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

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Here is one of my recent creations. I found a large piece of yellow chenille at a thrift shop when we were at the beach. It inspired me to try this combo I had seen awhile ago. Someone made a peasant dress using a vintage embroidered pillowcase with the chenille sleeves.

I was going to use one of my vintage animal embroideries, but then I decided to use this larger floral spray, which seems like it would have gone on a pillowcase in the "olden days."

The white is poly/cotton broadcloth, because I didn't want it to need ironing. The eyelet is an inexpensive poly/cotton as well. I usually prefer the Swiss, but I intended this to be playclothes, so I wanted to keep it easy care. Can you see how I wove yellow floss through the holes in the trim? I love that little touch, though it is hard to see.

It isn't as wrinkly as it looks, but I had to add highlights to the photos to bring out the details. Do you like my title? Who remembers Laverne & Shirley? Apparently a schlimazel is someone who is the recipient of the klutz's bad luck (the klutz is the schlemiel). I can't figure out the connection to my outfit, but hey, it makes a catchy title!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Row Robin Reveal 2017, part 1

 My Quilt Guild did another row robin project this year. Each person makes a row for their own quilt and then we pass them among our group (of 6) each month. Everyone makes a row for each person's quilt. So, everyone makes 6 rows, for 6 different quilts, then gets back all the rows that go with their original row/theme.
So, I originally thought I would do something "geeky" for my husband. Then I was afraid people wouldn't know enough about the theme. I thought of a few other ideas, then at the last minute, decided to do a "Mommy's Apron Strings" Quilt. I wrote a long history of my blog/business for my group. I also supplied many of my style fabrics, including many 1930s prints and florals.
My row is the pinwheel row (4th down). It has my vintage machine embroideries between the pinwheels.
The top row was made by my talented quilting and heirloom/smocking friend. She recreated Linny's Pinafore and Ella's Bonnet in miniature. She also added string blocks, which are special because when we went on retreat, she ran the retreat and I organized a string quilt project. To say I love her pinafore and bonnet would be a total understatement!!
The next row uses many of my favorite fabrics in a geometric pattern. Then we have a row of tiny Easter baskets! Next is my row, then my friend made a row of chickens pulling a wagon with a clothesline nearby. Her row is a nod to my pet chicks/hens. She is also a chicken lover, though she doesn't have them as pets. She always uses chicken fabrics, etc in her decor.
The bottom row is a clothesline of vintage aprons. For a short time at the beginning, I had a photo of aprons on a clothesline, so my friend recreated this. It is special to me, because just as we finished this project, she moved to TN. I will remember her when I see her row!

 Now on to the other quilts from my group!
This next one was themed "Neighborhood". When I got it to work on, it had 3 rows of houses. I wanted to do something different, so I made the row with the Church. I was excited to use some of my custom "Stained Glass" fabric from Smoogie on the windows. I worked on this at our Retreat in April. It was my most work/most fun row.

This quilt was fun to work on- the theme was "My Grandchildren" for a friend who has 4 grands: 2 girls and 2 boys. She wanted to make a quilt to have in her guest room for when they visit. She provided tons of really nice kids fabrics that I wanted to steal loved sewing with! Her original row is the second one, where she cleverly incorporated a calendar with each child's birthdate in a lovely pieced block. My row is the top one. I decided to machine-embroider a "stacked" name for each child. Then I made reverse-star blocks, meaning the star is white and the background is the print. It turned out just as I hoped and I thought it was important to have their names to go along with their birthdates.

 Next up is the Rainbow Quilt. The friend who moved to TN loves purple! She did the very intricate purple row and wanted each person to add a different colored row. I did blue because I had a bunch of blue charms from a swap. I cut them down to 2.5" squares and added some dark blue appliqued butterflies randomly over the top. She intends to finish this quilt and donate it to be raffled for a cause dear to her heart.

This quilt is by my friend who loves chickens. She also loves cats. Her design is a quilt about her cat, "Nicholas". She made the center and wanted each of us to do a row to go around it. Mine is the cat playing with a ball of yarn, but it's supposed to be on the bottom. I also machine embroidered the "Home Sweet Home".

The final one of our group is a fun theme: "Grandmother's Curio Shelf". The top row is the original and we had to add 4 blocks on a pre-cut background. Each item should represent what might have been on our grandma's curio shelf. My grandparents didn't have curio shelves, so I chose to represent my parents and myself. My row is in a separate picture at the bottom, because I rant late and didn't get it in one shot. It is the same size as the others. 
My Mom has made many beautiful cross-stitch samplers, so I made a sampler for her. It is actually machine embroidery on Aida cloth and I love how it turned out. My Dad used to make wooden clocks from scratch, so the clock represents him. The face is embroidered and surrounded with a wood-grain fabric. I wanted the case to be fancier, but I wasn't sure how. For myself, I wanted to do a pile of my favorite books and a doll. I lost ambition and time at the end, so I did 2 dolls from a paperdoll fabric. They do represent my love of babies, children, vintage clothing, and the 1930s. 
Back soon with the next batch of Row Robins!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Shrimp on the Baby!

Don't you love that title? It came to me while I was sewing!
Yes, finally some sewing. This end-of-school-year has been especially busy. Maybe it's because I've been working 2 (very) part-time jobs or is it the 5 kids having field trips, concerts, field days, recitals, writer's festivals, book fairs, science fair, and even a 6th grade graduation! Never mind that yesterday I had 27 quilting friends here for our Guild Potluck! Add in a generous dollop of dentist and doctor visits and you can see we've been busy! It all ends on the 20th though- the last day of school for my kiddos. I am totally sleeping late on the 21st!!
But back to the "shrimp on the baby" outfit. I had to say it again- so clever!
This top was a free pattern over at Grammie's Dolls Facebook Group. Theresa ran a sew-along and gave us all the free smocked peasant top in sizes from NB-ladies! It was a quick, fun sew and I love the result!
This picture shows the color a bit better- it is a pretty turquoise background. The fabric is called "Bento Box" and I found it on clearance at one of my favorite quilt shops- I think it was $3/yd. Now that I have used some, I will have to buy more, of course!
The top has a bit of smocking on the front and I added piping under the little bias binding. The rest of the neckline is elastic, so no need for buttons or plackets! Easy peasy!
I made the "top" length rather than "dress" length, as I felt the shrimp fabric was very summery. So, I made these very quick shorties to go underneath. The top and shorties have a ruffle of red poly/cotton broadcloth. I love 100% cotton, but I don't like ironing ruffles, so the broadcloth is a nice compromise.
We are finally getting some hot weather here, after weeks of 50s and 60s. It will be in the 90s for the next few days. Sounds like time to visit the lake! Enjoy!!

Monday, May 29, 2017

New Chicks at our House!

We were out of commission for a little while with the sickies, but I'm back to sewing and doing lots of stuff! 
On May the Fourth (be with you) aka Star Wars Day around here, we got 5 sweet little chicks. Isn't the wing detail on this photo beautiful?

Meet: Princess Layer
 Qui Gon Hen
 and Hen Solo
 aren't they cute? They are all girls and will join our 3 mature hens later this summer. 2 are brown egg layers, one white, and 2 will be blue/green. We will have a rainbow of eggs this Fall!

Friday, April 28, 2017

"Charming" Animal Baby Quilt

I have been participating in a charm square swap. I send charms (5" squares) to 10 people and they send them to me. I have accumulated quite a pile in several months. While on retreat, I was sorting through and thought I had enough juvenile animal charms for a baby quilt.
My friend Barbara was working on a version of "Disappearing 9 Patch" on retreat and I decided to do this version for the quilt. It is simple: just make 9 patch blocks and cut them in half vertically and horizontally. Re-arrange and sew into new, more interesting blocks.
Here is a single block. The yellow made up 4 of the squares and the animal prints the other 5 of the 9-patch. I originally cut black Kona cotton, but then I decided black might not be great for babies and used the cheerful yellow.
This will be donated to my Guild's "Comfort Closet" to give a newborn a cozy start.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tiny Baby Grow!

I am always looking for new patterns for preemies, to donate to Wee Care. I sometimes wonder if parents of boys/modern moms would like a knit option as opposed to the lovely smocked gowns. I know in New England, smocking isn't common even on girls, nevermind boys. I found this free pattern for a knit sleeper. I think in England these are called a "baby grow". I think that's a great name for a preemie outfit, since growing is their primary job! Anyways, this is an easy and  quick little pattern due to the lack of gussets or shaped feet. I need to try it on a doll, but it looks like it is nicely proportioned.
Here it is next to my iphone 5- not as big as the iphone 6 or 7! It is probably about 12" long total, so maybe it would fit a 3-4 lb baby? I want to try it again in a boyish knit.
It fastens with just 2 little Kam snaps. It is true what everyone says- the Kam snaps are easy to apply and I like the plastic for casual baby wear, since there is no danger of metal prongs if they come undone.
What do you think? Would  a preemie parent like this option?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Pretty Smocked Baby Gown

I smocked this little baby gown for Wee Care. It has been a work in progress for awhile. Like so many of my projects, it just needs a hem and fastenings.
It is white Imperial batiste. I had always wanted to try this embroidery design, from Vermillion. They have the loveliest cross-stitch designs I have ever seen for machine embroidery. In fact, they also offer charts for hand cross-stitch- but that would take me too long.
The white shadow is the stabilizer I need to wash out. This design is actually 1/2 of the original, which is a square of ribbons. Possibly because I cut it in half, it stitched with many jumps and traveling stitches, but I love it anyway!!
I smocked a few simple rows to match the colors in the embroidery and bound the neck and sleeves with bits of yellow cotton gingham left-overs from another dress.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Chicken T-shirt

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know I have pet chickens. So, when I saw this soft cute chicken knit, I knew I had to make myself a shirt!
The fabri is Birch Organics cotton knit and it is such nice quality. Very soft and thick. It was a quick project to make a raglan T for myself.
My next post will show you the project I made with this gorgeous cross-stitch embroidery!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Adorable New Embroideries Just Listed!

Here is the adorable ART BUNNY! All the designs come in 4x4 and 5x7. These look like old-fashioned hand-stitched embroidery, but in a fraction of the time! These designs are perfect for Easter and beyond. Check them out!! MY ETSY SHOP





Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Comforting Pillowcases

On Friday, I hosted a "Pillowcase Workshop" at my house. We are in the middle of strep throat, so it has been a bit busy here.
About 14 ladies from my Quilt Guild came and sewed. We made pillowcases for our Comfort Quilt Closet. These are destined to be used as wrappers for quilts presented to people.  Besides making a nice presentation, the pillowcases are useful, too.
We made them using the "Sausage" method wherein the cuff encases the seam, so it's nice and neat. Most of them have an accent strip, too. We had some fun novelty prints to work with. They are so  quick to make, I think I should make some for my own family! We actually will end up with more than 20, because people brought some home to work on, too.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Comfy Joggers for Andy!

I made joggers for Andy this week! They are a very soft cotton French Terry from JoAnn's. The cuffs are cotton ribbing with dinosaurs. The pattern is Boxwood Joggers by Sew Like My Mom. 
The side view shows the triangular insert. There is also an option to have a pocket over the insert, so plenty of options.
Elastic is hidden in the waistband to keep them up.

Andy loves wearing these around the house! Katie has asked for some in ladies size, so I'll be off to try that pattern next!!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Row Robin Begins...

You might remember these little vintage blocks I shared a few weeks ago. I stitched them to make the first row for a Row Robin project I am participating in with my Quilt Guild. We have groups of 6 people. Everyone makes a row for their own quilt, then it gets passed each month to someone else in the group. By June, we will each get our rows back with 6 total rows made by 6 different people.

I struggled with a theme, but finally decided to do something for my "business:" Mommy's Apron Strings. I did the embroidery row, because I don't think my quilting friends do machine embroidery.
I put a lot of fabric into the bag- mostly 30s prints, pretty florals, ginghams, etc. I am hoping someone will do a row of little aprons!

I made pinwheel blocks to go between the embroidered motifs.
The banner with "Mommy's Apron Strings" was done in 3 6x10 hoopings. I did not attach the rows together, because I have to see what I get back first.
The embroideries are stitched in DMC 50wt cotton thread, with an 80wt Madeira cotona in the bobbin. I like to use cotton thread for my heirloom projects. However, I have very few colors, which helped dictate which designs I could choose (and that's why we have a blue lamb!)

I will be working on my friend's row tomorrow- it is a challenging one with a cat/home sweet home theme. Still not sure what to do, but it's due next week so I need to get busy!