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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Latest Quilt

Now that Christmas has been here and the presents are opened, I can now share my latest quilt project that I made for my son Steve. Steve is 6'2" I believe, so the quilt had to be pretty large to fit over him. I made it approximately 7' x 5'. I used plenty of scraps in it that were already pre-cut in the 4 and 2" squares and the 4x2" rectangles that I have mentioned before. See what a help that can be to have those cut out ahead of time? Some of the scraps in this quilt are from Ron and Savannah's wedding tablecloths that I snitched with permission, and also scraps from just about every special person I have made a quilt for including an old boyfriend that remains a friend to this day. Steve may not know all the memories, but they are there. I put this quilt together in a quilt as you go technique that I keep trying to improve on (at least my technique) so that it doesn't kill me with my arthritis to make a large quilt, but at this point, I think I am going to cry 'uncle'. Even with doing the quilt in sections, when I finally put the last two together (which was the whole bulk of the quilt) the muscles in my neck, shoulders and hands were cramping up like crazy. One thing I did do that was a huge help was binding the long edges and mitering the corners before putting all the sections together so I wasn't having to manipulate all that fabric and batting. It was just quick work to finish the binding on the top and bottom when I put all the sections together. I even MITERED the corners! A first for me thanks to a Nancy Zieman video that I watched enough times that dyslexic me could figure out which way to bend the binding strips.

I reference Sharon Pedersons' Reversible Quilts books each time I do a quilt as you go quilt and they are a big help. Until just a few minutes ago I didn't realize that she had a DVD out, but I bet it would be a really big help. The back of each of the blocks in Steve's quilt is a different fabric so he can use it either direction. It is such a bright quilt, I called it Steve's Happy Quilt, becuase how can you wake up sad after sleeping under it? this quilt was made entirely on my Janome 7700 Horizon sewing machine.


Couture Techniques for a Better Fitting Waistband - Threads

Couture Techniques for a Better Fitting Waistband - Threads  Check out this interesting article from Threads magazine!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Make a Snowflake for the Students of Sandy Hook

Make a Snowflake for the Students of Sandy Hook  Following the tragedy AT Sandy Hook School the PTA is wanting to decorate the school as a winter wonderland for when the students come back by decorating it with snowflakes. If you have access to an embroidery machine, Embroidery Library is giving away a free lace snowflake design in three sizes that you can make. They would like to have all the snowflakes arrive at there office by January 12, 2013. Please visit the link to Embroidery Library for full instructions and the download to the snowflakes. If you can't machine embroider, I'm sure that they are taking any sort of pretty snowflake. Let's all do what we can to help these children return to some sort of normalcy in their lives and show the parents we care!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Embroidered Pillowcases

Year's ago I was given a big box of Work Basket Magazines. I didn't really want to keep all of them, but before disposing of them, I did go through them first and removed all the embroidery transfers that were in them. When I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to embroider some pillowcases, I went through the transfers and found one that I liked and used them to put the design on the pillowcases. The nice thing about using these transfers is you don't have any concept of what colors to use or what stitches to use. You get to be as creative as you want. I pulled out my copy of The Embroiderer's Handbook which I have found to be the BEST embroidery stitch guide I have ever seen and started sewing. I used several stitches that I had never used before and also some variegated threads, especially for the birds. For the bird I used the Fishbone Stitch found on page 73 of the book. For the green leaves I used Lattice Couching found on page 99 (I do need a bit more practice with that stitch), I also used a long stitch with a French Knot on the end for the pistils of the flowers. I enjoyed my time sitting and stitching. I also found when stitching I tend to not much which has it's own benefits!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to Miter the Inside Corner of a Hong Kong Finish - Threads

How to Miter the Inside Corner of a Hong Kong Finish - Threads

Another great idea from Kenneth King and Threads magazine. One reader commented that this would be a good way to bind an inside corner of a quilt, so most any inside corner binding would profit from this information.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I had been hearing of Pinterest for awhile and a few weeks ago finally checked it out and joined. I love this site and most seamstresses and quilters would. It is pretty much photo based and when you see some photo of a gorgeous quilt or sewing project, you can 'pin' it to your board and be able to refer back to it later. You can also sort what you save by different boards, like recipes, sewing ideas, Christmas, your own projects, whatever you want and whatever you want to call them to help you remember what is in them. I have a board called Inspiration that has photos of all sorts of things from wedding cakes, architecture, fishes, sky scenes, etc. If something appeals to me whatever the reason such as colors being used together, shapes that might make a great quilt, and so on, I pin it onto my Inspiration board. For those of us without ready access to a camera (or the ability to take decent photos) this is a great substitute and wonderful way to keep track of ideas, kind of like a file folder full of pages torn out of magazines that inspire you.

Anyhow, if you aren't acquainted with the site, I thought I would mention it in case it would appeal you whatever type of sewing or craft work that you do. You have to be invited to join (don't ask me why) and I can send invites to anyone that would like one, and NO I do not get paid for bringing in new people. Some of you have fantastic quilts and sewing projects that the world should see and Pinterest is a great place to share them. I have found spending some time on Pinterest at the end of the day is a very calming thing and seeing all the DIY ideas gives me hope that our next generation really will be sewing and crafting and carrying on our work as sewists.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Quilting Books

I will admit being addicted to books and especially sewing and quilting books. I was feeling very well the other day, so on top of running some necessary errands which usually leave me wiped out, I ended up at Joann Fabrics in front of the quilt book display (40% off no less)! I couldn't resist and two books and one magazine got popped into my cart. While many of the books on the display would have been of interest to me, when I picked these books up, they were so compelling I just knew I had to read them and study them. Of course, bringing them home made me want to try things out, except the elves have taken over my sewing room until December 25th. Until those projects are done I CAN NOT start another one except in my mind!!! See I'm being firm with myself.

The first one was Easy Grid Quilts . I have been seeing it advertised in quilting magazines, but the title didn't really help me understand the book and even though the front cover showed a compelling quilt I wasn't sure what it was about. Wow! What a book, especially for someone like me. When I finish any quilt project, all scraps are cut into set sizes of pieces. Generally I cut them into 2 1/2" squares, 4 1/2" squares and a 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle, but I have plenty of other size pre-cut squares and pre-sewn pieces. In other words, I could probably make one of her quilts without cutting any fabric at this point. See why I have to hold myself off of starting any new project until Christmas is done? Her whole book shows that by following a particular grid with set sizes of blocks, with set colors or fabrics, and even including applique if you like; you can make a fantastic quilt. She actually shows several different type grids in the book. For those that have lots of pre-cut pieces that you want to try something new with this might be a good book for you to check out.

The other book I got was Thread Magic Garden: Create Enchanted Quilts with Thread Painting & Pattern-Free Appliqué.  While the author's quilts aren't technically the type of quilt that I would want to make, I did want to learn her techniques. When I opened the book in the store, I realized that I would really have to study the book. It wasn't just something that you can flip through and remember everything like some books. I'm not done studying it or reading it yet. However, this morning on the Quilting Arts TV show, Ellen Anne Eddy, was featured and she showed how she did what she talks about in her book so that really was helpful, besides she was a very funny lady. If you want to learn how to thread pain flowers, this book would be a good reference and instruction source for you.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Recycled Pants = Skirt

Several months or possibly a year ago, Vogue Patterns magazine published an article on converting a pair of pants into a skirt, without the resulting 'hippy/boho' look that usually happens. I'd been wanting to try that as I usually wear skirts, so took a pair of green corduory pants that were a good 12 or more years old but were wearing like iron to try out the project. Found that the skirt ended up too short for my nasty looking knees, so added another strip of corduory from the leftover legs and a nice chunk of lace and my knees are covered. Instead of 'hippy' I got 'old fashioned' style! Oh well, not something most women my age would probably wear, but I'm happy to have something 'new' to wear. Now I have to decide if I want to do this with some of the many pairs of jeans I have that aren't getting worn.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Addition to My Sewing Room

Since our last desktop computer bit the bullet, I haven't done any machine embroidery. For some reason, my Customizer program never got installed on the newest computer even though it was on my laptop. But the laptop wasn't connected to a computer and I now needed a doohickey so that I could use the memory card in my 300e. The worst thing about sewing and computer stuff is how easily they go out of date. Anyhow, I realized that part of my problem in getting behind in embroidery projects, other than just poor health and lack of time, is that I have always had my computer and printer right next to my machine so that sewing out a designs after printing a template was super easy. Well a few weeks ago when I got my list from Amazon on items that I could pick to review, there was a printer on the list! I managed to get it (usually things like that disappear before I ever get a chance to see it). So our newest member in our computing family is a Samsung color laser printer! It arrived and with no particular 'need' for a printer Hubby and I discussed where to put it for awhile. Since the toners for this printer are rather expensive and the paper tray doesn't hold much, we knew we couldn't use it for the routine office work for our business. So now my sewing room has a new, very special color printer. The printouts in color are terrific. Laser is so much better than ink jet! I got it set up and my laptop besides it with the Janome 300E off to the side of me and suddenly I felt at home again. I was able to print out in color templates for a Christmas gift I want to make. Now I can do what I need to without having to bother hubby while he is on the computer. I'm still trying to sort out and straighten up the sewing room and then it is back to the quilt I'm making for someone specials Christmas present and have another present embroidering out at the same time. What fun!

If you want to see what I got, click on the Amazon link below. I don't expect you to buy it, but if you need a great color printer, this is a nice one. I'm just happy to have a new 'toy'.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Sewing Savvy

Yesterday, I had a chance to run into town and stop at the library for a bit. As I usually do when there, I check out all the magazines that have been donated and are up for sale. I managed to snag 8 copies of the 2008-2009 issues of Sewing Savvy magazine. I'm sorry to say that this publication has ceased publication at this point. I did a quick flip through and when I have time I will be reading more of the articles in the magazines. They have an impressive amount of projects for embellishing clothing, kids clothes, kitchen and home projects, aprons, and seasonal decorations. Rather than focus on one type of sewing, they would give tips on what to do if you, say for instance, don't have an embroidery machine how to make the featured item anyhow. They also used lots of fancy stitches when appropriate. I especially love books and magazines that can help me imagine the possibilities of all the decorative stitches on my machine. I know I am going to get lots of ideas from these magazines, and the best part? They were only 25 cents apiece which I managed to scrounge the $2 total price out of the coins in the bottom of my purse!

For those that have hobbies and want to thin out their stash of magazines, etc. don't forget your local library or thrift store -- never, ever the garbage. Most are happy to take donations. I know I personally am always ready and willing to take any kind of needlecraft magazines off of any one's hands. Free of course being the best price LOL! I use them as the equivalent of picture books on the days I'm especially not feeling well as it takes my mind off the pain. So many thanks to whoever donated these particular magazines to the McCord Library in North East, PA! I've gotten some great magazines there during this year.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tulips and Heather

I would love to introduce to you a fairly new blog called Tulips and Heather This is my most amazing daughter-in-law's blog. She is one of the most talented, smart, beautiful young women I know. The moment Ron brought her home to visit us, even though it was  past 11PM at night, it was like the sun came out in the house and it didn't set until she left. Because of the distance they are from us, visits will be very rare and most precious, so I am especially pleased to see bits and pieces of their lives by way of her blog. You might enjoy seeing some of her great ideas as well!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

National Sewing Month

September is National Sewing Month! I'd like to invite you to our store, Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts to shop for your sewing pattern needs. We have been listing like crazy the last couple of months and have close to 7800 different patterns in all styles and sizes listed at this point. We have a great selection of costume patterns for the upcoming Halloween and also patterns for church Christmas pageants and choir robes. Yesterday I was busy restocking our Women's Plus size patterns and if you check in the Unisex Pattern category of our patterns you will find even some larger extended size patterns if needed.

We work hard to maintain a large selection of patterns so our customers have a broad choice all in one spot. I also enjoy comparing patterns from current times to those in the past. Some are uncannily the same and others show styles that come around every couple of decades. I've noticed that peplums are coming back in style and the latest Threads Magazine, issue 163, ran an article on designing and adding a peplum to your garment. Peplums were very popular in the 1980's and we have many patterns that feature peplums that you could use for inspiration and a pattern itself, only watch out for the shoulders on these garments! Nothing better than to mix and match pattern pieces and come up with a great outfit. My favorite summer dress is a combination of a Vogue jumper and Simplicity flutter sleeves.

Shop with us any time!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Project Linus Quilts

I was given a big batch of fabric, batting, pre-cut squares and pre-sewn blocks several months ago. I decided to try to make some quick Project Linus quilts with the pre-sewn blocks. I try to make 1-2 quilts for this charity yearly, but find myself rushing to get them done by the official drop off date although they can take them any time of year.

So I sorted through the pre-sewn blocks and found that I had plenty of purple with a purple flower print 9 patch blocks. Problem was I didn't have any of the opposite blocks. With some of the pre-cut squares and making some squares myself, sometimes by picking out and disassembling some blocks to move the fabric into new locations, I had enough blocks to make 2 baby quilts. While they both have much of the same fabric, they coordinate but don't exactly match. It was fun to be able to make them without a lot of cutting and now I have already been able to turn in the quilts and am on to other projects. To quilt the quilt, I used a serpentine stitch down each of the seam lines with my even feed foot attached. I've found that doing a stitch that isn't straight helps to cover up seams that don't quite match!

One of the things that I do while making Project Linus quilts, is practice new techniques and currently I'm working on preparing to bind the quilt and the actual binding. I haven't been happy for years with how my binding looks. I was able to see a Nancy Zieman show (after the quilts were finished) that showed how to make an EASY mitered binding and so with what I trying and the advice she gave, I think my next quilt will have binding to be proud of!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Reversible Apron

I've gotten a bit behind in posting about my sewing projects as life just seems to zoom by the older I get! My daughter in law had a birthday last month and I made her another apron as she likes them and had asked me to make them for her. This time I tried something new. I made a reversible butcher apron so she could use whichever side fabric that she wanted or would go with her clothes.
I used McCalls Pattern 5174 (also sold as 0682) as the basis for her apron.
While this particular pattern is now out of print we have bunches of other apron patterns for sales at our store Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts. Just click this link to see them.

I used the butcher or carpenter's apron. Shown in light and dark blue. I tried to pick two different fabrics that would coordinate and also be in the color range that Savannah wears. I cut out two for each pattern piece except for the tie as it needed two of each fabric. The neck strap normally calls for making a tube of fabric and turning it inside out and then edgestitching. Instead I sewed the two different fabrics right side together and turned them inside out and edgestitched. For edgestitching, I use my stitch in the ditch presser foot as I have found it to be the best presser foot for this task.

Instead of the straight ties that were recommended for the carpenter apron, I used the fuller ties that ended with a 45 degree point. Next time I would make them longer though as they were meant for the aprons that reach around the body more than the carpenter apron. One thing I was very careful of, especially when making the points is that I got the left and right side ties made correctly. With the ties made I made pockets and embellished them and attached them to the front of their respective side of the apron. Pockets can be placed at whatever location would be convenient and do not have to be placed exactly where it shows on the pattern tissues.

Once I was done with the ties and pockets, I positioned side on of the apron right side up on my work table, then placed the ties in position and then laid down side two with the right side down. Pinned it all together and took it to the machine to sew up and around and then back down the sides. DO NOT sew down the hem at this point. I then turned the apron inside out, pressed it all carefully and then edgestitched all around the sewn sides of the apron. I turned the bottom of the apron up inside the two layers and then sewed the hem down through both sides. I would think that you could also allow the hem to be hemmed up on each individual side and let it hang loosely or be embellished with trim or a ruffle. I loved the way the apron came out! Modeled by Annabelle the dummy. Note that I got brave and made a rounded pocket on the one apron side.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bra-Making Basics - Threads

Bra-Making Basics - Threads  If you ever wondered about making your own bra, you can download the instructions now and see if this is a sewing challenge that is right for you. Let us know if you found it easy to make or not and what was the most challenging aspect? Measuring and getting the size right? Or perhaps it is finding the bra making basics? Please share with your sister sewers.

How to Make Beaded "Berry" Buttons - Threads

How to Make Beaded "Berry" Buttons - Threads You can download the simple instructions for making these buttons. It seems to me that with some tweaking, they could also be made into brooches to match your garment's fabric.

How to Create a Beautiful Lace Top - Threads

How to Create a Beautiful Lace Top - Threads  This video looks like a super simple lace top for either practicing sewing on lace or just making one of this year's fashion basics!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Simplicity Pattern 9124

We love it when customers send photos of the garments or projects that they make from patterns they buy from us. Linda from Hawaii just sent us some great photos that we want to share. She used Simplicity Pattern 9124. Checkout what the patterns envelope shows and what Linda did. She added some extra fabric in the front of the dress as her daughter needed a bit more room and made a pleat in the back. We hope that these photos give you some inspiration in your sewing endeavors. Be sure to send us photos of your projects so that we can post them as well!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blackwork Embroidery

I was sitting last night looking though some craft magazines when I came upon a small article on doing blackwork embroidery in issue 173 of Cross Stitcher Magazine (from the UK). I've seen numerous examples of blackwork in other magazines and embroidery books, but have never attempted it myself. Thanks to the fact that I have all my embroidery supplies in a rolling cart near the couch, I was ready on a moments notice to stitch. Of course, I didn't have the right size fabric, but I didn't let that stop me. I did have a piece of Aida cloth that someone had already used threads to make the design ready to stitch.
Since the design was a strawberry, I decided to use red embroidery floss. Part of the design was in one strand of floss and others parts in two strands. The instructions were minimal, but I did figure most of them out and had to change some stitches because of using the wrong type and size of fabric. After the first few stitches I realized that I would have some trouble following the chart as it was too small to see clearly, so David very nicely blew the chart up for me and printed it out in color so I could still follow the color chart. I did find that at the beginning since it was new to me, that after 2-3 stitches I would cross off those stitches to be sure I was keeping the right count and was stitching in the right place. The one place that I did have trouble was the beginning and ending the thread, especially with the single strand of thread as the back of the stitching didn't  have the same type of set up to bury stitches like regular counted cross stitch. If I do this again, I will have to see if my other books have instructions or perhaps some one reading this could leave us all an explanation.

In the end after around 2 hours of 'work' I had a nice little design that I will eventually us for something. It was fun and I enjoyed myself. Here is my little strawberry design.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Embroidery Library Christmas Club

Be sure to sign up today for Embroidery Library's Christmas Club. You will get FREE desgins, Christmas projects and credit on your purchases towards more free designs, plus more! At signing up today I got three Free designs in two sizes each.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Nursery Rhyme Quilt

Secrets of Embroidery has many designers products at their site. Currently, if you visit there and check out Kreative Kiwi's site, you can get all the designs needed to make an adorable Nursery Rhyme quilt -- for FREE!. I don't know how long this will be available for free so stop in as soon as possible here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Machine Embroidery Freebies

Embroidery Library has come out with some great designs just in time for the 4th of July that you can pick up for free through June 30th. You can also download June and July's free designs if you have not downloaded June's yet, this is your last chance. Our printer had run out of ink and I was waiting till I could print out the color chart in color to download them. All told and with the two sizes available for each design, I downloaded 12 new designs a few minutes ago. I just love this company for their generosity and their great designs. I've never had a bit of trouble with a single one. Visit Embroidery Library to stock up your designs.

Just thinking about the 12 designs I just got, I remember when the first home embroidery machines came out. The designs where incredibly tiny and a disc with designs on ran around $100! Free designs were not something that anyone ever imagined, but of the great things we managed to do with those machines, but I still like my Janome 300e.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Holiday Knitting Boutique

I would like to introduce you to a great book of knitting projects that I was asked to review by the author. You might like it too.

Holiday Knitting Boutique by Mary Jean Daigneault if a full color book, ISBN 0615478751 puclished by Praxis 2012. Here is the review that I wrote for Amazon:

I was asked to review this book by the author as not only I do book reviews, I am heavily into needlework crafts and have an on line store that sells sewing patterns, so anything having to do with needlework is something I want to read about. Even though I am not a knitter, I love reading about knitting and seeing great projects and that is what you will find in this book. Great projects! While being called projects for holidays, most of the designs with a color change could be used for holidays and occasions other than Christmas.

The author is an interior designer as well as a knitter and this shows throughout the book. Her items are lovely and things that can be lived with, not those tatty, cheap, make in 15 minutes nonsense. Through lovely yarns (which I wanted to reach onto the page and touch) and an artist’s eye you will find some great three dimensional items unlike anything I have seen in any knitting book, such as large snowmen, pillows, wreaths, trees, etc. The closest you get to a 'same old stuff' in the book is the beanie hat. Otherwise all the designs looked fresh and original.

The only reason that I gave this book 4 instead of a 5 is I felt that some of the project information at the beginning of each project was lacking enough detail. While I didn't read and can't comment on the actual knitting directions, I did read the 'ingredient' list and blurbs of the need to know information, and it didn't seem to me to be enough for good follow through on the projects unless the knitter is more experienced. Perhaps that is just because I'm not a knitter.  Also, while the book has lovely color illustrations of the completed projects, there were no intermediate illustrations or diagrams on how to put some of these projects together. Some crafters really do need clues on how to put things together even if they have knitted it correctly especially these large 3D projects.

All in all though a really terrific book with some great ideas.

I certainly hope for the sake of knitters, that the author continues with designing new knitting projects and writing books about them.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Embroidery Delight

Secrets of Embroidery has welcomed a new machine embroidery merchant called Embroidery Delight. They have many interesting designs from floral to children's animal appliques. They also have several Freebies posted at this point. Stop on in to Secrets of Embroidery by clicking here.

Friday, June 08, 2012

I Won a Prize!

Last Friday, June 1, 2012, I got a letter in the mail. You know snail mail, that makes you curious wondering who wrote you and why. Opened it up to find out that I had won a prize of a Work Station Ironing Board through a Vogue Patterns Magazine giveaway. It arrived on Saturday. Let's just say I was thrilled. I have it attached to the left of my trusty Janome Horizon 7700 so it makes a great work surface. I have a travel iron that has been packed up for years, and I will try to find it for the next time I'm piecing so I don't have to keep getting up and down. Anything to make sewing easier for me at this point in my arthritis is terrific. Yes, that is my messy sewing spot and the stool I have to sit on now that my sewing chair broke and then threw me off a few months ago.

You too can get one of these Work Station Ironing Boards . I find it to be well constructed. The leg is adjustable although because I have an old fashioned sewing table built for smaller ladies in a different era, hubby had to cut off a bit of the leg. It even came with a full sized pattern to make an iron board cover for it in case of burns, glue desposits and all the other nasties that collect on ironing board covers. They are produced by Ohana Creations, a small American company. Check them out here.

Thank you so much Vogue Patterns Magazine and Ohana Creations for giving me this great gift. Of course, that also prompted me to go double checked that I had submited entires for all the other contests I would be interested in winning!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vicki's Fabric Creations

By way of Kenney Kreations, I have found a most interesting blog called Vicki's Fabric Creations. I'm not sure when Vicki sleeps but she has some amazing machine embroidered quilts and other sewing projects on her blog. If you like to machine embroider, make quilts, sew garments, etc. this is a blog you need to visit and bookmark.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Deco Mandala Designer

I was offered this fun toy to review through the Amazon Vine program. Every once in a while, I hit the jackpot and get offered something truly fun like this. I also get a lot of books to review and have found that my library trips have decreased significantly over the last few years since I've been doing this. I've also read a lot of lousy books but many good ones as well!


This product is for kids 6-12. Well I'm a lot older than 12, yet I had a very fun time using it while watching TV last night. I was offered this product for review, but wasn't quite sure what it would do, but as I'm seriously into crafting I wanted to try it. Apparently there are more stencils that are available separately, but the ones included here were pretty much girly ones and since the designer itself comes in bold pink I would assume that it is meant for girls. Boys I think would also enjoy this in a different color and with more 'boy' type stencils.

I did post a picture of my first attempt at using the machine. There are all sorts of designs that you can make. It comes with one black fine point pen. I think a variety of other colors would have been great to include with the machine. I had some Sharpie fine point markers here at home and I used those for different colors and they worked very well in the stencils but any pen point much larger probably won’t work. You can however draw the designs with the black pen and then color them in when you take your paper out of the designer. If you didn't want to make designs in the circular format, you can also use the stencils on a flat surface. I'm thinking up ways that I can use this machine in my own crafting and quilting.

They didn't make these sorts of toys when I was a child and I can see where I missed out on some fun. Everything seems very well made, including the butterfly 3-D punch. The ink stamp took very little pressure for the stamp to work. Instructions came in German, French and English. It did need 4 AA batteries to work to turn the circle and there were no glitches at all and everything moved smoothly. I can see where those who are heavily into scrap booking would also like making designs on this machine to add to their scrapbook pages.

All in all a very fine toy that could be used in a car trip, in a hospital bed for a sick child (being sure to have extra pen colors, crayons and paper in a separate tote, the machine itself has carry handles), at a slumber party, and any time you have a girl that wants to be creative and artistic but doesn't yet have the fine motor control for drawing--something I still have problems with!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sherlock Holmes Embroidery Project

Today, April 11, one of my embroidery projects is being featured on Embroidery Library!

Started laying out a new quilt project last night for Project Linus.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stolen Quilts

A quilting teacher, Karen Combs had her teaching quilts stolen out of her car in Texas.  Please take a few moments to check out her blog to see pictures of the quilts and if you see one in your travels either on line or in person, contact her. Her contact information is on her blog here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Retro Sewing Patterns

One of the fun things about having a sewing pattern business is all the sewing patterns! Not only do I get to see and inspect the current patterns available for sewing, but patterns from the past that are still great to be worn currently. Lately there has been a huge push into retro and vintage fahion. You can get the authentitic look by buying a sewing pattern of the style and time frame that you like, and with a few small alterations you can make your pattern even more stylish and current.

We just listed this pattern, McCall's Pattern 2977, which would make a great summer dress. With all the different neckline, yoke options, and even the option to have a front button bodice, you can make this dress multiple times and no one would know the difference since you can make significant changes with each dress you make. Changing the type of fabric that you create this dress with, you will have even more options. This pattern was first printed in 1987, which was still the era of the big padded shoulders. The only alteration I would make with this dress, is not having the shoulder pad, but continuing with the extended shoulder with a slight alteration to make it lay right without the shoulder pad. You will end up with a fun flirty, cool to wear summer dress in a variety of looks. Make it the first time to check and adjust the fit and then make it again and again to have a whole wardrobe of easy to make basic hot weather dresses.

With well over 7000 sewing patterns listed and more being listed all the time, you will be sure to find a great pattern for your next sewing project. Shop with us any time at Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Royal Wedding Prince William and Catherine Middleton

The Royal Wedding of Miss Catherine Middleton to Prince William of the United Kingdom was a glorious affair. Now you too can have a wedding fit for a princess through the power of Butterick sewing patterns. Butterick Sewing Pattern has produced patterns of replicas of the dresses worn at the wedding by the bride, her maid of honor and the flower girls. Butterick 5731 or P249 is similar to the dress Miss Middleton wore only with a much shorter cut on train, as most brides aren't going to be able to book Westminster Abbey for their event! The maid of honor dress that Philippa Middleton (Pippa) wore looks basically the same in Butterick 5710 or P250 as do the flower girl dress in Butterick 5705 or P248. The maid of honor dress can also be used for a wedding dress itself with it's short cuton train, or as a formal or in the shorter version a party dress. All sizes and styles are currently available for the Royal Wedding dress patterns in our store, Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts.

Even if a royal wedding isn't in the cards for you, we do have over 7000 uncut, unused sewing patterns in every size and style. Shop with us any time and tell your sewing friends about our store. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Ruffling without a Ruffler foot

Here is a blog entry showing how to ruffle by machine without a ruffling foot. I haven't had time yet to try this, but you might want. Visit the blog here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Stitch A Half

Else found me yet another site. A Stitch A Half . Their current freebie is an embroidered clutch purse in three sizes where the panels are made with your embroidery machine and then stitched together with your sewing machine. Get over there now while this great download is still available and don't forget to get the tutorial for making the purse.

Worldwide Mchine Embroidery Designs

The hobby of machine embroidery is definitely a worldwide hobby. My on-line friend Else from the Netherlands, has been scouting new design pages for me and they are listed on our Embroidery Designs page. One is in Italian and one in Dutch.

I'm so glad for these emails from Else especially when having a bit of a rough day. Last night I went to sit down in my sewing chair and one of the 5 legs (which are supposed to increase safety) broke out from under me throwing me onto the floor. My left leg rammed into my thread, hoops and stabilizer cart and ended up knocking it on top of me with my right leg stuck under the cutting table. Thankfully I managed to get the thread stand back up without losing everything onto the floor and then the big project was getting me back up. With fake knees and sore, weak joints all over, this was a major project requiring the help of hubby and a step ladder. The good news was I had finished my sewing project and was just putting stuff away.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gail's Sewing Projects

Finally got the picture out of the camera of the wedding quilt I made and the happy couple with me. I love these kids and I loved being able to make them something special that shows that love.

I also finished my Project Linus quilt on Saturday after a marathon 3 hours sewing session. I wanted to get it done by the main collection day as it is too easy to let things go if you miss a 'deadline'. While making these quilts I always pray for the child and the family that will receive it as these quilts are given to children in distress of some type.

Now to get going with some other projects. Started yesterday with mending. I don't particularly like mending, but I like knowing that by mending something, I'm keeping it useful for a longer time.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Project Linus Quilt 2012

Between surgeries, just not feeling good and a major wedding quilt project, I didn't get much other sewing done this past year. The other day I counted up how many quilt blocks I had made towards this year's Project Linus quilt. I had made only 10 and needed 25! Last night I finally sat down and whipped up 15 more,  machine embroidered the Janome Project Linus logo on one of the blocks, ironed them and trimmed threads. Hopefully today I will be able to get them sewn together, sandwiched with the batting and backing and quilt it so it can be turned in tomorrow which is blanket day at my local sewing shop, Super Stitch .  I try to get a blanket done every year and if I don't finish it on time I end up without the mental push of a deadline. This is going to be a big push for me so I hope I can get it finished.

I usually make most of my Project Linus quilts in bright primary colors. This is where cutting blocks out of leftover material at the end of sewing project really pays off. I cut all my leftover cotton quilting fabric into 4 1/2" and 2 1/2" squares and 4 1/2 x 2 1/2" rectangles. I always seem to have plenty of pieces to make a scrap quilts for this yearly project. I'm also glad that I didn't have to cut these pieces all at the last minute as the tendonitis in my elbow wouldn't have allowed it. It is amazing just how many different kinds of quilt blocks can be made with just these three size of quilt pieces. The picture shows this year's block design.

The Project Linus logo can be downloaded for free at the Janome website along with a lot of other free machine embroidery designs.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Free Motion Quilting Project

If you want to learn how to free motion quilt on a domestic or home sewing machine, this is the place to go! Visit The Free Motion Quilting Project where Leah Day will help you through written and video tutorials to learn all sorts of designs and ways to quilt your quilting projects. Her site is a fantastic learning opportunity that you should want to take advantage of.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Day & Project Linus

Just realized last night that Project Linus blanket day is this coming Saturday the 18th. Although they take quilts throughout the year, I try to have one ready by the blanket day as a prompt and deadline for me. At this point I only have 10 blocks made and need 25 total, plus finishing the quilt. I'll see how it goes. I haven't missed turning in a blanket for years, but this past year was rough with two surgeries and the new year hasn't started out so well either with almost non-stop pain from not only the RA but tendonitis. You would think that if you are already in chronic pain for one thing, you wouldn't have to get another source of pain too wouldn't you? It has sure slowed down my sewing plans. I'm going to give it a try to get the Project Linus quilt finished though, as it is simple quick blocks.

Also a reminder that lately several of the embroidery sites that I signed up for have been giving away free embroidery designs for Valentine's Day. So if you get newsletters in the mail, be sure to open them to see if you got a goodie! I think in the last couple days I got 5-6 free designs. Valentine's Day is now rather special for me as it is also my wedding anniversary. This year will be our tenth one and I'm so glad I have a hubby that not only loves me but works hard to help ease my physical pain and has stuck by me all these years of chronic illness! He is a wonderful guy.

The Free Motion Quilting Project

I've been hearing a long time about Leah Day and finally last night since I couldn't sleep I had time to visit her blog, The Free Motion Quilting Project. Definitely a place to visit if you are trying to learn FMQ and want to be able to both read and see how to do things. She has lots of videos showing how to do things. I barely got through the surface of what she has in her blog and know that will need to spend so quality time there.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter Machine Embroidery Freebies

Just in case you may have missed it, Embroidery Library is offering some great winter freebies up through January 22, 2012. Two of the designs available need bigger hoops as one has a measurement of over 8" on one side and the other has one over 9" on one side and is designed for an endless hoop, but for those with smaller sew out ability they have split the design for you. Embroidery Library, if you have told them your preferred format and maximum size of your hoops, will remind you if designs are too big for your machine when they are placed in your shopping cart. I download all the sizes anyhow, as maybe someday, some nice person will give me a machine that can use those large designs. LOL! Downloading all the smaller sizes helps you from having to decrease or increase the sizes of your designs as much to get them to fit a certain area and that keeps your stitch count and sew out looking better. I just love the generosity of this company! And what terrific designs besides.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Last year (2011) was a rough one physically for me with a lot of pain and periods of discouragement. Then I found a devotional book at our local library book sale on seeing the gifts that God gives or brings our way. I read through that book twice during the year before passing it on to someone else that might find use for it. Over the month of December, which was a financial strain for us, I thought again about that book and my need to acknowledge the gifts that come my way. I wanted to focus on the good and not the bad that was happening in my life. Suddenly life just didn't feel as full of strain and problems when thinking about the good that was happening.

When Ron and Savannah came for Christmas he brought me 3 Sew Beautiful magazines that someone had given him to pass on to me. I hadn't seen them before as I don't have a subscription to this magazine as so many of the projects are for little girls that I don't have much opportunity to sew too much for. I was very excited to get these magazines and reading them helped to take my mind off the pain I'm in. Best of all I saw some neat ideas that I can hardly wait to try on the Little Dresses for Africa dresses that I make.  In one of the issues they even had a 'pillowcase' dress.

My next sewing 'gift' came in the mail today. A friend from one of my sewing digests wrote me and offered to send me 6 memory cards and a hoop to go with my second hand Janome 9000 or she was going to throw them out! I was so grateful for her generosity and she even refused to let me pay for the shipping!

Several weeks ago I had an author write me and ask me to read and review her book which I of course said yes to. Although I've been having a hard time reading this past week, this has been a fun and interesting book to read and I will be doing a review of it soon. And then today I received my second book gift. Michael Palmer sent me an Advanced Reading Copy of his book Oath of Office to read and review. Since he is one of my favorite authors, this will be a treat indeed!

I challenge you to keep track of the gifts that come your way so that on discouraging days you can think of the many blessings that have come your way. God indeed is good!

Purple Hat New Freebies

The Purple Hat has just posted three more freebies that is part of their animal alpha-bet series. These designs would be great as quilt blocks. Purple Hat features lots of children's designs and in the hoop designs. Visit them here and see what they are working on!