Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011-The Year in Review

Well faithful reader, it is that time again. Time to assess where you've been so you can see where you are going. This past year has flown by for me as I am sure it has for so many of you. There have been the highest of highs and some low, low, lows. All in all it has been a very good year. So this is what I have done this year:

As always, I say to myself time and time again; "I don't get enough done." I am not sure what the word "enough" is all about. I sure did a whole bunch more than I thought. Sure there are countless projects up in that sewing room that I didn't get to and they are waiting for me with a mocking sneer. At the same time I have more to show for the year than I anticipated. Why do we tend to focus on the negative space of accomplishments instead of the positive?

Here is the rundown:
  • 23 pincushions
  • 20 snip bags
  • 7 Silk Ribbon Embroidered Pencil Holders
  • 5 bishops
  • 3 Children's Corner Lucy jumpers
  • 3 Blouses
  • 3 Rompers
  • 3 Aprons
  • 3 Chef hats
  • 2 Daygowns
  • 2 Slips
  • 2 Wee Care gowns
  • 1 Basic Yoke Dress
  • 1 Smocked Full Bodice Dress
  • 1 Embroidered Summer Dress
  • 1 Christening Gown
  • 1 Coming Home Gown
  • 1 Overalls
  • 1 Doll Dress
  • 1 Jacket
For a total of 84 items. Not bad. In addition to that
  • 1 Sewing School
  • 1 SAGA Convention
  • 2 Bathroom remodels
  • 2 Chapter Programs
  • 3 Tutorials
  • 1 extra trip to Louisiana
  • 3.5 kids of varying ages moving in
  • Same kids moving out
  • Birthday party of the decade
  • 1 Family Portrait with grown children from all over (Try it and see if you don't consider it a big accomplishment)

  • 1 design being published in Australian Smocking and Embroidery!!!!! Go me!
Once again it doesn't compare to the time spent with this Princess

and just as wonderful

welcoming baby brother right before Thanksgiving. What a gift to be thankful for.

So all of those hours snuggling, tickling, reading or sweet neck kisses from last year, are double this year. The most difficult thing has been finding time to take enough pictures. Thank goodness Oldest Auntie was home at Christmas and made up for my woeful lack of pictures. Even if I did develop a bad case of camera envy. I don't think a new camera will give me more hours in the day.

As if all of that wasn't enough....

He asked

and she said, "Yes!" Their excitement knocked my angel right off the top of the tree evidently.  Exciting day for all, Santa brought dollies, books and BLING! (Say a prayer for me because trust me, I live with George Banks!)

The coming year promises to be just as eventful as the last. My wish for you faithful reader, is that with each day of the new year, a blessing is realized.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thirty Four Years

Happy Anniversary to my fabulous husband of thirty four years. To a wonderful husband, a great dad and now an awesome grandfather. Here is to thirty four more wonderful years together.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Is Santa chasing you? He is sure chasing me. No gifts are wrapped, groceries aren't bought, some shopping still needs to happen. As of last night, offspring have descended, so time is at even more of a premium.

There have been a few moments like these that make all the rushing around worth it. I hope your holiday preparations are coming together.

Be back soon, faithful reader. And bringing back an all time favorite to remind us all of the peace to had this wondrous season....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Do Not Be Afraid

In today's Gospel, the angel Gabriel appears to a young girl. A young girl engaged to be married. On the threshold of her life, she had it all planned out. Or so she thought. In her quiet solitude, an angel appears with news that would rock anyone to their core. Can you even imagine her confusion? Her fear? Fear of not only the unknown but the known. This was going to uproot all she had thought her life would be, what would her family say? How would she ever explain this to Joseph? Would he love her enough to trust her?  The angel tells her,
"Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favor."
After some consideration, she places her trust in God. Wow, I can't even imagine. I would have had a whole lot more questions!

Do not be afraid. It resonates within me. A very timely message for me, for us all. Set your fears aside as we wait for the coming of our Lord, at Christmas and at the end of time.

Do not be afraid.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Tale of Santa

We decided to try the Santa thing again. Here is how it went.


First I met some new friends that were also waiting to meet Santa. They seemed to be much more excited than I.


The stage was set. There were lots and lots of other kids there. I was taking it all in; the music, the trees, the kids, the chair, that man.

I am not so sure. Our turn is next, I am getting a little nervous.


Nope, I don't like him! Did you know that Mommies go to see Santa too?

I would rather just go to lunch! I think Mommy agrees.

That new kid they brought to live at our house is a traitor if you ask me. Not one peep of protest from him. He even seemed to enjoy it.


I am pooped! This Christmas thing will wear a girl out. Has anyone seen my shoe? Rumor has it, I was snoring. I think they are mistaken, Princesses don't snore.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Prepare our hearts
and remove the sadness
that hinders us from feeling
the joy and hope
which his presence
will bestow.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ho Ho Ho

Ho Ho Ho! Time for Christmas finery. Just in the nick of time, Breakfast with Santa was this morning. Princess and her baby brother were decked out and ready to go! Mommy and Mimi are a little ragged around the edges but they had a great time. For someone who has only been walking a week, Princess has turned into a modern day Road Runner. Good thing the dress is cute from the back, that is all we saw as she dashed here, there and everywhere!

There was one thing that stopped her dead in her tracks, that tall man in the red suit! I don't think it is possible for two little feet to be more firmly planted to the floor.

She was having none of it.

She may not have been willing to visit with Santa, but sitting in his chair with Mommy was okay. Master Hank didn't have much of an opinion.

On to the sewing! Both garments are made from Swiss flannel, love that stuff, trimmed with Susie's Ready to Smock red microcheck piping.The romper again is Chery Williams "Baby Bubbles" smocked with Ellen McCarn's "Candy-liscious". Since Master Hank is only a month old, I reduced the size of the insert by almost half. Much more in proportion for him. I pictured smocked the candy canes on his with three strands instead of four, that reduced the size of the candy canes. Then I squished (very technical term) the borders in close to the candy canes. I was happy with how the insert turned out.

The back view. We will address that faux belt another day. Ignore the fact that I took the picture before I stitched on the snap at the neck.

Like baby brother's, I reduced the depth of the original smocking design for the bishop as well. On a size 2 bishop, I did use four strands to picture smock, but repeated that "squishing" technique with the borders. As you can see above, it was the perfect depth. Normally I would have fretted about "bishopizing" (another technical term) the bottom border. For some reason, smockers have been led to believe that you HAVE to have use trellis and wave stitches at the bottom of a bishop design in order for it to drape properly. I took on the "They are not the boss of me!" attitude and decided to go against that philosophy. It worked great. You do have to smock more loosely along the bottom but it worked great.

I didn't get the slip made yet, have to do that in the next couple of days because "baby, it is cold outside!"

Onto the next projects after I clear a path in that tornado of a sewing room.

Parting Shot:
Just a kiss....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

For you

Aren't DVRs great? Just one of those many things we wondered how we did without in a former life. While sewing this evening I was catching up on the last episode from Glee. My daughter had mentioned that it was a good episode. Not that there are many episodes that I don't enjoy. This one was a keeper. The below video is one reason.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Smocking is complete, now on to construction. I love the lime green with it. As on the insert, I compressed the smocking design on the bishop as well. Princess might be a tall drink of water but she is still just a baby. She doesn't need smocking down her shoulders. I am off to block it and clear the sewing room so I can start constructing them both.

I think I need to start Christmas shopping. You don't think it is too early?

Parting Shots:

Baby Boy is almost 4 weeks old. Wow, how did that happen? He is looking more and more like his sister every day.

And Princess has decided to enter the realm of toddler. Last Friday she decided it was time to stop the knee thing walking we called stumpin'. We think she had to be practicing behind closed doors and no one knew. She just got up Friday and took off. She had never gotten up by herself before this. Now she does this for long periods of time, running laps.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wait in Joyful Hope


Hope, deep abiding hope.

"Hope is the thing with feathers,
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all." 

Emily Dickinson's definition of hope captures what many of us have a hard time defining. Hope is not blind optimism, nor arrogant certainty, nor wishful thinking. Hope, the theme of today's Gospel, is the knowledge that God would not desert us, that we will endure difficult times to see a better day. Hope gives us the strength to seek peace and demand justice, and to envision the world as God intended it to be.
                             (Excerpted from

Monday, November 28, 2011

Candy Cane Lane

Candy canes are coming along. Baby Hank's insert is almost complete. It still needs some holly. I did reduce his quite a bit. The original plate as well as the pattern, call for a 3" insert of 8 rows. No newborn needs 3" of pleating on his chest.  I squeezed it much narrower and it looks like it will be much more in proportion for a little guy. I'm not real happy with the borders on the insert. I haven't decided if it bothers me enough to re-do. I did space the canes farther apart on the bishop. I think they will be cute. Have to hurry, Breakfast with Santa is soon!

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was wonderful. Around here all of the leftovers have been eaten, the last pie plate put away, children have returned from whence they came and the season of Advent is upon us. As I sat smocking last night in a quiet house I stumbled upon Andrea Bocelli's Christmas special on PBS. It is from a couple of years ago. Just delightful and peaceful as I stitched along. Below is one of my favorites from the show.

What are you stitching in preparation for Christmas? I hope you take a quiet moment for yourself in this busy season.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Flickering Light of Advent

As we begin Advent, we light one candle in the midst of all the darkness in our lives and in the world.  It symbolizes our longing, our desire, our hope.  Three “advents” or “comings” shape our desire.  We want to be renewed in a sense that Jesus came to save us from our sin and death.  We want to experience his coming to us now, in our everyday lives, to help us live our lives with meaning and purpose.  And we want to prepare for his coming to meet us at the end of our lives on this earth...  (excerpted from Creighton Univ. Online Ministries)
“Lord, the light I choose to let into my life today is based on my trust in you. It is a weak flame, but I so much desire that it dispel a bit more darkness today. Today, I just want to taste the longing I have for you as I go to the meeting this morning, carry out the responsibilities of my work, face the frustration of some difficult relationships. Let this candle be my reminder today of my hope in your coming.”

How will you "prepare" for Christmas? Will you choose to prepare in a way that doesn't include only gifts, cards, menus and lines at the post office. All of those are worthwhile and bring great joy, but they tell only a small part of the story. Take a few moments each day as we prepare for Christmas, either by visiting one of the many online devotionals such as this one on Creighton's site or by practicing this time of quiet preparation in a way that best speaks to your heart. 

Come, Lord Jesus!  Come and visit your people. 
We await your coming.  Come, O Lord.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant,
to enact gratitude is generous and noble, 
but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. 
~Johannes A. Gaertner

May the blessings of this bounteous season be yours, faithful reader.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! At least in the sewing room. Fabric is washed, cut out and pleated. Ready to start stitching.


Fabric is Swiss flannel, again. Smocked with Ellen McCarn's Candy-liscious. I did decide to switch up the colors and go with a more contemporary lime green for the holly as opposed to the traditional green. For the patterns, my stand-by Children's Corner bishop and Chery Williams, "Baby Bubbles" for baby brother. Fabric and buttons from BessieMary. Piping will be red microcheck. Have to get busy.

Parting Shot:

Somebody wanted Mimi to take them with her. Next time I will sneak out when she isn't looking. Daddy is trying to distract her with socks.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bringing Baby Home

Friday was a good day, Baby Hank came home. Here he is resting up before his Mommy dressed him for the ride home.

Big Sister, Princess, was busy digging in Mimi's wallet while this was going on. She was oblivious to the momentous occasion.

Here he is in his coming home gown featured here. He is just too precious. One of the nurses asked if Mommy always went to this much trouble to dress her children. Princess was wearing her Big Sister jumper again. Mommy chuckled and told her yes, yes she did.

Here is a shot with his beautiful Mommy.


Ready to roll! With his hat from Jan, she was worried about his head being cold since there was no bonnet to match his gown.

This is after he has made it home and been removed from the car seat. I told you, Swiss flannel travels well. It is a delightfully yummy and snugly fabric. If you have never tried it, I highly recommend it.

Life is good and full of many, many blessings. Thank you, faithful reader for all of the comments and emails of well wishes on Master Hank's arrival. They are very appreciated.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Love Grows

Master Henry James L. (Hank) was born yesterday evening. 8# 8 oz and is a doll baby! We are in love. Well most of us, Big Sister is reserving judgement for a few more days. Mommy and Baby Hank are both doing well. So excuse me for a few days while I stock up on some new baby snuggles and some big girl hugs too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Last of the Daygown Parade


Excuse the poor pic, I was in a hurry today before I rushed out the door. This is the last of the daygowns for Master Hank. It is a simple daygown made from Imperial batiste. I had preconstructed it several weeks ago. It has since traveled all over the country waiting for a wee bit of embroidery. I put it together at the same time I did the one featured here. It also is made using Priscilla's Layette from the Old Fashioned Baby.

This is the same pattern used when getting ready for the Princess. It is a super simple and super quick gown to work up. We won't make Hank wear the pink one, but the blue one is laundered and ready to go.

It has a simple shadow work design featured in Shadowwork Fun and Fancy. Just a quick, sweet embellishment. Don't be afraid to stitch something small and sweet on a simple gown. It only took a couple of hours to stitch this slumbering moon while watching TV in my sewing room. The matching blue buttons are from Bessie Mary. Not sure why the placket is buckled in this picture. It is not in real life.

On to Christmas it is!!!! Can you say Swiss flannel and candy canes?
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