Christmas Tidbits

Truly, this is the most wonderful time of the year.  And it’s just around the corner.

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Meanwhile, the black velveteen for Vivian Rose’s Christmas dress (because black is this child’s best hope for an all-day appearance of cleanliness) is still in the package from Farmhouse Fabrics.    I’m still returning china, laundering and pressing 140 dinner napkins while recovering from Thanksgiving.  We were deeply involved in a fabulous almost family wedding Thanksgiving weekend.  FYI, the groom is almost family–there was nothing” almost” about the wedding!  That’s what the 140 dinner napkins were all about.

For 5 days of Thanksgiving and 5 days with so much for which to be thankful,   our house was filled with the families of both of our children, including all 4 of our precious grands.  It was a glorious time, but exhausting with the wedding thrown in there.

But back to Christmas……

Tidbit #1:  Do you all know about Jacquie Lawson‘s electronic greeting cards?  They are just spectacular.  For a small fee you have unlimited access to cards all year long. I share this with you now because of the advent calendar she offers each year.  Members, for a very small fee (as little as $2 each for 10 or more) can give a daily magical electronic Christmas experience to children or anyone.

This year there are two versions, a Victorian Christmas

 

This year's Jacquie Lawson electronic Victorian Advent Calendar

This year’s Jacquie Lawson electronic Victorian Advent Calendar

 

and a Seaside Advent calendar.

 

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Seaside Advent calendar

 

I ordered one each for myself and one each for my husband, in addition to the grands and other children we love.  Please at least look at the preview of these delights.

My two older grandchildren, 11 and 12 years old, asked me at Thanksgiving if they would be getting calendars this year.  Of course, they have received theirs and when 11 yo Robert called me last night, we decorated a tree and made a wreath “together”  as we chatted and discussed our choices and creations.

I have no affiliation with Jacquie Lawson whatsoever, but I want to share this unique Christmas experience with you.

Tidbit 2:  Another of my project tutorials has been posted at Brother’s Stitching Sewcial blog.  This is a quick gift idea, embroidered linen coasters.

 

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As a bonus, the Winter Wonderland embroidery design is being offered for free.  Please check it out and leave a comment if you like it.  If you don’t……..well, never mind.

Tidbit #3:  Did you look closely at the banner above at Janice Ferguson Sews?  It’s from the Stetson Mansion’s web site. I was tickled pink to see the Early American Sewing  Machines book in this Christmas collage.  I’d love to peruse that volume.

The Christmas tour of the Mansion is a highlight of the season for us.  When the older grandchildren are here for the holidays, we will take that tour.

Well, that’s all the tidbits for now.  Right now, I’m busy finishing up a cute Disney Christmas quilt then I’ll move on to Vivi’s dress, decorating the tree and Christmas cards.  Can you tell I’m waaaaay behind schedule?

This weekend I’ll be at Rebecca’s gingerbread house decorating party and then  Vivian’s preschool Christmas program.  More Christmas delights to come!

I hope you all are not behind schedule with your Christmas preparations as am I.   Happy Christmas stitching to you all!

Wash Me!

Wash Me – Personalized Laundry Bag

Yeah!  My personalized Disney Alphabet laundry bag tutorial has just been posted on Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  It was a fun and enjoyable project.  Those alphabet characters are cute as can be.  I felt like a real in-the-know and up-to-date Nana when I recognized most of characters.  I’m studying up on the others.

Check out the post for detailed construction and embroidery instructions.  If you  find it interesting or useful, I’d really appreciate a comment left on the blog.

Like dishtowels, my favorite hostess or whatever gift, a laundry bag can be used even if it’s not in the recipient’s favorite colors.  It’s good for children, campers, college students and even adults.  I meant to make one for my elderly Aunt Aileen when she moved into a nursing home.  Sadly, she left us before I got it made but I know she would have loved it.

“Laundry bag” sounds so utilitarian and boring.  But they can be a fun and gentle reminder for children (and others) to bag up those dirty clothes.  For each of my grandchildren I have made a bag and they are used regularly.  When she was here for the weekend, 3 yo Vivian Rose asked where her laundry bag was as she put on her pajamas. With no reminder, she put that day’s outfit in the bag and went to brush her teeth.

 

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My sewing buddy, Aunt Rheeta, made bags for each of her college bound granddaughters.  One is denim, the other pink, but the design is the same, except for the monogram.

 

for her granddaughter, a Princess of Quite a Lot of Laundry

for her granddaughter, a Princess of Quite a Lot of Laundry

 

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Judy Day made this bag for her daughter.  She used a mesh-like fabric and really cute embroideries.

 

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One of my favorite bags is this one, made for my daughter.  It’s one of many projects inspired by the incredibly creative Sue Lord.  When our Rebecca finished graduate school, she became a career girl.  She bought a little house, a washer and a dryer.  Giving her this bag signaled the end of the “bringing laundry home to Mama” era.  She loved it.

 

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Mothers, grandmothers, and aunties have forever made laundry bags for their loved ones.  I treasure this antique, hand embroidered baby sack, made for a beloved little boy.  You can’t tell from the picture, but the embroidery has faded to the palest blue.

 

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Christmas is just around the corner.  I bet there is someone on your list who could use a laundry bag.  It’s a quick and easy gift.

Meet Me at the Fair!

Having just arrived at her first fair, granddaughter Vivian Rose was awestruck.

Having just arrived at her first fair, granddaughter Vivian Rose was awestruck.

Midweek our daughter called to ask if we would like to have  3 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose for the weekend.  OF COURSE!!!!   Her brother and daddy would be camping with the Cub Scouts and her mama planned a visit with her college roommate.

When I realized that the county fair was in progress, I was even more excited.  I LOVE the fair.  This would be an incredible experience for all three of us–Nana, Granddad and Vivi.

When she arrived Friday afternoon,  we looked on-line at fair pictures.  She was intrigued and couldn’t wait.

After our little bundle of energy was bedded down late Friday night, I started on her fair outfit.  It was a HUGE hit for this gal with very strong fashion opinions.

 

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Her  “rainbow leggings”  were recently purchased just because I thought she would like them. At the time,  I wasn’t sure just what I would make to go with them.  When the fair visit was scheduled, I knew they would perfectly compliment the CC Lucy I had envisioned. Continue reading

Jungle Book Cot Sheet

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During my lengthy absence from this blog, I did get some sewing done.  This cot sheet is a fun little project.  It can be plain or fancy, utilitarian or heavily embroidered as is this one.

First, I have to be up front with you all–my name is Janice and  I am a textile snob.  My linen closet has nothing but pima cotton sheets.  My master, guest and children’s beds have always been made up with silky pima cotton.

Many years ago, there was a brief and almost sleepless few days when my 8 yo son slept on stiff and scratchy Garfield sheets.  They were a gift for which he had begged his grandmother.  After a week, he wanted his old sheets back.  “They just don’t feel good, Mama.”  From the mouths of babes–raised on pima.

Before she even moved into her freshman dorm at University of Florida, my daughter begged me to custom make two sets of pima cotton sheets for the odd sized mattress.  She was like the Princess and the Pea.  “Mama, I won’t be able to sleep on anything else!”

So what does this have to do with Disney’s Jungle Book themed cot sheet shown above? Continue reading

Sweet Dreams, Baby Girl

While spending the past weekend with our daughter and her family, we celebrated her birthday and her husband’s.  After running across this post, I decided to put it up again.  Daughters are wonderful!! (But so are sons.)

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Monogram is Dazzle from OESD. Tthe floral design is from Brother’s Holiday Card #77. This is a beautiful collection, with a pretty companion design for this one.

 

With a teary eye for the quick passage of time and a proud heart for the woman she has become, I celebrated my daughter’s birthday by making this pair of pillowcases for her.  With these and the wonderful life she has made for herself,  I expect she will have sweet dreams.

 

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The monogram is  Dazzle   from OESD.  It’s certainly convenient that she and her husband have the same initials.The floral design is from   Brother’s Holiday Card #77. This is a beautiful collection, with a pretty companion design for this one.

 

Luxurious bed linens have always been a priority for my girl.  As a freshman moving into a dorm at University of Florida, she asked me to custom make pima cotton sheets for the non-standard dorm bed, and, of course, matching pillowcases.    She confided that she was a bit like storybook character in the Princess and the Pea.  How could she get a decent night’s sleep on anything but pima cotton?  Oh dear, I thought.  Have I raised a “pima” donna?   But of course, two sets of fitted pima sheets were packed.

 

Sending off our French foregin exchange student days before Rebecca (in red) headed to University of Florida.

At  the airport, sending Claire, our French foreign exchange student,  home to France.  This was just a few days before Rebecca (in red) headed to University of Florida—along with her mama-made pima cotton bedding.

 

From the dormitory to the sorority house to her first college-girl apartment to her first little bachelorette house and now in her lovely marital home, she has always had pima cotton bedding. Continue reading

“Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” & the Good Times I’ve Had

Dear Friends and Readers, once again I am back.   My absence is well expressed by Sam Cooke who seems to know my pain.  Nobody knows the computer trouble I’ve seen!

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For the past several weeks, my computer has been crazy, only occasionally and unpredictably usable.  I felt mute.  On my i-phone and Kindle, my fingers just bumble around the tiny keyboards and I grow frustrated very quickly.  I NEED my pc.

After running every virus checker, malware and spyware program known to the high-tech internet world, my fabulous tech savvy husband wiped the hard drive clean and reinstalled every single program.  And at last, it seems that all is well.

But amidst all this aggravation, we’ve had some really good times and I’ve done some sewing.  For a very special bridal shower I embroidered 46 dishtowels for guest favors.  I’ve known the groom-to-be since before he was born and this 35 yo fella has always had a special place in my heart.   So now that he has found the love of his life, the wedding is a major event for us. Continue reading

I’m Baaaack

It has been a wild ride in the time I’ve been out of the loop. After 5 days of Hurricane Matthew preparation, hunkering down with no internet, tv, cell or landline service and then clean up, we headed to Mayo Clinic.  My husband underwent a minor cardiac procedure, as if ANY cardiac procedure can be minor.  He’s just fine, we’re back home and now I’m back to blogging and sewing.

 

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First, I want to share this cute, quick and easy Halloween faux-pieced wallhanging that I really enjoyed making just before Matthew made his unwelcome visit.  A complete photo tutorial is posted here at Brother’s new blog, Stitching Sewcial.  The designs are from the new Disney Halloween Collection at ibroidery.com

There is still time to whip up this kid-pleaser for the increasingly popular Halloween season. Unlike corn stalks or hay bales, this decoration can be packed away for next year and more years to come.

Children love this, especially when they see Goofy’s skeleton glow in the dark.

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Goofy by day

 

Goofy by night

Goofy by night

 

I especially like the yo-yo pumpkins that dangle from each side. Continue reading

Fun Halloween Projects and Lessons Learned

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Check the UPDATE below. The ghost and skull glow in the dark.  Happy Halloween towel V.2 below is a great improvement.

 

NEWS FLASH–Urban Threads is running a sale on their designs especially designed for glow-in-the-dark threads–$1.29 each with a neat bonus set that comes with a purchase of $10 or more.  That’s just 8 designs.  I finished these towels just about an hour before I found out about this sale.  I had spent a lot of time searching my design library for files that would be suitable for glow-in-the-dark. Oh well.  Children are crazy about this stuff.  I  look forward to stitching my new designs for the older grands.

A package of fun Halloween items will go out in tomorrow’s mail to my two younger grandchildren.  A fingertip towel for each child should make them smile.  When the children were here a few weeks ago, they were so pleased to have embroidered personalized towels for their bathrooms.

Three year old Vivian Rose is infatuated with cats so the cat and hat towel is for her.  Seven year old Alastair was equally infatuated with glow-in-the-dark threads when he discovered them during that same visit.  So that is the fun factor on his towel.

It looks pretty ho-hum until the lights are out.

 

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Be sure to check the UPDATE below if you haven’t already.

 

LESSON LEARNED:  When dealing with glow-in-the-dark, areas outside the glow are best stitched in regular colored thread.  The ghost mouth and nose were stitched with orange thread. That looks good.  I mistakenly thought that having the ghost and skull eyes glow in a different color would give a great effect.  Wrong.  It would have been so much nicer with the lights on or off if I had used black or orange thread for those features.  Live and learn.

UPDATE: After this post was written,  I couldn’t live with the Happy Halloween towel.  I knew the fix would be easy.  So the towel was rehooped and the scan feature on my Dream Machine was engaged.  After the embroidered towel was scanned, the original design was opened.  As it appeared on the screen, I dragged it over the existing design with the stylus.

After scrolling through the first few colors, I came to the skull eyes and then the ghost nose.  They were re-embroidered with black thread.

 

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The fix took less than 3 minutes and towel looks much better in daylight— even better in the dark.

 

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Restitching those elements of the design in black was a huge improvement.

Even more was learned on the next project, a pumpkin door hanger.

 

Fun project! Pumpkin Door Hanger from Hang To Dry. The applique' font and the text were from Brother's PE-NEXT editing program.

What a fun project! Pumpkin Door Hanger from Hang To Dry. The applique’ font and the text were from Brother’s PE-NEXT editing program.

Continue reading

Cat Dress Modeled

Apparently Vivian Rose likes her Too many Cats dress..

Apparently Vivian Rose likes her Too many Cats dress.

That is one happy little girl wearing one ugly dress.

I was very disappointed in the finished Too Many Cats dress.    But I appreciate all of you dear readers who encouraged me with assurances that my 3 yo granddaughter, Vivian Rose, would love it.  You were right.

My darling, thoughtful daughter sent these pictures today, after the package arrived.  Since I had promised Vivi a “kitty cat” dress, she was expecting nothing less when she opened her package.

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Her first view of herself showed the kind of exuberant response for which she is well-known.

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“I’m beautiful!” Nice molars, Vivi.

As you can see, it is a little wide and low at the waist and longer than I like.  I’m going to ask Oma, her other grandmother, to move the buttons up a bit and perhaps raise the hem.

Next time I’ll alter the pattern for a better fit.  But I doubt I’ll get a happier little girl.

P.S.  Amy Harris Johnson, can we say “Oh, my!”?

A Small Token of Love

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This is Icolin wearing her new apron.

 

This is my sweet Jamaican friend, Icolin.  We share our burdens, few though they are, and joys, of which there are many.  Her strong faith and cheerful attitude bring sunshine into my already sunny home.

 

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Icolin considers this her office. She prefers to eat lunch and take breaks in the potting shed. My sewing room is my favorite spot, but this is the place I like to be when I’m not sewing. 

In an earlier post, I sang her praises, though not loudly enough, and featured an apron I had embroidered for her.   For the longest time, she just left it hanging, declaring it too pretty to wear for cleaning–ppsshaw!, I said, teaching her an uncommon English word.

Finally, that apron was worn for her first day at another cleaning job.  I thought it was time for her to have another–another apron and another very small token of my appreciation.  Aside from that, I was ready for something more satisfying  than the Too Many Cats dress.

 

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This is a design from Loralie’s Colorful Ladies III.  I replaced the design’s paintbrush with a feather duster. Icolin keeps her’s handy as she works her way through the house.

 

The apron is from All About Blanks, my go-to site for a variety of ready-to-embroider items.

We are all so lucky to be able to sew or embroider small gifts like this.  Nothing says “You’re special,” like a handmade gift.  Except, of course, a new sewing machine!

Have you made any little tokens of appreciation lately?