Category Archives: Nana fun

Too Big, Too Precious

8 yo loving her too large, unhemmed smocked dress

 

This dress and this little girl make my heart sing.  Our summer has been so full,  so busy, and absolutely fabulous, but this dress is one of the highlights for me.  All this busy-ness is why  it’s been so long since I have posted.

Our pilot son flew the family down from their new home in New Jersey.  11 yo Robert and 13 yo Laurel spent the week visiting with old friends and spending time with their cousin Vivi.  What a wonderful family time that was!  Cousins, pool, golf cart rides, puppies to play with–it was plenty to make them happy.

 

Robert and Vivian Rose

 

Robert stayed with us when the rest of the family went home.  The next day we drove to the North Carolina mountains where we stayed at a fabulous cabin.

 

Now this is a great place to enjoy smocking!

 

At wonderful Bear Ridge Cabin in Brevard, our daughter Rebecca and Vivian Rose joined us while 8 yo Alastair was spending his last week at Camp Watitoh in Massachussets.   Our mutual friend Zahra and her two children also joined us while the daddies stayed at home working.

The children were just delightful, a special treat for this Nana and Granddad.

 

After s’mores, the children were all jammied up and ready for bed.

 

Robert spent most of that week at Camp Ridge Haven and had a wonderful 1st time sleepaway camp experience.

 

Camp Ridge Haven

 

And at last, that brings me to the dress at the top of this post.

Zahra is a new and very enthusiastic machine embroiderer but was interested in learning about sewing as well.  She brought along her workhorse Brother ULT 2003D and was ready to try the sewing side of the machine.

I had brought along several “kits” of potential projects and both Zahra and her daughter Aliya chose this pattern.

 

This is a great pattern!  The shoulder ties and pockets are adorable and have great appeal for a child.

 

With lime green pique for the dress, orange gingham for the lining, orange whipstitch piping, and a pre-smocked insert, we were ready to sew.

Aliya is an average sized 8 yo but her mother thought making a size 10 would be a safer bet.  She surely didn’t want her first sewing project to be too small.  Zahra did a great job, but as it turned out, the dress was way too large for Aliya.  Still, she loved it!  I mean she reeeeeally loved it!

 

It is apparent that the dress is too big for this little girl.

 

The dress literally swallowed up  this darling girl.  Unwilling to wait until she grew into it, she deserved alterations.  Such drastic changes were beyond her mother’s new sewing skills so I did my best to make it fit.

Taking 1/2″ seams along each bodice side seam was a start, but was not enough.  So ties were added and attached at the altered side seams.

 

No one could ever say this was a well-fittied dress.  But it surely is a well-loved dress!

 

With the daily activities through the week–tubing, Sliding Rock, the Asheville Zoo, and gem mining–we only sewed at night, after dinner.

 

6 yo Kaden and 4 yo Vivi with their “gems.” Vivi is wearing her firefly outfit from two summers ago. I love the CC Jane pattern!

 

Time ran out before we got to the hem.

Our last day at the cabin we visited another summer camp.  For this outing, Aliya begged to wear her new dress, even unhemmed.  It was impossible for her mother to deny the child the joy she felt wearing her first mama-made dress.

Now Zahra wonders if the dress might be worn out before Aliya grows into it!  Can you think of many things sweeter than an 8 yo loving her first smocked dress this much?

Almost as sweet as Aliya’s delight is the fact that every single element of this dress was purchased at an absolutely wonderful facebook group, Smocking Destash.  This is like an on-line yard sale with only sewing items.  Many are used, some are new, some are long since out of print.  But all are at very low prices.  of course, it is a great place to clear your shelves of unused, outgrown patterns and fabric you just never got around to using.

It is a “secret” group, which means you have to be added by an existing member.  That keeps it very safe and there are, to my knowledge, no bad transactions.  If you have any interest in joining, drop me a note as a comment below this post or at NCcabin@aol.com.

Meanwhile,  life is good  for the Fergusons and the summer has been great. My dear husband had knee replacement surgery 2 days after we returned from NC.  Rather than go to rehab he opted to come home.  It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to care for him, though his recovery is so remarkable that he requires not nearly as much care as I expected.

As I said, life is good.  I hope your summer is going well and you are getting more sewing done than I am!

 

 

Style Conflicts

CC Charlotte top and Parker Pants shorts–she likes it!!!!  I love the Confederate jasmine in bloom.  The scent is heavenly.

 

I doubt I’m the only Nana who has issues with what I want to sew and what a child wants to wear. My passion for sewing for my grandchildren and the fashion preferences of 4 yo Vivian have been at odds more and more frequently as she grows.  Even at a very early age she had strong preferences for her outer wear.  As you can tell from the name of my blog, I am an old fashioned Nana.  Vivi is a modern child, 2 generations removed.

 

enjoying Butterbeer at Harry Potter World

Continue reading

Beautiful Easter ’17

What a hambone! This little girl in her smocked Swiss voile bishop loves the camera.

 

I hope you all had a joyous Easter.  Ours was beyond fabulous, with a beautiful worship service and all four grandchildren and their parents for the weekend.  It could only have been better if our pilot son had not  been flying out in the wild blue yonder.

It was a non-stop celebration.  Saturday morning a church family hosted an Easter egg  hunt for 40+ children.  Wonderful as the hunt and the huge bounce house were, the highlight for most of the children was fishing in the pond.  Those fish were hungry and hit on every line.  Every child caught at least one fish. Grandson Alastair, 8, caught 4!  He was ecstatic.

 

 

Vivian Rose also caught a fish but she seemed more disgusted than thrilled.  She was happy to have her daddy’s help dealing with her catch.  She looked so cute and comfortable in her Petite Poche Penny. Continue reading

Kids Say the Darndest Things

V passion vine bench CR

Vivian Rose wearing her Meet Me at the Fair outfit.

We enjoyed a fabulous weekend with 4 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.  She kept us laughing for 3 days.  If you’ve read earlier posts about this unique little gal, you know she is very strong willed and more than a little mischievous.

As soon as she arrived she asked for yet another kitty cat dress.  On a quick stroll into my sewing room she spotted the fabric just recently purchased in anticipation of cat dress #3.

cat fabric

 

“Make it now, Nana!  I will help.”  And she did, in her own way.

 

She was pulling out all the "rainbow fabric" off the shelves from behind the blind which protects my fabrics from sunlight.

 

After pulling out “rainbow” fabric from the shelves behind the sunscreen shades, she made herself a scarf and pillaged through my button drawer.  Very little sewing was accomplished. This was exhausting for both of us.

So I plunked her on a quilt in front of the tv, thinking she would surely fall asleep.  About 10 minutes later she strolled in wearing nothing but her panties, asking was her dress done?

I told her she must put her clothes on.  “No, I don’t want to.”  Several admonishments brought the same response, “No.”  So I told her that if she wouldn’t put her clothes on I would not sew her dress.

She said, “Well, I’m sorry you won’t be able to sew, Nana. I know you like to sew.”  With head held high, she resolutely went back to her quilt in front of the tv.  I just sat there for a few minutes and then resumed sewing.  When I peeked in on her, she had dressed.  Whew.

 

V granddad's study

In her granddad’s study, wearing her Children on Parade dress.

 

Here she is after she ran upstairs to give her hardworking grandfather a kiss. “He needs one,” she said after having been told that he had been working ’round the clock to get a proposal done by Monday.

When asked if she missed her mama and daddy, she calmly replied no.  But this is how much she loves them, “10!” she replied with arms spread wide, as shown.

How much does she love Nana?  Again, “10!”  How much does she love Granddad?   “45!!!”  She is really his girl.

This 10 for Nana was a big relief, especially after an earlier incident.  Earlier, I had to fuss at her about something, so she retreated to the front porch to pout for a few minutes.

pouting

pouting

She returned to the kitchen, got paper and pencil from the supply closet and sat down at the table.  First she wrote her name then scribbled a list of words.  Note that Vivian routinely adds a second syllable to one syllable words, i.e. boys are “boy-ez.”

“What are you writing?” I asked in a conciliatory voice.

“I’m making a li-on of all the people I love.”  Then she looked me right in the eye and said,  “Nana, you are last on the lion.”  So my new rating of 10, equal to her mother’s was comforting.

Later, we played with the 3-face doll my mother made years ago.  I love the doll and it enchanted both my Rebecca (Vivi’s mother) and cousin Laurel when each was 5.

 

DSC06220cry

 

When I first showed Vivian the happy faced doll, she smiled.  When I discreetly switched to the crying doll, she grabbed it from me, turned the doll’s head, and said, “That’s a crazy doll.”  Then she walked away, unimpressed.

Sunday morning, as we were getting ready for church, she demonstrated some of her ballet moves.  She needs more lessons.

 

ballet kitchen

She is wearing her Christmas dress from 2 years ago. It’s pretty darn short on her now. Glad I made long bloomers.

 

On the way to church, we advised her that there would be a children’s sermon, at which time she would go to the front of the church with the other children.  She liked that.  She is very social.

 

V pew

Waiting for church to start.

 

As soon as the pastor said, “I’d like to invite the children……….” she was racing down the aisle.  She was at the front of the sanctuary when he finished his sentence, “ages 3 to 5 to come forward.”

She spun around, gave us a deer-in-the-headlights look and ran back to our pew.  “But I’m FOUR!!!”  We assured her it was okay and back to the front she ran.

At the fellowship hour after worship, tables are arranged around the perimeter of the basketball court.  After she gobbled her cookie, she walked to the empty center of the room and announced (not that anyone heard or noticed) that it was time for her ballet show.  She twirled and danced (no music) and fell a few times.

At the end of the brief performance, she turned to each side of the room, spread her arms out wide and said, “Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.”  Then she returned to our table.

bumblebee

That afternoon we had fun playing with this free-standing bumblebee, left over from one of my projects.  She chased, pretending to sting me and I was appropriately frightened. Then we reversed roles.  I guess that planted the seed for her nighttime deception.

At bedtime, as we headed for her bed, she gave a loud warning.  “Do not go in the closet, Nana!!!”  I was immediately suspicious and asked why.

“Because there is a very, very big wasp in there and he will sting you.”  hmmmm..I smelled a rat.

“Don’t you worry, Vivi, I’ll get that wasp.”  She still protested NO!  until I turned the closet door knob.  Then she said, “I’m sorry, Nana.”

The closet was perfectly in order.

closet-2

 

Very gently, I asked her what she had done.  With some shame she showed me where she had stashed 4 Milk Bones for our dog Rastus, who had already far exceeded his treat limit for the day, thanks to her generosity.  She admitted that she planned to “treat” Rastus after we fell asleep.

So those are some of the highlights and fun of our 3 days with Vivian.  Of course, my favorite hairbrush has disappeared along with my new toothbrush which is purple (her favorite color that day).  But who cares?  We had a grand time and she didn’t want to go home when her mother came to pick her up.

Sigh…..it’s nice to know that I am no longer last on the lion.

 

 

Meet Me at the Fair!

Having just arrived at her first fair, granddaughter Vivian Rose was awestruck.

Having just arrived at her first fair, granddaughter Vivian Rose was awestruck.

Midweek our daughter called to ask if we would like to have  3 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose for the weekend.  OF COURSE!!!!   Her brother and daddy would be camping with the Cub Scouts and her mama planned a visit with her college roommate.

When I realized that the county fair was in progress, I was even more excited.  I LOVE the fair.  This would be an incredible experience for all three of us–Nana, Granddad and Vivi.

When she arrived Friday afternoon,  we looked on-line at fair pictures.  She was intrigued and couldn’t wait.

After our little bundle of energy was bedded down late Friday night, I started on her fair outfit.  It was a HUGE hit for this gal with very strong fashion opinions.

 

meet-me-v-front-porch

 

Her  “rainbow leggings”  were recently purchased just because I thought she would like them. At the time,  I wasn’t sure just what I would make to go with them.  When the fair visit was scheduled, I knew they would perfectly compliment the CC Lucy I had envisioned. Continue reading

Finding Dory~Another Fun Disney Dress

image 1 close finished p

My step-by-step tutorial for this dress is posted at Brother’s Stitching Sewcial blog. Please take a look and leave a comment . I’d really appreciate your feedback.

 

It seems like forever since there has been a new post here, but My! Oh! My! have I been busy!  Highlights include time in NC with family, a week at home with 2 younger grands, including hurricane Vivian Rose (good news,  we have finally recovered. Whew!), several days of sewing with the two older grands and so much more.   It’s been a wonderful summer.

But I’m back in the saddle now and have a really fun little project to share with you.  I do believe this sweet child’s dress would qualify for the “Modern Projects for Old Fashioned Nanas” category.  Don’t you?

It started with this cute pattern

image-2-Dory-patt

and the Finding Dory machine embroidery designs at iBroidery.com.  The fabrics are a solid soft aqua Swiss cotton pique’ and a blue Disney Finding Dory quilting cotton. Continue reading

Alice Tea Linens Tutorial

image 1 panned set all shadowed

This child sized tea linen set features Alice in Wonderland characters.  With the heavenly scented Confederate Jasmine in full bloom on my front porch, a sweet tea party could be held, if only I had a few grandchildren in house.

 

Making this linen tea set was such a pleasure.  The project and accompanying tutorial were just posted on Brother’s Stitching Sewcial  blog.    This is especially timely with the recent release of Disney’s new movie, Alice through the Looking Glass. A whole new generation of children will meet the characters through this movie.

The tutorial includes .pdf downloads for the corner templates (a smaller one for the napkins and a larger one for the tablecloth).  It also includes a link to download the zig zag feather stitch which I created in My Custom Stitch,  available on many Brother machines.  I find this stitch useful for many projects–baby bonnets,   baby shawls,   blankets and more.

If your machine has this feature, you might want to download the zig zag feather even if you are not planning to whip up an Alice tea linen set.  Instructions for getting this stitch from the download to a memory stick to your machine are included in the tutorial.

When I began this project, my biggest challenge was to select the designs from  the 13 designs available at iBroidery.com.   Somehow, they would be have to be color coordinated with sweet Alice’s dress because the Madeira tablecloth corners just had to be blue.

 

 

Alice napkin close

 

Finally, I decided that the napkin corners would have to coordinate with its many colored embroidered characters. Continue reading

Straw Hats and Frog Pee

B hat stand

Rebecca’s hat

 

Embroidered straw hats seem to be turning up everywhere–at the beach, in the park, even at church.  Stitching them must be tricky, I thought.

But while shopping, I spotted two nice hats marked way down and thought, why not try?  If I ruin  them, the loss is small.  If they finish nicely–well, great!  Our daughter would like one.  She always wears a big hat when she hits the beach with the children and they go very often.   So with two hats taking up room  in my crowded sewing room, I thought it was time to have a go at it.

 

The monogram is from Loralie's Loralesque collection.

The monogram is from Loralie’s Loralesque collection.

 

Just an hour or two before Rebecca arrived with her two children and her good friend Zahra with her two, I decided the time had come.  (Remember Dr. Suess’s Marvin K Mooney?  “The time has come, the time is now, just go go go. I don’t care how.”  I read that book  at least 500 times to my son and can quote most of it verbatim even now.)

I recalled that there was a tutorial at Embroidery Library about embroidering on straw hats.  It’s a GREAT tute.  After reading through the comprehensive instructions, the hats met my Brother Dream Machine which performed flawlessly.  In a very short while, I had a hat ready for each of the young mothers. 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.

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

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!

Halloween Bedtime

The Ninja pumpkin design is from  XXXand the witch -costumed koala is from an old Amazing Designs collection, Seasonal Daisy Kingdom.

Alastair’s pillowcase design is Embroidery Boutique’s Ninja Pumpkin design. Vivian Rose’s little witch -costumed koala is from an old Amazing Designs collection, Seasonal Daisy Kingdom.  The moon and stars were added.

 

Soooo busy!  I thought my “golden years” were supposed to be leisurely!  But they are not and I am not complaining about my full, rich, active life.  Still, a little leisure would be nice.

I know I have promised Part 2 of my post on lace tape, but that has been pushed to the back burner, due to new family demands and responsibilities.  I’m sorry about that but it will be posted as soon as I can get to it.

Aside from all the must-do’s I managed to squeeze out these Halloween pillowcases for my two younger grandchildren.   6 yo Alastair who is a big time Ninja fan, and Vivian Rose, 2.5 yo is delighted with anything.

The really fun feature of her pillowcase is the moon and stars, in the sky and on the witch robe.  After the success of her firefly dress with glow-in-the dark lightning bugs, I invested in several spools of glowing thread. It offers so many creative opportunities!!!! Continue reading