Thursday, December 18, 2008

Remembering. . . . .

Lora Lynn
November 5, 1965 - December 18, 1984

Sunday, November 9, 2008

aside from sewing. . . .

Along about this time of year, when the leaves are boasting their most vibrant hues, and the sun cast long, long shadows late in the afternoon, I get a little melancholy and a lot reflective.

At this moment, I am taking a really long hard look at my life over the past year. So much has changed, so many things have happened, and as I look back, I can see God's hand in all of it. I can see how He has used events to shape me, mold me, and strengthen me so that I could handle what was ahead of me. For these lessons, I am thankful. Glad they are over, glad they are behind me, but again, thankful!!
This time of year is rich with memories for me. Even though autumn was never my dad's favorite time of year, I find myself thinking of him these days more than usual. A farmer by trade and by nature, he was. He always said in autumn everything is dying. The autumn is, of course, the time of harvest. So vivid in my mind are the images, the sounds and the smells of harvest surrounding my homeplace. There was always a hub of activity at each day's end with the harvesting equipment coming home from the fields, the grain bins humming and producing that distinctive smell of soybeans drying. Added to that was the cool nip in the air and the acrid smell of someone stoking up a wood burning stove. In the middle of the community sat a tiny general store straight out of a storybook.
As the days got shorter, the golden glow of home came earlier and earlier. At my parents home, there was a fresh-brewed pot of coffee each day, around about five o'clock, when my mom and dad would gather to reflect on the day and get caught up on each other's goings on.
My dad has been gone 14 years now. My mother is getting on in years and her general health has begun to decline. The community itself, where she has lived for over 60 years, has changed as well. No longer is there the hub of activity at the homeplace. The grain bins, long ago, swept away by a tornado's mighty winds, the farming equipment vanished, and even the wood buring stoves replaced by modern conveniences. The general store, gone as well.
All of these things I noticed one afternoon recently as I dropped my mother home after a doctor's visit. As I backed out of her driveway, I was struck by the lonliness of it all and will have to keep all of this clearly in mind, when the time comes for us to move her to her new home. As much as I am a sentimentalist and a traditionalist , this is one change that I am accepting readily now. I never thought I would.
One last thought for the day, on a lighter note!!! This year has been an abundant one in terms of harvest at the Norris household., and, well, actually the surrounding area. We have three apple trees that have never in their 20 years, produced more than a handful of fruit. Like wise, our ages-old pecan tree, only once in memory produced enough to make a pie. Not so , this year. Take a look at this bountiful harvest!!! (I have to confess, the pears are from my mother's tree)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

For fine fabrics, I hope you will visit my website!!

Finally some pictures!!!

You have heard the expressions:
"Who could tell on a galloping horse"
"It's hard to stop a train"
Those expressions are what came to mind as I was attempting to photograph my grandson yesterday afternoon. The child was all over the place!!! But I did manage to get a few good shots!!
Isn't he an angel??

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sew Beautiful #121

I am so very honored to have been featured on the cover of the latest Sew Beautiful. This issue is the Baby issue and it is filled with gorgeous projects.

I want to make each one for our babies that are on the way!!!

Many thanks to Kathy Barnard for her lovely work on this!!

More completed projects

In the meantime, I have made Holt an outfit for church. This is the new pattern I came across and I love how it turned out. The shorts are a cotton blend of unknown content but the fabric is in shades of navy and tan. The shirt is made of ecru Swiss Batiste. I think the outfit has a vintage quality about it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sewing for the grandbabies. . . .

I know that I can now sew for a baby girl!!! It will be about another month before we know if the next baby will be a boy or a girl. But I am so anxious to start this sweet baby sewing that I dearly love, that I got out the project box from Martha Pullen School in 2002 that I had never finished!!!

I had taken the Wendy Schoen class of baby items and learned to improve my hand embroidery skills. After viewing Wendy's work, I was not sure that I could ever be able to embroider well enough to make my work acceptable!! Her work is beyond perfection!!

I have managed to complete 3 of the garments

Here is the first one. This is a daygown for a baby girl. It features shadow embroidered flowers and pink ribbon, feather stitching and granitos. The kit included blue lace tape, which I chose not to use but also the sweetest tiny Swiss embroidery trim, which is on the edge of the sleeve. This is my new favorite trim and I plan to order a bolt of this to use on some of the garments I will make for the new grandbabies.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fashion show

Today was the fashion show and my two little models couldn't have been better!!! Holt entered his coloring page into the coloring contest and won first place!!!

The older little girl is the daughter of a friend of mine. Her grandmother had made that gorgeous dress (Emily Sew Beautiful #74)for this child's older sister, several years ago.
I thought she looked so beautiful in it and wanted to show it off!!!

Speaking of sewing for little boys. . . .

As I said in the previous post, sewing for little boys is so much more limited than sewing for little girls .I have worn out the appliqued/monogrammed Jon-Jon romper style, even though, being the classic that it is, I DO still love them.
I am constantly on the hunt for cute ideas for sewing for boys. So much so, that I have been sketching my own designs. I think that I have some "Great Ideas" (Holt's favorite expression!!) that would be the makings for a book. Of which, I would include patterns for these designs. However, I am not adept at pattern making, so this is wherein my struggles lie.
I am looking for advice, help and a point in the right direction for pattern drafting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall sewing for Holt

I just discovered this adorable pattern and had to order it for Holt. If you have ever sewn for little boys, you know how limited the options are in styles, patterns and designs. This pattern is a little bit different than anything I have seen in a while, almost has a Euro look to it.
Anyway, I have the short pants made and I chose to line them as the fabric I used was rather flimsy. As it turns out, I think it would have made up fine without the lining. the short pants look black in my picture, but they are actually navy with ecru undertones.
About this pattern. Now, I always read through the directions before I make something and usually, I do it my way because I am somewhat a rebel in these matters. However, this time I did follow the directions to the letter, except for the lining. There were a couple of things I wish I had done my way. There is a dart right beside the button on the pants waist. The pattern calls for you to slash the dart open and gives no directions for finishing the the edges of the dart. I hate unfinished edges. I don't see the point of slashing the dart open. Maybe someone can enlighten me on that one!!!
I am working on the smocked shirt, which is white with ecru smocking.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Winner of the giveaway!!!!

The winner of the giveaway of the Christmas dress is:

Angie "sewingforall" on the Everything Sewing forum!!!

Thanks to everyone who participated!!!

To see a picture of this dress, Angie will have to make us a photo of her little one modeling it!!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sewing for a Cause

I was invited to participate in an event to raise money in our county for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. The event will be a Tea Party and Fashion Show and I always love a chance to promote my business while doing my part for a worthy cause.

If you are unfamiliar with this project, Ms. Parton has developed a reading program for preschoolers , from birth until age 5, for residents of the state of Tennessee. When you sign your child up for this program, he or she will receive a book each month for no cost. They are absolutely free! This program is designed to encourage parents to begin reading to their child as early as possible in order to boost their education possibilities.

My own grandson, who is 2, is enrolled in this program and is delighted when his book arrives in his mailbox each month!! He already has a great love of being read to and loves to look at the books by himself!!

Here is a dress that I made especially for the Fashion show.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A lovely piece of fabric. . . .

I was blessed to receive this gorgeous piece of fabric from a new friend I met this summer at a sewing retreat. I knew that it was a very nice piece of goods, but later discovered that it is by Rose and Hubble!!!

I have pleated it up to make a little sundress. I have begun smocking it but it will be a while before it is worn. Maybe it will be for the new grandbaby on the way!!!

Details of my giveaway!!!!

If you have made your way here, you are eligible for the give away of this dress!

Above is a sneak peak!! This dress is a size 4 "Lydia" pattern from Bonnie Blue patterns, with a few modifications.
The contest won't "officially" begin until next Wednesday (that is when I expect my other inventory to be in) but you can begin anytime.
So, here are the rules:
This will be based on points and here is how you can get points.
1. One point when you post a comment to this topic.(one point per comment)
2. One point when you mention this giveaway on another blog (send me a link, one point per
3. One point for every dollar spent in my online store ( .
If you are needing to order fabric, you might want to wait until next week, and order
from me!!!
4. One point for any referral who places an order from my website. (send me the name of the
Also, please identify yourself if you use other names on the various forums and blogs, e.g., I might not know that Jane Doe, who placed an order on the website, is also "sewinsista" from a forum or blog.
The contest will end September 10 at 10pm, CST.
The one with the most points, wins!!!!
More later!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Christening gowns. . .

A favorite client of mine brought her grandchildren's christening gown by last week for me to add another name to the slip. This makes five names I have embroidered on that slip!!! It was hard to believe that five little babies have now (or, about to have) worn that gown for their special day.
It is always such a joy to get a gown back to do that special task. I always check it over carefully for any rips or tears that might need to be repaired. I want my gowns to be able to stand the test of time, so that they can be handed down to future generations of babies.
I love looking at the gown and thinking about the sewing I did on it. Then I just love to hold and play with the beautiful fabric and lace!!!
I really need a photo of this one!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Another great giveaway from a fabulous designer!

My dear friend Bridget, from my ebay days, is a fabulous designer of adorable children's clothes!!! Now get this: she is GIVING AWAY one of her stunning creations!!! This is a GREAT IDEA!!! and I want to win!!!!!
Unfortunately, in order to get more entries into the drawing for myself, I've got to tell everyone about it on this blog!!!!! But, I guess that makes it fair for everyone, doesn't it!!!
So, head on over there and sign up for yourself!!!
Click here
Bridget to sign up.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

blogging. . .

I really, really, really meant to spend the day sewing up an outfit for my grandson. But, as I got started this morning , I found myself surfing around all sorts of blog spots and redisovered some of my old friends from my ebay days. What a ton of fun this has been!!
I have added several of them to my list of favs, so I hope you will take a look through the list and see what a genious and creative ilk of friends I have!!!!
One in particular is rebecca , who is doing the celebation dance , as I speak!!! Check her out for a great givaway contest for a simply adorable totebag!! She makes precious things and you will enjoy her blog!!!!

back again!!!!

hello !!!
I have been away for awhile as I worked on getting my new online shop ready to go. A new look to the old one and a shopping cart to boot!!! I feel so "high tech".
Now that I have gotten down the basics of all this techy stuff ( oh yeah, sure) I have so much more to do, scouting new finds to sell and laying out the basics of some classes I am hoping to start.
Hope you will check out the new and improved site!!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A story about this pattern. . . .

I had this pattern out, looking at it and thinking about making the matinee jacket and cap, for the new baby that is on the way.

In my mother's day, she told me those little jackets were called "saques" or I have even heard them called "nightingales". I love those names, they all denote preciousness to me.

Anyway, I came to have this pattern, through a long drawn-out process.

One of my very good friends was going to be a first time grandmother, and she asked me to make the christening gown. She wanted me to copy the gown that her husband and then all her children had worn. I was amazed that she didn't want to use this lovely gown for the new baby, but she explained that she wanted her daughter to have her own gown for this child and any other children she might have.

I didn't want to attempt to re-create this gown on my own, so I set out looking for a pattern to use. I posted a picture on one of my chat forums and got a very swift reply from a lady in California. She told me she had made that gown many times and gave me the pattern number.

With that, I set about searching ebay for it. I found it on the frist search!!! I placed my bid, and allowed the bidding to end, not realizing it had gone quite high in the final amount!!! (this pattern is considered vintage, as it was printed in the 1960's) So, I lost the bid. I contacted the lady in California to see if she would sell me hers. She declined but said if I found another one, I could use it and she would buy it back from me, as the embroidery transfers that came with her pattern, were now used up.

So, I began the search again. Fortunately, I found it again soon after!!! I couldn't believe my good fortune!!! I ended up paying close to $30 for this pattern, which was OK with my California friend. I used it, she paid me and I shipped it on to her. End of story.

Well, not quite. When my friend/customer picked up her gown, she was very pleased and then told me she wanted me to make two more of these eventually, for her other two children, when the time came!!!!

Uh-oh!!!! so the search began again!!! The sewing angel was with me, apparently, as I found another again and this time got it for around $6-7!!!!! So, now this precious little pattern is safely in my stash.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Yet another wonderful blessing!!!!!

Last week, we found out that we are to be grandparents again!!! A baby is a blessing from God and we praise and thank Him for this. Our grandson Holt will be the big brother!!!
Now, my mind is beginning to spin and get all cluttered up with ideas for sewing for this highly anticipated little one, who will make an appearence in February.
I have already started one project, which is pink; however, I can change back to blue with no problems!!!!
My favorite thing to sew is infant layette clothing. When we went to the retreat, I carried my unfinished box of projects left over from my trip to Martha Pullens school six years ago. It just so happens, all those little garments are for a girl!!! Wonder if that is a sign??
Anyway, my tastes in infants clothing tends to run to the vintage design. I love all those styles that came out of the 20's and 30's , the eras that my parents were born. I have amassed a variety of patterns, both vintage and reproductions, that could keep me busy sewing for years, and I don't think I would ever tire of it. My fabric stash is almost as extensive and I revel in luxurious fabrics that are a sensual delight to the eyes and to the hands. My favorites are Swiss batiste, pure Irish linen (I have a fabulous, generous friend who gifted me with a huge stash of it) Italian Sheen Sateen, and Swiss flannel. Preparing these fabrics for construction is almost as rewarding as seeing the finished garment. I love every aspect of it, from laundering the fabric, to the ironing of it. Perverse? maybe, but there is such a satisfaction to me in feeling that iron glide over an exquisite piece, seeing the change in the fabric and then feeling the "hand" of it. And then, once the garment is finished, imagining the tiny baby who will grace my efforts!!!
After having been with my sewing friends a few weeks ago, all of whom love to smock, I am desiring to smock more myself. I had gotten away from it for awhile, but they have inpired to get the pleater back out and pleat up some projects. I am finding so much joy in "just sewing" these days. Even though we DO have a little one on the way, it is too early to know the gender just yet, so I am just sewing for the sheer joy of sewing and creating!!!!
I hope you have a GREAT day!!!

Sew many blessings. . .

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting several of my cyber sewing friends at a sewing retreat held at the beautiful setting of Pickwick Lake in southwest Tennessee.
When I think how the internet has made this possible, it amazes me. I have made so many friends over the last few years that otherwise, I would never have known.
It fulfilled part of my dream of having a sewing buddie, and hopefully, we will be able to do this again soon.
Brought together by our love of sewing, we also shared the joys, sorrows and triumphs of our daily lives. It was indeed a great experience to be around women who not only love God, but also speak the same language of sewing, mostly for our children and grandchildren. We even had two very young women there and it amazed me that they would want to spend time with someone as old as me!!!
We worked on several techniques, shared by some very talented women and each of us made a pillowcase dress for someone special.
I took them to a special fabric shop in our area, a place where you never know what will be found and we loaded the cars with lots of fun finds!!!
I feel so blessed to have made these wonderful friends, who are loving, caring and generous to a fault. They came bearing all sorts of gifts, food and knowledge!!!
I sincerely hope that this will be the start of a gathering on a regular basis!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

I wish I had a sewing buddy. . . . .

I mean one who lives just down the street. I am sure you can imagine that I have dozens upon dozens of cyber-sewing buddies that I have come to know and love, first, through ebay and later through several forums that I frequent. And I do love these friends and have learned so much from them. One even travelled 1000 miles to come help me with my daughter's wedding and we had never even talked on the phone before. Now that is a friend!!!!
I want also the kind that my mother had: She lived nearby, they went to church together, they were both farmer's wives, they shopped together, and they sewed together!!! My mother tells me "sewing stories" and I love to hear them.
One that I particularly love, is about the time they went to the "city" to buy fabric for my much older sister's prom dress. My sister spotted a design she liked in a store window, and Mother and her sidekick promptly, with sketchpad in hand, (or it might have been the back of a checkbook) began to draw out (I just can't bring myself to say "copy") all the details of said dress.
Next, they went to the fabric store and bought the luscious sheer pink organdy and matching lace to make this dream confection of a prom dress!!!! It looked just like the one in the store window, and at, I'm sure a fraction of the price.
Another time, my mother redecorated mine and my sister's bedroom. Red and pink was all the rage at that time. So mother and friend set out to make the spreads, dust ruffles amd curtains. It was beautiful beyond my 5 year old belief!!! The spreads for our twin beds were fitted, scalloped and bias bound around the edges and made of quilted fabric that had small pink and red roses. The dust ruffles were solid pink, there were some kind of matching pillow shams and some kind of curtains. I can't remember those. Then we each had a red and pink fuzzy throw rug.
The prom dress, the pink and red room, and countless other creations that my mother made were magnificent. but the thing that keeps sticking out in my mind was that she had a buddy who worked alongside her. I wonder what they talked about!!!!

He's here!!!!

My best friend became a grandmother Sunday morning, April 27. John Canton, already quite the gentleman, arrived about 1 am on his due date!!!!! How's that for not keeping the ladies waiting???? I have not had the pleasure of meeting this little fellow yet, but he should be home in a day or two and I so look forward to seeing him.
His grandmother is positively giddy, as you would expect, and already "head over heels" in love!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Spring. . . .

I love the Spring. I remember my dad saying how much he loved the Spring. He didn't like autumn, said that everything was dying in the Autumn, but in the spring, everything is coming alive, that it is a time of rebirth. That, of course, came from his being a farmer, a caretaker of the earth, the soil. It was exciting for him to see the things he had planted bursting up out of the ground.
When the early mornings become warm, I love to get my cup of coffee and walk around in my yard, to see what is pushing forth out of the earth, to see what is budding, or blooming.
I have several things that are my favorites. I love to garden, but I certainly don't consider myself a "real" gardener, just a wannabe. My favorites are old fashioned lilacs, of which, over the years, I have had several. Most of them I inherited from the lady who was the former owner of this homeplace. There was never more than a bloom or two, despite my moving them to locations all over my yard. This year, I have a new little bush that is in full bloom!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The countdown is on. . .

My best friend is about to become a grandmother. She is due for some happiness and a reason to rejoice. Yes, she has a lot to be thankful for, a wonderful daughter and son in law, who are so good and attentive to her, and, she still has her mother. But, two years ago, she lost her husband, then 2 months ago, she lost her dad. Now, her little dog and constant companion, is in failing health. But soon, she will have a new man in her life!!!
There is no way I can fully describe to her how this new little man is going to turn her life upside down. They are busy getting the nursery ready, the house in tip top shape, and all the things that go along with welcoming a new baby into the home. I know her so well, and I know that no detail will go un-noticed, nor undone!!!
I am envious of her getting to experience that first breathless moment when the sweet new bundle is placed into her arms. My own grandson is now two, and that moment seems so long ago, even though I will never forget it. I don't envy that feeling of knowing your baby girl is in labor, and that there is nothing that mother can do.
So, we are at three weeks or so and counting!!! I guess she may be to the point where she could go any day!!
Here is some little outfits I made for them:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It must be my "age". . . .the cleansing

No, no, not THAT kind of cleansing!!! The OTHER kind of cleansing!!! It's spring, after all!!! And for the last few years, every spring, I start getting into it!!!
Over the years, I have collected all sorts of things. Hallmark ornaments, angels, all sorts of dishes, glassware, trinkets, sit around stuff, clothes, and every thing my children ever made, did, won, read, wrote, drew, played with, wore, slept on, you know the drill!!! And then, there is my sewing related treasures.
Why have I hung on to all this junk???? I saved it for posterity, I guess. I think that my children are going to want this stuff, one day, like when they have kids of their own. Well, maybe they do, but they want ME to keep it for them!!!! And then, I only have myself to blame, for some of it. Or maybe, my sister, as it's worse at her house than mine. And she keeps giving me stuff!!!!!

A sampling of some of my , herumph, "logic" :
"This dress is a classic. It'll never go out of style"
"I've collected these ornaments since they were first born"
"Oh, this was was his first picture he colored in kindergarten"
"And this was her bedspread from college"
"Well, can't throw this thing away, it might be worth something someday"
And, the classic: (drumroll, here) "I should sell THESE on ebay!!!!!"

And why, may I ask, is it the same in the garage storage room!!!!

Actually, the clothes are in a category all their own. You see, I grew up in a ladies dress shop, my mother's business. I got hooked on all that selecting my wardrobe at market. "She who dies with the most overstuffed closet, wins". The amount of clothes I have accumulated over the years, then given away, handed down, sold and trashed would. . . well, I can't even go there!!!!

Every year, I go through the same scenario with myself: Look in the closets and the attic and see piles of all kinds of forgotten "treasures".
Then it begins, sorting into piles, keep this, throw this away, give this to someone, and calling the kids with "are you SURE you don't want this"?

Slowly but surely, I have reduced the piles over the years, and in the process, found a few things I thought lost forever and thrilled to have again. I have even changed my clothes-buying habit into a much more practical mode. Fewer but better clothes. Well, I AM working on that one.

And my sister??? Well, she started calling again this week with "You really, really need these little chairs"!!!!
Ohhhhh, I am doomed!!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A bit of vintage. . .

Once in a while, I learn a new craft, technique or trick and get totally hooked on it. To the point that I buy all of the supplies and instruction manuels (yikes, there's that word again!!)
Anyway, about a year ago, I was searching the net for a great idea to make for myself a needlecase. Attempting to be more organized in sewing matters (something I have been trying hard to learn from my friend, the domestic diva) I thought it would behoove me to have an exquisitely beautiful needlecase. My wanderings, and hunting and pecking, led me to several sites with the most gorgeous silk ribbon embroidery I have ever seen and some of the most magnificently hand made needlecases, or "hussifs" that you could imagine!!
So, I bought the books, the supplies and anything else I thought I would need to craft up this little confection. In the meantime, it was my good fortune to inherit a lovely sewing stash, complete with a treadle machine in the cabinet. So, I was all set!!
Here is what I came up with, some for myself and a few for ebay and some friends!!

After I got over this, all these lovely vintage findings languished in the closet of my sewing room for a year.

Until last week, when inspiration struck again!!!

I have made about 6 or 7 of these sweet little bracelets with this same stash of vintage velvet ribbons, buttons, belt buckles and many other things.

I thought they would be darling for prom, which is coming up, but then, wouldn't it seem that the guy would need to give this to the girl????

My little Picasso. . .

When I retrieved my darling daughter's old Little Tykes artist easel/blackboard out of storage for her 2 year old little boy , my grandson, little did I know what impact it would have on the child's imagination!!! I cleaned it up and set it in the den, along with a new box of chalk, just awaiting his visit that afternoon.

When he walked into the house and spotted it, he ran to it and stood in front of the thing for over two hours, drawing his heart out!!! I secretly thought to myself, "I think we're onto something here"!!

Ever since, it has remained the same; it is still the first thing he runs to whenever he comes over for a visit. Of course, we all think he is totally brilliant, and have encouraged his artistic pursuits at Christmas and his birthday by inundating him with every imaginable art set, special art papers, and every kind of writing and drawing implement.

I guess this has paid off, however I still think he would have eventually found a way to express himself without all this help!!

Here's his latest:

Who says you never quit learning??

I find myself at a point in life where all the wonderful inovations in technology that are supposed to make life easier, better, fuller and so on, are to the point where I need a 3rd grader to show me how to work it all!!!
Just when I had learned my computer, then the accounting software, my sewing/embroidery machines (well, I still haven't mastered the embroidery digitizing software my husband bought me about 8 years ago), then here comes a new camera, which is amazing. I must say, I have improved the quality of my family photos but , of course, I am still working on that.
Then , right after Christmas, we bought a new car. I can tell it to "Take me to the office" or "Call home". It's wonderful!!! However, this car doesn't understand basic Southern rural dialect English!!! Needless to say, I am still working on speech lessons for the car!!
Because of the car, I was forced to upgrade my cell phone AND get an iPod.
Ok, that's three more instruction books to read up on.
But on the bright side, they say keeping the brain stimulated helps to ward off a host of problems related to the aging process.
I feel younger already!!!!