Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Horne's Department Store, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Mary Jane, this is for you!!!

Still here.....

Hello everyone. Now that we have the lovely holiday of Thanksgiving in our rear-view mirror, it is time to get serious about some Christmas projects.
I have been a busy bee with items I cannot publish. Don't you just hate that? It's like when your favorite quilt designer is writing a new book and shows you one or two blocks of the quilt on the blog but you have to wait for next year to get the book!!! Not writing a book here but many things have happened. A whirlwind appears to have entered the studio, what a mess!  In the meantime I stitched up a little Christmas dress.
Is it a little over-the-top?


Friday, December 2, 2016

Machine Embroidery, What's a Sewist To Do?

The Croissant is a frozen delight that you bake when needed, the strawberry preserves are included. (QVC)
Machine embroidery is one of those super popular skills that requires some education. With an embroidery machine, one can decorate clothing, decor, gifts. Learning the machine functions aside (because they are all very different) using the proper stabilizer for the fabric you are using and the design you plan to stitch out.

The above towel, 100% cotton has been washed and pressed. I used a press on sticky stabilizer hooped in the magnetic monster hoop and floated a medium weight tear away behind because although the embroidery is not dense in and of itself but the stitching is quite dense. The tear away came off cleanly, the sticky not as easily. A stable woven fabric is the ideal structure for this type of work. I like to make little gift baskets to new neighbors, special occasions for friends and for myself. One or two embroidered kitchen towels provide the ideal background for the gift.  
This is the machine stitching out little dancing salt and peppers.
  • I think I will hoop designs like this in the traditional way from this point. Because the dense stitching is spaced with equal blank/non-embroidered space, I needed to sit at attention while the design worked to keep the fabric secure to the sticky stabilizer. A tightly hooped fabric would eliminate that step.
  • Threads. On the Baby Lock Facebook sites there is always much discussion about thread brands. So far, knock-on-wood, I have used Sulky, Madiera, Isacord, Superior, and a couple others whose labels have disappeared. My only problem was with one Sulky, I think it was older, perhaps too dry and it shredded up in the thread take-up race. 
  • I have also noticed that embroidery speed does affect some threads. Too slow and it will make some uneven stitches, too fast you may get puckering or thread breakage. Fortunately, the Destiny (and several other Baby Lock embroidery machines) have a setting page where you can adjust the speed to accommodate your needs.  
 The other end of the spectrum is the Singer Featherweight, the 221. Here is a nice little article about one person's adventure with her Featherweight.

PS: I love my Featherweight too. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Last Tea of November 2016

 A very dear friend, Julie, recently took the trip of a lifetime to China to attend a friends wedding. Dear woman remembered me and brought back this three piece brew cup. I am thrilled. Since I use all my tea ware this one will be part of the regular queue.

Wow! Thanksgiving is over, Advent is beginning and we are in the busiest season of the year. My  afternoon tea remains a constant in our busy schedule. That said, I am lucky to have great friends who travel and bring me sweet tea related gifts.
Julie Spieckerman's photo.
Julie is second from left, her friend Margret is the bride.

The Imari-style design is classic and yet modern in function.
  • sometimes you meet someone in life and it is providential, such is my friendship with Julie
  • only certain events over the last couple years could have deemed it possible
  • she is honest, strong in spirit, hopeful
  • what more could anyone want in a friend?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cozy Laura Ashley

From Laura Ashley, USA. here. Remember the big presence of Laura Ashley here in the 1980's? We had a small shop in Pittsburgh that would draw me in over and over. I didn't buy much because my clothing was mostly white uniforms but the bedding, curtains, pillows etc. were enchanting. I even had a Tote bag, quilted, with a signature pattern. (still have it)  

I will be having a bedroom re-do in the near future. I have been scanning many decor sites and this one just popped up. Now, there will not likely be any wall paper but these colors are so enchanting and restful to my eye. What do you think?

I will be sewing my drapery and pillows etc. But I like the minty blue-green colors. Just a thought, still in the early planning stages.A well dressed room is the goal. Calm and inviting, a place to ponder many things. Such as:
  • I swore I was going to get over the lack of proper dress in public but I just can't.
  • I saw someone today with the most outrageous display of dress that I think I have ever seen. Not a teen, not a child, a mature woman of a certain size in a neon-green T shirt that ended at her knees covered with vulgar statements in black script. Add the hat with plastic flowers and fake jewels...I was choking on my coffee. Mostly I felt sorry for her. I was not the only person aghast in a restaurant full of men in hunting gear and young women in yoga clothing. It was too much I tell you, too much.
  • I had just viewed a podcast by author Jennifer Scott of the Madame Chic book fame and marveled at this young woman's grasp on dress, decorum, and refinement. She was in Tokyo, for work, and had taken her infant son with her because she is breast feeding. She is the epitome of grace. She remarked over and over how beautifully turned out the Japanese public is. No exercise clothes in public, everyone appropriate for public view. How do we return to some semblance of proper in the US? How can we turn the tide of the progressively downward decline of our culture? Jennifer's home page.
  • I loose sleep over this stuff.  
 *****tea time post delayed, two camera's=two dead batteries, sorry.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Week That Will Be: working on some Christmas Projects, I hope.

Sorting through fabrics, setting up task boxes, most likely dreaming.....
While sorting out the Christmas Fabrics I came across several orphan Jelly Rolls that will be used for string quilts. I always have left overs and the best way to use them is to put them all together and string them. I have a horridly busy week ahead and want to set up my projects so that if and when I have some free time (and I don't need a nap) I can work. I plan to bring a machine up to my kitchen after Mr. Sewtopia's surgery to keep an eye and be close. You know, once a nurse, always a nurse.

In the meantime I have found a few interesting quilt-related sites that might interest you. Have a good week, I have an interesting tea time post coming up. I will share Christmas projects that are destined for those who don't read the blog. *don't you just love all this "view from Sunday night enthusiasm?"

I have seen many Big Block quilts over the last few years. This one, using Christmas fabric, really is a cutie.
This pattern and similar ones using the same blocks in a different layout, HERE!

Looking for a way to hang that collection of Mini-quilts without using a hanging sleeve? Check this out!

And last but not least, have you ever heard of Quilt Class Room Etiquette? Well, this post, originally written for a quilting magazine, will have you thinking and maybe remembering some events in a class you had taken! Learn about quilting best behavior:)

Friday, November 25, 2016


If ya'all think I have a bit of a thing for would be correct. Cows can have such expressive faces. Just look at those eyes! I can't stand it.

  • Blogger has changed up the dashboard, again. Yikes, I think I am getting to old and easily distracted to keep up with all this. There was nothing wrong with the prior model. 
  • My Lucy, aged 15, is slowing down. I can't stand it.
  • I have so much work to do between now and next week I am staring at the wall, wondering how I can do all this. Getting nothing done by the way.
  • I never cease to be amazed that I am surprised about being disappointed about certain things. When will I ever learn?
  • I am on my way to the studio to spend the afternoon. I am super tired, no sleep, lets hope I can sew without sewing my fingers to the project! 
  • Why no sleep? While we were away yesterday someone tried to break into my MIL's house. (she was with us, as always) The alarms sounded, the security company notified the police, a scan and check showed that the perp was scared off. I worried all night. What kind of low-life will rob a 94 year old woman? I am reminded by this incident that there are some really troubled people out there. I am also reminded that it is worth every cent to maintain the system. 
  • I might take a little nap before I sew.