Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Monogram Gifts

It has been a long time since my last blog ….. too long. Along with personalizing gifts from my baby store, The Polka Dot Store, and my Etsy Store, Monogram Elegance, I monogram for friends and family. Holidays and weddings keep me busy!. Here are a few images of some of my work. The first picture is a set of pajamas given as a bridesmaid gift. The Sydney font and red thread was used for the initial.

This is a picture of a set of blankets a friend gave her nieces as gifts. They turned out so cute and her nieces love them!

Pink dresses and blankets were fun to create for micro preemie twins born in October. Preemie’s in the NICU have monitors and wires so the neck is made adjustable with gathers and ribbon. The back is left open and the ribbon woven through the smocking ties the dress closed in the back. The sleeves are angle sleeves style allowing for tubes to be placed through them. If you are interested in making "Wee Care" gowns for hospitals, here is a link Smocking Guild Wee Care Program . The dress is made from 100% cotton sateen fabric and is personalized above the hem with the letter "E" in Vine Font. The blanket was made using 100% soft cotton flannel fabric and lined in Imperial Batiste fabric.

A visit to see a friend prompted making this cute pillow with her zip code appliqued on the front. The pillow is made from ivory cotton canvas fabric and I used gray burlap fabric for the piping and applique. It looks great on her sofa!

I hope you get some great ideas from the pictures. More gift ideas will be posted in a later blog. Visit The Polka Dot Store for all your baby gifts and Monogram Elegance on Etsy for you wedding, graduation, birthday, and Christening gifts.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Reusable Cloth Kitchen Towel On A Roll

Several months ago my daughter mentioned she wanted an alternative to paper towels in her kitchen.  I selected a cotton print fabric and a white terry cloth cotton fabric from my fabric stash.  Each piece was cut approximately 12" x 12". Since I wanted a set of twelve cloths, twelve squares were cut from each type of fabric.

Next I pinned a printed fabric piece and a terry cloth piece wrong sides together and took them to my serger. There are tutorials available on Pinterest showing the next step sewing the pieces right side together leaving an unsewn area where you can turn the piece right side out and sew up the opening. These were for my daughter so I just serged around the edges. After serging the edges, I ironed the pieces so they would look nice and neat.

Using a sewing awl to punch a hole in the corner for a snap was the next step.

This is a heavy duty snap installer but a hand one will work just fine. (Use a southern drawl when you read the word "fine" ) 😉 I have tons of these plastic snaps left over from making cloth diapers when my grandson was a baby. Ha, ha,  I have to practice on a scrap because I always seem to do the first set wrong!

After inserting all the snap pieces, I snap each cloths together and made a roll.

After looking at these pictures again, I have an idea. These would be really nice if I embroidered a cute saying on each towel. It is a good thought for the next set!

My daughter loves them and uses them every day. They have washed and dried beautifully and held up to every day use. Practical and eco-friendly are great labels for a roll of fabric kitchen towels!

Here is a link to a blog with great instructions: Reusable Paper Towels

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Monogram Handkerchiefs

One of my favorite items to work on is monogram handkerchiefs. Along with running my website The Polka Dot Store I also have an Etsy store called Monogram Elegance. Trust me. I am all about monograms! After working on monogram designs for about twelve years, I could almost be considered an expert on the subject. Well.....maybe not!

Handkerchiefs are a very popular item in my Monogram Elegance shop. Customers order them for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, Baptisms, Christenings, Baby Dedication, and other special occasions. I have even had customers order one for a friend who just lost her husband. They can be used as a bouquet wrap for weddings or given as a special keepsake of the event. One customer ordered one to use for her wedding and planned to share it with three of her friends for them to each have a corner customized with their initials and wedding date and used at their wedding. What a great idea!

This has also become a popular gift to give for a baby girl when she is Christened or Baptized. The initials and date are stitched in a light blue thread. The handkerchief is stored and saved to use as her "Something Blue" on her wedding day. This is especially nice if a cross has been added as in the picture below. When she is married, her initials and wedding date can be added on the opposite corner.

My handkerchiefs are made from a square of fine white linen fabric. I used my hemstitch machine to stitch the "little" holes along the edge of the fabric. Beautiful white tatting is added to the hemstitching. A hemmed version instead of lace edging is also offered.

There are a variety of different style handkerchiefs offered at Monogram Elegance. I also do custom orders. Some customers have a message stitched in the opposite corner such as "Love, Aunt Grace". Here are a few pictures of custom ordered handkerchiefs:


I have also digitized and stitched designs on handkerchiefs brought to me by friends. Below is an example of one. My friend had a special family member who had passed away and she wanted him remembered at her son's wedding.

Customized handkerchiefs make great gifts and can become special memories!

You can find handkerchiefs at The Polka Dot Store on the Christening page and on the shop page at Mongram Elegance on Etsy .

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Graduation Money Cake

When trying to think about what to give our nephew for his high school graduation, I remembered a friend of mine telling me about all the creative ways she gave money gifts to her grandchildren. I asked her where she came up with such great ideas. Her response was, “Pinterest, of course!” so off I went to search on Pinterest.  After clicking on several pictures and reading tutorials, I came up with several ideas of my own. I will share links at the bottom of this post for some of the tutorials I read.
After a trip to the bank for $1.00 bills and my local Walmart for Styrofoam circles, I was ready to begin. At first, I was disappointed I hadn’t asked the bank teller for new $1.00 bills but discovered after rolling the bills, it really didn’t matter what condition the money was in. Rolling the money was VERY time consuming. My first attempt produced uneven size rolls. Back to Pinterest I went and found a tutorial suggesting using a pencil to roll the bills. Using the pencil produced evenly rolls bills and I was on a roll at this point. Let me back up a minute. Before I could start rolling the bills, I needed to do some prep work.  I used a dinner size round plate and a salad size round plate and traced the plate circles onto the Styrofoam using a black marker pen. Then I used my electric knife to cut out the circles. If an electric knife is not available, a large serrated knife will work to cute the circles. After measuring my finished circles, I used my SCAL (Sure Cuts A lot) software to make draw circles the same size as my Styrofoam circles and then cut out colored card stock with my Cricut die cut machine. I used golden yellow card stock matching the theme colors of the high school – yellow gold and navy. Next, I hot glued the card stock circles to the Styrofoam circles and let them dry.
Roll the money using the pencil method. I used $1.00 bills and made 100 rolls but you can use any denomination of money. After you complete a roll, stick a small straight pink through the roll about ¼” from the top of the roll. This is hard to do but with patience and persistence, the pin will go through the roll. I attached each roll to the Styrofoam circle as I finished them. Watching a T.V. show or listening to music make this part go faster! 

The rolled money filled the bottom layer so I covered the top layer with ribbon taping the ends together. The ribbon could be glued on the edge of the Styrofoam disc but mine was just snuggly taped together.

The finishing touches were the most fun! The hat topper was made from a rectangle of dark blue cardstock and a square of cardstock. The dimensions for these two shapes will depend on the size of your cake. The rectangle was taped together and the square was glued on top of the rectangle. Gold cotton embroidery floss was used to make the tassel. You can purchase a tassel if you don’t want to create your own. The shapes and letters for the year logo were designed in my die cut software and cut with my Cricut machine. They were glued onto the “cake”.

The top cake layer was filled in with folded and pinned left over money.
The Money Cake was fun to create but very time consuming. It took all afternoon to finish. The end result………………our nephew was thrilled with his cake! Sorry, I didn't get a picture of the look on my nephew's face when he opened his gift.

Supplies Needed:
Some type of base for the finished product. I used a 12” cardboard cake round but you can use anything you want.
Styrofoam Discs: 1 10” and 1 12”
Straight Pin: 100 to 150. Some of the pins will bend while pushing through the money so buy extra pins.
Money: I used 100 $1.00 bills but you can use any denomination you prefer and the number of bills will be determined by the size cake you make.
Hot Glue gun and glue sticks
Cardstock in the color(s) of your choice
Ribbon: I used 2 different sized ribbon and layered them. Floral ribbon worked great for me. I used wide widths and cut it down to the sizes I needed.
Die Cut machine such as one of the Cricut or Silhouette brands. I have a Cricut Expression and that is what I used.
Die cutting software or cartridges to cut the cardstock circles and lettering for the cake topper.
Plates for tracing
Pencil, pen, or marker for tracing
Cotton Floss for tassel or purchased tassel
Button – 1 for top of hat
Clear tape

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and find it useful.  Here are the links to the tutorial I used:

Other ideas on Pinterest:[]=graduation%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=gift%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=money%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=cake%7Ctyped

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Baby Burp Cloths

Let's talk about baby burp cloths made from cotton cloth diapers. I attended two baby showers recently where the mom-to-be had this blank look on her face when she opened her gifts and was given decorated burp cloths made from cloth diapers. The look on my face might have mirrored theirs. I couldn't believe they had no clue how to use these fun, practical, soft rectangular pieces of fabric. In case any of you also don't know, let's dig in and find out!

Cotton diapers have been around for ages. They measure approximately 17" x 14" and are made using a 100% cotton fabric called "diaper cloth" and have a padded layer in the middle. Back before disposable diapers, babies bottoms were covered in these cloth diapers and the diapers were secured with extra large safety pins called "diaper pins".After the child was potty trained, new uses were found for the cloth diaper. They make wonderful dust cloths! You can use them for years.

Today since most moms use either disposable diapers or the cute new cloth diapers with the attached covers. Cloth diapers are decorated and used for burp cloths, changing pads, and clothing protectors. Babies spit up. There is no doubt about that statement. Place the burp cloth over your shoulder and you can protect your clothing from spit up, provide a soft place for your baby's head to rest (shoulders are a bony part of our body), and to absorb the drool that comes out of baby's mouth. When you burp your baby, hold the burp cloth under your baby's chin and the burp cloth provides a soft place to rest baby's chin and will catch any spit up that comes with that precious burp.

Here is a picture of an applique burp cloth unfolded.

Even though you could just purchase a package of plain white cotton diapers, why not use the cute decorated ones! You need lots of burp cloths! Moms-to-be don't realize just how many they are going to need. A friend recently told me her daughter had received thirteen burp cloths total at her shower and they used all thirteen in one day. Her grandson spit up all day long and they used all the burp cloths. So, if you are going to use them, they might as well be cute. Decorated burp cloths can be found on Etsy and of course at The Polka Dot Store. Applique and personalized burp cloths are so popular.

Here are some more examples of decorated burp cloths.

The burp cloth above has two rows of pink Rick Rack and a monogram. 

This is a cute burp cloth for your little princess.

This burp cloth is a great gift for a Baptism or Christening.

The Polka Dot Store carries applique burp cloth by 3 Marthas. 3 Martha designs are fun and fresh looking.Their attention to detail is superb.They can be found on this page. All of our burp cloths can be personalized with a name and some with a monogram.

Cloth burp cloths will be one of the most treasured gifts at a baby shower even if the mom-to-be doesn't know what they are when she opens the package!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Heirloom Easter Dress

It's that time of year again when southern mamas start planning Easter outfits for their children. It is an age old tradition in the south for little boys to wear Eton suits, sailor collar shirts with button-on pants, and Jon Jon's. Heirloom dresses out of cotton Swiss batiste fabric in an array of colors adored with rows and rows of french lace are the proper attire for little girls.

Last Easter a good friend asked me to design and sew a blue batiste dress for her granddaughter. The mother of the little girl is a busy working mom so she needed an easy to care for dress. For that reason, I selected to use baby blue Imperial batiste fabric from Spechler Vogel Textiles.. Imperial batiste is a poly cotton blend fabric with a beautiful finish and is a great alternative to 100% cotton Swiss batiste. Here is a picture of the hem of the dress as I was working on it at the sewing machine. You can see the beautiful French Val lace and the tiny holes in the fabric are called hemstitching. The lace is attached to the hemstitching usung a zigzag stitch with the machine needle going into each hole of the fabric then catching the heading of the lace.

Pintucks or little folds of fabric were sewn on the yoke, sleeves, and skirt fancy band of the dress.

Here you can see the sleeve details. Lace beading was used on the sleeves bands. Any color double faced stain ribbon can be woven through the holes and tied in a bow at the top.

Wider pintucks were stitched on the fancy band and a hand embroidered design was stitched down the center of the band. Ecru feather stitching and pink bullion roses were used in the embroidery design.

The bottom of the skirt was scalloped with pintucks. Then hemstitching and lace were added for the finishing touch.

The mother and grandmother were thrilled with the dress. I loved working on this dress and knowing the little girl who would wear it made the dress even more special to me.

Here's a link to my other blog post about heirloom sewing Heirloom Sewing - My First Love

Some of my heirloom creations are available on my website The Polka Dot store and here are the links to a few of them:

Cluny Lace Christening Dress

Cross Embroidery Christening Gown

A sweet little white Swiss batiste dress with ecru lace will be listed soon. Sign up for email and be the first to know when it is up on the website. Scroll to the bottom of the page here to sign up for email.

I hope this blog post gives you inspiration for planning your next heirloom outfit.

Chadwick Heirlooms
Peanut Butter n Jelly Kids
Delicate Stitches
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Friday, September 30, 2016


It is fun, elegant, and interesting to personalize your home with monograms.  In my embroidery business, I have been monogramming items for other people's homes for over 10 years. One day I looked around my own home and realized we had very few monogrammed items. Well, I decided to change that!

In the picture above is a lovely set of pillowcases stitched for a customer. It was the inspiration for stitching a set of sheets and pillowcases for my own bed. Here is the result:

You can just see the top sheet monogram peeking out between the pillows. The pillowcases are also monogrammed.

The monogram font is an original design (in case any of you on Pinterest  are searching for this font) by me. I used wingdings and added curves and swirls to a purchased font to get the look I wanted. The thread color is a medium gray called called "smoke" in the thread color chart. The monogram is done is a modern style with the wife's first initial smaller and to the left, the last name initials larger and in the center, then the husband's first initial to the right and smaller. My crazy husband wanted to know why his initial wasn't first! I just laughed and told him, "That is not how it is done these days". In reality, I could have stitched it in any order I chose. Monogram Etiquette rules have changed!

Next came the downstairs living area. I made robin's egg blue pillows and used a pine cone design from Applique Corner (note: I changed out the letter R to one I thought went better with my home).

From here I moved on to the kitchen. The kitchen is painted an apple green color and this set of linen hand towels very nice.

Here is a link to my Etsy listing where you can purchase the towels I stitched for the kitchen. Monogram Linen Towel Set Etsy

This is just a start on placing monograms in my home. Look for more monograms in a later post. I hope this inspires you to start personalizing your home with monograms!

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