Friday, April 16, 2010

Unusual Valance

I made a valance for my dining room, I ended up switching the curtain to the front "parlor" which meant I had to cut it in half and add 5" to each side. The fabrics were remnants on the decorator fabric table at Hancock's. The print was Asian, so I decide to create a shape that matched the print. I put a penny in the corners for a weight to hold the curtains shape better. I put tassels on fabric covered buttons for a little added decoration. I hand sewed the lining to the curtain, (not fun).
It was a fairly cheap project and sure beats the department store price. For the most part I'd say that it is more economical to sew decorative items. Not always, though. My best friend is a fan of hot glue. That girl can take rubber bands and fabrics and make a terrific valance. Thank God for creativity, you need some when you don't have an abundance of money.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pillow case dress

A pillow case dress of course is nothing new. Folded, unused sat two antique pillow cases that I made into dresses. I encased the front and back in elastic. I made bias tape with the pieces cut off of one end of the pillow case. It was very easy. Since I had two, I also made one for my niece, Leia.

By the way, there are some really beautiful antique pillow cases on ebay. I love that they were trimmed in crochet and hand embroidered. What a lovely way to recycle someone else's hard work. I wonder who the person was who made these pillow cases and what she would think of this dress.

I have always loved wandering through antique shops and thinking about who owned a certain item and what their life was like. Some beds so grand with gorgeous linen bedding, I wonder what the estates were like. Beautiful handkerchiefs in the hands of young or old and did they cry into them or were they used as a southern lady's statement of class. Golden perfume bottles etched with flowers sitting upon a mirrored dresser, on whose neck did the traces of scent fall? Was their no family who desired the possessions or was it too "old-fashioned" for their taste? Funny how the eye of one person catches an item that becomes an object of desire and anothers eye passes quickly by noticing nothing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wall Mural

I have been super busy. I haven't had time to sew the past few weeks. So I thought I'd post a picture of a mural I painted at my house in Suffolk, Virginia. I fell in love with the wisteria that laid so beautifully on the trees in Spring. Their smell can be overwhelming, but the colors are absolutely stunning. I love lavender anyway.

I had been dreaming of some beautiful southern estate on the water where two people share a magnificent view of the sun sparkling across the water. Two lovers share a warm evening together. Pushing her in the swing that is under the willow, she bites her bottom lip. He slides his hands around her waist and kisses her on the cheek. The ducks and ducklings waddling around the lake edge, draw the eye to the blooming daffodils. Warm light, and music calls from the inside the home. Food, laughter, and dancing creates an atmosphere of familiarity. Crickets are busy sending their evening message. Two girls are running across the bridge chasing the neighbors dog. AHHHH, the imagination is a spectacular place to live.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Love those fancy pincushions on the net. I made this one with a crochet trim I was working on. I found these little blue buckets at Michaels. There's room under the pincushion to store some snips, thread, wax, my mini bottle cap pincushion, etc. When I was in New Bern, NC I found some long glass head straight pins. (glass heads don't melt under an iron)

Check out these felt pincushions here. If you have a beautiful pincushion you've made, send me a pic, I'd love to see it.

I am still working on the microcheck dress. Concentrating on embroidery is intense but relaxing at the same time. There's just nothing like being climbed on, hair pulled, and trying to maintain a decent stitch while my toddler jumps on the bed I'm sitting on. She even managed to grab a hold of the organdy collar last night along with my mini pin cushion and stuck pins in the collar. I was stricken with horror, thinking she had snagged the organdy. Thankfully, it was fine. I'll post the collar when it's done.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Simple Blouse

Very Easy Vogue, 8392

Extremely easy blouse, except for the french seams ( not necessary). Last fall, I purchased some fabric that was left over from the summer. It was very cheap. I liked that it was partly sheer. I whipped this up quick, too quick. I have 3 colors. I really like the ruffle sleeves, just don't know what I would look like in it? Chiquita Banana? I adore romantic blouses sewn with laces and embroidery. One day, I will make the time to make a romantic blouse for myself. Maybe soon.

I have plenty of fabric left and I may make Eliana a "fairy" play skirt. She keeps asking me for a "tinkerbell" outfit.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Smocked Bubble in Varigated DMC Thread

Taking care of a sick child today. Since I don't have anything ready that's current to post, I thought I'd post her coming home from the hospital pic. I crocheted this blanket and smocked bubble for her. The thread for the bubble was a DMC thread that was varigated in lavender. The dark to light of the thread added another dimension to the basic smocking stitches. I had crocheted baby booties but her feet were too tiny for them. The pattern for the bubble is a Children's Corner pattern. After she was born, it took me months before she would give me enough time to sew anything again.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tea Pot Jacket

Vintage 80's pattern jacket, butterick 6806

I enjoyed screen printing. I will do it again. I added

little rhinestones to the jacket. I don't think I really

liked the effect of serging all of the edges and then

zig-zagging it together. She really likes it, she says she

is going to have tea with the Mad Hatter.

I am still embroidering a collar for her microcheck


I am not happy with a few stitches and may have to

pull some out.

I tried to embroider while talking during

ballet class. That didn't work too well. I have to


I have learned a few things about my serger.

When a thread breaks in the loopers, you have to

pull the needle threads out of the switch plate and

to the back , behind the foot. If anyone has any

tips on serging, please send me an email, or


Friday, March 12, 2010

Screen Printing and Hand Carved Stamps

Missing sleeve, still under construction

First time Screen Printer

I am screen printing on a denim jacket I had cut out in the Fall. Yes, it took me that long to finally construct it. We are tea party crazy over here. I did a freezer paper stencil ( tutorials all over the net) , then screen printed in multi colors,then covered it in fabric glitter.

Serging the edges with "rainbow" thread gave me a different way to look at constructing because I didn't want to hide the seams. I am not sure if I will like the finished product, but it is giving me practice in screen printing and serging.

Making mistakes Serging

I am serging on knit, I needed to adjust, but found I liked the loopy, ruffly edging. So, I left it.

Another look at my shadow work in progress

Some Hand Carved Stamps I've Made

So much fun to carve out these stamps! I could do this all day. I ordered them from Dicks Art supply and also a carving tool.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Simplicity 3856 & Children's Corner patterns

I turned 38 yesterday. My Best friend sent me this birthday card, isn't it sweet? That's me and her, the brunette and the blonde.

Lots to blog about today


The smocking is coming along, slowly but surely. Now I am working on the organdy collar. I decided not to go with the collar on the pattern, but to create my own. I drew a design on

tracing paper after tracing the dress yoke.

Next, I made a denim skirt using Simplicity 3856

I made the gores larger (1") for added fullness. I left the edges raw. I like the look of denim after washing and it frays. This denim has tiny multi colored sequins all over it.

The blouse is a Children's Corner pattern. I made a Hello Kitty bow to match. Of course, I had to put the crinoline I made from a vintage pattern (see older post) under it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Leprechaun Catcher

Here, little leprechaun.......

O.k., here's my idea. Leave a leprechaun trap out with a tiny pot o' gold. He pays the vacation rental fee (money or money candy, etc..) placed in side the little house on St. Patty's Day for my 2 year old to find. Maybe he took the pot o' gold with him.

Wanna make your own Leprechaun trap? Here's how.....

(send me pics of your leprechaun vacation rental

Coffee creamer with a pipe cleaner handle, glued foam squares (for filler) topped with some gold beads glued down. Another idea: You could make the pot o' gold into a little necklace, loop ribbon around the handle.

Please excuse the blurry photos.

She likes it as a necklace for fairies also...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beach Pillow

It's cold and rainy today and I have the sniffles. (still smocking) I miss the warmer weather and the beach. Don't get me wrong, I am not a summer gal. I don't like it when the Carolina heat is more humid than the inside of a dog's mouth. It's just that a few weeks back we had some nice days. I went to the beach to collect shells the other day. It was a little chilly, which was great because hardly anyone was there. I said a prayer to the Lord that I would find a sand dollar. Then, there was a perfect sand dollar lying there in the sand for me. I love it when He answers quickly.

I wanted a decorative pillow for my slipcovered couch. So, I cut out stamps of ocean animals and shells. The idea came from Genine's Art Blog (check it out on the right side, "blogs I like", she has a tutorial). I mixed acrylics with a fabric paint medium and painted it on the stamps. I used some fabrics from shirts and jeans and cut out circles to stamp. Then, I sprayed a fabric adhesive onto the back of the circles so they would stay in place when sewn. My machine has decorative stitches but a regular zig zag or would work, just switch thread colors to add interest. A watercolor I had done became central to a collage that I scanned and printed onto fabric. An old hymn, "Sail On", is in the lower left corner. The little blue net under the crab I crocheted.

There are several ways to print onto fabric and there are tutorials on line for making your own transfer medium. I just used sheets of printer fabric I bought from Hancock's at 50% off. I stitched the fabric print on the canvas and placed the fabric circles randomly around.

The collage is here for you to use. you can print it onto fabric, or paper

to use as you like. (An apron, table runner, seaside bag are some other ideas). Please, do not post it on your site, without my permission. Links, though are welcome.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Still Smocking

After sewing frantically by machine, smocking seems slow. It goes even slower when I make a mistake and have to pull out stitches! My little girl is so excited. She wants to wear it now, I can't smock fast enough for her. The boring task of back smocking is a necessity that I dont look forward to doing. (back sm0cking ... that is when you smock the back of the smocked piece so that the pleats stay in place.) BUT, I do find it relaxing about as much I find crocheting to be. I"ll take a breath and try not to feel hurried.

My smocking teacher was Charlotte Butler, of ,"The Ghent Needlecrafter" in Hampton Virginia. The year was 1997, and she closed shop that same year. She had a beautiful shop and I used to drool over her creations. One dress in particular had little cherries shadow embroidered on a white batiste dress. She said all 4 daughters whore it, if my memory serves me correctly. My 2nd daughter was just a tiny baby. My first project was a christening gown for her. I use a pleater my mom bought years ago, a small Pullen pleater. I would love to have a large pleater to create larger smocked yokes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Who gives a HOOT?

Owl flannel nightgown, whooooo cares

I have been practicing a rolled hem on my serger. Flannel creates a lot of lint, dirtied up my new machine. I did not have my heart in making the 2 nightgowns (at 1 a.m.) I made. It doesn't excite me. But, I have had a hard time finding a long, warm nightgown for Eliana. The plastic gemstones I had to add for the "bling-bling" obsessed.

Today, I am pleating some microcheck fabric using "Mindy" from Children's Corner. I am not sure what the yoke is going to look like. I may do some shadow work embroidery. Right now, I am smocking in peach. Love the green and peach together! I had to rush to pleat today because we may take a car trip to the RV show in Raleigh tomorrow. Hopefully I can knock out some stitches on the drive.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Flannel Nightgowns

Sometime in the fall, I had purchased flannel fabric on sale. I also bought a pattern for a nightgown that said "EASY" on the envelope. I had put off making them so that I could make other things. 2 days ago, I decided to make them because it's still winter and it would give me practice on my new serger. I ended up rethreading my serger about 6 times. So, I have that down pat. After 2 days of working on these nightgowns ( when I get the chance), I am sick of them. I cut the fabric while she was asleep at nap time, so I didn't measure. I just selected the size 3 and started construction.

The top was too wide and was sliding off of her shoulders. So, I ended up making a tuck in the back yoke, sewing with long stitches. That way, when she grows into the top I can just pick the stitches out and she will get more wear out of it. Now, if I can complete the other one.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


In a previous post, I showed the petticoat I was working on ( vintage pattern) , it is finished. I do not recommend sewing at 3a.m. I used upholstery thread to gather the ruffles. I forgot to switch threads, oops. The ruffle attached to the 2nd row was sewn with upholstery thread (cream). I was so upset!! I had to remind myself that this is worn under a garment and wont be seen except along the hem of a garment where the lace may peak out. Although, my little tutu tot loves it to twirl in, by itself.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Knitted Gift Thank You

My brother's sweet wife shipped a vest and hat her mother made for Eliana. So cute!! She also sent a little pink drawstring bag and and necklace. Her mom knitted this vest after my neice broke her grandmother's glasses. I love handmade gifts. Eliana loves it. Thought I'd share it.

Other things I've been doing besides sewing... (rather be sewing) After searching through many blogs for activities with kids, I have seen many muffin tin uses. She enjoyed sorting and counting small objects.