Archive of ‘Just for Fun’ category

Monogram of the Month: A Reason to Celebrate!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I was very excited when Eileen gave me the opportunity to write this month’s Monogram of the Month feature.  I’ve had my eye on the banner designs from JoAnn Connolly’s book, Sweet Stitchesand decided instead of monograms today I’d do a fun banner.   I’m quite fond of quick and easy projects that require minimal effort but create lots of joy while I stitch.  And these designs fit my requirements to the letter!  (Pun intended!)

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I wanted to make something special for my friend, Jean, who will be celebrating her 95th birthday.  Friends and family are gathering this 4th of July weekend to celebrate her day.  I decided to make a festive banner to mark the occasion—plus it would make a great backdrop to take photos of her with her family.  Great memories everyone can cherish!


Like most of our readers, I like fabric and I eagerly sign up for any excuse to buy more, more, more!  But this time, I decided I’d challenge myself—really test my nouveau designer skills and gasp… use what I already have!

I rummaged through my containers of fabric – I was certain I had nothing!  Nothing!  But wait… that polka dot fabric is kinda cute.  Actually, it’s very cute.  So cute, I haven’t used it because I wanted to use it for something special.  It was a small remnant I purchased over a decade ago from Hancock Fabrics.  It’s perfect.  Once I found the main fabric it was easy to add other coordinating fabrics.

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My next challenge was figuring out what combination of letters to use.  “Happy Birthday” is an obvious choice.  But I decided to go with something more universal—and that can work all year long—“Celebrate”.  After all, life should be a celebration—especially when you have lived 95 years!

Sweet Stitches comes with an accompanying CD.  I transferred the letters to spell “Celebrate” to a USB stick for my embroidery machine.  Then I stitched the designs.

Denise Tips:

  • Be sure to keep the book handy!  The photos and step-by-step instructions will guide you along the way.  Initially I thought I didn’t need to read the steps—I like a challenge.  But after stitching a few samples I decided I’d go ahead and read the steps.  Surprise, surprise!  Following the steps made the process much simpler.
  • JoAnn has a reason for suggesting you use Temporary Spray Adhesive when working with applique fabrics.  If you don’t… you might end up with puckers!  Oops!A Reason to Celebrate!
  • Applique scissors are especially useful when trimming.
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  • If you place white on top of a busy fabric, be aware of the possibility of fabric show-through.  My first ‘careless’ attempt to solve this problem was to place a second layer of white fabric.  But the fabric I was using was very heavy—so when it came time to trim the two layers of white fabric, it wasn’t an easy or flawless task.  Argh!
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    My second attempt was much better.  I used a layer of stabilizer underneath the white fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  • Mix & Mingle… and have fun!  Don’t feel like every letter has to be the same color.  Mix and match.  That’s what makes the process fun.  Plus this gives you a chance to use small fabric scraps.


Here’s a look at the finished banner!  I look forward to decorating for Jean’s birthday and creating fun memories! Imagine the banners you can make for someone special!  Give it a try.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog



Here’s your assignment this week:What decorations have you made over the years to celebrate someone’s special day?  Post a comment for a chance to win a $25 shopping spree to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.Gift-Card
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

Do you have a versatile design you use over and over on different types of projects? Post your comment for a chance to win a copy of Calligraphy Project Designer.




And the winner is… Alicia Key 
“I have several designs I enjoy but after a few kitchen towels of them I’m ready to try a new design. I’ve just recently joined your email list & I’m looking forward to more of your ideas for creativity! I like the Embroidery Library design that Colleen Bell mentioned above & while checking that out, I found some more that I like. I also like Andrea Henke’s suggestion of the glow-in-the-dark eyes on pillow cases! I’ll have to find some of that thread! I would LOVE a chance to win the Calligraphy files.”

Congratulations, Alicia.  Sounds like you’ll be very busy with all sorts of projects!




Thoughts to Ponder

Cal15-rev2Subtle text messages are a lovely way to add sentiments to gifts, home décor accessories or even wearables.   A romantic mood can be set with the right fabric, color selection, charms, ribbons and trims. I enjoyed making these small projects – the fun is in the creating and ok, the gathering of the goodies! Cal14-rev

Let me show you how easy it is to do. Open an embroidery lettering software program. I used Calligraphy Project Designer – designed for simple text creation with an Old World spin. Click on the Font icon to enter the text. Select a font and click Apply.


Left mouse click on the blue triangles to pull the text closer together to mimic handwriting.


Select the Ink Spots icon and left click on Heart 3 (highlighted in yellow in the image). Click OK.


Size the heart to 2.94” x 2.90” by dragging a corner handle or typing the measurement into the Properties Box. Click Apply.


Select and rotate the text. Cal6

Change the thread color to the actual thread you’ll use if desired. Click on the color chip on the right bar and select the appropriate color from the drop down menu. Click OK.


My intention is for the heart to be the backdrop of the text so I’ll send that color to the first position. Select the heart, left mouse click and select Order/To Back from the drop down menu.


Send the design to the machine in the appropriate format and hoop linen with cut-away stabilizer. Stitch the design. Remove the fabric from the hoop and trim the fabric leaving a 1” border. Cal9-rev

Trim the stabilizer close to the stitching. Cal10-rev

Sew around the square ½” from the fabric edge. Cal11-rev

Fray the linen on all four sides. Cal12-rev

Stitch the patch to a card stock tag. Add brads, charms and ribbon if desired.  Cal16-rev

What fun!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tags are a great way to add flair and function to lots of different items. Luggage, lunch bags, laptop cases, gift bags and even tackle boxes are brightened by their warm welcoming appearance. Share with us an item you would like to create a tag for but haven’t quite been able to figure out how. We or one of our readers might just have your perfect solution and 5 comments will be chosen to receive a $20 gift certificate to spend at Five Star Fonts!


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What is your most appreciated mens embroidery project? Was it the golf club covers you made for your son-in-law, the personalized seat covers for your husband? Tell us the project that wowed and one comment will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to spend on the DIME website. Thank you for reading and good luck!


And the winners is..Sharon B. “My husband liked the golf towel with the club distances on it.”

It doesn’t have to take a village…

The entire community used to come together whenever the needle plate on an embroidery machine needed to be removed.  Together, they’d carefully hoist a giant screwdriver.   Not only was it heavy, but it was tricky and nearly impossible to maneuver in a small space.

It doesn’t have to take a village…

Then the community discovered the Stitcher’s Hardware, a handy tool set created by Designs in Machine Embroidery.  The tools were lightweight, small and very easy to maneuver around tiny spaces.  Now the community has more time to do what they love!  (Embroider, of course!)

It doesn’t have to take a village…


The Stitcher’s Hardware Kit includes:

  • A screwdriver with a bulb-shaped handle and tubular guide for removing and inserting the needle screw or presser foot screw.
  • A flat head screwdriver that easily removes flush mount screws—often found on the needle plate.
  • An extended flat tip screwdriver that easily removes countersunk screws—found on some needle plates.
  • A Phillips-head screwdriver designed to maneuver hard to reach areas.

Plus a convenient storage case!

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Limited Time Special Offer: 
Order now and enjoy free shipping on US orders!  That’s a savings up to $10.00!  Use coupon code:  tool

Stop by the Designs in Machine Embroidery website for more information and to take advantage of this limited time special offer.





Multi-Needle Monday: My Go-To Gift


Last week, I showed how to stitch multiple napkins in on a single-needle machine. Today, let’s look at how to do it on a multi-needle machine.

The set-up is the same: Mark the location of the corner monogram on each of the six napkins. I use the Napkin On-Point template from the Perfect Placement Kit – no math, no measuring. Just place the template on the napkin aligning the guides with the stitched hem and then insert a target sticker into the hole with the arrow pointing towards the body of the napkin. Repeat for all six napkins – you’ll finish this task in under two minutes.

Select the largest hoop available and hoop tear-away stabilizer. I selected the 8” x 12” standard hoop but Multi-Needle Monster would also work very well. Use one of three options for holding the napkin on the stabilizer: spray the hooped stabilizer with temporary adhesive, hoop adhesive tear-away stabilizer or use painter’s tape. I used adhesive tear-away stabilizer.

Position the first napkin in the bottom left corner of the hoop. Center the needle over the target sticker, remove the sticker and embroider the design. If your machine has a baste feature, use it! Move the design to the top left corner of the hoop. Fold the napkin out of the new sewing field and lay the second napkin in place. Smooth the napkin onto the adhesive stabilizer. Stitch the design. Nap1

Fold up both napkin tips and tape them down. Nap2

Place the third napkin below the second napkin. Smooth in place making sure the design area is not overlapped with the second napkin. Position the needle over the target sticker. Nap3

If your machine has a trace feature, use it to verify the needle will not stitch on the first napkin. Once you’re confident the first napkin is out of the sewing field, remove the sticker and embroider the design. Nap4

Fold and tape the side of the napkin and move the design just below the third napkin. Nap5

Stitch the napkin. Nap6

Tape the corners of napkins three and four. Nap7

Repeat the process for napkin five. Nap8

And napkin six. Nap9

Remove the stabilizer from the hoop and clip the basting stitches before tearing away the stabilizer. Nap10

Wow –six napkins in a flash!

A Closer Look: Pincushion Tower

We’re launching a new series on Eileen’s Machine Embroidery blog, called A Closer Look.  As the name suggests, it will show an up close view of embroidery machines, notions, tools and anything else you might find in a sewing, embroidery or craft studio – plus some unexpected surprises!  A Closer Look will take you on a journey like no other!

I hope to make you smile and to encourage you to see your studio as a haven for creativity and fun!

– Denise Holguin


Joe enjoys the view from the park bench at Pincushion Tower.

He finds inspiration all around him – especially among the pretty, shiny pins.

He pins his hope on traveling the world visiting other pincushions.


Have you made a 3-tiered pincushion? Check out Katherine Artines’ book, Posh Pincushions, In the Hoop Floral Pincushions for inspiration and designs. Plus, Joe would love to visit!

For a limited time, enjoy up to $10.00 off shipping costs for orders shipped within the US.  Use coupon code:  blog530

Multi Needle Monday: Looking through a camera lens

By Guest Blogger, Denise Holguin
Managing Editor

I volunteered to cover Eileen’s Multi Needle Monday while she’s teaching this week.   Once I realized what I had done panic set in.  After careful consideration (and excitement over using a newly purchased macro camera lens) I thought I’d take an entirely different approach for today’s blog post.

Have you ever gazed at your multi needle machine with a sense of wonder and awe at its beauty?  Probably not.  I hadn’t either until today.  That piece of machinery is not only your source of income but a well-engineered machine – and today I’ll present it as a piece of art!

You’ll see an up close and personal look at a multi needle machine.  But have no fear—Designs in Machine Embroidery Editor and blogger, Eileen Roche, will be back next week!  In the meantime, enjoy!  You’ll also want to scroll through for some unexpected surprises…

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

All the parts are so intricate.  I couldn’t help but place a tiny little figure in the scene.  Take a look at your multi needle machine in your sewing studio.  Now imagine how TINY this little figure must be!  One sneeze and he’s gone!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


While my macro lens was an investment  – just like your embroidery machine – they are meant to be used and enjoyed!  Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and use your machine both as a tool and a creative outlet!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


The Best Mother’s Day Present


What is the best Mother’s Day present you can give? Time. Time out of your busy schedule; time out of your hectic life; time for just you and your mom. If your mother is still here on this great earth then make the time to see her. It doesn’t have to actually be on Mother’s Day, you can reserve that day for yourself to spend with your own children if you have them. If your mom has passed, then celebrate the day by sharing some of your favorite mom stories with your family. It’s how our history survives, pass it on.

Last weekend, I spent three days with my mom. I’m one of six daughters so it’s the rare visit that is solo. Usually, we all gather to celebrate a milestone or holiday but I scheduled this trip when I knew she hadn’t had a visitor in a while. When I walked into her assisted living apartment, I was greeted with her fabulous smile! She looked radiant. At 85, she’s as quick as a whip, knows more current events than a news desk and always has a kind word for everyone. It’s a pleasure to be in her company. When I see her, it’s like I look into my future, I’m her clone! Today, when I pass a mirror, I often think I’m looking at my mom, but it’s just me – appearing how she did many years ago at my current age.

So I whisked her off to a favorite restaurant and once we were seated, I said, I want to take a picture, a selfie. She’s not a ham by any stretch but she said, “Oh, okay, even the Pope takes selfies.” And what a great pic she took!


We had a terrific visit and took a journey to our old neighborhood. I grew up a block from the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey and spent many days swimming, sailing and boating in those waters. We always made our ‘beach camp’ on the street where we lived. Some of my best memories were spent on that beach, which we aptly named, Betty’s Beach, after my mom.


When I was a kid, my mom didn’t join us at the beach – there were 6 of us! No, she was happy to send us off to play in the water and sun and leave her to run her household. But still, it was and always will be Betty’s Beach. So I drove Mom to Betty’s Beach to look at the sand, watch the waves roll in and hear the gulls. It was the best Mother’s Day ever.

Hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!



Has this ever happened to you? (Part 3)

By Denise Holguin

What a productive day I had planned! I created a fun embroidery project using the new Calligraphy Project Designer Software program. Plus, I unearthed a secret stash of fabric and thread. I grabbed my trusty Snap Hoop Monster, some polymesh stabilizer and some spray adhesive. It’s time to start stitching!

Rather than trim the large piece of fabric, I decided to hoop it all and just trim later. Besides, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll make with the stitch out.

After loading the Snap Hoop Monster on the machine, I pressed the magic “Go” button and left the embroidery studio to let the machine do all the work.

But the machine kept beeping for attention. I had to babysit it every few minutes.

I wasn’t overly thrilled with my thread color choices so I decided to abort the mission. I removed the hoop and as I was carrying it to Eileen’s office to ask “WHAT WENT WRONG?” I noticed the back of the hoop.

Oops! I accidentally hooped the excess fabric to the back of the hoop, created a double layer of fabric. No wonder the embroidery machine kept beeping!

I didn’t give up on stitching the design—especially given the quotation! I did change thread colors and am happy with the results.

Here’s your assignment this week:

We’ve showed you plenty of mistakes we’ve made in the past few weeks and asked you to share your stories as well. Now we’d like to know the funniest mistake you’ve ever made! We’ll choose one random comment below to receive a $25 gift certificate to use on the DIME website. Thank you for sharing your stories with us in our Has This Ever Happened to You series.


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Finding creative solutions to mistakes isn’t limited to machine embroidery! Tell us about a time you had to solve a problem and the end result turned out better than expected. Maybe while sewing…cooking…baking or ? We want to know! One random comment will be chosen as the winner of a $25 gift certificate to website. Someone will get paid for making a mistake and recovering from it! Not a bad deal!


And the winner is…Denise “I had made a dress for my 12 soon to be 13 yr. old daughter . The cap sleeves were curling up slightly and needed just a little something extra. My daughter likes dresses but usually does not like frou frou styles so I was hesitant to put lace on it. That was just the extra weight that was needed! I had just enough lace with flowers to go on the / under the sleeves. It looks great and she is happy with it also ! Denise!”

A Mended Heart


By Denise Holguin, Managing Editor

I found the perfect quote to stitch from one of my favorite authors—Jane Austen. Using the Calligraphy Project Designer, I typed the text, selected the Jester Pro font and created a heart shaped path. Lots of fun! Then I added the decorative embroidery element in the center. Everything was going smooth! The stitching was a snap since I used Snap Hoop.

I’ve stitched heart pillows before—it’s about as complex a sewing project as I can handle—complete with two curves and a pointy end. (Ooh! Ahh!) But it has been awhile since I’ve sewn—I couldn’t find the correct sewing foot and I had some bobbin case problems. Once I got the machine started, I was thrilled. I sewed like there was no tomorrow—with such enthusiasm. Around the time it was too late to recover from my sewing faux pas, I realized I should have left the opening for the pillow in a more discrete spot—not toward the top of the pillow. After all, my machine sewing skills are limited—you can imagine my hand sewing skills.

But I was confident I could do it. I stuffed the pillow with poly-fil and by the time I was ready to sew the opening shut, the fabric was rather frayed. Was I afraid? Nah, I can work with what I have. And I did. When I looked at my finished pillow, it looked very sad… and deformed. It was a horribly, sad and deformed pillow. I hung my head in shame. It started out cute in my mind. Now what?

Then I had a GREAT idea! It’s time to add some embellishment. It will conceal my less than perfectly formed heart. I rummaged through our very extensive array of trim and ribbons and found this delightful trim with pom-poms.

I attached the trim and am pleased with the results. I also made a small bow by combining two trims. The button was the perfect addition. Now excited (and proud!) I decided to add the heart shaped charm for the finishing touch.

The lesson in this blog—part of the creative process is finding ways to solve unexpected mishaps. Don’t throw away your creation or quit just because it didn’t turn out as impeccable or flawlessly as you had imagined. See the mistakes as opportunities. I’m glad I did. I have a pretty heart pillow!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Finding creative solutions to mistakes isn’t limited to machine embroidery! Tell us about a time you had to solve a problem and the end result turned out better than expected. Maybe while sewing…cooking…baking or ? We want to know! One random comment will be chosen as the winner of a $25 gift certificate to website. Someone will get paid for making a mistake and recovering from it! Not a bad deal!


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Stitchers… has this ever happened to you? Were you able to save your project? Post a comment and share your story. You’re in good company! One comment will be chosen to receive a Bird’s Nest Tool Kit!


And the winner is…Claudia H. “Thru the yrs I have come up with my own “birds nest kit” but didnt market it. T G Eileen has!

I was embroidering on a heavy bath towel when the design got distorted because the towel end slipped off the table on PR 600II and wt of towel caused the distortion. Of course I had left to do something for hubby! Since it was for my 18 month old grandson, I was able to cut off the 6 inches of the width of the towel and sew the border back to remaining towel! His towel is just a bit shorter than big brothers!”

Has this ever happened to you? (Part 2)

By Sherry McCary

I was putting together a piece-in-the-hoop quilt block, and for some reason I still can’t figure out, decided it was a good idea to walk away from the machine while it did the final quilting stitches – even though it had already created three nasty bird’s nests on this one block…Not a good idea!

Eileen had the brilliant idea of removing the foot from the machine instead of cutting it out and we were able to save the block after all. Yay!


Here’s your assignment this week:

Stitchers… has this ever happened to you? Were you able to save your project? Post a comment and share your story. You’re in good company! One comment will be chosen to receive a Bird’s Nest Tool Kit!


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What embroidery product on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website is on your wishlist?  Who knows, maybe you’ll see that product go on special in the near future! Post your comments for a chance to win a 1 year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine.


And the winner is…Teresa R. “I want so many things but top on my list is the PAL”

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