Featured Artist: Susan Allen Abbe

We recently discovered an amazing customer of ours when she posted photos on our Facebook page of 18 fabulous bags she made with our Sew Trendy Cross Body Bags design. We were thrilled when she agreed to guest blog for us! Please meet our featured customer, Susan Allen Abbe…“I Love to Sew!”

From the time I was just five years old you could find me sitting near my mother while she sewed.  My mother and my grandmother were both wonderful seamstresses.  Mom started me with simple embroidery on tea towel type material as a child.  I loved it.  Then I graduated to my mother’s treadle sewing machine where I began sewing very simple doll clothes.  I loved to sew and gradually I graduated to more difficult projects.

 LittleGirlDressesLate80's In junior high school I took my first sewing class and I just LOVED sewing.  I had finally found my niche.  I excelled in making the required garments and did extra.  I was able to peer tutor students who needed more help when the teacher was busy.  By the time most students had struggled through making the required items I had gone on to make another.  At the end of the term we had a fashion show and I remember that I modeled the dress I had made and my little sister was able to join us and also model the dress I had made like mine, for her.  So fun!

In high school I continued to enroll in sewing classes and learned more of the basics and took every class that was available.  I excelled.  In fact, I enrolled in all the home economics classes and just loved them.  At the end of my high school years I had earned the Betty Crocker Future Homemaker of Tomorrow award.  I was thrilled.

Off I went to college and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics from California Polytechnic University.  I had decided I wanted to teach Home Economics but I met a special someone and married (making my own wedding dress) shortly after college and settled right down to family life.

We quickly had 5 children, 3 boys first and then 2 girls and I was a very happy full-time homemaker using all the skills I had learned in school on my own family.  I made many garments, toys, and quilts for my children.  One year, I even had time to enter some dresses in the fair.  I was pleased to walk away with some blue ribbons.  In one category “Party Dresses” I took both the blue and the red ribbons. 1985ComingHomeFromFairWithRibbons

 Eventually, I went back to university for a Master’s Degree and earned my “Master in Teaching” degree.  I was hired at my first interview and began teaching junior high and high school.  I taught what is now called “Family and Consumer Sciences”.  For almost 18 years I taught and in 2006, I was named the Washington Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Educators, “Teacher of the Year”.  What a thrill!

In 2012 I retired from teaching which gave me more time to sew.  I joined the Sun Bonnet Sue Quilt Club in Sequim, WA to give me more time to see my mother and sister who are members and to give me more experience and expertise in quilting.  FlowerOfTheMonthAppliqueQuiltInProgress
 FSL SnowflakesFSL BirdOrnaments Then it happened.  I attended the 2013 Sew Expo in Puyallup, WA.  I had been thinking about buying an embroidery machine for some time.  I thought I would probably really enjoy it because of how much I love embroidery.  I bit the bullet and purchased a new Baby Lock Ellure Plus.  It is a “starter” machine and I thought if I loved it as much as I thought I would I might just have to upgrade.  So I spent much of 2013 testing the waters and LOVING the additional capabilities of an embroidery machine.  I discovered free standing lace and made dozens of snowflakes for Christmas ornaments and gave many of them as gifts.  I discovered Martha Pullen and her heirloom-type styles of embroidery.  I have always loved sweet little girl and boy items so I have joined her Internet Embroidery Club and have access to new embroidery designs each month.  Then I discovered “in-the-hoop” designs…oh my goodness…I was hooked!

Pickle Pie designs has a youtube video where I watched Lisa Archer create a thumb drive case.  It took about 5 minutes.  I was so impressed!  I thought there must be other designs that you can make in the hoop.  I visited the Pickle Pie Designs website and was excited to find the Sew Trendy Cross Body Bags.  I ordered right away and got started.  I made 18 bags either 5×7 or 6×10 for friends and family over the holidays.  Everyone loved their personalized bags!  I used many miscellaneous scraps of fabrics and trims that I had saved through the years.  I tried using suede-like upholstery fabric and gold metallic thread with wonderful results.  I bought special fabric for my granddaughter’s bag with bright colors and used peace symbol ribbon across the front and Converse tennis shoes ribbon for the strap…all things she loves…and she loved it!  They were so much fun to create that they have become my new favorite.  Purses and bags are a challenge and a joy to create.  I have made many.  I like making things that other people love and are personalized just for them.


Pickle Pie Sew Trendy Cross Body Bag

A MonogramPurse

Now I knew it was time to upgrade my embroidery machine.  I moved from my Baby Lock Ellure Plus to the Baby Lock Ellisimo.  I have a larger hoop that has 8×12 capabilities and a machine that is much more sophisticated.

Samantha Dress1
What else have I made lately you might ask?  I just finished a hand towel for my mom’s bathroom, a work apron of denim for my husband, a watermarked taffeta purse for my granddaughter, and 2 doll dresses for another granddaughter’s American Girl dolls.  The first doll dress features a Martha Pullen embroidered bodice and sleeves and the second has a smocked bodice.  I am also hand quilting a hand applique quilt that has been in process for some time!  Husband'sWorkApron

Retirement is never boring.  If you can’t find me, try knocking on my sewing studio door…you just might discover me at home, very happy, and very busy sewing! -Susan 

If you’d like to be featured on our blog, please contact us at customerservice  @picklepiedesigns.com (no spaces). We’d love to hear from you!


Gift Ideas Week 4 – Gifts for Friends and Co-workers

Embroidered Gift for Friends and Co-workers

 If your holiday gift giving list seems to grow each year, don’t be discouraged.  Pickle Pie Designs has a wide variety of gift giving ideas perfect for friends and co-workers.  We are here help you make great, yet inexpensive, gifts in a jiffy!

One of my favorites, is the Chic not Geek Ipad/tablet case.  With this, your friends will be carrying their tablet in safety and style.  These are sure to get a lot of use!


Or check out our other in the hoop designs that make the perfect gift.

The stylish Chic Cross Body Bag, the pretty Bloom Bag, and the lovely Emma Cross Body Bag


Or how about a stylish Chic, Not Geek or Peekaboo Case for their phone or ipod?


Our Chic, Not Geek, Mobile Phone case


Smartphone Peekaboo Case


And don’t miss our in the hoop travel accessories that would be the perfect addition to any gift. Our Uptown Curling Iron/Hot Iron Cover stylishly protects this accessory when traveling AND you can pack up your curling iron while it’s still hot and pack it in your luggage!




Our Cosmetic Roll In the Hoop is the perfect way to pack your makeup brushes, eyeliners, mascara, tweezers, and more!



Our Boutique Luggage Tags will make their luggage stand out! They feature a pocket on the back to keep identity and personal information private.



Our in the hoop Boutique Eyeglass Case is the perfect gift to protect glasses or sunglasses. It matches our other Boutique items for a larger gift.




Thanks for checking out our Embroidered Friend/Co-Worker Gifts post. We’re sure your friends will love your beautiful creations!


Pickle Pie Designs Gift Ideas Week 3 – Teacher Gifts

Embroidered  Teacher Gifts

 The holidays are the perfect time to express your appreciation for your teachers! Check out some of our teacher gift ideas below.

For teachers who love coffee, combine our personalized Boutique Circle Monogrammed Coffee Cozies with a fresh Starbucks coffee or a coffee gift card.  This gift is sure to put a smile on their face!


If your teacher enjoys mints, check out this  Teacher’s Mason Jar Topper.


If a gift card is on your teacher gift giving list, consider personalizing it with our in the hoop Teacher Gift Card Holder.


How about a personalized Sew Pretty Zipper Bag?  Our in the hoop designs make great gifts and can save you time and money!




Finally, be sure to check out our Curlz Split Appliques for personalizing your teacher gifts.  The designs come in 4″, 6″ and 8″ sizes – perfect for almost any item.

We personalized a hand towel and a dollar tree tote.

teacher3 IMG_5824

Great but inexpensive gifts!  The ideas are endless.

Thanks for checking out our Embroidered Teacher Gifts post!





Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: