Category Archives: crazy digitizing requests from my friends

Dog appliqué birthday T-shirt

Dog applique t-shirt

Dog applique t-shirt

Leave it to my crazy daughter, Ilse, to come up with this slightly weird idea for a birthday t-shirt for her friend. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you are probably aware of the fact that my little girl is always lining up new projects for me – one crazier than the next. Her latest idea was to make a dog t-shirt for her friend, Penny, as a birthday gift because (in her words), “Penny REALLY likes dogs.”

So the two of us sat down and looked for dog silhouettes that might lend themselves to appliqué. It was actually tricky finding the perfect dog – one that wasn’t too breed specific, too cartoony or too detailed. When she chose the simple, large sitting dog silhouette – I was relieved. This – I believed I could digitize and make turn out pretty cute.

So – of course – at about midnight before the morning of the party – I am up digitizing and embroidering to try to make this work. The only t-shirt I had laying around was a red one which proved to be a bit tricky as I had limited cotton print fabric with red in it for the appliqué. So I decided to go with a turquoise fabric with white dots. I love the combination of red and turquoise as evidenced by my personalized tunic color combination and the skirt made from the old dress that I recently appliqued.

The shirt did actually turn out pretty cute. My one regret was that the fabric I chose was a bit heavier weight so I had a hard time trimming it close to the tack down stitching so the edges are a bit fuzzy. I am hoping Penny doesn’t mind, but more importantly – I hope she actually likes dogs!

Playing card icon machine embroidery and appliqué designs

Playing card applique designs

Playing card applique designs

I have to admit, my sister’s latest digitizing request was actually a good one.  You see, she was making a ridiculously ornate Alice (from Alice and Wonderland) dress for my niece for Halloween and she wanted to have the playing card icons appliquéd on the front of the apron in the costume. But her issue? She needed the playing card symbols digitized. Because it didn’t take me that long (and she was loaning me a lab coat for my daughter and her friend’s Halloween costume) – I happily obliged.

My niece’s costume turned out great – but what was of greater interest to me were the icons themselves.  I can see these designs looking really cool on a table cloth or a pillow in a game room. So I spent a little extra time cleaning them up, testing them out an making a set of smaller, filled embroidery designs.

We will see if anyone else – besides my sister – gets excited about these designs.  That was certainly case with the last thing she asked me to digitize (the bull). So we will see!

Check out the playing card appliqué and embroidery designs on my Etsy store.


Digitizing playing card icons for my sisters ridiculous Halloween costume – proof that older is not necessarily wiser

Playing card icons I digitized for my sister.

Playing card icons I digitized for my sister.

My sister may be two years older than me, but she certainly isn’t wiser when it comes to making Halloween costumes. My rule of thumb is to spend no more than one hour on a Halloween  costume, and invest as little money as possible. I think that’s sort of the fun of it.. being able to pull together a look with the random fabric and props that you can find around the house. Plus costumes get trashed and kids only wear them for a couple hours anyway.

I came to this point of view after spending hours and hours and days and days making two pink fleece kitty costumes for my two little girls about seven years ago. I spent countless hours on these ridiculous costumes and had a living room full of pink fluff. It was time consuming and stressful, but I have to admit they did turn out pretty stinkin’ cute.

Pink kitty costumes

Pink kitty costumes

My sister, on the other hand, goes BIG every year making elaborate costumes from Elvis to Annie and everything in between. This year her daughter wants to be Alice from Alice in Wonderland. I don’t know all the details of this costume she’s making, but she plans on appliquéing playing card icons somewhere on the outfit. So she asked if I could digitize the club, heart, spade and diamond icons for her as an appliqué design about 3 inches high. This was not a big deal on my end so I happily obliged – thinking that other people might need these files as well. Fortunately for me I am just about done with my costumes, but she has a ways to go. I am looking forward to seeing how the costume turns out and how my designs are used.

It’s inspiration Sunday, and I’m inspired by my new curtain from Denmark

My new fabric / curtain from Denmark

My new fabric / curtain from Denmark

My best friend, Alix, spent the summer doing architectural research in Scandinavia. Besides getting a lot of research done, she picked up a little bit of language. For example, she learned the words for new boobs is “nye bruster.” (She picked this up from an advertisement for plastic surgery.) So as you can see, it was a very worthwhile trip.

Alix, being the good friend that she is, took a lot of pictures of patterns, designs signs, etc… and sent them to me for digitizing inspiration. But, I haven’t even gotten to most of that yet. As you may recall, she has some pretty crazy ideas about what she thinks should be digitized (e.g. SuperToken) so I am not sure if I will ever get to it, but anyway…

She also got me a birthday present from Denmark. that I just received last week. (My birthday is in June, and it is October. But that’s cool. That just gave me a three-month grace period for her birthday gift.) In addition to some really cool earrings, Alix sent me a groovy piece of fabric from Denmark.

When I called her to say “thank you,” she admitted that after she purchased the fabric, she discovered that the fabric is actually a curtain. Oh well… I like it anyway. The flowers within the print are bold and groovy, and I think they would look great as an embroidery or appliqué file. But I’m still not sure what I will make out of my fabric/curtain. It is a nice light cotton and might look really cute as a little simple dress for one of my girls. Or I may change the color scheme in my house and hang these up his curtains. Just kidding.

New embroidery typefaces to digitize… but which one to choose?

Dear sweet, loyal, fantastic readers… (like how I am buttering you up already??)   I need a little bit of help.  You see, I am trying to figure out which typeface to digitize first and offer on my Etsy store.  But before I invest the time into digitizing one – I thought I would see which typeface you all liked best.

I have recently struck up a relationship with a typeface designer (Kimberly Geswein) whose types I admire.  We have worked out a licensing agreement which will allow me to digitize her typefaces and sell them in different sizes on my Etsy store.   This is fantastic because her typefaces are super awesome.  The problem?  Where to begin.

So the favor I am asking of you, dear, sweet, readers, is to please vote on which typeface you would like to see digitized first!  Here are my nine favorites.  What do you all think?  Please comment and let me know your favorite and that will be the one I digitize first.   Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

fonts-kg-behind-these-hazel-eyes fonts-la-belle-aurore fonts-janda-quirkygirl fonts-janda-curlygirl fonts-primary-italics fonts-architects-daughter fonts-janda-manatee fonts-drops-of-jupiter fonts-janda-stylish-script


The bull appliqué aprons in action.

The chefs wearing my bull appliqué design

The chefs wearing my bull appliqué design

Today is the day of the Festival of Nations event in St. Louis’ Tower Grove Park. Who cares, you might be asking?? Well I do – because my bull appliqué design is making its official debut!

A couple weeks ago, my sister’s Columbian friends asked if she could embroider some aprons for them to wear in their food booth at the upcoming Festival of Nations. They were going to be serving up paella and wanted to look like real cooks. My sister (bless her heart) said yes to embroidering the 12 aprons (big mistake – took her 2 late nights), but she needed a bull appliqué design. This is where I entered the picture.

Here is the cooking team – hard at work today. The paella looks fantastic but I think my aprons might look a little better. ha!

If you happen to have to make 12 aprons for a Columbian cooking team – I got you covered. The bull design is on the Etsy store for $1.

12 bulls stitched out on aprons for the International Food Festival… and the bull applique design is now available

Bull applique on an apron

Bull applique on an apron

Last week my sister asked me to digitize a bull appliqué design. I didn’t totally get what it was for – something about a Latin American friend needing them for some type of cooking event – but it only took a few minutes so I went ahead and did it for her. She was super happy with the design – so I was thrilled. And I assumed that my part in this project was over.

Then last night I got the call. My sister wanted to know if I wanted to come over and help her applique 12 aprons with the bull design I made. Um… polite pass. Fortunately we had tickets to the theater so I couldn’t make it.

This morning she stopped by with bags under her eyes. She was up until 1 AM, having completed 10 aprons but still had two more to go. She needs to finish all the aprons for an international food festival coming up this weekend. Because she is doing this as a favor, her friends came by to help out in whatever way they could and supply food and wine while she stitched them out.

The friends are really excited about wearing the aprons to the food festival.  Apparently the word “txoko” that she added to the design refers so a men’s cooking group in Spanish, which helps to convey a feeling of male camaraderie.  They think the aprons look so good that they have requested a paia pan cover with a special appliqued design.  I am happy to digitize the next design they want… if my sister stitches them out.  But after a few late nights of stitching out bulls over several glasses of wine, I get the feeling she might have to polite pass on the next one.

Like the bull design?  I set up the file in two different sizes to fit both larger and smaller hoops and posted the bull applique design on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store.

Bull appliqué design requested by my sister (and her Columbian friend, Juan Pablo)

bull-doneNow that my sister fully understands my digitizing capabilities, she is starting to line up some projects for me. But, I can’t complain. This seems to be good for our relationship, and it’s helping me build up my library of designs.

Her latest request is a simple appliqué design of a bull. The request actually comes from a neighbor friend of hers, Juan Pablo, who is from Colombia, South America (and not the hot guy from the Bachelorette). I don’t remember all the details but apparently the bull represents some type of organization he is involved with back home. So he wants 12 shirts appliquéd with this bull design, and went so far as to find the image of the the perfect bull online and sent it to my sister to send me to digitize.  Clearly – he’s not messing around.

It only took me about 10 minutes to create the appliqué design and another 10 to 15 minutes to stitch it out. The question I have though is… is it worth putting the design on my Etsy store? Would anyone besides my sister’s friend Juan Pablo find a bull appliqué design useful?

A bull is a tough and stubborn creature with a lot of strong masculine connotations. I’m thinking it might look cute on a t-shirt for a little boy – or for that matter – anyone who wants to appear a little bit tougher. I would love to hear your thoughts.

My copycat big sister is all over my my new fish skeleton applique design

My sister's execution of my appliqué designs.

My sister’s execution of my appliqué designs.

Here’s the thing about big sisters… it takes A LOT for them to admit that they like something that their little sister produced.  I speak from years of experience being a little sister and now even more years of experience as a mother of two girls.

My sister has an embroidery machine like me, but has never ventured into appliqué until she saw the nautical dress I appliquéd with my groovy flower initial design.  When I saw her this weekend, she had used the flower appliqué design twice and was swooning over my new fish skeleton design.  So I sent her a bunch of the files I created to try out.

This morning I received the following text:

Love, love, love the fishbone!!! How cute did these turn out? So much fun.

Followed by a request for more designs:

So… Juan Carlos and Liliana came by with their apron design… they want that black bull on a red apron.  I have an image for you to use.  Can you digitize it?

Ha.  Isn’t this interesting?  I guess I will be creating a bull design next, which may actually be pretty cool, and actually pretty easy to do.

Here’s the hard part.  Getting used to admiration from my big sister.  It’s turning my world upside down – but I’m going with it.