Thursday, December 31, 2009

The year in review

It is that time again. Time to look back on the year to see where you have been so you can map where you are going. I never feel like I get as much sewing done as I would like, but in preparing for this post I realized I did more than I realized.
  • 47 pattern weights
  • 16 pincushions
  • 6 Sewing tutorials
  • 1 christening gown
  • 4 bubbles (2 smocked, 2 not)
  • 4 Wee Care gowns
  • 3 smocked dress quilt squares
  • 2 embroidered needlecases
  • 2 ready to smock daygowns
  • 2 smocked Easter eggs
  • 1 arm chair caddy
  • 1 diaper shirt
  • 1 bonnet
  • 1 apron
  • 1 Christmas ornament
  • 1 reticule (just the embroidery)
A total of 98 items!!!!! Now I realize the pattern weights weren't a very time intensive thing, but still 47 of them!!!!! Now that sounds impressive. Besides, the christening gown and tutorials more than make up for the pattern weights. I also taught two programs for my SAGA chapter this year and served as chapter President. Add in 7 trips and it is no wonder I didn't accomplish all of my goals for the year.

There are a couple of things I don't have pictures for, there are also two dresses that are moments from being finished. The car dress is in the sink as we speak. Since they don't have buttons I won't include them in this count.  If I did, that would be 100 items. Whoa nelly, all in all I am pretty proud of myself.

I would say that my goals for this year are pretty much the same as last year's. Below is a cut and paste from last year on Dec. 31. The pink type is the goal, the black is the reality.
  • To eat more healthy instead of wishing I was a size 5. I would like to conquer my sugar addiction. Well that didn't happen.
  • To re-decorate my bedroom. It is a depressing place right now. Nor did this, but it is top of the list this year along with the two upstairs bathrooms.
  • To travel. Don't know where, I would love to go abroad. Maybe this will be the year. Well I didn't go abroad, but I definitely traveled more.
  • Speak more kindly. I hope so.
  • Spend more time in prayer. I never fully realize this one as much as I would like.
  • Be more thankful. If there is one thing I really wish I could change about myself it is to be more of a "glass half full" kind of person. It isn't my innate inclination so it is a constant challenge. I think I did do better at this.
  • I would like to re do the whole house really but will admit that it sounds very overwhelming. NOT!
  • Take a photography class. I did take a small online class. I want to do more with this.
  • And as always, sew more. Score!
  • And to finish more of the UFO's hiding in that cabinet. They are trying to be quiet and coy but I know they are in there! Well I did pull TWO out of there and finish them. Needs to be more.
I hope your year in review reveals that you too accomplished more than you thought. I have to work on the coming year's goals to solidify those in my mind. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

This and that

I hope you had a wonderful holiday. I know we did. Since I had to wait until Christmas was over to share a couple of gifts I made and had a part in making.

A friend celebrated a BIG birthday right before Christmas so a group of us got together to mark her big day. Then we did a gift exchange and I pulled this same person's name. That made it easy to decide what to do for her for Christmas. This is an armchair caddy. I used the pattern I found here. Very easy but turned out well I think. Her directions and pattern were wonderful. I could have done more embroidery on it, but then it would have been a Valentine's gift as opposed to a Christmas gift and that is not what I was going for.

If you are looking for a nice gift for a sewing pal this one fits the bill.

It is made from silk dupioni in an orange that is shot through with hot pink. That doesn't show real well in pictures. Then trimmed and lined with hot pink/white gingham. Added a touch of SRE to the pin cushion and voila! If you need a gift I would recommend this one.

For her birthday we made a reticule as immortalized by Beverly Sheldrick. I can't even count the number of these that I know friends have made, won or bought. My contribution to the gift was I did the embroidery on it.


Another friend constructed the reticule. She did a great job.

The ladybugs are chocolate, not embroidery. These reticules are great to carry a project in and they hold way more than they appear they would.

What gifts did you make?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas blessings

The clock has just turned past midnight. It is now Christmas Eve. There is no deeper quiet than a sleeping house at Christmas time. The house is quiet, the returning children are asleep, only the tree glows in the corner. It is a night I love.

Morning will bring cooking and last minute preparations. Tonight will bring Midnight Mass. I love Midnight Mass. Every year "Silent Night" gets me. I remember those who have gone before, all the Christmas eves past. I imagine a young couple away from home becoming a family in less than ideal accommodations. What was that young girl thinking? Her betrothed? Was he worried about how he would provide for his family? In their humanity how could they even fathom what was to come?

Relish the smells, the sights, the sounds (or the absence of them), the tastes and the feel of Christmas. Remember all the gifts that have been given to us. Be renewed with peace and grace for unto us a child is born.

I leave you with one of my favorite carols.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A little bit o' Christmas

What better way to kick off the week of Christmas than by seeing the stage version of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"? It was delightful. The theater was packed with young and old alike, the music familiar and the costumes were lovely. If you are into vintage mid century clothing, this is the show for you.

I loved the dance numbers where "Judy" is wearing these lovely multilayered chiffon skirts. Just beautiful. Especially when she twirled.

This cast even featured several members of the original Broadway cast. Great show. I highly recommended it. It even snowed inside the theater, only to be matched by snow flurries flying outside as we left the theater.

And finally we have the tree up. Do you know one of the magical things about digital photography? You can't see the fact that the ornament boxes are still in the living room unless I want you to. And I don't want you to. I love this ornament. He is a teddy bear that sits on a light so his tummy glows. Isn't he handsome in his pert bow tie?

These crystal bells are another favorite. Bought the first Christmas we were married. I dropped them trying to get the hook on them. I gasped for fear they were broken. But they survived.

Another favorite is a set of ceramic teddy bears. There are three of them. Bought the first time we left our oldest with a baby sitter. DH and I spent the time going to an art fair at the local university. I came home with these sweet little bears. I've replaced the hanging cord a couple of times but its beginning to look a little faded. May have to give him a new one again next year.

I hope you and your family are preparing to celebrate the holidays in style. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


This is a Christmas ornament I made for a swap.

UFO's have a life after the dreaded UFO closet, drawer, box or whatever dungeon you send them to live out their lives. This was from a SAGA convention class several years ago. It was a gold work class taught by Joan Hinds. It has lived in darkness until now.

Not sure ornament making is my forte' but its not too bad. I enjoyed putting this snippet to use. I hope the recipient enjoys it as well.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Need some inspiration?

First posted by iveyc95

I got nothin! I don't have anything to share right now, so what do I do when I am procrastinating on what I should be doing? I surf; lucky for everyone involved it doesn't involve water, bathing suits(gasp), large fiberglass boards or wax.

I just love the above basic yoke dress. Something about that pink/gray feather wale corduroy that just makes me smile. Those hippos are too cute.

First posted by Time Really Does Fly

Cheryl just has a way with a bishop that I just adore. Every single time her bishops just look perfect to me. This one looks like cotton candy.

First posted by Angelasews 

 I have professed before that I am not much of a doll person, but this is just too cute. They navy/white combo looks so crisp and winter like to me. Her photography is great too.

First posted by anna fabó art

This needle artist is from Spain and she has a much different take on the usual smocked dress. I want to figure out how she does the sleeves. I think I could do it, but like trying a new restaurant, I don't think about it when I set out to do something new.

So faithful reader, hopefully I will have something to show and share soon.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Santa for sewists

Do you have a list for Santa? What items would you ask for to make your sewing life easier? Here are my suggestions.

first posted at Nancy's Notions

This little gem is available at Nancy's Notions. I use the heck out of mine all the time.

First posted by Bessie Mary

I LOVE these scissors. They are my go to scissors for trimming French seams. These are available at BessieMary.

First posted at All Brands

I am asked quite frequently what pleater I recommend. This one hands down! This Super Amanda Jane pleater could pleat ply wood, I am sure of it. Worth every dime. As seen at AllBrands.

First posted at

I am lovingly and not so lovingly known as an ironing fanatic. This is the iron I use. I bought it at my local sewing store but it is also available at Amazon. This buddy puts out some steam!

First posted at Country Bumpkin

A subscription to two of my favorite magazines. Yes they are pricier than a sub to Good Housekeeping, but when you consider that all of the patterns are included, it really is a good deal. Both available through your favorite heirloom store or from Country Bumpkin directly.

First posted at Wendy Schoen Design

Or another gift that keeps giving throughout the year is the Embroidery Club from Wendy Schoen. If you ask extra nice Santa may even sign you up for the kits for each edition as well. 

I hope this gives you a few ideas to let Santa know what is on your list. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sewing by proxy

Remember when I posted about the reader who contacted me because she wanted help making a christening gown for her granddaughter?

Well a few hours on the telephone, a dozen camera charges and a couple of hundred emails later and here are the results. She has done a gorgeous job. I knew all along she could do it. She hadn't smocked since this baby's mother was a child. Just like riding a bicycle, she is back at it with great results!

She used Eternal Love from AS&E Issue 42. She purchased her supplies from Bessie Mary. Thanks Jan!

It was delightful fun helping someone rediscover a forgotten passion. I just know that her granddaughter will benefit from this refound love of smocking and heirloom sewing. The christening is this Sunday, and I know it will be a day for all of them to cherish. I am glad to have been a part of it.

The pictures may have my stamp on them, but the stitching was all hers. Great job Mary!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Just the imagine the awesomeness of this!!!!

This is not the best quality video but it is still wonderful. Yes I am a Glee Junkie.  Watch the full episode here

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Weekend Recap

Did you eat too much of this?

Spend some time with them?

Brave a few of these?

Spend too much of this?

and end up with these?

No matter how you spent your holiday I hope you took a minute to stitch a bit and give thanks for all the good things in life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A quick gift

As bloggers we all have a routine of blogs we follow and some that we check if not daily, almost so. Well Stop Staring and Start Sewing! is one of those for me. She posted a tutorial for an Apron in an Hour. Well in a flash of inspiration I decided to make one as a hostess gift.

Now Jona you lied to me. You told it would take an hour. I beg to differ, it took one hour and 13 minutes!!! Now faithful reader you know I am a giver, I am here to serve; so when there is misinformation I have to let you know. (You realize I am teasing, I hope. It did take an extra 13 minutes, but come one, how many gifts can you make in 1:13?)

I timed this little endeavor. Now I didn't include the time it took to preshrink it in the dryer, but from the time I sat down and made the first snip to tieing it onto the mannequin was 1:13. That is awesome if you ask me. What a great hostess gift. And for under $10, I bought enough fabric for 2 and it was $17 with tax. I used some Amy Butler fabric from her two Midwest Modern Line. All in all, a cute, quick project.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Inspiring spaces

First posted at Sew Many Ways

Does your sewing room need a pick me up? Are you looking to dedicate a space to your sewing room? Karen over at Sew Many Ways has done just that. And wow! It is beautiful and so coordinated. She has some great inexpensive ideas to get a great looking space.

First posted at Sew Many Ways

I love the letters up top. Now in my opinion she needs a whole bunch more stash, but who am I to say?

Monday, November 23, 2009

A spring trip to the zoo

Finally a finished project to share. The little bubble is made from Daniel by Primrose Lane. Not sure who the fabric is by, I bought it from It's Sew Heavenly when I was in Lafayette LA during the summer. The plate is shown here. I bought the plate from Bessie Mary in Dallas. I get around ya'll!

It is a size 6 months, so it should be perfect for a little man's first spring trip to the zoo.

First posted by Primrose Lane

I am not sure if this designer is still selling from her site, but your favorite heirloom shop should have it. I love the look of this pattern but a few heads up.

First, I am not sure I would make it from 100% cotton again. Those little tabs are stitched down, so that makes it a challenge to iron. And this fabric needs ironing. The second hint is the yoke lining piece does not fit, so check it against your finished yoke before you cut out lining piece. Why is it when you get a collar you are happy with the stinking lining doesn't fit? Now if the collar had been jack legged that lining would have been perfect. Unfortunately the lining piece had to have the bottom serged and stitched down along the bottom of the insert. Not enclosing the bottom of the insert like I would have liked. And no I am not going to show you.


But if you like piping this is the one for you! Lots of piping. (And I can tell the side of that yoke needs the iron still.)

Off to pack for our next trip to Louisiana.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New tools for the toolbox

I have some new tools for my embroidery/smocking toolbox. Thread charts for both DMC and Anchor flosses. I had always wanted one and when I saw Michie' Mooney post about the DMC chart on her blog, I took the plunge. I purchased the DMC chart first. When it came, I liked it so much, used it right away and declared right then I had to have the Anchor as well.

I prefer the way the Anchor card is set up, but am delighted to have both. It looks like a rainbow. And as I said, I have already used them on a project I have to keep secret for now. But it was such a delight. It doesn't take much to make me happy. (Contrary to what my husband and children might say.)

They are a bit pricey I guess, but so worth it in my opinion. I purchased the DMC card directly from them, but the Anchor card I could only find from a vendor on ebay. I paid about $25 for the DMC card and about $35 for the Anchor one.

Again a bit pricey, but very worth it. I can not tell you the number of times I have dug through my floss boxes, pulling out a half dozen or so at a time, trying to match colors to fabric. Above is how I store my floss.

In Floss Away bags. I started using these bags about 26 years ago, when I took my first smocking class at the Heirloom Shop in Pensacola FL. At the time, one of the few ways I had seen to store floss was by winding it on those bobbins. This wasn't going to work. First I had three tiny children, this process had disaster written all over it. Plus I didn't want my floss to have those kinks in it. Floss Away used to have storage boxes as well. Well I filled those two buddies up in a hurry.

When I could no longer stuff another single floss bag into the boxes I had, I found these scrapbooking storage boxes at Oriental Trading. The boxes measure 11 1/8" x 5 1/4" x 12 1/2", and come with dividers. I am able to get three rows of floss bags into each box. I have four of them, each of them labeled with the kind of floss. I haven't done the box that has the DMC Broder Medici yet. And that shot is as close as you are getting to  the inside of my stash closet. I don't tell everything I know.
I hope you are stitching on something beautiful.
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