The 3 “F’s”… Friends, Food and Fellowship…

Tonight we had a few married couples come to our house for a Christmas party and it was even better than I had hoped it would be. I was making cookie dough and putting together German meatballs at 1 a.m. this morning and then when I did get to bed, I was so wound up I couldn’t get to sleep. The last time I looked at the clock it was 5:33 and I was still awake…too many things running around in my mind. We put in hours of work to get ready for it (if I was a better housekeeper, that shouldn’t have been the case…) and just before our guests arrived my hubby…bless his heart… was outside stringing up Christmas lights on our gazebo! There were cookies to be baked, platters to find and wash, garland to string up, dusting, sweeping, mopping, did I say dusting?, meatballs to bake, fudge to be made, and lots more jobs. It was my idea… this is what I wanted for Christmas…to have some close friends over and just visit and of course eat! I was more than pleased and the night was just what I envisioned…non stop catch-up-chatter from the women and the men talked about electrical and plumbing issues…and a few other things…

Oh, I did get to show off my sewing room and my dolls to some of the ladies who hadn’t seen them “up close” before. One lady had never seen a ball jointed doll before and she was quite intrigued. See…this is a dolly post after all…

After they all left, I opened up a gift of some pretty cards that one of my guests had given me (thank you Beth!), and just took a moment to think about how grateful I am to have such wonderful friends. There aren’t many gifts that are as special as your close friends…We are truly blessed and I am so thankful to Lord for the friends He has allowed to be in my life. I wish I could express it better just how nice a good friend feels when they hug you or when they just “get” you when you don’t even say a thing. I have those kinds of friends and hope you do too. Treasure them…they are precious!

Okay, how about some pictures, because I know everyone likes to see pictures… I wanted to show you some if you don’t mind… of what my living room and dining room looked like. I don’t have any pictures of people in the shots because I’m not sure how they felt about being “famous” on my blog! (Ha!) So you’ll just have to look at decorations and platters of food. …and don’t forget, my house is a work in progress, but we tried to cover up the areas that aren’t finished…
My hubby wanted to “paint” the floors this week… I told him, “It’s not gonna happen, honey, it’s not gonna happen!” …but maybe some day!

I decorated my buffet and a library table with a bit of whimsy…

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I snapped a branch off our huge magnolia tree and used it on my light fixture…

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We don’t have the trim up around our living room window (yet…) so my hubby came up with an ingenious way of camouflaging the area without trim where the insulation shows… garland..who’d of thought?? Great job honey!

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Here’s a natural shot of the room as the sun went down and it got a little darker outside…

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My dining room table in the works…

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…and the F-O-O-D…

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Merry Christmas from my house to yours…

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See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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Someone asked… Do I have a “Favorite” Christmas doll dress?

Someone asked if I had a “favorite” Christmas doll dress??? Do you know how hard that is to answer? V-E-R-Y hard! I’ve been making them for years and each one, when I make it, seems to be my favorite. Sometimes it turns out to be the photo shoot that is special. Sometimes I just capture the dolls expression so perfectly it becomes my favorite. So I did a little searching through my Christmas dress pictures and hope I can answer the question…at least I’ll try…how about my favorite top ten? Again, I’ll do it backwards and work my way to number 1…

Number 10
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Number 9
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Number 8
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Number 7
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Number 6
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Number 5
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Number 4
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Number 3
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Number 2
I don’t have a single shot of Rebecca’s green dress on the right but here it is in the “group” photo.
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I thought #2 and #1 deserved a few extra shots…
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Number 1
Something about this dress just wins me over every time I look at it. I learned to crochet the little caps and that was fun. I designed the jumper pattern and I LOVE the holly fabric… that’s why it’s #1.
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I don’t know if you agree with me or not, but those are my choices…

I’ve picked up several new subscribers and I wanted to welcome you to my blog. We have lots of fun around here and I hope you’ll post a comment soon and join right in.

See you tomorrow,
Blessings and Merry Christmas to you all,
~ Jeanne

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New cutting table skirt and bathroom curtain made…

I usually take a break from sewing doll clothes the last 3 weeks or so of December and try to catch up on things that need to be done around my house.
But, you know how it goes…if you’re a mechanic, your car is the last to be fixed; if you’re a hairdresser, your hair always needs a fix-up; if you’re a carpenter, your to-do list gets put off for ages it seems. Well, I guess as a seamstress, my list is for home projects that get put on the back burner. I’ve had two projects I wanted to get done…and we decided to have a small Couple’s Christmas Party on Sunday night, so I turned my attention to a few things that I hoped I could get finished. I thought they would be fairly quick and yield pretty good results.

My sewing room is right off the living room and if I leave the door open, when you walk in the front door of our house, you see straight into my room, and my cutting table is the main thing you see. I have my very own sewing room and am very grateful for it, and love it being next to the living room. I can hear what’s going on and even participate in the conversations through a cutout window area. I’d like to have shutters put up one of these days so I could keep it closed off if I needed to, but that’s down the road a bit.

I decided I COULD do something today to make my cutting table less messy looking underneath. I have all kinds of things stacked under it and even though I try to keep it neat, it still looks a bit cluttered.

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I had a large green and tan homespun checked curtain that was pretty long and would fit around my table and I already had a new package of Industrial Strength sticky Velcro that I had bought at JoAnn Fabrics. I took the curtain hem and header out to give me more length and pressed it to get all the wrinkles and crinkles out. I measured how far it needed to be from the floor to the edge of the table and cut it to the right height. Next I turned under about 1 inch and pressed it flat.

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Then I stitched a row of half inch elastic to the top edge pulling it pretty taut as I sewed it on. When I got to the end of that first row, I stitched another row about 1/4″ away from the first row. It gathered it up just enough to give it a nice look and it turned out to be long enough to wrap around the ends of my cutting table.

I then took the Velcro and cut it into 1/2″ wide strips about 2-3″ long, peeled off the backing and stuck them onto the edges of my table. It is very sticky and very strong so it should hold up for quite a while.

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I wrapped it around the corners and then stuck the other side of the velcro to the elasticized fabric, just at the top edge, matching up where it should go from where it was stuck on my table.

I was very pleased when I got it all done and this is the final look. It’s so much neater and now I can really put more stuff behind it and it won’t show.

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The second project I want to tell you about is a bathroom curtain. We finished our bathroom (finally after 10 years…) and I just couldn’t decide what kind of curtain I wanted to have in there. We have pretty new windows and I love the corner blocks we used, so I didn’t want to cover them up with a curtain rod on the outside. I found a tension rod and had piece of fabric just pinned over the rod with straight pins… for eons…seriously for probably 3 months! It wasn’t hemmed…just flapped over the rod and hanging down to the floor. I’m sure anyone who came over to my house wondered why in the world, with me being a seamstress, did I have curtains like this??? I wonder too!!

Well, I got them finished and it wasn’t hard… I just hemmed the long edges. Then I hemmed the bottom…all on the machine. I made a sort of balloon header at the top since I had the long length of fabric already. I made a header and then the bigger part was just like a mock ruffle. I like it and it’s so much better than “pins across the top of a tension rod!” Don’t you agree?

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YAY! Two home projects to cross off my list! Lots to go, but these two were certainly welcome…Okay now, that I’ve played today, I need to get my housecleaning done before my party…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings and Merry Christmas, Jeanne

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Last minute Christmas ideas…tutorial on making a pot holder or trivet from fabric…

It’s getting closer to Christmas every day that goes by and I had a last minute gift idea for those of you who like to wait till the last minute… (who me?) Seriously, I have been known to be cross stitching up in my bedroom while everyone else was downstairs visiting… not fun!

This is an easy tutorial and can be done using any kind of panel prints you have or even just pretty fabrics…the techniques are the same. It is the same process whether you are making coasters, potholders or even a wall hanging… I had this panel of gingerbread people in random squares and decided to do my trivet using it.

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I cut out the squares that I thought I’d like using the border around each square as my guide. I pressed the wrinkles out of them, and then picked a pretty bright green fabric from my stash for the backing, that I thought would work well with the colors in the prints…

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Next I laid my prints on top of the green and cut a piece of fabric larger than my print…no need to be exact; just cut it roughly 1 inch or so bigger than your print.

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If you want to make a potholder that is actually heat resistant, you might try Insul-Bright from JoAnn Fabrics. It’s that silvery fabric that resembles ironing board covers. I have used it before on some potholders I made for gifts. I tried to add a link so you could see it, but it wouldn’t work…I didn’t have any this time, so my tutorial will proceed without using it, but just wanted to let you know about it.

Next lay your print on a piece of fleece, batting, flannel layers…whatever you have and pin it in place. You can make it several thicknesses of fleece if you want. Cut around it randomly so it’s a bit larger than your print.

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Now thread your machine with a thread color that is compatible with the background you will be stitching on. I chose a soft yellowish color since the background of my prints are that color… set your machine to a slightly smaller stitch and begin stitching around the design in your print… I did mine about 1/4″ or so away from the design…no need to be precise…just stitch around the whole design.

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It should look something like this when you are finished…

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Trim off the fleece even with your border…and very carefully trim off the corners ONLY OF THE FLEECE about 1/4″ at a diagonal… this keeps your corners from being bulky…

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Next trim off your threads where you started and stopped, or better yet, pull them through to the backside and tie them off…
Then flip your PRINT design face side down so it’s “kissing” the RIGHT side of your backing print.

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Then stitch around the piece, using your sewing machine “foot” as a guide along the fleece. Make sure to leave about a 2″ opening somewhere along the design. You can see I left an opening at the bottom of my piece.

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Next you’ll want to carefully trim away the backing fabric everywhere even with the rest of the piece EXCEPT where you have your opening. This just gives you some extra fabric to tuck inside when you close it up…

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Now you can carefully turn the whole piece so the outside shows. This is the fun part…seeing what it’s going to look like.

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I generally use a crochet hook to carefully push my corners out… see…by trimming away that tiny bit of fleece at the corners you can have wonderfully precise pointed corners…

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Flip it face side down and using your iron push the backing just a little bit to the back side so it doesn’t show so much from the front. It’s not super important, but it does look neater from the front side if you have the backing so it doesn’t show.

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Take that little 2″ section and tuck it inside and press it flat, then whip stitch it shut…

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I decided to stitch around the brown edging on my print… you can do this on yours if you have a border, or if you don’t, just stitch the same distance away from the edge all the way around.

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Here’s the back side….

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…and here’s my finished trivet, potholder or coaster… whatever you want to use it for…

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Okay, now who’s going to give it a try? Just don’t wait till Christmas Eve…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings and Merry Christmas,
~ Jeanne

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