Free Bumble Bees and Blue Willow

Yesterday, after a reader requested the free bumblebee design from this 2010 post, as shown on the placemat and napkin.  For a closer look at the bee scroll down to the napkin.

As I reread the post, I found myself  enjoying the stroll down memory lane.  Only the grandchildren have changed, having grown older, taller, a bit wiser and even more delightful.  The designs are still available by posting your request in a comment at the end of this post.

In Florida Spring is just around the corner and I am ready for it.  We’ve had cold, cold weather this past week (48 this morning!!!) during my Aunt Rheeta’s visit.  She laughed when I commented that it couldn’t be much colder in Indiana.  So with spring approaching, I thought you might enjoy this post which shows off the best of Florida’s spring.

With the chill in the air, we are staying in, having a big time in the sewing room. Aunt Rheeta brought a stack of projects with her and we are busy stitching.  So this has been a busy, busy place for some time now.  I’ll post photos of her projects later.

Meanwhile, I hope you are all busy sewing for spring and staying warm in this especially bitter winter weather~~~~~~

Grandchildren, sewing, gardening, homeschooling…… is good for this old fashioned Nana. It could only be better if my sweet little grandson Alastair and his parents  lived closer.

A few days ago, the entire student body of Nana’s Homeschool–that would be Robert, 4, and Laurel, 5–chose to have lunch in the potting shed.  This is one of my favorite places, second only to my sewing room.


We made a big production of it, carrying out placemats, napkins, Blue Willow china and Laurel’s favorite cobalt blue “stem ware.”  The table was set and lunch was served.

antique roses near potting shed

 Here in central Florida, we are in that brief and uniquely enchanting time of year between air conditioning and heat.  So we’ve been eating outdoors often.

Citrus blossoms perfume the air, roses  bloom all around, a gentle breeze blows, birds sing and the lubber grasshoppers unleash their insatiable appetites on my amaryllis lilies.  Stomping the little beasties is Robert’s favorite outdoor sport.

Knockout and antique Florida cracker roses keep Rastus’ nose twitching as he walks this garden path.

This is also the roses’ favorite time of year.  When deep summer is upon them, they wilt and bloom less enthusiastically.  So they are especially lovely right now.  Forgive my boasting and allow Edward Lear to speak for me:

  • And if you voz to see my roziz
  • As is a boon to all men’s noziz–
  • You’d fall upon your back and scream-
  • `O Lawk! O crikey! It’s a dream!`
  • Edward Lear, 1885

antique rose and lime sweet potato vine cuttings

When I am not teaching the children or preparing lesson plans, I am busy during the day gardening with Bob and sewing by night.  With all the freeze damage, we had more to do than usual.  Many of the plants I use extensively, like the lime green and purple sweet potato vines, have been unavailable until just this week.

Only a few hanging baskets were for sale, so I have whacked them into cuttings.  I’ll have plenty already planted before individual plants are available at the garden centers.

But back to lunch and sewing…….because the bees are buzzing incessantly in the nearby 20’ viburnum hedge which is in full bloom, I thought the use of this bumblebee luncheon set would be timely. The linens put the children on their best behavior and motivated Laurel to recite one of her memory pieces,

The Whole Duty of Children,  Robert Louis Stevenson,                                  A Child’s Garden of Verses

  • A child should always say what’s true  
  • And speak when he is spoken to,
  • And behave mannerly at table;
  • At least as far as he is able.


After we talked about “mannerly”  and as they ate, I read to them from the Blue Willow book.  For the past 20 years or so, I’ve used Blue Willow dishes  for everyday.   The story interested them because of the dishes and our recent, though superficial, study of the  Orient.

Then cookies were served and, as was so often stated in the society page of our small town paper, a good time was had by all.

The placemats and napkins were embroidered with designs from Fil Tire’ and Fancywork Elements, a collection by Suzanne Sawko and me. The hive uses a piece of fil tire’ for the appliqué fabric.

The tiny bumblebees from Charleen Madsen are just the right size for the hive and rose. With Charleen’s permission, I have offered this design to readers before and do so again.  Just post your request in the comments and I will send it out to you.

Machine wing needle entredeux traces the flight path of the bees, ending at an enlarged web rose from the same collection.

The entredeux path on the placemat matches up with the path on the napkin, ending at the rose. Once the napkin is removed, another shows on the placemat.

Spring in Florida is a glorious time. For as long as the weather holds up, we are lunching at the patio table by the pool, on the picnic table on the back porch, on the glass top table on the breakfast porch.

Next week, if all goes according to plan, we will lunch in the tree house.

It is equipped with a basket on a rope which is dropped down and loaded with snacks or drink, as the occupants request.

For that dining experience, the menu necessarily will be simple, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, cookies and  juice boxes, served on an old quilt. Still, we will behave mannerly, as least as far as we are able. Life with grandchildren is so much fun!



146 responses to “Free Bumble Bees and Blue Willow

  1. Karen, the bees have been sent. I’m happy to share these with you. Happy stitching!

  2. love the bees my sister is 70 this year and is called granny bee and i was looking for some bees for her t shirt love your blog thankyou

  3. Mary, the bees are buzzing your way for you to use for Granny Bee.

  4. I would love the little bees. Thank you very much!

  5. Nan, the bees have been sent. I hope you find lots of places to stitch them.

  6. Your bees are adorable! They would also look great among the grass used in your Easter baskets. I would love to have the design for these as well if it’s not too much trouble. Thank you!

  7. Rita, the bees have been sent, along with the grass. Happy stitching!

  8. I love the little bee! Thank you for the offer of the bees design, and to the digitizer! I’d love to have one!

  9. Lorna, more than one bee has been sent. Happy stitching!

  10. So sweet and the flowers are beautiful I can almost smell them!

  11. Awww, Julie, I’m glad you enjoyed seeing my flowers. You didn’t ask for the bee design but I’ll send it to you anyway. Thanks for reading my blog.

  12. Please may I have the bumble bee design.
    Thank you

  13. Robin, the bees have been sent. Spring is sprung!

  14. Abbie Wright

    I would love to have the bees and grass, please!

  15. Abbie, the grass and eggs and bee designs have been sent.

  16. Deborah Johnson

    Janice, I’ve just discovered your blog and love what you have shared. I can’t wait to see what comes next. My name translated into English is ‘bumble bee’. I would be thrilled if you would also send to me the design for this industrious little charmer. 🙂

  17. Deborah, the bees have been sent. You remind me of The Bee Charmer from Fried Green Tomatoes. I love that movie.

  18. Sherry B (no pun intended)

    Oh I just love bees and this is adorable! Thanx so much for sharing!

  19. Sherry B, the little honeymakers have been sent. Enjoy!

  20. I love the little bees! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Joyce, the bees are flying your way. Bee happy!

  22. I’m having such fun catching up on your entertaining and informative blog posts…I would ‘bee’ so happy if you would share that design with me. Thank you!

  23. Chris, you can bee downloading the bee designs now! Thanks for commenting.

  24. Sarah Sayger

    This is beyond any treasure I have seen! Lovely.

  25. Thank you, Sarah. Anything made with this Swiss embroidery would be a treasure. They do make gorgeous fabrics for us.

  26. Your linens turned out so cute! I wold love to use this adorable bee as well. Thank you!

  27. LOVE the bee & hive design! So quaint! I would love to have the set to do a set of towels for my daughter if I might. Adorable! & thanks for sharing!

  28. Kathi, the bee designs have been sent. Your daughter will surely appreciate the honeymaker towels you stitch for her.

  29. Wendy Bowes

    I absolutely love the bee and hive design. Where on earth can I find it. I want to make it. Is it an embroidery machine design? It is so pretty.

  30. Wendy, the bee designs have been sent. I’d love to see anything you make with these machine embroidery designs.

  31. Linda Matthews

    Would love the bee designs.Thanks

  32. Linda, the bee designs have been sent. I’m sorry to be so slow to respond but we have been out of town, away from those files. Happy sewing!

  33. Ninon Chicoine

    I love the bees! I went to SewForum looking for inspiration and found your bees!

  34. Ninon, the bees have flown your way. Happy sewing!

  35. Vonnie Flaccomio

    Please send these for my gran babies. You are so generous.

  36. Vonnie, the designs have been sent. I am happy to share them with you. Have fun creating projects with them.

  37. May I have the bees and grass, please.

  38. Connie, the grass and bees have been sent. I hope you enjoy using them.

  39. Just discovered your very pretty garden and verses…my daughter has always loved bees so please share with me if you are able. Being a grandmother and greatgrandmother is something special and a priveledge I am happy God let me enjoy and I am sure your little ones would have a great time in that garden….all the best…Y

  40. Yvonne, the bee designs have been sent. Have fun with your grandchildren and fun sewing. Thanks for reading my blog.

  41. Such a clever idea to use entredeux stitching for the bee’s flight path!
    I’d love the pattern if still available please?
    Kind regards, Jan

  42. Jan the bees have been sent. Hapy stitching!

  43. Love your little bumblebee design. Please forward the design to my email below! Thank you in advance.
    Kindest regards,

  44. Shirley, the design has been sent. Happy buzzing.

  45. Please send me the little bee design. My bro. is a bee keeper. Thank you very much, Nell Webb in Texas

  46. Hi Mrs. Webb. The bee designs have been sent. I hope you enjoy stitching then on something for your brother. Happy sewing!

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