I hope to inspire and entertain you with a lot of sewing and a little of everything else!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Crazy Bus, Crazy Bus...

This may be the most complex machine embroidery I have attempted yet! As usual, I wasted days "over-thinking" what to do for Davy's first day of Kindergarten shirt. I even loaded my USB stick 3 times with designs that I decided I didn't want to use. I found some to purchase, but Davy didn't like them. Then, at the eleventh hour (the day before school starts), I started searching all my favorite ME sites.

I found this cool school bus design at Sharimarie Creations. I knew right away that this was THE ONE. I showed Davy and he liked it, too. However, I noticed her warning that this fits the 6x10 hoops only and though my Viking Designer 1 has a 6x10 hoop, the stitchable space is a bit smaller than other 6x10s. So, I wrote Sharie Marie an email, hoping she could help me out. She was wonderful; she replied with the actual dimensions right away. It was a bit too big for my hoop, so she re-sized it just for me and sent me the new file! This is the kind of customer service that makes me return to a site!
Everything on this shirt is stuff I had on hand; the shirt, the fabric for applique, the vinyl for the windows, the printer photo fabric, etc.
I thought it would be hard to get the photos the right size, but I stitched the window die-line on my stabilizer and put the photos in Adobe Photoshop, cropped, and printed a B&W sample. It fit perfectly on the second try! Wow, it was a charmed day, because the whole thing stitched without a flaw. I was sure I would catch a bit of the t-shirt in the stitching (who hasn't done that before?) or snip the t-shirt fabric when trimming my appliques, but no...all perfect!
I don't know if Davy is as impressed with his shirt as I am, but I think it will be fun for him to bring his siblings to school with him this way. The bus was only meant to hold 4 children, but I put my oldest in as the driver! Please excuse the blacked-out faces; hubby is a computer security person and we are over-cautious.
I have more back-to-school things to share this week, but it has been crazy around here, so it may take a day or two! Please leave a comment if you like; I love reading them!!
Linking to CSI's Back to School Challenge and Red Ted Art's Kids Get Crafty

Monday, August 30, 2010

Davy's Dinosaur Backpack

Davy starts Kindergarten this week. We could not find a backpack he liked. Finally, it occurred to me that I could make what he wanted! We found a plain navy blue backpack and I asked him what he would like on it. He was between dinosaurs and Pokemon, but since I couldn't find any Pokemon machine embroidery designs, we went with dinosaurs. I had a coupon for Embroidery Library and I'm always happy with their designs, so we looked there and found this Allosaurus.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Little Time Traveling

My Mom and I took the kids on a mini vacation this week. While away, we visited an historic site with beautiful gardens and buildings representing 1695-1950. I love living history, so I had a great time strolling around and I snapped some great pictures to share. This gazebo is made from branches and has a curtain of tiny shells in the doorway.
A child's tea party was set up in the garden on this stick furniture.

We love fairy houses and this seaside-themed house is one of the prettiest we've seen. I think any little fairy would be proud to call this home!

We saw many beautiful rooms in the buildings. This pink bedroom is circa 1795 and was in the home of a wealthy woman. I love the four poster bed.

This bedroom is circa 1910 and was lived in by a little girl who came from Russia with her mother. They ran a boarding house. There were family photos on the wall and they showed a little boy in a sailor suit and girls in smocked dresses. I wish I could have seen the outfits in person, but they did not have a lot of vintage textiles at this museum.

This photo is the kitchen in the same house as the above bedroom. The "Mom" was cooking potato and leek soup and I wish we had smell-o-vision because the scent was heavenly. Yes, I searched "potato and leek soup" recipes this morning!

My favorite building, however, was the 1943 grocery store. It was really great to see an example of a store my grandparents might have shopped in. My Mom even remembered some of the brands and I recognized many that are still around today. Because this store portrayed 1943, it also had rationing information posted, which was interesting. It reminded me of Ike Godsey's store on one of my favorite shows, The Waltons. We all enjoyed our visit to the past! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Antique White Infant Crib & Baby Quilt

Today I am sharing something old and something new. This white iron antique crib was passed down to me from my Grandmother. All of her siblings slept in it, my Mom and her siblings, assorted cousins down the line, and even me! All of my babies have slept in it for the first few months. My grandmother was born in 1922, so this crib is from the early 1900's. The way she remembered the story, her parents won this crib at a fair. I have pictures of me in this crib and pictures of all my kids. I took a picture of each baby in it the first night they came home from the hospital with the baby quilt my Mom made for them (those will be another post and another story!).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Treasure Trove of Inspiration

I've been wanting to try this romper version of "Frannie"
Someday, I hope to have time to donate preemie gowns.
I've started a new routine at night. After I read books with Davy, I pull out a few of my old Creative Needle or Sew Beautiful magazines to browse through. Having started subscriptions to both when I was but a teen, I have a complete set of SB and all but a few early CN. It has been a walk down memory lane in many ways: the old issues mailed to my maiden name at the address I was born, the 1992 issue that I later used to make a Christening gown, the ads for pattern companies now out of business, even the models we watched grow up in SB.
There are so many that obviously I can't remember all the terrific projects they contain. I've been going through each one and marking any patterns, smocking plates, embroidery designs, or just inspirational photos that I want to remember. Later I copy the pictures on my printer and put them in a binder. I mark which issue the idea came from. Now, when I am looking for an idea, I have a whole binder of inspiration ready to go. It has also been fun to see articles by many "online acquaintances" who I know only from their blogs or sewing forums.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rainy Day Stitching...and another Winner!

Today was a great day for a little sewing. It was perfect out on my porch. I love hearing the rain beating down and it was cool enough for a sweater. I had some hot tea while stitching. We are on week 4 of the OFB Daygown Sew Along, which was adding entredeux to the sleeves and neck.
The neckline entredeux

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Vintage Puppy Romper

Today I'm sharing a little vintage inspiration. It's a romper embroidered with a puppy. The fabric feels like cotton broadcloth and the stitching is by machine, except the embroidery and buttonholes are done by hand. It appears to be home made and does not have a tag. The legs are loose (no elastic) and there are buttons at the crotch. I would guess this little romper is from the 1940's or 50's. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Little Stashbusting

I finished 2 little projects today. This Quilted monogram pocket key chain is new at Five Star Fonts and I could not resist making one. The reason is that besides being really pretty, it has a secret pocket in the back to hold a credit card. Now, with 5 kids to keep track of, I don't like to carry a purse. I just grab my keys, credit card, and cellphone when I go into a store (and now the diaper bag, too). I used to have a Discover credit card made for a key chain, but they've been discontinued. Since my last one broke, I have been embarrassed a few times at the checkout to realize that I left my credit card in the car. So, this was a perfect project for me!
 Everything I needed to make this was stuff I had on hand. I think it's a fabulous design and would have taken about 10 minutes if I hadn't been interrupted a few times (bringing the real time to about an hour). A bonus is that it fits in the 4x4 hoop, so uses very little stabilizer. The best part of this project was when I showed it to my kids and Petey said, "if you can find some fabric I like, I'd take one for my High School ID". Whoa, that's high praise! This has scope for giving gift cards, too, and probably other uses. I think I'll be making these over and over.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Embroidered Ornament

Here is my latest creative endeavor. The story starts when I had baby Andy 2 months ago. A friend I know "online" generously made him the most gorgeous tree ornament with his initials and birthdate as well as other beautiful embroideries on it. She had such a great reaction to her ornaments that she collaborated with a talented designer to make a set of machine embroidery designs to make similar ornaments. The designs are From the Needle of Anne and they are called Vintage Ornaments.

Well, the day these designs came out, I had to give it a try! I was just able to hoop all 4 panels on my 6x10 hoop.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Daygown Sew Along, week 3

also titled, "Sewing Sleeves". This week for the OFB Daygown Sew Along, our assignment was to stitch the pleats at the bottom of the sleeve and stitch the sleeves to the front and back with French seams. I realized that I made a mistake when I cut the front. I placed the fold on the view with gathers at the neck, which meant my front was way too wide. Luckily, I was able to re-cut the front correctly. Other than that, this week's assignment was easy-peasy. I made the sleeve pleats:
Then I stitched the sleeves to the front and back by hand, making tiny French seams:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

And the Winner is...

Lizzie! I wish I could send each one of you a blanket to work on. Your nice comments were great! Thanks! I have wanted to do a giveaway since before I even started this blog. I have been the grateful recipient of several patterns from friends online and I've been wanting to do something nice for someone else. My daughter Rosie (with the very tan arm) chose the winner. Lizzie, please leave a comment with a way to contact you and let me know if you'd like pink or blue for your blanket.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Bevy of Buttonholes, Daygown Sew Along week 2

Daygown of Nelona, pattern is Gingersnaps Daygowns, Book 3
This week my lot in life seemed to be making buttonholes on daygowns. I had a fluffy blue Nelona daygown finished except for buttons and buttonholes and the assignment for week 2 of the OFB Daygown Sew Along was to make 5 hand worked buttonholes. Now, I have always dreaded making buttonholes. I don't know why, but there are certain things in sewing that I don't like: buttonholes, plackets, setting in sleeves, and piping come to mind. My distaste for buttonhole making has been lessened since I got my Viking Designer 1 (18 months ago). It has a sensor buttonhole foot which makes beautiful buttonholes just by typing in the size of the button in mm. However, occasionally even this technological wonder lets me down, if the place I'm stitching the buttonhole is uneven. Note that it always works perfectly when stitching on scraps!
My machine made buttonhole

The fluffy daygown has been hanging there waiting to be finished so I could take some pictures of Andy in it. I wanted to do them by machine, but I wanted them to look tiny and heirloom-y. I experimented with the buttonhole choices I have and found a really nice, delicate one that imitates a hand buttonhole stitch and is narrow. I am very happy with how they turned out and this morning I took pictures of Andy in the gown.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ring "Bear" Pillow

Hi, today I am sharing a special creation. It's the ring bearer's pillow that I made for my wedding. My husband and I had asked my 2 nieces to be flower girls (I'll share their beautiful dresses another time). We asked his nephew (3 years old at the time) to be the ring bearer, but when they found out that I wanted him to wear a little button-on suit, they said "no". So, my little nephew, just 23 months old, was enlisted. He was very excited to act as the "ring BEAR" as he called it. Our priest said, "he's too little. He'll never do it." But he was wrong. He slowly and adorably walked down the aisle carrying the little pillow to meet his Mom, who was waiting in the front pew with M&Ms.

The pillow is made of silk batiste with French laces. I did a little hand embroidery in the corners and tied the rings in the middle with ribbon. I am linking to White Wednesday at Faded Charm.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Giveaway!!

I have had wonderful reactions from everyone who has seen the crocheted edge baby blankets, so I am giving you the chance to win one, all ready to add your finishing touches! The blanket is 100% cotton flannel, pre-washed and hemstitched. The winner can choose pink or blue and will also receive the crochet hook and thread to make the edging. If you like, you may also add hand or machine embroidery.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cute, Cuddly, & Crocheted

While pregnant with baby #5 recently, I saw a post by Jeannie at OFB showing some projects ladies in her sewing circle were making. One of them made some hand crocheted edging on receiving blankets. I thought they were lovely and decided to make some myself. It took a little trial and error to find the best way to make them. I ended up using 38" squares of cotton flannel, hemstitching them on my machine, and crocheting through the hemstitched holes with a #6 steel crochet hook and 10 weight crochet cotton.
Here's my first one; blue gingham with white edging:
My next one was on a special piece of blue Austrian flannel given to me by a friend:
I still had about 6 weeks till the baby was due, so I decided to make a white blanket with blue edging. BUT, it seemed too plain, so I embellished that one with a vintage puppy machine embroidery from one of my favorite digitizers, Juli at Sew Weird. She liked it, too! You'll see it's on her website!

I was having so much fun working on these. I'd keep one in a ziplock bag in my car and crochet on carpool, at dance class, OB visits, the dentist, and even while watching TV at night. I found the hand work relaxing and it was a special time to think about my soon-to-be little son. I found time to make one more: this one a buttery-yellow with matching edging and a vintage duck embroidery from EmbLibrary:
 I have used these blankets with Andy a lot! They are soft and cozy and wrap around perfectly.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

White Wednesday - Antique Bonnet

Hello! This week for White Wednesday I am sharing a beautiful hand-crocheted antique baby bonnet. I was lucky to find this at a yard sale several years ago. It is a very soft cotton thread. The original ribbons were tattered, so I put in new ones. Here's the beautiful back:
It fits a baby from about 2-4 months old. When I see a beautiful antique, I wonder about the original owner. How did she have time to stitch this with all the other chores required of Victorian women? How many babies wore this sweet little cap? I wish I could find a vintage pattern for a similar bonnet and try it myself!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer Vacation

Tomorrow I am taking my 5 kids to the beach. I was just composing my "to bring" list:
  • 5 bathing suits
  • 5 towels
  • sunscreen
  • 5 baseball caps
  • cooler with: 6 water bottles, 5 sandwiches, watermelon, grapes, pretzels, and snack cake
  • paper plates, napkins, cutlery, wipes
  • baby pack & play
  • diaper bag with: diapers, wipes, clothes, hat, blanket, pacifier
  • shade for baby: umbrella
  • folding chairs 
  • camera & video camera
  • program Garmin with directions

My girls love to cook and they are quite good at it! For tomorrow's outing, Rosie made this delicious Chocolate Chip Snack Cake. (Click to see the recipe at Allrecipes)
We are going with 3 of my friends; they have 4 children TOTAL! I am tired already and we haven't even left the driveway!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Daygown Sew Along, week 1

Ready to Start!

I started the daygown sew along at the Old Fashioned Baby yesterday. I ordered my supplies last week from 2 great Heirloom Shops, Fine Stitchery and Roxane's Heirlooms. I wanted to make a blue gown for Andy, so I ordered blue Japanese Lawn (only $7.50/yd) and blue Satin Batiste (only $9.50/yd). I had never used either of these fabrics before. They are both so nice that I wavered all week on which one to use, finally choosing the Satin Batiste. I have made my daygowns from Swiss Batiste before, which is also lovely, but I like these fabrics because they have a little more body and a little less wrinkle, while still maintaining the soft hand and sheer quality of the Swiss. Not to mention that they cost about 1/3 the price of Nelona. I will definitely be using these for rompers in the future. I also ordered some narrow lace, narrow Swiss, and I have tatting, so I'm not sure which trim I'll use yet.

I found a sewing buddy to do the sew-along with me. She is a friend from my Quilt Guild who loves to sew by hand. She has never done French Handsewing and is excited to learn. She is making hers from pink Swiss Batiste for her "Grandmother's Hope Chest". So, we got together yesterday and pre-washed, ironed, and cut our fabric. Then we stitched down the back facings. That's it for week 1.