Beginner Sewing Project, Finished Product, Free Pattern, Gift Idea, Holidays

Gift Ideas for Most Any Occasion

I’m always looking for ways to personalize my holiday gifts each year.  One easy way to do so, is to choose a themed fabric that is meaningful for the recipient.  I want to share a few gifts I made this year for Christmas, because all of these gifts could be used for most any occasion throughout the year.  Some of them have free links to free patterns.  Here are a few gift ideas to consider:

Burrito or Roll It Up Pillowcase

Choose a themed fabric and add complementing fabric for trim and cuffs.

Pillowcases are always a great gift and with the clever roll-it-up or burrito method, you can make a pillowcase in no time at all.  A great source for a free can be found at the All People Quilt site for American Patchwork and Quilting

You will be amazed at how quickly they sew together and they really are a lot of fun to make.

Ten Minute Table Runner

Several table runners folded in half lengthwise

This popular free pattern has been around for several years and is another great gift idea.  It only requires 1/3 yard of focus fabric and 1/2 yard for your border and background.

You can get a free pattern for this fast and easy project at the Utah State University Cooperative Extension website.

You can achieve some interesting variations depending on whether you fold the fabric to the front or the back when sewing the final end points as shown in the following photo.

End points folded to the front on the top table runner and to the back on the bottom table runner.


Have a good time choosing your fabrics and customizing your table runners.  This is a great beginner pattern and can be somewhat addictive!




Hopeful Hatchlings (Stuffed Animals)

There is a darling new book called Hopeful Hatchlings by Jessica George from the Sweet Brian Sisters.  The book that has patterns and instructions for 10 adorable baby animals. Each of the animals will fit inside a Zipper Egg and a pattern for the egg is also included in the book.

Our granddaughters were very quick to point out their favorite animal in the book.  I told them their selections would be part of their Christmas gifts.

Eloise chose Paddy the Penguin in her egg
Belén’s favorite was Dalton the Dragon







Choose a fun fabric for your eggs to complement the little animal who will live within.

These really are a lot of fun to make and the girls were thrilled to get theirs as you can see.

Eloise her Paddy Penguin
Belén with her Dalton the Dragon










I think there were be other Hopeful Hatchlings hatching around our house for future occasions.  They really are quite charming and somewhat addictive!

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and will be able to try some of these gift ideas.

Happy Stitching!



Finished Product, Gift Idea

Customized Jean Jackets for the Girls


B’s Koala Bear Jacket Back

It’s always fun to repurpose a piece of clothing and, at the same time, do something that personalizes it for someone special.  Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of watching our granddaughters, Belen and Eloise.  When I was asked what “project” we were going to work on that day, I suggested that we decorate some jean jackets.  They loved the idea and we went to a second-hand store and the girls each found a jacket that fit them.

B’s jacket was originally trimmed with some lace appliqués and a lace trim, which were pretty worn.

B’s jacket was originally trimmed with some lace appliqués and a lace trim, which were pretty worn.  She asked if she could help me remove these trim pieces before we washed the jackets.

Belen using a seam ripper to remove a lace embellishment


I showed her how to use a seam ripper to remove the lace trims and she was eager to help – she did a great job and in no time at all, her jean jacket was clear of trims and ready for the washer.


Eloise helping to hang the preshrunk fabric


Eloise “test driving” her Halloween costume

The girls thought about what and how they wanted to embellish their new jackets.  They chose various fabrics to use to in an appliqué for the back of each jacket.

Eloise wanted to assist too, so she helped me pre-shrink and hang fabric to dry.

After the jackets had been laundered, we were ready to begin stitching.

Stitching on Eloise’s jacket back

Eloise also tried on her fairy Halloween costume for a fitting.

Eloise found a fabric with animals from the Quilt Crossing that she fell in love with.  We decided to appliqué it to the back of her jacket.  I backed the fabric with a piece of batting and quilted around the design and stipple stitched the background, to help bring out the animals in the design.

Belen was busy drawing a Koala Bear for her jacket


Meanwhile, Belen was busy drawing a design for the back of her jacket.  She decided to draw a koala bear.  While I was stitching Eloise’s jacket, the girls took a play break and had some fun on the swings and played with Toby.

Such a beautiful afternoon, we just had to take a walk and play on the swings!

We finished Eloise’s jacket that afternoon and she was thrilled to model it.  We decided to add a small elephant on the front of her jacket, for a little added interest.



Raw edge appliqué of the elephant on the front
Eloise was thrilled with her finished jacket


Belen and I discussed how she wanted her koala appliquéd onto her jacket.  I found the perfect piece of fabric in my stash for the inner ears of her koala.  For the body and tree, I used various shades of gray grunge fabric and a piece of black grunge for the koala’s nose.



Tracing B’s koala bear to make appliqué pieces.

I enlarged her drawing about 20% and traced each of the appliqué pieces by placing her drawing, wrong-side-up, onto a light box.  I left ample room around each piece so that they could be easily cut apart and then fused to the back of the relevant appliqué fabric.

The light box made it easy to “fussy-cut” the ear pieces so that I could take advantage of the fabric’s design.  I rotated each ear piece to take advantage of the spherical design on the fabric.

It was fun to see her bear come to life as each piece was trimmed.  I shared a photo of the project with Belen and she was excited.

Fussy cutting the ear fabric was made easier by using a light box.
Previewing the koala bear pieces, before fusing

Next, I fused the koala bear and tree appliqué pieces to the back of Belen’s jacket.I began with the tree in the background and carefully placed the koala paws in the appropriate place, so that it looked like the bear was holding onto the tree trunk.  I also fused the little paws from the right side of the trunk that B had drawn.

The design was first fused to the jacket back


Appliquéing the koala onto the jacket back

Next, I free-motion stitched the perimeter of the bear with a gray thread and stitched so that the bear looked like he had a furry fringe around it.  Once that was complete, I outlined the bear again with black thread, to highlight the features of the bear’s face, arms and legs, etc.  The final stitching was the bear eyes and a sweet little smile and the bear was done!  Next, I stitched the tree with a gray and brown variegated thread.

It’s always fun to use a variety of colors of fabric and thread to build your appliqué.
The finished back of B’s jacket.



The highlight, of course, was to show Belen her finished jacket.  She was thrilled and said, “Oh Nana, I’m so proud of myself!”  She said she didn’t think her drawing would look as good as it did in an appliqué.



Belen, tickled pink in her jacket.
Eloise posing in her jacket – she was so tickled!


Here the girls are modeling their jackets.  This was a very fun project that you too could do.  It was especially fun to have the girls so involved in the process.  Best of all, they loved the finished project and it sure was a lot of fun to spend time with them.


What have you been busy sewing?  I would love to hear about your projects!

Now it is time for us to get focused back on Halloween.  I’ll share some ideas and what costumes we’re creating in a future blog.

Happy Sewing,



Children, Finished Product, Free Pattern, Gift Idea

The Giving Bunny

When school adjourns for the summer each spring, I look forward to the extra time I get to spend with Belen and Eloise.

The special message on B’s rock
B’s special rock with a cute camping scene on the front

Friday before last, I was pleased to spend the day with them.   While we were running a few errands together, Belen found a painted rock that had been planted for someone to discover.

The front of the rock had been painted with a camping scene and the back was lettered with instructions, “Boise Rocks – Post pic, keep or re-hide.”  The girls were fascinated by this little gift and we too thought it would be fun to leave some little gifts for strangers.

I told them about the Giving Bunny I had seen on Urban Threads.  If you go to Urban Threads’ website and click on their “Freebie” link, you can download either a machine or hand embroidery design for The Giving Bunny.  Under the Instructions link for this design, there is an explanation… “Here’s how it works: Download the FREE Giving Bunny design, available in two sizes for machine embroidery, as well as a PDF pattern for hand-stitchers.  Stitch up as many bunnies as you please. Dress ’em up if you like, give them names, attach a tag to each to introduce them to the world, and then leave them in public spaces for someone to find.”

The girls and I thought it would be fun to make some bunnies to give away, so we stitched several bunnies out of an ivory polar fleece.  Both Belen and Eloise had fun printing the names for each of their bunnies on little tags that told the story of the Giving Bunnies.

Eloise posing with some of her “Giving Bunnies”
B with a couple of her bunnies.









We printed off a template for the tags that Urban Threads provides and attached one to each bunny with small safety pins.  Belen added an additional note to the back of her tag that read, ” Hope your bunny finds a nice home!  Belen.

Belen added a note to the back of her tags
A finished bunny with his special tag

Once we finished making several bunnies, we packed them up as it was time to take Belen to her Writing Camp at the Cabin Writing Center near downtown.

After we dropped off Belen, Eloise and I thought it would be a good idea to hide some of the bunnies near the Ann Frank Memorial grounds. Eloise was very particular about where she wanted to place each of her Giving Bunnies.

Eloise initially put a bunny in the Ann Frank statue’s hand, but decided to relocate this one.

Initially, she wanted to put a bunny in the hand of the Ann Frank statue, but later decided to relocate this bunny.  Next she tried a couple other spots around the Memorial grounds.

Eloise hid hers first, while Belen attended a Writing Camp at the Cabin

She was so excited to see who would be the first to discover one of her Giving Bunnies, so she hid behind a grove of trees to watch.

Eloise waiting for someone to discover one of her bunnies

While she was watching, she did not see anyone find one of her bunnies.  We decided to leave and go and get an ice cream cone and check on her bunnies when we returned for Belen’s reading at the Cabin.

Eloise gave a lot of thought as to where to hide her bunnies.

When we returned, one of her bunnies was gone.  She was thrilled and decided to relocate the remaining bunnies in a place where they would be a little more visible.

Hmmmm, this tree was a great place to perch a bunny

We put out a few more bunnies and went to watch Belen read one of her writings from Writing Camp.

Belen did an amazing job and we were so proud of not only her poem, but also how confidently she read it in front of a large crowd of people.  Alecia and Andy joined us to watch Belen too.  She was the first presenter.

Belen reading a piece she had written at Writing Camp

After Belen was finished, we told Mommy and Daddy about the Giving Bunnies and  Eloise helped Belen hide a few of her bunnies.

Ready to stage their bunnies

The girls had such a good time finding the “perfect” spot for each of their bunnies and talked about who might discover them.  It really was a very fun and exciting adventure.

When Mom met up with us later, the girls were eager to tell her about their Giving Bunnies

What projects have you been working on?  It is so much fun to be outdoors with all this beautiful weather.

I hope you are having a great summer and look forward to hearing about any projects you have been working on.

Happy Stitching!


Christmas, Family, Finished Product, Gift Idea, Holidays

A Dress for Dolly & B’

Christmas is such an exciting time of year and we feel especially blessed to be able to experience it through the eyes of our grandchildren.

Belén proudly introducing me to her doll, Caroline
Belén proudly introducing me to her doll, Caroline

This year our oldest grandchild, Belén, asked Santa Claus for an American Girl doll named Caroline.  She was absolutely ecstatic when she brought her doll to brunch on Christmas Day and proudly introduced us to her.

Belén's American Girl's Caroline Doll
Belén’s American Girl’s Caroline Doll

It just so happens that Santa gave us a tip as to what Belén wanted for Christmas, so Nana decided it would be fun to make B’ and her doll matching dresses.  I had a darling pattern from Olive Ann Designs that I had made a sun dress from and it included a matching doll dress pattern for an 18″ doll.  I decided to also make Eloise a matching dress, so she did not feel left out.  I ordered coordinating long sleeve knit tops for the girls and allowed a little extra ease in the patterns so the dresses could be worn as jumpers.

Pattern from Olive Ann Designs
Pattern from Olive Ann Designs

Each of the dresses is trimmed with a gathered row of ruffled fabric at the hemline and around the neckline.  In order to make several yards of ruffled fabric for trim, I used my roll and shell hemmer foot (#64) for my Bernina sewing machine.  It was a very fast and easy way to finish both edges of the ruffled trim.

Hemming the ruffled trim with my rolled hemmer foot.
Hemming the ruffled trim with my rolled hemmer foot.

Next, to simplify the process of gathering the trim, I used my Bernina Ruffler Foot #86 and set it on setting #6, which creates a pleat every sixth stitch in the seam.  It was almost magical to watch it quickly transform a long hemmed strip of fabric to a ruffled trim.

Using the ruffle attachment to gather the trim fabric.
Using the ruffle attachment to gather the trim fabric.

I made a couple variations on the pattern itself to simplify some of the suggested finishing steps.  If you are interested to know these, please comment and I will forward this information to you.

Belén was excited when she opened her package to find a new dress for her and she quickly tried it on with her knit top.  Then she opened a package with a matching dress for her doll and she was thrilled – as you can see…

Belén discovering Caroline's matching jumper.
Belén discovering Caroline’s matching jumper.

Eloise is 2 1/2 and has very strong opinions about things. Although she seemed to like her jumper, she was not in the mood to put it on, so here is a picture of her coordinating jumper.

Eloise's jumper with her red knit top
Eloise’s jumper with her red knit top

On the other hand, Belén danced around with her doll and was thrilled that they she and Caroline had matching outfits – and that made it all so very worthwhile.

Belén and Caroline in their matching outfits
Belén and Caroline in their matching outfits

What kind of sewing did you do for Christmas?

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and send the best holiday greetings your way!

Happy Sewing,


Bias Trim, Finished Product, Gift Idea, Home Decor, New Patterns

New Pattern – The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea quilt for Eloise
The Princess and the Pea quilt for Eloise

I’m very pleased to share with you my new quilt pattern entitled, The Princess and the Pea.  A quilt that was designed for our 2 year old granddaughter, Eloise.  We are so fortunate to have two beautiful granddaughters, Belén (age 4) and Eloise (age 2).  When Belén transitioned from the crib to her “big girl” bed, I made a quilt for her bed, which eventually became my first pattern called B’s Big Girl Quilt.


Now that Eloise has also moved to her “big girl” bed, it was time to create a quilt for her new bed.  My daughter, Alecia, (aka Mommy) had a great idea to make a quilt based on the Princess and the Pea story.  I thought it would be fun to come up with a quilt for Eloise incorporating that popular fairy tale and started to jot down ideas.  Eventually, my notes and sketches all came together to create this pattern.

The pattern includes a hand and machine embroidery design for the crown and the pea.
The pattern includes a hand and machine embroidery design for the crown and the pea.

I wanted to be able to personalize the quilt for our own little princess, so I digitized a crown embroidery design that can easily be personalized with a child’s name.  For my pattern model, I used the name “Princess,” and Eloise’s crown has her name on it.

The pea is an important element for this quilt and has a personality of his own.  I created a digitized version for machine embroiders as well as a template that can be hand embroidered.

Adding the pea to quilt top
Look closely to see the pea on the finished quilt.
Look closely to see the pea on the finished quilt.







Then it was time to sew the bed frame and prepare it to be machine appliqued onto the quilt top.

It was fun to work on the quilt as it came to life.  The wandering vine and its many colorful leaves and spiral flowers are the focus for the outside border.

Making leaves for the vine from a variety of green fabrics
Making leaves for the vine from a variety of green fabrics

I came up with an unusual spiral flower design and have a unique way of making each of these flowers.  I enjoyed mixing up the colors for the flowers to add a bit more whimsy to the quilt top.

Making the unique and whimsical spiral flowers
Making the unique and whimsical spiral flowers

Once the quilt top was completed, I took it to Yvette Ebaugh to quilt.  She did a beautiful job of capturing the essence of the quilt with her quilting.  Then it was time for the finishing touch, a playful bias binding.

Sewing the binding onto the quilt
Sewing the binding onto the quilt

Last, but not least, final photos were taken and Eloise’s “big girl” quilt was complete!

Taking pictures of completed quilt
Taking pictures of completed quilt

It was a very fun project and I’m excited to see Eloise’s quilt on her big girl bed.

If you would like to make this quilt for your little princess, you can purchase the pattern online at Craftsy or locally, in Boise, at the Quilt Crossing.   I will also be teaching a class on this quilt pattern (check out the class list at the Quilt Crossing website) and welcome you to join the class.

New pattern created from quilt I made for Eloise
New pattern created from quilt I made for Eloise

Note:  I made another version of this quilt, replacing the bias trim on the border with large rickrack.  You can read more about this in my blog, The Princess and the Pea for Eloise.  It was a fun variation for this pattern and Eloise loved her quilt!

Happy Sewing!




Finished Product, Gift Idea, Home Decor, Kitchen Accessories

Wedding Gift Ideas & A Few Machine Embroidery Tips

June is a favorite time of year for weddings and it is always nice to make a unique personalized gift for young couples who are getting married.  A tradition of mine is to personalize a towel with the couple’s name and date of their wedding.

My nephew and his wife were recently married in Las Vegas.  I discovered an old wooden hanger from Hotel Sahara in Las Vegas in one of my favorite shops, and thought it would make a unique towel bar for their new kitchen towel.  I used my embroidery machine to prepare the design and personalize it with their names and wedding date, as you can see below.

A personalized towel for Shane and Lindsay
A personalized towel for Shane and Lindsay

I also thought it would be fun to make Lindsay an apron from my Anna’s Apron Pattern.  I chose some funky font fabric and, of course, a nice terry cloth towel (which is so handy to have on board your apron) and a complementing rick rack trim.

An apron for Lindsay
An apron for Lindsay

The best thing is that they were very pleased with their gifts, which always makes your day.

Now, I have to get busy as I have a few more wedding gifts on my “To Do” List.  Thought this may give you some ideas for fun wedding gifts.

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful summer weather.

Happy Sewing,


Tips on Embroidering Towels

If you are are interested in more details on how I embroidered the towel, along with a few more photos, continue reading.

Once you have your design prepared and loaded onto your machine, hoop your towel.  Start by folding the towel in half lengthwise and finger press the center, to give you a guide for placement of your design.  Use a water soluble marker and put a line across the center line, creating a cross to indicate where you want your embroidery design to be located vertically.  Use the plastic grid that came with your embroider hoop and align the center mark of the grid with the center mark on the towel.

Center the towel in your embroidery hoop, using the hoop grid to insure accurate placement
Center the towel in your embroidery hoop, using the hoop grid to insure accurate placement

I use a very handy accessory to hold my hoop in place when I am loading an item into the hoop.  It’s called the Master Hooper and it holds the outside of the hoop firmly in place while you are inserting the fabric and inner hoop.  Otherwise you may find yourself chasing the hoop around the table when attempting to hoop your fabric.

The Master hooper holding down the hoop
The Master hooper holding down the hoop

For a mid to light weight kitchen towel, use a light weight tear-away stabilizer.   As far as embroidery thread, I typically use Isacord or Aurafil thread.

I hoop the stabilizer first and then pin my fabric in place on top of the stabilizer, insuring that my pins are placed outside the stitching area.  (Note:  Sometimes I use a 505 Temporary Adhesive spray to help hold the fabric in place, but not always.  It depends on the project.)  My machine has the option to stitch a basting box around the design, which is very handy.

Once you have the fabric loaded in the hoop, load your hoop onto your embroidery module.

I like to bring up my bottom bobbin thread to the top, so that I know exactly where it is before I begin to stitch.  It also helps to avoid thread jams.

Design is almost finished
Design is almost finished

Push the button and engage the machine and complete your embroidery.  Once complete, unhoop the towel and gently tear away the stabilizer from the design.  If you leave some fragments, don’t worry, it will eventually wash out when laundered.  PRESTO,  you have a unique, personalized wedding gift for that special couple!

Your design is finished.
Your design is finished.
Finished Product, Gift Idea, Home Decor

A Special Gift… My Double Heart Watercolor Quilt

Last fall, we spent part of our vacation in Amish Country.  It was a wonderful place to visit and we were excited to learn more about the Amish culture.

An Amish Family in their Buggy
An Amish Family in their Buggy

We were pleased to stay at a charming Bed and Breakfast in Bird-in-Hand, PA.  Our room was upstairs near the front of the house and you could hear the horse drawn buggies go by every so often.  The clip clopping gates of the horses was soothing, kind of like falling rain.   Our bed was adorned with a pillow with a greeting in German that translates to “Good Night”.

Our “Good Night” pillow
Amish Farm
Amish Farm

We visited an Amish farm one afternoon and enjoyed the beautiful countryside of the region.   The local Amish people were extremely friendly and eager to show you their handmade wares, fruits and vegetables that were for sale.

I was pleased to tour a few quilt stores where we saw a variety of Amish quilts, along with other more current patterns.  The Amish have expanded the selections of the different styles of quilts they sell to include other types.  I fell in love with a watercolor quilt we saw on display.  It had double-linked hearts towards the center of the quilt.  The designer had used over 300 different fabrics when she pieced together the 3,648 one and a half inch squares to create the center design.  It was a spectacular quilt.  Marv, however, said he didn’t much care for the quilt, so we continued to look at others.  But, in my opinion, no others compared to the double heart quilt.

photo (5)
The Double Heart Quilt when we saw it at the quilt store

The remainder of the trip included a visit to Gettysburg, a stop in Scranton, PA, which boasts being the home for the hit television show, The Office, and some time back in New York city, which is always fun to explore.

When we returned back to Boise, I admired the photo of the double heart quilt again when I was organizing my photos.  I really didn’t give it much further thought again, until last week, when Marv handed me a box to open for my birthday.  I really had no idea what was in the mysterious box and was totally blown away when I opened the box and removed the tissue paper to unveil the beautiful double heart quilt.  I was in awe, surprised, thrilled and so excited.  I really couldn’t believe my eyes.

Opening my birthday gift
Opening my birthday gift
Opening the quilt
Opening the quilt






This was such a special gift and Marv explained when he saw it at the quilt store, he knew then and there what my birthday gift was going to be this year.  Alecia asked to take a picture of me with my new quilt the night of my birthday and, I must admit, it is a perfect fit for our bedroom.  What do you think?  To really appreciate it, you must see it in person.  Thanks again, Marv, for such a special birthday gift!

My Birthday gift on our bed
My Birthday gift on our bed
A close-up of the quilt
A close-up of the quilt
Finished Product, Gift Idea, Kitchen Accessories, New Patterns

Anna’s Apron Pattern Update

IMG_1443 - C IMG_1628 - CAnna’s Apron is a unique pattern for an apron in that it incorporates a terry cloth or cotton towel as the base for the apron.  When you wear this apron, you will always have a towel within reach.  Recently, I edited the pattern to include a trim along the hemline of the apron.

The apron can be made with a cotton towel, as shown in the first photo or a terrycloth towel as shown in the apron with the alphabet fabric.

When I recently taught my last apron class, all of the students chose to make the apron with the hemline trim.  They really liked the additional  “pop” the trim provides to the overall apron appearance.

Therefore, I have updated the pattern to include instructions for adding the optional hemline trim.  If you have already purchased this pattern and would like instructions for adding the trim, please leave a comment below and I will email you a copy.  Just let me know where you purchased your original (Etsy, Craftsy, Quilt Crossing, etc.)

Apron without hemline trim
Apron without hemline trim
Another apron with hemline trim.
Another apron with hemline trim.

If you would like to purchase an apron pattern, you can do so at Craftsy online or the Quilt Crossing in Boise.

I thought it would be fun to share some photos of apron class at Quilt Crossing last week.  It was a  fun group and they were all very pleased that everyone completed their apron, as you can see in the class photos below.

Thank you ladies, for a very fun time.  I hope you enjoy your lovely aprons!

My students adding trim to their apron
My students adding trim to their apron
IMG_1596 - C
Monica changing thread colors for her trim
IMG_1598 - C
Monica and Megan modeling their aprons
IMG_1599 - C
Talented Trio, Mary, Sarah and Connie
Finished Product, Free Pattern, Gift Idea, Home Decor

Sewing with my Granddaughter, Belén

I always enjoy spending time with our granddaughters.  Last Friday, I had the pleasure of sharing the afternoon with our oldest granddaughter, Belén.  She loves to explore my sewing studio and is always eager to make something together.

Friday was no exception and while we were running an errand, Belén discovered the cutest princess fabric and convinced me that she just had to get some.  I suggested that we make her a princess pillowcase for her bed and she eagerly agreed.  Once we purchased the fabric,  we returned to Nana’s house and busily prepared to make the pillowcase.

Belén admiring the pattern for her new princess pillowcase.
Belén admiring the pattern for her new princess pillowcase.

There are several free pillowcase patterns (9 to be exact) at the Quilt Crossing blog site and we used my favorite, the Hot Dog Method pattern, because you achieve such a nice clean finish by using this method.

The completed princess pillow case
The completed princess pillow case

In no time at all, we had finished a princess pillow case for Belén.  She was so excited, she couldn’t wait to try it out, as you can see in the next picture!  Although, it will be a lot softer when she adds her own pillow inside the pillowcase!

B testing out her pillowcase
B testing out her pillowcase




B helping me sew her bracelet.
B helping me sew her bracelet.




We still had time to do one more project before taking Belén home.  Belén requested a personalized bracelet.  She loves to sit with me while I sew and is always such a big helper.  She gets so excited to choose the different decorative stitches to use to decorate her bracelet.



B' modeling her bracelet
B’ modeling her bracelet

It was definitely a fun afternoon with Belén and I don’t think it will be long before she will be sewing her very own projects.  Maybe, still with a little help from Nana!

photo (3) - compressed
Having fun at the sewing machine!
Hmmm, somehow the end of the sucker disappeared???
Hmmm, somehow the end of the lollipop disappeared???

What projects have you been sewing?  I’d love to hear about them too!

Happy Sewing!


Christmas, Finished Product, Free Pattern, Gift Idea

Holiday Sewing for 2012

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year.  Our home transforms into a bit of a winter wonderland, both inside and out (if Mother Nature helps out) and I love  the many traditions that are a part of this wonderful time of year.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is making gifts for various friends and family members.  I enjoy trying to come up with the “perfect” personalized gift that will bring a smile to the recipient’s face.   I thought it would be fun to share some of the holiday sewing I did this year.  It was a very busy, but fun December!  Some of these projects will be posted in future blogs as well to share more of the details and learnings I had along the way.

Christmas Stockings

Erin's Fleece Stockings I Embroidered
Erin’s Fleece Stockings I Embroidered

When I was decorating our house for Christmas, my friend, Erin, called and asked if I could put some names on some stockings she made.  I was pleased to do so and thought I would include a photo of the stockings she made out of polar fleece.  Aren’t they adorable?  I embroidered the names and then realized that I had spelled “Derik” as my son-in-law spells his name, but Erin’s Darik has an “a” instead of an “e”.  I carefully used a seam ripper to remove the “e” and repositioned the stocking on my embroidery module and inserted an “a” instead.  I was pleased the “a” and “e” take about the same amount of space, so it worked out okay and Erin’s stockings were complete!

Edited stocking - thank goodness an "e" and "a" are similar in size.
Edited stocking – thank goodness an “e” and “a” are similar in size.

While I was embroidering Erin’s stockings, I got an idea to make some stockings for our daughter, Anna, and her husband, Derik.  I texted Anna to see if she would like some stockings and she agreed.  Since they have a very contemporary style in their home, I chose to make the stockings simple, but also relevant to them.  Anna works at CM Company and builds commercial buildings.  Therefore, she views a lot of building plans.  I found a design several months ago from one of my favorite design studios, Urban Threads.  The name of the design is How to build a Heart.  I embroidered that design onto some linen fabric.  Anna’s husband, Derik, is a talented, natural artist and one of the things he enjoys drawing is trees, so I embroidered a tree on linen for his stocking.

Close-Up of embroidery stitched on linen
Close-Up of embroidery stitched on linen

I cut two pieces of decorator fabric and embroidered their names on the top and then lined each stocking with a light muslin lining.  I will post a future blog with details on how to make these stockings, if you like.

I decided to use the selvage edge of the fabric as a sort of trim for the top of the stockings as it really was pretty the way it was finished.

The completed stockings hanging on the mantle
The completed stockings hanging on the mantle

Infinity Scarves

Christmas is also a very social time and it is always fun to get together to celebrate the season.  I have a sewing group that I thoroughly enjoy and this year I decided to make the ladies each an infinity scarf.  Here’s a picture of my Sew Neato sewing group modeling their new scarves.  These are so much fun to make and easy to personalize, as you can do so simply from your fabric selections.  If you would like to make your own infinity scarf, I will provide a link to a video that shows you how at the end of this blog.

Margie, Darlene and Marsha with their infinity scarves.  Aren't they lovely?
Margie, Darlene and Marsha with their infinity scarves. Aren’t they lovely?

Christmas Dresses

As you would guess, my favorite duo to sew for are our adorable grandchildren, Belén and Eloise.  Once again this year, I made their little Christmas dresses.  Alecia had found some cute dresses online and asked if I could make them.  I combined a few patterns and drafted a final dress pattern for B’ and then scaled it down in order to use it for Eloise as well.  The dresses were tiered, with a piece of folded tulle between each gathered tier.

Eloise and Belén in their Christmas dresses
Eloise and Belén in their Christmas dresses
Eloise on the run in her dress
Eloise on the run in her dress

Since I was able to find some pretty stretch velveteen fabric, I made them without zippers or buttonholes, but instead the girls were able to just pull them over their heads. They looked so cute in their dresses and seemed to enjoy wearing them as well.



Handmade Dolls for Belén and Eloise

I decided to make dolls for the girls this year.  I saw some cute ideas in a couple different books.  I thought it would be fun to make both of the girls a doll and doll quilt for Christmas.  There will be a future blog on this as I learned a LOT and really enjoyed making both dolls.  Here are the finished products!

Eloise's Tag-A-Long doll with her doll's Amish doll
Eloise’s Tag-A-Long doll with her doll’s Amish doll

Eloise’s doll has the cutest little pigtails that stick out, very similar to the way Weezy’s pigtails look sometimes.

The fabric for her little dress is the cutest Japanese fabric that has characters from the Three Little Pigs on it.

The little Amish doll that is sitting next to the Tag-A-Long doll is from our trip to Amish country this fall.  It was the perfect size to be a doll for the Tag-A-Long and Sadie dolls.

Weezy's doll on her doll quilt, with Minky background fabric
Weezy’s doll on her doll quilt, with Minky background fabric

Of course, every doll needs to have a quilt, so I made a quick strip quilt for Eloise’s doll.  The backing for the quilt is an oh-so-soft minky fabric that helps to make their quilt every so snuggly.  I also used a wool batting in the quilt to provide a little more loft than the standard cotton batting.  I’ll tell you more about this in the upcoming blog on making these dolls.

Eloise playing with Mommy and her new doll
Eloise playing with Mommy and her new doll

It was so cute to see how excited Eloise was when she opened the present with her doll.  She giggled and immediately went to work caring for her doll, as you can see in the picture.  In no time at all, her little Tag-a-Long doll was all nestled in her little quilt with a very attentive Mommy nearby.


Belén with her Sadie doll
Belén with her Sadie doll

Belen’s doll is called Sadie and she was an exciting challenge to make.  I developed a healthy respect for the art of doll making in constructing these dolls.

The pattern designer for Sadie provided very detailed instructions for each step of the doll’s construction.  She also had a good supply list and I ordered the wool batting she recommended from Lancaster, PA.   (More details will be provided in my future doll making blog.)

One of the things I attempted to do was to make Sadie’s eyes similar to Belén’s eyes.  In order to do so, I studied the various colors that are in Belén’s beautiful blue eyes.  It’s amazing to see all the colors that our eye irises contain.  Here’s a close up of the end result of one of Sadie’s eyes.

I used at least 6-8 colors of embroidery floss to try to replicate Beléns eye color.
I used at least 6-8 colors of embroidery floss to attemp to replicate Beléns eye color.
Each strand of hair is individually attached to the head of the doll
Each strand of hair is individually attached to the head of the doll







Sadie on her doll blanket
Sadie on her doll blanket


I was was amazed at how the dolls literally started  to “come to life” as I began to stuff and stitch in all the details and various features.  Sadie has a lot more details (ten little individual fingers, etc.) than Tag-a-Long.  In addition, each strand of her hair was hand sewn and attached to the head of the doll with a 4-inch doll needle.  I have some great pictures for my upcoming doll-making blog.  Although it was extremely time consuming, I also found it very relaxing.  I couldn’t wait for the girls to finally get to see and play with their dolls on Christmas Day and they were both delighted.  Belén and I are going to have a sew afternoon and make Sadie some shoes and, of course, there are always ideas for new outfits and accessories for her doll.  The nice thing about Sadie is that since she is an 17″ doll, there are a lot of fun patterns available for clothing and accessories.  In addition, I can possibly foresee  some matching outfits for B’ and her doll, and Eloise as well!

 40th Wedding Anniversary Outfits

Anniversary Outfits for Ray & Eileen's 40th Anniversary
Anniversary Outfits for Ray & Eileen’s 40th Anniversary

 As noted in a previous post, in December we also celebrated the 40th Wedding Anniversary of our friends, Ray and Eileen, who are also the other set of grandparents for Belén and Eloise.  To help commemmorate this special day, I made the girls matching outfits for the Open House that said ” I Love (Heart) Grammy and Papa”.  They were quite the cute little hostesses, at least until bedtime rolled around.

Holiday Pillowcases

Anna, James and Martin Connington with their pillowcases
Anna, James and Martin Connington with their pillowcases

It has become a tradition that each year I make Anna and Martin Connington a pillowcase.  This year their brother, James, was also here to share the holiday with them.  Therefore, it was important to make a pillowcase for James as well.  Since James is attending college in London, I wanted to use a fabric that would remind him of the U.S.A.  I found a sexy cowgirl fabric that soon became the focal point for his pillowcase and he was thrilled.  He said it will be his new main pillowcase at school.  Anna and Martin were pleased with their pillowcases as well as you can see in the picture their mother, Montse, sent me.  What a handsome trio!



Each year I usually make a few ornaments with my embroidery machine.  Sometimes to commemorate a new member to the family, etc.   This year I made a Christmas cookie tree ornament to commemorate our the First Annual Grandma’s Cookie Decorating Tea Party.  Eileen and I had a delightful time with our 2 granddaughters and I was so pleasantly surprised when she too had an ornament made, with our photos, which I absolutely love.

Eloise's Ornament from 2011
Eloise’s Ornament from 2011
IMG_1222 - C
Photo Ornament from Eileen and felt Christmas Cookie Cutter Ornament








That’s a summary of my holiday sewing for 2012.  It was a very busy, but fun month of December.

I’m sure you too were busy with all your holiday preparations.  What were you busy making in your Santa’s workshop this year?  Please send me an email to:  [email protected] and include a photo if you like and I’ll post in a future blog!

Hope you are enjoying 2013.  I have a feeling it is going to be a great year!!!

(Here is a link to a how to video to make an infinity scarf at TheCraftyGemni.  Enjoy!)


Happy Sewing!