Valentine’s Cocktail – Basil Grande

I’ve started making all the preparations for a festive Valentine’s Day this year.  It is one of my favorite holidays.  Who doesn’t want to celebrate love?  Found a drink that is perfect for the occasion.  It is called a Basil Grande.  I clipped the recipe ages ago (from either Lucky or Martha I think).

valentines day cocktails

It is the perfect shade of red and is sweet.  For my version I adorned the glass with a strawberry instead of the basil leaf.  Seems more appropriate for Valentine’s Day.

4  fresh-hulled strawberries
5  fresh basil leaves
1 shot vodka
1 shot Chambord
1 shot Grand Marnier
3 shots cranberry juice

– Muddle strawberries & basil in a shaker.
– Add the other ingredients and ice.
– Shake.
– Use a stainer as the holes in most shakers will get blocked by the strawberry bits.
– Garnish with a strawberry.
– Enjoy.

basil grande cocktail recipe
Credits: Modified bow and lace gif art  from Subversive Kawaii on tumblr.

Moco-Moco Bear Bloomers

deka wanko inspired room wear

I was feeling especially silly this weekend.  But when I tried my hand at a Deka Wanko inspired room wear ensemble, even my well-used-to-Sheri’s-bizarre-creativity boyfriend had a good laugh.  It ended with the conclusion that I probably should be working at Disney and not at a financial corporation.

fuwa fuwa bloomers

Bloomers out of a fuzzy fabric sounded really cool when I had the idea.  But they are very bulky.  Which translates into not exactly flattering.  I am totally in love with the little bear embellishment I added though.  He is so cute.

bear your bottom bloomersI don’t think these bloomers are going to get a ton of use, but I had fun making them.  They are lined with a super soft, 100% cotton jersey, in pink to match the bear’s face.  That makes them comfy to wear.  I didn’t want the polyester faux fur, well there is no other way to say it, directly on my bum.  I used the same basic pattern as on other bloomer and short projects I have made, with some minor tweaks.

You can see a close up of the Bear Ears Alice-band over here.

Project Complete: Kimono Fabric Chevron Pillow

An alternative title for this post could be, “The 20 Week DIY Pillow Madness.”  Yes, start to finish, this pillow actually took me 20 weeks to finish.  Phew.  But I knew what I was in for when I started.  I haven’t done applique before and am certain an expert wouldn’t take even a fraction of that time; even with a day job.  Regardless, here it is finally finished.  There are so many things I would do differently.  I would say I am 88% satisfied with the end result.  The sheer joy of it being done might add a few more percentage points.

kimono diy decorative pillow

Project Recap

You can check out the steps I followed up to this point with these links:
Update 6: Applique Takes Patience
Update 5: Applique Taking Shape
Update 4: Applique Pieces Basted
Update 3: Ready to Begin Applique
Update 2: Finalizing the Pattern
Update 1: Pattern for Perfect Corners
Kickoff: Anthro & West Elm Inspiration

Taking it to the finish line is illustrated below:
 chevron applique how to add pillow piping pillow cording trim diy pillow sewing tips  how to make a pillow

If you are interested in more detailed instructions for making your own decorative pillows, I think this blog’s tips are pretty helpful.

Crushing On: Nina Ricci, Fur, Tulle, Japonisme, KPP & Kate Spade

The internet has dramatically reduced my traditional magazine consumption for sure.  But thanks to airlines’ “turn off all electronic devices” timeblocks, every time I travel I stock up on the latest rags. Do today’s digital natives even understand that slang? Anyway, here is what I was crushing on during today’s tech blackout.

kera magazine february 2013

  1. Fur Hairbands – How awesome is that.  Instead of a boring fabric scrunchy, this would be a simple DIY project using a small amount of faux fur.  I will be trying this ASAP.
  2. Hair Bun Covers – Leave it to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu to have twin buns wrapped in what remind me of 1950’s rear view mirror dice.  But this sparked an idea to create a handmade option, something above the traditional Chinese bun netting but not as extreme as Miss KPP. {Who by the way I will be seeing in concert this April – squeal.}
  3. Art School Specs – I am in the market for new glasses and have been putting it off because I want something really fun but still everyday worthy.  These Nina Ricci Summer 2013 sunglasses might just do the trick. Pop out the lenses and have prescriptions set in.  Am torn between the pink and the clear acrylic. The clear is more versitile, but I do wear a lot of pink.
  4. Tulle – This pair of heals has dot tulle encased in plastic.  I don’t actually like the shoes, but it was a reminder of about a dozen projects I wanted to try with the 5 yards of dot tulle sitting in my fabric cupboard. For example, the Red Valentino sweatshirt I raved about back in 2011.
  5. Indigo – I am a complete nutter when it comes to Japanese indigo. Be it blue and white pottery or blue and white fabric.  I can’t get enough of it.  This would make a nice beginners quilting project using yukata material. almost always has some available for sale on their site.  Buy a bolt or two, cut it at the length needed and stitch together the strips to the width needed – twin, queen size, etc.  You can get high quality and inexpensive cotton quilt batting online. Add rows of running stitches using a sewing machine at 45 degrees across the quilt to put it all together.  Finish with a simple pre-made binding.  Using yukata might not be the most inexpensive option, but I still think the total project cost would come in way under this $360 version.
  6. Dip Dye – These Kate Spade dipped Keds are super cute and super easy to make at home.  Not sure what type of paint would be best.  Will have to think about that some more.
  7. Karate Chic – It seams everyone is on the “inspired by Japan” train this spring.  Prada is leading the charge.  But this particular item stood out.  As a student of Shotokan Karate of America I was immediately attracted to this use of a white belt in a high fashion way.  Anyone who has ever bought a karate uniform (gi) will have a few white belts collecting dust somewhere; you get one with every purchase. But I nearly fell off my seat when I saw that this one is going for $245!  What a joke.  A whole gi with top, pants and belt can be found online for between $20-30.  So once again, I encourage you lovely readers to take the made-by-me approach if you want to kick it karate style at the office this spring.

marie claire february 2013

P.S. The lady sitting next to me on the plane was clearly thinking, “why is she taking pictures of a magazine?”  But why not, I wasn’t going anywhere.

Concept: Two Tone Macarons

One day I’m talking about finishing up old projects.  And the next I am brainstorming new ones.  Make up your mind Sheri, honestly. Technically this falls into the second half of my resolution.  I would like to use the macaron fabric I recently got from Japan to make a spring dress for Tokyo.

macaron dress emily temple cute inspiration

The inspiration is not based on a particular Emily Temple Cute dress, but instead on their basic bodice shape.  If you follow the brand closely you will see that there isn’t really that much variation in their dress patterns.  They tend to focus on fabric and embellishments as the key differentiators from season to season. I only have 1 yard of the macaron fabric so will split the dress in half.  Macarons for the bodice and straps and a silky corduroy in a dusty pink color for the skirt.

For the pattern I will use a lolita JSK I drafted a couple of years ago.  I just need to make some small adjustments:

  • Update the neckline to replicate the slight curve that the inspiration has,
  • Shorten the bodice about an inch,
  • Add in a 1 1/2 to 2″ waist band.
  • Reduce the width of the shoulder straps, and
  • Pleat the skirt instead of gathering.

But before I start, the first question I have to ask myself is, do I begin my Princess Swing Coat project first or this?

Unfinished Business

Been thinking long and hard about New Year’s resolutions.  And while we are already well on our way into January it hit me today.  I have unfinished business.

There are a half a dozen sewing projects that I started and never finished over the past 2 years.  I am convinced that unfished projects hold onto energy, and the only way to get that energy back is to come to closure.  Either finish it or abandon it for good.  So between now and April it is time to make that call; wrap it up or toss it.

This is also a monumental year for me – a milestone birthday is coming!  So another resolution is that I want to pack my suitcase for Tokyo in the spring knowing it includes several of my own designs.  This is a pretty lofty goal given my work schedule but I think I can pull it off.  Since my sewing projects are almost entirely inspired by either traditional Japanese clothing and design or incorporates fabrics and embellishments from Japan it seems really appropriate to honor that on my special day.

So hello 2013!  Looking forward to getting to know you and a new me.

P.S. If push comes to shove, guess it will be time to have a project party:

sissors line1/10 Update:  Was catching up on bloglovin this morning and had no idea I missed this “UFO,” or unfinished object, post from Felt good to know I am in really good company.

Happy New Year & Learning Hanafuda

While on vacation I picked up a set of Hanafuda (花札 – Flower Cards) playing cards specially made for Hawaii.  I have wanted to learn how to play for a few years now.  The designs of Hanafuda are so deeply intrenched in the Japanese culture; learning to play might bring me a little bit closer to understanding more about the language and traditions.

hana fuda cards

We also found a set of standard playing cards with Hanafuda designs printed on the suits.  Thought this would be a much easier way to play since you can shuffle standard western cards far easier than the thick cards in a traditional Hanafuda set.  But as I am new to the game have had a hard time remembering what the points are for the special cards and for the Yaku combinations.

With a healthy dose of jetleg and no motivation to do anything too serious – I made a little cheat sheet.  Thought I would share it with you since it can readily be used with any standard deck of playing cards.

1/10 Update: Made a few revisions to the chart based on the hybrid deck I purchased. If you want to see the earlier version click here.

hanafuda playing cards conversion chart v2

As this is my first time exploring the game, I won’t try to give you tips on how to play.  The good news is you can find very robust instructions for how to play Hawaiian Style Hanafuda here.  Enjoy!

Credits:  Found the images of the flower cards used in the chart here.

Q-Pot in Hawaii

q pot ala moana

q pot sweety party

Today I had to make a really difficult decision.  Do I buy the exclusive for Hawaii Q-Pot macaron necklace, the ice cream scoop necklace, or the wooden biscuit key chain?  The macaron would go nicely with Bodyline’s macaron skirt.  The ice cream scoop – well enough said – hello ice cream! But the biscuit is a classic, a Q-Pot signature piece.  In the end the biscuit won out.  Yay for my first non-mook Q-Pot purchase!

q-pot hawaii macarons

q-pot ice cream scoops

q-pot biscuit necklace

I am contemplating transforming the key chain into a necklace.  For the price difference between the key chain and the totally amazing necklace, I am willing to do a little DIY and make my own unique statement piece.  Just need to pick up some gold link chain when I get back home, pull out some jump rings and then put it all back together again.

q-pot biscuit keychain

Despite the “no photos” sign, the shop girl was super sweet and let me take photos to my heart’s content.  So here is the rest of my very exciting visit to the only Q-Pot location in the U.S.  Mind you, I think the MOMA store in NYC does have a few items too, but not a full shop.

q-pot purse

q-pot sugar cookies

q-pot cream pot lights

q pot hawaii exclusive

q-pot made in japan

Mele Kalikimaka

mele halikimaka in hawaii

christmas greetings

Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas.  Today’s big adventure was checking out the surf scene at Waimea Bay.  Waimea is the original giant wave surf spot and we got to see it in good form.

waimea bay

Winter surf at Waimea Bay.

hawaiian horses

Petting the pretty horses at a stop along the North Shore.

fumi shrimp shack

Christmas lunch at a local shrimp shack – Fumi’s.

fumi shrimp shack

Got to practice some katakana on the menu.

shrimp bento

Spicy garlic shrimp, a bit oily, but the shrimp was super fresh.

hawaiian shave ice

Unfortunately the Oki Doki Shave Ice stand was closed for the holiday.

oahu beach snowman

A Kama’aina take on the classic winter snowman at the local’s beach.



Aloha from Oahu

hawaiian aloha

It’s photospam time.  Popped off to Hawaii to celebrate the holidays with my best friend.  I’ve spent a lot of time on the Big Island, but this is my first visit to Oahu.  The two islands are like bookends – very different from each other.  Oahu is the most populated and Hawaii (TBI) the least populated.  Today’s mission was to stock up on food so that we aren’t stuck tomorrow on Christmas when most stores will be closed.

Photos – Day 1

aloha from hawaii

Sunrise on Oahu.

oahu kualoa

View from the lanai.


A few plumeria blossoms holding on during winter.

fresh picked lilikoi

Fresh picked lilikoi from the garden at our vacation rental.

ono hawaiian ice cream cones

Ono-kine ice cream cones in the local grocery store.

honolulu chinatown

First official stop – Chinatown!

chinatown fresh fish

Amazing fresh fish in the Chinatown market.

north shore sushi pillows

Funny sushi pillows in a Honolulu shop.

honolulu mermaid

Cool mermaid painted on a side street in Honolulu’s Chinatown.


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