Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Free Directions for Smocked Christmas Ornament...



I hope you are enjoying the sights and sounds of this Christmas season!!! My favorite is hearing all four of my children playing Christmas songs on the piano!!!

This week I am working on my Christmas shopping and addressing Christmas cards to share with friends and family.  I also still have four pairs of pj pants to make for my little ones.  That has been a tradition of ours for many years.  I should do a round-up of past Christmas pjs that are here on the blog. (I have years and years of content on this blog concerning all types of sewing, tips, tricks, techniques, etc.  There's a search bar on the right side that you can use to search the entire blog.)

Anyway, although I don't have many gifts wrapped and under the tree yet....I do have this sweet smocked ornament on the tree.  I made this ornament many years ago and I still love it.  

I have basic directions for making the ornament that I shared with my local smocking guild years ago, and I'm happy to share it with you too.  Just drop me an email and I will send it to you.  I do not have the pattern for the cute little tree though.  It was in the Sew Beautiful Holiday 1988 issue.  However,  I tried to get a close-up picture so you can probably re-create it easily if you'd like.

Happy Stitching!

xoxo,
Cindy

Sunday, December 09, 2018

How to Make a Gift Card Ornament......



I had a gift card that I needed to somehow package for a friend.  I pondered putting the gift card in with their Christmas card but ultimately I decided to stitch a quick gift card holder.  I put the gift card down on a piece of blue felt and traced around the card leaving about a quarter of an inch on the two long sides and one short side.  I then cut a second piece the same dimensions but about a quarter of an inch shorter.  My two pieces were 3 1/2" x 2 3/4" and 3 1/4" x 2 3/4" and should work for any standard-sized gift cards.

Before I stitched the two pieces together, I took the slightly smaller piece and hand stitched a triangular piece of green felt onto it.  I used green embroidery floss to stitch the tree using a quick running stitch.  Then I used red and white floss to create the ornaments making simple french knots.  I used brown floss to make the trunk using bullions.  And likewise, using yellow floss, I created a five-pointed star on the top using bullions.  Next I put the two blue felt pieces together, matching up three sides, and using blue floss ran a quick running stitch around those three sides.  And finally, I stitched on a looped white ribbon so the card and holder could be hung on the tree.  I'm just thinking that even if you don't have a gift card to package you could put cash in the holder too.

I've made several of these over the years but I think this one worked up the fastest and I liked it the most. Stitching for family and friends is so fun this time of year!! I hope you consider stitching one this Christmas!  And if you do, I would love to see it!!!

Happy Stitching, Friends!!!

xoxo!
Cindy





Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving 2018!!!




This picture has some of my favorite things in it!  I love Thanksgiving and taking time to slow down, enjoy time with loved ones, and reflect on the blessings in my life!  Do you see the tablecloth in the background?  My precious cousin, Leonora who was more like a great aunt than a cousin, crocheted it for me about 30 years ago.  She and I shared a mutual love of reading, baking, and crocheting.  I'd go to her house and we would  stay up super late on Thanksgiving Eve making cakes, pies, etc to share with our family.  We started this tradition when I was about 12 years old and continued until I moved away for graduate school when I was in my early 20's.  Those are such special memories to me.  I made the basket many years ago when I was determined to learn how to weave baskets.  I have many baskets now that I have made over the years....but I love the colors in this one.  Some precious friends of ours invited us over recently for fellowship and they had all the supplies for us to make these beautiful fall flower arrangements using a real hollowed out pumpkin as the vase.  Gorgeous!!!  I need to snap another picture of just the arrangement!!  And the Thanksgiving Day poem by Lydia Maria Child....well, it's such a wonderful poem and a tradition.  I remember learning this song when I was about 7 years old.  It's a favorite for sure!!!  And the book it is in here is from my Childcraft collection.  I love these books and had a set when I was growing up.  I now have two sets and my little ones love to browse through them as much as I did, and still do.

We have already had our big meal for the day.  It had all our traditional dishes and it was lovely.  Now the kids are stringing Christmas lights outside the front of the house and I'm thinking about working on a stitching project.  I have several I'm working on right now - so the problem will be making a decision on which one to work on.

I hope your day has included some of your favorite things too!!!  From our house to yours, I wish you a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving Day!!!

xoxo!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thrift Store Skirt Modification...





My girls still prefer to dress modestly and nice skirts can be difficult to find in our local department stores.  So the past few years we have had great success shopping at local thrift stores for skirts and dresses.  My Elisabeth recently found this navy blue linen skirt shown above.  It is beautiful and well-made.  She has washed it and worn it a few times but the waist is a bit tight on her.  I told her we could easily correct that issue.  This is the beauty of being able to sew and alter items to fit you well.





This skirt has an elastic waist, but it is well-made and the elastic is "loose" and not stitched into the skirt.  So that makes it really easy to modify.  I usually un-pick the casing seam either over the center back seam or a side seam.  For this skirt I un-picked the seam at the center back.




I removed enough stitching until I could easily pull a loop of elastic out.  



Then I cut the loop.  I don't worry about finding the original join....but rather just cut wherever.  This elastic can easily be recycled into something else.  Or I could just stitch on another piece of elastic to extend this piece if I wanted.  But this time I decided to just add a completely new piece of elastic.  Likewise, if the skirt was too big the same procedure could be done and the original elastic could be cut smaller to fit the waist and re-stitched.




Here's the waist casing with the elastic removed.  It's kind of hard to see.




The elastic on the top is the piece I removed from the skirt.  The bottom piece of elastic is the one I'm planning to add back into the casing.  I cut the elastic to the measurement that works better for Elisabeth.




After I re-threaded the new elastic into the casing (without getting it twisted) I stitched the elastic by layering one end on top of the other and zigzagging a straight line.  Then I re-stitched the casing seam using navy thread and a straight stitch.




To finish the project I do what I often do on elastic waistbands - I stitched on both side seams (through the elastic) just about an inch to secure the elastic in the band so that it doesn't twist while wearing or during washing. 




I know this is a dark picture but here is the final result. (I will edit this post when I get a picture of Elisabeth wearing it.)  It is a calf-length skirt and has a wonderful shape to it.  And I love that it's a nice quality linen fabric.  And I forgot to add it has pockets in the side seams - Another bonus!!! This is one quick and easy way to make those wonderful items you find at a local thrift shop work for you.

Happy Stitching!

xoxo!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Sweet Little Pillow...




I found this embroidery pattern from the Clementine Pattern Co that I really wanted to stitch.  I like all of their patterns but I thought I would start with this simple one.  I stitched the letters in a pretty coral colored floss using a backstitch on a piece of cotton fabric and quilt batting.  I often put batting behind my embroidery projects because I really like the finished product it yields.  I feel like the batting gives it more body than just stitching on a single layer of fabric.  

After I finished stitching I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with it, but I knew I really liked it and therefore I wanted to enjoy it daily.  Finally, I decided to turn it into a pillow.  




I had a Moda jelly roll of some gorgeous fabrics that worked perfectly with the floss color I chose.  I added the strips to the sides in a log cabin style and embellished it with a little more stitching around the perimeter.  The back of the pillow is another coordinating Moda print.  I filled it with stuffing and gave it a place of honor on my bed. Now I get to see it everyday and it never fails to make me smile!!! I love it!!!

Have you made something lately that makes you smile?

Happy Stitching!!!

xoxo

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Baby Girls and Pink Dresses....





There is something about newborn baby girls and precious pink dresses.  Call me old-fashioned!!!  So when a young friend of mine was pregnant with her first baby girl I knew I had to make her a few dresses.





This precious daygown is from an Old Fashioned Baby pattern called Priscilla's Layette.  I used white cotton batiste for the dress and pink and white gingham for the bias binding around the neck and sleeve edges.  I stitched dainty bullion rosebuds down the button placket using my favorite colors of floss.  I also stitched up a diaper cover from a pattern by Ellie Mae Designs using the same gingham, and lined them with the white batiste. I have a hard time giving a dress without a coordinating diaper cover.  Maybe that's because I have two girls and I always liked their dresses to have matching diaper covers.  




I also really wanted to start this sweet baby out with a bishop dress.  Since bishops have raglan sleeves they really grow with the baby, transitioning across several seasons.  When they get too small to be worn as a dress they generally still fit across the shoulders and neck and can then be paired with leggings, pants, or shorts.  I also made a matching diaper cover for this dress.  I used my favorite bishop pattern which is the Bishop Trio from Creative Keepsakes.  I've been making this pattern for almost twenty years now and I still love it!!! The smocking plate is Cary Anne from Ellen McCarn.  I actually have very few smocking plates because I love this one SO much I use it all the time.

Have you had the pleasure of stitching for a fresh baby lately???

Keep stitching friends!!

xoxo!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Still Very Blessed.....




It’s hard to believe it’s been 4 years since I’ve updated my sweet little blog!!!  I’ve often wondered whether I should continue on with it or not, but I’ve had this delightful little space for over 12 years now so I hate to let it go. And it is full of wonderful tips and techniques for sewing.  So for now, I will continue to add to it as I am able.

Here’s a quick update. We are still a homeschooling family, although my oldest graduated and is now in her second year of college working towards a bachelor’s degree in nursing.  My three younger children are still homeschooling and we continue to love it and wouldn’t change a thing!!!

I’m also still sewing when I make the time. One thing I’m currently working on is this precious, colorful quilt!!! I’ve already pieced it and layered it - now I’m slowly carving out time around our various family activities to quilt it.  It will be a fun one to work on over the upcoming cold, winter months!!!

I hope to update much more often!!!  Until then, happy stitching!!!

xoxo,
Cindy
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