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Christmas Nightgowns

read What bedtime ritual is complete without lots of snuggles and a story.  Watching them yawn, rub their eyes and their little head bob just a bit as they fall asleep. It is as much a joy for the parent as the little one. It is one of the things I often miss now that my kids have grown up and I only have one living at home.

This time of year I especially think back on my own childhood. I loved putting on my nightgown and reading a book before bed.  Every year my mom would sew a new nightgown for me and give it to me to wear on Christmas Eve. It was always very feminine with ruffles, lace and ribbon. Maybe that’s why when I started offering clothes for little girls I knew I had to offer these nightgowns. The gowns come in sizes from 2-16 in your choice of fabric and sleeve length. They are trimmed with soft lace and a removable bow.

Little girls Christmas nightgown
This year we will be limiting the number we make in order to ensure delivery by Christmas. If you would like them in time for holiday pictures be sure to order early. We will also have a few flannel gowns in our Etsy shop starting next week. You can purchase from either site but prices are lower at Hearts & Home. If you want to be notified as soon as we add the flannel gowns be sure to Like our facebook page and follow my shop on Etsy.

If you are looking for larger sizes we also offer two different gowns for ladies. Both button down the front, perfect for nursing mothers.

We will stop accepting Christmas orders on December 10th.

Sewing 101: Getting to Know Your Sewing Machine


When I teach the sewing 101 class for Joann’s many ladies come in with machines they have had, sometimes for years, but have been too afraid to take them out of the box. Others have taken it out, looked at it and then promptly boxed it up. When I ask why the answer is usually, “It scares me, I don’t know what does what”.

We begin class talking about the tools of the trade and then move on to the parts of the sewing machine and I end the class with how to clean and maintain your machine.  Regardless of brand all machines have the same basic parts.

I have labeled most of the important parts of the machine on the image above. Below you will find a brief description of the parts function. In the video I will go through everything more thoroughly.

I am going to start on the top right side and work my way across and down the machine.

Power Switch: Turns the machine off and on

Hand wheel or Fly Wheel: Raises and lowers the needle

Spool pin: Holds the spool of thread

Thread guide: Holds the thread in position

Tension disc: Controls the portioning of the thread

Tension adjustment: Adjust the tension on the thread

Take Up Lever:  Its up and down motion feeds the thread to the needle and tightens the loop formed by the shuttle.


Needle screw: Holds the needle in place.

Presser foot lifter: Lifts the presser foot

Shank: Holds the ankle and foot

Face Plate: A cover that gives access to the bobbin area

Feed dogs: A set of teeth that grab the fabric and feed it

Bobbin Housing: Holds the bobbin and moves into position to catch the top thread and form the stitch as the needle is lowered into the bobbin chamber. 

Your owners manual usually includes a diagram of your machine and sometimes a description. I suggest keeping your owner’s manual near your machine or at least where it is accessible while you are learning to sew.

Are there any parts on your machine that give you trouble or you are unsure about? Please feel free to leave questions or comments




Homemade Rotel Tomato Recipe


This year when planning my garden I decided that I wanted to plant a few extra plants in hopes of canning and freezing up some recipes. I haven’t had to buy canned tomatoes for several years but I was still buying canned rotel. In my mind I was going to can up or freeze enough to get me through to next spring. In reality I probably have enough to last until February or March, 24 jars and 3 quart size bags.

Homemade “Rotel” Tomatoes


  • 12-14 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (any variety) In this video I show how to peel tomatoes 
  • 3-4 Jalapeno peppers or other hot variety or peppers, diced
  • 3-4 Poblano or bell peppers chopped. I roasted and skinned mine.
  • 2-3 cloves of Garlic (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (optional)
  • Juice from 2 limes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt


1. Place all ingredients in medium-large saucepan.

2. Simmer until mixture is reduced by half

1 cup is equal to about one 10 oz. store-bought can of Rotel. If you want to can this you will need to add lemon juice to your jars. The amount of lemon juice depend on the size of the jar. Processing time and temperature will depend on the type of canner you use.

Husqvarna Viking Ruby Deluxe For Sale

I have decided to go ahead and upgrade to a commercial machine. In order to make room I HAVE to part with my Viking Ruby Deluxe. I currently have it listed on e-bay here.

I bought it new in January of 2014  as a second machine and has been used for 3 hours of embroidery time and no sewing. An image of the machine time is on e-bay.

It features a wide bed for quilting. Included are 2 embroidery hoops, as well as a walking foot and it has an interactive touch screen. It includes more than 1000 built in stitches and 337 embroidery designs, plus 4 embroidery fonts in 3 different sizes.

I comes with everything including the original boxes, and 2 extra hoops besides the ones that came with it: the 80×80 and 200×200. I am also including the extra stitch plate, a package of new bobbins, 1 package of pre-wound embroidery bobbins, and three extra feet. The books are included and in new condition along with the usb stick and several dvd’s filled with designs.

An Unforgettable Experience

Designed and engineered in Sweden, the DESIGNER RUBY deLuxe™ sewing and embroidery machine offers a wide array of features to fulfill your heart’s desire.

The DESIGNER RUBY deLuxe™ machine makes it easy and rewarding to create unique, personalized projects for your special occasions and everyday moments of love.

Innovation to love…

  • Embroider more beautifully than ever with less adjustments thanks to the innovative deLuxe™ Stitch System. It provides perfect results with all kind of threads.
  • The Design Positioning feature joins large embroideries with perfect precision.
  • The Resize feature enlarges and reduces an embroidery design to the exact size you need.

Capability to love…

  • Enhance your embroidery experience and make it easier than ever with the Embroidery Design Editing feature.
  • The Large Interactive Screen provides vibrant colors and an excellent view.
  • The sewing surface is designed for large projects and unlimited possibilities.
  • The large embroidery area allows you to stitch spectacular designs with just one hooping.

Convenience to love…

  • The unique EXCLUSIVE SENSOR SYSTEM™ technology senses your fabric thickness for perfect, even feeding and provides for excellent presser foot pressure.
  • The Exclusive SEWING ADVISOR® and EMBROIDERY ADVISOR™ feature optimizes your sewing and embroidery.
  • Automatic Jump Stitch Trim is a true time-saver.
  • The Smart Save feature saves the progress of your embroidery project, even if you unexpectedly lose power.


More than 1,000 stitches, including; Utility Stitches, 11 different Buttonhole styles, Quilt Stitches, Decorative Stitches, 6 Programmable Alphabets and 30 Personal Memories.



Features 337 Embroidery Designs and 4 Embroidery Fonts in three different sizes



DESIGNER™ Royal Hoop, 360 x 200 mm
DESIGNER™ Splendid Square Hoop, 120 x 120 mm

Presser feet:

Utility Foot A, Decorative stitch Foot B, Buttonhole Foot C, Blindhem Foot D, Zipper Foot E, Non-stick Glide Foot H, Edging Foot J, Quilter’s 1/4″ Piecing foot P, Embroidery/Darning Foot R, Side Motion foot S, Decorative Stitch Foot Transaprent, Sensor one-step buttonhole foot, Self-Adhesive Glide Plates and Sensor Q-Foot.

And more:

5D™ Embroidery Machine Communication CD, Carrying Case (attached on the machine upon delivery), Scissors, Foot control, Power cord, USB PC cable, Needles, Embroidery thread, Pieces of fabric and stabilizer, DESIGNER RUBY deLuxe™ Sampler book, User’s G uide, Microfiber cloth, Stylus, Thread net, Edge/Quilting guide, Felt pad (2), USB embroidery stick (1 G B), Screwdriver, Seam ripper, Brush, 2 spool caps, large, (1 attached on the machine at delivery), Spool cap, medium, (attached on the machine at delivery), Spool cap, small, Multipurpose tool/Button reed, Hoop clips (16), 11 Bobbins (1 in machine at delivery) and PICTOGRAM™ Pen

Peeling Tomatoes


This summer I have had an incredible tomato harvest. I planted a mixture of tomatoes all of which were organic heirloom tomatoes. I have three rows of tomatoes with about 6 plants to a row. Normally the birds get a lot more than they have this year and I usually loose a lot to the heat. This year however has been a little milder that normal. I have official claimed this year as the unofficial summer of tomatoes.

When I was planting, my husband cautioned me that I was planting too many tomatoes. Not so I exclaimed and told him not to worry I had plans, big, big plans! I knew I wanted to freeze, dehydrate, can and make my own rotel this year. To do all of that I would need lots of tomatoes!


Once the tomatoes started coming in I was excited. Before you can do much with tomatoes you need to peel them. Peeling isn’t hard but it is a tad messy and time consuming if you are doing a lot.

Instead of taking a lot of pictures I decided to turn the video camera on and grab a video of the process. That way I knew I wouldn’t miss anything; I hope you enjoy it.

I recorded several canning videos at the same time so be sure to subscribe on YouTube!

Supplies you will need:

large pot of boiling water
large container of ice water
extra ice
slotted spoon or hand held strainer
small knife


Changing the Gauge on your Canner


When I got ready to start canning this season I knew I was going to have to do something about my current canner.  I had it tested and even though it was still reading accurately every time I use it the gauge fills with steam and becomes hard to read.

At first I thought I was going to have to buy a new pressure cooker/canner. I went ahead and checked Amazon and found that I could order just a gauge for less than $20, score! The only down side was several people left comments about it not coming with a nut and that it didn’t include instructions. I looked at my current one a figured it couldn’t be that hard to install so I ordered it. We have an Amazon Prime account so 2 day shipping was free. I assumed since I was ordering it on Friday I wouldn’t have it until Monday but Amazon just added Sunday delivery to our area which is also free for Prime members. If you are interested in an Amazon prime account you can try it out for Free for thirty days. You can use it, take advantage of the free shipping as much as you want during the trial and cancel if you don’t like it.


Anyways, back to my gauge! I received it Sunday and immediately dug into the box. Imagine my surprise when I saw this beauty next to my current one. It is 1,000 times better. I was happy to see that replacing it was easy but like others warned it did not come with a nut to hold it in place. The nut from my old gauge did fit but if for some reason yours does not or you no longer have the gauge take your new one to Home Depot or Lowes and you should be able to get one for less than .25. My new gauge looks great and I am ready to start canning tomatoes!

I went ahead and made a quick video of how to replace it. It really is simple and worth doing to ensure you can read your gauge accurately and that it is reading accurately.

Summer of Tomatoes


It has been an amazing summer so far! I started my summer off visiting my daughter for her college graduation. A few weeks after I returned my husband and I took an 11 day motorcycle trip last month to The Blue Ridge Parkway and since school is out I have been able to spend a lot more time with my boys! School being out has also meant I have gotten to teach more kids sewing classes, I always enjoy those. Summer time also means gardening and lots of canning!

While we were on our trip Texas received a lot of rain. That is good and bad for the garden. I left with plants about to my waist and returned to a jungle where most the plants were to my shoulders or head. The weeds also went wild, that’s the bad part of so much rain.

This should be filled with herbs but the weeds and fallen tomato plants took over. I spent several hours trying to pick the tomatoes, getting rid of the bad ones, pulling weeds and trying to pull out dead plants. After three days of work it began to look like a garden again. Cart
This was my first harvest after getting home. I still had another two bags worth of tomatoes I went back and picked that evening after it cooled down. I was pleasantly surprised to find that despite it being around 100 degrees out most days lately I have tomato blossoms and baby fruit still forming. BagsSo, instead of working on sewing post I have been canning tomatoes, making homemade rotel, drying tomatoes and much more! I can’t wait to share some of the recipes with you later this week. I have also been canning black beans, pinto beans and black bean soup.

Sewing 101: How To Clean Your Sewing Machine


 If you’re not sure what pieces you can take out of the machine or how to put them back – consult your owners manual, still not sure contact a professional!

When I teach sewing 101 the first thing I go over is the tools of the trade. Then we go over the parts of a sewing machine and end the class with showing them how to clean a sewing machine. It is the number one thing you can do to keep your sewing machine running smoothly.  Keeping it clean will prolong the life of your machine and help ensure your projects come out nice.  Lent is an unavoidable part of sewing. The more you sew, the more lint settles into your machine, use cheap thread and fabric and you will create even more. A little regular cleaning will keep your machine running smoothly. And a clean machine is also a quiet machine. Not only will regular maintenance  help your machine to run better, it can also save you money in major repairs.

 How often you clean your machine depends on how often you use it. Viking recommends cleaning a machine after at least every 15-20 hours of use. But more often is fine. Take a peek inside the bobbin case. If you see lint beginning to accumulate, it’s time to do some maintenance. 

Any time you experience trouble with your machine, check to see that it is threaded correctly, change the needle and then try cleaning it. Quite a few problems are caused by mis-threading, bad needles and an accumulation of dust, lint or thread bits accumulating on the working parts of the machine.

Change Your Needle: It’s important to remember how much work your needle does. It goes up and down through the fabric at an incredibly fast speed. Needles are thin and a lot of stress is put on them.  A bent or dull needle can result in skipped stitches, broken or looped threads, runs or pulls in your fabric or worst of all, damage to your machine.

 In this video, you’ll learn how to thoroughly clean your sewing machine. If you are unable to view the embedded video, click here to watch >>Cleaning Your Sewing machine << on YouTube.


  • Screw Driver
  • Small Lint Brush
  • Vacuum
  • Vacuum cleaner attachment kit
  • Tweezers
  • Owners manual

 A Note On Canned Air: “Compressed” or “canned” air is actually fluorocarbon gases that are compressed into liquids. These gases are ozone safe but are potential greenhouse gases. I DO NOT suggest using it for several reasons but the biggest is because most service centers say not to!  When you use can air you are pushing lent and thread particles further into the machine not to mention all around you. Secondly because it does leave a residue and moisture behind. Why not just blow with your own breath? For the same reasons. Your breath contains moisture also and will eventually cause erosion damage to your machine.

Oiling: I don’t recommend oiling your machine. Viking machines do not require oiling and I believe that this step is best left to the professionals.  Actually, I recommend getting your friend a yearly check up.  That’s right, sometimes they need a little preventive medicine to keep things in working order. I view it the same way I do my truck, a little preventive maintenance and TLC will prevent larger problems down the road.

Professional Service: A good service person adjusts tension and timing during regular service, as well as cleaning areas of the machine that you cannot reach without taking the machine completely apart. Pay special attention to your warranty and owners manual. Do not remove parts that are not listed in the owners manual. Do not fiddle with parts you are unsure about, this can void your warranty.

Do you have any other tips regarding good machine cleaning habits? 

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