Category Archives: Nana’s nursery

Vintage White Baby Dress


This sweet round yoke baby dress is the last of the six that hang in the nursery here at our home (see post Nana’s Nursery).  With a numerous embellishments, it clearly took considerable time to make.

As usual, I thought about its maker and wondered if the dress had been made for a child, grandchild or perhaps a niece.  Obviously, it was lovingly stitched.  Due to the range of skills exhibited, I even wondered if it had been a group project, perhaps mother and daughter working together.


The simple but extensive embroidery appears to have been done by a very competent needleworker.

The three petal rose pattern is worked between the rows of tucks on the bodice, along the round yoke itself, between tucks on the puff sleeves and in a cascade down the skirt front.   The coordinated designs are carefully stitched. Continue reading

Gingham Dog Quilt Part II

At this point, there is a large square of Swiss flannel in the center, framed with four blue gingham triangles, creating a medallion. Four smaller triangles create the “snowball.”  The perimeter of the flannel snowball  is pinstitched, with the holes from the wing needle in the flannel and the “reach” stitch in the gingham.  The perimeter of the square gingham frame is also pinstitched.

DOG/CAT EMBROIDERY:  All the text files were stitched, including the poem itself as well as the “bow-wow” and “meow” text.  The gingham dog and calico cat was a design from Dakota Collectibles.  Suzanne arranged the text in an arc or wave over the dueling pets.

In an effort to  reduce the stiffness of the  design, the white portion of the gingham dog design was omitted, allowing the white flannel to do the job.  The design was often mirrored for variety.  The shades of blue and yellow 50 wt. DMC machine embroidery thread were varied for the same reason, to create  interest and variety.   Continue reading

Gingham Dog Quilt Part I

This is one of my all-time favorite projects.  My dear friend, Suzanne Sawko, and I collaborated on the design, she digitized the straight line text and I sewed it.

It was a major project and telling you about it will take more than one post.  I doubt many of you would have the patience or endurance to plow through all the details at one sitting.  However, those of you who seek new techniques might find some tidbit of interest in the non-conventional creation of this quilt.  So this is part one.

The quilt celebrates the amazing capabilities of today’s computerized home embroidery machines. Uncommon sewing and quilting techniques make the project interesting and relatively easy. With the whimsy of a classic children’s poem, the beauty of fine heirloom fabrics and the charm of embroidered gingham dogs and calico cats, this quilt has delighted each of my grandchildren.  It hangs now in our upstairs nursery, next to the crib.

crib with quilt rack

What makes this quilt interesting?  Well, the basic construction, for one.  I will never forget my original disdain for quilting, especially after hearing a non-quilter comment that to her it made little sense to cut perfectly good fabric up into little pieces and then sew it back together again.  At that time, I naively concurred.

But there is none of that cutting up and resewing here.  This quilt is very non-traditional in every respect but the design.

QUILT TOP CONSTRUCTION:  The foundation is a 50″ square of Swiss flannel,  a luscious but shifty fabric which creates its own challenges.  Pulled threads created a centered grid of 7″ squares.  After the threads were pulled, the entire piece was starched and pressed.

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Nana’s nursery window shade and valance

Valance is made from antique bassinet skirt.

Have you ever bought something just because you had to have it, even though you had no idea what you would ever do with it? I’m pretty sure most of you have.

About 20 years ago, a vendor at a doll show had an elaborate display of antique textiles. Among her wares was a bassinet skirt, cut in half. In her opinion, bassinets were no longer in use so she cut it in half to make the price more reasonable. I thought it was far more likely that one doting grandmother would pay a good price for a breathtaking skirt than it was for two creative sewists to pay a little less for a chopped up bassinet skirt.  But maybe she was right—I was one one of those “sewists” (I really don’t like that word, but it beats sewer) and she had already sold the other half to another like minded lady.

valance top

Maybe I was on a rescue mission, but I knew it was mine and it came home with me. And then it rested in a drawer for all those years. Continue reading

Story Stool and Stories

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents”

-Emilie Buchwald

“and their grandparents.”  -Janice Ferguson

story stool

Don’t you love reading to children before they go to bed? They are clean and sweet smelling and, usually, a little quieter and sweeter than earlier in the day.

My grandchildren love story time. Even when they are not spending the night with us, they often are bathed and jammied up, ready to read books before the trek home.


nursery stool

It didn’t take me long to realize that I could not balance two babies and a big story book on my lap and still turn the pages. So I decided a stool would be a good solution. After finding a sturdy 4-legged stool, I stacked a round piece of foam and a layer of batting on top. To match the other nursery accessories, blue gingham check covered the top. Continue reading

Nana’s Nursery

Because our married children live nearby, I knew a well equipped nursery would make their frequent visits with grandbabies more enjoyable. So years before they were born, which happened in typically rapid fire succession, I began collecting items for the room I had dedicated as the grandchildren’s nursery.  The beloved, old, caneback rocker is the same one that rocked my daughter’s godmother, then my two babies.  It was just waiting to come out of retirement to rock yet again.

farmhouse light and baby w/bee picture

Many years ago, Suzanne Sawko and I went on a fabulous road trip to the midwest, ostensibly to visit old college friends.  From Florida, we drove  back roads all the way and found antique shops that were heavily stocked and rarely shopped. What treasures we found!

bluebird border, twig swag and valance

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