Mothers Day Gifts by the Renegade Seamstress.

I love these ideas and thought you might too!

The delight of creating and choosing joy no matter what. My mom in a nutshell. It is in her honor that I bring these projects ideas to you today, hoping that her legacy will live on through me and through you. Cheers to projects that bring you and the others around you joy. Casserole Carrier […]

via 15 Handmade Gift Ideas For Mother’s Day That She Will Love — The Renegade Seamstress

When the Flowers Fade


Flowers are a special gift that lifts our spirits and make our day. The only thing sweeter is candy; especially on Valentines Day! My husband always sends red roses. Birthday, Anniversary, and especially on Valentines Day. The roses in my post are from my birthday.

Roses are so beautiful when they arrive, I always want to make them last as long as possible. So I change the water. Add a drop of bleach or a packet of preservative and then snip the end of the stems at an angle so that they will absorb the water better. I can usually count on my roses lasting ten days to two weeks.

But what to do when they begin to droop and dry out?




I remove the flowers that are still alive and put them into a smaller vase. This year, it was vases. Okay, bottles. My husband buys a probiotic which comes in a cobalt blue glass bottle. Normally, I throw medicine, vitamin, and probiotic plastic bottles away but when I saw they were beautiful blue glass bottles, I told John that I would find a use for them. So I washed them, removed the labels and run them through the dishwasher cycle for good measure. He thought I was nuts! Every month, I add a new bottle to my collection in the cabinet which houses my blue and white dishes. I wasn’t sure what I would do with them but that they will come in handy for some craft.


I thought one rose per bottle would be nice but they were large enough to hold two roses and baby’s breath as well. These small arrangements lasted three more days.

Then I remembered the card. One must always save the card!



Next, I decided they needed a pretty tray to place them on and I saw my husband’s Grandmother Long’s crystal dessert plates. Perfect!

There are many ways to preserve flowers. The first time I dried flowers was in college. I learned a new tradition from other girls in the dorm. After the banquet was over, we removed the corsage given by our date (usually carnations) and pinned it to our curtain in the dorm room.

Elonna and Kathy on evening of Candlelight Carols 1977 (2014_02_18 18_15_37 UTC)

I know my roommate, Elonna and I each have a corsage on the curtain but we seem to have blocked them out in this picture but you get the idea.

For years, I dried my flowers. I attached them to a clothes hanger and hung them in a seldom-used closet. After they completely dried, I made sachets and potpourri.

The link below is a great resource for making sachets. In this case, she made hers with lavender.

Lavendar Sachets

One Good Thing by Jillee

Pressed Flowers

Another great way to save your flowers is to press them in a book or in a Flower Press. I have been doing this for years with the flowers that I plant each year. Of course, women have been pressing flowers for centuries. Some women even pressed flowers from someone special or a special occasion in the large family Bible. Until I found a flower press at Michael’s several years ago, I used my heavy Bible commentator. With the flowers laid carefully in a folded paper towel and then pressed between the pages of the book at least three weeks before removing them to use on stationary.




In the 1990’s using dried flowers in making stationary was quite popular. However, the paper was thick and difficult to write on but it made a pretty card. Click the link below for instructions in paper making. In this video they are adding plants but flowers work well too!

Paper Making Video

Preserving Flowers to be Soft

Preserving flowers in wax

I found this YouTube video which is very helpful!

Michael Gaffney on Secrets of Preserving Flowers

However you decide to preserve your flowers, remember.  The flowers may fade and wither but the sweet thought and the love remains.  It also reminds me of one of my favorite verses. Isaiah 40:8

1910146_741588909235462_1909647532209138025_nIsaiah 40 8 (2014_07_21 04_07_54 UTC)


Spring Wreath

It doesn’t look like we will have snow here in Lynchburg, VA so I am anxious to plant seedlings and make a spring wreath.

Next week, I will plant my morning glory seeds that I harvested from our vine last fall. This will be my third year from the original seeds. However, it will be a while before they will be ready to bloom. I have ordered other seeds as well so we will have a colorful porch this year!



However, we still have cool days and nights ahead so I have turned my attention to a spring wreath. I saw one on Pinterest which was adorable and easy to make. I already had a foam wreath and all I needed was green eyelash yarn, daisy lace and pearl pins. Easy. Right?

Spring Wreath

Plan A.)  I found the items I would need on Amazon but they weren’t “Prime” items (no shipping) so the cost of shipping was higher than the entire order.

Plan B.)  My husband took me to the craft shop this afternoon. I was so excited. I just knew they would have what I needed. They didn’t. (insert *sigh* here).

Plan C.)  Be Creative!

I found the pins, some adorable ribbon and vines. Not quite the same.

I wrapped the wreath form with the green checkered, lace centered ribbon.

Secured the ribbon with the pins.


And now for the flowers – which are on a vine. This is where I need your help.

I just can’t decide. What would you do?



  • Wrap the vine around the wreath?
  • Remove the flowers from the vine and pin them on?


  • Add Ivy to the mix?


Or should I gather the vines into a figure 8, tie with a matching bow and attach to a portion of the wreath? See why I need your help? Please leave a comment below telling us how you would finish the wreath. I would love to hear your suggestions!



There are so many options for this insignificant but outward sign of welcome for our door.

This reminds me of Creation. Just think. God spoke the world into existence! He created the world and rested on the seventh day; enjoying the wondrous world He had made.

26) “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29) And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30) And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31) And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:26-31 KJV)

It wasn’t the beauty of the sky, the ocean or the creatures in the ocean. It wasn’t even the beautiful flowers in the garden. Nor was it the animals He created that gave Him the joy of communication. Fellowship. He saw that all He had made was good.  Yet, He wanted to commune with man whom He had made in His image. He said, “Let us make man in our (the Trinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three in One.) He even saw that it wasn’t good for man to live alone and so He put Adam into a deep sleep and from his side, created Eve. (Genesis 1-3) So many decisions. Every detail, every trailing vine was created by God.

That makes my little spring wreath seem insignificant. Yet, every detail in creation is significant.

Why am I concerned about how to decorate this spring wreath? Because I am making it for Him.


“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”

(Colossians 3:23 KJV)

Braided Hair Ribbons for Valentines

JK Purdy wedding with 3 adorable flowergirls

I saw a picture of woven hair accessories in Pinterest and it reminded me of our three sweet flower girls – in 1985! They looked so adorable and as you see, couldn’t wait for cake! Although the wedding was in late summer, I thought the hair accessories would make adorable valentines Day hairbows.

Most of all, I love seeing those three sweet little girls who are now mothers with children of their own. I wonder if their little girls would like to wear these hair accessories for Valentines Day?

Scan 10

I found a tutorial for making braided ribbons. I found ribbons with flowers but you can add any accessory. Perhaps heart button or heart-bead for this month.

Ribbon woven hair barette

The Goody split barrettes are available at

(Goody Womens Classic Metal Double Bar Barrette 4CT #01732)

Now if only I had a little girl to make some for! If you make one, please send a pic to share with our readers. Have fun!





Handmade Gifts and Needlecraft


I am slowly working on emptying boxes from our move two years ago. We have boxes stacked along the wall of our garage and we are both trying to clear them out. Also, I am trying to find my rolling pin because I definitely want to bake Christmas cookies this year!

A few days ago I found some treasures – Cross Stitch magazines from the 1980’s to 1990’s. Some of my favorite patterns were from this publication and I feared they had been thrown away.  I stopped counted cross stitch when my eyes changed and had to use a magnifying lamp which was awkward to say the least.  Memories of gifts I had made for loved ones over years came to mind.

Before I got married, most of the Christmas gifts I gave were handmade. From homemade potato bread (Granny Hinchee’s favorite) to Crewel, Embroidery and my favorite, counted cross stitch.   After all, a single teacher in a small Christian school has a small budget and must be creative. My husband however, knew how to shop for “good things!” Nice clothing, etc. and so my needlework was mainly for our home – with two exceptions. Mom still has the large, double matted cross stitched Governor’s Palace, Williamsburg, VA.  I also worked on two other Williamsburg buildings but still haven’t had them framed or made into a pillow.  The second was a gift to my Mother-in-law. She kept this in her kitchen until she was recently moved into a small room in assisted living. It is in our home now. Every time I look at it, I think of Mother Purdy and am reminded to pray for her.

ImageAs I was looking at the magazine, I became recharged and immediately copied the patterns – enlarging them so that it will be easy to read. I have some projects picked out but my goal is to have the better patterns finished as gifts by next Christmas. This year, I already have some easy gifts picked out on Pinterest. ImageI was delighted to find two pillows I had made for our room back in the late 1980’s – 1990’s.

ImageIt definitely needs work. My trim is loose and the year and the background fabric are fraying but this is one of my favorite

patterns. If you look carefully, you will see a kitty hiding in the picture!


My friends will know why I love this pillow. I love cottages and especially like cottages with vines growing on it. Isn’t it picturesque? One of the reasons I was delighted to find the magazine is that there is another cottage pattern I am anxious to get started on.

Part of the fun of needlework is in imagining the finished product. Oh, there will be times when I have had to pull out one or two rows of stitching, or added something not in the original pattern, such as my initials and the date.  In my earlier days of stitching, I thought adding my name or initials was too showy. I simply wrote on the back of the framed piece my name and the date finished.  However, through the years, the Lord impressed upon my heart to add that detail. Why?

     1. We need to reflect Christ in all that we do. (Whatsoever ye do, do heartily as unto the LORD and not unto men.”)

     2. It is easier for family members and friends to identify.

     3. There is an old saying that whatever the task, do it so well that we will not be embarrassed to put our name on it.

I am always reminded of the industrious Proverbs 31 woman when I make something new and also ask myself if it is gift-worthy?

In Proverbs 31, her husband trusts in her and her children rise up and call her blessed.

How about you? Do you do needlework? Embroidery, counted cross stitching, quilting?  I would love to hear your stories and see pictures of your work. I am sure we would all enjoy seeing your handwork.


Card tutorial for children

Many years ago when I was a teacher, I found that manilla folders came in quite handy. Not just for files but were the perfect weight for cutting out letters for the bulletin board. I often glued outdated wallpaper samples to the folder, rolling out the bubbles and wrinkles with a wallpaper roller before cutting out letters and designs.

Folders were also handy for storing flannelgraph. (An old fashioned visual used for teaching Bible Lessons) I used packing tape to close the sides of the folder secure.

I used old folders for making signs and for making Bible verse cards. I simply designed the verse on the computer, print it out and adhere it to the old folder and cut it out to the appropriate size. (Perfect for Bible Verse presentation. Add a cardboard stand to the back and it works great! For individual verses when teaching a class, I printed the verses directly onto business card stock.)

One thing I never thought of was making greeting cards using folders. Check out The Better Mom’s blog for a great tutorial. Your kids will have fun making cards for their grandparents and friends!

Card tutorial for children.

Learn with Jo-Ann: Make Fun Finger Puppets from Old Gloves – YouTube

I saw this video and just had to share it. This would be a wonderful rainy day project for Mom and the little ones. They will spend hours playing with the finger puppets. After cutting the fingers off the hand of the glove, turn the glove inside out, sew across the cut side to make a bag for the puppets. Add ribbon handles to the wrist end of the glove and a Velcro dot closure and you have a travel bag.  Have a finger puppet show in the car while traveling…


Learn with Jo-Ann: Make Fun Finger Puppets from Old Gloves – YouTube.

1920 Knitting Pattern for Baby Sweater and Hat

This 1920’s knitting pattern for a baby sweater and hat might have been one used by Isabel’s “Mama” when preparing for the birth of Isabel’s brothers in The Vision of a Mother’s Heart.

1170_baby_sweater_hat_knitting_PDF.pdf (application/pdf Object).

I wonder if Grandma Lizzie knitted this outfit for baby Eugene?


In the Vision of a Mother’s Heart, handkerchiefs are often mentioned. Isabel saved one that her “Mama” had embroidered for her and is again mentioned in the sequel I am currently working on, Hope Beyond The Sunset.

Notice the folded handkerchief in this photograph. It belonged to my grandmother, Isabel.

Apparently, even as a child I loved “old fashioned” things. I had a clear idea of gifts perfect for my grandmother. Talcum powder with the big, fluffy powder puff, a broach with pansies painted on it (even though I never remember her actually wearing broaches or pins) and always thought the greatest gift was a pretty hankie. I don’t know how old I was when I gave this hankie to Granny but she returned it on my wedding day to carry on that day and to keep. She also gave me the pansy broach (I will write about this later) and a double string of pearls which I passed down to my sister when she got married.

I love this hankie and think of her every time I open my music/trinket box. Now that I am older, I realize she could have been offended by my stereotype gifts but she always graciously received each gift as if it was “just what she wanted!”

I have several vintage hankies passed down from family members and some “new vintage” hankies that I have ordered through the years. I have thought about making a quilt, pillows or “something” to display them while creating a legacy to pass down to other family members some day.

I ran across this website and thought others who have an affection for hankies too will enjoy this site too. Perhaps you will see one that reminds you of your grandmother!

Do you have a story or craft relating to vintage handkerchiefs? I would love to read about it!