Addendum to yesterday’s post about the Walmart 2014 Christmas dress…

Personalized applique dress

Personalized applique dress

A quick follow up from yesterday’s post. I have to share one more picture.  This is the same design that I showed yesterday on a new dress.  I cranked this out for a birthday gift… (party’s tonight).  Once again the $6.49 Walmart dress scores.  Hope she likes it!

The Walmart Christmas personalized applique dress – check out the 2014 edition

personalized dress

The 2014 Walmart dress


Okay so don’t hate me – but this weekend I started wrapping Christmas presents. And I am soooooo happy to have made headway on my Christmas shopping / making.  But, one of the reasons why I have been able to get so many presents wrapped is because I am basically re-creating a well received gift that I made last year.

I know from all my embroidery/applique Facebook groups that many of my embroidery sisters have discovered the adorable cotton tunics that Walmart has been selling for girls. Last year they sold a nautical striped tunic with three-quarter sleeves that was absolutely divine. Both my sister and I bought a ton of them and personalized them for all the little girls in our lives.

walmart-dressThis year the styles Walmart is selling are slightly different, but just as cute. They are still made of cotton stretch fabric in cute prints, however this year the dresses have empire or drop waists and have a seam in the middle. Of the styles they are selling, I especially liked the navy polkadot version. In fact, as soon as I saw it, I snapped up six of them for $6.49 each. And to personalize them, I came up with a new appliqué design, a single initial monogram design that is cute on kids and looks more modern than a formal monogram. It also allows for the dress to potentially be handed down.

After after personalizing all six dresses, I took them with me to the Children’s Place Outlet and picked up coordinating leggings for the dresses and, Voila! I had six gifts done. I do love this letter appliqué design so much that I plan to digitize every letter in the alphabet, but I haven’t quite gotten there yet. Stay tuned. But last year’s initial flower appliqué design which would look FAB on this this year’s Walmart dresses is available in my Etsy store.

A new monogram design + 1 Christmas gift done = thank you, Iowa

2014-10-19 11.21.05-small

This summer we took a trip to the Iowa state fair (my husband’s idea), where we mingled with the locals and ate every meal (and dessert) on a stick.  While I can’t deny that milking a cow wasn’t a thrill, my favorite part of the trip was stopping off at Amana Colonies, Iowa on the way home.

Amana Colonies is a German colony in Eastern Iowa that has remained relatively preserved. The town is quaint and charming, attracting tourists from all over to sample their restaurants and purchase handcrafted goods.  After eating our body weights in spaetzle, we headed over to the Amana Woolen Mill where we purchased copious blankets for Christmas gifts that were made at the facility.  (Yep – we started our Christmas shopping in August.)

Of course – I didn’t want to just give the throw as a Christmas gift without something personalized and embroidered.  So I ordered a pillow sham in a coordinated color and designed a new single initial monogram design.  I am pretty happy with how it turned out – but even more thrilled with the fact that I’m making my way through my Christmas list.

Like the design and want to copy my Christmas gift idea? It’s cool – you can steal my idea.  The new monogram design is available on my Etsy store, and the pillow shams are available on Amazon Prime.

A Chinook helicopter embroidery design collaboration

chinook-doneOne of the benefits of writing a blog and selling embroidery designs is that I have a lot of opportunities to connect with some major embroidery enthusiasts. One recent connection resulted in a mutually beneficial collaboration; I digitized a unique design, and my new friend provided me with super cute images for the new product listing.

My new buddy Britt had developed a cute design for a quilt especially suited for babies of Chinnock helicopter pilots. She started by making one for herself, and writing about it on her blog, providing instructions for people who wanted to make it themselves. In fact – Britt randomly met a woman who had made a similar chinook quilt and told her she found instructions online. Coincidently the instructions were from Britt’s blog. Crazy!

Britts chinook quilt was gaining a cult following, and she was receiving requests to have them made. The catch? Chinook quilts were taking her a very long time to make since she hand appliquéd all of the helicopters. This is when I entered the picture.

Briitt contacted me after finding my Etsy store and asked if I could custom digitize her Chinook helicopter according to the picture she supplied. Not a problem.

Once I sent Britt the design she test stitched it out right away. Since this was the first time she had appliqued by machine – it blew her mind.  The emails she was firing off that night while watching her embroidery machine stitch like crazy were absolutely hilarious.  She was overjoyed.

Now Britt’s officially hooked on machine embroidery and I’m hitting her up for more cute embroidery ideas.

Check out Britt’s blog.
Check out the chinook design on my Etsy store.  Thank you to Britt for the use of all her photos!

This is my house and I’ll do as I damn please!

Plate provides inspiration for machine embroidery.

Plate provides inspiration for machine embroidery.

One of my favorite things that my grandmother had in her kitchen was a hand-painted plate mounted on the wall.  It was painted with sweet flowers with a subtle message above the flowers that was anything but sweet. In dainty cursive, it said: “this is my house and I’ll do as I damn please.”

What I found so funny about this plate was the fact that most people probably wouldn’t have noticed what it said until they actually took a minute and stopped to look at it. Most people would have given it a quick glance and thought it was just a sweet old lady plate.

Like many others, I too, had not given the plate much thought or even realized what it said until after my grandmother passed. But my older sister had. I guess it pays to be observant because she requested it outright, and now she proudly hangs the snarky little plate in her kitchen.  Frankly, it makes me a little jealous.

So what’s a spaced out second child to do after missing the boat on a gem like this? Digitize it, of course! Using the original plate as inspiration, I set up a design that lends itself well to be stitched on kitchen towels or even an apron. Now I can use my embroidery machine to share a little piece of my granny’s humor with my cousins and aunts who will appreciate it.

I am hoping that people outside my family like the design as well – so I posted it on my Etsy store.  We’ll see!


Machine Embroidery Geek is “One to Follow!”

Creative Machine Embroidery MagazineGuess who is featured in the September issue of Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine (CME)???


And it keeps getting better…  CME has hired me to write some articles for the magazine.  I’m up against the deadline now, so I’m dying to share the details with you all – but they have sworn me to secrecy.

Make sure you check out the magazine this spring – because these articles are going to be GOOD!  Details to follow…

Need that monogrammed? What I now ask my house guests.

monogrammed purse

monogrammed purse

Have you ever had a friendship where you discover the more you get to know this friend – the more you have in common… and maybe that’s why you got along so well all this time? This is exactly what happened to me when our friends from Boston came to visit last week.

Roz and I  have a lot in common I have discovered.  We both teach at a college, we both have two girls (aged 8 and 10), and we both have the exact same Target bedspread. We also both have embroidery machines – although she has not learned how to use hers yet. Lucky for me I got to give her some demos, and she was actually interested.

Another thing we have in common is our TJ Maxx purses. The only difference besides color is that my purse is monogrammed. “Hey,” I asked her, “you need that monogrammed?”

She had never given it a thought. Clearly, we St. Louisans care much more about monograms than they do in New England. This became even more apparent when Roz had to actually THINK about what her monogram should be!!!

But Roz obliged and I quickly stitched out a monogram on her purse, and she was thrilled with the results. Her husband thought it was a little weird though and asked if I monogram everyone’s clothes and accessories when they come into my house, which is actually not a bad idea. Anyway – maybe this little bit of monogramming will get Roz psyched to do learn how to use her embroidery machine and we will have even more in common.

My book is on Amazon!

I know I know… I owe you all some fresh content on my blog. In fact I’m almost embarassed to be writing a new post without sharing something new, but I’m so excited I just had to post about it.   I am now selling my first e-book on Amazon – available in the Kindle edition.  See:

And here’s the even better news…(drum roll, please)… it’s only been live for less than 24 hours and I have one spectacular review (from a buyer of the book on Etsy).  Yay!

So in honor of this momentous event, I want to offer you, dear blog readers, the book for free when you purchase any two designs on my Etsy site.  Just send me a convo after the purchase and I’ll email you all the files.  And if you really, really like it – I might just hit you up for a review.

Thanks so much for being tolerant of my bit of self promotion here… I’m just super excited.  I promise to get back to some helpful and informative blog posts soon.

A set of baby month applique onesises for my friends at FORAI

baby-monthsOver the past couple of years, I’ve gotten to know an amazing woman who lives here in St. Louis, named Jen Owens. Jen founded and runs a non-profit called FORAI whose tagline is “bringing together beauty and opportunity.” The way they do this is by mentoring “refugee and immigrant women as they begin home-based microbusinesses to supplement their incomes through the production of high quality, marketable handicrafts.”

Until last week, FORAI was selling these products at local craft fairs throughout the year. Now – FORAI products are available on-line! To celebrate this huge milestone, they hosted a silent auction and launch party at a popular micro brewery in town, Schlafely Bottleworks.

When Jen told me about this exciting event, I knew that I wanted to contribute in some way, so I offered to donate an embroidered item to the silent auction. The problem? I had no idea what it would be… I thought about embroidering some baby items, but without knowing who would purchase the products, there was no way to personalize them.

Fortunately, a few days before the event I got inspired. I came up with the idea to appliqué a set of baby onesies – one for each month for the first year of a baby’s life. I had seen pictures of friends’ babies on-line wearing these types of onesies but had been told they were just wearing blanks with stickers… Applique would be so much nicer. I had the perfect idea – I was stoked!

After a lot of digitizing and a lot of stitching – I made a set of 6 baby onesies – one for each significant month in the first year: 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year. I stitched them out in pastel, gender-neutral seersucker fabric, and O-M-G C-U-T-E.

Because inspiration had struck so late – I was literally running in my donation to the auction, and, of course, Jen was super appreciative. And the event was fantastic as well. It was truly inspiring to meet some of the women who are involved with FORAI.

So what’s next for me and FORAI? Jen mentioned that someone had donated an embroidery machine a few years ago and it was just sitting at her house!! She asked if I could possibly teach them how to use it. Um… yes!

Like the baby month applique design set?  It’s available now on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store and SWAK Embroidery