the Mother Turban, and 1 hour and 40 minutes for the Daughter Turban.

SeedTurban-2

KNITTED SEED+KNOT TURBAN
By Jena S. Kim

Sizes:
Mother (Daughter)

Needles:
One set of size US 8 (5.0 mm) straight knitting needles

Yarn:
Caron Simply Soft Eco 142 g / 249 yards
Worsted 80% Acrylic & 20% NatureSpun Post-Consumer Recycled Polyester

Other Materials:
Scissors, Ruler, Embroidery Needle

Gauge:
19 sts and 32 rows = 4″

Seed Stitch (SS):
All rows: *K1, P1* repeat to end

Binding Off (BO):
*K1, pass last st over* repeat from * to end

PATTERN: 

Mother (Daughter)
CO 21 (13)
Row 1:  Work in SS until piece measures 19″ (14″)
Tie a knot in the middle of piece– loosely or tight, whichever you prefer
Fold in half, wrong sides together
Knit into other side, while at the same time BO
Fasten off, and weave in the ends.

Leaf-text

Seeds of every generation
Between our hands
And the promise to teach you
The little I have learned… so far
Child…
What will you live to do?
What have I left for you?
What will we leave behind?”
Brooke Fraser | Seeds

 xx
JENA

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″.

xx
JENA