Roberta Varney's Cool Threads Shop  - Custom hand-sewn gifts and embroidery.  What can I make for you!
This is a "behind the scenes" look at my cottage industry, and a bit more about what makes me tick, in addition to sewing.   I will try to add comments on a regular basis...but that will depend on my schedule.  You will find I hate to be bored, usually have a lot on my plate (sometimes too much), and love to yak.    Please enjoy.  

NOTE:  Most of my items are now available in my ETSY shop.  Click on the banner below; and it will direct you to my shop.   If you see an item on this website  that interests you and can't find it on ETSY, please contact me.    










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September 17:  

I have been keeping busier than usual...mostly good, with a little bad mixed in.  In June, I was able to visit my son, as he graduated from college.  He lives on the west coast, and I live on the east coast....so it was quite a trip!  I met his fabulous girlfriend, ate sushi for the first time, and did some hiking in beautiful Washington state.

In the last couple of days, I launched my first digitized design for other embroiderers to purchase.   Although selling my designs is new for me, I've been learning to digitize "in my spare time" over the last year.   There is a lot to learn, as not only did I learn how to use the software, I also had to understand how different fabrics affect the stitch-out of a design.  Lots of things yet to learn, but I can do it.  

In July, I was in a minor fender bender.  A gal rear-ended mine as I was waiting to make a left-hand turn.  Thankfully, neither of us had any major injuries, but I've been going to Physical Therapy because of neck, back, and leg issues.  PT has helped tremendously, and I am getting my flexibility back...and almost feel 'normal' again.  All of this, and I am still working part time.  

Thankfully, my employer understands my need to see my family during major milestones, as well as needing time off for my therapy.


2018 HIGHLIGHTS:

June:   Can't wipe the smile off my face!  Prior to this visit, I hadn't seen my son, Paul, for almost 2 years.    L - R  Minori, Paul, and me ready for a good meal.   I was simply thrilled to visit them and to see Paul walk across stage for his graduation.



















Meet Connor!

January:  Connor is my first grandchild, and I think he is just the coolest little man there is-and yes, he was born with a full head of hair.  He is about 3 1/2 months old in the pic.

I loved being able to be back in PA, in my home town, for when he was born.  















This pic was taken when Connor was just a few hours old....taken at 4 am.  I was simply thrilled to hold him.










2017 HIGHLIGHTS:

November:  Friends of my daughter held a baby shower for her.  I live exactly 1,000 miles away; and decided to surprise her with a visit.  The shower itself was to be a surprise....and my visit was a closely guarded secret.  With help of my sister-in-law and a close friend, I pulled it off.  The look on Karen's face was fabulous and one of total surprise.  Lots of hugs and tears.

September 11th ushered in Hurricane Irma, which passed directly over the town I live in.  It was a very surreal and almost eerie experience!  My husband and I stayed in a local middle school shelter and felt very safe there.  Quite an experience, and the school provided meals, security, and medical staff for whoever needed it.  Our dog was even taken care of; we fed and walked him until we were no longer allowed to go outside due to the weather.  Then the staff cared for him and many other pets!  We made some friends while there, and thankful that when we got home, we found our home was still there-no damage at all.  The worst thing was being without electric for several days.  But we managed.

I met another digitizer, Melissa Harris, of Designs by Little Bee.  I didn't get a pic with her, but she had a 3 hour class in Orlando, FL.  So, of course, I HAD to drive over for the class...since I live about 1 hour from Orlando.  She was great, and the class was very small...almost like one-0n-one learning!


February 2017:  Having my mannequin/outfit in the display window of a little shop where I had a retail presence.  (I am no longer there)  I was thrilled to have a cute display in the window!





2016 HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR
Meeting and taking class with another favorite digitizer-John Deer




John Deer and me-taken shortly after his class I attended in March.  I found him to be extremely knowledgeable in all things related to embroidery.  He grew up "in the business" and is very willing to share tips that he has learned.  A very soft-spoken, genuine guy with a great sense of humor. 

John also shared his family's history with the embroidery business, and included pics of some really old commercial machines.  Fascinating!





2015 HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR

Meeting and taking a class with a favorite digitizer-Dee of Nobbie Neez. 


Dee has been digitizing for many years and has a huge assortment of designs-mostly whimsical, which I really enjoy!  She is a wealth of knowledge and even took time to embroider a monogram on a gal's pair of boots while we were on a break!....no cost to the gal, who was also attending the retreat.  Dee simply did it to show us how to embroider on boots!  

Dee is the gal in the foreground-she is holding the weight of the boot while it is actually embroidering near the top of the boot. 



2013 HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR

                                       
      GREAT MEMORIES, AMAZING FAMILY!!  I SIMPLY LOVE THIS PHOTO!


  Left to right: 
Son Paul
Daughter Karen
Daughter's husband Tim
Tim's brother Travis

May, 2013

The wedding was outside under the canopy which is shown behind them overlooking a small lake, and the reception was held at a beautiful lodge.    Truly enchanting!



SON-IN-LAW, TIM

What more can I say....
Tim captured the heart of my daughter, and was smart enough to marry her!

I am very blessed to have two wonderful children and I am thrilled to welcome Tim into our family.  Don't they look great together!


2012 - HIGHLIGHT FOR VARNEY'S COOL THREADS SHOP!!

 
CELEBRITY SIGHTING! 
 
Meet Little Miss....of  "Plant A Kiss"
 
Little Miss, like the author who created her, has a warm, giving nature.   In her innocence, Little Miss plants a kiss (not the chocolate variety) to see what happens.  Both the story and Little Miss are just simply adorable...or to borrow a word from author, Amy, a-doll-able! 
 
Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal wrote, among other books, "Plant A Kiss."   Amy posted a note on her Facebook page that she was looking for someone to create a cloth doll that was based on Little Miss.  I sent her a note, never expecting to hear a word, thinking Amy would be swamped with more talented seamstresses!
 
Much to my surprise, Amy quickly answered my note and asked me to create a doll for her.  Needless to say, I was thrilled, but then concerned.  I never had made a doll before but was up for the challenge.  Amy sent a copy of her book to me, so I could have the visual of Little Miss; and I researched as I waited for the arrival of the book.   Oh, did I mention that I had a tight 2 week deadline! 
 
To make a long story just a bit longer, as you can see, I made the doll and finished her just in the nick of time.  Even her clothes are designed according to the book.  It doesn't show very well in the pic, but Little Miss is wearing "clam diggers" - not a skirt.   The fun part was finding fabric that resembled the book's illustration.  When she was finished, I immediately shipped her to Massachusetts for her first public appearance, per the author's request.  Little Miss arrived just in time for a book signing party that was held in a bookstore.   (I added the straw hat; after all, she was crafted in sunny Florida!)
 
Amy received permission from the book's illustrator, Peter Reynolds, for only 5 dolls to be created.  So I was very grateful and honored to be among those chosen.  To my knowledge, only one other doll has been made so far.  My Little Miss is rather small-her face is about the size of a silver dollar, and is hand-embroidered.   Interesting Note:  Her beautiful black hair is actually alpaca wool which I purchased from a woman that raises alpacas and fashions beautiful textile 'wearable art" after processing their wool.
 
Many thanks to Amy and Peter for allowing me the privilege of creating Little Miss!
 
Amy generously sent several more books to me, all are autographed.   I donated one to my local library.  If you have young children, or are young-at-heart, I HIGHLY recommend this wonderfully written book!
 
As always...
 
Have a wonderful day and be sure to sign the guest book--even if you already signed it.  Don't be shy... I am the only person that sees your message, I will not post your messages, and I LOVE getting mail.  Okay, I might share a few with my husband (the funny ones).   Based on the "hits" I get on this site, I know you are out there, but I rarely hear from anyone.   Talk to me...do you like/dislike my site, did you find what you are looking for, is there a fabric choice you'd like to see, etc....even if it is just to say "HI" that would be great.   I do not use these messages for further marketing, and will not "bug" you to buy something; I would just like some input.   I feel somewhat creative and am an ace seamstress, but let me know how I'm doing!  I am open for suggestions, comments, and just friendly chit chat.   I know I do need more pictures-they are coming....somehow, the photos always get put on the back burner.  Now if they could just make a fabric-covered camera-THAT would get my attention!  lol.