Category Archives: kitchen

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.

 

 

The basic mug rug is from Kimberbell.     The CD offers a  variety of holiday and seasonal designs and quilting patterns.  I preferred to use my own personalized designs and select a quilting pattern from those offered.  The instructions are excellent.

I’ve had this cashmere quality scarf hanging around the sewing room for sometime and it caught Rheeta’s eye.  It is sooo soft.  So I monogrammed it for her.  She can really use it for the next 3 months of winter up  there!

 

It’s a funny thing about Aunt Rheeta’s visits.  She absolutely loves to see the azaleas in bloom.  She has come in January, February and March.  But whenever she comes, the azaleas have begun to bloom a few days before her arrival and are in full bloom before she leaves.  I think they do it just to please her. See the header.  That’s what my yard looks like when she is here.

My  latest and most time consuming project is sewing Garments for Ghana.  Our family doctor and his nurse wife, members of our church, took it upon themselves to go, on their own with a few friends, to Ghana on a medical mission trip last summer.  They are returning this summer with more medical staff and mentioned that there is a great need for children’s clothing.  So we are meeting every Thursday at our EPC River City Church to make boys shorts and girls dresses  and  having a fabulous time.  I make the kits and it is keeping me jumping!

More about this in a future post, but here are a few pictures of our finished garments.

The dresses are cut from an excellent etsy .pdf pattern from 5berries called Cecelia.  It is sized from 1-12. This is a size 5. I added the sleeve ruffle, and contrasting hem.

Cecelia

 

I loved this dress below, but when I made it up I realized that it required a serger, with just 1/4″ serged seams which served as the underarm facings. The Cecelia sleeve goes completely around the armscye, much more practical for mass production and many beginner sewists.  So all the remaining dresses were cut from that pattern

 

The boys shorts are from a McCall’s pattern I had on hand but it only goes from 1-4.  I have another etsy pattern for sizes 5-10, but that is for later.

 

 

Each each dress will have an accessory teepee bag or headband with a silk flower. Each pair of shorts size 1-2 will have a free standing dingle dangle key chain toy and the 3-4 will have a small pull-back race car matching the pocket..  This is so much fun and fellowship with the ladies and homeschooled children who are sewing with us make this a very special time.  More on this satisfying project later.

What have you all been up to?  I’d love to hear from you and know if there are still any readers.

 

 

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.

I replaced the topstitching with brown thread.

Many loved ones received my standard gift of dishtowels and homemade jams.

Our precious church granddaughter Beatrice was a vision of baby beauty in her Old Fashioned Baby  Christmas dress.  Her headband had a feltie with a tiny deer to match her dress.

 

Now, after months and months of worry and frustration, her adoption is complete and joy abounds.

I really got into felties and made one to go with granddaughter Vivian Rose’s dress.

The stacked cats Christmas tree design is from Apex Embroidery designs. Their designs are great! The gifts below were added from various other sites.  Cute white leggings with big red and green polka dots went with the dress, but I missed a picture of that.

 

It was almost a repeat of last year’s smash hit Christmas frock but it was an enormous upgrade with the new lining.  She wanted to wear it with the lining on the outside, but that was not allowed.

 

 

The whole feltie obsession came as a result of the felties offerred at this etsy site,  Mommy’s Apron Strings.  I downloaded the snowman and gingerbread boys (offered free for a short time) and attached them to 25 hairbows for all the little girls at church.  Of course, I had to have something for the boys, so I made pencil toppers for them, using the same designs on the blank pencil topper included in the set I offered here.  But did I take pictures?  No!  I was stitching late into the night and handed them out  the next morning.

The other winner Christmas gift was a set of two fleece quillows for my son’s twin Comanche plane, embroidered with just the tail numbers.  He had asked for them and was so pleased!

Again, this is probably more than you wanted or needed to know, but I am so far behind that I wanted to let you know I have not given up sewing or blogging.  I hope you will check back to see more, posted more frequently.  But then again,

 

 

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.

As he described conditions in Ghana-no running water in the schools or even the police station, only one hospital several miles from the town of 1.5 million people, accessible only by foot or one of  the few motor scooters–one thing he repeated more than once stuck in my mind.  He said, quite vehemently, “You in America have absolutely NO reason to complain. I and people in my country have good reason to complain, but you have NONE!  Every day you should drop to your knees and thank God for all the blessings you enjoy here!”

In retrospect, the mug rug gift seemed a bit paltry relative to the delicious dinner and the moving testimony from Pastor James, but I had decided a gender neutral item would be best and mug rugs is what it was.

As always, I was rushed and finished these in barely enough time to arrive to dinner at the scheduled hour.  Consequently, the picture is really not good at all.  I should have had a cup and cookie resting on a single rug and the 8 spread apart.

So much was learned on this relatively simple project.  First, I began with a mug rug from Kimberbell Designs, Holiday Mug Rugs.  This collection is wonderful with delightful designs and background stitching.  But I just needed a background and a blank canvas for my Ghana design.  I selected the Cardinal for its background but eliminated the cardinal itself and the snowflake. There are several background patterns in this collection.  Now I want to sew some for Christmas gifts.  And I will use what I learned on this project!

 

I really wanted an applique’ design of Ghana so I could use that souvenir  fabric from my daughter’s trip to Africa.   But what were the chances of finding that?  Surprise!!!!  On Etsy, you can find anything.  This site, Pixels to Threads  has applique’s of several exotic countries! I was thrilled.

The tribal fabric made in Tanzanika was used for the applique’ and for the backing.  I’ve had this fabric for 12 years now and often wondered if I would ever have a use for it.  Now I am so glad it was in my stash!  The Ghana lettering was done in Brother PE-Design.

Instead of using two fabric, as shown on the cardinal mug rug, just one was used, and that background  fabric choice was my first mistake.  It is a relatively heavy, almost coarse linen like piece that seemed perfect for the design.  But these rugs, I expect, were designed for quilt weight fabric, not one so heavy.  It was difficult to press the seams flat after turning the rug right side out.  Note to self: use quilt weight fabric next time.

Next, the instructions were to use a very light weight batt.  But wouldn’t you know, I had a medium weight scrap that was just the right size to make all 8 rugs.  I love using up scraps! How important could the batt weight be?  That was my second mistake.   It IS important.

Even with very close trimming of the batting at the seam line, pressing those thick seams was an even greater issue in combination with the heavy top fabric.  Ultimately, monofilament was used to straight stitch very, very close to the rug’s edge to flatten it.

Frankly, I was doubtful that the mug rugs would be much of a hit.  But when I saw our friends a few days ago, our hostess confided that she had kept only 2 of her rugs.  Two of the Ghana mission helper/organizers who were at the dinner were so taken with them that she shared the other two.  Pastor James, seeing their appreciation for the rugs, gave them two of his.  Of course, he might just have had no use for them.  Still, it was touching.  So each of four Ghana interested people now have 2 rugs each.

At our hosts’ home that night, I was so pleased to see what they had done with the  dishtowel hostess gifts I had made for the first “Ghana” dinner we attended when they shared their mission experience.  I regret not including a caduceus.  I even have one in my design library, but didn’t think of it in my usual rush rush project sewing.

 

 

I doubt these towels will ever see a wet dish.  But I am so pleased with how they were arranged and displayed.

A quick laugh—I texted a picture to a friend who asked what I was working on.  Somehow, only the Ghana applique’ showed up and not the text.  Perplexed, she asked her adult daughter what she thought that was.  “Cheese?” she replied.  Then the next photo came through and the question was answered.

Again and again, I am amazed at how much personalized gifts like the simple dishtowels and mug rugs can be so appreciated.  I appreciate my Brother Dream Machine which enables me to make these appropriate gifts.

What are you sewing?  What do you use for hostess gifts?  I’d love to hear about your projects.

Required disclaimer:  I am an official “brand ambassador” for Brother.  It’s a title of which I am proud.

 

 

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

Fun Sewing and our 12 Days of Christmas

Another CC Lucy--and another kitty cat dress for my kitty cat loving granddaughter.

Another CC Lucy–and another kitty cat outfit for my kitty cat loving granddaughter.  The fabric features Disney’s Aristocats.

Happy 2017 to you all!  I hope yours was the merriest Christmas and holiday season ever because the Ferguson family’s surely was.

I can’t help but rant on and on ad nauseum about our holiday activities and good times, so for those who prefer to stay on topic, which would be SEWING, I will save those details for after the sewing news.  But we really had some great fun and you might glean an idea or two for your family gatherings.

At Thanksgiving, almost 4 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose asked me to please make her another “kitty cat” outfit.  Then as she walked in the door for Christmas, she again pleaded with this wrapped-around-her-little-finger Nana for another kitty cat dress. Please!

After the Too Many Cats dress cat-astrophe, I thought maybe I could talk her into trading the  too big, too worn out and too ugly dress for another better one.  Having this fabric on hand and my go-to CC Lucy pattern at the ready, I worked on it for two evenings after she went to sleep.  Voila’!  A new and improved version of kitty cat dress, though I wish I had taken time to lay out the front so the Eiffel Tower was centered.

 

This puffy pocket is a free pattern at Chidren's Corner website.

This puffy pocket is a free pattern at Children’s Corner website.   It’s a sweet little addition to any number of patterns.

 

The pocket is not piped.  I’ve taken to substituting spaghetti bias for piping.  It is simply butted up to the attached pocket and secured with a tiny zig zag and monofilament thread.  Cover the raw edges with a button.  Easy peasy.

The good news?  Vivian Rose loved it, though she did say that the pockets were too small.  She knew she couldn’t fit in her little hand and a big fat chocolate donut. Granddad ALWAYS has a box of Dunkin Donuts on the counter for easy access.  And he replaces it daily when he goes for his early morning hot latte.  He figures they can eat healthy at home.

The bad news?  No way would she give up Too Many Cats, now demoted to Second Favorite Dress.  Oh, well.  It has been laundered 2-3 times a week since Sept. 1 so how much longer can it last?  Maybe a while…. the fabric is such good quality.

The boys wanted to sew (read “embroider”) as soon as they arrived.  Alastair, 7, yo, is quite competent at threading and running my Brother Quattro machine.  Continue reading

A Small Token of Appreciation

Icolin and our Lab Rastus who adores her.

Icolin and our Lab Rastus who adores her.

 

This is my Jamaican friend Icolin.  I love her and so does our Lab Rastus.  She does my housework and keeps my home as orderly as she can manage while dealing with my untidy habits.   I am so grateful that she frees me up for more time in the sewing room.

More than that, she is a loving, serene presence who goes about her business humming–EVEN when she is trying to make her way through my sewing room.  No mess is too much for her.  Dependable, hard working and sweet as pie, Icolin is a devout Christian woman.   She shares my troubles, lives the gospel and prays faithfully for my family and any friends in need.  Icolin is a genuine treasure.

 

I love this woman.

I love this woman.

 

I wanted to do something to show my appreciation, even something as small as embroidering this apron for her.  When I gave it to her, she flashed her beautiful smile and thanked me in her musical Jamaican accent.  She loved it. I could listen to her lilting, island-girl talk for hours.

 

The crown is from Zundt's Regal collection.

The crown is from Zundt’s Heraldry collection.

 

It made me happy to offer her this small  token of appreciation for her hard work and loyalty.  Now that I think about it, there are many others who deserve some tangible expression of my gratitude.  But Icolin is at the top of my list.

Have you made a “small token of appreciation” for someone special in your life?  I’d love to hear about it.