Saturday, November 29, 2008

Advent Project Completed

The Advent project is completed and turned in to the church. It was a challenge because I scanned and copied a photo from a needlepoint book. I worked without instructions and a pattern. I'm very pleased with the finished product. I really felt honored to be asked to do this project. Here is a photo of the altar cloth taken today. Plus here is one of the three clerical stoles I made modeled by my DH. Now, I can get to my Christmas sewing. Found out also today that a devotional I wrote was published in our Advent book. I am really blessed.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Popping In

Just popping in to say hello to everyone. Am busy embroidering the Advent clerical stoles. On the right side of the stole will be the Star of Bethlehem and on the left will be the Cross. These are the samples of what it will look like. Of course, the stoles will be backed with batiste. The fabric is crepe and the thread used is a light gray Madeira rayon. Think that it looks great. Will post a photo when one is completed. Have to be done with project by Monday to turn into the church on Tuesday as it will close for the remainder of the week.
Also, I've updated my profile photo. Hubby took this one of me this afternoon after I got my hair cut today. Nothing like a little pampering for the holidays.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Preparing for Advent

Advent begins in 2 weeks. It is a season of joy, hope, and giving as we prepare ourselves for God's greatest gift. What does this have to do with sewing? Well, I have been asked to make 3 clerical stoles and paraments for the altar, pulpit and lectern. This is a gift of service to my church. The paraments and stoles are being made of royal blue crepe with a batiste backing. I'm embroidering a cross on the left side of the stoles and the Star of Bethlehem on the right. Blue is a symbol of hope. I feel so honored to be asked to do this project. Will post photos when finished. So what are you doing for Advent and the holiday season?

Friday, October 24, 2008


With the weather turning cooler, my nesting instincts kick in. There is something about fall that makes me want to have my home cozier. Feather my nest so to speak. So while the healing continues and my sewing is on hold, I have decided to transform the space within the parameters I have. My sewing room serves as my family's main living area. It is small with large pieces of furniture, storage bins and lots of sewing equipment plus clutter. It has an arched opening to the dining area that also stores my stacks of sewing books. There is an old-fashioned working floor furnace in the doorway. My challenge is to transform this room into an inviting place for my family and friends as well as to have a space to be creative. All of the furniture has to stay as these are family heirlooms passed thru the generations plus we want to have all of the modern conveniences. How do you balance these things so that the past can merge with the present?

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Life is good and I am healing. My splint was replaced with a removeable cast that I have to wear at least 4 more weeks on my left hand and I'm learning to do things without using my thumb. Haven't tried anymore one-handed sewing but will try later today to replace a button on DH's sports coat. Fortunately, I am right-handed so I think I can do this.

DH and I replaced my car with a handicap accessible 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan that only had 32,260 miles on it. With a little engine work and a thorough cleaning, it's just like a fresh off the dealer's showroom floor vehicle. We bought it thru our church that had received it when a member died several years ago. Just another blessing for which to give thanks.

As a collector of sewing books, I ordered a new book this week from Clotilde called "Serge Smart". From the description it is filled with ideas for using one's serger for garment construction and home decor items. That made me think about what I do with my serger. Is it really for finishing seams or for construction and crafts? What do you do with your serger and why?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Last week, I was in a terrible car accident. Sewing is on hold until my injuries heal as is my classes and sewing ministry. I have a broken left hand, facial cuts and abrasions plus chemical burns on my face. My car is destroyed. In spite of all of these things, I feel blessed. We are constantly reminded to count our blessings in times of adversity but do we really do it? Today, I'm counting my blessings and giving thanks to the EMT who witnessed the accident and rendered aid. To the other witness who had the presence of mind to disconnect the battery so the engine would not catch fire. For the paramedics who bound my wounds, stabilized my heart, and rushed me to the trauma unit. Thanks to the doctors, the nurses, technicians, etc whom I encountered in the hospital. Each day these people cross our paths and turn into blessings for us. Do you count your blessings? If not, please do.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

National Sewing Month

September is National Sewing Month so as an ASG member and officer, I try to promote sewing in the community. Our ASG chapter started off by demonstrating sewing, embroidering, and knitting at the Delta Fair & Music Festival. Members worked 4 days of the 10 day fair. Then we gave a presentation on African-American Art Quilts at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens for their exhibit on Ancestry and Innovation- African American Art from the American Folk Art Museum. We will return on Saturday, September 20th to demonstrate sewing techniques for their Family Day program. On top of these activities I have started a sewing ministry at my church one afternoon a week in which I do mending and alterations for church members. Plus, I have started teaching basic beginner sewing lessons at a community center in an impoverished neighborhood. There are no fees involved as many people in this area do not have the means to take classes that are offered at the local fabric stores or sewing machine dealerships. My classes will give them a place to gather and fellowship plus learning a skill. I love teaching others to sew and hope they will gain the same pleasure from this as I do. What are you doing for National Sewing Month?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Shopping

Yes, I went shopping today at Hancock Fabrics. I wanted some fusible quilt batting to make some more baby bibs for our upcoming ASG craft fair in November. We have a workshop scheduled this week. I found some beautiful challis tone on tone fabrics which would make great blouses but I passed on it. I try not to buy or make anything that requires dry cleaning and this fabric did. I'll think on it and maybe it will still be there in a few weeks. I can always hope. I did buy 2 Simplicity patterns #8523 and #4881 which will be the basis for some new basics. With the top, I can add embroidery or embellish. With the skirt, there is a choice of lengths plus I love skirts with drape and panels as they are very flattering. Since I need some clothes that fit in a hurry, these were my choices. I do love buying smaller patterns. Along with the patterns, I also stocked up on some notions like stay-tape, wonder-tape, and a new seam ripper, etc. All in all, it was a pleasant afternoon. I ran into several people I knew and enjoyed the outing. Oh, by the way, everything was on sale and I spent less than $20. Love Labor Day shopping!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obstacles ... Real or Imagined

Are our obstacles to sewing real or imagined? Do we have to wait until we find the perfect fabric, the perfect pattern or the perfect notions before we sew? Of course not. However, often we create barriers because we are afraid of failure. There's no point in sewing if it isn't going to fit is one comment I hear time and again. My response is "how do you know unless you try". Fitting is a lifelong journey as we gain a better understanding of our bodies and develop our own sense of style. Anything I sew (whether it is perfect or not) is much better than I can find in a shop or online. What I sewed 30 years ago when I was in my 20's are not the styles that I sew today in my 50's. My body has changed and is not as firm as it once was. Also, in my 20's I needed a career wardrobe, now my lifestyle is casual at best. A pair of slacks or a skirt, nice top, and a lightweight jacket are all I need for any social occasion that pops up. There are not any parties or formal events in my life nor likely will there be in the future. However, I still create obstacles for myself. As I ponder about this, I challenge you to think about the obstacles in your sewing and how do you get around them. What holds you back?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Yay for Baby Girl

Tonight my DD called to let me know that she made the dance team at her university and will get an additional $500 scholarship. She is over the moon. It will give her an opportunity to travel plus her uniforms and shoes are furnished. Then later she called to tell me that she was offered a job on campus at the coffee shop. It's hard to realize that my Baby Girl is growing up and away from me. Just tonight I was thinking about her first time in choir at church when she was 3. Time really flies and she is gone too quickly. Treasure these moments with your children as they soon leave and go out into the world on their own. We are left with our memories and phone calls.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Called ...

Yikes, what have I done... For the past year or so, I've felt restless and have been trying hard to get my health stabilized. Maybe it is empty nest syndrome or missing being employed. Whichever, I have prayed for something meaningful to do with my days. So I proposed to our church council to start a sewing ministry at our church by providing alterations thru the church and teaching others to sew at a nearby community center. I feel as if I have been called to do this. The vote was this weekend and I have been approved for this ministry. This is a giant leap of faith for me and a challenge to my sewing skills. Doing alterations is a big step as I hate to do them even for myself. However, with 4 retirement centers within 2 blocks of the church and a university within walking distance, I feel that this is a service needed in the community for financially strapped families and students. Have I totally lost my mind or what??? What do you do to share your love of sewing with others?

Thursday, August 14, 2008


This week I'm knitting a prayer shawl thru a program at our church. Years and years ago, I learned the basics of knitting but have forgotten most of it. I cannot remember how to perl so I'm just using the basic knit stitch. I finished one shawl (?) which looks more like a lap robe and am working on the 2nd one which looks like a long scarf. The yarn is very soft and should provide comfort to the recipient. This is good for me as it forces me to sit and think about "life" issues while I wait in doctors' offices or for the latest test results. While knitting I pray for our congregation in general. I try to visualize which member will get the shawl and wonder if it will bring them comfort. What are some of the things that bring you comfort so that you feel loved when things are not going so well?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Quilting ???

In sewing baby bibs for our upcoming ASG fundraiser, I thought they needed a little pizazz so I decided to try to quilt them. It's my first time trying to quilt. Used some fusible batting and started with some decorative stitches - a flower design with zigzag stitches in between the rows. Took 1-1/2 hours to finish one baby bib. So today, I thought that I would try a stippling stitch, after all, how hard could it be. Well ... 3 hours later I'm still trying to stipple this one bib. Of course, it doesn't help when the phone rings, people come to the door, and life gets in the way. I'm determined to finish this tonight. Hopefully, the other 7 bibs will go quicker. I feel as if I'm in school writing "I will not talk in class" 100+ times. I don't think I'm "quilter material". Do you have any projects which bog you down? If so, please tell me about them.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mail Call

One of my favorite things to do is to collect sewing books. I just placed an order Thursday night with Sew True for the book "Altering Women's Ready-to-Wear" by Mary Roehr. Today, it arrived by UPS. That's quick service that I really appreciate. If you have a chance, check out their online store at

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Sunday Afternoon

One of the nicest times of the day to go shopping is late Sunday afternoon. Most of the crowds are gone, employees are looking forward to going home so they are extra helpful, and one can still take advantage of those great sales. This afternoon I went shopping at Hancock Fabrics. I bought several Vogue patterns, some McCall patterns and a New Look pattern. Will post photos later. Took advantage of the sale on notions and stocked up on hand sewing needles, needle threaders, cones of serger thread, embroidery floss, etc. On top of these goodies, I bought 3 yards of an eggplant colored poly-gabardine-rayon and 2 yards of a turquoise matte jersey. I am very pleased with my purchases and hope to get to sewing on these items real soon. When is your favorite time to shop?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Little Summer Reading

Yesterday, my newest sewing book arrived. It is the New Complete Guide to Sewing by Reader's Digest. Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories. This book was on for less than $20. The MSRP is $35 which made it a good bargain. In this book, everything a beginner or more experienced seamstress needs including tailoring tips. It is over 350 pages with photos on almost every page. The tone of the book is easy to understand. I have been collecting sewing books over the past 10+ years. Each new book I buy teaches me something new about sewing. How about you, have you learned something new about sewing lately? What is your favorite sewing book and why?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mama Mia

That's what my daughter called me this weekend. She came home from the camp where she works for one night so we could go to the movies to see this movie. It was hilarious and we laughed our heads off. My hubby thought there was a wee bit of "men bashing" going on but he laughed with us. Meryl Streep did an outstanding job in this film as did Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth. Cannot remember the other actresses and actors names. However, over all, it was a good movie. Since I seldom go to movies, it was a special family event. The costumes were outrageous and the scenary gorgeous. My legs ached as I watched the characters climb up all those steps on that Greek Island to the little church. I certainly could not do that and it wasn't wheelchair friendly. Just getting to the theater in my wheelchair was like going thru an obstacle course.

Before our fun family night, I spent Saturday morning at our ASG neighborhood group meeting. Our program was to cut baby bibs for the upcoming craft fair fundraiser. I got 12 bibs cut and then spent some time cutting out 2 pairs of pants for me. Hopefully, I'll get those sewn this week along with the bibs. I do need to pick up some bias tape for the bibs so will make a run to Hancock Fabrics soon. While skimming thru, I found some sewing books that just had to follow me home. I love collecting sewing books and have more than my bookcase can hold. Being the good listener that I am, I ordered 3 more books. They are the Reader's Digest's "New Complete Guide to Sewing", "Fit Patterns with Confidence" by Nancy Zieman, and "The Complete Book of Sewing Shortcuts" by Claire Schaeffer. This will give me some new reading material for those days I'm confined to bed rest. So, what do you like to read?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Shopping Day

Today was a great day for shopping. My local Hancock Fabric store was not crowded and I had plenty of room to maneuver my wheelchair. I missed the pattern sales but ended up purchasing 2 Vogue patterns by Claire Schaeffer. One is a pants pattern Vogue #7881 and the other is jacket pattern #8519. Both patterns have couture techniques which I think will be fun to try. I haven't done any tailoring in years but this will be a great challenge for me. Just wish I could have gotten them for $3.99 but I missed that sale last week. At least this time, they were in my size. Didn't find any fabric which called my name but I did pick up some needed thread and note cards. I also bought the new Vogue pattern magazine. I'll have some great reading tomorrow. That's when the sales start on the Simplicity patterns but I won't have an opportunity to go there then. Oh well, a day late and a dollar short as the saying goes.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Good Sewing Day

Today was a good sewing day for me. Went to our ASG meeting this morning and we celebrated the 5th anniversary of when our chapter was chartered - July 29, 2003 is the actual date. We had a lot of business to discuss as we heard reports from the nomination committee on new officers to be elected, reports from the ASG convention, presentation of certificate to a member, and show & tell. By the time we were ready to sew, an hour had already passed. Our program was to make a Holiday Table Runner. Now, I am totally a dork when it comes to Home Decor sewing or quilting. This project involves both. I pressed my fabric, got out my scissors and 8 inch ruler to cut the pieces needed. One of our members took pity on me as she watched me struggle. So she showed me how to use a rotary cutter and mat. Fortunately, she had the proper size ruler and then quickly had all of my pieces cut out before I could finish setting up my machine. What a great friend!!! Now, all of my pieces are ready to put together. Now, I just have to finish sewing it up, add the batting, buy some welting cord for trim and put on the backing. Then voila, my first table runner. Maybe it won't become another UFO. Ya think???

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Upside Down Day

This morning was fun with a trip to our local sewing club for a program on cutwork embroidery. I've always thought that one had to have an embroidery machine to do these amazing designs. Not so! With a template and little tracing skill, these designs can be created with a sewing machine. That was good to know. Guess what I'll be trying out later in the fall. Just imagine how pretty a pillowcase would look with a cutwork embroidered edge or a dresser scarf or even a sweatshirt jacket. I'm always amazed at the creativity of others as I am not that imaginative.

After a yummy BBQ lunch with hubby, I started to take my nap when DD called from camp to ask me to order her college textbooks for her. She sent me an email list but wanted to walk me thru the process (as if I have no clue). While giving me instructions, she was also chattering with the other staff members at camp. I got so confused over the conversations, I ended up ordering one of her textbooks twice. Oh well, she can sell it at school or on the college swap site or amazon. Fortunately, the book was relatively inexpensive as she wanted used textbooks. I asked her how she was going to pay for this and got "awwww, Mom, Dad said that he would". Nice to know. Anyway, she's all set for school when she school starts. But knowing her, I imagine there will be some clothes shopping too with Dad picking up the tab.

Now, that is finished, hubby reminded me that we needed to go pick up my serger before the shop closed for the weekend. We race out the door because we only have 45 minutes to drive across town. The serger is ready and all it needed was the auto tensions calibrated and a cleaning. Whew! That was a relief until I saw the bill. It was almost $165 ... yikes. But, as usual hubby is prepared and writes them a check. I do have a good hubby as he never complains. My expensive machines have expensive price tags. What can I say, I love my machines. So, now I'm back home, hubby is cooking dinner. Hope you have a good weekend.

Friday, July 18, 2008

New Pants

This past two weeks, I've been sewing pants. Having lost close to 90 pounds, I found myself in need of some clothing that fit my new smaller size. I chose the Palmer-Pletsch pattern McCall's #4007 which is a basic straight leg elastic waist pants. My fabric is a chocolate brown gabardine rayon from Hancock Fabrics. I read thru the directions and thought I didn't need to adjust. Come to find out, I need about 2 more inches in length as they stop at the middle of my ankle and not the top of the shoe. They will work with sandals for summer but am unsure how they will look with my loafers. I applied my usual elastic waist treatment of sewing the elastic in the round and then using a triple zig-zag stitch as I folded over the fabric to form a casing. All in all, I'm pleased with how they look and the fit is good. What is your favorite pant pattern?

Brighten Your Corner

One of my favorite poems is by Helen Steiner Rice and is called "Brighten Your Corner". This blog was created to brighten your corner with postings of my musings and sewing projects with a little bit of family news. In my little corner of this world, I sew, knit, embroidery, share photos, and live the "good life". Won't you come and visit?