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Skeleton (Day of the Dead) Embroidery Design / Best Gift Ever

I love embroidering gifts for my friend Alix, because she likes just about anything I make. (See lotus flower dress from last year.) Or maybe that’s just what she tells me. Anyway – when her birthday came around this year, I felt a lot of pressure to top some of the gifts I had embroidered in years past.. but was – JUST –  NOT –  FEELING –  IT.

But – fortunately – things changed for me while taking a trip to Puerto Rico this winter. While dining in old San Juan, I noticed a skeleton face icon painted on a wall across from where I was eating. And the thought occurred to me that this would be a great design to digitize.  I had wanted to digitize a “day of the dead” skeleton face – but had not found a great design. But once I spotted this sign – I knew I had found a winner. 2016-04-06 18.08.31

I ended up finding a black longsleeved T-shirt with a slight swing in the hem on the Old Navy clearance rack that would be the perfect back drop for my design.  I had considered stitching it out all in one color but opted to get a little crazy with the color combo and I think I made the right call.

2016-04-14 06.55.16
I couldn’t be any more in love with this design.  I especially love seeing my best bud in this ensemble.  (The necklace is from Puerto Rico as well!)


Want to make this shirt too?  Check out the day of the dead design on my store.

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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.

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5 modern projects with machine embroidery and appliqué: women’s skirts: Just Published!!


Exciting news: I published my first book!

A few months ago I got the crazy idea to put together a book of project inspiration, tips + embroidery files to make five different projects around a theme. Well, it’s taken me a little while to pull it together, but it’s officially done and and ready to purchase.  5 modern projects with machine embroidery and appliqué: women’s skirts!

The book is available in a PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats with all the embroidery files included.  While the embroidery files are valued at $4 each – the price of the book is listed at $15 and all designs are included in the book.

Please take a peek at the book sample and send me your feedback!  If you want to buy the book but have already purchased one of the designs contained in the book – I’m happy to send you an additional embroidery file or files valued at $4. Just let me know.

Signing off with my celebratory glass of wine…

Check it out: 5 modern projects with machine embroidery and appliqué: women’s skirts!

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Make a personalized spa tote with your embroidery machine for the perfect tween party favor. Am I THAT mom?

A spa tote with a personalized wash cloths made on your embroidery machine makes a great gift.

My daughter’s slumber party to celebrate her 10th birthday was a couple Friday nights ago. And as of 3:00 PM that day, I had NO idea what we would do for her party favor.  I mean, since she only had five friends coming, I wanted to put together something that was a bit classier than pencils, stickers, candy and other random throw away crap.

Inspiration struck when I found some Pinterest boards on party favors for pre-teen girls. One cute idea I saw was a mason jar filled with cotton balls, nail polish and nail polish remover. But I immediately nixed this because, come on… who wants 5 10-year-old girls using nail polish in their house?? Plus there was nothing to embroider or personalize with this project.

Along the same line as the nail polish kits were some little spa totes which I decided were just the ticket. So we made a quick dash to the one dollar island at Target for some soaps and lotions, then grabbed a few white washcloths. About an hour after we got home, I had all five wash cloths personalized while my daughter busily assembled all the totes with their spa components.

I’ll admit it might’ve been a little bit over-the-top for a party favor, but at least we felt good about  what we were giving away, and it was something that could actually be used.  So, I guess, yes I am THAT mom… and proud of it!

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My new lotus flower embroidery design transforms a simple black tank dress.

2014-03-04 14.32.58Around Christmastime I found a simple black tank dress on the clearance rack at Old Navy for less than $10.  I thought it would be the perfect blank canvas for some crazy machine embroidery, so I snapped it up.

My friend, Alix, is a willing recipient of all my crazy embroidery creations (e.g. the sweatshirt I made for Christmas).  Since her birthday was at the end of February  (Leap Year, exactly, which is kind of bizarre), I had the perfect opportunity to do something crazy with this black dress and give it to her for her birthday.

Lately when I have been embroidering on skirts – I’ve embroidered designs around the hemline or up the front of the skirt.  I was really wanting to do something different.  Since this dress had such a high neckline I thought I would embroider something on the chest.  My only concern was that a design stitched out on the chest might look too casual.

Don’t ask me how I came up with the idea of a lotus flower design… but after test stitching it out, I knew I had a winner.  I just finished stitching the design on the dress and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

2014-03-02 14.57.13Maybe I should make something else for my friend and keep this one for myself?

The lotus flower embroidery design is now available on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store.



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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.


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It’s inspiration Sunday, and (now that I know what they are) I’m inspired by monogrammed boot cuffs!

monogrammed boot cuffs
monogrammed boot cuffs (not my picture)

Inspiration struck for me this past week when watching my college-aged cousin open her Christmas gift.  She received these weird looking knit tube things.  Not knowing what they were, my other cousins and I made some inappropriate comments until she explained that they were boot cuffs.  OHHHHH…. I didn’t even know such things existed.

After looking around a bit – I see that boot cuffs are indeed a thing – and there are tons available on-line and in stores.  I am loving some of the hand crocheted boot cuffs that are sold in Etsy stores.  These are so beautiful I wouldn’t dare add any embroidery to them.  But what about monogramming some simply styled (read: not hand crocheted) boot cuffs? This would certainly be easier than monogramming boots and would have a similar impact.

What do you all think?  Have you tried it?  Is this a popular item being requested by your customers?  Now that I know what these things are – I am on a mission to make a pair for myself.


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Embroidered denim skirt inspired by my trip to Europe

For Christmas gift giving on my husbands side of the family, we do an exchange involving all the adults and kids. This year I was finally able to rig the name drawing to ensure I would get my sister-in-law, Joanie. I had purchased a set of pearls for Joanie a few years ago courtesy of my friend who traveled to China for work. But the name exchange never worked in my favor and no one was ever willing to trade. So the pearls and their recipient, Joanie, had to wait until this Christmas when I took matters into my own hands.

Up until a couple of days prior to Christmas I had the pearls set aside, ready to give to Joanie. But I couldn’t resist the urge to make her a little something else. Inspiration struck when I was at Old Navy trying to pull together a Christmas Eve look for my daughter. I found a dark denim stretchy pencil skirt that was practically begging me for some embroidery. And it was marked down to $9. Booooyah!

I decided to make my own version of the abstract circle design based on the embroidered jeans I had seen at that awesome Barcelona-based store, Desigual, when I was in Brussels. I set up the design in two sizes and stitched them out in a staggered, overlapping pattern down the front of the skirt. This was a tough one to give away because OMG I love how it turned out. And I think Joanie did as well. She put it on right away and modeled it for the family.

So what do you all think of the skirt and the embroidery design? I would love to hear your thoughts.

This abstract circle design is now available on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store.

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The eight petal flower appliqué design on a sweatshirt – so psyched about this super cute design!!

Cute flower applique on sweat-shirt
Cute flower applique on sweat-shirt

Well – I finally did it.  Maybe you recall MONTHS ago when I wrote a post about getting inspired by the flower within the Belk logo? I finally created an appliqué design based on this flower and OMG – I think it turned out so cute.  I can’t say who this sweatshirt is for – just in case certain people might be reading this blog.  But I think this is right up her alley.

I bought this sweatshirt at Old Navy a few weeks ago with the idea of creating this type of design and stitching it out on this sweatshirt.  Luckily – due to the fact that I bought boat loads of fabric this summer at cool independent fabric stores, I had the four pieces of fabric that actually coordinated with each other and the sweatshirt.  I actually think I bought this fabric at Sewcial in Madison, WI with the intention of making tiered skirt for one of my girls – which may still happen since I only used a tiny bit of the fabric.

I have to admit – this design is a bit of a pain to stitch out since all of the petals need to be trimmed before the finished satin stitching is done.  But I think the pain is worth it… don’t you?

Check out the modern 8 petal flower machine applique design on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store

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The love sweater featured in us magazine: proof that I was ahead of my time

Love sweater... I had this idea months ago!
Love sweater… I had this idea months ago!

I’m embarrassed to admit that – ON OCCASION – I watch the show Fashion Police. But I do. One of my favorite parts of this show is the segment called “Bitch Stole My Look.” The snarky hosts point out instances where two celebs wore the same outfit and discuss who wore it better.  It’s not that original of an idea – but it’s just such a funny name for the segment, it always catches my attention.

Anyway – today when I opened this week’s US magazine and turned to the “Gift Guide for Her” and saw Lauren Conrad showing off her sweater from her new collection – the first thing that came to mind was “bitch stole my look!”  Perhaps you will recall a few months ago when I made a love t-shirt for my daughter. I digitized the appliqué design and stitched out on a little gray t-shirt. My daughter wore that shirt all summer and got tons of compliments on it. Later I modified the design set to include a satin stitch appliqué version, as well as a small filled embroidery design. It is definitely one of my favorite designs.

The sweater featured in US magazine had a lowercase cursive “love” stitched across the chest, and it’s from the Lauren Conrad collection at Kohl’s retailing for $54. You could probably make a similar sweater that costs less with a whole lot more personality by just stitching out my love design with some cool fabric on any old sweater. AND – the Lauren Conrad sweater is acrylic. Ewww! Make your version better by stitching out the appliqué design on a sweater made of a natural fabric such as cotton, wool or even cashmere.

So take that – Lauren Conrad – you may have stolen my look but me and my embroidery friends are stealing it back.