Category Archives: school accessories

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!!!!”

Then I asked  what they do not learn at school.  One response was, “We don’t learn how to eat pizza.”  What????   So I helped by asking if they learn how to swim or how to ride a bike or how to  rub their bellies and pat their heads at the same time?  Or if they learn about Jesus?  Our homeschooled and Christian school students replied yes, but they others said no.

They were still looking at the colorful bag.  Reid said he wanted to say something. Assuming this bright little guy whose family has a daily Bible study and worship time, had something meaningful to say,  I gave him the microphone.  He screeched into it and laughed hysterically.  Scamp! I snatched the mike away while the congregation shuddered.

So how can they learn about Jesus?  Again, asking for their input, we found that they could learn at Sunday School, at Vacation Bible School, from their parents,  by reading their Bibles and praying for God’s guidance.

 

These have been some of my grandchildren’s favorites, from when they were very little until now as young teenagers.

 

From the bag I pulled out two children’s Bibles and a book of Psalms for younger children with illustrations and explanations.  But they could tell there was more in the bag.  So I took out the vase and showed them the pencil “bouquet.”

One of the older children was handed one pencil and asked to read the scripture tied to the pencil with a ribbon.  Vivienne read beautifully.

Show me your ways, Lord,

Teach me your paths. Psalm 25:4

They were told that studying their Bibles the Lord will  indeed teach them His paths.  And knowing Jesus and  will give them happiness.  That is the reason for the happy face on their pencil topper. This can be a reminder to them while in school.  Each child selected a pencil (unsharpened, of course) and were smiling as we ended our little talk with a prayer.

It’s such a joy to work with children.  They always amaze and entertain me.

The pencil topper machine embroidery design is a free download.  Of course, it has many uses and the happy face can be replace with a holiday theme like a pumpkin or candy cane.  With Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, these pencil toppers make nice little classroom gifts.

If you would like  this free design, leave your request as a comment at the end of this post.  I will e-mail it to you.

Detailed instructions can be found in an earlier blog post here.  Wouldn’t  this be a nice little gift for your child or grandchild to hand out to his or her classmates.  They are so quick to make.

Happy sewing!

 

Jungle Book Cot Sheet

jungle-sheet-all

 

During my lengthy absence from this blog, I did get some sewing done.  This cot sheet is a fun little project.  It can be plain or fancy, utilitarian or heavily embroidered as is this one.

First, I have to be up front with you all–my name is Janice and  I am a textile snob.  My linen closet has nothing but pima cotton sheets.  My master, guest and children’s beds have always been made up with silky pima cotton.

Many years ago, there was a brief and almost sleepless few days when my 8 yo son slept on stiff and scratchy Garfield sheets.  They were a gift for which he had begged his grandmother.  After a week, he wanted his old sheets back.  “They just don’t feel good, Mama.”  From the mouths of babes–raised on pima.

Before she even moved into her freshman dorm at University of Florida, my daughter begged me to custom make two sets of pima cotton sheets for the odd sized mattress.  She was like the Princess and the Pea.  “Mama, I won’t be able to sleep on anything else!”

So what does this have to do with Disney’s Jungle Book themed cot sheet shown above? Continue reading

Halloween “Jane”

corn pump cr

“Candy Corn Cutie” design is from Embroidtique.

Children’s Corner Jane has got to be one of my all-time favorite patterns.  When it comes to play clothes or holidays with a short-wearing season, this is my go-to.

It is so quick and easy that I made two Jane tops for toddler granddaughter Vivian Rose.  Two!!!!

candy corn emb

Poor placement of text on fabric.  It would have been so much more readable if it had been embroidered on the almost white stripe.

Continue reading

Back to School ’14

 

Five years ago, my  5 year old granddaughter wore a CC Frannie school dress for our first day of homeschooling.

 

With the start of another school year, I can’t help but look back.  Most retired school teachers, I suspect,  do  the same.  This post was written 5 years ago as we began our first year of homeschooling together.

Now, she begins 6th grade.  Wow.  If she’s getting older, I guess that means so am I.

Laurel, 10 going on...?

Recently, she wrote a play which she will direct and has cast with friends. It will open at the public library in due time.

 

Perhaps you will find some of  these school sewing projects useful for your special students.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Continue reading

Free Pattern for Must-Try Teepee Bags

1st aid bagsX

You can’t tell from the photo, but the fabric shows a variety of Girl Scout badges. I was tickled pink (ha!) to find this fabric on-line.

 

These FIRST AID bags were made for my 8 yo granddaughter Laurel.  Next week, she will do a presentation to her Girl Scout troop as part of the first aid badge the girls are working on. At that time, she will hand out the bags and the girls will stock them with supplies.

UPDATE:  Girl Scouts with bags:

 

girl scouts

 

 

You can’t tell from the photo, but the pink fabric is printed with images of  Girl Scout badges.  I had only 1/2 yd. which should have been enough.  But there was a wide, brown border with text and numbers to be sewn on for troop identification.  That didn’t leave enough badge print to make 6 suitably sized totes.  So the pink fabric was serged on the short sides and then centered and zig zagged onto a piece of a homespun sort of muslin.

After I got that done, I realized that the muslin created a plain strip on either side of the zipper, suitable for text.  The border hoop for my Brother Quattro made this quick and easy, by hooping just stabilizer, basting the fabric to the stabilizer with the baste feature, embroidering the  text, then moving the stabilizer in the hoop for the next bag.

The design is too large for the 4 x 4  hoop, yet by using the 5 x 7 there would have been so much waste of stabilizer–not to mention the time involved in hooping 6 times.  The border hoop was a wonderful time saver. Continue reading

Sewing on Bulletin Boards

Robert's 2nd grade bulletin board

Robert’s 2nd grade bulletin board

Some days it seems that sewing influences or impacts every aspect of my life.  Given the intense passion so many of us feel for textile arts, this influence should not surprise us.  Yet, it does, especially when sewing solves problems that seem to be unrelated to “needlearts.”

Laurel's 3rd grade bulletin board

Laurel’s 3rd grade bulletin board

Case in point–these bulletin boards for my homeschool classroom.  For the past week I have been tied up with my elderly aunt who broke her hip and had replacement surgery.  In spite of a medley of health problems and almost 90 years wear and tear on her fragile body, she has managed the bumps in the road and is recovering satisfactorily.  But in the meantime, the clock was tick tocking away the time and I fell further and further behind in my preparations for the upcoming school year.

My immediate problem was that the annual homeschool evaluation for  my grandchildren, 7 year-old Laurel and 6 year-old (today is his birthday!) Robert, was scheduled for today.  It was also our first day of Nana School.  My little classroom had to be ready, including new bulletin boards, lesson plans and cupcakes for the birthday boy. So how did sewing help me with the bulletin boards? Continue reading

Latin Shirts

 

Translation: I am fine. How are you?

Though sometimes called a dead language, Latin is very much alive in our homeschool classroom. Five year old Robert and 6 year old Laurel are literally singing their way through Song School Latin, a simple,  entertaining, age-appropriate curriculum, and loving every minute of it. In fact, it is Robert’s favorite subject and very close to the top of Laurel’s list.

Robert's shirt. Translation: Hello. What is your name?

Some people have commented that Latin is too difficult for children.  But it is a foreign language, much like Spanish which is taught routinely in Florida schools.  Roman children mastered Latin.  Why shouldn’t my grandchildren?

Recently, the children had to make a presentation at the weekly gathering of homeschoolers which they attend. They chose to report on their study of Latin. Of course, I wanted them to have something wear other than a toga so I made these shirts for that event.

The children wore their show-and-tell clothing proudly.  The Latin shirts were a big hit with the other students, most of whom were older.

The text for the shirt designs was created in PE-Design using the Gothic looking font #9. At Embroidery Library, one of my favorite sites, I found a design of the coliseum.

Making a volcano.

It included a tourist riding a bike which I deleted in order to make room for the text. The stepping stones had to be rearranged in BuzzEdit2 www.buzztools.com for the same reason.

I know, I know—I have gone on ad nauseum (see? You probably know Latin already!) about my love affair with machine embroidery, most especially about the ability to personalize items so specifically. Where, I ask, could you find Latin text children’s shirts in sizes 5 and 6 except in your own sewing room? Continue reading

School Bags

It’s back to school time again.  Mamas and Nanas have been sewing for some time to get ready for that first day of school.  Judy and her daughter Amy spent a week together sewing and these bags are just a few of their projects.  As usual, they are darling and so NOW!

The bags and matching lunch boxes were on sale at Gymboree.  One of the girls had this identical bag (without the monogram) last fall and wanted another just like it.  This year, she and her cousin both got the matching lunch boxes.

Back packs like these are tricky.  Make sure that you can hoop up a portion of the bag to embroider.  I’ve been looking for one for Laurel and most have an inside pocket or some impediment to embroidery.

I’m way behind schedule, but I’m off to Gymboree this weekend to see if I can find anything like this.  What a great start to 1st grade for these precious little girls.

What have you sewn for back to school this year?

Greek Sewing

Greekpillowpic

 

Greek life on college campuses can be a wonderful experience.  The costs vary according to school and fraternity, but the cost of the on-going gift giving can have an unexpected impact on the budget.

With back-to-school just around the corner and rush set to begin in a few weeks, it seems timely to offer these gift and garment ideas in the hope that it might be useful to those of you with co-eds packing for university.

Fortunately, my daughter’s sorority experience commenced after the machine embroidery explosion hit the sewing world.   The following text is taken from an article I wrote for Creative Needle  some time ago.  The photos are all taken from the magazine itself.

 

Greekbags

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“It’s All Greek to Me”

On college campuses throughout the country, co-eds proudly wear Greek “letters” proclaiming their affiliation with a social sorority or service club. Students use surprisingly large portions of their budgets buying shirts, caps and other “lettered” items from the specialty stores found in every college town. Continue reading

Princess of Quite a Lot

In my experience, Mary Engelbreit machine embroidery designs (from Bernina) are very versatile. They are cute, for sure, but they are also amenable to a bit of a twist. I have used several designs and have always been pleased with the results.

ME’s Princess of Quite a Lotdesign was used on a laundry bag for a sweet coed, given as a going away momento as she left for college. A lovely clothes horse, she was well known for donning a fresh outfit several times a day. The university setting offered even more opportunities for wardrobe changes. Continue reading