Tag Archives: Gifts


Day 208/365: Jul 27, 2014

I’m thankful for:

  • Crunchy gyoza/dumplings.
  • Playing cards and chatting with my best friend late into the evening.
  • Looking at my birthday gift of pie birds, and being reminded of how much my hubby cherishes me even in little things/ways.

Hmm… now I have to make pie sometime!


Sweet 26

This year my birthday fell on a Saturday. While I work everyday (toddler doesn’t take a break), Saturday meant Andrew could spend the day with me on my birthday. Call me selfish, but I love being able to have my hubby with me on my special day.

Our leisurely morning included opening gifts and card from hubby and toddler. The toddler had with Daddy’s help decorated the card with a outline of his hand and foot. Daddy ingeniously included coins that Gideon has been treasuring with a note, “Dear Mommy, use these to get something special for yourself.” After a little while Gideon comes finding us with a gleeful grin showing us the birthday card and the coins he “re-found”. His gift-giving has room for improvement. Daddy’s skills are quite good though. He gifted me two pie themed gifts: a pair of pie birds (always wanted to try them since watching Alton Brown’s apple pie recipe) and a pie crust shield. Thanks Andrew, you set a nice example for Gideon.

After nap time for our recovering toddler had been completed, we headed out for our birthday adventures as a family.

Beautiful, sunny, hat weather.

After an errand or two we finally made it to our final goal destination: 320 Below.

We’ve eagerly been waiting the perfect opportunity to go back to this awesome ice cream joint and introduce Gideon to the geeky wonders of liquid nitrogen.

Can’t think of a “cooler” way to make ice cream.

He was just about as enthralled as his parents were with the “cool” process used to make the ice cream.

We had Tiramisu, Cinnamon Apple, Peanut butter with honey comb, and Pink Guava.

The flavors did not disappoint.

We then rushed home to change into fancier attire and meet our friends who were going to watch Gideon for us. The toddler was fed a quick dinner and our friends arrived eager to take care of their charge for the evening. After instructing them on all the details, we took a few minutes to sing Happy Birthday and share some cake while the boy was still awake. (And my friend sweetly brought me a gift too!)

Ready to dive into another sweet.

I had made a cake using a recipe for a small version of a snickerdoodle cake embellished with apple pie flowers. It isn’t often that I have an excuse to bake a cake, and even less these days since we try to limit our intake of sweet sugary goods (except maybe on birthdays)! So, I was really happy to spend an afternoon baking up this sweet and pretty cake the day before my birthday.

Not the best picture, but you get the idea.

That being said, we were really glad our friends could share it with us so we weren’t left chiseling away at it each evening.

We said goodbye to our growing boy who seemed more interested in showing his new companions his toys than saying goodbye to his parents.  Sugared up from ice cream and cake during the afternoon, we were ready to sit on a bus, and walk to the restaurant and wait some more before eating our dinner!

Moments on the way to the restaurant.

The setting for the birthday dinner was 7 Adam, a unique restaurant combined with an art gallery. It combined the classic charm of a tutor style building with the modern and clean lines of a hip gallery. We occupied a quiet table against a window in a hallway, just intimate enough to be romantic, while keeping a nice view of the outdoors and the pieces of art in the spacious setting indoors.

The room right next to us displayed lots of different zebra paintings… had to take a picture for my mom who loves zebras!

The food was delicious. Need I say more?

Happy about his fancy, but tasty, dish.

We both ended our meals happy with what we had chosen, and glad we didn’t order anything more. The thoughts of any desserts were distant, as in, “we’ll eat more cake at home if we become hungry later…” But then, the wait staff happened upon us. They proceeded to sing happy birthday and present me with a dessert platter while Andrew grinned from ear to ear.

Check out the massive sword I was supposed to cut the “cake” with!

Despite not ordering dessert we had a beautifully prepared birthday assortment of strawberries, lava cake, and ice cream to down before we headed home. It was a tall order, but we accomplished it. A sweet sugary ending to a wonderfully sweet birthday.

Old Jeans Become Birthday Gifts

It always drives me crazy trying to think of ways to make Andrew’s birthday, January 9, special after Christmas just passed. So far, my experience on December 26 (or soon thereafter), is, “I’m glad he liked his Christmas gift. Oh no! What am I going to do for his birthday.”

This year was no different. Less than a week to go till his birthday and I was coming up dry with fruitful ideas.

So I did what I should’ve done. I prayed about it. I know it seems silly for something so small, but I asked the Lord to give me inspiration for a gift for Andrew or something to make his day special. Then I thought of it:

A pair of old jeans

On first inspection this looks like one of Andrew’s old jeans. (One that doesn’t fit him now.) But that is only what it used to be. Now it really is:

A laptop sleeve, complete with pockets for all sorts of electronic knick knacks.

That’s right, I refashioned his old jeans into a sleeve for his laptop. I lined it with some blue fabric that I had in my stash. And then I took my embroidery thread that I rarely use and did a fun blanket stitch around the edge.

Blanket stitch

(The blanket stitch was inspired from this laptop sleeve tutorial by Sweet Verbena. Thank you Pinterest. I also found a picture of a jean-made laptop sleeve, but no workable source or tutorial.)

And when the new laptop sleeve isn’t in use, it rolls up nicely.

Rolled up jean laptop sleeve.

After I was done with the laptop sleeve, I was left with plenty of jean material and a little inspiration.

Jean/denim scraps (note the frayed edge, good thing he didn’t need or fit them!)

I went searching Pinterest (again!) for ideas for kindle covers and cases. I came up with two promising candidates:

Harmless Color: Blue Jean Kindle Cover Tutorial & Mommy by Day Crafter by Night – Kindle case and tutorial. Of course, I had my own measurements and ideas that I wanted to integrate into the final product, but fellow bloggers’ tutorial are always a great starting point!

Research, another crafting-filled-nap-time, and voila:

The laptop sleeve had a matching friend.

I suppose the re-used belt-loop gives a clue to where the material came from, but otherwise I think it’s pretty styl’n.

Masculine too.

Now, the kindle has a nice comfy new home.

Custom fit jeans 😉

And as a bonus, the new kindle friend fits in the laptop sleeve back pocket.

Well, it sort of fits…

In any case, I am thrilled to have found a way to put this pair of jeans to work without looking baggy on my handsomely fit hubby!

Laptop sleeve and Kindle cover = success.

And as best as I can tell I think he liked the gifts.

Gripping his old jeans in a new way 🙂

Happy Birthday Andrew! I’m so thrilled to be celebrating another birthday of yours! Looking forward to another year with you.


Day 8/365: Jan 8, 2014

I’m thankful for:

  • God graciously answering my small prayer.
  • Inspiration for gifts for Andrew’s birthday.
  • A special reason to celebrate my husband tomorrow.

PS – I’m also thankful for cool binary code wrapping paper.

Gifts for Gideon

Gideon is a smart little cookie. That being said, I don’t think he has quite figured out that birthdays are associated with gifts. Nor has he developed a materialistic longing for birthday gifts. Thank goodness. However, I thought it would be a good idea to catalogue a few of the gifts I made for him for the special occasion of turning one.

Hoodie Towel

The first gift I made, I confess, I let him use a few weeks before his birthday.

I have made several a hoodie towel. In fact it has become my semi-tradition to make new towels for new babies (ie: nieces and nephews) that come into the family, and I have also made some for a few friends’ babies. But I hadn’t made one for my own son. Part of that is that he had two baby hoodie towels. I really didn’t think he needed a third! But as he already grew out of one quite a while ago and the remaining one was getting harder to wrap him up in, I decided it was time to make him a big-boy hoodie towel.

I perused countless descriptions, tutorials, and blogs that touted all various different styles of hoodie towels. I picked out what features I wanted and set to work making a hoodie towel that Gideon would be able to use for years to come.


Too excited to stay still for a non-blurry photo

Too excited to stay still for a non-blurry photo

The new addition to the towel that I hadn’t done before was to add hand-pockets to the upper corners.

Less blurry and more cooperative, but not as cute as the 1yr old

Less blurry and more cooperative, but not as cute as the 1yr old

Gideon is too young to use them, but they work great for me to use to for my own hands as I dry him off! The towel wins as the most used of his three homemade gifts from me.


His next gift was a not entirely handmade, but rather a modification of a pre-existing item. I took a blank white onesie and set about embelishing it with the word “one” for a outfit for him to wear on his birthday.

One one year old wearing one one-sie

One one-year-old wearing one one-sie

I like how it turned out. However, there are some things I’ll change next time I attempt this style appliqué: especially on knit fabric, I will use interfacing on the main fabric as well as use interfacing to iron/stick the applique to the main material before I stitch around it. That would’ve helped the fabric not pucker as much. Lessons learned or not, he’s gotten a lot of wear out of the modified “one-sie” besides on his birthday.


I had eyed this adorable little tie tutorial a while back. Although Gideon hardly dresses up, I thought a little cotton tie would make his polo rompers slightly more snazzy for church. (Not that he cares.)

The tutorial was really straightforward to use (though I made minor modifications to a few of the pattern/size descriptions). And after a few nap times (filled with other household chores beyond just sewing!) I had a completed little tie fitted with velcro in the back of the tie for easy on/off access – key for dressing a toddler.

His first day wearing the tie he got lots of compliments at church.

His first day wearing the tie he got lots of compliments at church.

The first outfit he wore it with, someone remarked that he reminded them of Fred Flintstone. Although the effect was completely unintentional (and I hadn’t thought of it till they mentioned it)… I had to agree.


Gideon’s look-a-like character.

In order to rectify the issue, I had him wear it with a different polo romper the next time he donned his special tie.

Wearing it with a different outfit.

Wearing it with a different outfit.

This time there were no issues of looking like a bygone era, cartoon character! Phew!

I’m happy with how the tie turned out. And even happier that Gideon doesn’t dislike it 🙂

Best Second Anniversary … Ever

My Mom asked me how it feels to be married for two years so far.

Honestly, in many ways it feels like it has been longer. In the first year of marriage Andrew lost a job, I got a job, we searched for a job, Andrew got a job … and we moved three times. Now that we’ve had over a year in Singapore, life feels more routine. But, in many ways, because we went through so much in our first year together, I feel like this last year has just cemented in all the closeness we developed in our first year.

Now that we’re expecting our first child, many times I forget that we’ve only been married two years. Married life feels normal and happily permanent. Lord willing parenthood will feel the same way!

We’ve started our second year off in an unusual way. We’re apart – for the longest time ever: 3 weeks. Since we were anticipating this separation, we decided to celebrate our anniversary early.

T minus 3 days

Accordingly, last Saturday we enacted our plans for our anniversary celebration. In brainstorming for how we would celebrate we realized that we had never done the iconic Singapore Cable Car ride together. Andrew had done it several years ago, but I had never done it.

The Singapore Cable Car has three stops, the Jewel Box at the top of Mt. Faber (Mount is a bit of a misnomer – think glorified hill), Harborfront (a mall/business tower), and Sentosa (the “tourist” destination of Singapore). We weren’t at all in a rush to visit Sentosa, so we decided we could save money and do the ride to/between Haborfront and Mt. Faber.

We waited till 7:00pm, when you could purchase the cheaper evening ride tickets, then we headed to the cable car.

Not that we had a choice, but we got the Angry Birds cable car. Woot!

Our attempt at a self shot… the bird wasn’t happy about it

The starting point: Harborfront

Day time view – the two malls, shipyard (one of many), and Sentosa in the background

View during the day

Heading to the top of Mt. Faber

At the Jewel Box there is a nice look out and a few fancy restaurants. Seeing as it was our anniversary and a good reason to go fancy, Andrew made reservations.

The Jewel Box – The Black Opal restaurant from the outside

Our fancy restaurant destination from the inside

Feeling fancy and wanting to make the meal last longer we both ordered multiple courses. As we waited for our salads, we took the opportunity to snap photos of each other:

Yay – an excuse to wear one of my maternity dresses!

Andrew happy but hungry and ready to eat

We weren’t disappointed with our meals!

Andrew had a set meal that included Caesar Salad, Cauliflower Soup, Red Snapper, and Coconut Panna Cotta. I did the a-la-carte option and chose a Citrus Salad, the same soup, Veal Osso Bucco, and a Mixed Berry Crumble.

Creamy and warm – perfect for a soup!

While the soup was delicious, I think the highlight and dish we would both eat again was the veal. It was melt-in-your-mouth good!

We had to laugh when our dessert utensils were put before us.

Our dessert spoons

We thought it funny that I should receive a mega-spoon for dessert, and Andrew should be allotted a dainty spoon. When we got our desserts we realized that it was a practical reason: my dessert was large; his was served in a tiny martini glass.

All-in-all, a great meal, and a wonderful cable car ride. A nice way for us to celebrate our 2nd year of marriage, if albeit a few days early. On our way home, I told Andrew that is was my best second anniversary… ever!

T minus 2 days

On Sunday we exchanged gifts. Not that I put much stock in the tradition of giving certain types of gifts per each year of marriage, however, I did notice that the 2nd year is supposedly the “cotton” anniversary.

For my gift for Andrew, I took some T-shirts that either he did not like to wear, or shouldn’t have been worn anymore anyways. I did my best to avoid the holes and sweat stains and cut some squares. It took me a while, but I eventually had his finished product:

T-shirts turned into a picnic blanket/quilt

(I gave him a thin tarp the same size so that it could be used outside on the wet ground. Since the fabric is nice and thin, it makes it quite compact when rolled up.)

Andrew’s gift to me was prettier.

So me! Thanks Handsome!

He gave me a beautiful jewelry box covered in Chinese looking blue/gold, floral print fabric. It was given to me with a sweet side comment of, “I know you don’t have a place to put your jewelry, and it gets… everywhere… so I thought this would be useful.” My husband outdid himself by accompanying my beautiful new jewelry box with a set of earrings and a necklace that he picked out himself. Not bad, Andrew!

Actual Anniversary

Tuesday dawned. Actually I take that back. The alarm clock went off, about 3.5 hours before the day dawned. We got ready to head to the airport. (Even though I was the only one flying, my thoughtful husband knew I would appreciate him sacrificing and getting up early to see me off at the airport.)

At the airport we shared a meal at KFC together.

Smiles spending our last few minutes together

After that, we parted ways as I went through security to catch my flight. Most of my anniversary was spent flying or waiting for planes – not the ideal way to spend an anniversary. On the flip side, it did last 36 hours; not many people can say that! I am so thankful for the 2 years of marriage. And now, even though we didn’t get to spend much of the actual day of our 2nd anniversary together, I am still thankful. Thankful because I have a wonderful husband who works hard to follow the Lord and to lead his wife in a loving manner.

Also, I am thankful that I get to spend a few weeks with my family. Yay!