Category Archives: party accessories and ideas

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.

FREE Peekaboo Pumpkin Treat Bag

 

Now here is a quick, easy and fun fall project for you.  Since orange gourd designs are appropriate through Thanksgiving, you can stitch up a whole pumpkin patch of these to share. Even without an embroidery machine, you could trace a pumpkin and stitch the entire project on your sewing machine.

A detailed photo tutorial and the free design in 4×4 a d 5×7 are available at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial. You can be very creative with this little pumpkin, using various colors of felt, burlap or even a sturdy fabric.

I especially liked using my Brother P-touch Embellish ribbon and tape printer  to print BOO! for the black pumpkin tie.

black love the imprinted ribbon

 

There are so many great projects posted at Stitching Sewcial, like Angela Wolf’s lovely burlap jar covers embellished with Scan ‘n Cut letters FALL.

 

 

Having recently purchased a Scan ‘n Cut I was especially interested in this project.  Check out Angela’s post and her tutorial here.  I just love the long fringe at the top and bottom of the jars.

And here is another fall project from Joanne Banko, Fall Wreath–a great post, great project, great tutorial with a great free sunflower swag design.

 

Happy Fall to you all!  Enjoy stitching for this colorful season.

 

 

 

Beaded Bag

If you happened to stop by these past  two weeks, you must have thought I have dropped off the face of the earth.  Though very busy, I have managed to stitch a few things that I would like to share with you.

 

monogrammed for a bridesmaid

 

Today I’m showing a feminine drawstring bag.  This is a bride’s gift to her bridesmaid, stuffed with a few precious momentos, reminders of the young ladies’ time together and a matching monogrammed handkerchief.  After the wedding, the bag can hold more handkerchiefs or whatever pretties that need a container.

The fabric is a lovely organza from fabric.com.  The fabric was cut 10″ x 16″.   With a width of 118″ 7  bags can be cut from 1/3 yd. with plenty of room to straighten the fabric edge.

In order to show off the ribbon, ivory French lace beading was used instead of a casing.

The beaded trim was originally  joined to a dark brown twill base.  After it was stitched in place, the taupe colored satin ribbon stitched on top of it.

The same ribbon was used for the drawstring ties.  Thread for the monogram was chosen to match the ribbon.

I love a quick project every now and again.  This same bag could be purposed for so many other uses–bridal showers, birthdays or any gift occasion.  It’s nice to have a simple project to make up in a hurry when the need arises.  Then try stitching a pretty bag like this.

 

 

 

 

Beauty and the Beast Spa Wrap

 

This cute spa wrap isn’t green, but there is a bit of the color in the trim.

 

 

What a fun little project this is!  My older granddaughter loved her monogrammed wrap and  those I made for her Spatacular 8th birthday party guests.  There was also one for each girl’s American Girl doll (see that tutorial here).

Laurel would love one with the Beauty and the Beast design, available from iBroidery.com for Brother Disney embroidery machines.

She is our little drama queen, but not in a bad way.  Laurel has been performing in local stage productions since she was 7 and acting as narrator in Beauty was one of her favorite roles. Continue reading

Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

napkin panned AliceCR

 

It’s busy, busy, busy in the sewing room.  My current project is an Alice in Wonderland linen tea set and I’m loving every minute of it.  The new Alice designs at Brother’s iBroidery.com got me so excited that I had to make this.  Soon there will be a tutorial for the project which includes a 30″ tablecloth, and 4 napkins.

Baby tatting edges the Madeira applique’ on each corner of the tablecloth which features a Brother My Custom Stitch zig zag feather stitch.   The same corner embellishes each napkin.  All four sides are pinstitched.

Along with Alice, the tea party guests include the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts,  three different Alices, TweedleDum and his twin TweedleDee.

 

napkin panned White Rabbit

 

I love having tea parties with my grandchildren.  It’s a great situation for talking about manners and etiquette, proper table linens and more.   There’s nothing like cookies to motivate a child to hang around the tea table and chat.

Laurel started partying when she was very small.  As she grew older and we had a little tea time break during the 3 years I homeschooled her and her brother.  I even managed to work the Boston Tea Party into the conversation.  It was just too good an opportunity to miss giving a little history lesson.

 

Lteaparty1

We often tea partied on the back porch. Apple juice and cookies were always served.  For more photos and info about this set click here.

Continue reading

Rebecca’s Home Garden Wedding

Guests gathering before the ceremony.

Guests gathering before the ceremony.

 

With all the upcoming June weddings, I thought you might enjoy our family’s adventures preparing for our daughter’s nuptials,  as well as all the sewing I did for this important event.

11 years ago Rebecca and her Louisiana-born fiance traveled each corner of the county exploring venue options for their Cajun themed wedding.  After checking out virtually every possible location, the groom-to-be said he would like to be married at our home.  (dab, dab, dab my leaky eyes!)

We had almost 10 months advance notice so my husband and I went into high gear to spruce up the house and garden,  get the preacher and musicians on board, hire a photographer, rent a tent, etc. etc.  Stetson University’s string quartet set the mood for a joyous but solemn occasion.

 

 

It was perfect until just before the bride marched down the aisle with her father, the musicians broke into Darth Vadar’s Death March!!!!  That surprise was the work of my new son-in-law.  It certainly lightened the mood.

Meanwhile, the bride and groom-to-be were living and working across the state where they met.

For months we sweated in the yard by day

garden xx

and I sewed in the house all night.  I sewed and sewed and loved every minute of it.

Table toppers were made for the cocktail hour before the vows were read.  Guests sat around the pool and at the side garden enjoying hors d’oeuves.

 

seating in the side garden

Seating in the side garden.  Under the floral square is a pink twill square, much brighter than shown here.

 

The edges were simply serged.  That’s no big deal but, trust me, with 15 pink twill and 15 pink floral toppers, each 60″ square,  that’s a lot of serging mileage.  And there were more to be done.  The color added by the gold, solid pink and pink floral squares was a pretty addition.

 

guests seated around the pool

guests seated around the pool

 

For the reception dinner tables, 14 gold toppers were made, not to mention those made for the serving tables.  More miles of serging!

 

gold table toppers for the reception dinner

gold table toppers for the reception dinner

Continue reading

Star Wars Party Favors

 

black tp front

The black and white bags were made from scraps, left over from this super hero cape.

 

Sometimes you can learn something that seems rather inconsequential at the time but, in fact, it turns out to be a pretty big deal.  That’s how Mary Lou Nall’s “inconsequential” teepee bag project became one of the most useful  sewing tidbits I have ever picked up.   I still have the bag I made in that class more than 30 years ago!

 

This grubby bag lives in my pleater box and holds my pleating supplies--screw driver, extra needles, small scissors, marking pen, etc. I guess I should wash it.

This grubby bag lives in my pleater box and holds my pleating supplies–screw driver, extra needles, small scissors, marking pen,needle threader, etc. Apparently, it’s long overdue for laundering.  I guess I should wash it.

 

I’ve raved about this before, but I’m compelled to it up again, since I’ve just made 38 more as party favors for grandson Alastair’s 7th birthday.

 

38 Star Wars bags for party favors

38 Star Wars bags for party favors.  Zipper and ribbon color is varied which makes it a little easier for children to identify their own personal bag.

 

Sometimes I wonder just how many I have made in these 30 years, but the number must be in the hundreds. Continue reading

Star Wars Cape and Vader’s Wedding Death March

 

cape all2x

Are your friends and family as Star Wars star struck as mine?  I was so busy with projects inspired by The Force Awakens  that I have gotten a very late start on grandchildren’s Christmas clothes. For a number of reasons, the dress for 3 yo Vivian Rose and bow tie for 6 yo Alastair are not specifically Christmas, so they can still be worn after their December 24th delivery.  The next post will  include photos and details of the “holiday” clothes.

But back to Star Wars. This super hero cape was posted some time ago for a few hours, until I discovered that I had accidentally added the watermark for granddaughter Laurel’s SewAmazingGifts Etsy store.  So the post was removed.  But I cannot remove the watermark, which is the point of a watermark, I guess. So I am now  reposting it.

Though my blog is titled Janice Ferguson Sews, Modern Projects for Old Fashioned Nanas, this modern project is not my style.  But Star Wars is a hot topic now, as Star Wars fans eagerly await the the Dec. 18 release of The Force Awakens movie.  These fans include boys and young men (and some not so young)  in my family.

With that in mind, I’m on a Star Wars roll which began with this cape.  I choked a little, working on fabric soooooo far from Swiss batiste, though  the quilting cotton is very nice quality. The trims and embellishments–plastic buttons and metal snaps–are 180 degrees from the heirloom laces and MOP buttons which I prefer.  But I stitched my way through, anticipating the grins on fan faces.

The free pattern is from Nancy’s Notions.  It’s quick and can easily be embellished as much or as little as you like. Nancy offers so many free projects and, of course, wonderful products for sale. Continue reading

Only for the Love of Grandchildren

Apparently,  there is no limit to what we will do for our children or grandchildren.

 

Pokemon ninja headbandss

 

I can’t believe I’ve just made 43 Pokemon Ninja headband birthday party favors for sweet grandson Alastair.  That’s LOVE!!!

Now 6 years old, he and most of his friends are  smitten with Pokemon characters. The headbands are embroidered with four of the all-important “energy symbols.”

 

party ninjas

Alastair is the little guy standing with his hands in his pockets.

Continue reading

Christmas Apron How-to

apron

Don’t you love my vintage painted sifter and the kiddie sized rolling pin?

It’s time to bake everyone’s favorite Christmas cookies.  Children love to “help” though even with youthful assistance, really delicious holiday treats CAN be made.

We all know that if you start too early, the goodies are all eaten up before Dec. 25.  (Be sure to read the cookie storage tip at the end of this post.)  “Helpers” often love to be “tasters,” and require great quantities of cookies to be certain they are fit to serve.

A special child’s apron, whether plain or gussied up with embroidery, will make the experience even more fun.  Plain, personalized or embellished with embroidery–whatever–a child will love it.

Here’s how this one was made. Continue reading