Friendship Gift

 

This adorable outfit which I call “Raining Cats” was gifted to me from my sweet friend Lisa at Mommy’s Apron Strings. She knew my 5 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose is crazy for cats.  When Lisa saw his fabric and had new patterns she wanted to try, she whipped it for Vivi.

Ever so skillfully, Lisa coordinated the fabrics with the cats and the rick rack to come up with a uniquely intersting and kid friendly outfit.

The pattern for the top is  Pickle Toes Tulip Tie Top PDF 

The shorts pattern is  Cole’s Corner Ruched Shorts. 


 

Read details about this wonderful gift here, at Lisa’s blog.  You will want to visit it frequently because she has wonderful projects and ideas. And she is such a dear lady.  Lisa is also the administrator of Smocking Destash, a facebook group in which you would surely enjoy being a member.  Check  that out too!

 

Live, Love Life

 

This pillow was made for our precious granddaughter, Laurel.

 

enjoying our visit to a New Jersey tea room

 

She just turned 14 and I couldn’t resist offering some grandmotherly advice to mark the occasion.  Putting that advice where she could read it every day seemed like a better idea than delivering a “Things to Remember” lecture. Continue reading

Great On-line Class with MaggieB!

This is the first Ode to Joy Border Tunic  I made working through an on-line class offerred  by Maggie Bunch.  It is a fabulous class for everyone from  beginners to experienced smockers.  Maggie takes you from border print fabric selection, to pleating, to construction and smocking.  But she throws in so many little informational gems and tips.  I learned so much.  You may provide your own fabric or she offers some darling kits.  She will even pleat for you if you like.

This class is a bargain at $30.  Maggie practically holds your hand through the whole process and answers any questions promptly.  To the best of my knowledge, this is just the second time in the last 12 months that it has been offered on-line. She did teach it at that great sewing event, Sewing at the Beach.

Maggie said on-line.This is an online sewing and smocking lesson, held in a private group, here on FB. The fee for the lesson is $30.00. Kits are optional. You can sew from your stash! I post a lesson a day for about 2 weeks. The Group stays open for about 8 weeks after the lesson is complete for you to sew at your own pace. Sizes are 1/2 3/4 5/6 and 7/8

 

The first time round, I didn’t print out the instructions and files.   So when I made my second dress, a lot of mistakes were made.  Note the sloppy neck binding.

 

 

So I am repeating the class and you can be sure that I will keep notes and files.  Now you, too,  can take this class!  The pattern is not available for sale, just as part of the class.

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Ode to Joy Smocking Group is taking members. This Group is an online smocking class, lead by me, for the play top using quilting cottons or border prints.
This is a work at your own pace lesson. The lessons will be posted one a day for about two weeks starting June 1. Join now so you have time to get the list and order your supplies.
The fee $30.00 includes membership in the Group and all lessons from fabric choice to smocking to hem.
Please private message me your PayPal information for the lesson. Registration will close May 18.

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Through the years, several readers have commented on my smocked garments, saying they wish they knew how to smock.  Few live within easy driving distance of classes so this is a great option.
Other than wanting to learn more, I have no vested interested in this class.  I just want to share a great learning opportunity with you all.

Bicycle Bag

The bike bag is a perfect match to my granddaughter’s bike. What a lucky coincidence! Detailed instructions are available here.

 

For that special biker (your child, your grand, your mother, yourself?) who has everything, how about a pretty quilted bike bag.

This was a fun project, made for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial, in celebration of National Bike Month.   Detailed photo instructions are included in the tutorial post.

I’ve loved this design since it was first included on a Brother card, EDB LG1.  Now it is available as a single design at iBroidery.com  for 5×7 frames.

 

 

The scenic design has white negative space, which would have made the stitching disappear into the fabric print.  So the file was converted to an applique’ and stitched on sky blue pique’.  The blog post gives directions for converting this and other framed designs to  applique’.

My husband used to take the children long bike hikes.

But not this long!

 

One of their favorite destinations was Hontoon Island State Park, 15 miles from home.  They would relax there at a little snack bar overlooking the St.John’s River and enjoy a cold drink.

 

 

Then they would call me to pick them up.  After the first seven miles, I’m sure they would have loved to reach into a bag like this for a bottle of water to quench their thirst.

This project is unique in that it is gender neutral and age appropriate for anyone who rides a bike.

Did you know May 18th is officially Ride your Bike to Work Day?  Please tell us about it if you do.

Happy Bike Month!

NOTE:  I am required to let you know that I am a paid sewing consultant for Brother.

 

 

Elegant Table Linens and Precious Memories

This project and a detailed tutorial are posted here at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.

 

I loved embroidering this elegant set of table linens for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  Aside from the sewing details in the tutorial posted  there,  many “back stories” go with it that I just have to share with you.

First, I have loved these designs since I first saw them on my Dream Machine.

 

 

Like the design used on the quilted bed footwarmer, I was so eager to find the perfect project for them.  Then….I did!

THE LINENS BACK STORY #1:  BARGAIN!!      One day I came across this single gorgeous linen set in the clearance section.  The price was an enormous bargain, $15.99 for the 60 x 102″ white tablecloth with a hemstitched gray border!  Next to it sat two sets of 4 matching napkins, each for $6.99!!! (triple exclamation!!) The store was not crowded, but I snatched up those packages in a heartbeat and headed for the check out counter.  I love a bargain! Why they had not been sold I could not fathom.  I rushed home and planned this set.

HEIRLLOM CHINA BACK STORY #2:    My first thought was that these linens were a perfect compliment to my daughter’s fine china, which had belonged to her paternal grandmother.  With 5 children and large family gatherings, the service for 12 was barely large enough.  The china had first come to me and when Rebecca was old enough to handle it, she had always loved setting the table for holiday meals.

For her wedding, I was able to purchase more pieces on-line, giving her a service for 24, which was used at the reception. Doesn’t it go perfectly with her china?

 

 

I knew my long-admired designs had found the perfect resting place on these linens.  The  colors were tweaked just a little to match the colors in the china.

SILVER SERVICE BACK STORY #3:  The gorgeous 12-place sterling flatware was gifted to Rebecca by her doting godmother, Karen.  In the late 1920’s, they were a wedding gift to Elsa,  Karen’s mother.  Upon her engagement, Elsa’s future mother-in-law directed her to Tiffany & Co. of New York, known then as “the purveyor of luxury items.”  Elsa was directed to choose her silver pattern there, a task which she relished.

Just after the wedding the service for 12, including everything from the basic setting to fish forks, butter knives, serving pieces, and more, arrived at Elsa’s new home beautifully monogrammed with the appropriate “B”.  But it was not the silver pattern she had chosen!

Upon alerting her mother-in-law about the error, Elsa was told that in fact there was no error, her MIL had selected “a nicer” design!

Elsa, always the perfect lady, just smiled and offered thanks for the gift.  But in quiet rebellion, she refused to use the silver for any meal but those at which her in-laws were present!  I’m guessing that they were infrequent guests.

Elsa’s only child,  Karen, who preferred farm life with her husband, never used it.  Elsa had no grandchildren and always showered Rebecca and her brother with love and gifts as if they were her own.  Godmother Karen decided that Rebecca was a perfect recipient for Grandma B’s monogrammed sterling.

So the rarely used flatware became Rebecca’s oldest and most extravagant wedding gift, one with an entertaining history.  This second bride treasures that silver gift along with many sweet memories of Grandma B.  One of her favorite 5 yo recollections is hanging a May basket on Elsa’s door, ringing the bell and hiding in the azaleas with her 9 yo brother so they could see Elsa’s (forewarned) “surprise.”

The retired kindergarten teacher, with her white curls and wire-rimmed spectacles, looked and played her part beautifully.  She stood in the doorway of her wooded cottage wondering aloud.   Who had decorated these beautiful paper cones?  Who had delivered them filled with freshly cut flowers at dawn?  The faeries?

That’s when Ryan and Rebecca rushed out of the bushes for hugs and a few freshly baked cookies that Grandma B just happened to have on hand.  Ahhh, those long gone sweet days…..and that long gone precious woman.

When you sew, do you stroll down Memory Lane, as I have done with this project?  Things we have sewn both create and recall precious memories.

“Memory is the diary that we all carry with us.”  Oscar Wilde

 

Disclaimer:  I am required to inform you that I am a paid “sewing expert” for Brother.

 

 

Quick Baby Gift Personalization

Balloons seem to say happy.

I just love being able personalize items for special friends.  With two ready to wear onesies, two caps and a white tee for cover up,  machine embroidery turned turn plain Jane into special so quickly.

Pooh with balloons  is a built in Brother machine design from.  The balloons on the shirt and inserted into Johnathan’s name on the cap are from a discontinued Dakota Collectibles Toddler Trio collection, of which I found only one copy available on-line.  The designs are tiny, arranged in groups of three and are  wonderful to extract when you need a small design.  I often wonder why such collections are discontinued when they could be made available individually by digital download.  I’m just glad I have this one in my design library.

This set will be gifted at a baby shower for a precious young lady we’ve known since she was born.  But it is not my gift–it is part of a set of items from her sister-in-law who asked if I could monogram them for her.

When she said Melissa, the expectant mama, loves monograms I was so excited!  Melissa is a PlayGroup Kid  whose mother has been a member of our 40 year-old sisterhood.   The youngest of the 23 PlayGroup Kids, Melissa and Justin were married almost 4 years ago and we have all been awaiting the birth of another PlayGroup grandchild.  I expect there will be lots of other JHL monograms flying out of my sewing room.

Though Johnathan is due in less than 3 months, his parents have not yet chosen a theme for his nursery.  So I was given free reign to monogram at will.

This is the second onesie monogrammed for Johnathan.

Trains seem to be popular with all boys so that’s what I chose for the gray onesie set.  I cannot recall where I got this design, but the 4-car train was edited in my software to turn the corner.

Now I’m starting on granddaughter Laurel’s gift for her 14th birthday.  I can’t wait to get started on this pillow with inspirational text.  Recently, I altered curtains to fit her new bedroom and there were some large scraps.  They will be included in the crazy patch pillow.

But time flies.  Just as I rush to get this finished and in the mail, I am amazed yet again at how this tiny baby has grown into a lovely young lady in the blink of an eye.

 

Baptismal Towels

 

Do you have more than one project in progress?  I have stacks– some must be done NOW, some are handwork for when I watch tv with my husband, some are mindless chores like hemming for when I’m on the phone, some I put aside for one reason or another.

Still, in the midst of a looming deadline and other pressing matters, I took the time to embroider 6 hemstitched linen guest towels for upcoming baptisms at our church.  I had customized the design sometime ago for a newly ordained pastor. So it was just a matter of hooping up my stash of linen guest towels and embroider them.  It was so satisfying to stitch something simple and meaningful in the midst of all the sewing busy-ness.

You might recall my story that our church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground several years ago.

 

 

As you can see, nothing remained.  The only survivors were three heavy brass collection plates.  They have been box framed under glass and hang in  the narthex of our rebuilt building.  A one word caption is inscribed on a plaque beneath each one–STILL    ON    FIRE.  But  now, for God.

In time, the church was rebuilt, but just with the basics.  None of the lovingly made linens and other niceties made by members in the 50 year church history survived.  One of my personal missions is to restock the church with lovingly made paraments, banners and linens.

At a recent baptism, it was clear that towels were needed.

I was reminded of my grandchildren’s desire to be baptized, after witnessing the sacrament administered to 5 adults.  For the children’s sermon, they were lined up on the floor for an up close view and a brief explanation.

In the car on the ride home from church there was discussion about the service. in a clear voice, 8 yo Laurel announced that she wanted to be baptized.  When Robert was asked if he, too, would like this, he replied, “Well, maybe but without so much water.”

A few months later they were baptized, with less, but sufficient water.

3 yo Alastair was not one to miss a photo op with his cousins

 

In the next few weeks there will be more baptisms at our new church.  Regardless of how much water is used, there will be towels to dry the holy water.

Now, to work toward that looming deadline.

What are you stitching?

 

 

Easter ’18 Week

Vivian Rose at Oma’s house, decked out in her mother’s Rebecca’s Bow Dress.

 

I hope you all had a joyous Easter.  The Ferguson family had a fabulous week of Easter celebrations!  We saw both of our children with all four of our grandchildren, but not at the same time.   A good bit of sewing was done before and after their arrival.

Saturday we joined our son-in-law’s family for Easter dinner.   5 yo Vivian Rose was resplendent in her mother’s 35 yo Rebecca’s Bow Dress,  with her curls confined to elaborate, elegant French braids.

The original slip has been lost through the years so this white Imperial batiste slip was made.   Because it really can be worn as a dress, a bow was embroidered on the yoke.  To avoid it shadowing through the dress, it was stitched in a very pale pink and white.

 

The same yoke pattern was used with 1/2″ removed from the top half of the armscye.

 

Ever obliging 9 yo Alastair wore his bow tie made from the Little Boy Bowtie:the Quick and Easy Version pattern which I have used so often.

 

 

The color matched the green leaves in his sister’s fancyband.

 

The bows alternated with 3 vertical strips of lace.

 

I love this picture taken as Vivian was ready to put on her heirloom dress.  Alastair was proud that he was already dressed and ready for the egg hunt.

 

The bunny was tied at the top with a bow, but Vivian HAD to open it.

 

See the felt candy-filled bunny in Vivi’s hand?  That was such a fun little project.  I made 20 of these for the children at church, as well as for these two.  Vivian had a bunny filled basket and loved handing them out.  I so regret that I did not get a photo that or of all the pink, blue, yellow and white bunnies together.  They were a big hit with all the children. Continue reading

2 Free Easter designs and Upcoming Easter ’18

free Bunny trio applique pattern Childrens Corner Callie

 

As usual, I am way behind with Easter sewing and sewing in general.  I thought this might be a good time to share some earlier Easter features–dresses and free designs.

This little chocolate bunny dress was made for my 15 month old granddaughter to wear to the church “bunny lunch and egg hunt.”  I was so pleased to finally have the perfect use for my small piece of brown bunny Liberty of London tana lawn.

When I could find no embroidery design that suited me, I bumbled through the digitizing process to create this beginner design.  It is yours for the asking by leaving a comment below.

The second free design is one I used on several Easter baskets.  The name, of course, is not included but the design itself is Easter eggs nestled in grass

For the free grass and eggs design just leave your request in the comment section below.

 

Vivian Rose’s formal Easter dress that same year is one of the few with which I was mostly satisfied.  It is a modification of Rebecca’ Bow Dress, a pattern I designed many, many years ago for Martha Pullen and for my own 5 70 Rebecca.

 

 

Of course, I sewed for the boys as well.  This was a favorite of my younger grandson.

The shirt is Ginger Snaps Hudson’s Sunday Suit.

 

Last year, 4 yo Vivian Rose wore a pink Swiss voile bishop with an antique lace cherub medallion in the skirt.  She loved it, in spite of the absence of cats, rainbows, or leopard skin print.

 

 

 

This year will be special for me, my daughter and Vivian Rose.  She will wear her mother’s 35 yo Rebecca’s Bow Dress.  I’m just finishing the slip. The original has gone missing in these many years.  Alastair, bless his heart, will patiently endure wearing a coordinating bow tie, as he has in years past.

 

 

We’re looking forward to a joyous Easter celebration with both of our children and their families with our 4 precious grandchildren.

I wish you all a wonderful and meaningful Easter this year.

 

 

 

Happy St. Pat’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day outfit for Vivian Rose

 

I couldn’t let St.Patrick’s Day go by without a fun little outfit for 5 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.  This isn’t the traditional “wearin’ o’ the green,” but it combines her favorite color, purple, with her favorite fabric print “rainbow.”  So I thought it would do.

It was given to her at Alastair’s birthday party.

 

Earlier, she had lamented to her mother that Alastair had a party in a few days and her birthday wouldn’t be for sooooo long (January).  Rebecca replied, “But you will have fun at Alastair’s party.”  Vivi boo-hooed, “but I won’t get to open the presents and they won’t be for me!”    I thought this little outfit might help assuage her grief.

She doesn’t look very sad now.

I hope you all have a great St.Patricks’s Day.  We’re enjoying a quiet day at home. My hard working husband was hard at work early on, then rushed in for a quick shower.  Now he is parked in front of the tv, simultaneously watching baseball and March Madness.  He deserves to relax. So..

And I am off to the sewing room. YEAH!  I’ll be listening to some Irish classics like this.

https://www.facebook.com/PeterHollensMusic/videos/1431323636919962/