Category Archives: uncategorized

Hurricanes and Sewing

This is the view from my San Juan classroom several years ago.  I’m sure it looks very different now.

UPDATE:  Luis and his family were safe in Orlando when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.  He was trying to get a flight home but I have not heard from him as to his location.  Now I see that there is a dam breach near Isabella, the site of his home and one of his stores.  They have evacuated  70,000 people from the area.  Lord have mercy on the people of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean!

Since I last posted some three weeks ago, so much has happened–lots of sewing and lots more blowing.

As you all know, hurricane Maria  has devastated Puerto Rico and other  Caribbean islands.  The loss of life and property is gargantuan.   The conditions are horrific.

My two teaching trips in San Juan caused me to fall in love with this tropical paradise and its delightful people.  Now I am heartsick with worry about my gracious host and hostess, their family, and the talented students who embraced me with a warm welcome, helpful classroom translations and sincere invitations to visit their homes.

The ladies were all accomplished needleworkers.  Just look at some of their beautifully stitched projects here.   They all loved sewing and they loved their Brother sewing/embroidery machines.  Now, I fear, they may have lost it all.

I was able to send a facebook message to Luis Medina, my host for both events.    It is my fervent prayer that my Puerto Rican sewing friends as well as Luis and his family are safe.   I desperately hope to hear from him that this is the case.  Still, 4-6 months with no electricity is unimaginable.

A week before Maria, hurricane Irma  hit Florida.  We prepared as best we could, boarding up the house, testing the generator and making sure we had ample fuel and food.

 

 

After Irma blew through, many Floridians were left with floods and major damage.  The hardship for our neighbors was significant, particularly one whose generator failed as it was turned on.  She is almost bedridden and totally debilitated with cerebral palsy, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.  The heat, lack of running water and electricity was almost more than she could bear.   The 94 degree weather put her epileptic son at risk for more seizures.   Floridians suffered so much hardship. But neighbors helped neighbors.

A huge fallen oak tree blocked her driveway.  My dear ladder climbing husband removed most of that before his chainsaw broke and another neighbor finished up the job.

We are so grateful to have had no structural damage and were left with just yard debris–3 acres of yard debris like this.

 

8 month old Samson and Delilah were puzzled by the mess in the yard.

 

It doesn’t show here, but there seemed to be enough Spanish moss to cover most of Spain.

We were without power, internet, cell service or our house phone  for 7 full days. Generator power kept everything working normally except my beloved  the stove.  I could not cook–oh darn!

Instead of cooking, I spent time stitching.  Another kitty cat dress is nearly finished for 4 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.   MaggieB’s smocked Ode to Joy smocked is a wonderful pattern. Another project, started before Irma barged into our lives was new embroidered pulpit vestments of loden green silk dupioni for our church.    With hurricane preparations and now clean up, I haven’t yet taken photos, but will post them soon.

Before Irma, this Disney/Pixar Cars 3 boy bedding project was finished for Brother.

 

The set includes a pillowcase, top sheet and fleece blanket.

 

The pillowcase features racing stripes with embroidered characters Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez.  Different designs of the same characters embellish the sheet while yet another design is centered at the top of the gray fleece blanket.

The designs are so beautifully digitized.  Available from ibroidery.com for Brother Disney machines,  they would make any boy happy to go to bed.  Well, maybe not, but boys would enjoy these designs on anything.

There are more sewing projects for upcoming posts.  But the hurricanes have been heavy on my mind and heart.   Please keep Puerto Rico, the Caribbean islands and  struggling Floridians in your prayers.

 

 

Smocking Destash and Restash

Dear Friends,

If you’ve read my blog once  or twice you probably know that I moan and groan about the out-of-control quantity of my sewing supplies.

But I have found a wonderful facebook group, Smocking Destash.  And you can join too!  It’s basically an on-line garage sale for sewing supplies!  You can buy and sell without charges like those on eBay.  The prices and ever-changing items being offered are just fabulous.

The need for room to move around causes me to offer bargains.

 

There are two more bookcases full of fabric, much of it needing a new home.

 

I vacillate between shame and motivation to reduce the amount to a manageable size.

 

 

Aside from the bargains, often an unused pattern or piece of fabric is sold and others decide they MUST have it.  So they rush to their sewing store to purchase it.  I’ve done that a lot!  Everyone wins.

I sold about 50 yds. of my beloved Liberty of London tana lawn for $15 py,  laces, tatting and patterns for bargain prices.  The flip side is  that I have purchased about 100 yds. of  to-die for fabrics, gorgeous laces, ready-to-smock garments and patterns from Children’s Corner to Kari Mecca to Wendy Schoen, many of which are no longer in print.

 

 

At least one shop owner is closing her retail store and selling 60″ wide cotton gingham (retailed for $14 py)for as little as $3! Spechler-Vogel featherwale corduroy for $5 py in a rainbow of colors, piping, and more!  Patterns and books that have long since been out of print have been sold and continue to show up for sale periodically.

If you would like to join this group, just drop me a note at NCcabin@aol.com or leave a comment at the end of this post stating that you would like to be included.  I’ll get back to you.  FYI, there is no charge to join the group but you must have a facebook account.

 

So come join the fun.  Get  rid of the fabric and patterns you know you will never use and find some new treasures.

 

 

 

 

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

Laughter

Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life.  Anon.

 

I just came across this old post and thought it bears repeating.  My life is great, rich and full of joy, and I hope yours is as well.  But laughter is good for everyone.  I hope this makes you a good chuckle.

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This post has only the most tenuous link to sewing.  But some days tenuous is all I’ve got.

There has been a lot of illness among my elderly relatives and, sadly, a recent death.  But life goes on.   We accept as God’s blessing the merciful  death of one and  celebrate the recovery of another.

When my Uncle Richard, 92,  healthy and fit, stopped by my home after visiting his hospitalized sister, my sweet Aunt Aileen, his sadness and depression were palpable.  I steered the conversation to the past, leading him to talk about his career as a restaurantaeur.   He and his long-departed wife spent many years as owners, managers and sometimes cooks for this restaurant.

Ahhhhhhh, I thought. A true, funny restaurant story should give him some distraction and a good laugh.

So I told Uncle Richard……..

After teaching for seven full days at Martha Pullen’s school in Huntsville, Alabama, I was tired and eager to get home to Florida.  I’m like a long distance trucker on these road trips.  With 650 miles to travel alone, I make every infrequent stop count–1) gas, 2) bathroom and 3) food —then back on the road.

Somewhere near the Florida state line, I stopped at one of those huge truck stops that could pass as a mini-mall.  On one side was a sub shop and a sit down restaurant.  A turkey sub sounded good to me.

Directly inside the door was a sub sandwich counter and a few small tables.  To the left was the large dining room of the restaurant.  I waited at the unattended sub counter for a few minutes then went into the restaurant to see if I could get some help.   Two or three tables were occupied with diners, but no wait staff or attendants were visible.

Tick tock tick tock…….I don’t wait well.  But I called up all my patience and gave it a little longer, a total of 6 minutes from my arrival.  I had my gas and bathroom break but no lunch.  I needed to get on the road!

So stepped behind the counter, washed my hands, put on a pair of plastic gloves and started on my sandwich.  I had the roll sliced, the condiments slathered on and had just plopped the meat, cheese and veggies on the bread when a lady came out of the restaurant shrieking, “What do you think you are doing?!?!?!”

Very calmly, I replied, “I’m making a sandwich, of course.  Since no one was here to do it for me,  I assumed this was a self-service shop.”

“Well, it is not!!!!!”  She wrapped up my sandwich, I paid her and then sat down at a table by the entrance. The Shrieker disappeared into the sit-down restaurant’s dining room and through a pair of double doors at the back, practically in the next zip code.

Just a few minutes later, two HUGE biker guys came in–you know, with doo rags on their heads, sleeveless tee shirts, bulging arms, big ring of keys on their Levis belt loops, heavy boots.  They waited just a minute then asked me if anyone was there.

Then I thought, you just have to get your laughs when and where you can.

I said, “This place is self service.  I made my own sandwich.  Just leave your money by the cash register.”

As they clumped back behind the counter and picked out their bread, I picked up my sandwich and walked quickly to my car.  But I was laughing then and chuckled as I drove for the next 200 miles, picturing a continuation of the scenario I had left behind.  I’d love to have stayed to watch The Shrieker take on those tough guys and give them what-for.  But as they say, “Discretion is the greater part of valor,” though I’m not sure valor is what I was going for.   Clearly, in this situation, discretion was the wiser choice.

Hearing this story, Uncle Richard laughed, too.  As he guffawed and chortled some more, I could tell it had been a very long time since he had had anything to laugh about.  But that day, for a little while, he did.

This YouTube video of a baby will make you laugh…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPtuekvJdhs

Meanwhile, happy sewing.

Remorse, Fish, Family, and Fun

 

v-a-moxx

This is one of our three formerly feral cats, obviously no longer feral. They were a daily source of delight for 3 yo Vivian Rose and 7 yo Alastair.

 

Before the summer was over, our two younger grandchildren came  across the state for a week of Nana (and Granddad) camp.  As all grandparents know, it was a fabulous, memorable time for all, not the least of whom were their folks who were relieved of parental responsibilities for a week. How well I remember that special joy in years gone by.

In an effort to give this some sewing references, I must tell you that Vivian Rose’s suitcase was packed with nothing but Nana-made clothes.  I love my daughter for that–and a million other reasons.  Vivian wore her firefly outfit, the ever popular parade dress, her ABC shorts set, the CC Jane tricycle set and others.  More pictures should have been taken, but I was too wrapped up in the children to shoot more.

 

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With a goofy grin and a little chocolate cake still lingering on her mouth, Vivi wears a well-worn Children’s Corner Katina, made fir her mother 35 years ago. There is something to be said for polycotton. The dress and bloomers are in near perfect condition.

 

FISH

A highlight of  the week was a visit to our friends’ garden and koi ponds.  The day before our outing,  Alastair and Vivian Rose collaborated on a pair of koi dishtowels for their hosts.  Alastair actually did most of the embroidery, with Vivi pushing the needle threader, presser foot lever and start button occasionally.  They chose the threads and were quite proud of the results.

the children did the embroidery at my Dream Machine. Alastair is fascinated by the technology and Vivi loves to push the buttons--any buttons.

The children did the embroidery at my Dream Machine. Alastair is fascinated by the technology and Vivi loves to push the buttons–any buttons.

 

John and Susanna are the grandparents of Baby Shrek who surely found a world of delight at their home when he visited in September.  Vivi’s mother and our daughter, Rebecca Susanne, was named for dear friend Susanna. (But Rebecca Susanna sounded a little too heavy on the -a”s.)

 

a-v-bamboo

 

Susanna led the trail through her jungle paradise.

Susanna led the trail past the koi pond and through her breathtaking garden.

 

After a short time, Vivian left the fish.  They were pretty, they swam, she moved on.  In her explorations, she discovered a quiet hideaway where Susanna likes to sit and read, though she seldom sits.  She and her husband John are always on the go, what with keeping up with the garden and ponds, doing church work, and being friends to all.

 

v-secret-garden

Vivi was awed by the wind chimes and a singing bird in a secluded nook in the garden.

Continue reading

BIG News!

ME news

 

Dear Readers,

I am so excited to share my big news with you— I have been invited to be a member of Brother’s new  Stitching Sewcial   blogger team.  Humbly, I join several expert celebrity sewists who have packed the blog with inspirational projects, tutorials and videos on topics from quilting, serging, sewing, embroidery, and more! On this site, I am in some pretty esteemed company!

Two of my projects are posted now, the first of which is the Ariel sleeping bag for 18″ dolls such as American Girl.  This would be a very popular accessory for youngsters who want comfort and style for their dolls.

 

Do you recognize my granddaughter's Kit wearing her smocked lace tape nightie?

Do you recognize my granddaughter’s Kit wearing Mollie’s Lace Tape Nightie?  Ariel’s name is embroidered on the pillow under Kit’s head.

 

The second project is a Zootopia themed knapsack.  It was such fun to read and familiarize myself with the movie. I needed to know something about this Disney cartoon delight to stitch.  Before the movie was released and after some research, I came up with a handy bag for the junior crime-stopping deputies of Zootopia’s police department.

The designs for each project are available at iBroidery.com.

These Stitching Sewcial assignments are helping me keep up with the grandchildren and what they are chattering about.  Do you know who Judy Fox is?  Officer Clawhauser? Chief Bogo?  Look them up.  The children will respect your in-the-moment savvy.  They will LOVE you if you make this knapsack for them.

Image #15 close--both ribbons through grommets

 

Each month another of my posts,  complete with a detailed tutorial, will appear as the machine embroidery post.  Working up projects and tutorials for Stitching Sewcial has keep me pretty busy for the last few months.  And I have loved every minute working on these Disney-themed assignments.

Please take a look at this new sewing venture.  If you have a moment and are so inclined I would reeeeeally appreciate any comments posted to Stitching Sewcial.

Rheeta’s Sweat Shop ’16

Rheeta

This is last year’s photo of Aunt Rheeta sewing on my beloved Brother Quattro. She is loving this year’s upgrade to The Dream Machine.

 

She was at it again.  My dear Aunt Rheeta arrived from frigid Indiana for a 2-week vacation in the warmth and sun of central Florida.  Unfortunately, she landed on a cold, rainy day and the weather hardly improved for the first week.  She  wore a polar fleece pullover every day so I did not take a picture of her at the sewing machine.  I’m pretty sure the Florida Bureau of Tourism blocks such photos from the internet.

We were so, sew busy!  After she expressed interest in touring historic DeBary Hall,  I said I would love to take her.  Then she decided that she would rather keep on sewing!  That’s my kinda gal!  Sew, we did!  In fact, we were so busy  that we didn’t take time for a current photo of her at my new Dream Machine which she loved immediately.

Aunt Rheeta arrived with her suitcase tightly packed with projects for us to work on. At the top of her priority list were a few graduation gifts for her granddaughter, a rising freshman at Texas A&M.

ATM

We didn’t worry about the wrinkles because the fleece was soon to be tightly packed in Rheeta’s suitcase. Time for a dryer tumble later.

Adriana will use this polar fleece throw at football games.  Rheeta made an identical fleece for Alexa, Adriana’s  older sister, a rising junior also at Texas A&M. That stadium blanket has seen 2 years of heavy wear. It’s likely this one will be just as useful.

Then Rheeta embroidered dishtowels.  As Adriana will be sharing an apartment with hometown friends, these instructive kitchen linens will be  loving reminders from her grandmother. Each of these dishtowel designs are from OESD’s  Hand Lettered Sayings  collection.

 

Adriana could learn to cook and eat few of the staples of a college student's diet.

The suggestion is that it’s possible for Adriana to learn to cook, improving the standard college student menu. And she will surely achieve some things that seem impossible.  That’s what her Meemaw is telling her.

Continue reading

Parade Dress #2

Children's Corner Carol in ,Michael Miller's Children on Parade fabric

Children’s Corner Carol in ,Michael Miller’s Children on Parade fabric

 

Few fabrics have inspired so many garment interpretations as Michael Miller’s Children on Parade.  The variety of dresses stitched with this fabric is almost countless. My own Parade Inspirations folder has more than 2 dozen adorable dresses.

CheryleCole-Bennet’s irresistible CC Jenni Leigh caused a run on that fabric across the country.  I personally saw Fabric.com’s supply fall from 480 yds to almost nothing in less than 10 days.  Then they restocked.  Meanwhile, shops nationwide saw the same buying frenzy.

My first Parade dress  for my then 18 month granddaughter, Vivian Rose, was a fiasco requiring two posts for me to exhaust my need to vent.  Read it and weep, or at least feel a little sympathy for this obsessed Nana.  It was a shameless but poor copy of Cheryle’s Jenni Leigh.

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The light aqua piping and gingham covered buttons are from Farmhouse Fabrics.

I found CC Carol to be a much easier pattern for a border fabric.  Jenni Leigh looks best with the pattern matching at the diagonal front.  This was a huge challenge.  My goals for Carol were just to have no half bodies disappear into the center pleat and to make an attempt to match the pattern at the center back.  The sides were just as the fabric rolled.

 

Vivi bounce house

 

So now I have used up a few more yards of Children on Parade.  And I’m still not tired of it. And neither is Vivian Rose, our 3 yo uncooperative model.

 

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What have you been up to?

SOS Urgent Need for twin Wee Care Gowns

Heartfelt thanks to Jamie who has gowns on hand and ready to ship today!  The sewing community is so caring and especially loving in a time of need like this.  Thanks to all who make these gowns for little heaven-bound angels.

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I am away from home and just received a plea for wee care gowns. A friend of reader Sarah has just lost twin babies at 20 weeks. If anyone can provide 2 burial gowns and the comfort they would offer please leave a comment or send e-mail to me at NC cabin@aol.com. I will put you in touch with Sarah. What a heartbreaking loss.

 

 

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