Tuesday, January 29, 2013

♥♥ Getting Ready For Lovers Day! ♥♥

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 I've been getting ready for Valentines Day...its our wedding anniversary, so I'm really partial to hearts!
I put the table runner that I made last year, out in my sewing room, where I could share it with my friends. 
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 I've been making lace heart decorations with my embroidery machine in there!
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In the dining room, I've set out my Royal china "Quban Royal" gold rimmed plates (22K), all ready for a special dessert that I have planned.  I'll share the recipe with you very soon.  It is very easy & VERY GOOD!
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The bakers rack in the kitchen is festooned with lots of red & pink!  My Ralph Lauren cake plate is threaded for the occasion, just waiting to hold that special treat.  I have some happy Valentines Day paper plates ready to serve the grandkids cookies, in case they stop by before the official holiday.  

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Isn't my little mouse ADORABLE?

  He was a gift from my friend... Thank you, Carol!! I just love him to pieces &have nicknamed him "Valentino".  I think he is supposed to be a pin cushion but I could never stab him with a pin...he's too CUTE!
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 There are hearts everywhere! 
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 Heart shaped baking dishes to hold PINK cuppies...
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 I have lots of pink & white paper heart doilies around the house.  They make me happy & bring back fond memories of grade school Valentines.
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I brought out my Waterford crystal heart that I carried home from our trip to Ireland.  Of course, there HAD to be some conversation hearts available, too.  It wouldn't seem like Valentines Day without those!

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My husband calls my granddaughter, (Ms. C.) "Sweetie Face".
I bought special Valentine colored M&M's just for her.  I have them in one of my Mother's vintage milkglass compotes.

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The apothecary jar in the kitchen is filled with lots of big, puffy heart shaped marshmallows, just waiting for a visit from her, so we can enjoy some hot cocoa together.

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 I wish you could join us!

I'm joining Cuisine Kathleen for
Susan for
"Seasonal Sundays".


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Making Satin Pageant Sashes

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My daughter asked me if I would make 12 satin sashes for  awards at my grandson's swim team banquet.
I had never done a pageant sash & I looked all over the internet for instructions & didn't find any, so I took pictures along the way.  I hope this may help someone avoid my mistakes.   
I bought cotton or flannel backed satin to use, as it is a little less slippery & has a bit more body to it.  I did NOT pre-wash it, like I usually do ALL my fabrics, right when they come in the door to my house.  This stuff frays something awful & I was afraid it would shrink too much, too.

One tip to prevent fraying of fabric when pre-washing it, is to cut an angle across the corners of the yardage.  This will prevent all those long, tangled strings you sometimes get.  I wasn't taking any chances with this stuff though.

Normally, I starch the "HE-double toothpicks" out of any fabric that I'm cutting, but I found out really quickly that spray starch left water marks on this satin.

I just ironed it with a DRY iron...no steam...at a moderate temperature.  Be sure to check your iron's temperature settings & make note of it, so when you come back on the second or third or fourth or fifth day (yes, these took me THAT LONG to finish them all!!) you won't scorch your fabric by starting out with your iron too hot.   

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I used both a fusible stabilizer, ironed directly onto the back of the satin fabric as well as a cut-away stabilizer in my embroidery hoop.

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Through trial & error, I determined that my embroidery design needed to be approximately 14" down from the top of my fabric, so that it would be positioned correctly on the body.  I measured this prior to placing the fabric in the hoop, so I would leave enough at the top & marked it with just a pin until I got my embroidery hoop attached to my machine.

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Not all fonts do well on satin.  This is a script font that is built into my machine, but I read that the font, Perpetua, also works well.

Using my Embird software, I combined the 3 different thread colors of this crown & font into just one color, so as to save time in embroidering.  When you're doing 12 of anything, it takes awhile & this way I didn't have to keep running back to the machine to change threads time after time for each part of the design.

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 I found that if I pinned the satin to the stabilizer, all around the hoop, making sure the pins were out of the way of the needle, it helped to keep the satin taut & avoided puckering.  I was pleased that the pins did not leave marks or holes in the satin.

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 When finished, I trimmed off both stabilizers from the back & cut the strip of satin on each side of the embroidery design so that there was approximately 1 1/2" on either side of the widest part of my design.  In this case, it was the outer points of the crown.
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This photo, above, just shows my choice of long quilters ruler, not the correct measurement for cutting.  Your measurements for cutting the width of the sash may be different, based on your choice of embroidery design.  Mine were cut 6" wide prior to sewing a 1/2" seam on each side, & ended up 5" wide, finished, but a child's sash might be 3" instead.

Mine looked best with approximately 1 1/2" on either side of the widest part of the embroidery design.

  When cutting the sashes AFTER the embroidery was done, if I folded the embroidered satin fabric more than once, it would scooch all over the place & I was unable to get a nice, straight cut edge. I found that using my 6" wide quilters ruler helped tremendously in cutting the strips. 

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Another tip I found useful was to place a second ruler flush against the top & side of my long ruler, so that I could continue my cut in one very straight line.  If I had to move my large quilting ruler upwards to continue cutting, the fabric would move & distort the cut.  That satin is slippery & Very frustrating!

I soon learned that when I cut a very wide piece of fabric with the embroidery design in the midde & tried folding it with right sides together, sewing the long side seam, I had to struggle to turn it.  The stabilizer was especially difficult to turn through the tube & it left my embroidery wrinkled, as it did not want to bend in half nicely without distortion. 

Instead, I cut a back piece of satin the exact size of the front embroidered piece, placed the right sides together, sewed both long sided & across ONE bottom edge.  Turning this right side out seemed to be easier for me.  It also left 2 seams on either side to use as guides for pressing instead of one seam on the back that I would have had to center each time I ironed each sash.

For this embroidered design, my sashes were cut 6" wide AFTER embroidering.  You don't want to cut the fabric first & then try to embroider it, as that would make it difficult to hoop & also it might pucker & pull in from the sides.

I would have loved to have been able to use my serger for this project, since satin frays so much, but even a 3 thread overlock stitch left a thick bump of thread in the seams that showed up horribly when pressing from the front.  Instead, I just sewed at least a 1/2" wide seam.

I found that once I sewed the seams & turned the sashes right side out, if I placed my hand down inside & spread my fingers wide against the inside seams, then slowly pulled my hand back out as I ironed the sash, it would lay nicely & be evenly centered.

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 I sewed 2 more pieces of satin for the back sash in the same manner...right sides together, sew down both long edges & across one short side, then turned it right side out.
   For an adult, the sashes needed to be angled at the shoulder so they would lay nicely.  You may not need to do this for a child's size.

IMPORTANT so pay attention:

 Place the 2 sewn sash tubes together, with the embroidered FRONT sash facing upwards, towards you.  (the back piece is the same on both sides, so it doesn't matter which way you lay that one)

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Measure down 1" on the right side of the sashes & make a little mark.  Then angle your ruler from that mark over towards the beginning of the sashes on the left.  Cut through all 4 layers at once!  Keep them pinned together while you carry this to your sewing machine.  You are going to do a French seam here, so you will sew with the back sides (or wrong sides) together FIRST.  This is the opposite way you sew most seams, so pay attention!  Make sure you pin them together before moving them.

Once you've sewn across that top edge, trim it down slightly & fold your sash over so that the embroidery design in now on the INSIDE.  Sew across that same angle again, tucking in the corner edge, if it pokes out a little.  I had a bit of difficulty in getting the tip to stay inside on some of them, so I gave them a touch of fabric glue in that area, for extra security.

I'm sure there is a better way to connect the fronts to the backs but I couldn't wrap my head around it.  The French seam worked well for me, but if others have some suggestions, I look forward to hearing them.

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Press them all with a moderate iron.  I tried not to stress about some of the wrinkles & convinced myself that it was just the nature of the satin.

They looked great on these sweetheart swimmers & they seemed pleased!

Sweetheart Senior Sashes 

 Forgive me for covering their pretty smiles, but I would never put a photo of a child's face on the internet.
(Someday soon, I'll do a post on exactly why not) 

I know this was a long & detailed post but I hope it helps someone in the future with such a project.  I went through a lot of trial & error on these.

I'm linking up with Yvonne at StoneGable for her
Tidbits, Tips & Tutorials as well as Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday.  I hope you visit both these gals blogs because they are a treasure trove of useful ideas!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January Snowy Blues

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The PTA of Sandy Hook suggested that we take our extra snow flakes we had made for the new school of the surviving children & create a winter wonderland of our own, in solidarity with them.  I knew immediately what I would do with all the extra free standing lace ones I had made.
(seen HERE)

I created this icy blue tablescape, filled with snowflakes, snowballs & snowmen.

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Silver pinecone tea light holders on either side of the centerpiece, provided warmth & light on a cold winters night as well as some sparkle at the table.

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Each place setting included a different snowman on a sled atop a white Waterford "Ballet Dot" napkin, whose dots look a lot like snowballs to me.

The centerpiece began with the pretty cake plate, whose base reminded me of an ice ball.
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I scattered flat bottomed glass drops all over the glass table, to represent icy water droplets.
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The free standing lace snowflakes were hung from the arms of my chandelier with fine nylon sewing thread.  If you try this method of hanging anything from such a light, may I suggest you tie one item to each end of the clear thread, instead of attaching each snowflake individually.  It makes it much easier to take them down later & you can easily adjust the various heights of the items for a truly random look.

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I set the cover to the cake plate aside & used this round dome to create a "Snow Globe" effect for my centerpiece.

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  I added dots of snow on the inside as well as snowflakes of icing on the outside.  
In the center, I placed a little snowman that my oldest grandson made for me in pre-school

That little boy is now 17 years old & a 6'3" handsome hunk, but he'll always be my "Precious Angel".  

Yes, I saved this handmade treasure all these years!  "Motherrr, you never throw anything away!"

 The snowman is made out of a white plastic Tylenol bottle, pipe cleaners, pom-poms & has googly eyes.

I surrounded him with *snowball* cookies & white, snow capped cupcakes.  I imagined him ready for a snowball fight!

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The brilliant blue swirled plates are by Luigi Bormioli, found last year at T. J. Maxx.

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The silver chargers are from Big Lots...I thought the beaded edge reminded me of snowballs.

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 I used my Oneida "American Harmony" flatware & if you look real close, you can see the beaded border on them that echos the beading around the chargers.
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For the bread & butter, I used my Shannon crystal canapes plates, found at Tuesday Morning, last year.  

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The beautiful blue & white & silver placemats are from Big Lots & the other side of them looks just as pretty in all white & silver. 

 I was very impressed with the quality of these! 

 As usual, I'm kicking myself for not buying 12 of them instead of just 8.  Someday I'll learn.  *sigh*


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 The pretty cobalt blue stems are from the Dollar Tree.  Again, I should have bought 24 of these!  ~~sadly shaking my head~~ 

I adore this color & have found a use for them many, many times this year

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 On the side table, is a Kosta Boda crystal snowball votive candle holder.  These were very popular years ago & it seemed like everyone had them.  It is very heavy & really looks pretty when lit, as you can see.

  I set up a dessert area there, with cups that have a beaded rim, similar to snowballs & snowman plates, spoons & dessert forks.
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Oh, & a pretty snowflake teapot too!

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I hope the sun is shining this winter, where ever you are!
I'm joining Cuisine Kathleen for her
"Lets Dish" party, whose challenge theme
for this time is "Winter" 
I'll also join Yvonne at StoneGable for
Tidbits, Tips & Tutorials
as well as Susan's Between Naps On The Porch
Tablescape Thursday &
  The Tablescaper for her
Seasonal Sunday.

Please stop by each of these blogs & share in the fun!