Eleven canning jars have been transformed into twinkling mantle décor for Thanksgiving. This is a visible reminder of the reason for all that delicious turkey and pumpkin pie. With THE Dream Machine 2 by Brother
(the quintessential combo embroidery/sewing machine) or any Brother embroidery machine, you can make a meaningful Thanksgiving decoration that can be used year after year. It can even be left in place through the year. On the mantle, on the piano, a bookshelf or wherever, it is a timeless statement to be grateful. The fabulous BES4 lettering software,
included with the purchase of THE Dream Machine 2 by Brother
was used for the text on the jars, though the built-in letters on your machine would also work. That amazing BES4 program offers a multitude of fonts and countless options. This is the most basic use of its features and I’m eager to try some of the others. Just a few easily acquired items are required. Assemble your supplies and get started on this fun project that makes such an important statement.


Note: There are several grades and weights of burlap. I chose the coarsest, least expensive because I want the light to shine through the lose weave. Without the fairy lights, I would use a better grade of burlap.


  • #80 needle, black embroidery thread for needle and black bobbin thread, embroidery thread for pumpkin design, spray adhesive, double sided tape, 3 ¾ yards black grosgrain ribbon ½-5/8” wide, tan grosgrain ribbon 5/8-1” wide, glue (hot glue gun or other strong glue) mid-weight tearaway stabilizer, very lightweight stabilizer.
  • 11 smooth sided quart mason jars (A carton of 12 near the canning supplies was purchased from the big box store).
  • Fairy lights—eleven 3.3’ strand of battery-operated lights for each of the 11 jars.


Note: The font used here is Black Tie from BES4. For the quart jar, keep the height of each letter below 4.00. The Black Tie Large font was stitched at 3.84”.
Note: Use a piece of cardboard or poster board for table protection when using spray adhesive.

BES4 Text Preparation

  1. Open installed BES4.
  1. Select start a new design.
  1. Click on the circled b icon for BES4. Select NEW on the next menu.
  1. Select the Text icon at the top of the next screen, type in G, select Black Tie Large font.
  1. Select BES4 Black Tie font and reduce size to 3.84, then click on apply.
  1. Save the design. First it will be saved in the BES4 format so it can be edited and manipulated later.
  2. Save as .pes in your chosen folder for future reference.
  1. Send the design to THE Dream Machine 2 electronically. Or save it to a memory stick and transfer the design in that manner.
  1. Continue with each remaining letter for GIVE THANKS.
  2. Open the folder to access the letters.
  1. Alternatively, you can select letters from PE-Design or the built-in letters on your machine. Keep height to just below 4” or 100 x 100cm. Use a font from which stabilizer can be removed easily. Un-removed stabilizer will show through the coarse burlap and restrict the brightness of the fairy lights.

Fabric Preparation

  1. Pull a thread to straighten top cut edge of burlap. It is rarely if ever cut on grain.
  1. Measure 10” from selvage and pull another thread. This will leave a channel for accurate cutting.
  2. Cut along the empty thread channel, rendering a piece 10” x width of fabric.
  1. Measure the circumference of your jar. Mine came to 12” so I cut each 10” x width of fabric piece into 10 x 13” pieces. Three pieces can be cut from each 45” width, requiring four 10” cuts down the selvage. Cut 11 rectangles. Save the left over short ends to cover the jar lid.

Embroidery Directions

  1. Mark vertical and horizontal center of burlap rectangle with a tiny dot. Pierce snowman sticker through center dot then insert pin into marked dot.
Note: Take care to line up the edges of the snowman with the grain lines. Press snowman in place, leaving pin penetrating snowman and burlap.
  1. Mark center of tearaway stabilizer with a dot. Pierce that dot with the pin, at once centering the snowman, the burlap and the stabilizer. Straighten and pin stabilizer to burlap.
  2. Hoop in 4x4 frame, using the template to place the center properly.
Note: The BES4 Black Tie font was reduced to a height of 3.84”. That leaves no wiggle room, so exact placement is important. You may also hoop this in the 5x7 frame for easier placement.
  1. Use black embroidery thread in needle and black bobbin thread. Open letter G and embroider.
  1. Continue embroidering the remaining letters. Press after embroidery to remove hoop burn marks.
  2. Embroider pumpkin on 11th rectangle just as was done with letters. When trimming 10 width to 6”, center pumpkin.

Assembling the Jars

  1. Reduce the width of the strips from 10” to 6”. Begin cut 1” below each letter.
Note: Starch and pressing helps keep the burlap in line and easier to handle.
  1. Apply spray adhesive to bottom 5” of the 6” burlap strip ON THE WRONG SIDE. Cover top inch with cardboard then spray.
  1. Center quart jar on letter, with bottom raw edge just barely above the bottom of the jar.
  1. Wrap burlap around jar. Trim overlap so cut ends butt.
Note: Don’t worry if they don’t meet exactly but avoid overlapping. A strip of ribbon will cover the join.
  1. Gently fringe the top edge to the bottom of the jar threads.
  1. Use a short strip of double-sided tape at the top of the butted edges. Press ends in place. Without spray adhesive on the top 1”, the burlap tends to flop open. Add tape here and to any lose edges.
  1. Cut eleven 5.5” strips of tan grosgrain ribbon. Treat raw ends with fray block.
  2. Prepare to cover the jar lids with burlap. Starch and press the leftover short ends of the 10” strips.
  3. Stitch 3” circles in the hoop. Create a 3” circle by going to the shapes menu. and selecting the single line circle.
  1. Select the single line circle.
  1. Edit the size to 3”. Enlarge in arrow box until the size is 3.00 x 3.00. Save in memory.
  1. Hoop very lightweight stabilizer, almost as thin as tissue paper, then stitch the burlap circle twice. You can fit two circles in a 5x7 frame.
Note: Do not cut out but remove from frame. Re-hoop to stitch 2 more circles on the same scrap. Stitch 11 burlap circles.
  1. Remove embroidered circles from frame. Cut out circle very close to stitching line.
Note: This is most easily done working from the stabilizer side. After cutting, remove stabilizer very gently, starch and press again. Set aside.
  1. Stitch 11 circles from burlap scraps.
  • Starch and press cut out circles. Alternatively, you can trace around the lid and trim to 3” or draw a 3” circle. Work straight stitches twice on that line, then cut just outside the stitches.
  • Remove lids from rings and place on cardboard to protect your work surface. Apply spray adhesive to top of lids a few at a time. Press a burlap circle to each lid.
    1. Cover burlap seam. This is a challenging step. It required many attempts to get a satisfactory result. I’ll share my challenges hopefully to prevent unsuccessful efforts on your part. First, I applied glue to ribbon and to the jar’s burlap seam, then pressed in place.
    • The results were disappointing if not horrid. The glue showed through the ribbon and did not stick very well. Believe me when I say I pressed each length of grosgrain against the burlap for a very long time! Finally, I left it to dry through what was left of the night.
    • Yukkk!!! Hot glue might be one worth a try or use of another glue. My skill set does not include glue applications, though apparently I should study up on this topic. Finally, I resorted removing the grosgrain—that wasn’t pretty!
    • Grosgrain was replaced with another piece of ribbon, nearly the same size and attached with double sided tape. This ribbon had been my first choice but when glue was applied the results were even worse. I moved on to grosgrain because I expected that the glue would not show through, as it is thicker and more densely woven. But the disaster that ensued is evident in Image 29.
    Note: If you come up with a better solution, please leave your suggestion as a comment below, as I plan to make more of these. The double-sided tape is described as permanent. I hope so.

    Finishing the Tops

    1. Wrap the rims with double-sided tape. Cut eleven 12” lengths of 5/8” black grosgrain. Press the grosgrain against the tape. Trim the excess where it meets the first raw edge. Complete each rim in this manner.
    1. Apply a very narrow bead of glue inside the rim. Place a burlap lid in each rim and press firmly to join the burlap to the glue.
    2. Insert one strand of fairy lights in each jar and hang switch at back of jar. Attach rim loosely so as to not cut the fairy light wire.
    Note: Just sitting the rim on the jar and pressing lightly worked best. It is hard to screw the rim down without cutting the wire.
    1. Arrange jars on mantle. A garland of fall leaves at the top makes a lovely arrangement.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you dear readers. I am thankful for each of you.