Celebrating the next Mrs. K

I’m going to be a mother! -in-law (again). This time to a daughter (-in-law)!

Our son married in early June. His bride is a sweetheart. They’ve been together for a number of years now, she is already a part of our family, and very loved. So, when they became engaged I looked forward to the parties and celebrations. Beginning with the Bridal Shower.

Now this bridal shower has already happened. Heck, the wedding happened, too, and I’m already recovered. My spring has been so busy that I had to let some things go. So here’s a recap, beginning with the shower:

I have to tell you, she had to be talked in to letting someone throw her a bridal shower.


This is the girl who is loves doing things for others: sending cards, doing special things, you know, going the extra mile … just because she cares. She didn’t think she wanted a shower. Fortunately, one of the bridesmaids twisted her arm a bit and it was settled.

I was thrilled to be asked if it could be in our home. YES!

My husband and I emptied our family room of the furniture and moved in tables and chairs for the guests, as well as tables for the food. We’ve had so many parties in this room. It’s a bit rustic – white walls and floors with  an open rafter ceiling and it just feels good.

Family Room Rafters and Birds

The tree branch gets decorated with birds in the spring and summer

We decided on a brunch and had a bit of a winery theme as the wedding and reception, both, will be at wineries. I set up the room with the tables and chairs (ahem, Wayne played a major role in that) and volunteered to do the menu and cooking (my preference). A couple of the bridesmaids took the lead on the decorations and a mimosa bar.

Let me show you

Bridal Shower

It was a brunch buffet

This is Rachel Ray's Mostly Meat Cobb Salad. DELICIOUS.

This is Rachel Ray’s Mostly Meat Cobb Salad. DELICIOUS.

I was so happy I served the blue cheese on the side, the guest of honor is allergic to blue cheese! I didn’t know! (plus, expectant ladies don’t eat certain types of cheese). The fruit kabobs were delicious and so pretty. Did you see that giant wine glass filled with donut holes?


Orange Muffins

 Making these muffins with freshly squeezed orange juice makes all the difference.


Yoghurt Parfaits.

These little parfaits are one of my favorite things! I keep these little jars around for parties for just this type of thing. You make these the night before and just set them out the morning of. They’re healthy and so good. If there are leftovers, they keep in the fridge for days!



I used whatever I could to give the tables a rustic flavor. I’m using an old milk carton to give height to the parfaits and an antique chenille quilt for a table cloth.

The morning of the party I still hadn’t made little sign for the dishes. I had left over labels that I stamped with an engagement ring stamp and wrote the dish name on it. I’d cut a slit in corks and glued them in, sliced the bottom of the cork so it’d lay flat. Ta-Da!


I made glitter handled spoons with engagement ring tags and a talented friend made the cookies for the guests to take home.

There was a wonderful game, He Said/She Said where we had to guess who said the given quote (terribly sweet!) and then a sheet where the guests could write sweet wishes for the couple. As party favors, I ordered these beautiful cookies from a friend and I made the glitter handled wooden spoons. I got the tutorial from the Something Turquoise blog. You can find the tutorial here. They were so beautiful. Sorry, this table setting photo just doesn’t capture it. (It does, however, capture how I didn’t press this table cloth!!)

And then it was gift opening time! And you know the saying is that you have as many children as broken ribbons for your bridal shower? Let me just say that if you register someplace that has tulle as ribbon, breaking ribbons isn’t easy!


This ribbon will NOT break!


There’s more than one way to “break” that ribbon!

It was a wonderful morning filled with laughter and we all got to show the bride how loved she is.

And the celebrating isn’t over yet. There are still a couple more parties that have to happen. The rehearsal dinner and the WEDDING!


 I think she’s ready!

I can’t wait to tell you about the Rehearsal Dinner. SO.MUCH.FUN!

Catching Up


Hey there stranger!

Yep, it’s been a while. A long while. I started writing and  ‘splaining why, but, I’ve decided, you know, let’s just wait until I have the right words. BUT, I WILL say right away, like the phone call in the middle of the night, “Everything’s okay”. Well, everything’s mostly okay, some things are even good!

Here’s some of the good stuff – I have been having SO much fun working on a few things!

I signed up and participated in a couple of swaps. TWO! They both were mailed out today! A swap is where everyone makes the same thing, with their own personal spin, and it’s all anonymous. The organizer divvies out the names – you don’t who is making yours, and your partner doesn’t know who is making theirs. Some are national, others are international. Fun, huh?

The first swap is a Skinny Pinny Swap, hosted by Amy Made That! You can see all of the sweet pinnies on Flickr here. It’s a cute little pincushion that fits so conveniently and neatly next to the front of your sewing machine.

Here is my first prototype, the one I made one as a trial.

Skinny Pinny Prototype

I made mine a little bigger and customized with a bit of piecing. The back has just a little piecing, too!


 The ground walnut shells I filled them with keeps them heavy and stable. The pins don’t go all the way through, either.

Pouring Ground Walnut Shells into the pincushion

Pouring Ground Walnut Shells into the pincushion

Here’s the one I made for my partner. I was told she likes red.

Bonnie Christine and linen with appliqued flower and embroidered stems

Bonnie Christine and linen with appliqued flower and embroidered stems


Seeing all angles, front and back.

I love that little trim. I picked it up at a LQS when I was staying at a friend’s house in South Carolina last summer. What a great little place!

I also signed up for a Triple Zip Pouch Swap. I’ve always liked making pouches and this one looked challenging and super fun! I will make this one again and again!!

The swap was hosted by A Quarter Incher. There is a free tutorial for the pouch by A Quilter’s Table that everyone used, but you wouldn’t believe how different they all looked from one another, with the different preferences of what people wanted added to the different styles of the sewists making them. Again, there is a Flickr group that you can see all of the talented sewists. Ah-mazing!

As I always try to do, I made a protype using a combination of some great Japanese fabric a friend gave me, new pieces, and even some vintage fabric.

This was my first attempt at the Triple Zip Pouch. Not bad, but I wanted to make the zips and fabrics a bit more straight.

This was my first attempt at the Triple Zip Pouch. Not bad, but the zips and fabrics were just a bit wonky. No bueno.


Here’s what I made for my partner:

Here's the cut pieces and zips. I used the crossword fabric as the lining throughout the pouch

Here’s the cut pieces and zips. I used the crossword fabric as the lining throughout the pouch


I, again, added a bit of hand embroidery to the main body fabric. (and what do you think about that background fabric? That’s a funky green chair in my office at work!)


Almost ready to go!

Almost ready to go!

I took some felt and embroidered a little hexie to match the honeycomb of the pouch fabric on the bookmark of the moleskin book so it was embellish just a bit. I almost kept that little scissors stamp – too cute! And then I found a washi tape with scissors, too. Perfect! I added some dark chocolate truffles and wrapped it up in a sweet handmade paper envelope. I hope she likes it.

Wanna see what I received? Not to be too dramatic, but I hit the jackpot, ya’ll! I’d favorited her Flickr picture of it when she first showed what she was doing on the Flickr group!! What great fabric and all of that piecing!  Do you see the little zip charms? I love every inch of it! And the goodies she stuffed that sweet bag with! So generous!! Thank you, Heather!! I wish I could give you a hug in person!!

OMGosh! This was one of my very favorites! How did I get so lucky? And do you see all of those thoughtful goodies? I almost cried!

OMGosh! This was so much fun opening!



Last weekend I hosted a bridal shower for my daughter-in-law-to-be! Eek!!! I can’t wait to show you pictures and tell you all about it. The decorations. The food. It was a great brunch for our sweet ChaCha. It was wonderful honoring and celebrating her. Amidst the crazy winter we’ve had, the day was glorious, reaching into the 60’s. It took a lot of planning and work, but it was totally worth it. She and my son marry in June.

I also bought some great fabric from Fabric.com for curtains in my bedroom that is a very modern print in indigo and grey, a favorite color combo. So excited to update that poor bedroom. It’s been too long! That’s on my ‘very soon’ list.

There is so much more going on, and I just can’t talk your ear off with everything, so I’ll share more next time.

I’m so glad to be sharing my fun stuff with you again.

Thanks for letting me lie low for a while and being here now that I’m sticking my head up again.

Grace. Right?

It’s good to be back.


My living Snow Globe plus a Giveaway!

We have a winner!  Congratulations to Raina for winning the Burlap Christmas Stocking and bunting!!

My favorite gifts are the handmade ornaments my kiddos make each and every year in school.

We had comments from all over the globe with wonderful memories of Christmas pasts (and some good ideas for Christmas future, eh?). Again, thanks to everyone for participating. I wish I could tell you face-to-face how much I enjoyed this giveaway and your memories. It was great.


I have friends who lament all summer about the heat and wanting scarf weather. Well, summer is over and we are in the midst of a white winter here in the middle of the U.S. It started on Thursday with snow coming down in a blizzard-y fashion that evening and continuing for 24 hours. The result was a beautiful snow globe of a world that kept us off the roads (hopefully, as the roads were treacherous). Schools closed. Businesses closed. Even MY workplace closed! So, my day was spent making sure animals were taken care of and our sidewalks were clear. In the midst, I  a wonderful cup of hot cocoa with homemade marshmallows. YUM.

Here are a few shots of what it meant for us here in southern Illinois the next morning:


This is my back yard, where you can see through the woods and up the hill. This is the ONLY time you can see through the woods!

A snowy gate into my garden

The door to our screened room belonged to my husband's grandmother. It was a joy to install it. The snow blew through the screen into the room. It's now my large walk-in freezer!

Can you see the bird tracks? It's like it said, "Uh, no thank you!"

One of our beautiful large pines that is a windbreak to our home

One way in. One way out.

This is the day after the snow had fallen. It drifted in many places, so the depth was surprise at every step


Are you still with me?

I want you to check out the Giveaway I’m participating in over at Sew Mama Sew! This event is AH-MAZING!

This is in the Handmade Category and I’ve made a burlap Christmas Stocking (or sock as some call it) with a velvety gold cuff. It’s lined with a muslin cotton and embellished with a pretty gold bow with a little bling. Inside, you’ll find that I’ve added a burlap bunting that reads Merry Christmas in red. You may even find a peppermint stick with other Christmas treats inside!


A beautiful Burlap Christmas Stocking and a Merry Christmas Bunting


Waddya think? It’s full size, measuring 14″ from cuff to heel. It will hold all kinds of goodies! The Merry Christmas bunting is 64″ from “M” to “S”. I hope you like them, I do!

To win, tell me, what is your favorite-est gift you’ve ever gotten in your stocking? Are stockings even part of your tradition? You don’t have to be a follower, but if you are, enter a second comment letting me know and that’ll count as a second entry. The giveaway ends on December 13th at 5 p.m. I’ll contact the winner and have it sent out soon thereafter. I am willing to ship internationally for this giveaway, however, I can’t promise it’ll get there by December 25th if an international winner is selected.

Also, make sure you head over to Sew Mama Sew and check out the other giveaways. It will truly make your head spin!!

Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate you stopping by and visiting.

Merry Almost Christmas!


I don’t have gadgets. I have tools.

Sew Mama Sew has asked peeps for reviews on their sewing machines. All of the questions they wanted answered are sprinkled throughout the post. I hope you enjoy hearing uh, reading about it her. There is no compensation for this (but wouldn’t that be sweet?).

As one who is known more for her cooking than her sewing, I’m also known for the tools in my kitchen. They are old, new, common, extravagant, inexpensive, and not-so-much. By some claims I have a lot, but at least they’ve not signed me up for the show ‘Hoarders’ … yet. I believe in having the right tool for the right job. Now did I get that from my dad? Perhaps my husband? At any rate, it sounds very male, but I’m a firm believer.

In my studio, I feel the same way. Have the right tool for the right job. I was a sewist who hadn’t sewn in years, having moved on from costumes and curtains to the holiday Bûche de Noël, Italian Buttercreams, and cuisines from across the globe. I discovered foreign cuisines and specialty dishes and I still love the challenge of creating something delicious in my kitchen. I have plans to show you some of those tools, but not today. I’ll need to break you  in slowly. Ha!

Today is about my studio work horse. She is one I wasn’t so sure about in the beginning, but she has converted me, convinced me, and won my heart.

Sophia 2

I have a sewing table that fits onto my Sophia2. It helps to stabilize my fabric as I sew

I have a sewing table that fits onto my Sophia2. It helps to stabilize my fabric as I sew

I’d not sewn in years, the old Singer I had stored away for many years had rusted (it was never a quality machine but did what I needed at the time) and when the LQS said it was worth less than it would cost to clean it, I knew I’d need a new one. My first move was to buy a refurbished Brother sewing machine on-line and had to return two of them due to problems in the machines. I requested my money back, got it, and looked locally. I decided on a Baby Lock Sophia 2 sewing machine. She is the smallest of all the embroidery machines that Baby Lock offers. I wasn’t even convinced I wanted the embroidery function, but the lady at the LQS where I purchased her spoke magic and I said yes. I put her on lay-away and made payments. (Why yes the DO still have layaway. If I’d gone the pay [this] in [#] months, interest-free, I’m afraid I’d gone way over budget.) My husband paid her off for my birthday as a very sweet surprise. She was about $999, but I got her on sale for about $650, if I remember correctly. I’ve had Sophia for 2 years and can’t believe how much I’ve sewn with her. I’ve sewn denim, burlap, canvas, voile, knit, vinyl, lightweight cottons, and linen. She is a champ, I tell ya!

She’s a Work Horse with Flair

I had never had a self-threading machine, and I never thought it would be a big deal, but listen to me: it is a huge time saver and it’s AWESOME.  Not exaggerating. Not lying. If you can, get it. Baby Locks are also known for their ability to sew through thick layers. They say 8 and I’ve sewn 8 layers. You have to go slowly, but the machine performs. I’m also really glad to have the embroidery capability on the machine. I don’t really use a lot of the built-in art, I don’t like a lot of the cute stuff (no, there’s nothing wrong with cutesy!!), and my daughter doesn’t really like it, either. However, you can get software for additional art and fonts and create whatever your taste is! The machine comes with lots of attachments, but there are many more you can purchase. The machines does a ton more than I’ve discovered, I know. It will just take me spending the time to discover them.

Sophia2 embroiders within a 4x4 inch space. You can upload additional fonts & art

Sophia2 embroiders within a 4×4 inch space. You can upload additional fonts & art

Shudda Wudda Cudda ?

She has been exactly what I’d hoped for. Capable of doing what I wanted to do with the capability to do what I’d want to do next. For the person who is a quilter, please note that she doesn’t do well on larger than a lap size quilt nor does she embroider large pieces. The throat isn’t large and there is only one hoop size –  4″x4″ size. If I could get another machine, what would it be? I would love a Janome Memory Craft 9900. The Memory Crafts are beautiful and do everything I’d want to do, I believe. I try not to daydream about them. Baby Lock has a ton of beauties, too, and the Bernina 880 (this one, friends, is no joke! It’s amazing!) My LQS has them all. All lined up to tempt every person who walks in the doors. They carry quality machines and they each have special functions.  Baby Lock. Bernina. Janome. These beauties are investments. You know what I mean by that, yes?

No Regrets

If you have any questions about the Baby Lock Sophia 2, let me know. Really. I’ve not found her lacking in anything that I really need, whether I’m making pillows, purses, clothing, home decor. She’s a delight.


Oh! Have I told you about my serger? Have I told you I don’t know how to use it yet? How’s that for planning ahead?

Enjoy your week-end!



Cutting up a wedding dress

Little did she know she and her marriage would be an inspiration to many

Little did Cathe know that she and her marriage would be an inspiration to so many

No, this is not about an angry ex-wife.

This is about a wonderful friend, happy and married for thirty something years. She loves her family like crazy and adores her grandchildren.

This friend of mine, she had this idea … and it included me!  She asked me to do something that she knew would stretch me. And she didn’t think twice about it, apparently!

She asked if I would cut up her wedding dress and make a special event dress for her almost one year old granddaughter. CUT UP her WEDDING DRESS! (I’ve discovered my friends have a lot more faith in me than I do for myself!)

Whhhaaat? Her youngest granddaughter was having a special event and she wondered about making her a dress for her from her very own wedding dress.

I’m still shaking my head that I said yes! Especially not even knowing what it looked like. Plus, the fact that there’s only one, that it’s a special dress, for a special event …

But, a yes is a yes, no matter how many times I questioned my abilities.

In planning it out, I had thought it was needed by July, but when I found out that it had been scheduled in June, and I was going to be on vacation the first part of June, I took it with me ON THE AIRPLANE! I checked it in baggage and prayed it wouldn’t get lost – even though I had a direct flight!

Once in L.A., while staying with my sister (she worked half days sometimes, so I could sew while she was gone), I made a muslin of the pattern just to make sure I understood the instructions. I hadn’t sewn a dress for a little girl in AGES, so I wasn’t about to cut up the dress right away. I used McCalls Pattern #M5791, view C. This is a sweet, sweet dress for any little girl. Classic, even.

McCalls Pattern 5791

What an adorable little model!

Oh, and did I mention that I only had Little Miss’ weight and measurements? I’d never even met her! The pattern is for a short dress and I wanted the dress to be about ankle length. Little Miss wasn’t walking yet, but as we know, that could happen any day for a one year old and I didn’t want it to be a frustrating length for her.

Muslin front. I made ties out of muslin, too, but it was so bulky I wanted to try a satin ribbon instead

Muslin front. I made ties out of muslin, too, but it was so bulky I wanted to try a satin ribbon instead

This is the muslin back. I decided to not make a lining in the muslin like I would in the final dress

This is the muslin back. I decided to not make a lining in the muslin like I would in the final dress

After sewing the muslin, my sis asked a friend of hers if she’d try the muslin on her 14 month old.

It fit her perfectly!

This is only the muslin and I was trying to determine how long it needed to be.

This is only the muslin and I was trying to determine how long it needed to be.

After making the muslin, I decided I didn’t like the sleeves, they were too much like wings, and the belt was a little bulky. So, I wanted to try and make the sleeve out of the hem of the wedding dress and get a satin sash for the belt. This muslin was sooo helpful, and I recommend making them for new patterns.

So, what next? The cutting up of the dress! It still churns my stomach a little! The great thing about this dress is that it was a lovely cotton and lace dress. Working with natural fibers is so much easier!

Remember to breathe!

Remember to breathe!

In retaining the lovely hem, I had to measure out from the bodice the length I wanted

To keep the lovely hem, I had to measure out from the bodice the length I needed (which was a guess).

It went fairly quickly and I noted the lining was a really nice quality and since it already had hemming to it, I used the wedding dress lining for the baby’s dress lining, too!

I did have a couple of sewing issues, but that’s pretty typical – for me. When I was basting I looked up and saw what was happening! ACK! I was working on my sister’s machine, but I used to have this problem all.the.time. on my previous machine. Her machine was great and did the job just fine, I just needed to pay attention!

No Bueno

No Bueno

So, by the time I was to return home from SoCal, I carried the not quite finished little dress with me on the fight home. I still needed to put in the zipper and hand stitch the bodice lining down. I returned on a Friday and it was needed by the next weekend. Totally do-able.

But, other than that, plus that little fight with the zipper, I finished it and was satisfied. The last breath held was whether it would actually fit her!

And it did!


I know it’s difficult to see the detail of the fabric since it’s white on white, but it was so sweet! There is embroidery throughout the fabric, with the lovely trim along the hemline and sleeves. Grams and Mommy were totally happy and it looks like Little Miss liked it, too.

Thank you, Cathe, for having more faith in me than I have in myself, and for letting me be a part of such a special day. You’re an amazing woman and I love it that we’re friends.