Category Archives: Uncategorized

I am a Fabriholic

Recently I was attending a Christmas party with some of my stitching friends and their husbands.  We were lamenting the disease of Fabriholicisim and the varying degrees we each shared the sickness.  One of the quilters was literally falling to pieces describing how she saved scraps.  One by one, each took a turn admitting how many boxes, closets, and rooms were filled with fabric and still we can not resist the temptation to buy more.  Finally one of the ladies proudly announced that she had reached her life-time goal where all her fabric could fit into one box – at which point her husband quickly joined the discussion saying, “I wish you would stop referring to our house as a box!”.

Sulky Zen II Machine Embroidery Seminar

Embroidered Mini-tote

What a fun break – traveling with my sewing room to Hanover, MD with friends and a fabulous couple of days of just sewing and forgetting the rest of the world is out there. Would love to have stayed for a couple more days, but it is time to get back to reality.  Now comes the task of putting my sewing room back together again.

I just attended the Sulky Zen II machine embroidery seminar.  It is always fun to gather with those of like-minds and spend the hours sewing.  Now here is a shocking reality – I actually completed 3 of the projects at the seminar.  That NEVER happens.  I usually spend my time experimenting with some of the new techniques and socializing with the other students, picking up new ideas along the way.  One of the projects was a cool mini tote and being the original bag lady, I had to finish that project.  Good thing I did because when it came time for our class photo, our instructor wanted all of us to display our completed totes.  I was able to stand with the rest of the class and be photographed with my tote – finished!

Some of the students from my previous years of Sulky seminars were there and it was great seeing them again.  We learned a lot of fun things and made our annual trip to Timbucktu for dinner.  Our instructor, Ellen Osten, was superb and we learned that the Sulky cotton threads are bleachable.  My favorite Sulky stabilizers are still the water soluble collection and the heat away.  We stitched over puffy foam for great padded monograming and over  felt to make a fun little in-the-hoop scissor holder.  We stitched over organdy to make free standing butterflies and over toil to make a lace pocket.  We stitched on commercial products like the mini-tote and jewelry case and created fun tea towels with free standing appliques and a tea-time poem.

I am ready to pack up my sewing room again and return next year.  Who knows – I might complete 4 projects!

From T-shirt to Draw-string Tank Top

From T-shirt to Tank Top
Modified T-shirt to Draw-string Tank Top

Here is a cute idea for modifying a T-shirt in order to make these extremely hot days more comfortable.  

  1. Cut the sleeves from the shirt.
  2. Draw a line straight across the top of the shirt from arm hole to arm hole, even with the lower edge of the ribbing on both the front and the back of the shirt.  (Note:  The line on the back will be higher than the line on the front of the shirt.)
  3. Cut away the back and front of the shirt on these 2 lines, removing the ribbing, neck edge, and shoulder seams. 
  4. Turn under and stitch a narrow hem around the arm holes.
  5. Turn under and stitch a ¾ – 1” hem on the top of the shirt front and back to form a casing.
  6. Thread a long cord or ribbon through the casing, connecting the front and back.
  7. The part of the cord/ribbon that passes over the arm holes creates adjustable shoulder straps.  
  8. When the shoulder straps are the desired length, tie a knot in the cord/ribbon.    

Variation:  Thread 2 separate cords, one on the back and one on the front.  Tie the cords together with a decorative knot to form the shoulder straps with a designer touch on top.  Cords of different colors may be interchanged to alter the accent color of the new top to match coordinating pants and skirts.

By all means, save the ribbing from the neck edges – these “collars” may be stitched onto terrycloth towels to form baby bibs, and beach robes.

Now – for the creative challenge:  What shall we do with all those T-shirt sleeves that we have removed?  Do you have any suggestions?   I will look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks, Jocelyn, for the tip and photo.

My Mom

When I was 4 years old, mom gave me her button box and a spool of heavy carpet thread. She carefully cut the carpet thread into pieces about 8-10 inches long. My task was to sort through the buttons and find all the buttons that were the same color and size and string them together on a string. She showed me how to tie the ends of the strings together. When I was done, her button box was organized and all the like buttons were separated on little circles of strings. After sorting the buttons, I asked mom to teach me to sew a button on a piece of fabric. She carefully threaded a needle for me and taught me how to sew on a button. Thus my love for sewing began! When I was 5 years old, mom taught me how to lay my baby doll on a newspaper to create a pattern. I began making clothes for my doll, embellishing those little garments with hand embroidered flowers and my doll’s name. I still have some of those early doll clothes. While visiting mom and dad in September 2010, she opened up her sewing closet and offered me her button box. I wanted the button basket, but didn’t want to take it from her. She insisted that she wouldn’t need it. In the button basket were some of the little strings of buttons that I had strung 60 years ago. I brought the buttons home and spent some time sorting through the many different shapes and colors, remembering the times I spent sitting on the floor so many years ago, playing with mom’s buttons.

Sadly, mom died on December 19, 2010, just 3 weeks after dad. She was just 2 months shy of her 90th birthday. I was glad that I was able to spend her last couple of weeks with her. Mom was my best friend, confidant, mentor, and now my guardian angel. She was a very special lady, honest, hardworking, and loyal. She taught my sisters and me to sew, knit, crochet, embroider, and cook. She was a strict disciplinarian, but loved us unconditionally. She made our young lives happy as we were growing up. She would tap dance and sing in the kitchen while fixing breakfast to make us laugh. When she studied Spanish, she would write our breakfast menu on the blackboard in Spanish and taught us little phrases and some Spanish songs. She read to us all the time and when I was in the 4th grade, she read the epic, Odyssey. I remember one summer day when we all took our shoes off and went for a long walk in the rain, splashing in puddles and playing with our umbrellas. She made a tent by throwing a blanket over the kitchen table and let us play with buckets of water on the kitchen floor under the tent in order to stay cool on hot summer days. Sometimes she would pack a picnic lunch and give us a blanket and let us go outside under the old cherry tree to eat. She made clay from a recipe and let us mix the color dye into the snow white clay to create wonderful colors of our choice. She let me climb the old cherry tree in our back yard, where I spent endless hours watching the birds above and life below – loving every minute I spent in that tree.

Mom and dad gave us dancing lessons, piano lessons, and sports lessons. They encouraged us and helped us succeed in anything we decided to try. When we were in scouts, mom was the scout leader and trained other leaders while dad was a member of the men’s committee at scout camp, helping to unload the luggage and set up the tents. Mom was always there for us and we knew we could count on her to be the room mother, PTA president, field trip chaperone, and taxi driver. She taught me about nutrition, etiquette, and fair play. Dad taught me how to use his tools and how to wire a lamp and quiz board.

Mom spent her last years caring for dad, knitting lap robes for the veterans, and knitting caps for underprivileged kids. Her goal for 2010 was to knit 100 caps for kids. When she died she was only 13 caps shy of her goal. Mom always cared about the other person more than she cared about herself. If she had something that someone admired or wanted, she gave it to them. Mom, like dad, also donated her body to Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

Mom had a keen sense of humor, loved poetry, and appreciated nature. I could always call and ask her advice on anything, knowing I would get the best possible answer. She could put a positive spin on any situation and always made me feel good about myself. She was very wise and super intelligent. She could always make me laugh. She loved her husband, 3 daughters, 3 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren and we all loved her. I shall always miss her – I’ve lost a giant of a friend