{ Happy Sewing } … Embroidered Tooth Pillow

My boy is so excited … his first tooth is wiggling. These little life’s big moments take precedent and should be marked with something special. Ever since his big sister lost her first tooth a few years ago and I had made her a little owl pillow so the tooth fairy would know where to find it, he has been anticipating his turn. This is Emma’s:

Max does the most delightful line drawings of “des bonhommes” (little guys … whether it be super heroes, aliens, monsters, family members … we refer to them all as “des bonhommes”, pronounced “bonom”). So after mulling over various ideas with him (a race car, a fire truck, an airplane with a giant propeller), we decided he would draw a monser and I would translate that to fabric & take care of the rest. In about a minute & a half, this mini masterpiece was whipped up.

I scanned it, enlarged it & printed it to the desired size (about 4″ tall). As I did not have any printable transfer paper, I decided to go the route of a light box to transfer the image to fabric. An iPad with a white screen works wonderfully for this (or any computer monitor, for that matter). Simply adjust the screen’s luminosity to its highest, lay the paper image on the screen and place the desired fabric over top. Trace the image with a pencil & you’re set. A skein of embroidery thread and lots and lots of lovingly done little backstitches later, a few other scraps of fabric and some stuffing, and the project was complete.

I wanted to stay true to his mark making, so I left in all those overlapping bits of lines.

I did the same thing with his signature to embellish the tooth pocket.

Now we wait patiently to have something to put in it.

Stitching Family Heirlooms

I’ve been thinking about my creative grandmothers lately. First, my maternal grandmother (that’s what we called her, Grandmother … she was quite a lady, born into a very “proper” New Brunswick family in 1905).

Thinking of the things she lovingly sewed for her three granddaughters when we were little girls. I have the baby quilt she made for me that my own daughter sleeps with now.

And she also made each of us a tote bag to carry our books. I think mine disintegrated from overuse at some point, but somehow I ended up with my older sister’s.

She obviously loved doing appliqué work, which is probably why I enjoy it too, though I admit I am nowhere as good at it as she was. And her embroidery and crewel work skills are to be envied, for sure. Just look at all those teeny-tiny buttonhole stitches framing every fanciful bird in my blanket.

This is a cushion cover she created for me long, long ago. It is now stained and threadbare in spots, so I don’t use it for fear of it reaching the end of its life, but you can see it has been well loved through the years.

And another I have inherited that was folded away in a drawer at my Mom’s, but now takes pride of place in our home.

While my Grandmother used beautiful quality linens, cottons and yarns in harmonious colours, my Dad’s mom, Grand Mummy, was more creative with her fabric choices. She wasn’t picky about the fibres she used, probably a result of living in Trinidad where one was limited by what was available on the comparatively tiny island. At times she made dolls to sell to tourists from lots of zany polyester prints. One of my only memories associated with her is of bags of scraps of fabrics in a gazillion hot colours.

She made us each a mad random patchwork quilt (in various crazy patterned fabrics of unknown origin) that we sadly no longer have. What I do still have, however, is a “Snow White & the 7 Dwarves” set. I don’t know what she stuffed them with … they are really hard. And I have no idea what to do with them, but this girl who was never ever interested in visiting Disney Land, loves them completely.

I am probably a bit more my Grandmother in my sewing style and choices, but I strive to make choices with a bit more of the abandon that my Grand Mummy used. Either way, I would like to leave my children, and hopefully some day grandchildren, with some heirlooms of my own to carry on this tradition.

Embroidered Butterflies

Posted by on Aug 26, 2013 in Blog, Embroidery, Hand Stitching | 6 Comments

At Quilt Market, Art Gallery Fabrics was giving out little packages of 3 die-cut butterflies from their solid-colored fabrics. I knew I wanted to embellish them in some way, and this is what happened:

First I did a version of a buttonhole stitch around each one to attach them to the ground fabric, and then started stitching on the coral one. I haven’t done much embroidery in a long time, so my first attempt was tentative and safe. I added little glass beads to jazz things up a bit.

The blue came next. By this point I felt slightly more adventurous and tried to make things a bit more free-flowing and creative. And then with the yellow I aimed for something simpler and more modern.

Happy with the evolution!

Next up … Making a cushion cover with it!

Embroidered Wings

Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in Blog, Embroidery, Hand Stitching | 3 Comments


I spent some peaceful summer hours outside stitching this past weekend. This season & I … we were truly meant for each other!