Cool Tool Case

bag closed empty


As a self proclaimed Old Fashioned Nana, cool isn’t a style I embrace.  But this lime green and silver  sewing machine tool bag really is cool.  It looks almost futuristic, like something that should be a space shuttle carry on.

Of course, if I were to fly to the moon in that big, scary bird I would take my Dream Machine along.  And of course, I would need my accessories packed in this cool tool bag.


Notice the pleat at the bottom of each screening bag. The free edge has been zig zagged with lime green thread to secure the crease and to add another touch of lime.    color.

Notice the 1″ pleat at the bottom of each vinyl mesh compartment.  That allows the bag to expand in order to accommodate bulky  accessories like the walking foot.


This project was designed and taught by teacher extraodinaire Lyn Powers at my home-sweet-home sewing store,  The Sewing Studio , just outside of Orlando.  I am so fortunate to live near enough to shop and learn there.  The all-day class was one of a series of 8 for owners of Brother’s Dream Machine and Babylock’s Destiny. NOTE:  If you have an extra minute, you might enjoy the little story at the end of this post.

The bag is so useful!  It holds those miscellaneous, fabulous tools that go with today’s sewing machine.  Many of these do not fit in the machines’ accessory cases and many require careful handling.  They really shouldn’t just rattle around loose in a drawer by the machine.  The batting offers protection to these valuable accessories.


bag loaded open xx

Currently it is loaded with my walking foot, embroidery foot, and sensor pen with more to come.


The silvery cotton fabric was quilted with a serpentine stitch and a 6.0/100 twin needle.   Alternate diamonds were stippled in the hoop with lime green thread.  Have you ever seen lime green velcro????  It was imported from France just for this class– made me feel pretty important!


On this cool tool case, I managed to use 10 buttons and not a single buttonhole.

For this cool tool case, I managed to use 10 buttons while stitching not a single buttonhole.  Can you see the subtle lime green stippling in alternate diamonds?


I added a variety of buttons to the top edge, mostly because I am drowning in buttons and am always on the lookout for a way to incorporate them into a project.  Included are utility plastic, antique glass and flashy jewel-like green leaf novelty buttons.

Much as I dislike the time it takes to hand sew buttons in place, which is how each of these were attached, it took even longer to decide which buttons to use.


Big buttons, tiny buttons, in-betwen buttons, glass buttons, gingham buttons, frog buttons, flip flop buttons.....which would you have chosen?

Big buttons, tiny buttons, in-between buttons, antique glass buttons, gingham covered buttons, frog buttons, butterfly buttons, flip flop buttons…..which would you have chosen?


So much was learned in this class, from creating a stipple fill, placing it with the machine’s scanner, using specialty feet and more.  But certainly you could design and make your own such bag  without using high-tech features.  There are probably patterns available.

I plan to make one for  for each of my other machines.  But it’s likely they will be of the more traditional, Old Fashioned Nana style.

Have you made any special sewing bags?

P.S.  Check out this beauty!

Click on  the link to see the other sides of this incredible, hand embroidered sewing bag.

Click on the link to see the other sides of this incredible, hand embroidered sewing bag.


Sewing Studio Story

In one of the previous Dream classes at The Sewing Studio, I was chatting with my new friend who was sitting next to me.  She related that she had spent her working years “up North” but often came to the Orlando area to visit family.  And The Sewing Studio.

When she was ready to retire to the Orlando area, she found a near perfect home with one draw back–it was 4 miles from The Sewing Studio.  She said she knew she could afford the house, but was not sure she could afford being that close to this sewing candy store.

She bought the house anyway and said she spends waaaay too much time and waaay too much money at The Sewing Studio.  And she has no regrets.




Free Happy Face Pencil Toppers Design and Tutorial

8 finished

 With the new school year about to begin, it seems appropriate to run this post again. These quick and easy pencil toppers will give your favorite students happy  encouragement.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of the things I love most about sewing is that it can be a useful tool when applied to almost any situation.  It can solve so many problems–and I’m not just talking about a ripped out hem, or torn seam.   This past week, the problem was  my Sunday School lesson and the solution was these pencil toppers and an embroidery design.

The teacher instructions were to print out the memory verse on an index card for each child to use in class and take home.  Even on colored cards this would be BO—RRRINNNNG.  Instead, I pulled up the .pdf file from one of my favorite collections, Designs by JuJu’s  Heavenly Inspirations 2 , which includes this scripture.  Won’t that get more attention than a hand written index card?




With my wonderful, free, photo editing program Picasa, a frame was added and the verse was printed on card stock.  On the back, other information was printed–the “bottom line,” and “basic truth” they could take from the story. The children went away with a shortened version of Cliff Notes for their lesson that day.

Thank you, JuJu, thank you Sewing!

Next the teacher’s guide suggested draping the room in Christmas lights as an indication of rejoicing.  Continue reading

CC Lucy at the Beach

Children's Corner Lucy with CC Parker's Pants shorts

Children’s Corner Lucy with CC Parker’s Pants shorts


It’s been so long since a new post has appeared.   Faithful readers may have assumed that I had run away to relax at the beach!   But NOT!  It’s just been a very, very busy time, so busy that it has taken me almost a month to finish this simple outfit for 2 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.  But I am pleased with it.




Embroidery is from Babies Beach Fun by Bit of Stitch. The sun and sea gulls were extracted from other designs in my library and added.

Continue reading

Inside Out Tanks

Bingbon, a favorite character

Bingbong, a favorite Pixar Inside Out character


Have you seen the new Pixar movie, Inside Out?    It offers some insight if you are trying to figure out just what children are feeling.


Joy is a happy gal.

Joy is the happy gal on the flip side of Bingbong.


The shirt embroideries are Brother’s  Inside Out designs.  It was June Mellinger’s creative idea to embroider two off-the-rack tanks and stitch them together .  This makes one embroidered tank top,  making it reversible— or wearable “inside out.”   With this inspiration I embroidered 6 tanks and ended up with 3 reversible tops. Continue reading

Heidi’s Sewing Room

Heidi’s sewing room is neat, orderly and clearly the sewing space of a serious stitcher.  There are so many interesting and useful things to see here.  Thanks, Heidi, for sharing–and welcome back to the smocking and sewing sisterhood!

This is what she had to say:

I have to preface these pictures before you look at them. I’m 3 years retired and got back to sewing and joined a smocking guild when I retired. I hadn’t smocked for 25+ years while work consumed my life. Now retired, I sew, smock and craft for fun only.  ( Ed. note:  HURRAH!!!)



So this is where Heidi sews.


It looks like a serger sits on that gorgeous antique Singer cabinet.

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Technique & Summer Fun Bishop


 NOTE:  I’ve since shortened the dress by 5″ and it fits so much better.

In my humble opinion, bishops are a near perfect garment for little girls.  They are comfortable, long wearing and easy to construct.  Would anyone rather construct than smock?  Not me.


These "Smockables" used to be readily available from Martha Pullen Company.  They are no longer for sale there.

These “Smockables” are no longer for sale from Martha Pullen Company.


Ready-to-smock garments from Martha Pullen Company were my go-to “bring-along” project for trips.  When they were readily available, I laid in a supply.  But I have run out.  The white bishop shown above is the last one that will fit any of my grandchildren.  The few remaining Smockables are for sale here.

Starting with a ready-to-smock bishop is the quickest way to get one finished.  I soon grew tired of the basic style offered and have had fun modifying it.

A few weeks ago, I was packing for our trip to North Carolina.  We were headed to the mountains with our two younger grandchildren and their parents.  I knew I had to have some handwork for those few (VERY few) quiet moments after 2 yo tornado Vivian Rose was asleep next to her easy-going brother, Alastair.  I grabbed this last white bishop and couldn’t help but think “ho-hum.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love a geometrically smocked white bishop.  But I was in  the mood for something a little different.  Then, due to the less-than-tidy condition of my sewing room, I spotted this scrap red border given to me by my friend, Suzanne Sawko.  Hmmmm…


border scrap FI Continue reading

Shirley’s Sewing Room



I find that I simply couldn’t do without the use of the sofa with the magnifying lamp in that room. Also a lot of times Duane comes in there to chat and his spot is the single chair in the picture.


I love seeing other sewing rooms.  So I really appreciate Shirley sending these photos of her needlework space.  An avid and accomplished sewist who spends her winters in Arizona and the summers on the lake in Minnesota.  Shirley lives a great life!

Her AZ sewing room is shown here.  Seeing these pictures makes me wish I could see the one in Minnesota.

Heidi has also sent photos of her sewing space.  They will be featured in a later post.  I would love to see more reader sewing rooms.  Just send pictures to me at

NOTE:  For reasons I cannot fathom,  Shirley’s text has made it impossible for me to format as I like, with room between the pictures and the text.  Something about copying and pasting her info has given this whole post in a very bad attitude.  Too much time has been spent trying to fix it so I give up.  I hope you can deal with it.:-[


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Free Ghee’s Webinar!

Wow!  A free webinar from Linda McGehee July 28th, 8 p.m. Central time.  Her classes are always exciting, full of inspiration and fun, new techniques.   I expect this will be true to form.

I’ve attended Linda’s classes at the Lakeland Original Sewing and Quilt Expo as well as here in central Florida.  They were all fabulous.  To be able to sit at home and view Linda’s magic for free is pretty wonderful.

So sign up.  It’s free! Continue reading

My Dishtowel Rave

NOTE:  This post was first named “My Dishtowel Rant.”  Reader Shirley wisely suggested that a better name would be Dishtowel Rave.  I agree, Shirley!  Thanks for your comment.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”
Ben Carson

Ben, that’s just one reason for my happiness.  But it’s true that for any occasion– large, small or no occasion at all– I love giving gifts.  But it can be tricky.



Goldilocks said, “This gift is too big!”


Too large or too expensive a gift like this jewel encrusted package or a trip to Paris for lunch would make a friend feel beholden and I don’t want that.  (Let me be perfectly clear, I would not give a trip to Paris for lunch.   Or a jewel encrusted package.  So don’t ask.)



Goldilocks said, “This gift is too small!”


Too small a gift, like a coat hanger, is just tacky.  Getting it just right takes some thought.



Goldilocks said, “This gift is just right.”

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Mountain Getaway

1-V A Playground CR

Vivian and Alastair enjoying the playground behind the Candy Barrel in Valle Crucis, NC. Vivi’s mop of curls has been cut to keep her cool during the hot summer. But she’ll be a curly top again in no time at all.  Vivian is wearing her firefly outfit.


North Carolina is my second favorite state. We’ve just returned from an absolutely wonderful week in the mountains with our two younger grandchildren and their parents.


Chap fam

Our Rebecca, Alastair, Vivian Rose and Harvey.  FYI, that is a lollipop/powdered sugar concoction in Vivi’s hand, not a pacifier.  They are sitting at the delivery door at the Candy Barrel. 

  Continue reading