Fun Sewing and our 12 Days of Christmas

Another CC Lucy--and another kitty cat dress for my kitty cat loving granddaughter.

Another CC Lucy–and another kitty cat outfit for my kitty cat loving granddaughter.  The fabric features Disney’s Aristocats.

Happy 2017 to you all!  I hope yours was the merriest Christmas and holiday season ever because the Ferguson family’s surely was.

I can’t help but rant on and on ad nauseum about our holiday activities and good times, so for those who prefer to stay on topic, which would be SEWING, I will save those details for after the sewing news.  But we really had some great fun and you might glean an idea or two for your family gatherings.

At Thanksgiving, almost 4 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose asked me to please make her another “kitty cat” outfit.  Then as she walked in the door for Christmas, she again pleaded with this wrapped-around-her-little-finger Nana for another kitty cat dress. Please!

After the Too Many Cats dress cat-astrophe, I thought maybe I could talk her into trading the  too big, too worn out and too ugly dress for another better one.  Having this fabric on hand and my go-to CC Lucy pattern at the ready, I worked on it for two evenings after she went to sleep.  Voila’!  A new and improved version of kitty cat dress, though I wish I had taken time to lay out the front so the Eiffel Tower was centered.

 

This puffy pocket is a free pattern at Chidren's Corner website.

This puffy pocket is a free pattern at Children’s Corner website.   It’s a sweet little addition to any number of patterns.

 

The pocket is not piped.  I’ve taken to substituting spaghetti bias for piping.  It is simply butted up to the attached pocket and secured with a tiny zig zag and monofilament thread.  Cover the raw edges with a button.  Easy peasy.

The good news?  Vivian Rose loved it, though she did say that the pockets were too small.  She knew she couldn’t fit in her little hand and a big fat chocolate donut. Granddad ALWAYS has a box of Dunkin Donuts on the counter for easy access.  And he replaces it daily when he goes for his early morning hot latte.  He figures they can eat healthy at home.

The bad news?  No way would she give up Too Many Cats, now demoted to Second Favorite Dress.  Oh, well.  It has been laundered 2-3 times a week since Sept. 1 so how much longer can it last?  Maybe a while…. the fabric is such good quality.

The boys wanted to sew (read “embroider”) as soon as they arrived.  Alastair, 7, yo, is quite competent at threading and running my Brother Quattro machine.  Continue reading

Last Minute Gifts

 

By now we’re all down to the wire for those last minute Christmas gifts.  I have a few suggestions that I hope will help you finish up.

Time is short and the list is long.  I’m down to the postmistress, a sad and stressed neighbor, some neighborhood children and a few others outside the family.  So now I’m really scurrying and relying on these tried and true projects.

RECIPE DISH TOWELS

Orange marmalade recipe design from Embroidery Library with oranges added at the top..

Orange marmalade recipe design from Embroidery Library with oranges added at the top..

My personal favorite for a last minute gift is a dishtowel.  Blank towels can be purchased and embroidered with a personal design.  Or one can be personalized with a turn tube/burrito hem and 1/4 yd. of novelty fabric that reflects and interest of the recipient.

I love making recipe towels, like this one featuring orange marmalade.  It is made with a turn tube hem.  I pick up homemade jars of jams all summer in anticipation of making these gifts.  Of course, I only buy goodies for which I have recipes.  Embroidery Library has a nice variety of berry jams, as well as root beer floats, and others.  This year they have added blackberry preserves, orange marmalade, blueberry jam, peach and more.

A towel like this with an dded print hem would be received by our friends with an olive grove if only I could find olive fabric.  But that has proven to be hard to find so that one may require embroidery.

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WAHAWAY COOKIE BAG/TOWEL

 

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Another of my all-time favorite last minute gifts is the washaway gift bag towel.  You begin with a towel and  add a little embroidery–or not. Continue reading

AHA! Tip Used Again

My AHA! moment #2, learned from a Christmas stocking last year,  was a new gadget for my sewing skill toolbox. And like good tools, it was needed again this year to complete a project for the same sweet friend.  Since the stockings for her family of four were “hung by the chimney with care”  last Christmas Eve,  the need for 3 more has arisen, one for their Elf on the Shelf “Snowflake,” one for their new dog “Jaxx” and one for visiting grandmother, “Sarah.”

This friend will be getting a Brother embroidery machine for Christmas (shhh!), but right now she knows very little about the process.  So when she came to me with the 3 stockings to be embroidered, oblivious of the difficulties that they posed, all I could think was oh how I wished Santa had brought me that single head free arm Brother Persona!!!!  But where there’s a will, there’s a way.

 

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A stocking for their Elf on the Shelf? Who knew.

 

So….first I tackled the little red knit stocking for Snowflake, the elf.  It seemed to be the easiest of the lot and I needed to warm up to the task. I was so happy to have already figured out the two-baste-frame technique from last year. Continue reading

Christmas Tidbits

Truly, this is the most wonderful time of the year.  And it’s just around the corner.

Meanwhile, the black velveteen for Vivian Rose’s Christmas dress (because black is this child’s best hope for an all-day appearance of cleanliness) is still in the package from Farmhouse Fabrics.    I’m still returning china, laundering and pressing 140 dinner napkins while recovering from Thanksgiving.  We were deeply involved in a fabulous almost family wedding Thanksgiving weekend.  FYI, the groom is almost family–there was nothing” almost” about the wedding!  That’s what the 140 dinner napkins were all about.

For 5 days of Thanksgiving and 5 days with so much for which to be thankful,   our house was filled with the families of both of our children, including all 4 of our precious grands.  It was a glorious time, but exhausting with the wedding thrown in there.

But back to Christmas……

Tidbit #1:  Do you all know about Jacquie Lawson‘s electronic greeting cards?  They are just spectacular.  For a small fee you have unlimited access to cards all year long. I share this with you now because of the advent calendar she offers each year.  Members, for a very small fee (as little as $2 each for 10 or more) can give a daily magical electronic Christmas experience to children or anyone.

This year there are two versions, a Victorian Christmas

 

This year's Jacquie Lawson electronic Victorian Advent Calendar

This year’s Jacquie Lawson electronic Victorian Advent Calendar

 

and a Seaside Advent calendar. Continue reading

Wash Me!

Wash Me – Personalized Laundry Bag

Yeah!  My personalized Disney Alphabet laundry bag tutorial has just been posted on Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  It was a fun and enjoyable project.  Those alphabet characters are cute as can be.  I felt like a real in-the-know and up-to-date Nana when I recognized most of characters.  I’m studying up on the others.

Check out the post for detailed construction and embroidery instructions.  If you  find it interesting or useful, I’d really appreciate a comment left on the blog.

Like dishtowels, my favorite hostess or whatever gift, a laundry bag can be used even if it’s not in the recipient’s favorite colors.  It’s good for children, campers, college students and even adults.  I meant to make one for my elderly Aunt Aileen when she moved into a nursing home.  Sadly, she left us before I got it made but I know she would have loved it.

“Laundry bag” sounds so utilitarian and boring.  But they can be a fun and gentle reminder for children (and others) to bag up those dirty clothes.  For each of my grandchildren I have made a bag and they are used regularly.  When she was here for the weekend, 3 yo Vivian Rose asked where her laundry bag was as she put on her pajamas. With no reminder, she put that day’s outfit in the bag and went to brush her teeth.

 

dsc06911 Continue reading

Meet Me at the Fair!

Having just arrived at her first fair, granddaughter Vivian Rose was awestruck.

Having just arrived at her first fair, granddaughter Vivian Rose was awestruck.

Midweek our daughter called to ask if we would like to have  3 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose for the weekend.  OF COURSE!!!!   Her brother and daddy would be camping with the Cub Scouts and her mama planned a visit with her college roommate.

When I realized that the county fair was in progress, I was even more excited.  I LOVE the fair.  This would be an incredible experience for all three of us–Nana, Granddad and Vivi.

When she arrived Friday afternoon,  we looked on-line at fair pictures.  She was intrigued and couldn’t wait.

After our little bundle of energy was bedded down late Friday night, I started on her fair outfit.  It was a HUGE hit for this gal with very strong fashion opinions.

 

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Her  “rainbow leggings”  were recently purchased just because I thought she would like them. At the time,  I wasn’t sure just what I would make to go with them.  When the fair visit was scheduled, I knew they would perfectly compliment the CC Lucy I had envisioned. Continue reading

Jungle Book Cot Sheet

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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

Sweet Dreams, Baby Girl

While spending the past weekend with our daughter and her family, we celebrated her birthday and her husband’s.  After running across this post, I decided to put it up again.  Daughters are wonderful!! (But so are sons.)

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Monogram is Dazzle from OESD. Tthe floral design is from Brother’s Holiday Card #77. This is a beautiful collection, with a pretty companion design for this one.

 

With a teary eye for the quick passage of time and a proud heart for the woman she has become, I celebrated my daughter’s birthday by making this pair of pillowcases for her.  With these and the wonderful life she has made for herself,  I expect she will have sweet dreams.

 

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The monogram is  Dazzle   from OESD.  It’s certainly convenient that she and her husband have the same initials.The floral design is from   Brother’s Holiday Card #77. This is a beautiful collection, with a pretty companion design for this one.

 

Luxurious bed linens have always been a priority for my girl.  As a freshman moving into a dorm at University of Florida, she asked me to custom make pima cotton sheets for the non-standard dorm bed, and, of course, matching pillowcases.    She confided that she was a bit like storybook character in the Princess and the Pea.  How could she get a decent night’s sleep on anything but pima cotton?  Oh dear, I thought.  Have I raised a “pima” donna?   But of course, two sets of fitted pima sheets were packed.

 

Sending off our French foregin exchange student days before Rebecca (in red) headed to University of Florida.

At  the airport, sending Claire, our French foreign exchange student,  home to France.  This was just a few days before Rebecca (in red) headed to University of Florida—along with her mama-made pima cotton bedding.

 

From the dormitory to the sorority house to her first college-girl apartment to her first little bachelorette house and now in her lovely marital home, she has always had pima cotton bedding. Continue reading

“Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” & the Good Times I’ve Had

Dear Friends and Readers, once again I am back.   My absence is well expressed by Sam Cooke who seems to know my pain.  Nobody knows the computer trouble I’ve seen!

For the past several weeks, my computer has been crazy, only occasionally and unpredictably usable.  I felt mute.  On my i-phone and Kindle, my fingers just bumble around the tiny keyboards and I grow frustrated very quickly.  I NEED my pc.

After running every virus checker, malware and spyware program known to the high-tech internet world, my fabulous tech savvy husband wiped the hard drive clean and reinstalled every single program.  And at last, it seems that all is well.

But amidst all this aggravation, we’ve had some really good times and I’ve done some sewing.  For a very special bridal shower I embroidered 46 dishtowels for guest favors.  I’ve known the groom-to-be since before he was born and this 35 yo fella has always had a special place in my heart.   So now that he has found the love of his life, the wedding is a major event for us. Continue reading

I’m Baaaack

It has been a wild ride in the time I’ve been out of the loop. After 5 days of Hurricane Matthew preparation, hunkering down with no internet, tv, cell or landline service and then clean up, we headed to Mayo Clinic.  My husband underwent a minor cardiac procedure, as if ANY cardiac procedure can be minor.  He’s just fine, we’re back home and now I’m back to blogging and sewing.

 

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First, I want to share this cute, quick and easy Halloween faux-pieced wallhanging that I really enjoyed making just before Matthew made his unwelcome visit.  A complete photo tutorial is posted here at Brother’s new blog, Stitching Sewcial.  The designs are from the new Disney Halloween Collection at ibroidery.com

There is still time to whip up this kid-pleaser for the increasingly popular Halloween season. Unlike corn stalks or hay bales, this decoration can be packed away for next year and more years to come.

Children love this, especially when they see Goofy’s skeleton glow in the dark.

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Goofy by day

 

Goofy by night

Goofy by night

 

I especially like the yo-yo pumpkins that dangle from each side. Continue reading