Category Archives: Holiday Projects

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.

 

 

Free Fil Tire’ Heart design

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I so appreciate the support and encouragement you dear readers have given me  through the years.  For the some time now I have been extraordinarily busy and posts have been few and far between. And yet you still stop by to read my infrequent posts. I thank you for that.

For this day celebrating love, I am offering this free machine embroidered fil tire’ heart, along with wishes for love each day.  Just leave your request for the design as a comment at the bottom of this post.

The wing needle design is very versatile.  I’ve used it in combination with other designs on thees baby pillows.

 

 

It stitches beautifully on Swiss flannel, as seen on this baby shawl.

 

This is how it really looked.  Below the image is shown with contrast to show more detail.

 

The design was reinterpreted on the bodice of Judith Dobson’s tea dress.

 

 

I wish each of you a happy Valentine’s Day with lots of love.  And spread some around, ok?

 

Kids Say the Darndest Things

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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.

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“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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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.

 

snowflake-all

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

Christmas Tidbits

Truly, this is the most wonderful time of the year.  And it’s just around the corner.

Meanwhile, the black velveteen for Vivian Rose’s Christmas dress (because black is this child’s best hope for an all-day appearance of cleanliness) is still in the package from Farmhouse Fabrics.    I’m still returning china, laundering and pressing 140 dinner napkins while recovering from Thanksgiving.  We were deeply involved in a fabulous almost family wedding Thanksgiving weekend.  FYI, the groom is almost family–there was nothing” almost” about the wedding!  That’s what the 140 dinner napkins were all about.

For 5 days of Thanksgiving and 5 days with so much for which to be thankful,   our house was filled with the families of both of our children, including all 4 of our precious grands.  It was a glorious time, but exhausting with the wedding thrown in there.

But back to Christmas……

Tidbit #1:  Do you all know about Jacquie Lawson‘s electronic greeting cards?  They are just spectacular.  For a small fee you have unlimited access to cards all year long. I share this with you now because of the advent calendar she offers each year.  Members, for a very small fee (as little as $2 each for 10 or more) can give a daily magical electronic Christmas experience to children or anyone.

This year there are two versions, a Victorian Christmas

 

This year's Jacquie Lawson electronic Victorian Advent Calendar

This year’s Jacquie Lawson electronic Victorian Advent Calendar

 

and a Seaside Advent calendar. Continue reading

I’m Baaaack

It has been a wild ride in the time I’ve been out of the loop. After 5 days of Hurricane Matthew preparation, hunkering down with no internet, tv, cell or landline service and then clean up, we headed to Mayo Clinic.  My husband underwent a minor cardiac procedure, as if ANY cardiac procedure can be minor.  He’s just fine, we’re back home and now I’m back to blogging and sewing.

 

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First, I want to share this cute, quick and easy Halloween faux-pieced wallhanging that I really enjoyed making just before Matthew made his unwelcome visit.  A complete photo tutorial is posted here at Brother’s new blog, Stitching Sewcial.  The designs are from the new Disney Halloween Collection at ibroidery.com

There is still time to whip up this kid-pleaser for the increasingly popular Halloween season. Unlike corn stalks or hay bales, this decoration can be packed away for next year and more years to come.

Children love this, especially when they see Goofy’s skeleton glow in the dark.

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Goofy by day

 

Goofy by night

Goofy by night

 

I especially like the yo-yo pumpkins that dangle from each side. 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.

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!!!

 

stain

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.

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

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