Clutch-Me.Com

Learn. Make. Sell. All about clutches.

Sad start to Summer

I hope you all are doing well busy with summer holidays and bustling with activity!  Is it just me or is summer as a grown-up is just not the same as it was as a kid?  So much responsibility and if you have kids, it’s all about them, isn’t it?  Thank GOD for teachers!  It’s this time of the year when you whole-heartedly know that they are underpaid.

With end-of-school events and activities, I have been the busiest I’ve ever been.  Living an expat life means you get to meet amazing people and develop these friendships that are temporary by nature of the situation we are all in.  There have been many goodbye parties and many hopes that I will see these wonderful friends whom I’ve met.  My family and I are still in Viet Nam for perhaps another nine months or so.  Our path ahead is unclear.  On top of that, I’ve been sick.  I don’t know if it was by some Grand Design, but I got dengue fever therefore missing out most of the tearful goodbyes.  It felt like I had the flu for 4 weeks, but with worse headaches and body aches!  The flu would have been a walk in the park.

Then my paternal Grandmother just passed away this week.  No, this is not the maternal Grandmother who raised me and whom I visit weekly and whom I blog about.  My paternal Gram, “Ba Noi”, lived in Da Nang and we visited her twice a year.  Nonetheless, in the short time that we’ve been here and the times my kids got to spend with their Great Gram of Da Nang, she really enjoyed them and they loved her.  They were quite sad to hear she had passed but I had prepped them in the previous visit regarding her condition.  They handled it quite well.  My son Ethan summed it up best, “Well, at least she had a long great life”.

So this afternoon, I will board the plane to attend the funeral for her.  But I will go knowing what Ethan had told me.  I will be with a lot of family, many aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins and nieces and nephews.  So I’m okay.  The beach will have to wait for another time.  And I will be back to blog about clutches soon enough.  🙂

In tribute, here are some pictures of her.  RIP Ba Noi.

Ethan has an amazing love and connection with older people.

Ethan has an amazing love and connection with older people.  Here he is communicating with his Great-Gram.  He doesn’t speak Vietnamese and she doesn’t speak English.  It works somehow.

BN 1 IMG_1284

Since I’m always the one with the camera, I wasn’t able to take a great pic. But this captured the love just as much. Here she is kissing my hand.

From April, 2012.  Hayley, Noah, Great-Gram Khuong, Ethan.

From April, 2012. Hayley, Noah, Great-Gram Khuong, Ethan.

Hope you and yours have a great weekend.

xo Winn

June 28, 2013 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Clutches from HCMC, Viet Nam

Hi everyone!  It’s been a month since I’ve blogged, but as you all know too well, life happens.  🙂

It’s been a very, very busy time of the year for me and the family.  Two of my kids had their birthdays and that means me making egg-free cakes since my oldest son has an egg allergy.   I love many things about Ho Chi Minh City, my temporary home for another 2 years, but the one thing I detest is the shopping.  😦  It’s terribly inconvenient.  Just finding vanilla extract took trips to three different stores, and after giving up, my dear friend Dutch friend Zita had some to spare for me!  Thank goodness for friends and neighbors in this expat community.  Target and Costco would make a killing in this town.  🙂

Hayley turned 6! She wanted a princess castle cake.

I found tips from amazing bloggers on the Internet to make this cake.  I could not find any grocery stores that sold ice cream cones here!  My husband flagged down a street vendor who was selling ice cream and bought them off of him.  I made  fondant out of strawberry flavored marshmallows.   The best thing?  My son could enjoy this cake along with all the kids without fear of an allergic reaction.

Ethan (second from left) turned 10! He had a party at the house and invited 4 of his friends over for a swim party.

He finally outgrew the “theme” cake. Since one of his friends has an allergy to food coloring(?), his egg-free cake was plain with sprinkles to make the number. Simple!

I have also continued to do my weekly visits to my Grandma, who does relatively well for her old age.  I am very thankful for the visits and the many talks that I have with her.  Nothing brings me more joy than to see her smile, like she is in the pic below.  Her eyes absolutely light up when my kids are around.  Sometimes I go by myself, and sometimes I’ll bring one or two of the kids with me.  The bumpy trip in traffic has made my middle child prone to carsickness.  Noah hurled coming home from one trip and when Hayley looked over, she vomited as well.  Lucky for Ethan’s quick reaction, he bolted up and managed to avoid the calamity.  And he was seated in between them!

Ethan taking a nap at his Great Gram’s. 🙂

My Grandma’s health is off-and-on but not as precarious as she was last October.  She has a keen mind and still runs the show.  We try to make her comfortable and happy.  She only asks for visits and a little money to donate to the local temple.  She gives me fruit (mango, pomelo, guava) every time I come and visit.  She also tells me to stay out of the sun, which is quite impossible with three active kids.  Not to worry, I use SPF 50 on them and myself every day.

I had time to go to a trade show where local artisans showcased their talent.  I was most impressed by the emerging rice art displayed there.  Below are artwork made by a local firm that employed disabled people.  The director was a young lady who just recently graduated from university and started her own company!  Her employees use rice that has been roasted to different shades to meticulously create the designs.  The rice is adhered by a proprietary eco-friendly glue.  It was really striking artwork.  I was really impressed with this young visionary who found her passion while at the same create jobs for those who often have a next-to-impossible task of finding suitable employment.

The Mac Daddy – Steve Jobs.

Rice grains close up.

The eternal beauty of Marilyn Monroe.

An aficionado’s item.

Whatever little time I had left, I had to do more errands.  On a trip to get my daughter a toy cell phone for her birthday, I saw some cute clutches sold in local accessories shops in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.  They do not allow photography but I had to break the rule and whip out my point-and-click and snapped some candid shots!

Coin clutches at a local HCMC shop. The owl is too cute!

Fancier evening clutches at another shop.

The Union Jack one was awesome! Would have been great for the Diamond Jubilee.  The pleated navy one was very well made.

Completely adorable!  The owl here was a knitted design.  Genius!

School is out so I will be busy with the kids every day.  My youngest sister is also here visiting for 7 weeks so it’s full at our house.  I can only work once the kids are in bed at 8pm.  Most of you with young kids may be experiencing the same thing that I am:  how to keep the kids busy and how to limit their time on electronics!  We have a couple of trips planned:  South Korea for 5 days and the US (NJ, IL, IN, and WI) for 2 weeks.  I think the travel and jet lag will really age me and test my patience, but traveling is a nice problem to have!

Until next time, I will update the tutorial in some key measurements.  You already know how to adjust the measurements and how to make your own pattern from my bonus tutorial, but I will make a permanent change since I like the fuller look of clutches.  As always, I will let you all know about it here first.  So if you haven’t already done so, subscribe to get the email update when that happens.  The update will be free for all of you who bought the clutch tutorial.  For your convenience, it’s the same password as was sent to you when you bought the tutorial.

Lastly, I’ve had 5 versions of a clutch for the 12×3.5 frame but I haven’t found a way to make it easy to make, so it might entail a new tutorial for that size bag, altogether.  I will give it one more attempt before doing a whole new and different tutorial for that size alone.  I have been working on different patterns and sewing steps to simplify it while making the template printable from your desktop printer without any scaling.  Just print and go like the other tutorials.  I’m not quite there yet.

Until next time, I hope you all are having an enjoyable summer.  Remember to wear sunscreen!  🙂  ~Winn

June 17, 2012 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Because I WILL lose some memories …

I just started a personal photo blog to document the places my family and I have been to and will be going to.

Feel free to follow and comment.  In fact, I would LOVE it if you would!  It’s a personal blog mainly focused on my kids and travel.  You can read about it here.

I started this blog because I am a huge picture-taker.  (Not a great one, just from a quantitative stand-point.)  It has been my belief for years now that I cannot rely on having my full faculties – namely memory – when I’m older.  So I have lots of photo albums.  But printing pictures out and getting them shipped to my home in Ho Chi Minh City is non-existent.  Oh, how I miss Snapfish!  So as I was editing the photos, I thought that I would put the main photos on a blog so that all my family – namely those not on Facebook – can see the photos.

You will see posts on my travels and sights and sounds in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC, where I will live for another 2 years), other cities in Viet Nam, Bangkok, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore …  It’s our family goal to save money in all areas so that we can spend it on traveling and gaining experiences with the kids.

Just another WordPress blog.

Just to warn you, because it is a personal blog, my language may be salty.  I’m going to keep it to a minimum since the kids will be seeing and reading this blog.  I hope you will get a chance to do some traveling as well.  A change of scenery does the soul some good!

~Winn

March 22, 2012 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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