Tag Archives: applique

Mug Rugs~What I’ve Learned

I’ve always thought mug rugs were a great idea and always meant to stitch some.  Finally, a need arose and a set of these unusual “rugs” seemed like the perfect hostess gift for a perfectly gracious host and hostess.

The second set was made for the guest of honor an speaker, extraordinary Pastor James of Ghana.  So two gift sets of 4 mug rugs were made.  I don’t enjoy stitching identical designs again and again, so I changed the thread color of the background stitching and some of the lettering.

 

 

At a lovely dinner at the home of members of our church, Pastor James spoke passionately to a large group of  guests about the challenging conditions in Ghana.  Our host and hostess, a physician and nurse, had gone there on a medical mission trip this past summer.

As he described conditions in Ghana-no running water in the schools or even the police station, only one hospital several miles from the town of 1.5 million people, accessible only by foot or one of  the few motor scooters–one thing he repeated more than once stuck in my mind.  He said, quite vehemently, “You in America have absolutely NO reason to complain. I and people in my country have good reason to complain, but you have NONE!  Every day you should drop to your knees and thank God for all the blessings you enjoy here!”

In retrospect, the mug rug gift seemed a bit paltry relative to the delicious dinner and the moving testimony from Pastor James, but I had decided a gender neutral item would be best and mug rugs is what it was.

As always, I was rushed and finished these in barely enough time to arrive to dinner at the scheduled hour.  Consequently, the picture is really not good at all.  I should have had a cup and cookie resting on it the single and spread the 8 apart.

So much was learned on this relatively simple project.  First, I began with a mug rug from Kimberbell Designs, Holiday Mug Rugs.  This collection is wonderful with delightful designs and background stitching.  But I just needed a background and a blank canvas for my Ghana design.  I selected the Cardinal for its background but eliminated the cardinal itself and the snowflake. There are several background patterns in this collection.  Now I want to sew some for Christmas gifts.  And I will use what I learned on this project!

 

I really wanted an applique’ design of Ghana so I could use that souvenir  fabric from my daughter’s trip to Africa.   But what were the chances of finding that?  Surprise!!!!  On Etsy, you can find anything.  This site, Pixels to Threads  has applique’s of several exotic countries! I was thrilled.

The tribal fabric made in Tanzanika was used for the applique’ and for the backing.  I’ve had this fabric for 12 years now and often wondered if I would ever have a use for it.  Now I am so glad it was in my stash!  The Ghana lettering was done in Brother PE-Design.

Instead of using two fabric, as shown on the cardinal mug rug, just one was used, and that background  fabric choice was my first mistake.  It is a relatively heavy, almost coarse linen like piece that seemed perfect for the design.  But these rugs, I expect, were designed for quilt weight fabric, not one so heavy.  It was difficult to press the seams flat after turning the rug right side out.  Note to self: use quilt weight fabric next time.

Next, the instructions were to use a very light weight batt.  But wouldn’t you know, I had a medium weight scrap that was just the right size to make all 8 rugs.  I love using up scraps! How important could the batt weight be?  That was my second mistake.   It IS important.

Even with very close trimming of the batting at the seam line, pressing those thick seams was an even greater issue in combination with the heavy top fabric.  Ultimately, monofilament was used to straight stitch very, very close to the rug’s edge to flatten it.

Frankly, I was doubtful that the mug rugs would be much of a hit.  But when I saw our friends a few days ago, our hostess confided that she had kept only 2 of her rugs.  Two of the Ghana mission helper/organizers who were at the dinner were so taken with them that she shared the other two.  Pastor James, seeing their appreciation for the rugs, gave them two of his.  Of course, he might just have had no use for them.  Still, it was touching.  So each of four Ghana interested people now have 2 rugs each.

At our hosts’ home that night, I was so pleased to see what they had done with the  dishtowel hostess gifts I had made for the first “Ghana” dinner we attended when they shared their mission experience.  I regret not including a caduceus.  I even have one in my design library, but didn’t think of it in my usual rush rush project sewing.

 

 

I doubt these towels will ever see a wet dish.  But I am so pleased with how they were arranged and displayed.

A quick laugh—I texted a picture to a friend who asked what I was working on.  Somehow, only the Ghana applique’ showed up and not the text.  Perplexed, she asked her adult daughter what she thought that was.  “Cheese?” she replied.  Then the next photo came through and the question was answered.

Again and again, I am amazed at how much personalized gifts like the simple dishtowels and mug rugs can be so appreciated.  I appreciate my Brother Dream Machine which enables me to make these appropriate gifts.

What are you sewing?  What do you use for hostess gifts?  I’d love to hear about your projects.

Required disclaimer:  I am an official “brand ambassador” for Brother.  It’s a title of which I am proud.

 

 

One FF Cat with One Finally Finished UFO

FF (formerly feral) Rusty with CC Jane for Vivian Rose

FF (formerly feral) Rusty with FF (finally finished)  CC Jane for Vivian Rose

 

This little outfit has been sitting at the back of my cutting table for almost a year now.  Why?  Because after embroidering the tricycle I thought a lighter pink applique fabric would have looked better.  I got as far as cutting out another front, but never got to the re-embroidery.  So it sat. Until last week.

 

allegria bodice

Children’s Corner Jane, one of my go-to-patterns for wiggly Vivian Rose, with an added angel sleeve ruffle. The pattern is so simple, perfect for embellishing one way or another.

When I took it outside to photograph because the lighting is so much better, my ever-loving, always-seeking-affection feline fella Rusty jumped into a pot of geraniums to be near me.  It was a cat photobomb. But I  just kept shooting as sunset was approaching.

Some readers might remember this photo of grandson Alastair with kitten Rusty, who was discovered with his recently feral mama in our old vacant chicken house.  That was in an earlier post, Sew Lucky, Sew Beautiful, .

Alastair and tiny Rusty kitten

Grandson Alastair is wearing his Big Brother shirt and holding tiny Rusty.   Mama Alina is keeping close to her kitten. He never was camera shy.

 

A most unusual cat, he has grown up to be as social, loving and attentive as any dog we’ve had.

 

Rusty tail w dress

Continue reading

Elephant “Jane”

Jane-elphant1a

Children’s Corner “Jane” with elephant applique

 

This was made while spending a week at our mountain cabin.  With our daughter and her two children and all their activities, it was a busy time.  And yet, I managed to finish this Children’s Corner Jane for 18 month old Vivian Rose.

 

Jane patt

What a terrific pattern this is!  Fast as a New York minute, easy as pie and cute as a button.  How’s that for a lot of cliches?  But it’s all true.  This may be the perfect pattern for our 18 month old granddaughter Vivian Rose.

I love a pattern that is simple enough to alter easily for different looks.  For the size 2, the basic top required just 1/2  yd. of 60″ wide fabric.  On this gray gingham top, a lace edged ruffle was added over the regular elasticized sleeve.  An appliqued gray ultrasuede elephant adds textural interest.  The loose tail is a bias tube made from the ruffle sleeve pink fabric.  I hope she doesn’t pull it off. Continue reading

Exquisitely Detailed Vintage Baby Dress

circa 1940 organdy baby dress

circa 1940 organdy baby dress

 

The bassinette skirt I’ve been working on is coming along, but it surely takes a lot of time to arrange the designs.  So while I continue working on that,  I thought you might enjoy looking at this sweet baby dress which has so many exquisite details.  It was given to me by a friend but she knew nothing about its history or origin.

The fabric seems to be a soft organdy, if there is such a thing.  It may just be that it’s old and has lost some–but not all–of its crispness.  Labeled Tiny Tots Originals  hand made Philippines, every stitch is done by hand.  I googled Tiny Tots and could only find references to a company by that name in the garment district of New York City.

The search also turned up other Tiny Tots Original garments for sale on etsy or eBay.  The information is not corroborated, but those garments were dated 1940-1960, though every vendor seemed to be giving it their best guess.

But my-oh-my the details! Continue reading