Archive of ‘Quick Gifts’ category

Top 10 Gift List: #2

It’s holiday prep time!  Last week, I revealed the first of my top 10 gifts for the holiday season. You’ll get a sneak peek of each project on Wednesdays and a lesson on Facebook Live the following day, Thursdays at 1:00 CST.  Last week, I featured embroidered jewelry.  Tomorrow, it’s an eyeglass case.

All the ladies on your gift list can use an eyeglass case for prescription specs, readers or sunny shades.  I’m tackling this task in multiples as you can see here.

Join me tomorrow at 1:00 CST on Facebook Live for the how-to. You can use an embroidery machine or skip the hoop altogether.  I’m sure you know what method I chose!  I’ll show you how to sew the outer bag and lining, box the corners, sew and ‘birth’ the bag.  Then I’ll share my tricks for inserting it into a metal frame.  Hope to see you there because it’s always more fun when you participate!

https://www.facebook.com/DesignsInMachineEmbroidery/

Did you know Facebook will notify you when we are live as long as you follow our page? Just go to https://www.facebook.com/DesignsInMachineEmbroidery/, click Follow and you’ll be all set.

If you’re not a Facebook user, you can watch the rebroadcast here on the blog late Thursdays or Friday morning.

 

2019 Top 10 Gifts Countdown

It’s holiday prep time!  On Wednesdays for the next 10 weeks, I’ll reveal my top 10 gifts for the holiday season. You’ll get a sneak peek of each project on Wednesdays and a lesson on Facebook Live the following day, Thursdays at 1:00 CST.

What tops my list this year? Embroidered jewelry. It couldn’t be trendier than right now!  Stop at the jewelry counter of any department store and you’ll find fringe earrings, stitched feathers and lacy danglers in all colors and sizes.

Join me at 1:00 CST tomorrow on Facebook Live for Charm School!  You’ll learn everything you need to know to make fringe earrings or necklaces. I’ll cover the sizing, stabilizer and jewelry findings.

You’ll get a head start on your holiday stitching and be amazed at how easy it is to make fringe earrings! Perfect for all the ladies on your gift list.

Flamingo Navidad

Flocking around the flamingo tree on this happy holiday!

The Volume 113 Nov/Dec issue features instructions for making the Beaded Flamingo card.  The instructions on the blog will cover how to make the Feather & Sequined Flamingo and the Felt Wing Flamingo.

All cards use the Fabulous Flamingo collection.  Perfect Embroidery Pro was used for making modifications to the design.


Feather & Sequined Flamingo

The embroidery design technique is the same as the Beaded Flamingo.  If you missed the steps in the magazine, follow along here.  Otherwise, scroll down to the Embellishing section within this blog.

Overview:  The goal is to replace the fill stitches for the main part of the flamingo body with an outline stitch.  The original design does not have an outline but we will create one in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

At the Computer
Open Birds of a Feather-17 in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Delete the text:  “Birds of a feather flock together”.

Select the second thread color in the sequence, Bashful Pink.  This is the main part of the flamingo body.

With the second thread color still selected, right click.  Select Utility.  Create Outline.

A new window appears.

Change the default from .08 to .00.  Click Apply.  There’s now an artwork outline around the flamingo body.  Note, this is artwork, not stitches.  I changed the color to a dark purple so you can see the outline a little better in the screenshot.

Delete the original color 2.  Then rearrange the color sequence so the outline of the flamingo body is now the second thread color in the sequence.

Change the Color to Bashful Pink.

With the artwork selected, right click.  Select Convert To / Run.  Click Apply.

In the Properties box, select Bean and click Apply.

Save the design in the appropriate machine format and send to the embroidery machine.

Hoop a piece of felt in a 5” x 7” hoop.  Stitch the design.  Trim the flamingo leaving 1/8” of felt all around the flamingo.

Embellishing

For this flamingo, I opted for the Pink Glitter Glue.  Based on my earlier testing, the glue does secure sequins.  But it does take longer for the glue to dry.  No problem!

I applied the glitter glue to the entire flamingo.  The photo shows a conservative amount but I did add more.  I wasn’t concerned about applying glue to the entire flamingo at once.  The glue takes awhile to dry.

Apply the sequins, one by one.  The packaging I purchased included three different sizes of sequins.  I used all three sizes for variety.  While it might strike you as tedious to attach each sequin, not everything is created in an instant.  Some things do take time.

Once I filled the flamingo with sequins, I did a spot check to see if there were any open spaces.  I added more sequins.  I even layered them because you really can’t have too many sequins.

Next, I decided a feather would be the perfect finishing touch but when I auditioned it, I discovered the pink was not the right shade.

Fabric spray paint is the solution!  This is the tricky part.  Don’t get overly excited when spraying the feather.  You will drench it and make a mess.

Instead, be judicious.  Gently apply the spray paint to the feather.  Take your time.  The flamingo that wins the race is not always the fastest. I sprayed two feathers to give me options.

Let the feathers dry.  Then attach the most appropriate feather using FabricTac glue or for faster results, attach with a hot glue gun.

Use some rhinestones to create a necklace (and hide the area where you attached the feather.

Finishing the Card

Select a fun card stock to create your card.  The words “Flamingo Navidad” were created in Adobe Photoshop Elements with font, AR BONNIE.  The font is also found in Microsoft Word.  Use your favorite font style and program to create your own text.  Place additional embellishments as desired.

Use a hot glue gun to secure the flamingo embroidery to the card.

 

Fabulous Flamingo cards are sure to make everyone smile!  Give them to family, friends and coworkers.  Make a stack and deliver them to shut-ins and nursing home residents.  You’ll have as much fun making them as you’ll have seeing everyone’s reactions when they receive them.

Purchase the design collection here.

Stitching Pumpkins

The Dallas Arboretum has transitioned from their summer floral display to an eye-catching display of pumpkins and gourds.  All the stores are stocked with pumpkin decorations.  The coffee shops even have fall colors in their window displays.  With all the pumpkins popping up everywhere, I thought it would be gourd to join in! 😉


Our newest quilting collection, Pumpkin Parade, makes it easy to join in the festivities by making fall décor.  But before I started, I decided to set up a few rules.

Rule 1.  Stay focused.  (ha!)  By that I mean I decided to start and finish one project at a time.  I usually like to start multiple projects and I get so overwhelmed that I don’t finish them!  This also motivated me to get the current project finished so I could swiftly move on to my next great experiment.

Rule 2.  Minimize the number of variables.  One of my favorite activities is to take one design and see how many variations I can make with it.  Sometimes the variations are created in software. Other times, I have fun with fabric and thread color selection.  For this project, I decided the primary variable would be fabric and thread color.  (Though I did use two different pumpkin designs).

Rule 3.  Keep the project manageable in size.  Sure, I could stitch an entire quilt—or two—or three but I do need to sleep and I wanted to be sure I could finish them in a day or two.  The advantage of the small centerpieces:  I can give them as gifts to friends, family and coworkers.  The way I like to experiment, I may have enough for an entire neighborhood by the end of the week!

Rule 4.  Have fun and don’t be overly critical!  I read a comment recently on a social media platform from someone who was seeking advice on where and how to start a project.  Her desire for perfection seemed to be holding her back before she could even begin a project.  It can be especially disheartening when social media and photo editing makes it possible to present the best, most pristine and flawless representation of ourselves and our work.  But there’s also reality.  And in my reality, my binding is not impeccable on my quilts.  I try really hard.  But I’m still learning!  And that’s the point.  We have to stay focused on improving our skills and not be so critical of our work that we become immobile.

Denise carefully attaches binding. She’s hopeful. She’s confident. She’s determined to get the job done!

Enough about the rules, let’s take a look at my gourd-ous shenanigans I completed in 2 days.  😊


Centerpiece 1:  Youthful!

I rummaged through my fabric and found the orange print.  The downside, I only had scraps.  I decided to make the best of my supplies by making a 4-patch block.  I added a coordinating green fabric to make the centerpiece larger.

Once the top was complete, I made a quilt sandwich and hooped the project using Snap Hoop Monster.  Then it occurred to me I needed to center the design within the block.  No problem!  I used the handy Centering Ruler from the Embroidery Tool Kit to find the center of the block.  I placed a target sticker in the hole.  Then I made sure the needle hit the center of the target sticker.  Moments like these make having the right tools indispensable.

I chose an orange thread color for the pumpkin quilting design and used the stitch-in-the-ditch method for the busy prints.  My coworker, Sam, commented that he likes the difference in the busy prints.  One print is large scale while the other is a smaller scale.  Until he mentioned it, I hadn’t noticed.  Sometimes I can get so focused I miss certain elements!

Centerpiece 2:  Fall Harvest with a Touch of Blue!

I continued rummaging through my fabric and found small scraps of the beautiful blue print fabric.

It’s so delicious, I had to use it.  It’s also not what we might expect for a fall harvest but that’s why I love it!   I chose a brown thread color for the quilt designs. The brown thread coordinates well with the print.

Centerpiece 3:  Royalty!

I used a delicious batik fabric and a rich purple.

The tan thread color was influenced by the batik fabric.  This sample received a lot of attention when I paraded it around the office.  I suppose we all identify with royalty!  😉

I had an absolute blast making these centerpieces and am sad to see this blog post end.

Which version do you like best?  What other color scheme would you want to see?

 


Given my affinity for this collection, now’s a good time to mention we are offering free shipping on US orders.  I’ve extended the offer to October 5th.  Or give us a call during business hours:  888-739-0555 (8 am – 5 pm CDT).

 

 

Software Saturday: Stitched Poetry!

Farewell to My Red Pen
By Denise Holguin

As Managing Editor, a portion of my time is spent editing the magazine. This includes making sure advertisements are placed, the Buyers Guide has the correct page numbers and the Table of Contents leads readers to the proper articles. I do all these tasks with a red pen.

And as strange as it sounds, I have only one (favorite) red pen that I use issue after issue. I was at a great loss the day it ran out of ink.

I penned a poem to commemorate the ‘passing’ of my red pen. Humored by the absurdity, I decided to take it one step further and embroider the tribute on to fabric.

Goals for this article:

 

  • Inspire you to start thinking about custom gifts you can make for family and friends that only they would understand.
  • Help you to discover your inner poet!
  • Practice your lettering and layout skills in embroidery software.
  • Problem solve on the fly.

 

 

Embroidery Products
Make Something UT5084 from Urban Threads (3.39” x 3.86”)
Free Skull Design courtesy of Designs in Machine Embroidery.

Embroidery software (Perfect Embroidery Pro was used)
Hoop Size: 300×200

At the Computer
First, we will type each line of text. Then we will rearrange and add other elements.

In Perfect Embroidery Pro, select the Text icon and type the words, “arewell, my friend.”

Click on the Text icon again and type, “You’ve served me well.”

Click on the Text icon and type, “When we, upon the page, would dwell”

Click on the Text icon and type, “To an editor, your color”

Click on the Text icon and type, “Was heaven, but now you’re dead.”

Select the Hoop icon on the left side of the screen. Select the 300×200 hoop. This will establish boundaries to rearrange the poem.

Select all the text. (Control-A). Change the font to “Times.”

Click on the first line of text. Go to the Transform tab and change the height to .69 inches. Repeat this step for each line of text.

Once finished, your text will look similar to the sample shown.

Click on File / Merge. Select the Urban Threads design. Place the design in an open space. We will be editing the design to fit our needs. Select the design. Right click and select Ungroup.

Select “Make Something” and delete it.

Since this is a tribute to a red pen, I selected and deleted the other tools that didn’t fit the pen theme.

You should only have two pens remaining.

Slide the last pen to the left of the marker. Then copy and paste the same pen and place to the right of the marker. Flip the last pen Vertically.

Copy the marker and place it to the right of the pen. Flip it vertically. Copy the first pen and marker and paste them to the right. Your version should look similar to the image shown.

Select all the pens and markers. Right click. Select Group.

Rearrange the rows of lettering to fit within the hoop. This isn’t the final stage of rearranging but it’s the first step.

Slide the pens to the right side of the hoop as shown.

Click on the Text icon. Type the letter “F”. Select Old English. Size the Width and Height to 1.77 inches.

Position the letter in front of “arewell”.

Select the Text icon. Type the word “red”. Select the Athletic font and resize it to 2.05” wide x .80” tall.

Position the word after “color” as shown.

Go to File / Merge Design. Select the Skull design.

Place the skull at the end of the poem.

Change the “F”, the word “red” and the set of pens to red.

I decided to change the word “heaven” to blue. There are three ways to do this:

Inconvenient & Hard:

 

  • Stop the machine before it stitches.

 

 

Too Much Work:

 

  • Edit the line of text so that it’s made up of three designs.

 

 

Easiest! (but you need to be responsible)

 

  • Select the last line of text. Right click. Select Break up text. Note, when you do this, the text is no longer a font.

 

 

Each letter becomes an individual design.

Select all the letters for the word “heaven”. Change the color to blue.

The third line of the poem is a little tight in the hoop. Change the height to .67 inches. Make any other last minute adjustments to the layout of the design.

Select All. (Control-A). Go to Edit / Optimize Sequence.

Save the design and send to the embroidery machine.

I framed the design and added the red pen to its final resting place.


A few dozen eggs

Project Highlights:

  • Put your stash of embroidery, crafting and sewing supplies to use.
  • Make gifts for family, friends or residents in nursing homes and senior centers.
  • Experiment with color!
  • Relax with this creative and productive outlet.

As a hoarder of scrapbook paper, I don’t actually make anything.  Instead, I flip through the stack of paper to admire the colors and patterns.  The papers are too pretty to waste on just anything.  Someday I’ll make something special.

That someday is now!

I volunteered to make Easter cards for a local senior center.

It was a bold and confident move to volunteer.  But then reality set in.  Exactly how will I make the cards?

The answer was easy:  with my embroidery machine!

Embroidery Designs
Floral Easter Eggs from Kreations by Kara.  (I used Egg 5.)

The inspiration came from two cards I received from a dear friend, and regular contributor to the magazine, Joanne Banko.  She used felt to embroider the cards.  The cards were so fun to receive and I love the technique.  I keep one on my desk at work and one on the refrigerator at home.

Materials

  • Assorted colors of embroidery thread
  • Card stock Paper
  • Felt:  I purchased 8 sheets of pre-cut felt from a big box store in several colors. I fit 2 Easter eggs per sheet.  Once I stitched 16 Easter egg designs, I realized I was committed to this task. I purchased yardage of felt (on sale at this time of year!). I was able to hoop the fabric to fit more designs.  I chose to use white felt because it gave me more freedom with thread colors.

Instructions
I cut the felt into long strips wide enough to fit a 5″ x 7″ standard hoop or Snap Hoop Monster.  I rotated the embroidery design 90 degrees to make the design horizontal.

Stitch the design on the entire strip of fabric.  Leave enough room for trimming around each design.  The design I used has multiple thread colors.  For variety I stitched some eggs in one color while others I stitched in multiple colors.  If you  have little ones that want to help, consider having them select the thread colors.  You can’t go wrong with this project.

I also considered the recipients and what colors they might like.  Some embroidered eggs are more masculine with navy blue, brown and emerald green.  Those turned out to be among my favorites.

As the embroidery machine was stitching, I cut card stock paper.  I used 12” x 12” sheets of card stock.  I cut the sheets in half to make two cards per sheet.  Then I scored the card to make the fold.  To conserve paper, you could just make a single sided card.

Once the Easter eggs were finished stitching, I trimmed close to the edges, leaving about a ¼ inch around the design.

I took the opportunity to pull out all my craft supplies, including ribbons, trim, buttons and brads.  I’ve also made it my challenge to use up nearly all my scrapbook paper—even the ‘special’ paper with extra sparkles.  It doesn’t do me any good hoarding the supplies and it is fun to find interesting ways to decorate each card.

I was bored with the solid colored card stock so to add texture I pulled out my little New Home sewing machine.  It doesn’t have as many features as I’m used to (where’s the automatic needle threader?) but it has decorative stitches ideal for my cards.

Once you’re happy with the added embellishments, use a hot glue gun to attach the design to the card stock.  Be sure to add a sentiment inside the card.

Can you tell which one is my favorite? 😉  I was excited to find a use for the hounds-tooth paper and the bow button.

At the time of this blog post, I’ve stitched 45 Easter egg designs.  My first goal is to reach 50—which will be done tonight.  Then the new goal will be 75… because that’s the Blue Hair Girl way!

 

 

 

 

 

Memories, the threads of time

Isn’t it fun to capture a happy memory in needle and thread? It’s not always easy to achieve but when memories and creative inspiration collide, it’s a heartfelt moment.  That’s the story behind my latest Stipple! Collection, Life’s a Beach.

stipplelifesabeach

You see, when I was ten years old, my father, an avid pilot, restored a World War II open cockpit bi-plane and flew it for thirty years in our tiny seaside resort in New Jersey. He loved that plane and so did all of his daughters. Although it never towed a banner as it is in this quilt, it spiraled through the air crisscrossing the sky over the sparkling blue water of the Atlantic Ocean. He would buzz our house and we would head to the airport to get a ride. If we were on the beach when he flew over, we would wave and jump around on the white sand so he could see us.  A tip of his wing meant he was heading home for dinner.

There are so many stories about that plane– thankfully all with happy landings – I just had to include this memory of my youth spent on the Jersey shore.  Oh what I wouldn’t do to stand on that sand and hear him fly overhead.

eileensdadsplane

Those happy memories include many days spent at the beach and with five sisters, there were always bathing suits drying in the sun on the backyard clothesline.  In fact, I remember coming home from my morning waitress job at a local coffee shop and checking the clothesline to see what suits were left – several of us wore the same size.  My mother used to say, “First one out, best one dressed!”

swimsuits

And then off to the beach it was. With a good book, suntan lotion (OMG probably baby oil, how times have changed!), chair and towel, everything revolved around the beach. Everyone (except my mother) was on the beach: neighbors, tourists (same families, same street every year) and family.  The more the merrier; the bigger the circle of chairs, the better.

The scene depicted in the bottom row on Life’s a Beach shows the end of the day at the beach…one chair, one umbrella, a peaceful quiet time in the shade.

endofdaybeach

I stitched the three panels independently and they hang together with ribbons of raffia looped over wood buttons. Since each row stitches quickly, I finished a row in an afternoon, binding included! Once I had one done, I was motivated to start the next one. If you’d like, piece the three rows together to make one wall quilt.  I had so much fun designing this project and focusing on the simple days of my youth, I hope you enjoy making it as much as I enjoyed designing it.

Stipple_Lifes_a_Beach-CREATIVES_Quilt

Question of the week:  What are your favorite summertime childhood memories?


Visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website for a limited time special offer on Stipple Life’s a Beach.  Enjoy free US shipping.  Use coupon code:  beach

 

Become a Social Butterfly! Part 2

Last week I explored a special offer in an ad featured in the current issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery.  If you missed the blog, click here.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

When you spend $49 or more at the Embroidery Online website, enter coupon code:  DIME2016FREE and you’ll receive the Luminous Freestanding Butterflies collection for free.  (Offer ends 4/30/2016).

As you can see, there are all sorts of special offers and promos featured in every issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery.  If you don’t subscribe to the magazine, I encourage you to do so.  Special offers, free designs and inspiration can be found from page to page.  Flutter on to our subscription page to subscribe or give us a call at 888-739-0555.


This week I decided to explore the process of incorporating natural elements into my embroidery projects.  For the few that have seen my home (and for the rest who haven’t!) —it’s a mix of various collections including rocks and really neat branches that I’ve picked up during my adventures.  I bet you’re wondering rocks?  Branches?  What in the world does a person do with these elements?  I wondered the same until I found just the right use.  Take a look!

While visiting friends in Kerrville, I wandered their beautiful property and found the most delightful rock.  I got permission to take the rock and little did we know it would end up being a cute pedestal for a butterfly to rest upon.  I had it sitting on my desk all week as a paperweight – but it will return to its home in Kerrville to my friends as a special gift.

The letters are chip board—you can find similar ones in the scrapbook aisle of your favorite retailer.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Next, I decided to cover a branch with butterflies and use it as wall décor.  I love the mix of thread and natural elements.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Excited to find use for my other branches, I combined two small branches with carpenter’s glue.  Then I created ribbon roses and placed them in one corner with a butterfly resting upon them.  More chip board was used to spell the word “create” but I could have easily spelled my last name or other message.  The Butterfly Fairy was a last minute addition to the scene.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a close-up of the Butterfly Fairy.  One late night of butterfly stitching, my embroidery machine got hungry and started eating my fabric.  The wings that were in the process of being stitched were incomplete but too pretty to throw away.  I trimmed them and decided to use them to make fairy wings.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Since the underside of the embroidery would be visible, I covered the wings with organza.  Then I made a doll using inspiration from Wee Felt Folk by Salley Mavor.  The dress is made from the center of a daffodil.  I loved the results and quickly posted the photo for my friends to see.  But there was just one problem which I presented to them:  “This Butterfly Fairy needs a name!”

I got a reply from a friend I recently reconnected with online.  The name she presented and I fell in love with:  Daphne!  Look at her, she looks like a Daphne!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

And that’s the story of how Daphne the Butterfly Fairy came together.  I think she represents the beauty of using the resources you have—though imperfect, to make something special, unique and meaningful.  Imagine if I had tossed the half stitched wings in the trash bin!  And I love involving others in my embroidery projects – even though some live far away they can be part of the process online.  It’s a constructive and positive use of social media that I encourage you to embrace if you haven’t already.  It is quite fun to be a social butterfly!

 

 

 

 

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