Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goodbye 2009

I can not even begin to explain my long absence. The one year mark of Michael's death was a bigger slam than I could ever have anticipated. The holidays came and went with all of us still struggling to sort out what our new 'normal' is going to be without Michael. I am grateful beyond measure to my six children who do so much everyday to fill in the gaps. This year also marked the last Christmas outfit I will make for one of my girls using a children's size pattern. My youngest daughter is almost twelve and is just outgrowing girl's size patterns. This outfit was made from Simplicity 4518 (Lizzie McGuire) and she seems to be quite pleased with it. I will try to post of picture of her wearing it if I can get her to sit still long enough.

The jacket is 100% cotton velvet (stash left over from her oldest sister's wedding 10 years ago!) and the skirt a poly/rayon Asian brocade. She will probably wear the jacket with jeans the next few months as I fear she will grow out of it before next fall.

I've been busy getting class samples ready for teaching next year. I like to size check all my patterns so these next pictures are different size versions of the four piece set previously shown .

The navy blue set is made from feather weight corduroy paired with a navy floral brushed twill. I completely interfaced all the jacket pattern pieces with fuseable baby interfacing from Farmhouse Fabrics ( It gave the corduroy just the right amount of thickness to make it a pleasure to embroider on. Happy New Year to all my blog friends.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Magazine World Versus The Real World

So here is the lovely image of one of my dresses on the cover of AS&E #80. The model, such a cutie, looks charming and serene.

My oldest daughter who lives in Texas sent me these pictures of her daughter wearing the dress. Miss Jorden is a bit of a wild thing and her mother who has a terrific sense of humor thought I might like to see what happens to my dresses in the real world.

You have got to love a real girl who can wear a fancy dress and turn a mean cartwheel at the same time!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Home from Australia

I'm home after seventeen days away in Australia. The first few days were spent with my good friend Susan at her home in Geelong, about an hour out of Melbourne in Victoria. We are both quite content to sit and stitch so the first few jet lagged days went by all to quickly. We drove from Geelong to Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road which is pictured above. Such a beautiful place.

The next 8 days were spent in Adelaide at the Beating Around The Bush needlework convention. The photo above is one of the shop windows at the Country Bumpkin retail store - clearly heaven for smockers and embroiderers. It was a beautiful week filled with students from all over the world so eager to learn. Even language barriers seemed to disappear once everyone had a needle in their hands. Margie Bauer and her staff at Country Bumpkin out did themselves to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome.

The drive back to Geelong was filled with many pleasant surprises which included an up close and personal encounter with a koala (this is NOT in a zoo or enclosure!) and Logan's Beach at Warnambool. If you were to sail directly south from where I am standing the first thing you would encounter is Antarctica. This was my favorite spot. I'm planning a trip back to run the 20 plus miles of completely open beach.

We flew to Sydney for the last few days for a taste of something completely different. It is a fabulous, cosmopolitan city filled with beautiful scenery, shops and great places to eat. We probably spent an hour in a spacious Armani boutique having fits over the elegant fabrics and spot on construction of the garments. An early morning run around the famous Opera House and the adjoining Botanic Gardens was another favorite memory. I can not thank my dear friend Susan enough for taking such good care of me and showing off her wonderful country.

Baby Jane is three months old!

I'm sorry if this is getting boring but I just can't resist the monthly update on Jane. Her hair cracks me up. She is a sweetie pie but not so fond of modeling Grandma's sewing projects yet. I'll have to work on her a bit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This One Is For You Michael

As many of you know on the 14th of November last year my beautiful, smart, funny, confident 18 year old son was killed in a terrible accident. He was the fourth of my seven children and the oldest boy. He was a natural leader and the life of ANY party. He is missed beyond measure. As luck would have it Michael actually had a bucket list and it is my intent to do as many things as possible on that list in his honor. On the 18th of April I ran the Salt Lake City Marathon wearing the number he was signed up to run with. I'm quite sure a tall strong boy was running along beside me. On Saturday I'm leaving for Australia and returning to teaching after almost a full year off. Michael very much wanted to go to Oz after graduating high school . I sometimes can almost hear him saying "you can do it Mom". When I get home and we mark what would have been his 19th birthday his best friend and I will be jumping out of an airplane on that day. It was something they had planned to do since they were about eight years old. I hope we will make him proud. Not a minute goes by, not a mile is run, not a stitch is taken that he is not in my thoughts.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What's Hailey Wearing - Part 2

Here's four year old Hailey again. Today she is wearing an all cotton batiste middy dress. The dress originally belonged to my daughter Doireann who now at a sophisticated eleven years old is Hailey's favorite auntie. Doireann had the opportunity to be photographed several years ago wearing this dress in Huntsville Alabama for the back cover pattern of Sew Beautiful magazine (issue #81).

The dress has had a bit of wear and tear. I wish I had taken pictures of it about two weeks ago. It had a huge (about 12" long) tear in the skirt where the French insertion butted up to an entredeux edge. Luckily I still had pieces of the insertion left over which I stitched in right over top of the tear and then cut away the damaged insertion. It made the mend completely invisible.

The last two pictures are Hailey modeling an embroidered wrap dress which is a new class project for me. I will be teaching this class at BATB in Australia the first week of October. Lots of things to get packed and ready this week. I leave on Saturday to fly to Melbourne and a week with my good friend Susan before we head to the conference in Adelaide.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jane is 2 months old!

I could not resist posting this happy little picture. Jane is the intended model for the four piece set in the next post. It's a size two and by the time it's done being a class sample she should be just about ready to wear it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Finished Project

This four piece set is the project for my classes at Farmhouse Fabrics. I'm very pleased to have plans to be there three times next year. I live in somewhat of a fabric wasteland so having access to Sally's warehouse full of treasures sounds like heaven to me.

I'm pleased with the look of the a-line dress. It has a very do-able amount of smocking. This particular one only took about two hours for the front and the two backs. The smocking shows quite nicely when the dress is paired with the wrap style jacket.

I like the idea of getting lots of mileage out of my jackets so I added a swing style smocked top and reversible pant. It gives a very wearable year round look

The jacket fabric is Australian Doctor's flannel, dress and pants are Liberty Tana lawn trimmed with tiny microcheck. Swing style top is cotton batiste. It will be sized in 1-4. I can think many, many more combinations of fabrics to make this set up in. I'd be pleased to hear your thoughts on possible combinations.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

8.5 & First Sign Of Fall

Two of my favorite things to do are sew and run. If I had to pick between the two, and I hope I never do, I think running would win. I am lucky enough to be able to walk out my front door and in a very few minutes be in a beautiful, pristine place. I do an 8.5 mile loop six days a week. The vertical climb is about 1500 feet. The leaves in the above picture were at an altitude of about 7000 feet. The picture was taken today and it's the first sign I've noticed that fall is coming.

The sunflowers seem to be having a great year. They are EVERYWHERE on the mountain.

I've saved the best picture for last. This is my dear friend and running buddy Sandy giving me a little pose on the fence line at one of our stop points. I'm quite sure she is the funniest girl on the planet. Her razor sharp wit and uncompromisingly clear view of things have carried me up this mountain through some very dark times. I would wish such a friend for everyone.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Out Of the Closet

Someone bravely asked to see the closet - so here it is. Actually it's about four closets. We lived in Dublin, Ireland several years ago and the house we lived in, although lovely, had absolutely no closets built into it. This made it necessary to purchase free standing wardrobes which fortunately followed us home. They have provided the perfect storage for my 'grandma's closet'. The best thing that came home from Ireland with us is my now 14 year old son. He was born during our stay there and is a killer soccer player and a really terrific kid. (Not so much into heirloom clothes though!)

I will be on the lookout for a new corner to stash things in after BATB in October. All the garments from the 'Cute As A Button' book along with several AS&E projects are still in Australia and should be coming home with me. Hailey (4) and Jorden (7) should fit into a few of them and baby Jane will be just right this winter for the bunny jacket and bishop from the book. Can't wait to kidnap her for a dress up session.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What's Hailey Wearing?

This is Hailey, my 4th grandchild. She has just turned four and is truly a girly girl. Hailey has hit the hand-me-down jackpot. She lives close to me and has complete access to grandma's closet. I have a sort of check out system with my adult daughters for their children's dressy or Sunday clothes. They take as many things as they want, let their kids wear them, and then return them to me for laundry, repair (if necessary) and future storage. This gives their kids lots of cute things to wear and leaves me in control of the clothes to pass out to the next cutie in line. This dress is made using 'Maggie' from Wendy Schoen Design and is constructed from blue and white Swiss voile gingham from Bear Threads. It has a great twirl factor. The dress made it's first appearance on Hailey's cousin Jorden at a family wedding three years ago. Hailey is the little girl, then only a year old, in the photo wearing the smocked collar bishop.

The boys are wearing linen shirts made from a KwikSew boys pattern. The baby boy is wearing a blue linen adaptation of 'Family Heirlooms' from AS&E #75. It's my 'go to' sailor romper for baby boys. Watch for more "What's Hailey Wearing" posts - some of them will be her mother's clothes from 25 years ago. Click on the photos for a close up view.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Lowly Blanket Stitch

I'm finding the older I get the greater my need for instant gratification. My patience level is not what it used to be. I will always have to utmost respect for the Mirella A's, Martha B's and Kris C's that have mastered pulled thread work but sometimes I just need something quick and easy. I've been playing around with the 'anyone can do it' blanket stitch and am quite pleased with the results. You can stitch one of these blanket stitch flowers in about ten minutes and it gives you a huge sense of accomplishment. Base fabric is Australian Doctor's flannel, thread is three strands DMC, and background print is (my personal weakness) Liberty Tana Lawn. Finished project will have to be a surprise.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's so easy to get carried away with cute girl things that sometimes the boys get overlooked. This is Caleb Michael, the seventh of my eight grandchildren. He was about five months old when this picture was taken and he has just barely turned one. His little suit is made from 100% wool challis, one of my favorite fabrics to work with especially for little boys. The pattern is an adaptation of 'Family Heirlooms' from AS&E #75.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

This perfect little bundle is 5 day old Jane, my precious new sewing muse, and 8th grandchild. She was born July 16, 2009. Her round cheeks and feminine features make for a perfect little model for upcoming gowns and garmets!


Thank you for visiting my new blog! I welcome you to check back often and leave comments as I share my thoughts and inspirations on sewing, life, friends, & family. My expectations are to share my creative expressions and to eventually grow to a 'full-service' site where kits and products are available for purchase. I hope you will follow my blog and feel welcome to read and comment often.

Teaching Schedule for 2018

6-11 Sewing at the Beach
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

22-26 - Private Class

19-23 Teaching Studio
St. Louis, Missouri
(or text 314 974 7561)

7-8 Bewitching Stitchers
Boston, Mass

10-14 Children's Corner
Nashville, Tennessee
Contact; www.children'

20-22 Bewitching Stitchers

30-June 2 Private Class

4-9 Private class

23-27 Private Class

7-8 New Orleans/Baton Rouge SAGA

17-23 SAGA National Convntion
Winston/Salem North Carolina

4-10 Beating Around the Bush
Adelaide, Australia

29 - Nov 2
Teaching Studio
St. Louis, Missouri
(or text 314 974 7561)

6-10 Private Class

I have several open dates in 2018 for private or public groups.
For teaching information, a current class list, and available dates, contact