Lately, my dear friend Peggy is embarking on several exciting phases in her life ~ and one of them is moving into a new place. To celebrate this occasion, I wanted to send her a little something for her new home. I have a MO (modus operandi) for gifts, they should either be useful, edible, or they might just end up being disposable. So my gifts usually consist of baked goods, or are something that you can use in your everyday environment. (yes, I actually gave a tape dispenser as a present once!)
西方人有一個我很喜歡的習俗 就是搬新家的時候， 都會送 “新家賀禮” (housewarming gift) 這個禮物的用意是希望帶給新家很多”溫暖” 跟愛。 我的好姊妹 Peggy 最近搬新家， 我就開心的想要送什麼 新家賀禮給她。後來還是決定到我心愛的永樂市場去選布 做成小餐墊 （placemats）那天我跟另外一位熱愛永樂市場的朋友 Esther 一起逛～痛快的逛了快5 個多小時～真的非常有收獲。 Esther 還介紹她最近發現的店～我下次再跟大家分享 （因為這個店實在太神奇了， 需要自己的專欄）
I think the perfect place to search for a useful gift is at Yong-Le Textile market. My friend Esther is probably the only one who looks forward and relishes the shopping experience there as much as I do. With our crazy schedules, we planned for the trip almost a month in advance, and I have to say, we really made a day of it. We started off with a hearty Chinese-style breakfast in the outside corner of the market, and then spent almost five hours at the market and the streets nearby. I’ll do a separate post on some of my other finds, but for this post, I’ll just focus on Peggy’s housewarming gift.
As I mentioned in my first post about Yong-Le, the maze of shops can be quite confusing to navigate. It’s partly because the building the market is housed in, is sort of an octagon shape. So you can literally run around in circles. My tip to you is, if you find a favorite shop, ask the shopkeeper for a name card. The card will have the name of the shop, the shop number, and the phone number. If you really get lost, you can call them, and ask for directions.
My favorite shop is one that sells Japanese fabrics. I’m never disappointed when I shop there; the selection of prints are versatile, the shop owners are efficient, informative and have a good and expert eye for matching both color and pattern. (Definitely not my forte, so I always ask for help!)
After selecting my fabric for Peggy’s placemats, I took it upstairs to the third floor of the market, to be finished. I don’t usually have time to dig out my sewing machine, so I always take full advantage of the sewing and finishing services upstairs. There is a whole floor of shops to choose from too.
A year ago, I found my favorite shop to work with by pure happenstance (it was closest to one of the doorways). From then on, I’ve always brought my fabrics here. The tailor, Mr.Lee is efficient but very kind. He expects you to be clear headed about what you want from the fabrics. (How many placemats? What size? Single or double sided? But he also patiently helps with the measurements, and is spot-on when deciding on the color of the thread to use. It’s a family business, so his wife, and his son and daughter-in-law also work with him. They are a really nice family, so I always enjoy chatting with them when I’m waiting.
For Peggy’s placemats, I chose a natural Japanese floral print cotton fabric. The material is quite substantial, machine washable, and best of all, it’s double sided!
One side is “mature floral” and the other side is a fun dotty pattern. I love that you can achieve two different looks for your table with one placemat.
Since the placemats were already quite colorful, I decided not to add much more wrapping to it. I just folded them up and tied a cheerful dotty ribbon and added a tiny handwritten gift tag, and my present was ready to be mailed (elephant tape dispenser, not included)
❤ Dear Peggy, 希望你喜歡我的禮物喔~ 也希望他們讓你的日常生活環境看起來很 warm & cheerful! ❤
I also did a lot of other shopping while I was in Yong Le Market (it’s the M&M syndrome, you can’t leave with just one piece of fabric) I’ll share what I made with some of these fabrics in future posts soon, so stay tuned!