Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Peek Inside - The Next Kitchen Set

This is the first fabric I purchased for the hope chest. I love these colors together. Miss Abigail isn't loving florals right now. She thinks they are a little old fashioned. For some reason Abigail is loving leopard print and rhinestones!  I grew up with avocado shag carpet in a kitchen with gold appliances and I hated avocado green. Funny thing that I like it now and will admit that my mom had a great sense of design. I'm hoping that Abigail's mind will change at least enough to include flowers in what she eventually loves.

So I have been working in a round-about way on this set since the beginning. I'm always on the lookout for things to match it and have quite a few things finished. I've decided that the time has come to deliberately finish it up and show the pictures. The hope chest is beginning to be full! This is good news, but too many of these random items need to be placed in a finished set, wrapped up and off my mind! So my goal for January is to finish up this pretty Floral set. The first peek inside is a set of four embroidered dishtowels.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Peek Inside - Sharon's Sterling Gift

Miss Abigail has been the beneficiary of a number of wonderful gifts for her hope chest. Once people find out about our project, so many want to contribute something. Our good friend Sharon gave Abigail these two pieces of sterling silver. Sharon told me that she had registered for silver as a bride many years ago and was gifted just these two pieces. Recognizing that modern style is more mixed up and eclectic, Sharon hoped that Abigail might be able to use these utensils. They are so elegant! I immediately thought of wonderful holiday cheese balls and lovely dessert sauces and went looking for the small antique pressed glass dessert stand in the back of my cupboard. I think this makes a nice holiday serving set. What wonderful friends we have!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Peek Inside - Christmas Cross-Stitch Table Runner

My very talented mother-in-law embroidered this pretty table runner. Our family has received many of these precious gifts from her over the years. I use it when I have a chance to entertain and keep it in Miss Abigail's hope chest. I think she will enjoy using it in her home some day.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Peek Inside - Primitive Christmas Star Dishtowels

I've been trying to make a kitchen set for some of the major holidays - so far I have only the Thanksgiving set completely finished, but I'm working on two different Christmas sets, and set for Easter, Valentines and the Fourth of July. I finished these embroidered dishtowels for one Christmas set. You have previously seen the crocheted star dishcloths, the filet crochet hand towels, and the homespun dishtowels in this set. I "tea dyed" these towels to better match the color of the crochet in the other items. The design is one of the primitive series from Aunt Martha- "Bless Our Home" #4010.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stenciled Snowflake Dishtowel

Just thought I would show you my recent, very last minute gift idea. I needed wrapping for a gift for a cook.  I had purchased a specialty snowflake cake pan but wanted to add a handmade touch as well. I thought a stenciled dishtowel would fit both requirements nicely. I always have blank dishtowels handy! I first used Tulip spray fabric paint to spritz a blue blizzard in the background. Then I used a thin plastic snowflake stencil and  a couple of different colors of Tulip soft fabric paint to stenciled several snowflakes around the edges and in the corners of the dishtowel. This fabric paint dries very quickly and I was able to wrap the gift after just four hours. Now I think I want to do a snowflake set for the hope chest!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Embroidery Tip

I'm still working on these embroidered pillowcases. One is finished and this one is now more than halfway completed. Although these have been in my workbasket for some time, for some reason, this set has been so slow...

Here is the tip. Do you see my pincushion? I find dry sponges to be so handy to keep the needles for my embroidery projects. I think dividing the embroidery thread and then threading the needle is such a chore, so I like to do several needles at once. I just cut a regular sized cellulose sponge into smaller pieces and find these perfect for holding many threaded needles. I can even wrap the threads around the sponge to keep them from tangling. It isn't very fancy, but it is cheap and convenient!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cotton Print Pillowcases

I sewed these pillowcases from a pretty cotton print fabric for Miss Abigail's hope chest and then embellished them with a simple crocheted trim. The pattern for the crochet trim came from 111 Easy Edgings by Leisure Arts (#2924). The pillowcases have been sewn for some time and the crocheted lace also, but, because it requires hand sewing, I've been far too slow to get the trim sewn on. So, they went into the bedside basket I made for after my surgery. Hooray that I have them finished now.

My mother-in-law included a set of cotton print pillowcases in the fabulous wedding gift she made for my husband and I so many years ago. I loved those pillowcases. Of course they are long worn out by now, but the printed fabric hid the wear extremely well and the fabric just became softer after every wash. I am always on the lookout for cotton prints that feel smooth and seem to say "pillowcase" to me. One can never have enough extra pillowcases!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Favorite Hot Pads

This version of my favorite hot pads is the last item, other than the apron, to finish the "Kitchen Utensils" set for the hope chest. There are fourteen items in the set and it makes quite a stack. I think I'll be glad to work with some different colors for a change.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Serendipity Hand Towels

Serendipity means "a happy accident" or "a pleasant surprise." A couple of days before my surgery, I just happened to find a set of two terry cloth kitchen towels in just the right colors to match the "Kitchen Utensils" set for the hope chest. I am amazed that the colors are so perfect! I don't plan any more embellishment and am just adding them to the set. Hooray for something easy...

Friday, November 1, 2013

"Blessing Towels"

The day after my last post, I went into the hospital for a surgery to correct an injury to my ankle. Thankfully, after four weeks, I am finally able to put weight on my foot and walk again. Maybe I should say that I am able to move on my own since I still have some work to do before I can call this walking. Still, I am so grateful to be moving without crutches. The Lord is gracious unto me!

Because of the surgery, I've had some down time to do hand work for the hope chest. I finished up the last items for the brown/aqua "Kitchen Utensils" set. Actually, I still need to sew the apron, but alas, not until I can use the foot pedal on the sewing machine again. I've been calling these hand towels the "Blessing Towels." The blessing comes from the Bible, specifically Numbers 6:24-26. I love this blessing and wanted to pass it on to Miss Abigail. A friend of mine saw these towels in TJMaxx and I was so pleased that she snapped them up. The color is perfect and there is a plain weave space amid the waffle weave that is just perfect for cross stitch. I didn't want to put too much cross stitch work into kitchen towels and this alphabet was simple and quick. I really like how the towels turned out.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Monogrammed Envelope

I wanted to make a kind of envelope or bag to keep the whole of the aqua "Kitchen Utensils" set together in the hope chest. The stack of linens was simply to tall for a bag to work very well, so I made something even more simple. I'm calling it an envelope, but it is open on the sides. It is more like a wide ribbon band. I like it somewhat better than the one I made for the Thanksgiving Set because, while this one keeps things together and more or less enclosed, I can still see the contents of the set without undoing the whole thing.

I started by measuring the stack of linens that I wanted to cover. The largest folded towels on the bottom of the stack measure 12 inches square and the whole stack is about 11 inches tall. So I cut a rectangular piece of aqua fabric 25-inches wide (12 inches doubled, plus a 1-inch seam allowance) by 36-inches long.

I wanted an embroidered monogram on the outside of the envelope so I enlarged the same style of letter as I used on the "Retro-Fun" towels in the set.

I sewed along the long side of the fabric rectangle, creating a long tube.

I left a small opening for turning later and then pressed the seam open.

I sewed along both ends of the tube. I put the seam in the middle so that both edges would be pressed and look the same. I turned the tube right side out and pressed everything well. (Remember to use a press cloth over the embroidery so that you don't flatten the stitches.)

Finally, I sewed buttonholes and buttons and it is finished. I can't wait to finish the last of the projects in this set and tuck it all up in the hope chest.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Fancy Fans" Dishcloths and "Basket Weave" Hot Pads

I made these crocheted items sometime ago and think they perfectly fit into the aqua "Kitchen Utensils" set. I haven't posted pictures before because I wanted to share the patterns and while I have written notes about how I made both the dishcloths and the hot pads, it takes quite a bit of work to write up, edit and correct patterns. I just haven't had time to do it. Hopefully I'll still get to it at some point. Since the Kitchen Utensils set is almost finished, I wanted to include pictures of these items in the set.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tucked Handtowel

This cotton towel was just the right color for the aqua and brown-toned "Kitchen Utensils" set. I've been thinking about what I could do to embellish it and finally decided to use an aqua rick-rack trim along with three simple sewn tucks along the bottom of the towel. I like the way it looks and how quick the project was completed.

You might remember a previous post with a tutorial on using tucks. If you are interested, use that tutorial for more detailed instruction. The darker woven threads on this towel made sewing the tucks extremely easy. I didn't need to measure or mark anything, except by sight.

I also like to apply rick-rack with this simple cross-over long stitch. You'll find another tutorial for this method here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monogrammed Dishtowels

These dishtowels are another item in the aqua and brown toned "Kitchen Utensils" set. I re-used a favorite pattern for the print borders--the "Retro-Fun" pattern from Sew4Home.com. I also added a simple monogram, using a chain stitch to outline the letter and french knots to fill in the space.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New Items for the Hope Chest

I haven't had much time to blog lately, but I have still been hard at work on the hope chest. I finished this set of three Tunisian crocheted dishcloths for what I think of as the "Kitchen Utensils" set. (tutorial here)  I also added this set of four brown-toned hand towels and a second set of dishcloths with a simple scalloped shell edging.

I painted a set of dishtowels as well, using the old fashioned tube paints. I remember these paints as being quite easy to use, but I think I need a little more practice.

I have a list of items that I want to include with this "Kitchen Utensils" set and I am now finished with all but a couple of the projects. Soon I can sew up the apron and a bag of some sort to keep it all together in the hope chest. I'll try to get pictures taken and posted soon. Promises, promises...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Shepherd's Wool Lead

The point of the new Shepherd's Wool Lead class at our county fair is to promote the use of wool in fashion and to promote the wool breeds of sheep as well. The contestants visit with a judge in an interview, then model a handmade garment or outfit made of at least 60% wool. Then they return to the ring and show a groomed sheep in fleece. We had just three girls sign up this year, but Abigail had fun and hopefully the class will catch on and there will be more participation next year. The garments must be handmade or homemade, but not necessarily by the contestant. I made the outfit this year, a cropped wool sweater and a long, flared wool skirt. I am so pleased that both garments turned out well. Here are the pics from the show.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2013 County Fair

Miss Abigail's entries for the county fair were far fewer this year than in past years. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest is that she is growing older and is WAY more busy these days with all kinds of things! And I am also, trying to help her manage it all. Abigail's focus this year in 4H was on sheep and fiber. She showed a Finn ewe and a Finn ram in the sheep show and also participated in the Shepherd's Wool Lead class. Her inside exhibits were reduced to two educational posters and the Fibercraft Self-Determined project. The end result of this complicated project was 27 yards of handspun wool. I am really pleased at how well she has learned how to spin. She also completed the Archery project --and she is loving archery! Here are some pics. Watch for a separate post on the Shepherd's Wool Lead tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Skeins of Handspun Yarn

I am so frustrated that my time is so occupied right now. I haven't had much of a chance to do anything with the hope chest recently. However, I have finished spinning and plying the blended wool/alpaca fiber that I started a month or so ago. Here are the pictures. Miss Abigail is also learning to spin. She should have a small skein to enter in the county fair, I hope!


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