Rebecca’s Home Garden Wedding

Guests gathering before the ceremony.

Guests gathering before the ceremony.


With all the upcoming June weddings, I thought you might enjoy our family’s adventure preparing for our daughter’s nuptials,  as well as all the sewing I did for this important event.

10 years ago Rebecca and her Louisiana-born fiance traveled each corner of the county exploring venue options for their Cajun themed wedding.  After checking out virtually every possible location, the groom-to-be said he would like to be married at our home.  (dab, dab, dab my leaky eyes!)

We had almost 10 months advance notice so my husband and I went into high gear to spruce up the house and garden,  get the preacher and musicians on board, hire a photographer, rent a tent, etc. etc.  Meanwhile, the bride and groom-to-be were living and working across the state where they met.

For months we sweated in the yard by day

garden xx

and I sewed in the house all night.  I sewed and sewed and loved every minute of it.

Table toppers were made for the cocktail hour before the vows were read.  Guests sat around the pool and at the side garden enjoying hors d’oeuves.

seating in the side garden

Seating in the side garden.  Under the floral square is a pink twill square, much brighter than shown here.

The edges were simply serged.  That’s no big deal but, trust me, with 15 pink twill and 15 pink floral toppers, each 60″ square,  that’s a lot of serging mileage.  And there were more to be done.


guests seated around the pool

guests seated around the pool


For the reception dinner tables, 14 gold toppers were made, not to mention those made for the serving tables.  More miles of serging!


gold table toppers for the reception dinner

gold table toppers for the reception dinner


We rented the white table cloths.  I surely didn’t want to launder anything more than all those table toppers and my 120 dinner napkins after the wedding.  The color added by the gold, pink and pink floral squares was a pretty addition.

Once we had an approximate guest list, fourteen table numbers were embroidered and framed.






Then I embroidered chair backs for the bridal couple.  A very special lace edging was chosen for an extra embellishment.

King Tut lace

King Tut lace


The story is that after hiking to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Harvey had proposed to Rebecca on one knee.  He offered her the engagement ring he had hidden in his gear the entire trip.  She was absolutely taken by surprise and was thrilled to say yes.  But she was so cold that she asked if she had to take her gloves off!

They had also visited the Egyptian pyramids on that same trip.  So the antique Binche lace seemed to be the perfect, personal touch.   I doubted that anyone would notice, but I knew Rebecca and Harvey would….well, because I told them about this detail.  What would be the point if their starry eyes overlooked it?


Can you see the pyramids and King Tut in the lace edging?

Can you see the pyramids and King Tut in the lace edging?


Two days before the big event, the family gathered to stock welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.  They filled embroidered goodie tote bags for guests departing after the Sunday morning brunch at the hotel and tended to a variety of other tasks.


I had so much fun combining and editing to get this customized goodie bag design for out of town guests' trip home. It was filled with an orange, cookies, an embroidered fingertip towel and other goodies.

I had so much fun combining and editing to get this customized Cajun goodie bag design for out of town guests’ trip home. It was filled with two oranges from our grove, cookies, an embroidered fingertip towel and other treats. Note: this wrinkled bag was packed away with Rebecca’s wedding souvenirs.  She took the photo for me when I realized that I had no picture.


For each family worker bee, a souvenir chef’s apron was embroidered with her name and family designation—MOTG (mother of the groom), GMOTB (grandmother of the bride), etc.  It was a fun way for the two families to get acquainted.  We all had such a good time working together for the young couple we loved.


my mother's apron embroidery

my mother’s apron embroidery


I didn’t expect Rebecca to help those two days, but she pitched right in.  I hadn’t made an apron for her, but at her request one was ready when she returned from her honeymoon.




Out-of-town guests were entertained Saturday afternoon with a 2-hour riverboat ride on the St.John’s River.  Souvenir golf and baseball hats were embroidered  for each cruiser.

cruise hat


The cruise and the hats were a big hit, though many ladies chose not to muss up their hair.


wed cruisers


More sewing was done as special accommodations for each of the smaller guests.  A plastic dinner set and an embroidered bib reflecting the wedding theme was placed on each of 10 borrowed high chairs.


The kiddie set up allowed mothers to relax a little.

The high chair confined the little ones and allowed mothers to relax a little.


A goodie bag for each child was placed on her mother’s plate.  It included a Mardi Gras necklace, glow bracelet and wand, bubbles, and a zip lock bag of goldfish crackers to tide the little one over until his dinner was served.  The ultrasuede nametag could be used on diaper bags or other items.


And here is another of my beloved teepee bags.

And here is another of my beloved teepee bags.


Just outside the reception tent, two child sized tables were arranged with embroidered linens, porcelain tea sets and tiny silver dollar sized cookies I made and froze weeks in advance.

Two identical tables for 4 were set with china and homemade cookies. But the flower girl ate every cookie before any other pint sized guests could enjoy them.

Two identical tables for 4 were set with china and homemade cookies. But our little flower girl ate every one before any other child could enjoy them!  That was a lot of cookies.


The wedding was the culmination of a great team effort with family and friends, as well as a satisfying adventure for my husband and me. We planted and organized and re-arranged, having about as much fun as two parents are allowed when it comes to wedding planning.

We had so much help.  Rebecca’s namesakes, Susanna and Rebecca Kay, spent three days arranging all the flowers, except the wedding party and the dinner table arrangements.  Susanna appropriated a huge room at her physical therapist husband’s clinic and filled it with cut flowers.  Blossoms spilled out into the hallway.  All the leatherleaf and asparagus fern were cut from our home garden.

Susanna and Rebecca Kay, both trained floral experts, spent 3 days making arrangements. There were flower arrangements in the house, in the bathrooms, in the potting shed, on the cocktail hour tables and virtually everywhere else.  It was breathtaking and an amazing expression of  their love for Rebecca.

Flowers spilled from wicker cones hung from shepherd hooks along the center aisle at the end of each row of seats.

cone flowers xx


Even the dressed-up garden statuary had tiny bouquets.


garden children xx


My brother provided the plentiful and excellent wine, and also served as wine steward.


wine steward Jon


The matron of honor, Rebecca’s sorority sister, college roommate, and microbiologist for Annheuser Busch, provided all the beer.  Even with all that alcohol available, no guests overindulged. Whew!

The ever-faithful PlayGroup Mamas and other friends spent Friday and Saturday setting the tables, doing prep work for the food, hanging floral garlands on the front gates, and more.  They loaned dishes, silver, high chairs and baked desserts.  Gale, our exceptional, official PGM chef, prepared all the delicious Cajun dinner food and hired the wait staff.


 PGM Gale prepared the delicious dinner food.

PGM Gale prepared the salads, gumbo, etouffee and other Cajun dinner dishes.


Even children helped out.  In addition to the cookie monster flower girl, an especially loved 10 yo family friend provided a perfect ending to the ceremony.  As the sentence “I now pronounce you man and wife,” was completed, bells rang.  Grey had slipped away from the ceremony and waited at the old farm bell (see the bell behind the garden children photo above) in the back garden.


Grey waiting near his bell ringing station

Grey near his bell ringing station


His mother had rung the cell phone in his pocket at just the right moment.   Grey rocked that bell!  It was better than fireworks.




Rebecca and Harvey were as pleased as all who put this wedding together.  What a memorable experience it was for us!  And now, 10 years later, the couple is as happy as they were that day, loving and enjoying family life with their son and daughter.

That surely makes this mother happy.

1st Birthday Dress

birthday dress

Made 11 years ago,this first birthday dress was for now 12 yo granddaughter Laurel. Of course,  I still love sewing for her.

It’s birthday time for our older granddaughter, Laurel, so I’ve been spending some time reminiscing about her birth and infancy.  So here is a re-run of a post about her first birthday dress.


Laurel was our first grandchild, and a girl at that.  Our son had been married for 9 years and our daughter was still a single career gal. After nearly 15 years of Granny Lust, mitigated only by gathering fabric, patterns and trims for my Grandmother’s Really Hopeful Chest, I was ready to sew as a genuine Nana.

That first year went by so quickly! Smocked daygowns and bonnets, embroidered diaper shirts and onesies, monogrammed bibs and baby Gator duds flew out of my sewing room.  It seems that for almost 12 months, I did nothing but sew and snuggle that baby.


birthday dress cf

center front embroidery


As her first year drew to a close,  I did manage to pull myself away from the enchanting child long enough to make her first birthday dress. Of course, it was made with my finest Swiss batiste, carved pearl buttons, treasured Maline lace and other hoarded trims. Continue reading

Whispering Daydreams–New Fabric!

Violette Bleues pattern by Petite Poche. Whispering Daydreams ultra-lawn fabric from Spoonflower.


I love fabric, you love fabric, we all love fabric.  But with experience we become more selective about what we choose to sew.  Of course, everyone appreciates the beauty of Swiss batiste, linen, silk, Liberty of London tana lawn, Swiss pique’ and more.  Most sewists praise Michael Miller, Tula Pink and easy care Imperial.  But now I have a new love.

Even though I’ve been on a fabric starvation diet, Nancy Lee Moran’s hand drawn fairytale toile, Whispering Daydreams,  had me from hello. I can hear it whisper…”shhh… Pippi Longstocking’s gone heirloom!”

Seeing that scrappy, pigtailed girl and her fantasy companions portrayed so delicately just delighted me.  The print is pure innocence and set me to daydreaming.  Teamed up with the tiny, fancy dot, also available from Spoonflower,  garments for 3 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose danced like visions of sugarplums in my head.

Available in lavender or blue, in three sizes, and in an array of fabric choices, the smallest blue Whispering Daydreams‘ ultra-lawn was my choice. CORRECTION:  The MINIATURE size (2″ figures) was  used.  Of course, I couldn’t wait to lay hands on it.  When I opened the package, I was not disappointed.  It truly is a fine lawn. Continue reading

Readers’ Easter Sewing

Big announcement coming in the next few days!


Annette Poole


Ahhh…Easter dresses!  Thanks to Annette Poole for this photo of two adorable girls in their finery.  The checked dress is silk dupioni cut from Sew Beautiful’s  Pascale pattern, size 3.   I made a Pascale  Christmas dress for granddaughter Laurel Cade when she was 9.   That is one of my favorite patterns because it is so versatile.   As a matter of fact, Maggie Bunch has a post on her blog dedicated to the versatility of Pascale.  Check Maggie’s blog for variations and insight into Laura Jenkins Thompson’s excellent pattern.

There is something so sweet about checked silk dupioni.  I think it’s a charming combination of the elegance of silk with the innocence and playfulness of gingham.  With the smocking and excellent construction Annette has made  a special  heirloom. I love it. Continue reading

Star Wars Party Favors


black tp front

The black and white bags were made from scraps, left over from this super hero cape.


Sometimes you can learn something that seems rather inconsequential at the time but, in fact, it turns out to be a pretty big deal.  That’s how Mary Lou Nall’s “inconsequential” teepee bag project became one of the most useful  sewing tidbits I have ever picked up.   I still have the bag I made in that class more than 30 years ago!


This grubby bag lives in my pleater box and holds my pleating supplies--screw driver, extra needles, small scissors, marking pen, etc. I guess I should wash it.

This grubby bag lives in my pleater box and holds my pleating supplies–screw driver, extra needles, small scissors, marking pen,needle threader, etc. Apparently, it’s long overdue for laundering.  I guess I should wash it.


I’ve raved about this before, but I’m compelled to it up again, since I’ve just made 38 more as party favors for grandson Alastair’s 7th birthday.


38 Star Wars bags for party favors

38 Star Wars bags for party favors.  Zipper and ribbon color is varied which makes it a little easier for children to identify their own personal bag.


Sometimes I wonder just how many I have made in these 30 years, but the number must be in the hundreds. Continue reading

For the Boys

He asked that his face not be included. That's a shame because he is so handsome. But I respect his privacy.

Grandson Robert, 10 yo, embroidered this fleece poncho on my Brother Dream Machine.


Shops, internet and sewing groups inundate us with beautiful and adorable projects for our girls.  Items for the boys appear far less frequently. Yet we want to shower them with the same love stitched into items made for our girls.

My friend Judy Day faithfully and thoughtfully includes something for her grandson in packages she sends with garments for her granddaughter. See one example in her Even Steven post.

When our delightful 10 yo grandson Robert spent the night recently, he spent a lot of time cuddled up on the couch, wrapped in a fleece throw.  March Madness was well underway, watched intently by Robert and his Granddad.

As Robert trekked into the kitchen for a drink refill, with his blanket dragging the floor and slipping off his shoulders,  Sonia Showalter’s poncho   came to mind.  That’s just what Robert needed!

He agreed it was a great idea and wanted to help.  The technology of my Dream Machine fascinates him and he always asks a lot of questions about its capabilities.  In my experience, kids love sewing machines.  Robert chose a dragon from the built-in designs.


R dream dragon


Continue reading

Penny for Vivi

Penny by Petite Poche (Wendy Schoen), size 3, is ready to be shipped to granddaughter Vivian.

Penny by Petite Poche (Wendy Schoen), size 3, is ready to be shipped to granddaughter Vivian.


This little summer dress is finally finished.  It’s progress was interrupted by a variety of issues, all outside the sewing room, but now  Penny  has been removed from my UFO list.


bodice back


I have always loved this pattern and finally got around to making it.


nNBst-CloKs-pdtFX-WSPennyI always favor projects with Madeira applique’ and to my eye the best feature is the bodice back.  But I doubt I could convince 3 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose to walk backwards to show it to best advantage.  Then again, she is usually on the run, so I guess the front and back have equal opportunity to be viewed. Continue reading

Easter Dress: Disaster Averted

Easter dress for 3 yo Vivian Rose

Easter dress for 3 yo Vivian Rose.  The pattern is Children’s Corner Betsey.

Okay, I’m done whining about missing out on Easter with the grandchildren this year.  As I mentioned (or wailed) in the previous post, this year’s Resurrection Day garments remain undelivered.  And no, that is not the disaster to which I refer in this post title.  There is no recovering that missed celebration. But the Easter dress suffered a real near disaster which I dodged, more or less.


27" wide with 10" embroidery

27″ wide with 10″ embroidery


First, the details of this dress.  The gorgeous fabric, a 27″ Swiss embroidered flounce purchased from Farmhouse Fabrics, has languished in my sewing room armoire for many years.  It was meant to be used for granddaughter Laurel, who was too small at the time to use this length.  The embroidery extends 10 inches from the hemline.  Then, like so many other projects, it was pushed down on the “make soon” list.

Now with 3 yo Vivian Rose in the family, this beautiful fabric’s day in the sun has come.  Though it was a late start, the smocking was well under way before disaster struck.

Thinking to use my time wisely, 3 days before Easter. I brought the dress along to the hairdresser’s and did some smocking while my…uh…color enhancement set.   BIG MISTAKE!!!



ugly stain


Janice Ferguson’s custom color #1234 was smeared on the dress.

Scan-3 Continue reading

Not the Easter Outfits I Planned

I hope the egg dye on Alastair's fingers had dried before he laid hands on Vivian Rose.

I hope the egg dye on Alastair’s fingers had dried before he laid hands on Vivian Rose.


I hope you all had a beautiful Easter.  It’s not all about the clothes, I know, but for most of you readers and for this Nana, it is SOME about the clothes.

Robert Burns described my Easter ’16 when he wrote,”The best laid schemes of mice and men (read “Nanas”) gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain…”

That is not to say that my guy and I did not experience the sacred joy and meaning of Easter.  So I can’t say that I experienced “nought but grief an’ pain,”  but there were some regrets.

We had planned to join our daughter, Rebecca, and her family to celebrate Easter Suday with her in-laws, who are dear friends, across the state.  But a monkey wrench was thrown into our plans Saturday–the very day I finished Easter duds for 3 yo Vivian Rose and 7 yo Alastair–the very outfits I was to deliver Easter morning to them.  (Yes, I cut it close.  I always do.)

So Rebecca scrounged through Vivi’s wardrobe and pulled out this old bishop, which has been around the block about as many times as the mailman.  Still, it is presentable if not new.


The ME designs are yours for the asking. Just leave your request in the comment section.

Continue reading

Rheeta’s Sweat Shop ’16


This is last year’s photo of Aunt Rheeta sewing on my beloved Brother Quattro. She is loving this year’s upgrade to The Dream Machine.


She was at it again.  My dear Aunt Rheeta arrived from frigid Indiana for a 2-week vacation in the warmth and sun of central Florida.  Unfortunately, she landed on a cold, rainy day and the weather hardly improved for the first week.  She  wore a polar fleece pullover every day so I did not take a picture of her at the sewing machine.  I’m pretty sure the Florida Bureau of Tourism blocks such photos from the internet.

We were so, sew busy!  After she expressed interest in touring historic DeBary Hall,  I said I would love to take her.  Then she decided that she would rather keep on sewing!  That’s my kinda gal!  Sew, we did!  In fact, we were so busy  that we didn’t take time for a current photo of her at my new Dream Machine which she loved immediately.

Aunt Rheeta arrived with her suitcase tightly packed with projects for us to work on. At the top of her priority list were a few graduation gifts for her granddaughter, a rising freshman at Texas A&M.


We didn’t worry about the wrinkles because the fleece was soon to be tightly packed in Rheeta’s suitcase. Time for a dryer tumble later.

Adriana will use this polar fleece throw at football games.  Rheeta made an identical fleece for Alexa, Adriana’s  older sister, a rising junior also at Texas A&M. That stadium blanket has seen 2 years of heavy wear. It’s likely this one will be just as useful.

Then Rheeta embroidered dishtowels.  As Adriana will be sharing an apartment with hometown friends, these instructive kitchen linens will be  loving reminders from her grandmother. Each of these dishtowel designs are from OESD’s  Hand Lettered Sayings  collection.


Adriana could learn to cook and eat few of the staples of a college student's diet.

The suggestion is that it’s possible for Adriana to learn to cook, improving the standard college student menu. And she will surely achieve some things that seem impossible.  That’s what her Meemaw is telling her.

Continue reading