Saturday, 19 May 2012

The belated Mothers' Day post.

A very belated Mothers' Day post. I have been wanting to dedicate a post to mummy dearest but have been so busy this week that I have barely had time to clean my room! I am sleeping amongst stacks of folded laundry in my bed.

I took up a night class in business budgeting and am busy with that, plus sewing, and Gossip Girl and Desperate Housewives season finale... there's not been much free time this week to visit my mum and get baby photos that I wanted for my post. 

I logged back on to dreaded "Fakebook" tonight to find photos for work. I have been asked to submit a photo of myself for the company website, and I am struggling to find a good photo. Every single photo I can find of myself I am eating, holding a glass of alcohol (or 2), or planting kisses on peoples' cheeks. I don't want our clients seeing those photos, haha. I did find photos of my mum and I from the 90s in my Facebook albums so I can finally write a post about my mum!

If you have read my profile, you will know that the reason I took up sewing was because my mum encouraged me to. Most people from Asian backgrounds know how to sew. In Vietnam, I think sewing is one of the main subjects in the curriculum. Not only does my mum know how to sew, she also knits and can make animal toys. She is a very talented lady!

My dog/bear toy in 1988...

My dog/bear toy in 2012! Missing eyes, but all good.

My mum made me that dog/bear toy when she was pregnant with me. I think she crocheted it using wool. It had little eyes that moved and pom poms around it's neck. I carried him everywhere. 

Twenty five years later, he's lost his eyes and pom poms and is a little dirty, but I still keep him around. He's priceless. I don't think I ever named him.


That is a photo of me on my 2nd Birthday in New Zealand. My parents were boat people from Vietnam and I was born in the Phillipines at a refugee camp. We were then sponsored and moved to New Zealand to live. 

I don't remember much about my 2nd birthday, but I know I was wearing lipstick and eyeshadow! What the!

Sometime in the 90s.

In the photo above, I am wearing a beanie my mum made for me. I love this photo, mum and I look so happy, hehehe. 

My dad used to take us around Auckland, New Zealand and take photos. They were so much more precious back then, a roll of 24 photos would last us one year. Now I take photos for MMM and I take about 30 photos per outfit. 

I really like my mum's outfit, those stocking look so pretty!


In 1992, my family came to Australia for a holiday. We went to Melbourne because that's where my mum's sister lived. We liked it so much in Australia that 3 years later we moved here.

In the photo above, I am wearing a hand-made dress, made of some sort of shiny polyester... satin with a tulle underneath. Such cute lace details.

Below is me in another hand-made outfit. I went with my parents to a wedding and in this photo I was showing off my red shoes. I had such dorky home hair cuts and I was a very chubby toddler.

The reason the photo has that gold frame around it is because my dad got the photo enlarged and framed. Embarrassment.

Hand-made top and skirt by mummy.

My mum was a machinist by trade. In NZ she worked at a lingerie factory. I admire that she worked with lace and slippery materials, I now appreciate how much skill and patience that takes, I can barely control polyester. She also worked at a manchester and linen company and sewed bed linen and towels. I remember we used to have very good linen and fluffy towels at our house, given to us because they were faulty or what not.

When we moved to Australia, my mum got a job as a machinist at a factory that made suit jackets and pants for very well known brands. She worked there for years until they moved the factory off shore. Since she was made redundant from the job, she has changed industries.

She still sews at home for fun. Occasionally she makes quilt covers, cushions (sometimes in the background of my photos, you will see an "aubergine" cushion) and she crochets baby mittens, socks and beanies.

She also enjoys re-fashioning RTW clothes. Every time I see her, she shows me her latest re-fashioned piece. On Mothers' Day, she was wearing this adorable velvet sleeveless vest. She got it on sale but it was not her size so she ripped it apart (lining and all!!) and took the seams in. Such talent.

I have so much hand-made stuff from my mum, and I used to take it for granted because I didn't know the effort involved with hand-making garments. I could go on and on about all the garments that I remember she made for me, but we will be here forever.


Above is a photo of mum and I from last year around Lunar New Year. I've grown a little bit taller and I'm now mum's height. 

Last year in July was when I enrolled in my dressmaking class after mum suggested it to me. I don't even know how the topic came up in conversation, but I acted on impulse and ordered a Brother LS_2125 from eBay. I guess I didn't have any hobbies apart from obsessively collecting eBay feedback, so I took mum's advice.

I remember when I was 9 years old, my dad bragged to his friend that I was very smart because I learnt how to thread a needle all by myself and was handsewing/mending my doll's clothes. 

In high school, I did textiles (home ec?) and made a pair of boxer shorts with polyester. My sister still wears them, can't believe how tough they are. I made them 10 years ago! 

Mum has been very supportive of my hobby, I don't think she regularly reads my blog (I'd rather her not because like most bloggers, I am shy about sharing my blog with family and friends) but she always gives encouraging comments about my hand-mades. 

I made a skirt for sister last year and the insides are atrocious - messy zig-zagged edges and wiggly understitching, but mum still said the most loveliest things about it. My sister and I giggled about it the other day when we found the skirt. 

My sister is also a big supporter of my hobby, always 'liking' my photos on Instagram and Twitter :) 

Dad too is a big fan, when I was featured in the newspaper, he laminated the article and showed every body he knew. He was very proud.

If it wasn't for my mum, I don't think I would ever have taken a sewing class and I wouldn't have been exposed to this wonderful online community of sewists and bloggers or have a wardrobe full of unique hand-made dresses.

So I'd like to say a big thank you to my mummy and I love you!!!


  1. Nice pics. You can buy some eyes for the toy lol

  2. Such a wonderful and heart felt post!!!.....Thanks so much for sharing and hey, you can sew now so put some eyes on the poor teddy bear!!!

  3. Lovely stories and photos of your Mum. She sounds like a talented lady! :)

  4. That was such a lovely post. It was great to read something that was not directly sewing-related, although based around your sewing inspiration. Your mum seems like an absolute sweetheart. And I agree with Risa, sew some eyes on that teddy bear.


  5. Lovely post, Neeno. Your mom is quite the stylish sewist! Thanks for sharing some of your family history - I always enjoy learning more about my blogland buddies. :)

  6. I'm glad that you gave a shoutout to your biggest supporters- a very personal post. Great work N!

    Your Mum should be proud of the woman she's raised :)

    Touching post...xx

  7. First of all, if I had those red shoes in a size that fit me, I would totally be showing them off!

    But really, those are some really cute photos, and such a sweet story about how your mom influenced and inspired you. Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt post!

  8. Haha my Asian mother is a terrible sewer and sadly, I've inherited her lack of sewing skills (I once had a needle went through my index finger, nail and all, in yr.7 textiles class)!

    And ahh yes, Gossip Girl. Didn't really like this season, to be honest, but the last episode ended the season well. In a way, I'm glad that GG is over for a while - it means that there will be less things to distract me while I study!

  9. Oh, look at you, you were such a little cutie! Your mom sounds so cool! I can't even imagine sewing lingerie-- it just sounds so hard!

  10. hi dear! Just found your lovely blog:) what do you say about following each other?

  11. Hehehe, thanks guys for your lovely comments! Mum really is an inspiring, hard working and talented lady! <3<3

    I will look into buying eyes for my teddy bear!! Can't be that hard to glue some eyes on him. right??!

  12. Love this Nee! Your Mum must be so proud.
    And business budgeting class? Tell me more. You are so admirable, you always encourage your mum to learn things and you do the same yourself! :)

    1. Thanks Ling! Haha, mum is a whiz at the computer now! Emailing all over the world and YouTubing like crazy.


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