Hot Tamales…. New Orleans Style





hot tamales

Many people that grew up around the New Orleans area remember Manuel’s Hot Tamales.  Manuel began selling his tamales in 1933 on the street corner of Canal Street and Carollton Avenue in New Orleans out of a push cart similar to an ice-cream push cart. (see the picture under the recipe) Just like a lot of other New Orleans’ greats….Manuel’s, as they say in NOLA, “ain’t der’ no more!” (sigh)

I, unfortunately, never had the privilege to eat a Manuel’s Hot Tamale, but have spent many years with my husband hearing about them as he searched for a comparison.  Through his search, I have tried quite a few tamales. Some good and some NOT so good.   If you’ve followed my blog long enough, you may recall a Chicken Tamale Pie recipe that I shared with you.  Needless to say, I have become very fond of tamales.

The New Orleans Style tamale is somewhat different than other tamales.  To the best of my knowledge, the New Orleans tamale is wrapped in a tamale paper instead of an actual corn husk.  It is also rolled in cornmeal v’s the masa corn flour.  It is also cooked long and slow in a spicy tomato sauce v’s steamed.  If you know of any differences, please share them with me and the readers. 

It was last summer when my husband came across a copy cat recipe for Manuel’s Hot Tamales.  He asked if I would give making them a try, and I did. (Anything for love, right? Besides they say the best way to the man’s heart is via the stomach.)  I had always heard that it was a long process of rolling the tamales so I enlisted the help of two little kids. They had the job of soaking 100 tamale papers one at a time.  I did the rest.  Never making a tamale before, I really had no idea what to expect.  After a day’s worth of work, I have to say that we were all a little disappointed in my tamales.  My tamale rolling skills were not that great and somewhere along the way I discovered that I forgot to add the right amount of chili powder. But like most things, without failure one can not improve. 

Just recently, I teamed up with my brother in law, Rusty (who really enjoys creating recipes and eating tamales) in a quest to make a really good “hot” tamale.  We took the recipe that I had used previously and with what we both know about cooking, I think we came up with a very good recipe. (I am by no means saying that the recipe I had used was a bad one because I am the one who made errors in it.)  We had to substitute a few things along the way because of running short of a few ingredients, but we took good notes and made good substitutions…..

I am excited to share the recipe with you.  Please take notice of the notes as to what, why and how we arrived at the recipe, and of course you can use your good cooking judgment as to how you may adjust the recipe.  I also provide the link to the recipe I used last summer.   As always, please  contact me with any questions.   

 For a pictorial on the steps, click here: Hot Tamale Pictorial

Hot Tamales….New Orleans Style of Course

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  1. 1.5 lbs of ground chuck
  2. 1.5 lbs of ground pork (our adaptation/addition)
  3. 3 minced onions (our adaptation)
  4. 1 minced green bell pepper(our addition)
  5. 4 stalks of celery (our addition)
  6. 3 teaspoons of granulated garlic
  7. 3 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
  8. 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked pepper
  9. 3-4 teaspoons of kosher salt
  10. 1 teaspoon of paprika (our addition)
  11. 1/4 teaspoon of marjoram (our addition)
  12. 1 teaspoon of ground cumin (plus and added 1/8 cup which is our adaptation)
  13. 3/4 cup of chili powder
  14. 2 envelopes of Old El Paso Original Taco Seasoning (our addition/adaptation: 1 envelope is for the dry seasoning for the meat and the other is totally an optional pinch or so in your cornmeal for rolling the meat)
  15. 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  16. 1 10 oz can of diced tomatoes (Our adaptation…We drained and pureed them)
  17. 2 quarts of chicken broth (OPTIONAL…our adaptation instead of covering them in water to cook them. See direction for details)
  18. 3-4 cups of yellow cornmeal divided in the recipe. See directions for details. (This is our adaptation. I used Aunt Jemima because it had the less % of sugar and I had read in a recipe that using a cornmeal with the less sugar was recommended.)
  19. 100 tamale papers.
  1. 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  2. 1 10 oz can of enchilada sauce (We wanted to double the tomato sauce but I did not have another can so we used the enchilada sauce.)
  3. 3 teaspoon of cumin
  4. 1/4 cup chili powder
  5. 1 teaspoon of paprika (our addition)
  6. 1/4 teaspoon of marjoram (our addition)
  7. salt to taste
  8. freshly cracked pepper to taste
Tamale Paper Preperation
  1. Place the tamale papers one at a time and on top of one another into a large bowl of water. This will prevent the papers from sticking to one another and ensure that each paper be saturated with water. Set aside for rolling later.
Cornmeal Preperation
  1. Spread out cornmeal on a baking sheet. 1 cup of cornmeal at a time. (We added a pinch or two of one of the envelopes of the Old El Paso Original Taco Seasoning to our cornmeal and mixed it well. Set aside until you are ready to roll the tamales.
Sauce Preperation
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium heavy bottom saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and set aside.
For the Tamales
  1. Put onions, bell peppers, celery and garlic in food processor until they are finely chopped.
  2. We then sautéed them in a little bit of olive oil to soften the vegetables. I do not think this is necessary but our family likes our vegetable seasoning soft, but since they are so finely chopped, they should be okay if you were to skip this sautéing step.
  3. In a bowl, mix the dry seasoning ingredients well together. This is the cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, marjoram and 1 envelope of taco seasoning.
  4. Add tomato sauce, puree tomatoes (if you use them) to the onion mixture.
  5. Add the dry seasoning mixture to the onion and tomato sauce mixture and blend together well.
  6. Place the ground meats in a very large mixing bowl. Mix the meats together well using your hands. I use food safe gloves because the meat is VERY cold.
  7. Add the mixture of the seasoned tomato sauce to the meat. Mix well together with your hands.
  8. Working with a spoonful of meat at time, roll the meat into the shape of a breakfast sausage link. PLEASE NOTE: If the mixture of meat seems to be too wet to form a firm oblong – sausage link shape, add 1/2 cup of corn meal at a time to it to firm it up. Ours was fairly wet due to the 16oz of puree tomotoes so we added 1 1/2 cups of cornmeal to firm it up enough that it could keep its shape.
  9. Roll the meat in the cornmeal LIGHTLY.
  10. Wrap each tamale in a tamale paper. Place tamale in the center of the paper. Fold over one side at a time. Then fold the bottom up. (This will leave the top of the paper open. You may or may not want to fold it over. We did not.) Repeat this until all of the meat mixture is gone.
  11. In a large dutch oven or roasting pan, lay the tamales flat. Alternate the direction of the tamales as you build layers of tamales.
  12. Cover the tamales with 2 quarts chicken broth or water will also work fine.
  13. Add the sauce mixture you made earlier to the pot of tamales.
  14. Bring to a low boil, cover and reduce for 2 hours. Check tamales frequently and add water if needed.
Next step is optional
  1. Turn off and let sit. We turned it off the stove and let the tamales sit for an hour. The sauce thickened to our surprise.
Adapted from The Catholic Foodie

Picture from


Yummy with a Chance of Meatballs


Tender ~ Juicy Meatballs 

Surprise!!!  It’s another recipe!! And go figure, it’s an Italian recipe.  No one would ever believe by the things that I love to cook and eat that I do not have .01 oz of Italian in me.  I LOVE meatballs.    L. O. V. E. meatballs!   For years I tried making them and for years I failed at making them.  I think part of my failure was due to the fact that I did not follow a recipe…I guess I am wrong by saying “I think” that was the problem because it was indeed the problem.    It never even occurred to me that there may be a recipe out there for meatballs. (Embarrassing but true.) My husband’s aunt (rest her soul) made delicious meatballs, but when asked for the recipe, she never really gave the “full” instructions.  I think she’d purposely leave things out so no one’s could compare.

Then one day it just hit me like a brick.  “Hello……LOOK IN  JOHN FOLSE’S ENCYCLOPEDIA of CAJUN & CREOLE CUISINE”.  


This book has EVERYTHING in it. It is literally an encyclopedia with the history of Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole Culture in the beginning pages.  Look at the picture below of  the size of the book compared to my other cookbooks. 


So right there on page 520 is a recipe for Tender and Juicy Spaghetti & Meatballs. I already mentioned that I had never thought about a recipe for meatballs; so it really never dawned on me to look for a meatball recipe in this book because it is a “Cajun & Creole” cookbook and meatballs are Italian, RIGHT????  LOL!! Creole dishes that we love in Louisiana were influenced by European flavors as well as Native American culture and African cultures.  One of New Orleans most famous sandwiches is an Italian inspired creation…..the Muffaletta.

John Folse explains in the book how he went all the way to Italy to learn how to make these meatballs because, believe it or not,  he desired to make tender and juicy meatball. Try them, and I think you’ll agree with me that he mastered it.  My family loves these meatballs.  They are requested at most of our special occasion dinners such as Hallie’s birthday which is today. She had a dinner plan for every night of this week with these meatballs being Monday’s dinner plan. 

 (This picture below is a picture of the meatballs prior to dropping them in the sauce.) 

 raw meatballs

The recipe makes so many meatballs (approximately 20) that I usually make them for dinner on Monday to eat with spaghetti, and there is always enough meatballs leftover that we have meatball sandwiches on Wednesday or Thursday night. 


The recipe for the meatballs is below.  You may add the meatballs to your favorite sauce, or if you Google the meatballs,  you’ll see that John Folse also has a recipe for his sauce that accompanies the meatball recipe.   I confess that after I make homemade meatballs that I cheat on the sauce. (Don’t Judge!)   I use Emeril’s Homemade Marinara Sauce. He is not a Louisianian like John Folse, but he is a New Orleans’ icon. I use two jars with this recipe, and I add water or beef broth so there is enough sauce to cover the meatballs.   I hope your family enjoys these as much as mine. 

C’est Bon!


Tender and Juicy Meatballs

Yields 20

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  1. 1 lbs ground chuck
  2. 1 lbs ground pork
  3. 6 eggs
  4. 1 cup minced onion
  5. 1 cup minced celery
  6. 1/4 cup minced garlic
  7. 1/4 cup chopped basil
  8. 1 1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
  9. 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  10. 2 tbls salt
  11. 2 tbls pepper
  1. In a bowl add all dry ingredients and mix well. (set aside)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine beef and pork and with your hands blend the meats together well.
  3. Add the eggs, onion, celery and garlic to the bowl with meat and again with your hands blend all very well. (Tips: 1. If you have jumbo or x-large eggs, I would use 5 eggs. 2. The meat, eggs and seasoning gets very cold. A pair of gloves safe for food will help keep your hands from freezing.)
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the meat and continue to blend well.
  5. Roll meatballs to desired size. John suggest that they are slightly larger than a golf ball, but mine vary in size.
  6. Place meatballs on a cookie sheet, cover and refrigerate. I refrigerate for at least an hour.
  7. Bring your sauce to a low boil, reduce to a simmer.
  8. Gently drop refrigerated meatballs into the sauce. DO NOT STIR for first 10 minutes of simmering or meatballs may break. (When you do stir, use a wooden spoon and move them gently.)
  9. Simmer meatballs in the sauce for 1 hour. If your sauce does not cover the meatballs add water or stock.
  10. If your sauce becomes too think, add water or stock.
  1. The prep time may vary according to the speed you work. It takes me about 30-45 minutes to prepare the meatballs for the frig. If you make your own sauce, make it while the meatballs are chilling.
  2. I learned that mixing the dry seasoning together prior to adding it to the meat will result in a more even mixture of the salt and pepper. It’s very hard to add the pepper and salt to the meat because the pepper will tend to stay in the area of the meat where you added it. That usually results in “One Spicy Meatball”. (said in a lame Italian accent)


The Kitchen Reveal…One Year Later

Well, here it is….the kitchen reveal. No need for a drumroll.  It surely is not on the scale of a Chip and Joanna Gaines…”Are you ready to see your fixer upper?”  (I love those two btw!!) remodel, but it is an improvement from what it had been for eighteen years prior.    For those new to the “Monogramery” you may not know that last January I took on a kitchen facelift project called  “Operation Kitchen Redoux”  something or another (it’s been so long ago that I forgot).  I painted my HORRIBLE white cabinets with Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint and replaced my formica countertops with Carrera Marble (LOVE IT!).  The walls were painted not once but twice.  Did I tell that story or not???  Anyway I am sure you can figure out the wall paint story….husband paints walls once; then husband paints walls twice because wife does NOT like the color, but wife does not say she  does NOT like the color in fear that it will hurt the “check writing for marble” husband’s feelings.  The husband just knows the wife well enough that he can tell by her “look” that she does not like the walls.  The second paint color of choice makes everyone happy.  It’s Blonde by Sherwin Williams. 

As you may remember, it took me eight weeks to paint my cabinets.  Then it probably took another four weeks to get the marble countertops.  After the countertops were in, I was READY to order the Carrera Marble subway tile for the backsplash but someone (husband, Kenny) wanted to catch his breath (save some money to pay cash) so we waited to order the backsplash.  Finally last June/July, after waiting (saving) for several months, I was given the green light to order the backsplach.  It arrived within days of ordering it.  I carried each box inside from the pallet that was delivered, and I lined them up along the dining room wall where they SAT from July to November/December. (Yes, you read that correctly…SIX months.)  Within those six months, I only asked ONCE about the installing them.  For those of  you who know me personally know that was a job for me to only ask once. I waited patiently because I feared the more I asked the longer I would wait.    And so…the week after Thanksgiving 2014, the backsplash was installed by my wonderful “DEH” husband.  (DEH = Do Everything Himself) He did a fabulous job on something that he had never done before and  something that he may never do it again.  LOL!!!

I am sharing with you the before shots of my kitchen. (A little note:  I forgot to take pictures before I took all the cabinet doors off to paint.) 



063 064


This is the butler’s pantry from my kitchen to dining room.  It did not always look so bare.  Of course… I forgot once again to take a picture of it before I emptied the cabinets.  It was also the last set of cabinets I did so the countertop served as a collection spot for some appliances.  I am standing in my laundry room/pantry taking this photo. 

Let me stress before you move on to the AFTER photos that I have NO idea what I am doing behind a lens of a camera.  I used my son’s camera to take the pictures.  It’s a really nice camera but since I know NOTHING about it, the pictures are sub par (aka awful).  I think the  camera made my kitchen look too busy…LOL!!  Can you believe it did that??  (wink) I don’t like the looks of the kitchen through the lens as much as I do when I am just standing in it.  The light reflecting off of the cabinets does not truly show what the cabinets look like.  I already know that when I see a kitchen on Pinterest or in a magazine that it has been staged for the photo shoot, and now I am assuming that a professional photographer took the pictures.  (insert tears and loud crying sounds)  Looking at these pictures makes me want to repaint my cabinets.  The look of the cabinets is heavy on the eyes with the black and white tile (which I would change if I could but that is NOT happening according to the DEH).  This is also not my dream kitchen.  Yes, I like a lot of things about my kitchen, but would I have wanted grey cabinets…..not really.   It’s what I thought would work with the floors since they can not be removed.  Now that I see the kitchen photographed, I think a solid grey cabinet would have been more pleasant to look at with the floor. Maybe one day in the future I’ll paint them again, but for now the labor pain of painting the  cabinets still holds fresh in these old aching bones.   



I will start with the after “redoux” photos where I left off with the before “redoux” photos….in the butler’s pantry.  I kind of changed the butler’s pantry into a baking center.  To be honest, I did not have a butler so it only made sense….LOL!!!  I do have a want to be baker.  Hallie wants to move to Paris with her new American Girl Doll Grace Thomas and bake French pastries.  (If you’re a mom of an American Girl loving girl, you’ll  understand.)  The walls look really LSU yellow-gold in this picture but I promise  you they are not.  It’s the same Blonde by Sherwin Williams as the rest of the kitchen.  Remember…I am not a photographer so the lighting is awful in the photos. 


 Why grey cabinets?  Well, the tile on the floor goes all the way to the wall.  (NIGHTMARE!) In order to replace the tile, the entire kitchen would have had to have been taken out, and this was just a cabinet redo in order to get the marble countertops that I had dreamed of for 18 years.  I used Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey and used a dark (black) wax to give them an aged look.  Looking at them now in these photos, I think that maybe I should have just painted them the Paris Grey and used Annie’s varnish to seal them instead of the wax.  I had to create my own black wax with putting paint in to the clear wax.  The wax has worn quickly on heavy traffic areas of the cabinets such as the fridge panel where everyone puts their hand to handle to open it.  


 My husband extended our kitchen island by adding on to the ends of it.  He also made it wider so stools could fit under one side.  I painted the island and the butler’s pantry with Annie Sloan’s Graphite and applied her dark wax to both sets of cabinets.   The dark wax on the graphite chalk paint gave it a richer, deeper color of graphite.  I am almost sorry I did not do all of the cabinets in the graphite. 






IMG_1681I made this area of the counter a coffee/breakfast bar.  It use to be an area thats only purpose was to collect junk papers and such.  Now it is cluttered with things we use everyday.  The butler pantry would have made a nice coffee bar area as well, but this area would not have made a nice baking center. 



I searched high and low for a cow creamer and was really surprised to find this one at Bed Bath and Beyond.  My children think it’s creepy looking, and can I tell you that since I bought this creepy cow creamer, after searching high and low, I’ve seen cuter ones at Walmart (yes, Walmart), Kirklands and Tuesday Morning.  You may notice that there is a jar of sprinkles in the coffee/breakfast bar area.  Looks odd, but when your “daddy’s girl” thinks you’re like the daddy and will run out and get her chocolate covered sprinkled donuts,  you offer her a waffle covered in Nutella and sprinkles. 


This old scale use to hang in my pappy’s store.  He had a hardware type store where he sold trawl nets for shrimp boats.  He also carried nails and such.  The customers use to weigh the nails in it.  I loved it when I saw that it was rusting away in my grandma’s shed years ago and I called dibs on it, but really had no place to put it.  I had it in our shed until one day after my kitchen was finished, and I got a brilliant idea to hang it over my island on my pot rack.  It also lead me on an eBay adventure to find more old scales. 


My husband surprised me with this one.  It was in rough shape when he bid on it and won it from eBay.  I was shocked when it arrived.  The glass was missing (so is the glass in my hanging scale) and it was full of rust (so is my hanging one).  It made the hanging one look like it was in excellent condition.  I questioned whether he could restore it.  He laughed at my questioning him and gave me a response of, “I restore old cars full of rust.  I can restore this scale.”  And isn’t she a beauty?  She really works too.   In this next photo, check out the “Makin’ Groceries” sign above the window. 


If you are Southern or know any Southern folks, you  know how proud we are to be Southern.  The South runs deep and wide.  When most folks think about Southerners, they think of long drawn out Southern Drawls, ice tea and deep porches with over grown ferns.  At least this is what I think of when I think of Southerners.  I’m from so far down South that there is no where else to go South besides the Gulf of Mexico, and I’m sad when I say that my part of the South got the short end of the baton when it came to Southern Drawls.  Don’t let those fake New Orleans’ Southern Drawl accents fool you in the movies.  Down in Nawlins, “yat” is the local accent and it’s a language all on its own. Up until recently I would NEVER say “Who Dat”.  I mean really….what degreed elementary teacher would use that term??? SMH…Not me dat fo sho!  But it was something about Drew Brees saying “Who Dat” that made me hear it differently.  I, then, began to embrace my Southern Culture and be proud of the unique things that only New Orleans brings to the South.  Don’t get me wrong…there are still a lot of things I can not bring myself to say such as the term “makin’ groceries”, but I am proud that no other place in the world will say that in reference to going to the grocery store.  Although I may not say it, I’ll proudly display it. 

In honor of Hallie’s favorite quote/question from HGTV  “Are you going to LOVE IT or LIST IT?”……. I would love to list it and build my beach house in Bay St. Louis, but until then I am going to love my Carrera Marble countertops and I am going to live with the cabinets. 


 The following are just a few “close ups” of things in the kitchen that may one day be post of their own.  IMG_1686 IMG_1684 IMG_1683




How To Make a Pillow Sham (an Embroidered Pillow Sham)

Let me start by wishing you a Happy New Year.  I hope this post finds you well.   I know I have been missing in action since Summer.  School began, and I found myself embroidering almost everyday until my children went on Christmas Holiday.  It’s a good thing that I don’t have one of those blogs that get sponsored by brands that expect a post or two a week.  They would fire me. 

On to the topic…

Last year (Christmas that is) I found myself with the idea that I would give personalized throw pillows for gifts for a few lucky ones on my list.  I thought that it would be an easy gift that I could personalize with an embroidery design, family name, initials, etc…  I thought all I would need to do was to go to Hobby Lobby and pick a “ALREADY” made throw pillow sham/cover, come home and embellish it with a design suited for my recipient….EASY- PEASY, LEMON -SQUEEZY right????  WRONG!!!  All of the “already” made throw pillow sham/covers/sleeves’ openings were along the bottom edge and did not allow the pillow case to fit on the hoop of my machine in the direction that allowed my design to maximize the area on the pillow.  I’m not sure if that makes sense but I needed the design going horizontal in my hoop but the opening of the pillow was going to allow the design to be embroidered vertically on the machine which would have resulted in a design being limited in size.  I wanted to use the largest size of my designs.  My largest hoop measures something like 12″wx8″h. 

There WENT my idea of giving personalized pillows as gifts to a few folks on my list…or at least I thought. My husband suggested that I SEW a pillow sham so I could embroidery it prior to stitching the case together.  I am not sure if I have ever told y’all that I do NOT sew.  I can sew a seam in a koozie but to actually have to make something with my normal sewing machine is NOT something I can do.  I can not sew detailed instructions from a pattern. Well, that is not totally true…..I kind of can.  I JUST DO NOT LIKE TO SEW.  However, in this situation, I was either going to DIM (do it myself) or think of another gift.  The easiest solution this time was DIM with a little help from a few Pinterest tutorials in which if  you follow me on Pinterest, you can view them. Those tutorials were GREAT, but none of them gave me the steps that I needed to add an applique. I do not know about  y’all,  but I NEED the step by step visuals of EACH STEP.  At Christmas time, I did not have any brain function to engineer all of this together.  SO…..  I add those extra steps in my tutorial below for you (and I’m not going to lie when I state that this is for ME TOO for future pillow gifts).

I also need to stress that I AM NOT A SEWER FOR HIRE.  I made (and will make) pillows for my gift recipients.  THIS IS STRICTLY A TUTORIAL FOR YOU TO MAKE YOUR OWN PILLOW.  I can applique it for you if you don’t embroidery, but you will need to bring me the material marked with the center. 


1/2 yard of fabric of choice

3/8 or 5/8 double-sided hem tape

pillow insert (I used 16×16) 

fabric marker (disappearing/magic/dissoluble)

embroidery design of your choice

The given..scissors, needles, sewing machine, embroidery machine, thread, straight pins, fabric for applique, stabilizer,  possible iron

Pillow Sham

 To make a case for a 16″x16″ pillow the goal is to have a 15″x15″ pillow sham/case/cover. 

If the pillow insert was 18″x18″ the goal would be to have a 17″x17″ pillow sham.

All sides should be 1″ smaller than pillow so that the pillow is nice and “tart” in the sham.

A half a yard of material will work for one pillow as long as your insert doesn’t exceed 18″.


 Trim your yard of fabric to 38″x16″. TIP: I keep it folded as I trim it 16″ wide.

Then it could be kept folded as you cut the folded piece to 19″ so when you open it up, you have 38″ long.

 IMG_0094.JPGThen to keep the short edges from fraying and to aid in the making of a hem, I prepare the edges to be hemmed with the double-sided hem tape.

I used the 5/8″ tape. It also comes in 3/8″. ( If you use the 3/8″, you may need to cut your material down to 37″x16″.)

Run the tape along the short edges and peel away the backing.


Fold your edge with the 5/8″ tape over so you have a partial hem keeping the hem the 5/8″ of the tape.

I hope that makes sense???…..FOLD OVER 5/8″ don’t fold it over more than the width of the tape.


Do this to both short sides of the material/fabric. 

The tape will stick to your fingers. Be patient!!

Just remember it’s not super glue…LOL!!


Once I have both short edges folded over with the tape, I fold the edges over one more time so my raw edge will be sewn under.

I keep this fold 5/8″ too.


I press this fold with the iron. It would not be necessary but I like to keep the fold in place the best I can without adding another strip of tape.

A few straight pins would hold it in place too.


Once your hems are folded, stitch them with the sewing machine. 

My machine is marked with measurement so I can use them as a guide.  I stitched at the 5/8″ marking. 


Time to fold the short side to create the envelope type back so the center for the embroidery can be determined. 

Please note that the material should be right side facing down as you begin to make these folds because the next few steps is in preparation to find and mark the center for the embroidery.

 The fabric should now be somewhere between 35″ and 36″ long with 35″ being ideal.  With it being 35″, that allows for a 15″ front and the back of the sham measuring 10″ in towards the center to create the envelope type back. 

Pillow fold diagramHere is a diagram.  I hope this helps make it clearer for you.  You may find that your material is a pinch longer than 35″ so you may have one fold at 10″ and the other 10″-11″. The goal is to leave about 4-5″ on each side once you over lap them.  I have labeled the next photo for hopefully a better visual. 

Pillow picture diagram 6

My fabric was a little longer than 35″ so when I folded it in to get 15″ wide, I had an edge folding in 11″ and the other edge folding in at 10″.  This left me with a 6″ overlap and 5″ on one side and 4″ other other.  The ultimate goal is to leave 4-5″ from the overlap to the edges of the pillow.   This will allow for your pillow insert to fit in nicely and then lay nicely without a large gap in the pack. 

Now to mark the  center.

Pillow marking Center

Now that the sides are folded in to create the back of the sham, the pillow shame is measuring 15″x16″

(Remember we cut our fabric 38″w x 16″h when we started so now that is hemmed and folded we have 15″x16″). 

To mark the center, simply fold the fabric in half.  Now the fabric is 7.5″x16″.  If your using a cutting mat with measurement on it like I did, mark the center at 8



I add a few more dots along my centers with my fabric marker to help me hoop the fabric in the hoop straight. 

I also had to put an arrow with my marker to show me which way is the top.** 

** This will only matter if your folded back pieces are not an exact 10″.  Mine were 10″ and 11″ so that will matter when go to sew my sides together after it’s embroidered. 


Hoop and embroidery the design. 

Depending on the fabric a piece of “No Show” cut away stabilizer may need to be added.

  This fabric was a thinner cotton so I floated a piece of it between my fabric and tear away stabilizer. 


The sides are ready to be pinned so they can be sewn.  In this step, the right side of the fabric should be facing up. 

The top of the pillow will be folded back first.  It will overlap the bottom of the pillow on the backside of the sham so it must be folded first. 


 I like to use a yard stick to help me fold. 

This is also the step that was important for me to note which one was folded back at 10″ and which one was 11″.  ASK ME HOW I CAME TO THIS IMPORTANT DISCOVERY!!!!  You might notice that in the previous two pictures the designs are different. I’m sure  you know why….   You will get to see my blooper in the final picture of the deer silhouette pillow.  For my pillows after the deer, I made sure the folds were even, and/or I pinned it both ways:

with the top folded back at 10″ and looked at it from the front to see if the design was centered. 

 with the top folded back at 11″ and looked at it from the front to see if the design was centered. 

My goal here is to save you from bloopers, but you may not have any since  you may be a better “sewing engineer” than I am.


Once the folds are folded back with right sides together, pin it in place. 

I pinned at the hems of the overlaps. 

The sham is ready to be stitched

IMG_0110.JPGRemember I made mention of my sewing machine having the measurement guidelines? I am sure all machines do. 

I have owned two in my sewing life in which both had the guidelines.  

These seams should be sewn at 4/8″ (aka 1/2″).  If a 1/2″ seam is sewn on both sides, it results in a 15″x15″ sham.  

 It is also a good idea to do a reverse stitch over the hem areas. 

There will be a lot of tugging at these points so reinforcement will be beneficial. 



I trimmed the seams with pinking shears to limit fraying.

Now the sham can be turned inside out…over to the right side. 


It is ready for the pillow insert. 


 It will need fluffing (also known as a beating of the pillow) to fill out the sham.


It was a blessing that the blooper pillow was MINE! I really don’t mind since most things in nature aren’t perfect and as far as my husband…..

he has not even noticed that our bed has a new throw pillow on it. 


Any questions….LOL!!! Please feel free to comment or email me. 


JumBOW Dots

bow jumbo dots 2

I think of polka dots as one of those timeless-classic prints, or just dots in general have been a classic print throughout the decades.  Whether it be swiss dots, polka dots or random dots, I find that everyone has a crush on the dots.  The chevron print has become popular over the past few years but has been called a “fad” print, but dots have been around for decades.  When I saw grosgrain ribbon in jumbo dots, I knew my girl had to have several new bows.  I thought they would be cute, but I had no idea that they’d be this cute.  This ribbon is available at Girly Ribbons….and guess what????  Girly Ribbons is a Louisiana Girl!!


If you’d like to order a bow from me, please comment or contact me here on my blog. As you can see from the black/white bow above and the red/white bow below, they are not just for initials. 

To order your own ribbon, visit Girly Ribbon  at .  If you’d like to know “How to Monogram Grosgrain Ribbon” click HERE

bow jumbo dots 1

Home Sweet Home “State” Monogram Hats


 I am so proud of the way these hats came that out I have to share it with you here on my blog.   If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen my latest post on these hats.  It was actually a request from a friend/customer.  She asked for the state of Louisiana to be on her hats, and as we sat with each other talking about monograms for her other items, she had this BRILLIANT idea to add her monogram to Louisiana.  Then as I played with her initials in the state, I added a heart over the parish we live in.  Funny enough….. as I told her I was adding the heart, she laughed because she was wondering silently to herself if there was something I could add to the applique to mark her “Home Sweet Home”.

I also took the idea of putting a heart over the cities/parish and placed a fleur-de-lis over NOLA in honor of beloved Who Dat Nation and a paw over Baton Rouge for all of the tiger fans.



To be able to get the applique as close to the bill of the hat and as large as I could, I created it as a patch and glued it on the hat as I do with the raggy oval and circle patches.  If you’d like a state patch for a hat you have, you may bring me the hat or contact me for a patch. If you choose to apply the patch yourself, I will send instructions on how to apply it with the patch.  I have the designs for most of the southern states.  The heart can be placed anywhere in the state that you call home sweet home. 

I have also recently created a page on the blog under both  “DIY Projects” and “Embroidery”  on How to Monogram a Baseball Cap using Fast Frames.  If you embroidery, you may want to check it out.  

Thanks for taking the time and spending a few  minutes with me here on my blog. 


Show & Tell Friday: New Friends….

A few post ago, I made mention that I had discovered several blogs that I began following via my process of redoing my kitchen.   I came across numerous blogs over the process, but there was something about these blogs that I felt an instant connection with the writers.  I think that maybe I see some of my very own dear friends in each one of the following women. 

May I introduce……

Edie @ LifeinGrace

Blog friend Edie

Don’t tell the others below (because I have learned that via blogging three of them are friends), but Edie is my favorite new friend. I could spend hours with Edie at LifeinGrace looking at her beautiful home, listening to her podcast and reading her wise words. I met her when I googled “Is marble good for kitchens”. She had an entire post on it. After reading her post, I knew for certain that I was getting marble counter tops in my kitchen regardless of how many people tried to talk me out of it.  I had wanted marble in my kitchen for years, and I was going to have it.  I got it and LOVE it!  There so many other reasons I feel connected to Edie.  Go meet her and you’ll understand…you’ll connect with her too. 

Here is:

  Karen @ Redoux Interiors

      Blog friend karenShe had me at the title of her blog…..REDOUX!!!!  Is that not the way we’d spell “redo” here in Louisiana???  We give every word we can a french spelling to it, and so does she even though she is in California.   I think one of my favorite things about Karen is that she makes up her own French words.  It cracks me up, because I have my own invented spelling…LOL!!!  Read her “All About Moi” as well as her New Here? if you want to giggle and fall in love with her too.   She dumpster dives and shares her trash finds every Tuesday. I found her as I was researching information on redoing my kitchen cabinets.

My next two friends I met through Edie.  She introduced them to me not long after she and I met. 😉 


The Nester (Myquillyn) @ Nesting Place 

Blog friend nester

I think I love The Nester so much because she is slowly convincing me of her motto….”It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful”.  As you can see, I am not totally convinced of that; otherwise I’d share my unfinished kitchen redo with you…Ha!  She is the author of the book The Nesting Place. Maybe if I finish the book before Mr. Miss Nola finishes the kitchen, I’ll be convinced to share the incomplete.  Although, she has confirmed that my take on decorating is not totally wrong.  I always said that I do not have a particular look or style.  If I like it, I put it in my home regardless of whether or not it followed some designer’s decorating tip. 

Next up and finally is:

Big Mama (Melanie) @ Big Mama

Blog friend big mama

Big Mama…just the name of her blog alone is sure to get a giggle out of you.  She is the Seinfeld of the blogs.  She literally writes about “nothing” in her everyday life and does it so that you are wanting more. That is true talent!!!  Read about her and discover how she had me at “diet coke”.    She is the author of two books in which I’ll let you check them yourself out via her blog. 

I think that each of these women are worth sharing with you.  I hope you take a minute to check out each of them.  I’ll be honest in sharing that I know there is the possibility that you may drop me for them.  I mean, seriously, how many blogs can one person follow. Let’s take Edie for example.  She has 16,000+ followers and I have 16-17….LOL!!   I get it!! Who can compete with that? So as I take the risk of losing you to them,   I hope you keep this in mind as you get to know each of these woman on your own…….

Enjoy your weekend!