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
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