Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ribbon embroidered Fairy

Thought you might like to have a sneak peak of the ribbon embroidered Fairy I made for my great niece ....  Just finished framing it and it is now ready to be boxed and wrapped for a sweet little girl.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 15, 2014

Woohoo ~ I won a prize :)

Thank you Sew Cal Gal for the Handmade Christmas Challenge! 

It was a fun challenge and it inspired me to FINISH all 10 of my silk ribbon embroidered pincushions in time for Christmas!   No UFO's with this project!

This pincushion is an early Christmas gift to me, in use already
I look forward to receiving the prize I was selected to win.  #25 Patrick Lose Pattern Rudolph's Ready~ my 4 grandchildren all under age 5  are going to LOVE that adorable reindeer. 

Thanks so much SewCal Gal,  I really enjoy your challenges!

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Handmade Christmas Challenge ~ Ribbon Flower Pincushions

For as long as I can remember I have been making Christmas gifts to share with family and friends each year.  I love to give and receive items that have been created by hand. 

This year SewCal Gal has been hosting a Handmade Challenge, and this month of December is the Christmas Challenge.  Following are photos of the item I have been working on this year for Christmas gifts.  Ribbon Embroidered Pincushions.

Originally I was following a blog that was hosting an embroidered flowered pincushion tutorials,  unfortunately the project entire instructions will not be available in time for completion this Christmas.  I still wanted to give handmade pincushions as gifts, so using the ribbon embroidery flowers Kathy Shaw had taught me this fall, I was able to alter my plans and have created these ribbon embroidered pincushions.   There are 10 in all.

I cut out the foundation fabric circles of a light blue linen, and then embroidered flowers using different types of ribbon.  Later I stitched the greenery in stranded cotton and more ribbon .  I then embellished with some beadwork.

I used the sewing machine to attach the bottom of the pincushion to the embroidered tops.  I used a suede fabric that will help the pincushion stay in place while using it.  Once turned right side out, I filled with polyester batting and closed up all but a teeny hole, and couched a matching trim all along the seam.   The trim ends are tucked inside the cushion in the teeny hole to hide the ends.  For some of the pincushions I embroidered a whipped running stitch of perle cotton around the edge and  wove multiple strands of perle cotton through the stitches to create an edge trim that would match the flowers.  

Once completed I used crochet cotton to divide the pincushion into sections, 4, 5 or 6 sections to each pincushion.

   Hard to choose a favorite.... I think the all teal ribbon flowered one will be the one I keep for me :)

Hope you are enjoying the Christmas Holiday Season and you are finding lots of inspiration!

Finished the centers with a flat button on the bottom and a shank button on the top.   four of them have a special gold vintage with rhinestones in them, well, those buttons were saved from an outfit I made when I was a young teenager:)   Three of those cushions will go to my children for Christmas, and one, the teal with all the needles in it, that one is for me  :)

Merry Christmas

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Let the Smocking BEGIN....

Let the Smocking BEGIN....
    With two baby granddaughters born just last year,( two of our children's families), so excited to think that little smocked dresses will be once again in our future!   Our two daughters each grew up wearing Polly Flinders, but I am so excited that this generation of girls (our two granddaughters) will be wearing smocked dresses that are "made with Love and Prayer by Mimi" along with a Polly Flinders dress here and there.
     SAGA ~ A Smocking Guild, is holding a mystery smock-along to make a Christmas Ornament.  So far I have completed pleating 11 different fabrics, some are plain while others are printed, and all are from different fabric companies so they each have a different weave strength.  Some went through the pleater with great ease while others were a struggle to get off of the needles.
     Clue 1 to begin our smocking for our ornament was released Monday; let the stitching begin.
Here is the link if you would like to read about the smock along...


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Registration Open for Crazy Quilt Class with Kathy

Kathy Shaw's Beginner Crazy Quilt Class
Registration open October 8-12th
If you have ever wanted to learn crazy quilting, brush up on some techniques you learned (or maybe didn't learn), Kathy's class may be for you :)
I was challenged, inspired, and enjoyed learning in this on-line classroom.  Kathy provides fantastic PDF materials, there is some reading to do, and challenges ahead; the investment of time was so worth the effort.  And what a delight Kathy is; she follows your work and charts each step of the process all the while she inspires, teaches, and encourages along the way. 
The classmates were a hoot, encouraged by women around the world! and inspired by their creativity and skills as we learned together.
Here is the Link to Kathy's page 
Forgot to tell you, the class is FREE !    Only a few days left to register
You can read about my experience with some of progress I made if you scroll through a few posts back on this blog.   Best crazy quilt class I have been in and look forward to my next class. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Don't usually get to see the underside of a dragonfly.... had recently rained (you can see the droplets on the screen).

Well , this dragonfly was drying self off and sat still enough for me to get quite a few photos...
That blue sky highlights this beautiful dragonfly so nicely.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Framed ~ Silk Ribbon Embroidery

Well it is now a finished block ~ and I framed it!  As time allows I will do some embellishment aroun the photo to connect the unit as a whole.  I included a piece of the cotton eyelet when I added to the block to make it fit the photo frame.  I decided I like finished projects,  so, before I could start stitching my new blocks for the Intermediate Crazy Quilt Class with teacher Kathy Shaw, I had to purpose this Beginner Block and here it is ~ Thanks Kathy for teaching!

It is now on display in our home in this Photo Frame.... more work will be added as time allows.
Beginner Silk Ribbon Embroidery Block Framed

Now this next photo, yes that is Silkies from Kathy Shaw, and Silk Ribbon and all sorts of delightful do-dads from Thearica at Crazy Quilting Supplies.

Silkies, Ribbons and more, Oh My

 Tonight I am basting block 1 for class.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

SRE completed Crazy Quilt Block

I completed my Beginner Crazy Quilt Class with Kathy Shaw!  Fantastic Teacher ~
 I have had a needle and thread in my hands since a small child, and Kathy still has taught me some wonderful things in the beginner class!  This class was inspirational and the instruction was presented in a step by step approach with enough limited access to what was in the next class to be inspired and not fearful.  It kept me from feeling overwhelmed and I had the confidence Kathy would assist us all the way through to completion if we were interested in learning/mastering the skills. 

Watching fellow classmates along the way was not only inspiring, but I learned from them as each shared their wisdom with fellow classmates along the journey.  Their encouragement was an extra gift from those willing to invest in sharing such words and for which I am grateful.

It has been a great adventure in Beginner Crazy Quilting, and I thought you might like to see the completed block. 

My Beginner Crazy Quilt Block
I am now off to join Kathy once again in the next level, the intermediate crazy quilt class, with a ream of paper, binder in hand and silk ribbon on order :)   This is not your grandmother's embroidery class either ~ Kathy your work on Color theory is knock-your-socks-off wonderful!  I was laughing while I was reading it, and my husband ask me what was so funny, and all I could think of was if you saw me doing the study of color earlier this month with my embroidery threads and monochromatic color blocks, you had to be laughing to know how deep a study in color you would later take us on if I only could stick it out!  The scientist in me LOVED the information I have received so far.  Thank you Kathy~


Saturday, August 16, 2014

New Dress with Woven Ribbon Roses completed

Woven Ribbon Roses 
Little Pink Dress is DONE ~
Task # 7 is  completed !
I used my new laminated templates of the circle/spider web for the Silk Ribbon Embroidery and they worked GREAT.  I was able to see where I wanted each rose to go and then penciled in my dots using the templates.  These templates were especially helpful in getting the roses to match on the collar of the little pink dress I was practicing on for my little granddaughter.
Little Pink Dress for my granddaughter with woven ribbon Iris on the bodice and roses on the collar.

Here is a photo of my precious granddaughter who recently learned to walk (she just turned 1 year old) in her new dress.

This is a photo of my woven ribbon roses on my crazy quilt block

Our Crazy quilt class with Kathy Shaw is almost complete.  Next week I will blog about the final 5 crazy quilt blocks  (5 out of the 12) I created  as part of  my color study, and also my adventures with the assortment of hoops I am using for this class.



Tutorial ~ how to make a spiderweb rose template

Tutorial for making pattern stencil for SRE of the spider-web rose motif.


How to make a round spider-web/circle pattern that is clear that allows  you to see object for pattern placement.


I first took a sheet of my laminate product and put it through the "HOT" laminator machine sealing two sheets together.

I laid the clear laminate on my white binder so you could see the shiny edges

While the laminate cooled I collected assorted circle shape sizes from around the house.

medicine cup, bottle tops, washer, curtain ring, and toy shapes

I then took a permanent marker and traced the circles, inside and outside the circle when able to, to create my patterns.  

eyeballing and marking centers while drawing circle helps with lining up for placement

Next I drew in the "Y" shape inside the circle, then added two more straight lines to make the web shape.  I then drew in assorted circles within the circle keeping an eye out for equal distance, that the circles now look like targets.

Y seam drawn then 2 more lines added then target circles drawn in

I then took a large chenille needle and poked holes in the center of the target, and then wherever the target lines and spiderweb lines meet.  This allows each circle to be a pattern that has many sizes within itself.  Because of the clear nature of the laminate, and the permanent nature of the markers, I can now use a sharpened pencil and mark my circles for SRE rose motifs more accurately for what I was looking for and have many sizes to choose from.     

Even this thick permanent marker can be seen through the laminate

Even though the laminate is thinner than stencil plastic, I will be using this technique in the future for making my pattern stencils for seam embroidery  as well as for Silk ribbon embroidery patterns, as it gives a much larger and much clearer reference to the seam for more accurate placement of your design than just the little cutouts I was looking through using the solid white paper.  Vellum, although clearer than paper and provides for  more accurate computer printed pattern, this having to draw/trace the stencil pattern onto the laminate allows you to also "write" the pattern (so to speak) in your brain.  

Loving learning from Kathy, would recommend taking her classes if you get the opportunity.   She is a very inspiring teacher!  Way to go Kathy.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Silk Ribbon Embroidery (SRE) .... Practice

Time to learn some Silk Ribbon Embroidery stitches

Practicing my ribbon embroidery on a little pink dress I bought for my granddaughter who just turned 1 year old.  Don't you just hate to throw away your pretty doodle flowers.   Here is a photo of my first attempt at Iris flowers in a rayon/poly washable ribbon with some bead embellishment
for a little bit of bling

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Embroidery Completed on CQ Block

Embroidery is completed on my Tan Crazy Quilt Block for the class.
  Have I learned some things from Kathy and classmates! 

A phrase I have read in the class chatter that certainly can apply "this ole dog is learning some things"; sure is fun when we come to class with a teachable spirit :)  Some of us who have been doing CQ (and embroidery) for years are having a good time (and success) learning these techniques from Kathy.

Thanks Kathy and classmates.  Having a wonderful time on this adventure. 

Let the Silk Ribbon Embroidery (SRE) BEGIN ~



Monday, August 11, 2014

Color ~ CQ Beginner Block

Having a fun time learning as I stitch this Crazy Quilt sampler block on a palette of tan colors.  For this block I am working on one of my rectangle clip hoops.  As you know (if you have been following my blog) I thought it would be fun to challenge myself a bit more and expand what I am learning in the crazy quilting class  to include a little bit of a study on "color" as I stitch along with Kathy and fellow quilters.   The acronym KISS (keep it simple silly) just doesn't fit my personality and is part of the problem that feeds the collection of UFO's (unfinished objects) that fill my design wall.
So far I have created 7 monochromatic crazy quilt blocks with hopes of making at least a dozen to do embellishment on.  Maybe one day I will stitch them out with a theme completing one block for each month of the year ~ or one for each member of our family now that we are twelve, or even one for each holiday of the year and include some seasonal embellishments as well.

As I set out to stitch a few lavender flowers on a piece of linen one warm summer morning last week before doing seam embellishment work on my crazy block I looked at my array of skeins of embroidery floss and decided to arrange them by colors, light to dark, the blues, then the greens, yellows, etc... and after I battled with a few of the  off-whites/ tans and browns trying to decide which pile when the thought came in to try to lay the solid colors out like a rainbow.  I then expanded that thought further by trying my hand at sorting them from light to dark to light again as each skein went from one color family and blended into another.  Oh my ~

Here is a photo I took after some time playing with the threads;
eventually I sat down to do seam embellishment.
Love a day when I get to create and play like a child with a new box of crayons.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Let the stitching BEGIN, CQ beginner Class

Let the stitching begin!  Enjoying the beginner crazy quilt class with Kathy Shaw and fellow students.  Kathy is doing a wonderful job teaching us her techniques for crazy quilting and keeping us moving toward the goal of completing our blocks by Septembers end.

Having laminated and cut out my stencils, I began lining up each one on its corresponding seam and marking so I would know where each base stitching was to go.

The seams are all marked with the pattern dots for placement of stitching, and the 's' curve has been penciled in as well.  If you look closely you will see I numbered on the muslin the row numbers that correspond with each stencil pattern.

For the seams that are 'landlocked' that do not touch the outside muslin, I have numbered those as well and have drawn in a double pointed arrow in the direction of the seam so I can line it up correctly with the stencil.
With my BIG 3 ring binder notebook in my lap, it helps to hold the embroidery frame so one hand can get underneath my work allowing me to use the stick-n-stab method for embroidering these patterns.  You can see I have the binder opened to the class pattern sheet (on the right page) for easy reminders of which pattern I am working on for each seam.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

CQ Block study of color

Crazy Quilt Block Class
I am enjoying this Crazy quilt beginner class with teacher Kathy Shaw.    Although many of the students (like myself)  have been stitching for some time, Kathy has all her students start with this beginner class before taking a more advanced class.  This has been great as I have already learned tips, tricks and techniques not only from Kathy but also from many of the students that write on our classroom blog.
I thought I would challenge myself a little further and do a study on color along the way.  We are all working with a neutral palette that can include tones and colors beyond tan and white.  I thought I would do my class block in an all off-white color palette using four different fabrics.  I then would take the challenge a little further and do the identical block pattern in all whites.  I enjoyed the result so much I created a third block using yellows.  Photos for those 3 blocks can be seen in the previous post.
Today I am posting blocks four, five, six and seven that I created... the more you do this pattern the more familiar you get with the pieces, the faster it goes.  I also was able to apply different construction techniques as I created each block.  Each of these blocks are also monochromatic (single color) and each block includes a lace, satin and/or texture fabric.  The colors of these final four blocks are blue, gray, brown and green.
4 Blue
Hmmm, although each block is the same identical pattern, it has been fun to see how different each block looks when done in a different color palette.  
To further my study, I am considering using a different stitch pattern and thread color for each seam on the block, and then repeating that pattern with the same thread color choice on that same seam on all the rest of the blocks to see what effect the same stitch and color thread has on each different fabric color palette.

5 Gray
I am also utilizing the assorted frames and hoops I have as a test to see when compared to each other on the same size projects which type, style and size hoop I prefer working on over the others.   Once the blocks are in the hoop, they will remain in the hoop until completed.  Those photos will be in a future posting.

6 Brown
7 Green



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Third CQ Block in the series with Kathy Shaw

Third in the series...

This is my third crazy quilt block I have made for the CQ Beginner Class with Kathy Shaw.  We are working with neutral colors, and only using 4 fabrics per 8x10.5 inch block.  I am including one texture fabric in each block.

My first block is done is off-white/tan neutrals.  For a texture fabric I used a cotton eyelet over cotton fabric.

My second block is done in white neutrals.  For a texture fabric I used a white lace over white cotton.  I also included a white satin fabric from my daughters wedding dress.

This, my third block is done in yellow neutrals.  For a texture fabric I used a yellow lace over peach cotton.

Hmmm. wonder what color neutrals my fourth fabric will include. 


Sunday, July 27, 2014

CQ Task #3 ~ Seam Templates

Task #3  Mary F ~ Preparing seam embellishment charts for marking seams


My Crazy Quilt Class with Kathy is moving along as we prepare to begin the embellishment of our crazy blocks we created last week.  I am thankful to be able to participate, and have learned much already from Kathy and fellow classmates in preparation for embellishing our blocks.  Kathy is such a good teacher as she wants us to learn her techniques for crazy quilting.  She has provided each of us with step by step instructions along the way, and in our supplies this week they included a handy little chart of her designs for seam embellishment.


Step one ~ Laminated my paper sheet of the stitch patterns using to embellish blocks.


Step two ~ Gathered supplies, cutting knife, mat, laminated sheet of patterns, and you can see we are still enjoying the pretty roses from our daughters wedding one week ago.


Step three ~ Make little rectangular cut outs in the laminations that go from above to below the pattern row of stitches on the page that covers where the seam line will be.   For some rows I put one cut-out at each end.  I then put one in the middle for aiding in seam placement or when using on a short row.  On other rows I just put two cut-outs a little bit in from both ends.  Once I use these patterns, I will soon learn if they are going to aid in placement, or where they will be of better service in a different location.  You can see the small pile of chads (cut-outs) on the side.


Step four ~ Gather more supplies for punching holes… I used my pink foam panel for the next step.  I made this from a piece of my husbands leftover insulation from a project he did on our home.  I covered this foam panel with muslin for a project I was working on for our daughters wedding dress.  I needed to make pleated fabric from chiffon, and this covered board allowed for not only a surface I could pin into, but would also be able to take the warmth of the iron as well.  A side benefit is that it was not heavy to hold in my lap as I pinned numerous pieces of fabric for 'the dress', and the granddaughters shoes.


I also used a chenille needle, and an awl from the tool shed, for punching the holes.


Step five ~ Pin or hold the sheet onto the foam board; with chenille needle you can make the tiny holes for pencil or chalk marking of dots, or for larger holes I used an awl. 


Step six ~ Once whole sheet was completed, I then punched a hole in on the end of each strip which here are separated by lines.  These holes are for attaching the strips onto a ring.


Step seven ~ Cut out each strip of pattern and put on a ring for handy use as needed.


This seems like a lot of work for an embellishment tool, but it is items like this that allow for greater accuracy and aid in creating a more beautiful work of art.


Thank you Kathy, you have been so generous with your teaching.  Hope this helps someone else who is doing crazy quilting using paper patterns.


If you would like more information about these patterns on this sheet see Kathy Shaw at


I also laminated and ringed the color charts to keep in my purse.  That handy tool is on Kathy's website. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Task #2 Mary F ~ Crazy Quilt Class with Kathy Shaw

Here is my Task # 2 assignment for the Crazy Quilt Class with Kathy.  Over the next year I will be creating more blocks with this same pattern while each block will have a different color palette.  For each block I plan on using the same color embellishments.  What I will be looking for are the effects of those same color embellishments against a different color, type and fabric background.  Along with comparison of color, I will also be considering an assortment of different Hoop styles I will be using.   Once each block is in the hoop, it will remain there until its completion. 

These are two of the blocks I have finished so far.  Each is created with the flip and sew method on white muslin fabric.  One of the blocks will be made up of all tan colors in neutral fabrics, and the other one is made up of all white color neutral fabrics.  Each block will have one type of texture fabric, ie. lace or linen, while the rest of the fabrics have a smooth texture.  The colors in all the blocks will range from an assortment of plain, tone on tones, and color.

TASK #2 Tan neutrals block with an eyelet lace texture
TASK #2 White neutrals block with a polyester lace texture

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Task #1 Crazy Quilt Class with Kathy!

Crazy Quilt Class with Kathy ~

I am so excited !   As I finished up all the stitchery for the wedding, I was just in time to read a blog-post from Kathy that she was hosting a crazy quilt class on-line!  With registration ending soon (a few days) I had work to do ~ as Kathy was going to accept me into the class! YIPEEEE!

So I set about getting my internet registration stuff done, my blog name up on the class site, and then began gathering my crazy quilt supplies to see what I may have and see what I still would need to order.   By Sunday night I began my class notebook having printed off my instructions.  Next was to wrap my square hoop with twill tape, and put together my pvc square frame.

I have now completed Task # 1, sent in a photo of my supplies, received my next assignment over the internet, and tomorrow will set about creating my foundation block.  

Task #1 My supplies
Here is a link to read more about the class ~

Godspeed ~  Mary

Sewing for the Wedding

Woohoo ~ our daughter was married this weekend and although we are a bit tired ourselves from all the celebrating, we are overjoyed!   They are off on their honeymoon while the parents are having a low key week of relaxation and grandchildren fun in the warm New England sun.

These last two months all my available (and awake) time at home has been spent in my sewing studio making many preparations for the special day.  Although the bride was overjoyed with "the dress" she had purchased, it was in need of some serious alterations over the next 8 weeks :)  Our daughter was so confident her mom could accomplish all of this in her spare time.  I do believe she has more confidence in my abilities than I do at times.

The lovely beaded bodice part of the dress was two sizes too large, the length was one foot too long, and to her dismay it was strapless.   All things a momma could fix, Right?  I set about creating sketches for re-creating the dress and planning a strategy along with a timeline that I thought would accomplish the task at hand. 

As we were in need of perfect matching fabric,  that 12" hem I was to cut off would provide plenty of fabric, which, although it was on the bias, would be just wide enough on the straight of grain to create not only straps for this strapless dress, but also 2 pairs of shoes for the flower girls, 2 ring bearer pillows for the boys, and still have pieces left over for a garter, and a few scraps to go into a crazy quilt block.

 These little shoes were perfect for the occasion and not only were they pretty, they stayed on the little ones feet for the entire day!  The ring bearers pillow is my own creation, no pattern.  The pleats in both elements are a design element in the dress; one I used to create the straps on the dress and later used also on the shoes and the pillows.  

Godspeed ~

Beautiful Bride
Flower girl shoes made from wedding dress fabric
Ring bearer pillows made from wedding dress fabric and lavender I picked from the garden

Here is the link for the pattern for the shoes....