Hen Crafted: Ciao Bella, Magnolia! (Giveaway)

I have a wonderful Mother. She is also my best friend. She has taught me many things, both as a child and an adult...

But - You knew there had to be a BUT didn't you? But somehow I missed an important lesson on a useful skill my mother possessed. I never learned to sew.
I could mess around on my mom's machine. My sister, Dee and I spent an entire summer making second-hand jeans into denim skirts. I have even sewn on scrapbook pages on occasion. Oh, and I can cross-stitch... But I'm not sure THAT even counts as 'sewing' (and besides, my Dad taught me that). The point is I wouldn't have the foggiest notion how to follow one of those pattern-y thingies.
For my birthday last year, Mr. Loggerhead gave me a sewing machine. He knew it was on my wish-list and besides he had the secret motive of wanting me to cut off all his long sleeves and hem them nicely. Long sleeve shirts were not invented for shoulders and arms like his... Oh sorry! lost my train of thought there! He has a way of distracting me!

Anyway, the sewing machine was quite a surprise. Our birthdays are only four days apart and they fall right around Thanksgiving so we had discussed delaying any celebration 'til after the holiday. But on my birthday here he came with this big box! He plopped it on the kitchen table and proceeded to tell me all the things the man at the local 'Sew and Vac' had showed him this machine could do. He is so sweet.
Her name is Magnolia and she cried to be used.

"Hmmm... What project should I attempt first?"
"How about opening my box?"
"No, not yet. I have nowhere to set you up."
"Read my manual?"
"Nope, too busy."
So she sat for a while. Okay, it was months. Mr. Loggerhead was getting irritated. I was very busy, alright? To be honest, I was scared. You'll soon see I'm pretty good at messing things up! Just ask my mom about the time I tried to get my brother's birthday cake out of the pan and onto a platter! The cake had to be salvaged by making it look like a torn battle field complete with G.I. Joes!
I digress...
The day finally came when I did it! I opened her prison and released her. I got her all set up and sewed on some party invitations. We were off! Magnolia and I were fast friends. She is a silent partner, a smooth character, responds perfectly to my every whim and easily compensates for my shortcomings! What more could I ask for?
When Bee needed winter clothes Magnolia whispered,
"Let me help!"
I gathered some inspiration by drooling at darling custom sewn outfits on-line (avoid 'Holly's Mama' if you don't need any more addictions, my dears). I simply could not afford to spend $150.00 on per ensemble, even for my Bee. Nor could I sew like that... Not completely anyway. But I had to do SOMETHING! I owed it to Magnolia.
I bought some second hand pieces I liked, both price wise and for style. A visit to the fabric store gave me all the other supplies I needed and the fever rose!
Here is my first project:


My sketch

Cute Periwinkle tunic with a darling 'Ciao Bella' motif

Ordinary Jeans

Add some ruffles.
Tulle - every thing is better with tulle, you know!
Polka-dot fabric, ribbon, iron on flowers, an antique hankie...

and we're set.

She loved posing, this girly-girl of mine.

And the back!

It's the perfect outfit for doing important stuff. Like watching Kit-Kat and Jax play on the computer!

Or crawlng on the floor... Or eating spaghetti

Why do I bother?

Somewhere Magnolia's big mother sewing machine is laughing at me. I guess this is what I get for leaving her cooped up in that box so long!

Because I need your sympathy and I still owe Magnolia lots of use... And because my little sister, Kit-Kat, must not follow in my shoes when it comes to learning to sew...

She is sewing a dolly quilt/baby snuggly for one lucky winner.
Enter a random drawing by telling me how YOU use your creative energy.

I'll select the winner on Friday, October 16th at 8pm Central


  1. How do I use my creative energy? Well, let me see....by letting creative people create for me! I got passed by in the creative gene pool! It all went to both my older sisters--they didn't leave me ANY!

    Lori Huisman

  2. Hmmm, my creative energy, huh. Well quite frankly my dear I think that I could just live vivacially thru yours. You have enough to share with us all me thinks!

    As a teenager I spent part of my creative time coming up with hairstyles & trying them on me and other girls. Another passion was re-decorating/arranging my bedroom, my only personal space in my life.
    Both of those particaular creative, can we say occupations carried over into my adult hood when I had 9 little heads of hair to comb & 11 houses in 32 years to decorate.

    I've decided that my real problem with using my creative energy to it's fullest potitential is the fact that I have too many creative peices running around in my brain (or wherever they reside) and therefore even tho I do many creative things and want to do many more creative things, it's dulited because I don't focus on just one or two and really do those things well.
    Sewing, quilting, baking, canning, decorating my house, photography, scrapbooking, card making and blogging all are and have been my creative outlets. At the present time in my life, most of those seem to be a bit on the "back burner" and my days seem to revolve around wedding planning & everything that comes under that paticular catagory. What did I expect having 9 girls anyway?
    Auntie M.

  3. "Diluted" Sorry!

  4. Creative energy??? The creative gene completely skipped me and went to my children and as for energy...after chasing 4 kids ranging from 2-8 all day, I have none. So if anyone has any energy to spare, I would gladly take some!! :) I just had to post a comment though, Rae, to let you know that I love your blog and also this idea! I am excited to see what people do with their creative energy...maybe it will give me some ideas too and I might even get my sewing machine out of its box again since I have used it about 4 times since my hubby bought it for my birthday several years ago!!

  5. Probably the most rewarding creative thing I love to do is to make something out of something else....making it work for what I want. I get such a kick out of that. Making and re-making curtains for different houses, chair cushions, doll clothes, clothes for different kids/me out of 2nd hand stuff...you know the story. So you see, maybe I didn't "teach you to sew" per se, I guess you got the gist of the whole bigger scene anyway. Besides, sometimes the time just has to be right for a person to pull out the stops and get into it.
    Have fun....glad to see your first project too- It is darling and you did great!


  6. p.s.
    I hope 'Magnolia' has a long and very useful life with you and your family!

  7. And, I forgot the most important thing. I loved your post & you did a great job. Very cute!! Happy sewing!
    Auntie M.

  8. UM, after Auntie Max's post, I feel a bit redundant in posting but I shall say that I use my small amount of creativity in creating things for other folks...cards, albums, gift books,and gatherings of various sorts for various folks.
    UM that's it....
    you are doing a marvelous job on your blog dear"neice"-o-mine. i enjoy it immensely :)
    love you, 'auntie' cyndie

  9. And my dear sis up there WAY underestimates her creative self!!! The cards, albums, books & gatherings WAY exceed my creative energy!

  10. First of all awesome job with Felicity's outfit. I love it.
    My creative energy is spent trying to make my letters interesting, my blog creative and interesting (you know how far that's gotten) and I also use it to crochet afghans for various people and family members. My current project is an EYEORE quilt made out of my old pj's. It takes quite a bit of this creative energy stuff as I don't have a magnolia and must sew all those eyeore squares together by hand. Is it worth is YES!
    I've always enjoyed repairing, using things I already have to make somthing else.

  11. Creative energy. humm I am tempted to say I have none after reading what everyone else put but then I just put together a paper bag photo album that my dear brother in law is very proud of though I am sure there are quite a few in my family that could have vastly improved it I did make it all by myself. I did however fail to take pictures of it but you have to understand I was under a time constraint as my mil was leaving as soon as I got it done for home. I do like to take pictures also but am not near as good at that as some other people. I also can cross stitch and made a lot of carebears for a skirt for a little niece but never got it done as the sewing machine at that house hold wasn't working. Now I should have just hand stiched it but my creative jeans fell apart at that point. I can also bake although that has been in very limited evidence the last few years and sew my own clothes though that to has been on the back burner for a long time now. So I guess I managed to nab a little bit of the creative juice from my familys large pile of creativity and I think its a good thing we are all slightly different in our creative skills or we would over whelm the rest of the world as there are so many of us. And I forgot to sign in before checking your blog so this is Jeanne Ogden

  12. I LOVE the out fit that you did for Bee! Now I'm re-thinking some of the clothes that I'm getting rid of, because what could they become?! Of course my sewing machine would have to cooperate FIRST, and it won't even behave long enough for me to hem the curtains for my Office (aka creative den where nothing creative happens unless it's on the computer...)

    Anyway... creative energy...
    Cakes!!! Oh, and photography, and digital designs, don't forget scrapbooking....
    Oh, who am I kidding. Most of my creative energy is spent thinking of the things that I COULD do and would LIKE to do that never get done because I waste too much time looking at ideas!

  13. I use my creative energy during the day teaching 14 preschoolers and coming up with ways to keep them entertained and out of trouble. Then in the evening I se my creative enery trying to keep my own two entertained and out of trouble! :)

  14. Rae and Jeff, I love this, It is always so fun to come and see you - even on the web and in a Blog and every where.

    I clicked on to follow your blog - I am not really sure what that means but I will find out.

    Thanks for all you share. I am learning Blogs and blogging a little at a time.



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