Quickie Hostess Gift

Note: The name of the host couple has been blurred so you all don’t try to wrangle a dinner invitation. This was such a delicious meal! And I’m sorry if perhaps the gloriosa lilies are just too much, but the colors look so festive and Mexican-like to me. They are blooming so profusely in my garden and I wanted to show them off.

Quickie Hostess Gift

For our Bible Study group, we always have dinner, with the host and hostess providing the main course with others bringing the remainder of the meal. But for some unknown reason, dear Jackie graciously decided to offer a complete Mexican dinner to our entire group. No one else had to cook and that was certainly a treat.

Truth be told, a terrible storm took out my power for quite some time that afternoon, so I did not finish the embroidery before time to go. When I returned home, I was so impressed with the meal that I added the text to the design. It is Embroidery Library’s Mariachi Clothesline.

I’ve always felt that situations like this require a gift which does not leave the recipient feeling beholden.

When I gave the towel to Jackie at church she was so very pleased. Of course, she is the kind of lady who would have been tickled with a decorative pocket package of tissues. At the fellowship hour after the worship service, she was showing it off and all the non-sewers, which makes up most of the congregation, seemed so amazed at not just the Mariachi Clothesline embroidery, but the personalization. It certainly takes a just a little stitching to make some people happy. And it makes me happy to see them happy.

So the next time you need a quick gift for someone you don’t want to feel beholden, go embroider or stitch a dishtowel. That’s my advice. Happy sewing!

And read on…….

This earlier post explains my feelings and opinion about dishtowels very well.

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

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

giftwrap
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.)

hanger2

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.

1-DSC01118

Goldilocks said, “This gift is just right.”

The design is OESD/ Embroidery On-line’s Happy Birthday Frog. My design library includes the Bernina collection Fanciful Frogs. I have used those designs here and again and again.

As you can see, dishtowels are my go-to “little” gift. They can be personalized with machine embroidery (do you think my sorority sister Danilee ever got one of those bicycle license name plates or wall plaques?)

A novelty fabric turn tube hem or hand embroidery embellishment makes a towel special.

Yo-yo flowers with button centers, rick rack and a turn tube hem transform a plain white dishtowel to something more interesting.

Yo-yo flowers with button centers, rick rack and a turn tube hem transform a plain white dishtowel to something more interesting. This towel was a project I taught at Sewing at the Beach, Myrtle Beach. Would you like this design to be offered as a freebie?

Dishtowels are always the right size, the right price. Even if the color is wrong they still dry the dishes.

For the hostess of our fabulous family Thanksgiving dinner.

These were for the hostess of a fabulous family Thanksgiving dinner. The leaf spray is from Autumn Wreaths, Kreations by Kara. I added the pumpkin from some other set. They made a perfect hostess gift.

A thank you for the gracious owners of the beach condo my daughter rented.

This was a thank you for the gracious owners of the beach condo my daughter rented. These designs are from Dakota Collectibles Shell Collection and matched the wallpaper in the kitchen.

In groups they make a substantial birthday gift.

1-DOWquiltowels

This DOW set was embroidered for my sweet, enthusiastic quilting friend Catherine.

It helps a quilter schedule a perfect week.

The embroidery design set was done by Tracy Burkart of Needleart Studio. They seem to be unavailable now. It helps a quilter schedule a perfect week.

A recipe towel paired with a jar of jam was just the right size for each of my treasured PGM friends at our Christmas gift exchange.

recipe towels-jars1

I haven’t canned in years, but these jams from the Mast Store had more down-home appeal than Smuckers. The recipe designs are from Embroidery Library. They come as simple redwork.  I added the fruit.

The hostess of our Christmas party had just become a grandmother to...you guessed it...little Harry.

The hostess of our Christmas party had just become a grandmother to…you guessed it…little Harry.The design is from Dakota Collectibles Christmas Applique collection.

Coordinated with a turn tube hem, the dishtowels were bright and cheerful.

When a very dear but far away friend was experiencing some serious difficulties, these towels offered  daily inspiration and a reminder that I cared. Coordinated with a turn tube hem, the dishtowels were bright and cheerful. Designs are from Amazing Designs Inspirational Concepts. A dishtowel can give a very personal message for little more than the cost of a greeting card. It lasts longer and is useful.

true friends towel-1

The embroidery is a compilation of elements from various designs. The house, tree, and “road” were combined with text to express a heartfelt message.

For another group gift exchange, Christmas dishtowels filled the bill.

2-towels-tree-calm

The Christmas tree design is from Kreations by Kara, Christmas in Motion collection. “All is calm, all is bright” is in Amazing Designs Christmas IV collection which seems to be discontinued.

xmas towels

The “Tilted Tree,” “Jingle,” and Gingerbread House are all from Applique Corner.

Well, there are more dishtowels, but I seem to have beat this horse to death. I get all wrapped up in remembering the occasion and the recipients. Can you tell I love dishtowel gifts?

.

““““`

Thanksgiving 2021-It all came together!

table set, ready for dinner

What a joyous, satisfying Thanksgiving we had!  All the cooking and sewing and preparations proved to be worth it as it all came together and our family arrived.

We had some close calls and a lot of tension before that, though.  One week before Turkey Day, the thermostat in my stove died!  It would likely take a week to get a replacement part#$%&!!!!  Dear husband Bob decided we should just get a new stove, but in this era of widespread shortages, that was like a scavenger hunt!  He finally found one that fit our need and it was delivered Sunday morning.  Hallelujah!

While we were waiting on the stove, at 11 p.m.Friday night, we discovered a flood in the dining room coming coming from under the china cabinet!  YIKES!!! We spent the night rotating 4-6 beach towels soaking up the water, spinning them in the washer then drying them while others replaced them with another set of  beach towels.

God bless the wonderful plumber who showed up at 11 a.m.Saturday and fixed the kitchen plumbing which had a 1/4″ hole in the pipe!  All the while I was praying the kitchen stove would be delivered the next day as promised.

Before all that angst, there was so much excitement as we readied everything–new curtains were made for one guest room, new pillowcases were made and embroidered, flower beds were weeded, fresh flowers placed in the guest rooms and front hall.  The dogs and cats were well aware that something was going on.

Sebastian eagerly awaits guests’ arrival

Before everyone arrived, the dinner table was set. I made free standing lace “ornaments” or “dingle dangles.”  They were tied to the burlap napkin rings which coordinated with the burlap table runner.  The burlap rings were wrapped around linen hemstitched napkins.

Burlap napkin ring with free standing lace pumpkin from Embroidery Library’s Fall Favorites collection. I’m going to have to press that burlap runner into flat submission with heavy starch and my press!  UPDATE:All the starch in the world won’t make burlap lie flat.  The trick is to pull a burlap strand just 2 threads inside the fringe, like pulling a gathering  thread.  THEN starch and press the edge flat.

Continue reading

“Thankful for…” dishtowels

 

At Thanksgiving, with so many blessings,  I think it is especially meaningful and important to express your appreciation and love to the important people in your life.  Make a phone call, send a card or make a dishtowel for Turkey Day.

For those who are far away, a towel or a pair of towels can be mailed easily.  Those in town will be delighted to receive this token of gratitude.

For family

for friends

 

for neighbors

and for any others for whom you are thankful–your pastor, mailman, teachers, school bus drivers.  The list goes on.  You can be sure it will mean a great deal to them.

Simply prewash a cotton dishtowel then starch and press it.  Arrange the text over a design, confining it all to a 5×7 frame.  Using water soluble stabilizer saves time that would be spent picking out tearaway behind the text.   Then stitch away and express your thankfulness to the people you appreciate.

There are so many gorgeous designs from which to choose.  The one I’ve used on the towels shown is from Autumn Wreaths Collection by Kreations by Kari.

For more whimsical text designs, the very popular “subway art” is available on several sites. These were made so many years ago that I cannot recall where I got them.  But they were very well received, along with the more traditional design.

Even in this last minute rush before the cooking begins, I encourage you to stitch up a few of these expressions of love and appreciation.  It’s fun and you deserve a little relaxation before the kitchen marathon begins.

I appreciate you, Dear Readers.  I wish I could make each of you a dishtowel that says “Thankful for Blog Readers.”  Happy Thanksgiving!

Required disclosure:  I am a paid Brother Ambassador.  Not required: I LOVE my Brother sewing machines!

Thanksgiving Napkins

Burlap napkin ring with freestanding lace acorn from Embroidery Library’s Fall Favorites collection. I’m going to have to press that burlap runner into flat submission with heavy starch and my press!

Thanksgiving is such a joyful holiday.  Gathering with family and friends, counting our many blessings, retelling stories of earlier celebrations of plenty, remembering loved ones who joined us before, and enjoying delicious food.

It’s always a happy  time.  And it always reminds me of a scrap patchwork quilt, with diners coming from locations all over the map, ages from the elderly to the very young.  This year our table will seat guests from 86 to 18 years old, from Nebraska, Indiana, Florida and we hope from New Jersey.  Conversation will come from a pastor, school teacher, retired missionary, engineer, college student, and me, a babbling needleworker/passionate grandmother/blogger/gardener/etc.

This year we are looking forward to welcoming a crowd of out-of-town family for Thanksgiving week and to our harvest table.  They hail from Nebraska, Indiana, Florida, and perhaps (we do hope!) New Jersey!

So many preparations are being made for this big holiday.  New curtains for 7 windows in one guest room have been sewn as well as new pillowcases, and more home dec projects. A sewing room clean-up has even begun, but that is a years’ long process!

When Embroidery Library posted a photo of a napkin with a freestanding lace acorn resting on a dinner napkin, the image spoke to me.  It was just what I wanted for my Thanksgiving table.  The collection includes a turkey, chrysanthemum, and a maple leaf in addition to the acorn, another leaf and pumpkin which I chose. After my selection of these, 3 of each were made for my 9 napkins.

Burlap napkin ring with freestanding lace pumpkin from Embroidery Library’s Fall Favorites collection. That waffling burlap runner WILL be flat very soon, if it takes a full can of starch!

It is recommended that the same thread be used in the bobbin and needle.  It takes some time to wind matching bobbins, but the finished look is worth it.  DMC 50/2 cotton machine embroidery thread was used for a slightly lighter look. This generates a LOT of lint, so it required very frequent cleaning of my Brother Dream Machine. FYI, 2 ornaments fit in a 5×7 frame.

If you have never done freestanding lace before, Embroidery Library has an excellent free tutorial.  I embroidered on two layers of Brother water soluble stabilizer which worked perfectly. Excess was cut away and the stabilizer washed away easily and completely.

Burlap napkin ring with freestanding leaf pumpkin from Embroidery Library’s Fall Favorites collection. That waffling burlap runner WILL be flat very soon, if it takes a full can of starch!

After folding my napkins, I determined that a 1.5 x 11″ wrap of burlap sufficed.  With three strands of burlap, one vertical stitch was taken through the overlapped ends of the burlap with a tapestry needle.   It was then threaded through the ring at the top of each ornament and tied into a bow.

Looking back at one of my earlier Thanksgiving posts, I came across these images which I think you might enjoy.  Norman Rockwell’s traditional holiday feast reflects my personal preference for the mood and setting for this day of gratefulness.  The other shows a more contemporary observance.

Whichever suits you, I hope on November 25 you will have reasons to celebrate the many blessings we enjoy.

Traditional Thanksgiving

Contemporary Thanksgiving

Required disclosure:  I am a paid Ambassador for Brother USA.  Not required: I genuinely love my Brother sewing machines.

 

Quickie Bishop for Beatrice

Beatrice wearing her aqua broadcloth ready-to-smock bishop.  The smocking design is Allison Leigh by Ellen McCarn.

This is my precious church granddaughter, Beatrice, wearing a bishop dress I completed for her in a relatively short time.  FYI, she is truly a granddaughter in my heart, but when I don’t identify her as my “church granddaughter,” I have to field questions as to which of my  almost middle-age children have had another child.

Ready-to-smock garments are readily available from a number of sources.  Most of my purchases have been from a few members of the Smocking Destash facebook group.  They do a fabulous job of pleating and constructing the garments using quality fabrics.  This garment was complete, from neck binding, to buttons and buttonholes to the hem.  Others are often in various stages of completion.

White lace trimmed the sleeves but I had something else in mind so the lace was removed and replaced with this.  Unusual lace and trims have always caught my eye, and this one certainly did.

This lace is one of the most useful, versatile pieces I have. Just 1/4″ wide, the edges are straight enough to be used as an insertion or edging. Floss woven through the entredeux-like holes makes it a tiny beading.

The sleeve was pleated with only 3 rows. So using a Swiss trim with entredeux seemed too wide, overpowering the narrow smocking.  This 1/4″ trim still allowed for the addition of color to match  the smocking.  Additionally, I had it on hand.

I was pleased to get this dress ready for Beatrice pretty quickly. Several other ready-to-smock garments lie in wait in my drawer of upcoming projects.  Now I just need a drawer full of time for all the projects I want to do!

 

 

Free Brother MCS Design & Pink Baby Blanket

Swiss flannel daygown, bonnet and blanket for baby's homecoming

Swiss flannel daygown, bonnet and blanket for baby’s homecoming

NOTE:  The free design can only be used on Brother machines with the My Custom Stitch feature.  You must download the design and then import it to your machine via memory stick or floppy drive.  It cannot be opened on a computer or accessed any way other than through a Brother model which offers this feature.

It has been busy, busy, busy around here.  I’ve embroidered and framed more scripture verses for church, sewn a denim gored skirt for 9 yo Laurel from a fabulous pattern,  embroidered my son’s hiking back pack, altered his “thunderware” (YIKES!) and done a variety of other “utility” sewing projects.

 

This photo has been edited/darkened to better show detail.

This photo has been edited/darkened to better show detail.

While  trying to get some blogging done, I came across the forgotten post below in my draft folder.  Since two of my earlier posts on Brother’s  My Custom Stitch  feature,  Heart Swag Baby Shawl  and  T-Bonnet ,  there have been several inquiries asking about the zig zag feather stitch I created.  So once again, I am offering it to readers.  It can be saved to a memory stick or floppy disk or whatever device you use to transfer information to your sewing machine.  It is not a .pes hooped embroidery design.  This is done on the sewing side of the machine.

Swiss flannel bonnet, blanket and daygown for baby's homecoming

close up of zig zag feather stitch, worked with 30 wt. cotton thread

This  soft pink set was made for granddaughter Vivian Rose’s homecoming in January.  But she was a smaller newborn than our other three grandchildren so the size I chose was too big for her.  Now, 8 months later, the gown has been worn and outgrown.

 

This shows the feather stitch with greater contrast to better show detail.

This shows the feather stitch with greater contrast to better show detail.

Read on about this useful stitch and post your request for it in a comment.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Continue reading

Beach Portrait Dress

Continue reading

3rd Birthday Dress for Beatrice

This beloved, long-awaited baby girl will be 3 years old in a few days!  In celebration of the occasion I have made her a birthday confection of batiste, lace, embroidery, feather stitches, ribbon and entredeux. As her official church Nana, I embraced this privilege.

This child is pure joy for her family and our entire church congregation.  We prayed so fervently for her safe delivery into the loving arms of her adoptive parents.  With her sparkling brown eyes and bouncing curls, she is all girl while at the same  rough and tumble.

Beatrice romps with her big dog and both of mine (weighing 100+ lbs).  She is friendly with the three family goats

and fearless with huge horses when she visits the stables. shhh..but just between you and me, she is a little frightened by teeny tree frogs! Continue reading

Bambi Play Set

This little pique’ playset features a sweet Bambi embroidery design built into Brother’s Dream 1 and Dream 2 machines, located in the Disney Tinkerbell menu.

 

I’ve always loved this design and thought Bonnie Blue’s Riley pattern was the perfect place for it to wear for spring and summer.

The ruffled back is especially charming.

The Riley capris were wider than I preferred so used Children’s Corner Parker’s Pants.  A ruffle was added to match the Riley top and the Bambi design was manipulated (with a LOT of effort) to place the floral design near the ruffle. Lime green piping was a nice accent between the ruffle and the body of the top and the capris.

This was such a pleasure to make, especially since it was for my almost 3 yo granddaughter. Doesn’t she look adorable wearing it?

More information and details about construction of this garment are posted here at Brother’s Stitching Sewcial blog.

Required disclaimer: I am a paid Brother Brand Ambassador.  Not required: I LOVE my Brother sewing/embroidery machines!

 

DIY Get Well Card

Design from Embroidery Library but appears to be no longer available. Text added on PE-Design. This was stitched on my Brother Dream 2 machine.

Sending a get well card to an ailing friend is always a thoughtful and meaningful gesture.  Making a personalized card card is even more meaningful.

This was made for a dear friend who recently had shoulder replacement surgery.  the card opens to a personalized message on printer paper, cut out and attached to the card stock with double sided tape.

At a time when we are encouraged to stay home, making a get well, birthday, anniversary or thinking of you card is a wise alternative to making a trip to the store to purchase a ready made card.

There are so many ways to embroider cards–directly on card stock, on fabric which is stitched onto card stock or as shown above, onto felt which is stitched onto card stock.

They truly are fun and almost addictive to make.  I’ve stitched Christmas cards,

Valentines

and other get well cards, all which have been very well received.

All you need to get started is some card stock, rotary cutter, cutaway stabilizer and double sided tape. Instructions are detailed in an earlier blog post here.

Required disclaimer:  I am a paid Brother Ambassador sewing specialist.  Not required:  I LOVE my Brother sewing machines.