Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Holiday plus The Year in Review...and I've Been Outed

Hang on, this is a long one faithful reader.

My youngest son in law tells me that I can't post any "excuses" as to my absence of late faithful reader. Harumph I say. Let's say what did December consist of around here since my last post? 24 hours after my last post, I received a call from my daughter overseas asking me "could I come?" 72 hours after that my husband landed in the hospital. After some crazy juggling and some gracious rescheduling, a couple of the kids came at the drop of a hat while I zipped away. They stayed with their dad while I went...

here! What, you don't have time for a trip abroad two weeks before Christmas, faithful reader? What is a momma to do when her baby says, "Can you come?" Well get on a plane, of course. I helped babysit, house hunt, bathe and snuggle as well as travel home for the holidays. Lest you think it was all drudgery and hardship, there was a side trip

to the most delightful pasticceria you have ever seen! The Pasticceria Ferrari. I am sad there is no website. It is a delight for all of the senses.

Princess opted for a Santa cake. So cute but she wasn't touching that hot milk.

Mommy and I chose a more "healthful" option, Ha!, of berry tarts with hot chocolate that was the consistency of melted pudding. Oh my....

Enough of that, it was time to return home by racing through as many airports as possible. I hear the Munich airport is nice if you aren't running through it like a madman.

I returned home to a still recuperating husband late on the 17th. Yes, one short week before Christmas. There was a tree to put up, NINE pair of pj's to finish, shopping to do, gifts to wrap and preparing for the arrival of the rest of the family. Whew, and as you can see from the top photo it all came together and we had a wonderful, crazy, joyous, loud, fun holiday.

Now for that year in review.

  • Four Rompers
  • Two Machine Appliqued Sundresses w/bloomers
  • One Sundress no bloomers
  • One Slip
  • One Appliquéd CC Lucy
  • Three Toddler Bibs
  • Two Undermachine Pocket Mats
  • Two Machine Embroidered Jackets
  • Six Monogrammed Scarves
  • Twelve Luggage Tags
  • One Bridal Garter
  • One Monogrammed Table Runner
  • One Monogrammed Silk Covered Hat Box
  • One Smocked Bodice Flower Girl Dress
  • Embroidery on "Liberty Rose" Inspirations #71 as well as signature square to insert into a friend's throw.
  • One Appliqued Long all
  • One Appliqued Jumper
  • Two Aprons
  • Two Doll Garments
  • NINE pair of Santa PJ's.
  • One Smocked/Embroidered baby dress
Total 58 items all along with
  • One Rotator Cuff Repair and 9.5 months of rehab
  • One SAGA Convention
  • One Half of a Local chapter Workshop
  • Two trips abroad
  • ANDDDD One Wedding for our youngest daughter
But really no excuses as to why I have been silent faithful reader. I have already started planning for the coming year. Easter outfits are planned and designing a christening gown has commenced because as I stated in the title, I have been outed.

Someone, aka Lori Anne, found the ticker at the bottom of this page. Our newlyweds have brought home a little Belizian souvenir from their honeymoon. We are blessed to be welcoming a new addition to the growing family at the end of June.

I hope your holidays were half as wonderful as ours were and that the New Year brings many, many blessings to you and those you love. I promise to post more in the coming weeks. I have a few Christmas projects to tell you about.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Anyone Ready for Christmas?

Not me! I am okay with it though. Strangely enough I don't feel too stressed by it. Perhaps someone has slipped something into my morning tea and I don't know it. I am crazy busy but not stressed. Where is that coming from? Right now I have about four projects in the works. I'll have pictures soon. Not stressed there. Hmmm.

Maybe because it is also Advent, which I love. I love the prayer. The quiet. The dark. The anticipation. All of it.

Most of all because soon all of my "peeps" will be here. They start converging in about two weeks. In all of their noise, their mess, their chaos and their dirty dishes. I can't wait. Everyone will be home for Christmas this year. We have had quite the year, lots of surprises, joys, sorrows, stress, worry and delight. For some reason just thinking about all of them being home for Christmas makes me a bit teary. I don't care what doesn't get done, what lists aren't accomplished; I just kind of need to get my hands on them and hug hard! We aren't quite sure how we are going to rearrange the furniture in order to seat everyone for dinner but that will come together as well.

So faithful reader, I have to head to bed so I can get back to the sewing machine in the morning. Then it is onto the tree and decking the halls. For now I will leave you with this, you will have to provide your own tissues.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Quick Gift...again

This is a repeat of an oldie but goodie. About three years ago I made this same apron for my middle daughter when she hosted Thanksgiving. This year we were visiting the newlyweds who decided to host their first Thanksgiving. In a moment of clarity of recall I remembered this quick "Apron in an hour". It took a few more minutes this time because I had to fudge a bit with fabrics.

I used the same fabrics used for the bridesmaid's luggage tags. Since I had cut into the half yard cuts I had bought for the tags I needed to make the strip along the bottom deeper to give the apron adequate length as well as make the waistband a tad more narrow. That took some cipherin' which in turn took me a few minutes longer to complete the task. Older daughter had commented that the original apron ties could use to be a tad longer so I made that adjustment as well.

All in all if you need a quick inexpensive gift, again I suggest this quick apron. It is great for a new bride or a not so new bride that wants something fresh in the kitchen. It may have taken me a few more minutes than a hour but not too many more. Hmmm, I may have to make one now for oldest daughter. Act surprised!

For my stateside readers, I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was filled with blessings and grace. Now onto the Christmas season! I hope you have something fun planned to stitch for the holidays. My mind is swirling with all kind of ideas. Let me be the first to wish you a...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope for you faithful reader, a blessed Thanksgiving. This holiday can be filled with joy or frought with heartache and everywhere in between. May we all have the capacity to stop and be thankful for the blessings in our lives however large or small. A blessed day to you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Another Doll Auction

Our chapter does a bi-annual doll auction as part of our annual auction to raise money for both our Wee Care and Education Programs. I had every good intention in getting more made for the auction, but you know that road to he** is paved with good intentions. That is what my mother always said.  Oh well. Onward and upward!

This year's dress came from "Dolly's Wardrobe" by Children's Corner. I used Marilyn.

The dress is made from a poly/cotton gingham with a ribbon out of the ribbon tin. I have no idea what I bought either for, I was just glad they were both there when I needed them two days before the auction! I have never made the full sized version of this dress but I do know you never could make it from corduroy. There are 10 layers of fabric where the sleeve meets the shoulder seam. TEN! The bodice and bodice overlay are both lined as well as the sleeve being lined. Ten layers at the seam.  That is a lot of layers.

You may not be able to tell, but the overlay is reversed from the intended direction. I don't think the dolly or the dolly's little girl will notice. A simple dress but it was finished.

This is just a portion of what was made for the doll. There is quite a lot that isn't pictured and this is not the best picture. I apologize.

This amazing ensemble was made by another chapter member. Anne G posted this picture on Facebook. The picture doesn't do it justice. Gorgeous smocked coat, hat and muff.

I didn't get a chance to make anything else for the auction but I made up for it in purchases. I have a couple of baby gifts now waiting for a lucky recipient as well as some delicious homemade chocolate covered marshmallows to share at Thanksgiving.

Until next time faithful reader.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Birthday for a Prince

A certain little Prince has had his First Birthday! I can hardly believe it. We will party down when the whole family can be here in December but Mimi couldn't let the day go by unmarked. That is the good thing with a one year old, they can't read a calendar! Nor can his older sister. They will be none the wiser.

To mark the occasion I made a little romper. This is nothing like I originally planned. The fabric changed, the plate changed, the pattern changed. You get the picture. This was the final result.

The pattern I used was Daniel by Primrose Lane. I have used it before here. Again I am leaning towards inserts that aren't 4 and 5 inches high. On a little person that doesn't walk yet, that deep of an insert seems to bunch up into their faces while they are sitting. I had originally planned to use Beach Baby from AS&E but the only knit I had was white but not the same white as the insert fabric. So powder blue poly/cotton it was.

It is piped with Susie's Ready to Smock purchased piping. You may have noticed in the first picture that the sleeve cuffs aren't piped. I ran out of piping in the package. I had two packages marked with the same color but they are definitely from different dye lots.

The plate used was Ellen McCarn's "Tiny Rocking Horses." A plate I have had for yeeeears but never used.  I didn't smock an obvious birthday plate because there was something waiting for him in the Mimi closet.

This is Bobby's Tabard Suit from Beacoup. It is out of print but I found it listed here on etsy. My pattern is MIA. The plate I used is Ellen McCarn's Birthday Bear.

I made it for another sweet boy's first birthday 21 years ago. I included this sweet romper in the Prince's birthday box along with other birthday goodies.

I hope you are planning a wonderful holiday either large or small. We are headed to the newlywed's house for the holiday. No one told her she didn't really want to host both sides of the family for the first holiday, eight weeks out of the gate. She has taken the plunge. We are headed her way to feast with most of the family. We will sorely miss those not with us but be thankful for AT&T.

Happy Thanksgiving to you faithful reader. Please remember those who are suffering around the globe at this time. We have so much to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Quick Jacket for Princess

I couldn't leave out Princess. Although the postal service where she lives is trying REALLY hard to do just that. Grrr. Can you tell I'm irritated? Hopefully it will miraculously appear before Saturday. Enough of that.

I used Gail Doane's little swing jacket. The pattern is available either in this book, Sew Cute Couture or as part of one of her many class kits. It fits great and looks great. As much as I love the hand embroidery featured on Gail's patterns, I didn't have time for that this time. It is made of the same deep plum colored wool as baby brother's and interlined with flannel. So three layers ought to be warm enough.

For the embroidery on the jacket front I used this cute little guy, again by Designs by JuJu. He is from the Christmas Owls set. I like his little wavy stitched ear muffs. Sorry this picture is a little blown out.  Even though the designs weren't overtly directional in appearance, I did mirror image them on either side of the jacket fronts.

The sizing for this little pattern is generous. I expect that if it gets there before she goes to kindergarten, that the sleeves may be a tad long, so I lined the jacket in the same gingham I used for the binding. That way if her mother needs to roll the sleeves up, it will look intentional. Again I used gingham covered buttons to match. I didn't take a picture of my favorite part, the little swing pleat down the center back. So cute on a toddler.

Buttons and Bunnies Jacket
Where did this baby girl go? This was taken the day her baby brother was born.

Ring of Roses Jacket

This is the third of these jackets I have done. Plus, I may or may not have two kits upstairs for more of these sweet jackets, and another finished red one WITH a matching dress waiting for her to grow into made by my sweet friend Dawn. Can you tell we love this jacket? I wish I were prolific enough for her to have a matching jacket for every dress but alas I am not.

Gail also has kits available on Etsy. Try this little jacket even if you don't have time to make the matching bishop. This little jacket goes together so quickly they are like Lay's potato chips; you can't make just one.

Many have written asking about my shoulder. Thank you. It is coming along albeit way too slow for this impatient patient. The physical therapist is happy, we'll see if the surgeon is happy on Monday. I have grown so attached to my physical therapist, I don't know what I will do without seeing her three times a week. I see her more than my husband and children.  Next up, the 25 yards of Santa fabric is pressed and ready to cut out today. Wish me luck.

Until next time, faithful reader.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Matching Embroidered Pockets-A Short Tutorial

 I promised a short tutorial on how I achieved my mirror image yet matching pockets for Baby brother's jacket in my last post. I am sure there is probably a lot easier method out there that I am not aware of, this worked. Being the giver I am, I'll share it with you.

First off, I cut out and interfaced a block of my jacket fabric before cutting out according to the pattern piece. The interfacing gave some support to the embroidery and by using a block larger than my intended pattern piece it gave me room for forgiveness. I used German interfacing available from many heirloom retailers.

Another prep step was, when I embroidered the second mouse, I horizontally "flipped" the image before stitching. I wanted my little mice to face each other. This can be either through the embroidery software or in the embroidery machine itself.

After my two blocks were embroidered I placed them wrong sides together. To make sure that both mice were even with each other, I pinned through both blocks around the embroidered design, matching the edges. When pinning under his feet for example, I made sure that the pin exited exactly under the bottom block at the same place as it shows on the top block. I hope that makes sense. I didn't take a picture of that step.

Then I needed to find my center. In finding the center, take into account the farthest edges of the whole design, in this case his tail. Otherwise your tail will end up right next to the edge while on the opposite side of the mouse you would have a large blank space from the outer edge to his paw. A space you wouldn't notice until the entire jacket was put together. Trust me.

After finding the center of your design, fold your pattern piece in half, matching cutting and stitching lines to find the pattern center. In this case the center just happened to be the grain line indicated on the pattern piece. How lucky is that?  I then marked on the pattern piece the stitching lines. I felt like marking the stitching line was more critical than the cutting line. Who cares where I cut it, if my stitching was off.

As described in my previous post, I altered the shape of the pocket, I rounded the bottom two corners and also took away the folded flap on the top of the pocket. This is my resulting pattern piece. Since it wasn't transparent as the tissue pattern piece I marked the seam lines on the new pattern piece as well. I matched the stitching lines on both the pattern piece and the embroidered blocks. (The chalk lines were very difficult to see in the picture so I "drew" the lines in with photoshop so you could see.) To avoid distorting my pattern on the blocks once I had the stitching lines matched, I taped the pattern to the fabric. Much more accurate. I then cut out both pockets simultaneously with a rotary cutter through both layers.

Voila! Two matching pockets. Visually it may be difficult to tell that the mouse is centered, but I measured from the tip of his paw to the seam line and from the outer most side of his tail to the seam line. They matched. I then piped and lined the pockets with the grey gingham.

The pockets were top stitched to the jacket fronts. Just big enough for little hands to hide treasure in.

I hope you are stitching something fun. I am off to finish pressing that 25 yards of Santa fabric. You should have seen the physical therapist's face when I told her! My goal is to iron with my left arm. We will see how that goes.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Baby Its Cold Outside

Princess and her baby brother are headed to England for a fun trip. Only drawback? They had no coats. This time of year is chilly and damp in England. Mimi to the rescue. As luck would have it, a friend gifted me with several yards of wool while I was at convention. I set to work.

Children's Corner

I used Children's Corner Robin's Little Jacket for baby brother's jacket. I did not quilt the jacket.

I used the deep purple wool and lined it with grey gingham. For added warmth it is interlined with flannel.

The pockets are embroidered with the sweet mouse from the Pajama Party set from Design by JuJu. I modified the pocket from the original pattern design. I rounded the lower corners of the two pockets and added piping  around the outside edges.

This little jacket goes together in nothing flat. It took longer to align the two mice to make sure they were mirror images and aligned with the same orientation on the pockets than it did to put the entire jacket together. I'll do a post on that in a day or two.

Now keep your fingers crossed that the box arrives in time.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why I'm not friend the electric chair

Yes I have a friend, the electric chair. Nooooooo, not THAT one;

this one! Except this one has about 300 times more padding than the one I have.

The chair part of mine looks more like this with a 1/4" pad on it. Uncomfortable for sure!

It is all part of the ongoing rehab of my shoulder. Here I sit for 4-6 hours each day, along with three times a week for physical therapy as well as the home program exercises I have to do. It is taking up way too much of my time. I have things to do.

I have stitched a tiny bit, don't tell the physical therapist, she will have a fit. It is not the best smocking I have ever done but you can tell what it is so I will call it successful. Baby boy's birthday is fast approaching. I am hoping to get this done and in the mail this week. Wish me luck since his sister's birthday box never made it there.

I hope you are taking the time to stitch faithful reader.

Friday, October 19, 2012

SAGA Convention 2012-Part II

First posted by Terry C on Facebook

The above shot is from the Annual Banquet that is held on Saturday night. Isn't this a beautiful view? I didn't take this picture but I love it. The Annual Banquet showcases the installation of the new Board of Officers for the coming year as well as announcing Viewer's Choice awards and recognizing Artisan achievers. All of that may be the purpose but it is safe to say that the highlight of the evening is the raffle baskets! You should see 300 women become fools over baskets of sewing notions, accessories, dolls with smocked wardrobes, gift certificates, tuition to workshops and this year a gourmet dinner of fresh lobster just to name a few.

This beautiful basket of silk sewing accessories was wished for by many.

Even more fun than the sewing bag was the fun phone case! I think I need one of those.

In a former life, I breezed right by those doll baskets. Not. Interested. At. All. All it took was one small baby girl in our life to change that! And don't think my friends didn't point it out. Princess would have loved this Bitty Baby complete with heirloom wardrobe and cradle. ::sigh:: Alas, she did not come home with me.

Another little cutie was this teeny tiny baby doll in a sweet smocked bishop. How cute is she tucked in with a collection of scissors and other treasures? This is just a small sampling of the baskets available. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of my own chapter's basket! Bad member. It was a collection of sewing room accessories. I featured my contribution to that basket here. Another sad note is that this year not one basket came back in my car. Oh well, there is always next year.

Back to the real reason for convention, classes! My Friday/Saturday class was this beautiful baby dress with Madeira collar and gorgeous embroidery across the pleated front by Susie Gay. I love this project. I am a person who chooses classes based on the project. I have a much better chance of finishing the project if it is something that strikes my fancy. This little dress reminds me of the children's clothes made by Imperial of Portugal. They were always my favorite baby clothes when my children were small. I can't wait to finish this one.

Another highlight for many who attend convention is the retail market on Friday afternoon. Sorry I was so busy writing checks that I forgot to take pictures. If you live in an area that does not have a shop that carries smocking and heirloom supplies this is a delight to the senses. Many vendors from around the country with kits, fabrics, laces, patterns, books, threads and scissors. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Great fun. I did my part to support the economy.

Friday evening after market, several of us went out to dinner. Two doors down from the hotel was a place aptly called Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint. Great company, great music and great food. We had a ball! And we had moonshine. Now how many times can you claim that in polite company? If truth be told, I think the only moonshine in our drinks were in the soaked blueberries. A wonderful cap to our day.

If you are still able to stand vertical and gather your supplies, convention ends on Sunday with morning classes before everyone heads home. My class was this little smocked treat by Barb Meger. I love quick project classes on Sunday. You are so tired by then, your poor brain about can't take in much more. This is just the ticket. Mine is almost finished. It only lacks one beaded row of smocking and then it is ready to construct. It shouldn't take more than an hour to finish up. Hopefully I will have pictures soon to share.

This brings this year's convention report to a close. I hope if you have never attended a SAGA convention, you will consider it next year when it will be held in Frisco, TX. Don't be intimidated, there are classes of every skill level and the people are so friendly. You are sure to meet new friends and learn so much while having the best time.

Until later, faithful reader.
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