Saturday, March 22, 2014

     An Afternoon with Grandmere'
   August 22-24, 2014 with Pre-Day on August 21

     Join Vaune and Cindy in the hills of Santa Barbara for 'Volume 2' of our Artisan Academy.......  An Afternoon with Grandmere'.

    What is it about French children’s clothing that is so distinctly different from what one might see in Los Angeles, NYC, Boston, or Birmingham? Parisian mothers dress their little girls in classic, understated silhouettes with careful attention to rich color palettes, luxurious fabrics, and with an eye for style as well as function. “Season 2 of the Vaune and Cindy Show” offers a captivatingly charming ensemble that ticks all the boxes of the French traditions. An intriguing, technique-filled project coupled with a unique setting overlooking the ocean make for a not-to-be-missed experience. Please join us next August. Contact Vaune for registration form or more info at or 805-529-5005.

Pre-registration is open now for Artisan Academy 'alums'.  Regular registration opens March 30, 2014.

We hope to see you there!

Happy Stitching!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Stitching Serenity 13... and a German Apple Cake recipe!

Stitching Serenity 13...until next year!

We had another wonderful weekend in Santa Barbara (other than being a bit warm!) for the 'Berry Good Smockers Stitching Serenity 13. 
     Our class the first day was the Terrific Tote, and everyone worked hard to get as much of their bag completes while we were in Santa Barbara.  We has one who finished completely (no unfinished project for her!) and everyone else got down to the last step or 2!

     You can see me cracking the whip, showing one of the steps for the outside of the bag.


     Here are some of the 'almost' finished bags.  As you can see, Irene marched to the beat of her own drum and made a cure pink/green floral bag.  Some people were camera shy, as were their bags!

     Here is a shot of just the bags.  A fun time was had by all!
The second day was Embroidery of Madeira, Part I and Part II.  We watched slides and looked at many of my Madeira treasures and then did some stitching the Madeira way!
     We celebrated 2 birthdays that weekend, so I brought a German Apple Cake for Irene and Roseann.  My kids were bummed, as they were not allowed to eat it!  It is a great cake - not too sweet.  It is perfect with a little dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.  No pictures now, as I forgot to take them in SB, and too hot to make a cake right now!  Will post the next time that I make it.
Here is the recipe:
German Apple Cake
Heat oven to 350°                                           Grease and flour a tube pan
4-5 med apples, peeled and sliced thin                   2 tsp cinnamon                      5 T sugar
3 cups flour            2 cups sugar               3 tsp. baking POWDER
1 tsp salt               ¼ cup orange juice      4 eggs
1 cup oil                2 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix sliced/peeled apples with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
Mix the rest of the ingredients.  Layer in floured tube pan: 
Bake at 350° for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.  Cool before removing.
Hope you all had a wonderful 4th.
Happy Stitching,Vaune
PS PPD arrived in warehouse Tuesday - I should have them by the end of next week, finger crossed!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy 3rd? of July!

Happy 3rd of July, and 4th too!
     I live in a small town of about 30,000, about 60 miles from Los Angeles.  A suburb of the suburbs of LA, as I like to say.  We have lived here 25+ years and have seen it really grow. 

     When it incorporated (about 3 years before we moved here), they did not have much money.   When it came time to make plans for the 4th of July, the City Council found out that if they did the fireworks on the 3rd, they were half price!

     The tradition was born!  It has really grown!  There is a huge gathering at the main park with food vendors, bands, etc.  We always walk to one of two parks that are 2 blocks from our  house and watch from there - you can see everything (although 25 years have made the trees a bit taller!) and enjoy the show!  We just got back from our Oooohhhhh and Aaaaahhhhh visit, watching all of the fireworks, and even though these pictures are not the best, it is a joyful reminder of the freedoms that we have in this country.
Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July, and remember that we live in the greatest country in the world!
On another note..............I am actually home for a while and will be posting a bit more regularly. Santa Barbara and Stitching Serenity 13 was last weekend - the totes were great and I had the best time looking (and remembering) at my embroideries from Madeira - brought back such wonderful memories!   I will be sharing my favorite tools in my next series, along with my recipe for German Apple Cake!
Happy Stitching,

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Back from Texas!

                      Trip to Texas!

     I am back from my travels, for a while, anyway!  I have been to Texas to teach, see old friends, and to make some new ones!

     I joined the ladies of the Heart of Texas (the HOT ladies, for those of you who like acronyms!), in Waco for 2 days of classes!  This catch-all was the favor that Shirley Ganske made for all of the attendees - perfect for everyone who sews or stitches!  The Brazos River is one of the 2 main rivers in Waco.

     They have a wonderful library that lets them use the meeting rooms for meetings and classes.

     You can see everyone getting busy with their patterns for class!

     We did some stitching and sewing on the first day, with everyone working hard!

     The second day, we had several ladies drive down from Austin to join us for some smocking.

     You can see everyone is concentrating and working hard on making perfect stitches!

     It was a great visit - I met several wonderful ladies and caught up with a few friends.  The weather was wonderful - it was early enough in June that it was not too hot or humid.  It was almost like I wasn't in Texas!
     I am home for a while now and will post a bit more through out the summer!  Several new things that are going on!  Perfect Party Dresses should be shipped this week - I will let you all know when they arrive!
Happy Stitching,


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Vaune Pierce and Cindy Foose in Santa Barbara, August 23-25, 2013

Join Vaune and Cindy for the
Artisan Academy - a weekend
of construction techniques
       You can check out the brochure at

     As we have traveled around the country teaching for various SAGA Chapters, we hear over and over again that you all are not confident enough in your construction techniques to submit the Artisan level projects in the Artisan Program.  We have talked at length about what we could do to change that, and the Artisan Academy was born!

     This weekend is a notebook format, and we will focus on each technique so that you are confidant in your construction skills.  You do not have to be enrolled in the Artisan Program!  The focus is on the techniques required for the construction area of the Artisan level, but these techniques are used in quality construction, so whether your focus is the Artisan Program or perfecting your construction techniques for your personal sewing, the Artisan Academy will fit the bill.

Vaune and Cindy will each teach 6 hours of classes that will cover construction techniques:
Attaching smocked yoke to piping
French Seams
Set in Gathered Sleeve
Set in Eased Sleeve
Attach Peter Pan Collar
Corded Bias Piping
Bias Neck Binding
Continuous Bound Placket
Buttons and Buttonholes
Hand Stitched Hem
Manipulate Smocking into a Shape

We will also cover writing and graphing smocking directions.

     To make this weekend even better, it is being held at a retreat house in the hills of Santa Barbara.  If it is clear, you can look out at the Pacific Ocean and see the Channel Islands!  Quiet and relaxing, this is the perfect spot for a sewing retreat.  You arrive Friday afternoon and finish Sunday afternoon, but you have the option of staying over Sunday night if you want to take some extra time to stitch, relax, or explore!

     Everything is included in the cost except for transportation. 
                 covers Class Fee, Kit Fee, Room and Meals

All the information is included in the brochure.  You can also find it at under the Newsletters link at the top of the page.  If you have questions, feel free to email me ( or call at 805-529-5005.

    We hope to see you there!

Happy Stitching,

Friday, April 26, 2013

Threads Magazine and Smocking

Smocking is making a comeback!

                    Cover of current issue of Threads - #167
     My newest issue of Threads Magazine (#167) arrived in the mail today - I had been anxiously awaiting to see..................  there are many great articles, including one on sewing in France, along with names and addresses of many shops that sewers and stitchers would be interested in.  The article that I was really looking forward to is an article called "Smock a bodice - Delicate stitches pleat fabric for shape and texture". 
     Last month in Vogue magazine, there was also an article on smocking.  (Thanks, Barbara Meger, for the heads up!).  When I was looking through the last issue of Threads, I noticed in the 'In Our Next Issue' that smocking was listed.  I got in touch with the editor's assistant (who was lovely) and told her about Smocking Arts Guild of America, and what a wonderful reference we are to anyone who loves smocking.  She agreed that would be useful information to include in the article, and while she couldn't promise anything...
     As soon as I got it out of the mailbox, I flipped through, found the article, and there it was - "for more on smocking, visit Smocking Arts Guild of America (SAGA) at"

                             Back cover of Threads #167

     One of the neat features of Threads is the back cover.  In each issue, they take an incredible garment (can be because of design, embroidery, details, etc.) and give a whole view of the garment and an up close view of the garment.  Many years ago (and I am dating myself here), the back cover picture was of a pleated piece from Sarah Douglas.  The detail that made it so incredible was the way she pleated it.  She started with a regular piece of fabric that was on grain, but as she pleated it, she torqued the fabric left and then right so that when it was finished, the PLEATS were in a zigzag pattern.
     A plug here for Threads.......... I have a LOT of magazines!  I hate to throw them away and love them for ideas, reference, and eye candy.  Unfortunately, I don't have room for as many magazines as I'd like, so I have had to pare down.  One of the things that I really like about Threads is the options that they have for their subscriptions.  They do have the option of e-subscriptions (ipads, kindles, I  think).  They also have Threads Insider, which is an additional $12, I think, but you get emails every couple of weeks with 'extras' - the last one was a picture tutorial on how Kennith King lines his jackets.  Well worth the money!
     Threads has really good construction instructions (can anyone say 'conjunction junction'!), that are perfect for those of you who want to incorporate smocking into clothes that you make for yourselves!  Smocking is not just for children!!!

Go out and get yourself the latest copy of Threads - you won't be disappointed!  I am personally cutting out the article on Sewing in Paris for my Bucket List folder!

Happy Stitching,

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lady Evelyn Murray

           Beautiful Embroidery
               stitched by
           Lady Evelyn Murray

     As I have been posting the different alphabet monograms on Pinterest the last week (I am about halfway through the alphabet now), I started thinking about all of the beautiful embroidery I have been able to look at over the years, and Lady Evelyn Murray came to mind immediately!
     She was born in 1868 and lived at Blair Castle, which is in Pitlochery, Perthsire, Scotland. 
     More about the castle later in the post, but several years ago, on one of my trips to Madeira, we also went to Scotland to take a Whitework class from Bunny Bryson.  One of the days in Scotland, we traveled to Blair Castle for a tour, and then a 'behind the scenes' tour of some of Lady Evelyn's needlework.

     This is one of her chests of drawers that she bought to keep her needlework in.  Lady Evelyn was not the typical young lady of her day.  She had a habit of focusing so intently (obsessive is the word that comes to mind) on something that all else was forgotten.  In her late teens, after a bout of illness, she focused on Gaelic and over a few months, gathered over 240 Gaelic stories and legends from the locals around Perthsire, which comprised the book Tales from Highland Perthsire.


     As her behavior became more odd, she was sent to Switzerland to rest, but depression set in.  Her parents sent word for her to return home, but she moved to Belgium and lived there for most of the rest of her life.  It was here that her obsession with needlework began.  She collected pieces of needlwork of the highest quality, but her own skill surpassed the pieces that she collected.  The picture above shows one of the chests that she had to store her collection in.

     Her masterpiece is called "the British Arms", which took 7 years to complete.  It is stitched on glass cambric background, using sizes 250 and 700 cotton thread, and the dimensions are about 15" by 18".  This is the piece that is used on the cover of her book.  Ihave seen the original and it is stunning.  I had to laugh, though - when we were there (about 1996), it was sitting on a a little easel on top of a pile of books in the gift shop!
     We were also able to go an a behind the scenes tour and see many other piece in her collection - some that she had stitched,and some that she collected.  There were a couple of 'practice' pieces that she stitched before (or as) she stitched on this piece.

                         (sample of pique' embroidery by Lady Evelyn)

     Another occurence that had us speechless at first, and then laughing later..........  the docents that helped us in the archives were lovely, and so excited - not only to show off all of the beautiful embroidery, but to a group of women who truly appreciated the work and the art!  They were very careful - the put on their white cotton gloves and very carefully lifted the glass tops of the display boexes - we were in awe as we were looking at everything and drinking it all in.  Then (and this is the knock me over with a feather part) they very neatly took off their gloves, picked up the embroidered pieces and handed them to us to look at!
     Stunned at seeing them pick up these antique masterpieces, we quickly asked them why they took off their gloves, and shouldn't we be using them before we handles any of the pieces?  They quicly replied that they were not worried about the embroidered pieces (we ladies all had clean hands, right?), but they wore the gloves so they didn't accidentally cut their hands from the glass covers of the  display cabinets.

     Lady Evelyn did all types of needlework, including needlepoint lace and bobbin lace, as well as whitework and applique'.

     She moved bcack to Blair Castle at the start of WWII, and died in 1840.  Most woung women in her time were expected, if not forced, to marry and raise a family - she was in a unique position, as her father did not require that of her.  He continued to support her as she lived in Belgium focused on her needlework obsession.  All I can say is lucky for us that she was allowed to study and create her masterpieces of perfection!

     Blair Castle is a beatuiful place - it is avaliable to tour and it hosts weddings and events.  If you ever have a chance to visit, it is well worth the time.

     Many of the furnishings are original, and the family still stays in the private quarters, leaving the main building for tours, etc.

     You can see to the left in this picture the family quarters.

     Some of the reference books available in the Gift Shop.  The local town is not too far away and has wonderful shopping and a very nice kilt store!  On the hour at Blair Castle, a man in a kilt would come out and play the bagpipe...........oh to see a real Scottish kilt!  On our tour, we were looking through a case full of memorabilia, and lo and behold, there was a crest from Murray State University, in Murray, KY (my alma mater!).  Seems that Murray, KY was named after one of the House of Murray in Scotland - a nice little surprise.

     Lady Evelyn's Needlework Collection book - unfortunately it is OOP - wonderful book if you can find a copy.

Here is a link to a youtube tour of Blair Castle:

Well, this is all the time I have for reminiscing right now!  I know I am subbing in Kindergarten tomorrow,and I am not as young as I once was!  Hope you enjoyed this!

Happy Stitching,