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$4.50 from Target and you have a great gift for teacher appreciation week

Monogrammed fleece for a teacher gift

Monogrammed fleece for a teacher gift

Last week was Teacher appreciation week at my son’s school – and guess how I showed my appreciation for his teacher? Well – I didn’t. I can blame the fact that I had stomach flu and was throwing up at my mammogram appointment (classy, huh?) – but whatever – I missed it.

So over the weekend when I was buying the 100th Lego Friends set for my girls with the gift cards they got for birthday and Christmas gifts – I took a peek in the women’s clearance section and discovered the most DARLING fleeces for $4.50.  Bam! I had the perfect gift for my son’s teacher.

Monogramming on fleece is super easy – just remember to use a sulky topper to keep the stitching as smooth as possible.  I also think that the monogram looks best on the left-hand-side as opposed to the right… but maybe that is just me.

So maybe you are wondering how I figured out her maiden name in order to create the monogram and keep the gift a surprise…I called the school secretary and asked.  And to double-check that, my friends Facebook stalked her.

Fortunately, it seemed that Thomas’ teacher loved the fleece and was impressed with the extra effort it took to figure out her monogram.

 

Birthday girl t-shirt… very much appreciated by the birthday girl.

Birthday crown applique design

Birthday crown applique design modeled by my daughter’s friend.

Today was a banner day for a person like me who has a “pathological need for approval.” (This was my sister’s diagnosis but I can’t disagree with her assessment.) I started out my morning with a stop by my sister’s house to drop off the lab coat she loaned me for my daughter’s mad scientist Halloween costume and lo-and-behold, my nephew, Wilson, was wearing the ski shirt I made for him. I remember it turning out pretty well, but DANG – it looked great! And, most importantly, the kid was wearing it.

Then I got a text on my phone with a picture and message from the parents of my daughter’s friend, Maya. They just wanted to show me how cute Maya looked in the personalized (with initial) birthday crown appliqué t-shirt I made for her. Adorable. I didn’t have the shirt done on Sunday (the day of the party). But I did have it ready on Tuesday and sent it to school, wrapped, with my daughter so that Maya could wear it today (her actual birthday).

There is not much to report on the process of making this shirt, or digitizing the design as I created this birthday crown months ago. However, I hadn’t used the file in a while – and never on a girl as old as Maya (10). I do think that it looks completely age-appropriate, and again – most importantly, Maya seems to love it.

Like the design or have suggestions for alternative birthday designs? I would love to hear your thoughts. Check out the birthday crown design on my Etsy store.

If you liked last week’s free embroidery design… you will probably like this week’s: a Merry Christmas embroidery design

Merry Christmas Free Embroidery Design

Merry Christmas Free Embroidery Design

I don’t know if you happened to see last week’s free machine embroidery design, but I really, really like the way it turned out.   It was a “Happy Thanksgiving” design with a decorative line underneath.  Sound familiar?

For this week I am basically repeating what I did last week – but with a “Merry Christmas” message instead of “Happy Thanksgiving.”   Yes – I know it’s cheap.  Hey – but when something works – why not take advantage of it?

Both designs are sized to fit in a 4″ x 4″ hoop.  So download these files and make some festive hand towels for your holiday hosts!

Download the “Merry Chritmas” machine embroidery file

Finding inspiration for embroidery design in Laguna Beach

Tuvalu, Laguna Beach

Tuvalu, Laguna Beach

One of the great perks of my various jobs is that I get to travel – A LOT. At this time of year it’s almost too much. (I know I know – break out the violins) But I always relish an opportunity to see somewhere I have never seen before.  As you might be aware – when I travel one of the things I like to do is to go to cool fabric stores in my destination city.

This past week when I was in Laguna Beach, CA – going to a fabric store was not really in the cards.  The reason why? I was traveling with my husband and seeking out a fabric store in our precious, uninterrupted time together simply wasn’t in the cards.  However – I did get to do the next best thing… visit cool, eclectic shops and get inspired.

Laguna Beach is an artsy little community, filled with a mix of high-end boutiques, surf shops, art galleries and funky little unique stores.  (It is also home of the “Shakra Shack” which made me and my hubby giggle to no end.)  Anyway – one of my favorite stores where we found some beautiful glass ornaments to bring home to the kids was called, “Tuvalu.”  It is a mecca of home decor items, especially geared towards your beach-front second home.

Even though I don’t have a beach-front second home – I got tons of inspiration for embroidery designs in this store.  There were tons of hand towels with cute sayings and bold beach-inspired prints.  Have a visit to the Tuvalu site and maybe you will get inspired too.

Hand towels from Tuvalo

Hand towels from Tuvalo

A card to help explain the Chinese year baby onesie applique designs

Chinese Year of Birth Cards

Chinese Year of Birth Cards

I have been thinking a lot lately about how to make my embroidery designs easier for people to stitch out and give as gifts. One of my designs that I think makes a very cute gift is the Chinese year symbol design when stitched out on a baby onesie. (In fact – I just sent this little gift to my friend in California who had a baby a few weeks ago.)  But I realize that since most people don’t know the meaning of the Chinese character, it is important to include some type of a note with the appliquéd baby onesie so that the recipient understands the meaning of the gift.

To make this as easy as possible for the people who purchase my Chinese birth year appliqué designs, I set up a PDF file that you can easily print out and on a thicker card stock to include as a card with the baby onesie. If you want to go really crazy with this gift, you can package it in a colorful carry out container that you can buy at World Market – and I’m sure many other places as well.

The three page PDF file that I made and added to my Etsy listing contains a card layout for the next 12 years, so it looks like I will not need to update this file for quite a while.  Enjoy – and let me know what you think about the gift.   Maybe you have other ideas about how this design could be used.   Curious about your Chinese zodiac sign – you can learn more here.

Simple and Cute Halloween Applique Designs

Set of Halloween applique designs

Set of Halloween applique designs

 

Black cat applique design

Black cat applique design

I have been thinking a lot about Christmas these days. Maybe it’s because I am on sabbatical from my university job this spring, Christmas break signifies the start of a rather long break for me! Anywho before Christmas there are other more imminent holidays that present fantastic opportunities for making fun things. Hellllooooo – it’s almost Halloween!

This realization prompted me to digitize a little pumpkin face earlier this week for Free Embroidery Design Monday. Then I got really inspired and digitized some simple, modern Halloween icons.  I am not sure how I will be using them  – but I am thinking they would look cute stitched out on Halloween goody bags. Or maybe I will make the kids some Halloween t shirts.  Stay tuned for that – but in the mean time – you can enjoy these designs.

Check out the new Halloween machine applique designs on my Etsy store.

Adding more value to the peace sign appliqué design

Two peaces sign applique designs in two different sizes

Two peaces sign applique designs in two different sizes

Since I launched the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store a couple of months ago I have been thinking about ways to add more value to the embroidery files that I have been listing. I want my customers to feel like they are getting an excellent value with the design package they purchase from me. Looking at some of the items in my store, I realize that I could make them have more appeal to people executing types of projects or people limited to smaller hoop sizes.

One of the designs I have had on my site for quite a while is the simple appliqué peace sign. From my store stats I can tell that it gets several views – but it rarely gets a sale.  My suspicion is that it is not versatile enough for my potential customers.  Currently, it comes in two different styles: satin stitch and triple stitch – both of which are fairly large in size.  The larger scale makes a bold statement as a focal piece on a t-shirt or tote. But what if someone does not want to use the peace sign in this way? Or – what if the design does not fit in the hoop?  I should be providing some smaller alternatives.

So I went back into the files and saved both designs out as a smaller size.  Now instead of getting two different styles of peace signs – both digitized at the same large size, customers will now be getting two different sizes of the two styles for the same price. I hope this serves everyone much better and is perceived as a better value.

Check out the peace sign applique design in two sizes and two styles on the Etsy store.  It’s on sale for $1.

Machine embroidered skirt I made for my friend, Julie

Julie in the embroidered skirt I made for her

Julie in the embroidered skirt I made for her

My friend, Julie Smith, had a birthday this week and I knew exactly what to make for her. She has not been subtle about her infatuation with the Thailand flower design I digitized while ago which was inspired by a graphic on a wall in Thailand. She absolutely covets my denim skirt that I embroidered with a design I created

Obviously for her birthday I needed to make her a skirt like mine, but I was out of town all weekend and had a super busy day on Monday. But, believe it or not, this whole project came together before her birthday gathering on Monday night. To make this happen, my first stop was the clearance rack at Old Navy where I found some great gray pencil skirts made out of thick cotton jersey. These skirts were begging to be embroidered. (Actually now that I think about it I need to go back and get some more.)

Like the skirt I made for myself, I planned to stitch out three instances of the flower – two smaller ones and one larger one. But instead of making all the flowers the same, I rotated the colors and I think I might like her skirt a little better.  I was able to plan the placement of the flowers by drawing circles in corresponding sizes on the front of the skirt with a washable marking pen.

Thailand flower machine embroidery design

Thailand flower machine embroidery design

Julie went bananas when she saw her new skirt.  I think like I hit a home run.

Like the design? Or want to make a friend as happy as Julie?  The Thailand flower design is on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store.  You, too, can have a skirt like me and Julie.

Little monster machine embroidery design

Little monster embroidery design

Little monster embroidery design

When my friend Alix is not coming up with super token (quasi super hero machine appliqué designs), she actually can draw some pretty funny looking little monsters. She’s actually a practicing architect as well as a very talented illustrator – but weird little monsters are her specialty – at least as far as I’m concerned.

One of the perks of being her friend is that when I asked her for some little monster drawings – she  happily obliged. (Well – I did just make her stupid super token t-shirt… so she did sort of owe me.)  Anyway – she sent me three pages of little monster sketches – all awesome and completely goofy.

My favorite of all her monster drawings is this little zany bucktoothed guy. So I digitized him and stitched it out. I think he turned out pretty cute and will look amazing on a little t-shirt for a boy or girl.  In fact, my little three-year-old Thomas has been asking me when his monster shirt will be done.  So at least I have one happy customer.

I plan to digitize a few more of these little monsters.  Hopefully you all will like them as much as I do.  I put this first monster on my Etsy store and am offering it for $1 for it’s debut week.