Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Turning of the Elephants

Just for fun, I thought that I would give you a peak at my mantle. When we downsized a couple of years ago (by half) I really had to give some serious thought to what to keep. Our home reflects family and travels, and I tried to only keep things that make me smile.

One of the first things that visitors ask about are the 12 elephants lined up on the mantel. Daniel brought them back from South Africa a couple of years ago and they function as a calendar. They are each hand carved and I like to line them up from smallest to largest, facing in the same direction. On the first of each month, starting with the smallest elephant, an elephant is turned to face the other directions, so that by the end of the year they are all facing back to the right. We refer to this as ,"The Turning of the Elephants." Sometimes we make an elephant noise for special effect! :)

When I was unpacking the elephants after the move I discovered that Mr. October Elephant, as I like to refer to him, had lost a trunk! You wouldn't believe how much time I spent digging through packaging materials until I found it!

I enjoy the first of the year when we have a whole lot of elephants stretched out before us. The words, "Oh my, it is only 2 more elephants until Christmas!" have been heard here before.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Smocked Hearts for Valentines Day

Yes, it is possible to smock a bishop in one evening, if you are only smocking the front of the bishop and and there are only 6 rows of smocking! I wanted something with hearts for Valentines Day and something a little different from the traditions bishop style. With a few alterations, pattern #135 worked just right.

I started by cutting out and pleating the front. It was then pinned and sized on my lace shaping board and tied off. The smocking was completed in less than 2 hours! For the sleeves and back, I eliminated some of the fullness by about 1" by folding the pattern pieces down the center before cutting out the fabric. Next the sleeves were attached to the back pieces and I stitched two rows of gathering rows at the top that were drawn up to fit the neck band when needed. The front was then stitched to the sleeves and the neck band stitched in place.

After smocking for 2 hours, my eyes no longer were focusing, so the sleeves were saved for another day.

Click here if you would like a free copy of the "Baby Hearts" smocking design. There is still plenty of time to do something special for Valentines Day.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby Dresses for Emma

Baby Emma is growing so quickly now and since Arizona is having an unusually warm winter, I almost overlooked sending a couple of little dresses that she should be able to wear right now!

Both dresses are made by pattern #127, and are sweet and simple with a touch of lace and embroidery. The pale blue dress is View C in the pattern and the pale yellow dress is View B.

Because the techniques for applying the lace are so simple for these dresses, this is the pattern that I use most often when teaching Heirloom Sewing.
The Heirloom instructions and the embroidery designs are both included in the pattern.
Another reason that I enjoy this pattern is that very little lace is needed. I often trim these dresses with lace left over from other projects. That also brings up the question, "Do the laces need to match?" It is okay to use different laces on the hem and sleeves. Many antique outfits that I have run across appear to have been made with laces that they had on hand.

As you look at these photos, I know many of you are thinking, "Wow, I wish I had the time to sew like Michie' does!" I must confess that both dresses have been part of my Trunk Show for years and I have not touched my sewing machine in at least a week! I hope that the lack of sewing time is about to change!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Birthday Time Again?

It's hard to believe that it is birthday time again, and what an interesting year it has been! We are looking back on this past year and calling it the year of "Grand babies and travel." Not only were we blessed with our first granddaughter, we are now preparing for the first grandson!

Tim returned safely from Iraq this year.

And we finally made the big trip to South Korea to visit Daniel. Having never been to Asia, it was a unique experience for me and I was extremely pleased that by the end of the 10 days I had not only master the subway system but could eat with chop sticks!

I had a good friend mention the other day that Rex and I are at an exceptionally good time in our lives right now. Yes we are, and we are truly thankful.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Is Smocking Still in Style?

I am often asked if smocking is going out of style. If we go by these pictures that my sister-in-law took in Paris a couple of months ago, and by the number of students that are signed up for my smocking classes, and the number of Anna's friends who are wanting to dress their babies in smocked outfits, the answer is...........NO!

If we go by all of these signs, smocking is going to be around for quite awhile! We often refer to smocking as "classic" which according to the dictionary means, "something of enduring interest, quality, or style."

An now I think I will go back to my smocking and cup of hot coco. :)


Monday, January 17, 2011

Completed Outfits for Martha Pullen School

The best part about the snow last week, was that I had a chance to sew the buttons on all the outfits! These are the outfits that the students will be making in my "Smocking Construction" Classes at Martha Pullen School in February. In the class we will cover three basic construction techniques for smocking.

The first technique is constructing a classic white bubble or dress which has smocking attached to the yoke. Pattern #104 was used for the bubble and the dress.

Our second technique will be sewing a smocked insert into a garment.

Pattern #123 was used for the sundress and the sunsuit. Once again, the students will be able to choose whether they want to make a boy or girl outfit.

And our final technique will be a smocked bishop made from pattern #135, with a Madeira hem. All of the smocking designs, except for the bisop, are in the new "Beginner Smocking Book."

I know that you are probably wondering how we get that much sewing done in 4 days of classes! I never promise that you will complete your garments in class, but that you will learn the techniques, learn new sewing tips, and have a wonderful time!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Baby Emma Update

Although she was theirs from the moment she was placed in their arms, she is now theirs according to the courts. The adoption is now complete! We give thanks to God for this beautiful addition to our family.

Emma Lee Mooney, 2 months old

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And The Prize Goes To.....

How did I spend my snow days? I spent a large part of the first day just looking out the kitchen window at the snow.

Of course a little reading and watching old movies is always a good idea.

And all of the garments for Martha Pullen School now have buttons!

Thank you, everyone who entered the random free give away and shared with us how you like to spend your snow days. I enjoyed reading every single one! Some of you made me hungry for yummy things, others had special traditions like playing games, and some of them made me laugh! In general, everyone enjoyed a reason to just slow down and enjoy God's creation. Now to announce our two winners....... Gail Cofer and Marie Roche! I need both of you ladies to e-mail me at your mailing address, so I can get your book in the mail!

Hi Michie! so glad you are enjoying the snow in your part of town! It is beautiful here. I love to read on a snowy day cook a big pot of soup and a pan of cornbread. And now with grandsons, I love to watch them play in the snow!

Gail Cofer

If I was snowed in I would sit by a fire and do handsewing on whatever project I was working on. I would love it if my grown daughter and sons would be sitting in the room reading or doing whatever they would enjoy.Thank You

Marie Roche


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The New Smocking Book!

Why is Anna smiling? Because after months and months of planning, discussing, writing, and proofreading, the "Beginning Smocking Book" is finally finished and ready to ship!

I have had this book in my head for years, but knew that it would not be an easy one to write. And it wasn't! The book is in the order that I teach smocking and includes the numerous tips and hints that I have learned in 30 years of smocking.

The book covers not only the basics of pleating, sizing, basic Geometric stitches, but also Picture Smocking and a Smocked Bonnet Pattern.

Also, included are 10 smocking designs, 4 of which are in color. You can find designs for Geometric Smocking, a design for a bishop, sleeves and the bonnet. Both Picture Smocking designs also have a tutorial that will take you step by step while you learn to stack stitches.

I am looking forward to using the book during "Martha Pullen School of Art and Fashion" and in all of my smocking classes from now on!

*During the last week before the book was completed, I kept having dreams that I was proofreading.......glad that is over! :)

Click here to see how to win a free copy of the book!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Snowed In!

We got the predicted 8" of snow, so I am pretty much snowed in for several days! Rex made it into work this morning (nothing stops that man from doing his job) but tomorrow might be a little bit more treacherous. There are plenty of groceries and sewing supplies in the house, so except that I can't quit looking out the window and admiring the snow, I might have a productive week. So, in celebration of snow, let's have a free giveaway!

Leave a comment on this blog, telling me what you would like to do if you were snowed in for several day. It does not have to be sewing! Believe it or not, I have other things I am looking forward to doing like playing with my camera. The giveaway will end Wednesday night at midnight when I will randomly draw 2 names from the comments. Each winner will win a free copy of the new "Beginner Smocking Book!"


Sunday, January 9, 2011


Snow? That is what the weather men are saying. Possibly 8" mixed with ice! For us in the the South, that means we may not get a single flake. But just in case, I stocked up on basic groceries and hot coco.

But most importantly, I have plenty of supplies to continue working on Anna's baby quilt!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Box from Nana Shay

I have been waiting YEARS for grandbabies to wear the little bubbles and dresses that I have stashed away! Finally, the girl things can be mailed to baby Emma and the boy things will go to Anna. Anna calls it, "Shopping in Mom's closet." As I go through the outfits it thrills my heart when the size of the garment will be just what they need for the appropriate season.

This pink bubble was packed into a box with many other sweet things and mailed to Emma this morning. It should be just right for spring in Arizona, and is sweet without being too fussy.

This white dress is made from Nelona and the overlay is a purchased trim. When I made this dress "way back when", I couldn't imagine that I would be mailing it to a granddaughter in a few years!

Both the bubble and the dress are made using pattern #104. This is a very easy pattern and I like that there is not a collar to get stuck up under that sweet little neck!

I don't think that Emma will mind that both outfits appeared in Sew Beautiful magazine several years ago.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Free Smocking Design!

This is the seafoam Imperial Batiste bishop that I smocked in Arizona. I made the dress as a ready-to-smock so that once the smocking was done I could leave the dress and not bring it home to complete. Besides, I could barely close the suitcase after I got through Christmas shopping for myself!

The blanket in the photo is also very special. It is the one that I brought all four of my babies home from the hospital in. I had mailed it to Tiffany in case they wanted to use it before passing it to Anna.
The smocking design is a very simple design that I pretty much made up as I went along. The little "dots" reminded me of snowflakes, so although it was in the 70s while I was there, I was thinking of snow. So with all of that said, I would like to give you the smocking design for this dress!

Click here for the Free Smocking Design.



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