Thursday, March 5, 2015

Liebster Awards--Thanks, Inspinration!

Wow, my autocorrect did not like that post title at all--it came out Lobster awards, and Inspiration the first time around!  But I'm talking about the Liebster Award, described by Miranda who writes the blog Inspinration as "originally a German invention with the goal of promoting smaller blogs by getting to know the person behind the blog a bit more. The rules of the game have changed a bit over time (for example small used to be less than 3000 followers and now 200)."

Anyway, so flattering that Miranda chose me to nominate!  She is Dutch--pretty crazy that you can connect with people all around the world with similar hobbies.  That's the main reason I've been keeping this blog up! I love her style--definitely take a look through her archives!  And check out this great tutorial for a faux-bolero jacket added into any knit dress pattern--so smart! 

So how this works is that Miranda provided a list of 11 questions for her nominees to answer--you can see her answers as well as her list of nominees here!  I found some fun new bloggers looking at her list.

Once I get through my answers, I'll nominate some bloggers of my own and provide a new list of questions, and we'll pass on the award throughout blogland!

1. Which of your own blog posts (the project related to it) are you most proud of?

I made the Caroline Party Dress from The Mouse House Creations. I piped the collar and waistline, included a lining, invisible zip, and pockets, and I used some lovely Liberty of London fabric--my first time using some!   I drafted a little reversible knit cardigan to go on top, too.   Another favorite was the Rapunzel dress I made from a thrifted sheet for Halloween a few years ago--it still gets worn all the time for dress-up!

2. What sewing technique secretly still frightens you (a bit)?

I still am TERRIBLE at button plackets.  Making the holes even is probably the worst part but really every aspect of it makes me nervous.  So I avoid buttons whenever possible.  I just saw this product though--it might be just what I need to get over my apprehension!

3. What is your guilty pleasure?

Oh boy, I have a few, but probably the most embarrassing is that I have watched every single season (they actually call it a cycle, since there are two of them a year--do they still do it that often?) of America's Next Top Model since its inception.

4. What blog should we read which you couldn't  nominate due to too many followers?

I have been a fan of Craftiness is Not Optional for years now--I just love Jess's style, her daughters are adorable, her patterns are great, she offers wonderful tutorials (many of which I have followed) and I just always have fun seeing what she is working on.  Also, her oldest is in the same grade as my oldest so I like that I was sewing for kindergarten at the same time, etc.  

5. What is the story behind the fabric that has been in your closet the longest?

My stash is all relatively new right now--I didn't bring much with me when we moved to Tokyo in May of 2014, but I have been making up for it by buying all I can carry every time I visit Nippori, Tokyo's Fabric Town.  One special piece I brought with me is this amazing yard of Anna Maria Horner velveteen that I found at Goodwill a few years ago and have been planning to make into a coat for Little Sister.  

I'm thinking I'd better get on it soon, while she's still small enough for a coat made from the limited yardage!

6. What is your favorite tv show?  

I tend to get fixated on one show at a time, so currently I have been doing a Great British Sewing Bee Marathon (update--I can't find any more episodes on YouTube so I have been left hanging for both seasons 1 and 3!)  I love Game of Thrones, but I watch that one with my husband so we save it for the weekends (we're pacing it out--we don't have HBO so we're just now watching Season 4!)  Also, I am anxiously awaiting the new seasons of Orphan Black and Orange is the New Black.   

7. What would you buy yourself now, immediately if money was not an issue?

Ohhh, probably a fancy, reliable serger.  I have an old one that was my grandma's that was nice to have for finishing seams but is not very consistent--I left it in Portland when we moved to Tokyo, so I've got nothing now.  And I keep thinking I should probably upgrade it anyway!  It would be pretty amazing to be able to just get something top of the line!  But even if money weren't an issue, it would make the most sense to wait until we get back to the states so I can read the manual...

8. What frustrates the hell out of you?

Well, I really would like to be a better blogger.  It's frustrating, because it's hard enough to carve out time to sew, but if you want to build your blog you also have to take great pictures, upload them, edit them, write about them, and then promote them on social media, all while keeping up on other people's blogs and commenting in order to stay involved in the community!  There are so many projects I haven't shared here because I just can't get through that whole list.  I have folders dedicated to items I have photographed but just can't get the posts done!

9. What is your most happy memory?

Wow, that is really a big category!  I have lots of happy memories pertaining to my family--you know, wedding, birth of children, that sort of thing, but it seems more fun to list a sewing memory.  When I was a kid, after my grandma and mom taught me to sew and embellish felt into clothes for my troll dolls, I made an entire wardrobe of felt clothes for my best friend's trolls for Christmas, complete with snap closures, sequins, beads, and ribbons.   I was so proud of making that gift myself!  I must have been...I don't know, 9 or 10?  We played with those crazy things so much, and we did love dressing them in the outfits we had.  

Yup, these guys.  I also had several vintage ones that had been my mom's!

For the record, we did play Barbies too--we weren't total weirdos.

10. What kind of new hobby would you like to learn?

I don't know if it's considered a hobby, but living in another country has made me feel like it would be really great if I could speak another language.  I'm not sure Japanese is the one for me--I keep getting overwhelmed in my studies, but if I started working on a European language that I am more familiar with in the first place, I might be able to make better headway!  I'd also love to devote more time to practicing photography and web design--probably more practical skills in the long run!

11. What is your favorite app?

Google Maps!  There is no way I could find my way around Tokyo without it.  And I also love the Earworms Musical Brain Trainer for learning some survival Japanese--I plug in my earphones while I'm sewing and learn how to ask how much something costs and "do you speak English?" in Japanese.  And Toca Hair Salon Me is an app that we have for our daughter, but it is mesmerizing--you can take a photo and then style the hair, and the face moves and reacts when you wash, blow-dry, color, etc.  It's SO weird--I love it!

OKAY!  I made it through the list!  Now it's my turn to nominate a few bloggers I have been keeping up with:

1.  Peaches and Bees:  I discovered this blog through past seasons of Project Run and Play.  She is always making beautiful things for her girl, and I'd better hope that my daughter never discovers her blog or I will have tons of work to do!  Every time I see a post, I think, ohhhhh, Little Sister would love that!

2.  XOXOGrandma:  This is another blogger who is always sewing along with Project Run and Play, among other things.  She makes the sweetest outfits and gifts for her grandchildren, always with a great attention to detail and thoughtful elements to make the pieces really special.

3.  Fake It While You Make It:  I love the name of this blog--I actually found it because I wanted to use it for MY blog so I was googling to see if it was available!  She is a Pacific NW mama like me, and I'm so glad I found her because her techniques are inspiring--she tries things I am way too afraid to attempt!

4.  Tomatoes and Jasmine:  This blog has been a HUGE resource for me since moving to Tokyo.  I refer back to her "Sewing/Fabric Shops in Tokyo" post frequently, and I love looking at the beautiful tailored garments she makes.  She also reviews patterns in current Japanese sewing magazines, which is fun to see.

5.  Modern Handmade:  I actually don't really know how many followers April has--I first saw her blog last year during Selfish Sewing Week, and I really loved her style for both her own clothes and clothes for her children.  Her print and color combinations are exactly the kind of thing I am drawn to, so it's always fun to see what she's making!

If you ladies are up for it, here are my 11 questions for you!  Please let me know if you participate, I'd love to see your answers!

1.  Do you have a favorite thing to sew?  Like, a specific kind of fabric you love to use, or a particular garment you keep going back to?

2.  What got you into sewing, and what keeps you going with it?

3.  Who do you sew for the most?

4.  What project has been your biggest splurge?

5.  As a blogger or sewist, what is something that you struggle with?

6.  What was the first thing you remember sewing?

7.  What is your guilty pleasure?

8.  How did your blog get its name?

9.  Is sewing a hobby for you, or something more?  How do you balance sewing with the other parts of your life?  (Ok, so that's a pretty big question, I know--no pressure!)

10.  What is the best book you read in the last year (or best movie you saw, if you prefer)?

11. Where are you from originally, and how did you get where you are now?  (As a current expat, this is a question that comes up in pretty much every conversation!)

So for my nominees, if you choose to pass this on here is how it works:

The rules of the game:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and put a link to her/his blog in your post
2. Answer the 11 questions that you got from the one that nominated you
3. Nominate 5 to 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers (this is not an exact science, just focus on blogs that could benefit from this extra promotion).
4. Create 11 interesting questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Do not nominate back the blog that nominated you.  

I'm excited to learn more about this great online sewing community!  Thanks again for the nomination, Miranda from Inspinration!


  1. I don't know what's up with my formatting--so weird! I tried editing the text that's coming up white but who knows. This is why I stick to sewing instead of web design!

    1. You could copy your text into notepad, than it looses all formatting, and copy it back. In that case you will have to put back the links but you should loose the high lighting.

    2. I'll try that--it looks so distracting the way it is!

    3. That seemed to work, thanks! And the links and photos actually stayed put!

  2. Great post, you write very entertaining! I loved reading through your answers, button holes are also my great fear! Thank the world for Kam Snaps. And being a better blogger problem indeed, it is so much more than just snapping some pictures, I still have to learn a lot about the process.

  3. Beth, thank you so much for the nomination! Now that I'm home from my daughter's home, I'll work on my answers.

  4. Thank you for the nomination! I am honored :)

  5. I finally got my post up, thanks again for the nomination Beth!


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