Category Archives: girls

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.

 

 

Opinions? Easter Dress in Progress

Pink Swiss voile, ivory entredeux, cherub medallion, heirloom laces and bishop pattern from Mimi’s Heirloom Sewing Book Two.

 

My life is absolutely wonderful but SO busy!  These new puppies chew up a lot of time… and a lot of everything else.!  They are adorable and we are crazy about them.  But they are one of the big reasons it’s been so long since I’ve posted.

 

Samson and Delilah, each 21 lbs, 10 weeks old

 

At this late date I am starting on Easter dresses for 4 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.  One, of course, is for Easter Sunday.  The other is for the church egg hunt on Sat.  But that is on the back burner until Sunday’s dress is finished.

For several years I have had a piece of what must have been an exquisite tablecloth featuring cherubs and roses.  You probably figured out that roses are a bonus for anything I make for Vivi.

I’m thankful that someone had the foresight to save the remnants.  From the first time I saw it, I imagined one of those cherub medallions in a granddaughter’s dress.   Finally, the time has come.

 

each cherub is 3″ tall

 

The plan is to modify a bishop with several inches removed from the front.  That would leave a flat area on the Swiss voile for the single cherub.  As you can see, it is already pinstitched to the voile.  I love love love pinstitch and use it whenever possible.  This time a #100 needle was used instead of a wing for fear that a wing would cut through the dense portions of the lace.

 

cherub medallion secured to Swiss voile with pinstitch W 2.5 L 2.5

 

For more about pinstitch, check out my very detailed tutorial Pinstitch~~What’s it All About  and Pinstitch Part II.    A This irregular shape would have been very tedious, but do-able–without the knee lift on my Brother Dream Machine.  So many stitchers I speak with have this feature on their machines but do not use it.  What a shame!  It is so useful!

A scalloped hem is planned, with a wide curve under the cherub and roses cut from the piece in other scallops.

I have envisioned this dress as “frothy” with a lace trimmed hemline.  A huge challenge was finding lace that was neither white nor ecru but a very light ivory.  I successfully coffee dyed a few pieces to just the right shade.  But when I came across the special two row edging shown below and hoarded for years, I thought its time had come, just like the cherubs.

Because 3 of anything is usually more pleasing than 2, I would like to put one more piece above it but can’t decide the use the beading or the plain footing.  Of course the lace will be pinstitched in place.

 

Which would you choose–the beading or the plain footing lace?

 

Is the beading with ribbon too much?  Is the footing too plain?  Please share your opinions.  Meanwhile, I’m busy constructing, pleating and smocking.

But indecision strikes again!  My original choice looks “frothier.”

 

No doubt many of you are finished with your Easter sewing.  But I bet there will be a lot of late Saturday nights next week for some of you.  And probably me.

Please advise about the lace choices-the first with beading? with footing? or the second as shown!

 

 

Kitty Cat Dress #3

V andE

 

As expected, kitty cat dress #3 was a huge hit.  With the dress on a hanger and gray leggings hanging below,  we walked through the door to Vivian Rose’s 4th birthday party. She ran to me squealing with delight and ran off to put on the dress. Also as expected, her personal fashion sense demanded different leggings than those provided with the dress.  But  that was okay with me.

Vivi loved the and has worn it repeatedly in the short time she has had it.

Again, I used CC Lucy for the pattern after giving up on CC Kitty. I had cut that dress out with this same fabric the weekend Vivi was here. The gray, pink, black and white cats are on a gray background.  The dress is lined with gray gingham and trimmed with gray whipstitch piping.

Vivian  graciously insisted on “helping”  me in order to get the dress done more quickly.  You might remember this photo of her assisting me.

 

V helps me sew

 

While she “helped me” the guide sheet and the back yoke pattern piece, cut out and still pinned to the fabric, both disappeared, never to be found.  Fortunately, I always buy extra fabric and had enough cat print and gray gingham to hunker down and make another Lucy.

 

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That is a too-skimpy cat ruffle under the black binding.

 

The pockets, however, are 40% larger.  She commented somewhat sweetly that the pockets on kitty cat dress #2 were “Vewwwy small!”

Her party was a big success.  There was a bounce house and the de rigueur  pinata, rainbow style.  I made 10 teepee bags with scraps from each of her 3 kitty cat dresses. The  cake featured her signature roses (for Vivian Rose), tiny cat candies and  rainbow.  I pray her life be filled with these, sunshine and love and a cat or two.

 

V cake ED

 

Yesterday, I was chatting with my daughter who told me about an incident at her preschool.  One of her favorite playmates, a very active boy, turned quickly and hit her nose with his elbow.  She bled profusely and cried like she was dying.  The  teacher tried to comfort her, wiping the blood from her face, to no avail.  Vivi finally cried out, “There is blood alllll over my kitty cat dress!”

Later, when her mother asked her if the knock on the nose hurt, she replied no.  She was just upset about her Aristocats dress and was afraid it was ruined.  Rebecca is working on it with our favorite stain stick so the life or death verdict is still out.

 

Another CC Lucy--and another kitty cat dress for my kitty cat loving granddaughter.

Aristocats dress for my kitty cat loving granddaughter.

 

The next project in the queue is her Easter dress.  I doubt she will be crazy about it but it will feature NO cats!  And I will really enjoy making it.

 

Kids Say the Darndest Things

V passion vine bench CR

Vivian Rose wearing her Meet Me at the Fair outfit.

We enjoyed a fabulous weekend with 4 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.  She kept us laughing for 3 days.  If you’ve read earlier posts about this unique little gal, you know she is very strong willed and more than a little mischievous.

As soon as she arrived she asked for yet another kitty cat dress.  On a quick stroll into my sewing room she spotted the fabric just recently purchased in anticipation of cat dress #3.

cat fabric

 

“Make it now, Nana!  I will help.”  And she did, in her own way.

 

She was pulling out all the "rainbow fabric" off the shelves from behind the blind which protects my fabrics from sunlight.

 

After pulling out “rainbow” fabric from the shelves behind the sunscreen shades, she made herself a scarf and pillaged through my button drawer.  Very little sewing was accomplished. This was exhausting for both of us.

So I plunked her on a quilt in front of the tv, thinking she would surely fall asleep.  About 10 minutes later she strolled in wearing nothing but her panties, asking was her dress done?

I told her she must put her clothes on.  “No, I don’t want to.”  Several admonishments brought the same response, “No.”  So I told her that if she wouldn’t put her clothes on I would not sew her dress.

She said, “Well, I’m sorry you won’t be able to sew, Nana. I know you like to sew.”  With head held high, she resolutely went back to her quilt in front of the tv.  I just sat there for a few minutes and then resumed sewing.  When I peeked in on her, she had dressed.  Whew.

 

V granddad's study

In her granddad’s study, wearing her Children on Parade dress.

 

Here she is after she ran upstairs to give her hardworking grandfather a kiss. “He needs one,” she said after having been told that he had been working ’round the clock to get a proposal done by Monday.

When asked if she missed her mama and daddy, she calmly replied no.  But this is how much she loves them, “10!” she replied with arms spread wide, as shown.

How much does she love Nana?  Again, “10!”  How much does she love Granddad?   “45!!!”  She is really his girl.

This 10 for Nana was a big relief, especially after an earlier incident.  Earlier, I had to fuss at her about something, so she retreated to the front porch to pout for a few minutes.

pouting

pouting

She returned to the kitchen, got paper and pencil from the supply closet and sat down at the table.  First she wrote her name then scribbled a list of words.  Note that Vivian routinely adds a second syllable to one syllable words, i.e. boys are “boy-ez.”

“What are you writing?” I asked in a conciliatory voice.

“I’m making a li-on of all the people I love.”  Then she looked me right in the eye and said,  “Nana, you are last on the lion.”  So my new rating of 10, equal to her mother’s was comforting.

Later, we played with the 3-face doll my mother made years ago.  I love the doll and it enchanted both my Rebecca (Vivi’s mother) and cousin Laurel when each was 5.

 

DSC06220cry

 

When I first showed Vivian the happy faced doll, she smiled.  When I discreetly switched to the crying doll, she grabbed it from me, turned the doll’s head, and said, “That’s a crazy doll.”  Then she walked away, unimpressed.

Sunday morning, as we were getting ready for church, she demonstrated some of her ballet moves.  She needs more lessons.

 

ballet kitchen

She is wearing her Christmas dress from 2 years ago. It’s pretty darn short on her now. Glad I made long bloomers.

 

On the way to church, we advised her that there would be a children’s sermon, at which time she would go to the front of the church with the other children.  She liked that.  She is very social.

 

V pew

Waiting for church to start.

 

As soon as the pastor said, “I’d like to invite the children……….” she was racing down the aisle.  She was at the front of the sanctuary when he finished his sentence, “ages 3 to 5 to come forward.”

She spun around, gave us a deer-in-the-headlights look and ran back to our pew.  “But I’m FOUR!!!”  We assured her it was okay and back to the front she ran.

At the fellowship hour after worship, tables are arranged around the perimeter of the basketball court.  After she gobbled her cookie, she walked to the empty center of the room and announced (not that anyone heard or noticed) that it was time for her ballet show.  She twirled and danced (no music) and fell a few times.

At the end of the brief performance, she turned to each side of the room, spread her arms out wide and said, “Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.”  Then she returned to our table.

bumblebee

That afternoon we had fun playing with this free-standing bumblebee, left over from one of my projects.  She chased, pretending to sting me and I was appropriately frightened. Then we reversed roles.  I guess that planted the seed for her nighttime deception.

At bedtime, as we headed for her bed, she gave a loud warning.  “Do not go in the closet, Nana!!!”  I was immediately suspicious and asked why.

“Because there is a very, very big wasp in there and he will sting you.”  hmmmm..I smelled a rat.

“Don’t you worry, Vivi, I’ll get that wasp.”  She still protested NO!  until I turned the closet door knob.  Then she said, “I’m sorry, Nana.”

The closet was perfectly in order.

closet-2

 

Very gently, I asked her what she had done.  With some shame she showed me where she had stashed 4 Milk Bones for our dog Rastus, who had already far exceeded his treat limit for the day, thanks to her generosity.  She admitted that she planned to “treat” Rastus after we fell asleep.

So those are some of the highlights and fun of our 3 days with Vivian.  Of course, my favorite hairbrush has disappeared along with my new toothbrush which is purple (her favorite color that day).  But who cares?  We had a grand time and she didn’t want to go home when her mother came to pick her up.

Sigh…..it’s nice to know that I am no longer last on the lion.

 

 

Moana Dress for Disney’s New Princess

image-1-close-moana-dressed

 

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.

 

image-3-pattern

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

 

moana-pocket-scan

Continue reading

Fun Sewing and our 12 Days of Christmas

Another CC Lucy--and another kitty cat dress for my kitty cat loving granddaughter.

Another CC Lucy–and another kitty cat outfit for my kitty cat loving granddaughter.  The fabric features Disney’s Aristocats.

Happy 2017 to you all!  I hope yours was the merriest Christmas and holiday season ever because the Ferguson family’s surely was.

I can’t help but rant on and on ad nauseum about our holiday activities and good times, so for those who prefer to stay on topic, which would be SEWING, I will save those details for after the sewing news.  But we really had some great fun and you might glean an idea or two for your family gatherings.

At Thanksgiving, almost 4 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose asked me to please make her another “kitty cat” outfit.  Then as she walked in the door for Christmas, she again pleaded with this wrapped-around-her-little-finger Nana for another kitty cat dress. Please!

After the Too Many Cats dress cat-astrophe, I thought maybe I could talk her into trading the  too big, too worn out and too ugly dress for another better one.  Having this fabric on hand and my go-to CC Lucy pattern at the ready, I worked on it for two evenings after she went to sleep.  Voila’!  A new and improved version of kitty cat dress, though I wish I had taken time to lay out the front so the Eiffel Tower was centered.

 

This puffy pocket is a free pattern at Chidren's Corner website.

This puffy pocket is a free pattern at Children’s Corner website.   It’s a sweet little addition to any number of patterns.

 

The pocket is not piped.  I’ve taken to substituting spaghetti bias for piping.  It is simply butted up to the attached pocket and secured with a tiny zig zag and monofilament thread.  Cover the raw edges with a button.  Easy peasy.

The good news?  Vivian Rose loved it, though she did say that the pockets were too small.  She knew she couldn’t fit in her little hand and a big fat chocolate donut. Granddad ALWAYS has a box of Dunkin Donuts on the counter for easy access.  And he replaces it daily when he goes for his early morning hot latte.  He figures they can eat healthy at home.

The bad news?  No way would she give up Too Many Cats, now demoted to Second Favorite Dress.  Oh, well.  It has been laundered 2-3 times a week since Sept. 1 so how much longer can it last?  Maybe a while…. the fabric is such good quality.

The boys wanted to sew (read “embroider”) as soon as they arrived.  Alastair, 7, yo, is quite competent at threading and running my Brother Quattro machine.  Continue reading

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.

 

meet-me-v-front-porch

 

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

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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pc shams vert

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.

 

DSC07077

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

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.

v-pkg

 

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

v-oh-my

“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!”?

Too Many Cats

cat-dress-all

 

When grandchildren are babies, or at least fairly young, we can make pretty things that please us and, hopefully,  their mothers.  Then, after some time, our target audience becomes opinionated little ones.  That’s what happened with this special request from 3 yo Vivian Rose.

“Please make me a kitty cat dress, Nana,” she implored on her last visit.  Having put The Incident  behind us, making her a new dress seemed just the right gesture for assurance of forgiveness.

This child is fixated on cats.  Their family pet is a 17 year old feline who went to college with Vivi’s father and has been with him ever since.  So Vivi has daily interaction with a cat, elderly though she is.

When I spotted this fabric at my favorite fabric haunt, The Sewing Studio in Maitland, FL,  I knew Vivian would love it.   Not only that, the black background would make her mother happy, who declares this active child’s clothes have a chance of surviving the school year if they are black denim.

 

cat-fabricfi300xx

 

Even so, the fabric seemed a little too feline for my taste, but I wasn’t buying for me.  Don’t get me wrong–I love cats, but mostly in smaller numbers.

Challenges arose as soon as I began to cut it out.  Those rows of cats are not printed precisely on grain.  I dealt with a similar problem many years ago, but wisdom learned then was forgotten in my haste to make this for my precious little cat girl.  So a choice had to be made between going with the weave of the fabric or with the print.  I went with the print. Continue reading