Category Archives: linen blanks

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.)

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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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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.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

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! 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!

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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 jars of homemade 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 added 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.

recipe-towels-jars1

WASHAWAY 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

Free Bumble Bees and Blue Willow

Yesterday, after a reader requested the free bumblebee design from this 2010 post, as shown on the placemat and napkin.  For a closer look at the bee scroll down to the napkin.

As I reread the post, I found myself  enjoying the stroll down memory lane.  Only the grandchildren have changed, having grown older, taller, a bit wiser and even more delightful.  The designs are still available by posting your request in a comment at the end of this post.

In Florida Spring is just around the corner and I am ready for it.  We’ve had cold, cold weather this past week (48 this morning!!!) during my Aunt Rheeta’s visit.  She laughed when I commented that it couldn’t be much colder in Indiana.  So with spring approaching, I thought you might enjoy this post which shows off the best of Florida’s spring.

With the chill in the air, we are staying in, having a big time in the sewing room. Aunt Rheeta brought a stack of projects with her and we are busy stitching.  So this has been a busy, busy place for some time now.  I’ll post photos of her projects later.

Meanwhile, I hope you are all busy sewing for spring and staying warm in this especially bitter winter weather~~~~~~

Grandchildren, sewing, gardening, homeschooling……..life is good for this old fashioned Nana. It could only be better if my sweet little grandson Alastair and his parents  lived closer.

A few days ago, the entire student body of Nana’s Homeschool–that would be Robert, 4, and Laurel, 5–chose to have lunch in the potting shed.  This is one of my favorite places, second only to my sewing room.

 

We made a big production of it, carrying out placemats, napkins, Blue Willow china and Laurel’s favorite cobalt blue “stem ware.”  The table was set and lunch was served.

antique roses near potting shed

 Here in central Florida, we are in that brief and uniquely enchanting time of year between air conditioning and heat.  So we’ve been eating outdoors often.

Citrus blossoms perfume the air, roses  bloom all around, a gentle breeze blows, birds sing and the lubber grasshoppers unleash their insatiable appetites on my amaryllis lilies.  Stomping the little beasties is Robert’s favorite outdoor sport.

Knockout and antique Florida cracker roses keep Rastus’ nose twitching as he walks this garden path.

This is also the roses’ favorite time of year.  When deep summer is upon them, they wilt and bloom less enthusiastically.  So they are especially lovely right now.  Forgive my boasting and allow Edward Lear to speak for me:

  • And if you voz to see my roziz
  • As is a boon to all men’s noziz–
  • You’d fall upon your back and scream-
  • `O Lawk! O crikey! It’s a dream!`
  • Edward Lear, 1885

antique rose and lime sweet potato vine cuttings

When I am not teaching the children or preparing lesson plans, I am busy during the day gardening with Bob and sewing by night.  With all the freeze damage, we had more to do than usual.  Many of the plants I use extensively, like the lime green and purple sweet potato vines, have been unavailable until just this week.

Only a few hanging baskets were for sale, so I have whacked them into cuttings.  I’ll have plenty already planted before individual plants are available at the garden centers.

But back to lunch and sewing…….because the bees are buzzing incessantly in the nearby 20’ viburnum hedge which is in full bloom, I thought the use of this bumblebee luncheon set would be timely. The linens put the children on their best behavior and motivated Laurel to recite one of her memory pieces,

The Whole Duty of Children,  Robert Louis Stevenson,                                  A Child’s Garden of Verses

  • A child should always say what’s true  
  • And speak when he is spoken to,
  • And behave mannerly at table;
  • At least as far as he is able.

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After we talked about “mannerly”  and as they ate, I read to them from the Blue Willow book.  For the past 20 years or so, I’ve used Blue Willow dishes  for everyday.   The story interested them because of the dishes and our recent, though superficial, study of the  Orient.

Then cookies were served and, as was so often stated in the society page of our small town paper, a good time was had by all.

The placemats and napkins were embroidered with designs from Fil Tire’ and Fancywork Elements, a collection by Suzanne Sawko and me. The hive uses a piece of fil tire’ for the appliqué fabric.

The tiny bumblebees from Charleen Madsen are just the right size for the hive and rose. With Charleen’s permission, I have offered this design to readers before and do so again.  Just post your request in the comments and I will send it out to you.

Machine wing needle entredeux traces the flight path of the bees, ending at an enlarged web rose from the same collection.

The entredeux path on the placemat matches up with the path on the napkin, ending at the rose. Once the napkin is removed, another shows on the placemat.

Spring in Florida is a glorious time. For as long as the weather holds up, we are lunching at the patio table by the pool, on the picnic table on the back porch, on the glass top table on the breakfast porch.

Next week, if all goes according to plan, we will lunch in the tree house.

It is equipped with a basket on a rope which is dropped down and loaded with snacks or drink, as the occupants request.

For that dining experience, the menu necessarily will be simple, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, cookies and  juice boxes, served on an old quilt. Still, we will behave mannerly, as least as far as we are able. Life with grandchildren is so much fun!

 

 

8000 Paper Plates and Thankfullness-giving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and so is tomorrow’s arrival of my grandchildren.  I love, love, love this time with them,  but not much else will get done.  So in advance of Thanksgiving Day, 2015, I am reposting memories from a few years ago.

 

thanx buffet guys

See that little hand reaching for a sample?

 

This was a wonderful Thanksgiving day. As in several past years, we celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends across the state, at the home of our son-in-law’s mother.  Always the gracious hostess and host and always fabulous cooks, Carol and her husband, Alan, prepare most of the traditional food.  The menu included roast turkey and pork loin, mashed potatoes, two gravies, and several sides, while the extended family guests bring desserts and more sides.     The desserts filled the entire table in the breakfast room.  With the exception of yours truly and my daughter (who studied the culinary arts from me), they are all fabulous cooks.

 

thanx towels 2cr

 

Late Wednesday night after my lemon pound cake was baked and my other dishes were prepped– stuffed baked pumpkin,  garlic green beans and corn pudding–I sewed.  Embroidered dishtowels are my standard Thanksgiving day hostess gift. The brown gingham-bordered towels are from AllAboutBlanks and the designs are a combination of files.  The fall leaf spray is from  Kreations by Kara Autumn Wreaths (a GORGEOUS collection)  and the text and pumpkins were added with my Brother PE-Design. Continue reading