Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My blog has moved!!!

Hope you'll come over and check out my new blog!!
Sara Norris Ltd.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy birthday to my sister!!!

Today is my sister's birthday and I just want to tell how very special she is!! I am sure many people who have a sister thinks their sister is special.  She is older than me and has always looked after me and taken care of me.
When she and my brother in law were dating, they would take me along to the movies. Or if not, they would come home from a date and read me a bedtime story. I always called her Sissy. Then when they got married (I was in the wedding) , I recall that when the wedding party walked back down the aisle after the ceremony, even at my age, I instinctively knew that something had changed forever and I was overcome with emotion. I flew to her and grabbed her around the waist and sobbed.  I think it was about that time that I ceased calling her Sissy, as that seemed to me to be babyish!!! So things did change a lot. After they married, they moved away to go to college. Their first Christmas, my sister had taken my mother's sewing machine home with her and she created a fabulous wardrobe for my Barbie doll. She had it all packed in a black patent hat box with a handle. I still remember some of the outfits she made. Sadley, it all burned years later in a house fire.
My "Sissy" and I have been through a lot together. We have that special relationship that only sisters understand. We think alike about a lot of things, almost can read each other's mind on occaison, know what the other is thinking with just a look, and for years have shown up wearing the same outfit more times than I can count!!! My sister is many things: creative, passionate, inventive, thrifty, industrious, loyal, FUN, and not least of all, she is a Christian. I thank God every day for making us sisters in this life.
Happy Birthday Sissy!!!!!! I love you!!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Holiday entertaining

For your holiday table, consider these lovely monogrammed dinner napkins.  These are offered on my website  Sara Norris Ltd. Don't you love the Turkey napkin ring??? My mother and sister made these several years ago and since Thanksgiving Dinner is almost always at our house nowadays, I was the happy recipient of them!!!

Rebecca's Beautiful Blog

If you are a lover of beautiful things, you will absolutely fall in love with Rebecca’s blog “A Gathering of Thoughts”.
Go over and check it out here

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A new blog for me!!

I hope you will take a look at a new blog I have created this afternoon. It is primarily for showcasing my work.
You may find me here

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fall sewing

At this time of year, when I am in my fall sewing, I remember something my mother used to say. My mother had a ladies dress shop for over 30 years and she would say that the end of August was the time to bring out your "dark cottons" for early fall wearing!!! So this time of year finds me rummaging through my fabric stash looking for dark cottons. Old habits don't die easy!!

Three years old, he is now. At that age in a sewing person's life when the choices become harder and harder as to what to make for him. As a sewist with an heirloom persuasion, I have long had to forego any illusions of dressing him in any lace. I must say that his dad indulged me longer than I ever thought possible!!! But now, trying my best to keep him from looking like a "little man", I have had to turn to my creative instincts to design clothing that bridges the gap, somewhere between little boy and those grown up clothes that are going to come all too soon, clothes that in all the major brands look "just like daddy".
At the same time, we are urging this child to grow up and be a "big boy". Of course, part of this means no longer wearing a diaper. Now, there are any number of cute patterns out there for younger boys, jon-jons and button-on pants and shirts, but all those buttons make life difficult for a little fella who is now a "big boy".
I have a whole sketch book full of designs that I plan to publish as patterns. That is another story. I have learned that pattern publishing is no easy task.
Anyway, I probably have one more year, at best, to dress him in Sadie-made clothes.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bias binding tutorial

I was playing with this vintage ladies blouse and had cut it down to fit a size 2 toddler. I had to remake the neckline in order for it to fit a child. I decided to do a bias binding around the neck, but came up with a different take on the traditional finish.
Here's how I did it:
Make your bias as you would usually do. I did this one 1" x the length needed plus an extra inch, 1/2" for each end to fold in. Press each long side of the bias to the center, then fold and press again. Unfold the bias and pin the raw edge to the neckline and stitch, making a 1/4" seam. Fold the bias over the seam. Instead of hand stitching the edge to the inside , as you would normally do, use the shell tuck function of your machine stitches to sew it down.
That stitch will look like a ladder with the right side missing:
or something like that!!!
The settings I use on my Babylock Ellageo is w=4.0, L-2.5 and tension 8.0
You should play with your settings to get the one you like.
Stitch all around the neckline , making sure the folded edge of the bias is staying even on the inside of the garment. I didn't have to pin the bias to do this, just held it with my hand, and stitch slowly.
It makes a pretty , decorative finish for something a little bit different.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Today's lesson. . . Dressing Baby in the hot, sultry South!!!

With the days becoming so hot and humid and the heat index rising, I was reminded of an occasion when one of my granddaughters, who was about 6 months old at the time, was stripped down to her diaper , by her daddy, "because she was hot". (I believe she was wearing a smocked bubble at the time,made of 100% cotton Swiss batiste, which I might say is one of the lightest fabrics made). Now, being in the business of CLOTHING babies, this somehow , just did not seem right to me!!!
So, in giving this some thought, I realized that I had not educated this particular child of mine, a man, about the proper way to dress a baby for hot weather. There are just some things that you take for granted!!!
So , let me explain this , for the uninformed!!
It would seem logical that to remove most or all of baby's clothes, would indeed make the baby cooler. This might stand to reason, if the baby is indoors. But if the baby is outdoors, say at a picnic, and being held, think about the skin of the baby and the baby-holder, when the baby is passed on to,oh, let's say, grandmother. The baby's back and the arm of the holder are both wet!!!! From sweating!!!!! This cannot be, in any way, comfortable to the baby!!! Skin against skin is going to get hot and sweaty when the thermometer approaches the 100 mark!!!This is why the Southern staple of a baby's wardrobe, the diaper shirt, was created!!!!!

Now, these diaper shirts, or some other light-weight article of clothing, need to be made of 100% cotton or linen, to be effective. Polyester fabrics simply won't have the same wicking qualities or any degree of comfort. They are , in fact, quite hot to wear.
It would also behoove me to interject, at this point, that one should never leave the house without a lightweight cotton blanket for baby!!! They have a multitude of uses, even in the hot summer time. You can spread it out to lay the baby on, it is a light cover if you are in a very cool restaurant or other building, you can throw it over the stoller to shield the baby from the sun, or mosquitos, and of course, it can be the barrier for the moisture, when holding the baby. Much more comfortable than a hot, sweaty arm!!!! It also gives off a certain degree of charm, and we all know how important THAT is!!!!!
Here is a good example of the perfect (in my opinion) outfit for a hot summer day: Here you have your 100% cotton sateen fabric composing a set that includes a crisp and cool sunsuit, a burpie, and the requisite blanket, all coordinated with red gingham trim and monogrammed. How cute!!! Other good choices for fabrics would be seersucker, plisse', or pique. All very cool fabrics!!

So, on behalf of babies everywhere, let's keep them cool!!!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sewing at the Lake

My sewing friends and I gathered this past weekend for our second annual retreat. We met each other several years ago on a sewing chat forum. These women are from all over the country and oddly, one lives only about 3 miles from me!!! Since my husband and I have a little cabin on the lake, we decided it would be great fun to have a weekend to come together and share all things sewing!!! Our common sewing thread (pun intended!!) is that we all sew for small children. Some of the girls sew for their children that are as young as 2, while others of us sew for our grandchildren.

We share about our daily lives, stay up late talking, eat a lot and exchange ideas. Most of us do not have anyone who really speaks our language on a daily basis so the idea and information exchange is amazing!!!

This year, our weekend project was organized by the amazing Laurie Anderson. Laurie is an extremely talented designer who regularly contributes to Sew Beautiful magazine. She has also started a sewing ministry in her town called Threads of Love (you may click here for more info ) Threads of Love is an outreach sewing ministry that strives to provide for some of the physical needs of tiny infants, while showing God's love to the babies' parents and families. Practically speaking, they are groups of woman who sew tiny garments and take them to hospitals for preemie babies and babies who don't survive. I have been praying about this same type of ministry at my own church for some time and Laurie has encouraged me along the way.

Laurie brought all the fabric, patterns and trims for us to use for the garments we made. Here are some of the girls cutting out the patterns sitting out on the deck. It was glorious weather!!!

This is a life-like baby doll who modeled for us all weekend. She was so life like, that several of the girls could hardly put her down!!!

We had several sewing machine and sergers set up inside.

Here is Laurie and me showing off the babies!!!

These are the final products, each set packaged and labeled.

This is the group, minus 2, on Sunday morning before we all departed.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

One more reason I love living in a small town. . . .

There's just something about a small town parade that makes me burst with civic pride, makes me want to go join something, and makes me think about Mom, baseball and apple pie!!! Wonder why that is??

In most towns that have a parade on Memorial Day weekend, it is usually in honor of the holiday, but in our little town (and i do mean little) it is to kick off the festivities for a festival we have been having for 20 years: The Buford Pusser Festival, always held on Memorial Day weekend. In case you haven't heard, Mr. Pusser was a very famous sheriff around these parts. So famous in fact that he has had scores of books written about him and four movies made of his life and times.
Our town boasts a museum that is housed in the sheriff's former residence and throngs of visitors flock here each year to tour the museum and to participate in the festival. Now, let me get back to the parade.

Along with the dignitaries (and Elvis) riding in converibles, we have a brigade of law enforcement and emergency vehicles.

The children, as well as the adult onlookers, get a kick out of seeing who they know that might be riding in the parade.

After the parade, we all go to the city park, where a carnival with rides, games and lots of food is set up. All kids of activities have been going on throughout the week leading up to
Saturday's events.

The reason all this makes me love living in a small town (among other reasons to numerous to post) is simply because I love the down-homeness of it all, the fact that I know nearly everybody in town and that they all turn out for and support this type of event. I love it that simple events are still a very BIG DEAL!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I love vines!!!

I love many flowers that grow on a vine. While this first one is not really considered a vine (I don't think), it sure grows like one. This is an old rose that blooms by Mother's Day. It started as a cutting from my sister and I planted it to grow over my old potting shed. When we remodeled the shed a few years ago, we transplanted on this arbor, which is the entrance to the garden spot (if you look through the opening, you will see the garden spot has nothing but weeds growing there this spring!!!) I love this rose. It is filled with small but beautiful pale pink fragrant buds.
Next is my Confederate Jasmine. We are located a bit north for this vine to thrive, however, thriving it is and has never let me down. Two years ago, we suffered a hard freeze just before Easter and it got severely bitten. This vine forms a bower over the walkway to the garage and every time I walk by it, I feel like Scarlett at the barbeque, because the fragrance is enchanting!!

This is my Clematis. I don't know the correct name for it. I have had a thing for them for years and have never been successful growing them until I got this one. It is located right by the Jasmine.

This is the old Southern favorite Wisteria. Mine is just now blooming but I have been seeing them bloom all over our area for weeks. Everything blooms later than most in our yard, for some reason. I think it has something to do with "micro-climates".

Last is a new vine. My husband bought this one to hopefully cover up some unslightly electical meters (those things the power company uses to send you a bill!!!) And again, the tag has been removed and I don't know the name of it either

Friday, May 8, 2009

Our granddaughter has arrived!!!!

Our granddaughter arrived last night!!! she was born at 7:44, weighing in at 9 lbs 13.5 oz. , has been named Amelia Renai, and will be called "Millie". Mother, Daddy and Millie are all doing great!! She is just precious!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sewing for a cause

I have been asked to participate in a silent auction to raise money for a local cancer center in Savannah, Tennessee. This little sundress, handmade by me, is my contribution. I hope that if you are in the area, you will make it to this worthy event.

Living Service & Lifetime Awards
The Hardin County Community and Healthcare Foundation, Inc. and Hardin Medical Center are proud to present the 5th Annual Hardin County Healthcare Living Service & Lifetime Awards honoring Helen Garner, R.N., and Randy Rinks, Former State Representative, and remembering Rev. R. W. Moore and Dr. Otis M. Whitlow for their commitment to improving healthcare in Hardin County.Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at the Pickwick Inn.Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a silent auction.Dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m., with Entertainment by Cosmin Majors and John Simmons, followed by a Live Auction of Very Special Items and the Awards Presentation.All proceeds will benefit The Darryl Worley Cancer Treatment Center.Seating is limited. For tickets please contact Hardin Medical Center Administration at 731-926-8121.
5/12/2009 6:00:00 PM

Skillet Cake

To go along with the fresh strawberries, our family has always enjoyed Skillet cake. No store-bought sponge cake cups for us!!!! We grew up on this and other homemade goodies from my mother's kitchen.

This little delicacy looks surprisingly like cornbread, in part because it is made in a black skillet, but don't be fooled!!!! It is sweet and very light. And when just out of the oven, it is delightful all by itself, with no other adornment.
But when you add fresh strawberries, it is heavenly. Now about the strawberries, I never slice mine. Rather, to get the best effect, meaning JUICE, they have to be smooshed. This can be accomplished with a potato masher or even with your clean hands. Add some real sugar and let them sit and the sugar will draw out even more of the juice. You want all that juice so that the cake can soak it up. MMMM-MMM!!!
Skillet Cake
1 stick butter--softened
1.5 cups sugar
3 eggs
1.5 cups self-rising flour
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp real vanilla
Grease and flour a black skillet. Cream the butter and sugar, add eggs, beat well. Add the flour, milk and vanilla and pour into the skillet. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes until golden on top and firm to the touch.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Berry time in West Tennessee!!!

For a little fellow who adores strawberries more than just about anything, what could be better than a trip to the "Pick-UR-Own" patch? Maybe it is picking and eating all you want, right off the vine and Mr. Farmer not minding one bit and not charging your aunt and uncle for all those you ate, because he is so enamored of your cuteness!!!!
Our whole family loves the juicy red berries grown so abundantly here in West Tennessee but none more so than my grandson Holt. I try to keep a carton here at my house, year 'round, when I know he will be coming. Anyway, the trip to the patch was a tradition we started last year and one we hope to keep for years to come, or as long as he will go with us!!!!
These are last years pictures and my sister and her husband took him Saturday, but I have no pictures of that trip. Guess we'll just have to make another run in a few days!!!
I feel a shortcake coming on!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hand Embroidery

I read recently that it was thought that hand embroidery was a dying art form. NAY!!!! say it isn't so!!! In my little realm of heirloom sewing there are still a multitude of hand stitchers who are indeed masters of the art!!!! Most of them I have come to know through the internet and some I have come to know personally. I have the utmost respect for these women who create beautiful works of art with a needle

I thought about my own journey of learning this beautiful means of stitching. I took some classes many years ago and was so dissatisfied with my attempts that I only dabbled with it in the ensuing years. Then one day I made the decision to attend the MarthaPullenCo School of Art Fashion in an attempt to improve my skills. I took the class offered by Wendy Schoen , which just happened to be a class for infant clothing, her specialty and my first love!!! I should add at this point that I consider Ms. Schoen one of the masters of hand embroidery and I can only dream of stitching as beautifully as she!!!!

I will never forget my intimidation by the ladies in that class who were much more accomplished than me. I was so embarrassed by my inability to execute those tiny stitches, which are the hallmark of beautiful embroidery. I learned a great deal in that class. First and foremost that good lighting and good magnification are essential. Then the biggest revelation that the proper needle is crucial to the desired stitch!!! WHO KNEW!!!! Who would have thought that something as tiny as a needle could make that much difference??? But a difference it makes indeed!!! Not only that, but some BRANDS are better than others!!! Fast forward a few years and all those projects from the school remained tucked away unfinished in my "Grandmother's Hope Chest" with the promise to myself that when one of my children had me a grandchild, I would finish them. And finish them I did.

Along the way, I have rediscovered my love for hand embroidery and have taken the opportunity to work on more projects and attempt to perfect my skill. I am still not at the level I want to be, but hey, it takes practice, practice, practice!! I would like to pay tribute to some of my other friends , who's skill I so admire. First , there is my dear friend Laurie, who is an amazing designer and regular contributor to SewBeautiful magazine, the hand book to heirloom sewists everywhere!!

Then there is a new friend

Martha, whom I first discovered on a sewing forum and then have followed her on her delightful blog.

Here, I am revisiting some of my work with hand embroidery, crude as it is!!! The initial below was worked on a baby blanket for my granddaughter (whom we are still awaiting to arrive). The stitches used are a combination of shadow embroidery, lazy daisy, granito, and bullion rose.

The bonnet below is for my granddaughter Lacey Claire, who arrived on Valentine's Day this year. The stitches on it are also bullion rose, lazy daisy and running stitch.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I am honored. . . .

Attitude of Gratitude Award

I have been away from blogland for a few days, due to a hectic lifestyle lately!!! Much to my surprise, I received the Attitude of Gratitude award for my blog from my new friend Cathy over
Cathy is not only very talented and creative, but also very gracious . Cathy has one of the loveliest blogs I have seen and I am so inspired when I go there!!!

The Rules of Accepting and Sharing this Award

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an attitude of gratitude.

3. Link to your nominees within your post.

4. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award.

5. Share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award.

Tell us how you've come to have an attitude of gratitude:

I am so blessed in this life. I have a wonderful, close-knit family, who are all healthy. It doesn't take long to look around yourself and see the things that others are going through, to make you stop and count your blessings. Like anyone else, I have been through the valleys and the mountaintops. I am so thankful that I have my faith to sustain me through the difficult times. I am also thankful to have found my new blogging friends. The creativity that is displayed amongst the bloggers that I follow is astounding!! Have a wonderful and blessed day!!!

Here are a few of the blogs that inspire me!!

Laurie SewnSo


Friday, April 10, 2009

Inside the house!!!

This is the centerpiece of my dining table. Pictured in this rusty little wheelbarrow are some Easter eggs made by my mother several years ago (we have Christmas ornaments like this as well!!)

On my other dining table is an arrangement of fresh flowers from my sister's garden. She gave me this darling Fitz and Floyd container because I'm a seamstress!!!

Here's Mr. Rabbit getting caught in the cabbage patch!!!!

A Garden Wedding Reception

My cousin is getting married tomorrow night and early last fall, when she announced her plans, I immediately raised my hand and said "You can have the reception in our yard"!!!!! Lazily I waltzed into the holidays and then the winter. After all, Easter is a lifetime away, isn't it???? Well, of course, it got here a lot quicker than I thought it would!! However, we all have been busily preparing the yard and the house for the big day. We have worked like Trojans all week to put the final touches on everything. Here is a quick view of the yard:

My potting bench got a facelift!!!!!

Never has a rabbit smelled so lovely!!!

Don't you just love this lamb???? And the preparations would not be complete without a hitch or two. I am so thankful that we got everything done by yesterday, as all morning today we were under a tornado warning. Fortunately, we did not have one and there was no wind damage, but what's a party without a little hail!!!!!!