Category Archives: accessories

Beautiful Easter ’17

What a hambone! This little girl in her smocked Swiss voile bishop loves the camera.

 

I hope you all had a joyous Easter.  Ours was beyond fabulous, with a beautiful worship service and all four grandchildren and their parents for the weekend.  It could only have been better if our pilot son had not  been flying out in the wild blue yonder.

It was a non-stop celebration.  Saturday morning a church family hosted an Easter egg  hunt for 40+ children.  Wonderful as the hunt and the huge bounce house were, the highlight for most of the children was fishing in the pond.  Those fish were hungry and hit on every line.  Every child caught at least one fish. Grandson Alastair, 8, caught 4!  He was ecstatic.

 

 

When our older grandchildren flew in from NJ that afternoon, their first priority was to cuddle and play with 11 week old Samson and Delilah.

 

Children and puppies go together like peas and carrots.

 

After getting acquainted with the pups,  swimming was the favorite activity.  Laurel, 12, and Robert, 11, had lived their entire lives in central Florida until their Sept. 1 move to New Jersey.  Their first northern winter gave them a new appreciation for the Florida weather they had always taken for granted.   They were very eager to swim and enjoy the warm sunshine.

 

 

After swimming we made carrot patch brownies.  Take a look at this video.  It’s such a kid friendly recipe.

 

 

This was so much fun and all 4 children participated.  The boys loved smashing the Oreos.  I expect this will be a new Easter tradition for our family.

 

 

 

Easter Sunday morning we had an egg hunt in the front yard  before church.

 

Alastair was so excited that he somehow put on a long sleeved shirt under his dress shirt but remembered his bow tie. Vivian Rose wore her blue silk dupioni bishop from two years ago.

 

Examining their loot. Each child had an embroidered Easter basket.

 

Finally it was time to put on her pink Easter dress.  Since the dress featured no cats  I expected it would take a sack of jelly beans to get her to wear it.  But she liked it!  A lot!

The dress s a Swiss voile modified bishop.  At the hemline is a medallion with a cherub, a remnant from a damaged antique tablecloth. It is pinstitched in place.

 

 

The hemline is gently scalloped and edged with insertion, beading and edging, hemstitched, of course. Seven inches of fullness was removed from the center front so the medallion would not be lost in the folds.  The unsmocked area was gently gathered then loosely smocked at the neckline and hand ruched to the depth of the smocking on either side.  The neck and sleeves are bound with ivory Swiss batiste.

 

Vivi with puppy Delilah

 

Laurel used her chalk egg to express our feelings for this glorious Resurrection Day.  It was pure joy for our family.  I hope you all had a very special day.

 

 

Beauty and the Beast Spa Wrap

 

This cute spa wrap isn’t green, but there is a bit of the color in the trim.

 

 

What a fun little project this is!  My older granddaughter loved her monogrammed wrap and  those I made for her Spatacular 8th birthday party guests.  There was also one for each girl’s American Girl doll (see that tutorial here).

Laurel would love one with the Beauty and the Beast design, available from iBroidery.com for Brother Disney embroidery machines.

She is our little drama queen, but not in a bad way.  Laurel has been performing in local stage productions since she was 7 and acting as narrator in Beauty was one of her favorite roles.

 

 

It was performed to sell out audiences for two weeks at our beautifully restored vintage 1921 Athens Theater in DeLand.

 

As girls get older, it is more challenging to find projects that they will like and use.  This spa wrap fits the bill perfectly, whether or not a young lady performed in Beauty and the Beast.  Give it a try!

I’d love to see pictures of your finished spa wraps.

 

 

Pete’s Dragon Sleepover Set

Part 1 of the 3-part detailed tutorial for the set is now posted here at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.

What a fun project this was!  Disney’s machine embroidery designs at iBroidery.com  reflect the awesome and  mighty protector Elliot who has greater appeal for today’s action hungry youngsters.  While the ’70’s version featured  the sweet but goofy purple cartoon dragon Elliot, this 2016 dragon is the real deal.   See the trailer here.

The set includes an a stippled sundry bag for his toothbrush and personal grooming items, embroidered shirt and shorts pajamas set, and a pillowcase with a burrito/turn tube hem.  A drawstring makes it a tote for carrying all his gear to a sleepover.

You can see that the buttonhole is empty.  For the child’s safety, the drawstring must be removed when the tote becomes a pillowcase.

 

The fun part of this design is the glowing fire spewing from Pete’s angry mouth.  After the design was embroidered, I went back over that section with glow-in-the-dark thread.  The design is positioned so that as a child lays his head on the pillow, he is looking at the dragon.  In the dark, this is what he sees:

 

Each of my 4 grandchildren are fascinated and delighted by glow-in-the-dark embroidery.   Why not try it on this pillowcase/tote? Part 1 of the tutorial is now posted here at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.

Moana Dress for Disney’s New Princess

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Have you seen the delightful new Moana movie? Granddaughter Laurel, her mother and I went to see it over Christmas and it reminded me that I haven’t blogged about the Moana items I have made.  A complete tutorial is posted at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.

The Simplicity Burda pattern for is dress is so versatile and easy.   I like a pattern that leaves room for personal interpretation as this one certainly does.  The dress would have been so much nicer if the print had been used for the hem.  That’s just one more woulda coulda shoulda for me.

 

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The iBroidery.com designs are just exquisitely digitized.  The intricate details are clear and distinct.

 

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Last Minute Gifts

 

By now we’re all down to the wire for those last minute Christmas gifts.  I have a few suggestions that I hope will help you finish up.

Time is short and the list is long.  I’m down to the postmistress, a sad and stressed neighbor, some neighborhood children and a few others outside the family.  So now I’m really scurrying and relying on these tried and true projects.

RECIPE DISH TOWELS

Orange marmalade recipe design from Embroidery Library with oranges added at the top..

Orange marmalade recipe design from Embroidery Library with oranges added at the top..

My personal favorite for a last minute gift is a dishtowel.  Blank towels can be purchased and embroidered with a personal design.  Or one can be personalized with a turn tube/burrito hem and 1/4 yd. of novelty fabric that reflects and interest of the recipient.

I love making recipe towels, like this one featuring orange marmalade.  It is made with a turn tube hem.  I pick up homemade jars of jams all summer in anticipation of making these gifts.  Of course, I only buy goodies for which I have recipes.  Embroidery Library has a nice variety of berry jams, as well as root beer floats, and others.  This year they have added blackberry preserves, orange marmalade, blueberry jam, peach and more.

A towel like this with an dded print hem would be received by our friends with an olive grove if only I could find olive fabric.  But that has proven to be hard to find so that one may require embroidery.

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WAHAWAY COOKIE BAG/TOWEL

 

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Another of my all-time favorite last minute gifts is the washaway gift bag towel.  You begin with a towel and  add a little embroidery–or not. Continue reading

AHA! Tip Used Again

My AHA! moment #2, learned from a Christmas stocking last year,  was a new gadget for my sewing skill toolbox. And like good tools, it was needed again this year to complete a project for the same sweet friend.  Since the stockings for her family of four were “hung by the chimney with care”  last Christmas Eve,  the need for 3 more has arisen, one for their Elf on the Shelf “Snowflake,” one for their new dog “Jaxx” and one for visiting grandmother, “Sarah.”

This friend will be getting a Brother embroidery machine for Christmas (shhh!), but right now she knows very little about the process.  So when she came to me with the 3 stockings to be embroidered, oblivious of the difficulties that they posed, all I could think was oh how I wished Santa had brought me that single head free arm Brother Persona!!!!  But where there’s a will, there’s a way.

 

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A stocking for their Elf on the Shelf? Who knew.

 

So….first I tackled the little red knit stocking for Snowflake, the elf.  It seemed to be the easiest of the lot and I needed to warm up to the task. I was so happy to have already figured out the two-baste-frame technique from last year. Continue reading

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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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

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.

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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?