Category Archives: Holiday Projects

“Thankful for…” dishtowels

 

At Thanksgiving, with so many blessings,  I think it is especially meaningful and important to express your appreciation and love to the important people in your life.  Make a phone call, send a card or make a dishtowel for Turkey Day.

For those who are far away, a towel or a pair of towels can be mailed easily.  Those in town will be delighted to receive this token of gratitude.

For family

for friends

 

for neighbors

and for any others for whom you are thankful–your pastor, mailman, teachers, school bus drivers.  The list goes on.  You can be sure it will mean a great deal to them.

Simply prewash a cotton dishtowel then starch and press it.  Arrange the text over a design, confining it all to a 5×7 frame.  Using water soluble stabilizer saves time that would be spent picking out tearaway behind the text.   Then stitch away and express your thankfulness to the people you appreciate.

There are so many gorgeous designs from which to choose.  The one I’ve used on the towels shown is from Autumn Wreaths Collection by Kreations by Kari.

For more whimsical text designs, the very popular “subway art” is available on several sites. These were made so many years ago that I cannot recall where I got them.  But they were very well received, along with the more traditional design.

Even in this last minute rush before the cooking begins, I encourage you to stitch up a few of these expressions of love and appreciation.  It’s fun and you deserve a little relaxation before the kitchen marathon begins.

I appreciate you, Dear Readers.  I wish I could make each of you a dishtowel that says “Thankful for Blog Readers.”  Happy Thanksgiving!

Required disclosure:  I am a paid Brother Ambassador.  Not required: I LOVE my Brother sewing machines!

Thanksgiving Napkins

Burlap napkin ring with freestanding lace acorn from Embroidery Library’s Fall Favorites collection. I’m going to have to press that burlap runner into flat submission with heavy starch and my press!

Thanksgiving is such a joyful holiday.  Gathering with family and friends, counting our many blessings, retelling stories of earlier celebrations of plenty, remembering loved ones who joined us before, and enjoying delicious food.

It’s always a happy  time.  And it always reminds me of a scrap patchwork quilt, with diners coming from locations all over the map, ages from the elderly to the very young.  This year our table will seat guests from 86 to 18 years old, from Nebraska, Indiana, Florida and we hope from New Jersey.  Conversation will come from a pastor, school teacher, retired missionary, engineer, college student, and me, a babbling needleworker/passionate grandmother/blogger/gardener/etc.

This year we are looking forward to welcoming a crowd of out-of-town family for Thanksgiving week and to our harvest table.  They hail from Nebraska, Indiana, Florida, and perhaps (we do hope!) New Jersey!

So many preparations are being made for this big holiday.  New curtains for 7 windows in one guest room have been sewn as well as new pillowcases, and more home dec projects. A sewing room clean-up has even begun, but that is a years’ long process!

When Embroidery Library posted a photo of a napkin with a freestanding lace acorn resting on a dinner napkin, the image spoke to me.  It was just what I wanted for my Thanksgiving table.  The collection includes a turkey, chrysanthemum, and a maple leaf in addition to the acorn, another leaf and pumpkin which I chose. After my selection of these, 3 of each were made for my 9 napkins.

Burlap napkin ring with freestanding lace pumpkin from Embroidery Library’s Fall Favorites collection. That waffling burlap runner WILL be flat very soon, if it takes a full can of starch!

It is recommended that the same thread be used in the bobbin and needle.  It takes some time to wind matching bobbins, but the finished look is worth it.  DMC 50/2 cotton machine embroidery thread was used for a slightly lighter look. This generates a LOT of lint, so it required very frequent cleaning of my Brother Dream Machine. FYI, 2 ornaments fit in a 5×7 frame.

If you have never done freestanding lace before, Embroidery Library has an excellent free tutorial.  I embroidered on two layers of Brother water soluble stabilizer which worked perfectly. Excess was cut away and the stabilizer washed away easily and completely.

Burlap napkin ring with freestanding leaf pumpkin from Embroidery Library’s Fall Favorites collection. That waffling burlap runner WILL be flat very soon, if it takes a full can of starch!

After folding my napkins, I determined that a 1.5 x 11″ wrap of burlap sufficed.  With three strands of burlap, one vertical stitch was taken through the overlapped ends of the burlap with a tapestry needle.   It was then threaded through the ring at the top of each ornament and tied into a bow.

Looking back at one of my earlier Thanksgiving posts, I came across these images which I think you might enjoy.  Norman Rockwell’s traditional holiday feast reflects my personal preference for the mood and setting for this day of gratefulness.  The other shows a more contemporary observance.

Whichever suits you, I hope on November 25 you will have reasons to celebrate the many blessings we enjoy.

Traditional Thanksgiving

Contemporary Thanksgiving

Required disclosure:  I am a paid Ambassador for Brother USA.  Not required: I genuinely love my Brother sewing machines.

 

2021 Christmas Dress..Oh Well

Are you all set for Christmas?  Cards sent, house decorated, gifts wrapped and sent, sewing finished?  Congratulations if you’ve answered yes to more than one of these questions.

My cards are sent and some house decorating is done, but my greatest accomplishment is finishing my granddaughter’s Christmas dress.

The white lace dress pattern included in the latest Classic Sewing magazine was   made for almost 8 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.   It is lovely but was just waaaaay too big for her.  She is tiny, though her mother declared she wears a size 8 and I went with it. Big mistake. Even with the accurate and current measurements I had for her, the lace has some stretch.   I should have taken that into account. The silver lining for this disappointment is that now her Christmas dress for 2021 is already finished! I’ve never been ahead of the game like this!

Here she is with the shoulder seams falling off her shoulders, with her handsome 11 yo brother.  He’s had such a growth spurt that his mother just discovered that the only dark shoes that fit his newly enormous feet are his soccer cleats.  So that’s what he wore for this picture. Fortunately, the shoe laces match his vest.  With any luck, Amazon will deliver his new black dress shoes this week.

My two younger grandchildren in their Christmas clothes. It’s likely they will only be worn for at home Christmas dinner with grandparents in their bubble. But they will look spectacular, especially if Vivian has a monumental growth spurt or wears her soon-to-arrive Sugar Plum Fairy dress (see below).

 

Farmhouse Fabrics, as always, came through with the white lace fabric. I ordered a few hours after their on-line Gab and Gush featured this lace and at that time  there were only 6 yards left!  The ever-helpful staff matched up ribbon for the sash with the satiny rose slip fabric I chose.  The hairbow, also ordered on line,  was a perfect match.  Of course, I ordered 3 bows hoping one would match and it did!

Vivian Rose with her beloved rescue dog, Mendel.

This dress was relatively quick and easy to make, with 4-thread serged seams and a Swiss batiste bound neckline.  There was no hemming at the sleeves or on the skirt. In the Farmhouse Live video Sally suggested a crocheted thread loop at the shoulders, attached with a snap to secure the slip shoulders.  That was a great tip, especially when the dress turned out to be too big.  That slip would have fallen off the child’s shoulders and annoyed her all day. Another set of crocheted loops was added to the waistline for the optional ribbon sash. Continue reading

Masked Santa Towel

 

The season of Christmas 2020 has been like no other.  With all our social limitations, the celebration of the reason for the season remains unchanged.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge the uniqueness of this year’s holiday.

Dishtowels have long been a favorite small gift of mine.  It fits everyone, needs no interior decoration coordination, and implies no obligatory reciprocation.  It just conveys the message of caring at this season of love.

After an extensive search, I found just the design I was looking for here at Rivermill Embroidery. It comes in 4 sizes and a variety of formats. With the addition of the text, the applique’d masked Santa on a black bordered towel perfectly reflected my sentiments of the season. I’ve long been a fan and happy customer of AllAboutBlanks.com where I found  these towels.

The addition of the text to the 4×4 applique’ required my 8×8″ Brother Quattro frame.  Another font or text could easily be arranged in a 5 x 7 frame.  Whatever.  I think it’s a perfect design and a lasting remembrance for this season.

If you would like the text “an unforgettable Christmas” sent in .pes format, just leave your request as a comment at the end of this post.

Wishing you all the real joy of this Christmas season.

Required disclaimer: I am a paid Brother Brand Ambassador.  Not required:  I LOVE my Brother machines.

 

 

 

 

Back at Last!

First, let me wish you a happy Valentine’s Day!  My latest post at Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial is all about embroidered cards, specifically Valentines. I wish you all joy and happiness on this special day of love.

 

 

The tutorial gives all the ins and outs of embroidering cards, from choice of cardstock size and attaching embroidery.  Check it out and please leave a comment at Stitching Sewcial if you find it helpful or inspiring.  Here are a few of the other samples.  Details of each are included at Stitching Sewcial:

 

 

The front embroidery is covered and inside text is Minnie’s quote.  It reads:

 

This one is for our 6 yo granddaughter.  The inside text reads, “Vivian Rose, you are our favorite princess.”

More are posted.  I had a hard time stopping, since these are so much fun to make.

But much more has been going on since I last posted here at Janice Ferguson Sews.  Of course, Christmas was pure joy, with both of our children joining us with all four of our precious grandchildren.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Many gifts were stitched. Mug rugs caught my attention and I made several for my daughter-in-law, but didn’t manage to get a photo.  These are so much fun and make great gifts.  She is our nature girl and really liked the apron I embroidered for her with this fabulous bear from Urban Threads. Continue reading

Angel Lace Cloud Pillow and Unique Technique

“If you wish success in life, make Perseverance your bosom friend, Experience your wise counselor, Caution your elder brother and Hope your Guardian Angel.”  Joseph Addison

Very appropriate for the Advent season, this heavenly angel pillow could also serve as a guardian angel baby gift or angel of appreciation.  I stitched this on 7 linen hemstitched guest towels which hung as banners as a Christmas gift for each of my beloved PlayGroup Mamas.

Scraps of lace are stitched on a grid and secured with a feather stitch. Grids in two sizes are free downloads at  Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial. It may make you re-evaluate the size of scraps too small to save.

A detailed tutorial with step by step photos is posted at Stitching Sewcial.

It was fun to use this same technique on a whimsical version on a dishtowel.

Seeing this photo now, an embroidered gingerbread man would have been more appropriate.  Oh well, hindsight and all that.

I hope you are all finished with your Christmas sewing, but I doubt it.  We Sisters of the Needle seem to keep on keeping on until the last hour, with more ideas for more gifts for more dear family and friends.

I’d love to hear about your projects and see some photos.  So carry on, Sewing Elves!  We still have 13 days!

 

 

Christmas Fawn Daydress

Christmas is just around the calendar corner and it’s rush, rush, rush for me and many of you.  I’ve just finished this Swiss batiste dress for Baby Beatrice.

I’ve written in earlier posts about Baby Bea, our new granddaughter via our church. Neither of her parents’ mothers is living,  so months before she was born they asked me to be her official Nana.  That was a happy day!  And, of course, she is a doll, just now 4 months old, which for me has been at least 120 more happy days.

Her daddy is an avid hunter, especially for deer. Bea’s little daydress is a reminder NOT to shoot Bambi or his antlered  father.

But back to the dress……the pattern is Old Fashioned Baby‘s Baby Daydress.

 

 

Like all of Jeannie B’s patterns, this one is a delight to sew and offers several design options.  I love the Scriptures and embroidery designs she places in the blank space around the pattern pieces.

 

 

 

The shadow work fawn is from Joy Welsh’s Applique for Kids.  It stitches just beautifully with her instructions.  The greenery beneath the fawn was extracted from another design which I cannot recall right now.

 

 

 

The holly at the neckline is another design whose origin I cannot recall.  I need to keep better records of what I embroider.

 

Continue reading

Give Thanks Decor

 

This is a fun and relatively quick project that will be a special reminder of the season of Thanksgiving.  A complete step by step tutorial is posted at http://blog.brothersews.com/holiday/give-thanks-tutorial/

Children could be involved in this project and will be delighted to help with pulling burlap threads and stuffing the jars with the fairy lights.

 

 

It will be easy for you but I had  to struggle with various steps while making this.  Double sided tape has always been a staple of my sewing supplies, but now it is my new favorite.

Did you know it is described as permanent?  That’s good news for Give Thanks as it beautifies your mantle, piano, bookcase or anywhere.

We always celebrate fall in a big way, but Thanksgiving is the crowning glory of the harvest season.  So hop over to Stitching Sewcial and see just how this comes together.  If you like it, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment there.

FYI, there are so many fabulous ideas and tutorials posted at Stitching Sewcial.  You needn’t have a Brother machine to enjoy and reproduce many of the projects.  Take a look!

Required disclosure:  I am a paid and proud ambassador for Brother sewing machines.  I LOVE them.

 

 

Halloween Projects~Quick and Easy

 

NOTE: This is reposted from several years ago, but still has some good ideas for quick and easy Halloween projects.  I hope you find something you like.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Halloween has never been a favorite holiday of mine but our grandchildren get absolutely giddy with the fun it brings.  This year, I’ve joined in the celebration with sewing projects.

This candy jar was so quick and easy.   Our grandchildren are all big Disney fans so the iBroidery.com design with Mickey and the pumpkin seemed perfect.  It was embroidered on orange felt then glued to a fringed circle of black burlap.  The embroidery was glued to a strip of fringed black burlap  then adhered to the jar with double sided tape (one of my all-time favorite sewing notions).

 

candy jar alone

Continue reading

FREE Peekaboo Pumpkin Treat Bag

 

Now here is a quick, easy and fun fall project for you.  Since orange gourd designs are appropriate through Thanksgiving, you can stitch up a whole pumpkin patch of these to share. Even without an embroidery machine, you could trace a pumpkin and stitch the entire project on your sewing machine.

A detailed photo tutorial and the free design in 4×4 a d 5×7 are available at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial. You can be very creative with this little pumpkin, using various colors of felt, burlap or even a sturdy fabric.

I especially liked using my Brother P-touch Embellish ribbon and tape printer  to print BOO! for the black pumpkin tie.

black love the imprinted ribbon

 

There are so many great projects posted at Stitching Sewcial, like Angela Wolf’s lovely burlap jar covers embellished with Scan ‘n Cut letters FALL.

 

 

Having recently purchased a Scan ‘n Cut I was especially interested in this project.  Check out Angela’s post and her tutorial here.  I just love the long fringe at the top and bottom of the jars.

And here is another fall project from Joanne Banko, Fall Wreath–a great post, great project, great tutorial with a great free sunflower swag design.

 

Happy Fall to you all!  Enjoy stitching for this colorful season.