Tag Archives: machine embroidery

Free Happy Face Pencil Toppers

My turn to present the Children’s Message at church came this week just in time for back-t0-school.

The children range in age from 4-10 so the message needed to be catchy to get their attention and brief enough to keep that attention.  Additionally, there must be a meaningful message.

 

This bag and fabric was a gift to me from the Ghana mission team in thanks for the garments our sewing group made. The bright colors certainly caught the children’s attention.

 

With a large, colorful  tote bag next to me,  I mentioned that they had all begun a new school year.  Then I asked what they learn at school.  The answers were just as expected–math, reading, manners and to be kind (that was nice to hear).

They were curious about the bag but I said they would see what was in it later.  It was a surprise.  Darling tow-headed Reid, 4 yo,  had snuggled up to me before the service began and sneaked a look in the bag.  He shouted smugly, “I know what the surprise is!!!!”

Then I asked  what they do not learn at school.  One response was, “We don’t learn how to eat pizza.”  What????   So I helped by asking if they learn how to swim or how to ride a bike or how to  rub their bellies and pat their heads at the same time?  Or if they learn about Jesus?  Our homeschooled and Christian school students replied yes, but they others said no.

They were still looking at the colorful bag.  Reid said he wanted to say something. Assuming this bright little guy whose family has a daily Bible study and worship time, had something meaningful to say,  I gave him the microphone.  He screeched into it and laughed hysterically.  Scamp! I snatched the mike away while the congregation shuddered.

So how can they learn about Jesus?  Again, asking for their input, we found that they could learn at Sunday School, at Vacation Bible School, from their parents,  by reading their Bibles and praying for God’s guidance.

 

These have been some of my grandchildren’s favorites, from when they were very little until now as young teenagers.

 

From the bag I pulled out two children’s Bibles and a book of Psalms for younger children with illustrations and explanations.  But they could tell there was more in the bag.  So I took out the vase and showed them the pencil “bouquet.”

One of the older children was handed one pencil and asked to read the scripture tied to the pencil with a ribbon.  Vivienne read beautifully.

Show me your ways, Lord,

Teach me your paths. Psalm 25:4

They were told that studying their Bibles the Lord will  indeed teach them His paths.  And knowing Jesus and  will give them happiness.  That is the reason for the happy face on their pencil topper. This can be a reminder to them while in school.  Each child selected a pencil (unsharpened, of course) and were smiling as we ended our little talk with a prayer.

It’s such a joy to work with children.  They always amaze and entertain me.

The pencil topper machine embroidery design is a free download.  Of course, it has many uses and the happy face can be replace with a holiday theme like a pumpkin or candy cane.  With Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, these pencil toppers make nice little classroom gifts.

If you would like  this free design, leave your request as a comment at the end of this post.  I will e-mail it to you.

Detailed instructions can be found in an earlier blog post here.  Wouldn’t  this be a nice little gift for your child or grandchild to hand out to his or her classmates.  They are so quick to make.

Happy sewing!

 

Christmas Fawn Daydress

Christmas is just around the calendar corner and it’s rush, rush, rush for me and many of you.  I’ve just finished this Swiss batiste dress for Baby Beatrice.

I’ve written in earlier posts about Baby Bea, our new granddaughter via our church. Neither of her parents’ mothers is living,  so months before she was born they asked me to be her official Nana.  That was a happy day!  And, of course, she is a doll, just now 4 months old, which for me has been at least 120 more happy days.

Her daddy is an avid hunter, especially for deer. Bea’s little daydress is a reminder NOT to shoot Bambi or his antlered  father.

But back to the dress……the pattern is Old Fashioned Baby‘s Baby Daydress.

 

 

Like all of Jeannie B’s patterns, this one is a delight to sew and offers several design options.  I love the Scriptures and embroidery designs she places in the blank space around the pattern pieces.

 

 

 

The shadow work fawn is from Joy Welsh’s Applique for Kids.  It stitches just beautifully with her instructions.  The greenery beneath the fawn was extracted from another design which I cannot recall right now.

 

 

 

The holly at the neckline is another design whose origin I cannot recall.  I need to keep better records of what I embroider.

 

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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 and 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 a single rug and the 8 spread 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.

 

 

Halloween Projects~Quick and Easy

 

NOTE: This is reposted from several years ago, but still has some good ideas for quick and easy Halloween projects.  I hope you find something you like.

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Halloween has never been a favorite holiday of mine but our grandchildren get absolutely giddy with the fun it brings.  This year, I’ve joined in the celebration with sewing projects.

This candy jar was so quick and easy.   Our grandchildren are all big Disney fans so the iBroidery.com design with Mickey and the pumpkin seemed perfect.  It was embroidered on orange felt then glued to a fringed circle of black burlap.  The embroidery was glued to a strip of fringed black burlap  then adhered to the jar with double sided tape (one of my all-time favorite sewing notions).

 

candy jar alone

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Summer Picnic Dress

Originally plain white with drawn thread work at the hemline, this versatile dress from All About Blanks can become something very special. Adding a shirt makes it suitable for chilly, windy kite-flying days.

 

This “blank” linen/cotton blend dress from All About Blanks is, indeed, a blank canvas awaiting embellishment. With embroidery, ribbon and topstitching, it steps out from “blank” into the realm of special.

Its patriotic kite and images of sunshine and water seem to broadcast and celebrate the joys of summer.  For a picnic, family  reunion or any such occasion, a little girl would be the center of attention.

The embroidery design is from Brother’s embroidery site, ibroidery.com.  It is so sweet and versatile, capturing the magic of childhood summers.

 

Brother’s ibroidery.com design BIC-MTGSAS008

Another little touch was swapping out the white utility buttons with  eye catching red ones.

 

 

A complete tutorial post for this project is at Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial.

*Required disclaimer:  I am a paid sewing consultant for Brother.

 

 

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

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. Continue reading

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