Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Thanksgiving Tradition, and Experiments in Embroidery

I have had my new sewing/embroidery machine for a little while now, but I honestly have been so busy that we really haven't gotten acquainted. It is a cryin' shame!

There she is, wearing her embroidery attachment. She's a lovely gal. I think I'm going to name her Bertha. She is a "Brotha machine." I put that in quotation marks because any time I see "Brother" brand anything, I am instantly taken back to 8th grade "business" class (AKA typing). My teacher was a true Southern African American lady with a heavy accent and drawl. Most of the TYPEWRITERS (Yes, it was the Dark Ages.) in the classroom were of a particular make. There were a few, however, that she referred to as the "Brotha machines." Every day, she would instruct a few students that they were to use the "Brotha machines." It made me laugh almost every day. Seriously. That phrase is so etched in my memory that it will probably require a great deal of time looking at Bertha's logo before I'll stop thinking of myself as an 8th grader sitting before the "Brotha machine," about to get to work. I digress.

Last night, Bertha and I had our first fight. I've been wanting to make this advent calender for about a year. (See next week's I {Heart} Mondays post on Tales of the Scotts. Ohhh! Cliffhanger!) Anyway, since I can now machine embroider, I figured I'd alter the pattern a bit to make embroidered numbers on the calendar. I've read the entire manual that came with this machine, used sewing machines for a long time, and did some brief experimentation on the day it arrived with no problems. I was feeling confident. Sewing machines sense this, like animals sense fear. Anyway, I threaded the machine with the embroidery thread that came with it, although I have tons of embroidery thread because I am everyone's catch-all craft donation recipient! (See below.) 

(This is JUST embroidery thread, and this is a gallon bag. You would die if you saw all of my all purpose, quilting, and various other types of thread. Seriously. You can't look straight at it, or you will turn to stone. Let's just say that it takes up 3 desk drawers, one of them being a drawer that should be used to file legal size folders.)

As I began testing out my number embroidering skills (which are actually the machine's skills because I don't really do anything), the top thread kept coming out of the needle! I was embroidering a number that was like 2 inches high and rethreading the machine 20 times! RIDICULOUS. I was really getting ticked. I should also add that my son woke up at 4:30 a.m. yesterday with explosions out both ends, so I was exhausted and worn out from a long day of nursing. (Nursing, as in caring for my son. Not nursing as in breastfeeding a baby, although I did that too.) I rethreaded the machine, the bobbin, adjusted the tension, adjusted the fabric, and on and on and on. And then I quit. I was out of ideas and starting to boil over. As I was in bed, though, I thought that the thread was the only possible problem left. It would be weird if the thread that came with the machine was crappy, though, wouldn't it? I did notice when I threaded the machine that the thread seemed a little thinner than what I was used to working with. Well, this morning, I changed the thread and realized the error of my ways. That thread is only for the BOBBIN when you are embroidering. It is thin and stretchy, I suppose, to give way to the top thread, which is what needs to look pretty in embroidery. I GUESS you could chalk that up to user error, but I'm going to figure out some way to blame someone else for that. It's just who I am. 

Today, I quickly and easily embroidered the numbers for the calendar. No problemo. I then decided to do a quick embroidery job on this Thanksgiving apron. I've been meaning to do this since last year, so kudos to me for beating the next Thanksgiving holiday! My initial plan was to just hand embroider "Thanksgiving '09" on there, but this fancy machine made quick work of the job. The Thanksgiving apron is one of our Thanksgiving traditions. You could sew, or as I did, buy a plain apron. I then had Ephraim pop some painted handprints on the apron last year. The idea is that every year, we will add more handprints (and children) until it's full. Eventually we'll probably have to move on to more aprons, but won't it be fun for me and all my grown children to cook together in our Thanksgiving aprons someday!?! 

You might have seen Ephraim wearing this apron before. Sometimes I let him use it for crafts. haha. :) His kid-sized aprons went AWOL for awhile.

So here's a close-up of the embroidery job. The machine did great work. Me? Not perfect. I should have paid attention to the angle at which I set the word "Thanksgiving" so that I could match that angle with "2009." I decided it's no biggie though, cause this apron will soon be COVERED in handprints! It looks cute and eclectic!

The Thanksgiving apron is a fun and easy Thanksgiving tradition. We also have a Thanksgiving book of thanks, which I'll show you soon. We always spend Thanksgiving with Quincy's parents. We typically contribute a hashbrown casserole, a la Cracker Barrel (although my recipe adds a cornflake topping, which is probably the best part!), pumpkin gooey butter cakes, a la Paula Deen, and something else TBD. This year, Thanksgiving happens to fall on Ransom's birthday, so we will be making his sweet baby carrot cake as well, to remember his little life and give thanks for it, brief though it was!

On the day AFTER Thanksgiving, our family (meaning Quincy, Ephraim, Aspen, and I) has Thanksgiving Take 2. I cook a turkey, and we reheat the leftovers. We write in our Thanksgiving Book of Thanks, add a handprint to the apron, and decorate for CHRISTMAS! I LOVE traditions. I am not a Black Friday shopper. My Christmas shopping is usually done in October. hahah! :) It is just a nice, relaxing day of memory making around the house. 

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? 

1 comment:

  1. LOVE the apron! Great embroidery work Bertha! I can NOT believe how much thread you have! WOW! No Black Friday here either.. unless it can be done online!

    Our Thankgiving tradition as of late, is for my grandpa to fly here for about 10 days.. I LOVE that my kids are getting to know their great-grandpa! We also open Christmas presents from my mom.. she gets everyone an ornament, and so the Christmas decorating can pfficially begin!