I am doing something a little different with this post. Yesterday I was working on a cap order and I filmed part of my day in real time. The video link is at the bottom of this page.. My goal with this article is to share what it is like to work in a production atmosphere. When I first began doing embroidery, it was just a hobby. I loved the process of sitting and watching the designs run. It was a relaxing way to forget about my stressful corporate job. As I did it more and more, I gradually wondered if it might someday be a new way to work. So I embarked on learning everything I could and investing in the best equipment for my budget.
Embroidery is catching and what I mean by that is once people know you have a machine, they will usually ask you to make something for them. Sometimes it will be friends and family and other times it will be customers or strangers. I did a lot of gifts for people when I first started learning. I still do give things that I am trying out or to drum up business for new clients. A great way to promote is to add something extra in an order so people can see what you are capable of.
I also am a person that learns more by watching than by reading. I want to know the very worst so I can make my decisions. So I thought showing a "Real View" into my studio while I was working might help someone else. This is a shot of my "craft room". It is vastly different than my studio from several years ago. You can check that post out here. Now my space is real and it gets messy but I am doing something I love in it. I like looking at other blogs from people showing everything being color coordinated or extremely neat in their spaces. Then I look at mine and realize it is almost impossible to keep a working Textile environment spotless.
Also, this shows that when you are actually taking and fulfilling orders, you are going to have boxes and plastic lying around as you work. If this shot bothers you, working with textiles might not be for you. One of the most important things I have learned while doing embroidery for profit is that it is physical work. In my life I have had both kinds of jobs. I have worked in the service industry where I stood for the whole day and I have also had a desk job. In both worlds there are pros and cons. The embroidery industry has both. I do spend some of my day at my computer digitizing designs. Then I spend part of my day moving around, bending over and standing. The biggest difference for me is at the end of all of it, I have a tangible product that I can hold in my hand. If you are someone that needs to "see" proof of your efforts, then this might be good for your soul. My desk job was hard for me because it always started over each day with the same functions and I could never actually touch what I helped produce. You might feel differently and decide your career now works for you and embroidery needs to stay a hobby.
The final thing I wanted to show you is that this is "work". There is planning, time and money involved in this. It can also get monotonous and overwhelming doing large orders if you let it. If you are a person that likes to take small bites out of a project and you can divvy your time out or multitask, then you might love doing embroidery for profit. See what I said there? For Profit. When your customers say they think your rates are high or they can get it done somewhere else cheaper, take a step back and think before you drop that price. Watch my video below and see that I am doing an order for 100 caps. I am using one head or one machine. I have my assembly line set up as optimally as I can. The only way I could increase my production is to either add a second hoop to immediately replace each cap as it is sewn. Or I could add a second machine. I ran this batch for two working days and I was tired at the end of each work period. I felt it in my back, arms and legs. The design has just under 5000 stitches and I averaged five caps per hour. This post isn't to scare you away from embroidery on caps or other items as a business. I did this blog and video to hopefully help someone out there make that decision to start doing embroidery as a new business or to ultimately decide it is not for them. I see a lot of commercial machines for sale in the trade magazines. Some are because businesses are moving up to a new machine but others are because people spent their money on them but found out as a business it was not for them. When I was searching, I had a hard time getting honest answers and opinions from people in the industry and it shouldn't be that way. There is always enough business to go around if you look for it.
So here are my caps, beautifully finished and wrapped securely in plastic. I still get happy thinking that when these go out, someone will be walking around this planet wearing my design. Isn't that amazing? To find your spark or that "thing" that gets you excited every day is our true purpose. It doesn't mean that it still won't be "work", but that is OK. If it feeds you and keeps you coming back, do it until it is time to move on to the next "thing". Remember to check out my video below. It is not fancy and in fact may be quite boring to you but it is honest. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
My latest Embroidery Design is a lot of fun to stitch out. I really like projects that are fast and that use up smaller pieces of materials or remnants. If you have fat quarters that you want to use up from seasonal times of year, this would be a great service project or stocking stuffer.
The entire design completes in one hooping. It also includes a ladies design with flowers and a men's design with more geometrical stitching.
You can either use cotton fabric and batting or fleece as long as it is not too thick. I also used multicolored or "Variegated" thread. It really makes the finished cases unique and simplifies the design so you don't have to change the thread out.
The Slim Eyeglass case finishes to 2 x 6 inches and uses a 5x7 Hoop
The Regular Case Finishes to 3 x 6 inches and uses a 6x10 Hoop
Here are both the Men's and Ladies's designs completed with Fleece fabric. Don't forget the kids also! They wear glasses and sunglasses. The Slim design would work great for those. If you have some leftover pieces of fabric, batting or fleece in your stash, these sew up quickly. You will just need your hoop, some wash away stabilizer and painters or masking tape.
When you download the size of your choice, also included is a full color design sheet showing all of the stops and an extra set of color instructions with step by step pictures that show fabric sizes and completion of the case. There is a neat little "trick" in the instructions that allows this to be sewn in ONE Hooping. Now that I have your interest, hop over to my store for the 5x7 design or the 6x10 design
I have been enjoying digitizing and testing these designs out. So much in fact that I need to make a trip to my local nursing home to drop off several of these cases. There is probably a need in your area also. Holidays are fast approaching. There is a quick You tube video showing the process for making these Eyeglass cases below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
My husband reminded me yesterday about a very simple project I did for him. I didn't realize how much he liked this hanging towel until he mentioned it to me. I have made several hanging towel versions for him and each one hangs a different way because he uses them in different places. This particular one is for his boat rails.
This version is shorter when it hangs up but it is also much more substantial than one that is clipped on from the corner. He says that while fishing, it stays on his rail very well and the folds make it thicker for easy wiping.
All you need is a hand towel that is longer than it is wide and some leftover Velcro. Here we have a piece about four inches long.
I usually fold the towel into the middle and place the Velcro a distance apart for the area he will be hanging it from. So make sure you measure before sewing just to be sure it will fit.
I use a matching bobbin because you will be sewing from the back and that thread will be seen on the front of the towel. The pile will help hide it but you want to match it as best as you can.
Also, lengthen your machine stitches a bit. I used a 3.5 mm length because my towel and Velcro were thick. You can see that the stitching will sew the towel together. This helps it stay very neat while hanging and the folded areas make it quite sturdy.
Here it is hanging on a Day Cooler. Can you see yourself using a towel like this for picnics, fishing and camping trips or those ball games? I think a golfer and motorcycle enthusiast would love them also. I have a short video below showing all of the steps so that you can make your own Easy Athletic Hanging Towel. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Here we go into the end of summer. Are you a little sad to see it coming to a close or are you really excited for Fall? I am still enjoying the beautiful sunshine and all of the outdoor activities I can and I hope you are also. To keep you in the lazy days state of mind, we are running a sale on several of our summer season designs. Jump over to our Sale page and check them out. You still have time to stitch some awesome creations on bags, kitchen items, pillows or just about anything. I bet there is still at least one summer party left in your future to show off your handiwork! This sale will run through the end of August to give you time to grab them up. Don't forget to download our free designs too! I hope you have had a great summer, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
I have really been enjoying my summer and I hope you have too. I took a quick trip over to Savannah, Georgia and Tybee Island a few days ago. If you like history, beautiful old homes and mossy trees you won't be disappointed with that area. Of course, I am always inspired by everything around me and the Tropical theme is prevalent along the coast. So here is my latest design. I call it "Dizzy" Flamingo because of the stitch pattern in the bird. If you look at it too long you might get a little swoozy! It really is pretty and the light makes the thread shimmer.
Here is the digital view so you can get a glimpse of that pattern. The foliage really completes the design and I think it just might get you in that 5 o'clock somewhere state of mind!
This would be beautiful on table linens or how about an apron? I can see so many possibilities for someone that lives on the coast or maybe loves island living. Maybe it will inspire you to take that last beach trip before the seasons change? Check it out here in my store. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
What do a Desert Island, Sharkweek and going to work have in common? Probably not alot unless you hang out with me. This is that time of year when the TV programs center around sharks and I am just a little bit afraid of them. So much that I will usually avoid beaches. So I thought what might be worse than being surrounded by sharks? I know there are lots of things, but funny ones? Work immediately popped into my head. This is how my brain computes. Isn't that a crazy way to get inspired to create embroidery? My latest design is just a little bit unorthodox
Have you ever had "that" job? The one that sucks your energy and crushes your soul? Is being on a deserted island surrounded by Sharks better than your daily grind? Or maybe work in general just gets you down? Stitch this design and let the world know about it.
The sky includes two beautiful blended colors that could either be a sunrise or sunset. The water is a motif design filled with those waiting sharks. Even though the little man is alone, it still might be better than work? This would be too funny sitting on your desk or maybe pin it up at the water cooler? Give all of your co workers something to smile about. Visit our store here. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you create. Someone (maybe that sad co worker ) will appreciate your hard work!
I love all kinds of embroidery, but designs that make you smile really get me. Embroidery is great because if you have a medium that will hold up to the stitching, you can embellish it and carry your story with you. To me, that is what embroidery is; your story. If you think about it, you can wear it or bring your "embroidery" mood with you and speak volumes without ever saying a thing! It might even help break the ice in a nerve wracking situation like a first date or job interview. When I digitized this design, I wanted something that would be "saucy". I can imagine this going on a bag or jacket and giving someone a giggle. Another fun place would be on a baby bib. Now wouldn't that be the talk of your event! Don't you just love the sunglasses on that cactus? He is dapper... This is also an applique design. The cactus and the pot are both material so you can change it up with different colors depending on your application. Look for the design in my store. Two sizes are available - 4x4 here and a 5x7 here. I am really busy working on some great designs to bring to you. Check back often to see what is new. I digitize every day and test out designs to make sure they run optimally. Don't forget to look for the free designs also. Download and give them a try. I am enchanted with embroidery and am so lucky to be able to do it on a regular basis. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work AND maybe get a smile from it.
Lining up Multiple Embroidery Designs for a project can be frustrating. When I first began doing machine embroidery, I wasn't sure how to accomplish it and my designs didn't always come out the way I planned. Now I still have boo boos; but if I follow these tips, I seem to have better results.
The first thing I do is print my designs at a one to one scale. If you are using embroidery Software, you should be able to print directly from your designs. All of our designs include a Design sheet which should print the size of the completed stitch out. There will be grid lines at the middle to help you line everything up. Here you can see we used some tape to put the designs together.
I always press my fabric. Sometimes I will also starch it depending on what type I am using and the design. For this demonstration I picked one of the hardest types to show you the process. This is T Shirt Knit material. It is stretchy and rolls quite a bit.
Instead of trying to lay my stabilizer down over the hoop and then the fabric, I sprayed some adhesive right on the stabilizer. Then I smoothed the fabric directly to it. This makes it more like one piece and will be much easier to get in the hoop. It also keeps the knit from stretching out.
I use rulers and chalk markers to find the vertical placement middle
Then I do the same for the horizontal.
You can see here that the printed designs have lines through the middle that you can carry out to the edges. This makes it easy to know exactly where you want to put the hoop.
Once you have your lines drawn, you can use the hoop itself to make sure you have the fabric straight.
I usually start stitching my designs in the middle position and then move to each side. You can see here that everything lined up exactly where I wanted it to by using those grid lines.
I finished up my designs by making a standard pillowcase. If you take your time, you should have no trouble lining everything up. As you can see, even this very stretchy knit fabric came out really nice. I have a Youtube video you can watch below showing more detail. If you are interested in the designs, you can check them out on our patriotic store area here. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
You can tell where my latest design inspiration came from. Mermaids are very popular right now and have been for several years. I thought about that recently and remembered I loved mermaids when I was a little girl. I even have a doll from the early 1980's so they must have been popular back then also. I absolutely loved playing with this doll because she had beautiful long hair that I could brush. She was also safe to go into the water so she took A LOT of baths.
She does show some wear but I think she is in pretty good shape for her age!
Here is her inspired design stitched out in a 5x7 size. It has open stitches with beautiful motif fills and Script fonts. I think it would be perfect for pillows or even pillow cases! A bag for that mermaid lover could be stitched up quickly also. I can envision items for slumber parties being made right now!
I have it available in 4x4 here and 5x7 here in my store. Look how cute she looks next to her designs. Seeing that little mermaid brings back so many fond memories. If you know someone who goes crazy for all things mermaids,
I think they will fall in love with this design! I hope your summer is going well and you share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
I attended the 2019 Applique Getaway in Dallas Texas last weekend. I took several pictures along my trip and thought I would share some of them so you can see my route and decide if you may want to attend next year. Dallas is a LONG drive from my home state of Alabama so I divided the trip into several days to break it up. We left early Thursday morning with plans to stop in Texas for an overnight stay.
I had to include this rest stop in Mississippi. If you travel much, you might be hesitant to stop at a rest area. As you can see from the pictures, this one is really beautiful. I love the brick floors and all of the antique furnishings. I have been here during the holidays and they decorate it really well. This would be the very first rest stop as you cross over the state line on I-20. They even have free coffee to perk you up.
So back on the road toward Louisiana and this is the rest stop right past the border from Mississippi on I-20. This is another good place to stop as they have free coffee and it is very busy so I felt safe. We wound our way across the state and encountered some construction right at the Texas line. I don't have pictures of that stop because it was kind of hairy with a couple of detours. We were getting tired also as we had been driving about 9 hours.
We made our first night stop Thursday in Lindale Texas. This is a small town right off I-20. It is close to Tyler and if you are ever going to Canton Trade Days which is held once a month, this is a good place to stay. The La Quinta hotel is clean and quiet with a free breakfast. There is a WalMart directly across the highway in case you forgot anything. The best reason to stay here is.... POSADOS MEXICAN RESTAURANT. All I can say is I would drive another 9-10 hours today to eat their food. We literally inhaled our dinner. It is located within walking distance from the hotel.
Now I will tell you that I do not like to worry about getting caught in gridlock. I know you probably don't either and Dallas is kind of a gamble. You never know what construction will be going on or if an accident will totally shut down the roads. The Event was held in Irving Texas which is actually on the Northwest side of Dallas close to the Airport. Here is a map of my route avoiding driving through Downtown Dallas. We left Lindale Friday morning and scooted north toward McKinney. Then we went south on the toll road and that took us right to the Sheraton DFW hotel. The tolls are mailed to you by the state from photos of your license plate so you don't even have to worry about exact change. Just get on the road and drive. You will get a bill later. On Google maps this route was supposed to add about 20 minutes to our trip, but it was worth it. Nice two lane roads, plenty of places to stop, beautiful scenery and 75 miles per hour. Gotta love Texas!
We drove casually and arrived Friday afternoon. The event was hosted at the Sheraton DFW hotel. It is located adjacent to the airport. Check in time was at three o clock. We tried to get in earlier but it is very busy and our room wasn't ready. It is a nice hotel but I will tell you that we brought a cooler and snacks. There is no refrigerator or microwave in the room. We did have a coffee pot but if you don't have access to a car you will have to rely on the hotel restaurant. It was pricey and the food although good was limited. We always travel with drinks on ice and snacks to save money so that worked out well for us. We were able to get our event tickets easily and they had everything posted on large signs so you knew where to go. I opted for the VIP pass which included extra classes the first evening, a shopping event and 80's party the first night as well as lunches for Saturday and Sunday.The event was well worth the drive for me. I learned some new techniques, got to do some shopping and met some new friends. If I talked to you at the event, I hope you had fun also. By the time it was over Sunday afternoon, we were ready to start back home. So we drove back to Lindale, stayed at the LaQuinta one more night and yes we ate at Posados again. Not sure when I will get back to that part of the country!
We dipped down into Louisiana to Natchitoches on our ride back and ate at Lasyone's. This is the home of the original Louisiana Meat Pie. If you have never had one, do yourself a favor and stop in. We had lunch there on Monday, went visit some friends Monday night and then had breakfast on Tuesday. We also brought back some meat pies in our cooler. Trust me, just go ahead and stop by the store on your way, get some fresh ice. We also brought back some Zwolle Tamales which are hard to come by in Alabama.
We drove a lot of miles, saw some beautiful country and ate really well on our trip. The event was well put together and worth the drive. I had time to see new things and those creative juices have really been flowing since I got back home. I am hard at work in my studio on new embroidery designs like my new Shark Risk in the Hoop Sign. You can see it in my store here.
I hope you have enjoyed coming along with me, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
The fourth of July is quickly approaching and in honor of that day, we have digitized a new design that is available in our store. We love all things patriotic and have several designs with that American spirit in mind! Check out all of them here.
This 5 x 7 design features red, white and blue thread, stars, fireworks and beautiful text. This would be a great design to stitch on a bag. Another craft idea would be to sew it on an outdoor pillow for your front porch. As a Thank you to our customers, we are running a sale on it through the month of July! We want to thank you for shopping our designs, visiting our blog and watching our You tube videos. Isn't it wonderful to have the freedom to do all of those things? Everyone have a wonderful Fourth of July and visit our store here to get the design. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Happy Father's Day! In honor of all of those wonderful dads out there we have digitized a fast and easy design that you can stitch out. The best part? It is completely free. Just visit our store here, add it to your cart and check out. If you have never done puffy foam, this is a great design to practice with.
My dad was the smartest man I knew and the "original nerd". He wore pocket protectors before they were even a thing. My brother's teenage friends used to visit our house and I naively thought they were coming to see me, but they were really coming to see my dad and his Commodore 64 computer because he was the first one among all of our friends that owned a home computer and actually knew how to program it. My dad used slide rulers everyday to do calculations and was forever learning. His field was communications and when our family needed extra money, he would climb towers to change out the light bulbs. They paid him by the foot. I am not talking about little towers. No these were on oil derricks out in the gulf of mexico that swayed. He did this all while hauling the heavy bulbs and equipment. He was a Vietnam Navy veteran that served two tours. When he came home he served in the Army National Guard also. There were so many other things he bravely did and sacrificed to take care of us.
Here he is on the right in the blue shirt with my husband. Can you tell they are panning for gold? He was a great lover of the outdoors, camping and hiking. Some of my best memories include him. I think of him often and miss him every day as he passed away last October. I didn't get to say goodbye and that is one of my biggest regrets. If you still have your dad in your life, don't waste any time. Visit with him. Talk about the old days or just sit together.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
When I purchased my multi needle machine I had visions of easily sewing on caps. The reality of making that happen took me a little time. I did have a cap hoop and frame that I added to my machine package but it was difficult for me to use it. Once it was mounted to a stable table top, I had to almost kneel down while using all of my body weight to hold the cap taut. Since I was below the frame, I couldn't see if it was lined up correctly. At the same time I was trying to maneuver the frame to a closed position to lock in the cap. If all of this worked out, I estimate 95% of the time, I had to re hoop because the cap was twisted or did not line up properly in the hoop. Then the tension on the cap usually loosened and my registration was off. This made me leery to even try to sew caps because each time, my stitch outs were a failure and I was wasting money on caps.
If you are like me, you first get frustrated, blame the machine, blame yourself etc... Once I got over feeling sorry for myself, I spent a lot of time researching and found the Hoop tech brand. They have some wonderful videos but I was not fully convinced until I went to a sewing convention and stopped by their booth. I got brave, grabbed about six or seven different caps and went to town testing each one out on the hoop. I can't stress this enough. Don't be shy. There is nothing worse than buying something you don't try and then it becomes a very expensive paperweight because you don't like it or can't remember how to use it. Trust me, if you have tried hooping caps on conventional hoops, you will know immediately if you like this product.
The price tag of the hoop/frame scared me a little bit. I am not going to post what I paid for it because you can find that information online, but it will give you a momentary pause. I can say that if you are considering doing cap embroidery, you will definitely say it was a worthy purchase once you have practiced a little bit. The T bar lever arm is what makes this frame different. It hooks into the back of the cap and uses downward force. Remember pulleys and levers in grade school science class? It will come back to you once you see this in action. All of this happens with you standing fully upright so you can actually see what is going on with the cap. I would advise you to buy several different types of caps and play with them because each one will react a little differently in the hoop. The way the front of the cap angles down to the bill, the way the sweatband is sewn in, structured or unstructured all determine how easy it will be to place your embroidery design. I have even seen different results in a batch of caps from the same manufacturer because the materials were thicker or thinner. So some playtime on your machine will help you feel much more confident. A great place to pass on your practice stitches is your local nursing home, homeless shelter or give them to some other local charity. A good cap is always welcome.
I don't keep my frame up all of the time due to space issues, but I do have a temporary mounting system that allows me to set it up and take it down quickly. Here it is in my studio.
Here is the frame on my 12 needle Happy embroidery machine. When you purchase a Hoop tech, be sure to tell them the exact model of your machine so they can get you the correct mounting arm. If you are going to a show, maybe write it down or take a picture of your machine info so they can help you get squared away. Just to let you know, I am not affiliated with Hoop tech in any way. I just really love this product and think it is one of the best investments I have made besides my embroidery machines. If you want to see how to hoop a cap I have a video you can watch below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
We have a new design that not only uses puffy foam on the letters, but it also has 3 D stitching on the golf player. Foam is a great way to make your embroidery stand up and away from the item you are stitching on. It does need to be be specially digitized for the foam to be totally encapsulated.
For this design we used craft foam that was as close to the thread color we could find. The piece was cut 2 by 3 inches.
We used a plain unstructured cap to sew the design on. It could also be stitched on many other items also.
Here is the foam being held onto the cap with masking tape while the letters stitch. The golf figure sews out first and then a short placement stitch allows the machine to stop so you can get that foam in place. We are using our multi needle embroidery machine and cap frame but a regular 4x4 frame and flatbed machine can be used also.
If there are any small bits of foam left over once you pull it off, you can use a hair dryer with warm air to carefully shrink it. The final results really look professional. If you have a golf lover in your life, they would happily wear this design. Don't forget Father's Day and Dad's birthday. You can watch a video of this design stitching out by going to our store here.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Have you ever done Fringe Machine Embroidery? It is not difficult and if the design is digitized to be fringed once it completes, the finished look has a lot of added texture. We have included this cute design in our free downloads so you can play with fringe.
When the design finishes, it looks like a flat pattern.
The trick is how the stitches are digitized giving you an area to slide your scissors in to trim the bobbin threads. Here we are carefully making those clips along the body of the caterpillar.
Then the design is turned over and using a blunt object, the fringe is pulled forward. You will know you have finished when you don't feel any resistance from the thread anymore.
That is one fluffy caterpillar! How fun does that look? It stitches very quickly and uses a standard 4 X 4 hoop. How many projects can you use this design on?
Here are the stats on this design showing the height, width and stitch count in case you are interested. Go to our store and look at our free designs. We will be adding more in the future so come back often! This little caterpillar will let you try before you buy.
Enjoy this free design and remember to check out the other Fringe designs available in our store. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Welcome to Our New Store! There has been a lot of activity going on around here getting new designs digitized tested and uploaded. I hope you enjoy looking at all of them and come back often to see what is new. I have included some unique things for you to try like Applique, Fringe and Color Blending. There are even designs digitized specifically for caps so you can stitch them on flat or round cap frames. I will periodically upload free designs so you can add them to your cart when checking out. Look in the store area for them. Thank you for stopping by!
Everything has a purpose and if we are creative sometimes, more than one. It is that wonderful time of year when everything is starting to bloom, the sun is showing up and I am outside enjoying my yard. This year as I am looking over my outdoor furniture, it is clear I have several items that have deteriorated and need re working. The chair pictured is wood and I don't feel safe using it for the intended purpose, but I do believe it would make a great planter. I also have an area in mind for it in my landscape to help divert my puppies from running through. You know what I mean if you have dogs. They have an entire yard to play in, but my flower beds are much more appealing.
I found a pot that was a good size and traced the circle of it on the chair. Then I cut the shape a few inches to the inside of that diameter in the boards. These are slats that slipped in to the chair frame so I had to be careful they would not slip out and still be able to hold the weight of the pot and dirt. You can see I braced the slats on the front with a new 1x4 piece of wood. Then on the back side I took the slats out and using the pot to fit placement, put two pieces of 1x4 stacked in order to have a level frame. This also helped stabilize everything because the chair was wobbly.
Here is my chair spray painted. I didn't go over it with two coats because I thought the weathered look would be just right. Especially since it is missing a slat in the back.
As I said before I don't like to throw things away if I can figure out another purpose, so the leftover pieces I cut out became a sign. Here they are laid out.
I used the 1x4 and a few screws to tie all of the pieces together. The wood is very soft and even thought I was careful I had a little splitting but since it is the back, you won't see it once hung on the chair. I spray painted the sign the same color as the pot. Then I used some acrylic paint to create the text and some clear spray sealer so it can stand up to the elements.
Here it is placed in my landscape. This area is near my front door and my dogs tend to use it as a cut through. I haven't had any luck keeping a plant alive so this will help keep the area filled. The red color will also help attract hummingbirds. I have a feeder right next to the chair.
Here you can see around the chair several other hardscape elements.
Once everything was placed, I added dirt, flowers and some stones to pull everything together.
Here is the chair from a different view. I think it adds a wonderful pop of color to my front yard. The cost was minimal because I had all of the building supplies. The entire project took a couple of hours because I had to let the paint dry. My only real expense was for the dirt and flowers. The best part is I didn't throw away something that still had life in it and instead created outdoor art.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
I love to do machine embroidery. I think it is my absolute favorite part of sewing. It is also very popular to add monograms or names to clothing and bags. Sometimes, you may get a request to monogram an item that really should not be hooped. Now notice I didn't say "could not be hooped". I said should not be hooped. You can see from the backpack above, there are a lot of pockets. I have a multi needle machine and many different hoops. If I had worked hard enough, I think I could have gotten this loaded on my machine, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I don't like to work that way especially since this item was provided by the person requesting the monogram and I look at it as one of a kind.
Here are the issues I had and what I did to solve them. The backpack is actually a diaper bag. Even though it had many different pockets, they were sewn and nested together on top of each other or had interior lining to deal with. Sewing through the lining would make the pocket unusable. Babies have a lot of stuff so losing a pocket was not an option. Also, one of the larger side pockets might have been a great spot, but it was insulated so you don't want to sew through that and undermine those properties. The front pocket has an easy grab handle right in the middle, so it made getting a hoop stable kind of sketchy. I immediately thought of a patch instead of an embroidered monogram. One factor with most backpacks is the linings are often made of materials that melt easily. So doing an iron on patch was out of the question as I didn't know if I could apply enough pressure and heat to adhere a patch. I did go ahead and digitize several different choices for the monogram once I had looked over the backpack; decided on my size constraints for the design and the best place to put it. I sent pictures of the potential sewn out patches to the soon to be parents with explanations and options before I did anything to the item. I can't stress enough the importance of doing all of this front end work and communication. People love to be a part of the actual design process and know they have choices. If you supply several different ways or ideas, they will be more satisfied with the end result. It will also help you manage any lead time because they know you are working with them and will be prepared to wait a little longer than with someone who just embroiders the item with no input from the client. This doesn't mean you have to sew each design to a patch. You can sew it on stabilizer to verify your design looks great and send that instead.
Here is the final solution. The interior lining of these types of backpacks have to be very easy to wipe clean and deter bacteria. Using any kind of patch glue would not provide the stability over the long term life of the item. In fact, if you try to glue them, it may just wipe off. There is really no way to know exactly what type of chemical treatment has been applied from the factory. So I did an simple stitch using heavy weight thread and an upholstery needle. I could control exactly how many stitches I made and where they were executed. This method will guarantee that patch won't go anywhere.
They loved the final result. It is unique and beautiful. If you do something like this, you may also want to up sell any additional patches you have created for other potential garments, blankets etc. A very nice gesture would also be to gift them at the baby shower. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
I have been working on more activity mats to donate to my local retirement facility. My first blog article showed how I like to construct the mats using dish drying mats purchased from the Dollar Store. You can revisit that post here.
These projects are great because they fulfill two purposes. The first and best one in my opinion is connecting with your community. When you create something selflessly with someone else in mind; you are giving a gift that is very valuable. YOUR TIME. The second purpose in making these projects is they help me get centered when I am not feeling very creative. You know how you sometimes lose your way and feel a little disconnected from doing artistic work. These are small enough to be completed in short bursts of activity. Also, end pieces, scraps of trims and endless choices make them relaxing as well as inexpensive.
I did four different themes this time making sure to have designs for men and women. My thoughts also were on things or events that were common hobbies or pastimes of older people in my life.
In each mat, I incorporated very simple textiles that resonated with that theme. It might be a button, ribbon, elastic, ink stamp or embroidery. The back of the mats have an extra special embroidery done also so the mat is attractive from both sides. Also, working on one mat at a time instead of trying to do them all together made it more fun. Once I had one done to my satisfaction, I put it aside and when all four were complete, I delivered them to the facility. The smiles and thanks were like a breath of fresh air to me. I also brought several small tissue covers wrapped neatly in plastic baggies. They hold Bingo each week and said they would use them for the prizes. There are four slideshows below so you can see all of the pretties. I hope you have enjoyed this post and get inspired by it; share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
A rag quilt is a good beginner project if you are not too sure about your sewing skills or are learning a new machine. I decided to make this quilt using a layer cake of fabric.
This flannel bundle is 10 x 10 inches and includes 42 pieces of coordinated fabric. So everything already matches and if you don't want to do a lot of cutting, you can use the whole pieces.
If you take twenty pieces and lay them out on a table, you can play with the design. Once you have that figured out, take another twenty and place them behind the front pieces. make sure you put them wrong sides together.
Each fabric sandwich can be sewn together using an X pattern. This will "quilt" the fabric and keep it all together when you start sewing the blocks. A fabric marking pen can be used to draw the pattern on also so you can follow more easily.
We sewed one fabric sandwich at a time and used a small piece of sticky paper to mark the top. That way once it was sewn, we knew how to lay it back down and not mess up our pattern.
We also used masking tape to help number the squares. Small directional arrows were drawn on each one. This helped us keep everything in order while sewing. When you have all of these fabric patterns, it will ensure you sew on the right edge. If you want to leave the quilt set up for several days and work in small batches of time this method works great.
We used a one half inch seam allowance when we sewed our blocks together. Usually in quilting you use a 1/4 inch seam allowance, but we will be clipping along the raw edges, so a larger area is needed for stability.
We started with our first two blocks and sewed them right sides together. Then each block in the first row was done the same way.
You can see that with a rag quilt, there will be open seams on one side. This will be the RAGGY side.
Pins will help keep everything straight while you sew the blocks in each row together.
Here you can see that all of the blocks are sewn and now the rows can be connected. Also note that using a 1/2 inch seam allowance will take up a good bit of your fabric. So this quilt will wind up being perfect for a baby or for a lap quilt. About 36.5 X 45 inches
Here is our first two rows placed right sides together and pinned very well. The joins of the seams will be thick so use as many pins as you need. Also go a little slower over those areas.
Once all of the rows are sewn, your quilt will look something like this. You will want to sew a one half inch seam around the entire perimeter.
Now you are ready to clip all of the seams. We advise using a small pair of spring loaded shears. The clips are done about 1/2 inch apart. You may want to do a little bit, rest and then come back to it as this part gets a little tedious. Be careful not to cut into your seams.
If you wanted to say your rag quilt was finished you could at this point. If you want to add a pocket so it will fold into itself you will need a little bit extra fabric.
Our layer cake had 42 pieces and we used 40 of them for the rag quilt. So we took the last two pieces and added some bling.
Since this was a gift we personalized one piece of 15 x 17 inch fabric using a leftover square of fabric with a letter and name. Our embroidery software and embroidery machine made this happen but you could do any embellishment to personalize your quilt pocket.
We created another piece of 15 x 17 inch fabric with the last square from our layer cake and remnants. Each side will become a front and back to our pocket.
We placed both pieces right sides together, pinned and sewed around everything leaving a small opening. This way we could turn it easily.
We trimmed all of our corners, turned it and then ironed it very well. Also, we used a hand sewing needle to sew that opening closed. Now the pocket was ready to attach to the quilt.
We laid our pocket on the smooth side of the quilt. Notice, the appliqued side is facing down. This is because when the quilt is folded into the pocket, you want to see the applique. So if you are using a design, you may want to pin it first, and do a test fold before you actually sew. Also, notice we placed it inside the sewn seam and not right at the edge.
This shows that you want the pocket opening to face the length of the quilt. Once you have the three sides pinned, sew around them and make sure you really reinforce the top corners.
We used a 3/8 inch seam allowance when we top stitched the pocket on and here you can see that reinforced stitching.
This view shows the quilt front.
This shows the quilt back.
Before you use the quilt, it is a good idea to launder it. We used a large fluffy towel inside the washing machine. It helps with the agitation and will "RAG" all of the areas you have clipped. Also, the towel will grab many of the fibers that will loosen. Depending on your flannel, it may be quite a lot so we took ours outside and gave it a good shake before we dried it.
All you have to do now is fold it.
Here is a slideshow of folding your rag quilt quillow
We hoped you have enjoyed this post, share what you have learned and are generous with what you make. Someone will appreciate your hard work! Check out our video to watch the entire process below.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift