Tutorial: Baby Salmon Sushi Costume

salmon sushiI’m about a month late, but I thought I’ll post some pictures from this year’s Halloween!

I dressed Pon Pon up as salmon sushi. Yes, sushi!  lol Does this depict Asian stereotype? Perhaps. But I’ve been wanting to dress her up in this costume ever since I came across a random picture of a sushi baby a few years ago (even before she was born)! This is Pon Pon with her dad, at the Mom Expo in Calabasas.

We were there with our friends Kerry and Carmela, fellow new parents, and their four months old, Baby E! Pon Pon and Baby E both dressed up as salmon sushi (because sushi always come in two pieces), and we called them the Wild (salmon) Pair! They were a hit at the Expo, and they received mini pumpkins for having the cutest costumes!

Making the costume was pretty easy, even though it took couple attempts to perfect it.I made a boxed, rectangle cushion and stitched on twill tapes evenly on the front to make it look like a delicious piece of fresh salmon.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make the salmon sushi costume, if anyone is interested in making this for next year’s Halloween. You can change the fabric color and turn it into any kind of sushi, like red for tuna and yellow for egg. You can even dress up your pet dog with this!

pink lineCut the Fabric
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Cut out the following panel pieces from your favorite orange cotton fabric:

Sushi panels

  • Panel A (make two): 9” (width) x 15” (length)
  • Panel B (make two): 9” x 3”
  • Panel C (make two): 3” x 15”

You can adjust boxed cushion size based on your baby’s body size. I recommend making it slightly bigger, for the gag effect.

pink lineSew the Panels Together
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Sew on all the panel pieces together, right sides together, except for the back panel (the second Panel A), leaving a three-inch opening on one side between Panel A and Panel C.  This allows you to turn the pillow inside out when you sew on the back panel.  I used a quarter inch sewing allowance.

Salmon figure

pink lineSew on the Twill Tapes
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I used twill tapes to create the white lines on the salmon sushi.  I picked it up at a local JoAnn’s but you can purchased it online too.  I used Wright’s Wide Twill Tape (4 yards, 0.25 in wide).

Mark the center of the sushi with a erasable fabric chalk or pen and sew on the tapes, on an angle, on one side.  I used a zig zag stitch and sewed on both top and bottom of the tape for security.

salmon figure 1

I found that gluing the tape first before sewing it on the fabric was extremely helpful.  I tried using pins but that was too much of a hassle and the tape never stayed on straight.  I used a regular glue stick because I don’t own the one made specially for fabrics and it worked well.

Sew on the other side of the pillow with twill tapes.

salmon figure

Here’s what mine looked like after I sewed on the tapes.

salmon

pink lineSew on the Back Panel
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When you’re done with sewing on the tapes, sew on the back panel all the way around Panels B and C, right sides together.  Snip off each corners (careful not to cut off the sewed on parts) and turn the pillow inside out.  Iron the pillow and get rid of any wrinkles.

Fill the pillow with your favorite cotton plush filling, and hand stitch the opening closed.  You’re done with sushi!  Yippeee!

pink lineMake the Nori Belt
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Now, it’s time for you to make the Nori (seaweed) belt.  Measure your baby’s girth using a measuring tape.  Make sure to place the finished sushi pillow gently on his / her back before you wrap the tape around so you can get the accurate measurement.  Pon Pon was 32 inches, and I made the width five inches.

nori figure 1

Fold each end of the fabric twice and sew on the fold, to eliminate any annoying loose threads coming out of the fabric.

pink lineSew on the Velcro
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Cut the long velcro strips into three, three-inch pieces.  velcro

Sew the “hook” pieces on the right side of the fabric, placing each strip evenly.  Sew on the “loop” pieces on the wrong side of the fabric, also placing each strip evenly.

That’s it!  Dress up your baby in a white outfit and you got yourself a little sushi baby!

sushi halloween

I regret not taking pictures along with way to provide better instruction but I hope you found this to be helpful.  I think there are other wonderful tutorials on the web so definitely check them out by searching, “baby salmon costume,” or something along the line.

Happy sewing!

Celebrating Father’s Day with Three Dads

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Chirashi, with assortment of sashimi

This year’s Father’s Day was extra special because this was my husband’s first time celebrating it from the other side, as a new dad! It was great to have three incredible fathers and their loving wives all join for sushi dinner at Ichibankan in Woodland Hills on Saturday night – first time all six of us got together since the birth of the baby in February.

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Sudako — picked cucumbers and octopus

We had a wonderful time, despite Pon Pon’s occasional screams. redface She cried a little at the restaurant so my husband and I had to take turns walking around and even going outside for a few minutes to calm her down. This was very unlike her, as she’s usually very calm in restaurants, even in late afternoon. But all in all, she was a delight and she definitely made her grandmas and grandpas (and us parents too, of course) very happy.

Despite having done this only for four short months, my husband has proven to be an amazing father.  I always knew that he would be one but he surpassed my expectations beyond imagination.  He is incredibly supportive and unbelievably patient, and keeps me together every day. Words cannot express how much I appreciate everything he does for the family.  Pon Pon and I are incredibly lucky.

Okay, now that I’ve buttered him up, I hope he forgets the fact that the gift I ordered for Father’s Day didn’t arrive in time.   lol

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Scalloppacio — today’s special dish

I hope everyone had a wonderful Father’s Day!  Being a father is definitely not an easy job and I’m thankful for all the incredible men out there who take this often under-appreicated but unbelievably important duty of raising a human being very seriously.

Weekend Gluttony for Two

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I can’t count how many times I used the “… but I’m eating for two!” excuse this weekend, starting with the hearty breakfast / lunch at Aloha Factory for some no-frill Hawaiian feast.

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As if the order of the gigantic macadamia nut pancakes drenched in vanilla pudding was not enough, I had to get TWO orders of char shu tacos, all while picking the food from Kevin’s combo plate. Boy, food here is so good.  I’m not even a huge Hawaiian food fan and I adore this mom-and-pop joint!

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Then for dinner, we went to Gatten Sushi in Monterey Park for some revolving sushi goodness. Since I can’t eat raw fish, many of the sushi I ate here were very non-traditional, like fried green bean sushi! I would usually avoid these funky nigiri and rolls, but I can’t be too choosey right now. But to my surprise, some of these creative sushi are pretty good.  Just stay away from fried salmon skin though.  It sounded good at first, but it was tough and kinda yucky.

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Natto is definitely my best friend during pregnancy.

Happy Mother’s Day

Early Mother’s Day celebration at Ichibankan, our favorite sushi joint. I love its Chirashi, with piles of sashimi on top of sushi rice. Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom in the Universe.

Dessert from Porto’s – fruit tart on a bed of chocolate!

My latest obsessions: Heating curler and Anastasia Brow Pen.

Cheers to all the wonderful mothers out there! Thanks for all that you do!

Bar Hayama

Great dinner with Saori at Bar Hayama on Sawtelle — thank you!

We both ordered Chef’s Special Bento Box, with miso soup, otsukemono, brown rice, assorted tempura (vegetables and shrimp), assorted sashimi, assorted sushi, skewered meats (beef, lamb, and chicken), salmon and mushroom dynamite, meatball wrapped in fried wonton, and berries for dessert.

Lovely space inside, although the outside fireplace is much more wicked.

LOVE the mug design.

Kings came out victorious tonight over Vancouver, in the first round of NHL playoffs. We are now leading the series 3-0! One more game, boys! Go Kings go! Pride. Passion. Power!

I Eat, Therefore I Run

Lunch (1:00 p.m.): Lunch with Tiffany, Shannon, and Roya, at Le Pain Quotidien, after we picked up the race packet for tomorrow’s Pasadena Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Cob salad with grilled chicken (no blue cheese). Cup of coffee with cream and sugar.

Dinner (6:00 p.m.): Carb-load dinner at Torafuku with Tiffany, Shannon, and Saori.  Torafuku Omakase ($27).

Salad.

Amazing Kamado rice (I had seconds).

Assorted fries (shrimp and pork tenderloins).

Grilled cod and a side of seaweed tukudani.

Sashimi.

Sashimi in ponzu sauce.

Homemade tofu.

Birthday Dinner

The day started out with a run / walk around Rose Bowl with Shannon, Tiffany, and Jesse. Jesse and Tiffany ran, while Shannon and I did a 2:1 (two-minute run, followed by one-minute walk) for a total of 3.1 miles. We also ran up a very steep hill during our 5k run, which felt incredible. Believe it or not, I’m beginning to really enjoy going up hills.  I’m serious about this.  I like how my body feels when I reach the top!

Breakfast (9:30 a.m.): I ate a chocolate brownie bar in the car for breakfast.

Lunch (1:00 p.m.): We went to our usual, Le Pain Quotidien, for lunch. I started out with a cup of coffee with cream and sugar (I was craving a cup of good coffee badly this morning)  …

followed by two pieces of freshly-baked bread, accompanied by Blondie, a white chocolate spread that I’d like to call crack. Blondie was out of season but the staff (probably the store manager) opened one of the merchandises for us, which was incredibly generous. It’s this kind of gesture that makes us come back here again and again.biggrin

For lunch, I ordered my favorite dish, Tuscan bean salad with prosciutto and arugula. I forgot to take a photo of the actual plate but it’s not anything that you haven’t seen here (check out this and this). I’m so in love with this place.  I really look forward to coming here after our weekend Rose Bowl runs.

Dinner (7:00 p.m.): The family went to Ichibankan to celebrate my father’s birthday over good sushi (YAY, happy birthday, dad).surprisedTo start, I ordered a glass of Merlot, and we shared an order of Crunchy Roll. We each had two pieces.

Instead of ordering sushi a la carte, my sister, my mother, and I ordered chirashi bowl, that came with assortment of sashimi on a bed of sushi rice.

The osuimono that came with the meal was amazing.

I had two bites of complimentary green tea ice cream.

Dessert (9:00 p.m.): We sang my father happy birthday over a cup of wonderfully brewed coffee (my mother makes the best coffee) and a homemade chiffon cake (my mother also bakes the best chiffon cake) at home! I had a small piece and she packed me a piece for me to enjoy tomorrow!

What a wonderful Saturday this was! I’m looking forward to a fabulous Sunday!

Rolling

Breakfast (10:15 a.m.): Smoked salmon sandwich on ciabatta bread, with coffee, for breakfast. I meant to buy a sourdough baguette but picked up ciabatta by accident. The bread was good, but I prefer my usual baguette. I’ve been hooked on mayonnaise lately … eeek.

Lunch (3:00 p.m.): I couldn’t eat lunch at a decent hour so I was starved by the time I was able to take a break from work. I was going to roll myself a California roll but didn’t have the energy for it, so I had a California roll bowl, with imitation crab, avocado, cucumber, seaweed, on the bed of sushi rice.

Dinner (7:30 p.m.): I decided to finally roll up my sleeves and roll California rolls for dinner (that was a lot of rolls) … but maybe I should have stuck with the deconstructed version, as my sushi-rolling skills are pretty embarrassing.redfaceI really debated whether I should post the picture of the rolls, as I might have to turn over my Japanese card after this.

My boss at work gave the entire team egglings for the holiday, to celebrate our future growth. It’s like Chia pet but million times cooler. This has to be one of the best gifts e.v.e.r. I’m still thinking what to call this frog.  He seemed to already found a friend in Mr. Dragon.

Just Trust It: Sushi Sasabune

There isn’t much that I can say about Sushi Sasabune in West Los Angeles that hasn’t already been said … and pretty much everything I wanted to say was already said beautifully by John Oliver at LAist.  So I’m going to make this post really short and let the pictures speak for themselves.

We all go to sushi restaurants for different things. If you want delicious spicy tuna on crunchy rice, to go Katsuya. If you want non-traditional American-style sushi, go to Yamato or Sushi Dan. But if you want to experience sushi with the highest quality of fish, go to Sasabune, and order the Japanese omakase course.  Don’t even bother with anything else.  And make sure to follow the “soy sauce” and “no soy sauce” rule to experience each piece of sushi at its best.

This place is seriously one of, if not the best, sushi restaurants in Los Angeles.


Pen Fish (tastes like clam), Baby Tuna, and Albacore with ponzu.


Tuna and toro, halibut and clam, oyster and mussel baked in mayonnaise


Aji (Spanish Mackerel) and Anaebi (sweet shrimp), shrimp eggs in ponzu.  There was a fried shrimp head that accompanied them (which I forgot to take a picture of).


Clam and squid, uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe), anago (freshwater eel) and I forgot what the other one was. At the end, we all received a simple hand roll with real crab meat.

Sasabune
12400 Wilshire Blvd., West Los Angeles, CA 90025
★★★★★

Sushi Party on Mother’s Day!

Our family celebrated the Mother’s Day early, on Saturday, and instead of going out to a restaurant and fight the crowd (I heard that Mother’s Day is the busiest time of the year for restaurants), my mother hosted a sushi party for this special day. I think the idea of hosting one’s own celebration is really cool, like hosting your birthday party or, in this case, a mother’s day dinner!

She really outdid herself this year, preparing everything from assorted sashimi, to marinating her own saba (mackerel) with vinegar and sugar, to making fluffy omelet-like eggs (called “atsuyaki tamago”), and even cooking kanpyo (those string thing cooked in delicious soy sauce). She even prepared us natto, fermented soy beans, that we love so much. Natto is definitely not for the faintest of heart — it is, afterall, a stinky, slimy, rotten soy beans — but we Japanese eat it regularly, most commonly in breakfast!  It is so nutritious and very delicious.


Assorted sashimi platter, with yellowtail, tuna, halibut, and salmon, with kaiware radish, and takuan (picked radish)


Atsuyaki Tamago and julianned cucumbers


Mackerel marinated in vinegar and sugar


Natto with the fixings (chopped green onion, mustard, and dashi), perhaps the most underrated food in the world

I am so lucky to have the kindest, the strongest, the most beautiful, most caring, most generous, and the greatest woman as my mother. Happy Mother’s Day … and the same for all the awesome mothers in the world!