Sunday, April 27, 2014

What I've been up to for the last few months...

Seven years ago today my in-laws arrived for a visit with an embroidery machine in hand for me. Who knew that gift would be a life changing thing?! There is no way I could have predicted being where I am today. I've loved the adventure of the last seven years! I've shared my entire journey here, but I've been so busy on a big fun project for the last couple months that I haven't taken time to blog about it.

I love fonts. I love using a variety of fonts! I love it so much I even stitched it! Ha!
If you've read my blog though the years, this love of fonts is no surprise to you. :) You know how ecstatic I was to win a subscription to 8CP way back in 2009, how I worked on font images for the 8CP font CD, how I have tried to use a huge variety of those fonts through the years. If you have interacted with me in embroidery and applique groups, you know I have an unusual visual memory and can recognize digitized fonts pretty well. I get tagged in font questions often, and honestly it bugs me if I don't know the answer right away. Ha! Some have even named me the "Font Queen" which frankly I find kinda silly.

BUT after my last few months, I just might accept that title!

Last August I started working for The Itch 2 Stitch, initially just to help answer emails. We got requests for BX format (whatever that was), and I copy and pasted our standard response, that Cristy would not be adding BX format to her fonts.

I finally decided on my own to do a bit of research. The Embrilliance website asks for bloggers to contact them, so as Stitched by Janay, I did. Surprisingly they responded right away and gave me the tools I needed to explore. By that I mean they gave me Embrilliance Essentials AND AlphaTricks.... BUT I didn't install the software for MONTHS. Just got too busy to take on something new. Can you believe that? Totally kicking myself.

Once I got through the holidays and settled into a new routine for 2014, I decided to look into it again. After I played with AlphaTricks for, oh, 10 minutes?! I was enchanted with what I saw, how easy it was to use, and I asked Cristy if she wanted me to run forward with it. We did further research, and then I worked non-stop creating and testing and prepping for launch of adding the BX files to our fonts. 

There is really no way to describe the sheer giddiness I have felt over all of this. So I wanted to make a BIG deal about our adding the BX files to the fonts. Jolson's has had BX format for about a year. This isn't overwhelmingly new. I remember reading his first newsletter. I don't know if I was skeptical or thought it was too good to be true or what, but I completely ignored it. Me. "Font Queen" Janay. I ignored it. 

I chose to make how-to videos for our I2S customers because I didn't buy into it when Jolson's launched. And I completely regret as someone who does custom embroidery that I didn't pay attention until this year. So I made the videos to help out my fellow embroiderers. And I can't seem to stop! My head is swimming with ideas. It's like I've found a new calling :) 
This is the first video in the playlist. Checkout the awesomeness of being able to TYPE digitized fonts instead of merging letter by letter!

This weekend I posted a big BX FAQ in an applique group I am a part of. I thought I should go ahead and post it on my blog, too! So here you go...

Janay's BX FAQ

BX is not a machine format like PES or JEF.
BX is a software installer file used with embroidery programs made by BriTon Leap (Embrilliance Essentials, Embrilliance AlphaTricks, Designer’s Gallery EmbroideryWorks, etc).
Basically a BX file maps a pre-digitized font to the keyboard so you can type text and save as an embroidery design instead of merging and manually arranging individual letters in your software. Cool, huh?!

About a year ago Embrilliance released a new piece of software called AlphaTricks. You can purchase this as a stand alone program and map any predigitized font you own to the keyboard, then use it's functions to type and quickly edit text designs (including respacing the automatic kerning, curving, resizing, and more). They also created the extension .BX so that digitizers could offer their fonts pre-mapped to AlphaTricks users. A couple of digitizers offered the BX format early on, and since March several more have started updating their fonts to include BX files.

What most people may not realize though is that you can install the Express version of Embrilliance and use digitizers' BX files for free. Yes! FREE!

Download and install the full software package from Embrilliance. (NOT the demo, but the FULL program). It is available for Mac and Windows:

When you launch the program it will ask for serials numbers. If you have not purchased Essentials, AlphaTricks, or any of their other programs, you have nothing to enter. Simply click DONE. It will say you are running in Express Mode, and all you can do is use digitizers' BX files. That's cool, no complaints because it is FREE!

Then you will need to install the BX files provided by the digitizer. Please note that you cannot install BX files while they are sitting in a zip file. You must extract the files first, then you can install by either double-clicking a BX file (which will install and and launch the program) or drag and drop them into the workspace of Embrilliance (can select multiple bx files to install at once). If you don't know how to extract a zip, in Windows you should be able to right click and select "Extract All". Alternatively, you could drag the BX files out of the zip to your desktop, then drag them into Embrilliance.

IF you want to resize text or merge text with an applique design, you won't be able to do that solely with the free Embrilliance Express version. You will need to do one of two things:
--Purchase Essentials and do it all in one program
--Type and save your name in Express. Then using the editing software you already own, open your applique and merge in the name file and keep editing there. It will likely be faster than merging individual letter files!

Each digitizer will include directions for using the BX files, most likely as a pdf in the zip with your font.

Want to see it in action? These videos walk you through installing and using BX files. Everything shown in videos 1-7 can be done with the FREE version. (I used I2S fonts, but the same steps apply for any digitizers' BX files.)

Have fun NOT merging!!! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bunny shirt perfect for a boy

Dashiell requested a bunny with carrot shirt. He had a VERY particular vision, and none of my bunny holding carrots designs were quite what he wanted. And we were about to settle on one (that I didn't own yet, of course) but then I remembered this design... the bunny is not holding the carrot but instead riding on it! He thought it was awesome and I got to work:
The bunny on carrot skateboard is from Lynnie Pinnie. So adorable!
I was out of town with my girl for Easter weekend, so I missed Dashiell's Easter egg hunt and party at preschool... no pictures! But here he is posing at home:
and pretending to be on a skateboard:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Annaliese is TEN!

I feel like I say this with shock and dismay every year, but today is my daughter's birthday and she's 10. TEN! Double digits! How is that even possible?!
Thankfully she still loves to wear applique shirts so I got to make something special for her yet again:
She requested this herself, a cake plate where the pedestal is a 10. Clever idea, right? And not only does she still like applique shirts, she specifically wanted this puff sleeves and ruffle bottom shirt :)
I started with I2S's Cake on Stand, but I deleted out the pedestal and inserted the numbers from One Thing. Annaliese picked the fabrics and threads herself! Thankfully they were EXACTLY what I had envisioned using, too. Yay! Easy Peasy project.
I love my girl, she makes parenthood a delight!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Castle Frame fit for a little Princess!

So I'm not taking orders. I'm not. But sometimes if you ask at the very right minute... I might say yes. Ha! If it's a "two birds with one stone" kinda situation.
A friend asked if I had time to make a birthday shirt for her sweet little girl. We were chatting on fb at the exact moment I was updating the LP testing database for new designs.
I told my friend that I was sorry, but I didn't have time.
Then a moment later said, "hold up, princess themed??"
I gave her one option, this sweet Swirly Split Castle Applique that I had the opportunity to test for LP. She loved it, and I got it done the next day!

Isn't this a great design?! One fabric, the beauty is in all the embroidery. I added Kendal and the 3 with LP's Strawberry Limeade.
And guess what?! If you do custom embroidery yourself, you can go grab it for free from LP's site for a limited time. HURRY!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Custom gift bags

In keeping with Dashiell's insistance to buy toys to take as gifts to birthday parties, we have compromised by me making custom bags to wrap said toys in. :)
For Audrey, I actually put a pocket on a pink tote bag. I stitched the I2S TuTu Cute Bunny design on fabric first, and then made it into a pocket on the front of the bag:
Rex and Anthony got Spider-man themed monogram tote bags like Owen and Joey did! I used 8CP's Web applique and Spidey fonts. I completely forgot to take a picture of Rex's until we were at the park, so all I have is a phone pic:
And I didn't realize how bad my pic of Anthony's was until it was too late! But I wanted to show it off anyway, I took a gamble and resized the Spidey font to 50% to get his name on there. Anthony is significantly longer than Rex in this font, ha! But it worked!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Let's Play Ball!

I don't have an athletic bone in my body, but Dashiell sure does! That sports gene from my dad jumped right over me and into him. This year he has started Tee Ball! I don't have a whole lot of interest in sports, so I'm making up for it in cute clothing :) Yesterday was his first game, and Annaliese and I were sporting new shirts for the occasion.
As you can see, his team colors are maroon and gray, so I went with a heather gray shirts, used white sports vinyl for the applique, and maroon and dark gray threads.
My shirt uses a relatively new Tee Ball Mom design from Katelyn's Kreative Stitches. I added Dashiell's number with her Corinthia Script (it includes numbers and punctuation!) I really like how it turned out!
For Annaliese's shirt I used the Baseball Bats Heart design from the March 2014 set of The Applique Club. I added the text with I2S Hambone. I think it looks great with the wood grain fabric and vinyl!
Here she is, watching intently :)





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