Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nameflake Ornaments 2011 (plus tutorial!)

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I acknowledge that it is January 31, so you probably aren't thinking about Christmas ornaments anymore. But it is still winter, and surely it's snowing somewhere in the US, right? So this post is not completely out of season... In December I made a handful of nameflake ornaments using a new style!
Back in May I got some Accuquilt GO! rag dies for my birthday and had been anxious to use them, particularly the circle rag die. I wanted to experiment with it to see if I could speed up the process of making the completed ornament. All my past nameflake ornaments have been like this one with satin stitches around the outside edge.
(This ornament was for Riley, the newest edition to the Connelly family, and she needed an ornament like everyone else!)
I like the look, but frankly it's time consuming to mass produce these -- carefully trimming out the circles on top and bottom, then waiting for the satin stitches to run, then carefully removing the stabilizer... I wanted a quicker method. And thankfully the rag die worked out to be the perfect solution!

I laid a piece of my sparkly white fabric on top of a layer of white flannel and cut out the rag circle. (I did this twice for each ornament.) Then I went to my embroidery machine. I ran a placement stitch the size of circle (4.75" wide), and then tacked down a ribbon hanger.
 Then I laid down the fabric/flannel on top, and ran the inside tackdown circle you see stitched here on the stabilizer (3.75" wide, which is just inside all of the slits). Next I stitched the nameflake. Then I removed the hoop from the machine, laid the other fabric/flannel circle on the back of the hoop, and finally stitched another pass at the inside circle to tack it all together. Just remove stabilizer and then I'm done!! SO MUCH FASTER! And I really like the raggy look. Here a close-ups of the ornaments I made for four special couples at church that are true servant leaders:

 In past years when I've shared pictures of my nameflake ornaments (you can see my gallery on Facebook) I got questions asking how to make them. I promised a tutorial on an Embird yahoo group, and finally delivered it this fall. The free tutorial is in pdf form, and outlines the process with lots of images for creating a nameflake in Embird. It doesn't not require Studio or Font Engine, although I do highly recommend using Alphabet #38 for the project. If you would like to have a copy of the tutorial, all you need to do is join the Embird101 yahoo group. Once accepted, you can find the pdf in Files -> Mini Lessons. If you use Embird, this group is a phenomenal resource. The list mom Peggy of Pegboard Crafts is an expert who graciously answers questions from installation to digitizing details. You will not be disappointed, and the group can offer more Embird support/troubleshooting than I am able to give. :) Enjoy!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Miscellaneous December Monogramming

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Random project share time... miscellaneous monogramming from December!
Blankets for Melissa to give to her sons and daughter-in-law. These were super soft and I was tempted to "accidentally" put my name on one!
I used Embird alphabet #7:
The Williams family grew by two this year when their adoption was finalized, so the younger boys needed stockings! This is a terrible picture, they looked so much prettier in person!
Again, I used Embird alphabet #7:
Susan asked me to monogram fleece which she then constructed into these cool pillows:
I used Embird alphabet #38 for these:

Urenda ordered this backpack for a little friend:
The Ballet Embroidery Font is from 8 Claws and a Paw:
And finally, a tie tee shirt. This is actually a men's shirt! I took GG Designs Neck Tie design (the 7" file), enlarged it to fill my 6x10 hoop, reduced the pull compensation so the satin stitches weren't huge, and stitched away! My original intention was to deliver this shirt as a gag gift in front of a whole group of people, but circumstances prevented that. The recipient love it anyway, and that's all that matters. :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Welcoming Baby Sawyer

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I love making baby gifts. I especially love giving them to an expectant mom who genuinely appreciates what I do. Sewing for friends is such a joy! But the reality is I do not have enough time to make everything that I want to give. So it's an added blessing when mutual friends step in and place orders. :)
Baby Sawyer's arrival will make Audrey a big sister, so my gift to Tracy was sibling shirts. I asked if she had a vision or wanted to be surprised. She sent me links to a couple things she liked and I created my own version:
I have been dying to use these Riley Blake plaids for boy/girl sibling designs and jumped on the opportunity to do it now. I used Embroidery Boutique's Fun Applique Alphabet (capital A and lower case s), and added the text with Embird Alphabet #14.
 Using the same fabric, I made this burp cloth (from Cherri and Cindy).  I had already created the monogram for another Sawyer so no design work needed! It's not often that I get to reuse something. (I used the applique S from EB's Fun Applique Alphabet, and the Whoa Nelly font from 8 Claws and a Paw for "Sawyer".)
Melissa requested a burp cloth with his 3-letter monogram and a bib with his name. I used the Circle Monogram Set 3 from Embroidery Arts:
And Pea Pod from 8 Claws and a Paw:
 Michelle is always coming up with clever ideas! Daddy Raymond owns his own lawn care company called "Grass Monkeys" and she wanted a burp cloth to reflect that. She created this idea herself -- she found the Lucky Monkey design on Lynnie Pinnie's site and suggested the change in text/font. It turned out so cute!!
And finally, something special for Sawyer's room from Cherri and Cindy. Cherri and I were brainstorming ideas when we thought to check out Tracy's Pinterest board, knowing she had pinned some name wall art and pennants. I showed Cherri the Frayed Block Letters from Hang To Dry, and that sealed the deal. :) Of course we didn't decided this until two days before the shower AND we weren't 100% sure of her color scheme for the nursery, so I created a gift certificate and sample letter for her to unwrap:
Then we went fabric shopping together to find exactly what she wanted. She decided to alternate two fabrics -- the thought of picking out six coordinating fabrics was too overwhelming. ;) Here's the final banner (hanging in my bedroom... I will update with better nursery pictures later).
And a close up of a couple letters:
Cute, right?!?! Names, phrases, any color scheme... the possibilities are ENDLESS! Be on the look out for more of these in the near future. :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Nathan!

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Dashiell's buddy Nathan had his third birthday party today -- a Rootin' Tootin' party out at a corral! I had the pleasure of making the birthday boy a special shirt to wear:
Pardon his squinty face -- in order to get a good shot of his shirt with my iPhone, he had to face the sun. I should have grabbed his cowboy hat! :) Oh, and while I'm at it, let me add that this was taken at the END of the party. After horse riding, hay riding and cake eating. Look at how clean that shirt is!! I'm totally impressed. :)

About the design...
Even though I own a ton of Planet Applique's specialty fonts, I do not own the one with the cowboy hat. So I just made up my own, and I'm thrilled with the results. I combined my three favorite things:
1. GG Design's Chubby Wubby Numbers
2. Applique designs from Lynnie Pinnie -- both the cowboy hat and boots are hers. They are designed to use two fabrics but for simplicity I just used one, a neat suede-like material.
3. Fonts from 8 Claws and a Paw -- this one is Hoedown.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thank Heaven for little girls

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Friends of mine are planning to adopt a baby girl, so exciting! They were given a glider from a family member that had... well, let's just say the tapestry cushions didn't really match anything. :) My friend asked if I could recover them. I have never done anything like that, so I said as long as she had really low expectations I could give it a shot. :) She bought this lovely fabric and I got to work:
(Obviously these are her cushions sitting in my glider for the purposes of photography. I didn't want to deliver them at 11pm last night and demand to take pictures. :)
Frankly, I'm pretty pleased! I traced the cushions to create a pattern, added about 1.5" all the way around to allow for the thickness and stitched them up. The seersucker nature of the material really helps hide imperfections. :)
I monogrammed the back cushion with their last initial, using the Love Lace font from 8 Claws and a Paw. It's LOVELY! I can't believe that I'm just now using this font for the first time! Although I suppose it's to be expected with over 575 font options...
As I worked on this project, I also received this adorable embroidery design to test for Lynnie Pinnie. I picked fabric/thread colors to match the cushion material and used scraps to make a matching decorative pillow:
I used the largest size of the "Thank Heaven for little girls" design. There is also a boy version and a gender-neutral version. They are all so cute!
Now, please pray for my friends -- for a safe delivery, a healthy baby girl, and that the adoption process goes smoothly!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Really Cool Applique Script!

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A few days before Christmas a picture popped up in my Facebook feed that really intrigued me. I quickly purchased the Applique Script Alphabet once Hang To Dry Applique released it, and finally today I got around to using it!!
Cool, right? And how about that adorable model?? ;)

This alphabet is really neat. The letters are individually digitized with gaps so that when you merge them together in software it creates the appearance of a continuous stitch. Since it's a simple running stitch for placement and a triple bean stitch for tackdown, it can be resized. Dashiell has such a long name--I had to shrink it to 77% to get it to fit on his shirt, and it stitched just fine!
At the machine, this goes very fast. Run the placement stitch, lay down the fabric, then stitch the final color. All the trimming is done at the end, so I took the shirt off the hoop and trimmed it out while watching a movie with my daughter. Here's what it looks like right out of the hoop:
Lots of little jumps to trim, but when they are gone, it looks like one big continuous stitch. At first I thought about just trimming around the outside like this:
But I felt like the details needed to be trimmed more. The openings inside the letters are small (especially since I reduced it in size) so some of them are just tiny slits. But it makes it look more legible.
 And confessions of a cheap mom... I finally joined Applique Forum (which I'm really enjoying!) to get a coupon code for the design set, this shirt was a free hand-me-down, and I used a scrap of knit left over from making Dashiell's birthday shirt.
 I really like the look of this and I'm anxious to play with it more!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Matching Monogrammed Shirts for girl and doll :)

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Annaliese attended a birthday party yesterday so I whipped up a little gift. Presley received an American Girl doll for her birthday, and we took matching monogram shirts!
I used Embroidery Boutique's Vintage Applique Alphabet since it comes in multiple sizes. The smallest size is perfect for a doll shirt! I chose some of my Riley Blake fabrics that I won from Whimsical Fabrics. I thought it worked really well using the large motif print on Presley's and the small motif print on Marisa Boa's shirt. (Cute name, right?! :)
I got the doll shirt at Michael's. Annaliese really wanted me to cut off the sleeves so the shirts would really match, but I didn't want to mess with hemming something so tiny. Especially since I finished it only 20 minutes before we needed to leave. Ha! Hopefully Presley won't mind. If she does, her momma can just chop those sleeves off. :)

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