Category Archives: kitchen

Quickie Hostess Gift

Note: The name of the host couple has been blurred so you all don’t try to wrangle a dinner invitation. This was such a delicious meal! And I’m sorry if perhaps the gloriosa lilies are just too much, but the colors look so festive and Mexican-like to me. They are blooming so profusely in my garden and I wanted to show them off.

Quickie Hostess Gift

For our Bible Study group, we always have dinner, with the host and hostess providing the main course with others bringing the remainder of the meal. But for some unknown reason, dear Jackie graciously decided to offer a complete Mexican dinner to our entire group. No one else had to cook and that was certainly a treat.

Truth be told, a terrible storm took out my power for quite some time that afternoon, so I did not finish the embroidery before time to go. When I returned home, I was so impressed with the meal that I added the text to the design. It is Embroidery Library’s Mariachi Clothesline.

I’ve always felt that situations like this require a gift which does not leave the recipient feeling beholden.

When I gave the towel to Jackie at church she was so very pleased. Of course, she is the kind of lady who would have been tickled with a decorative pocket package of tissues. At the fellowship hour after the worship service, she was showing it off and all the non-sewers, which makes up most of the congregation, seemed so amazed at not just the Mariachi Clothesline embroidery, but the personalization. It certainly takes a just a little stitching to make some people happy. And it makes me happy to see them happy.

So the next time you need a quick gift for someone you don’t want to feel beholden, go embroider or stitch a dishtowel. That’s my advice. Happy sewing!

And read on…….

This earlier post explains my feelings and opinion about dishtowels very well.

“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”
Ben Carson

Ben, that’s just one reason for my happiness. However, it’s true that for any occasion– large, small or no occasion at all– I love giving gifts. But it can be tricky.

giftwrap
Goldilocks said, “This gift is too big!”

Too large or too expensive a gift like this jewel encrusted package or a trip to Paris for lunch would make a friend feel beholden and I don’t want that. (Let me be perfectly clear, I would not give a trip to Paris for lunch.Or a jewel encrusted package. So don’t ask.)

hanger2

Goldilocks said, “This gift is too small!”

Too small a gift, like a coat hanger, is just tacky. Getting it just right takes some thought.

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Goldilocks said, “This gift is just right.”

The design is OESD/ Embroidery On-line’s Happy Birthday Frog. My design library includes the Bernina collection Fanciful Frogs. I have used those designs here and again and again.

As you can see, dishtowels are my go-to “little” gift. They can be personalized with machine embroidery (do you think my sorority sister Danilee ever got one of those bicycle license name plates or wall plaques?)

A novelty fabric turn tube hem or hand embroidery embellishment makes a towel special.

Yo-yo flowers with button centers, rick rack and a turn tube hem transform a plain white dishtowel to something more interesting.

Yo-yo flowers with button centers, rick rack and a turn tube hem transform a plain white dishtowel to something more interesting. This towel was a project I taught at Sewing at the Beach, Myrtle Beach. Would you like this design to be offered as a freebie?

Dishtowels are always the right size, the right price. Even if the color is wrong they still dry the dishes.

For the hostess of our fabulous family Thanksgiving dinner.

These were for the hostess of a fabulous family Thanksgiving dinner. The leaf spray is from Autumn Wreaths, Kreations by Kara. I added the pumpkin from some other set. They made a perfect hostess gift.

A thank you for the gracious owners of the beach condo my daughter rented.

This was a thank you for the gracious owners of the beach condo my daughter rented. These designs are from Dakota Collectibles Shell Collection and matched the wallpaper in the kitchen.

In groups they make a substantial birthday gift.

1-DOWquiltowels

This DOW set was embroidered for my sweet, enthusiastic quilting friend Catherine.

It helps a quilter schedule a perfect week.

The embroidery design set was done by Tracy Burkart of Needleart Studio. They seem to be unavailable now. It helps a quilter schedule a perfect week.

A recipe towel paired with a jar of jam was just the right size for each of my treasured PGM friends at our Christmas gift exchange.

recipe towels-jars1

I haven’t canned in years, but these jams from the Mast Store had more down-home appeal than Smuckers. The recipe designs are from Embroidery Library. They come as simple redwork.  I added the fruit.

The hostess of our Christmas party had just become a grandmother to...you guessed it...little Harry.

The hostess of our Christmas party had just become a grandmother to…you guessed it…little Harry.The design is from Dakota Collectibles Christmas Applique collection.

Coordinated with a turn tube hem, the dishtowels were bright and cheerful.

When a very dear but far away friend was experiencing some serious difficulties, these towels offered  daily inspiration and a reminder that I cared. Coordinated with a turn tube hem, the dishtowels were bright and cheerful. Designs are from Amazing Designs Inspirational Concepts. A dishtowel can give a very personal message for little more than the cost of a greeting card. It lasts longer and is useful.

true friends towel-1

The embroidery is a compilation of elements from various designs. The house, tree, and “road” were combined with text to express a heartfelt message.

For another group gift exchange, Christmas dishtowels filled the bill.

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The Christmas tree design is from Kreations by Kara, Christmas in Motion collection. “All is calm, all is bright” is in Amazing Designs Christmas IV collection which seems to be discontinued.

xmas towels

The “Tilted Tree,” “Jingle,” and Gingerbread House are all from Applique Corner.

Well, there are more dishtowels, but I seem to have beat this horse to death. I get all wrapped up in remembering the occasion and the recipients. Can you tell I love dishtowel gifts?

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Thanksgiving 2021-It all came together!

table set, ready for dinner

What a joyous, satisfying Thanksgiving we had!  All the cooking and sewing and preparations proved to be worth it as it all came together and our family arrived.

We had some close calls and a lot of tension before that, though.  One week before Turkey Day, the thermostat in my stove died!  It would likely take a week to get a replacement part#$%&!!!!  Dear husband Bob decided we should just get a new stove, but in this era of widespread shortages, that was like a scavenger hunt!  He finally found one that fit our need and it was delivered Sunday morning.  Hallelujah!

While we were waiting on the stove, at 11 p.m.Friday night, we discovered a flood in the dining room coming coming from under the china cabinet!  YIKES!!! We spent the night rotating 4-6 beach towels soaking up the water, spinning them in the washer then drying them while others replaced them with another set of  beach towels.

God bless the wonderful plumber who showed up at 11 a.m.Saturday and fixed the kitchen plumbing which had a 1/4″ hole in the pipe!  All the while I was praying the kitchen stove would be delivered the next day as promised.

Before all that angst, there was so much excitement as we readied everything–new curtains were made for one guest room, new pillowcases were made and embroidered, flower beds were weeded, fresh flowers placed in the guest rooms and front hall.  The dogs and cats were well aware that something was going on.

Sebastian eagerly awaits guests’ arrival

Before everyone arrived, the dinner table was set. I made free standing lace “ornaments” or “dingle dangles.”  They were tied to the burlap napkin rings which coordinated with the burlap table runner.  The burlap rings were wrapped around linen hemstitched napkins.

Burlap napkin ring with free standing lace pumpkin 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!  UPDATE:All the starch in the world won’t make burlap lie flat.  The trick is to pull a burlap strand just 2 threads inside the fringe, like pulling a gathering  thread.  THEN starch and press the edge flat.

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“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.

 

Valentine Gifts-Quick and Easy

NOTE: 2 FREE designs!  Heart balloons at Embroidery Library and Lace Heart applique’ at GG Designs.  Links below.

Hooping the towel on the left through the check border was very difficult. Consequently, the towel on the right was hooped above the thicker hem. Much easier.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you might think it’s too late to make gifts.  But these quick and easy projects can be stitched in time, though you may have to ship them priority mail.  Just take a look.

I’ve always been a big fan of tea towels–no need to worry about the size or even getting the color right.  No matter what, anyone can dry dishes with your gift towel and frankly, the towel is less expensive than most greeting cards.  And no one needs to feel beholden.  I like that.

When I saw this high-flying free design at Embroidery Library, available in 4 sizes, I was on it.  I pulled out my prewashed stash of towels from All About Blanks and set to work for my friends, near and far.  I was very pleased with the results.  Embroidery was done on my Brother Dream Machine 2.

Another quick gift is this little pocketbook I made for my purse-loving 2.5 yo church granddaughter.

The sweet heart applique’ is another free design, in 6 sizes from GG designs, The monogram B is from Brother PE-Design.  The heart was embroidered on my Brother Dream Machine.

Of course, tradition dictates that neither purse nor wallet nor any money carrying vessel shall be gifted without some token currency.  So Beatrice’s little purse was loaded with a little change for her Winnie the Pooh bank, some candy to share with her parents, a small handkerchief for which she sees no use now and a lollipop which she popped in her mouth immediately.

The very simple purse is included in this adorable pattern, though I’m sure there are others just as quick to make.

I’m not the only one who thinks tea towels make great gifts.  This painted towel was lovingly made by our younger grandson, the handsome boy pictured on the mugs we enjoy for drinking our coffee.  One of his other dedicated grandmothers, “NanNan,” always works with him and his younger sister to craft Christmas gifts for family members.  We treasure this one.

Tea towel Valentine gift made by our grandson a few years ago.

I’m sure any Valentine gifts you make, quick and easy or time consuming, will be appreciated for the love that you put into it.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Dear Readers!

 

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

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

What has been keeping me busy!

My goodness but life has a way of keeping me busy and away from writing blog posts! But I have been sewing. Here us a sampling of some of my projects.

I found this heart headband slider as a freebie (for a short time only) for Valentine’s Day at Tattered Stitch. It makes up quickly and was a big hit with my granddaughter 6 yo Vivian Rose. She wore it to the family’s special Valentine breakfast and then to school.

Vivian Rose at the family’s special Valentine breakfast.

It was so quick and easy to make that I made 18 for the little girls at church. They were delighted. This is just the first batch I made.

Then Aunt Rheeta made her annual pilgrimage to Florida to escape Indiana’s bitter cold winter weather. She sewed and sewed, making 10 mug rugs. Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of all of 12, but she made a set of 4 hunting themed mug rugs for each of two of her sons, one more feminine design for her daughter and one for her house/dog sitter.

Then she made these two for Joanne and Kyle, parents of precious baby Bea. She said she has been praying for them since March so they almost feel like family. She went to our Bible study group at their home and was so pleased to meet this lovely couple and spend time with darling Beatrice. Kyle loves to hunt so one is for him and the fall print seemed to go well with Joanne’s home decor.

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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

Mug Rugs~What I’ve Learned

I’ve always thought mug rugs were a great idea and always meant to stitch some.  Finally, a need arose and a set of these unusual “rugs” seemed like the perfect hostess gift for a perfectly gracious host and hostess.

The second set was made for the guest of honor and speaker, extraordinary Pastor James of Ghana.  So two gift sets of 4 mug rugs were made.  I don’t enjoy stitching identical designs again and again, so I changed the thread color of the background stitching and some of the lettering.

 

 

At a lovely dinner at the home of members of our church, Pastor James spoke passionately to a large group of  guests about the challenging conditions in Ghana.  Our host and hostess, a physician and nurse, had gone there on a medical mission trip this past summer. Continue reading

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

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