Today was very productive and festive day for me & the girls. I used IKEA's frozen gingerbread dough for the first time & pre-baked the cookies a day before with some help from Kiliko. The flavor is pretty good.
My mom always hosted a holiday cookie decorating playdate (almost a party) for me, my three siblings, and our friends before Christmas, and with Kiliko in a good age to enjoy things like this, I planned to do a smaller version of it this year.
Little pastry chefs.
I looked up icing recipe online & here I'm using a basic icing with powder sugar & egg white. Some recipe calls for some lemon juice, but I did fine without since I didn't have any. It's probably for hiding some eggy taste and maybe the acid preserves it a little? Before I crack open the egg, I washed it in soap and hot water to avoid any salmonella poisoning.
My mom used to use just powdered sugar & water, but the egg white seemed to thicken & stabilize the icing a bit. It hardens nicer and looks more opaque when dry.
Lots of cookies, lots of personalities.
I enjoyed it as much as... well, maybe more than the girls. More I did it, I got more ideas, but cookies ran out before I could try everything. Kind of understood why there are people out there who go really far with iced cookies or even become pros! Need to bake more cookies next year. Wait, there's the Valentine's Day!
Last week, I took a little break after vending at the lovely 6th Borough Market. It was not quite the perfect day to stand outside for 6 hours when the temperature is hovering around 31F. It was great to talk to my customers & other nice vendors and feel the holiday spirits in the air with better sales, but the bitter-cold really does it when you are not 25 anymore.
Still went to work, took a yoga class, sent out some orders - when you are tired, I think the best remedy is to stick to your basic & minimal routine and not add anything that doesn't have to get done.
And now, time to produce some again!
Well, I guess I have to straighten my desk first...
I had a little Halloween project for Kili and her good friend Tristan today: DIY trick-or-treat bags!
I printed their names with store-bought stencils on a cotton totes and hand-carved bat stamp out of an eraser. They stamped the bats with fabric ink & drew pictures with Puffy Velvet fabric marker. This marker's ink gets puffy and gives the lines embossed look when heat-set.
We glammed them up with some iron-on glass crystals as well! They are made by Tulip and it works really well - they bond to the fabric pretty easily and steadily.
Everything used in this project was stuff I had for ages with no specific purpose - that was good, too! It is always satisfying to find a use for things.
My 6-year-old wanted a Halloween sign when we were at a discount store. I told her I could make one - probably a better one than the one we saw at the store. She didn't buy it, even after I started the sketch on the paper.
After she went to bed, I painted it - kind of fun to stay up late and do a project that is not related to my job or any money-making. Cut out some bat silhouette, too, to decorate the house.
While I am folding the fresh-out-of-dryer tee shirts, my brain changes its gear from 'park' to 'drive' and starts turning - coming up with colors to print on them and running many different simulations - different motifs and characters in different colors.
Some people think I just have ideas and turn them into shapes. It is true for some occasions; I come up with something and quickly jot them down on my sketchbook. But a lot of times, I don't really know what I am doing until my hands starts moving. Things start to take shape while I am cutting, touching fabric and other materials, looking at their colors, and doing something tedious and repetitive.
The making process generates creativity. Creativity can generate the making process. It's a two way road.
Finally, I washed my fabric & tee shirts and ironed the major wrinkles out.
Now I am ready to just cut, cut, and cut.
This process removes the starch from the fabric and makes it easier for the fabric inks to get absorbed into fibers. There are so many little steps like this one involved in making my bibs - and those less obvious steps makes the difference in the end products.
I love making stuff for my daughter's friends' birthdays. It's fun to think of the child and imagine how the garment will look on her/him while making it.
This one was made for Sophie whose birthday was last week.
front and back
This is a patchwork skirt in a sense as I made this connecting smallish fabric panels. Sometimes things get more interesting when you don't have enough fabric.
I had the skirt done and Kiliko suggested I print a pink parakeet on the pocket because her has a pet parakeet. Brilliant idea! It made it more fun and added a personal touch. She is already learning to design.
The other day when Kiliko had a playdate with her best friend at our home, she held a skirt I made for her and told her friend, "My mom made it. Nice design, huh?" Pretty good vocabulary for a 5-year-old!