Category Archives: home dec

Live, Love Life

 

This pillow was made for our precious granddaughter, Laurel.

 

enjoying our visit to a New Jersey tea room

 

She just turned 14 and I couldn’t resist offering some grandmotherly advice to mark the occasion.  Putting that advice where she could read it every day seemed like a better idea than delivering a “Things to Remember” lecture. Continue reading

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.

 

 

Quilted Bed Foot Warmer and Free Design

 

No one likes cold feet–not at a wedding nor in bed.

There are many ways to keep your toes warm, like this.  Who wouldn’t love that?  But you need a lot of puppies.

 

 

Or you could do this:

 

There are risks with this method. Mildred “Mimi” Turner almost burned down our hotel (and her feet) when we were teaching in Australia’s cold Blue Mountains.

 

This quilted foot warmer is risk free, readily available, pretty, and fun to make.  It is also my latest project for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial, for which I am a paid sewing specialist (this is a required disclosure).  The blog post includes a FREE download link for the quilting design used for the spaghetti bias Celtic knot in the center of each square.  But more about the special use of that later.

 

The design measures 7.76 x 7.87″.

Continue reading

Kiss the Cook Dishtowel for Basic Machines

 

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and many readers have already mentioned that they are working of projects for the day that honors love.

Many, of course, are stitching special outfits for their children or grands.  One dear grandmother is making 35 gifts for her grandchildren’s classmates, some pencil toppers and the others toothbrush wraps.  I’ve never heard of toothbrush wraps and think it’s something I need to find out about.  Do you know anything about them?

Others are creating gifts for family and friends.  Since not everyone has an embroidery machine, I’m going to be adding blog projects, like this dishtowel, which require only a basic machine.

This was one of the many SM1738 machine samples assigned to me by Brother.   It is very basic, with only 17 stitches.  They include 3 straight stitches–short, medium and longer, 3 zig zags –short and narrow, medium and wider, and longer and much wider, a blind hem and a few others, a look at the video shows how much can be done without all the bells and whistles that owners of high end machines enjoy.  I made all of those samples on this machine, except the pillowcase which was made by someone else.

You all know I LOVE my Brother Dream Machine, but there is much that can be done on a basic model. It’s likely we all started out with a simple workhorse. The SM1738 is much like my first sewing machine, which as a bride, I used to make curtains and pillows for our first home in 1968.  I thought it was to-die-for and stitched miles and miles of seams.  I wish I had had some creative suggestions then!

To make this towel, I used: a plain white dishtowel, 1/2 yd. kiss fabric, 2/3 yd. red and 2/3 black rick rack, regular sewing thread and monofilament thread.

Here’s how:

  1.  Cut away hem on dishtowel, leaving a raw edge.
  2.  Join kiss fabric to raw edge with turntube/burrito hem technique.  The tutorial calls for just 1/4 yd. of hem fabric.  But without embroidery, I wanted a larger hem.   The finished hem will be seam’s width less than half the fabric.  A quarter yard will render a hem approximately 3 1/2″ wide and the 1/2 yd. piece used on this towel created a hem of approximately 8 1/2″.  Just suit yourself or use available scraps.
  3. Twist red and black rick rack together.
  4. Baste through the center of rick rack with monofilament thread.
  5. Free motion with monofilament and #60 needle over humps of rick rack.
  6. Fold ends to back and tack in place.
  7. Remove basting stitches in rick rack.

Of course, any print with any color combination of rick rack could be used to make a special dish towel.  Kiss the Cook or any other text could be quickly hand embroidered. If you are lucky enough to have an embroidery machine, the addition of text would be a breeze.

 

 

With any sewing machine, you can create fabulous items for your family and friends.

Coming up in future Basic Machine posts are

  • an heirloom pillow complete with shadow pintucks, inserted Swiss beading, a monogram and shell tucks
  • Minnie Mouse dresses
  • Elsa costume
  • fabric greeting card
  • cell phone case
  • and more

 

 

Thanksgiving Table Runner

 

Yes, I know Thanksgiving is over but life has been hectic around here.  I’m waaaaay behind!  But this could easily be made as a Christmas runner.  Keep that in mind.

This table runner was made for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  It included two of my favorite sewing techniques, hemstitching and machine embroidery. A detailed photo tutorial is posted here http://blog.brothersews.com/home-decor/thanksgiving-table-runner/

The hem of the pale sage linen was mitred and then hemstitched.  I just love hemstitching.  It gives such an elegant finish to just about anything.  My Brother Dream Machine (and all of my earlier Brother machines) executes this technique flawlessly.  This linen was fairly heavy so I used a large wing needle.

The embroidery design from ibroidery.com is so nice for the end of a runner.  Only the colors gave it an autumn look and it stitches out perfectly. With other color and different seasonal text it could used again and again.

 

 

The opposite end read Thankful.

 

The companion embroidery was mirrored along the outer edges of the center, leaving room for a center piece.

Continue reading

Christmas Quilt–Disney Stippled

 

Surely you know that Christmas is just around the corner. In anticipation of the holiday and all the joy that goes with it, this quilt was made.  Quilting, machine embroidery, and stippling combined to make a quilt with which I was almost entirely pleased.  I regretted running out of time before I quilted the green gingham squares along the edges and they waffled.

As a “Brother paid expert consultant”, my assignment was to use the new Disney Mickey and Friends Christmas designs in a Dream Machine project.  As you can see, I chose to make a quilt.

Detailed and photo illustrated instructions are posted here at Stitching Sewcial.

 

 

Six of the new Disney designs were chosen, each of which would fit in the 4×4 frame.  For the other blocks mini designs were chosen so as not to compete with the new Mickey and Friends Christmas embroideries.

 

This is the center block, stippled and in place.

 

Continue reading

Cars 3 Fun for Guys and Gals

See detailed instructions for this less bulky tutu skirt here http://blog.brothersews.com/embroidery/cruz-ramirez-tutu-skirt-tee/

 

As Disney/Pixar’s wholesome movie Cars 3 roared through theaters across the nation this summer, iBroidery.com offered a dozen beautifully digitized racing designs.  With so many macho characters associated with the Cars movies, Cruz Ramirex is truly the rising star of gender equality in the racing world.

This skirt features Cruz colors and embroidery. Fabric tutus similar to the one shown above are all the rage with younger girls.  I’ve heard of birthday parties at which each guest makes her own hula-type tutu.  One kindergarten class made these for an end of the year project.

Most of the quick, easy, and fun skirts are simply strips of fabric knotted over a circle of elastic.  Cruz’s skirt is tutu Version 2.0, with less bulk at the waist.  It includes a casing waistband which captures folded strips rather than knotted.  It also features her personal embroidered crest at the center front.  The skirt is paired with a simple white tee embroidered with the equivalent of Cruz’s business card.

 

 

Detailed instructions for this less bulky skirt and more photos are posted here at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial. Continue reading

“..land that I love!”

 

our 4 yo grandson ready for the fireworks

 

Every day I am grateful to be living here in the USA, truly the “home of the brave, land of the free…”

We’re all eager to celebrate our nation’s birthday.   But it is important to pass our love and appreciation for the liberty we enjoy on to our children and grandchildren.

Special children’s clothing for the July 4th holiday shows them that this is an important celebration.  Since my grands are all far away this Independence Day, I’ve looked back at a few earlier celebrations with and for them.

This was granddaughter Vivian Rose’s first July 4th.

 

 

Our two older grands wore these outfits one summer.

 

 

Of course, the holiday specific food is also important—and enjoyed.

 

18 month old granddaughter Vivian Rose loves her corn on the cob!

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

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.)

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

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