The kindness of strangers

A first of 2 for this blog: 1. A pictureless post and 2. A post from Vancouver

My 2-hour flight to Vancouver on Tuesday was scheduled for 8:32 pm. It ended up being delayed by 30 minutes. Froo & Boo’s bedtimes are 8:00 pm and 7:30 pm, respectively. I was worried. More like terrified. What if both fell asleep?? But I survived. By the grace of God for providing the kindness of strangers. I am not usually the mushy type, but traveling alone with 2 kids has left me feeling a little vulnerable. This post is dedicated to the people who helped me on my journey and anyone who has ever helped a mother with little ones.

*****

Dearest German man,

I’m sorry if I’m mistaken and you are not German, but here is my letter to you. When we were in the security check line and I asked you if you wanted to go ahead of me, thank you for your smile and your refusal. Somehow, it was more considerate of you to refuse than for me to offer.

Thank you for waiting patiently and helping me with my carry-on bag. With a smile.

After passing through security, thank you for telling me that I have cute kids. It reminded me that my children are a blessing, not a burden. It was a great way for me to start my travels–with a positive perspective.

It may seem small and insignificant, but the way you have shown kindness has had a huge impact on me. It made me look forward to seeing the good in every moment that I share with Froo & Boo. It made me laugh hysterically when the pilot said “enjoy your flight” and Froo responded with a resounding “I will!!!”. Dankeschön.

With the warmest of warm fuzzies,

Irene

*****

Dearest Elizabeth,

Thank you for your kind smile. When you sat down next to us and I said, “you must have won the unlucky lottery for your seat”, your smile and your kind words reminded me that no lottery I could win would come close to how I feel about my kids. They are my world. It is a privilege that I am able to care for them as a mother.

When you looked after them while I went to use the restroom, I was so grateful that you were sitting next to me. Froo & Boo warmed up to you so quickly because you opened yourself up to them.

When I handed a half-sleeping Boo to you to take Froo to the restroom and he was screaming at the top of his lungs, thank you for making excuses for him, saying it must be hard to wake up in a strangers arms, instead of commenting on how loud he can be.

Thank you for helping me put my sweater on while Boo was in the ergo carrier. Thank you for helping Froo open her package of stickers and keeping her company while I was in the back of the plane rocking Boo back and forth in the ergo. Thank you for all the times you had to get out of your seat for me. With a smile.

Thank you for asking me if you could touch Boo’s hair and saying it was the most wonderful thing. His spiky little broccoli head is full of wonder and delight. Thank you for telling me that Froo is a bright girl–so good and sweet. I almost cried when I returned to my seat to find that Froo had made beautiful cards and wrote her name on the inside all by herself, with all the letters in their proper order.

Thank you for helping me pack up all of my stuff at the end of the flight. Thank you for asking me if I’d need help getting off the plane and making sure I’d be ok.

Most of all, thank you for saying I am a good mom. There are so many strangers out there who are quick to judge your parenting choices and tell you that you are doing something wrong. There are few who will commend you for the hard work you do. A million thanks.

With the deepest gratitude in my heart,

Irene

*****

Dearest Korean flight attendant,

First and foremost, thank you for your smiles. You had so many for Froo & Boo. Is it weird that you reminded me of my mom and I liked you even more?

Thank you so so so very much that you didn’t make me take Boo out of the ergo during the landing so I wouldn’t have to wake him up. You spared us a tremendous amount of grief. 

As we were leaving the plane, thank you for asking if I’d need help, discreetly (in Korean), just to make sure I was ok. That was very kind of you. The agent at the check-in counter who wouldn’t let my hubs escort us to the gate because I’m not disabled, could learn kindness from you. You went beyond the duties of your job. 감사합니다.

Forever and ever grateful,

Irene

Advertisements

Airplane Activities

I’ve been doing a lot of Internet research on how to keep toddlers entertained on an airplane. I just need to be prepared–if I had 0.01% of the energy that Boo has, I could do it all. Unfortunately, I operate on a pretty low-energy basis and require a lot of coffee to get through the day. One of the things that I’ve learned from my research is to buy triangular crayons so they won’t roll off the tray. Brilliant!

This afternoon, I sewed up this envelope pouch for Froo. The ribbon is really long and wraps around twice before looping around the button.

On the other side, I added an appliqué using Appleville fabric designed by Suzy Ultman. It’s a fun print–this one is a panel print with rectangles of various sizes and designs. If you look closely, I stitched together 2 rectangles to complete the picture.

Inside of the envelope pouch holds everything Froo needs to make greeting cards. The paper pad is from Target. Each piece can be folded in half, then decorated with crayons, stickers, self-inking rubber stamps and washi tape. I added a glue stick in case we need to make envelopes as well. Froo loves to send letters and cards, so this way, she can make cards for everyone we will see when we arrive in Vancouver. The Hello Kitty paint book is from Jo-Ann. A bit of water will turn the colours on the bottom of each sheet into paint. I packed a water-filled paint brush pen in the envelope pouch.

Boo no longer eats crayons. Woo hoo! But now he is into colouring everything, including walls. Boo hoo. I hope he enjoys the activities, too. Otherwise, I packed a whole bunch of snacks for him. Another tip for toddlers who think running away from you is a game: rubber boots. I just bought Boo a pair of rubber boots and the first time he wore them, he couldn’t move because he didn’t know how to walk it them. He hasn’t worn them since, but I plan to put them on him when we go to the airport so he’ll stay put. We’ll see!

Halloween Costumes for Froo & Boo


This is what I see out of my kitchen window. Not from this perspective, of course. The way we see Skeletor is often in a frenzied flying state (it can get pretty windy here in the SF bay area). At night, it’s even spookier.

Our neighbours really like to decorate the little garden in the roundabout. Some fixtures are permanent, while most others rotate throughout the season. Yesterday afternoon, I took Froo & Boo out to take photos, since I had the help of my hubs to get their attention. Good thing, it’s raining pretty hard today–reminds me of Vancouver.

Boo’s costume is the one I made for him last year. It barely fits, but I think it makes him look more authentic as a garden gnome. His sweater is from this pattern, without the turtleneck. His hat is fleece and made up of 4 triangles. His beard is the soft and fuzzy backside of sweatshirt material and attaches to the hat with velcro pieces. I made him matching black booties, but they didn’t even fit him last year.

Froo’s been asking me to make her a mermaid costume for the longest time. I found this Martha Stewart tutorial that I thought would be quick and easy. Jo-Ann had the stretchy scale fabric that is perfect for this costume. Froo’s top is a tube top that is elasticized at the top with a velcro closure at the back. Froo decided she wanted flowers on her costume, so I cut flowers out of felt and she decorated them with glitter glue.

Here they are together:

Lately, she is into posing like her hip is the focal point and her neck is unhinged.

A detailed look at Froo’s skirt. Froo found the little broken shell in the sand box at the playground awhile ago and kept it in her jewelry box. While decorating the waistband, she ran to her room to find it and said it would be perfect for her costume. She is becoming more and more like her mommy.

The skirt tail is very full and sparkly. I used a hot glue gun to attach it to the skirt.

While I was making Froo’s purple top, my sewing machine broke (Pfaff expression 2.0–discontinued soon after I bought it). It breaks once every couple of months or so, causing all sorts of stress and trauma. But this time, I think I’ve pinpointed the problem. The top thread gets caught and has trouble passing over the bobbin, which makes the machine make a horrible sound, then causes major looping on the backside of the fabric. The loops are from the top thread, not the bobbin thread. The fix: clean the fuzzies from the machine, turn it off and turn it back on in several hours, start sewing slowly and it works again. I need to get my machine serviced. I’m not sure about warranties because I bought my machine in Canada and I am definitely not travelling with it!

I am going to be in Vancouver with Froo & Boo for the next week. The costumes are coming with us to celebrate my nephew’s 2nd birthday, which happens to fall on Halloween. We’ll also be meeting his newborn sister, which I am very excited about!

I took this picture of Boo in September, when I was considering if he could still be a gnome. My friend had a shirt once that read “gnomies are my homies”. Love it.

If there were 8 days in a week


We spent day 6 of kcwc at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, followed by a visit to the pumpkin patch and dinner at my favourite Chinese restaurant in Foster City–best egg puffs EVER. We went with Froo & Boo’s 2nd cousin, who was the ring bearer at our wedding, but is now a big boy! We also went with his grandparents (the hubs’ aunt & uncle) who are visiting from Vancouver. It’s great being with family.

Uncle left his iPhone at our place, so we spent day 7 meeting up at the Ferry Building in San Francisco–one of my favourite places in the city. Then we went to watch our ring bearer’s little league baseball game. Froo & Boo had a blast! Afterwards, we went to shop for Korean groceries in Daly City, then had Froo & Boo’s other 2nd cousins over for dinner. Fewf!

I still had some fabric cut out on day 5 that I wanted to get finished, so I spent yesterday (day 8) at the sewing machine. Confused. Cussing. Seam ripping. I should have left my project undone. But I was determined. I’m pretty sure I have excellent reading comprehension and my sewing skills are alright, but trying to read the instructions in the pattern (McCall’s M6156) I was using was futile. I improvised on most of the directions, according to what I thought made sense. I feel like the pattern makers were trying to save on print, so they used the least amount of words and the smallest illustrations as possible. I need some Oliver + S patterns!

So after all that complaining (don’t even get me started on my machine), here it is:

The fabric is the same heavy herringbone cotton that I used for Boo’s art smock. It is also the same fabric that I used to make my Wiksten Tova dress. The contrasting floral print is from a super-old Old Navy button-down shirt I had. I love my tova dress, it’s comfy and easy to wear. I wanted to make Froo a similar dress, but couldn’t fathom drafting a smaller size of the tova–a beautifully crafted pattern. I’ve made 3 so far and it makes me feel like a sewing superstar every time I finish one. I have some Nani Iro saved for my next tova.

I made Froo’s dress in size 6, but it was much too big on her. I changed the sleeves to match the tova.

Here’s Froo practicing her “school photo” pose:

The waistband on Froo’s dress is elasticized and there is also a tie at the back. It’s still wide with both, but it should fit her next year.

Here are some photos sans Froo.

While waiting for the camera timer, we had a photo bomber incident! 12 seconds is a very long time to wait when it comes to little kids…

kcwc – My first time!


I’ve been looking forward to the kids clothes week challenge (kcwc) because I wanted to get moving on some fall sewing projects for Froo & Boo. My enthusiasm waned as I finished Day 1 with just taping my pattern pieces together, tracing them and cutting them out. I fell asleep at 7pm and woke up at 7am the next morning! Luckily, I have an understanding hubs who took care of baths, night time routines and dirty dishes.

To get some fall fashion inspiration, I don’t have to travel very far. For instance, when shopping at Stanford Mall, there are people who actually look like this:

And this:

And I think I rather like it. I don’t think I can get my hubs to wear a bowtie, but little Boo–why not?

Last month, I purchased this pattern on Etsy to make Boo a shawl-collar cardigan. It was going to be navy blue, but that fabric ended up being Froo’s “Kate Middlton” coat. For kcwc, I decided I would make Froo the same one. Awhile back, I bought 2 shades of purple to make a knit baby blanket for Boo, but it never happened. So Boo gets a deep purple shawl-collar cardigan and Froo gets a mauve one. Look at my little preppies:

I think they look a little serious, even with their sunnies on, so I asked Froo to crack a smile. Boo just wanted to run.

So off they went:

And again:

This game doesn’t seem to get old.

Froo got matching leg warmers for the fall season. I never know what to do with leftover knit fabric scraps, but these little leg warmers are perfect with dresses and skirts. They are like tapered sleeves with cuffs on both ends. They even fit me as arm warmers. I might use them when sewing at night–it’s starting to get pretty chilly.

Boo got a cute double-layer bow tie to complete his outfit. I made it with rounded corners and attached it to a bar pin. It is made from the fabric I used to bind Froo’s Fly A Kite quilt.

Froo’s Ray Bans ended up matching her shawl-collar cardigan. I made her cardigan in size 6, following the measurement chart. The length was great, but it was really wide on her. I took in almost 2″ on both sides. It is definitely cut for a boy’s body. Boo’s size 3 fits pretty well, with a bit of room to grow. For an 18-month old, he is huge. At his paediatrician appointment yesterday, I found out that he was 99+ percentile for height.

Froo’s cardigan is made with a stretch French Terry with rib-knit for the cuffs and waistband. Boo’s cardigan is a thick cotton sweatshirt fleece. I added a bit of detail, including: elbow patches, contrasting cuffs/waistband and a cotton velour bunny pirate applique patch. The pearlescent heart buttons on Froo’s is from the large bag of mystery buttons that I bought at Michael’s for Froo’s birthday quiet book. Score! The ears are made with some Liberty of London fabric that I use for items in my shop. Here is a look at the cardigans, sans Froo & Boo. Look how well they cooperate for the camera:

There are a couple of days left to kcwc, so I might be able to squeeze one more project in!

Posted in froo&boo

Tags:

Permalink 3 Comments

HUGS in My Etsy Store

I am happy to announce that I have HUGS (Handmade Unique Goods for Sale) in my new Etsy store! You may be thinking, “oh great, another stay-at-home-mom making baby blankets”, but that’s not what I envision for Froo & Boo. I want my baby products to be cheery and bold, just like my kiddos. Stylish and fun. Fresh and modern. Providing happy babies with cuddly warmth. High quality fabrics with meticulous handmade craftswomanship.

I have 2 products that I am launching with Froo & Boo: the “Froo & Boo Baby Blanket” and the “Sunshine & Grey Skies Cloud Pillow”. Both are fun products that would be perfect gifts for a baby shower, a first (second, or third…) birthday or your own precious baby. Both products can be personalized with a name, message or date.


The Froo & Boo Baby Blanket has 3 variations:

1. The Froo Baby Blanket – this blanket is for a baby girl who loves to laugh and play with a joyful heart. Little bunny Froo is hiding, but you can see her pink polka dot bow and chic Liberty of London ears popping up, ready to hop at any moment.

2. The Boo Baby Blanket – this blanket features navy blue naughty-cal stripes, perfect for the mischievous boy who just wants you to smile at him. Little bunny Boo is playing hide-and-seek, but you can still see his handsome Liberty of London ears.

3. The Froo & Boo Baby Blanket – this blanket can be made for both a baby girl or boy, but is shown below for a baby boy. Both Froo and Boo are hiding, but can hardly contain their excitement. This blanket can be customized to feature: 2 Froo bunnies, 2 Boo bunnies, or Froo & Boo (as shown).

I am really happy with how the blankets turned out–I think they really represent the look & feel of Froo & Boo. I love that Froo & Boo products can be truly unique. A handmade, personalized gift for a special baby boy or girl–it doesn’t get much better then that!

Inspired by the ever-sweet song “You are my sunshine”, the Sunshine & Grey Skies Cloud pillow is a visual interpretation that would be perfect in any nursery or child’s room. It is made with super-soft flannel and filled with ultra plush fiber. The Sunshine & Grey Skies Cloud Pillow comes in 3 variations: shocking pink, navy blue or white trim. They coordinate well with the Froo, Boo and Froo & Boo Baby Blankets.

The Sunshine & Grey Skies Cloud Pillow can also be personalized with a custom name, message or date. This one shows the date my niece was born, just a couple of days ago! Congrats big sis on your new baby girl–I can’t wait to meet her!

The Sunshine & Grey Skies Cloud Pillow also comes with wrapping paper, since it is an awkward shape for wrapping. The cloud envelope is machine sewn together and can be embellished with bows, pompoms, stickers, stamps, drawings–however you choose to decorate it. A small gift tag is also enclosed.

So that is the PIPPA I was working on–I haven’t slept much lately, but I am so happy to be designing my own line of baby products! I have more products that I would like to start making, but I am testing the market with these 2 products first. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Please visit my Etsy store (www.frooandboo.etsy.com) for more product details.

Polka Dottie Goodness


I have a bunch of things going on with Froo & Boo (my business) at the moment–it’s hard to keep on top of it all, especially while keeping Froo & Boo (my kids) from running amuck. My samples are made, but among other things, I realized that I would need to take nice photos of them. I thought of taking photos outside, but I’m pretty sure I would lose Boo in the process. We have the best natural light in the afternoon, which is perfect because that’s when Froo is at preschool and Boo is napping.

A couple of nights ago, I took a break from sewing. I wanted to make decorations for my product photo shoot. I used white acrylic paint on kraft packaging paper and loved the look of it. There is a pop of colour with the confetti washi tape that I used to stick my pennant banner to the wall. I am so accustomed to using Photoshop to create graphics, that the tangible process of painting was a really nice change.

The dress (Simplicity 5284) I made for Froo 1 1/2 years ago, is a cotton sateen blend with a bit of stretch. I bought the fabric in the clearance section of Fabricland in Vancouver for $2.50/metre. I loved the colour of the polka dots–it’s very Kate Spade-esque. Boo’s tie is made with the same fabric. It is reversible with blue and white stripes on the backside. There is a layer of white fleece in between to give it structure, while keeping it soft. It is sewn onto a piece of elastic. The fabric edges are left unfinished, so it’s really frayed–giving it a casual twist to a formal look.

There is a very good reason why there are so few photos of both Froo & Boo together on this blog: it’s almost impossible to get them cooperating with the camera at the same time. Today was no exception: 5 minutes and over 100 photos later, I only have 2 photos to post. That is less than a 2% success rate.

I added a couple of details to Froo’s dress. I ironed on appliqué felt flowers, used matching buttons and finished it off with some hand-stitched embroidery. The hem is embellished with pink ric rac ribbon. There are 3 little white flower buttons at the neckline. The dress is pretty short now, so it’ll have to be worn with leggings.

The only way I would get Boo to sit still was to give him something to hold.

I received my Employment Authorization Document from the Department of Homeland Security in the mail today, so I am officially able to work in the United States. My Etsy store will be open soon, I’m hoping sometime this weekend. I have one more photo shoot to do with a different background design, so stay tuned!

Drooly Bibs


When Boo was an infant, he was super drooly. He would soak through all of his bibs and shirts. His little stuffed hippo was always wet and smelled like drool. His pet name was “puppy” because he crawled around everywhere with his drool-soaked hippo in his mouth. I can’t believe he was ever this little:

To make my drooly bibs, I used this bandana bib tutorial, but I made mine a little bigger (12″ x 12″ squares, cut in half diagonally to create 2 triangles). Then I couldn’t stop making them and I ended up making drooly bibs for all of my friends’ babies, even the non-drooly ones. I had 2 versions of the drooly bib: Version 1 featured 2 layers–a printed cotton backed with soft flannel. Version 2 had an additional vinyl layer inside. This was a huge improvement on Version 1 for two reasons: drool stayed on the first layer of the bib and the vinyl helped keep the shape of the bib. Below is a sample of Version 1, with crinkly seams.

I’m not sure what this fabric is called, but it worked great as a lining to stop drool from soaking through to the backside of the bib. It’s very thin and flexible. It was about $4/metre.

The drooly bibs came back to life because Boo is teething. He has 4, yup, that’s right, 4 teeth coming in at the same time! Not only is he drooly, but he is also very snotty. The drooly bib still fits–I think it fits even better now that he doesn’t have so many chins, I mean, folds under his chin. Now that he is a bit older, the snaps are great because he can’t pull the bib off by himself. The drooly bib with monkeys on it is Version 2.


Today after lunch, Froo was yelling something, but I couldn’t hear her because I was in the bathroom. When I came out, she was saying something about bananas. Meanwhile, Boo ran up to show me his hands. They were covered with bananas. He had taken them off the kitchen counter and squished holes through them with his fingers. I washed his hands and put him in the time out corner. He pretends to look remorseful, but he has a great time in time out; he grates his fingers along the vent, he babbles and laughs, and he yells “mommy!” over and over again. Then when we have our “talk” he nods fervently that he will never squish bananas again and gives me a big smoochie kiss. Why do I fall for it every time?