Category Archives: machine embroidery

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!

 

 

 

7 Year Old’s Quilt

She finished her quilt! She was so proud. It looked a lot better after it was laundered and quilt baste was washed away. But we were too eager to get the photo to wait.  She had to return home shortly after this image was taken.

“Nana, I want to make a quilt,” my 7 year old granddaughter announced last summer. This statement was no noble urge to learn the womanly art of quilting.  Make no mistake,  cold, hard cash was her motivation.

Vivian Rose had listened quietly at a family gathering as the women reminisced around the kitchen table about county fairs in the past and the huge sums that my daughter (Vivian’s mother) and Vivian’s older cousin had earned in premium pay outs.  Their quilts had been the most fun and earned the most prize money. Vivian  was dazzled and convinced this was indeed her road to riches.

I explained to her that making a quilt was a big commitment of time, especially with her living across the state.  We could not get together very often and we would have to work long hours in blocks of  time.  “I can do it,” she declared with determination.  And she did!

When sewing a with a child, it’s important to remember that it is HER (or HIS) project, not yours.  It is hard to simply suggest and not insist when it comes to making design decisions.

QUILT DESIGN

My quick and easy plan was for a 15 block quilt, 5 rows of 3 blocks.  Each block would be 8″ finished, seam allowances would be 1/2″.

NOTE: Of course, I did all the rotary cutting.  No child should handle a rotary cutter. She did, however, do the ironing, with supervision.

Eight 12″ blocks were cut from solid white fabric for machine embroidery and seven 10″ blocks were cut from the cat prints Vivian had chosen. Knowing her lifelong obsession with cats, I had a hefty stash of cat fabrics on hand and a Covid shopping prohibition.  We had to make do with what was on hand.

She selected her favorite 7 cat prints with no concern for color coordination. Next, she proceeded to select 8 redwork cat machine embroidery designs from Embroidery Library’s Crafty Cats Redwork Design Pack in the 5 x 7 size.  I’m so grateful for on-line shopping! The 12″ blocks allowed for easy hooping with water soluble stabilizer.

She had done a good bit of machine embroidery before this so she breezed through the redwork blocks. Here she is joining a block to cat fabric.

 

After embroidery, the blocks were trimmed to 9″ and were sewn into rows with the cat print blocks.  They, too, were trummed to 9″.  Then the rows joined together.  TIP:  After laying out the blocks in rows, we found it helpful to take a picture with my phone.  Then sewing them together made it easier to do so without mistakes. 

Vivi was very particular and most of her corners met almost perfectly. There was no sashing, as the seams were covered with jumbo rickrack.  It seemed almost a shame to cover them.

 

 

A glue stick helped hold the rick rack in place, pins added extra security and the laser on my Brother Dream Machine was a great aid in guiding her stitching.

 

 

After the rick rack was applied,  the backing was prepared.  It was 2″ wider and longer than the finished quilt top, prewashed and pressed.

A quit label was embroidered and stitched to the backing.

 

 

The batting was placed on a firm flat surface and sprayed with quilt baste.  The quilt top was smoothed over it.

The backing was placed face down to the quilt top and pinned securely on all sides.  It was stitched around all sides, leaving an 8″ opening at the bottom to turn the quilt right side out.

After it was turned, the opening seam allowance was folded  under and the edges pressed.  Rick rack was applied to the perimeter, sealing the opening and creating an outer border.

Carefully selected buttons were sewn by machine to each intersection and the ends of each length of rick rack.  They were secured in place with a glue stick.

TIP:  Just as when arranging the blocks before sewing,  the carefully selected buttons were photographed in place, section by section so they were visible as it was their time to be sewn in place.

 

She was just preparing to sew on buttons. I should have waited until she had sewn on a few. We had  repositioned the machine to the dining room so she had a big table to support the quilt but hadn’t  rotated it to be helpful.

 

Vivian learned so much while making this quilt, most importantly the satisfaction of a job well done, even though it took a long time, especially with  frequent canine interruptions.

 

 

And about that  plan that this quilt would be her road to riches?  That didn’t work out. Sadly, due to the pandemic, the county fair was cancelled for the first time since 1923.

She handled her disappointment very well.  I comforted her with news that now she had a great head start for next year, and now she has time to get more projects ready to enter.  So perhaps that road to riches beckons yet.  But there is more fun in the projects and the learning than the riches.  And more fun with Nana.  Yay!

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

The day after the fabric was ordered, Vivian was here to finish her quilt (a future post).  She loves plundering through my sewing room and the nursery closet where she came across cousin Laurel’s Christmas dress from 2010, just waiting for her to grow into it. That was the nutcracker themed Christmas before Vivi was born, when Laurel was the Sugar Plum Fairy, Robert was the Nutcracker and little Alastair was the Mouse King.

 

Surely, I  thought, Vivi is too small for this.  But she insisted she wanted to try it on. Lo and behold, it fit!   She desperately wanted that dress.  When I explained  that the fabric for the white lace dress, which she also desperately wanted, was already on its way, she replied, “Nana, a girl needs more than one Christmas dress!”  Who could argue with that, even during a pandemic.

But the beading on the bib was damaged and needed repair, so I could not send it home with her.  I put it off and finally mended the lace with 80 wt. Madeira thread.   The dress was sent to her priority mail a full week ago.  It still has not made it 150 miles across the state, but the poor USPS has been swamped this holiday season.  I expect it will arrive before Christmas and one of those other 2 hairbows will match the pink ribbon.

So I’m feeling pretty smug right now, knowing that my little granddaughter is all set for Christmas 2020 AND for Christmas 2021!  I bet not many sewist can feel that relaxed!

Meanwhile, I wish all of you dear readers a very merry Christmas and holiday season.  Also I wish you all a happy, healthy 2021!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Fast and Fun Halloween Projects

With so many schools relegated to virtual on-line computer classes and Halloween activities being cancelled, it seems more important than ever for our children to have some fall festival fun.  These projects are fun to make and fun to share.

These darling pencil toppers were just sent to my younger grands to share with their classmates, by mailing them to their friends. Did you know that Halloween is the most popular secular holiday in the USA?  Just ask my grandchildren.  They are crazy for this time of year.  Last month, 6 yo Vivian Rose told me she was counting the days until Oct. 1 so she could start wearing her Halloween clothes.

This is a bit of a joke, as she is required to wear a uniform to school–when she went off to school.  But still she dresses for “class” at her computer desk at home.  So hairbows, headbands and pencil toppers are her extra Halloween expressions for the school day.

These pencil toppers from GG Designs  are just a joy to stitch out.  They come as a single design or “sorted” with four pumpkins or ghosts or bats in a single 4×4 hoop. I combined 2 sorted sets of pumpkins into a larger hoop, did another color sort and stitched 8 pencil toppers in just a few minutes.  This was repeated with the ghosts and then with the bats.  It takes longer to cut out the felt designs than it did the stitch them. Now the set is on sale for only $4.13.

What a sweet little gift this would be to a favorite elementary teacher to share with her in-house students.  There are so many who would be happy to receive these slightly spooky pencil toppers.

GG Designs Embroidery was the inspiration for another Halloween favorite which was sent to my grandchildren last Halloween.  This was digitized and also stitched for the children at church, making me one of  the more popular church Nanas!

As a paid Brother Ambassador (required disclosure), the project was posted at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial and includes a step-by-step photo tutorial, as well as a FREE download of the file for the pumpkin.

There is still plenty of time to whip up these cuties.  For your children, grands, neighbors, church children or for nursing home patients, these pumpkin treat bags are sure to bring a smile.

 

Fun Bug Bag

 

Summer is not yet over, and for some of us, it seems it never will end! As entertaining the children becomes more and more challenging, sometimes just getting them out of the house for a while is a worthy goal.

Whip up this quick and easy bug bag and they will be kept busy prowling the bushes and grass. Make it plain or make it fancy.  Honestly, it takes longer to read the instructions than to make the basic bag.Whether the prey be creepy crawlies or fireflies, the adventure is a child’s version of a jungle safari.   Work this into a lesson into entomology and identify some of these yard beasties and it becomes an educational adventure.

This fiberglass screen wire teepee bag (the name suggested by its shape) is a perfect accessory and holding pen. Use insect designs from design library to embellish the outside. Your  Brother embroidery machine and most others will handle the screen wire effortlessly. The stand-alone butterfly swaying inside the bag will intrigue the children and send them racing out the door into nature.

Let’s make a bug bag!

Requirements:

    • sewing/embroidery machine
    • open toe foot, basic sewing foot
    • 4×4 or 5×7 frame to embroider more than one design in the same frame
    • Fiberglass screen wire: 18 x 26” for bag embroidery and another large piece for stitch rehearsal of each potential design.
    • Utility scissors for cutting screen wire and zipper
    • Notions: zipper at least 18” or with plastic teeth. Longer is fine. It will be cut to size during construction; 8-10” cord or ribbon; monofilament, sewing and embroidery thread, seam sealant
    • Extra heavy water-soluble stabilizer (wss)
    • Download both left and right files below and piece together.

layout template left and layout template right (request below in comments and they will be emailed to you)Preparation

1. Print pattern/design templates. It is broken into two parts because my scanner bed is too small for the entire template. Print both the left and right templates and tape them together.
2. Print template of each design you plan to use. If deemed appropriate, resize to be proportional to the bag.
3. Cut 18 x 26” screen wire. This large size makes hooping easier.
4. Tape completed template to white surface or pin to padded surface.

Note: It may be necessary to trace over the lines with a wide black marking pen for better visibility.

5. Center screen wire over template and tape or pin corners to hold in place.
6. Trace section placement lines onto screen wire with child’s “school” chalk. These lines show each section of the finished bag for suitable embroidery placement.

Note 1: To make the necessary marks, neither a sliver of soap, chalk marker or washout marker could be seen on the screen wire. Only white chalk, like that used on school black or green boards worked. Hmmm… were you ever in a classroom with a chalkboard? If so, you must be a grandmother like me.
Note 2: The screen wire will slip if not well secured when placed over the template. The red slashes show where it slipped and the line had to be redrawn after pinning it more securely to a padded surface.

7. Place templates of selected embroidery designs in chosen location within the section.

Note: It is helpful to take a picture with your phone so you can refer to it as you embroider.

8. Wind bobbin in each thread color used in the designs.

Embroidery

9. Select one or two designs to embroider on one large side and load into machine.
10. Hoop screen wire and heavy-duty water-soluble stabilizer (wss). Puckering occurred when the screen wire was simply basted to the wss.

NOTE:  If you are blessed with a Brother embroidery machine with a camera capability, detailed instructions are posted at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial here.  Otherwise, proceed as you will.

13.  After embroidery, do not remove wss.14. Continue hooping and embroidering each section. The wss is still in place on the back. Do NOT embroider the ladybugs now.

Note: To create the illusion of the ladybugs trailing up the green zipper they must be embroidered after the zipper insertion.

Construction

Insert the zipper in this unorthodox manner, stitched flat on the top side of the screen wire. This is done so the ladybugs could be embroidered along the zipper edge.

15. Attach open toe foot. The zipper is placed on top of the screen wire.
16. Open the zipper, place the top of the tape at the top of the bag’s marked cutting, right side up with the teeth at the edge of the left marked bag side.

17. Straight stitch 1/8-1/4” from zipper teeth, with open toe foot positioned along the edge of the teeth. Needle position is in far right.
18. Open the zipper as far as possible. Repeat on the opposite side. WSS is still in place.
19. Stitch ‘grass’ for ladybugs’ home. On my Dream Machine that was  stitch #7-12, width 6.5, length 4.0.  Or select a similar stitch.

    • Return to Embroidery

      20. Open ladybugs design. Hoop with zipper near center of frame. Position design. Embroider.

21. Hoop 2 layers of wss in 4×4 frame. Embroider butterfly. This one was resized up to 2.56 x 2.55”. Be sure to use matching thread in the bobbin.

22. Remove as much wss as possible then soak in tepid water until the edges are clean. What remains between the layers will give the free flying butterfly stability. Pat with paper towels to help it dry.
When almost dry, shape it with wings spread as if to fly. The antennae are just loose threads. Applying a bit of seam sealant gives them some body.

Return to Construction

23. Cut screen wire to 8×16”, along marked chalk lines but do not cut zipper. Best to remeasure for exact sizing. Leave zipper open to its greatest length.
24. Remove as much wss as possible. Trim screen wire and wss from teeth edges to first line of stitching.

25. Immerse bag in tepid water to dissolve wss.
26. Lie flat on a towel and roll the towel around it, like a burrito. Squeeze out excess moisture and hang to dry. If you are in a rush, a blow dryer speeds up the process of drying the zipper tape.

27. Stitch a folded 8-10” cord or grosgrain ribbon to the top edge within the ¼” seam allowance. The loop should hang down with raw edges extended a little beyond the seam allowance. This creates a loop handle.

28. Close zipper a few inches above the bottom raw edge. Fold the bag inside out with the closed zipper in the center of the seam line. Stitch with ¼” seam allowance right over zipper.

29. Cut excess zipper-finally! Use utility scissors.

30. Fold top in half with zipper at one side. Begin stitching at zipper just above the first tooth. Back stitch for reinforcement. Angle up to ¼” seam line. The open toe foot gives best visibility for those first stitches.

30. Fold top in half with zipper at one side. Begin stitching at zipper just above the first tooth. Back stitch for reinforcement. Angle up to ¼” seam line. The open toe foot gives best visibility for those first stitches.

Does this make you want to hunt bugs or to sew a bug bag?

 

Pooh’s Book Pillow

Hello-0-0-0!  If there are any readers left out there, I’m still here!  Neither the virus nor lethargy has kept me quiet, just the hurry-up of life, even while in lockdown!

This is a fun little project that was done for precious little Beatrice, #1 fan of Winnie the Pooh.

The book pillow was also done for Brother’s Stitching Sewcial blog to celebrate Pooh’s birthday, hence the included book.  Finding that little paperback required  determination and skills worthy of Sherlock Holmes,  but I was driven once I knew such a publication existed, though long out of print.

Book pillows have surged in popularity and not just for children.  Who wouldn’t want to curl up with a good book and a soft pillow?  With the recent stay at home call, this is a soothing antidote to what might be seen as isolation.

Why not make one today, for a child, for a friend, for a shut in, for yourself, for anyone! The instructions are for the Winnie the Pooh pillow shown, but any fabric, any embroidery design may be substituted.

NOTE:  This pillow was made on my Brother Dream Machine.  Some instructions are specific to that.  Greater details can be found on Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial here. Continue reading

Birthday Tea at Sea and Free Designs

I’m sorry it has been sooo long since a new blog has been posted.  Hip replacement, shingles and husband’s shoulder surgery has kept me too busy.  Now, at last, I can share this bit of Nana fun with you.~~~~

Grandchildren are just sooo much fun!  Fun is what we had recently on a cruise to Cozumel with our daughter and her family, including 10 yo Alastair and  Vivian Rose.  The occasion was to celebrate Vivi’s 7th birthday.

There, on board and overlooking the aqua blue Caribbean, she was the guest of honor at a genuine Fancy Nancy afternoon tea. It was pure delight!

Vivian Rose, wearing her smocked Ode to Joy dress (Maggie B pattern) and flaunting a purple boa, looks on the tea table set for the celebration. Note the lollipop centerpiece.

The birthday tea was a huge success.  Refreshments included pastries and dessert treats from the ship’s buffet accompanied with  Fancy Nancy Tea.  Feather boas and a chest of costume jewelry added to the elegance of the fete.

We had a fine time, or,  as was often said so many years ago in the Glenwood News column of our tiny local newspaper, “a good time was had by all.”  Several other ship passengers as well as servers stopped by to ask about the gala affair and offer Vivi birthday congratulations.

The tea also offered several opportunities to teach proper, ladylike behavior.

Vivian delicately wipes her mouth with her napkin–with no reminder!

She learned  that it is  impolite to discuss politics, religion or her health at a tea party or in any “polite” company.

“What’s politics?” she asked.   “Don’t worry about that now.  Just don’t talk about it when you find out.”    “Okay,” she obediently replied. What a good girl!

She listened attentively as her mother read Vivi’s new Fancy Nancy’s Tea Party book.  Little did we know she was already planning to soon host her own little tea party.

As her mother read, Vivian listened raptly to her new Fancy Nancy Tea Party book.

The idea for this event came about during her latest visit to our home.   We had been rummaging through boxes of my treasures in the garage when she came across a  few doll size tea sets. She was enchanted and asked if she could keep one.  We promptly had an impromptu tea party with her mother’s old Cabbage Patch doll (wearing a smocked dress) and a teddy.  Of course, she went home with the doll set, but I had this another in mind for her.

Having put aside this little porcelain set for her years ago, I presented it to her for her birthday at sea.   At the tea party she saw it for the first time. To me it has a distinctive Mary Engelbreit look.

Several years ago, Cousin Laurel was presented with the identical set and put it to use for several tea parties. At her Second Annual Tea Party,  guests were invited to bring their dolls.  It added a whole new dimension to the festivities.

To accompany Vivian’s service for 6, I made coordinating tea linens with monogrammed napkins.  The centerpiece is a painted flower pot loaded with jelly beans and lollipops.  Card stock leaves were added to the sticks to create a sugar illusion of a pot of sugary flowers..

Even before I was blessed with the grandchildren of my dreams, this tea set was the inspiration for a class I taught many times around the country.  Detailed instructions and the recipe for the Kindergarten Tea (now renamedFancy Nancy Tea) are included in this post http://www.janicefergusonsews.com/blog/2009/08/30/tea-party-time/ 

The perfect machine applique’d bow design was ever so kindly digitized by Mary Alice Smith of Alabama.   The hand-look embroidered napkin corners are part of a set digitized by my dear friend, Suzanne Sawko.  If you would like the free tea linen designs (available only in .pes), please leave your request as a comment below.

Just hours after returning home from the port, Vivian insisted on hosting an impromptu tea party in her yard under the Florida sunshine.  I asked my daughter if she had reminded Vivi about forbidden conversation topics.

She replied, “I didn’t have to.  Vivi firmly instructed her guests what not to talk about.”  Her previously informed too cool brother, attending only for the Oreos and banana slices, just rolled his eyes.

 

 

Vivi’s Cruise Dress

Almost 7 yo Vivian Rose is tiny. A size 5 Children’s Corner Louise would have fit her ever so much better. She poses in Central Park on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas cruise ship.

Life has been a whirlwind for us these past few weeks.  Of course, Hurricane Dorian was expected for a very long time and preparations were non-stop.  With 3 acres of patio furniture, potted plants, a standing basketball hoop, pool, and other miscellany, it seems there is always more you can do to prepare for a Cat 5 hurricane.

My fabulous husband, Bob, up on first story roof to put up storm shutters on second story windows. Already the skies were gray.

 

Additionally, I spent more hours in front of  the television than I have in the past year.  The weather and each of Dorian’s tiny turns to the east and then the west were monitored vigilantly.  The weather  had never seemed so important.

But living 30 miles inland from the coast, we were spared. Our damage amounted to two downed palm fronds and a few clumps of Spanish moss.  But days were spent waiting and watching Dorian’s painfully slow progress as it viciously battered the Bahamas and inched up the Florida coast.  We thanked God for His mercy, prayed for the poor Bahamians who were suffering bitterly, and prayed for those still in the storms path.

We had a cruise to the Bahamas scheduled for Sept. 2 and that was cancelled, of course.  By the time the storm passed, we were rebooked on a cruise which departed from Port Canaveral Sept. 5, just 30 hours after we received confirmation.

The purpose and highlight of the cruise was spending time with our two younger grandchildren, 10 yo Alastair, 6 yo Vivian Rose, and their parents.  We had a fabulous time.

The “cruise” dress I made in such a rush for Vivian Rose was done well before the hurricane was due to make landfall.  Inspired by a gorgeous dress made by famous smocking plate designer Terry Collins, I ordered the fabric the very day she posted her dress on-line.  The pattern is Children’s Corner Louise.

 

This is a terrific pattern, a blank canvas for a variety of embellishments.  Or it is lovely as shown as a jumper or sundress.  The bodice is fully lined.

While making this, I faced many of the problems familiar to those of you whose grandchildren do not live nearby.  Though Vivi soon will be 7, she is very tiny. Yet her mother declared that she wears a size 6 and that’s what I should make.  So I did.

Obviously it it too large in every respect except the length.  You can see  the gaping armholes in the first picture.

 

Continue reading

Free Happy Face Pencil Toppers

My turn to present the Children’s Message at church came this week just in time for back-t0-school.

The children range in age from 4-10 so the message needed to be catchy to get their attention and brief enough to keep that attention.  Additionally, there must be a meaningful message.

 

This bag and fabric was a gift to me from the Ghana mission team in thanks for the garments our sewing group made. The bright colors certainly caught the children’s attention.

 

With a large, colorful  tote bag next to me,  I mentioned that they had all begun a new school year.  Then I asked what they learn at school.  The answers were just as expected–math, reading, manners and to be kind (that was nice to hear).

They were curious about the bag but I said they would see what was in it later.  It was a surprise.  Darling tow-headed Reid, 4 yo,  had snuggled up to me before the service began and sneaked a look in the bag.  He shouted smugly, “I know what the surprise is!!!!” Continue reading