Thursday, December 24, 2009

Emma's Holiday Dress

Isn't she adorable? Emma will be two in January and is already talking up a storm. Her grandmother (another Karen) is a friend of mine and I made this little dress as a "thank you" for grooming my fur-babies the last time she took care of them for me. The pattern is my all-time favorite "Annie's Sundress and Jumper" by Beth Dix of Primrose Lane.

Emma's mommy sent these pictures taken at a Cookie Exchange. I love seeing the things I make modeled!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hannah Rose's Nightie Part 2

Smocking on the gown for Hannah is complete, as is the embroidery for the bodice. The dollie's gown is smocked but the embroidery is just traced at this time. The gown is smocked using an adapted portion of an old smocking plate by Terry Collins: "Angela" 1983. I made up the smaller doll's smocking plate to match. The embroidery is from a design by Sarah Howard Stone in her book Hand Sewing For Infants, a gift from my Heart Sister Jana. (Thank you again, Sweetie!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dolly's Holiday Dress

I was delighted to receive this commission for a holiday outfit for a friend to give as part of her gift for a special young lady. Her only requirement was to make it festive. (I love it when a request is so simple. It gives me a chance to really do something special.) The dress was made using a pattern I haven't used before: Primrose Lane's "The Princess Dress". Beth Dix has long been one of my favorite designer's and I was itching to get the chance to make this one. The panties were from Pat Garretson's smocked doll dress pattern and the slip was made w/o a pattern. The slip and panties puffed the dress out nicely!
Tiny English cotton edging and Imperial Batiste.

The only thing I would change about the pattern is to make the sashes longer. I like them to hang down the dress more. Beth gives the option to use velcro to close the dress but I like using the buttons. I say a prayer before making the tiny buttonholes, though!

I made up a simple smocking design using the red and green and gold of the dress fabric. I must say that I hated smocking with the gold floss. It was a pain! There are little gold glass beads in the smocking in two sizes. The sleeves are smocked in a cable stitch in the green floss.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hannah Rose's Nightie Part 1

A sweet friend has commissioned me to make a nightgown for her 9 year old and her new doll for Christmas Eve. I was delighted to be asked. I have known Hannah Rose since she was almost 2 years old and I was proud to be her kindergarten teacher. Hannah Rose is like my own Victoria-Rose was in body type and purchasing or making age appropriate clothing that fits is a challenge. In all the hundred's (no exaggeration) of patterns I have, none would fit Hannah that matched what Pam (mommy) and I had in mind. Soooooo I set out to make my own pattern. Since this nightgown will be given to her on Christmas Eve, I cannot fit the pattern to her and am hoping for the best. We chose a sleeveless style because it is warm here in Florida most of the year and Hannah Rose really dislikes the feel of sleeves when she is sleeping.
Blue batiste to go with her pretty eyes and lovely English lace.

I have already begun the smocking and embroidery since these photos were taken. I will post the progress made soon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Raffle For the P.T.A.

On the last Friday in October my school had a Fall Festival that was well attended. There are all sorts of games, food, and fun for the families at a very low cost. Last year I started my own personal tradition of making some things for our PTA to raffle to help defray some of their costs. It proved very successful. This year I made an outfit for 18 inch dolls like the American Girl Doll and a size 6-7 Christmas outfit for a little girl. I took photos of the doll outfit and blogged about it in November but realized that I hadn't taken any photos of the child's outfit! (I still can't believe it!) Fortunately, a friend at school took these photos and emailed them to me. The outfits were displayed on the counter of the office for a week before the festival.

This little cape was lined in red and appliqued with a couple of the motifs from the dress fabric.

The dress is the Petal Knot Dress from Portabellopixie and was made with two companion holiday novelty prints and a piece of white eyelet.

The little peasant blouse was made from the eyelet fabric with some pretty cluny lace on the sleeves.
Yes, that is me in our cafeteria selling the raffle tickets. I love that pumpkin hat and have worn it every Fall Festival for at least 8 years! My daughter just laughs amd my son winces! I am proud to say that we sold over 130 tickets for these outfits!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Newborn Christmas Ensemble

Well, I was actually sorry to wrap this project up. I enjoyed this one from start to finish. It is all wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a cloth covered keepsake box ready to be delivered to a very special baby girl.
I used the "Adore'e" pattern by Kay Treble in Australian Smocking & Embroidery #78 for the patterns for the dress, diaper cover (panties), and booties. The bonnet pattern is adapted for a newborn from a Grace Knott pattern.
I added about 8 and one half inches to the length of the dress to make it a daygown and replaced the machine scalloped edging with French lace. I also used a different smocking plate for the dress and bonnet. I used Ellen McCarn's 1981 "First Christmas" plate. I adapted the second design (Holly) for the bonnet. This plate is still available at many online shops. I checked one of my favorites before posting ( and they have it and many other great Ellen McCarn plates.

I hope you enjoyed looking at my new creation as much as I did making it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Booties for Baby

Aren't they the sweetest little things?! I have been sewing and smocking for years and yet these are my first booties. I love them! I used the pattern by Kay Treble of Queensland in Australian Smocking and Embroidery #78. These are part of the baby ensemble I am making as a gift for a new little sweetheart born to friends last week.
It is hard to believe that this small pleated and partially smocked scrap of fabric will turn into a little covering for tiny pink toes, isn't it? The only changes I made to the original design is the addition of the French lace and the embroidered berries and leaves. The original had a machine scalloped edging and an embroidered rose to match the smocking in the rest of the ensemble. Although the construction was a little 'fiddly' due to the tininess of the bootie, I will definitely be making these again. A pair will need to go into my Grandmother's Hope Chest because Victoria-Rose squealed with delight when she saw these!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What an Honor!

AS&E Issues #39 and #89

One of my favorite magazines of all time is Australian Smocking and Embroidery. I have every issue from #21 through #89 with a few of the even earlier editions. The beautiful photography, gorgeous children, clear patterns, and lovely projects have inspired many of my own projects. I was thrilled in 1997 to have a photo of my sweet Victoria-Rose published in the Reader's Gallery of issue #39. Her's is the center photo on the bottom in the next photo.
Yesterday the latest issue (#89) was in my mailbox and it is a beauty! Now I need to tell you that I savor this magazine like fine Hagen Daz ice cream. No quick gobbling for me. I take my time. I turn the pages slowly and read every word and look at every advertizement. Imagine my surprise and delight to read that my blog is mentioned in a new feature called Things We Love! At first my thoughts were, "I can't believe that there is another blog with my title". Then it hit me! That is MY BLOG that they are talking about! To say that I am thrilled is a tremendous understatement!

There is something for everyone in this issue and five of the items were designed by American needle artists! There are 9 stunning projects that range from a T-yoke infant dress with lovely embroidery to a smocked and beaded notebook cover. One little girl's top features smocking over the ribs in a sweater! The patterns range in size from infant to 10 years. Wonderful!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pink and Mint Sneak Peek

Aren't these sweet colors? I just love white on babies and this set is a gift for a precious little girl born a couple of days ago. I have three of the five pieces in the set complete and the other pieces just need a few more hours. I didn't use the traditional red/bright green for two reasons. I think newborns look best in paler shades and I wanted to see if I could make a holiday set in pastels. I think that it is coming along nicely! I hope that you do, too!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

My baby girl was sixteen last week. Where has the time gone?! I have loved every moment of being this child's mother. She is the sweetest, most thoughtful, caring, and loving young woman you could ever hope to meet. What a blessing she is to all who know her!

Victoria-Rose wanted to go to Disney World for her birthday. We live about two hours away from the Magic Kingdom but we don't go very often. This was a big treat for all of us. The picture below was taken the day before at Downtown Disney. That tall young man is my son, Logan. He will be 15 in two months. How did he get to be taller than his mother?! The handsome silver fox is my sweet husband, Tim.

Victoria-Rose's current favorite princess is Aurora. She is currently singing in a group that sings only Disney songs (non-profit) and she plays the part of Aurora in one of the medleys.

Well, this wasn't a Sweet Sixteen event like those you can watch on those 'reality' T.V. shows but my Rosebud is in a league all her own. She was delighted with her weekend and we are delighted with her!

Thanksgiving Thoughts

It was time to take down the little Autumn Tree in my kitchen annex today. I loved the little faery in the branches that I found in Home Goods in September. Faeries make me smile! Next weekend I hope to have this tree all decked out in angels for the Winter holidays.

As I put the flowers and bows back in the boxes used to store all the Autumn decorations I had time to reflect on how very lucky I am. I have a wonderful life! I am married to a truly GOOD man whom I love and who loves me. I have two miracle babies that have grown into remarkable teenagers. My mother is getting close to her 81st birthday and is able to spend time every week with us. I have a sweet and caring sister who had us all over for Thanksgiving. I have dear, dear friends, a church I feel at home in, a job I love, sewing internet friends, and great neighbors. All my needs are being met. God is good....ALL the time! Thank you. Thank you, God!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Holiday Ensemble for 18" Dolls

I made this ensemble for our PTA to raffle at our Fall Festival. I also made a little girl's outfit for a second raffle. I'll post those pictures another day. I was delighted by the response to the outfits and thrilled to be able to help out in this way. I was so pleased that this raffle was won by one of my former students who just loves her American Girl Dolls. I wonder which one of Hannah's dolls will wear this on Christmas Day?

The dress fabric is a late 1990's Daisy Kingdom print that was sent to me by one of my sewing friends on a sewing forum that brings me much inspiration and joy. Thank you, Marilyn! The French lace around the neck was tea-dyed to match the cream color in the print and the tiny red buttons were left from a dress I made my daughter 13 years ago.

The ivory eyelet was given to me by another dear friend who inherited it from a sewing angel named Julie. Thank you, Audra! It was exactly enough for the panties and petticoat. I know Julie is smiling in heaven knowing that a little girl was made so happy by her gift.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yummy Cake

I was so pleased to be asked to make my godchild Jordan's 11 birthday cake recently. She asked for a white cake with cream cheese icing and fruit. I used vanilla and almond flavorings in the batter for the cake and a jar of seedless raspberry spreadable fruit as the filling. I made a large batch of cream cheese frosting flavored with more vanilla and almond extracts. The frosting is easy and delicious.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 whole 8 oz. pkg. reg. cream cheese, softened

1 and 3/4 boxes 10X confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)

small amount of milk

1 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extracts

Beat sugar into softened cheese, adding a little milk (1 teaspoon at a time) until just shy of desired consistency. Beat in extracts and more milk (if needed) for spreading.

My mother requested an orange and strawberry cake for her 80th birthday. I substitued the grated peel of a navel orange for the almond flavoring (but left in the vanilla). It tasted like a Dreamcicle (orange/vanilla popcicle). It made me happy to make my mother happy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Autumn Is In the Air For Dolls, Too

I just love sewing for dolls! There is never a fitting problem and they smile at everything I make! Some of the very first things that I sewed as a child were clothes for my Chatty Cathy. (Do you remember her?) I was quite brave as a little girl and tackled dressmaking without a pattern and sewed the little dresses all by hand. I wish I still had those early creative attempts!

This little 4-piece set was purchased with several other sets as a special birthday present for a special little girl. The applique on the front of the tunic top is taken from a larger Halloween print. The smokey pearl buttons match the charcoal stripe in the plaid. The white linen peasant blouse is trimmed with grosgrain ribbon to coordinate with the applique thread and can be worn with the shorts without the tunic. I had fun decorating the tiny autumn shopping/gift bag with little Mary Englebrite calendar pictures. Aren't those little brown suede maryjane's cute?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Homecoming Sweetie

My lovely daughter, Victoria-Rose went to the Homecoming Dance last night with her friends. Isn't she beautiful? It is hard for me to believe that we were waiting for her almost 16 years ago. It feels like yesterday! She was a wonderful baby, toddler, little girl, and tween and now she is an amazing young woman. My angel-baby is almost grown-up. I keep saying that I wish I could freeze time just a little so that I could have more time with my children. I am so very blessed!

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