Season 3 Moobury is here!

Dear Moo-Friends,

The weather is getting cold again, and so begins Moobury Season 3!

I'm really proud of this collection because I poured all that I learned from making close to 100 earmuffs by hand over the last two winters into this season's designs.  From the very beginning my goal for Moobury was to replace the Burberry cashmere earmuffs I lost in the dry-cleaner mishap.

A look back on my birthday party 3 years ago, where everyone came to help me make earmuffs.

A look back on my birthday party 3 years ago, where everyone came to help me make earmuffs.

As much as I made that claim to others, I only half believed it myself.  I was perfectly content thinking I was going to recoup my losses by learning new things with my friends and building memories.  Little did I know that people would take my vocalized sadness on something that now looks so silly and small, so seriously.

This season I have outdone Burberry, and made cashmere earmuffs of my own! My revenge is complete.  I have bought higher quality/expensive material that I was scared to work with in the past, and focused in on the precision of my hand-sewing.

Thank you to all the moo-friends that helped me with sewing, photo-shoots, website design, selling, and social media.  Thank you to all the moo-friends that bought earmuffs and Moobowy totes to fund another season of Moobury.  And thank you to all the Etsy customers that read my story and reached out to me saying they too were trying to replace earmuffs they lost. 

This all has been a wonderful adventure and has provided me closure.  All of you have successfully buried that earmuff-shaped hole in my heart.  So without further ado please enjoy the fruits of your labor, here.

If you like what you see, please spread the word of Moobury, and invite them to follow us on facebook and instagram for updates.

<3 Eugenia

Etsy New York Blogger Debut

Just finished writing my first blog entry for the Etsy New York Team.  They asked me to write about travel and fashion, or more how they relate as I often stress that I'm inspired by my travels.

To check it out, love it, and comment --> go here!

p.s. - CLICK THE 'BAMBI' LINK!!

p.p.s. - The unicorn music box linked video is purty cool too.

2015: Eugenia

Miss the little guy so much! He's still my desktop background <3.

Miss the little guy so much! He's still my desktop background <3.

I started 2015 off with no home, no income, a failing thesis and a recent breakup.  I was a source of stress for my family, and a sad sight for my friends.  So to not cause trouble, my instincts were to go into hiding to sort out my broken life alone.

Despite my best efforts, I needed help.  My friends graciously opened up their homes, so I packed my necessary belongings into my tiny car and migrated from place to place for five months.  I lived with much uncertainty, and the furthest from settled I hope to ever be.  And because of this I was forced to give up my loving loyal companion, Gnocchi.  I couldn't make him suffer with me, and not all apartments I crashed at were pet-friendly.  Giving him up was the hardest sacrifice I had to make all year, but in the end I'm happy we found him a good home.

Eventually with the help of my director, caring faculty, staff and colleagues, my thesis began heading in the right direction and 7 months later I was finally able to complete my thesis and graduate from my residency.  During this time I traveled, moved to New Jersey, job searched, and reconnected with family.  To my family I appeared lost, and to my friends I appeared like I was having too much fun to focus on my research.  Only I knew that deep down I was soul searching.  The frustration and insecurities that accumulated when hitting such a low point was immense.  Towards the end of 2015, any resemblance of the life I knew was gone.  And so to not become completely lost I sat down and began writing/blogging to get reacquainted with myself.  I had many conversations with my inner self (and yes, I realize this is half crazy), but mini-ug and I had some great late night chats. 'Hi ug, you still there? what's going on? who are you now? who do you want to be? what went wrong?'  and as time went on, the chats became more and more empowering, 'Remember the time when you did __? You're still awesome, believe in yourself because somehow other people still believe in you. You're healthy, you're safe, you're loved.  You're still there, I'm still here. Now what can I do for us?'

I wrapped up 2015 with a warm apartment, a great job as a full-time endodontist at Encore Dental, a loving boyfriend, and more friends and family than I've ever known to appreciate in the past.  And with some clutch purchases by some friends, I managed to finally break even for Moobury!  Hurray!  I'm excited to see what the new year brings, starting off strong this year.  Rawr!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!  For those that are starting the year off steady, I wish for bigger better things.  And for those that are starting off on uneven footing, I have 100% faith that with hard work and persistence you'll be in a very different spot at the end of the year. Cheers! - ug

Portia

Portia!

Portia!

I’d like to dedicate this entry to Portia (aka Conx).  She’s one of the founders of Moobury, and has gotten little recognition for being such a big part of what it is today.  Without her there would be no Moobury earmuffs! *gasps* a world without moo-muffs?!

That’s right, Conx is my sewing mentor, she taught me how to sew and is the seamstress that figured out how to make the earmuffs by hand.  Without such a talented partner, I’d still be staring at pieces of fabric wishing for elves to appear and make my dreams come true.  Now I can be my own earmuff elf and fill Christmas orders for all the good boys and girls. ;)

 

Learning to make earmuffs took a lot of patience on my end, but teaching a novice to make earmuffs took a marathon’s worth of endurance and patience on Portia’s end.  After about 10 painstaking hours of trial, error and seam ripping, we got our first pair of earmuffs!  

And then another 10 more (100+ hours) for the earmuffs you see today. 

As I am reflecting back on the origins of Moobury, I would also like to take this time to thank all the friends that blindly ordered/invested in moo-muffs in the beginning.  Even when I didn’t even know how to sew you guys believed in me anyway. And I hope you all are proud to see how we’ve grown, couldn’t have done it without all the support. <3

Portia is a special earmuff on Moobury, it is the only one that is made and designed by Portia herself.  She hand embroidered the band on a beautiful stretch denim fabric.  This is a limited edition earmuff!! I cannot and will not make something so complicated; I leave it to the master.  So for anyone that is into one-of-a-kind craftsmanship, the Portia earmuff is for you!  (Her birthday is also coming up, so it would be awesome to tell her a design of hers sold…*still keeping my fingers crossed*)

 

These days Portia is working as a quantitative data analyst at Cogo Labs.  We haven’t been able to make earmuffs together since I moved to NJ, so she’s been doing her own hobby crafting.  She makes these super intricate silk habotoi and charmeuse scarves, hand painted, heat set and then hand washed.  Each scarf takes more than 30 hours to make, a true labor of love.  She’s available to be commissioned if anyone is interested in a particular design (ie. Moocow. lol), otherwise keep checking in the shop to see if any of Portia Considine's masterpieces start popping up. 

Thai Fisherman Pants DIY

Lately I’ve been finding this new sewing/crafting hobby quite useful.  I’ve been feeling much less restricted as I now have options I didn't have before.  I can actually create my ideas!  In the past I could only shop for what I wanted, and when I couldn't find what I was looking for, I would end up settling.  I buy the next closest thing out of necessity, but always feeling unsatisfied.  So if my pickiness with earmuffs led me to start Moobury, it was only a matter of time before this obsessiveness seeped into other aspects of my life.

In my spare time, I’ve been working on a series of at home projects that give me a good creative outlet.  Bit by bit I’m creating the world I want to have around me.

My most recent d.i.y project was a pair of thai fisherman pants.  It was a favor for a friend because he’s quite tall, and somehow all the pants available online are too short/one size fits all. #onesizedoesNOTfitall #tallpeopleproblems

Since I wasn’t able to find a good sewing pattern with detailed measurements online, they were either ugly or extremely vague, I ended up purchasing a cheap pair off Amazon.  They fit me perfectly, cool, nothing’s going to waste.  I proceeded to trace the outline of individual pieces onto kraft paper, and made my friend put on the pants (one size fits all right?).  From there I measured which areas were short, what needed to be added, and extended the lines on my pattern as needed.

You will need about 3 yards of choice fabric or 2 yards for the bottom and 1 yard for the top if you want two colors.  I used 2 yards of bottom weight wine red denim, and  1 yard black linen for the belt/wrap area. The benefit of custom making is being able to adjust the design to better suit your needs, in this case a more durable fabric (denim) was chosen and velcro pockets were added in.  My friend wanted something that he could wear for the colder New England weather, and be functional for everyday use.  Not bad for the first clothing item I've ever made.

Halloween DIY Raccoon Costume

Make-up tidbit: seriously follow the contours of your face when outlining the your mask....you're more raccoon than you think. ;)

Make-up tidbit: seriously follow the contours of your face when outlining the your mask....you're more raccoon than you think. ;)

This halloween was a special.  It was the first time I got to give out candy to kids, and also my first time making my own costume!  In the past I would either buy one, or piece together random stuff from my closet and give my outfit a name.

So what drove me to this?

1.) I'm poor -  gotta buckle down on unnecessary spending to pay back my student loans.

2.) I was given a costume challenge - the raccoon.

I googled raccoon costumes online, and the search results made me cringe.  I was either going to look very frumpy or very cheap (bleh, not my style!), all while spending $60+ for something that is one-time wear.  And lets be honest, we girls like to look good even when we're being ridiculous.  So somehow I had to transform petite asian me into a cute sexy raccoon.

I set out to design a costume with clothes I can easily reuse, and had an idea of a draped faux fur vest and a crop top with a sweetheart neckline.  I came across Coolirpa's tutorial for the sweetheart top, and made one quickly out of this stretchy black lyrca fabric that I retired from one of my earmuff designs.  This worked out perfectly: I recycled trash material, already channeling the spirit of the raccoon. Some call this method-acting.

Then I went shopping at Nordstrom, the vests were all in the $200 range, I took down notes at what they did for material, lining and pockets versus what I was looking for.  Then I went straight to the fabric warehouse and picked up the softest gray faux fur I could find($20/yd) and some black jersey knit($2/yd).  I traced the individual pieces of my favorite cardigan on the the back of the faux fur and jersey knit.  I picked that particular vintage Ralph Lauren cardigan because its big and drapey, but still shaped well to the outline of my body by cinching in all the right place.  I was not a fan of the boxy designs I saw at the stores.

Quick DIY summary:

  1. Cut and sew together faux fur pieces(3)
  2. Put on in-process vest and decide what's a comfortable pocket location. Pin it, reverse it and cut out pocket slits.
  3. Make pockets. (I simulated the pockets from a trench coat I got in Japan because the size and location of the pocket fit my arms better.)
  4. Hand sew on pocket. 
  5. Sew together lining piece with fur vest.  Make sure to hand sew armholes and bottom closure, the rest can be machine sewn.

I'm not an expert at DIY, but I'm happy with how this turned out.  And being able to combine my favorite elements of the clothes I already have, makes this the comfiest outerwear I have now.  Typically jersey knit is not what people use for clothing lining, but I chose it since I wanted to wear this out into the cold, and like to still have the comfy feel of my bedsheets hugging me everywhere I go. :P

For animal ear tutorial, please see here.

Tail wasn't anything fancy, use scrap faux fur(from the vest fabric) + polyfil, and wrapped the black fabric on.  For a more realistic effect I'd suggest looking into painting black stripes onto the fur instead.

Raccoon Out!

Raccoon Out!

The Irene Story

My Aunt Irene was a truly amazing person.  She battled lung cancer for many years, survived much longer than the prognosis the doctors gave, and eventually passed away 6 years ago.  Growing up my mom would feed me stories of how business savvy and successful Aunt Irene was to motivate me to be a strong independent woman.  She was a real fighter, kind, beautiful, intelligent and funny.  Because of this Aunt Irene was one of my heroes well before her battle with cancer ever occurred.

It still saddens me that we lost her so soon, but she will always be remembered, and so I naturally named an earmuff after her when I started this Moobury venture.  My famous Aunt Irene quote, and one i revisit often to get me through the hard times is 'Why not me?'

When Aunt Irene was battling cancer, she told us she was extremely upset when she was first diagnosed, 'oh god, why me? why do I have to go through this.'  And later when the anger subsided she realized 'Why not me? Who else would I wish this on? Who else is stronger to deal with this than I am.  Then yes, Why not me?'  

That my friends is what I consider real strength and love.  She was still so strong for all of us when she was going through so much.  And so when I go through a hard time in life, when my arthritis acts up and I'm in so much pain I cry myself to sleep, I think 'Why not me? who else would I wish this pain on?'  And the answer is always nobody else but me.  I may not hold myself up as gracefully as my Aunt Irene did, but I appreciate life, the fight I have to put in, and the times I can be free from my arthritis even more so because of her.

It just so happens that I have a new Irene in my life now.  She is my MooBowy partner, incredibly gifted in her craft, and the more I get to know her the more I'm learning how business savvy she is too.  We have been working hard to launch our new product.  I've learned so much from her, and am very happy that she has brought new hope and meaning to the earmuff Irene.

Each earmuff here has a story(big or small).  If you purchase one I hope the spirit, love and support of my family and friends towards me will transfer through and provide a little extra warmth for you and your loved ones this winter.

Thanks again for checking in, and following me on MooBlog.

- Eugenia

Gift from Grandma (Giveaway Event)

Recently I made a weekend trip to visit my grandparents in Toronto.  They are in their late 80s, and both have heart arrhythmias.  So even though they appear active and well, a part of me is always scared.  I could never live with myself if something ever happened to them *knock on wood*, and realizing I was too self involved to make an 8-hour drive when I had a chance.  Therefore before work gets busy, I had to see them. 

Seeing them was great, and as always helped me put things into perspective.  I am reminded of what's truly important in life, and the problems I have all become so small.  Each time I take away something different from my visit, and this time I learned to cherish and find beauty in the simple things.  Sixty years of marriage later, they still show each other so much love and respect.  They live a simple life, they own nothing fancy, just the necessities, but they have many treasures.

It wasn't what they were showing me that was impressive, but it was seeing how they looked at things.  They have a school bus photo frame with 12 slots containing childhood photos of their children and grandkids.  They pull out that school-bus frame every time I visit, each time I am embarrassed at how dopey(though cute) we all look, but this was the first time I saw how they were looking at it.  My grandpa stood there with a silent pride, and my grandma with the most loving of smiles.  At that moment I thought "wow, this is one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a long time."  But it was just the start.  They then continued to point out house decorations which were handmade by their lifelong friends, trinkets from their long ago travels, and then the beautiful garden my grandfather works on year after year growing stronger.  So with that, when I slowed down to look at things from their eyes, I was surrounded by beauty.

I'm also convinced the stars shined brighter that night when I drove back to NJ.  Sort of amazing what a shift in perspective can do.

Anyway, if you made it this far through my awful writing, thank you for letting me share the simple things with you. :)

And now who wants a gift from grandma Yang? (free earmuff! eee)

Last year I gifted a pair of Gloria earmuffs to grandma.  However this time when I visited, she told me she hasn't worn them at all because she went back to Taiwan in the winter, and it is too warm for earmuffs there.  The warmer weather is easier on their bodies, so they will be returning to Taiwan every winter from now on.  She gave the earmuffs back to me saying that she wanted me to wear them instead and keep warm, but I told her I already had one of my own as it is a design I personally liked and kept for myself.  So instead she asked me to give it to someone else.  It has been a little sad because over the years I've been noticing my grandparents gift away more and more personal items that could be useful to those around them.  They don't believe in being wasteful, and I admire that about them.  So to respect my grandmother's wishes, we will be doing a giveaway of the earmuff and I will happily mail it for free to anywhere in the U.S.

(Like us on facebook @moobury and share the fb giveaway post by 10/20/15 to enter, winner will be selected at random)

Now Offering Custom Earmuff Orders!

This post has been a long time coming.  I have worked hard, and Moobury is now fully open to custom orders.

So what pushed me to this?

In part this was due to demand, but the main reason is that the requests come from such a sincere place that they were hard to say no to.  On my Etsy store, I made it a particular point to advertise "does not accept custom orders" because they take a lot more time and effort to make, and the material costs are higher.  There are plenty of other sellers that do this, so I'll leave the hardship to them

...or so I thought.

I was extremely surprised when a buyer(Natalie) on Etsy sent me a private message for a custom request.  I tried to deter her with higher pricing and absolutely no refunds, due to the nature of custom orders.  However, her story that followed took me fabric shopping at three different store locations just so I can find her the perfect fabric.

Natalie was trying to replace her long time favorite earmuffs that recently broke, and after a long search could not find a pair to her satisfaction.  The story sounds familiar right?  Yep, we were "kindred earmuff spirits".  I related to her pain, and my heart ached when she sent me pictures of her broken pair.  I told her I couldn't completely replicate her old earmuffs, but we could work together to make something close.  And as you can see from the pictures of the polka-dotted earmuffs, we were both happy with the results. :)

This year I had another custom order where I again broke a rule.  I made behind the head earmuffs for men! *gasps*  Its not that I couldn't before, but for what is offered of men's earmuffs out there, I can't compete with the prices.  It also takes a surprising amount of effort to make by hand. (sigh, if only I were a machine)

Yet my friends Eric & HayJin (EJIN) have their anniversary coming up.  They are one of the cutest couples, and their couple selfies popping up on my fb newsfeed makes me go 'awwww' every time.  EJIN started their relationship in Peru when a large group of us backpacked to Machu Picchu together, since then they have been doing long distance from Chile --> NYC and then California --> New Jersey.  They chat everyday, and put in an extreme amount of effort traveling to see one another.  HayJin is in California, she doesn't need earmuffs, but when she visits the East Coast this November to celebrate her anniversary with Eric, she will.  And during that time, she wanted to have a matching pair with Eric to stay warm.  Their level of commitment to each other makes it impossible to turn down such a sweet request, so I set myself to work once again.

Thank you to the wonderful people above for giving me a chance to mend the earmuff-shaped hole in my heart with new earmuffs, friendship and love, and being a perfect example of it.

Even though I have done custom orders in the past, I have finally come to terms that it's a thing now. lol.  Therefore this is the official announcement that Moobury is now offering custom earmuff orders! Yay!

(Pricing start at $55, and go up based on material cost.  Mens earmuffs will only be offered in couple pairs, guy-girl or guy-guy combos.  My only limitation is I am unable to sew through leather by hand or make my women frames adjustable. For more information please contact us directly through e-mail or fb. Thanks!)