Commission Project – Backgammon Pieces Bag


My friend Andy bought an incredibly beautiful Backgammon board from somewhere in the Middle East. Damascus, I think. He asked if I could make a bag for the game pieces. I was a little surprised that the game didn’t come with something for the game pieces, honestly. But, it didn’t, so I said I would make a bag. I bought a quarter yard of black velvet and found a remnant of red taffeta. I bought the main embroidery design from Urban Threads!, my most favorite-est embroidery design site evah! I arranged the monogram using Sew What Pro. I chose red for the lining and thread colors because the Backgammon board is made with inlaid red and white colors on the brown. I chose the embroidery design and monogram font because they have an ancient feel to them and the game board has a very antique feel to me. After stitching out the embroidery designs, I stitched up the drawstring bags – velvet outer bag and taffeta lining bag. I sewed gussets in the bag bottoms, so the bag will “sit” prettier. My husband said, “Nice! A custom-made Crown Royal bag!” as memories of Dungeons and Dragons danced in his head. I rolled my eyes. I’m pretty pleased with the results! I hope Andy will like it, too.

"Bag with the Backgammon Board"

And here is the bag with the Backgammon board for which it was made.


Matryoska Doll Card


Sooo, we have a co-worker from Russia named Vladimir. His birthday is Saturday, so I thought I’d try to find something cool to make for him. (I make stuff for my co-workers from time to time and I always try to remember their birthdays.) I made a sign with a pic of Red Square and fireworks but that seemed so blah.

I usually make some kind of papercraft from Toy-of-the-Day or things I find on DeviantART. (I work in IT so I’ve put together plenty of daleks and the like.) For Vlad I thought maybe I could find papercraft Russian Nesting Dolls.

What I found was a Folding Matryoshka Doll Card where the smaller dolls fold up behind the larger dolls on the Zakka Life blog.

I printed the template on red and cream cardstock and cut everything out. I found some colorful fabric and used some craft glue to adhere the fabric to the doll card. While that dried, I made the little faces.

I used quilting adhesive to attach the face circles to a piece of ivory craft felt. I used a disappearing fabric pen to draw the hair outlines then used a tight zig-zag stitch on my BabyLock Elizabeth machine to fill in the hair.

Next I sewed green and pink beads on each face, using clear nylon thread and a super thin beading needle. After attaching the eyes and mouths, I made a little kerchief for each face from a scrap of baby blue felt left over from the Poodle Skirt project.

Finally, I glued each face to its body. Taaa-dah! There you have it – a handcrafted Folding Matryoshka Doll Card. The question now is whether or not I can bear to part with it!

Finally! A Diagnosis!

My chronic and seemingly never-ending back pain is Facet Joint Syndrome.  Basically, I have premature arthritis of the facet joints of my lumbar spine.  The facet joints are the little nobbly things you see on the vertebrae in pictures of a spine or on a skeleton.  Those little joints help keep the vertebrae from falling onto each other and make sure all stays separated appropriately.  My little joints have arthritis, so they are more easily inflamed by certain activities, such as walking and sitting for long periods of time.  (I guess all that time on the treadmill wasn’t doing as much good as it was doing harm. Ooops.  Who knew?)

So, a round of steroids and some physical therapy (in the pool – sweet!) and I should be right as rain!  I should be able to prevent future “episodes” of this magnitude by NOT walking too much, getting the right kind of exercise, and using over-the-counter medicines for the mild aches and pains.  The recommended exercises are yoga (with a knowledgeable teacher) and swimming. I’m all for that!

How does this affect my sewing?  It just means I have to make sure I have a good chair and I don’t overdo it.  I can handle that.  I’ll be back to my usual self in no time.  I’m sure of it!

Will be boldly sewing again before you know it!



April showers have brought an MRI. I’ve had constant back pain since February 2 and finally went for an MRI. Hopefully, I’ll get answers and a plan to get rid of the pain.

Back pain has put a huge crimp in my life. I really cannot do the things I enjoy nor can I do the things I need to do (and do not enjoy, like housework).  I cannot sit, stand, or lie down for any length of time comfortably.  I am not taking prescription pain medicine and muscle relaxers every day. I would be too stoned to function and I gotta work!

So, I take the medicine at night and on weekends which means I get very little accomplished.

Constant pain is frustrating. I hope you never experience it. It sucks.

Sock Hop Success!


This darling girl wore the poodle skirt I made to her school’s annual sock hop. She looks so cute and her mom says the event was a huge success!  Whew!  I’m always nervous when doing things like this.
We left it longer and I put an adjustable placket in one side seam so (hopefully) she can wear it for another year or two.

Rock and Roll!

I made this felt poodle skirt for the.daughter of some friends. She is going to a sock hop after school tomorrow. It was pretty easy to make and has a separate petticoat, too.


Boldly sewing,

Whooo’s cute?

This guy!



This is a darling little owl keychain with a pocket on the back for a credit card, gift card, your ID, or some cash.

The project was made “in the hoop” on my Baby Lock embroidery machine.  The design is from Embroidery Garden on Etsy.

My friend Judy received this little happy as a gift. She loves it! 

Boldly sewing,

Congrats! It’s a Muslin!

The muslin is basted together. I’m not unpleased. The back of the bodice needs work. But that’s the point of a muslin, right?  The bodice and midriff fronts are pretty good. The bust fits me better than is does Beulah Lou.  I like the full skirt. Overall, I’m encouraged with my progress since this is the first time I’ve attempted something of this complexity.


Now, I need to look at a couple of those smaller projects. I have a need to feel like I’ve finished something.

Continuing to sew boldly,

Weekend Project

I still need to finish my muslin.  I will do more of the hand basting tonight.  My back has been bothering me since the first week of February and it is putting a huge crimp in my style!  I won’t let it get me completely down, though.  I can hand baste the muslin sitting in bed on the heating pad.

I placed an order for new fabric from Fabric Mart today.  If you haven’t checked them out, they have some great deals!  And everything I’ve purchased from them has been exactly as I expected and of excellent quality.

I also could not resist ordering a few clearance patterns from Vogue, Butterick, and McCall’s.  I love a bargain!

While I am working on my Couture Dress, I will squeeze in a smaller project or two.

  1. I need to figure out what went terribly awry with the shopping cart liner I started for my new nephew who is now almost 10 months old.  I need to fix it and finish it.
  2. I need to mend the Amy Butler purse I made for my sister (pics in my Flickr stream).  I wasn’t “all about” the way the handles were done and they didn’t hold.  I have some of the fabric left, so I will re-work those and may have a plan for a more secure attachment.
  3. I cannot find either of my two trench coats and I have misplaced my umbrella.  That was disastrous this morning.  My shirt sleeves dried out by lunchtime.  The bottoms of my jeans are still damp, I think.  So, I have some water-resistant fabric I purchased last October for a never-made costume.  I think I’ll use a simple cape or poncho pattern and make myself a new rainy day piece.

Until next time, I’ll be boldly sewing,


Muslin, pt 2

Me:  I need to work on my muslin.

Skippy:  You’re making a Muslim?  How do you make a Muslim?

Me:  No, Mus-LIN.

Skippy:  Oh.

Any-whooo.  So, after a quick explanation about what a muslin is, Skippy returned to killing zombies and I went to sew.  I’m working on the bodice and midriff of my couture dress.  I hand-basted all the pieces together and put them on Beulah Lou.  The bodice was too big and the midriff only slightly too small.  I marked the changes I think are needed, took it all apart, re-stitched some new stitching lines, and made a new piece for the midriff side front that I had somehow gotten too small.

Then I started hand-basting it together again for another fitting.  When things didn’t match up as expected, I uttered a few “cuss words” and started looking at everything again.  I was off by a panel so I was sewing the midriff to the bodice off-center.  That’s really not a huge deal and I had only basted two panels, so I tore it out.  I’ll do it again.

I have decided that when I am sewing, when I start to make certain types of “DUH!” errors, it’s time to take a break.  No sense in keeping on when I’m tired or no long in the zone!  I tore out the basting, folded everything together, had a snack, checked e-mail, and surfed the internet.  I’ll be back to the basting shortly!

For the record, the Japanese basting thread I purchased online from Shibori Dragon  ( is wonderful!  Easy to baste in and super easy to rip apart.  Love it!

Still boldly sewing!


One more comment about basting:  When I talk about basting, my hubby always starts talking about being hungry and starts making “nom nom” sounds.  Now, I can’t think, hear, say, or type the word without thinking about a roast in the oven!

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