Tag Archives: machine embroidery

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.

I loved this pattern on first sight.  When our son and family were here for Easter,  Laurel smiled when she saw it and gave me a thumbs up to proceed.  She had brought her new bedroom curtains to be shortened.  The pillow was made with those scraps, so it coordinates nicely.

 

The pattern is Live and Love  from Kreative Kiwi. Their designs are all so appealing and stitch out flawlessly.

 

The text advice offered in the pattern is sound, but I had a few of my own directives. Laurel already smiles, imagines and enjoys life all the time,  so I substituted  PRAY, work, and family for those words.  This is not to say that our near perfect granddaughter (just like yours, I’m sure!) does not already practice and know the value of these words, but emphasis on those ideals seemed more important at her stage of life.

 

 

 

“Family” went against the grain of this old English major because all the other words of guidance are verbs.  Parallel construction dictates uniformity in grammar situations such as this, but I was unable to find a verb substitute. So I thought,”Phooey, I’ll walk on the dark side and break the rule this time!”  So I did.  Then I noticed “ALWAYS,” so I feel no responsibility for ruining the grammatical propriety of the text.

 

 

In traditional crazy patch style, trims, buttons and other motifs were added.

My thread color choices have caused some regrets.  The pillow is made up of 5 sections, embroidered individually in  the hoop and joined on the sewing machine.  I should have printed out a template of each section and taped them together to see the overall effect.  Laurel, however, had no complaints.  She is too polite and ladylike to have ever made a negative comment about a gift.  I love that girl!

 

 

I’m just now learning If I had had Brother’s BES4 program when redesigning the pillow with the substituted words, the pillow would have been so much nicer.  This program and is amazing! I could have easily made “PRAY” fit into that wedge shape and added other features.  I must add that I am a “paid sewing consultant for Brother,” but that does not require me to endorse a product.  I genuinely love BES4.

We recently spent some time visiting our son and his family in their new home in New Jersey, which is part of the reason for my long absence from this blog.  The tea room that Laurel, her mother and I visited had these pretty napkin wraps in each teacup.

 

 

Our special tea time reminded me that we were, indeed, living, loving, and family.

COMING UP–We are so excited about the upcoming and long awaited arrival of a baby.  Our immediate family is fresh out of babies since our last grandchild, Vivian Rose, is now 5.  This new baby will soon be joining her adoptive parents, active members of our church.  I am squeezing baby sewing into every rare but free moment.  I have two projects done and more are planned.  I hope you will stop by to see them.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

The pattern is GG’s Designs Marshmallow Bunny Peekaboo Treat Bag.  This is her picture.  They are quick and easy, with a single 4″ bunny in the 4×4 frame,  two 4″ bunnies in the 5×7 frame or a single larger bunny in that same 5×7 frame.

 

Before dinner an after they were dressed for the occasion–Vivi in her sneakers and Alastair’s shirt tucked in– they were off to hunt eggs.

 

 

What a treat it was to see a family of sand hill cranes strolling on the far side of the property.

 

 

This towel was a hostess gift for Oma.  I meant for it to be a trial run of this darling Vintage Luxe Bunny from Hang to Dry Appliques, but ran out of time.  Sadly, that site was closed last year and had so many wonderful crazy patch designs like this.  I wish I had purchased more.  So Oma was given the first and only, so far,  version.  I’m eager to make more of these for next year.

 

 

Vivi came home with us because her preschool spring break was after Easter.  So she was able to attend a beautiful Easter service with us.  It was a special blessing for me to see this granddaughter wearing her mother’s dress.   Additionally, each of the pastor’s children wore heirloom clothes that I had made through the years.

 

 

 

Ella is wearing Rebecca’s 34 yo peach Swiss batiste dress, Vivi holding the bunny, Julie wearing Laurel’s Lace Dress and Little Brother wearing a tucked and pinstitched linen shirt above the handsome blue shorts his grandmother made for him.  What a joy it was to see the girls’ delight in their heirloom dresses.  Little Brother was cooperative but unimpressed.

Through Easter week the guys attended a Gator baseball game in Gainesville, we all had breakfast at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill at DeLeon Springs State Park. We dined and strolled through delightful DeLand where 14 yo Laurel, our own precious angel, posed in front of the angel wings, a favorite photo op in downtown.

 

 

I was up late Thursday night hemming new curtains for Laurel’s room.  Friday morning they packed up and flew back to NJ. We miss  them all already.

NANA FUN

When I suggested that Vivi remove her kiddie Fit Bit for church, she insisted, “No!  If I take it off I might not make my goal!”  She’s 5!!!!  It’s a whole new world for this old fashioned Nana.

 

Free Design for Minnie’s Birthday Playsuit

The floral borders below each of the Minnie designs are offered as FREE downloads at the blog web site. The Minnie designs are for sale at iBroidery.com.

 

This cute and cool little play outfit was made for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  Minnie turned 60 years old in January so the blog post was a part of the birthday celebration.   As a “paid consultant” (inclusion of this info is required), I designed this and wrote the step-by-step tutorial, posted here.

As much as I love lengthy, complicated projects like an heirloom Easter dress or intricate quilt, there is a lot of satisfaction from making a quick and easy outfit for our little ones.  This  play suit certainly fits the bill. 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.

 

snowflake-all

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

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.

 

meet-me-v-front-porch

 

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

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

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