I wasn’t kidding yesterday when I said I’m loving the nautical trend, and that’s largely because it’s a style I’ve always loved.  I’m one of those girls who pretends that she lives by the sea even while surrounded by mountains.  I  like seeing the nautical trend reach farther than the coast because the coast is awfully far away from me!


Last year I purchased the book Seaside Home , compiled by Susanne Woods.  It is full of sewing and embroidery projects that are all inspired by the sea.  I used the beach crab pillow pattern to make this chevron Christmas pillow for my sister, so this isn’t my first project taken from it.


I used the Whale of a Pillow pattern to make these doorstops.  I stitched them on canvas material with DMC floss 311 (six strands) and backed them with a home decor weight nautical print I purchased forever ago.  I stuffed them with some batting and added what I had on hand to make them heavier – pea gravel, washed and dried.


Now there are five of them, all stitched with a different colored star, waiting for the first hint of cool breezes when summer begins to fade.  I’m excited to have something to prevent all the doors from blowing shut when we throw open the windows.  I must also say that these whales bring a smile to my face.  They are a quick stitching project and I’m making more for something we have coming up.

What do you think of the nautical fashion/decor trend?  Is it growing on you?


Stitching: A. Lincoln


All my life I’ve loved handwriting.  As a child I practiced mine constantly and have always loved studying penmanship and lettering styles.  Combine this with a tremendous regard for Abraham Lincoln and I suppose it’s no surprise that I would love his signature.  Some time ago I decided to enlarge it and see how it would look embroidered.  I began this months ago but finished it up on the 4th of July and am so happy with the results!


I’ve never stitched something like this before, all in a satin stitch.  I love the raised effect of the stitching.


The piece is approximately 10 inches long and 3 inches tall.  I think it will become part of a pillow…

What have you finished lately?

Last letter pillow

My mom’s birthday was last month.  It seems as we get older that the perfect gift is something we really cannot grant.  We wish we could give something large enough to erase a burden or fix a worry and all the little things we buy just don’t seem sufficient.  My mom is also in a stage where she’s working enough that there is little time left for other things, so much of what I see when I shop for her just seems like another empty “thing” that doesn’t really mean much.

This year I really wanted to do something special.  I knew it would have to be small, but I wanted so much to offer a gift from the heart.  And then it arrived, about six weeks after her death, a note from my Grandmother (my mother’s mother) to my son, who is the oldest great-grandson on that side.  It was a birthday note, very sweet in it’s own right, but much sweeter because it came after she was gone.  Even my big strong teenager son had the sense to be touched by it all, and he tucked it away for safe keeping, perhaps the first time he’s done that in his life.

My mom misses her parents so much.  Her Dad died last summer, and her mom passed away on July 5th of this year.  I can see the missing on her face when anyone speaks of them.

Slowly an idea formed.  The last line of the note was so touching, and it was  a great sentence to remember my Grandmother by.  I went to the copy center, enlarged it and prepared to embroider the words in her handwriting.  I wanted to make a pillow, but not a cutesy pillow.  I wanted one that looks classy, which is totally my mom’s style, and one that would look at home in her house.  I also wanted something that would work in whatever room she might choose to put it.    Finally I settled on a piece of wide striped fabric and went to work.

Here it is:

I feel so good about it!  Just the quote, on two of the stripes, placed in the upper left hand corner of the pillow.  No coordinating fabrics, no borders, nothing else.  Simple and straightforward.

I placed the embroidery where it would be easily seen and read by someone standing nearby.  I tried to highlight the “Love Forever Grandma Nina” because it was most likely the last thing she ever wrote, and I know that she really does love all of us forever, especially her daughters.  I loved the way, even at the last, some of her handwriting was still hers.  The “love” is exactly how she always wrote it, and the “N” in Nina is her N.  My embroidery isn’t a perfect rendering, but I hope it comes close enough.  I wanted my Mom to have all of that in some simple, everyday way.  And I do hope that all of us will only do things we can be proud of.

I was able to give my Mom her gift in person, along with a couple of pillow covers I made to update the colors on her family room couch.  It felt so good to give her a hug and to watch her open it, then slowly register what it was.  I love my parents so much.  They’re at a stage in life when it seems they should have much less to worry about, and yet it’s still there, the stress of life and concern for those they love most.  I really hope this gift can be one small bright spot in some cloudy trials.  And it felt so good to me to give this gift!

Happy (late) Birthday, Mom!  And Grandma, we miss you so much!


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