Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Out with the Old, In with the New; Year That Is!

Yes, it has been awfully quiet here of late but I couldn't let the new year begin without a re-cap of this past year. Once I do, you will know why I have been so quiet. I have been sewing, sewing, sewing.

I promised last year to do better here faithful reader and I failed miserably. So sorry. I have lots of reasons, even more excuses but know that you were often on my mind.

I hope you have had a wonderful holiday. We sure did. Since I posted last there have been big changes in our family.  Let's get to that year in review.

If you don't "track" your productivity through the year, I encourage you to do so. You will surprise yourself. Every year it boggles my mind. And I don't have photos of everything.

  • Seven muslins
  • Six embroidered diaper covers
  • Five button on suits
  • Four heirloom flower girl dresses
  • Four dresses
  • Three doll dresses
  • Three smocked bishops
  • Three machine embroidered "Camp Mimi" shirts
  • Three pair of pants
  • Two smocked shortalls
  • Two smocked Wee Care gowns
  • Two boy's peter pan collared shirts
  • Two embroidered longalls
  • Two hand embroidered baby dresses
  • Two slips
  • Two machine embroidered hairbow keepers
  • One voile jacket to match bishop with 77 tucks (I'm sure it had to be more than 44)
  • One romper with diaper shirt set
  • One machine embroidered daygown
  • One long sleeved top
  • One peter pan collared blouse
  • One nightgown
  • One boy's monogramed shirt
  • One shadow work wedding hanky
  • One heirloom bridal garter
  • One machine embroidered layette set of bib, burp and blanket
  • One machine embroidered "purse" to match "Frozen" dress.
  • One quilted sewing machine mat with machine embroidery, and pockets

For a total of 64 items.

Some of those items are deceiving. Those four flower girl dresses and three ring-bearers of 2 button on suits, one pair of pants and one monogrammed shirt took eight straight weeks of non stop sewing, 8-14 hours a day, that involved seven muslins from adapted patterns, seven self drafted collars, yards and yards of lace and entredeux, overnight mailing, road trips for fittings, one of which happened in a Chic-Fil-A bathroom; another a shopping mall bathroom, Face Time phone calls and photos. An undertaking to say the least. It was stressful but oh so worth it. They were precious! I can't wait to show you.

Add to this:

  • Three sewing workshops
  • Teaching two chapter programs
  • Hosting a couple's shower for 40
  • Hosting three little campers for a week of the First Annual "Camp Mimi"
  • SEVENTY-EIGHT days away from home, none of which involved travel abroad this year but did include two weeks worth of home remodeling (not my home), two bridal showers, three birthdays, one first day of school and two very big things:
  • A Wedding!! Our son got married in mid-December in New Orleans. All of the kids are married now. ::sigh::
The New Mr. and Mrs.

  • Drum roll please.................. A new little princess, also born in New Orleans to our youngest daughter in October.

Merry Christmas from our newest gift from heaven, Miss Leighton.

So you see, life is busy, busy but oh so worth it. What do I have on my plate for next year? Two christening gowns, clothing four little ones for Easter, birthdays and Christmas and I am sure lots more road trip time. I think I need a new car.

Let's ring in the new year with hopes and dreams of good things to come. I've seen this all over facebook and pinterest today. Doesn't matter if it is being overly used, because it is a great food for thought.

Happy New Year faithful reader!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Quick Lil' Sumthin'

Do you know how sometimes something becomes unavoidable? Well that was my stash closet in my sewing room one day. I reached for something and the shelf came out of the wall. I had been digging and re-stacking things in there for months. Of course things like this happen when you have no time to deal with them. This was no different. So with the shelf out of the wall and all of its contents in the floor I had no choice but to straighten it up.

Unfortunately this is one of those situations like when you reach up to clean one spot on the window above the kitchen sink, the next thing you know you have washed all the windows, taken down all the curtains and don't know how it got be dinner time when you weren't looking. Picking up the fabric from one shelf that fell became straighten up every shelf!

The top picture was the ensuing mess that needed to be addressed after I drug it all out and cleared the floor of the closet.

There is ALWAYS a silver lining to every catastrophe. In dragging out the mess and clearing the closet floor, I unearthed a set of blanks I had bought a few of years ago from Sew Beautiful. It was a bib, a burp cloth and receiving blanket. Treasure!

Since we have a sweet new Punkin' Pie on the way, I quickly stitched them up to take with me when I made one of those trips south to help paint my pregnant daughter's new house. Excuse the lousy cell phone picture, I gave them away before I could get proper photos taken. Punkin's nursery is going to have a flamingo theme. Do you know how hard it is to find flamingoes that aren't either too grown up, or too cartoony looking. I settled on this simple design from Embroidery Library. The font is Santa's Sleigh from Jolson's.

So my not so good day did unearth a treasure to be quickly stitched for our new girl arriving soon. See I told you I had been sewing.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I Hear You!

After an embarrassing number of emails asking "Where are you?" I knew I had to take a minute to post. Thank you all for worrying about and missing me. I promise I have been sewing, I just have not had a moment to tell you about it.

Since my last post I have driven 2,105 miles, flown on 5 different airplanes covering the same number of miles a second time, celebrated a birthday, hosted a couple's bridal shower for 35, held "Camp Mimi" for three of the cutest campers you ever saw, painted a laundry room and bathroom, celebrated a first haircut as well as a first day of school, sewn countless hours, cleaned and straightened my stash closet as well as cooked and done laundry. Yes, I am tired but I am sure no more tired than anyone else. Just meeting myself coming and going.

I am getting ready to hit the road again soon. This time I will only cover 1,600 miles. The hard life, what can I say? No, it is not, its just the life I have right now.

Before I hit the road again, I do have several posts to share with you. I will leave you with a cutie modeling her birthday dress. The cherry dress for her and Bitty.Baby. were a big hit.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Happy Birthday Princess

Wow, how quickly the time passes when you are having fun! Princess is 4 today! Everyone gathered round for the birth of the first grandchild. Ever. Or we acted as if it were so. Marveled at every squeak and sigh.

Every move was documented. Hundreds of times.

You had a fashion sense early on posing as a ballerina your first Halloween. She still rocks this tutu four years later. This girl can get some mileage out of a wardrobe.

Such a happy girl.

You even dined in some of the finest restaurants. Here you are at your first Jazz Brunch.

Before we knew it, it was time for your First Birthday.

Then baby brother arrived. You weren't too sure. Now you are as thick as thieves.

Bubbles! Your second favorite thing after books. And books. And more books.

A close third is a slide. Oh how you love to slide.

You couldn't have been sweeter in your flower dress with Nanny Aim.

Growing up to be such a big girl.

And quite the little Diva.

A real party girl.

Your first day of school. A tough time for everyone. Not sure who cried more.

You have grown up so much. You love princesses, castles, dresses, *&Frozen, reading, being the boss and pink! Happy Birthday, sweet girl.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

With a Cherry on Top


Princess has a birthday coming up next week.  And Mimi had a birthday dress to make. I have written about the "Cherry Dress" before here, here and here. It is much beloved where I live and an iconic symbol of the St. Louis Women's Exchange. This year's birthday dress came about in a convoluted way.

Available at Pauline Books

For Easter I had given all the grands a sweet little board book. In there is a picture of some friendly animals having a picnic. Featured front and center of the picnic was a chocolate cake with cherries on top. Every time Momma mentioned her upcoming birthday, she immediately announced she was having a chocolate cake with cherries on top. It took some serious detective work on her mother's part to figure out where this idea came from. She would not be swayed that she was having said cake for her birthday. So when faced with an unrelenting soon to be four year old, Momma did what any mother would do, she decided a cherry birthday party was needed. So that is what was requested.

Children's Corner Inc

I used a well loved classic pattern, Children's Corner Kathy Kelly. This was one of the first Children's Corner patterns I ever bought. I made kelly green dresses for my two oldest girls the Christmas they were 2 and 5. That two year old is Princess's mother.

I substituted a peter pan collar for the lace or round collar to replicate the St. Louis dress. Ignore my "model's" uneven shoulders. I keep telling her to stand up straight. The dress is blue/white seersucker with poly/cotton pique for the collar and cuffs all piped with pink gingham piping. The cherries are three dimensional made from the gingham and stuffed with polyfill. The leaves are embroidered with two strands of floss.

I love pink and blue together. I did interface the button bands and placket lap with a bit of german interfacing. Like me, if it has been 30 years since you put a placket into a box pleat, Lezette Thomason's video on Youtube is invaluable.

Because I am a grandmother who has lost her mind---

A matching dress for Bitty Baby was also made. It did turn out awfully cute. I followed a friend's suggestion to make the chest a tad larger for Bitty Baby. I will let you know how it fits. I did use buttons for the dolly cherries instead of the three dimensional ones. Since I was on a roll---

Two more doll dresses were made. One is for our local chapter's doll auction in November and the other is for an auction at the Miracle Bash to benefit Huntsville Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The two additional doll dresses were done in the traditional white with red trim. Since I was making cherry dresses I figured I would knock these out while I was on a roll.

I sure hope Princess likes her birthday dress with dolly dress to match. I plan on enjoying a piece of that chocolate cake with cherries on top. I will let you know how it goes.

What are you stitching on faithful reader?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Wee Bit of Love

Time for a Wee bit of stitching. Wee Care stitching. I had used these two gowns in progress for a Wee Care Construction program for my local SAGA chapter. It only took a Wee bit of time to finish them up when I brought them home. They have been finished for quite some time, just waiting to have their picture taken! It is quite cloudy here today so I feel like the photos are a bit dark. That aside, you can still see their sweetness. I love Wee Care. Both gowns are made from Imperial Batiste.

This sweet little pink gown is made using Gingersnaps Baby Daygowns Book IV. Available through Gingersnaps directly or most heirloom shops.

It is smocked with a very simple design with a few pink rosebuds added for extra sweetness. This is the smallest preemie size. I did add a smidge, like 1/2 inch, to the center front to get a few extra pleats on this tiny size.

An extra teeny rosebud at the back closure. And the camera never lies, didn't realize that I had a stitch showing from sewing on the snap. Isn't that rosebud the sweetest thing? Ignore the errant stitch.

The blue gown is made using the "Grady Gown" pattern from the Atlanta SAGA chapter. It is a modified bishop type gown. It is a 3-5# size. Ignore its listing to the side, the stand is sitting on an upturned cereal bowl, the gown was longer than my dress stand.

The hem is embellised with a twin needle tuck using the scallop stitch on my machine. I can take no credit for this idea. Last year the Greater New Orleans SAGA chapter brought some Wee Care gowns to convention with this hem treatment. I think it is so sweet. The skirt embroidery is a small design from Jeannie B's Book of Heirloom Embroidery. I like blue and ecru together. Not a big fan of pink and ecru, but I love blue and ecru together, so that is what I used.

Again a very simple geometric smocking with a few rosebuds. You can see the modified bishop neckline that is achieved with a casing at the top to run ribbon through. This makes for a very adjustable neckline often needed for the tiny babies.

The sleeves on a Grady gown have a tendency to be quite full, just a stitched an inverted pleat and stitched a tiny rose at the join.

If you haven't ever made a Wee Care gown, I encourage you to do so. There are some free patterns available on the SAGA website here. If you don't have a local chapter to donate them to, you are more than welcome to send them to SAGA's National Convention in September. They will collect almost 1,000 gowns to be donated to local Orlando hospitals this year. SAGA donates to the local hospitals where convention is held each year as well as the local chapters donating to their local hospitals. There is even a contest this year, the rules can be found here. Scroll about halfway down the page and look for this heading:

Wee Care Contest

there you will find the rules, entry form and where to send them.

Until next time, back to cherry dresses for now faithful readers.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Be Inspired by Dior

A friend posted one of these on her FB page. It made me go look for others. Amazing attention to detail with a mesmerizing result. Not sure the videos will show on a mobile device. It is so worth watching on a desktop. It takes playing with dolls to a whole new level.

I would love to have the dies you see in this one that they make the flowers out of. Don't you know these silk flowers outshine the ones you would find at Hobby Lobby.

Not sure which one is more beautiful. I loved watching her embroider the skirt with what looks like a tambour needle.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Let It Gooooooo!

Unless you have been living on a deserted island with no services or under a rock, you have heard some version of "*@*Let it Go" from the movie house that sponsors that mouse and a couple of theme parks. So like the rest of the world, *@*Anna and *@*Elsa have come to our house as well. Princess is a fan to say the least. Her mother refused to let her watch it one day, being almost four, she proceeded to recite the entire movie. Entire. Movie. Mom quickly learned it may have been easier to just let her watch it. Certainly less painful. In a weak Mimi moment, I suggested an *Anna and *Elsa dress. Lord have mercy, she was on that quicker than a June bug! A comment I would come to quickly regret. Here is Mimi's version of a *@*Frozen Dress. (The extra punctuation marks are to keep the copyright police of the above mentioned movie house at bay.)

I used an old Children's Corner pattern called "Tracey". I believe it is discontinued, but I found a copy here. If you google, you may find it other places as well. I don't remember purchasing this pattern, a trend I know, but I think I like it. It goes together quickly and I thought I could unobtrusively embroider the characters on it.

I placed the characters on medallions that match the piping. The fabric? Oh geez louise, was this a Mimi moment. I THOUGHT I grabbed the leftovers from the bishop featured here. Notice I said, THOUGHT. After I had it cut out and half embroidered I noticed another large chunk of a darker pink pique in the closet. Come to find out, this &*^% *Freezing dress is made from SWISS pique. SWISS! I nearly croaked. Oh well. The only saving grace is, there is still quite a large bit left to make something a little dressier and more befitting of Swiss pique. The machine embroidery designs were found on Etsy. Do a google search and you will find them and others. Don't want to link because of those copyright police that may be lurking.

I resisted the urge to pipe the armholes and neckline, but I did pipe the back closure and used covered buttons. If I am making a Freezing dress, at least it will be as classy as possible.

The purse? Yes, I have officially LOST MY MIND! Princess spotted that the embroidery designs also included "*Olaf*, I had no intention of adding him. Well she would not be swayed, so I found a FREE tutorial on Moda's blog, Moda Bakeshop called Ruby's Party Bag. It went together quick and my Mimi card is punched for quite some time.

So if you have a four year old in your life, it can be done with a minimum of glitter. And shoot you can even make it from the finest of fabrics.

Now, just in case you haven't heard the anthem of my people, here is an interesting version. This little girl has some pipes!

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