I took this picture of my mother and my grandson last Christmas. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s type dementia 4 1/2 years ago. Although she hasn’t known who I am for some time, she never forgot how to embroider (that’s an embroidery hoop in her hands).

On Sunday, she suffered a serious stroke. As you can imagine, my family is dealing with many difficult issues at the moment. Please keep us in your prayers.


Tips – How to Secure Bobbin Threads

Happy Mother’s Day! I plan on spending a wonderful extended weekend surrounded by my children and grandchildren. If you read some of my previous posts, you know that I was blessed with two grandsons in March and April. I made photo transfer gift pillows this week to commemorate their births, which I will be giving to my children on Sunday.

Additionally, I created the little pink flower in the opening photo and will share the directions with you next week.

While working on the embroidery for the pillows, it came to me that some of you may like to try my method for securing those pesky thread ends on your bobbins. You can obtain products commercially that accomplish the same result, but I have a lot of bobbins to secure, so cost would be a factor.

Instead, I purchase a length of clear tubing at the hardware store. You can take a bobbin sample with you to make sure you buy the correct size. (I believe mine is about 3/8″ circumference.)

With a pair of heavy duty kitchen or utility shears, cut pieces of tubing the interior width of your bobbin. Next, cut through the circle to create an opening.

Simply slip the tubes around your bobbins and thread tails will be a thing of the past.

Blessings to you and have a wonderful weekend.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured

I Think, Therefore I Embellish

I have the honor of being tagged by Elaine at http://http://stitchtherapy.blogspot.com, Terri at http://http://lavenderbetweenthecracks.blogspot.com, and Emmy at http://emmyschoonbeek.blogspot.com for the Thinking Blogger Award (http://www.thethinkingblog.com/2007/02/thinking-blogger-awards_11.html).

Wow, what can I say except thank you very, very much for placing Fembellish Journal in the company of so many wonderful blogs.

This honor comes at the same time as the birth of my grandson Joshua , who arrived today weighing in at the cutest 9.5 pounds you’ve ever seen. ¬†When I get back home (and get a good night’s sleep), I will honor five blogs who make me think.

Thank you Elaine, Terri, and Emmy for considering my blog worthy of your recognition.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured

April Showers

I’m taking a bit of a detour with this post so that I can share with you two special events that were supposed to happen in April. One will probably go as planned, but the other completely surprised all of us by happening a month early. Noah Christian, my new little grandson, decided March was a much better month to be born!So I’ve been busy making a few things to celebrate his arrival and the expected arrival of my other grandson later this month.

Baby Carrier

I designed this carrier for my daughter-in-law because her home office is upstairs. I placed elasticized pockets across both sides for bottles, pacifiers, toys, and all the other little items that babies need. For diapers and wipes, I put a large pocket on one end.

There is a safety belt in the middle and the strap is fully adjustable. I also included a swivel hook for a cell phone case or whatever else might be needed.

My other daughter-in-law loves Beatrix Potter so I made four sets of bibs and burp cloths for her. I still have quite a bit more to make, but I love every minute of it.

Saturday evening I spent painting (fabric and fiber, of course), snipping, fusing, and doing other fun stuff in the studio. The result was a very interesting “fabric” that I’m presently incorporating into a quilt. I should have a tutorial explaining the process posted in the next day or so. Until then, I hope you are busy creating lots of wonderful things!


N. Rene West
Time Treasured


My mother put a needle in my hand when I was six years old. I loved taking her scraps and constructing doll clothes (at least in my mind that’s what they were) and mixing together all those wonderful colors and textures. The sewing machine was off limits owing to my parents fear that I would sew my fingers together or some such thing. By fourth grade, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I figured that if I showed them I could sew without incident, they would let me go at it. So, I cut out a wrap-around skirt, set myself in front of my mother’s Necchi, and the rest is history. My parents were so impressed that they never restricted me again from what would become a lifelong passion.

Although reading often competed with my love of sewing (I consumed Nancy Drew Mystery Stories like there was no tomorrow), I made time for both and continued honing my skills little by little.

When I was sixteen, my mother presented me with a new Singer sewing machine for Christmas. You could have knocked me over with a feather! I can’t tell you how much I loved that machine. Compared to my mother’s old Nechhi, it was state of the art. It’s one of those memories I will always hold dear. I only wish I had a picture of it, but I don’t think one was every taken.

Happily, the Singer was not to be the only sewing machine I received as a gift. Advancing a couple of decades, my husband presented me with a new Bernina 1230 for one of those milestone birthdays that come every ten years. The 1230 marked my initiation into the world of quilting. Anyone who has owned a Bernina 1230 knows how special this machine is. Every owner I talk with says the same thing: they’ll never part with it. I’ve only had one repair done on it in fifteen years, and it continues to operate as it did right out of the box. Of course, it’s not an only child any more, but that’s a subject for another time.

First Quilt - Spool Pattern

I chose the spool pattern for my first quilt to commemorate the special gift

I had received. It proudly hangs on a wall in our guest bedroom.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Four Generations – It’s in the Blood

When my mother was pregnant with me, my fraternal grandfather asked her to name me after his mother. My great-grandmother (1859-1944) was of Scottish descent and known as a quiet “angelic” woman. The family history states the following regarding her life:

Her rocking chair stood in the living room by the south window. She always kept a basket of quilt scraps and mending beside it, ready to be worked on. She was good at sewing, quilting, crocheting, and weaving. She was the best quilter I ever knew. Her stitches were so small and even. Between the kitchen and the milk house was a porch that was screened in on the south. It was used for work such as stringing beans, churning butter, and other chores. She kept her loom there.

I’m so privileged to possess two of her quilts, Goose in the Pond and Snail’s Trail. You can see in these photos the tiny stitches and the intricate quilt patterns she used. It amazes me that she embarked on such challenging projects, considering the busy life she led.

My maternal grandmother was of French descent and emigrated to this country from Lithuania. She and my grandfather settled in Illinois, where she sewed “professionally,” designing and constructing wedding gowns and fine clothing for women within her community. Cut from the same cloth as my fraternal great-grandmother, she excelled at sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, weaving, and lace-making.

So I ask you, what was a girl to do with such a family history?


N. Rene West
Time Treasured