Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My first wristlet!

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Having a 6x10 hoop has now thrown open the door to in-hoop designs. I know several exist for the 5x7 hoop, but I have done my best to ignore them thus far. But Embroidery Garden released a cute new Owl Wristlet last week that I just had to try. :)
This was made completely in my embroidery machine (with the exception of one small opening I had to whip stitch shut by hand). It has a zipper, and is completely lined with no exposed seams.
 Reen is a genius to figure out how to create the embroidery file to do this, and her directions were flawless!  I'm pleased with my first attempt at these little bags, and see more in my future. Especially since I know Annaliese will want one as soon as she sees it after school. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My "new" machine!

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There were multiple reasons I decided to take the month of August off (travel and back to school primarily) but another major factor was I knew I was getting another hand-me-down embroidery machine, so I had to spend quite a bit of time in my sewing area preparing for it's arrival and then setting it up!
I've been asked several times to show pictures of my sewing studio. I'm not sure a complete tour/reveal will ever happen. :) I do not have a dedicated room for my craft, just a section of our master bedroom, so there is a lot of stuff crammed into a small amount of space. And unfortunately it is usually a mess. I've worked quite a bit this month on reorganizing to make room for the new machine and make everything more user-friendly, but I still have a LONG way to go. Thanks to my husband giving up his table, I do have a nice sturdy surface to have both machines side by side. YAY! I really didn't think I'd be able to have both set up simultaneously. This is very exciting!

While the machine was still set up at my MIL's house, I did a quick one-fabric applique on a shirt to practice using the machine. (Although to be honest, that design was only about 1/2" wider than what I could already do on my Janome). Then I really put the 6x10 hoop to the test by making this shirt for my friend Carla (like the smaller versions I made for her kids):

I used Embroidery Boutique's Double Fun Alphabet (zigzag stitch). I just used the outside part of the letters, did some significant resizing, and adjusted the pull compensation to widen the zigzag. It stitched beautifully and it was so neat to make such a wide design -- perfect for an adult shirt!

We've been home for over 2 weeks, but life has been so crazy (with travel recovery and back to school) that I just got my new-to-me Brother ULT2003D set up this afternoon! I only had a two hour window during my son's nap to play, so I decided to make myself a new key fob, again using the full extend of the 6x10 hoop!
The in-hoop key fobs are from DigiStitches.  I added my name with Embird Alphabet #7. The top one is the key fob I made myself in March, and the bottom is the one I made today! It's amazing what a difference a couple extra inches can make. Now it's big enough to slip around my wrist!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A work in progress...

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Last week I had the opportunity to test some of Lynnie Pinnie's new designs. While her new football set is A-DOR-A-BLE, I knew several of the other testers would jump all over those. :) I instead decided to test some of the Little Faces:
 I had so much fun picking fabrics for hair and skin. I tried to create as diverse a set of faces as possible! I used 5 different skin fabrics, five different hair fabrics, and six different threads for eye color. I also decided to stitch them on my new gingham fabric (purchased from a pre-order from Whimsical Fabrics). Right now these are 9x9" squares... I hope to turn them into a quilted wall hanging... soonish.
The faces come in four sizes. I chose the 4x4 boys and the small 5x7 girls. Their faces are proportional to each other, but since the girls have ponytails, their overall size is bigger.
Boy 1:
Boy 2 with glasses:

Boy 3:
Girl 1 (I love using wood grain fabric for hair!):
Girl 2 with glasses:
Girl 3 (I love this brown swirl fabric, too!):
I'll keep you posted on my progress when it comes to combining them into a wall hanging. I'd love to include the lyrics, "Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world." BUT that is a lot of text to embroider! Not sure... Any suggestions?!?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jump rope anyone?

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I loved to jump rope when I was little. I remember doing "Jump Rope for Heart" events in elementary school. So when I saw this design, I just loved it. Thankfully Annaliese did, too, so we put it on a little sundress for her!
This is the 5x7 size of the Jump Rope Girl Applique from Lynnie Pinnie:
 
This dress had been sitting around for several weeks. We had another design picked out (fabrics selected and everything) but I had been busy filling orders and hadn't gotten to it yet. So glad I waited, this is precious. Annaliese loves it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ready for Preschool!

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Yesterday was Dashiell's first day of preschool!
As I was stitching Annaliese's back-to-school shirt, I received a design to test for 8 Claws and a Paw Embroidery. When I took a peek, it dawned on me that I hadn't given a single thought to poor Dashiell and what he would wear on his first day of preschool! I'm so thankful that this design was a PERFECT solution, and got it done the next day!
The Crayon Trio applique design and the Skinny font (which I used to add his initials) are both from 8 Claws and a Paw. Actually, I think the font is included with the design purchase, bonus!
The best part was when I showed it to him. He immediately hugged it and exclaimed, "You made this for me?!?" I then asked what was on his shirt and he said, "Red, Blue Green! D, V, T! 1, 2, 3! 3 Crayons!" I think he'll do pretty well in preschool. ;)

Like Annaliese, Dashiell had a few school supplies to take with him on his first day, so Ms Martha needed a monogrammed shopping bag, too. :)
I used the Taylor font from Lynnie Pinnie.
 Dashiell will be attending our church's preschool two mornings a week. I will be aiding one of those days, so don't expect my monogramming volume to increase; 2.5 hours of alone time once a week doesn't really amount to too much... but I am looking forward to it! :)

And hey, 8 Claws and a Paw has released a lot of new applique designs recently -- go check them out!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cool pencil bag

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I was a good little mommy and bought all my daughter's school supplies during FL's tax-free weekend. But at orientation the Friday before school we learned there was one item left off the supply list -- a pencil bag to go in a 3-ring binder. Eh, it could be worse. :)
So the Sunday before school started I actually braved Walmart at 12:30pm. Annaliese and I darted in hand-in-hand to get to the school supply aisle and get out. She had picked green (her new favorite color?!?) for all of her supplies and really wanted a green bag. I warned her ahead of time that it may be slim pickin's at this point and she couldn't be choosy. We saw one bag that had robots on it (uh, no) and headed to another aisle. I saw some white bags and figured that would have to do, and then noticed it said, "Color Me In".
I thought, "oh cool, grab a green sharpie and she can make it match. THEN I looked at it up close...
and exclaimed, "Annaliese! You can pick green fabric, I can monogram it and slip it in!!"
That sealed the deal so we grabbed one and headed for the registers. Here's where the real miracle occurred... the very first express lane had no line and we walked right up to check out. :)

Annaliese picked the fabric, and I created the monogram. I used the new Riddles font from 8 Claws and a Paw. I thought this was a good solution to get a very long name to fill the vertical space.
I slid the piece of fabric in between the two layers of clear vinyl:
 And Voila! A monogrammed pencil pouch with no funky hooping. Cool, huh?


Monday, August 22, 2011

Second Grade!!

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Today is Annaliese's first day of Second Grade! Can you believe it?!? Shortly after getting my embroidery machine she headed off to preschool. A couple years later was kindergarten, then first grade... wow! Time flies. Sniff, sniff, I should NOT be looking at all these old posts right now; it's hard to type with misty eyes. Here's my girl, ready for second grade!

Neither Annaliese nor I had a clear vision for what should go on her shirt this year, so we sat down on the couch together with my lap top and browsed designs. We settled on the Pencil Frame from Applique Corner (which I snagged on sale a while back). I swapped out the text that it came with for "Second Grade" using Leon from 8 Claws and a Paw. LOVE this font!
We picked the colors of the pencils to coordinate with the capris we bought for her birthday. We love those capris, but she just doesn't wear her birthday shirt every week, so they needed a new matching top. :)
We had the capris and thankfully I already had a white tee in my stash, so no new expense putting together this outfit! We did however spend money on school supplies... not too horrible though. We decided that Annaliese would deliver her school supplies in a monogrammed shopping bag for her teacher. :)
I used the Taylor font from Lynnie Pinnie. *Hopefully* her teacher won't mind that I didn't capitalize her last name, I just really like this font and it only comes lower case. :)
 And she's off! Annaliese is so ready for school to start. I'm just praying for another great year for my beautiful and intelligent growing girl!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ready for Kindergarten

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Maddy is ready for her first day of kindergarten! Her elementary school's mascot is a bee, and school colors are blue and yellow. This is the first shirt her mom requested:
I used Lynnie Pinnie's Bumble Bee applique design, and added "Maddy is a Busy Bee" with Swirley from 8 Claws and a Paw. Love that font!
The second is a Kindergarten Rocks shirt. I used bee fabric and blue thread so that it's full of school spirit!
The original "Kindergarten ROCKS" design is from Embroidery Boutique. I used the stars and the word Kindergarten, but swapped out the applique word for the zig zag version of EB's Cade Applique Alphabet (with EB's blessing).
 I thought I'd take a moment to give you a little extra insight into my creation process. Often when I'm using a fabric with a motif I want to be sure certain elements are visible withing the applique area. In the case of this bee fabric if I simply laid it down, it's quite possible that no bees would be visible (Like the "K" above). To avoid that I bring the fabric to my computer and lay it over the screen with the design image in the background. I slide it around and rotate it until I find the perfect position for the fabric, then use my water-soluble pen to mark how the fabric should align with the placement stitches. My goal was to get a bee in the wide parts of the R, O and C. I achieved that goal, and it's very close to my preview image!
I used that technique here to get a good color assortment of stars in the 2, here to get a full wand and shoe within the 3, here to be sure the orange dots were not beneath the orange name, here to minimize the number of stems showing, here to get the angle right and put the hot pink stripes in the middle, here to be sure the orange stripe was not under the monogram... etc. You can really use fabric effectively if you take some extra time to place it *just* right. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monogramming for School

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I'm hesitant to show these off because as a rule, I don't monogram back packs and lunch boxes. Generally they are virtually impossible to do on my single-needle machine. But for good friends I'll entertain the idea -- if the item is relatively easy to hoop and not too thick. I don't commit to anything until I personally inspect each item. :)
Nicole found this cute set at a Children's Place Outlet store. I figured I could monogram the back pack and pencil pouch, but immediately said no to the lunch box -- it is very well insulated and I didn't think my machine would handle it well -- not worth the risk. Then I realized I could take it along with me to IL and monogram it on my MIL's 6-needle machine!
 Presley wanted her three-letter monogram on the back pack and pencil case, and name on her lunch box. I used Tinker Toy from 8 Claws and a Paw for both.

I thought I'd share a couple pictures of how I hooped the pencil pouch. Inside out on sticky stabilizer:
Here's a close-up. See how close that zipper is to the needle if I'm not holding it back? This is why you have to hold your breath the whole time!
 (If you are wondering about hooping a back pack, you can see my "tutorial" here.)

I also did a couple of lunch totes for Valerie. She grabbed these on clearance last year. I can't remember the name of material they are made out of, but it's a lot like a can koozie. Not too thick to stitch through and very flexible, so I said yes. :)
I used Swirley from 8 Claws and a Paw for their names.

Here's a pic of embroidery in progress. Sticky stabilizer makes it possible, but again, holding my breath! Can't really tell if it's centered and straight until it's done. Eep!
Ok, I think that does it for school bag monogramming this year. Thankfully Annaliese's backpack from kindergarten still looks fantastic even after 2 years of daily use, so we aren't shopping! YAY!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fabric!!

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Yesterday we returned home from a trip to IL to visit family. As part of our journey back we stopped by Hancock's of Paducah. OH. MY. I felt completely overwhelmed when I walked in. I have never seen so much fabric in one place before! This picture was taken at the end of my visit, so I don't look quite so shell-shocked. Behind me is just a portion of the store, less than half!! (You can click each image for a much bigger view.)
 Lovely inspiring quilts hang through this warehouse-type store:
Along the walls are hundreds of quilt patterns. And look at all those beautiful marbles!! The sheer amount of batiks (not pictured) was breathtaking. (SOMEDAY I'm making a queen-sized Storm at Sea quilt with batiks for myself. This will be after Dashiell graduates from college, I'm sure.)
Here's a funny quilt that hangs near the entrance. I thought about getting a picture of my husband next to it, but the reality is he didn't wait in the store for me. He dropped me off and took the kids to Toys R Us instead. :)
So this store isn't a fancy quilt shop, but it's not exactly a warehouse either. It has business hours and other shoppers were there. However, most of the "shoppers" were employees. They went around the store with printouts of web orders to fill carts with fabric, and headed to the cutting tables to get orders ready. When a bolt reaches remnant stage, they take it and toss it on this pile. It was HUGE! (Oh, and notice the husband sitting on the bench reading the newspaper? If you look carefully you'll actually see three gentlemen sitting back there waiting on their wives.)
The batik remnants were $6.98/yard, but the rest were $5.98 a yard. I could have spent an hour digging through all the tables. I did peruse it for quite a while and found some gems. Love getting fabric for $6/yard instead of $11-12/yard! Here's what I brought home, I thought I did a good job containing myself! It was all remnants except for the Christmas Dots, the pink w/dark pink dots, and the basketball print. I love dots, ginghams and stripes!
Won't this fabric look awesome in basketball appliques?!? It was pricey, but I could resist.
There were two things that helped me not go nuts in Hancock's of Paducah. First, their minimum cut is 1/2 yard. If I could have gotten 1/8 or 1/4 yard cuts, I might have gone a little crazy. But my budget just doesn't allow for $5.49 and up for half-yard purchases. The other thing that helped me tremendously was that I had gone fabric shopping in my MIL's sewing room the day before. :) Look what she shared with me! Fun textures, stripes, and more dots!
Look for these in upcoming projects. Now I should be good and prewash everything before adding it to my stash...

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