Monday, July 29, 2013

"ele story" is going to ENK in New York!

Hi again!  I copied this blog entry from my new website:, b/c I think there are still lingering readers here. :)  Thanks for coming back!
"We're doing it!"  Hubby and I say this to each other every night, without fail in the last 3.5-4 months, as we head to bed completely exhausted from our day, and all night of working on what we now called our second child, "Ele Story" after our daughter is fast asleep.  We have just that much adrenaline pumping through our bodies to get us that extra ounce of energy to say that to each other, right before just conking out.
We literally decided to actually launch a children's clothing line just 4 months ago, even though it has been my dream to have a line of my own clothing designs for quite some time now.  I can't take the credit for this labor of love, even though I have done all the designing and artistic decisions on Ele Story--I could not have done it in the least bit if it weren't for my overly optimistic hubby for dragging me (the extreme opposite of him--overly pessimistic) "kicking and screaming" (his own words), on this journey.
I am so grateful he did--the first 3 weeks I thought our marriage would be over before we even have a single design done.  I am not lying--it was rough.  Even my own mother, who in her lifetime inspired me to be myself and do what I believe in, could not possibly have forced me to do this.  I probably would've rebelled.
In about a week (Aug 4-6), we will be showcasing our first Spring/Summer 2014 collection at ENK Children's Club in New York.  The collection has been truly a labor of love, tears, and much pain (physical pain from all the sewing and photoshopping...etc).  But it has come together at last!  We have had the support of so many friends and family in our lives--our parents, siblings, close friends, and even the friends on facebook following us so faithfully every week--they have made it possible to even keep going forward on this journey.
Four months ago we knew nothing about the fashion industry.  We didn't know how to get a design translated into a garment other than what I had done as a costume designer previously...I found out about hiring professional pattern makers, graders, markers, sample-makers, and manufacturers.  We had no idea how to get fabrics (like unlimited sources)--and now, at the end of these 4 months, I am in tears (ok, partly from the exhaustion of it all--not to mention working a full time job) just realizing how far we have come.
I had always told hubby that my goal of starting this clothing line was not to get rich (although that would be nice because we've spent our life savings so far on this dream of mine, hehe) : P, but it was really to pursue a dream that I never thought possible.  Before I turned the ripe age of 30 I told myself I was going to accomplish something I never thought I would be able to do--or that I hated to do--and that was running miles without stopping.  I set my mind to do it and I did it--and I suppose this is, on a much larger scale, just that.  I needed to do this so that I have at least given it a try.
Hubby reminds me constantly that my mom is looking down from heaven, smiling...I hope that she really is proud of what I have started.  I hope people will like the designs that I have created!
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Friday, June 7, 2013

My "Ele Story" (My Kids' Clothing line) being written...

Hi readers!  Thank you for coming back again and again...even though I have moved to, I know that there are still some that visit my blog here.  : )  Welcome!

Since you're here, I thought I'd take the opportunity to mention that I decided to follow my dreams to launch a children's clothing line, "ele story"...please visit my facebook page to "like" me and follow me there!

I am currently designing for spring/summer's been a crazy ride, but so incredibly rewarding at the same time.  This logo just finally got completed this week!  whew!  now to the printers for labels and hang tags...

You can also read a little "about" Ele Story here:

Very recently, my baby girl June started humming a song she had learned in daycare that brought back memories of this very familiar tune my mother used to sing to me in my native tongue:
"Elephant, elephant,
Why is your nose so long?
Mama says, long noses
Are just beautiful..."
I love that the mom is teaching her baby elephant that her naturally long nose is what makes her beautiful.  In my own life, embracing the part that is "natural" has not been easy.  Despite having amazingly encouraging parents growing up, it wasn't always easy for me to be proud of who I was.  I was tall for my age and it made me awkward in pictures with my friends.  Even though I loved to draw, I was so self-conscious that I shied away from working on art projects in school and would wait till I got home to start.
Having lost my mom over 5 years ago now, I reflected on what a positive and encouraging influence she has had on me, and remembered that she has taught me to love what has been ingrained in me--which is a desire to create things with fabrics.  When I was about 5 or 6, I asked my mom (timidly, as if she would say 'no') if I could have a piece of lace to make dresses for my dolls.  I remember getting into a taxi with my mother and traveling deep into the fabric district of Taiwan to pick out my lace material.  When I received it in a plastic bag, I kept reaching inside to touch it.  It was a magical moment for me, and I remember being so giddy during the ride home.  I took other materials I had collected: used socks with holes, unwanted pj pants, and mom's pantyhose, and this new pristine lace, and quickly created a collection of dresses for my barbie doll.  Mother was beaming when she saw the finished product.
Fast-track 15 years, I was in my costume design MFA program (a story I'll leave for another post), not at all sure about my abilities to tackle a challenging design project.  My mom let me talk through the script with her, and with her great confidence and pride in me, told me "You're the best I know, and you'll figure this out."  She was telling me that what I have loved and invested my time and energy in all these years was not worthless--the little girl that had asked her for lace to make doll clothes with was following what was natural to her.  That she was destined for this.
I have been missing my mom horribly, especially as I face the daily challenges of motherhood with my baby girl, growing up all too quickly.  My mom was not perfect.  She made many mistakes in her life, her marriage, and even as my mother--but what she did right was the unwavering belief  she had in me.  It took me this long to realize, but she WAS my biggest fan, cheering always on the sidelines for me to embrace who I was.
Ever since I became a mom, my baby girl has inspired me to sew beautiful things for her.  She gets so excited when she sees new items hanging around our house that are made for her.  She has started saying "Mama's [clothes]" (in Chinese).  She is now my biggest fan (next to my loving hubby of course!), getting all giddy over clothes that I put on her to try on.  Her proud face while wearing my handmade garments makes me know that my mom is smiling down at me, and at her granddaughter whom she had never met.  Starting a children's clothing line has been my dream ever since--this is my "ele story" being written.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

That's right...just over the weekend a good friend bravely volunteered to do some technical back end work for my new website,  So, within 24 hours, this site was launched (with me sketching like mad, and my friend doing research on how to get a website set up!), and became what it is now.  I am so grateful for the help, and am excited to announce it to the world.

So the journey of the jjdesign blog will continue on in my new page.  Most of the content will get ported over, over time...: )  Thank you for being such wonderful readers.  Cheers!

I got published!

Hello there!  I am so excited that I got published on today!!

Please go to the link and support me! : )

Decorating with Fabric 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Boat Oragami dress!

Made this custom dress for my friend's friend's baby girl. :)  It was especially fun as A let me have full freedom to do what I wanted.  I think I am going to make one for baby June...or maybe another style for her 2nd b-day party in 3 months (eeek!)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

For baby C...

My friend at work had her baby Cleas, and while I normally don't post anything that I haven't gifted to the couple yet, I'm not sure when I'll actually get to go visit the baby--so I am breaking the rules and posting photos of the jacket I made for him.

It's actually my first jacket for a baby boy (there have been many girls!), but I used the same pattern (that I love) and made it fit for baby C.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Welcoming baby A...

My dear friends K & M just welcomed their beautiful baby girl to the world 3 days ago!  I swung by the hospital to see the little one, and gifted her parents with this...(I have been waiting for a long time to post, in fear that they'd see the post somehow before they got the gift). : )  I didn't actually see K & M open the box, so hopefully they like this little outfit...

Soft turtle print cotton voile (double-layered) found in Japan...
...became a little v-neck dress for baby A.

exposed hand stitching for snaps
a little turtle applique to bring a smile to K. : )