Life in the End Times

Shin's gift to Annie on their One Year Anniversary

Once Upon a Saturday…

Filed under: Arts & Crafts — Annie at 5:36 pm on Monday, November 3, 2008

Shin wanted to make a stuffed ball like his wife’s pink one.

So he searched online and printed a template on his hp laserjet

He was excited to cut the patterns out in his pajamas

Next he assembled the pieces

And learned how to use the sewing machine

He had very beautiful hands

Along the way he made mistakes but he used the seam ripper and kept trying

His final product was a little alien baby

He was so pleased he took lots and lots of photos

The End

Quilted Coffee Place Mats

Filed under: Arts & Crafts — Annie at 3:18 pm on Monday, November 3, 2008




Quilting & Bedding

Filed under: Arts & Crafts — Annie at 2:53 pm on Wednesday, October 8, 2008


My first baby quilt is finished. I love it! I might still quilt in a few dinosaurs along the edges but not sure. I like it as is. I’d rather move on to the next quilt or make some accessory bedding items.


I’m already into my next project- coffee cup place mats. They’re turning out so lovely I have a bunch of people in mind I want to give it to. A late but personal wedding gift, my friend in Paraguay, my mom and/or mother-in-law for Christmas, a church lady I’m very fond of who collects porcelain tea cups and always serves her guests tea and cookies. The handles have to be hand sewn and it’s really time-consuming.


Our baby mattress came yesterday. The box was filthy and so was the inner plastic covering but the mattress is wonderfully soft and dense at the same time. It’s the Sealy Baby Posturepedic. The crib we ordered in ebony is out of stock and will be available November 4th. It’s really a great, practical crib so I’d hate to order something else- it looks like we’ll just have to wait- which is potentially problematic because if the mattress doesn’t fit well then we’ll have to resell or return it and there are time limits. Not nice.

The Kenmore 12 Stitch

Filed under: Arts & Crafts — Annie at 11:53 am on Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I picked up my *new Kenmore sewing machine yesterday from my mom’s house!

It was a gift to me from my mom’s friend Suzie. When she first told me about it I anticipated it would be an old but working machine like the one I have. I hadn’t heard anything about Kenmore sewing machines so I anticipated it would be lightweight with lots of plastic parts like my Singer.

I got an initial glimpse at my mom’s house. She told me this was a gift to Suzie by her in-laws on the occasion of her wedding! So essentially it’s a “Hahm” gift, which is often the expensive-to-impress set of items that the groom’s parents give the bride. It’s like a reverse dowry that can include jewelry, linens, clothing, skincare, etc. Then I understood how special this gift was. I am really undeserving to inherit this. I’m going to make her an extra special gift of appreciation for her with the machine.

Shin brought it into the house and up the stairs to the recent, “library-turned-craft room.” He said it was heavy. As soon as we got it home at almost 10pm last night I brushed off the webs and insect remains and sponged down the grime on the outer case with some water and cleaning agent. It must have been in a garage judging by the evidence. But when I removed the hard case it was like finding a well-preserved artifact.

The chrome on the knobs were still shiny and new. There was a box of extra accessories still in original packaging. The type that reads, “Kenmore 12 Stitch” was endearingly retro. Everything was metal like the heavy duty machines in my quilting class- It’s resemblance to the classroom machines is one of the reasons I already like it.

I was too excited to sew anything that night. I just opened everything with a hinge and appreciated the different mechanical parts. I wanted to savor this experience of discovering it. I also looked up the model and serial numbers online to see if I could obtain the manual. Manuals are pricey. Maybe it is worth holding on to all the dust collecting cell phone and software manuals so that twenty years from now I can sell a poor, overly xeroxed copy of it for $10 a pop and charge for shipping and handling!@#$

The model and serial number is 158-13520 made by Sears & Roebuck, in case anyone has the manual. It’s made in Japan which surprised me. I thought Sears products were all made in the USA. That’s exciting because my teacher recommended I purchase a Janome Sewing Machine which are excellent and made in Japan.

This morning I asked my MIL to take a look at it and we threaded it and tried to figure out the other functions. We looked for the regular straight stitch feature and at first it didn’t look like it had one because the pictures only indicated 12 types of zigzag and embroidery. I was kind of glum but figured it was still excellent for certain parts of the quilting process. But it was too unsettling that it would lack the most basic feature so I gave the pedal a whirl trying different knob settings and problem solving skills. That was when I finally interacted with it instead of just gawking.

It felt noticeably different than my Singer. There was a certain pleasant weight in the tension like reeling in a fishing line on a smooth reel and feeling the ocean pulling at the same time.


The feel of the pedal responsiveness was a lot like driving a BMW. The power is sensitive and immediate giving momentum to a solid vehicle.


On the drive home last night Shin said that I would finally have a “real” sewing machine. “What do you mean a real sewing machine? This one’s been through a lot with me! It works just fine!” But my Singer does have a crucial missing part. He said of course I’d be satisfied with an old Honda that gets me from place to place- until I rode a fine European car. He’s right.


My MIL also had some preconceptions about it being an older machine but when she saw the quality it produced she complimented the stitching as “hulyung heh” which means something to be proud of- and she said the tension was really nice.

Ok. I’m done hyping it up. Now I’ve got real sewing to finish up.

Quilting at the Hull

Filed under: Arts & Crafts — Annie at 12:25 am on Thursday, September 25, 2008

Well, the baby quilt is coming along very nicely. I just started this quilting class two weeks ago through the local adult school. It’s my first time quilting and I love love love it. Picking coordinating fabrics, measuring, cutting with a rotary knife and a straight edge, piecing, and seeing how these stringy, flimsy pieces of cloth become something beautiful and kaleidoscopic has been absolutely thrilling.

Part of the fun of this new craft is that I can’t predict how it will turn out. I like colors but haven’t learned how to work with different patterns. It really takes some boldness. Of course Shin has solved that by having me scan my fabrics and make mock-ups. It’s been practical but also kind of like fishing with that doodad that tells you where all the fish are… takes some fun out of it, but for now it’s a good tool.

I remember the first day I went fabric hunting at Joann’s for baby quilt number 1. I kept gravitating towards this retro mix of browns, turquoise blues and yellow greens. I like those colors. But it’s a common and outdated color scheme for me. After 2 hours of hesitation I just committed to them because I didn’t like anything else. I went in the car and realized I was wearing those colors, and then put on my sunglasses (that my sister gave me) and those were also the same colors! I wanted to puke. I didn’t know why I couldn’t get out of that box. But anyhow… that’s a tangent….

My quilting teacher is this amazing, lady who I’m pretty sure is well into her 60’s. She runs an amazing set of classes, knitting, crocheting, quilting, something and something else. She’s witty, skilled, funny. Her quilting class alone has almost 45 students, taking up two, connected junior high classrooms. Her class sessions are a workshop/social club.

The very first day there were women who already had seats saved for each other just to gab while they work on intricate, sentimental, experimental, and artistic quilt projects. And that’s part of the lovely thing about this class is everyone has a different direction. There were only about 12 of us who really had never quilted before. The majority rolled in with their totes complete with not-so-portable sewing machines, although the teacher has 5 walls lined with Singers and Berninas.

So… I’m learning how to use the Bernina machines. Up till now I’ve used my Singer which was given to me when my grandmother passed away. She didn’t leave it in a will for me. The family just sort of decided I should have it and I’ve grown fond of it and used it well throughout high school until now.

But recently I started glancing at sewing machines here and there… just checking prices when I’m in the stores, seeing what the newer models look like, what they’re capable of. It wasn’t official research just… a very tiny thought of having a new machine- maybe one that I own the manual for. I looked for the online manual on this one and couldn’t find any free ones. I’d have to pay $15 for a booklet and didn’t think it was worth it.

A funny thing happened today. I called my mom to chat. She didn’t know I started quilting until I told her today. She told me that her friend received a Kenmore sewing machine as a wedding gift more than 25 years ago and never once used it. For some unexplainable reason- she decided to give it to ME! Except for dust it’s brand NEW! I told Shin over the phone and the first thing he said was, “God knows the desires of your heart.” I feel like God remembered me. He has totally overwhelmed me with His kindness.

And I really like quilting. A LOT.

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