Category Archives: embroidery blanks

Hostess Gifts

 

These towels were a hostess gift to an incredibly generous couple at our church who recently returned from a medical mission trip to Ghana.  The doctor and his nurse wife invited a group of friends for dinner and a photo show of their experiences.  It was an amazing evening in so many ways!

But first let me tell you about the towels.  I have expounded in earlier posts on the suitability of dishtowels for gifts.  They are always the right size, always useful, and even if the recipient does not like them, they needn’t be displayed.  It’s not so small as to be insignificant like thisnor so extravagant as to make the recipient feel beholden as this would.

With these considerations in mind, I thought a set of dishtowels would be just the right hostess gift for a delicious dinner and a most entertaining evening.

Several years ago when my daughter and her husband toured Africa, they brought me a few yards of African fabric, made in Tanzania.  At the time I wondered if I would ever find a use for it, but AHA!  It was perfect for this applique and the towels. Continue reading

Summer Picnic Dress

Originally plain white with drawn thread work at the hemline, this versatile dress from All About Blanks can become something very special. Adding a shirt makes it suitable for chilly, windy kite-flying days.

 

This “blank” linen/cotton blend dress from All About Blanks is, indeed, a blank canvas awaiting embellishment. With embroidery, ribbon and topstitching, it steps out from “blank” into the realm of special.

Its patriotic kite and images of sunshine and water seem to broadcast and celebrate the joys of summer.  For a picnic, family  reunion or any such occasion, a little girl would be the center of attention.

The embroidery design is from Brother’s embroidery site, ibroidery.com.  It is so sweet and versatile, capturing the magic of childhood summers.

 

Brother’s ibroidery.com design BIC-MTGSAS008

Another little touch was swapping out the white utility buttons with  eye catching red ones.

 

 

A complete tutorial post for this project is at Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial.

*Required disclaimer:  I am a paid sewing consultant for Brother.

 

 

Elegant Table Linens and Precious Memories

This project and a detailed tutorial are posted here at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.

 

I loved embroidering this elegant set of table linens for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  Aside from the sewing details in the tutorial posted  there,  many “back stories” go with it that I just have to share with you.

First, I have loved these designs since I first saw them on my Dream Machine.

 

 

Like the design used on the quilted bed footwarmer, I was so eager to find the perfect project for them.  Then….I did!

THE LINENS BACK STORY #1:  BARGAIN!!      One day I came across this single gorgeous linen set in the clearance section.  The price was an enormous bargain, $15.99 for the 60 x 102″ white tablecloth with a hemstitched gray border!  Next to it sat two sets of 4 matching napkins, each for $6.99!!! (triple exclamation!!) The store was not crowded, but I snatched up those packages in a heartbeat and headed for the check out counter.  I love a bargain! Why they had not been sold I could not fathom.  I rushed home and planned this set.

HEIRLLOM CHINA BACK STORY #2:    My first thought was that these linens were a perfect compliment to my daughter’s fine china, which had belonged to her paternal grandmother.  With 5 children and large family gatherings, the service for 12 was barely large enough.  The china had first come to me and when Rebecca was old enough to handle it, she had always loved setting the table for holiday meals.

For her wedding, I was able to purchase more pieces on-line, giving her a service for 24, which was used at the reception. Doesn’t it go perfectly with her china?

 

 

I knew my long-admired designs had found the perfect resting place on these linens.  The  colors were tweaked just a little to match the colors in the china.

SILVER SERVICE BACK STORY #3:  The gorgeous 12-place sterling flatware was gifted to Rebecca by her doting godmother, Karen.  In the late 1920’s, they were a wedding gift to Elsa,  Karen’s mother.  Upon her engagement, Elsa’s future mother-in-law directed her to Tiffany & Co. of New York, known then as “the purveyor of luxury items.”  Elsa was directed to choose her silver pattern there, a task which she relished.

Just after the wedding the service for 12, including everything from the basic setting to fish forks, butter knives, serving pieces, and more, arrived at Elsa’s new home beautifully monogrammed with the appropriate “B”.  But it was not the silver pattern she had chosen!

Upon alerting her mother-in-law about the error, Elsa was told that in fact there was no error, her MIL had selected “a nicer” design!

Elsa, always the perfect lady, just smiled and offered thanks for the gift.  But in quiet rebellion, she refused to use the silver for any meal but those at which her in-laws were present!  I’m guessing that they were infrequent guests.

Elsa’s only child,  Karen, who preferred farm life with her husband, never used it.  Elsa had no grandchildren and always showered Rebecca and her brother with love and gifts as if they were her own.  Godmother Karen decided that Rebecca was a perfect recipient for Grandma B’s monogrammed sterling.

So the rarely used flatware became Rebecca’s oldest and most extravagant wedding gift, one with an entertaining history.  This second bride treasures that silver gift along with many sweet memories of Grandma B.  One of her favorite 5 yo recollections is hanging a May basket on Elsa’s door, ringing the bell and hiding in the azaleas with her 9 yo brother so they could see Elsa’s (forewarned) “surprise.”

The retired kindergarten teacher, with her white curls and wire-rimmed spectacles, looked and played her part beautifully.  She stood in the doorway of her wooded cottage wondering aloud.   Who had decorated these beautiful paper cones?  Who had delivered them filled with freshly cut flowers at dawn?  The faeries?

That’s when Ryan and Rebecca rushed out of the bushes for hugs and a few freshly baked cookies that Grandma B just happened to have on hand.  Ahhh, those long gone sweet days…..and that long gone precious woman.

When you sew, do you stroll down Memory Lane, as I have done with this project?  Things we have sewn both create and recall precious memories.

“Memory is the diary that we all carry with us.”  Oscar Wilde

 

Disclaimer:  I am required to inform you that I am a paid “sewing expert” for Brother.

 

 

Quick Baby Gift Personalization

Balloons seem to say happy.

I just love being able personalize items for special friends.  With two ready to wear onesies, two caps and a white tee for cover up,  machine embroidery turned turn plain Jane into special so quickly.

Pooh with balloons  is a built in Brother machine design from.  The balloons on the shirt and inserted into Johnathan’s name on the cap are from a discontinued Dakota Collectibles Toddler Trio collection, of which I found only one copy available on-line.  The designs are tiny, arranged in groups of three and are  wonderful to extract when you need a small design.  I often wonder why such collections are discontinued when they could be made available individually by digital download.  I’m just glad I have this one in my design library.

This set will be gifted at a baby shower for a precious young lady we’ve known since she was born.  But it is not my gift–it is part of a set of items from her sister-in-law who asked if I could monogram them for her.

When she said Melissa, the expectant mama, loves monograms I was so excited!  Melissa is a PlayGroup Kid  whose mother has been a member of our 40 year-old sisterhood.   The youngest of the 23 PlayGroup Kids, Melissa and Justin were married almost 4 years ago and we have all been awaiting the birth of another PlayGroup grandchild.  I expect there will be lots of other JHL monograms flying out of my sewing room.

Though Johnathan is due in less than 3 months, his parents have not yet chosen a theme for his nursery.  So I was given free reign to monogram at will.

This is the second onesie monogrammed for Johnathan.

Trains seem to be popular with all boys so that’s what I chose for the gray onesie set.  I cannot recall where I got this design, but the 4-car train was edited in my software to turn the corner.

Now I’m starting on granddaughter Laurel’s gift for her 14th birthday.  I can’t wait to get started on this pillow with inspirational text.  Recently, I altered curtains to fit her new bedroom and there were some large scraps.  They will be included in the crazy patch pillow.

But time flies.  Just as I rush to get this finished and in the mail, I am amazed yet again at how this tiny baby has grown into a lovely young lady in the blink of an eye.

 

Baptismal Towels

 

Do you have more than one project in progress?  I have stacks– some must be done NOW, some are handwork for when I watch tv with my husband, some are mindless chores like hemming for when I’m on the phone, some I put aside for one reason or another.

Still, in the midst of a looming deadline and other pressing matters, I took the time to embroider 6 hemstitched linen guest towels for upcoming baptisms at our church.  I had customized the design sometime ago for a newly ordained pastor. So it was just a matter of hooping up my stash of linen guest towels and embroider them.  It was so satisfying to stitch something simple and meaningful in the midst of all the sewing busy-ness.

You might recall my story that our church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground several years ago.

 

 

As you can see, nothing remained.  The only survivors were three heavy brass collection plates.  They have been box framed under glass and hang in  the narthex of our rebuilt building.  A one word caption is inscribed on a plaque beneath each one–STILL    ON    FIRE.  But  now, for God.

In time, the church was rebuilt, but just with the basics.  None of the lovingly made linens and other niceties made by members in the 50 year church history survived.  One of my personal missions is to restock the church with lovingly made paraments, banners and linens.

At a recent baptism, it was clear that towels were needed.

I was reminded of my grandchildren’s desire to be baptized, after witnessing the sacrament administered to 5 adults.  For the children’s sermon, they were lined up on the floor for an up close view and a brief explanation.

In the car on the ride home from church there was discussion about the service. in a clear voice, 8 yo Laurel announced that she wanted to be baptized.  When Robert was asked if he, too, would like this, he replied, “Well, maybe but without so much water.”

A few months later they were baptized, with less, but sufficient water.

3 yo Alastair was not one to miss a photo op with his cousins

 

In the next few weeks there will be more baptisms at our new church.  Regardless of how much water is used, there will be towels to dry the holy water.

Now, to work toward that looming deadline.

What are you stitching?

 

 

Valentine Towel for Coach

 

This is Joy, my bubbly, enthusiastic, encouraging exercise coach at the Herbalife Nutrition Club in downtown DeLand.   When asked about her plans for upcoming Valentine’s Day, which fell on a day of our regular exercise class, Joy said that her guy, (a nurse) was working a double shift that day.  So the only celebration would be with her children.

This little tea towel certainly is no substitute for wine, roses, chocolate, and the man in her life, but it was a small reminder that others love and appreciate her.

 

heart balloons from Zundt designs, towel from All About Blanks

Continue reading

Sewing Ho-Hum and Holy Holy

Life at our house goes on at a breakneck pace, causing me to neglect posting as regularly as I would like.  But my sewing room is a beehive of unreported activity, not all of it very interesting.

Wouldn’t you love to sew only creative, fun items?  Does anyone get to do that?   Check out an earlier ho-hum post for an interesting view of what constitutes fun sewing elsewhere, like  “baju kurung, kebaya, punjabi suit.” Just how much fun would it be to sew a punjabi suit? More fun than I had with these projects.

HO-HUM SEWING

 

But duty calls and I have a running list of  ho-hum sewing which is in addition to routine mending.  These ho-hums become occasions for which my sewing machines can actually save some money.  While there is no creative satisfaction, there is the satisfaction of contributing to the family, being a helpmate to my dear husband, and  satisfaction in proving that my Brother Dream Machine is more than just an expensive toy.

 

Mending pool leaf filter baskets….yawn…

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Precious Church Baby

flannel blanket for our newest church baby

 

Presenting a welcome gift to new babies at our church is a task I relish.  This purchased flannel blanket was embroidered for little Elise to wrap her in the warmth and the love of our congregation.  I do so love babies!

 

 

The text was arranged in Brother’s PE-Design.  The little angel cherubs are from Petite Designs, Brother’s card #20, one of my most often used collections. It is also available at ibroidery.com here.  The corner embroidery nestled perfectly in my Brother Quattro 8×8 hoop. Continue reading

More Harry Potter

Harry Potter Gryffindor crest on shirt and Hp golden snitch on shorts

 

Grandson Alastair, 8 yo, is still enchanted with the Harry Potter series.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, prior to HP, this 2nd grader was a good but unenthusiastic reader.  Now he can’t put the books down and is an excellent reader with a greatly enlarged vocabulary.  His college English major Nana couldn’t be more pleased.

 

reading Harry Potter while waiting for  his orthodontist appointment

 

So I’m feeding his literary enthusiasm with Hp embroidered items, like the Gryffindor crested shirt and the shorts with the prized golden snitch shown above.  The designs were all found on Etsy.

 

 

 

He was absolutely delighted with the 9 3/4 applique shirt I sent last week.

 

This  is Alastair modelling his shirt just moments after he opened the package. This design I arranged myself in my Brother PE-Design is free for the asking. Just leave your request in a comment below.

 

This black shirt  was also included in the package I sent today.  The Marauder’s Map embroidery really tickles me because I love the fun that comes with glow-in-the-dark thread.  The footprints are stitched in Superior’s NiteLite but I couldn’t wait until dark to take a picture of the glowing tracks.   You can use your imagination.

FYI:  from http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Marauder%27s_Map— “The Marauder’s Map is a magical document that reveals all of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Not only does it show every classroom, every hallway, and every corner of the castle, but it also shows every inch of the grounds, as well as all the secret passages that are hidden within its walls and the location of every person in the grounds, portrayed by a dot.”

 

 

I thought this sleeveless black tee was perfect for the bad boy image the design projects. It’s funny because our compliant,responsible,  obedient, well-behaved little guy is anything but a bad boy.  He can do a little role playing while wearing this.

 

 

He can do a little role playing while wearing this.

Just in:  Alastair playing the bad boy.

 

It’s really ridiculous that I spend so much time trying to get exactly the look that I want.  It’s likely that Alastair neither notices nor cares that the applique’ fabric is fussy cut to show the vintage compass.

It is part of a fabric collection celebrating the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the Americas. The print is of an antique map, much like the one  explorers used when–you know what’s coming—

“In 14 hundred and 92 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  October 12th they sighted land, And set their feet upon new sand.”

I wasted precious time searching unsuccessfully on-line for old map fabric, then studied all the tan fabrics in my stash, even checking the wrong side hoping to find an old parchment look.   My thoughts returned to an earlier post, How Good is Good Enough?     I was so pleased when I found just what I wanted right there on a shelf in my sewing room, a piece I had long since forgotten.

The footprints caused me no end of grief.  That thread does not like short stitches and each footprint has a multitude of tie off stitches at the beginning and end of both the foot and the heel.  For each of the first two footprints, I rethreaded at least 5 times after the thread broke.

I soon figured out that one or two tie offs was adequate, then advanced the design stitch by stitch until they were longer.  Still the back is messy and there were some thread breaks.   The design includes 18 footprints, 9 above and 9 below the text and map.  In frustration, I skipped the last two which would have completed the circle next to  “I”.    In retrospect, I would have had fewer problems if I had resized the footprints a bit larger.

Now I’m off to embroider more Crookshanks (Harry Potter) kitty cat shirts for Vivian Rose.  I had to include something in today’s package for her so an unphotographed Second Hand Rose pink smocked bishop dress was included.   But without a cat, rainbow or leopard skin component, I doubt she will wear it.

So what are you sewing for summer? for your children or grands?  I’d welcome the sight of some stitching other than Harry Potter.

 

 

Readers’ Easter Sewing

Big announcement coming in the next few days!

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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